Reformation Sunday – 2019 LSB #’s 435, 663, 658
Text – John 8:31-32
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, & you will know the truth, & the truth will set you free.”
DOES THE TRUTH REALLY MATTER?
While looking for a definition of truth to begin the sermon, this caught my eye instead. Hell is seeing the truth just a little too late. That’s a definition of Hell, but let’s think about it. Discovering the truth just a little too late that would be Hell, wouldn’t it? To know the truth, but after the deadline. Knowing you came close, but didn’t quite make the cut.
In that situation the truth would really matter, even though it’s too late to do anything with it. There are examples from our daily lives where it’s obvious that the truth matters. With illness – it matters that the doctor knows the truth, if he’s going to cut you open. With bank accounts – it matters if you know the truth about your balance, or the check might bounce.
Yet, in today’s society, there are many areas in which people no longer believe that the truth matters. They no longer believe there even is such a thing as absolute truth. At best, they’ll concede that you may have your own truth, but they have a right to a different truth that is just as valid. A different truth that is just as true.
You might recognize that as nothing more than a silly word game, but many today firmly believe that truth is whatever they decide it to be. Our politically correct society has become afraid of truth out of fear of offending the “in” crowd. As a result, in many circles, absolute truth has been done away with as too rigid, too legalistic, too narrow minded, too offensive.
Looking back at the Garden of Eden, we see the devil playing that game already from the beginning. In the 3rd chapter of Genesis the serpent said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’” The very 1st words of Satan, recorded in Scripture, were playing a game with the truth. Eve chose to accept this “different” truth, & it cost her her life. Just a few verses after today’s Gospel lesson, Jesus refers to the devil like this:
“He was a murderer from the beginning, & does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar & the father of lies.” (John 8:44b-c ESV) Jesus did not mince words by saying the devil is a purveyor of merely a different truth. There’s only one truth, & Jesus states that He is it.
Jesus is the Way, & the Truth & the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Him. Any other message heard from the church is a lie, & the work of the devil. How often do you critically evaluate what you hear from your church, your synod, your pastor? How often do you test, against Scripture, what is being taught to determine if it’s the truth?
Do you trust me that much? Or is it simply that you don’t really care what I preach? Are you saying that the truth doesn’t really matter? It’s common today, to hear that we all believe in the same god, we just approach him in different ways. But the words I quoted above speak against that sort of reasoning.
No one comes to the Father except through Jesus. He is the Way, the only Way, the only Truth, the only Life. Have you been deceived by the thought, “Did God really say?” 502 years ago, Martin Luther took exception to what the church was teaching & practicing.
He studied Scripture & found that many “alternate” truths had crept into the church in the 1500 years since Christ. He made a list of 95 points & posted them for debate. He wanted to discuss what was being taught, in order to bring the church back to teaching the absolute truth, the truth that is Jesus Christ.
However, St. Peter’s Basilica was being completed in Rome, & the church needed a boat load of money to finish it. Also, one of the recent Bishops had illegally bought his position. He needed to pay off the loan he took from the bank. As those two forces coincided, a deal was made, & the special sale of indulgences, that Luther was to protest, were the result. Apparently, Luther had no idea how much money he was up against.
He refused to back down, & the people in “charge” couldn’t stand by & allow this infidel of a monk to destroy their carefully made plans. Thus, the Reformation was born. Its effects have resounded throughout the world to this day. All this, because Luther tested the Scriptures against what was being taught.
For stubborn Martin, the truth mattered, & he was willing to die for it. The Lord used him to restore the pure & true Gospel to the church. God used him to reveal many of the errors that had taken root in the church, because the truth was not politically correct already in Luther’s day. As an example of false teaching in our day, I quote a Lutheran pastor:
“Our view of God for a lot of people today is one of Newtonian physics, regulated, ordered, knowable. But the new world of quantum physics (with its uncertainty) gives people a chance to re-image God.” What he’s saying is this – what we know of God is no longer certain, & therefore is open to our imagination. We can now remake god in whatever image suits us.
He’s saying that the “old” idea, of a God who is ordered & knowable, is out of touch, behind the times. But if God is not able to be known, how can we trust Him? In fact, if God is open to being re-imagined, then god is nothing more than a concept of the human mind.
