16th Sunday After Pentecost
Proper 20 (September 18–24)
Isaiah 55:6–9; Ps. 27:1-9; Philippians 1:12–14, 19–30; Matthew 20:1–16
Of the Day: LSB 853 How Clear Is Our Vocation, Lord
Offertory: LSB 757 Lord, It Belongs Not to My Care
Distribution: LSB 555 Salvation unto Us Has Come;
Closing: LSB 738 Lord of All Hopefulness
Disciples Live in Their Vocations by Grace through Faith in Christ
Those who are sent as “laborers for His vineyard” (Matt. 20:1) depict the wide diversity of vocations to which the disciples of Christ Jesus are called. Whatever our particular stations in life may be, we are called to live and serve by faith in His promises. Our labors do not merit anything before Him, for He is already generous to one and all without partiality. In mercy He has chosen to bear “the burden of the day and the scorching heat” on our behalf, to make us equal to Himself, and to give us what belongs to Him, that is, the Kingdom of heaven (Matt. 20:12–15). This way of the Lord is foolishness to the world and foreign to our thoughts, but He draws near, so that “He may be found” (Is. 55:6), that “He may have compassion” and “abundantly pardon” (Is. 55:7). So it is that we are found in Christ Jesus, and He is honored in our bodies, “whether by life or by death” (Phil. 1:20), by “fruitful labor” (Phil. 1:22), or by suffering. It is by faith in His forgiveness that our works are “worthy of the Gospel” (Phil. 1:27).
Dr Martin Luther:
“Observe, therefore, the wickedness of the human heart! When God saves the unworthy without merits, or rather justifies the ungodly with their many demerits, it does not accuse him of injustice; it does not demand to know why he wills this, which in its judgment is most unjust, but because it is advantageous and pleasing to itself it deems it just and good. But when he damns those without merit, then since this is disadvantageous to itself, it is unjust, it is intolerable, and here there is protesting, murmuring, and blaspheming.” LW 33:207–8
Worldview Everlasting – Symphonizing the Idle w/ Equal Dikaios (Matthew 20:1-16)
Worldview Everlasting Greek Tuesday takes on Matthew 20:1-16.
Worldview Everlasting – I Will Rejoice In...SQUIRREL!!! (Philippians 1:12-14,19-30)
The Gospel is relief. No matter what I see or experience in this life, Christ has got me in His Cross, in His Word and in His Sacrament. And when I die I go to be with Him. Paul is full of hope and joy in this first chapter of Philippians. But that joy isn’t what you think it is, you silly American! You’ll want to watch this episode to find out how we tend to twist the word “joy” and make it about something it is not.
Pastors' Round-Table -- The Laborers in the Vineyard: Matthew 20:1-16 -- Issues Etc.
Pr. Ben Ball of St. Paul Lutheran-Hamel, Ill., and Pr. Chris Hull of Christ Lutheran, Normal, Ill, discuss the Gospel reading with Pastor Todd Wilken on Issues Etc. (mp3, 56:09, 22.6 MB, 2013-Jan-22)
Lectionary Podcast - Proper 20 - Series A - Matthew 20:1-16 with Dr. John G. Nordling
Dr. John G. Nordling, Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, Ind., discusses the Gospel lesson from the Greek text.
1 Ὁμοία γάρ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν ἀνθρώπῳ οἰκοδεσπότῃ ὅστις ἐξῆλθεν ἅμα πρωῒ μισθώσασθαι ἐργάτας εἰς τὸν ἀμπελῶνα αὐτοῦ.
2 ⸂συμφωνήσας δὲ⸃ μετὰ τῶν ἐργατῶν ἐκ δηναρίου τὴν ἡμέραν ἀπέστειλεν αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸν ἀμπελῶνα αὐτοῦ.
3 καὶ ἐξελθὼν περὶ τρίτην ὥραν εἶδεν ἄλλους ἑστῶτας ἐν τῇ ἀγορᾷ ἀργούς·
4 καὶ ἐκείνοις εἶπεν· Ὑπάγετε καὶ ὑμεῖς εἰς τὸν ἀμπελῶνα, καὶ ὃ ἐὰν ᾖ δίκαιον δώσω ὑμῖν·
5 οἱ δὲ ἀπῆλθον. ⸀πάλιν ἐξελθὼν περὶ ἕκτην καὶ ἐνάτην ὥραν ἐποίησεν ὡσαύτως.
