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Sermons

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For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

November 2020


November 15, 2020  "Accepting Your Mission" by Rev. Don Wahlig

November 1, 2020  "The Hope of the Saints" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

October 2020


October 18, 2020  "Whose Image Do You Bear?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

October 11, 2020  "Righteous Clothing" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

September 2020


September 13, 2020  "The Circle of Grace" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

August 2020


August 9, 2020  "Faithful Witness in Thyatira" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

July 2020


July 5, 2020  "Sanctification:  An Old Struggle" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

June 2020


June 28, 2020  "Sanctification:  A New Ethic" by Rev. Don Wahlig

June 21, 2020 "Sanctification:  A New Mindset"  by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

May 2020


May 31, 2020 "Witness Power" by Rev. Don Wahlig

May 10, 2020 "Show Us the Father" by Rev. Don Wahlig

May 3, 2020 "Abundant Life Amid the Sheep" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

April 2020


April 26, 2020 "We Had Hoped..." by Rev. Don Wahlig

April 12, 2020 "Meet You in Galilee" by Rev. Don Wahlig

April 5, 2020 "The Kingdom and the Cup" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

March 2020


March 29, 2020 "Lazarus:  Faith in New Life in Christ" by Rev. Don Wahlig

March 15, 2020  "Faith in the Wilderness: Moses" by Rev. Don Wahlig

March 8, 2020  "Faith on the Road: Abraham" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

February 2020


February 16, 2020  "God's Growing Wisdom: our Faith" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 9, 2020  "God's Hidden Wisdom: the Spirit" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 2, 2020  "God's Foolish Wisdom: the Cross" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

January 2020


January 26, 2020  "God's Gospel Wisdom:  Christ" by Rev. Don Wahlig

January 5, 2020  "God's Heavenly Guidance" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

December 2019


December 29, 2019  "Traveling Tips" by Rev. Don Wahlig

December 24, 2019  "The Embodiment of Love" by Rev. Don Wahlig

December 8, 2019  "The Path to Peace" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

November 2019


November 24, 2019  "How to Recognize Your King" by Rev. Don Wahlig

November 17, 2019  "A Good Ending" by Rev. Don Wahlig

November 3, 2019  "What Makes a Saint?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

October 2019


October 20, 2019  "Money as Means" by Rev. Don Wahlig

October 6, 2019  "A New Family" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

September 2019


September 15, 2019  "Sight? Or Insight?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

August 2019


August 25, 2019  "Seeing as God Sees" by Rev. Don Wahlig

August 4, 2019  "Five Lies & the Truth" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

July 2019


July 28, 2019  "Walking Hand in Hand" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

June 2019


June 23, 2019  "The New, True You!" by Rev. Don Wahlig

June 16, 2019  "The Fuzzy Logic of Discernment" by Rev. Don Wahlig

June 9, 2019  "Speaking of Dreams and Visions" by Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2, 2019 "Who's the Prisoner?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

May 2019


May 5, 2019 "Vision Correction" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

April 2019


April 21, 2019 "So, Where Is He?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

April 14, 2019 "A Wondrous Love" by Rev. Don Wahlig

April 7, 2019 "For Love, or Money?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

June 21, 2020

“Sanctification: A New Mindset” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, June 21, 2020, Year A / Pentecost 4 (Proper 7) – Genesis 21:8-21 and Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17  •  Jeremiah 20:7-13 and Psalm 69:7-10, (11-15), 16-18  •  Romans 6:1b-11  •  Matthew 10:24-39

THEME:  Learn to see ourselves as dead to sin and alive in Christ in order to be his true disciples.

 

Are you a golfer?  When people ask me that question, I usually respond, “I play golf, but I’m not a golfer.  I’m a duffer, and that is a very different thing.” 

Ever since I picked up my father’s old golf clubs as a boy and tried in vain to hit a golf ball in our back yard, I have had a love-hate relationship with this game of golf.  I tend to agree with Mark Twain, who said, “Golf is a good walk spoiled.”

Golf is a difficult game.  It can take years of practice and frustration before becoming even marginally proficient. 

That makes it all the more impressive when we see someone who’s really good at it.  And especially when they perform well under the pressure of competition.  Few people have ever done that better than Jack Nicklaus.  

Jack Nicklaus played in 164 major tournaments. He won 73 of them, including 18 majors – the most ever.  His drives were long, his chips accurate and his putting inch-perfect. 

But what really allowed Jack Nicklaus to perform so well was his mind set.  Like no other golfer, as he got to the final rounds of a tournament, rather than getting nervous like so many others, Jack’s mental focus invariably improved – and so did his performance. 

