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The 2nd Sunday of Advent
December 10, 2017

Peter 3:8-14
Wait for the Lord!

1. Wait for the Lord's return with patient faith. Some scoff at Jesus' promise to come again. We know He is delaying so others can come to repentance. Don't procrastinate. Hear God's Word now in patient faith.

2. Wait for the Lord's promise of heaven.The created universe will be destroyed, and God will restore a new heaven and earth for His people. Let's go home!

3. Wait for the Lord with a life of hope and joy. By faith in Jesus we are "blameless." Live at peace with God. "Speed" the homecoming by sharing the gospel.

First Sunday in Advent
December 3, 2017

Corinthians 1:3-9
Celebrate the New Church Year!

1) Joyfully hear the Gospel of grace and peace.
a. Grace - God's unmerited love by which we are saved.
b. Peace - with God through the forgiveness of sins.
* Grace and peace are "Christmas Gifts" from the triune God. Joyfully hear this Gospel of grace and peace to receive your gift!

2) Faithfully use your God-given gifts.
a. We've been enriched in speaking and knowledge.
b. We've been blessed with gifts to serve.
* Explore your gifts. Experiment, and ask for confirmation of your gifts from a trusted Christian friend. Then use them to God's glory!

3) Confidently await Jesus' coming.
a. On that day everyone must acknowledge He is Lord.
b. By faith in Jesus we receive the gift of eternal salvation.
* We look forward to the Last Day like a royal wedding. Our Lord is faithful and will keep us strong to the end.

Last Sunday of End Time - Christ the King
November 26, 2017

Matthew 27:27-31
Christ Is King!

1) Crucified in shame for us.
a. Humans are not "basically good" (Psalm 51:5; Romans 8:7; Ephesians 2:1; Romans 7:18-19).
b. We all participated in crucifying the Son of God.
* Pagans mocked Christ crucified 2,000 years ago. Is it any different today? Do we "mock" him by not confessing or living for Him?

2) Crucified to win the kingdom for us.
a) Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2-3)
b) Jesus endured the cross to bring us into His kingdom.
* How will you respond when you are mocked for believing in Jesus? How will you respond when you see His kingdom advancing? In this world the kingdom is despised (Matthew 7:13-14; Matthew 24:12-14), but Christ is King (Luke 12:29-32)! Live, Serve, Love to extend His kingdom to others.

The Third Sunday of End Time -Saints Triumphant
November 19, 2017

Matthew 25:1-13
ls It Too Late?

1) Too late now?
a) Too late to do what we've wanted/undo what we've done?
b) Too late to get ready to meet our Maker (Hebrews 9:27)?

2) lt's not yet too late!
a) Jesus' parable urges us to be prepared.
b) We're prepared when the Holy Spirit keeps the flame of faith alive by the gospel.
* Do you have oil in your lamp? Keep hearing God's Word and receiving His forgiveness in His Supper. It's not too late!

3) Soon it will be too latel
a) The end/our end may be nearer than we think.
b) To be ready for that day, be ready every day.

4) For some it will be too late forever!
a) Heaven's door will be closed at the end of time.
b) Each person must believe for himself.
* Spirit of God, give us love for Jesus, for His Word, and for others!

Second Sunday of End Time - Last Judgment
November 12, 2017

Matthew 25:31-46
What Will Judgment Day Be Like? It will be...

1) A day of overwhelming joy for all who believe in Jesus.
a. The Judge - Jesus, the "Son of Man" (Daniel 7:13-14)
b. All will bow down before Jesus in His glory.
c. The Judge will divide humanity into two classes. There is no third class (Matthew 12:30).
d. Believers in Jesus inherit eternal life.
* We'll enter eternal joy! Jesus will commend the acts of love we did as evidence of our faith.

2) A day of indescribable sorrow for all who do not believe.
a. The Judge will condem, "Depart from me."
b. We can't imagine the terror of all who are lost forever!
* Since Christ's judgment is true, witness to those who do not yet believe. Continue in the Word and Sacraments to remain in faith. And when you are weary - think of the joy and love that awaits when your Savior welcomes you!

