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The Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity

10/15/17

Deuteronomy 10:12-21, 1 Corinthians 1:4-9, & St. Matthew 22:34-46.

830, 694, 549, 842, 402

Grace, Mercy, and Peace to you, from God the Father, and Christ Jesus the Lord. Amen.

The sermon text is the Gospel appointed, the Gospel according to St. Matthew, the 22nd chapter, with particular focus on these words:

And [Jesus] said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

The text in part. Please be seated.

In the name of the Father and of the T Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Last Sunday's Law really beat us up. There is no denying that the proud arrogant old man flesh is alive and well within us. We get mad, say hurtful things, and shun people we don't like.

Yet as we despair of our own abilities to please God, and rightly so(!), as His Baptized we rejoice at Christ's life, suffering, death, and resurrection for the forgiveness of all sin, especially yours and mine.

Today, the Holy Spirit has gathered some hard hearted Pharisees to Jesus. All three persons of the Holy Godhead desires that all men might be saved, even Pharisees like you and me.

And so we consider Jesus' words this morning:

On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

  • The Law must not be broken.
  • The Law is broken again, and again.
  • The Law is kept.
  • T T T

The Law must not be broken.

Moses writes,

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good?”

Life was very good in the garden. Adam and Eve had every good thing of all Creation. Sinless, they were Holy creatures in an intimate and real happy relationship with God. He was their loving Father, and they were His created children.

Worship in the garden was very simple. They ate of every good thing and did not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil for God had said,

And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Ge 2:16–17).

God gave them every good thing, created them Holy and they gladly obeyed His Commandment, well, …, until they didn't.

God's Word can't be broken. He can't lie. What He says and promises must and will happen. The verdict for disobedience was given before the transgression. “In the day that you eat of it you shall surely die”

With the first bite, perhaps really with that intention to bite, that desire to be like gods, sin entered the world. And death was inevitable. God's Word, “you shall surey die,” can't be broken. By the very Word of God, at Adam's sin, death was born.

Adam and Eve covered their nakedness which now began to show death's advance. Their conscience also binding their guilt to their own terrible fear of death.

Hiding in the bushes afraid, covered with leaves in a vain attempt to mask their sinfulness, they awaited God's wrath, their death, and worse the devil's domain. They must have been thinking, “He's going to kill us!”

The Law is broken, again, and again.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

In the hearing you and I are slain.

  • There are times and things in our lives that we sometimes treat with the devotion that which we should give only to the Lord God.
  • There are also times we do not love our neighbor as ourselves, but instead hate him, call him names, covet his stuff, and even take his things, and if not in deeds, in omissions of the good we should shower upon him.
  • On thing is for certain our deeds will not purchase heaven! They can't! For one of our sins alone is enough to condemn us.

Over and over again in our daily life we sin against God and neighbor. Who will save us from our own wicked flesh!?

The Law is kept!

Scared to certain death in the bushes, Adam and Eve heard, through made to hear ears. the first Gospel message, that promised Seed, the Savior from their sins and eternal death. What joy their forgiveness gave them!

For your sin too, Jesus was promised to be the Savior. And for your sins too, God sent His Son to live, suffer, die, and rise again for the forgiveness of Adam and Eve and their heritage, for the whole world, and especially for you.

There is forgiveness for your sins, and it is given to you through the blood of Christ – in the waters and Word of Holy Baptism, in the Word pronouced in Holy Absolution, in the Word proclaimed and taught, in the Holy Communion, and out in the world in the Holy Consolation of the saints, (you to each other and they to you).

T T T

It is always hard, hearing the Law, for you and I can't stand before its righteous accusations. The Law is right and good and just. We do break it. And as the Baptized this is brought home to us daily through the work of Holy Baptism.

We are rightly brought to sorrow and contrition over our sinfulness. We repent! And the Word of Holy Baptism is gracious and good and it always points us back to the crucified Savior Who already paid the full penalty of all the sins of the world.

Baptism gives faith in the atonement for sin and death that Christ's life, suffering, death, and resurrection purchased for you.

And forgiven, we get to give thanks to our heavenly Father through our lives with our neighbors. With Christ's forgiveness the works He wills in us spring up, not toward salvation but because of it.

And you live in Christian freedom to give thanks to God for your forgiveness so that you get to love your neighbor, because of Christ's meritous works for you. Even your sin-tarnished lives are accepted by the Father now as sweet smelling incense for Christ's Holy Passion's sake.

