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About our Church

This Sunday is
The 16th Sunday after Pentecost

24 September 2017

Today's sermon is from
Matthew 6:24-34

Old Testament Reading
1 Kings 17:8-16

Epistle Reading
Galatians 5:25-6:10

Psalm
Ps. 86

Chief Hymn
In God, My Faithful God

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"No one can serve two masters," For a master demands that you give not just part of your life or even most of your life, but all your life in service to him. And it's humanly impossible for a person to give his whole life to more than one master at the same time. Therefore, "You cannot serve God and mammon," as you will inevitably be loyal to the one and despise the other.

Of course there's no problem with that so long as the master to whom you are loyal is your God, and not mammon. For mammon is a master that takes from you before it will ever give to you. I've seen this all too often: people who foolishly make their career their number one priority in life. And they get paid well for it. They have more money than most and so are able to obtain more than most. They live in nice houses, drive nice cars, go on nice vacations. In the eyes of the world they are successful; but at what cost? Their master has demanded so much of them that they've often had to sacrifice family, and even their health in many cases.

In contrast, God is a master who gives to you long before he ever asks anything of you. Jesus himself pointed that out in these most familiar words to Nicodemus, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have everlasting life."

2,000 years before you ever were, God gave you his only-begotten Son, and not just to care for you, but to die in your stead, to suffer the punishment you would merit for yourself by your sins and sinfulness. God gave Jesus over to the torments of hell and death, so that you could be forgiven.

Then after you were born, God gave you his only-begotten Son in blessed Water united to his Blood, so that his Blood, shed on the cross for the sins of the world, could be poured over you in a Holy Baptism that would wash all your sins away. Today he gives his only-begotten Son to you in the holy Feast of his Body united to Blessed Bread and of his Blood united to Blessed Wine, so that through your eating and drinking you will be nourished and strengthened in the forgiveness he won for all of on the cross. And this your Heavenly Father will continue to do for you week after week, in Service after Service, until you die, so that he can give you one more thing: eternal life in blessed communion with him.

Now, this is what he asks of you, that you serve him as your master. But one does not serve God in the same way he does mammon. As you just heard, God does not take, before he gives. Indeed, what can you, a sinful being, give God above and beyond what God in the person of his only-begotten Son has already given you? So rather than in giving to him, this is how Jesus defined service to God, "That whoever believes in him will not perish, but have everlasting life." Dear Christian, to serve God is to trust in God, that he is your Heavenly Father and you his dear children solely for Jesus' sake.

Now because you are children of God through faith in Jesus Christ, you are also heirs of everlasting life. But this is not to imply that your your Heavenly Father doesn't care about what happens to you in this life as well.

Mammon doesn't, not one bit. And that's another reason why you would be foolish to serve it rather than your God. For mammon is fickle. In many cases it flees just as quickly as it came. And in every case, it is gone for good, when you die.

God, however, is faithful. He not only will shower you in heaven with wealth beyond anything anyone has ever enjoyed in this life, but he also provides for you while you are still alive in this world. And to remind you of this, to offer you comfort and hope, as you make your way through this world to everlasting bliss, Jesus says, "Do not worry about your life, what you will eat and what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on."

This is not to say that your Heavenly Father will give you everything you want. Sinful flesh, because it serves mammon rather than God, wants to be rich. What it fails to understand is that money cannot bring happiness. Contentment does.

But contentment is not the way of the flesh. Because it serves mammon, it always wants more. And this is why you worry. It's because the God who provides for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field just doesn't seem to be providing enough for you.

Now it's true. You do live in a world ruined by sin, and that makes life hard, even a struggle at times. But your Heavenly Father knows this and what you need to survive it. Even more than that, he has both the power and the desire to do something about it. Look at how he fed Elijah and the widow and her son during a three-year drought with so little food, Surely, he can do the same for you. And if you're wondering whether he will or not, let me remind you once again that he gave you his only-begotten Son, so that you would not perish, but have everlasting life. Now if he loves so much that he did that for you, do you really think he will abandon you today?

Therefore rather than worry about things you have no need to worry about, as do those that serve mammon, you who serve the living God would do well to "seek his kingdom and righteousness." That's what faith does, not only because it knows that your Heavenly Father will provide what you need in this life, but also, and even more so, because it believes in the Resurrection to everlasting life through Jesus Christ.

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


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