And that is exactly what many so-called “theologians” are teaching today. Your god can be whatever you want it to be. Isn’t there a commandment that speaks directly against such human “imagination” of God? But then, to people like that pastor, the commandments are only one view of the truth out of many.
The problem is if everyone gets to decide their own truth – what is real & what is not?
Or is reality only in a person’s mind? If God is not able to be known, how can we be sure that one even exists? If we open the door to the belief in an uncertain god, then we might as well have no god at all. I don’t want the kind of god that depends upon my imagination.
What good does it do to believe in something that I create? If I’m the creator, than I’m greater than my god, & quite frankly, I’ll just save myself. But I’ve tried that, & failed. If God is capable of saving us, then He must be greater than we are. And if He is greater than we, then He must reveal Himself to us.
The Reformation was about rediscovering that revelation, & making it available to the people. The bureaucracy of the church had hidden that revelation, & made the true God an unknowable one. The priestly class had obscured God with man-made laws & traditions.
The Reformation restored to the people God’s gifts of the Holy Scriptures, of salvation by grace, of preaching, hymns, the freedom of the individual conscience, & the universal priesthood of all believers. These had been present in Christianity from the very beginning, but got buried under the dust of centuries of man-made alternate truths.
When the truth was set free, people immediately recognized it, for in it they once again clearly heard their Master’s voice. They were aware of the slavery to which the church had confined them, so they recognized the truth & the freedom that it brought. To those thousands of people across Europe, the truth mattered, & it alone set them free.
In today’s Gospel lesson, the Jews weren’t even aware that they were slaves. Shortly after these verses Jesus goes so far as to say they are children of the Devil. That’s who they were slaves to. Are you aware of your own slavery to sin & to the devil? Have you noticed you can’t seem to break free no matter how hard you try? Sin is always dogging you at the heels.
Or, have you been imagining your own god? Have you altered the truth to fit your
circumstances & your weaknesses? Maybe you’ve decided that your weaknesses aren’t really sin after all! Maybe you’ve re-imagined your god in order to lower His standards to your abilities. Have you decided in favor of an “I’m okay you’re okay” religion? Are you ignoring the very truth that has been revealed to set you free? PAUSE
The OT reading told us that God has revealed Himself, & His law, to each of us: “I will put my law in their minds & write it on their hearts.” (Jeremiah 31:33b ESV)
You have no legitimate excuse for re-imaging God. His image has already been written on your heart, & what it tells you is that without Him you are an absolute failure. You’re on the fast track to hell where you will finally see the truth – only too late. That’s the main purpose of the Law, to prove that you are spiritually dead, & to show you your need for a Savior.
What the Reformation did so well was reveal to us once again the Gospel. It’s the good news that in spite our sin, in spite of our helplessness & stench before God, He loves you enough to send His own Son to die in your place. It is finished.
That’s all the truth there needs to be. We can’t earn or buy our way into heaven, & God does not expect us to. He knows full well what lost & condemned creatures we are.
Because of that knowledge God has made a new covenant where the Truth is revealed upon the cross, & by the empty tomb. Yahweh has set you free by His Son, & knowing that Son, He who is the Truth, that will set you free. Because of Jesus Christ our heavenly Father forgives our wickedness, & remembers our sins no more.
There’s no need for an “alternate” truth. There’s no need to fear the truth. We don’t have to hide our sins from God. Our Lord has already hidden them in Himself, in His suffering, & in His death. We don’t have to re-imagine a more lenient, or less offensive god. Our Savior has given us His righteousness apart from anything we do. That is truth, & unlike Pontius Pilate, Martin Luther taught that we can know the truth, & the truth will set us free. Christ Jesus, the only-begotten Son of God, has set you free because He created you in love. Believe this, & you shall be saved. Amen.
Watch! Let not the wicked world with its lies defeat you lest with bold deceptions hurled it betray & cheat you. Watch & see lest there be faithless friends to charm you, who but seek to harm you. But while watching, also pray to the Lord unceasing. God protects you day by day, strength & faith increasing, so that still mind & will shall unite to serve Him & forever love Him. Amen. LSB 663:3, 5.
