Don't use a big word where a diminutive one will suffice.
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Atlantis: the domain of the Stingray
28Dec
2014
Sun
14:44
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Holy Innocents, Martyrs

Matthew 2:13-18

Holy Innocents, Martyrs 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Four days ago, you just finished singing this wonderful hymn about the heralding angels’ message to the shepherds in the field as Jesus was born:

Hail, the heavenly Prince of Peace!
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Risen with healing in His wings.
Mild He leaves His throne on high,
Born that man no more may die;
Born to raise the sons of earth;
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new-born King!” (“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”, TLH 94:3)

No sooner do we close the hymnal on that stanza and we come to the Fourth Day of Christmas, “celebrated” as the feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs. As you heard in the text appointed for this day,

Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:
“A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted,
Because they are no more.

The Prince of Peace is “born that man no more may die,” and today we “celebrate” the deaths of the male children in Bethlehem two-years old and younger. Jesus’ birth and the celebration thereof is marked by slaughter, there is blood on His birth.

25Dec
2014
Thu
14:44
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Nativity of Our Lord

John 1:1-18

The Nativity of Our Lord 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us...”

How often have you thought about those words from today’s Gospel? I mean, really thought about them?

It’s so easy this time of year to get caught up in the Christmas story as told by St. Luke. Pregnant Mary, no room in the inn, finding room in a stable, giving birth, manger, swaddling cloths, angels singing, shepherds wondering. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” (Luke 2:14) These are all great things, things to marvel over, things to rejoice about. “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)

But John gives us a different perspective. He fills in the blanks that, as we read Luke, don’t realize are there. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The Word of God is God; practically inexplicable and wholly incomprehensible beyond what John says. There is another person to this Godhead, the Word, and He is God. He was there in the beginning; of course He was, since He is God.

24Dec
2014
Wed
22:00
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Eve of the Nativity of Our Lord

Luke 2:1-20

The Eve of the Nativity of Our Lord 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The family made their way from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census. Mary was tremendously pregnant; she could give birth at any moment. They couldn’t find room in the inn—it’s a small town, but that’s where they had to go to register, and so did many, many others. They find a place to stay; it’s warm and dry, but surrounded by barn animals. Mary gives birth, wraps her Son in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger.

Angels sang. The whole creation rejoices at the birth of the Son. Shepherds made their way to see the sight of which they were told. What do they see?

17Dec
2014
Wed
22:00
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Mid-week Advent III - The Nativity of St. John the Baptist

Luke 1:57-80

Mid-week Advent III 2014 Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

God is faithful. He makes promises, and He keeps them.

Hear the promise of the Lord from the prophet Amos: “’Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘That I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread, Nor a thirst for water, But of hearing the words of the LORD.’” (Amos 8:11) Days are coming, He says, when there will no longer be the hearing of the words of the LORD. The Word will cease to be given and received, and God likens it to a famine.

Hear the promise of the Lord from the prophet Malachi: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” (Malachi 4:5-6) There will be a famine of hearing the words of the LORD, but God will send Elijah to them. Elijah will come before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.

10Dec
2014
Wed
22:00
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Mid-week Advent II - The Visitation

Luke 1:39-56

Mid-week Advetn II 2014 Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Perhaps you recall a word from last week or hearing a word from last week, though it was a Greek word: Theotokos. The word means God-bearer, though it is often translated, for the sake of simplicity and impact, Mother of God. Did you cringe at that at all when any of that was said, last week or this week?

It was at the Council of Ephesus in AD431 that this title for Mary was decreed. This is a council in our history, dear Lutherans; that is to say that we confess the same faith as the Church when it convened in council in Ephesus (as well as other councils), and so for us, then, Mary is Theotokos, the bearer of God.

7Dec
2014
Sun
15:00
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Populus Zion

Luke 21:25-36

Populus Zion 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”

I grew up as the Cold War was coming to an end. While I never had to practice them, I recall stories of classrooms running duck-and-cover drills. From time to time, you can still see fallout shelter signs on one building or another, even in places that would be untouched by fallout from a power plant disaster. I watched movies such as Red Dawn, Firefox, and War Games in which Soviet invasion, the Cold War, and global-nuclear annihilation were central themes. These and other signs are all remnants of the preparations and ideas this nation made and had for nuclear war with the Soviet Union.

