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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.
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