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About our Church

This Sunday is
The 10th Sunday after Pentecost

13 August 2017

Today's sermon is from
Luke 16:1-9

Old Testament Reading
2 Samuel 22:26-34

Epistle Reading
1 Corinthians 10:6-13

Psalm
Ps. 54

Chief Hymn
Not in Anger, Mighty God

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If this world came into existence by accident, as evolutionists insist, then everything we've taken from it is ours to do with as we please. If, however, all things came to be through the almighty Word of God, then what the Psalmist said is true, "The earth is the Lord's and everything in it," and we are to use the things we have according to his commandments; or to express this another way: If God created all things in six days - and he did, for God is not a man that he should lie - then we are not masters of our possessions, but stewards of God's.

Now a steward is one who has been given the authority to care for the possessions of another. And God has given us the authority and responsibility to care for everything that he in his grace has lent to us both for our survival and also for our pleasure.

But in this parable Jesus holds before us a steward who was not faithful. This man lacked a sense of duty and responsibility that would cause him to want to do his best. He was also void of any positive feelings for his master that would motivate him to want to do what was right for him. And rather than thankful for his job, which in those days was a very good job, he abused his position by stealing his master's wealth for his own personal gain.

You see, this steward was selfish and self-centered. He loved neither God nor his neighbor, but only himself. And this showed not only in the many ways he wasted his master's possessions, but also in his reaction after his master confronted him about it. He did not offer to repay what he had stolen, nor did he promise to do better from now on. Why, he didn't he say he was sorry. Instead true to his selfish, self-centered nature, he expressed concern only for himself: "What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg."

Have you ever met a person like this? Of course you have, for this steward is every sinner, including you. God through your parents gave you your life. And so that yours would be a happy, prosperous and fruitful life, God has showered you with his blessings every day. Yet this is how you have responded to his love and generosity. Everyday you've wasted your life in sin, thinking that this will bring you much happiness.

It didn't this steward, and it won't you. For God knows how you have misused his possessions, and as the master did his steward, so he will someday take the stewardship away from you. On the day you die to be exact, you will lose everything he gave you in this life, and according to his law should be cast into an eternal poverty out of which you can neither dig nor beg.

But take heart, dear Christian! Your master is a God of love, a God of mercy, a God who takes no pleasure in the death of the sinner. Instead his desire is that you live in his love and under his blessings forever.

Yet his holiness will not allow him to change his law. Unlike what that steward did for his master's debtors, God will not reduce your debt to him. Of course it wouldn't matter if he did, as you still wouldn't be able to pay it back. And God knows this too. So he in his love and mercy sent someone into this world to pay it off for you.

That someone was his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ. He was the faithful steward you are not. He loved God and his neighbor. He showed this is perfect obedience to the Law. Yet God judged, condemned and punished him in your stead, as that was the price required to pay off your debt, so that you could be forgiven.

And in his love and mercy he now gives you the things you need from his creation to receive this Blood-bought, life-giving gift. Included among them are words, not just any words, but his words, written down in ink on paper, so that they can be preached to you. And when you, as a good and faithful steward, come before this pulpit to hear these words, Christ, the Incarnate Word, is preached into you for the forgiveness of your sins.

There is also water, which when blessed by his Word of promise is united to his Blood shed on the cross. So when you, as a good and faithful steward, came to the font, this Blessed Water was poured over you in a Holy Baptism that washed all your sins away. On that day you became a forgiven child of God and an heir of everlasting life.

Oh, but there's even more. Here in God's House a flesh and blood minister stands before you, whom Christ has called to be his mouth to you. And when you, as a good and faithful steward, confess your sins to your Savior, he through the mouth of that flesh and blood minister absolves you, and so assures you that you remain in his forgiveness despite your sins.

And last, but certainly not least, on this table lie bread and wine, which, through the words of Christ, come into communion with his given Body and shed Blood. So when you, as a good and faithful steward, come to this Altar to feast on this Holy Food, you will be greatly nourished and so strengthened in the forgiveness of your sins that brings life and salvation.

These are the things of his creation that your God gives you in his Service every week, together with faith, so that you desire to receive them. And when you do as a good and faithful steward, you make friends for yourself in heaven through them, so that by them you will be received into this everlasting home, on the day your Savior returns to judge the living and the dead.

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


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