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07-18-21

Pentecost 8 (Proper 11), July 18, 2021

A Righteous Shepherd-King

Text: Jeremiah 23:1–6

Other Lessons: Psalm 23; Ephesians 2:11–22; Mark 6:30–44

  • Jeremiah lived in an era not too unlike our own, since there is an immense amount of pressure to preach pleasing things in order to foster peace and goodwill toward all. However, the many lying prophets of Jeremiah’s day had almost completely driven God’s people away from him with their lying words of false comfort and false peace and false prosperity.
  • God speaks in first person. He makes clear in literal language that the “flock” is “my people.” 
  • Yahweh will undo and reverse their damage.
  • Perhaps one way to relate verse 4 to the age of the fulfillment is to relate it to pastors as undershepherds, serving the true Shepherd-King.

 1. You need a king.

 2. The world’s kind of king will mislead people and serve only himself.

 3. But God promised a different kind of king.

 4. God sent his Son to be our righteous Shepherd-King.

 5. Through this Shepherd-King, you receive true righteousness from God.

  • Flock of sheep daily pass - each sheep would wander off in its own direction until the shepherd came and gathered them together. 
  • Sinners are like that. Without a good shepherd-king, everyone does what is right in his own eyes, instead of what is right in God’s eyes. 
  • As Isaiah confessed for us, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way” (Is 53:6).
  • Ancient Israel can function as a visual aid, as a model of what happens without God’s kind of human king. 
  • In ancient Israel, the king was supposed to be a good shepherd who would gather his sheep and lead them in the ways of the Lord. 
  • Jeremiah states God’s own expectations for God’s kind of king: “Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place” (Jer 22:3).
  • But a bad shepherd-king will mislead the people and serve only himself. Jeremiah, as well as Ezekiel in Ezekiel 34, condemned the last shepherd-kings of Jerusalem in his day. 
  • They attended only to themselves. They were only self-serving. They built their own magnificent palace but did not care for the people by doing what was right before God. Their eyes and heart were oriented toward only their own covetous desires. Their practices consisted of shedding innocent blood and practicing violent oppression. 
  • And the worst thing was that they led the people away from the true God toward idols. They corrupted the people, and the people themselves became corrupt and guilty as well.
  • But God did not end his message there. Through Jeremiah, God announced a wonderful promise of a different future. In the future, God will regather the remnant of his flock out of the other lands and bring them back to the sheepfold. Not only that, but

The Days Are Coming When God Will “Raise Up for David a Righteous Branch, and a King Shall Rule and Act Wisely and Do God’s Judgment and Righteousness in the Land”

  • “Things are bad, but good is on its way.” The good that is to come is the Messiah. Jesus will come and reign as King. 
  • Hear the good news. God fulfills his promises of old. He began to restore his exiled people back to the land of Israel in 538 BC and then more in 457 BC. And in the fullness of time, six hundred years after Jeremiah’s promise, God brought his ancient promises to fulfillment. God sent his only-begotten Son to join the human race, to become Israel’s human King from the line of David. 
  • God gave you a righteous Shepherd-King. 
  • Enjoy by faith his rule now. Hear the Word faithfully preached and taught by his called undershepherd, your pastor. Receive the Lord’s Supper rightly administered by his called undershepherd. And look forward to the day of bodily resurrection when you will see your righteous Shepherd-King face-to-face. Amen.

07-18-21 Video

Worship materials for the weekend of July 18

https://stjohnsmarysville.360unite.com/news#

07-11-21 Video

https://www.facebook.com/jack.heino/videos/307238421082510

Worship materials for the weekend of July 11:

https://stjohnsmarysville.360unite.com/news

 

07-11-21

 

07-04-21 Video

Worship materials:

http://www.stjohnsmarysville.org/news

 

07-04-21

Pentecost 6 (Proper 9), July 4, 2021

God and a Rebellious People  Text: Ezekiel 2:1–5

As Rebels, Lord, Who Foolishly Have Wandered   LSB 612

As rebels, Lord, who foolishly have wandered far from Your love—unfed, unclean, unclothed—Dare we recall Your wealth so rashly squandered, dare hope to glean that bounty which we loathed?

Still we return, our contrite words rehearsing, speech, that within Your warm embrace soon dies; All of our guilt, our shame, our pain reversing as tears of joy and welcome fill Your eyes.

A feast of love for us You are preparing; We who were lost, You give an honored place! “Come, eat; come, drink, and be no more despairing—Here taste again the treasures of My grace.”  © 1992 Stephen P. Starke. Used by permission: CCLI, no. 692716.

