Sermon for 12.10.23 “Pathway to promise”

Text: Mark 1:1-8
Title: Pathway to Promise

Other readings: Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm 85:1-2;8-13; 2 Peter 3:8-15a

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.
(B) The Gospel lesson serves as our sermon text for this morning.
(C) Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
(D) Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
Gracious and Loving God, as we come together in Your presence on this
Advent Sunday, our hearts are filled with the words of the prophet Isaiah:
“Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term,
that her penalty is paid.”
Lord, in a world where hardship and pain are all too common, we seek the
comfort that only You can provide.
You are our shepherd, the one who gathers the lambs in His arms and carries
them close to His heart.
As we navigate the valleys of life and confront the mountains of
challenges, remind us that You are always with us, gently guiding and
protecting us.
We are grateful for Your promise that every valley shall be lifted up, and
every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
This promise gives us hope and strength.
It reminds us that in You, every obstacle can be overcome, every burden can
be lightened. In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we
pray. Amen.

(A) There was a time before there was the Internet when one had to read the
newspaper or listen to the tv or radio the old fashioned way.
(1) You had to go to the street corner where newspapers were sold to get a
(2) You had to go turn your tv or radio to listen to the news rather than
using the computer or smart phone.
(3) Before the days of newspapers being delivered to your house.
(4) You would hear the person selling the newspapers on the street corner:
(A) Get your papers here!
(B) Read all about it!
(B) John the Baptist served as the one crying out to the people on the
street corner:
(1) The long awaited Messiah is here!
(2) Put your faith and trust in Him now!
(A) A characteristic of the Gospel of Mark is the frequent use of the word
“immeditately” (Greek: εὐθύς, eutheōs,yoo-theh’-oce )
(3) Do not let obstacles or stumbling blocks such as:
(A) Outward appearance
(B) Preconceived ideas
(C) Your unworthiness
(1) Keep you from trusting in the Messiah Jesus!
(C) As the forerunner to Christ the Messiah, what was John’s job?
(1) Herald of Hope (Mark 1:1-4)
Mark 1:1–4 (NASB95)
1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSENGER
4 John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of
repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
(A) Here comes a new voice and he has something to say:
(1) Repent!
(a) Change course.
(2) Be baptized!
(a) More than Jewish custom
(b) A sign of ownership
(c) Coupled with water and Word: Jesus’ death and resurrection
(B) A baptism of repentance in the “wilderness”
(1) Obstacles to the faith
(2) Lives of chaos
(3) Waging war daily with our sinful flesh, the world, and the devil.
(C) What does this mean for us today?
(1) Remember your Baptism into Christ!
(a) You are His, He is yours.
(2) The Lord takes us as we are but does not want us to stay that way.
(a) We are to live lives transformed by Christ:
(1) From living a life of the Law
(2) To a life in the Gospel.
(b) Romans 12:1–2 (NASB95)
1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your
bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your
spiritual service of worship.
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing
of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is
good and acceptable and perfect.
(2) Repentance and Renewal (Mark 1:4-5)
Mark 1:4–5 (NASB95)
4 John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of
repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
5 And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of
Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River,
confessing their sins.
(A) The radical concept of repentance
(1) Quick analogy
(a) The Titanic
(B) A call to do away with the ritual practices in order to save ourselves
and embrace the One who has fulfilled every point of the Law for us.
(1) Christ the Lord!
(C) Repentance is completely turning around and going in the opposite
(1) Living a life of sin? Turn around and trust Christ!
(2) Living a life filled with worry and strife? Turn around and trust
(3) Living a life filled with pain and suffering? Turn around and trust
(3) Messenger of the Messiah (Mark 1:6-8)
Mark 1:6–8 (NASB95)
6 John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his
waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey.
7 And he was preaching, and saying, “After me One is coming who is mightier
than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals.
8 “I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
(A) The unworthiness of John and us and the greatness of Christ.
(1) We do not deserve Christ to bring us healing and restoration.
Matthew 8:8 (NASB95)
But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my
roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.
(2) Unaware we are serving the Lord.
Matthew 25:37 (NASB95)
“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and
feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?
(3) Even the greatest of the apostles, Paul, saw himself as being unworthy
to be in the presence of his Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:9 (NASB95)
For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle,
because I persecuted the church of God.
1 Timothy 1:15 (NASB95)
It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus
came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.
(B) The power of Baptism
(1) Not just water–a sign of ritual cleansing
(a) Every time you wash your hands, take a shower/bath, remind yourself of
your Baptism and how important it is to your life.
(2) Baptism saves you!
1 Peter 3:21 (NASB95)
Corresponding to that [water], baptism now saves you—not the removal of
dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the
resurrection of Jesus Christ,

(4) Preparation for the Prince of Peace (Mark 1:7-8)
7 And he was preaching, and saying, “After me One is coming who is mightier
than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals.
8 “I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.
(A) Repentance seems to be extreme.
(1) What is even more shocking?
(a) The Son of God giving up His place in heaven to come to earth, be born
a human, live, suffer, die, rise again, and ascend into heaven again, all
for us!
(b) The Prince of Peace living in each one of us!
(c) The Ruler over all creation ruling in our lives!
(d) To all this we say: Thank you, Lord!

(A) Hope. Repentance. Empowered in the Spirit. Fundamental transformation
of our lives.
(1) The message of John the Baptist.
(2) The themes of Advent.
(B) As we approach the season of Christmas:
(1) Reflect on what Christ’s first Advent means for you.
(2) Look with hopefulness and trust that Jesus will come again as He said.
(C) Let us pray:
Dear Lord God, heavenly Father, during this season of Advent, as we prepare
our hearts for the coming of Your Son, Jesus Christ, help us to hear Your
voice crying out in the wilderness of our lives, calling us to make
straight in the desert a highway for our God.
May our hearts be open to receive Your love and grace, and may our lives
reflect the glory of the Lord revealed in Christ.
O Lord God, we pray for those among us who are in need of Your comforting
For those who are ill, bring healing;
for those who are grieving, bring peace;
for those who are lost, bring guidance.
May Your gentle hand lead them, and Your love surround them.
As we continue in worship,
renew our strength,
lift us up on wings like eagles,
help us to run and not be weary,
to walk and not faint.
May our worship be pleasing to You,
and may our hearts be transformed by Your enduring love.
We offer this prayer to You in Your name, O God our Father, in the name of
Your Son Jesus Christ, our Savior, who is coming again in glory, and in the
name of the Holy Spirit, who keeps us in the one true faith.
(D) The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
(E) In the Name of the Father…Amen.


Sermon for 12.03.23 “Waiting for Christ”

Advent 1, 12.03,23

*Text:* Mark 13:24-37; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9

*Theme*: Waiting for Christ

*Other Lessons: *Isaiah 64:1–9; Psalm 80:1–7; Mark 11:1–10

1. *In the Name of the Father…Amen.*

1. *The Epistle and Gospel lessons serves as our sermon text for this

1. *Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father
through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.*

1. *Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:*

*Almighty and Everlasting God, as we enter this sacred season of Advent, we
come before You with hearts open and spirits attuned to the message of
Isaiah 64. *

In these ancient words, we find the echo of our own longing – a cry for
Your presence to break into our world, to rend the heavens and come down,
to make Your name known to those who do not call on Your name.

Lord, in Your great mercy, hear our prayer.

We acknowledge, like clay in the hand of the potter, that we are the work
of Your hand. Shape us and mold us according to Your will. In our
imperfections and frailties, remind us of Your steadfast love and unending
mercy. Forgive us for the times we have turned away from Your ways and
hardened our hearts.

In this season of anticipation and hope, we yearn for the transformative
power of Your love.

We wait for the promised coming of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior, who
brings light into our darkness and peace to our turmoil. As we prepare our
hearts for His birth, let us not lose sight of the profound mystery and joy
of Your incarnation. Amen.


1. *What do the following things have in common?:*

1. In a long line at the grocery store.
2. Stopped at a stop light and late for an appointment.
3. A child on Christmas morning.

1. *The common element?:*

1. Waiting!

1. Waiting in that long line to purchase your groceries for the family.
2. Waiting at the really long red light and about to miss your
3. Waiting rather impatiently, an eager child ready to open
their presents that are under the Christmas tree.

