Because of Jesus' selfless love you are undefeated by dysfunction
3/22/2020Pastor Meissner Genesis 37:1-11
This fourth Sunday in Lent Jesus calls us from sinful selfishness to selfless service. We can view the world from the perspective of selfishness or selflessness. Selfishness puts self before all and leads to favoritism, sinful pride and envy. Repentance, however, means despairing of self, trusting in Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice and leading lives of selfless service modeled after our Savior who came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for us and for the world.
In Christ you are new. In Christ, you are set free. In fact, Jesus says you are salt, you are light. You are the light of the world, so be light for the earth. You are the salt of the earth, so be salt for it. This is gospel-driven living. You are blessed, in Christ. Let your light shine! Our calling as sons and daughters of God means our lives will reflect our new status, and the world around us will be blessed by us. Our prayer is that God would help us to believe and do the things that are pleasing in his sight. Alive in Christ, you are set free to do just that.
You are illuminated by the Light! Jesus appears as the light that shines in the darkness. Dark places remain covered in the shadow of sin and unbelief. Now there are, however, bright places, too, and there you find God’s children. Jesus shines his light by preaching repentance and the good news of the nearing kingdom, and he invites us to follow him to a life illumined by him. God has made you new in Christ. Following him means living in the joy of freedom and walking in the light of love for God and neighbor. You are illuminated by the Light!
You are REDEEMED by the Lamb! Today we’re continuing our sermon series with John 1:29-41 where Jesus appears as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. This Lamb would take away the sins of the world and bring both Israel and the Gentile nations into the kingdom of God. Everything is new, and so are you, in Christ Jesus! You are redeemed by the Lamb!
Jesus appears as the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One. Anointing is how God prepared Jesus for his mission. Since the days of Othniel (Judges 3:10), the Spirit of the Lord empowered God’s heroes to do his saving work. At his baptism, God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and with power and declared this son of Mary to be who he always has been, the Son of God—the one anointed to be the Savior of mankind. And yet there's still more! -- You are empowered by your baptism into Christ!
What Child is This? This is Jesus, who makes us God's children.
12/29/2019Pastor Meissner Galatians 4:4-7
On Christmas morning we saw that this Child was true God, creator and sustainer of all things. For our salvation, he also needed to be true man. It was we who had sinned against God. We humans were put under God’s law and expected to carry it out perfectly. So God became man in this child laid in a manger. “When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law.” The God-man did all of this so that we would be his own; heirs of heaven; God's children. And God cares for his sons and daughters. He cared for his son, the nation of Israel—though they were rebellious. He cared for his Son, Jesus—though Herod raged against him. He even cares for his newly adopted sons—though we do not deserve it. God cared for us by sending his Son to deliver us from the corruption of sin and transform us into sons just like Jesus. That work of Christ gives us peace that only sons and daughters can have.
God will come to save his people, just as he promised. He saves them through the virgin born Son of David who is also the Son of God, Immanuel. The Church prays for God to come in power to take away the burden of our sins. Since the Garden, there has been only one promised plan to do that: God would take on flesh and blood. Immanuel comes—God in the flesh—exactly as promised to save his people; to save you! Stand firm in the faith: Believe God's Promises.
God promises forgiveness of sins and eternal life to all. Repent and believe.
12/9/2019Pastor Meissner Daniel 4:19-37
God promises forgiveness of sins and eternal life to all. Repent and believe. “Praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble” (Daniel 4:37). “He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things” (Luke 1:52-53).
Live Confidently in the Promise of God's Salvation
12/1/2019Pastor Meissner Genesis 6:9-22, 7:11-23
The "Story of the Promise" for the first Sunday of Advent is the account of Noah and his family who lived confidently in the promise of God's salvation. The God who delivered Noah and his family has delivered us and the world through Jesus' cross, and His Spirit has brought you and me into the ship of the church. Jesus is with you now and he is coming again soon! Live confidently in the promise of God's salvation! Live in God's promise as you watch for Jesus' coming again. Live in God's promise as you rejoice in that Jesus comes to you through his Word and Sacrament. Live in God's promise and receive the hope God gives us in preparing to celebrate Jesus' advent as the baby born in Bethlehem.
