Sermon for the Eighth Sunday after Trinity July 30, 2023
Text: Ex.20:15 Summer Sermon Series 23:2397
Theme: LORD, THY WILL BE DONE BY US . . That We Take Good Care of Your Possessions
You’ve seen the familiar labels on all types of products: made in the USA, made in Japan, made in China, made in Viet Nam, and so on. But where do these things really come from? Everything on earth bears an invisible label that says: “made in heaven.” For “the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it” (Ps.24), so that “without Him nothing was made that has been made” (Jn.1:3).
Take a loaf of bread, for example. The farmer cultivates the soil, sows the seed, reaps the harvest, and sends it to the miller. The miller grinds it into flour and sends it to the baker who bakes it into a loaf of bread. But without the hand of God, all the skills and knowledge of these men could not produce one single slice of bread. The ingredients, the formula, the processes of nature, the abilities of the people, even the people themselves – everything that goes into making a single slice of bread is the property of heaven.
The farmer prepares the soil; but it’s God’s soil. He sows the seed – God’s seed. He waits for the rain and sun – God’s rain and sun. Even the machinery used may be built by man, but it’s God’s iron, minerals, and know-how given to men that enables them to build it. Everything that exists and all that we possess is really the property of heaven which God distributes as He sees fit. To some more, to others less, but He gives richly of His possessions and looks for us to manage them well. However, I dare not overstep the boundaries of what is mine and what is thine. God built a fence around His gifts and says: “Thou shalt not steal.” He teaches me to respect and care for His things that He has entrusted to your hands.
So, we pray: LORD, MAY THY WILL BE DONE BY US…That We Take Good Care of Your Possessions…
I. …being good, grateful, and faithful stewards.
We need such a prayer daily because ever since the fall into sin, our sinful nature is self-centered. Without a conversion of the heart, it does not hesitate to take and use for one’s personal gain and selfish purposes that which rightfully belongs to God.
Jesus told the parable of a rich farmer whose land produced a good crop. At harvest time, the thought of great profit consumed him. Without gratitude to God, he devised a plan to make himself richer: “I’ll tear down my barns, build bigger ones, store up more for myself and say, ‘Soul, you have plenty of good things for yourself. Take life easy. Eat, drink, be merry.’ To him God said, ‘You fool, tonight your soul will be demanded from you.’ That is how it will be for anyone who stores up treasures for himself and is not rich towards God.” (Lk.12:13f).
God looks for us to be good, grateful, and faithful stewards of His gifts. Thoughtlessness and ingratitude towards Him, the owner of all, is dangerous enough. But this commandment goes beyond that. God commanded that we dare not take, damage, or curb the possessions that He has given to others. In short, to steal from them.
To steal simply means to obtain another’s property by unjust means. It embraces every method in all lines of business, work, and life by which I take advantage of my neighbor’s things to his disadvantage. We see it in the looting crowds of those who riot in our cities. We see it among governing officials who pad their own wallets by taking advantage of their authoritative positions. We see it in the marketplace when inferior products, false measures, counterfeit money, telephone and computer scams, and a whole host of other acts are carried out that take advantage of people, especially at times the elderly. We see it in ourselves, perhaps, in our own unfaithfulness to duty, carelessness, laziness, negligence, or a host of ways that we might defraud others. Who can count, much less think of all the ways Satan tempts us to steal.
Martin Luther once said, “Stealing is a widespread, universal vice. But it is so little regarded and seriously dealt with that it exceeds all bounds. Should all be executed who are thieves and yet resent being called that, the world should soon be desolate and there would not be executioners nor gallows enough for them. For we must regard as stealing not only picking pockets and breaking into safes…Dishonesty is rampant and in full force…. Such is the way of the world to publicly run and steal, (yet) run at large in (self)-security and freedom” (Lenker,24, p.88f).
Oh, what an indictment of the way we can mishandle God’s Possessions entrusted to one’s care. Not only are we to be good and grateful stewards of His gifts to us, but also faithful to Him and others so that we take good care of all that He has given.
Pray God for His grace in Christ Jesus that alone will forgive our sins and move our hearts from self-centeredness to self-lessness with all things in life received from God’s hands. Jesus’ blood covers our sins and sets the example for us. For “although He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor so that we through His poverty might become rich.” In other words, as the Savior, who owns all things, He freely gave of Himself, not taking for Himself from us, so that we might have life through Him.
