Sermons

Ash Wednesday (2 Pt 1:2–11)

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

“[Jesus’] divine power has gifted us everything for life and godliness.”

INI + AMEN.

Everything gifted? Yes, everything. All means all. Everything means everything. Nothing left out. All gift. Everything’s gift. Everything for life. Everything for godliness. Jesus gives. We receive. “Faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, brotherly affection, love.” All these are a gift from the Lord. He gifts everything for life and godliness.

This doesn’t quite jive with our views of Lent and repentance and even absolution. We turn Lent into our time to shine. “Fasting…is certainly fine outward training.” Our flesh shouldn’t be in control. Like Paul said a few weeks ago, “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” We turn our repentance into the credit that earns the absolution.

We live day to day fulfilling our own desires. We aren’t disciplined. Well, we have worldly discipline. We go to work, do our chores, do our homework. But that’s not what Jesus supplies or gifts to us. Or we’ll use our godliness as a way of comparing ourselves to others.

In the face of all this, in the face of our desires, our selfishness, our puffing ourselves up, our doing of Lent, Peter says, “That’s not how any of this works.” Peter says, “[Jesus’] divine power has gifted us everything for life and godliness.” If you have life and godliness, then it’s a gift you received from Jesus. If you don’t, you’ve rejected the gift.

This is Lent and your Christian life, too:

JESUS GIFTS US EVERYTHING FOR LIFE AND GODLINESS. 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

Ash Wednesday (Joel 2:12–19)

March 1, 2017
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

Capital letter LORD (you know, LORD spelled with all capital letters in the Old Testament)—yes, that LORD is “gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.” That’s Yahweh. That’s His name. That’s what LORD in capitals means.

That’s Jesus. He’s Yahweh in the flesh. That’s why people wanted Jesus dead: He walked around and said He was Yahweh. He proved it with His death and resurrection, but His death and resurrection weren’t only some litmus test for His claims.

No, Jesus is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.” It’s cross won, empty tomb proved. But it’s more than even that. He delivers it. He delivers it tonight. I deliver it. His mercy is to “forgive iniquity and transgression and sin.” That sort of mercy,

JESUS’ MERCY IS DELIVERED IN THE ABSOLUTION. Continue reading

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