Holy Week

Sermon – Good Friday – 2020

“Deliver Us from Evil”

What is evil we speak of in the seventh petition in the Lord’s Prayer? Luther, in the meaning to the petition says that we pray to God that He would deliver us from every evil of body and soul, property and honor. Luther is picturing evil as anything that would be harmful to body, soul, property and honor.

In the Greek, the word is “πονηροῦ”. And it refers to those things that are physically harmful. It also could mean moral wickedness. The evil, or the morally wicked destroy and pervert what is good and just.

And so consider what is evil. Natural disasters are evil. They bring destruction to life and property. The coronavirus is evil, because it is harmful to life and livelihood. We see all too well the disruption it is bringing to our lives and to society.

There is the evil that others bring upon us. Others harm us physically, emotionally. They bring harm to our property and reputation. They bring harm to our faith, tempting us to sin.

But where does this evil come from? The source of it is the devil, who is a murderer from the beginning. The New King James Version translates this petition as “Deliver us from the evil one.” This is fitting since the devil, a personal being, is the personification of all evil. Death and destruction are in his wake. He slays with lies. See what he did to man.

He brings harm to God’s perfect creation. By tempting them to sin, he perverts Adam and Eve’s original righteousness, that they then have original sin. Man and all creation have fallen. Paradise is destroyed. The relationship between God and man became one of enmity. Man no longer knows God. Man is blind with unbelief, and believes falsehood instead of the truth.

We see the evil the devil caused, and still causes. We see and experience the dangers of the world both from the violence of creation and the violence of man. But then are we also willing to admit our own evil. We are not just victims, but we are also evil. We have perverted justice. We have done violence to the moral law, sinning in thought, word, and deed. We have offended our Maker. I am evil. To use the words of Paul, “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh” (Rom 7:18). “Who will rescue me from this body of death?”

You know what else is evil? It is evil that Jesus was crucified. He is the only human on earth that did not deserve this. Who could accuse Him of any sin? Pilate, wondered, “What wrong has this man done?” The thief on Jesus right said, “This man has done nothing wrong” (Lk 23:41). He was perfect. He preached truly about God. He showed mercy to people, healing, feeding, and raising the dead. He loved mankind, even to the end, even unto death. Even when He was reviled in the midst of His suffering, He did not revile in return (1 Pet 2:22). He did not threaten those who caused His suffering, but forgave them.

This is evil. This is a perversity of justice. An innocent man suffers. But not just a man, but God Himself is convicted by man. The Creator is hung on a cross by His creation. The perfect One suffers the curse of the Law at the hands of sinners. The devil sees his deceit and wicked plans come to fruition, soon shall Satan have his victory…or so he thinks.

But Jesus suffers this willingly. This evil that Satan and the world commits, God intends it for our highest good. The murderous plot of Satan proves to be his undoing. And the evil that the world commits turns out to be its salvation. This is the working of God.

For listen to what Christ cries out, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachtani?” “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?

God does not forsake us. We should be the ones suffering in the throes of hell, but here it is the only begotten Son of God suffering it for us. What a tremendous mystery this is! Christ, the Holy One of God, almighty, eternal, infinite God becomes sin for us, He becomes our sin, and He suffers the justice for our evil.

So in His suffering and death, Jesus is delivering us from all evil. He endures it, takes the evil of our sins, the evil of the devil and the world in order that we may be delivered from evil.

He crushes the serpent’s head. The stronger man has bound the strong man. He destroys Satan’s dominion and his kingdom and wins freedom for all of us under Satan’s captivity. Every one of Satan’s accusations against us, and every claim he makes on us, are made nothing, for Christ has atoned for our sins, and has redeemed us to be His own.

He atones for our sins, so that our evil sins cannot condemn us forever. Our sins were buried with Him in death, and there remain our sins, since we have been joined to His death and resurrection through baptism. How, then, can we be condemned for them?

And now having sins forgiven, and Christ’s imputed righteousness through faith, we are called saints, a royal priesthood, a holy nation! We are called God’s holy children.

And though we have evil all about us in the vale of tears, God delivers us from it. We know that God works all things, even evil, for our good. When we are threatened with harm from the fallen creation, God remains our refuge, and draws Him closer to Himself. When we suffer the evil of others, we rejoice that we are caused to suffer for the name of Christ, and are given opportunity to show the grace that Christ showed to His enemies.