  • The Gospel reading for this Sunday, Mark 6:1–13, makes this application of the Ezekiel reading clear. Jesus comes to his hometown of Nazareth to teach. They take offense at him, and Jesus marvels because of their unbelief, their unwillingness to hear God’s Word, their rebellion. What Ezekiel will experience in Israel’s unwillingness to hear is multiplied in spades in the rebellion against the Son of Man, Christ Jesus. 
  • On this political holiday, U.S. citizens are most prone to think of themselves as independent and voluntary actors in all facets of their lives. This OT reading, on the other hand, manifests a people and prophet both bound by and to God. Israel is bound to be rebellious against God. They can’t help act otherwise (3:7). And Ezekiel is bound to deliver the Lord God’s Word to rebellious Israel, lest he die (3:4, 11, 18). The Lord God is in control, although we consider ourselves to be independent, voluntary actors.
  • And we have seen the rebels…and they are us! 
  • We gentiles become rebellious Israel through the cross of Jesus and are raised as part of the new Israel through the resurrection of Jesus. In hearing and believing in this Word of God in baptism, hard-hearted gentiles hear Ezekiel’s word, and their hearts are turned from stone to living hearts. Thus, the preacher must preach so that rebel gentiles return to the word in their baptism and become once again the new Israel of God. 
  • The proclamation of the word didn’t stop for Ezekiel with prophesying it. He was commanded by the Lord God to literally eat the scroll with God’s Word upon it (2:8–3:3). So Jesus also drank the cup (Mk 10:38) of lamentation and moaning and woe (Ez 2:10) that comes from the rebellion of Israel. And in exchange all of Israel receives a cup of blessing and the bread of life. The preacher can proclaim that the hearer likewise participates in the Word by inwardly digesting it in the supper of Christ’s body and blood. Ezekiel’s word of woe and life in Christ Jesus becomes part of the very being of the baptized. Then they receive Ezekiel’s mantle through Christ and proclaim, “Thus says the Lord God,” to the world, whether they hear or refuse to hear.

 V 1: 

  • “Son of man.” God’s characteristic way of addressing Ezekiel in his book; God never addresses him by his name. This stresses the distance between the almighty, eternal God and weak, mortal man. 
  • “Stand on your feet.” Get ready to do whatever God commands.

V 4: 

  • “impudent.” The Hebrew literally is “hard or severe of face.” – Baptized is Vinegar
  • “Stubborn.” The Hebrew literally is “hard of heart.” For the Hebrews, the heart was the place of emotions, will, and intellect. “Hard of heart” implies a stubborn refusal to believe the Word of God. 
  • “Lord God.” Literally, “Lord Yahweh.” Lord is a designation for the almighty ruler of the universe. Yahweh is the personal name of the covenant God, who is the God of salvation, but also a jealous God, who will not tolerate covenant unfaithfulness on the part of his chosen people.

 I. In his grace, mercy, and love, God speaks to a rebellious people.

A. God spoke to the rebellious Israelites (vv 3–4) in exile in Babylonia through the prophet Ezekiel.

B. God speaks to rebellious people of all times and places through his Word, Scripture.

C. Scripture—Law and Gospel—is presented and proclaimed throughout the world by the Christian Church, which is used by God as his instrument for the preaching and teaching of his Word and Sacraments.

 II.    In his grace, mercy, and love, God changes a rebellious people.

A. God changed many of the rebellious Israelites in exile in Babylonia through the Word proclaimed by Ezekiel and through his written Word as it existed at that time (36:22–36; 37:1–28).

B. God changes rebellious people of all times and places through his Word. He changed you and me.

b. Paul writes in Titus (2:11–14), “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”

As God dealt with the Israelites in exile in Babylonia, so he has dealt with us. God spoke to us through his Word and changed us from a rebellious people into his loving children who will live with him forever. We have everlasting life through faith in Christ. Let us, then, keep on living for the Lord, in thanks and praise to him! Amen.

