Written Sermons

Welcome, please click on the blue arrow to read the sermon. You can also click on the Bible reference to read the Biblical Text. Peace be with you!

  • 2016-11-13 Sermon, Malachi 4:1-6
    • As we approach the end of the Church year, the readings begin to focus more intensely on Christ’s return on the Last Day.  In our Old Testament reading, Malachi tells us about this Last Day, A righteous judgement is coming.  It’s like a blazing hot oven.  Those under judgement will be burned like stubble.  Malachi’s image is terrifying.  It is a horrid description of God’s judgment.  What’s even more troubling is, this is God’s righteous judgement.  It is the way it should be and it is totally right and proper.  God is just and sinless.  No one can stand in the presence of His justice and holiness and survive.  The sin of Adam and Eve has every human being condemned already.Malachi describes those under judgement as the arrogant and evil doers.  Who are they?  Well, it is us.  You and I and every human being on the face of the earth.  Are any of us prepared to admit that we are arrogant?  Can any of us deny it?  I don’t think so.  No one thinks of themselves as arrogant.   Yet our attitudes of self-reliance, self-absorption, self-promotion, and general self-centeredness are all descriptive of the deeper problem of arrogance.   This is what lies at the core of our sinful nature.We have to admit, we do, we all see it in our own lives.  As arrogant evildoers we foment division in our homes and in our communities.  Just look at our inability to debate intelligently.  There is no room for empathy, no desire for mutual understanding.  I’m right; your wrong.  And it is not just other people.  You contribute to the polarized your communities.  Arrogance causes all kinds of problems, in our homes and across the nation, even globally.Arrogance is rebellion, rebellion against God.   An arrogant person preserves himself by his own will and power, “I don’t need a savior I can please God myself.”The arrogant person has his own idea of who God is and what God will or will not do.  “My God would not judge so violently as to allow people to be burned in an oven!  My God is not like that!”  The arrogant refuse to accept God as He reveals Himself to us in Scripture, so they make their own god.  Worse yet, they say, “There is no god, I think therefore I AM.”  The arrogant are their own gods.So our arrogance sets us up in opposition to God.  And if we all are arrogant, that means we are all evildoers; every one of us is stubble; fuel for the oven; ultimately we are reduced to ashes.  So it is true, “From dust you come to dust you will go.” (Paraphrase of Ecc 3:20, Ash Wed. liturgy)

      So, Malachi promises Elijah.  But the restorative, redemptive work of Elijah seems to have been ineffective.  We look at our lives and the lives of those around us and wonder what ever happened to Elijah.  All we are left with is this righteous judgement looming over us, and it is terrifying.  But this is not where God leaves us.  This Elijah, this John The Baptist, has paved the way for Someone greater.

      Rising from the ashes—all sin forgiven, all the strongholds of arrogance crushed—we see the Sun of Righteousness rise in the fresh newness of an Easter morning.  The ultimate Father and Son relationship has been restored in the work of the Son of Righteousness, Jesus Christ Himself.  We are restored.  It is the Son of God who brings us redemption.  We no longer live in the terror of utter destruction.  We live in the re-creative, life giving power of the Son.

      We are raised from the ashes.  We and all creation are restored to the Father.  This reality begins now.  In this eternal worldview, we look forward in the sure and certain hope for the resurrection of the dead and the return of our Lord.  Malachi goes on and describes the joy of this moment.  We see it in the calf: newly sprung from the stall, jumping in delight; running and leaping and dancing in the meadow.   On that last day, every living creature and all creation will join in, singing and dancing and praising God the Father Son and Holy Spirit with all their strength.

      The peace of God that surpasses all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.   Amen.

