Sermons

Lent 1 Midweek (4th Commandment)

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

Our reading this evening about the family life of Issac and Rebekah and their sons, Jacob and Esau, points us to the 4th Commandment, and that Commandment is our sermon text. Our praying of Psalm 32 this evening is our confession that we have not kept, that is, that we’ve not truly cherished that Commandment, not truly cherished the gifts that God protects with that Fourth Commandment: “parents and other authorities.” But that Psalm 32 confession is really that we’ve not “feared, loved, and trusted God above all things.” For rejecting His Commandment, His gifts flows from rejecting God. Continue reading

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Sermons

Elvenor Pralle Funeral (Jn 11:17–44)

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”

That’s what Jesus does. He can’t not. With His Father, He created life. The Holy Spirit comes from Jesus and His Father, and the Spirit is the Lord and Giver of life. Life is a gift. It was never meant to be a temporary gift—live awhile, maybe a long while (91 years!), and then die.

That’s not the sort of gift the Lord wanted. But now that’s what we’ve got: sin and death. “Sin came into the world through [Adam], and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned,” as Paul says.

But the Lord upends all that. He can’t not. He gives life. Life isn’t temporary—never meant to be. But let me tell you what is temporary. Death. “Passing from death to life” is what the Lord Jesus gives. That’s His promise from John 5:24, and His promise in John 11, our Gospel reading, today. Death is and will be temporary. Not life. That’s eternal. It’s all because

JESUS DELIVERS LIFE TO THE DEAD. Continue reading

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Sermons

Invocabit—Lent 1 (Mt 4:1–11)

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

INI + AMEN.

The Word of God comes first and is faithful and true: “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” That’s what the Father said about Jesus at His Baptism. There the Spirit descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove. There the Son goes through sinner’s Baptism, takes on the Spirit, His anointing as the King of the Jews, and in Jesus rests the pleasure and delight and righteousness of God.

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” Now things are totally different. No one looked weaker than Jesus: “after fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry.” Then the devil strikes at Jesus. His weapon is his word that he wields against what is most faithful and true: the Word of God. Continue reading

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Sermons

Ash Wednesday (Joel 2:12–19; Mt 6:16–21)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. That’ll be you some day—dust, ashes. You’ll die. You’ll decay. You’ll be bones. Skeleton buried in the ground. Then, not even that—a pile of dust and ashes in a coffin.

Dust and ashes. That’s your life now, too. It’s how you live: ashes, dust, dirt. Are you willing to confess that? With the nasty parts of our life, sure. It’s easy to say that our sins are dust and ashes. The skeletons that rattle around in the closet of our consciences. The memories of deep, dark sins, the secret sins, the evil thoughts no one knows, the angry words maybe only a few know, the icky deeds only you know. But “your Father sees in secret.” No part of your past or present is hidden from Him. He sees everything: your actions, words, and even thoughts! The wages of your sin: death, dust, ashes. Continue reading

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Sermons

Installation of The Rev. George F. Borghardt, III (Jn 20:19–23)

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bossier City, LA || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

What is Jesus doing?!? What’s the Lord Jesus up to? He’s up to something. On a day like today, you can’t miss it. You can’t miss…him! (Hot seat!) Jesus delivers, sends His man when and where He wants him. Can’t be any other way! Jesus is the Lord of the Church—the Holy Christian Church—not any of you, not me, not Pastor Borghardt. Not anyone is Lord of the Church except Jesus—Jesus alone. And you? You receive Jesus’ man as His man. 100% gift from Jesus: sent as the Father sent Jesus. Now, delivered. Soon, installed. Then your man, your Jesus man. He from Him. All to you and for you.

So, what’s the Lord Jesus all about? It’s really easy to figure out what Jesus is all about. Just hang on every Word. The Word of Jesus, the eternal Word of God. Where to listen? “If you forgive, they are forgiven,” He says. Where to look? It’s written all over Him. Printed, no, imprinted on His hands and side. Water and blood came from there. All three together: hands, water, blood. The signs of peace, and the deliverance of peace, too. (We’ll get there.) Three signs that deliver three words: “I forgive you.” Three signs (hands, water, blood). Three words (“I forgive you”). One man. The Jesus man, and in those three words from the one man, we hear and see all that Jesus is all about.

What’s the Lord Jesus doing? What’s He up to? What’s He all about?

YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN. Continue reading

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Sermons

Sexagesima (LK 8:4–15)

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

INI + AMEN.

