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Sermons

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For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

 

November 2022


November 20, 2020  "Who Is This Jesus?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 13, 2022  "Steady Faith" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

October 2022


October 30, 2022  "Tech, Time and Tithe, Part 3: Relationship Redeemers" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 23, 2022 "Tech, Time and Tithe, Part 2: Generous Givers" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 16, 2022   "Tech, Time and Tithe, Part 1: Covenant Connectors" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 2, 2022,  "Keeping the Flame Burning" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

September 2022


September 18, 2022,  "Mammon, Part I:  The Way of Righteousness" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

August 2022


August 28, 2022   "Why Do We Sing?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

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

 

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

November 20, 2022

“Who Is This Jesus?” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, November 20, 2022  -  Year C / 24th Sunday after Pentecost – Jeremiah 23:1-6  •  Psalm 46    Colossians 1:9-20  •  Luke 23:33-43

THEME:  Because Christ is who he is – Creator, Reconciler and Ruler – we can live lives that bear fruit in him and which make us truly happy.   

 

When I was in Edinburgh last June, several of my classmates in the Doctor of Ministry program decided to take a day trip to St. Andrews.  You’ll remember that St. Andrews is the home of the British Open golf championship.

For many golfers, a trip to St. Andrews is like a pilgrimage.  It’s where golf was first played in the 15th century.  Today, it is known worldwide as the home of golf.  If I’m honest, I am a duffer, not a golfer.  Nevertheless, I was up for the trip.

As we were making our plans, one of our Scottish friends reminded me that St. Andrews is also famous for something else.  The West Sands Beach, which is adjacent to one of the fairways, is where the famous opening scene of Chariots of Fire was filmed.  Do you remember that scene?

If so, you’ll also remember it is the story of Eric Liddell, Scottish missionary and Olympic sprinter.  A devout Christian, Liddell famously refused to run in an Olympic qualifying heat because it was held on the Sabbath.

As good as he was at running, Eric Liddell was even more effective as an evangelist.  One of his great gifts was the way he could translate faith for ordinary people.  He often did this by comparing the life of faith to running a race. 

For example, in 1924, shortly after returning from the Olympic games in Paris, he said, “It has been a wonderful experience to compete in the Olympic Games and to bring home a gold medal.  But ever since I was a young lad, I have had my eye on a different prize.  You see, each one of us is in a greater race than any I have run in Paris, and this race ends when God gives out the medals.”

This is how he inspired others to consider the fundamental question of Christian faith: “Who is this Jesus?”

That is the question everyone in the gospels is asking, too, from the least to the greatest.  Herod hears rumors of Jesus and his miracles, and cannot wait to meet him.  Could Jesus really be a resurrected prophet like Elijah?

Pilate hears that the people are clamoring after Jesus, proclaiming him King of the Jews.  He, too, is consumed by curiosity.  Is Jesus really a king?

Throughout the centuries, people have continued to ask this same question.  Who is this Jesus?  And there is no shortage of answers.

For some, Jesus is just a man.  He is merely a 1st century Palestinian Jew.  For others, Jesus is a sage, a wise teacher, a rabbi.  There are even some who say he was actually a pharisee.

The best answer lies in the passage I read a moment ago.  In all of scripture, there is no more magnificent description of Christ than this one.  For Paul, Christ is not only a real flesh-and-blood human being who walked the earth.  Christ is God.  That means he is Creator, Reconciler, and Ruler.

So, let’s start at the very beginning, with creation.  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.  That is how the gospel of John begins.  It’s his version of the creation story in Genesis.

What John is saying is that God’s creative Word was Christ.  Does that sound odd to you?

We are so used to focusing on Jesus’ earthly life in 1st century Palestine that we sometimes lose sight of the fact that he is the eternal Christ.  As Revelation puts it, he is the alpha and the omega, the first and the last, the one who was, who is, and is to come.

Paul makes the same affirmation.  For him, Jesus Christ is the one in whom, through whom, and for whom all things were created.  Before anything else existed, Christ existed as the logos of God, the Word of God.  When God spoke the world into being, Christ was his creative Word.

That means that Christ is the life force of all creation, both the things we can see, and the things we can’t see.  These include the moon and the stars.  Mountains and oceans, animals and plants, and, of course, humankind, too. 

They also include invisible forces that move us:  wind, gravity, and love.  All of it exists for Christ and because of Christ.

Christ is more than the Creator.  He’s also the Reconciler.  When we humans got too full of ourselves and thought we could do without God, it was Christ whom God sent to bring us back to him.

