Theme: Who is a God like You? In this Psalm, we consider that there is no other God like the God of the Bible. All the other so-called gods of this world are nothing. Consider what God is like compared to human beings: God is Eternal; Mankind is mortal. God is the All powerful Creator; Mankind is the creature. God is just and angered by our sin against His commands; Mankind is sinful and justly deserving of God's punishment. God is merciful having compassion on sinners in Christ; Mankind is helpless and in dire need of a God's work, power, salvation, joy, mercy and love. Thanks be to God for all that He is. Certainly there is no other God but the LORD!
God invites us to come into His presence where He gives us rich blessings. The fact that we can come into the presence of the Creator of the Universe and our Redeemer is a blessing in itself. God revealed Himself to His Old Testament people through His presence in the tabernacle. The LORD blessed His people through His presence among them. The sacrifices which were carried out at the temple pointed to the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus would make for the sins of all people. The LORD still blesses His people today through His presence among us in His "temple," through His Word and Sacraments. These blessings are immeasurable, and cannot be replaced by anything this world has to offer. The "treasures" of this life fade, but the blessings given by God last for eternity. We are also blessed through the fellowship we share with other believers. We encourage, support, admonish, and instruct one another when needed. Jesus is the LIFE, our source of LIFE and the One who brings us LIFE through His perfect life and sacrificial death in our place. It is here in the LORD's house where these blessings become our own through His Word and Sacrament. How beloved is God's House!
Theme: What is Christian Education?
In this Psalm, we have an Old Testament Mission Psalm. Yes, a Mission Psalm in the Old Testament. Mission work was not something that was only developed in the New Testament era, as many people believe. God has always, since the Fall into sin, desired the salvation of all people. This Psalm is a prayer that the LORD would bless us. This is not a selfish prayer, but that through His blessing in our lives, others would come to know the only true God. We shouldn't hold the false view that God won’t condemn someone who has never heard in Him, because He will, He must! Similarly we shouldn't think "I don’t have to do mission work because I do_________". Mission work is our goal our purpose, both corporately and individually! God has called us to life and salvation. He has also called us to disciple those around us through baptizing and teaching God's Word of truth. This was not just the work of the New Testament Church, but the church of all time! It is also our work today. We are ambassadors for Christ. Proclaiming the salvation that can be found in Christ alone.
Sermon from Psalm 78:1-8 by Pastor Nathanael Mayhew.
Theme: What is Christian Education?
In this Psalm, Asaph speaks about the importance of Christian Education. Christian Education is founded upon the Word of God. The truths of God's Word are foolishness to the world, and hidden to it. This education which is based upon the Word of God begins in the home. While the church is called to aid in Christian Education, it really begins in the home, with parents instructing their children and bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Christian Education points people to the works of God, to the Savior that He has sent to deliver to sinners from sin. Such an education is vital and has eternal results. We can teach our children Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, and give them every opportunity in sports and extra curricular activities, but if we don't instruct them in the truth of God's Word and salvation, we have not given our children what is most important. Our only hope is found in God and in Jesus as our Savior.
Sermon from Luke 13:1-9 by Pastor Nathanael Mayhew.
Theme: The LORD Earnestly Desires our Salvation.
The season of Lent is not about us. It is about what God has given up for us in Christ! In this event in the ministry of Jesus we are reminded that the Lord proclaims His Law to show us our sin. Death in every form is God's call to Me to repent. Yes, MY sin is deserving of death! Through His Gospel God moves us to repent of our sin, which is more than just sorrow over sin, but trust in God's forgiveness in Christ. Jesus also tells a parable which shows God's love and that He has done everything needed to save us. God expects to find us bearing fruit for Him. If we are not bearing fruit, we are cut down. While we are sinners, Jesus intercedes for us as our Savior through His work on the cross. Yes God desires our salvation and He has accomplished it through Jesus as He leads us to a knowledge of our sin and to the knowledge of our Savior.
Sermon from Psalm 100 by Pastor Nathanael Mayhew.
Theme: The LORD gives His Church unending joy!