Mr. Gorbachev may have torn down the wall, but the threat of global annihilation still exists as terrorists plot to knock down buildings, overthrow governments, steal nuclear materials to make a dirty bombs, and devise new and horrific biological weapons. There are threats of war left and right, governments posturing here and there, even as, as I have recently read, there are plans to send 100 American tanks to Lithuania to counter “Russian aggression,”1 a response to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

3Dec
2014
Wed
22:00
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Mid-week Advent I - The Annunciation

Luke 1:26-38

Mid-week Advent I 2014 Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

What we observe today begins the second greatest mystery of the Christian faith: God comes to earth and dwells with man.

Religions around the world are filled with what are called theophanies—the appearing or manifestation of their god or gods on earth to man. These gods appeared to someone to instruct them, to give them some bit of their holy writings, or to interact with them in some other way. In Greek mythology, these theophanies often resulted in the birth of demigods—half divine, half human creatures, and these were not always human in appearance. Perhaps the most notable among these demigods is Hercules—son of the lord of Olympus, Zeus, and his human consort, Alcmene.

When YHWH appears to man, when He comes and dwells with man, His is no theophany like those of ancient, false lore. Some may wish to draw connections between the myth of Hercules and what we heard in tonight’s text, as if somehow part of what was read tonight was borrowed from that myth. But it is not so; the Son born to Mary is no demigod hero, but He is the very Son of God and YHWH Himself, the Creator and Savior of the world. He is Jesus, Immanuel, God-with-us, the second person of the Holy Trinity enfleshed and dwelling with man—He is YHWH’s theophany!

30Nov
2014
Sun
18:21
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Ad Te Levavi

Matthew 21:1-9

Ad Te Levavi 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The closing words we heard Jesus speak last week were, “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” (Matthew 25:13) Therein lies the promise and prediction of Jesus’ second Advent—His second appearing on earth, coming in judgment. Jesus would not have told His followers to watch were He not intending to return—that’s His promise. And the prediction is that no one will know either the day or the hour of His return; even Jesus doesn’t know, as He said elsewhere. (cf. Mark 13:32)

The word that follows, “Watch,” is, “Prepare.” It’s the ensign for this season of Advent. We’re at the time of year when we prepare to celebrate, once again, the first Advent of the Son of God, ever mindful of His impending second Advent; preparing—or, more properly, being prepared, by receiving from Him all that He has to give, watching and waiting for, anticipating and expecting Jesus to return and judge the world.

27Nov
2014
Thu
18:01
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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National Day of Thanksgiving

catechetical instruction

National Day of Thanksgiving 2014 Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” Five times the Psalmist wrote those words (Psalms 106:1; 107:1, 118:1; 118:29; 136:1), adding an additional, “Oh give thanks to the LORD.” (Psalm 105:1) Then, there are countless other passages of scripture that command or encourage thankfulness or demonstrate thankfulness for the reader and hearer, including those which were read today.

Then we have the instructions from Dr. Luther’s Small Catechism, as you recited this morning. I believe that God has made me, given me everything that I have, and defends me from all dangers, “for all which it is my duty to thank and praise, to serve and obey Him.” God gives daily bread to all without our prayer—everything that is needed to support body and life—“but we pray in this petition that He would lead us to know it, and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.”

16Nov
2014
Sun
18:31
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Trinity

Matthew 25:31-46

Trinity XXVI 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The law is very natural for humanity. Man views the law favorably, even if, at times, he does not always like what the law has to say. By the law, man interprets his surroundings. By the law, man understands the way things are supposed to work. Through the law, man relates to all of creation. Do this; don’t do that. It’s simple, and as he understands it, it is manageable.

By contrast, the Gospel is completely foreign to him. That what man has he receives from outside of himself, apart from his work or merit, from another, completely by grace is difficult or even impossible to understand. In fact, it is even offensive: to be told that you receive something that you do not deserve is insulting—on the one hand, you are being told that what you have done is not enough, not good enough, to earn what you have; on the other hand, it completely contradicts the notion that you have to do something to earn something.

9Nov
2014
Sun
19:08
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Trinity

Luke 17:20-30

Trinity XXV 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Pharisees are looking forward to the coming of the Kingdom of God, so they ask Jesus when it would happen. They were anticipating the time when God would come to His people and restore the kingdom to Israel. They were looking for something to happen; they expected to see something happen.

