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Monday, October 31, 2011

How to Post Comments

Recently I was asked how to make comments on the blog.  After some searching, I found this simple video tutorial of how it is done.  One nice thing is you can post anonymously.  I look forward to seeing what you think about the different things I post as well as the sermons.

Here is a link and the full url (

Pastor Darian L. Hybl

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sermon 10302011

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight O Lord, our rock and our redeemer!!  AMEN!!

Let us pray!  Jesus Christ, it is clear from our confession this morning that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves.  Yet, the promise made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and us today was fulfilled with Your coming and setting us free from sin, death and the devil.  May we lay claim to our freedom that we find through what You have done for us and enable us with Martin Luther to reform our lives through the work of the Holy Spirit for all of us saints here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.

It is neat as a Pastor to have the lesson I just taught for confirmation be a perfect introduction for a sermon.  This past week we learned in confirmation about Jacob.  All of you remember the story from Genesis where Jacob coming out of the womb had hold to his brother Esau’s ankle.  And later in life steals the birthright and the blessing from Esau.  Then Jacob’s son Joseph was given a coat of many colors and he was sold into slavery.  But through all of this, Jacob’s being a cheat and then being cheated by Laban, and Joseph being sold into slavery, they, both Jacob and Joseph never wavered from God as their rock in and upon Whom they trusted and had faith when they faced any troubles.

So to, the promise made to Abraham and fulfilled in the lives of Isaac, Jacob and Joseph is fulfilled for us even today as we celebrate Reformation Day.  Yes, today is a celebration in the life of the church of how Martin Luther pounded 95 Thesis on the Door at Wittenberg and began the Protestant Reformation.  Luther’s goal was not ‘starting a new church’, but like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph before him to clearly hold onto God and His sacred teachings.  Remove the man-made laws that bound the church and especially the people of God and hold onto the rich gem found in Jesus Christ.

For the gem that Jesus Christ not only offered for the church, but modeled for the church was one of setting all of us free from our bonds of slavery to sin that we live in.  Today, we are shackled by sin, not only in our lives, but in our hearts that Satan uses daily to rattle our cages and attempt to separate us from God.  Satan uses any tool at his discretion or power to cause us to question God.  It started in the garden of Eden where Satan said, “Did God really mean, you would die?” and continues today in each of our lives.  We feel bound by our sins and daily and weekly need to come into God’s presence whether in His house or by reading the life giving gift of the Gospel message found in scripture to loose us from the bondage of sin.

Today our society and some within the church believe that we can free ourselves from our sins by our own work.  And ironically, this is exactly what Martin Luther and the 95 Thesis were written against.  You see the Catholic Church at that time had what is known as indulgences.  If you ‘did enough penance’, or ‘paid indulgences’, then you would be set free from purgatory.  These indulgences that could be bought ironically funded the building of cathedrals and the extravagant life style of priests, bishops and even the pope.  And for Luther, this was anti-scriptural and an abomination to the salvific act of Jesus Christ life, death and resurrection.

Hence, when his famous words, “Here I Stand” echoed in response to the Pope and the church, Luther meant to reform and ensure the correct understanding of the church.  For Jesus Christ, born in a stable, baptized by John, performed miracles of healing, feed thousands and suffered on the cross for each and every one of us.  For Jesus Christ, by His perfect life, sacrificial death and rising on the third day earned for each and every one of us freedom from sin and eternal life.  Thus, we with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Luther today as we celebrate Reformation Day, lay claim to what Jesus Christ has done on the cross of Calvary.  We as Christ said in our Gospel, “know the truth, and the truth will make us free” for all of us saints here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sermon 10232011

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight O Lord, our rock and our redeemer!!  AMEN!!

Let us pray!  Jesus Christ, You were surrounded by people who were attempting to ‘trap’ you.  Yet again, You calmly, clearly and simply stated the two greatest commandments upon which the law and the prophets hang.  May we hear how we cannot fulfill these commands by ourselves, but can only do so by Your divine favor upon and through us.  For it was Your Son Jesus Christ Who came and perfectly fulfilled the law for us on the Cross on Golgotha for all of us saints here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.

