Sermons

Baptism of Jesus (Mt 3; 1 Cor 1; Is 42)

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

“Peace on earth and mercy mild; God and sinners reconciled.” God and sinners together. God and sinners not apart, separate, far off, far away. Is that really the way of things? We say it is—sing it is!—, but is that how we live? Sadly, we don’t live that way.

It’s how Jesus lived. It’s why He came to the Jordan to be baptized by John. Jesus came for sinner’s baptism. He wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. Yes, John was confused by Jesus wanting to go through sinner’s baptism. But Jesus had to. That’s what He said: “In this way it’s fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” “All righteousness fulfilled” by Jesus being in the midst of the waters, in the midst of sinners, doused with sinner’s baptism.

That’s the sort of God Jesus is. There’s no, “Hey, you’ve gotta get your act together first” with Him. That’s not to say you shouldn’t repent of your sins. You should! So much so that you actually stop and want to stop doing them! But being so very repentant doesn’t actually get you anywhere with Jesus.

But He comes to the Jordan. He comes to be baptized by John. He comes to be in the midst of the waters, in the midst of sinners, in your midst. Your God, Your Savior comes to bring you to Himself so that you would dwell in the midst of His kingdom forever. That’s how JESUS IS YOUR “IN THE MIDST” GOD AND SAVIOR. Continue reading

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Sermons

Epiphany of our Lord (Mt 2:1–12)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

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INI + AMEN.

The body and blood of Jesus tells you everything you need to believe about God. That’s because Epiphany’s all about God revealing Himself in Jesus Christ. He reveals Himself in Jesus to be not only for Jews but also Gentiles. He wasn’t just for those in and around Bethlehem or in Judea—that’s Christmas. And He wasn’t just for “the Magi from the east.” He’s for you and me, too. We know that in the body and blood: given for you, shed for you. Continue reading

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Sermons

Christmas Day (Jn 1:1–18)

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

Jesus is the Word. Jesus is God. He’s “full of grace and truth.” He’s the true light, true life. “Light and life to all He brings, Ris’n with healing in His wings,” as Hark! The Herald Angels puts it. Jesus, the Word, created everything, and then He took on the flesh He created to save us—die and rise for us. “The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it.” “He came to His own, but His own did not receive Him.”

Jesus is the Word made flesh. He was sent from His Father to make Him known to you. He came from the Father to deliver you back to His Father. That’s what’s wrapped up in the Christmas story—and one more surprise! And so, Christmas is no different than any other Sunday, and yet everything’s eternally different because of Christmas.

CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT WHAT JESUS, THE WORD, DOES FOR YOU. Continue reading

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Sermons

Christmas Dawn (Lk 2:1–20)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

Infant holy, Infant lowly, For His bed a cattle stall. Oxen lowing, Little knowing Christ the child is Lord of all. (LSB 393:1)

That’s what happened. We know the story. Heard it last night from the children. We heard it this morning, too. “The decree went out” that “all the world should be taxed.” So, Joseph also went up with Mary, too. She was great with child. That child is holy—the Holy One of Israel! But certainly “lowly.” Subject to Rome. Subject to taxes. Born just like you and me. Manger, feed trough for that child’s bed. Cows. Oxen. Messy. That’s what happened. But why? Continue reading

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Sermons

Christmas Eve (Mt 1:18–25)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

“The Virgin will conceive and have a son, and they will call His Name Immanuel,” which means, “God with us.”

INI + AMEN.

God with us sounds wonderful. It’s a perfect Christmas card. But it’s not just some Christmas wish. It’s not just a nice sounding idea. It’s not something that’s pie in the sky. It’s not something we say, but we secretly know it’s not really true, at least not true enough to affect our actual—flesh and blood—day to day lives.

God doesn’t do things like that. He never gives nice sounding but empty words. He never talks about nice but meaningless ideas. We turn them into that. We highjack the Lord’s Word and Promises, we take control of what the Lord does, and we call the shots. We make Christianity all about ideas, ideas we have control of. We set up our answers, our feelings, our thoughts, our ideas, and they become our gauge for what God does for us.

By taking God and moving into the realm of ideas, we manipulate God. We’re living the devil’s lie. “You will be like God.” We set up all sorts of answers and reasons of why God’s with us and not against us. We also have all sorts of ways of thinking about HOW God’s with us. Just ideas again. God’s with me because my life’s good. God’s with me because I’m more nice than naughty. God’s with me because I think He is. Still ideas. Ideas we’ve got control over. Continue reading

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Sermons

Advent 4: Rorate Coeli (Jn 1:19–29)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
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INI + AMEN.

Your sins are either on Jesus, or they’re on you. If He takes them, they’re no longer yours. And He really does take them! Your anger, your lusts, your temper, your drinking, your naughty search history, your gossip, your not helping others, your helping some and not others—all your sins, every last one, aren’t your sins anymore. He’s also taken every single way the world has always turned away from God. In fact, “He became sin for us,” as Paul says. So, what’s the problem? Well, it’s like I said: your sins are either on Jesus, or they’re on you.

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Sermons

Advent 3 Midweek: 2nd Petition (Titus 3:4–8a)

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

How does God’s Kingdom come? God’s kingdom comes when our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and lead godly lives here in time and there in eternity. (LSB 324)

INI + AMEN.

God’s kingdom “certainly comes by itself without our prayer,” but in the 2nd Petition “we pray…that it may come to us also.” (LSB 324) But before we can look at how it comes to us, like you just said, we need to know what the Kingdom of God actually is. We hear that word “kingdom,” and we think of Kings and castles, lands and borders.

But God’s Kingdom has nothing to do with the countries, lands, rulers, and borders of this world. We’re not praying for some sort of Christian kingdom to be set up somewhere that will conquer lands and beat up on other “ungodly” nations. King Jesus Himself says, “My Kingdom is not of this world.”

God’s Kingdom is outlined for us in the Apostles’ Creed: that Jesus was sent from the Father to die for the sins of the world, to redeem you from sin and death, to purchase you out from under the devil’s power all with His holy, precious blood. The Kingdom of God is Jesus dying and rising for you, for me, and for all.

That’s the sort of Kingdom we’re praying for in the Second Petition. That Kingdom “certainly comes by itself without our prayer.” Jesus came, died, rose. He just did it. No one prayed for it, asked for it, really even wanted it. But He did it, just like His Father wanted Him to. We need that sort of Kingdom to keep coming to us. We need Jesus to keep coming to us, saving us, protecting us. We need His death and resurrection for us to become ours.

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