“The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is [among] you.” The coming of the Kingdom of God is not the type of event that they expected to see, Jesus says. It does not come with close observation, as if you could tell the time was at hand by reading the newspaper headlines. In fact, the Kingdom of God was among them.

More to the point, the Kingdom of God was standing right there talking to them.

19Oct
2014
Sun
20:12
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Twenty-Second Sunday after Trinity

Matthew 18:21-35

Trinity XXII 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Peter asks a valid question. That is to say, at face value, it is a valid question. “How often shall I forgive my brother?” But, as Old Adam always does to things like this, the question has to be made personal. “How often shall my brother sin against me?”

Now, we can imagine what Peter was really asking. “Is there a point when I can stop forgiving my brother? I mean, he just keeps on sinning against me! Sometimes, I’ve forgiven him for a sin against me, and he turns right around and does it again! How many times do I need to forgive my brother?”

Jesus’ answer should be obvious. “Often and every time.” Your brother will sin against you often, and you should forgive him for it every time.

5Oct
2014
Sun
17:24
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Twentieth Sunday after Trinity

Matthew 21:33-44

Trinity XX 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Those hired vinedressers are foolish and blind. Anyone reading or hearing the parable could tell that. Even the chief priests and elders of the people knew it.

In this parable, a landowner plants a vineyard, digs a winepress in it, and builds a tower. He leased it to the vinedressers then went off into the far country. The lease isn’t too difficult to understand—the rules are easy to figure out here. It’s the owner’s vineyard, winepress, and tower. The workers are hired. They are to tend to the property, care for the vineyard, harvest the grapes, and give the owner what is his. In return, they get to live on the land and keep some of the harvest.

28Sep
2014
Sun
17:04
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Michaelmas

Revelation 12:7-12

Michaelmas 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

War broke out in heaven. Let that sink in for a moment.

It seems unfathomable. The place where the Holy God reigns and controls all things is the place thought of to be peaceful. Yet, war broke out in heaven. The Apostle John was permitted a glimpse of this heavenly battle:

And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them!”

War broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought Satan and his angels, and Michael prevailed. Satan was cast out; no longer was there a place for him in heaven. And the heavens and all who dwell in them rejoice.

14Sep
2014
Sun
17:28
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Holy Cross Day

John 12:20-33

Holy Cross Day 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“So the LORD God said to the serpent: ‘Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” (Genesis 3:14-15) So did YHWH curse the serpent in the Garden, and in so doing, promise salvation for Adam and the woman and all that would be born of them—for you and for all the world, dear hearers. This promised salvation will come by way of the Seed of the Woman.

After this promise, Adam called his wife Eve, for she would be the mother of all the living. She bore him a son whom they named Cain, for she had acquired a man, the LORD. (cf. Genesis 4:1) She thought her son the promised Seed, but she was mistaken as this one was conceived and born in sin and unable to crush the serpent’s head. What he was able to do was kill his brother, and for that, he was cursed from the earth, a banishment similar to that of his parents. Adam knew his wife again, she conceived and bore another son, Seth, “For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.” (Genesis 4:25b) Still, they did not get it.

7Sep
2014
Sun
18:51
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Twelfth Sunday after Trinity

Mark 7:31-37

Trinity XII 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

In a recent video, Victoria Osteen proclaimed to the people at the church she “pastors” with her husband, Joel,

I just wanna encourage every one of us to realize, when we obey God, we’re not doin’ it for God (I mean that’s one way to look at it), we’re doin’ it for ourself, because God takes pleasure when we’re happy. That’s the thing that gives Him the greatest joy this morning. So, I want you to know this morning, just do good for your own self—do good, ‘cause God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doin’ it for God, really, you’re doin’ it for yourself, ‘cause that’s what makes God happy.

Joel and Victoria Osteen are “co-pastors” of Lakewood Church, a church which makes every other mega-church look minuscule by comparison. As evidenced by Victoria’s little speech, the Osteens preach what is known as Prosperity Gospel. Prosperity Gospel has at its core the belief that God’s greatest purpose is your happiness, “[D]o good, ‘cause God wants you to be happy.”

31Aug
2014
Sun
19:11
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Eleventh Sunday after Trinity

Luke 18:9-14

Trinity XI 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

What if I told you that Jesus’ conclusion to the parable in today’s Gospel, “...everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted,” does not necessarily refer to the Pharisee and the tax collector, respectively? Well, not ultimately, anyway. Bear that in mind as we continue through this sermon.