1. *The context of Mark 13:24-37: waiting*

1. Mark 13:1-22

1. Christ predicts the destruction of Jerusalem;
2. Desire expressed by the disciples about the signs concerning
the end times and Christ’s return in glory.

1. Mark 14

1. Preparations made for Jesus’ body to be buried.
2. Jesus getting ready to celebrate the Passover one last time.
3. Jesus instituting His holy Supper.
4. Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane.
5. Jesus’ betrayal and arrest.
6. Jesus on trial before the chief priests and Sanhedrin.
7. The chapter closes with Peter’s three denials concerning

1. Themes of Advent: waiting in anticipation and preparation for the
coming of Christ at His birth and when He comes again in glory.

1. A pregnant woman waits in anticipation for her child to be born.

1. As she waits, she prepares.

1. Getting the nursery ready.
2. Buying ample supply of baby formula, diapers, clothes.
3. Taking her vitamins.
4. Maintaining her health.
5. Keeping her doctors’ appointments.

1. The end times are now!

1. Christ will come again as promised!

1. That promise is as sure as the first promises concerning His birth,
life, suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension
back into heaven.
2. As we are reminded of Christ’s first Advent and His
second coming in glory, what are we to be about?

*1. Be a proclaimer! (Mark 13:24-27)*

*Mark 13:24–27 (NASB95)*

*24 “But in those days, after that tribulation, THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED

*25 AND THE STARS WILL BE FALLING from heaven, and the powers that are in
the heavens will be shaken. *

*26 “Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN CLOUDS with great power
and glory. *

*27 “And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His
elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the
farthest end of heaven.*

1. Jesus uses very vivid imagery:

1. An eclipse that will not end.
2. Meteor shower/storm unlike any that have been seen before.

1. And then, there He is: The Son of Man in all His glory!

1. Coming back to bring home to heaven the elect (those who trusted in
Christ for salvation in this life)
2. Coming again to “judge the living and the dead” (Apostles’ and
Nicene Creed).

1. What Jesus proclaims here is something that has been known for many

1. Daniel proclaims in chapter 7 of his book:

*Daniel 7:13–14 (NASB95)*

*13 “I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of
heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of
Days And was presented before Him. *

*14 “And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the
peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is
an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed.*

1. *Application for our lives*

1. Option #1: Be fearful to the point of paralysis.

1. Looking over your shoulder in paranoia.
2. Buy all the food and supplies you can.
3. Buy a doomsday shelter or convert your home into one.

1. Option #2: Be fearful with awe and reverence for the Lord.

1. Christ is coming back to take all believers to be with Him in heaven
and finally banish sin, death, and the devil forever!

*2. Be Ready! (Mark 13:28-31)*

*Mark 13:28–31 (NASB95)*

*28 “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already
become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. *

*29 “Even so, you too, when you see these things happening, recognize that
He is near, right at the door. *

*30 “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these
things take place. *

*31 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.*

1. *The meaning of the fig tree:*

1. Passing of the seasons:

1. winter turns into spring, spring into summer
2. Predictable occurrence.
3. Jesus’ return: unpredictable!
4. Therefore be ready!

1. *What did Jesus mean when He said: “Heaven and earth will pass away,
but My words will not pass away”?*

1. The Word of God, like the Persons who spoke it, lived it, and
inspired it, is eternal.
2. What is true of God’s words is true of Jesus’ words, for Jesus
is God, the Second Person of the Trinity.
3. God is eternal!
4. Therefore, God’s Word is eternal!
5. Therefore, it will outlast all of creation!

1. *Application for our lives*

1. Now is not the time to be “lazy” in regards to one’s faith!

1. Be observant to what is going on in the world, trusting the Lord that
He has EVERYTHING under His control.
2. Stay tuned into the Lord!:

1. Read His Word daily.
2. Spend time in prayer daily.
3. Remember your Baptism daily.
4. Spend time with your fellow brothers and sisters in
Christ, whether by phone, text, email, direct message,
or in person visit

1. Give encouragement as well as receive it!
2. We are all in a battle for our souls and we are not to
do it alone!

1. As soldiers are trained to serve in the military, one of the many
things they learn is this:

1. Be battle ready, whether it is a time of peace or a time of war.

*3. Be Alert! (Mark 13:32-36)*

*Mark 13:32–36 (NASB95)*

*32 “But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven,
nor the Son, but the Father alone. *

*33 “Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed
time will come. *

*34 “It is like a man away on a journey, who upon leaving his house and
putting his slaves in charge, assigning to each one his task, also
commanded the doorkeeper to stay on the alert. *

*35 “Therefore, be on the alert—for you do not know when the master of the
house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster
crows, or in the morning— *

*36 in case he should come suddenly and find you asleep.*

1. *Now is not the time for “sleeping” when it comes to our faith.*

1. Stay awake!
2. Stay alert!
3. Don’t waste time trying to figure out the exact day or hour of
Christ’s return because you will be like the rest who have
tried the same
thing: wrong!
4. No one knows when Jesus will return, but He will return!
5. Augustine: “Let no one then search out for the last Day, when
it is to be; but let us watch all by our good lives, lest the
last day of
any one of us find us unprepared”

Various Authors. The Lutheran Study Bible (Kindle Locations 266183-266184).
Concordia Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

1. *With being awake and alert, there is a need for vigilance.*

1. Maintaining your concentration for a sustained period of time.

1. Working as a usher/security guard while studying at the seminary.

1. *Application for our lives*

1. Live a lifestyle of:

1. Watchfulness in prayer.

1. Praying for those who don’t yet know the Lord
2. Praying that these people would trust in the Lord for
salvation before it’s too late.

1. Watchfulness in your devotional reading.

1. Encouraging yourself in your walk of faith.
2. Encouraging others in their walk of faith.

1. Watchfulness in service to others.

1. Serving as a watchman.

*4. Be Vigilant! (Mark 13:37)*

*Mark 13:37 (NASB95)*

*“What I say to you I say to all, ‘Be on the alert!’ ”*

1. *Your vigilance is to be constant.*

1. Be alert:

1. Physically.

1. Dressed and ready for action

1. Spiritually.

1. Dressed with the full armor of God.

1. Be actively engaged in the Lord’s work:

1. Reading God’s Word
2. Prayer
3. Worship on Sunday/Wednesday
4. In your daily life
5. Service to others

1. *Application for our lives*:

1. Be proactive in your faith!

1. God has blessed you with this gift.

1. He expects you to exercise it to His glory and the betterment of

1. Be actively engaged in the mission and ministries of the Lord’s
Church here at First Lutheran.

1. Don’t use the excuses of:

1. I’m too old.
2. I’ve already put my time in for God and country.
3. I’m too busy.
4. I don’t know what I can do to help.
5. Let somebody else do it.

1. If you don’t do it, who will?
2. If you don’t do it now, when?


1. *Be a proclaimer of the Word, that all may hear and believe! Be
ready! Be alert! Be vigilant!*

1. Advent serves as a call to action:

1. Live a life that anticipates Christ’s return any day and at any time.
2. Live a life of worship and service

1. *At the beginning of every sermon, I usually share these words or a
variation thereof with you, words from 1 Corinthians 1:3:*

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1. *Do you know why I do that? *

1. Is it because I seek to share some magic formula with you, in order
for you to have a better life?
2. Perhaps it is what I’m supposed to say and how every sermon is
supposed to start?
3. With these words, I am reminding you that, as you await the
return of Christ, you have the unconditional love, mercy, and
of God found in Jesus Christ that eternally saves you.
4. Right now you have peace with God.
5. Everything is well between you and God because of Jesus
Christ’s saving work, and as your pastor, you need to be
reminded of this


1. *When God wanted to greet us, He did something that gives this word
of greeting its true value*.

1. He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Savior and Lord.
2. It is only through Jesus’ perfect life, death, and resurrection
for us that we have God’s grace.
3. We have His unconditional, unearned, and undeserved love,
mercy, kindness, and forgiveness.
4. We have peace with God knowing that everything is well between
us and Him.
5. As we wait for Christ’s return, we are comforted by that grace
and peace that only God can give.
6. With what the Lord gives us daily, we are then truly ready to
greet Jesus when He visibly appears on the Last Day. Amen.

