Sermon summaries and audio files
It is central to the devil’s devices that he make a man mute, for speech is the primary characteristic of man’s creation in the image of God, and the devil’s envy caused the fall of man. So if he can make a man mute, he is doing his best. But Jesus heals the man, for he is the stronger one overcoming the strong man and dividing his spoils. But when a demon goes out of a man he goes through waterless places until he finds where to rest. So we find even in this Gospel that demons inhabit Jesus’ enemies to surround him with lies. For if the devil will not make a man mute, he can make him lie. Beware of lying, for it springs from the father of lies! But Jesus corrects the lies with the truth: the kingdom of God is come upon you. Yet he does more than that, for he will find himself again surrounded by liars who heap up charges against him leading to his crucifixion. Behold, he swallows their lies and ours, carries them to the cross and dies; then he carries them into hell and deposits them there, destroying their effect, and bringing us life and salvation. So now, remember that you were given a voice to speak, that you may praise your Maker, for this is why you were made, and also that you may rejoice in his abiding love and his eternal life. Sermon for Lent III.
When Jesus came back from the mount of Transfiguration, he found the scribes stirring up trouble, just as Moses had found trouble on his return from Mount Sinai. And in this case his disciples could not cast out a demon, so they no doubt were being derided. But Jesus steps in and settles the matter, yet not without first talking to the father of the demon-possessed boy. The poor man was weak in faith, perhaps because of the wicked scribes, so he cries out, Lord, I believe! Help thou my unbelief! And so should we all so cry, aware that unbelief resides in the same heart where there is faith, for we are still sinners. Yet he does not despise a broken and contrite heart. He helps in time of need, because he not only came to call sinners to himself, but to sacrifice himself for them. So when we consider our weaknesses, let us not be dismayed, but remember that it is not the strength of our faith that saves us, but him in whom our faith trusts. Sermon for Midweek of Lent II.
The Canaanite woman knew she was of the lost sheep of the house of Israel for whom Jesus was sent, in spite of appearances to the contrary. Though a Gentile, she called to him for mercy, acknowledging him as the son of David. And she worshiped him. For he is the Lord God himself, who had promised through Ezekiel saying, I, I myself will seek out and gather my sheep from all the places to which they have been scattered. Thus he draws her, first eliciting her faith by a harsh treatment, even to the point of calling her a dog, but she gladly goes and sits in the lowest place, the most unworthy supplicant; and thus he raises her up by setting her faith on high as an example of the greatest kind of faith, and giving her what her heart desires, the healing of her daughter. A fine example for us to follow. Sermon for Remeniscere.
Our faithful member was laid to rest on Saturday. The funeral sermon is here.
The sharp contrast between the disciples who did not understand Jesus and the blind man who did is remarkable. And he serves as an example for them and for us, as he boldly cried to the Son of David for mercy. He wanted to receive his sight, and when he did, he saw Jesus. Let us boldly ask him as well, that we may see with the eyes of faith and receive him who has saved us. Sermon for Quinquagesima.
The kingdom of heaven is like a seed cast into the ground by a man who then goes and sleeps and rises. The kingdom grows of its own accord. And who is this man who sows the seed? Is it not Christ, who as he was preaching these parables, said, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear? And then what? When his three years of preaching were done, he went to sleep, for he was crucified, dead, and buried. Yet he also rose! And then his little church of his disciples grew to the church of Pentecost, and then continued to the present day to the four corners of the earth. And at the judgment, he shall put in the sickle and harvest his own, bringing his people into his everlasting hom.
And what of the mustard seed? The smallest of seeds grows into a great tree where the birds make their nests. So is the kingdom of heaven. So small! For its king was born in Bethlehem in a stable with ox and ass, and only a few shepherds and foreigners saw. And after his ministry he was beaten and abused, and crucified, dead, and buried. See how small! How utterly humiliated! Yet he rose from the dead, and is the first fruits of them that sleep. So be not dismayed at trouble and grief, and smallness, and disappointments. For this kingdom is his own, and he shall make it grow! Stand aside and watch! For he shall surely bring his harvest home. Sermon for midweek of Sexagesima.
There are so many impediments to faith. The devil who prowls around, this is the first peril. The seed by the wayside is snatched by the birds. Then there is the approach of trouble, or tribulation. When the sun beats down on the new growth and it withers away, lacking moisture. Trouble will come, of that we can be sure. And third, perhaps most treacherous, is cares and riches and pleasures of this life, which, like thorns, can choke the growth. Ironically, having plenty, having it good, is a time of great peril for faith, and should be seen this way. So, having hears to hear, let us hear, and hold fast the faith. And then we shall be like that good seed that fell on rich ground and grew up and yielded a hundredfold. But is this not Christ himself, who was buried in good ground, indeed a grave that could not hold him, for he rose again the third day. So let us be found in him and in his word, that we may be in his crop forevermore. Sermon for Sexagesima Sunday.
The parable of the talents shows us first that there will certainly be a day of reckoning. Second, it shows the perils of the sin of slothfulness, one of the seven deadly sins. Nothing that we have is really ours, and none was received by merit or worthiness. Everything is a gift, and therefore we are bound to use our gifts wisely, and repent of all slothfulness. The tenant who buried his talent in the ground was not using it as it was meant to be used, and he failed to acknowledge the Giver. Thus he was condemned. And consider the greatest Gift of all, buried in the ground. This is Christ himself, who was crucified, dead, and buried; but he arose from the dead. Therefore let us live as bound to the new life we find in the resurrected Lord. Let us consider what we’ve been given, then; especially the greater gifts: Baptism, the preaching of the Word, and the Sacrament. These must never be taken for granted, but used. And using them we find the forgiveness of sins granted by them. How much we’ve been given! How much we need to use it! Sermon for midweek of Septuagesima.