First Sunday of End Time - Reformation Sunday
November 5, 2017

Matthew 10:16-23
"What ls the Cost of Continuing Christ's Reformation Mission?''

1) On His mission Christ won the victory.
a. Christ came from heaven of a mission to rescue us.
b. Christ's death and resurrection give us life.
* By faith alone in Jesus do we rejoice in God's forgiveness and stand righteous before God.

2) On our mission Christ sends us to proclaim His victory.
a. Jesus sends us out like sheep among wolves.
b. Jesus instructs us to be shrewd and innocent.
* Jesus promises that all who stand firm in faith to the end will be saved! In this faith we can live and die knowing, "The kingdom's ours forever!"

The 21st Sunday after Pentecost
October 29, 2017

Matthew 22:1-14
"Dinner's Ready!"

1) God prepared it.
a. The King (God) prepared a banquet (His blessings for us).
b. God prepared His kingdom through Jesus, His Son.
* Only God could prepare the banquet of His love for us.

2) God invites all.
a. God invites. He doesn't force or demand.
b. Two unbelieving refusals - too busy; hatred for Jesus.
* It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of God (Hebrews 10:31). Seek Christ's kingdom first (Matthew 6:31).

3) God accepts us according to his dress code.
a. The refusal of many doesn't stop God's gracious invitation.
b. We can't enjoy His eternal blessings unless we're dressed in Christ's righteousness.
* Continue to use the Means of Grace and the Holy Spirit will keep you dressed according to God's dress code.

The 19th Sunday after Pentecost
October 22, 2017

Matthew 21:28-32
"Which Child Are You?"

1) The one with empty words?
a. By nature we say the right thing, but do the wrong thing.
b. Natural religion tries to "do right" but for the wrong reason.
c. God reveals the way to be right through faith in Christ.
* Repent whenever your old self tries to look good but doesn't want to do God's will by believing in Jesus.

2) The one with repentant faith that acts in love?
a. The most despicable sinners enter God's kingdom by repentant faith.
b. By the Word the Holy Spirit will keep us in faith and enable us to live in Christ's love.
* How will Christ's love compel you? We live no longer for ourselves, but for Him who died for us and was raised again!

The 18th Sunday after Pentecost
October 15, 2017

Matthew 20:1-16
As You Do god's Work - Think God's Way

1) Demanding to be repaid brings sin's "just" wages, death.
a. Peter wondered, "What will there be for us."
b. Jesus' answers with a parable about "just" wages.
c. To demand God be "fair" we would have to be perfect.
* What we deserve in God's justice is His curse (Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 3:23, Isaiah 64:6, Galatians 3:10)! Despite any praise from this world, those who demand God repay them for their hard work will hear Jesus say, "Depart from me. Take your pay and go!"

2) Pleading for God's mercy receives His gracious gift in faith.
a. In Jesus' story, those hired at later hours simply trusted the land-owner's generosity.
b. When we trust God's generous mercy, we'll enjoy His gift of forgiveness and eternal life.
* God acquired forgiveness and life for us at the great cost of His Son paying for our sin. He can now justly and freely give us His gifts!

Thanksgiving
October 8, 2017

Luke 7:36-50
"When is Our Thanksgiving pleasing to God?"

1) When we stand in Jesus' presence in true faith.
a. The woman knew she was a sinner.
b. The woman knew Jesus was her savior.
* The woman displayed her love and thanks, but the self-righteous Pharisee could only grumble and complain.

2) When we hear and respond to Jesus' gospel of forgiveness.
a. Those who have been forgiven much love much.
b. Thanksgiving out of faith and love pleases the Lord.
* Our God-pleasing thanksgiving includes: Confession of sin; Believing the gospel promises; Boasting only in the Lord; Remembering the spiritual and eternal gifts Jesus gives; Thanking God for all His blessings by declaring His praises.

The Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
October 1, 2017

Matthew 18:21-35
"How Can I Forgive?"

1) By remembering the way God forgives you.
a. Peter's question - does forgiveness have a limit?
b. Jesus' parable - forgive in pure mercy.
* Our "debt" to God is the guilt of our sin (James 2:10). What if God demanded we repay the debt? Our only hope is in His mercy, Luke 18:13, Psalm 103:13.