1. *Let us pray:*

Lord, we pray for our world, longing for Your justice, peace, and healing.

May Your Spirit move among us, bringing renewal and restoration.

Guide us to be bearers of Your hope, love, and light to all those we

We lift up to You those among us who are suffering, whether in body, mind,
or spirit.

May they feel Your comforting presence and find strength in Your unending

God of all ages, as You have been with Your people through generations, be
with us now.

Renew our faith, rekindle our hope, and deepen our love for You and for one
another. Amen.

1. *The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your
hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.*
2. *In the Name of the Father…Amen.*

Reaching Out

Three Questions to Start a Conversation About God

Many of us struggle with how to start a conversation about God with family, friends, or acquaintances. Here are three questions that can introduce the topic:

1) Have you ever thought about what happens when you die?

2) What caused you to consider that question?

3) What conclusion did you come up with to answer that question?

And this can be followed up by asking what is the basis of their conclusion, sharing your own belief and testimony, and a deeper conversation.

To God be the glory

Board of Evangelism


Sermon for 11.26.23 “The orthodox life”

Last Sunday of the Church Year (Proper 29), November 26, 2023
Text: Matthew 25:31–46
Theme: The end time life, part 2: The Orthodox Life
Other Lessons: Ezekiel 34:11–16, 20–24; Psalm 95:1–7a; 1 Corinthians

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.
(B) The Gospel lesson for today serves as our sermon text for this morning.
(C) Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
(D) Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
LSB 698:1-2 May We Thy Precepts, Lord, Fulfill
May we Thy precepts, Lord, fulfill
And do on earth our Father’s will
As angels do above;
Still walk in Christ, the living way,
With all Thy children and obey
The law of Christian love.

So may we join Thy name to bless,
Thy grace adore, Thy pow’r confess,
From sin and strife to flee.
One is our calling, one our name,
The end of all our hopes the same,
A crown of life with Thee.


(A) I want you to close your eyes and use your imagination to see a
picture. Imagine, if you can, a world in which people actually did what
Jesus teaches us to do in our Gospel for this morning, Matthew 25:31–46.
(1) “I was hungry and you gave me food.”
(A) Can you see a world in which right-wing, flag-waving,
ultra-nationalists provide food and drink to illegal aliens as they sneak
across the border into this country?
(2) “I was sick and you visited me.”
(A) Can you see a world in which radical LGBTQ activists visit in the
hospital social conservatives who reject same-sex marriage and care for
them when they’re ill and in pain?
(3) “I was in prison and you came to me.”
(A) Can you imagine a world in which true-blue, gun-toting, passionate
law-and-order types leave their weapons at home and go into jails to
encourage and help those imprisoned there?
(B) If you can, then your imagination is better than mine.
(1) For what you are seeing is not any place in this world.
(2) What you are imagining is the kingdom of God.
(3) When Jesus calls us to do these things, and to love our enemies and
pray for those who persecute us, He is not imagining a fantasy world.
(4) He is painting a picture of what it means to follow Him into humanity’s
darkest corners and lift up those we find there into the light of His love.
(5) He is calling us to do for others what He has done for us.
(6) He is calling us to live what might be called the “orthodox life.”
(I) God calls Christians to live an “orthodox life.”
(A) This will sound odd to many because we have come to associate the word
orthodox with teachings, that is, with ideas rather than with actions.
(B) But from the biblical perspective, “orthodoxy”—glorifying God
rightly—is not simply a matter of believing the right things.
(C) An “orthodox life” is a life aligned with God’s will and glorifying Him
by letting the life of Christ manifest itself in us.
(1) God certainly cares that we believe the right things, and He repeatedly
calls upon his people to believe his teachings and to proclaim them
(a) So believing the right teachings is an important aspect of the orthodox
(2) God also calls upon his people to worship Him rightly.
(a) In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, God instructs His
people on how they are to worship Him.
(b) And while it is important to distinguish between what matters to God in
worship and what does not, the whole Scriptures bear witness to God’s
concern that we worship Him in the way that He desires to be worshiped.
(3) Living an orthodox life as we await the Bridegroom’s return is
displayed in how we treat other people.
(a) As St. Paul reminds us in 1 Cor­in­thians 13, even if one:
(1) Can speak in tongues,
(2) has the gift of prophecy,
(3) understands all the mysteries,
(4) has all the knowledge,
(5) and has faith great enough to move mountains,
(6) without love he is nothing (1 Cor 13:1–3).
(D) It is easy to understand why we prefer to ignore this aspect of the
orthodox life.
(1) It is usually much easier to speak the right ideas and to worship in a
proper form.
(2) It is hard to love, and especially hard to love the unlovely.
(3) Yet that is what God says we are to do as we await our Bridegroom’s
(II) The call to live an orthodox life can make us feel quite uncomfortable.
(A) It can make us uncomfortable because it sounds as if God is asking us
to earn our own salvation by our good works.
(1) The language of “reward” and “punishment” is easily misunderstood in a
text like this.
(a) It is important to remember that this is a parable, a story told to
teach a lesson, not an exposition on the doctrine of justification.
(b) When we interpret parables, it is important that we not go beyond the
purpose for which the parable is given.
(1) The purpose of the parable in the teaching ministry of Jesus must guide
our interpretation.
(c) The purpose of this parable, like the parable of the talents from last
Sunday, is to teach the followers of Jesus how they should live as they
await the Bridegroom’s return.
(1) It is a mistake to use the parable for any other purpose.
(2) Within the parable, Jesus speaks these words to those for whom before
the foundation of the world God has already prepared the kingdom for them
to inherit (v 34).
(a) From eternity, God has appointed his Son to be your Savior.
(b) And in time, Christ Jesus went to the cross to prepare a place for you
in his Father’s house.
(c) Those on Jesus’ right will be all those who have believed in his death
and resurrection.
(d) The love they show to others is not the basis of their status before
God; it is a reward for their faithfulness.
(3) The Word of God certainly teaches that God will reward the good works
of Christians (1 Cor 3:8; Mt 5:12; Lk 6:35).
(a) We should not hesitate to teach this even as we make it clear that the
good works that earn this great reward are the fruit of true faith, not the
cause of it.
(B) Most of all, the call to live an orthodox life makes us uncomfortable
because it forces us outside of our comfort zone.
(1) Love demands that we put ourselves out for those who cannot possibly
benefit us in return.
(a) Love gives what it has to provide for those who are hungry and thirsty.
(b) It tends the sick.
(c) Love welcomes strangers, even foreigners.
(d) Love goes into prisons to care for criminals.
(e) Love embraces those who hate it.
(f) Love prays for those who persecute it.
(2) Love does all of this knowing full well that none of those it helps can
possibly do anything in return.
(3) Love does all of this because it has experienced the love of God and
longs to be the means by which God’s love reaches out to all the unlovely,
that they might lovely be.
(III) Who among us has lived this orthodox life?
(A) Only one: Jesus.
(1) You probably cannot imagine how a world like this would be, because
this fallen world can never be that way.
(B) Of all mankind, it is only Jesus who has lived a truly orthodox life, a
life that reflects the perfect love of God to every person in every
(1) But his perfect, orthodox life God counts for you who believe in him.
(2) And his perfect love in going to the cross has paid for all your
“heterodox living,” your failures to love.
(C) So why does Jesus ask you to live such a life?
(1) Because by the grace of God Jesus lives his life in you.
(2) You were put to death in Baptism and raised to a new life … the life of
(3) In faith, you can begin yet again today to live the life of Jesus.
(D) By Faith in the Love Jesus Lived and Died for You, You Can Begin to
Live the “Orthodox Life” each and every day.
(1) Not perfectly, to be sure.
(2) Not until the coming of the Bridegroom will the life of Jesus be
perfectly revealed in you.

