Coming, calling, and promising

More from our pastor’s sermon last Sunday on Christ’s conversation with Nicodemus (John 3).  From Rev. James Douthwaite,  St. Athanasius Lutheran Church: Lent 2 Sermon:

Nicodemus is thinking about what man does or can do; Jesus is talking about what God does, and what God has promised. Nicodemus was thinking of how man can get to God; Jesus is talking about God coming to man. Nicodemus is thinking works; Jesus is talking grace, or gift. [Read more…]

Creation and the new creation

In last Sunday’s sermon on the dialog between Nicodemus and Jesus (John 3), our pastor drew parallels between the Spirit of God moving over the face of the waters at the creation (Genesis 1:2) and what Jesus told Nicodemus about the role of water and the Spirit in the new creation (John 3:5). [Read more…]

“Begone, Satan!”

More from that Lenten sermon on the Temptation of Christ (Matthew 4:1-11).  From Rev. James Douthwaite, St. Athanasius Lutheran Church: Lent 1 Sermon:

This story of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness shows you Jesus fighting for you. And that’s more important because I could stand up here all day and tell you to fight against satan with the Word of God until I’m blue in the face and you know what? You’ll still sin. Satan will still get the better of you. You’ll still fall for and believe his lies and false goods, especially when he attacks you in your weaknesses and at the worst possible times. You know it’s true. Jesus as your example cannot save you.

But Jesus as the one who came to fight satan for you and win can. And does. We sang it earlier: But for us fights the valiant One, whom God Himself elected. Ask ye who is this? Jesus Christ it is! (LSB #656 v. 2) And so right after Jesus stands with sinners in the Jordan and is baptized for us, He is led out into the wilderness to begin the battle – the battle that will culminate at the cross. And there satan’s “if you are the Son of God” will ring in His ears yet again, coming this time from the mockers, taunting Him to come down from the cross and show that He really is who He claimed to be. That would be good . . . To show everyone that He is the Son of God . . . right? [Read more…]

Temptation to a false good

The Old Testament reading for the first Sunday of Lent was about Satan’s successful temptation of Adam & Eve.  The New Testament reading was about Satan’s unsuccessful temptation of Jesus Christ.  That’s a good reminder about how Jesus not only paid the penalty for our sins; he also fulfilled the righteousness that we so painfully lack.

We had a great, great sermon about it.  Read it all–and I am going to make another post about it–but after the jump I excerpt a point that Pastor Douthwaite made about temptation, how we tend to be tempted not so much by overt evil but by evils that present themselves as being good. [Read more…]

When the church “doesn’t really stand for anything”

Newsweek has an article about how Protestantism is dwindling in the land of Luther.  It shows, I think, the futility of the liberal theology that the state church has embraced, the notion that in order to reach people you need to change your teachings so as to conform to the dominant culture.  That’s a formula for making the church irrelevant.

The article also credits the Lutheran churches of East Germany, under great persecution under Communism, for its role in the anti-communist protests that brought down the Berlin Wall.  This reminds us that NOT following the path conforming to the dominant culture can have great power and that the church is at its best in times of cultural conflict. [Read more…]

A Reformed & a Lutheran take on Lent

The online periodical the Federalist has two articles on Lent–specifically, on observances such as giving things up for Lent.  One is by a Reformed pastor, Rev. Brian Lee, entitled  Repent of Lent:  How Spiritual Disciplines Can Be Bad for Your Soul.  The other is by a Lutheran pastor, my friend, Rev. Todd Peperkorn, entitled  Why Lent Should Matter to Everyone.

Read them both.  What did you learn from the two articles?  Which one, in your opinion, makes the best case?

HT:  Reg & Abby


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