Even though evil may threaten our lives, we know we will be delivered, for we have a lasting inheritance with God in paradise. He has turned death into a blessed thing for His believers, for through it we are drawn from this vale of tears to Himself in heaven.

And so, Jesus teaches us to pray, “Deliver us from evil.” We ask Him, that all these blessings of Good Friday may come to bear on us. And since the Father has given Christ to death on the cross for you, you know that God delivers. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, forevermore. Amen.

Holy Week

Sermon – Luke 22.14-20 (Maundy Thursday – 2020)

“Lead Us Not Into Temptation”

Let us pray: O Lord Jesus Christ, we thank You, that of Your infinite mercy You have instituted this Your Sacrament, in which we eat Your body and drink Your blood: Grant us, we beseech You, by Your Holy Spirit, that we may not receive this gift unworthily, but that we may confess our sins, remember Your agony and death, believe the forgiveness of sin, and day by day grow in faith and love, until we obtain eternal salvation; through You, who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one true God, now and forever. Amen.

Grace to you and peace from God, our Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Dear fellow redeemed,

Sometimes the craving originates with something you see. You see a commercial, or maybe at the restaurant, back in the day when we went to restaurants, you would see a delicious burger, and it seems as though it is calling to you, drawing you to get it for yourself and eat up. Sometimes the craving comes from within. I just love donuts. Gas stations have donuts. It would be quite tasty to pick up some every time I fill up on gas. Maybe I don’t have to wait until the tank is near empty. When it’s half full, I’ll go fill up then, and might as well pick up some donuts.

We have those cravings, and it is unwise for us to follow the desires of our bellies.

Temptations to sin are often compared to the food desires of our bellies. James describes it in his epistle, “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” St. Paul speaks of those who are the enemies of the cross of Christ. He says “their god is their belly” (Philippians 3:19). They set their mind on earthly things, and their end is destruction. Paul isn’t saying there that they eat whatever they desire, but they follow the desires of their sinful flesh.

We see the beginning of this sinful hunger in the temptation of Eve in Paradise. The devil deceived and lied in order to pervert Eve’s appetite for righteousness into a hunger for that which God forbids. Scripture describes her disobedience, “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate” (Gen 3:6).

Since then, we deal with temptation coming from within and without. Again, James says, “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” We are enticed. We are enticed by the world. The world tempts us to impatience, anger, vengeance, pride, honor, fame, and power. It tempts us to idolize worldly treasures, relationships, and activities.

And then the devil is stirring constantly stirring our appetites for the unholy. He especially agitates our consciences. On the one hand, he entices us to doubt God’s Word, to destroy faith in God and also hope, and love. He does this by making sin seem desirable and justifiable, so that we may enticed to sin and separate ourselves from God. He seeks to lead us to false security and open rebellion on the one hand, or on the other, he would entice us to despair and unbelief, thinking that God could not forgive and love a sinner such as I.

As bad enough it is having these two sources of temptations against us, we have an evil desire within us. That is our corrupted nature that has an appetite for pride, lust, and selfishness.

And so temptations come. Jesus said, “Temptations to sin are sure to come” (Luke 17:1). This is a fact of life. They come from without and from within. Temptations stir up our appetites to bite and commit the sin, to satisfy the hunger of our sinful nature. They come that we may offend God, become separated from Him and His Word, and lose faith and hope in Him.

Jesus came to redeem us with His suffering and death. He saved us that we won’t be destroyed forever. And so that we may not be overcome with temptation and be destroyed, He gives us His Father’s name to run to for safety. He teaches us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation.” This was His desire for the disciples who were with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane. They were weary, but Jesus told them, “watch and pray, lest you enter in temptation.

Our sinful flesh still loves sin. It still has hunger for it. But Christ has saved us from our sinful flesh and our sins, and from the separation from God we had because of our sins. We had been drawn away from God because we have fallen into temptation and sinned against Him. But Christ, who was tempted in every way as we were but remained without sin, is our righteous Savior. By His cross He saves us and gives us everlasting life. In the fifth petition, we ask for forgiveness, and He has graciously forgiven our sin!

He has freed us from sin, that by the regenerative work of the Holy Spirit, we are new creatures in Christ our Savior. We are no longer under the power of sin, but are under the grace of Christ, our Lord.