24Aug
2014
Sun
22:10
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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St. Bartholomew, Apostle

John 1:43-51

St. Bartholomew, Apostle 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The man is in the wilderness. He has grown weary and tired from the chase. The day has grown long and the sun is beginning to set. There is no one and nothing else around, and he has no provisions for the night. In his weariness, however, he lays on the ground and falls asleep. For a pillow, he uses a stone.

20Jul
2014
Sun
20:51
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Fifth Sunday after Trinity

Luke 5:1-11

Trinity V 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The king had just died, so a man goes to the temple to burn some incense before the LORD to commemorate the king. He knew what to do, he had seen it done many times before. This time, however, something was different. He was sure that the bit of robe that he saw out of the corner of his eye wasn’t there when he first got to the temple. As he looks around, he notices that the surroundings are just a bit different, too.

So, he follows the train that he saw out of the corner of his eye; it keeps going and going and going, filling the temple. It comes to a throne, and seated on the throne was none other than the Lord. In awe, and not quite aware of what’s going on, he looks around and sees six-winged seraphs flying around; with a pair of wings they covered themselves out of modesty—they are in the presence of the Almighty with a man among them—with a pair they covered their faces as was reverent. Flying around, they cried out to each other in one voice, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” The whole place shook at their cry, and smoke of incense filled it.

Incense...that’s when the man realizes what’s going on; that’s when he comes to his senses. He’s standing in the heavenly temple in the presence of the only, true God, Creator of the universe. The man falls down on the ground, prostrate, face-down. “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts.” (cf. Isaiah 6:1-5)

Dear hearers, this confession did not come to him from himself. He received it by faith as it was given to him by the Father in whose presence he found himself.

13Jul
2014
Sun
16:50
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Fourth Sunday after Trinity

Luke 6:36-42

Trinity IV 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

There was once a story told of a man who was in a great deal of debt to another man. The second man called the first to pay up, to settle his accounts. Sadly, the first man was unable to pay off his debts, so the second man wanted to sue the first, sell all he had, and collect his debt that way—he sought to ruin the first man. This man pleaded for mercy, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.” Moved with compassion, the second man released the first and forgave all of his debts.

Now, wouldn’t you know it, the first man had men who were indebted to him. This guy viciously seeks payment from these others, demanding that they pay him back. Just as the first man had done, these others pleaded for mercy; for patience in paying him back. Unlike the second man, however, this first man was not moved with compassion, and took up his case with the legal system. Of course, the second man got wind of what the first had done, and called him back to make amends. Because he would not have patience with all the others, the second man reversed his decision and demanded that the first man repay the debt. He went through a torturous claims court trial until he had paid back every last penny to the second man.

29Jun
2014
Sun
17:21
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles

Matthew 16:13-19

Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Pope Leo X, in a bull titled Decet Romanum Pontificem on January 3, 1521, excommunicated Martin Luther from the Catholic Church, as well as any who follow his teachings, whom this bull labeled Lutheran. The last part of the missive cites the authority which Leo uses to perform such excommunications. There, he wrote,

No one whatsoever may infringe this our written decision, declaration, precept, injunction, assignation, will, decree; or rashly contravene it. Should anyone dare to attempt such a thing, let him know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.
22Jun
2014
Sun
08:38
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Presentation of the Augsburg Confession (transferred)

John 15:1-11

Presentation of the Augsburg Confession (transferred) 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The sainted Dr. Hermann Sasse, a Lutheran theologian from Germany by way of Australia, posed a question to the LCMS about 50 years ago. He had written a series of letters to Lutheran pastors in the Missouri Synod, and in letter 20 he wrote,

The real life-and-death question for the Missouri Synod, as for every other Lutheran Church, is not about the strength of the external organization, the constitution, the growth of the congregation, or the school system. Nor is it about the position of the Confession as the basis for the message and work of the church. Rather it has to do with the strength of the Lutheran faith; that is, the genuine deep faith of the heart in the saving Gospel, which the Holy Spirit alone can give. It is the question whether, and to what extent, this strongest confessional church of Lutheranism is a truly confessing church, a church in which the Lutheran Confession is not merely held in honor as the confession of the fathers and therefore in force and untouchable. It is the question whether the Confession is the confession of a living faith of the congregation, and therefore the formative life-principle of the church. It is the question which Missouri, even as every other church, must ask herself in humility and must answer before the face of God: Are we still Lutheran? (emphasis mine)
8Jun
2014
Sun
23:18
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Whitsunday

