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Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

 

August 2022


August 7, 2022 "The Essence of Faith" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

July 2022


July 24, 2022 "God's Goodness, Part 4: The Judge Who Shows Mercy" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 17, 2022  "God's Goodness, Part 3: The Covenant Partner Who Blesses" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 10, 2022 "God's Goodness, Part 2: The Law-giver Who Prospers" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2022


June 19, 2022 "Words from the Wise: Gamaliel" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

June 12, 2022 "The Trinity: The Holy Spirit" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

June 5, 2022  "The Day the Universe Changed" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

May 2022


May 29, 2022  "Easter Discipleship, Part 5: Waiting with Joy" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 22, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 4: Trust in My Healing Grace" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 15, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 3: Love One Another (as I Have Loved You)" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 8, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 2: Follow My Voice" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 1, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 1: Feed My Sheep" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 2022


April 17, 2022 "New Life, or an Idle Tale?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 10, 2022 "The Deeper Meaning" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

March 2022


March 13, 2022  "Images of Jesus- Part II: Friend of the Cross" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

February 2022


February 13, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part III: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2022


January 30, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part I:  Acts of Love" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2, 2022  "Jesus Draws a Crowd" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 2021


December 19, 2021 "Advent Anticipation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 5, 2021 "Advent 2: Wilderness Preparation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 2021


November 14, 2021 "How It All Ends, Part 2: Resurrection" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 7, 2021 "How It All Ends, Part 1: Return" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 2021


October 31, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 5: Steward God's Gifts" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 24, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 4: Nurture Relationships" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 17, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 3: Share Hospitality by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 10, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 2: Show Compassion" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 3, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 1: Glorify God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 2021


September 19, 2021  "Gentle Wisdom, or Worldly Ways?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 12, 2021  "Prophetic Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 5, 2021  "A Vision of Our Future" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

August 2021


August 15, 2021  "Wise Living" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 2021


July 4, 2021  "Humility Over Hubris" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2021


June 27, 2021  "Faith Over Fear" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 2021


May 30, 2021  "The Spirit, Part 3: :Life and Peace" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 23, 2021  "The Spirit, Part 2: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 16, 2021  "The Spirit, Part I: Wisdom and Revelation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 9, 2021  "Love Actually, Part 4: Love and Christ" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 2, 2021  "Love Actually, Part 3: Love and God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 2021


April 25, 2021  "Love Actually, Part II: Love in Action" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 18, 2021  "Love Actually, Part I: Love and Family" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

Easter, April 4, 2021  "How Does It End?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

March 2021


March 28, 2021  "The King We Weren't Expecting" by Rev. Don Wahlig

March 14, 2021  "The Cure for Snake Bite" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

February 2021


February 28, 2021  "Are you Kidding, God?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 14, 2021  "Premature Joy" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 7, 2021  "Need a Liftt?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

 

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

July 10, 2022

“God’s Goodness, Part 2:  The Law-giver Who Prospers” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, July 10, 2022  -  Year C / 6th Sunday after Pentecost -  Deuteronomy 30:9-14 and Psalm 25:1-10  •  Colossians 1:1-14  •  Luke 10:25-37

THEME:  God is always ready to give second chances and blessing for those willing to obey him.

 

Have you ever yearned for a second chance?  I’m talking about finding yourself in a horrible, painful situation – maybe even in dire straits.  Maybe it was because of something you did or failed to do.  And then, desperately wishing – hoping against hope – for a way to make it right?

I think we’ve all had that experience.  I can remember as a teenager, my very first car accident.  It was a Saturday morning.  I was driving home from the University of Delaware where I was auditing a music theory course.  I had been out late the night before with friends.  I was really tired.     

As I approached a traffic light at an intersection, I had become distracted.  I didn’t notice that the car ahead of me had stopped and was signaling for a left-hand turn.  Only at the last moment did I see them.  I hit the brakes, but it was too late.  I rear-ended them, almost at full speed.

For a good few moments, I was in shock.  I didn’t know what to do.  The full gravity of the situation began to hit me when an older couple got out of the othger car.  I had no idea if they were hurt or not.  They were understandably very upset.  The police eventually came.  We exchanged information and I was able to get a ride home. 

At home, as you can imagine, my mother was none too pleased.  As we sat at the kitchen table, all I could think was how badly I had messed up.  I just kept thinking about that older couple. 

