Weekly Sermon

 

 

PENTECOST 18, ORDINARY 22, OCTOBER 4, 2020

 

MAY THE WORDS OF MY MOUTH, AND THE MEDITATION THAT IS CONTAINED WITHIN EACH AND EVERY HEART, BE PLEASING AND ACCEPTABLE TO THEE O LORD, OUR STRENGTH AND OUR REDEEMER.

GRACE MERCY AND PEACE BE UNTO YOU FROM GOD OUR HEAVENLY FATHER AND FROM OUR LORD AND SAVIOR, CHRIST JESUS, AMEN!

SO IT IS APPROPRIATE THAT WE COMMENCE MY HOMILY WITH ANOTHER PRAYER.

  1. LET US PRAY: GOD HEAVENLY FATHER, YOU HAVE GIVEN THIS COMMUNITY BLESSINGS THAT WOULD ASTOUND THE FOUNDERS OF THIS COMMUNITY. YOU HAVE ALSO BLESSED THIS COMMUNITY WITH CHURCHES, MANY OF WHICH HAVE FAR TOO MANY EMPTY SEATS. OPEN OUR HEARTS AND OUR MINDS TO FULLY FOLLOW THE HOLY SPIRIT AND DO THE WORK OF YOUR CHUCH HERE ON THIS EARTH. TO APPROACH THOSE WHO DO NOT ATTEND CHURCH REGULARLY, FOR OUR PASTORS AND FOR OUR MAYOR, COUNCILPERSONS, AND JUDGES, GIVE THEM WISDOM, UNDERSTANDING AND COMPASSIONATE HEARTS. COMFORT THE CHURCH FAMILY AND THE PERSONAL FAMILY AND FRIENDS. TEACH US ALL TO NUMBER OUR DAYS. AMEN!

JUST WHAT AND WHO IS OUR GOSPEL LESSON ABOUT? WHO ARE THE TENANTS? I THINK WE ALL KNOW WHO THE MASTER IS AND WE KNOW THAT THE EARLIER SERVANTS ARE THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETS AND YES EVEN JOHN THE BAPTIST WHOSE WARNINGS AND ADMONITIONS COST HIM HIS HEAD. MANY WERE REJECTED, MANY WERE KILLED AND SOME STONED. SO WE KNOW WHO THEY ARE, BUT WHO ARE THE TENANTS? CLEARLY ISRAEL OR JUDAH AT THE TIME OF CHRIST WERE THE TENANTS, BUT WHO ARE THE TENANTS TODAY? SO IF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH WERE THE TENANTS 2000 YEARS AGO, WE SHOULD UNDERSTAND THAT WE ARE THE TENANTS TODAY. ALTHOUGH THIS PERICOPE WAS WRITTEN 2000 YEARS AGO, IT IS THE WORD OF GOD AND THEREFORE IT IS TIMELESS AND IS JUST AS APPLICABLE TODAY AS IT WAS 2000 YEARS AGO.

SOME OF YOU MIGHT SAY WELL WE HAVE NOT STONED ANYONE, ALTHOUGH WE CAN SEE ON THE NEWS THAT MANY OF OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS AND OTHERS HAVE GOTTEN THEMSELVES STONED, NOT WITH ROCKS BUT WITH DRUGS AND ALCOHOL! WE HAVE NOT KILLED ANYONE, OR HAVE WE? ARE WE AT FAULT FOR WHAT IS HAPPENING IN PORTLAND? CONSIDER THIS MY FRIENDS, CONSIDER ZION AS THE VINEYARD, BECAUSE IN MANY ASPECTS, MANY OF OUR CHURCHES HERE TODAY ARE JUST THAT. THEY ARE THE VINEYARDS OF OUR LORD. WHAT HAVE WE DONE TO GIVE TO OUR MASTER, OUR GOD, HIS RENT? I HEAR A LOT ABOUT OTHERS NOT PAYING THE RENT, YET WHAT ABOUT OUR GOD? HE HAS PROVIDED AND KEEPS ON PROVIDING, YET WE, YES WE, KEEP FAILING TO PAY OUR RENT.

HAVE WE INCREASED THE GIFTS GIVEN US? OR ARE WE JUST SITTING HERE WAITING FOR EVERYTHING TO BE HANDED TO US? PERHAPS WE NEED A GOOD CREDIT CHECK DONE ON OURSELVES? YEARS AGO WHEN THIS CONGREGATION HAD THE FINANCIAL WOES OF A MORTGAGE, IT WAS GROWING! WHEN IT LOOKED OUTWARD INTO THE MISSION FIELD IT WAS GROWING. AS WE HAVE NOW BEGUN OUR 171ST YEAR, WE SHOULD BE OVERJOYED WITH THANKS TO GOD FOR GRANTING THIS CONGREGATION SUCH A LONG LIFE. BUT THE WORK IS NOT DONE. THERE IS NO TIME FOR REST AT THIS MOMENT. WE NEED TO GET ENERGIZED FOR OUR LORD AND WE NEED TO TELL EVERYONE OF THE WONDERFUL THINGS HE HAS DONE FOR US. NOTICE THOUGH WHAT WE SEE IN THE CONDEMNATION OF THE PEOPLE OF JUDAH. THE MASTER WILL FIND A NEW TENANT.

