How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?

Mark 1:21-28 (Hebrews 2:3)

A sermon for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany

This is the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany; it is also the Sunday before February 2nd, the Festival of Candlemas, which marks the presentation of Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:22-24). This is the Mass in which you start to have fewer candles because the light is coming back.

It is a good day for us to remember our Baptism and what it’s about. For those of us who come out of the great Protestant tradition there is a lot of confusion within our circles. That is to say we have a lot of misunderstandings. Some of it is simply a lack of knowledge.

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The Lord does it.

Mark 1:15

A sermon for the Third Sunday after Epiphany

In the beginning of the Gospel of Mark the theme is announced. Jesus says: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).

That’s the whole thing. What in the world does it mean? It says: “You have to repent. You have to believe.” You have to believe in the gospel, whatever that is. This text, Mark 1:15, becomes an important exercise in how to use the Bible and what we are doing in our worship service when we confess our sins.

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Gospel truth, Gospel freedom

A sermon for the Second Sunday after Epiphany

John 1:43-51

There was Phillip and Nathaniel, and the Lord said: “Follow me,” and they followed. It was like a military matter. It was not a matter for discussion; it was a command. The Lord spoke and it was done. It is like a military commander who tells recruits what to do, and that is the way it is.

More directly, it is like the first chapter in Genesis. The Lord spoke and it was done. That how creation takes place. The problem with this is that when we talk about the Word of God and how it is working as we in our culture look at this, we become confused.

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Every knee shall bow

Matthew 2:1-12

A sermon for Epiphany

We in the West celebrate Christmas from Christmas Day to Epiphany, and then we say the Twelve Days of Christmas are over. But in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, they celebrate Christmas on the sixth of January, yesterday, what we call Epiphany.

In the Western Church this means that we forget about Epiphany, and that is really too bad because it is a major festival. The word itself means “shining forth,” and it is celebrated at this time because the days are growing longer. The light is coming back. We’re celebrating the fact that we are no longer in darkness. You know the great place in Isaiah 9:2 that we use at Christmas: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” Over against the darkness, we celebrate the light.

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Salami grace vs cross grace

John 1:1-18

A sermon for the Sunday after Christmas

In this remarkable prologue, the first 18 verses of the Gospel of John, one of the key points is something we call “grace.” What is grace? It can mean many things. “Grace” is a women’s name. When we watch the diving competition in the Olympics, we are awed by the “graceful” dives. When we say someone is “gracious,” we mean they are kind and thoughtful.

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