    • Malachi 4:1-6
      Resource: Dr. Joel Beirmann. Concordia Journal, Homiletical Helps, Malachi 4;1-6. Winter. 2010.
  • A Sermon for All Saint’s Day
    • “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” (1 John 3:1-3 ESV) Each day of the church year follows a specific theme. Today, All Saints Day, we focus on the lives of those made holy, that is sanctified, through the regeneration of water and the Spirit, that is baptism. These saints make up the Church. The Church includes both those who are living and at rest in death awaiting the Resurrection of the dead and the return of the Lord. In Biblical terms you are the church, you all are saints.All Saints’ Day is the family reunion day for all the baptized, the entire Church, Both the Church Militant and the Church Triumphant. The epistle lesson from 1st John talks about the assembly of the children of God, the beloved of God, those living with sustaining hope in God. In this short reading we find three themes that relate to baptism: love, epiphany, and hope. These themes describe our lives as the Children of God in the Church.Did you know that God’s love for His Son Jesus Christ is the basis for your adoption as children of God? It is because of His love for Jesus that the Father calls us children of God and because He says it, we are.Because He loves, God the Father gives you both a new life and a new identity. You now have a new name, you belong to him. This is why we began today’s service with a remembrance of our baptisms. Baptism is the means of grace where faith is given to us. Baptism is what seals us into the Church Militant, the Church here on earth. Yet, the world or its culture does not see us any differently. It does not recognize our new status because it does not recognize Jesus.Today we will name all the saints who have died in the Lord over the past year. We also will take time in silence to name those that that we hold dear in our hearts no matter when they died. In this way we remember that through baptism we are God’s children now, because the Father calls His beloved by name. Just as the Word of God lives to eternity, we, the Saints, the children of God, living in the Word, also live to eternity.God our Father, in his great love for His Son, and for us, gives us another gift. It is the gift of an epiphany. The saints who are still living, live with the knowledge that they will be like Jesus because only those who are like Him will be able to see Him as He is. And that will happen on the day of His appearing, His second appearing, that is His second epiphany. The saints who are at rest in death, waiting the day of His epiphany, are reminders or icons to us. Each one of our departed loved ones proclaims the outcome of their knowledge and hope. Their lives of faith and hope help us, the living saints, to see that we, with them, will see Jesus as he truly is.

      During a family reunion we often bring out our family albums. Remember Kodachrome and slide projectors? I remember seeing old family slides and everyone in the room trying to remember names and the special stories and context behind the pictures. It is just like that for All Saints’ Day. Let the icons, your pictures and paintings and letters from loved ones be used to point you to the dead in christ and the living in Christ. As we remember them, we focus on their lives of faith and hope. Especially those who have been our spiritual fathers and mothers.

      These pictures and memories of our fellow saints hold in them the epiphany of the One who appeared to the world at his baptism in the Jordan River. This Jesus, one day, we will see as He fully is: the incarnate Son of God. That will be the ultimate epiphany!

      Enveloped in the Love of the Father and the knowledge that we will one day somehow be like Jesus, the incarnate Son of God, we are also called to live in hope. In love, Saint John encourages us, “Live always in the light of Christ and be ever watchful for His coming, that you may meet Him with joy and enter with Him into the marriage feast of the Lamb in His kingdom.”

      The word “hope” is described as a condition of the mind and the heart. It is through the sacrament of baptism that this condition is formed within the baptized. This happens because the baptized are purified as Jesus is pure.

      Think about this, when you were baptized, the cleansing of the water and the Word made you like Him: cleansed and pure. You are the purity of God: loving, merciful, and faithful, just as He is. And because you have been purified and have that glimpsed Jesus, you can live in the hope that flows as living water from your baptisms: hope that you will see Him as He is and will be like Him. The saints, called children of God by name, who lived and died in the hope of the Lord and have gone before us with the sign of faith, by our memory of them, they call us to live in hope.

      Our Father in heaven has revealed His love for you in His Son, Jesus Christ, the Word, and through Him our Father calls all who are baptized into Him, by name, to live for eternity as His children. He also call you to live, as the saints named and unnamed, seen and unseen, in hope for what we will be when we see Jesus as He is.

