“Christ Is Our High Priest” (Hebrews 9:24-28)

Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost
November 8, 2015

“Christ Is Our High Priest” (Hebrews 9:24-28)

Our Epistle reading today from the Book of Hebrews talks about a high priest entering into holy places made with hands. It talks about this high priest entering these holy places every year with blood not his own. And when we hear these kinds of references, which are all over the place in the Book of Hebrews, we may be asking ourselves, “What is all this ‘high priest’ business? Where are these ‘holy places’? And what does this have to do with me?” Well, hang on, we’ll explain these things and what they have to do with us, because the point that Hebrews is making is that “Christ Is Our High Priest.”

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Published in: on November 8, 2015 at 7:34 am  Leave a Comment  
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“Entering His Rest” (Hebrews 4:1-13)

Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost
October 18, 2015

“Entering His Rest” (Hebrews 4:1-13)

If you’ve ever had to work and work and work, if you’ve ever been worn out and exhausted, when you feel like you can’t go on but you have to, when you’re drained and tired and spent–at times like those, you know how refreshing it is, and what a relief it is, to finally get a rest.

Rest: It can be such a welcome word. To be able to just kick back and relax. The pressure is off, the burden is lifted. Take a load off and chillax, bro! A little R & R is so welcome after an arduous ordeal.

And so our Epistle reading for today, from Hebrews 4, is about being able to get that kind of a rest. In fact, it’s about an even greater kind of rest. God’s rest. The rest that he has for us, in Christ. And so our theme this morning: “Entering His Rest.”

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Published in: on October 18, 2015 at 1:13 am  Leave a Comment  
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“Receive the Kingdom of God like a Child” (Mark 10:2-16; Hebrews 2:1-18)

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost
October 4, 2015

“Receive the Kingdom of God like a Child” (Mark 10:2-16; Hebrews 2:1-18)

How would you like to enter the kingdom of God? I know I would. After all–literally, after all–the kingdom of God will be the only thing going. It is an everlasting kingdom, filled with peace and joy and life and blessing, and it will last forever. So who would not want to enter it? You’d have to be a fool not to. No, the kingdom of God–it’s the best thing going, and there’s nothing else like it.

So the question arises: How do you get in? How do you enter the kingdom of God? Today Jesus tells us. Basically it comes down to this. To enter, you need to “Receive the Kingdom of God like a Child.”

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Published in: on October 4, 2015 at 4:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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“The Miracle of Faith” (Genesis 15:1-6; Hebrews 11:1-16)

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
August 11, 2013

“The Miracle of Faith” (Genesis 15:1-6; Hebrews 11:1-16)

Sometimes I think about the impossibility of faith. I mean, if you stop and think about all the things that are working against faith, it’s amazing that any of us have it. To believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ and all that that involves, to trust in the goodness and the promises of God, in spite of all that would cause us to not believe–it’s simply amazing. And so today we’re going to talk about “The Miracle of Faith.”

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Published in: on August 10, 2013 at 9:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Jesus Is Our Great High Priest–Now What?” (Hebrews 10:11-25)

Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost
November 18, 2012

“Jesus Is Our Great High Priest–Now What?” (Hebrews 10:11-25)

Today is the seventh straight Sunday when the assigned Epistle for the day comes from the Letter of Hebrews. We lost a couple of those readings due to observing Reformation and All Saints, but even so, we’ve been hearing a lot of Hebrews. I used Hebrews as a sermon text a couple of times back in October, once on the verse, “Today, if you hear his voice,” and once on Jesus as our Sabbath rest. But there is a major aspect of this epistle I haven’t touched on yet, and that is, Jesus as our great high priest. I’ve been saving up that for today.

That Jesus is our high priest is indeed a major theme in the Epistle of Hebrews. The word “priest” occurs over thirty times in Hebrews, whereas it occurs maybe three times, total, in all the other epistles of the New Testament combined.

Now since we 21st century Gentiles are not as familiar with the office of the high priest as Jews in the first century would have been, and since we didn’t touch on this topic earlier, let’s now get up to speed by looking at how Hebrews has been describing Jesus as our great high priest. Please turn to your insert, where you’ll see a few excerpts from the previous weeks’ readings, concluding with our reading for today.

