Weekly sermons from Grace Lutheran Church, 195 Alvarado Avenue, Pittsburg, California, 94565
"Living in light of Christ’s eternal rule" - Romans 14:1-12 - (September 20, 2020 - 16th Sunday in Pentecost)
This morning, Paul’s words to us are strange. Strange, in that he joins two very different things together. In just a few short verses, Paul moves from talking about food to talking about the return of Christ.
Paul begins by talking about eating. Not eating as in partaking of the Lord’s Supper but eating as in consuming daily food. Some Christians in Rome are eating only vegetables and others are eating all things, without any discrimination. This matter is so small and so specific that scholars today have trouble understanding it. It seems there was an argument about whether or not Roman Christians should keep Jewish food laws. Could they eat meat that was not kosher? If in doubt, should they abstain from meat all together? So, on the one hand, Paul is writing about something small and temporal. He is delving into the details of our daily dishes.
"living in mercy and faithful obedience" - Romans 13:1-10 - (September 13, 2020 - 15th Sunday in Pentecost)
In our text this morning, Paul addresses what is called the Two Kingdoms; that is, the kingdom of the left: the civil kingdom. And, the kingdom of the right: God’s kingdom, which in this world –AT THIS TIME - is not seen through power and glory, but through grace and forgiveness. The physical fulfillment of this kingdom will come when Christ returns. Paul sees the two kingdoms as two ways in which God is at work in the world. Earlier in the letter, Paul has recognized God’s gift of the church. The church is the means whereby God proclaims salvation, gathering for himself a people who share his message of salvation with the world. Now, Paul speaks of God’s gift of civil authority. One looks to such authorities not for a proclamation of the gospel but for an enactment of God’s good rule in the world.
"God’s Greater Plan for You - Living in Love" - Romans 12:9-21 - (September 6, 2020 - 14 Sunday in Pentecost)
In our text this morning, Paul is not setting out a twelve-step program to “build the better spiritual you” but rather revealing the varied ways in which God is at work in the world. And Paul invites us to consider that vision this morning so that today, in our small corner of this vast world, we too can participate in this ever- living kingdom of God.
"God’s Greater Plan for You - Transformed Service" - Romans 11:33-12:8 - (August 30, 2020 - 13th Sunday in Pentecost)
Earth is crammed with heaven. God comes down from heaven and touches the earth, filling it with his glory. But only those who see take off their shoes.
Our readings this morning invite us to be among those who see. They invite us to see the earth crammed with heaven, to see how God in Christ has come down from heaven and touched the earth to fill it with his glory.
"People With Live by God’s Proclamation" - Romans 11:1-2, 13-15, 28-32 - (August 23, 2020 - 12 Sunday in Pentecost)
Has God rejected Israel or not? Will God save Israel or not? These are the questions arising from the text. Even more troubling, however, is the picture these verses can give you of God. God seems unfaithful – one time calling a people to be his own and then rejecting them only to call another. What is to keep God from rejecting the Gentile church? Can God be trusted when he makes promises . . . when he claims people . . . any people . . . Gentile or Jew?
"People With a Purpose" - Romans 10:5-17 - (August 16, 2020 - 11th Sunday in Pentecost)
How easy it is for us to enter church and turn our eyes upward to the cross and leave the world behind. All we can see is Jesus and seeing him, we can forget where we are or what he would have us be doing. We can simply gaze at Jesus, hanging there on the cross, dying for us and forget that we live in the world and that God has chosen us to be involved in his mission. Here. In time.