Holy Cross Lutheran Church
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
 

Telling the Good News About Jesus

Since 1935

 
  
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First Sermon at Holy Cross Lutheran Church delivered by Pastor Peter Kolb

The Baptism of our Lord (Year B)

 

First Sermon at Holy Cross Lutheran Church delivered by Pastor Peter Kolb

“Life on the VINE” John 15:5 June 25, 2006
Pastor Peter C. Kolb, Holy Cross Lutheran, Vandalia, IL

Grace mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father and from our LORD and Savior Jesus CHRIST.

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to check out the “new guy.” Some of you may have made a special trip to be here today or maybe you are listening in on the radio. What is “this guy” going to be like? You’ve had a lot of different pastors preach during your vacancy, different styles, different mannerisms, different approaches. However, today you get to hear the “new guy.” I am glad you are here, I hope you keep coming.

You may be asking yourself what kind of style can we expect? My prayer is that as you are checking me out, you would see past the man and hear the message of the Savior, it would do you no good if I preach anything else other than CHRIST and Him crucified.

As this was to be my first official sermon here at Holy Cross and as some of you know there was a funeral this week for Marjorie Nichols. Last Sunday I was installed and on the same day our dear sister in Christ-Marjorie was called to her heavenly home. None of us know when we will close our eyes for the last time in death. With this in mind I want each of my sermons to have the clear message of our Savior Jesus, and what He has done for us and what He is still doing for us. If I fail to proclaim CHRIST, than I fail you and I fail my LORD.

Back in March you issued me a Divine call to come and be your pastor, two weeks later Kristie and I came up for a visit. As we prepared to come visit we ran into folks who would ask, “are you going to preach while you are there?” They always seemed very surprised when I said “no.” I would explain that in the Lutheran church we do not “try out” for calls, when it comes to preaching every pastor has a dazzling sermon or a “Ta Dah” sermon in his file.

Today was a very difficult sermon to write, not because it was my first Sunday sermon but because the readings were so wonderful, “umm pastor, all the readings in the Bible are wonderful.” Yes, indeed. But today’s readings all deal with the Word of God. What a great place to begin. Three wonderful readings, each of which would make three great sermon texts (Isaiah 55:6-11, Romans 10:5-17, John 14:1-11), and today is the presentation of the Augsburg Confession (1530 AD) another possible sermon topic, being a new pastor in a new place can be a sermon in itself. I do not believe your would like to sit through five sermons today. So I will make you a deal, I will preach only one sermon today if all of you all come to Bible class afterwards. I’m sorry, that sounds like blackmail and I do not want you to come because of blackmail I want you to come because we are going to learn about Jesus in HIS wonderful WORD.

HIS WORD is indeed a wonderful thing, and from Isaiah’s text today we learn that God’s Word does not return to Him empty, so we gather to read mark learn and inwardly digest it, God’s Word working in us and it will be a blessing to us. “Pastor did you say read mark learn and inwardly digest it?” Yes, we indeed want to read His Word and read it often.

By the way I do not make anyone read in Bible Class it is all voluntary, it never fails when someone who does not like to read publicly finally feels they will give it a try, and they get the verse that lists all the Moabites, Amalekites, Jebusites, and all the other “ites” found in the Bible. Or perhaps they get all the cities like Laodicea, Capernaum, Per-ga-mum and so forth, my point is I will not make you read out loud, however, I will give you some pointers on reading some of those difficult names and places found in the Bible. And yes we will mark in our Bibles, and in our Catechisms, we do this not to deface God’s Word, but to help us learn His Word and (hold up bulletin cover) without a doubt it will accomplish what God desires.

Now when It comes to inwardly digesting His Word we are going to read, mark, learn it so that we can take it to heart, inwardly digest it, it is going to be a part of us. The reading from Romans today tells us that the WORD is near you it is in your mouth and in your heart, that’s the faith God has placed into you and with that faith you will confess “Jesus is LORD” the one who suffered died and was raised for you and through His actions, you will be saved.

Jesus has come to save you from your sins, all of them, the ones you remember the ones you have forgotten and even the ones you hope no one ever finds out about. Jesus came to wash you clean and to give you a new life. And I have the privilege to announce CHRIST’S forgiveness to you publicly every Sunday morning. I am also available to announce CHRIST’S forgiveness to you privately. Turn with me to page 310 in the front of the Hymnal (Lutheran Worship), here is a sample of private confession. You heard me last Sunday in review of my ordination vow that I would never reveal the sins confessed to me. The pastor’s ears are a tomb never to be opened. It is my privilege to announce what CHRIST has won for you, publicly or privately, the good news is He forgives you. How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news-says our Epistle reading today. I desire to bring you the good news of Jesus and His forgiveness. This talk of beautiful feet makes me think of an earthly someone who was instrumental in bringing me here-to announce this Good News. Your President Larry Rebbe, Larry how are your feet today? …What beautiful feet you have.