These words:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And, …, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

These words will always sting and show you your sins, but as the Baptized, in your forgiveness you get to use these words as a guide to live in Christ.

Your sin-tarnished service, daily repented of, will accompany your life with your neighbor, but the body and blood of Christ, given to you, eternally declare:

that you are forgiven, you are saved, and you have already begun to live forever (point to the fount). For Jesus' most Holy Passion's sake. Amen.

In the name of the Father and of the T Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Please stand.

The Peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus the Lord. Amen.

 

 

The Seventeenth Sunday After Trinity

10/08/2017

Proverbs 25:6-14, Ephesians 4:1-6, and St. Luke 14:1-11

953, 557, 587, 857, 783

Grace, Mercy, and Peace to you from God the Father and Christ Jesus the Lord. Amen.

The sermon text is the Gospel appointed, the Gospel according to St. Luke, the 14th chapter, with particular focus on these words:

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Please be seated.

In the name of the Father and of the T Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

In this morning's Old Testament Reading King Solomon wrote,

Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence or stand in the place of the great, for it is better to be told, “Come up here,” than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.”

And so Jesus' advice after watching the table seat scramble of the Pharisees this morning isn't anything new to these proud presumptuous men.

Throughout the Holy Scriptures unbelievers are portrayed as proud, and believers as humble. Jesus shows us that pride is the selfish, loveless, attitude of the fallen human nature. And pride in itself is sin.

AND SO, THIS MORNING CHRIST SHOWS YOU, BOTH YOUR SINFUL PRIDE, AND GRACIOUSLY, YOUR MADE RIGHTEOUS HUMILITY.

I. Pride blinded the Pharisees.

II. Pride blinds you too!

III. Jesus humbles proud Pharisees.

T T T

I. Pride blinded the Pharisees.

St. Luke begins this morning's Gospel account, “One Sabbath, when [Jesus] went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully.”

They have invited the Son of God to this home, and they are watching Him carefully, not however to carefully hold His Word sacred and gladly hear and learn it, but rather carefully, to see if they can pin the title “sinner” on Him.

They don't believe He is the Messiah. To their way of thinking He is the wrong kind of Messiah. They are Pharisees, and to their notion, they are experts on keeping God's law. They foolishly even have added some of their own laws to improve, they suppose, on what God has declared.

They have set a trap for our Lord this morning. St. Luke records, “And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy.” They are in the house of a ruler of the Pharisees.

This poor man who had dropsy didn't just wander in. If he is on the invited list, it is a very unusual thing indeed! His being there is part of a trap set by these Pharisees. Otherwise they would have no use for the sick man.

It is the Sabbath, but the meal was prepared before the Sabbath began. There must be no work on the Sabbath, or so these Pharisees say.

As these Pharisees miss-use, in unbelief, the Law of God, and add to it their many, many additions, they now watch Jesus with bated breath. Will their trap catch this popular pain in their side rabbi?

It is their evil game. Nail this man Jesus with some sin, any sin, and show the world that He is just another sinful man, and decidedly less of a man, than these “honorable” Pharisees.

They know that Jesus is often compassionate to these unclean, and undesirable sinners. And so they bring in one to bait the trap.

Jesus sees the man, and because He is also true God, knows the hearts of the Pharisees and of their attempt here to discredit Him. St. Luke records, “Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?”

“But they remained silent.” They had wanted Jesus to just heal the man so that they could condemn His working on the Sabbath. But not working on the Sabbath alone never pleases God. God means for us to hear the Word of God and hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.

They remain silent because they see their trap beginning to backfire. Certainly it isn't unlawful to heal on the Sabbath, because only God can heal. And God can do as He pleases!

And while their additional laws might forbid it, the people certainly won't like it, if these Pharisees would stop Jesus somehow from His healing on any day. They can't win with either a yes, or a no.

These Pharisees are puffed up in themselves, and have taken pride in what they imagine to be their God-pleasing ways. As said before, they aren't looking for a Jesus' style of Messiah – a warrior king that would beat back the oppressors perhaps, but not a Savior from sin.

If they really think, they don't sin, but rather, keep all God's commandments, and they do think that, then why would they need a Savior? Their pride is their sin, they don't keep God's commandments, or love their fellow man, because they don't trust in the Messiah.

And then Jesus exposes their inability to keep the Sabbath when, as St. Luke records,

And [Jesus] said to them, “Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” And they could not reply to these things.”

A son or even an ox of theirs they could not deny. And if they would do these deeds on a Sabbath, how could it be wrong for Jesus to heal on the Sabbath?

