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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Sermons

Advent 3: Gaudete (Mt 11:2–11)

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

“Are you the Coming One, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus responded, “Tell John what you hear and see: the blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them.”

INI + AMEN.

Doubt is a pesky thing. It’s part of life. So is uncertainty. They go together. They affect, infect all parts of our life. And it’s not just our life of service and love toward those around us. They infect our love, our faith toward God, too. Doubt in that area is called unfaith, unbelief.

Doubt or unfaith are opposites of confidence, faith, or trust. The Lord would have us “fear, love, and trust in Him above all things,” but we don’t. We forsake Him, His Word, and His Gifts, finding time for other “better” things. We forsake others, lashing out, judging, mocking, treating them badly. This also flows from doubt and unbelief.

But this isn’t “doubt in the Lord” Sunday. It’s “Rejoice in the Lord always” Sunday. Why? Because our Lord’s got a solution, a cure for our doubt, our unbelief. That’s what we get to rejoice about today, and really every Sunday: what our Lord does for doubters. Continue reading

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Jesus' Parousia
Sermons

Advent 2: Populus Zion (Lk 21:25–36)

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

INI + AMEN.

((5. Oops!: Dark days are coming.))

Dark days are coming. The Last Days are coming. Soon even the Last Day will come. The signs are all around us. Like buds coming out on a fig tree or any other tree in Spring time. There’ll even be “signs in the sun, moon, and stars”—creation coming apart at the seems.

The Last Days are here. Dark days are here. Society coming apart at the seems, it seems. Wars come. Rumors, news stories, fears of wars come, too. “Distress of nations,” “men fainting because of what’s coming upon mankind.” Then the Last Day comes, then all things will be swept away, like leaves coming down in the Fall. Continue reading

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