Pastor Linsey Dettmer’s Midweek Message 10/11/17

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Dress Code

Matthew 22:1-14: Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. 4″Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’ 5 “But they paid no attention and went off-one to his field, another to his business. 6The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11″But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless. 13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14″For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

When I was in the Army there definitely was a dress code. There were seasons and that meant summer and winter uniforms and everyone had to change at the same time. Then there were work clothes and dress clothes, called Class A’s. Office workers wore class A’s and everyone else wore what we called fatigues. Boots with fatigues and shoes with class A’s, except when on guard duty. That called for Class A’s with boots.

Then in the Church when I was first ordained there was a dress code. The men wore suits and the women wore dresses. Once I was talking with a stranger and he asked if he had to wear a suit and I said, “We really don’t have any rules like that. However, our men do wear suits.” He said he didn’t own a suit but he would wear what he had. He showed up with just a shirt and pants and he stood out like a sore thumb. There were at least 150 other men there.

In that same church, some women asked me if they could wear pantsuits in the evening service. That had never been done before.

In our church, we have a dress code for pastors. Pastors normally wear robes. The undergarment is black, reminding us of sin. The outer garment is white, reminding us of Christ’ purity. Last year we attended a Lenten service in another LCMS church but the pastor chose not to wear a robe. Both Patty and I felt something was missing.

Now a question: What is the dress code for heaven- or is there one??? Rev 7. “ After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands. And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.1 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, “Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.” And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? And whence came they? And I said unto him, “Sir, thou knowest.” And he said to me, “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Answer: Yes there is a Dress Code!

Now to our text: A king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. “Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’

But they paid no attention and went off-one to his field, another to his business…. So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

It was assumed that the king sent out special invitations to the landed and wealthy of his kingdom; people who should have honored him and respected him. To get an invitation, a personal invitation from a king is to drop everything and put this as first priority! But they paid no attention! The king was enraged…. Then he said to his servants, “The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come.”

I think of our Country: We were a Christian Country and somehow or the other, the message went out from all our churches: Come to worship. Come and fellowship. Come and hear the Gospel. Hymns were sung like Rock of Ages, and Amazing Grace. Hymns which portrayed the Gospel even if that denomination didn’t clearly spell it out, the hymns did! But what has happened to our Country! It was not that God deemed our fellow citizens unworthy, it is that that have deemed themselves unworthy!

I think of our Church membership. How many have dropped by the wayside? Nationally, 100’s of 1000’s. Locally, – 50? 60? More? Why? “The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come.” In our terms, the church’s doors are open. The service is printed out and easy to follow. The hymns are sing-able. The sermon is prepared. The Lord’s Supper is waiting on the altar.

Now apart from how Jesus put it in this parable: Who deserves to be here? And the answer is no one! Not you and not me! Even St Paul said he was the chief of sinners. In another parable, the servants said, “We are unworthy!” Why? “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” So what did the King do? That is to say, what did God do? He said to His servants, “So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.” In other words, “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live.”….So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

The good and the bad. Comparatively speaking there are good and bad people in this world. That is, socially. Spiritually, there are only bad. “There is none that doeth good and sinneth not!” You and I are witnesses of this fact. We have sinned by thought, word, and deed. There are things we should have done and didn’t do them. There are things we should not have done but did them anyway.

What to do? The answer is indirectly within our text. “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes.” The custom back then was for the host to supply clothing for his special occasions. People traveling a great distance needed something else to wear. In our parable, the people off the streets simply didn’t have anything else to wear. So the King supplied what he wanted his guests to wear.

However, this one man believed his clothing was good enough. He didn’t care to have on, what the king wanted. Now, of course, Jesus wasn’t talking about real clothing but spiritual clothing, like one of our hymns, states it, “Clothed in His righteousness alone- faultless to stand before the throne.”

What the parable is about is self-righteousness vs. Christ- righteousness. The choice is; “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy Cross I cling” or “God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.” God prefers that other prayer, namely, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ In other words, to have Christ put on us His robe of righteousness, stained by our sins, yet washed in His blood. How about this hymn?

Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness

My beauty are, my glorious dress;

Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed,

With joy shall I lift up my head.

Amen!

