Sermon for 03.17.24 “What a priest!”

LENT 5, MARCH 17, 2024
Text: Hebrews 5:1–10
Theme: What a priest!
Old Testament: Jeremiah 31:31–34
Psalm 119:9–16;
Gospel: Mark 10:(32–34) 35–45

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.
(B) The Epistle 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 Everlasting God, as we gather on this fifth Sunday of Lent,
our hearts are turned towards the promise of a new covenant, one that You
have written not on tablets of stone, but on the very fabric of our hearts.
In the words of the prophet Jeremiah, we hear Your pledge to be our God and
to welcome us as Your people, knowing You intimately and fully, from the
least to the greatest among us.
Lord, we marvel at Your mercy, at Your willingness to forgive our iniquity
and remember our sin no more.
In this time of reflection and anticipation, we confess that too often we
have strayed from Your ways, forgetting Your laws and ignoring Your voice
that whispers in the depths of our souls.
Yet, Your love remains steadfast, calling us back to You with cords of
kindness and bands of love.
As we move closer to the mystery of the cross and the victory of the
resurrection, renew in us the covenant You have promised.
Write Your law within us, engrave it on our hearts that we might truly be
Your people, reflecting Your justice, love, and mercy in a world so
desperate for signs of hope.
Help us, O God, to understand the depth of Your love and the breadth of
Your forgiveness.
Teach us to forgive as we have been forgiven, to love as we have been
loved, and to extend the grace we have so freely received.
May the knowledge of Your covenant inspire us to live lives marked by
faithfulness, to seek justice, love kindness, and to walk humbly with You.

(A) We all have our favorite ways of referring to Jesus.
(1) We often describe the Son of Man by using titles that are both
comfortable and comforting:
(A) Jesus is our:
1) Savior
2) Redeemer
3) Lord
4) God
5) Brother
6) Friend
7) Great Physician
8) Good Shepherd.
(B) Each of these titles highlights a different dimension of our Savior’s
service and sacrifice for sinners.
(B) But it’s far less frequent for us to describe Jesus as our “Priest,”
and that’s unfortunate.
(1) In today’s Epistle, the author of Hebrews sets us straight concerning
the priestly service of our Savior.
(2) He highlights how Jesus is our perfect High Priest.
(3) In fact, he mines the idea of priest for all it’s worth and, in the
process, delivers all the comfort and confidence that comes to us from the
(4) Today we ponder the priesthood of Jesus beneath this theme:
(A) What a Priest We Have in Jesus!
(I) Our Priest, Jesus, was appointed to serve us.
(A) The author of Hebrews helpfully provides some history concerning the
high priesthood.
(1) Priestly service was part and parcel of the Lord’s design for the life
of his Old Testament people.
(2) He specifically selected the sons of Aaron to provide this priestly
service for His people.
A) They served on behalf of their fellow Israelites, regularly offering
gifts and sacrifices to God
1) both for the sins of the people and for their own sin.
B) God himself appointed them for priestly service.
(B) Because the priesthood was reserved for those who were chosen by God,
the author of Hebrews tells us that Jesus, too, was appointed to priestly
(1) Jesus’ priestly appointment was made public in a big way at His
(2) There Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit and set apart to serve as
our great High Priest.
(3) There God declared:
Matthew 3:17 (NASB95)
and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in
whom I am well-pleased.”
(II) Our Priest, Jesus, sympathizes with us.
(A) God appointed Jesus as our great High Priest so that He can serve us
and help us.
(1) Jesus is immensely qualified to do this because he is truly one of us:
A) bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh,
B) a human man among men.
(2) As one of us, Jesus knows.
A) He knows our weaknesses and frailties.
B) In the passage immediately preceding today’s text, the author of Hebrews
spells out the comfort we have in Jesus as our High Priest:
Hebrews 4:15 (NASB95)
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses,
but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
C) Jesus willingly accepted our human weaknesses to suffer:
1) temptation,
2) hunger,
3) fatigue,
4) sadness,
5) loneliness,
6) rejection,
7) Persecution
8) and yes, even death, death on a cross!
(B) Because Jesus knows our every weakness, He deals gently with those
under His care who are ignorant, arrogant, and wayward.
(1) That’s all of us, by the way:
A) ignorant and wayward.
(2) Unlike Jesus, we are not without sin.
A) Temptations tangle us up.
B) Sin clings closely to us along every step of the way.
C) We have a terrible habit of straying from our Lord’s plans and purposes.
D) We deviate from His desires, always seeking to serve ourselves rather
than those around us.
(C) We can see both our sin and the amazing gentleness of Jesus in today’s
Holy Gospel.
(1) Imagine it:
A) Nearing Jerusalem, Jesus had just predicted His death and resurrection.
B) This makes three times that Jesus told the disciples He would suffer and
C) But rather than pray and prepare for the Lord’s Passion as they should
have, James and John hatched their own plan.
D) They were looking for ways to get ahead, for that is the human thing to
E) They came to Jesus:
1) seeking to sit in glory,
2) longing to get a leg up on the competition,
3) and climbing all over their fellow disciples in a mad dash to the top of
the heap, no matter who they had to step on in the process.
F) When the ten heard about this power play, they were indignant, indeed
very angry and very ready to retaliate against the brazen audacity of James
and John.
G) As Jesus made his way to Calvary, a civil war was about to erupt among
His disciples.
H) It was more than enough reason to ignite the anger and the wrath of the
Rabbi from Nazareth.
(D) But the Rabbi’s wrath was not kindled.
(1) As a priest, Jesus dealt gently with His wayward disciples.
(2) He neither condemned nor condoned their sin.
(3) He did not excuse their conduct, but He set them straight with
measured, priestly sympathy.
(4) He corrected them lovingly and patiently:
Mark 10:43 (NASB95)
“But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among
you shall be your servant;
(5) He also reminded them of his priestly purpose:
Mark 10:45 (NASB95)
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to
give His life a ransom for many.”
(E) Because Jesus is our great High Priest, we have this comfort for
(1) He deals gently with us.
(2) He knows:
A) our sins.
B) our ignorance.
C) our arrogance.
D) our weaknesses.
E) our struggles
F) our sufferings.
(3) And Jesus knows these things about us not merely as facts, knowledge,
or data;
A) He knows it all as if it was happening to Him.
B) He feels for us and suffers with us precisely because He is a human
being—like us in every way yet without sin.
C) Not only does our great High Priest know and feel our weakness, but He
alone can do something about it.
D) He alone will offer his life as a ransom for us all.
E) Jesus loves and takes us as we are.
F) He also loves us too much to let us stay that way!
G) What a priest we have in Jesus!
(III) Our Priest, Jesus, learned obedience through suffering.
(A) One of the biggest surprises concerning our Savior’s priestly service
is that it was a learning process for Him.
(1) In fact, we could say that Jesus learned to be a priest the hard way:
A) through the school of suffering.
(2) Verse 8 of our text says it this way:
Hebrews 5:8 (NASB95)
Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He
(B) As our priest, Jesus was a learner like us.
(1) Our Savior was a student in the school of suffering:
A) a divine disciple who learned obedience alongside His human brothers and
B) Although he’s God and could always know everything, Jesus never used His
omniscience when it would just serve himself.
C) He didn’t cut corners.
D) He didn’t cheat.
E) He didn’t jump to the front of the line.
F) Rather, Jesus reverently and prayerfully learned obedience through what
He suffered.
(C) When was the last time you tried to learn something new and difficult?
(1) Perhaps you downloaded an app to help you learn a new language.
(2) Perhaps you watched hours of YouTube videos to learn for yourself how
to do a major home improvement project.
(3) Perhaps you downloaded a complicated recipe that you might sauté your
way to success with a new culinary creation in the kitchen.
(4) Whatever you’ve attempted to learn, how did it go for you?
(5) Were you ultimately successful?
(6) Or did you bite off more than you could chew?
(7) Perhaps what you actually learned was that difficult work is sometimes
best left to the experts.
(D) Jesus learned to be your priest in the most difficult way imaginable.
(1) He learned through what He suffered.
A) Tears would be His teacher.
B) Pain would be His tutor.
C) Neither nails nor thorns would deter Him from learning to be our perfect
D) No pain, no gain.
E) Where others would falter and fail, Jesus pressed on.
F) Verse 7 of today’s text alludes to the Garden of Gethsemane.
G) There Jesus prayed as our perfect priest.
H) There he:
Hebrews 5:7 (NASB95)
In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with
loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was
heard because of His piety.
(2) Those perfect, priestly prayers continued even as Jesus suffered for
our salvation on the cross:
Luke 23:34 (NASB95)
But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they
are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.
Matthew 27:46 (NASB95)
About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI,
Luke 23:46 (NASB95)
And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I
COMMIT MY SPIRIT.” Having said this, He breathed His last.
(E) Those perfect prayers were an expression of our Lord’s perfect
obedience to his Father.
(1) Through the school of suffering, Jesus:
Hebrews 5:9 (NASB95)
And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the
source of eternal salvation,
(2) Only this reverent priest, Jesus, has secured our salvation.
A) What He suffered was on account of our sin.
B) The pain He endured was a penalty meant for us.
C) The death He died was the necessary ransom to redeem a world of sinful,
wayward rebels.
D) Because of His reverence:
1) His perfect, prayerful obedience
2) His Father raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in
glory, where Jesus continues to intercede for us as our great High Priest.
3) Our salvation is found in no one else.
4) What a priest we have in Jesus!
(IV) Our Priest, Jesus, equips us for priestly service.
(A) There’s one final surprise concerning the priestly work of Jesus.
(1) He invites us to share in His priestly work.
(2) We are also priests:
A) priests of the perfect priest, called to present our bodies:
Romans 12:1 (NASB95)
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.
(3) As God’s baptized and holy people, we have priestly prayers to offer:
A) priestly service to render to those around us.
(4) As priests of the perfect Priest, we are constant students in the
school of suffering, following in the footsteps of our great High Priest.
A) When we seek to be served rather than serve, we sin.
B) When our prayers for others falter because we are thinking about our own
needs rather than theirs, we sin.
(5) But our Lord’s perfect, priestly service counts for us.
A) His obedience counts for us.
B) He invites us to learn obedience as we follow Him.
C) He promises to perfect our lives through His perfect forgiveness and
D) He is, indeed, the source of eternal salvation.


(A) I asked you earlier about something new and/or difficult you learned,
whether by choice or not.
(1) For me, it was learning how to swim during PE class while in 10th
(2) It took all semester for me to learn how to swim and after that I was
not comfortable with it.
(3) There were many times where I was tempted to give up, rather have a
failing grade on my record instead of learning how to swim.
(4) As we go through life, we have spent years learning physical skills or
in intellectual pursuits.
(5) Practice, discipline, and, yes, failure are all a part of the learning
(6) Among the most difficult things for Christians to learn is the ability
A) forgive those who sin against us,
B) to love our enemies,
C) and to obey those in authority over us.
(B) As verse 8 of our text for today says:
Hebrews 5:8 (NASB95)
Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He
(1) There is no human being who doesn’t need to be schooled in the art of
(2) None of us is born obedient.
(3) Little children don’t need to be taught disobedience; that,
unfortunately, comes naturally.
(4) Jesus didn’t have that problem, of course, but even He willingly
submitted to learning obedience.
(5) We spend our whole lifetime learning obedience, as Jesus did.
(6) So what Jesus learned He now teaches us from His own experience.
(7) As Jesus listened to His heavenly Father, so He helps us listen to and
trust our Father in heaven.
(8) As we listen to His Word, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus
carries us along in a lifetime of learning to become obedient sons and
daughters of God. Amen.
(C) Let us pray:
As we worship You, O Lord this morning:
open our ears to hear Your word,
open our eyes to see Your presence among us,
and open our hearts to receive the new thing You are doing.
Transform us by the renewing of our minds, that we may discern Your
will—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
We pray all these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior,
who has sealed the new covenant in His blood,
offering us the promise of life eternal.
What a priest we have in Jesus! Amen.
(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 02.25.24 “A profound reality”

02.25.24 Lent 2
Text: Romans 5:1–11
Theme: A profound reality
Other Lessons: Genesis 17:1–7, 15–16; Psalm 22:23–31; Mark 8:27–38

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.
(B) The Epistle 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:
Heavenly Father, Lord of all creation, we come before You on this second
Sunday in Lent, our hearts joined in worship and adoration.
In the spirit of the Psalmist, we proclaim Your name to our brothers and
sisters; in the midst of the congregation, we praise You.
Lord, You have not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
You have not hidden Your face from us, but when we cried to You for help,
You heard.
Your faithfulness extends to every corner of the earth, calling all who
fear You to worship and stand in awe.
From the greatest to the least, from the ends of the earth to the heart of
our community, Your righteousness is proclaimed to a people yet unborn,
declaring that You have done it.
You, O Lord, who bring kings to their knees and feed the hungry, who
remember the poor and the suffering, who give us a reason to sing even in
our darkest hour, guide us to live in a way that Your justice and love are
known by all. Amen.

