Wednesday, February 27, 2002

2nd Petition

February 27, 2002
The 2nd Petition
“Thy Kingdom Come”

INTRODUCTION:  The Kingdom of God.  God’s kingdom is a powerful and yet sometimes a misunderstood phrase. What goes through your mind, what are you thinking about when you mention the words “Thy kingdom come’?  What “kingdom” do we mean when we pray the second petition?

I.        In the 2nd Petition we pray that God would graciously grant us true faith and a godly life.

A.     Jesus, as He began His public ministry began with these words “The time has come, the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15) True faith and a godly life simply means that we repent of our sins and believe the good news of the gospel.  That we simply cling to the words and promises of Jesus.

B.     A godly life simply means that we remain rooted, grounded and built up in Christ.  St. Paul bears this out in Colossians 2:6 when he writes, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him…”

TRANSITION:  We pray that the Lord would grant us a godly life and true faith. We also pray that the faith would grow as the gospel moves on in our life

II.     When we pray “Thy Kingdom Come” we pray that God would extend His Kingdom of grace on earth.  In a word, we pray that the work of missions would prosper. In this season of Lent you and I as Christians have an excellent opportunity to witness of our faith and to present Jesus to a scared and dying and frightened world.

A.     Jesus prayed: “Ask the Lord of the harvest therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field” (Mathew 9:38) There are people in our world today who do not know Jesus. Jesus came into this world to save sinners. We share with others Jesus Christ who came to suffer and die on the cross to forgive sins and offer to the people of this earth salvation and life.

B.     As we pray this petition “Thy Kingdom Come” we are doing exactly what Paul prayed for two thousand years ago when He wrote in 2 Thessalonians 4 as he said: “Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you”. (v.1) When the gospel message is honored by all then it will spread and God’s Kingdom will be enlarged.

III.   When we pray “Thy Kingdom Come” we pray that He would hasten the coming of His Kingdom of Glory.  In short, we pray “Come Lord Jesus, come even today!”

A.     As we wait for Jesus’ return to this earth in power and glory we realize that even now the Kingdom belongs to Christ already. The kingdom is not something Jesus has to obtain in the future. It’s His already! Jesus says in  Luke, chapter twelve “Do not be afraid, little flock for Your Father has been pleased to give You the kingdom” (v.32)

B.     We have this promise from Jesus that he is coming and will come very soon.  The last verse of His Revelation to the Apostle John gives us these five sure words “He who testifies to these things says, Yes, I am coming soon” (v.20)

CONCLUSION:  What do we need to concern ourselves with when we consider the 2nd Petition?  When we pray “Thy Kingdom Come” all we need to say is this: “Amen, come Lord Jesus”

Wednesday, February 20, 2002

1st Petition

February 20, 2002
The 1st Petition

Hallowed Be Thy Name

INTRODUCTION:  “Hallowed Be thy Name” That’s how the first petition reads.  What does that phrase really mean? What are we asking for when we pray that God’s name would be kept holy?  In a nutshell we pray that God’s name would be hallowed among us. This happens when we keep from profaning God’s Word.

How is God’s Word Profaned?

A.     God’s Word is profaned when anyone teaches otherwise than what God’s Word teaches. There is but one plan of salvation, one doctrinal standard, one message for the ages. That message speaks of sin and grace; of law and gospel.  That message says that we are all sinners for there is none that does good and does not sin. The wages of sin, the bible reminds us, is death, for all have sinned. Yet the gospel tells us that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself not counting our sins against us.  That is why we can clearly and plainly say that in Jesus Christ all sin is forgiven period!

When we teach other then this clear message we profane the Word of God. We need to place a clear message before the world today as our former Synodical President Al Barry put it “keep the message straight and get the message out” We do not want to add nor subtract from what is clearly stated in God’s holy Word. 

B.     The faith is to be taught – it’s also to be caught.  We can profane the name of God when anyone lives otherwise than God’s Word clearly teaches.  Luther in his hymn reminds us “that man a godly life might live God did these Ten Commandments give” the Word of God gives us a clear directive. It teaches us what we are to do and what we are not to do and how we are to live. We want that Word of God to direct us so that our lives may reflect what God’s Word truly teaches.

TRANSITION: The Word of God is profaned when we teach and act contrary to it. How is God’s name hallowed?

II.     God’s Name is Hallowed

A.     God’s name is hallowed when the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity. God’s Word is true and pure in and of itself. That’s the beauty of God’s Word.  It needs nothing added to it. It speaks for itself. It is in and of itself clear, pure and bold. All the Lord asks of us is that we present it whole and undefiled. That’s what we pray for in this first petition. 

