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1st Sunday in Advent
November 29, 2020

Mark 13:32-37
Heed Christ's Advent Call – Watch!

1) Be alert in your Faith.
a. Jerusalem's end prefigures the end of the world.
b. What tempts us to neglect Jesus' promise to return to this world?
* He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful!
** We want a “right relationship” for a family reunion. We need a “right relationship” with God for the reunion on the Last Day. We're prepared to meet Him by faith alone.

2) Serve Christ at every opportunity.
a. The Master returned to heaven and has given His servants their tasks.
b. What task has Jesus given you?
* You do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.
** What will we do to demonstrate to the world our Saviour's love? To share His Word?

3) Eagerly await Christ's Advent in glory.
a. Don't let him find you “sleeping.”
b. Since Jesus has saved us, we look forward to His return!
* What do we need? Everything we need for eternal life the Lord offers and gives us by the Gospel in Word and Sacrament (Means of Grace). By these means the Lord will keep you in faith until you join Him, body and soul, in heavenly glory.
** If you got a message from a long-time friend who had moved to Ontario, and they said they would be in Alberta next week, wouldn't you look forward to seeing them? If they didn't tell you exactly when they might drop in, wouldn't you want to be ready at any time? You'd keep the house clean; you might have some snacks on hand; you might even look down the street now and then to see if they were coming.
***Jesus, our Friend who has saved us eternally, will return to this world. But He didn't say exactly when. But He's coming to give eternal glory to all believers. We keep watch – not in fear, but in joyful, eager anticipation. Another year of grace lies ahead - a year of watchfulness; a year of opportunity to serve; another year of hopeful expectation.

Last Sunday of End Times – Christ the King
November 22, 2020

1 Corinthians 15:20-28
Christian, Celebrate Your Victory with Christ!

1) Through Christ's victory we triumph over death.
a. We die in Adam. We live in Christ.
b. Through Christ's life we live a new life.

2) Through Christ's victory we live forever in his kingdom.
a. Christ has overcome our enemies – sin death, and hell.
b. Christ rules as our victorious King.

3) Let's share His victory together!
a. What is the purpose of your life? (Hint – Don't you want to go to heaven and take as many people with you as God permits?)
b. We witness personally – and through our work together in our synod's missions.
* When we remember all Jesus has done for us, we're thankful to spend our lives in His kingdom work!

3rd Sunday of End Times, Saints Triumphant
November 15, 2020

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Christ Gives Us a Comforting Look beyond the Grave

1) We view the glory of that sight – eternal life.
a. We grieve the loss of loved ones – with hope!
b. For the Christian death is a “sleep.”
i. We go on existing.
ii. We are at peace and rest.
iii. We will awaken.
c. What an awakening it will be – by the power of God's Word!
* Heaven is being forever with the Lord – who is love! Now the power of His love moves us to energetically serve Him as we seek His kingdom first. Gladly hear and learn His Word; receive the Lord's supper; encourage your brothers and sisters in faith; share the Gospel gifts God has entrusted to us.

2) We view the certainty of that sight – guaranteed by Jesus' death and resurrection.
a. We believe God's Word.
b. God's Word assures us Jesus' death and resurrection guarantee our eternal life.
* If you should die, you will be with Jesus. If you should live, Jesus will be with you. In either case, both of you will be together!

2nd Sunday of End Times, Last Judgment
November 8, 2020

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
Christ Encourages Us with the Promise of His Return

1) He will come suddenly.
a. No one knows when (v. 2-3).
b. Many will be unprepared (Matthew 25:41 & 46).
“Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels...then they will go away to eternal punishment.”

2) He will come to bring salvation.
a. We too deserve God's wrath and condemnation.
b. We, however, are destined for salvation by faith in Jesus.
* Jesus accomplished our salvation, and by trusting in Him we have assurance we are forgiven, justified, and heirs of eternal life. When life in this world grinds you down, don't give up. Jesus will come to bring salvation!