(A) But little by little, one act of love at a time, the faith that the
Holy Spirit works in your heart:
(1) through the Word,
(2) born in Baptism,
(3) and nurtured by the body and blood of Christ that you receive at this
(4) little by little,
(5) one act of love at a time,
(6) let the “orthodox life” of Jesus shine in you until the Bridegroom
returns and we are all swallowed up in the glory of the Kingdom revealed.
(B) Let us pray:
LSB 698:3 May We Thy Precepts, Lord, Fulfill
Spirit of life, of love and peace,
Unite our hearts, our joy increase,
Thy gracious help supply.
To each of us the blessing give
In Christian fellowship to live,
In joyful hope to die.
Text: Public domain
(C) The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
(D) In the Name of the Father…Amen.


Sermon for Thanksgiving Eve 2023 “From giving thanks to being generous”

Thanksgiving Eve, November 22, 2023
Text: Luke 17:11–19
Theme: From giving thanks to being generous

A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.

B. The Gospel lesson serves as our sermon text for this evening.

C. Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

D. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
*Count your many blessings, see what God has done.
[*And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.]

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
*Count your many blessings, see what God has done.
[*And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.]


(A) Luke 17:11–19 (NASB95)
11 While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and
12 As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met
13 and they raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
14 When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the
priests.” And as they were going, they were cleansed.
15 Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back,
glorifying God with a loud voice,
16 and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a
17 Then Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But the
nine—where are they?
18 “Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this
19 And He said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.”
This is the Word of the Lord.
(B) Thanksgiving is something we do.
(1) There’s a verb built right into it.
(2) We give thanks.
(3) Ours was the first country to set aside a day for doing this
(4) That’s a good thing.
(5) Did you know Thomas Jefferson opposed following the example of George
Washington and declaring a day of National Thanksgiving because he didn’t
believe that the president had the authority to do that.
(6) He thought Congress should do that.
(C) Regardless of whose idea it was to set aside a day for thanksgiving, it
is important to stop what we are doing and give thanks.
(1) That’s not the president saying that.
(2) That word comes from the Lord God Himself!
(3) We have so much for which to be thankful.
(4) We are blessed.
(5) We are free.
(6) We have more freedom than we know what to do with.
(D) So why be thankful?
(E) Perhaps the better question should be:
(1) Why not be thankful?
(F) What follows is a list (certainly not exhaustive) of Scripture verses
(1) Encourage us to be thankful.
(2) Show us examples of people who expressed thanksgiving, examples for our
(3) Giving thanks to the Lord is good for the soul.

(I) The Lord strongly encourages us to be thankful.
(A) Deuteronomy 8:10 (NASB95)
10“When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the Lord your God
for the good land which He has given you.
(B) Psalm 100:4 (NASB95)
4Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks
to Him, bless His name.
(C) Colossians 3:15–16 (NASB95)
15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were
called in one body; and be thankful.
16Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching
and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
(D) 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 (NASB95)
16Rejoice always;
17pray without ceasing;
18in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
(II) We have examples of thanksgiving in the Bible that are there for our
(A) David Psalm 68:19 (NASB95)
19Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, The God who is our
salvation. Selah.
(B) Psalm 119:62 (NASB95)
62At midnight I shall rise to give thanks to You Because of Your righteous
(C) Daniel 2:23 (NASB95)
23“To You, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, For You have
given me wisdom and power; Even now You have made known to me what we
requested of You, For You have made known to us the king’s matter.”
(D) The Samaritan Luke 17:16 (NASB95)
16and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a
(E) Paul Acts 28:15 (NASB95)
15And the brethren, when they heard about us, came from there as far as the
Market of Appius and Three Inns to meet us; and when Paul saw them, he
thanked God and took courage.
(F) 1 Corinthians 15:57 (NASB95)
57but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus
(G) 2 Corinthians 9:15 (NASB95)
15Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
(H) 1 Timothy 1:12 (NASB95)
12I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He
considered me faithful, putting me into service,
(III) As with taking medication to help our bodies, giving thanks to the
Lord is good for our soul.
(A) 1 Chronicles 16:8, 34-36 (NASB95)
8Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among
the peoples.
34O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is
35Then say, “Save us, O God of our salvation, And gather us and deliver us
from the nations, To give thanks to Your holy name, And glory in Your
36Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, From everlasting even to
everlasting. Then all the people said, “Amen,” and praised the Lord.
(B) Psalm 50:14 (NASB95)
14“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving And pay your vows to the Most
(C) Psalm 92:1 (NASB95)
1It is good to give thanks to the Lord And to sing praises to Your name, O
Most High;
(D) Ephesians 5:17–21 (NASB95)
17So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
18And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled
with the Spirit,
19speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing
and making melody with your heart to the Lord;
20always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
to God, even the Father;
21and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
(E) Philippians 4:6 (NASB95)
6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with
thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
(F) Colossians 3:17 (NASB95)
17Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
(G) 1 Timothy 4:4 (NASB95)
4For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it
is received with gratitude;

(A) Some thoughts to take to heart:
(1) Martin Luther’s last words are supposed to have been:
(a) “We are beggars all.”
(2) G. K. Chesterton:
(a) “I would maintain, that thanks are the highest form of thought, and
that gratitude is . . . happiness doubled by wonder.”
(3) In the Divine Service:
(a) What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits to me?
I will offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving and will call on the name of the
I will take the cup of salvation and will call on the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows to the Lord now in the presence of all His people,
in the courts of the Lord’s house, in the midst of you, O Jerusalem.
(B) Instead of asking “why be thankful and generous to others”, perhaps the
question should be:
(1) Why not give thanks, why not be generous?
(C) As you gather around the dinner table tomorrow to feast on some
wonderful food, be reminded of this:
(1) Remember who it is that is the only source of goodness in the world,
and He is more than enough to fill this and every world that could ever be.
(a) This is the abundance of Lazarus,
(b) the milk and honey of the promised land,
(c) the loaves and the fish,
(d) the never-ending oil and flour,
(e) the life of the dying,
(f) the hope that mends every . . . broken . . . thing. Amen.
(D) Let us pray:
When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings—*money cannot buy [*wealth can never buy]
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
*Count your many blessings, see what God has done.
[*And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.]
So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
*Count your many blessings, see what God has done.
[*And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.] Amen.
From <>
(E) The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
(F) In the Name of the Father…Amen.


Sermon for 11.12.23 “The Lord is coming again…really!

Pentecost 24 (Proper 27), Nov. 12, 2023
Text: Matthew 25:1–13
Theme: The Lord is coming again…really!
Other Lessons: Amos 5:18–24; Psalm 70; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18

A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.
B. The Gospel lesson serves as our sermon text for this morning.
C. Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
D. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:

Peace be to you and grace from Him
Who freed us from our sin,
Who loved us all, and shed his blood
That we might saved be.
Sing holy, holy to our Lord,
The Lord almighty God,
Who was and is, and is to come.
Sing holy, holy Lord. Amen
From <


A. Waiting doesn’t come naturally to us twenty-first-century Christians
living in an instant gratification culture.
1. We want what we want, and we want it now!
A. Read a book? Takes too long. Stream the movie instead.
B. Make dinner? Fast food is faster.
2. But sometimes if we do wait—or even have to wait:
A. to finish your education until the kids are grown,
B. to start volunteering until you retire
C. there’s always a risk.
D. If the waiting goes on for too long, it’s possible we can forget
altogether that for which we ought to hope.
B. Ever since our Lord ascended back to heaven, the Church has been waiting
for His return.
1. In the first years after His departure, there was eager expectation.
2. Then it began to seem that the waiting was too long.
3. Did the people misunderstand what Jesus said?
4. Is Jesus not going to keep His promise?
5. Is Jesus really ever coming back?
C. Since waiting isn’t easy for us, and because there is the risk we can
forget or lose hope, Jesus tells us a parable for this third-to-last Sunday
of the church year.
1. It’s scary—terrifying, in fact—but also hopeful at the same time.
2. It’s a dramatic reminder for us that:
D. Yes, The Lord Is Coming Again!
I. Do we believe it . . . that the Lord is coming again?
A. The early church believed it.
Matthew 25:1 (NASB95)
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took
their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.

