Rejoice in the Lord, Always

Rejoice in the Lord, Always

God gives us wonderful promises through Jesus Christ. Because of Jesus' death and resurrection, we have eternal life. He gives it to us through his word and his sacraments, a promise that never fails. 

We can loose sight of that both when life is going terribly and when life is amazing. Either way, God calls us to rejoice in him. We don't look at our personal situation. We constantly turn to God's love and mercy for our joy. 

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Holiness and Christian Freedom

Holiness and Christian Freedom

Romans 14:1-12

God has given Christians a great deal of freedom. While he has commanded and forbidden many things, we have freedom in the ways that we conduct much of our lives. He doesn't command a particular mode of worship, what clothes we should wear to church, or what color we should make the walls. All of this falls under Christian freedom.

St. Paul describes a situation where some are judging other Christians for practices that fall under Christian freedom. It seems that some Jewish Christians were still eating kosher and holding to the old holidays. Some Christians looked down on those still doing the old ways as if they were weak in the faith. Paul writes that Christians are free to practice certain habits or disciplines if they want to. 

It's important to remember that Christian freedom doesn't mean that we can do whatever we want. God still commands that we hear his word, receive his sacraments, and follow his will. All our decisions about what we do should drive toward the best way to serve that aim. 

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Government as God's Servant

Government as God's Servant

When Martin Luther explains the fourth commandment, he writes, "We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them." 

St. Paul describes how God appointed rulers for the early Christians as his servants. He used the Roman government to restrain evil and promote good. God does the same with our current government. Whether you love, hate, or don't care about our representatives, they are appointed by God to govern. We give them their due respect as God's servants. 

But we also know that government or civil society cannot stop sin. People will always use others for their own ends. Only Jesus, by his death and resurrection can bring an end to sin. When he returns, he will end sin and make everything perfect. 

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God's Love For Others

God's Love For Others

God loves the whole world, and he shows us that love through Jesus Christ. Jesus gave himself to us, everything that he has, so we could live forever. God desires that we love each other that same way. In Romans 12, he calls on each Christian to show love to other Christians, the the people who are mean to us, and to the lowly. Click here to listen to the sermon

Romans 12:9-21

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

God Is Unsearchable and Inscrutable

God Is Unsearchable and Inscrutable

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

  “For who has known the mind of the Lord,

   or who has been his counselor?”

  “Or who has given a gift to him

   that he might be repaid?”

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. 
Romans 11:33-36

God is beyond our understanding, because he is infinite, all-powerful, and all-knowing. How could human beings even begin to understand anything so foreign to our world. Because he is unsearchable, we know that we can only know about him from how he reveals himself to us through Jesus Christ. Listen to the sermon to hear more about God’s inscrutable wisdom for us.

 

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