The worst thing was there was nothing I could do about it.  It felt like the end of the world.  All I could do was wish for a second chance, a chance to do things differently, to get it right.

And I suspect the Jews who are hearing the words I read earlier feel that very same way.

These words come from the final portion of the book of Deuteronomy.  The heart of that book is, of course, the Jewish law.  It includes the 10 Commandments as well as the other 600-plus statutes that govern the relationship between God and God’s people.

Moses is addressing these words to all the tribal Elders, their families and the foreigners who live among them – in other words, absolutely everybody. 

They are standing across the Jordan River from Canaan.  But Moses won’t live to make that trip. This is his farewell speech to the people as they prepare to set foot in the land of milk and honey that God promised their ancestor Abraham.

Moses makes clear that the people have a choice to make.  They must choose between faithful obedience to Yahweh that leads to a life of blessing, and rebellious idolatry that leads to a life that is cursed.

If they choose to reject foreign gods and instead worship Yahweh alone and obey his commandments, they will prosper in the promised land.  There they will live a life of overflowing abundance.

But if they continue to worship foreign gods, as many among them appear to be doing, they will suffer, and suffer horribly.  They will be conquered by foreign nations, their loved ones will be killed and they will be taken into exile.  

There’s something odd here.  Maybe you noticed it.  The text makes it clear that this has already happened. 

For that reason, many people believe that this portion of Deuteronomy, although purportedly the words of Moses, was actually written much later and addressed to the exiles returning to Jerusalem from Babylon.

Remember them?  We focused on them last week.  We highlighted God’s gracious, comforting promise to them of a renewed future in Jerusalem - if they are willing to work for it.

This morning, in part 2 of this 4-part sermon series on God’s goodness, we get another picture of God.  We see his relentless love for his people that moves him to give them the gift of the law.

You and I, as Christians tend to de-emphasize the Jewish law.  That’s because we have been given the new law of love in the person of Jesus Christ.  But, when we treat the Jewish law so lightly, we are overlooking what it reveals about God and God’s grace.

The law was much more than just some archaic list of dos and don’ts, of bizarre food restrictions and prohibitions against combining different kinds of fabric.  The law was the means by which God’s people could live in loving relationship with him and with one another.

Even further, it provided the mechanism for correcting and mending breaches in those relationships, so that harmonious communal life could resume.  In other words, the law gave the people a second chance. 

And that includes the exiles.  Their persistent idolatry and rebellion against God led to Jerusalem’s downfall and their deportation into exile.  Now, as they return, God is giving them a second chance.  What they make of it, and the type of community they become, is up to them.  They must choose:  God or idols?  Life or death?  Blessing or curse.  

Friends, that is a choice you and I must make, too.  We have no shortage of false gods in this world.  There are some obvious ones:  power, money, material goods. 

And there are some less obvious ones.  Comfort, beauty, and fame.  Even good things like sex, education, science and even religious doctrine can become idols when they usurp the devotion that belongs to God and God alone.

If that makes you pause and consider your own life through a critical lens, with perhaps a bit of trepidation, you are not alone.  As our theological ancestor, John Calvin, famously wrote, the human heart is a veritable factory of idols.

We are experts at finding other things to love besides God.  But, in the end, none of those things can love us back.  That’s because they all boil down to the love of ourselves.  Every idol we construct is rooted in the love of self that poisons our hearts.  It’s the attempt to remake God in our image, when in fact we are made in his.

And the kind of community our self-centered idolatry creates is not a particularly happy one.  It’s a community where the rich get richer and don’t care that the poor get poorer.  It’s a community where the old and the sick are pitied, but not helped.  It’s a community where the strong and the powerful get their way, while the weak and the marginalized suffer.

That is a far cry from the kind of God-centered, other-serving community that he intends for us.  And that’s where the law comes in.  The law is something practical that the people can do in ordinary, everyday life to show their love and devotion to God by loving and serving their neighbor. 

That’s how Jesus summed it up:  love God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind, and your neighbor as yourself.  Do this and you shall live. God promises that, if we turn to him, he will circumcise our hearts, marking us his own and drawing us into his covenant of abundant life.

But what does this actually look like in practice?