(A) Romans 5:6 (NASB95)
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the
(B) That’s a magnificent statement, isn’t it!
(1) That is what the Lenten season is all about.
(2) In fact, it’s the essence of our Christian faith.
(C) But do we truly understand the Passion and death of Christ?
(1) Has the message of Christ dying for us been repeated so often that it’s
become a formula we hear and just nod absentmindedly—or even worse, nod
(2) Do we no longer hear the wonder of Christ’s work that led him to suffer
and die an shameful death in our stead?
(3) Can we . . . or do we even comprehend the atonement?
(D) The devil, the world, and our sinful nature are all behind the sin of
indifference toward Christ’s Passion, suffering, dying, and rising.

(1) But God’s Word is more powerful than those enemies, and in His Word
today, God through Paul rouses us with a most rousing declaration of what
that familiar yet magnificent truth means for us.
(E) Paul shows us that Perhaps The More than We Grasp the idea, “Christ
Died for the Ungodly” The More We Realize What A Profound Reality of that
(1) It’s profound because we don’t even want to understand how ungodly we
(A) That’s true, first of all, because we probably forget how much we
needed Jesus to do this for us.
(B) In today’s Gospel, Jesus clearly taught his disciples that he must
suffer, be rejected by the Jewish leaders, be killed, and after three days
rise again.
(1) Peter’s response?
(2) He wanted nothing to do with such a mission and took Jesus aside to
rebuke him.
(3) The very idea of Jesus dying for our sins!
(4) Why would this be necessary?
(C) Indeed, there’s a wholesale dismissing of sin in our culture. Already
in the late 1970s, famed American psychiatrist Karl Menninger wrote a book
called Whatever Became of Sin?
(1) A very good question.
(2) Maybe in the contemporary mind school shootings still make the list,
but abortion, homosexuality, divorce, sex change—certainly not.
(D) Yet the divinely-inspired apostle Paul writes in our text:
Romans 5:6 (NASB95)
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the
(1) Ungodly!
(2) Without God!
(3) Paul goes even further when he says in verse 10:
Romans 5:10 (NASB95)
10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death
of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His
(4) “Enemies” of God!
(5) Opposed to God!
(6) We would kill God, wipe Him off our slate, get Him off our backs, if we
(E) And don’t overlook the word “we.”

(1) We were still weak, ungodly, sinners, enemies.
(2) Maybe we’re right on all those major social issues:
a) abortion,
b) homosexuality,
c) transgenderism.
(3) Still, surely more than we want to grasp, sin lurks in each of our
(4) We were conceived as ungodly, and that wickedness continues in our
sinful nature.
(5) Look inside.
(6) You don’t even need to look too deep.
(7) This thought or that thought that you don’t tell your wife.
(8) Resentment toward your husband you only think about after the light’s
turned out.
(9) The laugh in your heart that Mom and Dad really don’t get it.
(10) The jealousy of friends.
(11) The secret pact with yourself that God doesn’t know you’re giving Him
less than your best when you write your check for the offering or leave
your Bible unopened.
(12) God does know all of it.
(13) By nature, that was you.
(14) And you have to face it, because the sinful nature lingers still.
(F) Yet Christ died for you, Ungodly.
(2) It’s profound because the death of the Christ for us is far beyond
anything we can comprehend.
(A) Paul writes:
Romans 5:7–8 (NASB95)
7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good
man someone would dare even to die.
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet
sinners, Christ died for us.
(1) You hear about:
a) a fireman or police officer dying in the line of duty,
b) a soldier sacrificing himself for his buddies,
c) a mom for her child.
(2) But we weren’t the adorable child, the loyal brother in arms.
(3) All we are able to bring to the table is weakness, ungodliness, and
(4) Sin is a horribly messy business, and understanding that is crucial to
seeing how profound is God’s dealing with us.
(B) And consider this:
(1) It was the Christ who died for us, the ungodly.
(2) The sinless Son of God.
(3) The one who is all-glorious needs nothing from anyone.
(4) Didn’t need you!
(5) But nevertheless made us perfect because He wanted to be with us and us
with him.
(6) Who loved us from eternity.
(7) And then He’s the one we turn around from and ignore, insult, try to
hide from.
(8) What kind of reaction would you get from your boss, your friends, even
from those people who love you if you did that to them?
(C) When Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ was released in 2004,
there was much criticism of its depiction of Christ’s suffering.
(1) Some said it was too graphic.
(2) Others said that it was emotionally draining rather than spiritually
(3) Some discouraged parents from allowing young children to view it.
(4) Nonetheless, the film was impactful on many levels.
(5) For example, film critic Roger Ebert said it was “the most violent film
I have ever seen.”
(6) But as a former altar boy, he was also struck by the film, writing,
“What Gibson has provided for me, for the first time in my life, is a
visceral [you feel it in your guts] idea of what the Passion consisted of”
(Roger Ebert, “The Passion of the Christ,”, February 24,
2004, [accessed
August 29, 2023]).
(D) That “feel it in your guts” feeling expresses Christ’s substitutionary
death for sinners.
(1) He carried all of your sin and the sin of all humankind in His body at
the cross.
(2) He is your substitute:
a) the innocent for the guilty.
b) There He suffered in anguish and died in your place to satisfy God’s
wrath for your sins.
c) And that, together with His resurrection from the dead, not only insures
victory over sin, Satan, and death, but forgiveness, life, and salvation
also are now available through faith in him.
d) Ponder that!
(3) It’s profound because it creates a new relationship that we don’t fully
(A) Christ’s dying was all to reestablish that broken relationship with the
Lord God Almighty.
(1) Because God does not want to condemn us, He calls and enables us to
(2) The Holy Spirit leads us to have sorrow for our rebellion against the
Lord of heaven and earth and to believe “that sin has been forgiven and
grace has been obtained through Christ” (AC XII 3–6, Tappert, German).
(3) Now, then, Paul writes:
Romans 5:1-2,11 (NASB95)
1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through
our Lord Jesus Christ,
2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this
grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.
11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus
Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
(B) Paul describes God’s grace in Christ with two terms:
(1) justification and reconciliation.
(C) Paul’s words:
Romans 5:10 (NASB95)
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of
His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
(D) These words make Christ’s death on the cross very personal.
(1) It justifies us.
(2) Then justification results in peace with God, along with the peace of
God and hope.
(3) Peace signifies a new relationship, as does reconciliation.
(4) In much the same way that a citizen would be granted entrance into the
presence of a monarch, the grace of God is now accessible to us through
Christ and His work.
(E) Justification and reconciliation are the means by which God brings us
into fellowship with Himself, with Jesus, and with the Spirit.
(1) And so we experience the answer that negates Peter’s rebuke.
a) Christ gives us the reality of grace and peace.
b) We experience His forgiveness.
c) We desire to do better than to keep on sinning.
d) And when we repent, God forgives us of our sinful nature and all our
actual sins.
e) He forgives us for Jesus’ sake.
f) Christ is present in our lives by his Word and Sacrament. He is present
in His Word in all its forms.
g) He is present in His Word in the Holy Scriptures:
1) read,
2) spoken,
3) and expounded,
4) here among us.
h) He is present in His Word connected to the water of Holy Baptism:
1) which brings us into the kingdom of God,
2) creates faith,
3) and, as for Abraham and Sarah in the Old Testament Reading, gives us a
divine calling.
i) He is present in His Word of Holy Absolution:
1) which comforts us
2) and releases us from despair.
j) He is present in His Word:
1) which make the elements of bread and wine the Sacrament of the Holy
2) which nourishes us with his true body and his true blood given and shed
for us.
k) The crucified and risen Jesus is with us in:
1) every joy and sorrow,
2) every gain and loss,
3) every healing and illness,
4) every triumph and temptation!
(F) Do we always fully appreciate this new relationship established when
Christ died for the ungodly?
(4) It’s profound because it enables us to rejoice in something we do
understand all too well: sufferings.
(A) We don’t even need to explore our interior thoughts to find our
(1) The world dumps those thoughts on us quite often.
a) Aging,
b) illness,
c) stress to make ends meet.
d) Our values assaulted every day in the media and in the workplace.
e) Dad that’s not here anymore.
f) Kids that left in a huff.
g) A lonely apartment.
h) A dead-end job.
i) No job.
(2) Yet Paul writes:
Romans 5:3 (NASB95)
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that
tribulation brings about perseverance;
(3) Really?
(4) Even believers who know Christ died for the ungodly struggle with such
a message, especially when the struggles of daily life become overwhelming.
(5) Is this all a bunch of hype or is it real hope?
(B) “Hope” is the key word.
Romans 5:3–5 (NASB95)
3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that
tribulation brings about perseverance;
4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;
5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out
within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
(C) Hope flows out of our dependence on God’s grace.
(1) And this hope sustains us in difficult times because its object is the
glory of God, regardless of our circumstances.
(2) And it is real hope, not hype.
(3) It is certain because Christ died for the ungodly.
(4) He loves us that much.
(5) And since His death has:
a) reconciled us to God,
b) reestablished that relationship of peace with God,
c) it is therefore certain that He will be with us even in these most
difficult circumstances.
d) This, then, is how and why we can rejoice in our sufferings!


(A) Today’s Epistle directs our attention to the sufferings and death of
Christ as the supreme cost for our salvation.
Romans 5:6–8 (NASB95)
6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the
7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good
man someone would dare even to die.
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet
sinners, Christ died for us.
(B) Perhaps many who saw The Passion of the Christ were stunned by its
graphic content.
(1) Yet this is the staggering price Jesus paid to redeem us.
(C) Our Introit this morning reminded us that:
Psalm 115:11 (NASB95)
11 You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD; He is their help and their
(D) And again in today’s Psalm:
Psalm 22:24 (NASB95)
For [God] has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
Nor has He hidden His face from him; But when he cried to Him for help, He
(E) Why?
(1) Because Christ died for us, the ungodly, reconciling us to God.
(2) A profound reality indeed!
(F) Perhaps people are stunned by the staggering price Jesus paid to redeem
(1) The justifying and reconciling Passion, death, and resurrection of
Jesus enable us to hope in the glory of God even in the time of suffering.
(2) In his same Epistle to the Romans, Paul powerfully and perfectly
Romans 8:18 (NASB95)
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy
to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
(3) To be ours for eternity because Christ died for you, for me, the
ungodly. Amen.
(G) Let us pray:
As we journey through this season of reflection and repentance, remind us
of Your enduring mercy and steadfast love.
Help us to trust in Your promises, to proclaim Your deliverance and
salvation, not keeping it to ourselves but sharing it with the world You
came to save.
We pray for those among us who feel forsaken, who cry out in distress.
May they feel Your presence near, may they see Your light in their
Use us, Lord, to be bearers of Your comfort and peace, to share the hope
that comes from knowing You.
Strengthen us in this worship service to glorify You with all our hearts,
souls, and minds.
May our praises echo the faithfulness of those who have gone before us, and
may our lives reflect Your glory to a future generation.
In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, who lives and reigns
with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
(H) The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
(I) In the Name of the Father…Amen.


Sermon for 02.21.24

Sermon for Midweek of Lent 1
Theme: Sustained in Sickness
Text: Psalm 41:3
(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.

(B) Psalm 41:3 serves as our sermon text for this evening, which reads as
Psalm 41:3 (NASB95)
3 The LORD will sustain him upon his sickbed; In his illness, You restore
him to health.
This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

(C) Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus
Christ! Amen.

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

Lord Jesus, who came to Your own and they received You not, grant us Your
Spirit to glorify You in our hearts.

Enlighten our souls with this living knowledge that You are the power of
God and the wisdom of God, that we may never be offended in You, but may
hold Your righteousness in an unwavering faith, and may not be ashamed to
confess you before men.