When someone asked him about this uncanny ability to play well under pressure, Jack said: “I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without first having a very sharp in-focus picture of it in my head."

In other words, Jack Nicklaus was a master of the technique of visualization.  

The Soviets in the 1970s were the first to systematically introduce the technique of visualizing successful performance to give their athletes an edge.  Since then it’s become widely used by athletes in all sports.

Tiger Woods has been doing this since he was a boy. Skiers like Lyndsey Vaughn, and swimmers like Michael Phelps use it, too. 

It’s used outside of sports, too.  Oprah Winfrey and Jim Carrey use it.  So do Will Smith and JayZ.

Before they have to actually perform, they create a detailed mental image of their entire performance, from start to finish. They close their eyes and engage all their senses as they conduct a sort of mental rehearsal.  They see themselves succeeding in their minds before they have to perform for real.

The apostle Paul is recommending the very same thing to the Roman Christians.

 

Paul has already spread the gospel as far and wide as he can in the Eastern Mediterranean world.  His work there is done.

Now, he’s in search of a new mission field.  So, he looks westward.  As he surveys his map of the western Mediterranean, he sets his sights on Spain. 

He also sees that Rome is the most logical base from which to launch this new missionary journey.  So, he sits down and writes a letter to be circulated among the various Roman house churches.

His goal is to persuade them to help him in this new missionary endeavor.  He’s hoping they’ll provide funding and probably missionaries, too.  Even though he didn’t plant any of these Roman churches, he does have some friends there whom he met on his other missionary journeys.

And what he’s heard from them is not encouraging.  These Roman congregations are in the middle of a major conflict.  There are serious divisions between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians. 

And, making matters more complicated for Paul, he has to first go back to Jerusalem.  There he’ll meet with Peter and James and the rest of the leadership council to give them a report on his controversial mission to the Gentiles.

He’s bringing with him monetary offerings from the churches he’s been working with.  That will certainly help validate his Gentile mission in their eyes, but he knows he has to do more than that to justify his revolutionary missionary efforts.

So, this letter he’s writing is not only for the Roman churches.  It’s also for the Jerusalem leadership.  To both groups, he has to demonstrate how the gospel is not only for Jews, but for Gentiles, too.

The result is the single most coherent and compelling articulation of the good news anywhere in the Bible.  It is a theology of grace as the means of salvation, standing in stark contrast to the law.

He begins by reminding the Roman Christians they are justified in God’s eyes solely by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  All of them, Jew and Gentile alike, first experienced that grace when they were baptized.  In those baptismal waters, they died to sin in order to become alive in Christ. 

What’s required of them is to see themselves that way:  dead to sin, and alive in Christ.  Only then can they lead a life of true discipleship, a life devoted to God’s purposes of love and justice. 

There are some, however, who believe they can take a shortcut.

These folks make a perverse, hedonistic argument that goes like this: “If I’m forgiven no matter what I do, then it doesn’t matter how much I sin.  In fact, if God’s grace increases as sin increases, then I might as well do whatever I please.”

That’s not going to wash with Paul.  “By no means!” he says.  He’s objecting to what the great German Pastor and Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer called cheap grace. 

“Cheap grace,” Bonhoeffer said, “is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession . . . Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”

Cheap grace stands in contrast to costly grace.  Bonhoeffer says, “Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ.  It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.”

Paul advises the Romans that the only path to that true life is to consider ourselves dead to sin, and alive to God in Christ Jesus.  In other words, we have to see ourselves as free from the power of sin before we can we can be Christ’s true disciples. 

When it comes to sin, how do you see yourself?

I daresay few of us imagine ourselves to be arch sinners, completely captive to sin.  At least, I hope not!

At the same time, I don’t think any of us see ourselves as entirely holy, either.  Unless, that is, some of you have been canonized as saints and I’m just not aware of it yet!

Then it’s fair to say all of us are somewhere between wickedness and holiness.  That’s how Paul would describe himself, too.

Like him, we all live between the promise of baptism and the fulfillment of that promise in Christ’s second coming when all things will be made new, including you and me.

That means we are all works in progress. 

And the spiritual progress Paul wants of the Romans is exactly what God wants of you and me:  to cooperate with his grace by first changing the way we see ourselves.

That means you and I have to do what all those great athletes and performers do:  we have to visualize ourselves performing as true disciples, no longer controlled by sin, and alive in Christ.

