The Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity, Sermon 2016

Trinity 16, 2016
Luke 7:11-17
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

How does God interact with you?

How does He speak to you?

How do you know what God wants?

What is God’s will for your life?

And are you sure?

These questions all have simple answers, but we turn them into a kind of torture of the soul.

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The Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2016

The Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2016
Matthew 6:24-34
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

In the context of today’s Gospel lesson, Jesus says, When you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:1-4).

He doesn’t say “if,” He says “when.” When you give to the needy, several things happen. You obey God, which is of course a meet thing to do. You care for your neighbor who is need, which we know we should do. And, you also train your body not to need so much stuff.

I can tell you to obey God, and you won’t get upset with me.

I can tell you to care for those who are in need, and you’ll agree with me nine times out of ten.

But if I tell you to train your body to need less and fewer things, if I tell you to store up treasure in heaven by giving away your earthly treasures here and now, you’ll want me to stop preaching. Well, guess what…

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The Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity, Sermon 2016

The Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2016
Luke 10:23-37
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

To whom is the parable of the Good Samaritan told?

We must say that Jesus is speaking to the lawyer who desired to justify himself. It’s to him that Jesus replied.

But we must also say that this parable is for every Christian who needs to know how they have been loved by God and how they ought to love their neighbor.

To whom is the parable told—there’re only two options: Jesus speaks either to unrepentant sinners or repentant sinners.

To the lawyer who desired to justify himself, Jesus speaks this parable to shock. It’s a shocking parable.

You have to understand that the Jews despised the Samaritans. And the only protagonist in the parable is the Samaritan.

If you were a Jew, hearing this parable in its original context, you would hate Jesus’ words for that reason alone.

Here’s why.

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The Twelfth Sunday after Trinity, Sermon 2016

The Twelfth Sunday after Trinity, 2016
Mark 7:31-37
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

Grace to you all, and Peace, from God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ.

Why would Jesus charge the crowd and the once-deaf man to tell no one about the miracle?

The people who brought the Deaf man to Jesus for healing understood that healing was good. They understood that ears should hear and tongues should speak.

This is how far we’ve come, how progressive we are, how much better things have gotten…

In the Gospel lesson, an ailing man was brought to Jesus for healing.

Today, that same man would be encouraged to think himself whole. Encourage a Deaf man to become hearing, for example, and you’ll receive the scorn of his community and yours.

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The Eleventh Sunday after Trinity, Sermon, 2016

The Eleventh Sunday after Trinity, 2016
Luke 18:9-14
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

We can pray to thank God for what He’s given to us. We can pray to ask God for what we need. We might think that thanking is better than asking. It seems more polite. We should thank God for the many good things He’s given us instead of taking them for granted. Showing a bit of gratitude is better than begging for more and more things. Don’t you think?

But in this particular case, the man who thanked God went home guilty as sin and the fellow who begged God went home justified. There’s nothing wrong with thanking God. We may and we should. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast endures forever” (Psalm 136:1). We pray that in the psalms as well as at the table. We thank God every day. We thank Him for what He has given us, what He is giving us, and what He will give us. When we thank God we’re confessing that God is responsible for every good thing we have in this life.

But asking God for His mercy is the best prayer we can pray. That’s because when we ask God to be merciful to us we’re confessing the greatest thing about God: He is merciful. God is merciful and we are beggars.

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The Tenth Sunday after Trinity, Sermon 2016

The Tenth Sunday after Trinity, 2016
Luke 19:41-48
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

How many times did Jesus weep?

We read of the Christ in Isaiah, “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3).

We read in Hebrews, “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence” (Hebrews 5:7).

And yet, only twice do the New Testament authors record Jesus weeping.

After the death of Lazarus, John 11:35, the shortest verse of the Bible.

And today’s gospel lesson, when at the culmination of his journey to Jerusalem Jesus draws near to the city and weeps over it.

The two recorded examples of Jesus weeping are worth looking at. It’s worth it to ask and answer the question: Why does Jesus weep?

There are ultimately two answers.

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