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Published in: on November 17, 2012 at 9:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise” (Hebrews 4:1-16; Mark 10:23-31; Ecclesiastes 5:10-20)

Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost
October 21, 2012

“Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise” (Hebrews 4:1-16; Mark 10:23-31; Ecclesiastes 5:10-20)

You’ve all heard the old saying:

Early to bed
And early to rise
Makes a man healthy,
Wealthy, and wise.

And there’s some truth to that–although, right now, it’s a little hard to get “early to bed” when you’ve got three-and-a-half-hour playoff games to watch! Even so, the point remains: A good, self-disciplined routine of rest and work, each in its own proper place, can lead to an increased opportunity for the good life.

But today I want to speak to you about something more than just “the good life,” as commonly defined–in other words, as simply a happy, successful life in this world. No, I want to speak to you about something more important and more long-lasting than that–although it will have great meaning also for our life in this world and how we live it. “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise”: yes, but in a far greater way than the saying suggests. It’s the health and the wealth and the wisdom that God provides us with, which is good for both this life and the next. And so I must amend our little poem to fit the theme, as follows:

Surely what God
Most surely supplies
Makes a man healthy,
Wealthy, and wise.

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Published in: on October 20, 2012 at 2:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Today, If You Hear His Voice” (Hebrews 3:12-19; Mark 10:17-22)

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost
October 14, 2012

“Today, If You Hear His Voice” (Hebrews 3:12-19; Mark 10:17-22)

What day is it? It is . . . today. And since it is today, that means that this is the most important day for you to hear God’s voice. To hear his voice means to receive it and respond to it in repentance and faith. And this morning we will look at a couple of examples of those who had the voice of God speaking to them, but they did not repent or believe. One was a nation that fell in the wilderness. The other was a man who went away sorrowful. My prayer for you, though, is that you will hear–really hear, and take to heart–what God is saying to you today, so that you will go away from here rejoicing. That will happen, by God’s grace, “Today, If You Hear His Voice.”

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Published in: on October 13, 2012 at 7:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“A Faith Worth Imitating: C. F. W. Walther” (Hebrews 13:7)

Commemoration of C. F. W. Walther, Churchman and Theologian (October 25, 1811 – May 7, 1887)
Sunday, October 23, 2011

“A Faith Worth Imitating: C. F. W. Walther” (Hebrews 13:7)

Reading from Hebrews 13: 7: “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” This is our text.

Fifty years ago, “Walther” was a household name in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. After all, the synodical youth group was called the Walther League. Today, however, the league is long gone, and for many so is the man for whom it was named, Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther. In fact, there are probably some here today who are wondering why in the world we’re devoting a service to commemorating a man nobody knows!

Well, our text for this morning tells us why. “Remember,” it says, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God.” And nobody has spoken the Word of God more faithfully in the Missouri Synod than C. F. W. Walther. So today we are remembering him, as our church celebrates the 200th anniversary of Walther’s birth on October 25, 1811.

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Published in: on October 23, 2011 at 12:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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“The Hall of Faith Adds Mary” (Hebrews 11:1 – 12:3; Luke 1:26-55)

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost/ St. Mary, Mother of Our Lord
August 15, 2010

“The Hall of Faith Adds Mary” (Hebrews 11:1 – 12:3; Luke 1:26-55)

The Hall of Fame, in any sport, is the place for honoring and showcasing outstanding individuals from the history of that sport. The person is honored in an induction ceremony, with all the other members of the Hall present. That player’s plaque is added to the wall, and people can read and see what a standout that person was. This year, for instance, the Baseball Hall of Fame added two new members familiar to many of us here: Whitey Herzog, the great manager from the St. Louis Cardinals, and Andre Dawson, the great outfielder from my Chicago Cubs.

Did you know there is a “Hall of Fame” in the Bible? There is. We just heard the roll call of honorees in our Epistle for today, which is a continuation of last week’s reading. Hebrews 11 is the chapter known as the “Hall of Fame of Faith,” or just the “Hall of Faith,” for short. In Hebrews 11 we hear the names of outstanding individuals from the history of God’s people, whose faith enabled them to do great things for the Lord.

Well, today there’s a new inductee into the Hall of Faith. You see, today, August 15, is the day on the church year calendar to honor St. Mary, Mother of Our Lord. And so today we make our pilgrimage to the Cooperstown of Scripture, as “The Hall of Faith Adds Mary.”

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Published in: on August 14, 2010 at 2:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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