Sermons

Trinity 20 (Mt 22:1–14)

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

INI + AMEN.

Called, chosen, clothed: that’s you, in Jesus. You’re in the Kingdom. You’re died for. You’re raised from the dead for. You’re redeemed. You’re holy. All those things taken care of for you by your Heavenly Father in and through His Son, Jesus.

That’s what the Parable’s all about because that’s what the Kingdom’s all about. The Parable doesn’t separate these things at all. In fact, Jesus joins them all together in Himself and His Father’s Kingdom forever. There’s no other hope or confidence than Him. There’s no other calling, choosing, or clothing than what the King provides freely as a gift.

It’s all gift—wedding gift, salvation gift, eternal life gift. That’s not just the parable; that’s the Kingdom. In Jesus that’s true—true for you. True of you only in Jesus:

CALLED, CHOSEN, CLOTHED—THE KINGDOM IS YOURS. Continue reading

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Sermons

Trinity 19 (Mt 9:1–8)

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

INI + AMEN.

Can men forgive sins or not? Or can “only God forgive sins” (Mk 2:7)? The answers to these questions should be very easy, especially considering our Gospel text today. But just because something should be easy, doesn’t mean it is. “Should” and reality aren’t always the same thing. And sadly that’s the case with this question: can men forgive sins or not?

Now, forgiveness of sins isn’t earned by the person receiving it. For it to be forgiveness it’s gotta be free, otherwise it’s not really forgiveness at all, but rather reward. And forgiveness is always delivered in the present tense. It may have been purchased and won at some earlier point, but forgiveness is always delivered in the here and now, otherwise, again, it’s not really forgiveness. Continue reading

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Sermons

St. Michael and All the Angels (Mt 18:1–11)

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

INI + AMEN.

Our Lord says, “Let the little children come to Me” because He lifts up the lowly, the nothing. He makes the strong serve the weak. That’s what our dear Lord’s about. What His Kingdom, His reign, His rule is all about, too. That’s even what St. Michael’s Day is all about!

It’s white today—not to rejoice in the purity of angels, their might, their greatness. It’s white to point us to a purity more pure than the angels have—the purity, holiness, and righteousness of our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The righteousness—His righteousness that He gave you at the Holy Font in Holy Baptism.

And so He says, “Let the little children come to Me.” And so He says in our Gospel text today: “Whoever receives one such child in My name, receives Me.” Continue reading

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Sermons

Trinity 17 (Lk 14:1–11)

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

INI + AMEN.

JESUS HEALS AND EXALTS. He did for that man with dropsy. He HEALS AND EXALTS you, too. It’s why He came. It’s why He was born, was crucified, died, and was buried. It’s why He establishes His Gifts: His Baptism, His Absolution, the Supper of His body and blood. It’s why He moved all of human history so that this place would be right here, right now, so that He could exactly that—HEAL AND EXALT. Continue reading

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Sermons

Trinity 16 (Lk 7:11–17)

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

INI + AMEN.

((5. Oops!: The widow has grief upon grief.))

The sadness of it all. The grief. The anguish. It’s not supposed to be this way—not ever! It’s horrific, tragic. “A dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow.” Who can really imagine her grief? She’s got grief upon grief. Her husband’s dead, and now her only son is, too. Death. Endless grief.

Who would’ve been absent? Probably not many. A large portion of Nain mourned with her. Everything brought to a standstill by the grief and tragedy of this woman’s life. But they’d move on. They’d pay their respects to her, to her son, just like they did with her husband, I’m sure. But in a day or two, there’d be other news, other things to do. But not for her.

Who’d care for her now? A hard life awaited her. No insurance. A childless widow would only have what Yahweh promised through Moses: “When you reap your harvest…and forget a sheaf in the field, don’t go back to get it. When you beat your olive trees, don’t go over them again. When you gather your grapes, don’t strip [the vine] afterward.” A lifetime of gleanings, leftovers for this widow’s grief upon grief. Continue reading

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Sermons

Winkel—Holy Cross Observed (1 Cor 1:18–25; Jn 12:20–33)

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

We’re all a bunch of fools! We’re morons! Can you think of anything more ridiculous than what we do? There isn’t much, according to the “wisdom of the world.” Those who are high and lofty, those who are wise, those who are strong, those who are something, want to be something, can be something may grant some foolishness—foolishness for the sake of entertainment. Society needs people who make life not so serious, after all. Comedians, actors, entertainers, magicians, circus ringmasters. Funny. Not fools.

But we—we are bunch of fools! We really are! Not because of us, but because of Him. Because we preach—preach Him. But not just Him. What He did. “We preach Christ crucified, which is scandal to Jews and foolishness to Greeks, but Christ, God’s power and wisdom, to those who are called (whether Jew or Greek).” Christ is “God’s power and wisdom” because Christ “is God over all, blessed forever.” The eternally blessed God, the Creator of the universe “for us and our salvation came down from heaven,” and “was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.” Continue reading

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Sermons

Trinity 15 (Mt 6:24–34)

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

INI + AMEN.

Where there’s a kingdom, there’s a king. If there’s a king, then there’s a kingdom. And there is a kingdom. Well, two. Jesus talks about them today. We don’t have much use for kings, though. They cramp our style. Our American sensibilities reject kings. Even the idea of kings is foreign to us. The idea that someone else has control over us instead of us, is well, offensive.

There’s the true Kingdom, with the True King. There’s also a false kingdom, with a king that has no lasting power. You’re either in one kingdom or the other. You can’t be in both kingdoms. You can’t have two kings. There’s no dual citizenship. You’re either under king nothing, or you’re ruled by the one true King. And we don’t like that at all.

We want it both ways—two kings, two kingdoms. We fool ourselves into thinking that’s how kingdoms work. That you can choose this, choose that. We make everything about personal choice, personal agency, personal preferences. I like this, don’t like that. But you’re not king. You’re not! As a citizen, you’re either ruled by one king or the other. As a servant, you’ve only got one master. It’s not possible to have two. If you think you can, well, then you need to take that up with Jesus. He says, “No one can serve two masters.” Anything else is unbelieving foolishness. Continue reading

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