2011 Sermons
2011 Sermons
Click on the sermon title to open the printed sermon. Click the speaker icon to listen to an audio file of the sermon. Click the video camera to watch video of a recent sermon. Due to space limitations, we can only post videos of the most recent sermons. Sermon videos may not display correctly on some browsers (we have encountered issues with Google Chrome).
 
The Longest Christmas Story Ever Told
Dec. 25, 2011

The celebration of Christmas often involves hearing your favorite Christmas story. The Christmas story from John’s gospel might not be the most familiar or your favorite, but Christmas wouldn’t be complete without it!
 
 Unwrapping The Mystery
Dec. 18, 2011

Untie the bow. Peel back the paper. Little by little, prophecy by prophecy, the mystery of the coming of Christ is revealed, until we greet him with joy and wide-eyed amazement.
How Materialism Can Steal Christmas
Dec. 14, 2011

Advent Midweek 3
All God Wants for Christmas
Dec. 11, 2011

The month of December is full of demands, each of which adds to the pressure in our lives. God only wants one thing from us this Christmas: a gift that he demands, but a gift that he also gives.
Keeping Up With The Times
Dec. 4, 2011

The word Advent means “coming”. Spoken of in the  Advent season is Christ’s coming in the past as the Child of Bethlehem, his future  Coming at the end of the world, and his coming in the present into our hearts through his Word and Sacraments.
Real Christmas Thieves
Nov. 30, 2011

Advent Midweek 1
A Little Water Will Clean That Right Up!
Nov. 27, 2011

Before he left, Christ stressed that he would come back. He also stressed that no one would know when. As a result, we might be stressed when we thing about getting caught unprepared. Thankfully, Peter tells us how God has the right recipe for making sure we are prepared: just add water!
Blessings: Past, Present, Future
Nov. 24, 2011

Thanksgiving
The Only Way to Win
Nov. 20, 2011

Our powerful King won the victory over all his. His humility and suffering were the only way to defeat all the enemies of our soul.
What's on Your Mind While You Wait for the Groom?
Nov. 13, 2011

Weddings require preparation. Jesus told a parable in which he compared heaven to a wedding. And so, it shouldn't come as a surprise that we need to prepare.
A Date with Jesus
Nov. 6, 2011

There is no escaping the Judgment. All must stand before the King. Through faith in Jesus' righteousness we stand as spotless lambs of Jesus' flock.
How to Handle the Wolves
Oct. 30, 2011

Jesus said, "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves." Let's make sure you know who the wolves are and how you should handle them.
Deliver Us From Evil
Oct. 23, 2011

 
We fervently pray that God guide us and protect us. This is summed up very well in the last part of the Lord’s Prayer, “Deliver us from evil.”
 
Crunching the Numbers on Forgiveness
Oct. 16, 2011

 
Forgiving others is one of the hardest things to do. When others wrong us, we have a deep desire to see them pay for what they've done. Such a strong force only can be overcome by a stronger force: the forgiving love God has for us.
Only Desiring Daily Bread
Oct. 9, 2011

 
"Give us our daily bread" is one of the more risky prayers you can ask because in this prayer you ask God to give you what's enough...and take away what's too much.
All the Riches of the Realm
Oct. 2, 2011

 
Why ask for mere crusts of bread, when God promises and delivers all the treasures of his grace?
Hallowed Be Your Name
Sept. 25, 2011

 
The name of God is not simply and only all the names used for God. The word "Name" also refers to the reputation of God, all the things he stands for and represents.
Take a Paternity Test
Sept. 18, 2011

 
We expect fathers to take care of and provide for their children. But how can we be confident that God really is "Our Father in heaven"? The apostle Paul invites us to take a test to find out.
The Faith to Trust in God's Mercy
Sept. 11, 2011

 
It took a lot of faith for Rehab to trust that God would have mercy on her. Take a moment to feed your faith, that you also may depend on the enduring mercy of God.
Without a Doubt
Sept. 4, 2011

 
If God so loves you that he gave his Son Jesus to remove your sins and open heaven to you, can't he see us through every tribulation that comes our way in life? Without a doubt!
  Forever Enough
Aug. 28, 2011

 
In a subtle yet impressive fashion, Jesus demonstrates his power and compassion to change "not enough" into plenty. He still does this for you.
Choose To Be A Blessing
Aug. 21, 2011

 
What do you consider to be important in life? What is the purpose of your life? What is you God-given purpose? An incident in the life of the ancient King Solomon shows clearly that God has blessed us so that in turn we are to be a blessing.
Christ's Property Produces
Aug. 14, 2011
 
The world is Christ's property. But what are we to think when it's not much to look at? Evil surrounds us on all sides. Jesus answers our concerns in the parable of the weeds and the wheat.
The Word Works
Aug. 7, 2011
 
