Based on: Luke 23:35-43
Today is Christ the King Sunday. “Christ the King” – just the words conjure up images out of the book of Revelation – a rider on a white horse, many crowns on his head as proof of his many victories, robes stained with the blood of fallen enemies, an iron scepter in his hand as the symbol of his authority. That is the king in all his glory and certainly a good picture for us to keep in mind.
One day everyone will see him as the victorious king, but as Christians we want to look at another picture of Christ the King. Christ the King on a white horse would be a terrifying sight for us as sinful human beings if it were not for Christ the King on the cross. We need to see him on the cross where the world makes fun of him and considers him anything but a king. Yet through the eyes of faith we see him as he truly is, a king through whom we have paradise. There on the cross the signs of his kingship are not a golden crown, fine clothes, and a scepter, but a crown of thorns, his own blood flowing down his body, and the cross upon which he paid for our sins. This is Christ our King. Now let’s consider what it means to have Christ as a our King and why it is a good thing to have Christ as our King.
Based on: Luke 17:11-19
Imagine seven football fields arranged end to end. It’s pretty close to half a mile. Then imagine that whole length turned up on end and having that whole distance of seven football fields consist of rock over your head and your only path to the surface has just been blocked by a cave in. You have no way out – no way to escape. That is what the thirty-three miners in Chile experienced on August 5th when a section of the copper mine they worked in collapsed. Very suddenly they were faced with the very high probability that they would die in that cave.
Think about this. There was nothing they could do to save themselves. They could not dig themselves out. Beyond the limited supply found in the cave, they could not provide themselves with food, water, or even air. If it were not for the work of people on the surface they would have no hope.
Based on: Luke 16:19-31
Which of them had the greatest wealth: the rich man or Lazarus? It is obvious that the rich man was enjoying his money. Lazarus, on the other hand, didn’t have money and valued the promises of God found in God’s Word. What about you? What do you value more: money or God’s Word? If you put them on a balance scale which would have the greater value. I think we would all want to say, “God’s Word” But would God’s Word win by a narrow margin or a large?
Based on: Luke 16:1-13
As a pastor, sometimes I hear about some of the concerns of other pastors. I have heard that there have been times that a member of the congregation will suggest to their pastor that he shouldn’t preach so much about money. I have heard of one case where a member actually told his pastor outright not to preach about money.
Based on: Luke 14:25-35
So, you want to follow Jesus? You want to be his disciple? Good! Do you know what that means? After all, if you are going to do something as life changing is following Jesus, becoming his disciple, it would be good to know what is involved. Sort of like buying a used car. You want to know everything you can about the car both good and bad, before you spend money on that car. The same with following Jesus. In fact, he wants you to know the big picture, both good and bad, before you make such a large commitment. What do you think? Shouldn’t you consider the cost of following Jesus?
Based on: Luke 14:1,7-14
It is the day of the wedding and you are a good friend of the groom. You go to the wedding. You get there early for the reception. You find a place to sit very close to the bride and groom. You are proud to be connected to this fine couple who just got married. You settle into your seat and get ready for what is sure to be a wonderful celebration. You see the groom come in the room and you wave and smile as he comes toward you. When he gets to where you are he says, “I was going to save that seat for someone else.” How embarrassing! Apparently you are not as important a friend as you thought you were.
Based on: Luke 13:22-30
Do you follow baseball? I heard the Twins are doing well. The Texas Rangers are also doing well. When we lived in Texas we used to watch the Rangers play. Three years in a row while we lived in Texas the Rangers made it to the playoffs, but they always played the Yankees first and, well, let’s just say that a few times they came close to winning a playoff game. But close doesn’t count, does it? To continue the baseball theme, do you know the poem, “Casey at the Bat”? Let me tell you about it and then I will tell you how it fits with these words of Jesus.
Based on: Luke 12:49-53
Why did I come to St. John’s? I know – God called me here, but did you think I would come and be nice to everyone? Did you think I would come and tell all of you to be nice to everyone else and not make others upset? If that’s what you thought, you are mistaken! I came to deliver God’s message to you. I came to do my best to be Christ’s representative among you. To show you the love of Christ. To deal with you as Christ would deal with you.
Based on: Luke 12:32-40
Dear Lord, why does the church struggle so much to carry out the work you gave it? “Do not be afraid, little flock.” But Lord, the church keeps growing smaller. “Do not be afraid, little flock.” But Lord, fewer and fewer people are motivated to serve . . . and money – there never seems to be enough, Lord. “Do not be afraid, little flock.”
Based on: Luke 10:25-37
Normally, when you come to church you expect to hear a message of comfort. You have had to endure the suffering and hardships that this world throws at you and you want to hear that God still loves you. Today as we look at the story of the Good Samaritan, we look at the person to whom Jesus told that story and why Jesus told that story. We realize that this story is not intended to comfort. These words tell us how we fail to love our neighbor. These words tell us that we cannot love our way to heaven – we cannot by loving our neighbor get ourselves into heaven. It is not our love for others that makes us look good to God, but God’s love for us.