B.     God’s name is hallowed when we; that is you and I lead a holy life according to the Word of God.  “Savior, lead, I follow Thee” is how the phrase from the hymn reads. God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light to our path. We hallow God’s name when we are directed by the Word in our daily living.

Jesus our Lord and Savior perfectly lived His life according to God’s Word.  He lived a holy and a perfect life. He followed in the ways of the Law of the Lord. Then, He went to the cross and offered up His life as a ransom for us all. He exchanges His perfect life for your and my life of sin. In His suffering, death and resurrection He gives us salvation and life. It is His life and death, which has saved us. It is His Holy Spirit, which fills us to be the men, the women, the body and girls of faith.

CONCLUSION: “Hallowed be Thy Name”. May we use God’s Word correctly.  May the faith among us be taught as well as caught. May we hallow God’s name by honoring His Word in our reading, our study, our teaching and in our living.

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday
February 13, 2002
Lenten Series of the Lord's Prayer


Psalm 142


INTRODUCTION Today we begin a forty-day pilgrimage, which we call, Lent. With the Savior we will walk with Him as we observe His passion, suffering, torture and death.

Lent is a process. It is a six-week spiritual adventure where we become reflective and introspective. We will focus during the next six-week on two points; our need and the Savior’s solution. To help us in this process we will focus this year on the Lord’s Prayer.

Certainly we all need to pray. The Lord’s Prayer is a simple prayer – it was given to us by our Lord as a model prayer - as He has taught us so to pray. However this prayer is one of the most profound and serious prayers, as we are called to meditate on it daily. This evening we begin with the introduction: “Our Father Who art in heaven…”

To help us focus on this introduction let us consider for our meditation Psalm 142.  David was a complex individual. He knew great success. He was acquainted with failure. He was placed into the seat of power and encountered enemies; even those from his own family would try to wrestle it away from him.  He experienced every human emotion imagined.

The Psalms are windows to his soul. As prayers they direct our focus to God. As Scripture they are the answers to our prayers. Consider David the man of prayer – who invites us also to come to the Father.  In this Psalm we see David as he prays total and complete.

I.        Consider David the Distressed Man.  [Psalm 142:1-2]

A.     In his distress David gives his spoken request to God: “I cry to the Lord with my voice; to the Lord I make loud supplication” God would by these words tenderly invite us to believe that he is our true Father, and that we are His true children, so that we may with all boldness and confidence ask Him as dear children ask their dear Father.

B.     As David cries to the Father, he makes a specific request.
1.      There is a complaint on his lips. David says: “I pour out my complaint to Him” (v.2a)

2.      It appears to be a complaint about his life as he says: “I declare before Him my trouble”.  Do we take our troubles to the Lord? David encourages us to do so – to take every trouble to the Lord. 

Transition:   David was a distressed man. He was also a desperate man. Desperate times did not cause David to take desperate measures. He was a man of quiet resolve. He took it to the Lord in prayer.

II.     David was a Desperate Man.  [Psalm 142:3-4]

In his prayers he was forced to face his doubts and his fears.
A.     David was truly fearful.
1.      There were pressures within.  David felt the pressure: “When my spirit was overwhelmed within me. Then you knew my path” (v.3b) The Lord knew what troubles us internal as well as external.

2.      There were also troubles without. “They have secretly set a snare for me” (v.3b) People were lying in wait for him. There were enemies in David’s life. He needed his Lord to sustain him

B.     In his desperation David felt all alone. He felt he was friendless. He was treated with social as well as spiritual indifference.
1.      He found himself treated with social indifference. “I look on my right hand and see for there is no one who acknowledges me” He was abandoned by all of his friends.

2.      David also knew of spiritual indifference: “refuge has failed me. No one cares for my soul”

TRANSITION:  Truly David found in his plight a desperate situation. He turned to the father in the depths of his despair. As he opened himself to the Lord he was given discernment and discretion.

III.   David as he prayed was a Discerning Man [Psalm 142:5-6]

As he wrestled, pleaded and cried out to God he found two eternal truths
A.     He found a satisfying portion: “I cried out to You, O Lord: I said, You are my refuge” (v.5)

B.     He also found a secure protection: “Attend to my cry, for I am brought low. Deliver me from my persecutors for they are stronger than I” (v.6)

TRANSITION: In this season of Lent we need to pray.  In our prayers may we not only speak but also listen as the Lord extends to us His mercy and grace.