1. King David said in the opening words of Psalm 41,
Blessed is the one who considers the poor!
In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him;
the Lord protects him and keeps him alive;
he is called blessed in the land;
You do not give him up to the will of his enemies.
2. Those words were the stuff of last week’s Ash Wednesday preaching.
3. In that sermon, I emphasized two things for you:
a. First, all of God’s Psalms—including Psalm 41—speak about our Lord and
His work of our salvation (Luke 24:44).
i. That is why God included the Psalms in His Scriptures:
they “bear witness,” said Jesus, “about Me” (John 5:39).
b. Second, because the Psalms are about Jesus, they are also about you.
i. You are the baptized of Christ.
ii. When you were baptized:
1) you entered into Christ’s holy body (Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 1:30)
just as surely as He entered yours (John 14:20; Galatians 2:20).
iii. You and your Christ are now joined together by God.
1) “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew
4. Tonight, as we move forward in Psalm 41, bear this thought in mind:
a. that the Psalms speak about you because they speak first about Jesus.
b. Your baptismal connection to Jesus can help you with these words from
Psalm 41:
“The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness You restore him to
full health.”
(I) First and foremost, Jesus is the one whom God the Father sustained on a
(A) To be sure, the Gospel writers never recorded anything about Jesus
suffering cancer, feeling the effects of lung disease, catching a cold, or
even striking His “foot against a stone” (Matthew 4:6).
(1) As far as the Gospels are concerned, our Lord was a picture of health,
right up to the moment of His arrest, always healing and never needing to
be healed.
(2) The human body of Jesus:
(a) was unblemished (1 Peter 1:19)
(b) and uncorrupted by disease because Jesus had no sin of His own (Hebrews
(3) Disease came into the world as a result of sin, and Jesus is personally
(4) Nonetheless, just because Jesus had no sin of His own, we should NOT
therefore think that He carried no sin at all in His body.
(B) He is the Lamb of God, who took upon Himself:
“the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
(C) Sinless Jesus was made to be the sinner for our sake.
(1) God the Father laid onto His perfect Son every corrupt thing about us
(Isaiah 53:6).
(2) Jesus held Himself personally responsible for our guilt;
(3) He made Himself to be the guilty one so that we could be:
“blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish” (Philippians
(4) That is why the Scriptures say God:
“made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the
righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
(D) Because Jesus took upon Himself all of our sin, He also took upon
Himself all the bodily effects of our sin, including our diseases and
(1) You might have a bad hip; you can find comfort in knowing that Jesus
bore the pain and hobbled for you in His Passion.
(2) You might have bad lungs; knowing that Jesus suffocated on the cross
can help you realize that you are not alone in your breathing problems.
(3) Isaiah declared, and Peter echoed, a promise from God concerning Jesus
that shall yet be fulfilled in our bodies:
“with His wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24).
(4) That is why David could pray in another place—and why we also can pray,
even in pain:
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives
all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from
the pit” (Psalm 103:2–4).
(5) David said in Psalm 41:
“The Lord sustains him on His sickbed; in his illness You restore him to
full health.”
(a) Those words describe God the heavenly Father’s personal attentiveness
toward Jesus, who is God the fully embodied Son.
(E) “The Lord sustains him on His sickbed.”
(1) A German artist named Matthias Grünewald painted a picture of our
Lord’s crucified body not merely pierced with the nails and the spear but
also pockmarked and discolored with a disease called the plague.
(2) Grünewald wanted us to think of our Lord’s cross as a sickbed, where
Jesus suffered for us and for our salvation, bearing both our sin and its
bodily consequences.
(F) David’s word, “sustains,” could also be translated as “upholds,” which
is a synonym.
(1) God said through His prophet Isaiah:
“Behold My Servant, whom I uphold, My chosen, in whom My soul delights”
(Isaiah 42:1).
(a) Some ancient artists depicted God the Father present at the crucifixion
of our Lord.
(b) In those depictions, the heavenly Father would sometimes be positioned
above and behind our Lord’s cross, arms outstretched toward Jesus, holding
His Son’s sacrificial body in place against the beam.
(c) Thus, God the Father upheld and sustained the incarnate Son “on His
sickbed,” as it were.
(A) “In his illness,” said David, “You restore him to full health.”
(1) Stated another way, God:
“raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope
are in God” (1 Peter 1:21).
(a) In the resurrection of our Lord, God the Father restored full health to
His Son, setting Him free from the weight of our sin and the burden of our
(b) The resurrection of our Lord’s flesh promises resurrection also to our
flesh because He made Himself one with us.
(2) That is why Job confidently prayed:
“After my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold” (Job 19:26–27).
(II) Because Psalm 41 is about Jesus, the same psalm is also about YOU, the
baptized of Christ.
(A) David said, for the purpose of your abiding faith and eternal hope:
“The Lord sustains him or her”—that is, the Lord sustains each of His
chosen ones—“on each person’s sickbed; in each Christian’s illness You, O
Lord restore him or her to full health” (verse 3, paraphrase).
(1) David’s “sustain,” or “uphold,” is a beautiful word!
(2) Jesus of Nazareth is the hand and Word of the Lord of hosts.
“The right hand of the Lord does valiantly, the right hand of the Lord
exalts!” (Psalm 118:15–16).
“Your right hand upholds me” (Psalm 63:8).
(3) Your Christ knows:
“how to sustain with a word him who is weary” (Isaiah 50:4).
(A) Are you, at this moment, a picture of health?
(1) If you are, you did NOT reach that temporary state through your own
effort or strength.
“The God of Israel—He is the one who gives power and strength to His
people” (Psalm 68:35).
(B) Is anyone among you sick?
(1) You did NOT get that way because of some accidental oversight in the
heavenly realms or because the Lord your God has forgotten you.
(2) If you are sick, it has been allowed by the attentive grace and
overflowing mercy of your God, who:
(a) “gives power to the faint” and
(b) “increases strength” (Isaiah 40:29).
(3) Even when we suffer in our bodies and struggle in our minds, Jesus is:
“sweetness to the soul and health to the body” (Proverbs 16:24).
(C) Has your dear Christian loved one died in the faith and departed this
(1) His illness was NOT his death, and her disease did NOT claim her life.
“The child is NOT dead,” said the Lord, “but sleeping” (Mark 5:39).
(D) Why is this all true?
(1) Because David’s words in Psalm 41 are faithful and true:
“The Lord sustains YOU on YOUR sickbed; in YOUR illness He restores YOU to
full health” (Isaiah 41:3 paraphrased). Amen.
(E) Let us pray:
Dear Father, thank You for Your infinite love and goodness toward us, Your
dear children.
Even when we are disciplined, we know You love us.
Keep us in Your Word, in faith and in prayer. Amen.
(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.


Sermon for 02.18.24 “Get behind me, Satan! I’m baptized!”

02.18.24 LENT 1
Text: Mark 1:9–15
Theme: “Get behind me, Satan! I’m baptized!”
Other Lessons: Genesis 22:1–18; Psalm 25:1–10; James 1:12–18

(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:
God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It LSB594:1-2


(A) When you experience temptation, say, “Get behind me, Satan! I’m
(1) This saying is often attributed to Martin Luther.
(2) They reflect his teaching on Baptism and resisting the devil.
(3) Even more importantly, they align with God’s Word.
(4) Peter wrote in his first epistle:
1 Peter 5:8–9 (NASB95)
8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls
around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of
suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.
(5) We daily face the evil one in a very real battle.
(6) Saying, “Get behind me, Satan! I’m baptized!” fits with Peter’s call to
resist him and stand firm in the faith.
(B) Peter, in fact, would have known this phrase, because he heard it from
Jesus himself during Jesus’ earthly ministry.
(1) It went like this:
(A) Peter had just given the good confession that Jesus is the Christ, the
Son of God.
(B) But when Jesus said this means he will be rejected by the religious
leaders, be killed, and rise after three days, this is what Peter did:
Matthew 16:22 (NASB95)
Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord!
This shall never happen to You.”
(C) Then came Jesus’ stinging rebuke to Peter, saying:
Mark 8:33 (NASB95)
But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said,
“Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s
interests, but man’s.”
(D) Yes, Peter knew these words, but they came from Jesus’ own lips to the
devil tempting him.
(C) The devil also tempts us to set our mind on the things of man and not
(1) He tempts us:
(A) to sin,
(B) to despair,
(C) to doubt God’s love and mercy.
(2) It’s a battle we face all the time, every day, from a hidden enemy.
(3) It’s why the Lord’s Prayer teaches us to pray, “Lead us not into
(D) “Get Behind Me, Satan! I’m Baptized!” is not a mere mantra or a
rabbit’s foot we hold on for good luck.
(1) It is a confession of faith in the very work of Jesus, who defeated the
(2) So how can we be so confident in saying this? Here’s how:
(I) Immediately after his Baptism, the Spirit drove Jesus into the
wilderness to be tempted by Satan.
(A) Mark, in his account of Jesus’ temptation, closely connects Jesus’
Baptism with his temptation.
(1) He writes that after his Baptism, the Spirit immediately hurled Jesus
into the wilderness, where Satan tempted him for forty days.
(2) The word “immediately” connects these two events.
(B) Here’s what happened:
(1) Jesus’ earthly ministry began as he was baptized by John in the Jordan
a) It was a Baptism for sinners.
b) That is important, as we’ll see.
c) When Jesus came out of the water, an amazing cosmic event took place.
d) Mark writes:
Mark 1:10-11 (NASB95)
Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the
Spirit like a dove descending upon Him;
11 and a voice came out of the heavens: “You are My beloved Son, in You I
am well-pleased.”
(2) The Father says this because Jesus has set in motion his messianic work
to save sinners.
a) He is baptized with the sinners’ Baptism.
b) He has come to be joined to our sinful condition.
c) This pleased the Father.
d) The Holy Spirit is also intimately involved as he now descends upon
Jesus, anointing him for his messianic mission.
(3) Jesus’ Baptism, therefore, was a huge inaugural event.
a) The Baptism of our Lord is a very significant part of God’s plan of
b) Jesus insisted:
1) on being baptized with sinners,
2) and the Father commends him for that
3) and the Holy Spirit anoints him for it.
c) The fulfillment of the messianic covenant, made long ago by Jeremiah and
other prophets, is now being fulfilled!
(4) “Immediately” after his Baptism, Mark writes, the Spirit literally
“hurls” or “drives” Jesus into the wilderness.
a) The words read like pushing a boxer into the ring to take on his
b) Matthew and Luke also make this connection between Jesus’ Baptism and
c) But Mark, by omitting the details of these temptations, really
emphasizes the connection.
d) Today’s Gospel helps us see this by putting both events in the same
(C) If Jesus’ Baptism:
(1) was the announcement that the Messiah had come to fulfill the covenant
God made to save sinners,
(2) that Jesus is who he says he is,
(3) then Jesus being hurled into the desert was a declaration of war
against Satan and the forces of evil.
(4) Yes, God had come to take on and defeat the devil!
(D) Once a declaration of war is issued, it is going to happen.
(1) You’re committed!
(2) In the United States, it takes a two-thirds vote of Congress to declare
war against an enemy.
(3) In the battle against sin and evil, there’s unanimous consent of the
a) Father, Son, and Holy Spirit at the Baptism of Jesus.
b) The evil enemy will be attacked.
c) The Holy Spirit immediately drives Jesus into the wilderness to take on
the devil.
(II) Jesus’ Baptism and temptation reached fulfillment on the cross in
triumph over Satan.
(A) Now this was a very strange battle plan.
(1) Mark’s account simply says that out in the wild Satan was tempting
Jesus for forty days.
(2) Imagine what a spiritually immature Peter might have said.
(3) Perhaps something like:
a) “Come on, God.
b) Knock this guy out!
c) Don’t put up with this.
d) He’s no match for you!”
(B) Yet Jesus suffers Satan’s temptations for forty days.
(1) Why did he do this?
(2) It’s all part of God’s plan to save sinners.
(3) Jesus must suffer temptation with and for us.
(4) He does this for forty days.
(5) He’s the promised Messiah who took the place of Israel, which fell into
sin and unbelief.
(6) The Old Testament records that the people of Israel:
a) yielded to temptation,
b) refused to believe that the Lord really could, really would bring them
into the Promised Land.
c) They had to wander forty years in the wilderness as a result for their
(7) But Jesus never yielded.
a) He never fell to temptation.
b) He trusted that God would provide for him.
c) The writer of the book of Hebrews says it this way:
Hebrews 4:15 (NASB95)
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses,
but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
(C) After the forty days, however, the devil didn’t stop.
(1) Luke writes:
Luke 4:13 (NASB95)
When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an
opportune time.
(2) He would hide his attacks.
(3) He would come at Jesus as he did through Peter during his earthly
(4) As he did at the cross, when hecklers taunted:
Mark 15:30–31 (NASB95)
30 save Yourself, and come down from the cross!”
31 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes, were
mocking Him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save
(5) All were still Satan’s attacks, tempting Jesus to abandon his mission
to save sinful humankind.
(D) The final attack by the devil on Jesus was at the cross, where the war
had its crucial battle.
(1) There, Jesus’ Baptism would reach its fulfillment.
Mark 10:39 (NASB95)
They said to Him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I
drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with
which I am baptized.
(2) When Jesus says:
Mark 15:37 (NASB95)
37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry [it is finished], and breathed His last
(cf. Jn 19:30)
a) the battle is over;
b) the war is won.

(3) He descends into hell, as Paul writes:
Colossians 2:15 (NASB95)
When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display
of them, having triumphed over them through Him.
a) After the triumphal procession in hell, Jesus rose from the dead on the
third day.
b) His resurrection announced to the world God’s victory over sin, death,
and, yes, the devil!
(III) As Satan tempts you, let the Spirit drive you to your Baptism into
Christ, who defeated him, so that you confidently say, “Get behind me,
Satan! I’m baptized.”
(A) “Get behind me, Satan! I’m baptized!” is not a mere mantra.