IT IS TIME FOR US TO FORGE A NEW TEAM, ONE THAT WILL BEAR FRUIT, ONE THAT WILL NOT ONLY MAINTAIN THE VINEYARD AND WILL PAY THE RENT ON TIME, BUT WILL GROW THE VINEYARD. WE HAVE ALLOWED FAR TOO MANY DISTRACTIONS AND ARE NO LONGER FOCUSED ON THE MISSION OR THE JOB AT HAND. WE MUST PAY ATTENTION TO OUR MISSION AND OUR GOALS, THIS IS FROM OUR CONSTITUTION:

THE PURPOSE OF THIS CONGREGATION SHALL BE TO GIVE HONOR AND GLORY TO THE TRIUNE GOD. TO PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST, TO FOSTER CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP AND LOVE, AND TO NURTURE THE FAITH OF ITS MEMBERS BY PROCLAIMING THE WORD OF GOD, ADMINISTERING THE SACRAMENTS, AND BY RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION ACCORDING TO THE CONFESSIONAL STANDARDS OF THE EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH.

  1. THAT MISSION STATEMENT WAS PREPARED EVERYONE KNEW, OR SHOULD HAVE KNOWN WHAT STRENGTHS WE HAD, WHAT WEAKNESSES HAD TO BE OVERCOME AND MORE IMPORTANTLY THAT THIS IS NOT AND WAS NOT ACCOMPLISHED BY US ALONE. LOOKING AROUND IN THIS SANCTUARY IT SEEMS WE HAVE FORGOTTEN FROM WHERE OUR STRENGTH COMES.

FOR THAT REASON JESUS GIVES A BRIEF EXHORTATION ABOUT THE CHARACTERISTICS THAT MARK THOSE ON HIS TEAM. IF WE FOCUSE ONLY ON PRESERVATION, WE HAVE LOST SIGHT OF SERVICE. THINK ABOUT A BASEBALL, OR FOOTBALL OR BASKETBALL TEAM, OR OF A MILITARY UNIT, FIRST IT IS NOT JUST A COLLECTION OF INDIVIDUALS, BUT IT IS COMPOSED OF INDIVIDUALS WHO RECOGNIZE THAT THEY MUST BE CONFIDENT IN THEIR GAME PLAN, CONFIDENT IN EACH OTHER AND THEY MUST BE WILLING TO SERVE SELFLESSLY. JESUS HAS BUILT AND CONTINUES TO BUILD A TEAM THAT WILL CHANGE THE WORLD, IF WE ARE NOT WILLING TO DO OUR PART, HE WILL FIND ANOTHER TEAM OR ANOTHER SET OF PLAYERS. TRUST ME, THIS IS NOT ONE TEAM ANY OF US WANT TO BE CUT FROM.

SINCE WE ARE IN FOOTBALL SEASON AND MANY SEEM TO THINK WATCHING 18 HOURS OF FOOTBALL GAMES IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN CUTTING THE GRASS, CLEANING HOUSE OR COMING TO CHURCH, WE ALL NEED TO BE REMINDED THAT OUR GOD IS THE OWNER, THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE COACH AND JESUS IS OUR QUARTERBACK. IT IS TIME FOR US TO HIKE THE BALL AND MAKE SOME COMMITMENTS TO THE TEAM.

WILL WE SCORE ON EVERY PLAY OR EVEN WIN EVERY GAME? CERTAINLY NOT. TO BE A CHAMPION WE MUST UNDERSTAND THAT WE CONDITION OURSELVES. WE LEARN THE WORD OF GOD, THAT IS HIS PLAYBOOK. IF WE DO NOT KNOW THE PLAYBOOK, WE CANNOT PLAY. IF WE MISS A PASS OR DROP THE BALL, OUR QUARTERBACK DOES NOT QUIT, HE ENCOURAGES US TO DO BETTER BUT WE MUST STAY IN THE GAME. AS LONG AS WE ARE TRYING, HE FORGIVES US, BUT WHEN WE WANT TO QUIT, WE HAVE TURNED OUR BACK ON THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THEN WE WILL NO LONGER BE ON THE TEAM.

OUR LORD FORGIVES AND FORGIVES AND HE BELIEVES IN US. IT IS TIME FOR US TO BELIEVE IN HIM AND TRUST HIM FULLY, TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY. GOD GRANT IS TO BE SO.

NOW, MAY THE PEACE OF GOD THAT PASSES ALL HUMAN KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING, KEEP YOUR HEARTS AND YOUR MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS, AMEN.

 

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