2) By responding with forgiveness for others.
a. Revenge is natural. Forgiving is supernatural.
b. The person seeking revenge receives no mercy from God.
c. The gospel of God's forgiveness enables us to forgive.
1. Analyze your anger.
2. Speak the truth in love.
3. Forgive - "send the sin away."
4. Let it in God's hands to settle accounts (Romans 12:19).

The 16th Sunday after Pentecost
September 24, 2017

Matthew 18: 15-20
Don't Let Go! He's Your Brother!

1) Reach out to him in Christ-like love.
a) "lf your brother (fellow believer) sins (without repenting)"
b) "Go" - don't avoid, gossip, stew in silence.
* We forgive sins of weakness (1 Peter 4:8), but go in humility to urgently warn the impenitent (Psalm 51 :10-13, Galatians 6:1).

2) Reach out to him according to Christ's command.
a) Go privately to try to win the brother back.
b) Admonish with another and finally the church.
* Excommunication is "tough love" to warn the person in love.

3) Reach out to him with Christ's powerful Word.
a) Christ gives us the keys to try to win the brother back.
b) Christ is with us when we act according to His Word.
* Confess your sin when a brother corrects you. Seek to lead the straying brother back to Jesus. Don't let go! He's your brother!

The 15th Sunday after Pentecost
September 17, 2017

Matthew 16:21-26
Count the Cost of Following Jesus.

1 ) Count the cost Christ paid for you.
a. He paid the price of His holy life and suffering & death.
b. He rejected the temptation to avoid paying the price.
* Christ gave His life for you. He is the only way, and His Word is the only inspired truth to give us saving faith!

2) Count the cost of following Christ.
a. Deny yourself and take up your cross.
b. Don't conform, but be transformed.
* Will you submit your earthly goals to Jesus? Bound to Jesus by faith, we follow in His footsteps.

3) Count the cost eternally worthwhile!
a. If you save your life only for this world, you will lose it.
b. When we lose our life - by trusting in Jesus - we will find it.
* We can give nothing in exchange for our souls, therefore count the cost of following Jesus - eternally worthwhile!

14th Sunday after Pentecost
September 10, 2017

Matthew 16:13-20
Who do you say Jesus is?

1) Be convinced He is true God and true Man, your Saviour.
a. Eternity hinges on your answer.
b. Popular opinion in Jesus' day was varied - and wrong!
c. Peter confessed the truth: You are...
* Popular opinion about Jesus is still wrong today. Jesus is true God and true Man, our Saviour. Your faith in Him is God's gift to you, by which you have eternal life..

2) Build your faith and life on His Word.
a. Christ builds His Church on the truth Peter confessed.
b. Nothing can or will overcome His church.
* God's Word, inspired by the Holy Spirit, is the only basis for Christ's Church and our personal faith. With that Word the Lord will defend our faith and advance His rule of grace.

13th Sunday after Pentecost
September 3, 2017

Matthew 15:21-28
"A Great Faith..."

1) Admits personal helplessness.
a. The canaanite woman was helpless against the devil.
b. She cried to Christ for mercy, knowing only He could help.
*Scripture teaches we all are helpless to overcome sin, death, and the devil - Ezekiel 18:20, Romans 7:18,24, James 2:10; Psalm 14:2-3, Hymn 389 v. 3.

2) Trusts only in Christ, the Saviour
a. The Canaanite woman trusted Jesus as Lord, Son of David.
b. Jesus tested her faith - to increase it.
c. Jesus granted her request.
* By grace the Holy Spirit has given us faith to believe Jesus our Saviour. He loves you and His final answer to your plea, whether, "yes, no, or later," will be for your eternal welfare.

The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
August 27, 2017

Matthew 14:22-33
Jesus Will Never Let Go of Your Hand!

1) He comes to you in time of trouble.
a. The disciples battled the storm - but were they alone?
b. Walking on the waves, Jesus came to them.
* Jesus sends us out into our life's storms. We wonder, "Lord are you with me?" He is there. In His own time He'Il come to help.