6 περὶ δὲ τὴν ⸀ἑνδεκάτην ἐξελθὼν εὗρεν ἄλλους ⸀ἑστῶτας, καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· Τί ὧδε ἑστήκατε ὅλην τὴν ἡμέραν ἀργοί;
7 λέγουσιν αὐτῷ· Ὅτι οὐδεὶς ἡμᾶς ἐμισθώσατο. λέγει αὐτοῖς· Ὑπάγετε καὶ ὑμεῖς εἰς τὸν ⸀ἀμπελῶνα.
8 ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης λέγει ὁ κύριος τοῦ ἀμπελῶνος τῷ ἐπιτρόπῳ αὐτοῦ· Κάλεσον τοὺς ἐργάτας καὶ ἀπόδος ⸀αὐτοῖς τὸν μισθὸν ἀρξάμενος ἀπὸ τῶν ἐσχάτων ἕως τῶν πρώτων.
9 ⸂καὶ ἐλθόντες⸃ οἱ περὶ τὴν ἑνδεκάτην ὥραν ἔλαβον ἀνὰ δηνάριον.
10 ⸂καὶ ἐλθόντες⸃ οἱ πρῶτοι ἐνόμισαν ὅτι ⸀πλεῖον λήμψονται· καὶ ἔλαβον ⸂τὸ ἀνὰ δηνάριον καὶ αὐτοί⸃.
11 λαβόντες δὲ ἐγόγγυζον κατὰ τοῦ οἰκοδεσπότου
12 ⸀λέγοντες· Οὗτοι οἱ ἔσχατοι μίαν ὥραν ἐποίησαν, καὶ ἴσους ⸂αὐτοὺς ἡμῖν⸃ ἐποίησας τοῖς βαστάσασι τὸ βάρος τῆς ἡμέρας καὶ τὸν καύσωνα.
13 ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς ⸂ἑνὶ αὐτῶν εἶπεν⸃· Ἑταῖρε, οὐκ ἀδικῶ σε· οὐχὶ δηναρίου συνεφώνησάς μοι;
14 ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε· θέλω δὲ τούτῳ τῷ ἐσχάτῳ δοῦναι ὡς καὶ σοί·
15 ⸀οὐκ ἔξεστίν μοι ⸂ὃ θέλω ποιῆσαι⸃ ἐν τοῖς ἐμοῖς; ⸀ἢ ὁ ὀφθαλμός σου πονηρός ἐστιν ὅτι ἐγὼ ἀγαθός εἰμι;
16 οὕτως ἔσονται οἱ ἔσχατοι πρῶτοι καὶ οἱ πρῶτοι ⸀ἔσχατοι.
(1) For the kingdom of Heaven is like a man, a housemaster, who went out when it was early to hire workers into his vineyard.
(2) And agreeing with the workers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard.
(3) And going out about the third hour, he saw others standing idle in the market.
(4) And he said to them, You also go into the vineyard, and I will give you whatever is just. And they went.
(5) Again, going out about the sixth and ninth hour, he did the same.
(6) And going out about the eleventh hour, he found others standing idle, and said to them, Why do you stand here idle all day?
(7) They said to him, Because no one has hired us. He said to them, You also go into the vineyard, and you will receive whatever is just.
(8) But evening having come, the lord of the vineyard said to his manager, Call the workers and pay them the wage, beginning from the last to the first.
(9) And the ones having come the eleventh hour each received a denarius.
(10) And having come, the first supposed that they would receive more. And they also each received a denarius.
(11) And having received it, they murmured against the housemaster,
(12) saying, These last have performed one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.
(13) But answering, he said to one of them, Friend, I do not wrong you. Did you not agree to a denarius with me?
(14) Take yours and go. But I desire to give to this last as also to you.
(15) Or is it not lawful for me to do what I desire with my things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?
(16) So the last shall be first, and the first last; for many are called, but few chosen.
Scripture quotations marked SBLGNT are from the SBL Greek New Testament. Copyright © 2010 Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software. Holmes, M. W. (2011–2013). The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Lexham Press; Society of Biblical Literature.
Dr. Carl Fickenscher, Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, Ind., discusses Dr. C.F.W. Walther's Insights on what makes a Sermon a Lutheran Sermon
from The Lutheran Teaching of the Office of the Ministry Conference
Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, Newton, N.C.