What power is unleashed when the gentle whisper of the Word of God reaches our ears, touches our hearts, and transforms our lives!
Thanking God as You Hike the Trail of Life
July 31, 2011
 
"How blest we are, how good thou art" are words from a hymn. These are words which also summarize the life of the Christian. These are words which call out to us to thank the Lord for his blessings.
The Dividing Line of Discipleship
July 24, 2011
 
Being a disciple of Jesus brings division. It has the inevitable effect of separating us from people and things, even people and things that we dearly love. But more than that, it joins us to Jesus Christ and gives us a share in the inheritance of the family of God.
Testify through persecution
July 17, 2011
 
Under persecution and imprisonment, what could an apostle possibly do to testify to the truth? There was only one thing he could do: testify through persecution.
Loving Leaders
July 10, 2011
 
Sometimes events take such a sudden and unexpected turn that we can't help but wonder, "What happened?" Find out the unexpected consequences that come with not loving leaders and the innumerable blessings that come with loving leaders.
The Sinner's Best Friend
July 3, 2011
 
The church isn't just a refuge for the righteous. It's a hospital for sinners, where the penitent come to find healing and peace.
 
Grass And Flowers Are Not Forever
June 26, 2011
 
The same Word that commanded creation into existence has been preached to you. And the results are eternal.
Whose image?
June 19, 2011
 
By his Word God called the universe into existence. By his Word God says "Let there be light" in our hearts.
Listen to the Doctor
June 12, 2011

 
The Holy Spirit is like a doctor who takes care of our health. The Holy Spirit seeks to make us spiritually healthy so that we will live eternally.
God's Disappearing Act!
June 5, 2011

 
Can God be the subject of a book that doesn't mention his name? More importantly, can God be present in the world today when we can't see him? Find out why God's disappearing act is actually good news.
Lessons of Love
May 29, 2011

    
  
It is inevitable that the wicked will hate the righteous. But believers can always count on the Father's love.
You know I AM
May 22, 2011

 
With so many enemies fighting against you, it is important to remember and cling to I AM.
Of whom shall I be afraid?
May 15, 2011

 
The story of David and Goliath illustrates the fullness of life that the Good Shepherd gives to you.
  In Defense of Different
May 8, 2011

 
So many people walk through life like the Emmaus disciples: faces downcast. Thankfully, God has something different that he wants each of us to have: hope.
The Easter Message: The Best News of All!
May 1, 2011

The message of Christ's death and resurrection is absolutely vital for each person. Without it we perish eternally.
Stop Looking...Find Everything
Apr. 24, 2011

 
Easter Festival
Usually, when a search ends unsuccessfully, there is disappointment and frustration. However, when the women were told to stop looking for Jesus, it was the best news in the world.
  Witness!
Apr. 24, 2011

 
Easter Sunrise
How can we know what eternity holds for us? What’s waiting on the other side of death? Jesus’ resurrection gives us the answer with absolute certainty!
  People of the Passion: The Centurion
Apr. 22, 2011
 

               
Good Friday Tenebrae
The Seven Words from the Cross
  Are You Full?
Apr. 21, 2011
            
Maundy Thursday
God's Wondrous Ways Apr. 17, 2011
           
Palm Sunday
A lesson that every Christian has to learn is that God’s ways are different than ours. Not only are they different but they are also much better. The events of that first Palm Sunday (and also all of Holy Week) shows God’s wondrous ways.

 
Nicodemus: The Silent Believer
Apr. 13, 2011

 
Lent 6 Midweek
The Secret of Immortality
Apr. 10, 2011
         
Death claims every sinner, but the Spirit gives life to mortals now for all eternity.
   Pontius Pilate: The Thinker
Apr. 6, 2011
        
Lent Midweek 5
  Breaking the cycle of selfish ambition
Apr. 3, 2011
       
Everywhere you look, you can see the results of the cycle of selfish ambition. Through willing sacrifice, Jesus breaks the cycle for you.
Peter: The Born Leader
Mar. 30, 2011
      
Lent 4 Midweek
  Bask in the Sonshine
Mar. 27, 2011

     
The Lord opens our eyes, so we can bask in his grace beaming down upon us in Christ.
One of the Mob: The Follower
Mar. 23, 2011
    
Lent 3 Midweek
  Guaranteed returns
Mar. 20, 2011

   
Can we really just look at a person who has what we want, act the way he acts, and expect to get where he is? Yes! Paul points us to Abraham, whose example shows us how to become recipients of God's greatest blessings.
  Caiaphas: The Schemer
Mar. 16, 2011