What sort of crazy sower is Jesus talking about? The modern day version of this parable would be: a farmer went out to plant, and he used his planter on the road, on the rocky parts of his field, among the ditches and easements, and eventually he used it on the best parts of his fields. No self-respecting farmer would do that. Even non-farmers know you don’t sow seed that way! But that’s how and where the seed is sown in the parable that Jesus tells.

All eyes off the soils! All eyes, all ears on the Sower, on His Seed. It’s then and only then that we will understand what the Lord’s talking about. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” For “to you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God.” Continue reading

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Sermons

Septuagesima (Mt 20:1–16)

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

INI + AMEN.

“Whatever is right I will give you.” What was right was the denarius the Lord of the Vineyard and those workers agreed to. Punching in at 6, punching out again at 6, that gets you a full day’s wage—one denarius. No more. No less. That’s what’s good, right, and fair. “After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius,” He kept on hiring. So His hiring pitch: “Whatever is right I will give you.” Again and again and again He said it. Sounds fair.

((2. We want what’s fair.))

We like that. We are the workers after all. In our daily lives we like fairness. Follow the rules. Get a job. Work. Get paid. Do a bad job, get fired. Do a great job, get a bonus. Don’t work, go homeless, go hungry. It’s a dog eat dog world out there. But that’s what’s fair. Actions have consequences.

The early bird catches the worm, and if you’re not hired at the crack of dawn, “whatever is right I will give you.” Less. That’s what that means. If you only work a half day: half pay. If you only work one hour, then one hour’s pay. That’s what’s fair.

That’s all well and good, but the problem is we start thinking that way in how we stand before God. When He’s handing out pay, how do we want to measure the payment. We compare. I’ve done more. Worked harder. I did this, and they didn’t do that. They did that sin, and I didn’t. I may do this, but at least I don’t do that.

We so often only mouth the words: “I justly deserve”—that’s what’s fair—“Your temporal and eternal punishment.” Not that person over there. The people not here. No I, me, me alone. No comparisons. What’s good, right, and fair is no blessings in this life, no eternal salvation. All things are free gift, whether temporal (this life) or eternal (the life to come).

And still we compare the worldly gifts He gives: more there, less here. “It’s not fair!” we might cry. “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me?” the Lord responds.

((1. The Lord does things His way.))

The Lord does what He wants. He’s the Lord, after all. Can’t quite tell Him what to do with what’s His. He does things not like we do things. “My ways are not your ways,”—what gift! He doesn’t do human “fairness.” His “justice” isn’t human justice. His right-ness isn’t fair, but it is righteous, righteousness! He gives what is good—too good! He gives generously to all: “When those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius.” One hour worked; a full day’s pay! Talk about gift!

This isn’t about fair wages; it’s about salvation. It doesn’t matter when you’re brought into the vineyard, He gives His “wage” by way of free gift. Whether you were brought in as an ancient Israelite or Gentiles, whether you’re baptized as an infant or an adult, whether you’re a life-long Christian or a death-row convert. The salvation is all the same: cross-won, empty-tomb assured.

Christ made the payment. Oh, you could walk off the job. Reject the free gift. Go off in search of human justice or fairness. Have nothing to do with the Lord or His vineyard. That would be a shame. He’d let you do that. He really would. At the end of the world, outside His Vineyard, where He, His Word, and His Gifts are—outside there, there’s His justice, eternal justice, perfect justice: eternal punishment.

But when you walk off, what will the Lord do? He’s good—too good! “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” He’d just use someone to call you back. He’d remind you, “Whatever is righteous, I will give you,” “that He might be the justifier of the one who has trust in Jesus Christ.”

So it is today. Here in the Vineyard, the Lord doles out the goods. That we might go about our daily father-ing, mother-ing, son-ing, daughter-ing, husband-ing, wife-ing, worker-ing, student-ing, farmer-ing, and wherever else the Lord has placed us. That’s the Lord being good—too good!

The Lord gives and does: not human fairness, not human justice. Much better. Too good! He died to settle the score. His blood the price. His coming back to life again is the guarantee. THE LORD GIVES YOU WHAT IS GOOD AND RIGHTEOUS. His righteousness. Washing it over you, like Otto today. Robing you again with it in the Absolution. Preaching it into your ears, mind, heart, and life. Placing it into your mouth with His real body and blood for the forgiveness of your sins.

“Whatever is right I will give you.” So He does: THE LORD GIVES YOU WHAT IS GOOD AND RIGHTEOUS. It’s not fair! Thanks be to God for that!

INI + AMEN.

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