Now they haven't said anything. They haven't given Jesus any chance to use their answer against them. I suppose for them if they can't beat Him, at least they are pleased that they remain unscathed, more or less, but that is about to change.

Not Jesus points to their mad scramble for the good seats at this dinner, and even the head Pharisee's reason for only inviting people that would benefit him later. And in their selfish scrambles and associations, their prideful, sinful self-serving love of self is exposed.

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

The people have been shown quite cleverly by Jesus, that the Pharisees are what they had hoped to convict Jesus of, they are sinners, they can't keep the laws – theirs or Gods.

II. Pride blinds you too!

Your pride and mine, probably takes on a different face than that of the Pharisees of Jesus' day. While we don't add laws openly like the Pharisees, we do add laws, albeit, a little more discreetly today.

For the most part we examine others around us. If you and I are honest, we take an almost

devilishly delight in seeing the sins of others exposed. Our fleshly reaction is sadly often, “look how bad they are, I'm glad I'm not like them.”

By our actions, our new Law becomes “Be better than the worst of other sinners.

You know of the Pharisee and the tax collector in the temple. That Pharisee thought the same of the tax collector. His prayer, if you call it that, was “I thank you God that I am not like this tax collector.”

The tax collector's prayer was very different. “Be merciful to me a sinner.”

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Yet, our sinful pride remains.

Our new manufactured law, “Be better than the worst of other sinners,” expanded, produces the following thoughts and words into our hearts, minds, and upon our lips:

We work hard for our money. And we don't want to use it for those people that don't work as hard for it, ..., despite their obvious needs.

We are Americans And we don't want to share the wealth with those “free riding” illegal immigrants, …, despite the pitiful poverty they are trying to escape.

We are Christians. And we don't want to live with those horrible Muslims near us, despite their desperate need to know Jesus.

Now I'm not addressing the political nature of any of these problems, that is for Governors, state representatives, senators, and presidents. I'm addressing the root of our regard for these fellow human beings.

Truthfully, you and I don't even want to get along with the poor neighbors, the illegal immigrants, or the Muslims. We just want them out of our way, our life, and our country.

You and I are sometimes so proud we can't even ask our own loved ones for forgiveness even when we are certain we are wrong. Pride is the sin of the fallen human nature. And you and I are proud Pharisees, fallen men and women, and sinners, through and through.

III. Jesus humbles proud Pharisees.

The Pharisee was glad that he wasn't like the tax collector, yet Jesus says the tax collect went home justified while the Pharisee went home already condemned. The Pharisee should have been just like the tax collector, but could not for his sinful pride.

You and I can't stand before God on our own two feet either, let alone on our own works and righteousness.

We have seen that we are selfish with our money and stuff even with the neighbor in need. Have we forgotten, you shalt not murder, but help and befriend him in every bodily need?

We have seen that we don't even want to share this country with people like the very ones that formed it. Have we forgotten the plaque on the Statue of Liberty?

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

I suggest to you, that author of that plaque had a better understanding of the 5th commandment then does our own sinful prideful flesh.

We have seen that it is easy for us to dismiss the Muslim neighbor in distrust and hatred. Have we forgotten we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves?

These have been the accusations of Christ's law against you and me. And honestly, it has nailed us! You and I are selfish and proud, we are terrible neighbors, we are prideful, and of course finally, we must admit sinful.

In this crushing realization, you and I rightly despair of any hope of pleasing God ourselves. You and I have been humbled to our knees by God's righteous Law.

But, graciously, this isn't all that God has to say to you. You are His baptized children. You have been washed clean and made brothers and sisters of Christ. And this morning in answer to your confession of sin, once more, and this is daily, and yet also right now in this place, Christ forgives you all you sins.

  • For your sins of neighborly neglect, Christ forgives you.
  • For your selfish restraint of love towards others and other cultures, Christ forgives you.
  • And for your neglect to share the Gospel with everyone you encounter, Christ forgives you.
  • He forgives all your sins.

You are not greater than Christ. You cannot sin too much, or too greatly so that Christ is unable to forgive you. He is Almighty God! His forgiveness is far greater than all the sins of the world, yours in tow as well.

Christ, true man and true God, lived, suffered, died, and rose again that all your sins, indeed all the sins of the world might be forgiven.

Christ does humble you with His Law. And He thereby shows you your sins. It is inescapable His Law accusation, but mercifully He keeps you in His grace.