(1) It’s a confession of faith that Jesus defeated the devil.
(2) A Christian can confidently say this because Baptism gives the promise
of that victory to you.
(3) The Baptism of Jesus resulted in the defeat of Satan.
(4) Your Baptism into Jesus’ death and resurrection promises that same for
you (cf Rom 6:3–4).
(B) This is why telling Satan to get lost, that you are baptized, is a good
strategy. It’s why singing a hymn like “God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It”
(“I am baptized into Christ!”) is a good practice.
(1) Stanza three of that hymn declares:
Satan, hear this proclamation:
I am baptized into Christ!
Drop your ugly accusation,
I am not so soon enticed.
Now that to the font I’ve traveled,
All your might has come unraveled,
And, against your tyranny,
God, my Lord, unites with me!” (LSB594:3)
(C) In his book Grace upon Grace: Spirituality for Today, John Kleinig
describes the devil as a “hidden enemy” and the spiritual warfare the
Christian endures as “the hidden battle.”
(1) He compares the attack of Satan on the conscience of a believer to the
sneak attacks endured by United States soldiers in the war in Vietnam,
where the enemy often hid from sight in tunnels underground.
(2) He writes [quote]:
a) They were often confused and frustrated because there was no clear line
of battle.
b) The soldiers never knew who their enemies were and where they were
c) Enemies would appear as if from nowhere, emerging from secret tunnels
and disappearing in them once they lost their cover.
d) This meant that the U.S. soldiers could rarely take the offensive;
mostly they discovered the enemy only when they came under attack.
e) That’s how it is with us.
f) There are no clear lines of battle that join us with our allies and
separate us from our enemy.
g) The enemy is hidden from us.
h) The attack comes from inside us, our conscience. (John Kleinig, Grace
upon Grace [St. Louis: Concordia, 2008], 224) [end quote]
(D) But Jesus took on this enemy.
(1) His presence drew the devil out of hiding.
(2) Jesus encountered the devil directly in the wilderness and successfully
endured his temptations, remaining holy and without sin.
(3) Jesus’ death on the cross to pay for the sins of the world disarmed the
enemy, enabling the Christian who trusts in the saving death and
resurrection of Christ to have a clean conscience, protected from the sneak
attacks of the enemy.

(A) You need such a strategy because the devil, though defeated, is still
on the prowl.

(1) When an enemy is defeated in war, the leaders of the defeated country
are to meet with the victor to acknowledge defeat and ask for terms of
(2) In John 8:44 (NASB95), we hear this of the devil:
“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your
father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the
truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks
from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
(3) The devil acts as though he is not defeated, even though God has
declared it to be so.
(4) For now, God allows this.
(5) So Satan still goes about prowling and seeking whom he may devour with
his temptations, accusations, and lies.
(B) But when he tempts you to doubt that Jesus completely paid for all of
your sin, say, “Get behind me, Satan! I’m baptized!”
(C) When the devil tempts you to despair, thinking life is hopeless, when
he tempts you to indulge your sinful nature, say, “Get behind me, Satan!
I’m baptized!”
(D) When you fall and he accuses you of guilt before God, say, “Get behind
me, Satan! I’m baptized!”
(E) Therefore, when you face any of these attacks, you can confidently say,
“Get behind me, Satan! I’m baptized!”
(F) Now, though, a time is coming when you’ll no longer need such a
(1) Jesus has promised to rend the heavens again and come down a second
(2) When that happens, the devil will no longer be on the prowl.
(3) The devil will be cast out from the earth and:
Revelation 20:14 (NASB95)
Then [he and] death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is
the second death, the lake of fire.
(G) Until that time, you and I would do well, in the face of Satan’s
temptations, to look to the promise of Jesus’ victory in our Baptism and
say, “Get behind me, Satan! I am baptized!” Amen.
(H) Let us pray:
God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It LSB594:4-5
(I) The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
(J) In the Name of the Father…Amen.


Sermon for Ash Wednesday 02.14.24 “Mutual consideration”

Sermon for Ash Wednesday 2024

Text: Psalm 41 (in its entirety)
Old Testament: Joel 2:12–19
Epistle: 2 Corinthians 5:20b–6:10
Gospel: Matthew 6:1–6, 16–21
Theme: Mutual Consideration
Psalm 41:1–2

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.

(B) Psalm 41:1-2 serves as our sermon text for this evening.

(C) Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus
Christ! Amen.

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

Lord Jesus, who came to Your own and they received You not, grant us Your
Spirit to glorify You in our hearts.

Enlighten our souls with this living knowledge that You are the power of
God and the wisdom of God, that we may never be offended in You, but may
hold Your righteousness in an unwavering faith, and may not be ashamed to
confess you before men.



(A) Psalm 41 will be the focus of our attention during this season of Lent.
(B) David said in the opening words of that psalm:
Psalm 41:1–2 (NASB95)
1 How blessed is he who considers the helpless; The LORD will deliver him
in a day of trouble.
2 The LORD will protect him and keep him alive, And he shall be called
blessed upon the earth; And do not give him over to the desire of his
(C) Those words from David are like a man who painted a portrait of his
friend, and then the two switched places, and his friend painted a portrait
of him.
(D) Here is what is meant by that:

(1) “Blessed is the one who considers the poor!”
(A) David’s word, “considers,” can also be translated as “pays attention”
or “focuses upon” or “thinks about intently.”
(1) When you paint someone’s portrait, you must first look intently upon
that person, studying his or her features very closely.
(2) When David said, “Blessed is the one who considers,” he was talking
about someone who gives careful, attentive thought to something.
(3) David also spoke in the singular, not in the plural:
a) “Blessed is the ONE who considers the poor [ONE]”;
b) “Blessed is the INDIVIDUAL who considers the poor INDIVIDUAL”;
c) “Blessed is the PERSON who considers the poor PERSON.”
(B) Those singulars are important.
(1) Someone could argue that David was generalizing or making a sweeping
statement that applies to everyone.
(2) However, David could have easily said,
a) “Blessed is everyone who considers anyone who is poor.”
b) But David did NOT say that.
c) David wrote in the singular on purpose.
d) He wanted us to think in singular on purpose.
e) “Blessed is the ONE who considers the poor [ONE].”
f) Those words boil the entire world down to only two people.
(C) Who are those two people?

(1) You are one of them.
(2) Who is the other? Jesus.
a) That is the entire point of tonight’s sermon.
b) You and Jesus are like a person who painted a portrait of a friend and
then switched places so the friend could paint a portrait of the person.
(D) Jesus is the poor man you shall be eternally blessed to consider, focus
upon, and always bear in mind.
(1) That is why the Book of Hebrews talks about:
Hebrews 12:2 (NASB95)
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the
joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down
at the right hand of the throne of God.
(E) You also are the poor person whom Christ Jesus, our Lord, carefully
considered, bore in mind, acted on behalf of, and was declared blessed for
(1) As Jesus said to John in the Book of Revelation:
Revelation 2:9 (NASB95)
‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the
blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue
of Satan.
(2) I know all this sounds a bit strange that you and Jesus are both the
poor person, and that both of you are the person who shall be blessed for
considering the poor. Here is why that strange thing is true:
(A) In one way or another, all of God’s psalms—including Psalm 41—speak
about our Lord and His work of salvation on our behalf
Luke 24:44 (NASB95)
Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was
still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of
Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
(1) That is why God included the Psalms in His Scriptures:
John 5:39 (NASB95)
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal
life; it is these that testify about Me.
(B) Because the Psalms are about Jesus, they are also about you:
(1) You are, after all, the baptized of Christ.
(2) When you were baptized, you were joined into Christ’s holy body (Romans
12:5; 1 Corinthians 1:30) just as surely as He joined yours (John 14:20;
Galatians 2:20).
(3) You and Christ are now joined together as one flesh (Ephesians
Matthew 19:6 (NASB95)
“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined
together, let no man separate.”
(C) Here’s what happened at your Baptism:
(1) Your Lord’s perfection became yours, your sins became His (1 Peter
(2) His strength became yours, your weakness became His (2 Corinthians
(3) His life became yours, your death became His (Romans 6:4).
(4) Truly a blessed exchange!
(5) The words of the Scriptures that speak about you became applicable to
Jesus, and the words that speak about Jesus became applicable to you.
(6) Because you are:
2 Peter 1:4 (NASB95)
4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises,
so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having
escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
(7) Therefore every Scripture passage about Jesus is also about you.
(8) Your inseparable, eternal, baptismal unity with Christ is why Jesus is
the poor man whom you shall be blessed to consider AND why you are the poor
person whom Jesus likewise considered.
(9) Psalm 41 speaks of mutual consideration: “Blessed is the one who
considers the poor!”
a) Those words are like a person who painted a portrait of a friend, then
the two switched places, and the friend painted a portrait of the person.
b) You and Jesus are those friends.
(3) Why then did Jesus give Himself up?:
Mark 8:31 (NASB95)
31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things
and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be
killed, and after three days rise again.
(A) Jesus did so because He always “considers the poor.”

(B) It is written elsewhere in Scripture:
Psalm 9:12 (NASB95)
For He who requires blood remembers them; He does not forget the cry of the
Psalm 34:15 (NASB95)
The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous And His ears are open to
their cry.

Psalm 34:6 (NASB95)
This poor (that is, afflicted) man cried, and the LORD heard him And saved
him out of all his troubles.
(1) All these passages describe our Lord’s consideration toward you, His
“poor” one.
(C) What key words do the Scriptures use to describe the nature of our
Lord’s consideration toward you?

(1) They use such words as:
a) pity,
b) compassion,
c) mercy,
d) Grace
Acts 15:11 (NASB95)
“But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in
the same way as they also are.”
Jude 21 (NASB95)
keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our
Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.
Micah 7:19 (NASB95)
He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under
foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea.
Mark 1:41 (NASB95)
Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and
said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.”
(D) So Jesus is the blessed man who considers the poor one.
(1) In Psalm 41, David prophesied the great blessing and reward that Jesus
received precisely because He “considers the poor” one and:
Isaiah 53:12 (NASB95)
Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide
the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was
numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And
interceded for the transgressors.
Psalm 41:2 (HCSB)
The LORD will keep him and preserve him; he will be blessed in the land.
You will not give him over to the desire of his enemies.
(E) Those are the words of resurrection:
John 6:68 (NASB95)
Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of
eternal life.
(F) Because Jesus considered our poverty:
(1) By paying attention to us,
(2) By focusing upon us,
(3) And by thinking intently about our needs and then acting on them
(4) Therefore because Jesus considered our poverty, God:
1 Peter 1:21 (NASB95)
who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave
Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
(G) God the Father so completely and profoundly raised Jesus from the dead
that David could look from afar, in the prophetic distance of history, and
Psalm 41:2 (NASB95)
The LORD will protect him and keep him alive, And he shall be called
blessed upon the earth; And do not give him over to the desire of his
(H) The resurrection of our Lord also indicates that the heavenly Father
did NOT give Jesus up:
“to the desire of his enemies.”
(1) Through His death and resurrection, rather, Jesus gained eternal
victory over every enemy.
(2) Thus, Jesus is indeed blessed—and is called blessed in the land of
eternal life—precisely because He “considers the poor.”
(4) Now switch places with Jesus and paint a portrait of your friend Jesus,
as it were:
(A) Jesus is the poor man whom you shall be eternally blessed to consider,
focus upon, and always bear in mind.
2 Corinthians 8:9 (NASB95)
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich,
yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might
become rich.
Matthew 8:20 (NASB95)
Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have
nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
Luke 2:7 (NASB95)
And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and
laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Matthew 27:59–60 (NASB95)
59 And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and
he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away.
Philippians 2:6–7 (NASB95)
6 [Jesus], who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard
equality with God a thing to be grasped,
7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in
the likeness of men.
(A) “Blessed is the one who considers the poor!”
(1) What key words do the Scriptures use to describe the nature of your
consideration—that is, your faithful attention—toward Jesus?
(2) How about such words as faith, hope, and trust?
Psalm 20:7 (NASB95)
Some TRUST in chariots and some in horses, But we will TRUST in the name of
the LORD, our God.
Romans 5:5 (NASB95)
and HOPE does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out
within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Galatians 2:20 (NASB95)
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but
Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by
FAITH in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.


(A) So you will be counted among the blessed when you consider the poverty
of your Lord Jesus, just as surely as Jesus Himself was blessed because He
considered your poverty.
(1) That is the promise of God, spoken through David in Psalm 41:
(A) Blessed are you who consider the poverty of your Christ, whose poverty
has made you rich in every way.
(B) How is it that you shall be blessed? David explained it this way:
Psalm 41:1–2 (GW)
1 Blessed is the one who has concern for helpless people. The LORD will
rescue him in times of trouble.
2 The LORD will protect him and keep him alive. He will be blessed in the
land. Do not place him at the mercy of his enemies.
(C) In the resurrection of all flesh on the Last Day, the Lord your God
shall make it so, and more. Amen.
(D) Let us pray:
Dear Father, thank You for Your infinite love and goodness toward us, Your
dear children.
Even when we are disciplined, we know You love us.
Keep us in Your Word, in faith and in prayer. Amen.
(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 02.11.24 “The light of Christ”

The Transfiguration of Our Lord
Text: Exodus 34:29–35
Theme: The light of Christ
Other Lessons: 2 Kings 2:1–12 (alternate); Psalm 50:1–6;
2 Corinthians 3:12–13 (14–18); 4:1–6; Mark 9:2–9

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.
(B) Exodus 34, verses 29-35, serves as our sermon text for this morning
which reads as follows:
Exodus 34:29–35 (NASB95)
29 It came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai (and the two
tablets of the testimony were in Moses’ hand as he was coming down from the
mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because
of his speaking with Him.
30 So when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of
his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.
31 Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers in the
congregation returned to him; and Moses spoke to them.
32 Afterward all the sons of Israel came near, and he commanded them to do
everything that the LORD had spoken to him on Mount Sinai.
33 When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face.
34 But whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with Him, he would
take off the veil until he came out; and whenever he came out and spoke to
the sons of Israel what he had been commanded,
35 the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’
face shone. So Moses would replace the veil over his face until he went in
to speak with Him.
This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
(C) Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
Your Son Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.
(D) Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
Most Holy and Merciful God, who guides us through the journeys of life and
calls us to follow You into the unknown, we come before You this day with
hearts open to Your presence and guidance.
As Elisha followed Elijah with determination, knowing that a moment of
parting was near, grant us the courage to follow where You lead, even when
the path is uncertain.
Lord, we remember the chariots of fire and the whirlwind that took Elijah
up to heaven, a powerful reminder of Your majesty and the mysteries that
lie beyond our understanding.
Like Elisha, who witnessed the ascent of his mentor and received a double
portion of his spirit, we too seek Your empowerment to serve You faithfully.
On this Transfiguration Sunday, we are reminded of Your transformative
power that changed the appearance of Your Son on the mountaintop, revealing
His divine nature to His disciples.
We ask that You would transform us, that our lives might better reflect the
glory and love of Christ.