1. Our text for this morning is part of Jesus’ lengthy discourse on the end
of the world (Matthew 24–25).
A. Highlights of these two chapters:
1) Signs of Christ’s return
2) Perilous times will occur
3) The glorious return of Christ will happen
4) The parable of the fig tree
5) Be ready for His coming
6) The parable of the ten virgins (today’s text)
7) The parable of the talents (next week’s Gospel lesson)
8) The final judgment (the Gospel lesson for the last Sunday of the Church
year two weeks from today)
2. He speaks it during Holy Week, only days before His death on the cross.
a. Which means He’s soon going to be leaving the disciples:
1) first to die,
2) then, a few weeks later, to ascend back to heaven.
b. But he would also promise to return:
1) first from the grave at Easter, which He did, then at the end of the
world, which we still await.
3. The first-century church expected Jesus to return any day, just as the
women in the parable expected the bridegroom to come soon.
B. The world would say no, Jesus isn’t really coming back.
1. Scientists project the sun burning out in several billion years.
a. Some see us destroying ourselves with nuclear weapons.
b. No matter how you look at, Jesus is not coming back.
2. Folks live as if Jesus is never coming back:
a. no accounting for whatever sin feels good today, we’re just going to die
Luke 12:19–21 (NASB95)
19 ‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many
years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.” ’
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required
of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’
21 “So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich
toward God.”
b. Since Jesus is not coming back and there is no proof other than God’s
Word to say otherwise, one can do whatever they want:
1) “The Purge” movies (where all crimes committed were considered legal for
a day)
2) One is no longer allowed to discipline their child:
a) It might hurt their self-esteem.
b) Just let the child be, it’s just a phase.
C. Human nature too easily follows the world.
1. What happened to both the wise and foolish virgins?
Matthew 25:5 (NASB95)
“Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to
a. None of us is very good at waiting.
b. In fact, it goes against your very nature.
2. Your natural inclination is to forget that what doesn’t happen now can
still happen, then live as if things of this life are all that are real.
a. What one can taste, smell, touch, hear, or see:
1) That is reality.
b. Can one know heaven or hell right now using the five senses?
1) If the answer is no, then heaven or hell is not real.
2) If the answer is yes, you’re classified as crazy!
3. What does this mean?
a. That means being unprepared for what should be expected—Christ’s return
and judgment.
b. But . . .
II. Yes, we do believe it . . . the Lord is coming again!

A. The promises of God—and his warnings—are sure.
1. He kept His promise to die for the world’s sin and then made good on the
toughest promise:
a. to rise again from the dead.
2. Surely, then, He will keep his promise to return.
3. That means all people will surely also rise to stand before him for
a. Everyone must give account.
Romans 14:10–12 (NASB95)
10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard
your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat
of God.
12 So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.
b. We, and that means everybody, all must be wise, that is, always be
Matthew 25:2–4, 6-10 (NASB95)
2 “Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent.
3 “For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them,
4 but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps.
6 “But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to
meet him.’
7 “Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.
8 “The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our
lamps are going out.’
9 “But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you
too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’
10 “And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom
came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and
the door was shut.
c. How terrifying it was to hear those words the foolish virgins hear!
Matthew 25:11–12 (NASB95)
11 “Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for
12 “But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’
1) They will face unending, unspeakable punishment!
2) Really!
B. But Jesus’ coming among us now strengthens us for the wait.
1. His Word, which speaks again and again to remind us that He really is
coming again, also speaks of the unimaginable joy behind that open door!
a. Pure joy at the birth of a child or grandchild.
b. Renewed strength after having surgery or being sick for any length of
c. Absence of pain, sorrow, problems, trials, tribulations.
2. And His sacrament at this altar only assures us that we will be
admitted, but also pictures that eternal feast.
a. It is a wedding banquet, after all!

A. While the main thrust of the parable is the clear call to be watchful
and ready for Jesus’ return, the setting—a wedding celebration—reminds us
that faithful, waiting Christians do so in hopeful expectation.
1. There is great joy in the promise of the Lord’s return.
2. Even as we wait, we do so in the company of the whole church, sitting
already now at the banquet of the Lamb in His kingdom.
3. The now-but-not-yet end times tension permeates this text, even as it
should the life of every Christian.
B. Jesus’ concluding comment on his parable rests on a key word:
1. Greek: gregoreite, “watch,” which figures prominently in his end times
discourse (10 times) (Matthew 24:42, 43; 25:13; Mk 13:34, 35, 37; see also
Luke’s earlier discussion in 12:37, 38; 13:25–30).
2. Often appearing as an imperative, the word functions as something of a
call to arms.
3. Matthew and Mark use the word for Jesus’ serious request to his
disciples to watch with him while he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane
(Matthew 26:38; Mark 14:34), followed later—after finding them asleep—with
the stronger counsel:
Matthew 26:41 (NASB95)
“Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the
spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
(Also found in Mark 14:38).
C. While the word can refer simply to the task of staying awake, that is,
the opposite of sleeping, it usually is accompanied by the moral imperative
to be alert and on guard.
1 Thessalonians 5:6 (NASB95)
so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.
1. As St. Paul bid farewell to the elders in Ephesus, for example, he
warned of false teachers who would ravage the flock under their care,
urging them to be alert, that is, be on guard
Acts 20:31 (NASB95)
“Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of
three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.
2. Similarly, Peter issued his warning:
1 Peter 5:8 (NASB95)
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls
around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
3. To the church in Sardis, St. John gave warning to the people to wake up
to the truth that they were dead and not alive.
Revelation 3:2–3 (NASB95)
2 ‘Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die;
for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God.
3 ‘So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent.
Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not
know at what hour I will come to you.
D. Whether the word is used to rouse sleepy Christians from a life of
complacency or to caution about sin, which crouches at the door, always
lurking in the background is the general sense of preparedness for the
Lord’s coming:
1. whether that be His final coming at the Last Day or His coming among us
2. The truth is that Jesus is always demanding of us a confession of the
truth, a readiness to answer the question:
Matthew 16:15 (NASB95)
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
E. At the conclusion of the Revelation to St. John, Jesus promises:
Revelation 22:7, 20-21(NASB95)
7 “And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of
the prophecy of this book…
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen.
Come, Lord Jesus.
21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
1. And to that we say, amen!
F. Let us pray:
Rejoice in heaven, all ye that dwell therein.
Rejoice on earth, ye saints below.
For Christ is coming, Is coming soon.
For Christ is coming soon.
E’en so Lord Jesus quickly come,
And night shall be no more.
They need no light, no lamp, nor sun,
For Christ will be their All!

From <
G. The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
H. In the Name of the Father…Amen.

Reaching Out

Knock Knock. Who’s There? FOUR SCENARIOS

Growing up as kids, we all enjoyed playing the “knock, knock, who’s there?” game. Here are a few examples:

· Knock knock. Who’s there? Dishes. Dishes who? Dishes the police, open up!
· Knock knock. Who’s there? Adore. Adore who? Adore is between us. Open up!
· Knock knock. Who’s there? Police. Police who? Police stop telling these awful knock-knock jokes!
There are even some examples in the Bible:
SCENARIO #1: Knock knock – the people were knocking (really POUNDING) on the closed door of the ark, but it was too late and the waters began to rise.
And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life. So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; AND THE LORD SHUT HIM IN. Genesis 7:15-16
Key Point: Noah obeyed the Lord so he and his family were saved. Once the Lord shuts the door, it is too late.

SCENARIO #2: Knock knock – released from prison by an angel of the Lord, Peter knocked on the door of the house of Mary, where the apostles were gathered. A girl named Rhoda heard him knock and speak, but was so surprised, she didn’t open it but ran to tell the others it was Peter. They didn’t believe her and told her she was out of her mind. (Acts 12)
Key Point: Rhoda and the apostles could not grasp the fact the Lord freed Peter from prison.

SCENARIO #3: Knock knock – Jesus is knocking on your door and my door.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20
Key Point: Do you hear that knocking on your door? It is Jesus; can you grasp that fact? Will you answer the door and His call upon your life, or will you wait until it is too late because you are too busy with affairs of the world?