Lord, help us be good, grateful, and faithful stewards of Your gifts to all. (Hymn: “Take the World but Give Me Jesus”)
(II. …by protecting other people’s property and promoting them.)
God spoke through the Apostle Paul’s pen: “Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others” (1Co.10:24). It’s not enough to just not take from others. Keeping this commandment involves seeking to protect their property and promote them. Abraham is a good example of that.
God made the promise to Abraham that He would give his descendants the land of Canaan, would make a great nation from him, would grant him many possessions, and, best of all, that the Savior would come from his family. Believing that, Abraham left his homeland to live in a new land. His nephew Lot went with him.
Where they settled in the new land, they soon found out that “the land could not support them” both. There wasn’t enough grass and water to supply both Abraham’s cattle and Lot’s. Their herdsmen began to quarrel and fight each other.
Abraham had a generous way of solving the problem for he saw more than just grass and water in God’s gifts to him. The Bible says (Hb.11:10f) that by faith Abraham looked forward to the city of God which is eternal, “the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” Abraham’s thoughts were in heaven. What did a few acres of grassland in this world matter to fight over? With generosity unbounded, he offered Lot the pick of the land. It was a generosity that did not selfishly seek his own advancement but the protection and promotion of another, trusting that God would take care of him and had better things in mind than material possessions.
Jesus said (Lk.6:38), “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Think of yourself here as a miller filling the flour sacks of your neighbor after grinding the grain. If you seek only your profit and advancement, you will put into his sack sparingly, seeking to retain more for yourself. But, if with a generous spirit you look out for his good, you will make sure he gets more than enough, shaking the bag down, packing it gently, filling it all the way to the top. That’s the spirit in which the Christian approaches his neighbor, seeking to protect and promote his welfare.
Isn’t that the way that God in grace has been towards us in Christ — generous in giving up His only begotten Son to pay the price for our sins against this commandment and others? Instead of selfishly withholding His Son from us for His personal gain, He willingly gave Him up to protect and promote our good. With Him, God gave us a most priceless possession – eternal life.
It is with such a heavenly spirit that we approach this commandment and pray, LORD, MAY THY WILL BE DONE BY US…That We Take Good Care of Your Possessions…being good, grateful, and faithful stewards of all that You have given us, and by protecting other people’s property and promoting them. God grant it in our lives of faith for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
The Eighth Sunday after Trinity July 30, 2023
Welcome in the Savior’s name. We are happy to have you worshiping with us today and pray that the Word you hear will bring forth rich fruits of faith in the coming week.
Led by the Holy Spirit through the Word, the Christian is like a tree producing fruit, good and healthy fruit. The believer does not produce it so much on his own as it is that the Holy Spirit works such fruit in him. The best fruit of all is saving faith which gladly hears the Word of Truth and faithfully proclaims it. Thus, we are encouraged to reject what is false and those who speak lies against God’s Word and receive only that which is truly from Him. His truth alone can save us.
In the sermon text we continue in our study of the Ten Commandments with the Seventh Commandment. Next to our own lives and our wedded companions, the temporal treasures with which God blesses us are the dearest to us. God designs protection for them also. So, He has commanded that no one damages or curtails our possessions for He holds our lives and everything else that we have in His hands.
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Rejecting What Is False, Produce Good Fruit.
Opening Thoughts on the Service
The Entrance Hymn: “Open Lovely Doors” #912
The Confession of Sins: “Chief of Sinners Though I Be” st.1-3 #578
The Absolution: “My Faith Looks Up to Thee” #811
The Song of Praise: “To God Be the Glory” #627
Prayer of the Day
The Ministry of the Word
The Old Testament Lesson: Jeremiah 23:16-29 The Lord denounces Israel’s teachers as false prophets and warns His people to not be led astray by their visions, which He did not send, and words of false hope. His anger will rise against them and their lies. Let the one who has God’s Word speak it faithfully.