(A) Jesus is “___________ ____________________ _______________ __________
_____________________” (John 8:12)!
(1) In Him we see both God and ourselves as we really are, for the Lord
Jesus is the light, as well as the way, the truth, and the life (John
(2) Today, on this Transfiguration Sunday, we see this illustrated in a
most dramatic way! We see in shining glory how Jesus Lights Up Our Lives.
(B) _________________ and ________________ tend to go together, as do the
opposing concepts of darkness, deceit, and peril.
(1) All of us are aware of the problem of darkness.
(2) Most of us have stumbled in the dark and have a healthy and proper fear
of the darkness—especially in unfamiliar situations and environments where
danger can be anticipated.
(3) Scripture speaks of spiritual light and darkness and warns us:
2 Corinthians 4:3–4 (NASB95)
3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are
4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the
unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory
of Christ, who is the image of God.
(C) Unfortunately, we can also be __________________________ by light.
(1) Television commercials try to sell us special visors and glasses that
filter out the blinding glare that renders our sight useless in averting
(2) Our sermon text for this morning deals with both of these conditions on
the opposite sides of the spectrum—blinding and giving vision.
(I) The light of God’s ___________________ and ________________ was
shining brightly in his covenant communicated to Moses.
(A) Our text takes place almost a millennium-and-a-half before Jesus’
(1) Is it possible that Jesus was __________________________ up the lives
of God’s people already way back then?
(B) The Jewish people have a special word to describe God’s glorious
presence that is seen and yet also “clouded.”
(1) That word is shekinah, which means:
(a) A manifestation of God’s personal _________________________ which took
the form of a cloud.
(b) This cloud usually appears in the Old Testament in reference to the
tabernacle and temple.
(2) God is omnipresent, that is, present everywhere.
(a) David affirms this fact in Psalm 139.
(b) Yet God’s special and more personal presence is revealed to us in many
historical accounts in the Bible.
(c) One of the first is His confrontation with Adam and Eve when they fell
into sin.
(d) Another is God’s encounter with Moses from the bush that burned but was
not consumed (Exodus 3:2–4).
(C) In the construction of the ark of the covenant, God promised that His
special presence would dwell between the two sculpted images of the angelic
cherubim that adorned the mercy seat of that altar-like piece of sacred
(1) Even that was to be seen only by a prescribed priest behind a curtain.
(2) Anyone who would presume to come into God’s special presence that did
not follow these God-given instructions was subject to instantaneous death.
(D) Today’s sermon text recounts how Moses was given the privilege to come
into the special presence of God and how it caused his face to radiate with
a special bright light as a result of that encounter.

(1) Moses has been up on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments:
(a) for a second time, by the way, since earlier he shattered the two
tablets of stone when he saw Israel shattering the commandments themselves
by worshiping the golden calf.
(b) Moses has been face to face with God, and now, for the children of
Israel, even this reflection of God’s glory on Moses’ face was more than
they could look at with steadfastness.
(c) It might be likened to driving with the intense light of the rising or
setting sun in one’s eyes.
(E) So Moses put on a covering or veil to shield the people from the
brightness . . . and also so that their appreciation of the God-given
authority with which he spoke would not falter when the glow on his face
would lose some of its luster over time, until it was “recharged” by
another intimate meeting with God.
(1) In this and the other encounters mentioned beforehand, God is hidden
and revealed at one and the same time.
(2) The _______________________ shines, but God must veil His glory so that
the people not be blinded.
(F) No human can look at God in the fullness of His glory and live.
(1) Thus God uses what Luther called “_______________________” to shield
sin-ridden humans from His unapproachable light.
(a) They give us glimpses of what we can understand about God but hide that
which is too profound for us to take in.
(2) Luther speaks about God’s revealed will and his mysterious ways when he
says [quote]:
(a) Thus Christ says to Peter: “What I am doing you do not know now (the
foot washing account found in John 13:7).
(b) You want to anticipate me and to teach me what I must do.
(c) You are making a big mistake.
(d) For it is your duty to bear and endure my hand.
(e) Let me do as I please.
(f) Afterwards you will know and understand what I have intended.” . . .
(g) This, then, is the way the saints are governed and the wisdom of the
church of God, namely, that they are not scandalized by the counsels of God
or offended by the face with which he meets us. . . .
(h) He is indeed the God of life, glory, salvation, joy and peace; and this
is the true face of God.
(i) But sometimes he covers it and puts on another mask by which he offers
himself to us as the God of wrath, death, and hell. . . .
(j) [T]his is done in order that you may be humbled, that you may endure
and wait for the hand of the Lord and the revelation of his face. (AE
8:30–31) [end quote].
(G) It might take a while for people to see the Ten Command­ments as a path
to joy and freedom rather than bondage.
(1) It might have taken God’s people time to see the outlines of the Gospel
in the required sacrificial offerings and days to be observed.
(2) It most certainly was a challenge to see the hand of the all-powerful
and loving God in the time of the bondage in Egypt.
(3) Moses and his message were given a hearing by the people because he was
attested by signs and wonders.
(4) Through him, God brought plagues upon the Egyptians, inducing them to
let God’s people go.
(5) And by God’s power, Moses led Israel in the miraculous crossing of the
Red Sea that finalized their deliverance from what was one of the most
powerful military powers of that day—after the Israelites had surely
imagined the Egyptians would slaughter them.
(6) God’s people have always been called upon to __________________
______________ ______________________and _________________________ rather
than by mere human reasoning based on sight and current philosophies.
(H) There is yet another significant point to be made about Moses’
encounters with God.
(1) Often the Old Testament refers to God manifesting Himself to people by
sight or sound.
(a) These appearances are what are known as theophanies.
(2) Many other times the Old Testament describes what we call
angelophanies—appearances of what the texts call “the angel of the Lord.”
(a) A number of theologians (especially Lutheran ones) have come to realize
from a more careful and intense study of the Scriptures that most all of
these appearances are, in reality, Christophanies.
(b) That is, these were encounters with the preincarnate Christ.
(c) It was most likely ________________________—fourteen centuries before
He was born in Bethlehem—whom Moses was meeting face to face.
(I) The Old Testament constantly points forward to the fulfillment of God’s
great plan of salvation in the promised Messiah.
(1) While the picture of God’s plan of salvation is most clearly seen in
its fulfillment in the person and work of Jesus, God’s gracious and
redemptive work is already there to behold in the Old Testament sacrifices
and prophecies of God’s spokesmen.
(2) Salvation has __________________________ been the work of our gracious
God and fulfilled only through the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
(J) Moses wrote that God would not abandon his created people to be taken
over by Satan and his evil angels, but that he would raise up a “seed of
woman” (cf Genesis 3:15) to overcome Satan (identified in Revelation 12:9).
(1) That “seed of woman” was none other than our Lord Jesus, born of the
virgin Mary.
(K) So while it often seems that the Old Testament covenant was primarily a
promise that God would grant His people blessings as a nation___________
________________ _____________________if they lived under His Lordship,
that covenant was actually already shining brightly the light of
God’s________________________ __________________________ and love in
(1) Old Testament believers already had faith that God would raise them
from the dead (Hebrews 11:17–19).
(2) Job, who belonged to the time of the patriarchs, beautifully expressed
that faith that God would raise him from the dead when he declared those
familiar words we hear at funerals and at Easter:
Job 19:25–27 (NASB95)
25 “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take
His stand on the earth.
26 “Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God;
27 Whom I myself shall behold, And whom my eyes will see and not another.
My heart faints within me!
(II) The ________________________of God’s grace and love was shining even
more brightly in Jesus and His transfiguration.
(A) Jesus knew what awaited Him as he made his way to Jerusalem for the
final time.
(1) He knew that it would jolt the disciples whom He had prepared for three
years to broadcast the Gospel throughout the world.
(2) So He gave three of those disciples—Peter, James, and John—a revelation
of Himself that was unforgettable and at the same time spectacular.
(a) There, on the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus’ appearance was suddenly
altered (that is, “transfigured”; Greek: metamorphoō)
Mark 9:3 (NASB95)
and His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on
earth can whiten them.
(3) And standing there with Jesus were Moses and Elijah.
(a) How the three disciples came to recognize Moses and Elijah is not
explained in the biblical account, but to have such spiritual hall of
famers support Jesus’ claim to be the one and only prophesied Messiah
cannot be dismissed as anything less than amazing.
(b) The glorious light that emanated from Jesus’ body and even His attire
was absolutely remarkable.
(B) People often struggle with what Luther called the “____________________
________________ _______________ __________________.”
(1) We naturally would prefer the painless “__________________________
_______________ _____________________.”
(2) Although Jesus explicitly told his disciples three times about the
betrayal, persecution, and death that awaited Him in Jerusalem, the
disciples did not process that until after His resurrection.

(3) Likewise, the prophecies from the Hebrew Scriptures about these matters
were only understood by them after they saw Jesus overcome the horrors
inflicted upon Him at the hand of the Romans and the political corruption
of the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem.
(a) The signs and wonders that had astounded them were temporarily
dismissed from their minds in the fears and utter dismay and defeat they
(b) they were seeing the one upon whom they’d pinned their lives’ ambitions
being tortured and humiliated on the cross!
(c) But when Jesus rose again from the dead and demonstrated His victory
over death, the devil, and the grave, when He ascended in a breathtaking
manner, the spiritual pilot lights within the disciples burned brightly.
(d) The three disciples undoubtably told the rest of their colleagues about
the transfiguration of Jesus they had witnessed, and in God’s perfect time
they departed from Jerusalem to the uttermost parts of the known world—and
turned it upside down.
(III) The light of God’s grace and love will shine ___________________
_____________________when Jesus inaugurates his eternal kingdom.
(A) Sometimes our light burns brightest to those around us when we
encounter and endure hardship and challenges.
(1) But certainly the light of God’s grace and love will shine brightest of
all when Jesus brings about His eternal kingdom.
(B) John, one of the witnesses to Jesus’ transfiguration, authored five New
Testament books.
(1) He speaks of the light of Christ that will never ________________ or be
Revelation 21:23 (NASB95)
And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the
glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.
(C) Jesus says to His church here and scattered throughout the world:
Matthew 5:14–16 (NASB95)
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;
15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the
lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your
good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
(1) As the __________________ reflects the light of the sun, so
_________________reflect the light of the Son, that is, the light of the
Lord Jesus Christ, who is very God of very God.
(2) May we shine ______________________________and be used by God’s Spirit
to aid in the rescue of people who without the Gospel light will exist
forever in the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of


(A) Moses’ shining face as he descended from Mount Sinai (Exodus 34:29–32)
was a powerful reflection of the light and glory of the Lord:
(1) the way few on earth would see it until Jesus’ own transfiguration.
(2) But in a lesser but as powerful way, people can see God’s light in His
(B) There is the joy and peace that only Jesus and His Spirit can produce
in us.
(1) Satan will try to imitate it, but he cannot duplicate it!
(A) Why? The momentary high from selfishness and wickedness is no match for
that which comes from God in our obedience to him.
(2) Once there was a country with a king.
(A) Whenever the king was at home, in residence in his palace, a flag was
waving over it, signaling that the king was there.
(B) May we all reflect the King of kings living in us like that of waving a
flag over us and thus show forth the light of Christ. Amen.
(C) Let us pray:
Lord, as we witness the changing of the seasons and the wonders of Your
creation, remind us of the continual process of transformation within our
own lives and in the world around us.
Empower us, O God, to be agents of change, to carry forward the legacy of
faith passed down through generations, and to proclaim Your love and
justice in all that we say and do.
Bless our time of worship today.
May it be a reflection of our desire to draw closer to You and to be
transformed by that encounter.
Open our hearts to receive Your Word which You have given, that we may
leave this place renewed and ready to walk in the paths of righteousness
for Your name’s sake.
In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, who reveals Your glory to us and
guides us on our journey, we pray.
(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 02.04.24 “The Jesus Club?”

Epiphany 5

Text: 1 Corinthians 9:16–27

Theme: The Jesus Club?

Other Lessons: Isaiah 40:21–31; Psalm 147:1–11; Mark 1:29–39

A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.