If you missed it last week, the potluck we had during the Fall Clean-up had three tables full of food that not only looked good, but tasted good and sustained a lot of good workers during the clean-up.  As I surveyed each table, it was interesting to see the variety of dishes and cooking styles each person provided for the meal.  It is interesting that in our Gospel this morning, Jesus clearly references the different variety and importance of the two tables we learned about in our catechism.

You see, Jesus Christ in our Gospel is again surrounded by people who are doing Satan’s bidding.  Satan doesn’t want Jesus to reach either the city of Jerusalem or to be crucified on the Cross on Golgotha and will use any means necessary to prevent the fulfillment of the plan of salvation.  It is clear from scripture and our passage this morning that Satan uses the Pharisee’s, Sadducees, Scribes and Jewish leaders to thwart Jesus and give them a reason or means to destroy His reputation and question His teachings.

Hence, when a lawyer of the day, probably equivalent to a biblical scholar today “asked Him a question to test Him” Jesus knew the cards had been laid on the table.  The lawyer says, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”  The lawyer knowing the Jewish ‘correct’ answer believes Jesus will fall into his laid trap and thus cause Jesus to fail the ‘test’.

However, Jesus all omniscient of what was transpiring said to him.  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.”  This is the completion of the Shema which is an early Jewish creed of faith in God.  The complete Shema reads, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.   You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”  Therefore, Jesus knew what He was being tested on and gave the ‘proper’ answer.  And Jesus continues His response, “And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Encapsulated within these two short responses, Jesus reveals His complete understanding of scripture, the law, the prophets and what is required.  For He says, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” and thus Jesus quickly and easily neutralized the threat of the test that the lawyer presented.

But, what do these two statements have to do with us today, 2000 years later half a world away.  How can Jesus words to a lawyer apply to us who sit on the other side of the Cross of Calvary and Jesus Christ fulfillment of the plan of salvation?  It could easily be asked, where does this apply in my life today here in Goodland, KS?

We need to return to the book of Deuteronomy and read a few more verses from where Jesus quoted the first response to the lawyer.  For Moses wrote, “And these words [the Shema] that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down, and when you rise.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

For the statements Jesus uttered to the lawyer, the first and the second commandments are meant as a short hand of what is actually required of everyone.  For these two commandments seemingly unrelated are intimately connected with one another.  Martin Luther, father of the protestant reformation knew and understood clearly what each meant and how each was to be applied.   You see these two statements by Jesus Martin Luther connected with what Moses said and taught people in his Small and Large Catechism the complete unabridged version of the statements by Jesus Christ.  For the statements by Jesus are of the sum of each of the tables of the Law we understand as the 10 Commandments.  The two tables are encapsulated in these statements by Jesus and sum up perfectly all that could be written.

But how can we apply this today?  Where does this have meaning for us today?  Simply stated, we fulfill both commandments of God when we as Koehler says in his explanation of the catechism, “serve Him (that is God) gladly in our lives by doing those things that please Him.”  Can we fulfill all that is required perfectly?  By no means we cannot.  Yet, we can and do show our contempt for God’s gospel when we only show up to church for the one hour a week and sit in the pew and not be actively involved in the ministry and life of the church. 
We can and do clearly show our love for God by our service, like the Fall cleanup, serving as an usher, lector, greeter, Sunday school teacher and council person.  These are only means and do not merit us our salvation.  For the gospel message is clear, Jesus Christ came to seek and save the lost and die on the cross for each and every one of us.  Are we required to do anything?  No, because it is God who works through us by the Holy Spirit to call, gather, enlighten and sanctify the whole Christian church.  Jesus Christ innocent life, death and resurrection fulfilled our requirements and the two commandments he answered the lawyer with for all of us saints here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sermon 10162011

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight O Lord, our rock and our redeemer!!  AMEN!!

Let us pray!  Jesus Christ, You clearly saw, perceived and understood when the Pharisee’s plotted to entrap You.  Yet, willingly, You entertained their question because You wanted them to correctly understand that God places all of us under the authority of rulers like Caesar, and we are to render to the government the things needed.  Open our hearts to hear Your message so we may render to our Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s, with the clear understanding that what we have is given because of what You did on the cross for each of us saints here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.