You are gathered here to this place to hear His forgiveness given to you, to hear His Word preached into your ears, and to receive His body and blood in the Holy Communion for the forgiveness of all your sins.

Give thanks to God with your lives serving, helping, forgiving, and yes loving your neighbors. Our works do not save us, but they do give thanks to God for sending Christ, Who lived, suffered, died, and rose again for the forgiveness of all your sins.

You and I sin much and every day, but Christ is faithful and works through Baptism, your Baptism. And so I gladly say it even once more. Christ forgives you every bit, every sin, and washes away all your guilt.

Rejoice! While humbled to a repentent sinner, Christ has exalted you to forgiven child of the heavenly Father. You are the forgiven of the Lord, saved, and heirs by grace to eternal life in heaven.

For Jesus most Holy Passion's sake. Amen.

In the name of the Father and of the T Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Please stand.

The Peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity

10/01/2017

1 Kings 17:17-24, Ephesians 3:13-21, St. Luke 7:11-17

697, 755, 570, 548, 559

Grace, Mercy, and Peace to you from God the Father and Christ Jesus the Lord. Amen.

The sermon text is the Gospel appointed, the Gospel according to St. Luke, the 7th chapter, with particular focus on these words:

And [Jesus] said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.

The text in part. Please be seated.

In the name of the Father, and of the T Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

You are all way too familiar with funeral processions. Death is an unwanted companion to be sure, and always somewhere in our per/iph/eral awareness. While we and our own loved ones are sometimes spared awhile, we know death is always a possible visitor.

Today, the Lord of life walks right into the path of a death march, and stops it in its tracks. Jesus touches the bier carrying the dead son. And that touch, by Jewish thought, should make Jesus unclean.

Instead that touch combined with the Word of Christ commands dead ears to hear, dead hearts to live, and a dead son back to life. A son whose body was unclean to touch is made clean, alive, and living in vocation once again.

What does St. Luke want us to see, hear, and understand from this true account? Or more importantly, what does Christ want us to know, and what does the Holy Spirit enlighten us to know with hearts of faith?

Today we consider Jesus' Word, and St. Luke's narrative, our text in part:

And [Jesus] said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.

First, thank you St. Luke for your penned words, “And [Jesus] said.” After all we don't want to know what Luke thinks happened, we want to know what happened, or in this case what Jesus acually said.

For in hearing Jesus' Word, the Holy Spirit works in our ears and hearts as well.

St. Luke continues in our text with Jesus speaking to the dead son of the widow of Nain. “Young man, I say to you, arise.”

Jesus makes our ears to hear. Yes, you and I know that, but here Jesus makes a dead set of ears hear His Word. Jesus speaks to a dead son and His Word gives what He says.

Now I must point quickly out here that the translation for arise also should imply, as is found in the orginial text, to rise from the dead and to go on being risen from the dead, at least for some duration. More on this gem later.

Jesus speaks life back into a dead corspe, and the son is really alive again. Creation goes on according to the gracious will of the Creator.

Luke continues his narrative:

And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.”

This, we will consider in its three parts.

And the dead man sat up.”

The dead can't do anything, this is well known. Yet at the Word of God the man that was dead, now sits up. He is given life, and he reacts by and through the Word spoken to him by obeying the gifting command of Christ. He sits up.

Christ speaks His Word to us, and we respond by speaking Christ's Word back to Him with hearts of faith. True worship of God is this: that you believe the Word and promises of God.

And so, St. Luke continues with,

And [the son of the widow] began to speak.”

Given life, he speaks, not only back to Christ, but also to those around this brought back to life son. His speaking while sitting before them demonstrates his restored life, his Creator has indeed given life again.

We aren't given his words, only that he speaks, yet more important we have Jesus' Words, which every believer insists upon hearing in Christ's Church.

And St. Luke concludes his narrative of the son activities with these words:

And Jesus gave him to his mother.”

The son brought back to life by having Christ speak His Word into the son's made to hear ears, confesses the life given to him and he gives thanks surely with his words. And then Christ places the son right back into his vocation as the son of his mother.

These three parts are your lives in Christ, and mine too. You who were dead in trespass and sin are spoken into life with the Word and water of Holy Baptism. And given faith you are gathered by the Holy Spirit to where Christ is for you.

Gathered to His Word, given to hear and believe, you respond with the Words of God in the Liturgy, speaking them back to God with believing hearts. You speak back to God with Word He gives you.

