300 S. Ardmore Ave. Villa Park, IL 60181

Worship Times

Saturday - 4:30 pm Sunday - 8:00 am & 10:30 am Christian Education Sunday - 9:15 am

Everyone who acknowledges me before men,

I also will acknowledge

before my Father who is in heaven. Matthew 10:32

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pastor Rob Rogers was born in Seattle Washington. He has a B.A. in Communication from Concordia University, Austin, TX and a Masters of Divinity from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO. READ MORE >>

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Worship Service

July 2, 2017
June 25, 2017
June 18, 2017
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Pentecost 2 – June 18, 2017
Text:            Matthew 10:1-8
Theme:         Receive Freely. Give Freely.

 

              If you saw the sermon title and became worried that you had accidentally come to church on Stewardship Sunday, you can relax.  This is not a stewardship sermon…well, not completely.  Look at the Epistle appointed for today.  St. Paul says to the Romans,

              “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  This is one of his great treatises on salvation as a free gift of God.  He makes it abundantly clear that salvation was given to us, not when we deserved it but when we were still sinners.  That’s like catching your employees surfing the web and texting instead of working and going over and paying them extra instead of firing them.  We were in the midst of sin and even so, Christ chose to die for us.

              This is a game changer for us.  What this means is that all we have to do is make it through this life and the gates of the mansion are wide open for us.  Jesus says,

              “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”  He has gone and we wait for his return either at our death or at the end of the world and we receive the keys to the kingdom.  That is a done deal.  We are set. 

              So what now?  And that is what we have to wrestle with today.  Now what do we do with ourselves for the foreseeable future until we inherit the kingdom?  What does eternal life in paradise being freely given to us mean for the little bit of time we have left here in this world?  And it is only a little bit of time.  I know that when you are sitting in 8th period Algebra, it seems like time has stopped, or when the basement just flooded for the third time this month, it seems that time is in a loop.  But we know that compared to eternity, the time we have on this earth is minute.

              When his people were in Egypt, God gave them some instructions for life.  Those instructions are recorded for us in our Old Testament reading for today.  Like we were delivered from the captivity of sin and the devil, so the people of Israel were delivered from slavery in Egypt.  They too were delivered freely and here is what God expected from them.

              “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”  Keep my covenant.  What covenant would that be?  He was about to give it in the 10 Commandments.  Prior to this day, God had bound himself to his people through the Abrahamic Covenant.  God promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations and God would be his God.  God bound himself to Abraham.  It was 100% God’s doing out of love for his people.  That kind of devotion is overwhelming.  How should the people respond to such love and devotion from God?  The answer to that is the 10 Commandments.

              Too often we think of the 10 Commandments as burdensome or we ignore them since we are unable to keep them perfectly.  But this is our opportunity to give back to God.  My mother told me once that all she wanted for her birthday was for us kids to get along all day.  At the time, I thought, why do you care if I get along with my brothers and sister?  What do you really want?  But now, as a father, I completely understand what she was saying.  Nothing is more rewarding than when I see my kids laughing and having fun together.  The thing Danya and I miss most these days is lying in bed on Friday night and listening to the kids and their friends laugh in the living room as they watch some  mindless show on Comedy Central. It brings parents great joy when their kids get along and are kind to one another and care for one another.  It brings God great joy when his kids, that is us, get along and are kind to one another and care for one another.

              Jesus sent his disciples out into the world, not to cause trouble for us, not to make political statements, not to threaten all of us sinners with hell and damnation unless we shape up. But to “heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons.”  That is, they were to address the ills of society in their day.  Today maybe we would give rides to those who cannot drive, work for equal treatment of all people and show love and compassion to people who are hurting.  See the point is, as it almost always is, life on this earth is NOT ABOUT US and what we want and what we think we need.  We are already taken care of for eternity.  We have freely received.  Now, freely give.  In that way we keep God’s Covenant.  We love him with all our heart and mind and soul as we love our neighbors as ourselves. 

              So maybe this is a stewardship sermon.  But it’s not about money.  It is a sermon on the stewardship of your love for others, of the time you give to others, of the devotion you give to God by serving others.  We are pretty good around here at writing checks.  We’re not sitting on top of the world but we’re paying the bills, buying boilers and putting on roofs.  But we are sorely lacking in some other ways of giving.  We are struggling to put others first in ways that require us to actually interact with them.  Our Sunday School and youth group should be bursting at the seams by the numbers of people in that age bracket that are on our roles.  But parents seem to be too busy to bring their children to church for Christian Education.  They need to sleep, or work or go out and have breakfast instead of serving God by being here with their children.  Our pews should be full judging from the fact that we seat about 400 and have nearly 600 on the roles.  But people are too busy to come worship the one who has provided eternity for them.  And those of us here are apparently too busy to call the ones who are not here or to invite neighbors and friends to come here.

              We’re not too shabby at writing checks.  But we’re a little bit like spoiled rich kids who lie on the couch and play video games while Mom is out mowing the grass, and the when she comes in, we complain that our clothes are not washed.  This place will not run by itself, it was not designed to do that.  God’s people are to run God’s house.  Jesus is the Father of this house of God.  He speaks to us in the Gospel.

                “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”  They were like people who think work and sleep and sports and going out are more important that being in worship and Bible Class.  What did Jesus do about this problem?

                “Then he said to his disciples,…”  That would be us to whom he is speaking.  Did you know that we had to cancel our Summerfest booth because no one could be bothered to sit at it and just meet and welcome people from our community?  Did you know that we have no one who will be the Director of the Board of Education, so no one to coordinate Sunday School and the Music School and the Nursery School? Anyway, Jesus said to us,

                 “’The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’ And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction…. These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, ‘Go…to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.”  We are decent at writing checks.  And that’s good because this place needs income to continue serving God.  But now that Jesus has paid for our salvation.  Now that Jesus has secured paradise for us.  Now that eternity is certain for us.  What are we doing?  Are we just going to sit on the couch and watch TV while the grass grows into a jungle?  Are we just going to wait until all the dishes are dirty and then just order pizza? Are we going to shake our heads and click our tongues as the doors are locked and the for-sale sign goes up on the front lawn and wonder why no one did anything before it came to this?

 

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