SCENARIO #4: Knock knock – You pass through the veil of life into eternity and are standing at the pearly gates of heaven. You knock on the gate. Saint Peter answers you from the other side of the gate and asks you: Who is there? Why should I let you in?
Key Point: We are not saved by works but by receiving Christ and believing on Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior:
“The Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ Paul and Silas responded, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.’” Acts 16:30-31

Our Lord is knocking on the door of every person who comes across our path. So let us help them recognize and respond to His call upon their life before it is too late, for time is short, eternity is forever, and we are not guaranteed tomorrow.

To God be the glory
Board of Evangelism


Sermon for 11.05.23 “Blessed are they”

All Saints’ Day (observed), November 5, 2023
Text: Matthew 5:1–12

Theme: Blessed are they

A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.
B. The Gospel lesson from Matthew 5 serves as our sermon text for this
C. Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
D. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
LSB 679:1-3 Oh, How Blest Are They
Oh, how blest are they whose toils are ended,
Who through death have unto God ascended!
They have arisen
From the cares which keep us still in prison.

We are still as in a dungeon living,
Still oppressed with sorrow and misgiving;
Our undertakings
Are but toils and troubles and heartbreakings.

They meanwhile are in their chambers sleeping,
Quiet and set free from all their weeping;
No cross or sadness
There can hinder their untroubled gladness.


A. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:
1. If you have been in church any length of time in your life and you have
read through the Bible so many times you have lost count, there are certain
passages in Scripture that are more familiar than others. The Gospel lesson
for today is one of those texts. And it bears to be read again.
Matthew 5:1–12 (NASB95)
1 When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat
down, His disciples came to Him.
2 He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they
shall be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of
righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely
say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the
same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
This is the Word of the Lord…Thanks be to God.
B. Jesus said at the beginning of His earthly ministry:
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).
1. These words then serve as the doorway to the Lord’s earthly ministry and
the prologue to the Good News of salvation He brings to us.
2. It also serves as the doorway or prologue to the Sermon on the Mount, of
which we have heard the very beginning in our sermon text for this morning.
3. In turn, these verses are preparation for the rest of the sermon, which
shines the light of the great “Repent!”
C. Not only did “repent” open Jesus’ ministry; it opened the Reformation
1. Last Sunday we celebrated Reformation Day, so appropriately our Gospel
today leads us to the core message of the Reformation struggle and
2. Blessed Are They Who Repent and Rest Only in:
A. Sola Scriptura!
B. Sola Gratia!
C. and Sola Fide!
D. through Sola Christus!
E. Sola Deo Gloria!
I. Blessed are those who hear and know the Law.
A. The Sermon on the Mount does contain the Law:
1. “You shall not murder!”
2. “You shall not commit adultery!”
3. “Love your neighbor as yourself!”
4. Jesus says later in Matthew 5:
Matthew 5:17–20 (NASB95)
17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not
come to abolish but to fulfill.
18 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the
smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is
19 “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches
others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but
whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of
20 “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the
scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
5. However, we will see later that the purpose of this Law is not to
achieve personal or social perfection.
6. Yes, we are called to be better than the Pharisees and the teachers of
the law, not merely to follow the Law, which we are not capable of doing
anyway since we are prisoners of sin—as Paul reminds us in his letter to
the church in Rome, especially in chapter 7.
7. But we are called to fulfill the Law perfectly:
Matthew 5:48 (NASB95)
“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
B. “Well, it’s pretty easy not to kill—but not to call somebody ‘you fool’
or not to be angry with someone?”
1. Have you managed that?
2. Not me!
C. It is less easy not to commit adultery, right?
1. But not even to look or think such thoughts?
2. Have you managed that?
3. Not me!
D. It is pretty easy to love those who are lovable or close to you;
1. it is less easy to love those who are sick or messy.
E. But to love those who hate you, to wish them well and to pray for them?
1. Have you managed that?
2. Not me!
F. The Law in the Sermon on the Mount is not to be abolished, certainly,
but neither is it a road map for personal or social perfection.
1. Christ asks his disciples to “be perfect, as your heavenly Father is
perfect,” and the Lord himself knows best that his disciples will not be
able to be perfect, that they will fail.
2. Rather, the Law and its perfection in Christ’s teaching is a mirror in
which man sees:
A. his unworthiness,
B. imperfection,
C. and impotency.
3. Thus, the Law and its perfection in Christ’s calling exposes man’s need:
A. for God to break in,
B. for God to intervene,
C. for God to fulfill the Law perfectly.
4. The Law of the Sermon on the Mount is fulfilled in the perfect love of
which only Christ is capable and which reaches its fulfilling climax in
Christ’s saving cross.
5. That is the core discovery and message of the saving Gospel heralded to
the world by the Reformation:
A. Solus Christus!
II. Blessed are those who abide in Christ and his Gospel.
A. The good news of God breaking in with his salvation in Christ is
announced at the very beginning of Christ’s public teaching:
1. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven [has come near]” (Matthew 4:17).
A. This prepares Christ’s listeners (including us) for what is going to
1. the Good News of Immanuel, God with us.
2. God is with us in Christ’s Word, that is,
a. in teaching and preaching,
b. in his acts of mercy, which show us who He is and demonstrate to us His
power to save.
c. in his calling and sending of his Church.
d. in bringing the visible means of His presence and salvation to our
worldly reality, namely, Holy Baptism and His holy Supper.
B. “Blessed (Gk: makarios) means “to be fortunate, well off, or to be
C. What then does it mean for the “blessed are the poor in spirit” (verse
1. That does not mean the “stupid ones,” as in to make fun of or ridicule
the uneducated.
2. Rather, the “poor in spirit” are those who are aware of their human
condition, their condition in the light of Christ’s demand for perfect love—
A. that is, love as “perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
3. The poor in spirit are aware of their condition of having in themselves
no spiritual or other capacity:
A. to improve,
B. to change essentially,
C. or to even save themselves.
D. These deprived ones, these who know they cannot achieve for themselves
the perfection they do not possess, these are the ones who will inherit the
kingdom of heaven.
D. “Blessed are those who mourn” (verse 4).

1. Mourn because of what?
A. In the light of the previous verse, they do not mourn because of any
social misfortune; rather, they mourn because of their own condition.
B. They mourn because they do not have the possibility or capacity to
improve or save themselves.
C. And these, who are aware of their pitiful condition and are devastated
by it, these will be comforted, for they are prepared for the news of
salvation, unlike those who boast of themselves.
E. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (verse 5).
1. No, this is not a Marxist idea concerning the violent revolution of the
working class, nor any other social utopia or happy ending in history.
2. Rather, again in the light of the previous verses, the word meek or
lowly refers to the lowly condition of man.
3. Lowly are those who are aware they:
A. “are dust, and to dust [they] shall return” (Genesis 3:19)
4. or who know that each of us is
A. “a worm” (Psalm 22:6).
B. These humble ones are saved or blessed and may be hopeful to receive the
whole earth when the Savior comes in victory to judge the living and the
F. These poor in spirit who know they cannot help themselves, these who are
mourning because of that, and these lowly who know their condition as
merely dust and worms do, indeed, “hunger and thirst for righteousness”
(verse 6).
1. That is, these are they who long for God’s intervention in this world of
injustice and evil.
2. They cannot expect such righteousness by society advancing, since these
poor in spirit are mourning over man’s incapability and corruption and are
aware of man’s lowliness.
3. No! This righteousness must come with a break-in from the perfect and
the only just one, that is, God.
4. Only He Himself can fulfill the Law perfectly, and the hunger and
longing of God’s people will be fulfilled by Christ’s presence in their
(and our) world.
5. Only the hope of Jesus’ cross can satisfy their hunger for
righteousness, and they (and we) will be filled again, finally, when the
Savior returns, this time in glory.
6. Solus Christus!
G. “Blessed are the merciful” (verse 7).
1. Who are these?
A. They cannot be those who pursue self-improvement or some kind of social
progress toward a more decent life and society.
B. The previous verses show us that this cannot be the proper
interpretation, since we’ve seen that man does not have the potential to
improve in his real essence—nor the power to rescue himself.
C. Have we seen by now?
D. The Lord isn’t describing the human condition but instead the likeness
of the one who makes us his disciples.
2. The merciful one is first Jesus:
A. and then his disciples, since they are in Christ, who is the perfect
mercy Himself.
B. These, Christ’s disciples, will indeed be shown mercy at the throne when
Jesus comes to judge the living and the dead.
C. Sola gratia!
H. “Blessed are the pure in heart” (verse 8).
1. The pure in heart, in contrast to what we’re tempted to imagine, are not
the ones who are more “holy” or “set their hearts on good things” or “want
to do pure and good things.”
2. There is none among us who is pure in heart in this respect, as the
apostle Paul saw so clearly looking into his own heart in Romans 7.
3. He saw the battles he often lost.
4. Rather, the pure in heart are those whose hearts are not committed to
other loyalties but, instead, whose hearts search for the only true God,
who alone is the I Am.
5. Only these will, indeed, see God.
6. Solus Christus!
I. “Blessed are the peacemakers” (verse 9).
1. Once more, the reference here is not about any hippie activists who
think they will save the world if only there is no war.
2. The word peace here does not mean merely an absence of the negative,
war; rather, it is:
A. something positive,
B. something comforting,
C. something for which man’s heart is desperately searching,
D. something that is connected to man’s final rescue or salvation.
3. It is what is known in Hebrew as shalom.
A. It is something positive that we do not have in this world but that we
long for.
B. Jesus said:
John 14:27 (NASB95)
27 “Peace (Heb: shalom /Gk:eirene) I leave with you; My peace I give to
you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be
troubled, nor let it be fearful.
C. Clearly, this peace is something out of this world.
1. So, the peacemakers are the ones who receive such shalom, such eirene
from the Lord and carry it on.
2. Such will be called the children of God—and rightly so, since these are
the followers of God in flesh among us.
3. Sola gratia!