3) Therefore, live in faith, hope, and love.
a. Be alert and self-controlled by continuing to hear the Law and Gospel.
b. Encourage one another in fellowship and in our daily lives.
* What's the point? We don't know when we will die... or Jesus will come again. So live each day as though it were your last – as you live in faith, hope, and love!

1st Sunday of End Times, Reformation
November 1, 2020

Galatians 5:1-6
What is a Lutheran?

**Martin Luther on the name “Lutheran:”
I ask that men make no reference to my name and call themselves, not Lutherans, but Christians. After all, what is Luther? The doctrine is not mine, nor have I been crucified for anyone.

1) A Christian who is free from sin's guilt.
a. If we tried to save ourselves by our good works, we would cut ourselves off from God.
The Teaching of Christ – A Catholic Catechism for Adults (pages 527 & 273) states, “Some die in grace but before they have done suitable penance for their sins. The Church teaches that the souls of these are cleansed in purgatory.” On the topic of merit, that same catechism states, “By ever becoming more intensely alive in Christ and by exercising this life in union with Jesus in personal prayer and in liturgy and in deeds of love, we also prepare for and truly merit the heavenly life.”
b. We are saved by faith in Christ alone! What are the “four Walls” that would imprison us forever?
- God is holy and hates sin.
- We are sinners.
- The wages of sin is death.
- God must condemn us to death.
* Christ knocked down the fourth wall and freed us from sin's guilt. Whoever believes in Jesus has eternal life!

2) A Christian who is free from sin's power.
a. Are we tempted to live under sin's slavery again?
b. The Lord by the power of the gospel frees us to live for Christ.

**Luther before the Emperor – 1527
Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason, my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me.
** A true Lutheran is a Christian who believes and lives by the Bible. We won't change our teaching to fit popular opinion. Here we stand – in Christ's freedom!

21th Sunday after Pentecost
October 25, 2020

Philippians 4:4-13
What is the Secret of Contentment?

1) God's Peace guards your heart and mind.
a. We have peace with God through Jesus since our sin is forgiven.
b. Be gentle, for the Lord is near.
c. Bring your worries to God in prayer (1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you”).
* Jesus has removed God's anger at our sins. This “peace of God” is a sentry at the door. Of our heart.

2) God's Word guides your faith and life.
a. It is truth.
b. Since “you are what you eat,” feed your soul with God's Word.

3) God's Strength supplies all your needs.
a. We can trust Him with our needs of body and soul.
b. Seek His kingdom, not his world's “thing-doms.”
* God has promised to provide what we need (not necessarily what we want). Trust the power of His love and be content.

20th Sunday after Pentecost
October 18, 2020

Philippians 3:12-21
Our Citizenship Is in Heaven!

1) Press on toward your heavenly goal.
a. We didn't earn our citizenship in heaven.
b. We strain toward the prize of heaven through faith in Jesus.
* Let's keep our eyes on the prize. By the Gospel's power we are refreshed for the race, so we run rejoicing in our forgiveness.

2) Look forward to your heavenly home.
a. Will we despair as the “enemies of the cross” ridicule and persecute us?
b. Since our citizenship is in heaven, we eagerly await our Saviour! (hint – how is this world just a great big motel?)
* How does our heavenly citizenship change the way we live in this world? Why can we be sure our citizenship is in heaven so we live as a heavenly citizen?

October 11, 2020

Deuteronomy 8:1-10
Now Thank We All Our God!

1) Thank Him for His Daily Blessings.
a. God Blessed Israel with “daily bread.”
b. God blessed Israel with a good land.
* Is it human technology that brings us food, clothing, and shelter? Thank the Lord for these blessings as you remember the wonders of His creation and provision.

2) Thank Him for His Eternal Blessings.
a. He disciple Israel during its wilderness journey.
b. He disciplines us in Love.
c. Jesus' cross answers our question, “Where is God?” when we suffer.
* “Bad” things do happen to God's children. Our heavenly Father disciplines us in love for our good. Trust Him. Thank Him for His eternal blessings through Jesus!