So, let’s try this out.  I want us all to think of an occasion in our weekly routine when we typically find ourself giving in to sin, defined as anything that puts distance between God and us.

In that moment, what might happen if we resisted the temptation to think, “I know I shouldn’t do this, but I sin all the time anyway, so what’s one more item on the long list of things I need to ask forgiveness for?” 

Instead, what if we focused on a mental picture of the smile on God’s face as we do the selfless thing, the right thing, the Christ-like thing that puts God’s will and our neighbor’s needs ahead of our own? 

How might our relationships change – with our neighbors?  With God?  With ourselves? 

If we could manage to keep that up, we would begin to see ourselves as who we really are:  Christian disciples who, day by day, are getting stronger – not yet perfect, by any means – but better and better able to resist the pull of self-centered behavior which is always what sin boils down to. 

This is exactly what Paul has in mind for the Romans – and it’s what God has in mind for us:  that we, too, would gradually become dead to sin and alive in Christ.

Can you picture that?   Can you visualize yourself doing that?

Friends, that is how we Christians live through troubled times like these.  It’s how we beat back racism, and conquer violence. 

It’s how we keep the flame of faith, hope, love and justice burning bright in a darken world that treats these fundamental Christian ideals like fanciful pipe dreams.

And that’s how this world begins to look more and more like the next one – one disciple at a time, beginning with ourselves.

Can you see it?

Last Published: June 22, 2020 12:04 PM
Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

November 2020


November 15, 2020  "Accepting Your Mission" by Rev. Don Wahlig

November 1, 2020  "The Hope of the Saints" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

October 2020


October 18, 2020  "Whose Image Do You Bear?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

October 11, 2020  "Righteous Clothing" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

September 2020


September 13, 2020  "The Circle of Grace" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

August 2020


August 9, 2020  "Faithful Witness in Thyatira" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

July 2020


July 5, 2020  "Sanctification:  An Old Struggle" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

June 2020


June 28, 2020  "Sanctification:  A New Ethic" by Rev. Don Wahlig

June 21, 2020 "Sanctification:  A New Mindset"  by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

May 2020


May 31, 2020 "Witness Power" by Rev. Don Wahlig

May 10, 2020 "Show Us the Father" by Rev. Don Wahlig

May 3, 2020 "Abundant Life Amid the Sheep" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

April 2020


April 26, 2020 "We Had Hoped..." by Rev. Don Wahlig

April 12, 2020 "Meet You in Galilee" by Rev. Don Wahlig

April 5, 2020 "The Kingdom and the Cup" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

March 2020


March 29, 2020 "Lazarus:  Faith in New Life in Christ" by Rev. Don Wahlig

March 15, 2020  "Faith in the Wilderness: Moses" by Rev. Don Wahlig

March 8, 2020  "Faith on the Road: Abraham" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

February 2020


February 16, 2020  "God's Growing Wisdom: our Faith" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 9, 2020  "God's Hidden Wisdom: the Spirit" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 2, 2020  "God's Foolish Wisdom: the Cross" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

January 2020


January 26, 2020  "God's Gospel Wisdom:  Christ" by Rev. Don Wahlig

January 5, 2020  "God's Heavenly Guidance" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

December 2019


December 29, 2019  "Traveling Tips" by Rev. Don Wahlig

December 24, 2019  "The Embodiment of Love" by Rev. Don Wahlig

December 8, 2019  "The Path to Peace" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

November 2019


November 24, 2019  "How to Recognize Your King" by Rev. Don Wahlig

November 17, 2019  "A Good Ending" by Rev. Don Wahlig

November 3, 2019  "What Makes a Saint?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

October 2019


October 20, 2019  "Money as Means" by Rev. Don Wahlig

October 6, 2019  "A New Family" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

September 2019


September 15, 2019  "Sight? Or Insight?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

August 2019


August 25, 2019  "Seeing as God Sees" by Rev. Don Wahlig

August 4, 2019  "Five Lies & the Truth" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

July 2019


July 28, 2019  "Walking Hand in Hand" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

June 2019


June 23, 2019  "The New, True You!" by Rev. Don Wahlig

June 16, 2019  "The Fuzzy Logic of Discernment" by Rev. Don Wahlig

June 9, 2019  "Speaking of Dreams and Visions" by Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2, 2019 "Who's the Prisoner?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

May 2019


May 5, 2019 "Vision Correction" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

April 2019


April 21, 2019 "So, Where Is He?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

April 14, 2019 "A Wondrous Love" by Rev. Don Wahlig

April 7, 2019 "For Love, or Money?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

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