A. Here are some more thoughts on the word “blessed” (Gk: makarios)
1. possessing the characteristic of deity.
2. It indicates the state of the believer in Christ (Matthew 5:3-11)
3. Jesus declares “Blessed on account of Me, Luke. 6:20-22, “Blessed for
the sake of the Son of Man”.
4. The Christian is indwelt by God because of Christ and as a result is
fully satisfied.
5. Makarios differs from happy because happy is the person who has good
luck (for example, favorable circumstances).
6. A blessed person is one whom God makes fully satisfied, not because of
favorable circumstances, but because He indwells the believer through
7. To be makarios, blessed, is equivalent to having God’s kingdom within
one’s heart (Matthew 5:2,11; Luke17:21).
8. Makarios is the one who is in the world yet independent of the world;
his satisfaction comes from God and or not from favorable circumstances.
B. It is then these poor in spirit, lowly, mourning, and hungry for
righteousness, and these merciful and pure in heart peacemakers who will
take up the cross of their Savior.
1. They, too, will be ridiculed, rejected, and persecuted for their faith.
2. Persecution is a sign of the disciples of our Savior, just as it was the
case for the prophets and for the Lord himself.
3. Our own kinds of persecution are the sweet and intimate bonds that we
share with our Lord.
4. Therefore, we can be free, rejoice, and be glad in this persecution.
5. Our Lord assures us that we will receive the kingdom of heaven, for
we’ve been given faith in Christ.
6. That is, faith in our broken and bleeding Savior, who even on the cross
is the Lord of lords and King of Kings, who will one day judge the living
and the dead, and whose face we will see.
7. Sola Scriptura!
8. Sola Gratia!
9. Sola Fide!
10. Through Sola Christus,
11. Sola Deo Gloria! Amen.
C. Let us pray:
LSB 679:4-5 Oh, How Blest Are They
Christ has wiped away their tears forever;
They have that for which we still endeavor.
By them are chanted
Songs that ne’er to mortal ears were granted.

Come, O Christ, and loose the chains that bind us;
Lead us forth and cast this world behind us.
With You, the Anointed,
Finds the soul its joy and rest appointed.
Text: Public domain
D. The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
E. In the Name of the Father…Amen.


December First Sunday Fellowship Potluck

Join us Sunday, December 3rd immediately after our 10:30am worship service for a Christmas potluck!

A dish sign up sheet is available in the Luther Fellowship Hall by the coffee maker.

Members and guests are welcome!


Sermon for 10.29.23 “Oh my! It’s YOU!

Pentecost 22 (Proper 25), October 29, 2023
Text: Matthew 22:34–46
Theme: Oh, my! It’s YOU!
Other Lessons: Psalm 1; Leviticus 19:1–2, 15–18; 1 Thessalonians 2:1–13

A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.
B. The Gospel lesson serves as our sermon text for this morning.
C. Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
D. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
God, our eternal refuge, throughout all generations, You’ve sheltered us.
Before the mountains rose, before the world began, You have always been,
and forever you will be.
Our days, like morning grass, may be fleeting and momentary.
Yet, every sunrise is a reminder of Your unchanging love and new mercies.
Turn to us, O Lord, with compassion in times of distress and uncertainty.
Fill our days with joy and gladness, reflecting the time we’ve faced
Show us the wonders of Your deeds and the hopes of your promise.
Guide our actions, Lord, and bless our efforts for Your glory.
May the enduring love of our eternal God be our foundation, today and
always, as we gather in worship.

