Dballa's Weblog

God is Love

God is Love
1 John 4:7-16
Christmas Eve

What makes Christmas so special?

We gather on this Holy Night, remembering the birth of the Christ Child, Jesus. We see the nativity scene of Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus. This is what it is all about. God taking on flesh and blood, God coming to humanity for a reason. Why would God do this, the only answer is as one hymn writer put it, Loved caused His incarnation, as our reading for tonight says God is Love.

But what does it mean that God is love? We live in a world where there are many different definitions of love and hate using these words for their own purposes. But tonight is a special night, when we see God’s love in action, and we see what love is really all about.

The incarnation that God taking on flesh and blood and being born of Mary is about God’s love for you. Notice the direction, from heaven above to earth Jesus comes. God comes because He loves you. So Jesus was sent to be as verse 10 says the propitiation for our sins. Propitiation that million dollar word, that is worth more than and million millions. It means Jesus appeasing God the father on our behalf.

Our sin separates us from God, so Jesus took on flesh and blood in order to suffer and die on the cross, so that we are saved. Jesus Himself notes

John 15:13 (ESV) 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

Jesus did lay down His life for you, so we may experience the love that comes from God.

Being Christmas, we ask how do we receive this gift of love? It is given to us by the Holy Spirit through God’s Word and Sacraments.

What do we do with the love, first we enjoy it, than we share it.

We rejoice in the Christmas love given, and then we share.

Jesus own words as it written in Acts 20:35 (ESV) 35 ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

That would be a good defination of love from Jesus viewpoint. Lay down life, gives His life so that we recevie eternal life. All because God is Love.

As this love is a self-sacrafical love, when we receive this love, it changes us.

Consider the other Christmas charters from the Grinch to Scrooge, there is a change in us when God’s love touches us. We are not the same person, for that Love that we receive from Christ, extends through us to others around us. As God’s love extends through us we confess that God is Love.

1 John 4:15 (ESV) 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

This is how Christmas continues. We gather where God’s love and forgiveness promises to be, receiving His gifts, not just at Christmas time, but every week, there is a Christmas here. Every week the Miracle of Christmas where God’s Word of Love and forgiveness is read, proclaimed and received right here. We don’t always have the decoration, but every week we have the gifts of God’s grace, love and forgiveness given.

What makes Christmas so special? Christ, given for you.

In His name Amen.

Written by dballa

December 24, 2019 at 4:00 pm

Posted in Sermons

Seeing the Glory of the Lord

Seeing the Glory of the Lord
Isaiah 35:1-10
Advent 3a

The opening words of our Old Testament reading say:

Isaiah 35:1–2 (ESV) 1 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; 2 it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.

O to see the Glory of the Lord, that Isaiah was showing the people of Israel. Wouldn’t be nice to go back to that time.

Are you old enough to remember the good ole days? The days when everything seemed better than they are now. In the past, especially in the church when the pews had more people in it. We were busy doing Turkey dinners, and other activities. When the parking lot was fuller, there was talk about expansion and relocation because we didn’t have enough room.

Many people asked why can’t we return to the good old days. So many have looked at the church trying to figure out what needs to change so that the good old days will return, so that the pews will be full again, and there will be an excitement in the air, like it once was.

Ecclesiastes 7:10 (ESV) 10 Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.

That may not have been the answer you were looking for

Lamentations 3:22–24 (ESV) 22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

Quivering lip but but but…

Isaiah 43:18 (ESV) 18 “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.

What was the strength of the past, is the same strength for the present and the future

Hebrews 13:8 (ESV) 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Recently had a conversation with someone who sister join a very Large Lutheran Church. All the sister could talk about was how large their church was. To which I replied, I just need a couple of other people around God’s Word and I have Jesus with me, and that is all I ever need.

What was the strength of the past, Jesus what is the strength of today, Jesus, what will be our future, Jesus. Do we need something besides Jesus

Isaiah 35:2 (ESV) 2 They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.

