Saturday, January 21, 2017

Objective & Subjective Justification -- Pastors Todd Wilken & Rolf Preus

Have you heard the terms "objective justification" and "subjective justification"? Have you had questions about them? Have you been confounded by them?

Be of good cheer!

Pastor Todd Wilken interviews Pastor Rolf Preus on Issues, Etc., on "Objective & Subjective Justification." Listen to this clarifying and faith-strengthening broadcast on demand.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Who should judge a talent competition, or your whole life?

Sidney Herald religion column published January 15, 2017
Television has many talent competitions. Big hit shows include Pop Idol, American Idol, Britain's Got Talent, America's Got Talent, The Voice, and The X Factor.

Sometimes the choice of judges is controversial. Highly accomplished vocal performer, Sir Tom Jones, took a swipe at The X Factor's Simon Cowell, saying he is not qualified to judge because he has never sung live on stage himself. Jones refused to become a judge until he knew his fellow judges were musicians too. He said, “I watched other talent shows [thinking] how can this person … give singers advice if they've never gone through it themselves?”

Jones is on to something. To judge, it helps to have “walked a mile in their shoes.”

This is more important in spiritual judgment. When Jesus said, “Judge not,” He went on to say, “That you be not judged, for with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Matthew 7:1b-2) He also said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with right judgment.”  (John 7:24)

So, Jesus is not against all judgment. He is against unfair, unqualified judgment. Jesus himself will judge. Based on many passages in Scripture, the Apostles Creed says, “He will come to judge the living and the dead.”

Can we say to Jesus, “Who are you to judge me” or “You don’t know what I am going through?” Has Jesus walked a mile in our shoes?

Before Jesus is exalted as judge, first He voluntarily humiliated himself to be tempted and suffer completely as we do. While Jesus gave the Law through Moses, He also was “born of a woman, born under the Law, to redeem those who were under the Law.” (Galatians 4:4-5) He “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin,” and thereby He can "sympathize with our weaknesses."  (Hebrews 4:15)  He is not what Jones objects to, a judge of singers who himself never sang.

Jesus is exalted to the place of judge because He is humble. “He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.” (Philippians 2:8-10)  “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power.” (Revelation 5:12)

Jesus has done everything He judges. He will judge by a standard of fair notice in the Word that He preached. “The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.” (John 12:48) By his sufferings, He earned for us the way out of judgment, which is the forgiveness of sins. “He who hears my word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Jesus Plays No Harp. He Swings a Hammer.

Sidney Herald religion column published December 31, 2016
The website TV Tropes has an article about a figure often used in television, called “Fluffy Cloud Heaven.”  In this figure, heaven is heavenly blue. It is in the clouds. The clouds are solid enough to walk on. When we die, we get our wings, a white robe, and a halo.  We become angels, float in clouds, and play harps. Heaven seems like a place for dawdling.

In reality, we know of only one person who has ascended into heaven. That person is Jesus, Is Jesus just floating on clouds and playing a harp?

The apostles saw Jesus ascend into heaven. “While they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.’” (Acts 1:9-11)

What is Jesus doing in heaven? He said, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:2-3)

On earth, Jesus was not a slacker. He was a carpenter. He worked. He built houses. In his ascension, He is not loafing around in Fluffy Cloud Heaven. He is building mansions. He is not playing a harp. He is swinging a hammer.

God is industrious. During his earthly ministry, Jesus said, “My Father is still working, and I am working also.” (John 5:17)  Fluffy Cloud Heaven assumes we rise to the heavens that exist now, but the Apostle John said, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.” (Revelation 21:1) God says, “I will create a new heaven and a new earth.” (Isaiah 65:17)

Christ is working, building a new heaven and mansions in his Father’s house. Christ’s ascension teaches us to think often of heaven, and look forward with joy to our heavenly home. The Apostle Paul says, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossian 2:1-2)

Paul said, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” (Philippians 3:20-21)

Repent, believe the Gospel, and look forward with joy to your ascension into the real, new heaven.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Lutheran Sermons Online

Alphabetically by last name
Version 1.06
Updated 8-30-17

Pastor Randy Asburry

Pater Larry Beane

Pastor Mark C. Bestul

Pastor Ed Blonski

Pastor Phil Booe

Pastor Scott Bruzek
Pastor David Buchs
Rev. Dr. Arthur Just
Rev. Dr. John Kleinig
Pastor Marcus Nelson

Pastor Matthew Dent

Pastor Martin W. Diers

Pastor Donn Dobberstein

Pastor Chad Eckels
Pastor Tich Luu
Pastor Matthew Schilling

Evangelical Lutheran Synod Page of Links to Sermons and Services

Pastor Brian Flamme
Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller

Pastor James A. Frey

Pastor Ted Giese

Pastor Lloyd Harter
Pastor Greg Hermanson
Pastor Ed Ungemach

Pastor Garry V. Heintz

Pastor Charles Henrickson

Pastor Philip Hoppe

Pastor Jonathan Huehn

Pastor Roger W. Huffman

Pastor Christopher Hull

Pastor Jarrod Hylden

LCMS Sermons

Pastor Jordan McKinley

Pastor Gaven Mize

Pastor Paul Monson

Pastor Johannes Nieminen

Pastor Carl Noble

Pastor Evan E. Parat

Pastor Raymond D Parent II

Pastor Don Patterson

Pastor David Petersen
Pastor Michael Frese

Pastor Eric Phillips

Pastor Christopher Porter

Pastor Rolf Preus

Christ for Us
Text and Audio.
Arranged by Biblical Text and Historic Lectionary

Pastor Matt Richard

PM Notes
Zion Lutheran (videos, on Facebook)

Pastor Chris Rosebrough

Pastor Jeff Samelson

Pastor Joshua Scheer

Pastor Daniel K. Schroeder

Pastor Jon Schroeder

Pastor Tony Sikora

Pastor Tapani Simojoki

Our Saviour Lutheran
Fareham, Hampshire, UK

Pastor Jason Swan

Pastor Benjamin Tomczak

Video - Youtube
Video - Facebook Page
Audio - Livestream of Divine Service (8/10:30am Sunday, Sept-May; 7pm, Wed, 9am, Sun, Memorial Day-Labor Day. When it's not service time, sermons are streamed from an archive dating back to 2013.)
Audio - Bethel Evangelical

Pastor James Uglum

Pastor David Jay Webber

Pastor Neil Wehmas

Pastor Mark Weis

Pastor Sam Wellumson

Pastor Ryan Wendt

Pastor Clayton Wilfer

Pastor Guillaume Williams

Pastor Paul L. Willweber

Pastor Ian Wolfe

Pastor Alan J. Wollenburg