18th Sunday after Pentecost
October 4, 2020

Philippians 1:18b-27
This Is the Life!

1) To live for Christ now.
a. To live was Christ for the Apostle Paul.
b. Whether he was acquitted or executed, Paul wanted to serve the Lord.
* Christ is the Son of God who has lived, died, and risen to give us life. The Holy Spirit by the power of God's Word will lead us to live for Christ in daily repentance and joyful faith.

2) To live with Christ forever.
a. When you live Christ, to die is gain.
i. Watch out for an undue attachment to this impermanent life.
ii. Watch out for sinful desire to death to escape life's challenges/responsibilities.
iii. My times are in your (God's) hands (Psalm 31:15).
b. Death for the Christian is a departure to be with Christ.
* Throughout our earthly lives, we are united with Christ by faith, but our ability to love and serve Him is stunted by our sin. At the moment of physical death, all that will change for the better. In eternal life we will see Christ face-to-face and glorify him with perfect service, adoration, and joy.

17th Sunday after Pentecost
September 27, 2020

Romans 14:5-9
We are the Lord's!

1) We are the Lord's – He bought us with a price.
a. Satan was causing division in Rome, dividing Jew and Gentile believer.
b. The easy solution – create two churches.
c. God's solution – Jesus taught the moral law and gave us freedom in “different matters (things not specifically commanded or forbidden in the Bible.)
* Since we by faith in Jesus are God's forgiven children, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

2) We are the Lord's – serving Jesus together.
a. . We are free to serve not ourselves, but the Lord and others.
b. We won't have feelings of superiority when we focus on glorifying and thanking the Lord in our decisions about indifferent matters.
* Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40)

3) We are not the Lord – we have no authority to make up rules where God hasn't.
a. Let's not pass judgment on those who decide differently than we.
b. Christ will judge our motives.
* What if someone has “offended” or “judged” us? Remember what Jesus taught in our gospel lesson – forgive one another. Someone has well said: “In essentials (doctrines clearly taught in the Bible) – Unite; in non-essentials (things not commanded or forbidden in the Bible) – liberty; In all things – charity.”

16th Sunday after Pentecost
September 20, 2020

Romans 13:1-10
Christian, Let God's Love Shine Brightly!

1) As you live as a citizen of this world.
a. God established governing authority to bless us.
b. Paying taxes honestly enables government to serve.
* What blessings do we receive though our government? What do we do if government contradicts God's authority? Is the rise of ungodly attitudes within our nation due to us failing to get involve?

2) As you live as citizen of heaven.
a. The summery of God's law: “Love your neighbour as yourself.”
b. Who is our neighbour?
* Who of us is perfect? Only Jesus loved perfectly. Thank Him he also died for our sins. Since we're God's children by faith in Jesus, let His love shine!

15th Sunday after Pentecost
September 13, 2020

Romans 12:1-8
Live in View of God's Mercy

1) You'll Offer Yourself as a Living Sacrifice.
2) You'll eagerly use your gifts to God's glory.

14th Sunday after Pentecost
September 6, 2020

Romans 11:33-36
To God be the Glory!

1) The world glorifies itself and its wisdom.
2) We glorify God for His wisdom through Jesus!

13th Sunday after Pentecost
August 30, 2020

Romans 11:13-15,28-32
Lord, Have Mercy on Us!

1. Our Sin Is Our Plight.
2. “Lord Have Mercy,” Is Our Plea.
3. ”I Will Have mercy,” Is God's Promise.

12th Sunday after Pentecost
August 23, 2020

Romans 9:1-5
Are You Adjusting to the Word – Or Holding to the Word?

1. Remember your privileges through the Word.
2. Remember the Saviour who comes through the Word.

11th Sunday after Pentecost
August 16, 2020

Romans 8:35-39
Nothing Can Separate Us from the Love of God!

1) Life's Trials cause us to question God's love.
2) God showed His love in Christ's ministry to save us.
3) Nothing therefore can separate us from God's love.

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Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." ~ Matthew 11:28