      Doesn’t all this sound so wonderful? All Saints’ Day sure does get you looking forward to the final family reunion, doesn’t it?

      The peace of God that surpasses all understand will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

      Verbum Domini Manet in Æternum
      The Word of the Lord Endures for Eternity,

      Pastor Tony Mandile

      Resources:
      Bruce Schuchard, 1-3 John, Concordia Commentary (St. Louis: CPH, 2012), 318.
      Kent Burreson, All Saints’ Day, 1 John 3:1–3, Concordia Journal (Concordia Seminary St. Louis, Summer, 2013), 245-246.

  • A Sermon for Veteran’s Day
    • The following is from an interview with an Air Force pilot, who flew supply missions to Keh Sanh, Vietnam.  It is from the book, Voices of Courage, the Battle For Khe Sanh, Vietnam by Ronald J Drez and Douglas Brinkley.“The Marines on the ground did not want us in there,” said Captain Doug Spitler, pilot of a C130 of the 35th Tactical Airlift Squadron.  “Our nickname was ‘mortar magnets.’”  It was too dangerous for an airplane to land and take off in all that enemy fire.  “Our crew was qualified for Parachute low Altitude Delivery.  They told us that the drop zone was not secure.  In other words, half a mile out was bad guy territory.”  Spitler’s C-130 was carrying a planeload of ammunition, with all the pallets rigged in chutes for the drop.  They would not have to land. . .“The problem was they had three very badly wounded marines that they had field dressed and needed to get to the hospital in Da Nang, because these guys were going to die if they didn’t.  A voice on the radio asked.  ‘What can you guys do?  Can you land?’  I talked it over with my crew.  They said, ‘Captain, whatever you want to do is OK with us,’ and I said, ‘Well let’s go get those guys.’”The C-130 circled and the crew dismantled everything for the airdrop.  Fighter aircraft came in to suppress enemy ground fire, and when all was ready, Spitler and his crew went in. “It was very important we make the first turn off the runway,” said Spitler.  “We were very heavily loaded with five pallets of ammunition.  But we just planted the aircraft in there in the first two or three hundred feet of runway.  It’s what they call an ‘assault landing.’  We just stood on the brakes to make the turnoff, and we did it.  We turned left, and the loadmaster opened the doors and got the ramp down.  We turned right and taxied up the load ramp and dumped the five pallets of ammunition.  They had the three wounded ready.  They just ran them on the plane, and just laid these guys on the floor.  There wasn’t time to set up the stanchions, or strap them in properly.  We started taxiing and the loadmaster got the ramp up, and the first mortars came in—four or five of them.  The tower said, ‘take off at your discretion.’”Spitler taxied and made his two right turns onto the runway, just as a mortar round hit one of the ammunition pallets he had just delivered and blew it up.  Other mortars tracked the taxiing C-130.  “Then the mortars really started coming in,” said Spitler.  “One hit two or three hundred yards in front of us, right in the middle of the runway.  We were already up to 60 knots, and now we were very light, and we just, kind of, raised the nose gear up over this little hole, and just flew through the smoke.  Our total time on the ground was four minutes.”The C-130 roared off the runway, flew to the east, and delivered the wounded men to Da Nang.  For his action at Khe Sanh, Captain Douglas Spitler was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.“For many of the marines and other service men who fought at Khe Sanh the results of the war and the controversy that awaited them at home on American soil muddied the memory of their great effort and sacrifice, but even though proper recognition has never been given to them, history will recognize them, and all the soldiers who fought bravely for their country in Vietnam, as heroes.” (Interview by Steven Lang)1It is important to read historical accounts like this.  A good knowledge of history makes it possible for us to understand the great sacrifices being made for us today and in the recent past.  This Veterans Day, we are to remember and give thanks to all our military veterans.