Lutheran worship services are often seen as dull and somber. While the gravity of the message proclaimed is somber because of our sin, our worship is never without joy because of God's salvation in Christ. Through the Bible, God has revealed Himself to us as our Creator and Preserver. This knowledge leads us to Shout, Serve, and Come. All of these verbs are a joyful response to our Creator. The knowledge of who God is and what He has done is intended to motivate both believers and unbelievers to joyfully serve the LORD. But the LORD has done more. He is good and merciful. In His mercy He has redeemed sinners to Himself through Christ. Our debt of sin has been paid, and we have been reconciled to God. Our natural response to such a wonderful blessing is to give the LORD thanks and praise for His love in Jesus. Yes, Lutheran worship can be somber because it clearly announces mankind's sin. But it is also full of joy through the knowledge of our Savior's work of salvation for us!
Sermon from Revelation 7:9-17 by Pastor Nathanael Mayhew.
Theme: The Lamb becomes our Shepherd.
The picture of Jesus as our Good Shepherd also pictures what we are like. The picture language of chapter 7 in Revelation builds on what we have already seen in Revelation. The Great White host numbers 144,000 which builds on the number 12, the number of the church in Revelation. It is not a literal number but represents the Church of Christ. The Great white host is pictured as innumerable, standing before the throne, clothed in white robes and with palm branches in their hands. They cry out with a loud voice and come out of the tribulation. This pictures believers, as Paul says are those who believe in Jesus, who share the FAITH of Abraham, not his physical descendants. The Lamb cleanses the saints through the shedding of His blood. The Lamb feeds and tends His people for eternity. The Shepherd cares for His people, giving them freedom from sin and its effects (v.16). Hunger, thirst, pain and sorrow are removed. The presence of God is the believer’s joy and comfort (v.17).
Sermon from Revelation 5:1-14 by Pastor Nathanael Mayhew.
Theme: The Risen Savior Turns our Sorrow into Joy.
Just as the Lord appeared to the women and told them not to weep, so He also had these words of comfort recorded for our joy in His resurrection. There is a great deal of picture language in Revelation. Jesus is described as God who sits on the throne. Jesus is pictured as a Lamb and the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Who was slain but is now alive. He had the marks of having been put to death. Those marks remind us of the cost of our salvation, because our sins deserved death. Jesus alone is worthy to receive the glory and our worship because of His death and resurrection. The Scroll is held by God and written on both sides (representing knowledge of both the past and the future) and sealed with seven seals. Only God knows the future and holds it in His hand, and this gives us great joy. The 24 elders represent the Church in both the Old (12) and New (12) Testament times. The entire Church proclaims with joy the Risen Savior. Jesus is worthy to receive our praise because He humbled Himself to be our Savior, but having won the victory, takes up His rightful place as God again. Jesus calls us as He did the first disciples to proclaim Him as the only Savior and our Risen Lord.
Sermon from Philippians 3:17-4:1 by Pastor Nathanael Mayhew.
Theme: The Struggle of Living in Two Kingdoms
The current presidential race has dealt heavily with the topic of citizenship. Who should be given citizenship and who should not. In our world United States citizenship is greatly desired by many throughout the world. Paul reminds us that because of the work of Jesus on the cross we have been given an even better citizenship in heaven. This is a wonderful privilege through our Savior knowing that, on the last day, our sinful bodies will be raised and perfected, or glorified, by the power of our Savior. Paul also warns about the dangers of the world around us that distract us from what is ours in Christ. There are many enemies to the work of Jesus which seek to lead us away from Christ. What is your mind set on? What do you fill your mind with by what you read, watch or do? Don't lose sight of the big picture and what Christ has won for you. Don't settle for temporary satisfaction in earthly pursuits and desires which will quickly fade away and be lost. What Christ has done and accomplished for sinners cannot be equaled or replaced. Rejoice and appreciate the heavenly citizenship that is yours in Christ!
Sermon from Psalm 19:1-14 by Pastor Nathanael Mayhew.
Theme: The Glory of God is Revealed!
God has clearly revealed His presence to human beings. Just as a building reveals the handiwork of a builder, so the creation reveals the handiwork of God. The Creation did not - could not - have come into existence by chance, any more than your car. It was designed and created by God. This is a truth that everyone in the world can see and understand. Only a fool would reject this truth (Psalm 14:1). But this knowledge of God found in nature is limited and cannot reveal WHO the true God is. For this reason the LORD has also revealed Himself to us in His perfect Word. He reveals that we are accountable to Him and that He will judge us. He also reveals that He has provided a solution to our sin in Jesus Christ. Only in the Word of God can we come to know the mercy, love and grace that God has shown rebellious mankind through a Redeemer. God's power is revealed in Creation, but His grace can only be known through His revealed Word in the Bible.