This good news continues as we talk about “LIFE on the VINE”

Jesus says in John chapter 15…"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

Jesus bids us to remain connected, to remain in Him. If we are not connected this is what will happen to us (Bring out the dry and dead branch) Here before us is a branch of a grape vine that is no longer connected to the vine. There is no life left, this branch will not be good for anything, and it surely will not be growing any grapes. It will be discarded and thrown away.

Now here is what a branch should look like, green and full of life, ready to produce grapes. A branch like this gets all it nutrition from the vine and in time the gardener will come along and prune back any un-needed parts of the branch. The gardener knows pruning is needed you do not want the branch to be all big beautiful leaves. He wants some big beautiful grapes.

Let us look in Galatians 5:22-23 at the fruit of the Spirit. …the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control

This is quite a list, to have love, for everyone?
and be joy filled? All the time?
Peace in a world of strife?
Patience in a world of impatience?
Kindness in a dog eat dog word?
Goodness in a world filled with what is bad,
faithfulness with so much unfaithfulness around us?
Gentleness is lost in the rough ?
And self control…with self indulgence held up as the model?

Wow what a list, that’s what it means to have fruit?

Indeed this is quit a list and as we look closer and closer we see that we are not living out the fruit of the spirit. We fail the Vine and the Gardener, we fall short. O Lord help us because we are not there, we fail at being branches, destined to be cut off the vine and thrown into the fire.

God knows this; this is why he sent His only Son into our world. Jesus came to live the life that we can not, He came to live it in our stead. He came to be the perfect branch that we can not be. In fact Jesus came to be cut off from His Father so that you and I would never have to. Jesus was cut off from His Father as He hung on the cross in our place, there He cried out, “My God My God why have you forsaken me?” Jesus was cut off. He was forsaken by His Father, so that you and I would never be cut off.

He has come to cleanse us and make us clean and make us His own. He gives us a place to live right there connected to Him on the Vine, Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. He connects us to Him in the waters of Baptism He continues to feed and nourish us. His Word the Holy Scripture speaks to us, direct us and shows us the love of a Savior who came be cut off from His Father so that we would never have to.

And this is “life on the Vine,” a place to be cleansed with the Words of Christ spoken into our ears, to kneel at His altar and receive into our mouths Christ’s very body and blood, in with and under the bread and the wine, forgiven, nourished, and supplied with what is needed in this life. And through this connection He will help us in our fruit production. May He through His Spirit help us to produce the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, NOT BECAUSE WE HAVE TO, but because this is who we are and this is what we produce, and this is all part of “life on the Vine.”

As Holy Cross turns a page it her history, a new Pastor comes to town to work together in this part of the LORD’S vineyard, may the LORD guide us all as we travel from this world to the world to come. He promises to be with us and to nourish us all the way home.

Now may the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

 

The Baptism of our Lord (Year B)

Genesis 1:1–5
1In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

 

Romans 6:1–11
1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

 

Mark 1:4–11
4John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. 7And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
9In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opening and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

Mark 1:4–11
4John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. 7And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
9In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opening and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” ESV

The Holy Trinity in Action by Pastor Peter C. Kolb, Vandalia, IL January 11, 2009 The Baptism of Our LORD


In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Grace Mercy and Peace be unto you from God our Father and from our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ. AMEN.
Birthdays are important days to remember. Now perhaps the older we get the more we would like to forget our birthdays. This week there was a nice article on our very own Erma Warner; who has reached her 100th Birthday. What a birthday to remember! I know all of you know your birth date, but how many of you know the date your baptismal birthday? I did not always know mine, but it is coming up, January 30, 1970. This was the day the God of the Universe; Father, Son and Holy Spirit placed His name upon me.
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The Scriptures tells us about our God, One God yet three persons. Tri-une means; Three in One, this is how the God reveals Himself to us in the scriptures. Another term we use to describe God is Trinity. On our stain glass we have a symbols of the Holy Trinity. The equilateral triangle and the three interlocking rings, have been used as a symbols of the Holy Trinity. As the rings are connected so are the three persons of the Holy Trinity, the do and have always worked together.