Jesus came who birth we celebrate. Are we not seeing the GLory of the Lord, here and now. Do we not see that God is active, His Word proclaimed.

During the time of Advent, we prepare for the coming of our Savior, by remembering how God kept His promise and the Savior was born of Mary born in Bethlehem.

So what do we do:

Isaiah 35:3–4 (ESV) 3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. 4 Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”

 

You God will come and He will come and Save you. That was the hope during the time of Isaiah, That God would keep His promise. We see that promise fulfilled, we celebrate the promise completed, and we strengthen the weak and the anxious, that He will come again.

But we like things that we can measure, just as Jesus

John 20:29 (ESV) 29 Jesus said to Thomas, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Do we believe that the Glory of the Lord is still here at Peace Lutheran Church in Plainfield, IL?

 

Consider the miracle in Matthew 9

Matthew 9:2–8 (ESV) 2 And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” 3 And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” 4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 7 And he rose and went home. 8 When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

Did they glorify God because of the healing of the paralytic or the healing of the forgiveness of sins? We don’t know what was in the man’s heart, but what really matters is what did Jesus say was more important for them to know?

Here at Peace, the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ has been proclaimed and is still being proclaimed. The Glory of the Lord is still here at Peace, but do you see it?

Exodus 33:18–20 (ESV) 18 Moses said [to God], “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’

Isn’t the name of the Lord still proclaimed here at Peace?

 

Isn’t the glory of the Lord still visible here at Peace?

 

Isaiah 35:4 (ESV) 4 Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”

Consider when we are anxious, we run around scared, trying anything to rid the anxiety. But notice where God through Isaiah points the anxious, back to the message that the Christ will come and save you.

Yes, we get anxious, but the only message of comfort never change, That Christ Jesus will come back and save you. For we see the Glory of the Lord, here and now. In His name. Amen.

Written by dballa

December 14, 2019 at 3:46 pm

Posted in Sermons

We Praise God for Sustaining Life in and through His Word

We Praise God for Sustaining Life in and through His Word
Deuteronomy 8:1–10
Thanksgiving C

As our Nation gathers around a National Day of Thanksgiving, we ask for what are we thankful, and to whom are we giving thanks?

As Chirstians we can answer the latter question to whom are we giving thanks, the answer of course is Jesus. The answer to both questions can be found in Luther’s explanation to the 4th Petition of the Lord’s Prayer

Give us this day our daily bread.

What does this mean?

God certainly gives daily bread to everyone without our prayers, even to all evil people, but we pray in this petition that God would lead us to realize this and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.

Do evil people thank God for their daily bread, no. But believers do.

So on the National Day of thanksgiving, there may be a difference in what and to whom you are thankful, verse the rest of the nation.

Consider

Deuteronomy 8:3 (ESV) 3 And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

These words may sound familiar, since Jesus quotes them when tempted in the wilderness, which should reinforce what it says, we live by God’s Word.

The Christian who possess God’s Word, that is who believe and trust in the promises of God, needs nothing nor lacks anything. For what more could humanity ask for that is better than God’s Holy Word?

Philippians 4:11–13 (ESV) 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

But what about food, health, family and friends. You know the typical stuff people around the Thanksgiving table say that they are thankful for.

The Christian is never really in want as long as we keep our trust in Jesus. Why, for we know that we go to Jesus and ask for and receive whatever we need from the Father, the creator of all. Of course just as parents teach their children the difference between needs and wants, so also God teaches us adults and children the differences between needs and wants as God generously gives us our daily bread.

And we can also enjoy whatever God gives to us as our daily bread, realizing all of it is a gift from God.

As we are leaning in our Thursday Bible Study on Ecclesiastes

Ecclesiastes 5:19 (ESV) 19 Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God.

Enjoying God’s Daily bread also frees us from the envy of others because through faith we see God direct intervention in our lives.