06-27-21

Pentecost 5, June 27, 2021

Wait Quietly - Great Is God’s Faithfulness 

Text: Lamentations 3:22–33

  • We are now well into the “growth” time of the Church Year. As weight lifters often say, “No pain, no gain,” we, too, know even more that God brings great good through the trials that befall us. 
  • “therefore I will hope.” The Hebrew imperfect verb conveys both present and future assurance: because God’s grace and mercy are shown anew every morning, I have hope now and in the future I will continue to hope. 
  • God’s undying love brings reassurance to his people even though they were shattered by a series of national disasters.
  • God will always be true to who and what he is.
  • We humans often discourage each other by saying, “If you had more faith, this unfortunate thing wouldn’t have happened to you!” In Scripture, the primary focus is not on our faith but upon God’s faithfulness. Like love, faith starts with God’s commitment to us. He works faith.
  • We must steer clear of the humanistic assumption that God is a projection of our image (although in our moments of extreme moods we do try to “create” him like us). Instead, God comes first, and we are the result of his creative hand. 
  • Waiting is emphasized today. That for which one waits is God’s timing, not ours, and for God’s answer. One doesn’t tell God what is best. One waits quietly, which means, in part, no complaining.
  • People talk about suffering often, for it is a prominent part of life. In talking about suffering, HOPEFULLY we as Christians always tell of how God uses it for our good.
  • People don’t talk very much of how to endure suffering. As God’s people, when we are brought into suffering - what is our attitude and understanding? How do we respond to the suffering and to God. Very simply,
  • In Trial, We Wait Quietly for the Good God Has for Us.
  • Between 1931 and 1935, the Hoover Dam was constructed. When you walk along the sidewalk on the top of the dam, you can see the dam’s face on one side and Lake Mead on the other. Here, you are at the nexus of great power and productivity.
  • Amazingly, such power and productivity arose from a time of crisis in America: the years of the Great Depression. During the depression, the unemployed traveled across America to find work building this dam. Southern Nevada became home to workers from forty-seven states, and out of this national suffering came what was to be known for a decade as the tallest dam and the largest hydroelectric plant in the world.
  • A time of great suffering became a time of revelation. In the midst of suffering, people saw great power and great work.
  • Our text this morning offers Christians a glimpse of God’s great power and work in the midst of suffering. Israel has been exiled to Babylon, her city Jerusalem laid siege, her walls torn down, her temple destroyed. Out of this suffering comes a voice of lament, the Book of Lamentations. 
  • And in the center of this book is a revelation of the amazing faithfulness of God. From the cry of God’s people in the midst of suffering and judgment comes a word of faith that remains firm for future generations.

I. God speaks three declarations to us as we wait quietly.

       A.   God’s nature is loving-kindness, and he is always true to his nature.

       B.   God’s compassions, though they never stop, seem as though they come anew every morning.

       C.   God is the portion, the life, and the meaning for my existence, that which makes me valuable in his eyes.

 II.    As we wait quietly, Jeremiah encourages us with three things that are good.

       A.   God is good to the waiting ones—ones who belong to him but wait on his coming to them.

       B.   Good it is that one waits and waits in quietness.

            1.   It is in accord with the attitude of humility that is appropriate for one who belongs to God through his mercy and grace.

            2.   The very thing for which one waits is salvation, whether it be for rescue in this life or for the final resurrection into heaven.

       C.   Good it is that one learns very early in life that waiting quietly is good.

            1.   One is rather pliable in one’s youth.

            2.   One learns lessons that stay with one.

 III.   The text suggest three exhortations—which come only to those who belong to God—as to how to live out the faith God has given us as we wait quietly.

       A.   Since the reason for waiting in quietness is that God brings the suffering, let us wait as God brings health and healing in his way and in his time.

       B.   Let us silence our mouths as a way of waiting in quietness.

            1.   Illustrated here by filling the mouth with dust from the ground as one bows so low to the ground that dust comes into the mouth.

            2.   The bowing is an indication that there is stark contrast between the sinner and the Sinless One.

       C.   As we wait quietly in suffering, let us identify ourselves with the coming Messiah (coming from Jeremiah’s perspective of living six hundred years before Jesus).

            1.   Christ Jesus would give his cheek to those who struck him.

            2.   Christ would bear the reproaches we deserved.

            3.   Thus to suffer as Christians reminds us that we have the salvation Christ won by his sufferings.

 IV.   God gives us three promises as we wait quietly.

       A.   God promises that the infliction of suffering and pain will not go on forever—it is only for a time, a time that we need.

       B.   God promises that he will always act according to his steadfast love and give out compassion upon compassion.

       C.   God promises to remember his nature, only meeting out agony on his people as something alien to him.

            1.   God’s nature is to act kindly in forgiveness.

            2.   Though Jeremiah only knew of the promise, we know that God’s alien task was dispensed when the Father showered his wrath on his Son, all for us.

  • Waiting is hard, and it is even harder to do so quietly. Yet, blessed with the perspective of the New Testament, we see how God has so beautifully given us what we’ve all waited for—Jesus, and the salvation he earned for us all on the cross. 
  • On the floor of the Hoover Dam there is what is called a celestial map. This map commemorates the day that President Roosevelt dedicated the dam. Rather than giving a date, however, it gives the configuration of the stars on that day. The designers of the dam thought their project was so great and so daring that they needed to help future generations locate its occurrence in time. According to astronomers, the celestial map will enable people to date the dedication for the next fourteen thousand years.
  • This morning, God has given us the promise of his faithfulness. It can be read by the faithful, not by looking at the stars but by looking at a cross
  • There, outside the city of Jerusalem, God the Father condemned his only Son to death that he might bear for us the sins of the entire world. Now, risen from the dead,  Jesus Christ proclaims God’s steadfast love to you and to all nations. 
  • God’s faithfulness to this promise is great. It is great in its power to forgive you your sins. It is great in its extent, lasting from generation to generation. And it guides your lives in hope until Christ returns. Then, he will bring about a new creation, where all those who believe in him will live in the wonder of his great faithfulness and love. Amen.

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