 


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Pastor Linsey Dettmer’s Midweek Message 9/27/17

If you're looking for peace for the world or for yourself, be sure to drop by our home page before you go. The Web without a doubt is full with help regarding all kinds of field. The following is an item we thought might be of interest for peace seekers and those who are interested in peace articles.


Matthew 21:33-45 33″Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 34When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. 35″The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. 37Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. 38″But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ 39So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40″Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41″He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.” 42Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The Stone the builders rejected has become the Cornerstone; the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? 43″Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. 44Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.” 45When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables; they knew He was talking about them. 46They looked for a way to arrest Him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that He was a prophet.

“If at first you do not succeed, then try, try again.” This is a saying which may or may not be helpful. If I am doing something wrong and continue in the same way, then I can try as many times as I have strength and it will not help.

Now this is a lesson our Government has yet to learn. They come up with a solution to what may or may not even be a problem. They vote it into law and it fails. What to do? Add more money and try, try again. Can you say, “The war on poverty”?  As I have listened many times to Joel Osteen, that seems to be what he says. Your success may well be just one more failure away. So lift up your head and keep trying.

But of course, such a saying would not be popular if there wasn’t some truth in it. I am sure we have all failed on something and have tried again and again and finally, things worked out.

In our text we see the tenants- or shall we say, the share-croppers, didn’t want to live up to their part of the bargain. Well, let’s read the text: “When the harvest time approached,( the owner) sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way.”

This was rather drastic. I would imagine that after the first time he would have secured some sort of help but he didn’t. And as we see, he pressed even further trying to get these sharecroppers to do the right thing. We read, “Last of all, he sent his son to them. ’They will respect my son,’ he said. “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.” That didn’t work either!

When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables; they knew He was talking about them. They looked for a way to arrest Him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that He was a prophet.

So what did they do? They tried and tried again. They tried to embarrass Him. They tried to trick Him. They bribed false witnesses and then they even fulfilled scripture by offering Judas 30 pieces of silver. In Zechariah, we read: “ I told them, “If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.” So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the handsome price at which they valued me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter at the house of the Lord.  What happened to the 30 pieces? Again we read, “So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.  The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners.”

It didn’t stop there. Even after Easter they bribed the Roman guards to say the Apostles stole the body of Jesus. They tried and tried again. But there was the woman who saw Jesus and then the empty tomb and then the two appearances of Jesus walking through the locked door. And then the Emmaus disciples and then the 500 brethren who saw Him. We might say that now it is Jesus who is trying, again and again, to get people to believe in Him.

Down through the ages, there have been people and groups of people both within and outside of the church who have tried to distort or destroy the Gospel. Already St Paul warned against them.  In Romans we read, “I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.” Down through the centuries there have been movements and groups of heretics that denied the fundamentals of Christianity.

And what are we celebrating this year? The 500th anniversary of the posting of the 95 theses! One of the things Luther condemned was clearly spelled out in the Council of Trent. Again we read. “Therefore whoever resists this power thus ordained by Godresists the ordinance of God ,…  Furthermorewe declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

Though they haven’t officially declared the Council of Trent wrong, they have said and done things which go against some of these decrees and we are thankful for that.  But they are not the only ones who teach things which distort the Gospel. One pastor from the so-called Christian Church told me, “You faith alone people are going to wind up in hell.” And as both of us (pastors) have said, “Whenever you add anything to the Gospel, then it is no longer the Gospel.”

Now it comes down to you and to me. We try and try again to be the people God wants us to be. We strive to walk upon that straight and narrow way. We try to turn the other cheek, walk the extra mile and bless those who curse us. We want to be the ones who will hear from Jesus, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” But often that is not the case.

I know I have failed to always be on the lookout for how I can help people and as I told my fellow pastors the other day, “I was sick and in the hospital, and ye visited me not.” On that occasion and other times, I have been hospitalized very few have taken the time to visit me. This is one place I will give our pastor an A+! But I cannot condemn them for “You who are without sin may cast the first stone!”

And there are other things you and I do again and again and again and again Jesus keeps coming to us through Word and Sacrament and offers us the forgiveness of sins.  That is why in the 3rd Article we read, I believe in the Holy Ghost; one holy Christian Church, the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.