Have you ever had a movie that creates an image in your brain that forever will be engrained in in your mind?  For me, the image of Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr. in the movie, “Jerry Maguire” shouting the phrase, “Show me the money!” over the phone is one of these images.  In this morning’s Gospel, like with Jerry Maguire, Jesus asks those who have surrounded Him to ‘show him the money’.  Unlike the movie, Jesus request isn’t for selfish gain, but to profoundly explain a truth which we daily live with and need to clearly understand.

Jesus had only two days prior rode into the Holy City of Jerusalem on the colt, the foal of a donkey and was seen as one who would be ‘crowned’ King.  The people viewed Him as the one who would save them from the tyranny of Rome and re-establish the Kingdom to its rightful place.  The Pharisee’s, Herodians and Saducee’s saw Jesus as a threat, one that needed dealt with quickly and needed silenced by whatever means necessary.  So a devious alliance was formed to destroy Jesus by whatever means. The easiest way was to incite and involve the Roman authority currently overseeing Jerusalem.

Hence, a plot was set in motion where Jesus would be presented with a question to entrap Him.  Jesus would be asked a loaded question to trick Him into speaking against the Roman Government and their leaders and thus remove Him from causing the Jews any more problems with His teachings.  They asked him, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?”  Clearly, this is an attempt by Satan to prevent Jesus Christ from completing His mission here on earth.  Satan uses any and all means to thwart and prevent the fulfillment of the plan of salvation that is found clearly in the Old Testament scripture.

But, Jesus Christ, Human and Divine, Omniscient God that He is knows what is happening as Matthew tells us, “aware of their malice, [Jesus] said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites?”  Clearly knowing what they were trying to accomplish, Jesus unlike in Jerry Maguire, says, “Show me the coin used for the tax”, in essence, ‘show me the money.’  When they finally find a denarius, which they didn’t have with them, because they thought Jesus would just answer their question and they would then have Him trapped, Jesus turns the tables and asks them a question.  Jesus says, “Whose head is this, and whose title?”  On the Roman denarius, a silver coin of the commonwealth, it was equivalent to the typical days wage of a laborer.  Where the denarius was used the Emperor had power.  Hence, on one side the image of Caesar and the other side usually a saying of some kind, just as we today have the founding father’s figures and other images that we denote as ‘heads’ or ‘tails’.  So to the questioners answer, “The Emperor”.  And swifter and more knowledgeable than they realized, Jesus tells them the answer to their question, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s”.  In this quick response, Jesus foils the plot and snare meant to entrap Him and is freed from the snare set by Satan and those working with him to prevent Jesus Christ from His destiny on a hill known as Golgotha.

Yet, Jesus doesn’t let even us today off the hook.  For Jesus complete statement reads, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s”.  For it is clear, Jesus Christ, wants those who were plotting against Him and all of us today to understand we have a greater responsibility, not only to the government, but to God who put the government in place to insure good order.

Martin Luther was very clear about our understanding and importance of the government.  Luther says in his Small Catechism in the Table of Duties:
“Of Civil Government – Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.  For there is no power but God; the powers that be are ordained of God.  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive themselves damnation.  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.  Wilt thou, then, not be afraid of the power?  Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same; for he is the minister of God to thee for good.  But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid, for he beareth not the sword in vain; for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”

Properly we need to understand we live in the two kingdoms, a kingdom of power and a kingdom of grace.  We live simultaneously in these two kingdoms, not against each other, but in harmony with one another clearly understanding that God has placed the kingdom of power over us to protect us and gives us the kingdom of grace that clearly points to what Jesus Christ has done for each and every one of us.  Does this mean we are freed to sin against the laws made by the kingdom of power, because of the freedom found in Jesus Christ and His death for each of us?  By no means, the laws created in the kingdom of power are meant to be a guide for us and how we show proper respect for the government God has placed over us and therefore reverencing God for His divine favor upon us.  Therefore, though we grumble, we should gladly pay our taxes, rendering to Caesar what is Caesar’s in order to receive the services the government provides us.