But without faith, we see things, relationships, which never really satisfies us, so that there is an ache for more. But with faith we see as the Psalmist says in

Psalm 63:5–6 (ESV) 5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, 6 when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night;

But when was the last time we thanked God for the gift of faith, as St. Paul states in 2 Corinthians 9:15 (ESV) 15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

Picture it this way. You give a child a present. The child is happy with the gift and says thank you, and then uses the gift everyday for the rest of their lives. That would be the ideal situation. But what would happen if the child would say, “I don’t want this gift” or “I wanted a different gift instead” or maybe the child says thank you, but then ignores the gift. Would we be likely to give the child another gift? But yet, God still gives us our daily bread.

But what are people typically thankful for, family friends, their health, the physical blessings etc.

But Moses states that we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. God’s Holy Word.

Your faith and trust in God is the greatest gift you will ever receive. But when people gather around the Thanksgiving table, are we quick to thank God for the gift of faith, and boldly tell others what a wonderful gift we have in Christ, and state Peace Lutheran Church is a wonderful place to learn more about God’s greatest gift given.

We Praise God for Sustaining Life in and through His Word, for it is only through His Word that we have life now and for the rest of eternity.

Enjoy the daily bread, the physical gifts, family and friends during this national day of Thanksgiving. But also to continue to remember the Gift of Faith that God has given you. So if anyone asks you this Thanksgiving what you are thankful for you may say, the Christian Faith, for it is my life. Amen.

Philippians 4:7 (ESV) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Written by dballa

November 27, 2019 at 5:41 pm

Posted in Sermons

Jesus Friend of Sinners

Jesus Friend of Sinners

Jesus Friend of Sinners
Reformation Day
October 27, 2019

Philippians 1:2 (ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I can’t make everyone happy.

Setting the right expectations, well what do you expect of me as their pastor? That is a good question that will have many different answers. Setting the proper expectations is a good start. But even when they are set, not everyone is going to be happy. Even the only perfect human who is also true God couldn’t please everyone, even after setting the proper expectation.

Matthew 11:19 (ESV) 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”

The opponents of Jesus got it correct, Jesus is friend to sinners.

You know when your opponents get your message correct, then you have done all things well. The message has gotten out, that even your opponents can clearly articulate it. While the opponents do state the message of Jesus correctly, that Jesus is Friends of sinners, they were not happy. Why? This is the promise of old fulfilled, but it wasn’t their expectation.

What were they missing? St. Paul says it:

1 Timothy 1:15 (ESV) 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

Jesus even names it Himself in

Luke 5:32 (ESV) 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

Question to consider: Who would oppose Jesus who comes to save sinners?

Those who don’t want to be saved, who don’t want sins forgiven, who doesn’t think of themselves as sinners.

Those who want a different message, even though this was the promise promised of old.

Why didn’t they want the old or first promise of God? Why, well it is because of our previous friends. Who are or were the previous friends? That is the promise of old. After Adam and Eve sinned, God promised a Savior. So let’s look at that promise in:

Genesis 3:15 (ESV) 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

The promise of a Savior to defeat Satan is in the part “he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” While on the cross Satan had Jesus killed even buried, but Jesus rose from the dead. Satan would be the one ultimately defeated. That is the promise of Old. But let’s return to the issue of friendship. Embedded in this promise that Satan would be defeated is another promise that bring us joy. When God says I will put enmity between you and the woman. After Adam and Eve sinned, they joined Satan’s side, becoming friends of Satan. But the promise of old states that God is going to destroy this friendship, have humanity to be enemies of Satan. What is great news if we want to be with Jesus Christ in heaven above for the rest of eternity. However this promise can be rejected, and humanity can return to Satan.

Who would want that? Those who don’t want to be Jesus to be the friend of sinners. Who don’t realise their sin with its consequences.

Jesus is the friend of sinners, without a cost to you. It cost Jesus, His death on the cross, but for you, there is no cost.

The color is red because it is Reformation day, the day we remember that Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses church door in wittenberg.

What did people see in Luther? That answer depends again on your expectations.