      In the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, God tells Moses, “Take care lest you forget the LORD your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today. . .  Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.  (Deut 8:11, 17-18 ESV)

      Every soldier who enlists is aware that they may be called to make the ultimate sacrifice.   On Veterans Day we honor all those who served our nation so selflessly.  We will also remember the One Man who made the Ultimate Sacrifice for all.  It was Jesus Christ who went willingly to the cross.  His mission was to conquer, once for all, sin death and the devil by dying and rising.  In doing this, Jesus has made his victory over death our victory over death.  Through Jesus Christ we stand forgiven, sinless and pure before God the Father in heaven, we will then rise again to new life with Him for eternity.

      So this Veterans Day we give thanks to those who served in our armed forces.  We also give thanks to God the Father, the Creator; to God the Son, the Redeemer; and God the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier.  In the Bible passage above, God goes on to tell Moses how God’s people are to go about giving thanks, by keeping His commandments.  For you and me, in the context of this day, the fourth commandment comes to mind.  We remember the words, “Honor your father and your mother”.   Then, Luther’s Small Catechism teaches us to ask the all-important question, “What does this mean?”  And we are given the answer, “We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them.”

      It is here, within this command and the explanation in the Catechism, that we learn how to properly honor the men and women who have made that ultimate sacrifice for us.  We learn that our local, state, and federal governments are in place and in power because God has given them power.  Our military men and women make great sacrifices to preserve this government.  To honor them is to vote.  To honor them is to participate in your government.  If you are able, run for elected office and lead as Christian men and women.  Help preserve what they fight for.  Ultimately to honor them is to be, yourself, a good Christian citizen.

      We must always remember that all the wealth we have, it doesn’t matter if you see your wealth as a lot or a little, all of it comes from God.  All of it is available to you because God, through these men and women who serve in our military, makes sure you can enjoy the peace and prosperity we have today.  We thank and praise God for these wonderful Gifts.  Amen.

      In Christ,
      Pastor Tony Mandile

    • Reference:
      1 Drez, Ronald J. and Brinkley, Douglas. Voices of Courage: The Battle for Khe Sahn, Vietnam September 15, 2005   courage
  • 2016-09-04 Sermon, Discipleship, Luke 14:25-35
    • Dearest Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
    • In our Gospel Lesson today, Jesus reminds us that to follow Him to the cross we first must count the cost.  Jesus talks about how there is a cost to being a disciple, a cost that ultimately He bears on our behalf.   But He calls us to count it none the less.What is Discipleship?  Discipleship coveys what it means to be a Christian.  If you are a baptized child of God, a Christian, then that is what you are, you are a disciple of Christ.  That is, you are a lifelong learner of the Master Teacher!In our Psalm today, Psalm 1, we see the joy involved in being a disciple.  A disciple delights in the law (the Torah, or the teaching)[i] of the Lord.  The Disciple meditates on God’s teaching day and night.  This is a wonderful description of the willingness that we approach our own reading of the Bible at home and our worship here in the Divine Service.  The disciple delights in hearing the Scripture read and expounded upon in sermons.  This is the Way of the Lord, permanent and secure.  Remember, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)  Did you catch that? Jesus is the objective Truth we all seek! That is, Truth does exists outside of our own thoughts and experiences. That Truth is Jesus Christ.  Meditate and take delight in that teaching for a while!My friends in Christ, please consider very carefully, the cost of discipleship, it is often a delight to study and hear God’s Word as the Holy Spirit works faith in us.  He continuously works sanctification in us.  That is the life long process of Him making us holy.  This holiness is never fully given to us here on earth.  We live in a broken state.   We are disciples of Christ, saints.  But at the same time we are sinners, rebelling against God’s commands and promises.  God’s Word then has two sides, a delightful side, and a hard side.  In this brokenness, we constantly fight the good fight, striving for the holiness that Christ promises us.So we pray, daily, asking our Father in Heaven to grant us courage and strength to lift up our cross and follow Jesus.  Taking up the cross means suffering as Jesus himself suffered.  We have been delivered from the greatest suffering.  We will not suffer the punishments of hell that Jesus suffered for us.  But we will, as Jesus was, be rejected by the world, be hated by the world, be nailed to the crosses of our own, whatever they might be.The fact is this is suffering does not excite us.  It is not something we do with a smile on our face.  This is the hard side of discipleship.  But even this is blessed because being in Christ and sharing in his suffering ultimately has eternal joys that really will be delightful in every way.So we struggle and strive because the object of our faith is this Christ: Jesus, the Lamb who was slain but now lives!  He suffered and died on that cross for the forgiveness of all of our sins, including our sins of being poor disciples.  He promises that He will present you, the church, to Himself as a perfect bride, without blemish at the Consummation of our Lord on the Last Day.My dearest friends, God promises to protect your hearts and minds, now.  Through the Church’s ministry of Word and Sacrament, through the Divine Service, God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is protecting you from falling into the trap of the “other way”.  He will protect you from giving yourself over to the false teachings of the world that are insecure and transient.  You will always struggle, as a disciple of Christ, with the temptation to walk with, then stand with, and finally sit with those who mock God, those who refuse His promises.  So The Father sustains you in your struggle and he gifts you with faith to delight in his promises.  Even to find delight in his commands.Dr Carl Fickenscher in an interview titled, “Cost of Discipleship, said,[ii]