        Let me introduce you to a man named Neil Volz.  As a college student at Ohio State in the 1990s, Neil began volunteering for his local congressman.  Within a few years, he became chief of staff.  Then, as often happens in DC, he became a lobbyist.  He was married, earning $500K/year and living the kind of high-flying life that many people dream about.

        But then the bottom fell out. I will let Neil tell you the rest of his story.  

        [ Ryan:  play video:  https://youtu.be/7S4DkYKz6Po ]

        Neil is right.  When people are given a second chance, more often than not, they prosper and the community gets better.  But it’s up to them to choose the path that leads to life. 

That’s what Neil did.  One of the homeless men he worked with in Washington DC suggested that he return to church.  He did.  And that is what led him to take his second chance.  He devoted his life to following Christ by serving his neighbor, especially folks like him who need a second chance.

What about you?  Do you need a second chance?  Has someone ever given you a second chance? 

I got a second chance.  The couple I hit were not seriously hurt and I became a much better driver.  That wasn’t the only second chance I’ve gotten in life – not by a long shot. 

That’s because our God specializes in second chances.  In his eyes, there are no lost causes, only people and lives and communities to be redeemed. 

He was even willing to become one of us and die for us to give us a second chance at abundant life.  

God wants us to prosper.  He wants us to help others prosper.  That is the covenant into which he invites us in Jesus Christ. 

Let’s say yes.  Let’s choose obedience and life, and then let’s enjoy his blessing.

May it be so.   

  

Last Published: July 11, 2022 8:54 AM
Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

 

August 2022


August 7, 2022 "The Essence of Faith" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

July 2022


July 24, 2022 "God's Goodness, Part 4: The Judge Who Shows Mercy" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 17, 2022  "God's Goodness, Part 3: The Covenant Partner Who Blesses" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 10, 2022 "God's Goodness, Part 2: The Law-giver Who Prospers" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2022


June 19, 2022 "Words from the Wise: Gamaliel" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

June 12, 2022 "The Trinity: The Holy Spirit" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

June 5, 2022  "The Day the Universe Changed" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

May 2022


May 29, 2022  "Easter Discipleship, Part 5: Waiting with Joy" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 22, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 4: Trust in My Healing Grace" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 15, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 3: Love One Another (as I Have Loved You)" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 8, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 2: Follow My Voice" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 1, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 1: Feed My Sheep" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 2022


April 17, 2022 "New Life, or an Idle Tale?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 10, 2022 "The Deeper Meaning" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

March 2022


March 13, 2022  "Images of Jesus- Part II: Friend of the Cross" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

February 2022


February 13, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part III: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2022


January 30, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part I:  Acts of Love" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2, 2022  "Jesus Draws a Crowd" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 2021


December 19, 2021 "Advent Anticipation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 5, 2021 "Advent 2: Wilderness Preparation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 2021


November 14, 2021 "How It All Ends, Part 2: Resurrection" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 7, 2021 "How It All Ends, Part 1: Return" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 2021


October 31, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 5: Steward God's Gifts" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 24, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 4: Nurture Relationships" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 17, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 3: Share Hospitality by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 10, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 2: Show Compassion" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 3, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 1: Glorify God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 2021


September 19, 2021  "Gentle Wisdom, or Worldly Ways?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 12, 2021  "Prophetic Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 5, 2021  "A Vision of Our Future" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

August 2021


August 15, 2021  "Wise Living" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 2021


July 4, 2021  "Humility Over Hubris" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2021


June 27, 2021  "Faith Over Fear" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 2021


May 30, 2021  "The Spirit, Part 3: :Life and Peace" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 23, 2021  "The Spirit, Part 2: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 16, 2021  "The Spirit, Part I: Wisdom and Revelation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 9, 2021  "Love Actually, Part 4: Love and Christ" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 2, 2021  "Love Actually, Part 3: Love and God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 2021


April 25, 2021  "Love Actually, Part II: Love in Action" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 18, 2021  "Love Actually, Part I: Love and Family" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

Easter, April 4, 2021  "How Does It End?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

March 2021


March 28, 2021  "The King We Weren't Expecting" by Rev. Don Wahlig

March 14, 2021  "The Cure for Snake Bite" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

February 2021


February 28, 2021  "Are you Kidding, God?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 14, 2021  "Premature Joy" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 7, 2021  "Need a Liftt?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

 

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

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