IV.  As David came to the Lord, he found himself a Delivered Man. [Psalm 142:7-8] He was brought into the prospect of freedom, fellowship, and fullness.

A.     He was directed to freedom – “Bring my soul out of prison” (v.7a) David cried. Our freedom comes at the cross where our Savior suffered and died.

B.     As he found this freedom he was brought into a new found fellowship of knowing and experiencing God. As we know of this hope and freedom we rejoice along with David “…that I may praise Your name” (v7b)

C.     This brought David into the fullness of having a loving relationship with God our heavenly Father. David concludes “The righteous shall surround me for You shall deal bountifully with me” (v.8)

CONCLUSION:  As we begin this spiritual pilgrimage called Lent may the Lord so direct us to come to Him in prayer.

Lord Jesus, hanging on the cross, and left alone by Your disciples, You called upon Your Father with a mighty cry as You gave up Your Spirit. Deliver us from the prison of affliction and be Yourself our inheritance in the land of the living where with the Father and the Holy Spirit You are blessed now and forever. Amen.  For All the Saints A Prayer book For and By the Church; The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau © 1995 Delhi, NY vol. Year 1 The Season After Pentecost p. 754

Sunday, February 10, 2002


February 10, 2002
“Hide & seek”
Matthew 17:1-9

INTRODUCTION At times it would be nice to be able to hide from everyone and everything, to crawl up in a corner and go unnoticed.  Life is a struggle. Life as a Christian is a struggle. Life as a Christian is a constant battle over the forces of sin, death and the devil.  Peter found life to be that way.  One time he was patted on the back for confessing Jesus to be the Christ (Matthew 16:16) and a short time later he was scolded for offering to defend Jesus from those who would try to put Him to death (Matthew 16:23) As disciples of Jesus we sometimes feel it would be best in dealing with life’s struggles and confusions, to say: “Let’s Hide and maybe It Will All Go Away!”

I.        The Desire To Hide
A.     Who would want to hide?
1.      In the Old Testament David prayed for escape from his struggles (Psalm 55:6)  “And I said, "Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.”
2.      Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration wanted to remain there.
3.      All of us at one time or another, feeling the pressures of life, think that it would be easier if we could be insulated in some way from all of it.
B.     Why would anyone want to hide?
1.      Peter had reasons for wanting to hide.
a.      Peter was possibly tired of traveling, of being hassled by crowds, of being challenged by Jewish leaders.
b.      Peter was confused as to what all the Lord’s teachings meant for him and the other disciples.
c.      Peter was afraid as to what might become of him and Jesus if they journeyed to Jerusalem.
2.      We have reasons for wanting to hide.
a.      We too are often weary of standing against the sinful flow of the world around us.
b.      We are frequently confused when life is difficult. How do divorce, unemployment, drugs, and forms of blatant sin creep into Christian’s lives?
c.      We are afraid that God will change His mind about us, afraid that our faith is not enough, afraid of life.

TRANSITION:  Peter thought he had found a safe haven there on the mountain. But hiding does not work. Hiding does not change or remove fears, frustrations, or struggles; it only heightens them. Even when we use religion as our hiding place; it does not work. God in His grace wants to equip us so that we will not need to hide but rather we can cope with and ultimately overcome our fears, frustrations, and struggles.

II.     The Power To Live Through Christ
A.     Because the power to live comes through Christ, hiding does not work; God intervenes with His grace.
1.      He intervened in Peter’s life.
a.      God intervened in Peter’s life when Jesus called him to be a disciple.
b.      The moment on the mountain was designed to strengthen and reaffirm the faith given to Peter.
c.      Peter himself identifies the event as a revelation of God’s majesty and glory. “we were eyewitnesses of His glory” (2 Peter 2:10)
2.      He intervenes in our life.
a.      God has intervened in our lives by working faith in us in order that we can know Jesus as our Lord and our Savior.
b.      We are given moments in our lives that allow us to see that God is there active in our lives, forgiving us, loving and strengthening us.
(i)         Absolution – the pastor’s words are as certain as if God spoke them Himself
(ii)       The Word- the Scriptures are still able to give comfort and strength
(iii)      The Lord’s Supper-the mean nourishes the struggling spirit
B.     Coming out of hiding is not easy but we are not without help
1.      Peter was being equipped to go to Jerusalem.
2.      We are being equipped to face the challenges of our daily lives.

CONCLUSION:  God in His grace gives us a glimpse of His glory. He transports us to the mountaintop so that we by grace may overcome in the everyday struggles on the plains below.