And so being forgiven of our sins, our new creature in us, desires to remain free from sin! We put to death the flesh through repentance, and through the renewing power of the gospel of our risen Christ we live in newness of life, hungering to do God’s will. We deny ourselves and the appetites of our bellies, and seek to do what is good and holy. And one things Christ has given us to help us with this is prayer, “lead us not into temptation.

We cannot stand on our own. We would surely fall. But, through prayer and faith, we find refuge in God and His Word. To Him we flee when temptation comes. He is the way out. And if, or rather when we tragically and daily fall, God remains our refuge, and we still run to Him, for in Him we have forgiveness and restoration, so that our sins cannot harm us forever. But rather we are cleansed.

And so, we have this new appetite, this new hunger for that which is godly. We have a hunger to do God’s will, but also a hunger for the forgiveness of Christ, because that is the fix for what is wrong in us.

And this is why we also ought to have a hunger for the Lord’s Supper. This Supper is the Lord’s last will and testament. He established it for us, and He will us to partake of it for our eternal good. And so it is our  Sin brings us guilt and separates us from God. The Lord’s Supper is a very special application of God’s grace to you. For surely, the holy gospel forgives your sins. And keeping this gospel in faith, you are reconciled to God and made His dear child. Though the Lord’s Supper doesn’t give you anymore forgiveness or salvation that the Word of God gives you. They both give you the fullness of Christ’s salvation, but there is a special comfort given you in the Lord’s Supper

Jesus institutes for His Church the Sacrament of the Altar in the upper room the night He was betrayed. He instituted this meal, giving us as food to eat His true body, and for us to drink His true blood. In these He grants us the remission of our sins that He has won for us by that very same body and blood. The body and blood of our holy and righteous Lord given on the cross, is given for you to eat and drink, to cleanse you of your sinful flesh and of every time that we have fallen into temptation. The Early Church Father Ambrose aptly describes his hunger for the Sacrament, “Because I always sin, I ought always take the medicine.” You can also read Luther’s 20 Christian Questions and Answers and see there too, what hunger we ought to have for the Sacrament.

But also consider the other added comfort in the Supper. The end of temptation is to draw us away from God, but God, in the Sacrament, draws us to Himself forgiving our sins. Christ, our Life, our Light, our crucified and risen Redeemer, gives us His true body and blood for us to eat and drink. He dwells in us, and unites us to Himself intimate communion.

And so, may God grant us all a hunger for the Sacrament, whether you took it last week, or whether you are fasting from it for a time for the sake of safety, or whether you are a child waiting for the day to partake of it.

Thanks be to Christ, our Savior, who out of His abundant grace, has atoned for our sins, and reconciles us to Himself, and gives us the fullness of these blessings not just in one way, but pours out His grace upon us in our baptism, through the Word, and in the Holy Supper. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, forevermore. Amen.

Holy Week

Sermon – Matthew 21.1-11 (Palm Sunday – 2020)

Almighty and everlasting God, You have caused Your beloved Son to take our nature upon Himself, that He might give us the example of humility and suffer death upon the cross for our sins: Mercifully grant us a believing knowledge of this, that we may follow the example of His patience, and be made partakers of the benefits of His sacred Passion and death; through the same, Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one true God, now and forever. Amen.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples,

 2 saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me.

 3 “And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say,`The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.”

 4 All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:

 5 “Tell the daughter of Zion,`Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.'”

 6 So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them.

 7 They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them.

 8 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road.

 9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David!`Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Hosanna in the highest!”

 10 And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?”

 11 So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”

These are Your words, heavenly Father. Sanctify us by the truth. Your Word is truth. Amen.

Dear fellow redeemed,

God had whittled Gideon’s army down to 300. Gideon saw the army of their enemy, Midian and with Midian, the Amalekites, and other people of the East in the valley. They were numerous as locusts covering the land. And their camels were numbered like sand on the seashore.

And so this was the army that this little group of Israelites was going to war with. To our human eyes, this was a horrible idea. Gideon was fearful, but God had Gideon overhear someone describe a dream he had. The man said, “To my surprise a loaf of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian; it came to a tent and struck it so that it fell and overturned, and the tent collapsed.” Then the man that heard the dream interpreted it, “This is nothing else be the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel! Into is hand God has delivered Midian and the whole camp!