Stewardship 3 – 2019 LSB #’s 851, 785, 783
Text – 2 Corinthians 9:8
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
The Joy of Giving
Did you notice in the text how many times the word “all” is used? All grace, having all sufficiency, in all things, at all times, you will abound in every good work. Hold that thought.
A man staggers through the desert, nearly dead from thirst. Struggling against the wind, slipping in the sand, he sees an oasis in the distance. Upon reaching it, he discovers that this one is much different than any other oasis he has ever visited. There are palm trees, but there’s no pool of water. Instead he finds a well with a pump.
Near the pump is a jar of water. As he puts the jar of water up to his lips, he sees a piece of parchment with a note written on it. The note reads:
“In this jar, there’s enough water to keep you alive for a day or two; however, to have all the water you want, you must follow these directions carefully. Pour all the water from the jar into the pump. There’s just enough water to soften the leather gasket in the pump. The softened gasket will allow you to pump all the water you want.”
He also notices that there’s a P.S. on the bottom of the parchment: “When you are finished, please fill up this jar for the next traveler.” Naturally, the man wandering in the desert questions whether he should believe the note. Does he drink the water from the jar or trust the words on the parchment?
God also wants you & me to do something that seems counter-intuitive. In His Holy Word, our Lord encourages us to take a part of the money that we have & give it away, or, in light of our story, pour some of it out. Not all of it, as the thirsty traveler had to, just part of it. Even though it seems you don’t have enough money, God tells us to trust Him & give. He wants you to believe not only in His promise that He will provide for our needs (Philippians 4:10), but that through our giving He will fill us up to give even more. As we respond to God’s love for us, by giving back to Him part of what He’s given to us, He reacts by giving us even more blessings.
By grace, God grants you the ability to trust in His promises. He changes your heart. He changes your focus & purpose in life. He changes our giving from following rules & regulations to giving from a heart that is cheerful. Our giving changes from an obligation to an opportunity.
The note on the pump promised blessings if the directions were followed. In the same way, God’s Word promises blessings through our faithful giving. We read in Proverbs 3:9-10, “Honor the Lord with your wealth & with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, & your vats will be bursting with wine.”
Just as the Israelites were to sacrifice to the Lord the firstfruits of their harvest, we give the 1st portion of our incomes to the Lord. Proverbs 19:17 tells us, “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, & He will repay him for his deed.”
God promises blessings through the generous giving of our earthly gifts. Through our generosity, we express gratitude to God for all that He entrusts to us. His Word clearly directs us to use the blessings we receive from Him to bless others. We are blessed to be a blessing. In Christ’s name, we are to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless & help the sick.
God blesses us not only to take care of our needs; He blesses us so that we can use what we receive to bless others. Paul wrote, “So then as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, & especially to those who are of the family of faith.” (Galatians 6:10)
A review of God’s Law could almost be summarized in one word: Give. And there’s a blessing in giving. At Luke 6:38 God says, “Give, & it will be given to you. Good measure,
pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” That joy & blessing of giving are echoed by the Apostle Paul in the 20th chapter of Acts.
He’s saying his goodbyes to the people with whom he’s been in ministry the past three years. It’s a sad farewell, because Paul is bound for Rome & prison, perhaps even execution. As he says his farewell, he’s not talking about the weather or his favorite sports team. He shares the words of Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
An important part of living the life God’s children want to live is to give. Yahweh designed us to be blessed in giving. We hear & believe the truth that there’s joy & blessing in giving, yet, at the same time, we doubt. Oh, how we struggle with doubts about giving.
It seems we get caught in believing, or have the illusion, that if we buy & own something new – that purchase from Amazon or the mall – it makes us into something better & new. It is difficult to ignore those false gods, which clamor for our adoration. Yet, our saintly nature knows that great living comes in giving – of our time, energy, or possessions – including money.
Why do you think the parables of Jesus discuss the appropriate & inappropriate use of money? Doesn’t money have the ability to help or hinder us when it comes to enjoying the quality of life God wants to give? Cold, hard cash has the power to lure people away from serving the true God. Money easily becomes far too important in our lives.
Trusting God, we can take this adventure in faith & give the 1st portion of our income generously & with love. The path of giving generously is the path Yahweh encourages all His children to take, knowing we are blessed in giving. Here’s the path Jesus demonstrated for us:
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you by His poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9) Jesus gave of Himself to the point of poverty so that we might be rich spiritually. He died in order to erase our sins, but His death also shows us how to give.