And on the other hand, we are afforded the opportunity to give “to God the things that are God’s”.  Yes, truthfully everything is God’s, but the intent is not for us to grumble about what we give back to the government or even to God, but understand we are but stewards of the gifts entrusted to us in our talents and treasures, whether they are our own personal abilities or the fruits of the land we harvest.  We are called to use the gifts to give God glory.  For in giving God glory, we honor not only the government placed over us by God, we honor His Son’s gift of eternal life and we honor and show our understanding of our living in these two kingdoms, one of power manifest in the government and the other of grace.  For it is the kingdom of grace that is clearly manifest in what Jesus Christ did in His life, death and resurrection for all of us saints here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sermon 10092011

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight O Lord, our rock and our redeemer!!  AMEN!!
Let us pray!  Jesus Christ, on the day of our baptism, we were given the wedding robe that shows Your entrance into our life and claiming us as Your own.  May we daily be reminded of our being claimed and encounter You personally every day.  For You came to save us and welcome us into Your kingdom wearing the garment of our salvation bought by Your death on the cross for all of us saints here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.
For those of you who are movie fans, when Harry Potter: The Goblet of Fire arrived on screens we saw the transformation of a wizard from a young boy to a young man.  During the movie, we also saw another character transform from a ‘geeky’ know it all book worm into a beautiful young woman.  When Hermione Grainger stepped onto the screen in the evening dress for the ball, everyone was taken back how stunning she was dressed simply but elegantly in the dress.

In today’s Gospel, we hear of a banquet put on by a king for the wedding of his son.  What is required, like the ball in Harry Potter, is not just daily informal attire, but special garments or robes fit for the feast being prepared.  These robes would be ‘brilliantly’ colored, usually white and adorned with gold or another highly extravagant adornment suitable for the class of the individual, but it would be clear to anyone that this was no ‘ordinary robe’, it was special.
Thus, in the Gospel, when the king sees an individual “not wearing a wedding robe” he immediately is suspicious and asks, “Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?”  Being king and knowing all the social protocols, this was not right.  The man whom the king had spoken to was speechless.  And this clearly was a sign, he was not invited to the feast, had entered by nefarious means and probably meant harm and not good.

So the king dispatches his attendants saying, “‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”  And thus we see that if one is not properly adorned for the wedding feast, they are not welcome to partake of the wedding feast prepared by the king.
This lesson from Matthew is a metaphor for us today.  You see God has prepared the wedding feast for us today.  Every time we gather to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, those who come to receive the Precious Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior need to be adorned with the proper attire.  Now you would rightly say, we don’t have a dress code here at Emmanuel, we welcome all who come whether in their scrubs from working in the hospital, the field with bib overalls or work boots from checking wells or driving the grain cart or combine during harvest, to whatever may be the only clothes we own.  Everyone is welcome.  Yet, the ‘wedding robe’ is a metaphor of what we have been clothed with at our baptism.

You see, when the Water and Word, intimately connect with one another when the words, “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” are spoken at the font as the Water is poured over the infant, child or adult, God clothes us with our ‘wedding robe’.  This is a spiritual clothing that doesn’t leave us, but protects us and shows that we are claimed by God and what His Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ has done for each and every one of us.  We no longer are only sinner in need of saving, we are now as Luther says, Simul justus et peccator ‘simultaneous saint and sinner’ redeemed by the Blood of Jesus Christ.  We are now as Jesus says, the ‘chosen’ who now partake of the precious Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior at His High Feast.  We with the ‘wedding robe’ given to us in our Baptism into His death and resurrection now partake of with all the saints the life giving gift of Jesus Christ for all of us saints here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Funeral Sermon 10042011 Tamara Jean Flanders Bahe

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight O Lord, our rock and our redeemer!!  AMEN!!

Let us pray!  Heavenly Father as we gather here to celebrate the life of our sister in Christ Tamara.  May our hearts be enabled to hear clearly Your Word spoken to our hearts and comfort us as we mourn.  Though the veil of death separates us today from Tamara, we are sure of the certain promise You made to us in our baptism that in being baptized into Your death we are certainly raised with You in Your resurrection.  Comfort us with this thought and let the salve of Your Gospel message surround us so we may hear clearly the Gospel message You proclaimed to Tamara on the day of her baptism and which You proclaim here today in truth, purity and peace to Your saints, especially the saints of her family and those gathered here.  AMEN.

