Welcome to the Gloria Dei Sermon Library! Here you'll find written copies and audio recordings of the weekly sermons in church. Click on the title for each sermon to expand the written document and show the player for the audio version.
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Jesus promised a peace that was different than the world’s. But on our own, we can’t get at it. On our own we can’t stand against the world’s temptations for different peace. On our own we’re powerless. We need God’s help; we need what Jesus had promised the Holy Spirit would do for his disciples and for us, “I have told you these things while staying with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I told you.”
As John writes to the Christians living around about 80 or 90 A.D., he’s encouraging them in their change of life, namely, the change from unbelief to faith. Being grafted into the Vine of Jesus’ love meant changes in both the way they thought and in the way they lived.
However, today is the real birthday of the Lutheran church because today is the day, 487 years ago, that the Lutheran church made it clear what we taught and what we stood against as it presented the original version of a confession of faith and teaching we’ve come to know as the Augsburg Confession.
Being a witness comes with a fair about of responsibility. If you’re an eyewitness to a crime, you’ll likely have to make a statement to the police and maybe even testify in court. If you are a witness for a wedding, you’ll have a sign a document indicating that you were there and saw the commitment pledged between two people.
If there’s one thing we’re really good at, it’s deceiving ourselves. We sit on the couch on a weekend afternoon watching sports while covered in potato chip crumbs and we say to ourselves or out loud, “Well, I could have done better than that!”
Ever just have “one of those days”? The car is really fussy and take 10 tries before it actually turns over and starts. An accident on the road creates traffic where there’s not normally traffic and you’re late for work.
Ask any parent here this evening, and they’ll tell you just how big of a change having a child is for every aspect of their lives.
When you own a car and you have a “bumper to bumper” warranty, what does that imply? Theoretically, it should be that from the front bumper to the back bumper and everything in between is covered from any defects or malfunction (although, we probably still do well to read the fine print of what is covered and what isn’t).
One of the biggest shifts in moving to Northern California from South Dakota had to be the one we manage our trash. Here, we had to learn what went in garbage, what went in compost, and what went in recycling, something we never had to think about South Dakota.
If we’d really like to have a sleepover at a friend’s house, but figure Mom and Dad would shoot down the idea, we might just keep it to ourselves. If we’re sure the boss is going to reject our request for a raise or an increase in budget, we might just keep our desires to ourselves. After all, why go through the hassle and heartache of rejection if we know it’s coming in the first place?
We all like compliments. We all like to feel good about ourselves. We all like to think we’re making a positive difference in people’s lives. We all like to feel like we’re accomplishing something.
“Why is this happening?” Have you ever wondered that as you embark on some trouble or as the walls of your otherwise safe and comfortable world start to crumble around you? Each of us has had different experiences. We’ve had ups; we’ve had downs. Our struggles and trials might look very different.
The importance of an eyewitness is difficult to overstate. When the teacher needs to know just what happened on one end of the playground while she was tending to another situation, a child who was not involved who saw what happened might be valuable.
The writer to the Hebrews urges us that we should have the kind of focus. No matter what the problems and challenges that we face might be, no matter how severe they might become, our focus should rest squarely on Jesus.
Jesus in our Gospel for this morning gives us the absolute worst case scenario. Jesus’ parable gives us a picture of people who reject his Word and thus are crushed by God’s judgment. With the people listening to Jesus we say “May it never be!”
Throughout Jesus’ ministry, he was slowly but surely revealing his true heart to those closest to him. His disciples slowly learned who he was, from plain water into miracle wine to the healing of life-long ailments and even raising the dead.
The lesson before us is what has been come to be known as the Benedictus (because that’s the first word of the song in Latin), or the Song of Zechariah. The song is a song of hope and assurance in the love and forgiveness of God, one uttered, as the verse before our lesson says, when Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied.
We have a mess that’s far worse than any clutter we might have around the house, a mess that is worse than a massive sewer backup in our homes. We have the mess of sin that hangs on us. We need to be purified and cleansed from that gunk. And that’s exactly what God does for us.
During this season, and especially this Sunday, we reprise a number of the themes that we’ve heard over the last couple of weeks. God brings us assurance in his Word that though we face his just judgment and the end of time, for Jesus’ sake and by his mercy he saves us.
Our priorities tend to be fluid and change as needs arise. When the big project is due at work, perhaps getting that done and done right takes priority over nice, family dinners for a week or two. When the family hits the road on vacation, hopefully relaxation and bonding take priority over work for the duration of the trip.
But no matter how dark, or gloomy, or scary, or alien the world and environment around us is going to feel, we can be confident, excited, and even powerful because we will stand in the power and glory of the Son of Man, Jesus, our Savior.
We are surrounded by lies every day, and we know it. So when a commercial comes on advertising a new product with claims that sound too good to be true, we raise an eyebrow and assume that it isn’t true. Parents question the weak excuses of a child when the child has been known to exaggerate or simply lie to try to get out of trouble.
Festival Sundays surrounding a prominent figure from church history, biblical or otherwise, is always a delicate balancing act. Whether we are speaking about Martin Luther’s work at a Reformation celebration later this month or a festival like we have before us today, celebrating the work of the Evangelist Luke, we are very careful to make clear that we are not merely celebrating or even going to the extreme of worshipping the human being.
If we understand “faith” and “belief” as simply “trust,” we recognize very clearly that faith and belief must have an object. There must be something that we trust. We cannot simply trust in fantasize and assume that our faith will bring them into reality.