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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Have you been feeling afraid, lately? Fear is everywhere. News stations use it to drive up their ratings. Politicians use it to get people onboard with their cause. Parents might use it to motivate their children, or teachers their students. But why is fear used so often and by so many different people and groups?
Humility is a tricky thing. We recognize that being humble is a good thing and that having a domineering ego that takes hold of us and dictates all of our decisions tends to go very poorly. But how often is humility seen as a sign of weakness, something that can be taken advantage of? False-humility is also a problem, making it look like you’re humble but it’s only a show.
Jesus in our Gospel for this morning forces us into real humility, humility that recognizes what we are by nature and what we need God to do for us. This humility, when properly applied, causes us to struggle through this life to the narrow door of eternal life with him, trusting his forgiveness to undo our grievous and innumerable faults.
Peace is generally seen as a good thing. We’d rather have peace with our neighbor than be the midst of a feud over the fence. We’d rather have peace with a coworker rather than dealing with passive-aggressive animosity.
And yet, Jesus seems to put a wet blanket on our joy and aspirations for peace, doesn’t he? He said in our lesson for this morning, “I came to throw fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already ignited. But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is finished! Do you think that I came to bring peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” So, were the angels wrong? Did Simeon have a false comfort? Is Jesus set on bringing peace or not?
It’s a lesson all parents have to teach their children. We should be kind to everyone. Parents have to teach that because that is no child’s (and no adult’s) default state of mind.
Jesus’ resurrection gives us a glimpse of what is to come. Our tomb will be like his tomb. Our coffin will be like the young man in Nain’s coffin. That is to say, empty. Because Jesus has defeated death for us, we will live with him forever. Physical death will likely claim our life unless Jesus returns before that day. But that death is only temporary. Our eternal lives are safe and secure with the God who visited his people to save them.
We may not be able to explain the how’s of the Triune God, but we know the what’s and the why’s: God loves us. We are freed from the debt we owed to God. We are rescued from hell. We will be with our Triune God face-to-face in eternal life, just as he originally intended for us to be. Thank you, Father, Son, and Spirit, for these and so many other blessings!
Why do we observe Pentecost? Is it anything more than the birthday of the Christian church? As we see this account freshly again this morning, we’re left asking, What does this mean?
Paul recognized that the Christian ministry was all about adaption. That while the message of the Christian faith cannot be modified, changed, or compromised, he notes that we also can’t just ram-rod one, single-minded approach down the throat of anyone we come into contact with. We will want to adapt. But that begs the question here in 21st Century America, 21st Century Northern California, how do we become all things to all people?
If you have paid any attention to current events, you’ve seen a great deal of time spent and ink spilled on personal relationships. How should a man treat a woman? A woman a man? A husband his wife? A wife her husband? A parent their child? A child their parent? How should coworkers interact with each other? How should friends treat each other? How do members of a congregation interact with one another in a way that brings glory to God?
When you sit down with that friend or family member for that tough conversation, there may be no real fix to the problems. They just be things that now you have to deal with. But with God’s bad news? He provides the certain solution. The law that condemns us is overwhelmed by the gospel, the good news that Jesus has saved us.
So don’t rebel against what God says to you, painful as it might be. Listen to it. Listen to all of it. It might not be what you want to hear, but it is what you need to hear, because in that message of sin and forgiveness of that sin is comfort of your eternal life! Amen.
In our Gospel this morning, we continue down the path of Jesus’ teaching the crowd in the events surrounding his feeding of the 5,000 men on the hillside. Jesus has been trying to get the people to lift their eyes heavenward, to see that there’s more to this life than what is immediately surrounding them. They shouldn’t be following him hoping for their next free lunch; they should be following them because he provides eternal life.
Jesus provides us with spiritual bread and water that leaves us refreshed and satisfied to eternity. That food and drink is his Word. That food and drink is his life, death, and resurrection. In the Bread of Life we have forgiveness for all of our misguided priorities and short-sighted prayers. In Jesus we have forgiveness that doesn’t just get us through a day, or week, or year; we have forgiveness that nourishes through eternal life. Every sin is gone; in Jesus we live forever.
Have you ever been in that situation where you feel pulled in about eighteen different directions? Stress doesn’t do anything good to us, and stress on top of physically and emotionally draining times can just compound things. When you’re under that kind of load, take Jesus’ advice. Go with him to a quiet place and get some rest. Quiet time in restful meditation with God’s Word is very often a solution to the problems that await us and the things that need our attention. Time with Jesus changes our outlook, drowns our sinful nature again, and recharges us to face what we need to do with renewed zeal. That’s why our personal and family devotions are so very important. Very often they may be the one time that we get some rest, emotionally and spiritually, to recharge.
God’s Word is not something we outgrow. It’s not something that uses up its usefulness. We will never have anything more important in our lives than that beautiful, perfect Word of God, through which God brings us to faith in our Savior and assures us of eternal life. May that Word be the center of your joy and the priority of your life now and forever! Amen.
Who do you think God is? He’s not some cruel master, working to make your life miserable. He’s not a vindictive judge, who relishes in your suffering. Your God is your all-powerful protector, the one who works good from trouble now and rescues from sin and death eternally.
Above all else, guard your heart carefully, because your life flows from it. Don’t let anything and everything come into your heart because it’s too precious, too much is riding on your heart being focused on your Savior. Thanks be to God that through his Word, the Holy Spirit keeps that focus on Him for us. He does what we cannot do, what we need Him to do. He focuses you on your Savior and then your life flows from it, your eternal life especially, but even your day-to-day life as well.
At the focus of our meditation is the motivation behind our actions. Why do you do the things you do? What drives you? What motivates you? Is it possible to do the wrong things for right reasons? Is it possible to do the right thing for wrong reasons?
The altar in Old Testament worship life was centered around sacrifices, usually burnt offerings. Thus, the angel brings a coal from this sacrifice to purify Isaiah. The ultimate altar had no coals; it had wood and nails. The cross is the altar upon which God ultimately took away our guilt and continues to provide forgiveness for our sins.
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.