Christ the King Sunday - God promises rescue, redemption and peace. Colossians 1:13-20 sounds a song of triumph for Christ our King. We will live with him in his kingdom, rejoicing in his goodness and resting in his eternal peace.
The relationship between God and his saints will last into eternity. He has set the final day and hour when we shall be delivered from this world of sin and death. Today we remember the saints who triumphed by grace through faith in Christ alone and dwell with the Lord in eternal light. Our prayer is that the Lord would keep us ever watchful for Jesus' coming and bring us at last to the marriage feast in heaven.
Let the Word of God shape you as you look for Jesus' return confident that God's judgment is certain--and all because of Jesus' work for you and the world. When Jesus returns on the clouds we shall hear: "Well done, good servant." Rejoice in the grace is ours, and ours to share! Today's sermon text is Psalm 90 which begins, "Lord, You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or You brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting You are God."
Light and darkness are polar opposites. Where one advances, the other must retreat. Thus, they parallel the ultimate of polar opposites—good and evil, holiness and sin. Ever since mankind fell into sin, God promised to send a great Light to pierce the darkness of sin and death. In word and song, we discover the light that brings life to all mankind! And he sends us out to bear witness to the wondrous light we have seen.
Light and darkness are polar opposites. Where one advances, the other must retreat. Thus, they parallel the ultimate of polar opposites—good and evil, holiness and sin. Ever since mankind fell into sin, God promised to send a great Light to pierce the darkness of sin and death.
Love is rarely a gift. Typically, when you love someone, it is because you get something in return. You love your spouse in part because of the support and affection he shows to you. You love your favorite teacher because of what she gives you by making learning enjoyable. You love your dog because he is a loyal companion. In such cases, love is not a gift. It is something that is merited… deserved. Now, if you loved a spouse who always treated you like dirt, loved a teacher who taught you nothing, loved a dog that daily bit you, then your love would be a gift. If you love someone who gives you nothing in return, who makes your existence more difficult, then your love is a gift. You are showing undeserved love, which Scripture calls grace.
Love is rarely a gift. However, with God, his love is always a gift. God the Father looks at humanity and he sees us doing the evil we should not do. Just as bad, he sees us failing to do the good that we ought to do. Do we make God’s existence easier? No. Instead, God the Son took on human flesh and suffered and died to make atonement for our sins. Yet, he did so gladly. Why? Love! Love that is undeserved. The gift of love!
The ancient church had Latin titles for all their Sundays. They called the third Sunday in Advent “Gaudete Sunday.” The Latin word gaudete means rejoice. On some Advent wreaths, the third candle is a pinkish rose color, symbolizing joy.
An encouragement to rejoice might sound odd in light of this Advent season’s themes, especially Christ’s second coming to this world. We have seen that when Jesus comes again he is going to judge all mankind and destroy the universe. Even the gospel reading for today warns about “the coming wrath” which will include “unquenchable fire.” If that is what Christ will bring at his second coming, how can we possibly live joyfully?
Answer: because of Christ’s first coming. When Jesus came that first Christmas, it wasn’t to bring judgment, but to bear judgment. Jesus was born, not to punish sin, but to be punished for sin. All those with faith in Christ know that when he comes for the second time, it will be to deliver us, not destroy us. He will not increase our pain but take every pain away. Then, and not a moment before, our lives will finally be perfect! And so, we live joyfully and thankfully, looking forward to Christ’s return.
How do you feel when meeting someone important? Maybe it was a job interview with your potential future boss. Did you feel peaceful walking into that meeting? Or perhaps you were summoned, for a reason unknown to you, to come to the principal’s office at school? As you walked the hallway towards his door, were you at peace? When we come face-to-face with someone who can influence the direction of our lives, that tends to be nerve-wracking, not peaceful. How nervous will you be, then, when you stand face-to-face with your God, who will determine where you spend eternity?
God is much more than a boss or a principal. He is your Creator, the one who gave you life. And when he did, he intended you to use that life in a very specific way, one which would bring glory to him and beauty to this broken world. So, are you ready to meet him?
God wants you to be at perfect peace when you stand before him. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace…” the angels sang that first Christmas Eve. Through the work of Christ, sinners are at peace with a holy God. Even more, throughout history God’s messengers like John the Baptist proclaimed the gospel, so that God’s people could live in peace. God raises up a messenger to preach that gospel to you today.