God’s Different Logic

Luke 17:11-18; Ruth 1:15-18

A sermon for the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

We heard the Gospel text about the ten lepers, and you may have thought it was Thanksgiving. This text is often assigned for Thanksgiving. Why the ten lepers now? We are marching through Luke. But the Lectionary Committee had no trouble leaving out the parable of the Prodigal Son because they put it elsewhere. Why the ten lepers now?

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On Him we have set our hope that He will deliver us again

Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4

A sermon for the Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

The great British poet John Milton begins Paradise Lost with the question: How do we explain the ways of God to man? How do we explain the terrible things, the tragedies, accidents, devastating floods, and illnesses? How can we justify the ways of God to man? That is the problem for anyone who seriously looks at life.

Habakkuk takes up this question. Habakkuk 1:4: “The law is slacked and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous, so justice goes forth perverted.” This problem is presented again and again in Scripture. Jeremiah 12:1-2: “Why do the wicked prosper? Why do all who are treacherous thrive?” Psalm 73:2-3: “I was envious of the arrogant, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For they have no pangs; their bodies are sound and sleek. They are not in trouble as other men are.” In Isaiah 6:11 the prophet asks: “How long, O Lord?”

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Godliness with contentment

A sermon for the Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

I Timothy 6:10 states: “The love of money is the root of all evils.” You’ve heard this this saying, quoted like a proverb, but also recognized that it’s a verse in the Bible. It’s rather sweeping. It doesn’t say: “The love of money is the root of a lot of evil.” Or: “The love of money is the root of many kinds of evil.” But rather: “The love of money is the root of all evils.”

Money is a frequent theme in the Bible. The parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) at first seems to be about riches. Amos 6:4-7 is about the rich, and Psalm 146 is about riches.

Throughout the Gospel of Luke there is not only an emphasis on the poor, women, lepers, and the weak, but also an emphasis on riches.

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One Mediator, Jesus Christ

1 Timothy 2:1-7

A sermon for the Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost

1 Timothy 2:1-7 is one of the tough texts. I will repeat two verses to show you why. On the one hand, 1 Timothy 2:4 states: “God our Savior who desires all to be saved.“ On the other hand, 1 Timothy 2:5 states there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

There are other places in the New Testament that say all are saved. In Romans 5:18: “Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all.” This is repeated in a different way in Romans 11:32: “For God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all.” 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

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God works in his mysterious ways

A Sermon for the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Luke 15:1-24

The leader of a very small denomination made the prediction that he would not die before the end of the world comes. But then he did die. The following Sunday the people wondered what the local pastor would say. He opened his Bible to Exodus 32: “God has changed his mind.” The people of Israel had turned to worship a golden calf and the Lord said: “I’m going to destroy them all and start over with you, Moses.” Moses begs him not to do this, and the Lord not only changes his mind, he repents! (Exodus 32:19)

In the following chapter it says: “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious and I will show mercy on whom I will show mercy” (Exodus 33:19). In a similar way in Isaiah 55:8-9, God says: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

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