October 20, 2007
Videographer: Barry Propes
The Elders have asked Dr. Paul Schilf, a member of our congregation, to lead a Midweek Family Bible Study. The study will be held Wednesdays at 6:30 pm, starting September 6th. The schedule of topics is:
06-Sep: Gender Identity Disorder - A Lutheran Perspective
13-Sep: Gender Identity Disorder - A Lutheran Perspective
20-Sep: Gender Identity Disorder - A Lutheran Perspective
27-Sep: Gender Identity Disorder - A Lutheran Perspective
04-Oct: The 4th Commandment and Aging Parents
11-Oct: The 4th Commandment and Aging Parents
18-Oct: The Reformation - Historical, Geographical and Theological Perspectives
25-Oct: The Reformation - Historical, Geographical and Theological Perspectives
01-Nov: People with disabilities - Worship and LCMS Church Life
08-Nov: People with disabilities - Worship and LCMS Church Life
15-Nov: 3 Powerful Hymns
22-Nov: No Class - Thanksgiving
29-Nov: No Class - Advent
06-Dec: No Class - Advent
13-Dec: No Class - Advent
20-Dec: No Class - Advent
27-Dec: No Class - Christmas
03-Jan: The Office of the Keys - Catechism Review
10-Jan: No Class
17-Jan: The Office of the Keys - Catechism Review
24-Jan: Baptism - Catechism Review
31-Jan: Baptism - Catechism Review
07-Feb: Lent - Nothing to give up
14-Feb: No Class - Lent
21-Feb: No Class - Lent
28-Feb: No Class - Lent
07-Mar: No Class - Lent
14-Mar: No Class - Lent
21-Mar: No Class - Lent
28-Mar: Same Gender Marriage
04-Apr: Same Gender Marriage
11-Apr: Same Gender Marriage
18-Apr: Same Gender Marriage
25-Apr: 3 Powerful Hymns
02-May: Stress & Sin
09-May: Highlights of the Divine Service
16-May: Highlights of the Divine Service
23-May: Luther on Prayer
4801 E. 6th St
Christ Lutheran Church is a member of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.
9:30 am Divine Service with Lord's Supper (The Lord's Supper is celebrated every Lord's Day and Festival Service)
10:45 am Sunday School and Bible Classes (except August)
Advent and Lenten services: Wednesday, 7:00 pm
Note: Services on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day are held at 9:30 am.
Recorded sermons can be heard here.
UPDATE: The Voters Assembly, at its meeting of Jan 22, 2017, adopted its 2017 budget, and voted to continue as a member of the Issues, Etc. 300, for the 7th year.
The Voters Assembly at its regular meeting of January 9, 2011, adopted its 2011 budget. As part of its Missions budget is a line item for Issues, Etc. (via Lutheran Public Radio) and has become a member of the Issues, Etc. 300.
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Issues, Etc. Journal, Summer 2017
More than a decade ago I wrote “A Listeners Guide to the Pulpit.” At the time, my goal was simple: I wanted to help the average Christian sitting in the pew to tell the difference between good preaching and bad preaching. I dealt with the most egregious forms of bad preaching I could think of, and I thought I had covered it all. I hadn’t. Since then I have become aware of other kinds of bad preaching, some of which I had engaged in myself. To ﬁll in the gaps and confess to my own bad preaching, I offer this update of the original essay.
Most of the preachers were dynamic, engaging, interesting and even entertaining. Most of their sermons were terrible.
How hard could it be? You go to church. The preacher preaches. You sit and listen. Easy, right?
But how do you tell the difference between a good sermon and a bad sermon? What makes good preaching good, and bad preaching bad?
For several years Issues, Etc. has been doing on–air sermon reviews. We’ve reviewed the sermons of Joel Osteen, D. James Kennedy, T.D. Jakes, Robert Schuller, Joyce Meyer, and many less well–known preachers. We’ve reviewed the sermons of Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Eastern Orthodox, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, and others. Most of these preachers were speaking to packed auditoriums and to worldwide television audiences. Most of the preachers were dynamic, engaging, interesting, and even entertaining. Most of the preachers are considered the best of the best preachers in the world.
Most of their sermons were terrible.
I don’t make this judgment based on my own subjective tastes or my own personal standard. I make this judgment based on the objective difference between good preaching and bad preaching.