The loaf of bread made of barley, which was considered a lesser grain, destroys the tent. The little insignificant army of Israel will destroy the mighty enemy. Gideon heard these things, was strengthened and worshipped God. He gathered his men and went to war against the enemies of God’s people.

[pause for comparison]

Jesus spoke of how He will go up to Jerusalem. But this concerned the disciples. There were many in Jerusalem that hated Him and sought to take His life. This was a dangerous place to go. Peter stood in the way of Christ one time. Another time, the disciples said, “Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone You, and are You going there again?” (John 11:8). Jesus had a multitude of enemies, powerful people who wanted Him dead.

But from the lowly town of Bethlehem, which means house of bread, from this town little among the thousands of Judah, will come the Bread of Life. He appears lowly, insignificant, riding into the hands of His great and His powerful enemies on a humble donkey.

The enemies before Him appear to be the Jewish leaders, and the Roman soldiers. They blaspheme Him, accuse Him, and shout for His crucifixion. Yet, the greater enemies Jesus faces are much more severe, those enemies are sin, death and the devil. Jesus enters Jerusalem to destroy these enemies that have held sway over us. Yet the path to victory was through sacrifice. It was to be won on a cross. As a Lamb goes uncomplaining forth, He goes to accomplish that for which He was sent into the world. He very well knows what must happen. He tells these things to His disciples, and yet He goes to battle, enters into Jerusalem to win for us forgiveness of our sins, deliverance from the death, and victory over the devil.

And so this was a cause of rejoicing for that crowd that went with Him in this procession, however much they understood about what was taking place.

And so first determine whether you belong to this crowd. If you do not believe Him to be your Savior, then you shall not see His salvation. You remain in the tent of the enemy, the devil. And then Jesus, who is not only the Bread of Life, but also the Chief Cornerstone, will fall upon you and will grind you into powder (Matt 21:42-44). That is, if you do not see Him as your Savior, you will find Him as your Judge.

If you are persistent in your sins, and will not repent of them, then you choose sin over Christ. You remain in the tent of those who cry out, “Crucify Him, crucify Him.” You offend against His holy and precious blood which was shed to cleanse you of your sins. Instead you choose to remain in your filth.

Then who are those who join in the chorus of praises around the Bread of Life who marches into the camp of those horrible enemies? You who see on the donkey riding into Jerusalem, Christ as your Savior from sin, your Deliverer from death, and your Victor over the devil, you are the ones rejoicing in Him!

Oh, your sins are great. You see them. Your pride, your lust, your doubt, your slander, your  love for God that falls so short. It is this guilt that presses hard on Jesus shoulders. It is your sins that put Him on the cross. How could you possibly be worthy of Him? Are you not in the tent of the evil one, because of your sins?

But take comfort, for He enters into the battle against our enemies for sinners, for you. He takes your sin and your guilt willingly. So behold, your Savior, let Him have your all your sins. Repent of them. For He has taken them you, suffered for them, gave His life as the price to save you from them, so that in Him, you are free from your sins! You are forgiven! And you are restored to God! And this is the reason for our song! “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!

Through faith, you are joined to your Savior! You are members of His Church, receiving His grace, and responding to Him with songs of praise.


But also consider also what other problems the people had in the crowd, the problems we who live in the Church still struggle with today. In the crowd would have been people who were anxious. There were people who were lonely, who lived each day with uncertainty about what tomorrow would bring. There were people who had sorrow and grief in their hearts. These are the common troubles and experiences that we have in this vale of tears. And these are pronounced ever more so during this time of pandemic.

But then, oh what comfort we have in Christ. See how much He loves you as He rides into Jerusalem for your eternal salvation. He defeats sin, death, and the devil for you! He joined you to His Church through faith, and thus you have the promise that He who entered into Jerusalem in lowliness for you, now in His glory with dominion and rule over all things, will never leave you nor forsake you.

And so even in the midst of the trial and difficulty, even as we have tears of sadness on our faces, we may sing praises to Christ our loving Savior. Because of Him, we know that these trials and tears are not in vain. He works all for your good. And He will deliver you and will bring you to a day when those tears will be wiped away, and all trial, sorrow, and sadness will be no more. Amen.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, forevermore. Amen.

2020 Sermons Holy Week

Good Friday

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2020 Sermons Holy Week

Maundy Thursday

2020 Sermons Holy Week

Palm Sunday