Genesis 11:1-9; Acts 2:1-21; John 14:23-31

Whitsunday 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The world was a very evil place. God looked upon what He had created, and even in the foreknowledge of the fall of man into sin, grew weary with their wickedness. Moses wrote for us,

Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. (Genesis 6:5-8)

God instructs Noah to build an ark. He is to fill it with every kind of animal, and take his wife, his sons, and his sons’ wives in with them. 40 days and 40 nights the rains fell, and the springs of the deep burst open, gushing forth their water so that the whole earth was flooded. A year, a month, and 20 days later, Noah and his family disembarked.

29May
2014
Thu
23:30
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Ascension of Our Lord

Luke 24:44-53; Acts 1:1-11

The Ascension of Our Lord 2014 Wordle

NOTE: These weekday sermons seem to be chock full of typos and such errors, more so than the Sunday sermons are. Perhaps that's because they are written under more pressure (a tighter deadline). If you listen to the audio, you'll likely hear some places where the manuscript tripped me up. What is entered here and the pdf file are the original, unedited, uncorrected manuscript.

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

As you were to pore over the Scriptures, you would find periods of time where God is simply silent. There was no thunder from heaven, no smoke, no fire, no trembling mountains—only silence. Not much is said of God’s activity in the time between Noah and Abraham. The Old Testament closes and there was 400 years of silence before John the Baptist, to which even the Apocrypha attests. (cf. 1 Maccabees 9:27) Even in the New Testament, there’s hardly a word from God, even as He walks on earth in the flesh, between the time of Jesus’ Annunciation to His birth, between His birth and baptism, and a little between His resurrection and ascension. Of course, we presume to know that God was active in all of those times, but we read and hear little to nothing of them.

We now live in a time referred to as The Saeculum, a Latin word meaning “age” or “period of time.” It is used to refer to a period of time since an event occurred and the death of the last person to witness the event. This Saeculum that we live in is marked by the period of time in which no one living as seen Jesus in the flesh. By the standards set forth so far in this sermon, The Saeculum is another period of silence from God—there is no thunder from heaven, smoke, fire, or trembling mountains, at least, none of which we can attribute to the direct activity of God to mark His presence. The Canon of Scripture is closed, as there is no further revelation from God. Jesus has come, died on the cross, rose from the grave, and is now ascended to the right hand of majesty.

Now, there is silence...only silence.

25May
2014
Sun
15:10
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Rogate

John 16:23-33

Rogate 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

As we are about to enter the days of Rogation, the three days before Jesus’ ascension to the right hand of the throne of God, we are given a text on prayer; appropriate to the day, Rogate, which name means “ask” or “call upon.” So, Jesus says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.”

18May
2014
Sun
19:57
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Cantate

John 16:5-15

Cantate 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“And when [the Helper] has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”

Jesus is speaking of His death, resurrection, and ascension. He speaks to the 12, His chosen disciples, preparing them for the time when He would no longer be among them as He had been before.

Jesus is the Way, so goes on His way; He must go to the cross and grave first, for sins, then, into resurrection and rebirth. But then, Jesus continues on His way, for He ascends into heaven, and is no more seen as He was before. Now the Comforter, that is, the Holy Ghost, comes to His church. (Burnell F. Eckardt, Jr. in Every Day Will I Bless Thee)

There, in Jesus’ Bride, the Church, the Holy Ghost does His work.

11May
2014
Sun
16:31
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Jubilate

John 16:16-22

Jubilate 2014 Wordle

This manuscript is nearly identical to one preached on 2nd May 2010. You can view the manuscript here, or via the PDF file here.