One of the joys of being a minister is teaching the youth of the congregation about the faith given to us in our baptism and revealed to us in Holy Scriptures.  Recently in confirmation, we were studying Adam and Eve our parents created by God in His image.  With child like curiosity I wonder what it would have been like to have seen God form and shape Adam from the dust of the earth and then Eve from the rib of Adam.  As Adam said, Eve was ‘bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh’ and the connection they had was tangible.  So to is the connection that God has with each of us today as we mourn and say goodbye to Tamara.

You see, we are offered in Holy Scripture a glimpse of God’s hand upon Tamara’s life and our own life and the lives of the prophets who heralded Jesus Christ.  As we heard from Job, he knew pain, suffering and loss and knew that death was an ever present reality, but his faith in God was clear.  Job writes, “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.  Even after my skin is destroyed, Yet from my flesh I shall see God”.  This model of faith in God Job offers us is the model that Tamara was given in her baptism.  In her baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, God gave her a muscle of faith that she used daily in her journey here on earth.  She clearly modeled her selfless heart of faith like that of the prophet Job.  Tamara helped others gain a different perspective with challenges or difficulties and enabled them to see beyond those things that were burdening and troubling while drinking a simple cup of coffee around the kitchen table or local coffee shop.  Clearly Tamara helped a lot of you sitting in the pew today to shoulder the burdens of life here in Goodland, KS.

Yet, this model of bearing burdens, is foreign to fallen creatures as we are, but through the waters of baptism, God modeled for and promised Tamara and us today to bear us up on Eagles wings.  The Psalmist clearly says, “For you have made the Lord, my refuge, even the most high, your dwelling place…He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.”  Not only will the angels have charge over us, but “No evil will befall you”, for not only will God’s Holy ones care for us, but the promise made to all of us in our baptism is true, we have been baptized into Jesus Christ life, death and resurrection.  We like Tamara can cast our burdens upon Jesus Christ, for He came down from heaven as the perfect model for us and Tamara clearly understood Jesus mission and model for each and every one of us.

For Jesus promise was clear as He spoke through John when He said, “All that the Father gives me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.”  This promise Jesus spoke to Tamara and makes clear to and for us today when He says, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.  For God’s promise that we can lay hold to today is of the sure and certain promise Jesus says, “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day. 

This promise of eternal life that Tamara had through her baptism into Jesus Christ life, death and resurrection is fulfilled today in our hearing for Paul drives this home for us today as we say goodbye to Tamara about the life she had and which we can have as well.  Paul writes, “But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.  O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY?  O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?”  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law, but thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Yes, Tamara has the victory offered by Jesus Christ and His innocent death on the cross.  In her baptism when she was given the muscle of faith she was promised this victory by Jesus Christ over sin, death and the devil.  Yes we lay her mortal remains in the grave today, but God will raise up on the last day her heavenly body.  She will be clothed with righteousness, and the imperishable where “Death will be swallowed up in victory” and she will as Psalm 23 ends “dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  That is the promise God made to her and makes to us today and which we celebrate with the words, “God gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” for all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel to say goodbye.  AMEN.

Now may the peace of God which surpasses all human understanding guard our hearts and minds and comfort us today, because of what Jesus Christ did in Tamara’s life and ours!  AMEN!

LCMC Convention Live

Here is the link for the National LCMC Convention in Iowa I was to be attending.  It is interesting to hear the speakers.  If you can't read the link, here it is in plain text (

Monday, October 3, 2011

Spelling Confession

One of the strong memories of mine for fourth grade was having Mrs. Jeffress as a teacher.  A weekly exercise was the 'spelling bee' for our vocabulary words for the week.  At times I did pretty good and other times I was not the best.

Well, it was pointed out to me that I had an 'incorrect' spelling in the title of my blog by a wonderful person who is a member here at Emmanuel.  She saved me by pointing out my error in a private e-mail and I REALLY appreciate it!!! know who!!!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sermon 10022011

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight O Lord, our rock and our redeemer!!  AMEN!!