B. The Epistle 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.

D. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
Almighty and everlasting God, who governs all things in heaven and on
earth, mercifully hear the prayers of Your people and grant us Your peace
through all our days;
through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and
the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


A. You may be familiar with a movie called The Breakfast Club.
1. The whole movie takes place in one day, specifically, March 24, 1984,
when five students from Shermer High School have to report at 7:00
a.m.—hence Breakfast Club—on a Saturday for all-day detention.
2. A voice-over at the beginning describes the five as “a brain, an
athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal.”
3. That’s what makes the movie so good—that these five students are so
4. If it weren’t for detention, this quintet would never be in the same
room, let alone speak to one another.
5. What makes the movie so profound—profound enough is that they not only
talk but also joke, argue, laugh, cry, and become great friends.
6. So, here’s a question: Why did that not happen before?

B. If you’ve been to high school (and in one sense I’m not sure we ever
truly get out), you know the answer.
1. Because when your identity, your who-you-are, is a brain or an athlete
or a basket case or a princess or a criminal, you hang out with the brains
or the athletes or the basket cases or the princesses or the criminals:
a. because if you don’t, if you fail to live up to the expectations of
those groups, those tribes, those cliques, then you risk getting the boot,
thereby having no identity at all, and eating your cafeteria Tater Tots all
by yourself!
2. So what happened with the Breakfast Club?
3. Well, they got a new identity, specifically one as detainees, a new
common identity that eclipses all those others and freed them, in this
case, to be friends.

(3) Freed just the way Paul was and we are . . . kind of.

A. Imagine a pre-Damascus-road Paul as a student at “Shermer High School”
(this serves as a metaphor for a world in which we’re enslaved to one
identity or another).

(1) What’s his group/tribe/clique?
A. A Jew?
B. A Phar¬i¬see?
C. Top of his class?
D. Zealous enforcer?
E. Maybe he is all the above!
Philippians 3:4–6 (NASB95)
4 although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else
has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more:
5 circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of
Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee;
6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is
in the Law, found blameless.

2 Corinthians 11:22–29 (NASB95)
22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they
descendants of Abraham? So am I.
23 Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more
labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in
danger of death.
24 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes.
25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was
shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep.
26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from
robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in
the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among
false brethren;
27 I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in
hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
28 Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of
concern for all the churches.
29 Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my
intense concern?

(2) Before Jesus met him on the way to Damascus:
A. these are what Saul was,
B. what drove his every action and interaction,
C. and without which there was no Saul.

B. Imagine yourself for a moment at “Shermer High School.”

A. What’s your group/tribe/clique?

B. Perhaps try to answer some diagnostic questions to help identify the
tribe from which you get your “who am I?”
1. Whose approval do you need or crave?
2. Whose disapproval would crush you?
3. Whom would you most like to see fail?
a. Admit it! There are some you would like to see fail!
4. If you’re exhausted right now, is it because you feel you can’t keep up?
a. And, if so, with whom are you trying to keep up?

C. It is hard to see and admit (confess!) how we get enslaved to the
expectations of:
1. the brains,
2. athletes,
3. basket cases,
4. prin¬ces¬ses,
5. criminals, and so on—but we do.

D. Often those who most deny it are the ones most enslaved.

(2) Paul says in verse 19 of our text:
For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so
that I may win more.

A. What happened to Paul so that he could recognize his earlier life as
Jew/top-notch-Pharisee/enforcer to be slavery to the

(1) Jesus!
A. Jesus is what happened to him.
B. Jesus transformed Saul!

(2) Jesus showed up and gave him a new identity!
A. The risen Jesus gave him a sure identity, surer than death!
B. The gracious Jesus gave him an identity he didn’t have to
prove/earn/virtue signal again and again!
C. The forgiving Jesus gave him an identity he can’t mess up!
D. Priceless treasure that is Jesus gave him an identity that made all the
other stuff pulling his strings and that he’d thought was so important look
like a pile of rubbish (Philippians 3:8).

B. Just like you!

A. All the same is true of you!

B. Who are you?
1. A brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, a criminal.
2. No—at least not first, and definitely not only!

C. Instead, your name tag reads:
1. Baptized Child of God!
2. Eternally beloved!
3. Fully forgiven!

C. Illustration about a name tag:

A. Imagine you are wearing a name tag.
1. Name tags tell other people who we are.
2. That’s why mine says Pastor Bacic.
3. Imagine you had a name tag with lots of other stuff on it besides your
4. Like mine says:
a. I’m a man,
b. my favorite food is fried chicken from Popeyes,
c. and I love watching hockey!

B. In the reading from 1 Corinthians 9, people in the church were not
getting along with each other.
1. They’ll only be friends with people just like them.
2. So let’s pretend we’re all wearing our name tags this morning.
3. And I’m trying to figure out with whom I can be friends.
4. Let’s say I look at my name tag, and I say:
a. “I’m a man, so I can only be friends with other men.”
5. Then I’d look at all of you and say:
a. “I can be friends with you and you and you, because you’re all men.
b. But I can’t be friends with you or you or you because you’re women.”
6. I’d miss out on a whole bunch of people, wouldn’t I!

C. Then I’d look at my name tag again and say:
1. “I’m rooting for the Detroit Red Wings hockey team, so I can only be
friends with Detroit Red Wings fans.”
2. How many of you men will be rooting for Detroit when they play again?
3. Well, I’d look at your name tags and say:
a. “I can be friends with you because you’re Detroit Red Wings fans, but I
can’t be friends with the rest of you men, because your name tags say
you’re rooting for the Dallas Stars.”
b. You go sit over there with the women.
c. Again, I’d be missing out on a lot more friends, wouldn’t I!

D. Then I’d look at my name tag again and say:
1. “I can only be friends with those who are 50 years old.” How many of you
men who are Detroit Red Wings fans are 50 years old?
2. Oh, my! I wouldn’t be able to be friends with any of you.

E. Thanks be to God the apostle Paul said it doesn’t work like that!
1. He could be friends with everybody.
2. Because the name tag he had on only said:
a. “God’s Child.”
3. And he wanted everybody to be God’s child.
4. Jesus died on the cross so that everyone could be God’s child, and when
you were baptized, God did make you His child.
5. It’s like He gave you each one of you a new name tag.
6. That means not only can all of us be friends , but we can be friends
with everyone and tell everyone that God wants them as His children too.

(1) Now back to March 24, 1984, for Paul—and you.

A. While in detention at Shermer High, each of the five was supposed to be
writing a thousand-word essay answering the question: “Who do you think you

A. While they don’t get around to writing until the end:
1. actually “the brain” writes one essay on behalf of all five—the point is
that by 4:00 p.m., March 24, the detainees were not who they thought they
were at 7:00 a.m.

B. A question that goes left unanswered in the movie is this:
1. what happened after Saturday, March 24, when the brain, athlete, basket
case, princess, and criminal went back to Shermer High for classes during
the week?

C. Did the common identity forged on March 24 stand, or do they go back to
the “slavery” of the cliques?

B. By the time Paul wrote his well-over-a-thousand-word essay to the
Corinthians, he knew very well who he was and to what he was or wasn’t

A. Paul doesn’t have to live up to the Corinthians’ expectations for him
(as one of the strong ones).

B. The now-believing-in-Jesus Paul has a new identity.
1. In Jesus, Paul is free.

C. Since he is free from all the enslaving identities/expectations, he is
free to, well, do what comes naturally to the new identity!
1. Gripped and captivated by the gracious call of Jesus, secure in an
identity that cannot be taken away, he does what he cannot help but do:
a. namely, preaching the Gospel by which enslaved sinners are set free.
2. With no one left to impress, Paul is free to “become all things to all
people” (verse 22).
3. So now it’s your March 26, 1984.
4. You Are Free in Jesus.
a. What are you?
a. a Child of God—now free to do what?
b. Your calling is probably different from Paul’s, but your identity is the
c. You’re possessed by Jesus.
d. You are a member of the Body of Christ.
e. If you can stand the hokeyness, welcome to the Jesus Club!
f. So, Child of God, what are you now free to do?


A. A brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, a criminal . . .
butcher, baker, candlestick maker.
1. Whoever you are, you’ve been transformed by Jesus.
2. He’s marked you as His own.
3. There’s no one to impress.
4. Just people to love.
5. Amen.

B. Let us pray:

O Lord, You have made the crystals of ice, and You have made the stars.
And yet, You show Your love for us.
You have forgiven our sins and gathered us to Yourself.
Above all of Your other blessings, You have given us Your Word.
And that Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
In His name we come before You. Amen.

C. The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

D. In the Name of the Father…Amen.


Sermon for 01.14.24 “Speak, for your servant hears.”

01.14.24 Epiphany 2
Text: 1 Samuel 3:1–20
Theme: “Speak, for your servant hears.”

Other Lessons: Psalm 139:1–10; 1 Corinthians 6:12–20; John 1:43–51
(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.
(B) The Old Testament 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:
LSB 589:1-2 Speak, O Lord, Your Servant Listens
Speak, O Lord, Your servant listens,
Let Your Word to me come near;
Newborn life and spirit give me,
Let each promise still my fear.
Death’s dread pow’r, its inward strife,
Wars against Your Word of life;
Fill me, Lord, with love’s strong fervor
That I cling to You forever!

Oh, what blessing to be near You
And to listen to Your voice;
Let me ever love and hear You,
Let Your Word be now my choice!
Many hardened sinners, Lord,
Flee in terror at Your Word;
But to all who feel sin’s burden
You give words of peace and pardon. Amen.


(A) The times were very dark.
(1) External enemies threatened the people of God.
(2) Worse yet, there were internal struggles as well.
(3) The sons of their divinely-appointed judge, Eli, were without the
character to succeed their father.
(4) But in the tabernacle, under the care of Eli, there was a youth,
perhaps twelve years old, whose name was Samuel.
(5) In the past, the Lord had spoken to Israel through the prophets, but
now He seemed to have gone silent.
(B) One night, however, as Samuel and the world slept, that was going to
(1) The Lord of Israel had formed that nation for the purpose of bringing
His salvation to all of fallen humanity, and Samuel was to be the Lord’s
next spokesman.
(2) Before he could speak, though, Samuel needed to learn and to say,
“Speak, for Your Servant Hears.”
(I) Lord, teach me who You are.
(A) There are no true atheists.
(1) Everyone has a god to whom they turn to in trouble and need.
(2) Every culture has a religion, because humanity seeks to understand a
God that they know must exist.
(3) That god might be anything the fallen mind of man wants—power, money,
(B) But the true God is known only in His revelation of Himself.
(1) Ancient Israel had come to depend on the Word of the Lord through
prophets and visions.
(2) That Word had become so rare, so it was no wonder that Samuel did not
recognize the voice of the Lord and three times mistook his voice for Eli’s
1 Samuel 3:2-8 (NASB95)
2 It happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his
eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well),
3 and the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in
the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was,
4 that the LORD called Samuel; and he said, “Here I am.”
5 Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said,
“I did not call, lie down again.” So he went and lay down.
6 The LORD called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli and
said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he answered, “I did not call, my
son, lie down again.”
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor had the word of the LORD yet
been revealed to him.
8 So the LORD called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went
to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli discerned that
the LORD was calling the boy.
(3) The reason for all this?:
1 Samuel 3:7 (NASB95)
Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor had the word of the LORD yet been
revealed to him.
(C) The greatest need of all people in every age is to know the Lord.
(1) Samuel was not alone in his need to learn who God is.
a) So many of the people of Israel had forgotten the Lord who had given
them the land they were in.
(2) The same can be said of the times in which we live.
a) They are very dark when it comes to knowing the Lord.
1) Any indication of our Western societies reflecting Christianity or its
values are all but gone.
2) The Church is:
1- Openly mocked,
2- lampooned in the media;
3- basic tenets of the sanctity of human life and male and female
identities are officially rejected in legislatures and courts.
3) We are persecuted subtly but has become more and more open.
4) We may wonder if God is near to hear us.
(3) This is always true:
a) No person can find their true purpose until he or she knows their
1) Not only knows about Him, but of Him as well.
(II) Lord, teach me how You speak.
(A) Samuel became a great prophet of Israel.
(1) The silence of prophetic revelations (verse 1) was about to end as the
Lord revealed himself to Samuel.
1 Samuel 3:21 (NASB95)
And the LORD appeared again at Shiloh, because the LORD revealed Himself to
Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the LORD.
(2) The day would come when the Lord would speak to Israel through Samuel,
by whose word Israel would return from idols to the true God
1 Samuel 7:3–12 (NASB95)
3 Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, “If you return to
the LORD with all your heart, remove the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth
from among you and direct your hearts to the LORD and serve Him alone; and
He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.”
4 So the sons of Israel removed the Baals and the Ashtaroth and served the
LORD alone.
5 Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel to Mizpah and I will pray to the
LORD for you.”
6 They gathered to Mizpah, and drew water and poured it out before the
LORD, and fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against the
LORD.” And Samuel judged the sons of Israel at Mizpah.
7 Now when the Philistines heard that the sons of Israel had gathered to
Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the
sons of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines.
8 Then the sons of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry to the LORD
our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines.”
9 Samuel took a suckling lamb and offered it for a whole burnt offering to
the LORD; and Samuel cried to the LORD for Israel and the LORD answered
10 Now Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, and the Philistines drew
near to battle against Israel. But the LORD thundered with a great thunder
on that day against the Philistines and confused them, so that they were
routed before Israel.
11 The men of Israel went out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and
struck them down as far as below Beth-car.
12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named
it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”
(3) But still they would not listen to the Lord.
(A) You would think that after everything they had been through, they would
finally return to the Lord and trust Him!
(B) But they refused to be ruled by God and His Word and demanded a human
king rather than the divine King and His Word.
1 Samuel 8:4–9 (NASB95)
4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at
5 and they said to him, “Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not
walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the
6 But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said,
“Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the LORD.
7 The LORD said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to
all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have
rejected Me from being king over them.
8 “Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought
them up from Egypt even to this day—in that they have forsaken Me and
served other gods—so they are doing to you also.
9 “Now then, listen to their voice; however, you shall solemnly warn them
and tell them of the procedure of the king who will reign over them.”
(C) That demand of a king would ultimately bring disaster on the king and
his people.
1 Samuel 31:1–7 (NASB95)
1 Now the Philistines were fighting against Israel, and the men of Israel
fled from before the Philistines and fell slain on Mount Gilboa.
2 The Philistines overtook Saul and his sons; and the Philistines killed
Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchi-shua the sons of Saul.
3 The battle went heavily against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was
badly wounded by the archers.
4 Then Saul said to his armor bearer, “Draw your sword and pierce me
through with it, otherwise these uncircumcised will come and pierce me
through and make sport of me.” But his armor bearer would not, for he was
greatly afraid. So Saul took his sword and fell on it.
5 When his armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his sword
and died with him.
6 Thus Saul died with his three sons, his armor bearer, and all his men on
that day together.
7 When the men of Israel who were on the other side of the valley, with
those who were beyond the Jordan, saw that the men of Israel had fled and
that Saul and his sons were dead, they abandoned the cities and fled; then
the Philistines came and lived in them.
(B) To know the voice of God, we must go where it is He speaks.
(1) Consider the opening words from the book of Hebrews:
Hebrews 1:1–2 (NASB95)
1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many
portions and in many ways,
2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of
all things, through whom also He made the world.
(2) In our day there are many false prophets who claim to speak for God.
(3) But to learn what His voice sounds like, we must go to where we can
hear Him, and not someone else, speaking.
(A) Holy Scripture, the very Word of God, the very voice of God, is where
we learn to recognize His voice.
(B) We read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest that precious voice of the
(4) Yet the Lord has not left us without a human voice to speak on his
authority and in his name.
(A) That is how we hear the absolution spoken—by the pastor.
(III) Lord, teach me what to say.
(A) All the prophets bore witness to the same message.
(1) From the promise given at the fall in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15)
through John the Baptist, every word and every act of God in the life of
Israel prepared the way for the Messiah.
(2) When that One promised long ago was born, He came to be the final
Sacrifice for all of mankind.
(A) The world needs this message of salvation and hope, and that message is
found only in the Christ.
(B) He alone brings salvation by:
1) bearing all sin,
2) shedding holy, innocent blood to cleanse us,
3) entering our tomb,
4) and then breaking forth on Easter with the glorious message, “Christ is
(3) This is the message for which Samuel and all the prophets longed for
and which has been so richly poured out on you and me.
(A) In your Baptism, your own resurrection of the body is guaranteed.
(B) In the blessed Sacrament of the Altar, you receive the food of
immortality, Christ’s very body and blood.
(C) In the eternal words of the Holy Absolution, you hear the very voice of
1) “Your sins are forgiven.”
(B) All of God’s redeemed are sent to speak with His own words.
(1) You are redeemed by Jesus Christ, the Holy One promised by the Word of
God through his chosen prophets.
(A) You and I do not look forward to a promised One who is yet to come, as
did the ancient people of God.
(B) We look back to the historic life, death, and resurrection of Jesus for
us and for all the world.
(2) This truth of who Jesus is and what He has done is what we are taught
to speak—no matter what our vocation might be.
(A) Some are called to the vocation of pastor and preacher.
(B) But all are called to witness wherever God puts you:
1) Where you shop.
2) Where you work.
3) Where you live.
(C) You speak what you have heard the Lord say through His prophets,
apostles, and pastors:
1) “Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.”
2) Oh come, let us adore and worship Him!

