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Sermons from Grace/Bethel

Author: Mark Haefner

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Weekly audio recordings of sermons presented at Grace Lutheran and Bethel Lutheran churches Seward and York NE. Mark A. Haefner, Pastor
99 Episodes
Why is there evil? How will it end? When will it end? Jesus answers these questions for us in his parable of the Weeds among the Wheat.
Sermon by Pastor Edwin Frederich
With a lot of experts saying different things about wearing masks or not wearing masks, about kids going to school or not going to school, it can wear you out trying to find the truth. The situation in which we find ourselves helps us identify with the people of Jesus' day who had to contend with  great Rabbis telling them different things about what they should be doing and what was sinful and what wasn't. They were wear and burdened trying to find the truth. To them, and to us, Jesus says, "Come to me for rest."
Adam and Eve could do nothing to restore their relationship with God. In grace, God took the steps necessary to restore his relationship with them. He gave them a promise. He would send a seed of a woman to crush Satan's head. By paying for sin Jesus, the seed of a woman, the virgin Mary, removed the wall of separation between God and man. Because of Jesus we are called Children of God again.
When Adam and Eve distrusted God and doubted his word they sinned. Sin destroyed their perfect relationship with God and their perfect relationship with each other. Worst of all their sinful nature has been passed down to us so that our relationship with God and with others has been destroyed. As Jesus explained to Nicodemus, flesh gives birth to sinful flesh. That's why we need to be born again by the power of the Holy Spirit working through the Gospel in word and sacrament. Only then can our relationship with God and others begin to be restored.
Before the fall into sin Adam and Eve had a perfect relationship with God and with each other. We look forward to that perfect relationship being restored in heaven. In the mean time, as the image of God is being restored in us through faith, we strive to improve our relationships as we strive to have Christ-like love for others, especially our spouses.
Adam and Eve were placed in Paradise to work it and take care of it. While still in their perfect state they had work to do. God still gives us work to do as opportunities for meaningful service to him and to our neighbor. We often fail to see work in this way. We tend to prefer idleness. Thankfully Jesus  served God and his neighbor perfectly and then paid for our idleness, laziness and discontent by his death in our place on the cross.
God created Adam and Eve as special beings, unique, different from the animals with body and soul. Some equate this with the phrase "Image of God". But when Adam and Eve sinned they lost the image of God, yet remained special, unique beings different from the animals with body and soul.  Paul helps us understand the essence of the image of God as he speak about the New Man being restored in the image of the creator, in righteousness and holiness. We look forward to the day when this image of holiness, righteousness and perfection is completely restored in us.
One of the rock solid foundations of the Christian Faith is that God is the creator of all that exists. He is Eternal, Almighty, All Wise, and loving. He also reveals himself as completely other - three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in one divine being.
The Holy Spirit works through God's Word to convince us about our sin, that Jesus is our Righteousness, and that Satan has been condemned.
The Bible says that Jesus is at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. What is he asking the Father to do for us? Jesus' high priestly prayer in John 17 gives us some hints. He asks that we be protected from the Evil One, that we are sanctified, and that we are glorified.
What Paul found in Athens is what we find in our world today - Many worship an unknown god. Paul shows us that to proclaim the true God to them we will have to start, not with the Bible they don't know, but with what they do know, the natural knowledge of God.
Jesus is the living stone. He rocks because he lived and died in our place and rose from the dead. In him we are acceptable to the father. Our sins are all washed away. When the Holy Spirit leads us to Jesus and brings us to faith we become living stones. God considers us his chosen people. A holy priesthood, we are able to offer ourselves as living sacrifices and proclaim his praises.
Our Good Shepherd willingly goes after us, his wandering sheep, and brings us back to his fold with changed hearts that want to live for righteousness and live with him forever.
The church isn't a building, it's people. It is people brought to faith in Jesus through the Gospel in word and sacrament. It is people who devote themselves to the word, the sacrament, fellowship and prayer. It is people who let the light of Christ shine in everything they do.
Rejoice- God has given you new birth; an Indestructible Inheritance; You are Shielded by God's Power; Tested for Your Eternal Good; You Believe without Seeing.
Christ is not dead. He is risen just as he said. He will come again in victory to destroy our enemies and take us to be with him in his glorious kingdom forever.
Jesus reminds us that, although everything bad is a result of sin, we shouldn't think it's a punishment for a specific sin. The ultimate punishment for sin is Hell. He promises that everything can be used by God for our good and his glory. 
Jesus models for us how to share the living water of the Gospel with others. Share Living Water · In _______________________ places o Like: · With _____________________ people · Let them know you have ____________________________________________ · Help them recognize their ______________________ · Manage their objections by o Avoiding ________________________ o Focusing on _____________________
It doesn't seem fair that because Adam sinned we die. But remember, it's not fair that because Jesus lived a perfect life and died in our place we get to live with God in glory forever. 
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