  
Lent 2 Midweek
The world's two most influential men
Mar. 13, 2011

 
The purpose of the sermon was to lead people to appreciate what one person, Jesus Christ has done for them.
  Judas: The Opportunist
Mar. 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday
Let's set the record straight
Mar. 6, 2011
The view from the top of the mountain is both awsome and frightening. But it's good to be here so that the record can be set straight.
Control of our cupboards and closets
Feb. 27, 2011
Our wealth is a tremendous blessing from God. It also presents a tremendous danger to our soul. Listen as Jesus addresses worry, a symptom that our wealth controls us rather than the other way around.
  Real love for real people
Feb. 20, 2011
What happens when we see human beings as real people, with fears, hurts, hopes, dreams, and most importantly, with souls?
  Life extended and marriage unended
Feb. 13, 2011
Jesus' Sermon on the Mount continues with a section on murder and adultery. With a new and unexpected perspective, Jesus makes these commands come alive to all who hear him.
  The business of the blessed
Feb. 6, 2011
As we continue to look at Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, we see Jesus turn his attention to the work he gives us as his disciples. We will be amazed, not only at the important business he asks us to do, but the way in which he motivates us to do it.
The mind of Jesus
Jan. 30, 2011
The things Jesus preached and taught make no sense whatsoever...until you have the mind of Jesus.
Anchored in Christ
Jan. 23, 2011
 ALA Sunday
  Jesus - the Lamb of God
Jan. 16, 2011
It is important to know exactly who Jesus is. He is identified as being the Son of God, the Second Person in the Trinity -- the Christ. But often he is referred to as the Lamb.
No turning back now
Jan. 9, 2011
Once he entered the water, there was no turning back. See the depths of Christ's love as he takes the place of sinners at his baptism.
Oh, Come, Let Us Adore Him
Jan. 2, 2011

Christmas 2
A Festival Worship Service Concert (excerpts)



 

 

Christmas Day, Year B
The longest Christmas story ever told
Pastor Jonathan P. Bauer

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
 
There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.  He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

- John 1:1-14

For many people, the celebration of Christmas each year must include hearing their favorite Christmas story. Whether they read it out of book or watch it on TV, Christmas just would not be complete without it. Are you one of those people?

Every year I’m happy when I see that TBS will again show 24 straight hours of Ralphie and his Red Rider BB gun. If that’s not your favorite Christmas story, maybe yours involves ghosts who help Ebenezer Scrooge see the error of his miserly ways, or Whos down in Who-ville who help the Grinch’s heart grow three sizes, or an angel named Clarence who helps George Bailey see that he really does have a wonderful life, or an orphan named Buddy who was raised as an elf, then comes to New York to find his father.

And then there’s the one you heard last night. I know your Christmas wouldn’t have been complete if you had come on Christmas Eve and not heard Luke’s story. You know, the one with Mary, Joseph’s espoused wife, being great with child, And the shepherds abiding in the fields, who were sore afraid when the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and of course the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in the manger. And other than the fact that Luke’s story is actually true, it’s not all that different from the others. It’s warm and tender. It tugs at our heart strings. It puts a smile on our faces. When we hear it we think, This is Christmas.

But now it’s Christmas Day, not Christmas Eve. And the story in front of us is not Luke’s but John’s. And John’s is a different kind of story. This isn’t the story Linus recited to teach his pal Charlie Brown what Christmas was all about. This isn’t the story you know by heart or can even sing to a tune. John’s Christmas story might put a different feeling in our heart and a different look on our face. But without John’s story, our Christmas wouldn’t be complete. We need to hear this Christmas story, unique in many ways, including the fact that John’s is The longest Christmas story ever told.
 
I. Chapter 1: God is not man.
As we open up to chapter 1, we quickly see why John’s is the longest. It’s not because of the number of words. In fact, Luke’s is much longer. It’s because of when it begins. John doesn’t begin when “’twas the night before Christmas.” He doesn’t even begin when “it came to pass in those days that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus.” No, John’s story takes us all the way back to book 1, chapter 1, verse 1 of the entire Bible. “In the beginning.” Those are familiar words from Moses’ story from Genesis. Only, unlike Moses, John doesn’t stand at the beginning and look forward at what happened next. He stands at the beginning and looks back and what already was.

And as we stand there with him at the very beginning and gaze back into timeless eternity, we are introduced to the main character, the star of the show. At Christmas we usually call him baby Jesus, the Christ child, the newborn King, Immanuel. But in John’s unique story, he calls God’s Son, “The Word.”

That title tells us something about God’s Son. He is the Messenger. He is the Spokesman. What God thinks, he communicates. What God wills, he expresses. In fact, John tells us that the “Word was with God.” In the beginning, the Word and the Father were together, face to face, in perfect agreement, in perfect harmony. So far, so good.

