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HOLY TRINITY – MAY 22, 2016 PDF Print E-mail

TEXT: JOHN 3:1-17; ROMANS 11:33-36; ISAIAH 6:1-7
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen. 

Nicodemus was the best of the best in that culture – intelligent – serious – respectable. He greets Jesus with kindness.  No deceit or wicked intent is evident in his approach.  Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him. 

As a religious leader, Nicodemus would have known of John the Baptist and his witness to Jesus and his baptism of Jesus.  That wondrous event beautifully colors this conversation.  Nicodemus would have known of the great wonders Christ worked.  Yet he also would have known that Jesus’ teaching did not direct hearers to the works of the Law as the Pharisees did.  Therefore Nicodemus was conflicted.  He could not simply reject Christ’s teaching confirmed by so many wonders and signs.  We know that you are a teacher come from God.  Nor could he, in good conscience accept Jesus’ words for the Pharisees thought them contrary to the Law of Moses. 

Nicodemus is looking for a middle way.  He desires to understand Jesus in a way that fits the Pharisees focus on rules for righteous living.  But Jesus isn’t from God in some sense – Jesus is God!  His answer to Nicodemus is a thunderbolt!   “Amen, amen, I say to you unless one is born from above he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  Having the law and fulfilling the law are two different things.  The bold security and self-confidence of the Pharisees is false confidence.  Jesus’ teaching is not about doing and not doing – but about becoming.  It is not first about living differently but being born differently.  I say to you (Nicodemus – upstanding, respected leader) unless one is born from above he cannot see the kingdom of God.  This was a strange sermon for this outwardly righteous man to hear.  It seemed a bitter answer to Nicodemus’ good intentioned approach.  He had praised Christ as a man of honor.  Jesus response tags Nicodemus as a man of dishonor – unfit for the kingdom of God.  Jesus’ answer is a sharp preaching of repentance. 

Pentecost – 15 May 2016 PDF Print E-mail

Pentecost – 15 May 2016
100th Anniversary of Lutheran Memorial Chapel in Shorewood, WI
Genesis 11 & John 14:26 & Acts 2:4
Pastor Albert Collver

To the Church of God in Shorewood, Wisconsin, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called
to be saints together with all those who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus, Grace to you and
peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ!

It is a great honor and privilege to be here with you on this centennial celebration,
where I had the opportunity to serve as a vicar. During my vicarage here, some of you had to
endure beginning sermons that covered everything from the Garden of Eden all the way to the
return of the Lord and every doctrine in between in one sermon. Well, there should be some
improvement today as the texts only cover from the Tower of Babel to the day of Pentecost in
Acts. When Pastor Wieting and I discussed the centennial celebration and the way that past
anniversaries had been celebrated at Luther Memorial Chapel, I told him that this past year I
was invited to preach at the Synod Convention for our partner church in Nigeria. The church
had about 6,000 people in it, and the service lasted for 8 hours. When the service began in the
morning, the temperature outside was 90 degrees, and when it finished it was 104 degrees.
Don’t worry I only preached 1 hour of the 8-hour service, and today my sermon has three parts:
remember, repent, and rejoice. Each part will last no more than 15 minutes. In Nigeria, it was a
great joy and encouragement to see 6,000 people attending a festival service. My heart has no
less joy today seeing the sanctuary filled for the centennial of Lutheran Memorial Chapel.
A century of blessings received and given out here at Lutheran Memorial Chapel. How
appropriate to celebrate this century of blessing in Shorewood on the birthday of the New
Testament church, on Pentecost Sunday almost 2,000 years ago, and it precedes the 500th
anniversary of the Reformation. It is hard to imagine that Pastor Kissling did not have the 400th
anniversary of the Reformation in mind when this congregation was founded in 1916, and it
may well be part of the reason the congregation’s name changed to Luther Memorial Chapel in
1917 during the 400th celebration of the Reformation. As Lutheran Memorial Chapel began the
proclamation of the Gospel here in Milwaukee, the world was plunged into a world war that
took millions of lives. In the midst of world uncertainty, Lutheran Memorial Chapel was a
beacon of hope first to Milwaukee and then to the world.

7th Sunday after Easter - May, 8 2016 PDF Print E-mail

Persecution of the Comforter
Vicar Brad Akey
In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen

Alleluia, Christ is risen! He is risen indeed Alleluia! Dear hearers of the Word made flesh upon whom the seal of the Spirit has been placed. Our Redeemer tells us: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

What is the world? The world is a kingdom of darkness, the devil’s paradise and house of pleasure. It is so drowned in darkness and lies that it does not see the light, nor can it hear the truth. We are not of the world, but we are in the world, some of you are about to graduate, transition from studies in the world to the full time and work in the world. With its hatred comes: suffering, torment, and persecution. It tempts and prods in order to draw you away. It shows acceptance, love, and hospitality as a lure as if to say, “look at how well everyone is over here, you must being doing something obviously wrong.” But this acceptance, love, and hospitality is not real! It is a front used to deceive!

Christ says all these things to you to keep you from falling away. Our Lord knows about the devises of the world. As our High Priest prays the night before His crucifixion, He names concrete examples of what will happen to not only the disciples, the ones He is speaking to, but to all Christians. They will put you out of the synagogues and whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.

The world does not and cannot appreciate the Holy Spirit and the office and testimony of the apostles. So it will reject you, because it has first rejected God. It does this by perverting God’s Word, attempting to force God’s Word to adapt to societal values. This is why it seeks to ban all who preach and accept the true doctrine. It burdens the faithful with every affliction and torment and at last puts them to death like heretics. Whoever is a Christian and confesses Christ freely will not have paradise here.

Peter speaks in our Epistle about the office of ministry when he says, whoever serves, be as one who serves by the strength that God supplies. Peter here is saying “let him execute his office faithfully teaching and preaching nothing but the pure and unadulterated Word of God without any addition of human doctrine.” But rather than obey Peter, the world does exactly what Peter warns against.

The Sixth Sunday of Easter, 1 May 2016 PDF Print E-mail

The Sixth Sunday of Easter, 1 May 2016

JOHN 16:23-33:
The Rev. Jason D. Lane



Today is Rogate Sunday. It means “Pray!” Jesus told His disciples to ask the Father anything in His Name and the Father will give it all to us by grace. But not all asking is the same. Like so many accounts in the Gospel of John, the evangelist teaches the church through others’ confusion. Nicodemus didn’t know what Jesus meant by “being born again”. But Jesus spoke of heavenly things; He meant Holy Baptism and being born of Heaven BY WATER AND THE SPIRIT. The Jews didn’t understand what Jesus meant by those “hard words”: WHOEVER EATS MY FLESH AND DRINK MY BLOOD WILL NEVER DIE. But Jesus was saying that He is the BREAD OF LIFE, that His body and blood have life in them, and whoever feasts on Him, that is, whoever believes in Him and receives from Him will live forever. And here, Jesus speaks of asking. The disciples don’t understand. This is written for you. 

Jesus speaks of two kinds of asking. The first is for the twelve, who followed Him in His earthly life. All the evangelists portray the twelve as men groping for answers, students with requests and questions: “Lord, teach us to pray.” “Lord, what is the meaning of this parable?” “Lord, how often should I forgive my brother when He sins against me?” And Jesus instructed them and He asked them, as any good teacher, “DO YOU UNDERSTAND?” And His disciples answered like any eager-to-please students would: “Yes, we understand.” Jesus knew that after everything was accomplished they would understand.

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