Trinity 9 Sermon, 2017

Trinity 9 Sermon, 2017
Psalm 54 (Introit, Trinity 9)
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

Psalm 54, which is the Introit this day of the church year, the Ninth Sunday after Trinity, is a prayer of David, fleeing from Saul. He was hiding, then, among the Ziphites, and when they learned of it, they hunted David to earn favor with Saul.

David was surrounded by enemies.

He was in terrible danger.

So he cried to God:

“O God, save me by your name, and vindicate me by your might. O God, hear my prayer; give ear to the words of my mouth. For strangers have risen against me; ruthless men seek my life; they do not set God before themselves” (Psalm 54:1-3).

That’s the right sort of thing for Christians to ask when they’re surrounded by enemies.

But asking this does something to David.

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Trinity 8 Sermon, 2017

Trinity 8 Sermon, 2017
Matthew 7:15-23
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

Take my word for it, this will not be your favorite sermon.

And, that’s okay.

Because Jesus’ sermon, in today’s Gospel lesson, is no one’s favorite sermon—and it’s Scripture.

But before we get to that—I have two rhetorical questions for you.

They’re rhetorical questions—the answers are implied.  These should be softball questions—the answers should be easy.

Would you rather hear a sermon preached by Jesus or a false prophet? The answer is, of course, is Jesus.

That’s one. And this is the second:

Would you rather hear a sermon that says, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17) or a sermon suggesting that (A) Baptism isn’t necessary for salvation, and (B) Only God can forgive sins?

Be careful. Which would you rather hear?

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Trinity 7 Sermon, 2017

Trinity 7 Sermon, 2017
Mark 8:1-9
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

I’m really excited about Lutheran theology.

I don’t think that surprises anyone.

I’ve said in bible classes and sermons and conversations that we—Lutherans faithful to the historic, Evangelical Lutheran Church—actually have the Gospel.

The implication, there, is that other church bodies don’t.

Today’s Gospel lesson provides a good example of what I mean.

What is the point of the miraculous feeding of the four thousand?

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Trinity 6 Sermon, 2017

Trinity 6, 2017
Matthew 5:20-26
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

A good Sunday School question is “Are the Pharisees righteous?”

We’ve all been taught, and rightly, that they were not. They crucified our Lord. They murdered Him.

In one of His woes to the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus says, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So, you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:27-28).

In today’s Gospel lesson, Jesus teaches the Law perfectly; and we need Him to do that because we don’t get the Law.

We think we get it. We say we’d like to get it. But when it comes to getting the full-sternness of the Law, we Pharisees and hypocrites. We don’t get it, and we don’t want to.

Here’s what I mean. Are you a murderer?

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Trinity 4 Sermon, 2017

Trinity 4 Sermon, 2017
Luke 6:36-42
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

Are Christians hypocrites? By definition, we must say no. By definition, what’s a hypocrite? When a hypocrite “does” what he tells you “not to do,” how does a hypocrite respond? He defends himself, right?

He says, “Well, it was right for me to do it, and wrong for you. I know what I’m doing, and I know you’re a few steps behind. You would’ve hurt someone, but I’m under control.”

By definition, that’s a hypocrite. And, by definition, that’s not a Christian!

By definition, what’s a Christian?

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Trinity 3 Sermon, 2017

Trinity 3 Sermon, 2017
Luke 15:1-10
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

The parables of Luke chapter fifteen are some of the most memorable. The one-hundred lost sheep, the ten lost coins, and the two lost sons. The first two parables are part of today’s Gospel lesson, but Jesus tells these three parables for the same, very specific, reason:

“The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear [Jesus]. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, ‘This man receives sinners and eats with them’” (Lk. 15:1-2).

“So…” and it’s as if Jesus says, “So…in direct response to your grumbling about the Son of God receiving sinners…” “So, he told them this parable” (Lk. 15:2-3).

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