In the desert of this sinful world, the Holy Spirit has led you, at times staggering, to an oasis of forgiveness. There are palm trees & a well with a pump. Near the pump is a jar of water. On the jar is a piece of parchment with a written note. It says:
“In this jar, there’s enough water to keep you alive for a day or two; however, to have all the water you want, you must follow these directions carefully. Pour all the water from the jar into the pump. There’s just enough to soften the leather gasket in the pump. The softened gasket will allow you to pump all the water you want.”
Can you trust that written word? That’s the question. With that story you don’t even know who the author is, but in your life, & in your giving, you do know the Author & the Creator & the Perfecter. You do know the Good Shepherd, & His voice. Will you follow? Will you believe that His design for your giving is a blessing, or a curse?
Will you tune out the devil’s lie that you should doubt God’s blessing? Here is our heavenly Father’s promise: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” All grace, having all sufficiency, in all things, at all times, you will abound in every good work.
That is your Creator’s promise for you. If you trust Him, you will have all the joy you want, even if you give some of what you have received to the other travelers. Amen.
We praise You, O God, our Redeemer, Creator; in grateful devotion our tribute we bring. We lay it before you, we kneel & adore You; we bless Your holy name, glad praises we sing. Amen. LSB 785:1.
 Matthew 25:35-36
Stewardship 2 – 2019 LSB #’s 842, 848, 854 (tune 344)
Text – Matthew 20:28
The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, & to give His life as a ransom for many.
DISCOVER THE JOY OF SERVING
There are things in life that we know are right & good for us, yet we avoid them like the plague. Exercise is what our physical nature was created for. Do we prioritize it? Vegetables, high fiber & whole grains are what our bodies need, but they aren’t what our mouth desires. Brushing & flossing each day is good for our teeth, yet only about 15% of us actually do it.
We also know that, as followers of Jesus, our greatest joys come in serving one another, & still we end up mostly serving ourselves. In the Gospel reading, Jesus addressed the problem with His Disciples. Nevertheless, finding joy in serving just seems wrong to our sinful nature.
As St. Matthew wrote, Jesus is leading His Disciples on their final trip from Galilee to Jerusalem. Knowing that this trip will be the last, & that it’s going to lead to the cross, Jesus becomes brutally honest with His Disciples. Hoping to prepare them for the trial of His impending suffering & death, in Matthew 20:18-19 Jesus says:
“We are going up to Jerusalem, & the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests & the teachers of the law. They will condemn Him to death & hand Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked & flogged & crucified. On the 3rd day He will be raised to life!”
The resurrection from the dead is bar none, the greatest event in history, yet, what does Matthew record as the response to Jesus’ news? Unbelievably, the mother of James & John brings them before Jesus & asks if they can sit at Jesus’ right & left in His Kingdom. How is it possible that Jesus’ message could be missed so completely?
Do joy in serving & joy in suffering make sense to your mind? Since the fall we humans are cursed by a fixation on glorifying & pleasing self. We are blinded to the many joys that serving others will bring. So the Disciples’ reaction to the audacious request by the mother of James & John is predictable. They are indignant. A couple chapters earlier they were arguing about which of them was the greatest. They even asked Jesus.
Ever since Adam & Eve were deceived by Satan, all of us have been inherently gullible to the lies of Lucifer, especially the lie that pleasing & satisfying self is the only way to find joy in our lives. Jesus responds to James & John & their mother with an object lesson:
“The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, & to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28) Jesus knew that His actions of selfless suffering & death followed by the power of His resurrection would empower His followers to embrace the truth of joy in serving.
We’ll take a closer look at Jesus’ joy in serving. Hebrews 12:2 reveals what was motivating our Savior: “…who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, & is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” The JOY that caused Jesus to endure the cross was founded in His love for the world, as John 3:16 so eloquently states.
Jesus’ people & creation are so precious to Him that He not only found a way to restore & reconcile them to Himself, He found His motivational joy in serving to the point of death on a cross. In so doing, Jesus opened the way for any & all of us to discover that there is real joy in serving. The kind of service that is done out of joy, has the power to work wonders.