The reformation was a start for many things. Educational reforms, Music and Art reforms, Cultural reforms, and even Political Reforms. These things happened, but if that is all you expected from Luther, you really miss out.

Luther pointed the people back to Jesus, as being a friend of sinners. Previously people thought Jesus to be an angry God. But Luther risked his own life, to point the church back to Jesus. Luther realized that Jesus is a friend to sinners without a cost for you. However the church very much like today is always in need of money to sustain itself and even to grow.

Sure we have our own fundraiser, I am sure you noticed even when you walked into Peace Lutheran Church today. But during the days of Luther they were holding the forgiveness of sins hostage to those who would contribute to the fundraiser. It was call an indulgence, which was paying for sins to be forgiven. However Jesus already and completely pain for this forgiveness, so Luther challenged the church, to return the God’s Word, the Holy Scriptures and realize that you can’t do this, it diminishes the person and work of Jesus.

For this isn’t who Jesus is. For Jesus is the friend of sinners not an angry judge that you can appease with money.

So what is your expectation of Jesus and the Reformation? Is it a Political, Social, Cultural, educational reforms? Vs. Jesus being the friend of Sinners.

The correct answer can be seen in Luther’s words in the explanation of the 2nd Article of the Apostle’s Creed:

What does this mean?

I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteous- ness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity.

This is most certainly true.

In His Holy Name Amen.

Philippians 4:7 (ESV) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Written by dballa

October 26, 2019 at 2:50 pm

Posted in Creed, Sermons

Faith Clings to the Word and Promises of God

Faith Clings to the word and promises of God

Faith Clings to the Word and Promises of God
2 Timothy 3:14-4:5
Pentecost 19C

Philippians 1:2 (ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Most people don’t like to be told what to do, especially if they are wrong. A standard joke about this is that there are two ways of doing something, the right way and the husband way. To which I usually respond, yes dear. From teenagers who rolls the eyes, to the yes dear, we really like our way of doing it, until it fails. Keep this in mind as St. Paul tells Timothy and us:

2 Timothy 3:16 (ESV) 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

We may tolerate teaching as long as it is exciting, but reproof, correction, those words are very challenging to us.

Why would the Holy Spirit lead St. Paul to say these things, if everyone knows we don’t like it. Because there is something more important at stake. What is more important? Eternal Salvation.

Consider St. Paul writing to the Romans 10:17 (ESV) 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Faith is a gift from God, how do we receive this gift, through the Word of God. Hearing that word of God, being watered in the Word of God and eating the Word of God. So if Faith comes from the Word of God, faith is maintained in us because of its source. Likewise Faith naturally will Cling to the Word and Promises of God.

Just like the refrigerator in your home which keeps your food lasting longer. When it is installed, it does nothing until it is plugged into the source of electricity. Without that gift of electricity your food will spoil much faster. But with that gift, food lasts longers. Would we ever say, I feel bored tonight, for some fun lets up plug the refrigerator for a bit of excitement. No, but yet this is exactly what some people do with the gift of faith. So St. Paul tells Timothy and us, don’t unplug from the gift of Faith, even if there is a cost. Electricity does have a cost, and being connected to Christ through His Word, the Word will correct us, rebuke us. Are we willing to admit that we need these things to continue to be connected to Christ or do our own ideas refuse to allow it.

Where was the disconnect? St. Pauls continues by saying 2 Timothy 4:1–2 (ESV) 1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

This was Timothy and every pastor’s marching orders. Proclaim the word of God, because the Word of God is powerful, maintaining God’s Gift of faith in us. So was it Timothy’s sermons that needed to be improved, no. This charge was not necessarily for Timothy’s benefit. Sure he like all pastors could use the reminder, but the next verses tell us who these words are intended for.

2 Timothy 4:3–4 (ESV) 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

This is the unplugging from God’s Word. Not enduring sound teaching and having itching ears, that say honey let’s unplug the refrigerator for this week we can plug it in again next week, but only for an hour, for we don’t want to waste the electricity.