A. The appointed Gospel reading for this morning is the last of an
important series of Holy Week interactions in Matthew between Jesus and his
various opponents (21:23–22:46).
1. Our Lord has just finished a debate with the Sadducees (22:23–33), one
in which the answer He gave to their questioning was so stunning that the
text reveals that they were completely silenced.
2. They were unable to speak, and the crowds were “astonished at His
teaching” (22:33).
3. The Lord boldly corrected the Sadducees and their false theology of the
resurrection of the dead.
4. The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, and so
Jesus made their error evident by a pure preaching of God’s Word.
5. Within the crowd listening, the Pharisees are present and preparing one
more assault, what is found in today’s text.
6. In addition, it is important to note the time of the event.
7. After this, Jesus’ enemies will take a new tack, and that one will
succeed; the Lord will suffer and die for the sins of the world.
8. But that death will also be for the Sadducees and Pharisees.
9. The Lord loves them, and He knows that His time is running out, so our
text is a last opportunity to teach them.
B. Within the context I just described, let’s go back in time 2,000 years.
1. You are making your way to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.
2. You have come upon the scene as described in our Gospel lesson for this
3. You have never heard such noise!
4. But, of course, you’re not from around here.
5. Just like a lot of people, people are here in the city from all over.
6. It’s Passover time.
7. The sounds, the bustling—it’s crowded and very busy.
8. You can smell the smoke from the temple sacrifices.
9. Animals are calling out from the cages in the temple, awaiting their
10. You’re going to buy one and sacrifice it.
11. Looks like a long line.
12. All this pushing and shoving has you trapped out here in the temple
courtyard, near the pillars.
1. As you go to the temple to offer your sacrifice, you see Jesus, the one
many are saying is the Christ, the man born of David’s royal line to
deliver us, being questioned by his enemies. He’s brilliant!
A. What’s going on over here? Something’s happening.
1. I recognize that man talking to the Sadducees.
2. That’s that man from Nazareth.
3. His name is Jesus, who is called the Christ.
4. He’s the man everyone’s been talking about.
5. He’s healed many people of their terrible diseases.
6. I heard He just did that recently in the temple.
7. I heard that he’s even raised people from the dead.
8. People have been calling his preaching “Good News.”
9. I’m not sure what they mean.
10. Not much of the news I’ve heard lately is good.
B. Just two days ago, I was in the same crowd when he came into the city on
a donkey.
1. People were shouting out the praises of our blessed King David, calling
out to this man and laying their cloaks on the road.
2. People are calling him the Christ, the Anointed One.
3. Could he be the future King of the Jews, the one who’ll conquer the
Romans and restore Israel?
4. That’s what the Pharisees have taught us about the Christ, the man born
of David’s royal line.
5. But this guy doesn’t look like much now that I get a closer look.
6. I heard Jesus has been here in the temple teaching since He came into
the city.
7. I haven’t had a chance to hear Him myself.
8. I should have been here yesterday.
C. I heard He was very angry, knocking over the money-changers’ tables,
even using a bullwhip to drive them out.
1. I hear He called the temple his Father’s house, as though He were the
Son of God.
2. I see.
D. It looks like a debate is taking place.
1. Oh, the Sadducees.
2. Those guys are brilliant!—freethinkers.
3. I feel sorry for that no-name country boy Jesus.
4. No regular guy outwits these intellectual types.
5. Jesus is no match for . . . Oh, my, wait a minute!
6. They look embarrassed!
7. I don’t know what Jesus just said, but it sure shut up the Sadducees!
8. Now everybody’s staring at them.
9. The Sadducees aren’t saying anything.
10. They’re stunned!
11. I don’t know what he said, but whatever it was, they’re leaving,
slinking away.
12. Wow! No last words?
13. Indeed! They have nothing to say!
E. Oh, I understand now.
1. Jesus must believe what the Pharisees teach.
2. I know the Pharisees and the Sadducees hate each other.
3. Jesus must be on the side of the Pharisees.
F. Behind me—people are whispering.
1. I don’t want to look obvious, but I can’t quite see who it is.
2. Oh, it’s the rulers of the Pharisees.
3. Wait a minute.
4. Jesus isn’t with the Pharisees either.
5. They’re saying they don’t want people to think he’s one of them.
6. They’re speaking more softly now.
7. Can I hear them?
8. They’re talking about what they can ask Jesus to trip him up.
9. They’re choosing one of their people, a lawyer, to approach Jesus.
10. They’re going to try to trap him.
G. Here goes: “Jesus, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
1. Oh, that’s a good one.
2. Be careful, Jesus.
3. He’s trying to trick you.
4. I can hear them chuckling and snickering back here.
5. Even I know that any answer you give will be wrong.
6. These guys are just waiting for you to stumble through all 613 of the
rabbinical laws.
7. If you choose one as the greatest, they’ll say there is no greatest
because different ones become greater at different times based on the
8. If you say there isn’t a greatest one, they’ll chide you for your not
knowing which is the greatest right now, in this circumstance.
9. No matter what you say, you’ll look like a fool.
10. Just don’t say anything, Jesus.
11. Just call this one “lost” and come back another day.
12. Oh, Jesus, wait!
13. Give yourself a second to think before you answer!
14. Don’t . . .!
H. Whoa! Did you hear that?
1. He just quoted from Deuteronomy and Leviticus.
2. He’s going to the Law that trumps ALL the rabbinical laws.
3. Well done, Jesus, well done!
4. He just said,
a. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your
soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a
second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two
commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
5. Brilliant!
6. That’s a summary of all Ten Commandments.
7. That is the greatest, because that says it all!
8. Well done, Jesus.
2. But he’s more! He is the Christ, David’s Son and David’s Lord! My temple
sacrifice is no longer necessary, for he is the sacrifice!
A. But wait a minute!
1. If the entirety of the Law and the prophets hang on perfect love, how
can I ever please God?
2. I mean, I can keep at least some of those rabbis’ laws, but surely even
the Pharisees—good people that they are—know that only God is capable of
perfect love.
3. Oh, my! Jesus just proved from the Torah that the fulfillment of the Law
comes through perfect loving of God and neighbor.
4. I know I can’t do that.
5. So what’s the point of this sacrifice I’m buying to offer?
B. Only God can keep the Law perfectly.
1. So the Pharisees are failures too, like me?
2. Their own question has condemned them in their sins.
3. It’s condemned all of us.
4. So now what do we do?
5. I can’t save myself!
C. Look at them.
1. They know what he’s saying.
2. They get it.
3. But they’re not saying anything.
4. They’ve been stumped just like the Sadducees.
D. Uh, oh. Here we go.
1. Jesus is looking back here now.
2. He’s getting the Pharisees’ attention.
3. He knows it was all their setup.
4. He called their bluff and they’re not happy!
5. Let it go, Jesus.
6. Don’t push it.
7. They hate you.
8. You proved your point.
9. I can hear what they’re muttering.
10. They want you dead.
E. He’s asking them another question.
1. “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?”
2. They’re answering, “The son of David.”
3. Sure.
4. Obviously.
5. Everybody knows that.
6. Why even bring it up?
7. Are you really trying to teach them something, Jesus?
8. These guys just condemned themselves in sin.
9. Truth is, Jesus, you just crushed all of us with the Law.
10. Why now talk about the Christ?
11. Let it go.
12. Just leave us all condemned.
13. You win.
F. Shhh. Jesus is asking another question.
1. “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, ‘The
Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under
your feet’? If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?”
2. Hmm. That’s a tough one.
3. We all know that passage too.
4. That’s found in Psalm 110.
5. It’s all about the Messiah.
6. We know that.
7. My rabbi, a Pharisee, taught me that that text is specifically talking
about the Christ.
8. But what’s Jesus getting at?
9. Jesus just asked about the Christ, the Son of David.
10. Obviously there can be no authority other than God.
11. And obviously no king of Israel would dare call anyone below him
“Lord,” especially his son.
12. I’ve always been taught that only the king is lord.
13. The only one higher than David, the only one David would call Lord, is
Yahweh, God.
14. So, in other words, King David will have a son, a man, the Christ, whom
he will call “Lord.”
15. That can mean only one thing: the Son born of David will be God!
G. Jesus did it again!
1. The Pharisees are silent.
2. They know he’s right.
3. Of course.
4. It makes perfect sense.
5. But they’re so angry.
6. They’re leaving.
7. They’re covering their ears and waving him off.
8. Why? Why should that make them angry—that the Christ is God?
9. That’s not what upsets them at all, is it?
10. It’s not that the Christ is God that makes them mad!
11. It’s the fact that Jesus said it!
12. They just don’t want to hear from him!
H. I have ears to hear, Lord!
1. I’ve heard of your miracles.
2. Jesus, you are the man performing the perfect acts of love that only God
can do!
3. You are the one who saw the heart and knew the pure Word of God’s Holy
Law was needed to show our sins.
4. You are the one now giving understanding of the Scriptures and showing
us a merciful God, a Messiah, a Christ who will be born of man and yet will
be God to be our deliverer, and not from bondage to the Romans, but from
bondage to sin and death and hell!

A. Oh, my! It’s YOU!
1. YOU are David’s Lord!
2. YOU are God in the flesh, the Son of God.
3. The temple is your Father’s house.
4. You are the King of the Jews.
5. You are the Christ!
6. They will not believe, but I do!
7. I’m hanging on your words, Lord.
8. You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!
9. Kyrie eleison!
10. Have mercy on me, a sinner, and save me!
B. He’s moving up a few steps near the pillars.
1. He’s preparing to preach.
2. I must hear this wonderful good news, this Gospel of forgiveness.
3. Never mind what I was doing—my sacrifice here at the temple.
4. Never mind where I was going.
5. I must stay right here.
6. This is where I need to be, with David’s Son, my God and my Lord.
C. I am reminded of what it says in Isaiah 53:
Isaiah 53:4–5, 7 (NASB95)
4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we
ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our
iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His
scourging we are healed.
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent
before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.
D. The Forgiveness of My Sin Has Been Revealed in Jesus, the God-man of
Nazareth Amen.
E. Let us pray:
Gracious and loving God, whose wisdom and understanding is beyond all human
comprehension, we gather before You, drawn together by Your love which
surpasses all understanding.
As the Pharisees questioned Jesus, seeking to test His wisdom, we are
reminded of Your command to love You with all our heart, soul, and mind,
and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Help us, O Lord, to genuinely embrace this command, making it the
foundation of our lives.
Let our actions, our words, and our very thoughts reflect this great love.
We acknowledge that our understanding is limited, and often we are
challenged by the teachings of Your Word.
As Jesus stumped those who thought they knew everything, let us always
approach Your Word with humility, seeking to learn and grow, rather than to
justify our preconceptions.
In a world divided by countless differences, help us to be ambassadors of
Your love, reminding all that before You, we are all equal.
As we navigate the complexities of our daily lives, let the two greatest
commands be our guiding light.
And Lord, as we lift up our joys and concerns, may our prayers always find
their foundation in love.
Whether we are praying for guidance, healing, comfort, or gratitude, let
our love for You and for one another be the thread that ties our hearts
In the mighty name of Jesus Christ, the cornerstone of our faith, we pray.
F. The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
G. In the Name of the Father…Amen.