In the Beginning God…who is this God? He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. No beginning, no end, eternal, all powerful, all knowing, all seeing, all loving. One God, three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In Genesis we are given a glimpse of creation, the way all things came into being. God the Father was speaking things into being, let there be light, let the waters teem with creatures, let the air be filled with flying creatures and let the land teem with creeping on the ground creatures. God the Father spoke The WORD and things came into being. The writer to the Hebrews (1:1) tells us; In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.

Through whom He made the universe-Jesus was there, Jesus took part in creation. Through Jesus who St. John (1:1) calls the WORD of God. Through Jesus all things were made. The Father speaking the WORD-the Son of God called things into being and the Holy Spirit hovered over the waters. Here we see the Holy Trinity in action.
When sin came in to the world a promise was given that the Seed of the woman would crush the serpent’s head. Who would be that seed? Jesus. He would leave His place in heaven, and as we heard the angles message to Mary, Jesus would be placed inside of her, in her womb. Here we see the Trinity in action. The angel Gabriel said, Matthew 1:35 “the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power if the Most High [the Father] will over shadow you, the Holy One to be born to you will be called the Son of God.” The Trinity in action, the Trinity’s saving action, bringing the Savior of the world, into the world.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have eternal life. The Father’s great love for the world is what sent Jesus into this world to save us. Jesus’ great love would lead him to fulfill all of the laws, and this same love would lead Him to the cross of Calvary and the empty tomb of Easter. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to point people to Jesus, to bring them to faith, to give them what the Savior has won for all people. St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12:3 “no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit grants faith in Jesus, who was sent, due to the love of the Father-the Holy Trinity in action.

One of the best examples of the Trinity in action is at Jesus’ Baptism. “when he came up out of the water, immediately He saw the heavens opening and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11And a Voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with You I am well pleased.” The Holy Trinity in Action; The Holy Spirit hovering over the waters of the Jordan and the Voice of the Father calling to His beloved Son Jesus. Jesus’ ministry begins here at the waters of Baptism.

This is where the ministry of Jesus begins and in the waters of Baptism is where the life of faith begins for the Christian.  We are connected to the Father’s great love in sending Jesus, we are connected to Jesus and the forgiveness He has earned for us. The Holy Spirit still hovers over the waters of Baptism to grant us faith to connect us with Jesus our Savior.

It is Jesus who commanded baptism. Jesus says in Matthew 28:18-19 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

The command is to go and make disciples, and the way this is done is through baptizing and teaching. These two always go together. For a child baptism will come first and then comes the teaching. For an adult the teaching comes first and then comes baptism followed by more teaching. The teaching and growing in faith is a life long journey.

The Christian faith is a journey, heading for the eternal Promised Land. But as we travel we find that we do not live our life without sin. We are tempted by the devil, the world around us or even by our own sinful flesh, and we find our self in sin. So we journey to where the LORD’S Word is-His Word of Absolution. We come into His presence and confess our sinfulness, and Jesus announces His forgiveness. Jesus has given these words of forgiveness to the church and the church entrusts them with the pastor. So today you confessed; “I a poor miserable sinner, confess unto you all my sins and iniquities with which I have ever offended You and justly deserved Your temporal and eternal punishment”… and your heard forgiveness from Christ; “Upon this your confession, I, by virtue of my office, as a called and ordained servant of the Word, announce the grace of God unto you all, and in the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ I forgive you all your sins in the name of the father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen” (DS3 pg 184).

From confession and Absolution the Christian journeys to the LORD’S altar, where Christ’s body and blood are delivered in with and under the bread and the wine for the forgiveness of sins and the strengthening of faith. Here the Holy Spirit is feeding the faith delivered to you at your baptism. This nourishment is needed for the journey, for all the challenges of this life.

Jesus journeyed to earth to put on human flesh, to live the life we cannot and to take the Fathers wrath-the wrath that we deserve. Through His life, death and resurrection Jesus has earned the forgiveness of sins. There is nothing separating us from our Heavenly Father-Jesus has taken care of everything.

Today we celebrates Jesus’ Baptismal birthday, He was baptized not because He was sinful but because we are sinful. He walked into those waters to bless all water used for Baptism. Heaven was opened Christ has come, the beloved Son of the Father has come, He has come to bring forgiveness. So today hear once again about your forgiveness, remember that the Holy Trinity is working  in and through your Baptism and in your forgiveness-Your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father and of  the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

NKJ 2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

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