Sermons

Trinity 3 (Lk 15:1–10)

Trinity 3 (Lk 15:1–10)

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

INI + AMEN.

((5. Oops!: We’re all tribal.))

We’re all tribal. That’s the problem in the world. Tribalism. Isolated items broken off into groups who look, act, think, and do the same way you do.

So you get the pharisees in our text. That’s how they were with the Tax Collectors and sinners. Sinners were those who lived “that way.” You know. Could be the prostitutes, the drunks, the divorced, the fill in the blank. That was the Pharisees.

So you get us, too. We break off. We isolate ourselves. Them and us. Us is everyone who agrees with us, well, agrees with me, right? They talk, act, think, work, and do like I do. Family, friends. Those people who are “them” can become part of “us.” They’ve just gotta acclimate, gotta change their way of doing things, change their thinking. Then that person can join “us,” and only then we’ll love them, be kind to them, and not only treat them like they matter, but actually think and feel like they matter. Continue reading

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Sermons

Trinity 2 (Lk 14:15–24)

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

INI + AMEN.

The Lord wants a full feast. He wants all to taste of His Supper, wants everyone to enjoy the eternal party He’s prepared. Everything’s ready. He made sure of that. 100% He did everything. There was nothing left out of the Lord’s preparation.

It was an eternally planned party, and so the Lord sends out His Servant. The “Servant of the Lord,” as Isaiah as it, comes. He announces the Good News, the Gospel: “Come, for everything is now ready.” The Servant’s coming is the sign that it is ready. His coming is the final and most important step of everything being made ready. He proclaims the feast: “Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you. Drink of it, all of you; this cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”

And in this Supper, a preparation for the feast to come. For here His body and blood, the very things used to save you, are given you to eat and to drink. Life. Eternal life given away here at His Supper. Eternal life right into your mouth. Just like you learned in confirmation: “For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.” That’s the sort of Supper the Lord’s Servant, Jesus, announces for you.

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Sermons

Trinity 1 (Lk 19–35; Ps 13:5)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

All eyes on the Lord. That’s faith. That’s what it means to trust Him. All eyes, all ears on Him, His Word, and His Gifts. Holy Baptism! There trust in Him is given, there is being “born from above,” there “born of water and of the Spirit,” as Jesus says. That’s John 3, Nicodemus at night stuff. That was last week: Holy Trinity Sunday.

But all eyes on the Lord, trusting in Him, His Holy Baptism—that’s also this week. (Very much this morning—Luke Nickolas!) But that’s rich man and Lazarus stuff, too. Trust isn’t only what your eyes are on, but also your heart, your soul, your mind—your everything, really. All that is you toward the Lord—Him and His Word and His Gifts alone. That’s 1st Commandment trust in Him. But trust can also be off. Whatever you trust in is your god. Whatever you’re most afraid of loosing, of having torn down and taken away, of being without—that, too, is your god.

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Sermons

Holy Trinity (Jn 3:1–17)

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

“Blessed be the Holy Trinity and the undivided Unity.”

INI + AMEN.

((5. Oops!: We think we relate to God through knowledge.))

How do you know God? So often we think knowing God is about our understanding. That’s often our problem as Lutherans: our understanding, our right answers so often become our God. Trinity Sunday doesn’t help that ingrained idol because, in the true Christian confession, terms like substance and person are used. These terms are important and helpful in order to confess what the Scriptures say. But when we use our terms to box God up into our understanding, we’re abusing those terms rather than using them properly.

But, on Trinity Sunday, we often double down on thinking that knowing God has to do with our understanding. It’s why there’s an overabundance of analogies trying to reduce God to our understanding. Sorry, but the Triunity of God is NOT like an apple or a clover or anything else in all creation. Continue reading

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Sermons

Pentecost (Jn 14:23–31; Acts 2:1–21)

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

INI + AMEN.

Spirit. Fire. Tongues. Languages. That’s what happened in our text. When we look at our text, we see the Spirit apparently putting on a big show, and so we think that’s what the Spirit’s all about. Big show. Big signs.

This sort of thinking is what allows false preachers to run rampant with false signs of the Spirit. Allows multitudes to be duped by false tongues, either of the person’s own making, or of another spirit’s making. Allows many to be drawn after other things as signs of the Spirit: good feelings, positive thinking, emotional highs, empowerment for more fulfilled living. In those preachers and those who follow them, the prophecies of Jesus and Paul come true.

But all those sorts of “spiritual” things aren’t Pentecost at all. That’s not the life of the Spirit. It’s not true spirituality, not true Christianity. You see, Pentecost isn’t back-then sort of stuff. Pentecost isn’t some distant memory. The Holy Spirit’s dwelling among us isn’t a one and done thing. We don’t have to reclaim anything to get the Pentecost sort of Spirit back. You see, the life of the Spirit, true Christian spirituality, Pentecost is here and now sort of stuff. Pentecost, the Spirit’s work continues—in the here and now, for you, for your benefit. In fact, it’s happening today—and every Lord’s day for that matter! Continue reading

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Sermons

Exaudi—Easter 7 (Jn 15:26–16:4)

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

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

INI + AMEN.

There’s all sorts of religion out there. Jesus talks about that today: “They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.” “Offering service” means “offering worship” or even more loosely, “doing religion.” Naturally, human beings think that’s how it goes. Do stuff for god and get something in return: heaven, stuff, money, power, crops, whatever. But what about the “one holy Christian and Apostolic Church” that we just confessed in the Nicene Creed? Continue reading

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Sermons

Rogate—Easter 6 (Jn 16:23–33)

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

Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

INI + AMEN.

Victory. Triumph. Conquest. That’s what that Easter Greeting is all about. Jesus’ victory. He really is risen from the dead. He’s actually alive. Living, breathing; walking, talking alive. “Neither could the gates of death Nor the tombs dark portal Nor the watchers nor the seal Hold Him as a mortal” (LSB 487:4)

But not just Jesus’ victory. That Jesus is risen is your victory, too. How can it not be? That’s what Jesus Himself tells you today. The world and its sorrow, your flesh and its death, your own sin—all of it taken care of by Jesus.

You have peace. You don’t need to worry. “Take heart,” Jesus says. “Be comforted.” This is your comfort. Victory. Triumph. Conquest.

JESUS HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD FOR YOU. Continue reading

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