It has the power to changes lives, & our world is hungry for it. You & I are hungry for it! But true, fulfilling joy is difficult to find. There is no doubt that finding joy in serving is always going to be an uphill battle. We are sinful people living under the curse of sin, & our sinful nature wants nothing to do with serving others.
It’s much easier to believe, it’s much more natural to believe, that we’ll find joy in pleasing ourselves. How’s that working for you? It just brings a stronger craving for more personal pleasure. Like hamsters on a wheel, we hope it will finally bring us joy, but we never reach the goal. All we end up with is feeling empty & disillusioned with our lives. There is another way, a better way, one that actually works. It’s the way that Jesus both modeled for us, & has given to us through faith.
Because Jesus trusted His Father to take care of Him, He could boldly go to the cross & the grave certain that He would rise & reign with His Father. That trust gave Him joy in the midst of His suffering & pain: “…who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, & is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2 ESV) And that love of Jesus Christ for us, demonstrated in His suffering & death, enables us to trust Him. He loves you & promises to take care of you here while He’s also giving you life in heaven with the Father. That kind of love is one we can trust.
It gives the courage to believe that I’ll be OK no matter what joys or sorrows come my way. It gives me the courage to serve & to care for others, because I’m already being taken care of by God. As I serve others, there’s a joy in serving that is unexpected, yet sweet to the soul. It fills a need in each of us & encourages children of God to serve even more.
More serving brings more joy & satisfaction to our lives, but there’s another joy found in serving. It’s the joy you pass on to others. A person’s heart is touched when they are served. They sense the joy that is serving them, & it brings them joy. It’s contagious & prompts them to serve, & that joy travels. It’s the joy we receive when Christ serves us.
How our world is missing that kind of joy. It’s only through faith in Jesus as Savior that anyone can discover that kind of joy. An appropriate aspect of a stewardship campaign is the challenge it places before us to find joy in serving. Using the gifts God has given you to serve in opportunities God has created for you is a foreshadowing of heaven. If giving to others, or serving them, makes you uncomfortable, know this – in heaven it will not bother you at all. There, your sinful nature will be gone, along with all the other effects of sin. So why not try giving & serving others here in this life? Our sinful nature is the only thing standing in the way. If you are on the hamster wheel of self-fulfillment, all you have to do is turn to Jesus.
Christ gave up heaven itself to live here on earth. His purpose – to kill our sinful nature so that we can truly live by experiencing the joy He offers. Even now Satan is whispering in your ear, “You’re too busy, or you don’t have enough. So hang on to what you got.” Sadly, that road leads to sorrow & death. Jesus gave His life so you can travel a different path. Amen.
Lord, whose love through humble service bore the weight of human need, who upon the cross, forsaken, offered mercy’s perfect deed, we, Your servants, bring the worship not of voice alone, but heart, consecrating to Your purpose every gift that You impart. Still Your children wander homeless; still the hungry cry for bread; still the captives long for freedom; still in grief we mourn our dead. As, O Lord, Your deep compassion healed the sick & freed the soul, use the love Your Spirit kindles still to save & make us whole. As we worship, grant us vision, till Your love’s revealing light in its height & depth & greatness, dawns upon our quickened sight, making known the needs & burdens Your compassion bids us bear, stirring us to tireless striving, You abundant life to share. Amen. LSB 848:1-3.
Stewardship 1 – 2019 LSB #’s 803, 809, 811
Text: John 15:11
Jesus Is our Joy
Stewardship is about every single decision you make after becoming a child of God. To “Discover the Joy in Sharing God’s Blessings” we will focus on St. John’s Gospel, chapter 15:1-11. These words of Jesus from verse 11 are a highlight for us: “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, & that your joy may be full.”
(Sing) “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart;
down in my heart; down in my heart;
I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart;
down in my heart to stay.”
Some people sang that song many times as children. But there were days when they did not want to sing that song. We do not always have joy in our hearts. Some days there’s sadness. There are days of anger, & times of confusion, but the words of that song I have not changed. Where can you find that joy?
Maybe if you started a list? Have you ever made a list of things that bring you joy? Maybe it’s the Detroit Lions winning the Super Bowl? Do you think that possibly, at least in Michigan, even liberals & conservatives could agree on that one? Would your list include seeing a smile on the face of a little child? You can’t help but smile in return & be filled with joy.