The Hymn: “The Church’s One Foundation” st.1-4 #855
The New Testament Lesson: Matthew 7:15-23 Be on guard against false prophets who come to you in outwardly meek and seemingly innocent ways. They appear gentle like sheep, but in the end, they will destroy your souls like ferocious wolves devouring their prey. You will know them by the fruits they produce. Keep away from them.
The Hymn: “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” #864
The Sermon: Lord, Thy Will Be Done by Us…That We Take Good Care of Your Possessions
Part 1: Being Good and Faithful Stewards.
The Hymn: “Take the World, but Give Me Jesus” #699
Part 2: Protecting Other People’s Property and Promoting Them.
Our Response to the Word
The Hymns: “In the Garden” insert
“What A Friend We Have In Jesus” #721
The Lord Blesses Us
Prayers and The Lord’s Prayer Hymnal pg.214
Closing Hymn: “Crown Him with Many Crowns” #511
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The Organist: Jane Rips is not with us today; she is visiting her mother in Iowa.
The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Point to Ponder: “Stealing forbids any conceivable wrong to our neighbor in depriving him of any part of his possessions or interfering with his enjoyment of them. It forbids consent to such wrong, even enjoining all possible prevention. It commands that we add to his possessions and advance his interests. And we are to relieve him in want by help and advice, whether he be friend or foe….These works are accompanied by the richest blessings. For all we do in sincerity for the good of our neighbor, we shall be abundantly compensated. King Solomon teaches: ‘A person who is gracious to the poor lends to the LORD. He will repay him in full” (Pv.19:17). Here we have the Lord of all wealth. His sufficiency can never fail, and He will not suffer us to want. So, we may enjoy in peace of conscience and hundred-fold more than we could acquire by unjust dealing.”
Martin Luther in a sermon on the Seventh Commandment
The Eighth Sunday after Trinity – Historic Series
Old Testament Lesson: Jeremiah 23:16-29 – Against False Prophets.
16 This is what the Lord of Armies says. Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you.
They are giving you false hope. They proclaim visions that come from their own hearts and not from the mouth of the Lord. 17 They keep saying to those who despise me, “The Lord has said that you will have peace.” And to everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart, they say, “No harm will come to you.” 18 But have any of them stood in the council of the Lord, to see and hear his word? Who has listened to his word and heard it?
19 Look, a storm from the Lord! His wrath has gone out, like a whirlwind twisting down, whirling over the heads of the wicked. 20 The Lord’s anger will not turn back until he has completely fulfilled the purposes of his heart. In later days you will understand it fully.
21 I did not send these prophets, yet they ran. I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied. 22 But if they had stood in my council, they would have made my people hear my words, and they would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.
23 Am I a God who is only nearby, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? 24 Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.
25 I have heard what the prophets who prophesy lies in my name have said. They say, “I have had a dream! I have had a dream!” 26 How long will this be in the hearts of these lying prophets? These prophets proclaim the fantasies of their own hearts. 27 They think they can make my people forget my name with the dreams each one tells his neighbor, the way their fathers forgot my name because of Baal.
28 Let the prophet who has a dream tell his dream. But let the one who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has chaff to do with grain? declares the Lord. 29 Is not my word like a fire? declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?
Epistle Lesson: Romans 8:12-17 – Live as Children and Heirs of God.
12 So then, brothers, we do not owe it to the sinful flesh to live in harmony with it. 13 For if you live in harmony with the sinful flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the actions of the body, you will live.
14 Indeed, those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery so that you are afraid again, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we call out, “Abba, Father!”
16 The Spirit himself joins our spirit in testifying that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, we are also heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, since we suffer with him, so that we may also be glorified with him.
Gospel Lesson: Mathew 7:15-23 – Watch Out for False Prophets.
15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. You do not gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles, do you? 17 So then, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, by their fruit you will recognize them.
21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and drive out demons in your name and perform many miracles in your name?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’
The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) © 2019
The Seventh Commandment
Thou shalt not steal.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God that we may not take our neighbor’s money or property, nor get them by false ware or dealing, but help him to improve and protect his property and business that his means are preserved and his condition is improved
(English text as published in the Concordia Triglotta, 1921)
How this commandment is transgressed.