Who would say and do anything like this? We do. We want some excitement, we want something special, we want something different. We are looking for the great spiritual mountain top experience, and we are afraid we not getting it here at Peace Lutheran Church in Plainfield. So our ear get itchy and we start looking elsewhere. God knows who we are and our natural reactions, so let’s look to Jesus again for the answer.

Matthew 17:1–5 (ESV) 1 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. 3 And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4 And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

You can’t get a better spiritual mountain top experience than this. Jesus, shining along with Moses and Elijah. No wonder why St. Peter wanted to make tents and stay there, but as the words were coming out St. Peter’s mouth, God the Father redirects St. Peter and us from the mountain top, God says

5 He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

God redirects our itching ears back to Jesus, back to listening to Jesus, just as St. Paul directs Timothy to redirects the hears back to Jesus and God’s Word, for Faith clings to the Word and Promises of God, not to the great mountain top experiences.

But are we willing to come away from the great mountain, and cling to the words and promises of Jesus. Where else would we go?

2 Timothy 4:4 (ESV) 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

Like the previous follows of Jesus in John chapter 6 when Jesus gave them sound teaching:

John 6:66–68 (ESV) 66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,

Simon Peter got it right, faith clings to the words and promises of God. I don’t know if this was one of the many accounts that Luther had in mind when he wrote the explanation to the

The Third Commandment

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.

What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.

But it seems to fit our text for today. Faith Clings to the Word and Promises of God. For it is in the Word and Promises of God that we see our Savior Jesus being delivered for you.

Philippians 4:7 (ESV) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Written by dballa

October 19, 2019 at 1:50 pm

Funeral Sermon for John Kevin Carlton

John Kevin Carlton

Philippians 1:2 (ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

As someone dies, we grieve. It is as if part of is also dies, for something is missing within us. We may have many memories, some of the may have been happy and some may have been sad, but we are faced with the reality that no more memories will be created. There is also another part of all of this that we too will also die. We may start asking the question, is this all there is to life? For John it may seem that life was working, husting and fishing. Is that it? We may be satisfied

with this for our life and say it is a good life, which it is, but there is much more.

 

John was baptized, meaning that God’s name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, was placed upon him with water. Does that make a difference? Yes, it does, for God’s name is God’s promise upon John. Consider what God says through the Psalmist:

 

Psalm 103:15–18 (ESV) 15 As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; 16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. 17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, 18 to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.

 

God’s love is an enduring love that surpasses death. God’s love and forgiveness of John is always there. John first received it through Holy Baptism, John received it again through the Lord’s Supper. For the forgiveness of sin if God’s free gift given to us as St. Paul says in

 

Ephesians 2:8–9 (ESV) 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

 

At Peace Lutheran Church were John receive Christian instruction, John boldly confessed this is what he believed. However, as we go on with our daily lives we often get distracted from the forgiveness that Christ Jesus won for us on the cross. As we may get distracted from God love and forgiveness for us, God is never distracted from us, for we are the reason why God even takes on human flesh and blood being born in Bethlehem and eventually dying on Calvary’s cross for the forgiveness of our sins.  We are always loved and forgiven by God as St. Paul reminds us in

 

2 Timothy 2:13 (ESV) 13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.

 

God cannot deny Himself for the Bible notes that God is love.  God is love God is faithful, for this is who God really is.

 

It is us who don’t freely forgive others, because we get distracted by the things in this world. We are the ones that hold grudges all because of our life in this world.

 

But God’s name placed upon us re-focuses us. So that we can reflect the love and forgiveness that comes to us first from God to other people around us. Why would we do this? Because we trust in the promises of God that tell us there is something beyond this physical life. We do this be we know that Christ Jesus first loved and has forgiven us so that we can love and forgive others.

 

Jesus said John 14:3 (ESV)  3   And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. What will this place look like? St. John tells us in:

 

Revelation 21:4–5 (ESV) 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

 

So, we trust in the promise of God, we gather to head the grace of God given through His Holy Word.