How about getting a free dessert for your birthday? Or, when you’re shopping &, as you approach the checkout area, they open up a new line & call you over. Next thing you know, you’re out the door quicker than expected. But those kinds of joy have something in common.
If the child is no longer smiling, or I can’t see their face anymore, my joy disappears as well. Once the free dessert gets eaten, I get hungry again. That joy has worn off. The next time in the store, there’s no extra checkout line opened up. You wait & you wait, & you wait. Not so much joy now. Each of those joys, like the Detroit Lions, can also leave you empty handed. How true that is about the things of this world. There are so many things that can give us joy, but their joy is temporary, & therefore, their joy is lacking. Where can we find a joy that is full? Maybe you have heard it described like this:
If our joy is in our work, when that is gone, so goes the joy.
If our joy is in our friends, when they are gone, so goes the joy.
If our joy is in our family, when they are gone, so goes the joy.
If our joy is in our health, when that’s gone, so goes the joy.
If our joy is in our money, then when that’s gone, so goes the joy.
BUT WHEN OUR JOY IS IN JESUS, THAT JOY IS FOREVER!
That’s what Jesus is telling us in John 15:11, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, & that your joy may be full.” Now, don’t you wonder, “What are these things that Jesus has spoken?”
In a vineyard, what happens to branches that are fed & nourished by the vine? They
produce grapes, don’t they? In speaking the words of John 15, Jesus was feeding & nourishing the branches. He did this so they would experience true & full joy. If you trust in Him as Savior, you also will produce fruit & joy, because trusting Jesus is being connected to the Vine.
It is not Yahweh’s intention that we experience only joys which are momentary. Those may bring a smile to your face, but they’re not filling. Temporary joys are not overflowing with life, like a branch that’s connected to the Vine. God wants us to have a joy that is constantly with us, & in us, & shining forth from us. So God died for us & now He is that joy.
No wonder the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking to devour us. He doesn’t want us to have this joy of Jesus. So he works confusion about what real joy is. As a result, we can end up thinking that we need to keep to ourselves the fruit God produces through us. We may fear that giving some of it away will leave us with nothing. And that kills our joy.
But Jesus comes to us anew this day through His Word & tells us that He wants us to have HIS joy – a joy that cannot be diminished – a joy that does not wear out – a joy that does not pass away – a joy we do not have to wait for – a joy He has made complete by His conquering of sin, death & the devil through Jesus’ death & resurrection.
The resurrection is the ultimate in bearing fruit & experiencing joy. Children of God love to share the joy they receive. To all you branches out there, “Abide in the Vine. Live in joy!” It’s what the Lord & Savior produces in us. It’s what Satan wants to steal away.
We bear fruit whenever we minister to the needs to others. That happens here all week in our school & childcare programs. It happens in our youth events. It happens as we study God’s Word, & it happens right here in the Divine Service as we hear the Words of God & as we receive His body & blood, or the renewal of Baptism.
We bear fruit when we greet someone with a smile or a hug. We bear fruit when we
clean up the grounds around our building, or change furnace filters & dust light fixtures inside our building. We bear fruit when counting the offerings & we bear fruit when we give our offerings. We bear fruit as we forgive each other & when we ask forgiveness. Living in the fact that Yahweh Himself has erased all of our failures & the things we regret, that is true joy.
But even more than that, our every rebellion against the Creator of the universe has been forgotten by that Creator. He has given us new life, & those who trust in Him will one day live in a new creation, with no more sorrow, no more tears, no more humiliating defeats.
It’s not easy, but we can actually live that way already today – joyfully giving out of everything that Yahweh has given to us. He will never stop giving, & therefore, you & I will never run out, no matter how much we give, no matter how much fruit we bear.
(Sing) “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart;
down in my heart; down in my heart;
I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart;
down in my heart to stay.”
Thank You Jesus for giving us Your joy so that our joy may be full. Amen.
Summer & winter & springtime & harvest, sun, moon & stars in their courses above join with all nature in manifold witness to Thy great faithfulness, mercy & love. Pardon for sin & a peace that endureth, Thine own dear presence to cheer & to guide; strength for today & bright hope for tomorrow, blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! Amen. LSB 809:2-3.
Pastor Dean R. Poellet