Theology

Forgiveness Comes from Christ NOT Contrition

Besides, they teach us to be confident that we obtain forgiveness of sins because of contrition and love. What else is this than to put confidence in our works, not in God’s Word and promise about Christ? But if the Law is enough for receiving the forgiveness of sins, what need is there of the Gospel? What need is there of Christ if we receive forgiveness of sins because of our own work? [76] We, on the other hand, call consciences away from the Law to the Gospel, and from confidence in their own works to confidence in the promise and Christ. We do so because the Gospel presents Christ to us and freely promises the forgiveness of sins for Christ’s sake. In this promise it asks us to trust, namely, that we are reconciled to the Father for Christ’s sake, not for the sake of our own contrition or love. For there is no other Mediator or Atoning Sacrifice than Christ.

– Apology of the Augsburg Confession, XIIa (V) 75–76

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Sermons

Trinity 13 (Lk 10:23–37)

September 10, 2017
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

“Blesséd are the eyes that see what you see. Many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see and hear what you hear,” and they did not.

((5. Oops!: We’re all lawyers.))

We don’t fully understand the joy of those words because we’re all lawyers. We may not ask the question “Who’s my neighbor,” but we all act as if some people are less our neighbor than others. “There are those whom [we] have failed to help.” There are those we don’t really want to help! We’d rather not. It’s too much of a bother. We’ve helped them enough, already. Oh, we may end up helping them in the end, but we don’t really like it. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just write off helping them and not have to worry about it?

We “strain out the gnat and swallow the camel.” We’re supposed to love our neighbor, if we don’t like somebody close to us (family, church members, friends), well then I’ll help somebody else. We’ll move someone else (maybe people we don’t know, people far away, the poor, the homeless)—we’ll move them up the neighbor list and push those closest to us down. We pick and choose our love, but love should flow outward from us, like when a stone creates ripples in a pond—first those closest, then those farther away.

((4. Ugh!: “Go and do likewise.”))

Yet, we still think: “What must I do?” We want a Law answer. That’s just the human way. If you want a Law answer, Jesus has a Law answer. That’s what He gives the lawyer, what He gives to anyone who wants that sort of answer.

It’ll if we put modern characters into the parable. “A Lutheran pastor and Lutheran school teacher pass by the helpless fellow, but a Muslim helps him. Which do think was neighbor to that man?” “The one who showed him mercy.” “Go and do likewise,” Jesus commands.

Be the good Samaritan. Be the merciful Muslim. Be that way for people who probably hate you. Be that way to those closest to you. (It’s actually harder to love them.) “Go and do,” Jesus says. Not just outward action, either. A love from your heart for one and all. True love. Fervent love.

This “Go and do likewise” Law, the Law we should do from free and generous heart, this Law damns us.

((3. Aha!: JESUS IS YOUR MERCIFUL GOOD SAMARITAN.))

But what if Jesus’ Law answer isn’t the whole story? What if it’s not a Law parable at all! What if Jesus has something else in mind, has someone else in mind, has Himself in mind?

JESUS IS YOUR MERCIFUL GOOD SAMARITAN.

((2. Whee!: He “bears your burdens and binds your wounds.”))

The problem is that we’re in the ditch. Sin and devil did their worst. We don’t want to believe it. We’d rather make up for our failings in some way, and Jesus has to tell us, “If you want to be that way, well, be like Me. Perfect. Love the unloveable. Help those who hate you.” And we should be that way!

But for those beaten down, who want to love their neighbor but struggle day in and day out to actually do it, and who end up barely doing it, certainly not perfectly. Well, Jesus “bears your burdens and binds your wounds.” He dies and rises for our not having “fervent love toward one another.” Where our love for others fails and comes up short, His love for you does not fail. He has real, heartfelt, gut-wrenching love for you and for all. Only Jesus has that sort of compassion.

((1. Yeah!: Your ears and eyes are blessed.)) (23–24)

Your ears and eyes are truly blessed today! Jesus “pours on oil and wine.” He poured it on Korben today. Jesus anointed Korben with His own righteousness. He delivers His wine: His body to eat, His blood to drink for the forgiveness of sins. He gives newness of life, rescue from the ditch in His Baptism and His Supper. It’s not just a one time thing, it’s continual rescuing, daily rescuing, weekly rescuing, life-long rescuing in the inn of His Church. That’s the sort of compassion Jesus has.

He will return for you, too. As the Samaritan only gave two-days worth of money and would return on the third, so also Jesus rose on the third day, and because He did that, He will fulfill His promise to come back to take you to Himself.

“Blesséd are the eyes that see what you see.” An infant saved by Jesus. Jesus’ body and blood given to sinners for their forgiveness and life. “Many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see and hear what you hear,” to hear Jesus Himself say that He IS YOUR MERCIFUL GOOD SAMARITAN now and forever.

INI + AMEN.

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Sermons

Trinity 11 (Lk 18:9–14)

August 27, 2017
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

What makes God good with you? Is He happy with you? If you were going to die, and you needed to “get right with the Lord,” what would that mean? Are you right with God? Is He pleased with you? Does He like your choices, what you’ve done with your life, what you think, say, or do? What if He’s not? Then what? How do you fix that problem? How do I get back into His good graces? How do I get cred with Him then? How do I make Him happy with me again? Continue reading

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Sermons

Trinity 9 (Lk 16:1–9)

August 13, 2017
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

What in the world is Jesus talking about? This parable doesn’t make any sense! There’s no business owner who first fires a manager for wasting his stuff, and then praises that manager for stealing his stuff afterward. The fired manager is giving the whole business away! Slashing debts he doesn’t have a right to.

Didn’t you hear it? First, the manager doesn’t collect the debts; so he’s fired. Then, he slashes the debts and gets praised. Praised! This doesn’t happen in the real world. He’s a thief! He should’ve been arrested, punished, condemned, maybe even killed!—at least in the ancient world. Continue reading

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Sermons

Trinity 8 (Mt 7:15–23)

August 6, 2017
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

((5. Oops!: We’re afraid of the Last Day and final judgment.))

The Last Day. The Final Judgment. Not a happy topic. We’d rather not think about it. Standing before the judgment seat of Jesus—the judgment seat! Sounds like a fun place to be, right? Not so much. We’d rather not.

Well, what about your last day? We don’t want to think about that either. Death. Certainly not a fun thing to talk about. Then you meet your Maker. You meet Jesus. Then, what will He say? What will He do? Continue reading

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