      When we are in God’s word, believing and receiving the Gospel, of what God has done for us through Jesus, we also find joy in his law and commandments.  God never gives us a commandment which is really distasteful, evil, or unpleasant.  Although the unbeliever in me rebels against God’s commandment and always believes that God is trying to restrict me, limit me and take away my fun.  But the believer in me realizes that being faithful in marriage, eager in worship, loving my neighbor, caring for others…  The believer in us knows that this is not only what God commands us to do, but it truly is the delightful thing to do.  It is what the believer in us really loves doing.

      The peace of God that surpasses all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.   Amen.

      Pastor Tony Mandile

      Soli Deo gloria

       

      Luke 14:25-35

      Works Cited:

      Dr. Carl Fickenscher; Looking Forward to Sunday Morning (3 Year Lectionary): “Cost of Discipleship”; Interview 2423; issuesetc.org; 8/29/16.

      Arthur A. Just Jr.; Concordia Commentary A theological Exposition of Sacred Scripture; CPH, St. Louis, MO; 1997; p. 578ff.

      [i] Here the term for Law is Torah which is the teaching of Moses, the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament.  In the Confessional Lutheran understanding, the Torah presents to us both God’s commands and His promises of salvation, which is both Law and Gospel.

      [ii] Dr. Carl Fickenscher; Looking Forward to Sunday Morning (3 Year Lectionary): “Cost of   Discipleship”; Interview 2423; issuesetc.org; 8/29/16.