In our rebellion, we dug ourselves a great big ditch separating us from God.  But God would not stand for that.  In Christ, God came into the world to bridge that gulf of sin, so that you and I, and everyone else could be reconnected with him.

And because God did that, we now know what God is like.  If you want to know God, just look at Jesus.  Paul puts it beautifully, in Christ, all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.

In addition to being God’s force of creation and reconciliation, Christ is also the Ruler of God’s Kingdom.  We get glimpses of his Kingdom today, especially in the life of his church, but the best is yet to come.  When he returns, Christ will welcome us all into his Kingdom as it settles finally, firmly, and forever on earth. 

That’s enough theology for one day.  We can sum it up by saying that Christ is God.  Yes, he was also very much a human being, as human as you or I.  But he is also very much God.  He always was, and he always will be.

So, then the real question is how do we live differently because of whom we understand Christ to be?  This is what Paul wants the Colossians to understand. 

One of my professors used to say that when you’re reading a text from the Bible, pay close attention to words that are repeated.  They give you a very good clue to the meaning of the passage.

And that is certainly the case here.  Did you notice the word “all” in this passage?  I’ll bet you did.  Paul uses it nine times.

All things in heaven and earth.  Firstborn of all creation.  Before all things.  In him all things hold together.  And so on.

Paul’s point is crystal clear.  Nothing is outside of Christ.  There is nothing the Colossians might face, no circumstance they might encounter, and no hardship they might have to overcome, in which Christ is not already there.  Whatever the challenge to their faith, Christ is the solution.

Paul assures them that Christ is in all, that all has been forgiven, and all will be well – for all time.

Understanding that about Christ allows them to know God better.  They can hear God’s will more clearly.  And in their living, they will bear more of the fruit God finds pleasing:  justice, mercy and love.  That is what Paul means by becoming spiritually wise. 

That doesn’t mean life will be easy.  In fact, just the opposite!  

To overcome the challenge of living as Christ’s faithful disciples in a world that thinks Jesus is just an ordinary man like any other, they are going to need endurance, and endurance requires strength.  Paul knows exactly where they can get that strength.  It’s the same place Jesus got his.  

“May you be made strong,” he tells them, “with all the strength that comes from God’s glorious power.  May you be prepared to endure everything with patience, joyfully giving thanks to the Father.”

That was the source of Eric Liddell’s strength, too.  After he set an Olympic record in the grueling 400-meters, someone asked him how he did it.  He said, “I run the first 200 meters as hard as I can.  Then, for the second 200 meters, with God’s help, I run harder.”

For Liddell, God also the power we need to run the race of faith.  Speaking to a crowd after one of his races, he said, “And where does the power come from, to see the race to its end?  From within.” 

He went on to quote Jesus, who said, “‘Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you.  If with all your hearts, you truly seek me, you shall ever surely find me.’” 

Liddell assured the crowd, “If you commit yourself to the love of Christ, that is how you run a straight race.”

Which means committing ourselves to the love of anything else besides Christ keeps us running in circles, getting tired and getting nowhere.
 

Friends, which race are you running?  

What goal are you are running toward?

Whose medal will you receive when you get there?

 

The race many people run is called the rat race.  The goals are financial success, career advancement, and – above all – self-importance.  The medals they seek are more stuff and more status:  bigger and better houses, higher income, more power, and greater influence. 

It is an exhausting race.  It leaves us feeling like hamsters running on a wheel.  Working really hard, sacrificing relationships with the people nearest to us, but not really getting anywhere worth going.

 

There is a better way.  There is a better race.  The best race, in fact.  The goal is Christ, and God is the one who gives out the medals. 

It’s the only race worth running. 

Let’s go for it.

 

May it be so.  

Last Published: November 21, 2022 9:59 AM
Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

 

November 2022


November 20, 2020  "Who Is This Jesus?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 13, 2022  "Steady Faith" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

October 2022


October 30, 2022  "Tech, Time and Tithe, Part 3: Relationship Redeemers" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 23, 2022 "Tech, Time and Tithe, Part 2: Generous Givers" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 16, 2022   "Tech, Time and Tithe, Part 1: Covenant Connectors" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 2, 2022,  "Keeping the Flame Burning" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

September 2022


September 18, 2022,  "Mammon, Part I:  The Way of Righteousness" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

August 2022


August 28, 2022   "Why Do We Sing?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

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

 

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

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