(A) Augustine once said long ago:
(1) “Where did I find you, God, so that I might learn to know you?
(2) You were not in my memory before I learned to know you.
(3) Where then have I found you, if not in yourself and above me?” (St.
Augustine, Confessions).
(B) Samuel had the very unusual experience of having the Lord come and
stand before him and speak to him face to face, God’s voice to Samuel’s ear
(1 Sam 3:10).
(1) But for most of us, even for the great St. Augustine, the very same
voice comes to us in a different but just as powerful way.
(2) Augustine found the answer to his question, “Where is God?” not within
himself or in humanity but in the Scriptures that God had given to him and
to all of humanity.
(3) There he learned who his Lord is, how his Lord speaks, and how he is to
(4) So life-changing was this for Augustine that he became one of the
greatest theologians of the Church and founded an order of monks.
(5) Centuries later, that same order trained and produced none other than
Martin Luther.
(C) A story every Lutheran knows is that of Martin Luther’s search to know
(1) Luther had his own “epiphany” of sorts.
(2) All that came about only after nearly being killed by lightning, vowing
to become a monk, and then becoming a student of Holy Scripture.
(3) It was there in the Word, and only in the Word, that Luther would learn
who the Lord is, how He speaks, and how we are to speak for Him.
(4) Luther had entered a quest for an answer as to how a sinful human being
could ever stand before a holy and righteous God.
(5) That search was finally fulfilled when he read,
Galatians 3:11 (NASB95)
11 Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “THE
(6) Everything else then made sense, and every other thought, action, deed,
and speech would be shaped by that great truth—of Scripture.
(D) The words of young Samuel, “Speak, for your servants hears,” were
spoken long ago.
(1) But the true God still teaches you and me who He is, how and where He
speaks, and what we are in turn to say.
(E) Our days may be as dark as the days of Samuel, but just as in the
former days, so today and into the future here on earth, that hope and
peace from God is present as light in the darkness.
(1) So live in His light until the day He calls you home to heaven where
there is no need for sun or stars, because the Lamb is the light. Amen.
(F) Let us pray:
LSB 589:3-4 Speak, O Lord, Your Servant Listens
Lord, Your words are waters living
When my thirsting spirit pleads.
Lord, Your words are bread life-giving;
On Your words my spirit feeds.
Lord, Your words will be my light
Through death’s cold and dreary night;
Yes, they are my sword prevailing
And my cup of joy unfailing!

As I pray, dear Jesus, hear me;
Let Your words in me take root.
May Your Spirit e’er be near me
That I bear abundant fruit.
May I daily sing Your praise,
From my heart glad anthems raise,
Till my highest praise is given
In the endless joy of heaven.
Text: Public domain
(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.


Sermon for 01.07.24 “The reality of Christ”

01.07.24 Baptism of our Lord/Epiphany of our Lord

Text: Romans 6:1–11
Theme: The Reality of Christ
Other Lessons: Genesis 1:1–5; Psalm 29; Mark 1:4–11

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.
(B) Romans 6:1-11 serves as our sermon text for this morning, which reads
as follows:
Romans 6:1–11 (NASB95)
1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may
2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ
Jesus have been baptized into His death?
4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so
that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so
we too might walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death,
certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,
6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our
body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves
to sin;
7 for he who has died is freed from sin.
8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with
9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die
again; death no longer is master over Him.
10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life
that He lives, He lives to God.
11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in
Christ Jesus.
This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
(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:
Psalm 29:1–11 (NASB95)
1 Ascribe to the LORD, O sons of the mighty, Ascribe to the LORD glory and
2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to His name; Worship the LORD in holy
3 The voice of the LORD is upon the waters; The God of glory thunders, The
LORD is over many waters.
4 The voice of the LORD is powerful, The voice of the LORD is majestic.
5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; Yes, the LORD breaks in pieces
the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, And Sirion like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the LORD hews out flames of fire.
8 The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; The LORD shakes the
wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the LORD makes the deer to calve And strips the forests
bare; And in His temple everything says, “Glory!”
10 The LORD sat as King at the flood; Yes, the LORD sits as King forever.
11 The LORD will give strength to His people; The LORD will bless His
people with peace. Amen.

(A) The Amazing Race. Survivor. Cops. The Deadliest Catch. Nightwatch.
(1) What do each of those things have in common?
(A) They are all “reality shows”.
(1) For example, if you want to get a “feel” for life as one fishing for
crabs off the coast of Alaska, watch the Deadliest Catch.
(B) What about our lives as Christians?
(1) What would a reality show profiling our lives as Christians look like?
(I) The reality is, every one of us is dying . . . and dying to fill holes
in our lives.
(A) So, let’s be real.
(1) Our lives are temporary.
(2) No one knows when they will die.
(3) Everyone is looking for something to fill a void they have in their
(4) Each one of us has a void that we don’t like to talk about.
(5) This void has various forms:
(a) Loneliness
(b) Insecurity
(c) Fear of the unknown
(d) Unspeakable loss
(e) Need
(6) In this void:
(a) Children are afraid of the future
(b) Widows and widowers who grieve the loss of their spouse.
(c) Women who feel unappreciated
(d) Men who think they have failed their children.
(e) One dealing with guilt, shame, and regret.
(f) Those who have “everything” and that still is not enough.
(g) One has no sense of purpose, so just let them die!
(B) Everyone has holes they want to fill and need someone to do it for them.
(C) Everyone is dying to live!
(D) Is all this real enough for you?
(II) We need something real to fill those holes within us.
(A) Trying to fill that void with things that are fleeting, always changing:
(1) Entertainment
(2) Sports
(3) Technology
(4) Achievements in your life
(5) Money
(6) False spirituality
(7) “Sex, drugs, and rock and roll”
(8) Looking to be noticed by others
(9) And the list goes on…
(B) Your purpose of filling the void?:
(1) Ease the pain of loneliness
(2) To answer our questions
(3) To make the pain go away!
(4) But all this comes back!
(C) We need something real.
(1) Not found in our elected officials.
(2) Not found on your favorite news channel.
(3) Not found in social media
(4) Not found in self-help books.
(D) The real things that fill the void:
(1) Flesh and blood found in bread and wine.
(2) Wood, water, and dirt.
(3) Life and death.
(4) The truth
(a) Not lies
(b) Not half truths
(c) Not one’s interpretation
(E) To hear the real truth:
(1) Listen to the Word of God!
(III) Holy Baptism connects us to Jesus.
(A) Listen again to what Paul says in our text for this morning:
Romans 6:3–4 (NASB95)
3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ
Jesus have been baptized into His death?
4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so
that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so
we too might walk in newness of life.
(B) Paul reminds us of things we can hold onto:
(1) Washed with real water
(2) Spoken over with real words.
(3) This is a real event with real witnesses.
(4) It happened to you!
(C) What happened when you were baptized?:
(1) The old died.
(2) The new was born.
(3) Real event with real witnesses.
(D) Your future has completely changed:
(1) Connected to Jesus’ death and resurrection.
(a) Jesus died, you died.
(b) Jesus rose from the dead, you rose from the dead.
(E) Everything about you is now different.
(1) Identity
(2) Value
(3) Hope
(F) It Is Hard to Live in This Fallen World, but the Reality of Our Baptism
Gives Us Forgiveness, Identity, Salvation, and Hope we so desperately need.
(IV) God gives us very real things to fill our senses and strengthen our
(A) Paul gets real practical:
Romans 6:8–11 (NASB95)
8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with
9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die
again; death no longer is master over Him.
10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life
that He lives, He lives to God.
11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in
Christ Jesus.
(B) Paul here connects two historical events:
(1) Christ’s death and resurrection
(2) Your baptism
(a) Connected to the Cross
(b) Jesus’ real flesh and blood nailed to:
1) A real cross
2) Real nails and wood was used.
(c) Jesus died a real death
1) To pay for your real sins
2) To save you from the real place called hell.
(d) Jesus rose again:
1) To give you eternal life in heaven
(C) Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, God knew that things were going to
be too tough for us to go around thinking abstract thoughts about
(1) That is why God connects heavenly things to earthly things.
(a) To give you something to hold on to
(b) The worship service:
1) You see
2) You hear
3) You are not alone
4) You’re in a hospital filled with God’s broken but beloved children.
5) Confessing your sins before God and man.
6) Confessing your faith in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
(c) Where else will you find an altar, a baptismal font, and a pulpit?
1) God bringing His means of salvation to you!
(D) When you confess your sins and I announce God’s forgiveness of sins to
you, it is not a different forgiveness than what you receive in your
bedroom, but God wants you to hear it.
(1) He wants you to hear that you are really forgiven.
(2) In the words of the sermon and the liturgy that we speak together, you
hear that you are a sinner, but that you are also saved by God’s grace
(E) Long ago, church used to have a smell attached to it as well.
(1) It was not the Roman Catholics or the Eastern Orthodox who originated
the use of incense in worship;
(2) it was God in the Old Testament.
(3) The burning of incense in the tabernacle was commanded by God
(4) and the psalms were prayers rising like incense from the temple to
(5) That meant church used to smell different from the world (and it still
does in some places), and that helped to create a different state of mind.
(F) God brings real things together to bring about real change for us.
(1) His real body and blood connected with real bread and wine.
(a) His Real Presence
(b) His forgiveness that is not only heard, but tasted.
(2) What then is this “real” change I speak of?
(a) The Lord gives us real:
1) Life
2) Strength
3) Renewal
(b) Clinging to faith in Christ
(G) The worship service is all about:
(1) Seeing
(2) Hearing
(3) Smelling
(4) Eating
(5) Drinking
(6) These are all real things from a real Savior
(a) Jesus fills the void we can’t
(b) Christ alone is the One who makes us complete.
(V) Jesus Christ is the very practical solution to the way sin has made our
lives unreal.
(A) The Christian life is filled with paradoxes.
(1) Loneliness and fear
(2) Your sin, my sin
(3) Assurance and hope
(B) As you live your lives, remember:
(1) Your Baptism
(a) Real water was applied
(b) God’s real Word spoken to you
(c) You were once dead in your sins, now made alive.
(d) Guilt washed away, regret and shame pardoned.
(2) At the Cross, you find:
(a) Jesus’ mercy
(3) In your Baptism, there you find:
(a) Your identity
(b) Your connection and history to people both past and present
(c) The reality of Christ
(A) Pastors sometimes get attacked for preaching “impractical” sermons.
(1) We’re accused of preaching about things that are too much in the
abstract, or things that’ll happen after we die.
(2) We’re sometimes told that we spend too much time preaching about
doctrine and not enough time preaching about what people “really need.”
(3) We’re told that if we’re to remain relevant to people, we must address
things that people are going through on a day-to-day basis.
(4) We don’t need “old stuff”; we need “new stuff.”
(5) We need to preach something more “real.”
(B) With all that was said during this sermon, who says preaching doctrine
isn’t practical?
(1) In the name of the Father…Amen.
(C) Let us pray:
Thanks and praise be unto You, our God and Lord, for sending us the Gospel
of Your Son, Jesus Christ, in which You teach us the way of salvation and
comfort us with the hope of everlasting life.
Make Your Word in us a power of salvation, and the anchor of our souls in
life and death.
Cause also the voice of Your Word to be sounded abroad, that the nations
that do not know You may come to Your light. Amen.
(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 12.31.23 “Waiting for God”