But as John continues to develop this main character, he says something that seems to contradict everything he’s already said. In the beginning, the Word was with God, expressing the thoughts of God, distinct from God. Now John says, “The Word was God.” Though the Word and God are two, the Word and God are one. Everything that God is the Word also is. They are one being and of one substance. Like I said, John’s story is unique. He doesn’t tell us of the warm and tender but of the deep and mysterious. And his story might not put a smile on our face as much as it puts a look of confusion.

But even if we can’t comprehend the mystery of who God is, we can know one thing with absolute clarity: God’s Son, the Word, is not a man. In fact, the only human character in this story mentioned by name is introduced in the exact opposite way. The Word is called God. John the Baptist is called a man. The Word always was. John wasn’t, but then came into being. The Word was with God. John was sent from God. The point is clear. An infinite chasm exists between the Word, God’s Son, and mankind. He is in a class all by himself, distinct from mankind in every way.
 
II. Chapter 2: God gives what he has to man.
And that’s okay, because as we turn the page to chapter 2, we see that John’s Christmas story is ultimately a love story between God’s Son and mankind. Since we know who the Word is, we can now stand at the beginning and look forward at what the Word did. And John tells us that in the beginning, the Word expressed God’s powerful will to create. Absolutely everything out of absolutely nothing. John says, “Through him all things were made.” In fact, “Without him, nothing was made that has been made.”

All things came into being through the Word. But just one thing, one creature, was the special object of his affection: mankind. The Word possessed something very precious that he gave only to mankind. John says, “In him was life, and that life was the light of men.” The Word gave man life unique from the life given to plants and animals, life that makes mankind conscious of his Creator, life that enables him to sense his Creator’s love, life that enables him to show love in return. This was the Word’s precious gift to mankind, the very best he had to offer, a token of his deepest affection
 
III. Chapter 3: Man exchanges what God gives to become God.
But sadly, just like many made up Christmas stories, chapter 3 of John’s true Christmas story involves a tragic twist in the plot. No sooner had man opened this gift and realized how precious it was than he wanted to make an exchange. Instead of being satisfied what came from God, mankind wanted to be God. Even though that infinite chasm existed between God and mankind, mankind tried to jump it. The devil held out a lie: that they could be like God. And they literally bit.

And just as sadly, this is the chapter of John’s story that includes you and me. It’s the chapter that’s been repeated for thousands of years and billions of people. Collectively as a race, we are one big mob of shoppers standing in line the day after Christmas to make an exchange. Sorry, God, what you gave me is nice, but I was actually hoping for something a little different. Instead of wanting only what you give and only what you command, I want this instead. Sorry God, what you gave me is great, but it doesn’t quite fit. I need a little bit more fun and freedom, a little less regulation and restriction.

The devil offers lies to make things like greed, lust, dishonesty, and pride pleasing to the eye, and we figuratively bite. And even though we’ve seen generation after generation fall short, we still think it’s a good idea to jump that infinite chasm, exchanging what comes from God to be our own god.
 
IV. Chapter 4: God becomes man to exchange what man is.
But as Luke told us last night, Christmas is a time for good news of great joy. And so, to call chapter 4 of John’s Christmas story a happy ending would be selling it way short. Instead of letting the human race have the eternal destruction that we deserved, the hero of this story did something that was as mysterious as it was miraculous. That infinite chasm that separated the  Word from mankind was crossed, by the Word. All of those distinctions between God and mankind that John so carefully made, God himself erased.

God became man. The One who always was and never changes became something he wasn’t before. The Creator became a creature. The one who was not limited by time or space now had a birthday and a hometown. The one who could communicate the deepest thoughts of God now had to learn how to talk and read and write. And he somehow did all of that without ceasing to be what he was before. The tiny, newborn, son of Mary was also the infinite, eternal Son of God. This is the miracle and mystery that we call incarnation. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”

And even though this is another mystery we cannot fathom, the implications are clear. The Word became flesh in order to be the representative of the entire human race before God, to be what mankind could not be and to suffer what mankind deserved to suffer. And because he did, we get the exchange we really needed. All those who see this Christ child for who he is, all those who look to him as the hero of their own life’s story, the only one who can save them from the mess that they’re in, “To all who received him, to those who believe in his name,” God gives an exchange. We cease being what we were: children of Adam and Eve, sinful flesh born of sinful flesh. And in exchange, we become something we were not, children born of God.

It was already the longest Christmas story ever told. But it would be getting even longer. It would still be going on today. It would have gone on to the end of time and continued even further. The story of sin, death, tragedy and heartache. But when it comes to the tragic story of all that went wrong between God and mankind, Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, truly is the End. Amen.
 
 


Emmanuel Ev. Lutheran Church • 715 W Southern Ave, Tempe, Arizona 85282 • (480) 967-3983
church@elctempe.org