27Apr
2014
Sun
19:17
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Quasimodo Geniti

John 20:19-31

Quasimodo Geniti 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

In the beginning, when God created man in His own image, he was formed from the dust of the ground. God the Potter had created perfection, the zenith of His creative work. God spoke, and there it was; “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth,” so in His image He made him, male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:26-27) So, from the good earth was man formed; however, the lifeless clay form stood before Him. Therefore, God “breathed into His nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)

In the days of the Patriarchs, catastrophe comes to Job as his family is taken from him, his livestock is stolen, and he is covered from head to foot in painful boils. He confesses that it is God who gives and takes away. (cf. Job 1:21) He asks his wife if we should accept only good from God and not adversity. (cf. Job 2:10) Four of His friends come to comfort him and do a poor job. Eventually, Elihu, Job’s young and pretentious friend who speaks a pearl of wisdom from time to time, speaks to rebuke the other three friends. He then turns his attention to Job and says, “The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” (Job 33:4)

The prophet Ezekiel is taken to a valley by the Spirit of YHWH and set in the midst of it, full of dry bones. “Son of man, can these bones live?” The prophet was commanded to prophesy to the bones to come together and live.

So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them. Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.”’” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army. (Ezekiel 37:1-10)
19Apr
2014
Sat
23:58
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Easter Vigil

Mark 16:1-8

NOTE: This is the sermon I would have preached on the Easter Vigil had we held the service.

Name Year Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

It is finished! (John 19:30) Jesus commended His spirit into the Father’s hand, breathed His last, and died. The work of your salvation is accomplished, completed, finished. Christ has died, and in His death is the remission of all of your sins.

Now, the nails are removed and the corpse is taken down from the cross. His tattered body, full of holes, is cared for. A man named Joseph was given the task to care for the boy Jesus; another man named Joseph assumes the task to care for the body of Jesus. (cf. John 19:38)

His body is spiced and wrapped by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, to whom Jesus told that he must be born again by water and the Spirit. (cf. John 3:1-8) They place the body of Jesus in Joseph’s new tomb; no one else is buried there yet—it’s empty. The stone is rolled in front of the tomb, closing in the lone corpse.

17Apr
2014
Thu
23:19
author: Stingray
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Maundy Thursday

John 13:1-35

Maundy Thursday 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Every Wednesday this Lent, we have been reciting Psalm 51—the “Create in me a clean heart, O God,” Psalm. Every week, you have been saying verse 16, “For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.” (Psalm 51:16 KJV) That, coupled with the Gospel lesson appointed for Maundy Thursday presents a particular problem for many in this world, you included, I would say.

9Apr
2014
Wed
20:20
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Mid-week Lent V

The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ - Calvary

Mid-week Lent V 2014 Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

The reading of any genealogy has underscoring it the very mortality of those on it. You look at the history of your family—your family tree—and names are almost always accompanied by a date or year of birth and a date and year of death. From generations past, men and women were born and died, begetting and birthing the next generation, all the way down to you. And they died.

6Apr
2014
Sun
16:04
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Judica

John 8:42-59

Judica 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Dear hearers, there are three in number which seek your overthrow—three beings or forces which seek to turn you away from God and the grace He has for you in Christ and the work Jesus did in His ministry and ultimately in His dying on the cross and rising again from the grave. These three use any means possible, drawing from their own resources, to lure you away from the truth and into the lie that leads to death and eternal damnation, to the place prepared for the devil and His angels. (cf. Matthew 25:41)

2Apr
2014
Wed
22:22
author: Stingray
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Mid-week Lent IV

The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ - The Praetorium

Mid-week Lent IV 2014 Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

The Law was Given:

  • You shall have no other gods.
  • You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
  • Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
  • Honor your father and your mother.
  • You shall not murder.
  • You shall not commit adultery.
  • You shall not steal.
  • You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
  • You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.
  • You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

What does He say of these commandments? “I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” (Exodus 20:5-6)

26Mar
2014
Wed
22:02
author: Stingray
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Mid-week Lent III

The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ - The Palace of the High Priest

Mid-week Lent III 2014 Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Does it not look strange to you? Here is Jesus, the Son of God, the Great High Priest and Prophet of prophets, the King of kings and Lord of lords, standing bound and beaten before the Sanhedrin—put on trial. Is this any way for royalty to be treated? Is this any way for a priest to be treated? Is this any way for the Son of God, very God of very God to be treated?

19Mar
2014
Wed
23:16
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Mid-week Lent II

The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ - Gethsemane

Mid-week Lent II 2014 Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Betrayal and denial...watchwords for Gethsemane. Jesus and His disciples had just finished what we call the Last Supper, and, “When they had sung a hymn, he went out, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him.” From there, they retreat to Gethsemane, where Jesus will pray in anguish, while His disciples, out of exhaustion, sleep what would be a sleep of betrayal.