– He who is a thief, robber, miser, or usurer;
– He who employs false weights and measures, or misrepresents his goods;
– He who acquires a legacy, and he who levies taxes by unrighteous methods;
– He who withholds from the laborer his hire, and he who repudiates his debt;
– He who refuses to lend to a neighbor when he is in need, or exacts interest from such a one;
– He who is guilty of avarice and eager for wealth; he who refuses to surrender the property of others, or receives stolen goods;
– He who does not seek to avert injury from others;
– He who does not warn others against injury;
– He who deprives his neighbor of his legitimate profit;
– He who looks upon his neighbor’s success with envy.
How this commandment is fulfilled.
– Poverty of spirit, charity, willingness to lend and to give, a life free from avarice and greed.
– To this commandment pertains all that is taught concerning avarice, unrighteous gain, usury, tricks of trade, fraud and any act whereby loss is caused to others or their welfare menaced.
(Martin Luther on: A Treatise on the Law, Faith, and Prayer of 1520)
Calendar & Announcements for Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
A member congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue), Springfield, MO 65810
Church phone: 417.887.0886 www.zionluthchurch.com
Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find us on Facebook
Divine Worship Service
Fellowship & Bible Study
Favorite Hymns Song Service
8th Sunday after Trinity
|54th Biennial Convention of the Wisconsin Synod…||Confirmation Class recessed for summer.
…held in Saginaw, MI, Monday through Thursday noon…
…Pastor in attendance.
|No Midweek Bible Class this week.
| Peace Garage Sale at the Lehmanns
Peace Garage Sale at the Lehmanns
Divine Worship Service
with Holy Communion online – Facebook
Fellowship & Bible Study
9th Sunday after Trinity
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
How do things grow? Usually, they don’t grow up overnight. It takes time and calls for patience on our part. We water, fertilize and cultivate. Then we wait. That’s true of the growth that takes place in our Christian lives, too. It doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, God waters and fertilizes us through his Word. Slowly but surely through the Gospel the Spirit brings growth and eventually fruits of faith. But we must stay connected to the Word and not be misled by false teaching either. The blessings and fruits of faith depend on it!
The Gospel Lesson: Matthew 7:15-23 (the answers are found on the back side)
- How will we be able to recognize false prophets?
- True or false: Everyone who says, “Lord, Lord,” on the Day of Judgment will enter heaven?
- In comparison to their teachers among the Jews, the people were amazed at Jesus’ teaching. Why?
Forward in Christ’s latest edition for August has arrived. Copies for family and friends may be found in the narthex.
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Greg Miller; William & Laurie Moon; Pauline Jaeger; Kirsten Jaster (Laurie Moon’s sister); Greg Pierson (the Long’s son-in-law); Libya, Jodi Milam’s granddaughter; Barbara Long; Barbara Breidel; John, Elisha & Isaac Covey; Lucille Huston; Lois Wiese, hospitalized with pneumonia this past week.
Lord, May Thy Will Be Done By Us Today we continue on our journey through the Ten Commandments with Commandment #7. Each Sunday we will review a commandment and Martin Luther’s Catechism explanation of it. We would encourage each member and friend to read through the sections of each commandment from the Catechism the week before it is the sermon text for the day. What a good review of your precious confirmation instruction that would be! If you don’t have a catechism, see Pastor for one. Next Sunday we look at the Eighth Commandment.
Upcoming Services and Events
July 31-Aug.3 – WELS 54th Biennial Convention in Saginaw, MI (Pastor Lehmann is a delegate from our area)
The Week in Review
Last Sunday Worship: 30; Bible Class 19; Midweek Bible Class:2 ; Offerings: $1326.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
9th Sunday after Trinity: Prv. 16:1-9; 1 Corinthians 10:6-13; Luke 16:1-9 (Historic Pericope Series); Commandment 8
Answer to Today’s Gospel Lesson Brief Study:
- Jesus says that we can recognize them by their fruits. If their “fruits,” the words they speak, contradict the Scriptures or indicate the teacher’s self-interests, be aware.
- False. Jesus is interested in more than mere words. He is looking for the natural fruits of faith that the Holy Spirit works in our lives through the Gospel.
- He taught with authority, not basing His teachings on what someone else had said (like the teachers of the law). Instead, Jesus would speak as from God
- Himself: “Truly, truly I say to you…” Jesus can do this because He is God.
This week I am praying for……