Confessing it with those so also gathered, you build each other up with the same Word Christ gives to you all.

Christ's Word that brought you to eternal life in Holy Baptism keeps raising you up in that new life with the duration to keep you His until He gathers you home. “Arise” and keep risen in faith. Amen!

His means are theses: made a child througth Holy Baptism and kept, preserved, and strengthened in faith through Holy Absolution, Preaching/teaching and the Lord's Supper.

Shown your sins of placing other things before God in your lives, and shown your sins of not loving your neighbor as yourself, you are daily brought to repentance, faith, and preserved in new life through the Gospel proclaimed through these Holy Means of grace in Christ's Church.

And after all you are given in the Divine Service that the Holy Spirit gathered you to, you get to give thanks to God by going back out into the world in vocation and serving, loving, and forgiving your neighbor.

This is your reasonable thank offering for being made a child of God, forgiven saved, and already living eternally. This is your Christian vocation as father, mother, brother, sister, friend, neighbor, and well, the list is endless.

And so, when we, through world wearied eyes begin to feel that dreaded companion death stalking us, or our loved ones, we remember the promise of God that has been spoken into our made to hear ears too.

Don't covet the son being brought back to life, he received no greater gift than you. He would sooner or later die on earth again. You want him to be a true believer, but we never really hear any more of him.

If a believer he too knew the promises of God in Christ Jesus and rests in Jesus arms today awaiting that same heavenly home you look forward to enjoying.

Many of our sick, or diseased, and all of us are slowing dying, yet we don't grieve death as ones with no hope, for we the Baptized are given life eternal.

The sadness the deaths of our fellow Christian loved ones bring us is real, and filled with tears, and yet we rejoice in their being gathered to Christ, even as we weep awhile.

Our funeral processions are not death marches, for even when our bodies are brought to its eventual temporal sleep, you and I are given to know the grace of God given to us through the life, suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of all sins especially yours and mine.

In faith, we speak back to God His Holy Word first confessed by the Holy Spirit inspired Job:

For I know that my Redeemer lives,

and at the last he will stand upon the earth.

And 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, and not another” (Job 19:25–27).

Dear ones, rejoice with no fear, even as Christ has given you new life, He is with you always enabling you to give thanks to the Father through your vocations in the world.

Such is the petition in today's Collect:

O Lord, we pray that Your grace may always go before and follow after us, that we may continually be given to all good works; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.”

And such is the confession of today's Verse:

Alleluia. You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield. Alleluia.”

Christ forgives your sins against God and neighbor in your vocations. Christ forgives them all. You are forgiven indeed!

In His Word, which is His Word and His Sacraments, that Christ has so graciously showered upon you, you have been given to “arise.”

And so arise, you get to speak your thanks and praise to your Savior, and go forth in your lives, because you are forgiven, you are saved, and you have already begun to live forever (point to the fount). For Jesus' most holy Passion's sake. Amen.

In the name of the Father and of the T Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Please stand.

The Peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity

09/24/2017

1 Kings 17:8-16, Galatians 5:25-6:10, St. Matthew 6:24-34

LSB – 719, 760, 728, 828, & 685

Grace, Mercy, and Peace to you from God the Father and Christ Jesus the Lord. Amen.

The sermon text is the Gospel appointed, the Gospel according to St. Matthew, the 6th chapter, with particular focus on these words:

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”

The text in part. Please be seated.

In the name of the Father, and of the T Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today Jesus teaches you about yourself, by teaching you about your name, or at least one of your names. And this name is multipurpose, it describes two realities—one reality is yours all by yourself, and the other reality is yours by gift.

It also describes a conflict—the old with the new. At first this name will make you mad, or maybe more fittingly, sad, but when it is taught to you in full by Christ, it will also give you to rejoice in Him.

And so, this morning I tell you a truth. I call you, myself included, by your name, our name, a name given to you by Christ. Today Christ speaks to you, “O you of little faith.”

So, the text calls you little ones of faith, (a more literal translation), or little trusting ones.

This is what Jesus calls you and me in the text this morning and this name is the sermon focus.

In this name calling, Jesus is still illustrating what he said in verse 24 of our Gospel text—“You cannot serve God and money.”

Immediately Jesus begins to show that worry about the things of this life can become another master, another God, foolishly replacing the one true eternal God with the temporal things that He created.

Today, He clearly says do not be anxious for such things.