Christmas 1, December 31, 2023
Text: Isaiah 61:10–62:3
Theme: Waiting for God
Other Lessons: Psalm 111; Galatians 4:4–7; Luke 2:22–40

(A) In the Name of the Father…Amen.
(B) The Old Testament 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:
Praise belongs to You, our God, because You have fulfilled Your promises to
Your people Israel in the incarnation of Your Son, and sent the light of
Your truth to our fathers when they were walking in ignorance of You.
Grant us steadfastly to trust Your covenant of grace that we may live
Make Your works of mercy and truth known to our children, that they may
praise Your name in generations to come. Amen.


(A) Seventy years ago, Irish playwright Samuel Beckett wrote a play that is
considered a modern masterpiece by people all over the world.
(1) The play is about two men who are waiting under a tree for a man called
(2) The two men are unsure of exactly who Godot is or if he will ever
(3) They talk at length:
(a) searching for hope and making meaningless conversation as they wait,
(b) But they are never sure of exactly what they are hoping for or what
will happen when Godot shows up.
(4) As the play comes to an end, night falls on the helpless and
unfulfilled men, and the man they wait for never shows up.
(5) In this play, entitled Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett assumes the
role of mouthpiece for the entire unbelieving world,
(a) He accuses Christians of spending their lives waiting on impotent
promises made by a God that does not exist.
(1) For most of history, mankind has been waiting for God.
(A) A close look at Scripture reveals that Beckett was at least partially
(1) For nearly all of history, mankind has waited for God.
(2) Indeed, we have waited for God to save us.
(3) The Bible has sixty-six books consisting of about twelve hundred pages.
(4) Mankind was sinless and in favor with God for exactly two chapters of
the whole Bible, which equates to roughly a page and a half.
(5) We all know what happened in that third chapter of Genesis.
(6) Our ancestors Adam and Eve rebelled against God, and in doing so, they
plunged themselves and all of God’s creation into a condition of sin.
(7) Ever since, the world and everything in it has been separated from God.
(B) God was angry and cast our first parents out of the garden.
(1) He cursed them with difficulties and tribulation and, finally, death.
(2) We see from the beginning that God despises rebellion against Him, but
we also see that God’s wrath is overshadowed by His shocking grace.
(3) For even as God was expelling His wicked children from paradise, He
promised them that one of Eve’s offspring would crush the head of the
reviled serpent that tempted them into their fatal mistake.
(4) Yes, even in the third chapter of Genesis, God promises a Messiah.
(5) From that point on, mankind has waited for God.
(2) Waiting is not something we do well.
(A) God’s wisdom has always seemed foolish to humans, so we’ve always
sought to have things our own way.
(1) Throughout history, whenever man’s will led him to misery, suffering,
and despair (as was always the case), helpless man cried out to God and
waited for God to save him again.
(2) Without fail, God always did.
(B) The entire Old Testament, in ways both subtle and bold, points to both
the need for and the promise of a Savior.
(1) Whether through events that foreshadowed the salvation that was to
come, or by bold prophetic utterances of those who spoke on God’s behalf,
every book of the Old Testament told of man’s desperate inability to save
himself and of God’s enduring promise to save and restore him.
(2) God promised to send a Messiah, a champion of his people, who would:
(a) crush their oppressors,
(b) lead them to the promised land,
(c) and restore their relationship with Him.
(d) And so, man waited.
(C) God in His mercy did not force His children to linger here on earth
without Him.
(1) Our heavenly Father knew that the burden of enduring without Him was
too much for His children to bear, so God always placed Himself where His
broken children could easily find Him.
(2) He told them to build a tabernacle, which means “dwelling place,” where
they could come and hear God’s Word read to them.
(3) They were to come to Him in repentance and sacrifice the blood of
animals for their sins.
(4) They were to come and receive forgiveness and comfort.
(5) They were to come and be in the real presence of God.
(6) God was always there, just as He said He would be.
(7) What we do in worship now is really no different than what was done
back then, just no animal sacrifices.
(D) Through the generations, God’s people continued to be so sinful and so
rebellious that the blood of beasts could never satisfy God’s wrath.
(1) Despite God’s presence, guidance, and mercy, man still wanted his own
(2) And God gave it to him.
(3) God spoke to the people through prophets, telling them of his fury over
their sin.
(4) Through Isaiah, for example, the Lord God warned his people:
Isaiah 39:6 (NASB95)
‘Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house and all that
your fathers have laid up in store to this day will be carried to Babylon;
nothing will be left,’ says the LORD.
(a) And, yes, He allowed them to be taken into the bondage of slavery again.
(E) True to His character, however, God still spoke words of promise.
(1) He assured his people that the Messiah would yet come to them at just
the right time.
(2) Even as Isaiah saw the days of captivity, God let him see deliverance,
a new day:
Isaiah 61:10–62:3 (NASB95)
10 I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He
has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of
righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride
adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, And as a garden causes the
things sown in it to spring up, So the Lord GOD will cause righteousness
and praise To spring up before all the nations.
1 For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, And for Jerusalem’s sake I will
not keep quiet, Until her righteousness goes forth like brightness, And her
salvation like a torch that is burning.
2 The nations will see your righteousness, And all kings your glory; And
you will be called by a new name Which the mouth of the LORD will
3 You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, And a royal
diadem in the hand of your God.
(F) “Will do this, will do that”. “Until this happens, until that happens”
(1) Nothing but promises, promises, promises, the “Samuel Becketts” of the
Old Testament world would say.
(2) God’s people lamented, and they cried out for reconciliation.
(3) And . . . they waited.
(3) But just as God promised, the Messiah did come.
(A) The story of Simeon as recorded in the second chapter of Luke may cover
only a few paragraphs, but it has a great and lasting importance to the
life of every Christian.
(1) Simeon, like many of his generation, had waited for God’s Messiah.
(2) But unlike any other of his generation that we know of, he had been
guaranteed by God that he would not die before he had seen the promise come
to pass.
(3) Simeon waited well.
(4) We do not know how long Simeon waited.
(5) Tradition usually portrays Simeon as greatly advanced in age.
(6) But Scripture is silent as to how old he actually was.
(7) All that can be said is that he waited well in faith for his Savior to
(8) And just as God promised, the Messiah did come.
(B) God Has Always Made His People Promises and Kept Them.
(C) The Scripture said that the Holy Spirit had come upon Simeon, and it is
clear that this is how he knew that he had seen the Christ.
(1) For only through the eyes of faith that the Holy Spirit can provide
could Simeon have known that this helpless, fragile baby was really the
King of all creation.
(2) As he looked upon the child, born humbly and in a most inglorious
fashion, he knew that he had not waited in vain on an impotent, nonexistent
(3) He had in fact been in the real presence of God.
(4) We no longer wait for God to reconcile us to Him, for Jesus finished
that at the cross.
(A) As Simeon looked at the child, Scripture records that he spoke these
beautiful words that we have come to know as the Nunc Dimittis (the Song of
Luke 2:29–32 (KJV)
29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy
30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
(B) The Samuel Becketts of Simeon’s day would have dismissed this as sheer
and utter foolishness, but our God works that way.
(1) His foolishness produces:
(a) abundance from nothingness,
(b) strength from weakness,
(c) life from death.
(d) We see this at the cross.

(2) We see our Lord and Savior Jesus:
(a) battered,
(b) weak,
(c) crucified,
(d) in despair
(e) and in agony.
(3) Through worldly eyes:
(a) we see a gentle Jewish man being executed,
(4) But through eyes of faith provided us by the Holy Spirit, we see God
incarnate, triumphantly destroying the power of death for us.
(5) We can never think about this reality too much.
(a) The danger is not thinking about it enough.
(b) Or only thinking about it when it is convenient to do so.
(6) For at the cross, we learn who we truly are—and who God truly is.
(7) God’s attributes were fully revealed that day, as we beheld God’s
ultimate wrath and fury . . . and his shocking and infinite mercy.
(8) Our sin so infuriated our heavenly Father that there had to be blood
(9) Someone had to die!
(10) But He loves you so much that He wouldn’t let it be you.
(11) Instead, in your place, He sent His only Son to be your Savior, just
as He always said He would do.
(C) We no longer wait for God to reconcile us to Him, for that was finished
at the cross.
(1) You are reminded of this at your Baptism, where you were:
(a) washed,
(b) renewed,
(c) and grafted into His family,
(d) forever bonded to the One who conquered death, the devil, and hell on
your behalf.
(e) You are no longer a free agent left to your own devices and your own
feeble plans to save yourself.
(f) Your life has been purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ, and you are
His and He is yours.
(5) Instead, we now wait for God differently.
(A) Yes, we still wait for God.
(1) We wait for His return.
(2) He has promised to come again for us and to take us to the place He has
prepared for us in heaven.
(3) We now wait to see Him face to face, knowing that we have nothing to
fear in the real presence of God.
(4) We now look eagerly forward to the day when our tears are wiped away
and our joy will be without restraint.
(5) We wait for our place at the table at a feast that will have no end.
(B) There is also good news for us in the present.
(1) We do not merely wait for the presence of God in the future, for just
as in the days of old, the Lord knows that life on earth is too much for us
to bear alone.
(2) Just as in the Old Testament, God still puts Himself where we, His
broken children, can easily find Him.
(3) He has promised to meet us:
(a) In the Word: where we hear
First. the Law, showing us the right way to live
Second. and the Gospel, showing us our Savior and Lord who has lived the
right way for us because we cannot and will not on our own.
(b) In the water:
First. Combined with the Word, we are cleansed of our sins.
Second. The old Adam has died, the new man is alive!
Third. We are united with Christ in His death and resurrection.
(c) In the Supper:
First. He gives us the sacrifice He made at the cross so that you may have
comfort from the forgiveness of your sins.
Second. He meets you, gives you His real presence, and assures you of His
love for you.
Third. He will always be there for you, just as He said he would.

(A) As you wait for God now, do not concern yourself as some Christians do
with trying to “show God your résumé” of all you’ve done and not done.
(1) Do not be obsessed with proving yourself to God so that you may impress
Him in the hopes of being saved on the Last Day.
(2) The truth is, you will be sinning when the Lord returns, and so will I.
(3) Rather, wait for God by remaining daily in repentance and remembering
the depth of your sin and the greater depth of God’s grace.
(4) Never forget that there is no sin you have committed that is too great
to be absolved by His mercy.
(5) His death and resurrection are sufficient for you.
(B) The world is full of Becketts who accuse us of waiting on a promise
that is impotent and on a God who doesn’t exist.
(1) But your God has a perfect attendance record.
(2) We don’t know when He’ll return but we have the promise that He WILL
(3) Rest assured, however, that when He’s seen all He needs to see, and all
that He requires has come to pass, He will say to the evil foe, “You will
hurt my children no more.”
(4) Our waiting will end, and He will return, just as He always said He
(5) Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.
(C) Let us pray:
Gracious and merciful Lord, we look to You for the remission of our sins in
Jesus, who speaks Your faithful words and performs the mighty work of our
salvation. Hallelujah! Amen.
Various Authors. The Lutheran Study Bible (Kindle Locations 146344-146345).
Concordia Publishing House. Kindle Edition.
(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.