2) He speaks to calm your fears.
a. Fear gripped the disciples' hearts.
b. Jesus spoke to calm their fear and give them faith.
* Jesus' Word also calms our fears. He is the incarnate Son of God (John 10:11,12:47; 10:10; 11 :25-26), and He gives us faith to conquer our fear.

3) He rescues you from life's storms.
a. He gave Peter the ability to walk on water.
b. He rescued Peter when his faith faltered.
* God, who redeemed us from eternal death, will come to rescue us in any trouble. By the means of grace (Gospel in Word and Sacrament) the Holy Spirit strengthens our faith.

11th Sunday after Pentecost
August 20, 2017

Matthew 14:13-21
Depend on Jesus to Meet All Your Needs!

1) With infinite compassion.
a) Jesus miracles proved He's our Savior.
b) Jesus saw the crowd's great need.
c) Jesus responded with compassion to teach the gospel.
*Jesus meets our need for eternal life with His compassion (John 6:68-69; Hebrews 4:14-16).

2) With infinite power.
a) The people were powerless to meet their need. Jesus miraculously met their need and fed them.
*Do you ever forget the Lord is our all-sufficient Saviour, who will care for all our needs? Look not at your little resources, but at Christ's power (Romans 8:31-32; Matthew 6:33; 1 Peter 5:7).

The 10th Sunday after Pentecost
August 13, 2017

Matthew 13:44-52
Why is the Gospel Your Most Valuable Treasure?

1) Recognize its priceless value!
a) Jesus tells a parable of a hidden treasure & priceless pearl.
b) The Gospel is that treasure and pearl!
* Will we joyfully believe and proclaim our gospel treasure?

2) Be willing to sacrifice everything for it.
a) Jesus sacrificed His all to give us the treasure.
b) We willingly sacrifice and surrender our all to Jesus.

3) Believe it, apply it, and share it.
a) Jesus tells a parable of a net that encloses all kinds of fish.
b) The gospel draws many into the visible Christian Church.
* We examine our hearts to repent of any hypocrisy. Understanding Jesus' teaching, we're equipped to live, witness, and serve Jesus.

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9th Sunday after Pentecost
August 6, 2017

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
What Shall We Do about the Weeds?

1) Recognize the devil has sown them.
a. The Lord sows the good seed by the gospel.
b. The devil sows weeds by his lies and temptation.
* The earth is still the Lord's and Christ is the Victor over evil.

2) Bring the gospel to them during this time of grace.
a. Pulling the weeds seems like the best way to get rid of them.
b. Jesus wants us to bring His gospel to unbelievers.
* Christ has entrusted us with the spiritual weapon of His gospel during this time of grace.

3) Know God will separate the weeds from the wheat at the end.
a. Living among "weeds" keeps us in the Word and longing for heaven.
b. When He comes for Judgment Jesus will separate the weeds from the wheat.

8th Sunday after Pentecost
July 30, 2017

Matthew 13:1-9,18-23
Be Good Soil for the Gospel Seed!

1) Bad soil rejects the seed.
a. The hard heart rejects the gospel.
b. The shallow heart has enthusiasm, but no depth.
c. The half-hearted refuses to give up love for the world.
* The Lord encourages us to keep growing in His Word lest the devil use the things Of this world to cause our faith to die.

2) Good soil accepts the seed and produces a harvest of faith and love.
a. The Holly spirit makes our hearts "good soil" (Ephesians 2:1; 1 Corinthians 12:3).
b. God's Law prepares our hearts by crushing our pride & self-righteousness. The Gospel gives us faith in
Jesus our Savior.
c. By the Word the Holy Spirit produces a harvest of faith and love.
* Think of your blessings through the Gospel! Let your heart be good soil for the gospel seed!

7th Sunday after Pentecost
July 23, 2017

Matthew 11:25-30
Come to Christ for Rest!

1) Give Him your burden.
a. The burden beneath all burdens-sin.
b. The "yoke" of the Law only increases the burden.
* No human relief can give us rest. Since our only rest is in Christ, give Him your burden of sin and guilt!

2) He will give you rest.
a. He earned this rest for us all.
b. We receive rest by faith in Him.
* Under Christ's yoke, we're free from sin's burden. We serve our Savior in love as we await the eternal rest of heaven (Revelation 14:18).

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