Based on: Jonah 3:3 – 4:4
Today is the day to celebrate freedom, right? It’s the fourth of July. Today the whole country celebrates the freedoms freedom from a foreign government, freedom to tax ourselves and decide how that money is used, freedom to worship God in our own way, freedom to pursue a better life, and the list goes on..
Based On: Isaiah 53:4-6
Today we see our Savior on the cross, but to understand better what is happening on the cross let’s start in the Garden of Eden. There in the garden, God told Adam not to eat from a certain tree in the middle of the garden. “You may eat from any other tree but if you eat from this tree you will die.” Even though Adam and Eve knew God’s command they ate the fruit from that one tree. And what was the result? Death. The sprirtual death was immediate – their relationship with God was destroyed. Eventually their bodies would also die.
Based On: Isaiah 61:1-3, 10-11
I was poor. I was completely and utterly destitute. I had nothing – not even hope. You couldn’t tell by looking at me but it was true – I was poor. I was longing for some good news – just a little bit of hope. You were poor too. You were in exactly the same condition I was – poor and destitute.
God told me, “You must love me perfectly. Every single moment of every single day I should be the most important thing in your life. You must serve me in everything you do. This is what you must do to be holy – and you must be holy because I am holy. Anything less will be justly punished.” He tells you that too. I knew I had failed already. The burden of this command made my knees buckle and back give out. It made my heart break. I had no hope, only hell because I couldn’t pay the price. I was poor. So were you.
Based on: Isaiah 55:1-5
Are you looking forward to the pot-luck? I know it is still early in the morning, but have you started thinking about the food that’s down in the kitchen? Maybe Lutherans enjoy food more than others, I don’t know, but sharing a meal together is a great way to come together as a group of believers. And a pot luck is a great way to do it. Just think, you have all that food in front of you and you can try a little of this and little of that. Then when you go back for seconds, you know exactly what you want. There is usually more than enough for everyone to have their fill.
Based on: Isaiah 55:10-11
When you were younger you probably played games and used your imagination to pretend you were something or someone else. You imagined that things to be true that weren’t necessarily true as you played house or pretended to be at war with your neighbor. I don’t know, maybe you still use your imagination, may be to pretend you won the lottery. Today we are going to use our imagination a little bit and pretend that we can evaluate God’s statement that his Word is effective. Of course we are only God’s creation, and we have no right to stand in judgment over what God says. But for a few moments we are going to pretend and we are going ask the question, "Does God’s Word work?"
Based on: Isaiah 65:17-25
Today is Saints Triumphant Sunday. What does that mean that we celebrate Saints Triumphant Sunday? Well, we remember those whom God kept faithful to the end of their lives. We praise God for bringing them into his eternal kingdom through the death of their bodies. We also look forward to the day when we will no longer suffer because of sin in this world. We will no longer be worn down by Satan’s temptations, and no longer frustrated by our own sinful bodies preventing us from serving their Lord the way we want to. Those who have died in the faith are now in perfect bliss with their Savior – in that place in heaven Christ promised he would make for each of us when he ascended into heaven.
Based On: Isaiah 6:1-8
King Uzziah was one of the “better” kings of Judah between the time of King David and the exile into Babylon. He was faithful to the Lord and the Lord blessed him with military and economic success. Instead of giving glory to God for these things, King Uzziah became proud. He decided to take on a responsibility that God did not give to him. He took incense into the temple to burn it – a duty God had given to the priests.
Based On: Isaiah 53:5
This is the day Christ died. As we hear the Scripture lessons being read we can almost see the body of Christ – his back torn by the scourge, blood dripping from his thorn pierced head. The nails in his hands and feet may be too gory to visualize, but there he hung on the cross to die. Not simply the death you and I will go through, but a separation from God – he suffered hell itself.
Why did Christ die? Why did he suffer hell? He didn’t break any laws. He never sinned against any human being, but loved each and every one of us. He never even sinned against God, but obeyed him perfectly. Why did God punish him?