 

Ephesians 3:20 (ESV) 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,

 

Amen.

 

Written by dballa

October 16, 2019 at 12:55 pm

Posted in Sermons

Sound Words

Sound Words
2 Timothy 1:1–14
Pentecost 17C
October 6, 2019

 

Philippians 1:2 (ESV) 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sound which are vibrations that we may be able to hear with our ears is exactly what is going on here with words from the sermon for today. However St. Paul may not have had this part of sound in mind when he wrote to Timothy

2 Timothy 1:13 (ESV) 13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

The Greek word the St. Paul uses for the word sound is not that of vibrations, but of that of accuracy and correctness.

But how accurate do we want to be? I guess it depends on the circumstances. When we read or hear the weather report, how accurate are they? Do we get upset is they are not 100%, maybe a little, for we even joke about it. If we are going to a medical surgeon, we would that that surgeon to be 100% accurate, no mistakes? Yes, why because our life depends upon it. But what about pastors, who handle God’s Word. Does it matter if the soul is fed God’s Word based upon the accuracy of the meteorologists or that of a surgeon? Remember we are not talking about if you are going to enjoy the picnic outside, but rather if you are going to be at the eternal banquet in heaven above or torment in hell.

St. Paul gives the command, not a suggestion, to follow or to have the pattern of sound words. Why, well St. Peter said it best

John 6:68 (ESV) 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,

Words of eternal life. St. Peter notes that words can have life in them, and the opposite is also true words can bring death. Back to previous question: Does it matter if the soul is fed God’s Word based upon the accuracy of the meteorologists or that of a surgeon? St. Paul would answer that with 100% accurate, no mistakes and instructs Timothy to do the same:

2 Timothy 1:14 (ESV) 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

Guard another command word of St. Paul. Guard what, the good deposit by the Holy Spirit. Well what did the Holy Spirit give you? Faith!

3rd Article of the Apostle’s Creed Luther reminds us

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel (word of God), enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.

In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith (this is also accomplished through the word of God).

In this Christian church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers.

On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ.

This is most certainly true.

This is exactly what St. Paul is telling/commanding Timothy. Yes, Luther was a good student of God’s Word.

So where is the problem. Notice what St. Pauls says

2 Timothy 1:8 (ESV) 8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God,

Why would we be ashamed? The answer

2 Timothy 1:12 (ESV) 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.

St. Paul was suffering because of the Christian faith. Likewise as we live in a world that is becoming more and more critical of the Christian communion, we also may be ashamed of the Christian faith. World wants us to be less accurate with God’s Word for the convenience of toleration with more people. The words of Satan spoken to Eve in the garden ring true in today’s world just as well, when Satan said in Genesis 3:1 “Did God actually say.” As our society continues to question what God did say in the Holy Scriptures, St. Paul encourages not to be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, for that is why St. Paul was in prison.

But St. Paul didn’t not command Timothy to be a people pleaser, but to be accurate with the Words of God. By the way who taught Timothy the faith. His Grandmother and Mother, St. Paul just build upon that which was already taught.

The accuracy of God’s Word is important, why?

2 Timothy 1:14 (ESV) 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

Can a deposit by the Holy Spirit be withdrawn? Just like a bank where you can deposit money and you can withdraw the money. The Bank like the Holy Spirit will want you to keep the deposit, but in the end you can withdraw the money, likewise as we continue to rebel against God and the deposit by the Holy Spirit of faith, can be withdrawn. We see this is the Psalmist words:

Psalm 51:10–11 (ESV) 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

So we gather today at Peace, surrounding ourselves with Sounds Words, guarding the deposit that the Holy Spirit has given, Because God’s Words are life, here, now and for eternity. In His name. Amen.

Philippians 4:7 (ESV) 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Written by dballa

October 5, 2019 at 1:52 pm

Posted in Creed, Sermons