Let us pray!  Jesus Christ, You are the foundation and cornerstone of our church.  When You laid down Your life and fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament, we didn’t believe until You were raised on the third day.  You are the cornerstone upon which our faith is built.  Enable us to rest in You and daily call upon You to walk with us as we exercise our muscle of faith.  For You are the cornerstone of the Church of Jesus Christ and of our lives for all of us saints here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.

Recently the earthquakes that rattled the East Coast, specifically Virginia and next door here in Colorado and the aftershocks associated with events of this magnitude required Engineers to closely inspect famous structures like the Washington Monument and The National Cathedral.  Found to be structurally sound this was good news for not only the government, but proves that the cornerstone that each of these buildings was built upon was chosen properly.  Interestingly the cornerstone connects clearly for us today to our Gospel lesson.

In today’s Gospel, we heard the parable of the landowner and the vineyard.  Following that parable, Jesus makes the clearest point to the crowd, specifically the scribes, Pharisee’s and all of His opponents and even us today, ‘they have rejected Him’.  With the words, “Have you never read in the scriptures: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone”.  This clear reference to Psalm 118, for the second time in this chapter of Matthew shows two important things.  First, the Holy Scriptures, specifically the Old Testament foretold of the coming Messiah.  Second, that this Messiah Who comes is the cornerstone of the Christian faith.  And those speaking against Jesus Christ have clearly rejected Him and His mission to come and save the lost.

The question for us today is clear.  Have we rejected Jesus Christ today, like the Pharisee’s, Scribes and other opponents?  Have we disposed of the cornerstone of our faith upon which the New Testament church is built?  If we have, Jesus profound words in response to this choice are clear, “Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces fruits of the kingdom.”  Harder words could not be said.  Jesus clearly is trying to get us to return to the faith that was given to us in our baptism and which we made our own in our confirmation and affirmation of baptism and ‘produce fruit’.

But the fact remains, yes our name may be written in the record book of the congregation, recorded as being confirmed in the eyes of the church, though it may be a matter of record on paper, what about your personal relationship with Jesus Christ?  Is your relationship only one of receipt in coming to church one hour a week, sitting in the pew, standing when required and coming forward only if absolutely necessary?  Have you opened your Bible and read God’s word daily, seeking to encounter Jesus Christ?  Have you prayed for not only the sick, homebound or relatives, but all of the members and fellow believers of Emmanuel?  Have you prayed for the worship service to be for God’s glory?  Have you ever wondered how the solid foundation of the church crumbles, if Jesus Christ is taken out of our worship, His Word and especially His sacrament?  And last, have you ‘produced fruit’ for the Kingdom of God?

You see, the foundation of Jesus Christ found in His Word is the cornerstone of our faith.  Without what Jesus Christ has done on the Cross of Calvary for each and every one of us, and continues to do for us today, our world, our church and our faith would crumble.  We are lost without Jesus Christ and totally dependent upon His salvific work for us and for all of mankind.  Our relationship with Jesus Christ needs to be a daily walk with Him, even a struggle at times where we call upon Him and seek to not only be fed daily with His Word, but seek out others and share the relationship He has with us.  This is the ‘fruit for the kingdom’ that Jesus speaks of in response to the Pharisee’s and other opponents who reject Him.

To be clear, we as Lutherans discount and hold as not true the notion of ‘decision theology’, but we strongly affirm the need of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ Who was crucified for each of us.  For all of us this relationship is different, but it is a relationship which transforms each of us in a special way.  This transformation, God’s direct action upon our lives we have the opportunity to share.  That’s right, the Great Commission calls us to share our personal relationship with Jesus Christ with everyone we come in contact with and it isn’t just here within the four walls of the building we call the ‘church’. 

We are empowered to share the transformation that has occurred in our lives with everyone whether at work, school, Wal-Mart, football practice, volleyball practice, scouts, harvesting corn, planting wheat, at the weekly Farmer’s Market or sitting around drinking coffee at Kansasland Tire or the Co-Op.  Our mission field is beyond the doors of our church in the lives of the people we encounter on a daily basis.  For we model the Christian life and tell others about our personal relationship with Jesus Christ and what He has done on the Cross of Calvary for each and every one of us Saints here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.
//trial script