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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
106 Episodes
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When we look up bible passages that meet only our momentary needs to avoid worrying, avoid temptation, help us through the day, Christianity becomes something it was never intended to be: a private, personal religion. It becomes something you turn to not when you enter the world but when you retreat from it. It’s something you read in your private devotional time and you look forward to that moment when it is “just me and Jesus.” God becomes something like our best friend, a person who supports us when times get tough, and someone who helps us accomplish our plans and fulfill our dreams. The problem, of course, is that we have reversed roles with God. Rather than us being servants in God’s kingdom, God becomes a servant in ours. Rather than us being brought into God’s greater story, God is brought into ours.  We explore why Paul is willing to sacrifice even himself for the sake of his Jewish brothers and sisters to come to the knowledge of Christ!  What does it mean for you and me?!
Nothing can separate you from the love of Christ.  Paul makes it a point of reminding us that even though we live among the ruins of sin in the world and in our own lives, that Christ's death and resurrection restores the ruined world to God.  We are given new life; forgiven life.  He teaches us that a new perspective to view our suffering world, one in which we can be sure that in spite of the those things in our lives which seem to separate us from God, or make us think that God has abandoned us, that in the midst of the pain is Christ resurrection glory ....  which is eternally ours.  In it we can see that it is not Christ who is with us, but we who are called to be in Christ.
What is the life Spirit of all Christians as they struggle daily with evil and pestilence in the world, their own temptations, fear, mistrust? Do we look to ourselves? The security that is offered on commercials, in the news, to our government, local authorities to help us through? In his letter to the Romans, Paul has presented us with Christ, who creates us new as we are buried with Him and rise to new life in Him. He presents us with Christ, Our Deliverer. Then, he shows us God, Our Father, who is loving and forgives our sins daily. Today, Paul continues talking about the work of the Trinity in chapter 8. He presents us with the work of the Holy Spirit, Our Intercessor. We are here today because God’s Spirit in us points us to look only to Him who has delivered us, to Him who is our Father. Today’s theme: The Holy Spirit, Our Intercessor.
We continue to preach through Paul's letter of Romans.  Last Sunday, Paul presented "Christ, our Deliverer".  This Sunday, he presents his readers to "God, Our Father."  God claims sinners His children and heirs through the sacrificial death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.  God is Father to all creation, but creation has abandoned God.  He delivers them through His Son, and claims them no longer as slaves to sin, but as sons and heirs of God and His Kingdom.  Why?  How can this be?  .....
Continuing on in our sermon series on the book of Romans, Paul talks about our struggle to be faithful to Christ and not sin; about doing what we do not want to do instead of what we know to be that very thing which pleases the Lord and shows our love for others. Paul’s answer is illustrated through a common image known to all during the life of Paul …. Through an image on a silver chalice. As Christians we still struggle with faithfulness, Christ proves himself faithful. Christ is both conqueror of death and merciful Savior. Christ also comes to us in bread and wine, in a chalice, with forgiveness given to us in his body and blood.
4th of July reflections on the opening phrase of the Constitution "We  the People in order to form a more perfect union..." has meaning deeper  than the individual person, or the individual person's history.  An  interesting parallel exists between what the history of our constitution  means for us today, and what Moses tells the people of Israel in Deut.  5:1. (And, it's not any prophecy about the USA or that we are a chosen  nation!).  Find out how and why Christians belong to two nations!
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.
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