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Grace Alone Online

Author: Greg Klotz

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Weekly sermons from Grace Lutheran Church, 195 Alvarado Avenue, Pittsburg, California, 94565
100 Episodes
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Power is one of Paul’s main themes in the letter to the Romans. Last week we saw the power of God, through Christ, in Baptism. Paul, however, presents both the power of the Law and the power of the Gospel throughout his letter. But the power of both are totally different. Today we explore Romans, chapter 7:1-13. Here we learn that the power of the Law never justifies and never makes us righteous. And, to live by the law means making yourself look righteous before God. But to live by the law leave Christ out of the picture. You cannot live by the power of the law and the Gospel. We learn that being buried in our Baptisms with Christ, is live under the power of the Gospel.
Today we begin a study of Paul's letter to the Romans beginning with chapter 6 and continuing through to the end of the Epistle.  Every week we will take a different chapter, and a different message.  Today we begin with Baptism.  Why in the middle of the letter to the Romans?  Why not the beginning?  There is a good reason....listen and find out.  You may also join us for the full worship service or a video sermon at www.gracealoneonline.org/sermons.
Rev. Michael Lange, President of the California, Nevada and Hawaii District of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod is our guest preacher today.
On Trinity Sunday the Matthew 18:19 passage in which Jesus sends his  disciples into the world to preach and baptize in the name of the  father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit (The Trinity).  Little attention  is given to Jesus' words before His command that say, "All authority in  heaven and earth has been given to me."  In our society today, with  protests, rioting, looting, we have a huge problem with "authority".   What is Jesus' authority? How are we to understand that authority in  light of the authority that is in the world.
Pentecost - the pouring out of God's Holy Spirit at the Festival of first Fruits (Shavuot), in Jerusalem - is the day which God confirms Christ as Lord in and through the Apostle's preaching.  He (God) takes a legal obligation of Moses, to give thanks for the first fruits of harvest, and make is a celebration of the first fruits unto eternal through the resurrection of Christ Jesus.  We are, through Christ, the harvest brought in to give glory to God, through the power of the Holy Spirit as God's Word of the Good News is preached to all.  How is Pentecost a real ongoing happening even today?
Glory and suffering don't go together naturally.  In our culture we have the phrase NO PAIN, NO GAIN.  All the responsibility for gain and glory in our culture is through our own suffering.  And, when we don't get the glory we think we should - many would say it is because we didn't have enough pain in the training, or whatever.  We are bent on thinking that our glory comes at our own expense, our suffering and pain.  If we endure we will get the prize.  But what if we don't?  I mean, does our pain and suffering "guarantee" the glory?  In no way.  Many people make the ultimate sacrifice without the glory.  So if that's the way it is in our society, how is it any different from the Christian?  Well, it is.  Jesus, St. Paul and St. Peter tell us why suffering is a part of the glory we experience "in Christ".  Find out why Christians find glory even in suffering.
"In Christ...."  This phrase is used all the time by Christians to describe their salvation.  In fact, it is used so frequently it almost becomes cliché and void of what it really means.  What DOES it mean to be in Christ?  St. Paul uses it some 164 times in his 13 epistles alone.  I believe the secret is Jesus' teaching in John 14:1-14.  Jesus reveals two things about himself and the faith of his disciples and they revolve around the two questions asked by Thomas and Philip.  First, he reveals that he is the way, the truth, and the life.  (This was our focus in last week's sermon.)  Today we focus on Philip's question to which Jesus answers "I am IN the Father and the Father is IN me..."  Simple words - not so simple meaning.  The Christian is in JEsus, the same way the Father is in Christ.  Find out the deep meanings to this text!
We are in the Fifth Sunday after Easter, and yet John 14 takes us back to the beginning of Holy Week when Jesus teaches his disciples shortly after Palm Sunday.  His goal is to prepare them for this week of suffering, trials, his crucifixion and resurrection.  He starts by saying, "You believe in God; believe also in me."  And then moves to tell them he is going to the Father to prepare a place for them.  The questions come from Thomas and Philip and move our story along giving Jesus the opportunity to tell them, and us, who He really is and where he is going and WHY he is going there.  He is the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE but why?  And why such exclusive claims which really clashed with our pluralistic religious culture in the USA.  Listen in and find out.
Jesus enters and greets His disciples after His resurrection.  They are afraid as if they had seen a ghost - which Jesus is NOT.  Jesus teaches them - AND US - about our fears, our hurts and our hesitancy in light of His resurrection.  Listen in to valuable comfort and encouragement.
I loved show and tell as a kid.  In second grade of elementary school every Friday we had to bring something that interested us and share and talk about it in front of the class; it was our very first public speaking opportunity.  Luke has a "show and tell" story at the end of his Gospel that we will investigate today.  Find out what this "show and tell" event is about!
Jesus says to his disciples, "Peace be with you."  He says it no less than three times in the space of a few sentences.  And though statement "No peace, no Jesus - Know peace, know Jesus" is trite, it is also true.... but perhaps not in the way you think it is.  There are differences between the Roman (and our) concept of peace and what Jesus shares with his disciples in John 20.  What did Jesus actually mean when talking about peace, and how do we get it.  Today, we learn how Jesus' words invite us into peace.