Is there an objective standard for good preaching? Yes. It is a standard every Christian should know and use every time they hear a sermon. Every Christian needs to know the difference between a good sermon and a bad sermon.
God’s Two Teachings
St. Paul writes to the young preacher Timothy, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). Paul says that God’s Word of truth must be handled with care. To rightly divide God’s Word is the preacher’s ﬁrst and most important task. Nineteenth–century theologian, C.F.W. Walther describes what Paul means in his famous treatise, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel:
The doctrinal contents of the entire Holy Scriptures, both of the Old and the New Testament, are made up of two doctrines differing fundamentally from each other; viz.[namely], the Law and the Gospel … Only he is an orthodox teacher who not only presents all the articles of faith in accordance with Scripture, but also rightly distinguished from each other the Law and the Gospel. (C.F.W. Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1928, pp. 6 http://www.lutherantheology.com/uploads/works/walther/LG/lecture-01.html, 30 http://www.lutherantheology.com/uploads/works/walther/LG/lecture-04.html.)
Walther was simply following the leader of the sixteenth-century reformer Martin Luther. Luther explained this critical distinction between God’s Law and God’s Gospel and the danger of ignoring it:
It is therefore a matter of utmost necessity that these two kinds of God’s Word be well and properly distinguished. Where this is not done, neither the Law nor the Gospel can be understood, and the consciences of men must perish with blindness and error. The Law has its goal fixed beyond which it cannot go or accomplish anything, namely, until the point is reached where Christ comes in. It must terrify the impenitent with threats of the wrath and displeasure of God. Likewise the Gospel has its peculiar function and task, viz. [namely], to proclaim forgiveness of sin to sorrowing souls. These two may not be commingled, nor the one substituted for the other, without a falsification of doctrine. For while the Law and the Gospel are indeed equally God’s Word, they are not the same doctrine. (Martin Luther, “Sermon on the Distinction Between the Law and the Gospel,” Luther’s Works, St. L. Ed. IX, p. 799.)
Through His Law, God shows us His will. Through His Law, God tells us what He requires and what He forbids. Through His Law, God demands perfect obedience in thought, word and deed. Through His Law, God shows us that we have not done what He requires and have done what He forbids. Through His Law, God says, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind... You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:37, 39). Through His Law, God calls anything short of perfect obedience sin.
Through His Gospel, God tells us what He has done in Jesus Christ to save those who have broken His Law. Through His Gospel, God shows us that Jesus has done everything He required of us by His Law. Through His Gospel, God shows us that Jesus has been punished under the Law in our place. Through His Gospel, God answers the perfect demands of His Law with the perfect, sinless death and resurrection of Jesus. The Gospel says, “What the Law could not do in that it was weak through the ﬂesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful ﬂesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the ﬂesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulﬁlled in us” (Rom. 8:3–4).Through His Gospel, God answers the requirements of His Law with the life, death and resurrection of Jesus for us. Through His Gospel, God makes no demands whatsoever. There is only the free gift of God’s grace in Jesus Christ.
What does this have to do with difference between a good sermon and a bad sermon? Everything. The essential difference between a good sermon and a bad sermon is whether or not the preacher rightly divides and applies God's Law and God’s Gospel. A good sermon must show sinners their sin and show sinners their Savior. Again Luther writes:
This difference between the Law and the Gospel is the height of knowledge in Christendom. Every person and all persons who assume or glory in the name of Christian should know and be able to state this difference. If this ability is lacking, one cannot tell a Christian from a heathen or a Jew; of such supreme importance is this differentiation. This is why St. Paul so strongly insists on a clean–cut and proper differentiating of these two doctrines. (Martin Luther, Sermon on Galatians, 1532.)
So these two, Law and Gospel, must always go together in every sermon. They must be carefully divided in every sermon. God's Law must show us our sin, and God's Gospel must silence the Law’s accusations against us with the perfect life, death and resurrection of Jesus for us.
This is not to say that a good sermon will ONLY do this. Good preaching, according to Paul, does many things: It rebukes, reproves, admonishes, corrects, comforts, encourages, trains and teaches (Rom. 15:14; 1 Cor. 10:11; Col. 1:28; 3:16; 2 Tim. 2:4; 3:16; Titus 1:9). But whatever else good preaching does, it must above all rightly condemn us on account of our sin and declare us innocent on account of Jesus.
That was a Good Sermon?