What will be the basis for God's Judgment on the last day? Will he take it easy, or "grade on the curve?" His judgment is based on the truth of what we have done. And who has been perfect, or always persists in doing what is right? Thankfully there is another truth that appears on that Day. Do you know what it is?
If God threw the biggest party that he possibly could, would you not want to go? The invitation has gone out to come to the wedding feast of the Lamb! The reason you are on the guest list is because the God of grace has chosen you. There is no other reason. Come, listen to Christ! This party is going to be wonderful.
Do you know what today is? This is the Day of Salvation. What does God mean by that? There are plenty of excuses that we make to put off God and his Word until a later time. We get in cycles of tuning out what he says. Let's put all that aside! Today is the day to hear his gracious call once more.
Is your body in good shape? Are you fit? There are things that we do to make that body fit. What about your faith? Do we dare ask a similar question? The Apostle Paul challenges a congregation that had not treated him well to see if their faith was fit. Will we listen and test ourselves as well?
Our Mighty Lord has a history of doing things differently than we or the world would expect. Why are some going to heaven? Is it because they were so good, so smart, or so powerful? Is it because of a birthright? No! Over and over again, God proves that the reason of our salvation rests solely within him. He gets all the credit. It is by mercy, and by mercy alone.
Whom do you want to be like? We imitate people we think of as heroes. Is anyone greater than our God? We are not supposed to try to takes God's place, but he does want us to be like him in two ways - in love, and in forgiveness.
Who is Jesus? Hear his own description as he calms the troubled hearts of his disciples. Though he speaks to them on the eve of his own death, he tells them still that he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Would you rather talk about how great you are, or about how gracious Jesus is? We love to talk about ourselves. We also love to avoid admitting that we come up short of God's expectations and standards. But rather than be embarrassed about what Christ has done for us, why not shout it loudly? Share it with your friends. Boast and brag in it, and in it alone.
People are sometimes frightened by the book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible. The imagery takes some thinking. But there is nothing but comfort to be found here. Yes, there will be terrible things in this world, just like Jesus promised - wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, and so on. But God knows those who are his. The number used here, 144,000 is not a limiting number, but an all-inclusive number for the whole Christian Church. 12 is the number of the Church. 10 is a number of completeness. Multiplying intensifies. 12x12x10x10x10 means that the entire Christian Church shall be with the Lord despite the frightening things of this world.
Are you happy when trouble comes? No one enjoys misery. But when we consider the kind of patient endurance that God builds up in us through trials, we are able to look on those troubles in a new light. I rejoice that God is dealing with me honestly in a world full of hurt and pain. My problems are not a sign that God has left me or loves me not. He will strengthen me through all things.
Many have wondered where our trouble and sorrows come from. Are they from the things that God has given to us? Not at all. Rather, it is the abuse of such things that is evil. Let us recognize and set all things apart as good and holy, guided by God's Word to use them well, receiving them with thanks and prayer.
At this year's Vacation Bible School, we learned that in Jesus, the victory is won! God's victories always look so strange. It's also strange that he would share it. Yet because he does, we give thanks to God, for it means that we are going to heaven, all because of his grace.
Jesus' parable of the sower and the seed proves true time and time again. The Gospel is scattered abroad. Some refuse to hear it. Some have faith for a while, but the world chokes it and it dies. Other believe and produce a crop. What do we do? Don't let the thorns stop you. Like for the Apostle Paul, sometimes our new field is right next door.
We're always chasing after rest. Even the times we take off to get away from it all, we even need rest from that. Though God had given his people many kinds of rest, there is still one rest that we all strive to reach. That is the rest of heaven. Stay rooted in the Word of God that, knowing Jesus, you may one day enter it.
People will go to great lengths for what they call love. But not all love is equal. Any love that does not heed God and his Word is only a shadow of what real love is. Do not love the world or the things in the world. Rather, love the Father above all else.
What's the hardest thing to say? What makes it so hard? We have trouble being the bearers of bad news. Yet sometimes that news is necessary for the long term good of the people. Jeremiah had to share a harsh message of destruction for people he cared for. Are we ready to warn others of even greater danger? God grant us the strength to do so!
The preaching of the Word of God is just as vital today as it was the first day you heard it. People all around are dying. The heart of Jesus needs to be rushed to them. Pray for the preaching of the Word. But also pray for the preachers, that they do not give up when met with opposition. Through burnout and resistance, God is able to carry them through.
This special sermon was preached at a service remembering the many years of blessings God gave to the people of Zion Lutheran Church in Cream, WI. Pastor Wayne Borgwardt grew up at Zion in Cream.
Some people try to deflect hearing what God says in his Word with a quick, "that's just your interpretation." Why would we believe that the God of salvation didn't want to be perfectly clear in the single source r our salvation? The real question is whether or not we will put aside all preconceived notions and simply listen to what God has to say. And if we find a disagreement, let us not expect God to be the one to change.
People love to talk about the work of the Holy Spirit. But what is it, really? Is it caught up in outward miracles and sings, such as what we see on Pentecost? Or is it something more hidden? Listeners are gathered, speakers are enabled, and a message is shared. And so the Spirit continues to work, even without the amazing signs of Pentecost.
There are plenty things in life that are begging us to hold on to it above all other things. But there is only one thing that we truly need. Hold on to God and to his Word. And when worry comes our way and if you wonder if you are holding on tight enough, he assures us that he holds us.
What do you think of when you hear our Lord called our "Good Shepherd?" There is one thing that Christ has done that prompts the writer to the Hebrews to go a step further to call him a "Great Shepherd." As we see what he has done, let us join together to give glory and honor to Jesus as we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday.
Looking back, we see an empty way of life that we received from our parents and our culture. Do we let that linger to closely to us? Too often, we keep living as though we were freed for such a life, not from such a life. Repent! Then look back at the celebration not to far in the distance. Jesus forgives our love for the old, empty way of life. Let Easter remain a powerful force in our living from here on.
Easter carries on, bringing us inexpressible joy, because it promises us an inheritance in heaven that will never pass away. In the meantime, our faith will go through tough times of testing. This is to strengthen our faith, not drive us from it. May you find that Easter joy.
What's the worst thing you've ever lost? Imagine being one of those women on Easter morning. They lost Jesus! That brought them fear. But they were soon invited to cast their fear aside. For the soldiers and all who stand opposed to God, nothing but fear can remain. But for us in Christ, don't be afraid! It's Easter!
Death is called the last great enemy. As one tours a cemetery, it seems so unrelenting, so complete and final in its victory. But Christ's victory is greater. Because he lives, all graves will one day be empty, as we shall all rise. Those who believe in him will go to paradise with the Lord where they will never be touched by death again. We have the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord!
The Lord's Supper is just that - a supper that we received from the Lord. Therefore we dare not try to make it into something other than what the Lord says it is. And what is that? It is his very own body and blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. In a personal, individual way, Jesus comes to us with this forgiveness.
This sermon is part of a series prepared by Northwestern Publishing House, entitled: Repent! Turn to Jesus.