What does this mean?–Answer. I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He forgives daily and richly all sins to me and all believers, and at the last day will raise up me and all the dead, and will give to me and to all believers in Christ everlasting life. This is most certainly true. Amen


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Pastor Linsey Dettmer’s Midweek Message 9/20/17

If you're interested in peace for the world or for yourself, we hope you will look at our home page before leaving our site. The Web for sure is plentiful with help concerning every conceivable field. Below is an item we hope will be interesting for peace lovers and those who like to read peace news.


Matthew 21:23-32 New International Version (NIV) The Authority of Jesus Questioned 23 Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while He was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him. “By what authority are You doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave You this authority?” 24 Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer Me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?” They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”27 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” Then He said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

“Who are you to tell me what I am supposed to do?  What gives you that right?” Often that question is not a question at all but an admission that what I am doing is wrong and I don’t like being criticized.  But then sometimes it is indeed a question because those asking us to do something haven’t the right to make any demands of us.

In the military stripes and collar brass or silver or gold explains immediately what authority is. If I have one strip and the other guy has two, it is obvious. If I have a gold bar on my collar and the other guy has a silver bar, it is also obvious.  When I worked at Martin aerospace, it was pretty much a given that the bosses wore white shirts and ties.

But in our text Jesus has neither stripes on His sleeve nor brass on His collar. He is not dressed in the traditional garb of the Pharisees and leaders of the people. Yet His teachings  come across like someone of authority. In fact it is said, “No one ever ever spoken like this with such authority.” Moreover, what He is teaching often contradicts those in authority.

Now perhaps some of these elders might be sincere, it could well be that they honestly asked a question and expected an honest answer. How- ever, several other parts of the Bible demonstrate that most of these men were not honest but hypocrites. And the way Jesus answered them shows that Jesus knew they were not being honest. In fact listen to this, namely, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” They were being political.

I suppose there was a time when the word “Political” was a neutral word just meaning a way of governing, but, well, today, it really means crooked and dishonest.  For example, either party promises all sorts of things but rarely delivers. They say one thing and do the opposite. It used to be used cars salesmen were at the bottom of the list, now it is Politians.

Politians aren’t the only one being political.  If political also includes the idea of saying what people want to hear, then in the religious circles there are also Politians.  Doesn’t Joel Osteen know the Bible teaches that Christians will be persecuted and suffer?  Hasn’t he ever seen any good Christians fail in the business or in their lives?

Last Sunday in adult Sunday school we covered the Charismatic and Pentecostal Movement. It is extremely hard to see that if you just casually read 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14 that you will see that they are completely wrong. Yet they insist that they are right. They are appealing to people who want to hear what they offer. Likewise with the total abstinence people or the total immersionist group.

Worst of all is those who deny the Gospel in some way, shape of form. “If you want to be saved, believe in Jesus AND …. belong to our church, be baptized in this way at this time, “Tear up your playing cards and cigarette, pour out your wine and your beer, come forward and give your hand to the preacher and you heart to the Lord.” Go to church on Saturday instead of Sunday. Wear this kind of clothing in this way. The list goes on and on and on.

“So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” Then He said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”  At this point Jesus didn’t tell them but in many places He did. Many times Jesus called God, “My Father.”  His miracles proved His authority. He said, “If you don’t believe in Me for what I say, then at least believe in Me for what I do.”  How many Pharisees made the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak and even raised the dead? NONE!!!

And then there we are! We know right from wrong and when caught doing the wrong, we have two choices: Confess and repent or attack the accuser. “Who gives you this authority to criticize me? By what right? Are you so perfect that you can stand in judgment of me?”  Have you ever taken that route?

Then there is this: “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith , this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone shoulod boast.” And this: “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved…” “Truly I tell you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” Knowing this, why would we ever doubt our salvation? Why would we doubt the salvation of other Christians who believe in and love the same Lord Jesus we do? We are not saved by being perfect. They are not saved by believing everything we believe.

And why do some Christians fear death? St Paul says in last Sunday’s epistle, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain and I have a longer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” What part of the Bible do we believe in and what part of the Bible is not the truth of God’s Word???

Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while He was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him. “By what authority are You doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave You this authority?”

You and I can answer for Him. “He is the Christ, the Son of the loving God” and “all authority on heaven and earth has been given to Him.” Moreover, “Heaven and earth shall come and pass away, but His words will never pass away.”

And what more can we say, except …. Amen.


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