  • 2015-10-18 Sermon, Feast of St. Luke, Luke 10:1-20 
    • In Isaiah 66:12-13 This is what the Lord Says: “I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees. As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you;” What a beautiful picture of Peace! This is Shalom.Our Lord God brings peace through his church. When I hear these words I think of when the pastor elevates Christ’s Body and Blood before the congregation, saying, “The peace of the Lord Be with you!” And they have faith in these words and so they receive what the Word says. There is peace in the forgiveness of sins. Faith receives Christ and the risen Christ is peace.In our Gospel reading today the 72 missionaries are sent to bring the peace of God to people out in the villages. They are sent ahead of Jesus to prepare the people for Jesus. The missionaries, traveling in pairs, arrive in a village. When they arrive in a village they tell the people the Kingdom of God has come near. If they are invited into a family’s home, they speak a blessing of Peace on the home as they enter. They teach and minister to the needs of all in the village. God’s Peace enters the lives and homes of those that believe the words the missionaries speak. The Good news is that the Kingdom of God is near. Yes, Jesus is near. Shalom.The kingdom comes near to us through the Word of God. It first came when Jesus’ mother Mary conceived Him. The Word made flesh. From that point on there has been a gathering of the people of God. The Kingdom is currently present within all believers. Now but not fully yet. There is much more to come. When Christ returns, He will bring his Kingdom with him and there will be a sense of great Joy and of looming Judgement. Those who are given the Peace of God have joy. They do not fear the Judgment because they are clothed in Christ’s righteousness. But those who do not have the Peace of God live in increasing fear of Judgement because they know they cannot stand before God and live.So the Church has a mission of peace. We know that the Word of God saves. We know that The Holy Spirit through the Word begins his work acting upon the hearer, instilling a desire for the peace of God, a desire for the Kingdom of God. A desire for the righteousness that is from God. We know it is through the word of God that the gift of faith is given. That is why we confess Christ Crucified, FOR YOU, for the forgiveness of sins.This mission of Peace is an expanding one. First, in chapter 9, Saint Luke tells how Jesus sent out the 12. And that was not enough. Now in chapter 10 Jesus sends out the 72 and it is still not enough. Jesus says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”Today, you and I are part of this expanding mission. We live out our vocations in life and confess our faith in our actions and our words. (Remember: it is both actions and words) Some of us are sent out as Missionaries. Some are trained as Pastors. Some as teachers, and some as volunteers. We serve using whatever skill we have acquired through the years, music, carpentry, plumbing, writing, computers, counseling and so on. And so we are all part of this expanding mission. And Jesus’ command here is to pray for more. Pray for more Missionaries, Pastors, Teachers and Volunteers. Pray for more workers to emerge from our congregation and from the Church world wide. There is a promise behind this command. You pray and He will do what his Word says. He will hear you and answer your prayer.Jesus also gives some commands as to how the 72 were to conduct themselves. And as always there are promises behind every command. First He tells the 72: “Go! I am sending you out like lambs among the wolves.” There are two responses that people will have toward the mission. The first is faith. The Holy Spirit will open the eyes of these folks and they will be receptive to the mission. They will respond with hospitality, with a meal and a place to stay for the missionary. Jesus is promising that God will provide and protect.The other response is opposition. These are the folks who reject what is being given to them. Yet the missionaries still respond with the same Gospel, “The kingdom of God has come near to you today.” But it carries also the force of the Law and the impending Judgement that the Kingdom brings. “Woe to you Chorazin!”Jesus is promising that through the Law the Holy Spirit will soften hardened hearts so they will turn to the healing words of the Gospel, “The Kingdom of God is near, The peace of God be with you!”There is power in the word of God. Through the Word of God the Holy Spirit works His Grace. This is why the 72 were told not to take a wallet, or suitcase or even shoes. They were to trust that as they spoke the word of God in a village, the Holy Spirit would create faith in some of the people and where there is faith there would also be hospitality. The 72 would trust in God’s promise to provide for them.

      And does God provide? Yes, He does what His Word says. And abundantly. You can see the excitement in the words of the 72 as they returned from the mission. “The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in you name.” Wow what an awesome thing to see the Holy Spirit doing through your own ministry!

      But Jesus’ Words are interesting here.

      “Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20 ESV)

      He warns the 72 and us today, Do not seek a Theology of Glory. People who follow a Theology of Glory always focus on the result of their works. Look what we are doing. Look how many we’ve got! Look at Satan run! Jesus says no, do not glory in the works you do, especially do not glory in the results of your work. All you will be doing is making a false god out of your work. And that false god of works cannot save you.

      Focus instead, on the Theology of The Cross and remember how, through the Word of God (Christ Crucified), the Holy Spirit worked salvation in you. Take comfort in the fact that your names ARE written in Heaven. Amen.

    • Luke 10:1-20