Most every Easter, John 20 is read as the ultimate narrative for the resurrection.  It is the g-to text for Easter; Mark 16:1-8 is not.  In most lectionaries it is avoided or simply not read.  It is not dramatic at all.  It leaves you hanging.  The women who go to the tomb leave running from it in fear and bewilderment.  They don't even see Jesus.  What was Mark thinking?  Is part of the text of Mark missing?  The Gospel ends at verse 8, however, in most bibles verses 9-20 have a note saying, "these verses are not found in the most reliable, or older manuscripts."  What does this mean?  Does it mean Mark is missing something here?  I assure you he is not....and here is why.....
Today is Palm Sunday!  Jesus rides into Jerusalem, the city of peace over which he cries because they kill the prophets and God's messengers.  and, they will kill him.  Why will people not listen to God's beckoning call to trust in Him alone.  Why do they seek only themselves and their own destruction?  Jesus weeps for His people, and us, who are obstinate to come to Him in all things.  God's love is ever-present and visible in Jesus' ride in peace to meet his own sacrificial death which brings about life, forgiveness and triumph over the ultimate enemy: death.
Row, Row, Row Your Boat is a well-known children's song.  But, this song comes to mind when talking about the river of life that we are on.  Christians are on a river of life, eternal life.  It is marked by being swept away by God's grace in the waters of Baptism.  God controls the river, the current, and we can either actively engage ourselves with where it is taking us through life, or we can be passive, and just float down the river.  Floating, however, has specific dangers that we don't think about.  Actively engaging in the direction of the river, however, is no less hazardous.  the difference?  God is leading, God is providing as we walk with Him.  We can also see all lives, Christian or not, as a river.  The flow of life itself is something a person cannot control, only God can.  This become clear in today's message where Paul and Lydia meet at a riverside.  Their river currents brought them to this location.  Were they passive or active in being brought together?  Are you actively engaging in where God is directing you?  Listen in and think about it.
This is the fourth Sunday in Lent, and also the second week of lockdown in PIttsburg, California.  Today's we explore the Dark Side of God.  The metaphors we find in Scripture are Light and Darkness.  Light is almost associated with Christ in the New Testament.  In Old Testament, God's glory and holiness is enshrouded in darkness.  In Genesis, in fact, we are told that God existed in the darkness of the firmaments before He created, from nothing, the light.  He is the light that shattered the darkness - however - he also dwells in darkness.  There is a dark side to God; one that is unknown, unfathomable, feared and awe-filled.  We do not know that side of God except in judgment, his wrath, his punishment for sin which is death.  As creatures who have fallen away from God, we do not see God in the darkness except through his light sent to this world: Jesus Christ.  We know him by faith.  Faith walks in the darkness of these times of COVID-19.  Let's walk together.
For this and next Sunday, our worship services at Grace Lutheran Pittsburg, California, will be online - in an audible format.  This is due as a prevention of contamination from the Corona virus in our area.   Today's Lenten meditation is GOD'S WILL and MY IDENTITY.  The focus for today is on Mary, the mother of Jesus.  So many myths, stories, legend surround this amazing woman.  But what does Scriptures actually say, that make her so special.  Although we do not worship or venerate Mary, she is an important woman whom God chose to bring forth the Savior of this world.  How have you known her? stereotypes? What can we learn from her....about ourselves.  Listen in.
King David had big plans for the Lord.  He was going to build him a temple.  He didn't think that the Lord should live in a tent while He, King David, was living in a palace.  His dreams were inspired by the Holy Spirit, and approved by Nathan, the prophet, that told him to go ahead and build it to serve the Lord.  David was happy.  But that was not the Lord's plan.  Did David fail?  did he sin?  No, he just didn't see the big picture.  Has that happened to you?  Listen in...
ALL NEW SERMONS AS OF FEBRUARY 23.  Today is the First Sunday in Lent.  Lent is the period of self-examination and repentance in spiritual preparation for the death and resurrection of Christ marked by Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter Sunday.  Tbis Lenten series focuses on specific characters of the Bible.  Today is MOSES. We explore the texts of Exodus 4, Numbers 20 and Numbers 21 about Moses and the burning bush, Moses and the water flowing form the rock and Moses and the bronze serpent.  Each of these episodes in the life of Moses tell us something about Moses and his relationship with God.  They tell us more, however, about God His patience, mercy and fidelity in bringing inept and inadequate people into lives of grace and mercy toward others.  for all practical purposes Moses' life and calling is no different than those of any Christian.  Find how much we are alike, but also how much God is for us. 
For the last six weeks "old sermons" have been posted as we have been doing other things in the congregation that simply could not be posted.  TODAY IS A NEW SERMON.  We end the season of the Epiphany with the Transfiguration of Jesus.  Why did this happen!  Why was Jesus transfigured before three of his disciples, and in the presence of Moses and Elijah?  For whose benefit?  What needed to be said or shown that wasn't already shown to the disciples?  The Gospel writers of this story place this transfiguration as the "changing" point of Jesus life ministry.  Jesus now prepares to walk the road to Jerusalem and his crucifixion.  Some interesting things about this story jump out historically and for the believer.  We must investigate.  Listen in....
My  faith is running on empty.  So should yours!  In his letter to the  Corinthians, Paul takes issue with a problem Christians were having  about the tension between what was preached and the proof of that word.   This tension exists for us too.  For example, to say, "I love you" is  empty and meaningless unless it is backed up by "proof".  So what is the  value of words.  Is the resurrection a fairy-tale story made up of  words only?  Is is there an historical impact behind that!  Listen on...
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