“God’s Testimony: Eternal Life in His Son” (1 John 5:9-15)

Seventh Sunday of Easter
May 13, 2018

“God’s Testimony: Eternal Life in His Son” (1 John 5:9-15)

This week the Epistle reading once again is from First John. This has been the Epistle featured throughout this Easter season, and for good reason. The author, St. John, was an eyewitness of the risen Lord Jesus, and in this letter John bears witness concerning the life God has given us through the death and resurrection of his Son. John opened this letter by saying: “The life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life.” Now as we come to the end of this letter, John makes it clear that the eternal life he is bearing witness to is not just a matter of his or any man’s testimony. Indeed, it is God’s own testimony.

John writes: “If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” And so our theme this morning: “God’s Testimony: Eternal Life in His Son.”

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Published in: on May 12, 2018 at 10:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Spirit and the Water and the Blood” (1 John 5:1-8)

Sixth Sunday of Easter
May 6, 2018

“The Spirit and the Water and the Blood” (1 John 5:1-8)

Our Epistle today from First John includes a section that at first glance may seem a little puzzling. But when we look at it a little more closely, we’ll see how it really does make sense. Indeed, it makes quite clear the very heart of our faith and salvation. The passage in question is 1 John 5:6-8, as follows: “This is he who came by water and blood–Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.” And so our theme this morning: “The Spirit and the Water and the Blood.”

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Published in: on May 5, 2018 at 5:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Abide in the Vine” (John 15:1-8)

Fifth Sunday of Easter
April 29, 2018

“Abide in the Vine” (John 15:1-8)

“Stay where you are!” “Don’t move!” These commands sound rather restrictive. These imperatives can sound oppressive and limiting, like we’re being told what to do, and it’s to not do anything. The idea of remaining where you are sounds kind of boring, like we’re stuck in a rut. But when it comes to the Christian life, nothing could be further from the truth. Far from being dull and lifeless, for the Christian, remaining where you are–that is, “abiding in the vine,” remaining connected to Christ–is dynamic, active, and very productive. And so our theme this morning: “Abide in the Vine.”

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Published in: on April 28, 2018 at 1:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Love That Lays Down Its Life” (1 John 3:16-24)

Fourth Sunday of Easter
April 22, 2018

“The Love That Lays Down Its Life” (1 John 3:16-24)

“The King of Love My Shepherd Is.” What a beautiful hymn to sing on this day in the church year known as “Good Shepherd Sunday”! How we need a good shepherd to lead and guard and guide us! That’s why we follow Jesus and listen to his voice. We sing his praises, because of his great love for us. He loved us so much that he laid down his life for his sheep.

Today we want to see what the results are of Christ laying down his life for us. What does it mean for us to be on the receiving end of Christ’s love? What effect does his love have on our daily lives, in the way we live? That’s what we’ll explore today, under the theme, “The Love That Lays Down Its Life.”

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Published in: on April 22, 2018 at 12:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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“What We Are Now and What We Will Be” (1 John 3:1-7)

Third Sunday of Easter
April 15, 2018

“What We Are Now and What We Will Be” (1 John 3:1-7)

Last week we began a series of six straight weeks of Epistle readings from 1 John. Our theme last week was “Fellowship through the Word of Life”: We have fellowship with God and with one another through the Word of Life, enfleshed and proclaimed. Now today we want to find out more of what this fellowship with God means for us, both for now and for the future. And in today’s lesson the apostle John tells us: “What We Are Now and What We Will Be.”

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Published in: on April 14, 2018 at 6:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Fellowship through the Word of Life” (1 John 1:1 – 2:2)

Second Sunday of Easter
April 8, 2018

“Fellowship through the Word of Life” (1 John 1:1 – 2:2)

Today on this Second Sunday of Easter, we begin six straight weeks of Epistle readings from First John. This is quite appropriate for the Easter season, since First John is all about a real crucified-and-risen, flesh-and-blood Savior for real flesh-and-blood sinners. In his epistle John is telling us that this is the only way to have fellowship with God and with one another: It is through Christ, the eternal Son of God, coming in the flesh, shedding his blood for us, and rising from the dead bodily, to give us eternal life. We have fellowship with God and with one another only through the enfleshed and proclaimed Word of Life, Jesus Christ. And so at the beginning of this epistle, John announces his theme: “Fellowship through the Word of Life.”

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Published in: on April 7, 2018 at 11:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“He Is Risen: No Fooling!” (Mark 16:1-8)

The Resurrection of Our Lord: Easter Day
Sunday, April 1, 2018

“He Is Risen: No Fooling!” (Mark 16:1-8)

Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!)

Yes, it’s true! This is no April Fools’ joke. Jesus really is risen from the dead! Just like he said he would. Just like the angel said he had. But who believed this? Do you believe this? This is no joke. This is the most serious–and yet at the same time, the most joyous–fact in the history of the world. And it is the most important reality for you, when I say, “He Is Risen: No Fooling!”

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Published in: on March 31, 2018 at 4:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Our Anxieties and God’s Care” (1 Peter 4:12-19; 5:6-11; John 17:1-11)

Seventh Sunday of Easter
May 28, 2017

“Our Anxieties and God’s Care” (1 Peter 4:12-19; 5:6-11; John 17:1-11)

What are your anxieties? What are you worried about? Anxiety is really another way to say worry. They pretty much mean the same thing. To be anxious, to be worried, means that something is weighing on your mind that you’re thinking about, almost obsessing about. You’re worried about what might happen in the future. It’s the negative prospect of what might happen that keep hanging around in your head. That’s anxiety, that’s worry.

So what are your anxieties? We all have them. From time to time, some negative possibility causes us to worry. Today we’ll look at some anxieties that are common among men, and, I dare say, even common among Christians. You see, it’s when our trust in God’s care is weak or wavering–that’s when we begin to worry. So that leads us to our theme for this morning: “Our Anxieties and God’s Care.”

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Published in: on May 27, 2017 at 11:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“A Living, Loving Family” (John 14:15-21)

Sixth Sunday of Easter
May 21, 2017

“A Living, Loving Family” (John 14:15-21)

Christ establishes his church to be “A Living, Loving Family.” And you are a part of it. A living, loving family. Now how do you hear that? Do you hear it as heavy demand, something we cannot possibly do? Or do you hear it as gift, something that Christ has graciously made us part of? Does Christ’s call for us to be a living, loving family–do you hear this as burden or gift? As pressure or joy? And besides how we hear it, there is also the question of how we do it. How do we do it? How do we manage to live together as a living, loving family? These are the questions we will explore now this morning.

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Published in: on May 20, 2017 at 9:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Hope for the Future and a Present Priesthood” (John 14:1-14; 1 Peter 2:2-10)

Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 14, 2017

“Hope for the Future and a Present Priesthood” (John 14:1-14; 1 Peter 2:2-10)

You gotta have hope. Hope is faith facing the future. You and I, we need something to look forward to. Otherwise, we lose heart, we get depressed, and our hopelessness paralyzes us. So we need hope, hope for the future, in order to function well in the present. And really, we need hope for the big future, the eternal future. Because the reality is, at some point, we’re going to depart this life. At some point, something is going to do us in, and death is going to carry us away. Do you have a hope that can deal with that? A sure hope, a certain hope? Do you have a hope for the future that strengthens you to carry out your calling in the present? In our lessons today, we hear about both: “Hope for the Future and a Present Priesthood.”

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Published in: on May 14, 2017 at 1:25 am  Leave a Comment  
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