  • Jesus gives the example of the birds who neither sow nor gather into barns, yet the Lord feeds them.
  • He gives the example of the beautiful raiment of the wild flowers and meadows, a lavish splendor unequaled even by Solomon.
  • Having pointed to birds, lessor creatures than those created in God's image, and the wild flowers and grass that wither sometimes in a day, Jesus asks the rhetorical question, Are you not of more value than they?”

The answer is of course you are of more value than the lessor creatures.

And yet, without fail, maybe not always, but certainly often, you and I worry. And Jesus therefore addresses you and I, “O you of little faith?”

You pray, give us this day our daily bread. And then worry whether you will have such bread. Your worry may sound like the following.

  • How can we pay the bills this month?
  • How can we buy enough food?
  • How can we afford to continue to live on this ever shrinking “fixed” income?
  • Or leaving the budgetary matters, you and I extend our worries out into the world.
  • Will the wrong party get elected and ruin everything?
  • Will the US get involved in another war?
  • Will the lightning strike our home?
  • There are so many things to worry about, and often, we worry them all. The birds eat and the flowers are clothed and God considers and provides for you even more abundantly than for them.

He sent His only Son to rescue you from your sins. O you of little faith, your worry forgets your redemption.

In the Old Testament Reading Elijah goes where the Lord sends him, that is, to Zarephath. Now Zarephath as it turns out seems to be the center of a terrible drought and subsequent famine.

What was the Lord thinking? Nonetheless, Elijah goes and upon arriving finds the widow the Lord told him of. She is preparing what she has left, with every right to consider it as her last meal.

She and her son will eat it, and then slowly they shall surely starve to death.

Elijah asks her for part of that meal. All of it really. It really is too small to divide. But he gives her a promise from God that she should feed Elijah first, and the Lord will provide for her and her son.

Now God has provided for you and me all the days of our lives. Everything we have is from Him. Yet, how quickly we forget that in times of trouble, want, worry, and doubt.

How often do you wish for modern day versions of a bottomless flour jug and an oil cruet that never empties? All of this, perhaps we see, in a lottery ticket.

In God's abundant mercy, do you not already possess eternal provision. A heavenly mansion is being prepared even for you, O you of little faith.

I told you this name might make you mad, or sad, but I told you also that after Christ's instruction, you would learn to rejoice in such a name, O you of little faith.

Yes, you and I mostly do possess little faith. We worry, which is sin, to doubt God's provision. But to be addressed by Christ as having little faith also reminds you that you are yet in faith, preserved in it by Christ Himself.

You struggle, one moment comforted by the Gospel, and the next distracted by the temporal needs of the flesh, you worry that you do not possess enough for tomorrow.

Today you are alive and sitting in God's house. He brought here so that you would be strengthened and preserved in faith through His Word and Supper. You bodies may be tired, sick, and hungry, but you will live forever with Christ in heaven.

O you of little faith, the Lord has fed and clothed you all these years. He baptized you and He keeps you as His.

Temporal needs and the gifts to survive, to your notion they often seem like they are never equal. Oh, sometimes we have extra to spend and to have, often this too is the case.

But the pantry shelves do not seem full enough to your liking. Pantries could hold so much more. Yes, you have food today, but what about next week. The pension check only comes once a month you know.

On one hand you know God takes good care of you and on the other hand you see the raging seas and begin to sink into worry once again. O you of little faith.

Jesus Christ, your Savior, became man, lived, suffered, and died for your greatest need.

  • You, who were enemies of God, were washed white as snow in the waters of Holy Baptism.
  • You, who sometimes worry, are gathered back here week after week to hear Christ's Word, and to receive His body and blood for the forgiveness of all your sins and thereby you are also preserved in faith.
  • If God spilled the blood and life of His Son to gain you righteousness before Him, will He not continue to care for you until He gathers you home to heaven? O you of little faith, rejoice, for you are still preserved in faith. It may be a weak and struggling faith, but even faith the size of a mustard seed grasps the feet of the crucified Christ and all His gifts.

Dear ones, ones of little faith, rejoice in your preserved faith. It is for all the little helpless ones that Christ died to save. It is always the little puppies who get to eat the crumbs that fall from His table.

  • Return often to this place where Christ has promised to preserve you in your Baptismal faith.
  • Return often to hear Christ speak His Word to you.
  • Return often to His table to receive His body and blood.
  • O you of little faith, rejoice!, for you are forgiven, you are saved, and you have already begun to live forever (point to the fount). For Jesus' most holy Passion's sake. Amen.

In the name of the Father and of the T Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Please stand.

The Peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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