16Mar
2014
Sun
17:37
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Reminiscere

Matthew 15:21-28

Reminiscere 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Near the end of St. Matthew’s 14th chapter, Jesus had just fed the 5000 men, besides women and children. (cf. Matthew 14:21) Miraculously, a mere five loaves of bread and two fish become a banquet for a great multitude. On top of that, when the crowd finished eating, there were leftovers; twelve baskets full of fragments.

After today’s Gospel lesson, Jesus does it again, feeding 4000 men, besides women and children. (cf. Matthew 15:38) This time, seven loaves and a few small fish were the meal. And the crowd had their fill. When they were done, once again there were leftovers; seven large baskets full of fragments.

Now, we can put all kinds of stock in the numbers used, and it is a salutary exercise to decipher the numbers. The Pentateuch, wholeness, the Trinity, the two testaments, the tribes, sun and moon, the fullness of time in a week—all of these things can be found in the numbers of loaves, fish, baskets, and men being fed.

12Mar
2014
Wed
23:33
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Mid-week Lent I

The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ - Lord's Supper

Mid-week Lent I 2014 Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

“For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:26)

Tonight we have begun to read through the Passion account of Jesus, a synopsis and harmonization of the events leading up to and including the death of the Son of God drawn from the four Gospels. We begin where the Passion begins, on the night in which He was betrayed.

5Mar
2014
Wed
22:22
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Ash Wednesday

Matthew 6:1-21

Ash Wednesday 2014 Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

The season of Lent is upon us. It is the time of sackcloth and ashes, as was donned by Job and his friends after he was struck by Satan with boils from head to foot. (cf. Job 2:8, 12) Mordecai and the Jews under king Xerxes put on sackcloth and ashes and mourned with fasting, weeping, and wailing when Haman issued the decree in the king’s name that all the Jews should be annihilated. (cf. Esther 4:1-3) And we heard earlier, the people of Nineveh fasted and put on sackcloth and ashes in a remarkable show of the efficacy of the Word of God when Jonah first set foot in the city and proclaimed, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” (cf. Jonah 3:4-5) It is Ash Wednesday, so named from the processional antiphon sung on this day in the 6th century: Immutemur habitu in cinere et cilicio—let us don sackcloth and ashes. It was sung metaphorically as a sign of mourning over sin; no one really put on sackcloth and ashes.

2Mar
2014
Sun
16:10
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Quinquagesima

Luke 18:31-43

Quinquagesima 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

These three Gesima Sundays have, as an underlying current, tenets of the faith to which the Lutheran Reformers clung with great zeal. There are five statements which they taught, believed, and confessed, three of which are at the heart of these three Gospel readings, which you may even have heard in the sermons and texts these last two weeks. The other two consequently flow out of the first three.

16Feb
2014
Sun
19:20
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Septuagesima

Matthew 20:1-16

Septuagesima 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Logic dictates that if you want the reward, then you have to do the work; if you want the prize, then you have to run and win the race; if you want the recognition, then you have to do something deserving of that recognition; if you want the grade; then you have to complete the assignment correctly; if you want the pay, then you have to do the job. That’s the way the world works. The works that we do earn what we get, and if we don’t do the work, then we don’t get anything.

It only makes sense, then, that the same kind of thinking would invade how we deal with God, or perhaps more precisely, how God deals with us. If we want something from God, then we have to do something to please God. It goes so far as to say that there are those who want God to demand works of them rather than believing that He gives them eternal life and salvation freely, by grace, without merit, without works, not even by way of works.

2Feb
2014
Sun
21:49
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Purification of Mary and Presentation of Our Lord

Luke 2:22-40

The Purification of Mary and the Presentation of Our Lord 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Dear hearers, when we first encountered this text 36 days ago, we heard of the presentation of Jesus at the temple as being part of His redemption from Himself as a remembrance that the Israelites were led by the hand of YHWH out of slavery in the land of Egypt following the Tenth Plague—the death of all firstborn sons of man and beast. Leviticus 12 was cited as the method by which firstborn sons were redeemed from YHWH, by the sacrifice of a lamb or a pair of small birds. Upon closer reading of that text, though too close of a reading is unnecessary, it becomes apparent that the sacrifice is not intended to be on behalf of the son, but for the mother:

When the days of her purification are fulfilled, whether for a son or a daughter, she shall bring to the priest a lamb of the first year as a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or a turtledove as a sin offering, to the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Then he shall offer it before the LORD, and make atonement for her. And she shall be clean from the flow of her blood. This is the law for her who has borne a male or a female. And if she is not able to bring a lamb, then she may bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons—one as a burnt offering and the other as a sin offering. So the priest shall make atonement for her, and she will be clean. (Leviticus 12:6-8)

The priest makes the sacrifice on the mother’s behalf—a lamb and a turtledove or pigeon, or two turtledoves, or two young pigeons—and she will be clean, or purified.

So, when Mary offers the pair of birds for the sacrifice, unable to afford to bring a lamb (yet still bringing the Lamb), the sacrifice is made for her purification, for having given birth. The sacrifice does not redeem Jesus from Himself, as you heard this man in the pulpit proclaim just over a month ago. For preaching a fact which was in error, he begs your forgiveness. You, however, are still a firstborn son of God by way of His only-begotten Son’s sacrifice on your behalf, reconciled to the Father by the Son, who came in the likeness of your flesh, placing Himself under His law, in order to redeem you to life from death.

19Jan
2014
Sun
15:55
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Second Sunday after the Epiphany

John 2:1-11

Name Year Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14) The Son of God is conceived of the Holy Ghost and born of the virgin Mary. He grows up and makes His way to the Jordan. There, John sees Him, points to Him and says,

Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, “After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.” I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water. (John 1:29-31)

Jesus is baptized by John to fulfill all righteousness. (cf. Matthew 3:15) Some of John’s disciples, at John’s direction, follow Jesus. Jesus calls a few more disciples.

Then, Jesus is invited to a wedding in Cana. His mother and disciples attend with Him. And how we like to pick apart that wedding. There’s merit in doing so, especially when the wine runs out and Jesus, at the behest of His mother, changes water in purifying jars to the best wine served at the wedding. Here we see a picture of the wedding feast of the Lamb on His Bride, of which we partake a foretaste when we consume the body of the Lamb as bread and drink the blood of the Lamb as wine—thereby making it the finest wine you will ever have.

12Jan
2014
Sun
16:25
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Baptism of Our Lord

Matthew 3:13-17

Baptism of Our Lord 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The people flock out to see him. He preaches repentance to them. They meet him in the river. There they are baptized by him, a baptism of repentance. Sinners flock to John the Baptizer and hear the Law of God:

Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our father.” For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 3:7b-10)

Many do bear fruit in keeping with repentance as they are baptized by John. Down into the Jordan they go, one after another, to be washed by him, crucified, as it were, by his preaching of repentance. From John, the greatest of the prophets and that preacher sent by God, they receive the forgiveness of their sins. But then he says it:

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (Matthew 3:11-12)

They all look up, and that’s when they see it. “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.”

5Jan
2014
Sun
17:20
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Second Sunday after Christmas

Matthew 2:13-23

Second Sunday after Christmas 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Christmas season is winding down. Matter of fact, this is the 12th Day of Christmas—the last day of the season. The gifts are no longer under trees. If trees are still adorning our houses, they are likely beginning to drop their needles now more than before. People are putting away their manger scenes. The Christmas albums are beginning to gather dust again. And to close out the season at church, we hear this: “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted, Because they are no more.”

Joy to the world, the Lord is come, and Herod goes on a murderous rampage to end the threat to his throne, power, and glory—murder, politics, blood, the slaughter of innocents in the hopes of getting at the One. Soldiers are seen bursting into homes. The sound of swords being taken out of scabbards echoes throughout Bethlehem—young boys scream out in agony; parents wail in grief. The smell of death lingers in the atmosphere. The taste of blood tinges the air. The agony is palpable. Gone is the Silent Night, now Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.

1Jan
2014
Wed
15:40
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Circumcision and Name of Jesus

Luke 2:21

Circumcision and Name of Jesus 2014 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Dear fellow firstborn sons of God by way of baptism into the Son of God, Merry Eighth Day of Christmas. Today, your God fulfills the law for you. For, on this day the infant Son of God, Creator of the universe, goes under the knife to mark Himself as a son of the covenant. He is of the people of God as He receives circumcision on His eighth day.