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Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

  1. He knows we are mortal
  2. He loves us like our parents
  3. All creatures should praise him
SERMON TEXT:  Psalms 103:13-22

Praise the LORD for his Compassionate Love!

The word of God for meditation this evening is from Psalm 103. We’ll look at only the last half of this verse for the sermon text today.

We’ll look at only the last half of this verse for the sermon text today.

Psalm 103:13-22

As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.

The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.

Praise the Lord, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
Praise the Lord, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

This is the word of God. Grace mercy and peace to all of you from God our father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I love to watch the different ways that people have to worship God. You know within the Christian church there are so many different styles of worship. If you went to some of our are churches in our area, in our fellowship, you would you would have the experience of singing a lot of modern contemporary music. If you go to other churches of our fellowship in our area, you will be treated to some good old-fashioned hymns and liturgy, pretty much performed and participated in straight from the book. Something in the middle you get blended services. What if you were able to transport yourself back in time to medieval times? Not the Buena Park attraction, but to actually be in a medieval church. You would hear some Gregorian Chants Gregorian Chant you would hear the word of God read and prayers that were spoken in Latin, in medieval ecclesiastical Latin, and you would probably have a deep feeling of thoughtfulness, of devotion. Some of our churches that are in fellowship with us in Africa go way to the other extreme and that spectrum. I love to watch how they worship. You know the exuberance of the preaching and then the response to the word of God. Why people actually get up and they improvise songs in the aisle while clapping their hands, and marching with their offering down to the altar to put their offerings individually upon that place. They look so joyful and happy in their worship. Contemplative, exuberant, anything in the middle.

What you think is the best way to worship God? Do you think God cares so much? I think the best way to worship God doesn’t have anything to do with style, it has to do with substance. If we want to worship God the right way what we need to do is focus on God’s compassionate love. Those are two keywords in our Psalm section today, God’s love and God’s compassion. And so if we have a liturgy and read it from a hymnal and if we sing hymns as long as it focuses on God’s compassionate love, as long as we are proclaiming God’s peace to one another that’s good worship. If our brothers and sisters in central Africa dance in the aisle, and clap their hands and improvise songs and harmonies, if it’s focusing on the grace of God, his compassionate love, then it’s good worship. If we contemplate silently and think deeply on the compassionate love of God that too is good worship. We proclaim the love of God in our words both spoken and sung and that’s good worship. Praise the Lord O, my soul. Praise his holy name. Praise the Lord O my soul and forget not all his benefits. He heals all your diseases. He comforts us.

As we look at our text we see a very stark contrast between God and us. About half of you here today I think are older than me about half her younger. Maybe it’s about that. I’m pretty much middle age so I’m old enough to remember 1978. How many of you remember 1978? Do you remember one of the songs from that year that hit number seven on the charts called, Dust In The Wind, sung by Kansas? Okay dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind. That song actually is based on words from Psalm 103. All we are flies away when the wind blows on our accomplishments. When the wind blows on our imaginations. When the wind blows on us, we fly away. We are no more. God knows that we are mortal. He is the one who created us out of the dust. God created Adam and Eve to be immortal, but because of their sin, they brought upon themselves and they passed along to all of their descendants what we call mortality. That means that we are subject to death. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death. If you work all day you expect to get a paycheck. If you sin during your life you expect to get death. The wages of sin is death. God brings that home over and over and over again in the Old Testament. The very thing that he incorporated into worship, the sacrifice of animals over and over and over was meant to show the damage that sin causes. The people sin, so you have a sacrifice. The priest sins, so they sacrifice for his sin, and then he can sacrifice for the people’s sin. The Great Day Of Atonement sacrifice. There’s need to get rid of more sin you have a goat that is sent out into the desert to die, but if there’s more sin then you kill a bull. And there’s more sin so on the Passover you kill a perfect one-year-old ram, but still, there’s more sin. We are mortal. The blood and the ashes from thousands, perhaps millions of goats, and lambs, and oxen, and calves could not take away sin. God remembers that we are mortal and therefore he sent a sacrifice that would redeem us from our sins and give us the peace that we need with God so that we can live forever. See God knows that we are mortal he knows that without him there is no hope for life.

You remember when Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane? He prayed to his Heavenly Father. Do you remember that prayer? He said, Father if it is possible, let this cup pass from me, and as he prayed he prayed with such intensity that the sweat on his forehead it says was like drops of blood. Such intensity in his prayer, such fervency in his prayer because he did not want to suffer pain. None of us like pain, but he was willing. He said if it is possible let this cup pass from me, yet not my will but your will be done. He didn’t want it but he was willing. He knew that we are mortal. He knew that we were dead in our sins. He knew that we could not do it ourselves. God the Father answered his prayer by saying you must drink that cop. Willingly he went to the cross because he loved us he loved us as a father has compassion on his children. Another one of the songs the David sang before worship today, He is a Good Good Father and we are his children. Not every one of us had a father who loved us, but probably everybody here knows what a father’s love ideally is like. A father provides for his children. A father disciplines his children when they do wrong. He teaches them a lesson so that they will not so easily do wrong again. So that they will grow up into some semblance of well-adjusted adults. God our Father in heaven loves us even better than our parents ever quote on their best days. Our Father in heaven created us and in spite of the fact that we sinned against him and so many terrible ways he still renews and increases that unconditional love that he has for each one. When we do wrong, he disciplines us. When we do right, he commends us and he himself gives us the power to do right and the power to praise and honor and glorify him.

It would be a shame if people all of them forgot how to worship God, wouldn’t it? Sometimes I worry about this as a generation in America grows up that is less church than ever, and has less interest in even talking or thinking about God. Isn’t it worrisome to think that our country could in a generation, by and large, have no one worshiping and praising God? Now I don’t think that will be worldwide, but it could happen in America. I think the shower of the gospel will go elsewhere; Africa, Asia, South America, many places where the gospel is being blessed in his proclamation. It would be a shame if people forgot how to worship God, but we have the assurance of God that worship will continue. If people don’t worship God, angels will it says on the on page 8 on this section, praise the Lord you his angels you mighty ones who do his bidding who obey his word praise the Lord all his heavenly hosts you his servants to do his will praise the Lord all his works everywhere in his dominion praise the Lord my soul. See if humans forget to praise God there will still be the Angels praising God and if the Angels voices do not resound upon the earth there are still God’s creatures that praise God. Even though they may not know it, the birds of the air with their beautiful songs, are praising God. The thunderstorms and the windstorms that clap their hands praise the Lord. The beauty of a sunset. The beauty of the stars in the sky all proclaim and declare the glory and praise of God. As the songwriter remembers all of these creatures, all of these beings that serve and glorify and praise God, then the Psalm writer wants to include himself. Praise the Lord my soul. Remember what God has done for you and whether your worship today is contemplative or exuberant whether your worship today is filled with joy or whether you’re worshiping God with as the Lord has said a broken and contrite heart oh God you will not despise. See sometimes we worship God with broken hearts and that’s good too.

And it’s good to worship God with exuberance and it’s good to worship God with silence and it’s good to worship God with noise as long as we are remembering the compassionate love of our Lord.

Let’s keep that in our hearts. Let’s keep that in our minds. Let’s keep that in our worship.

Amen

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

  1. He knows we are mortal
  2. He loves us like our parents
  3. All creatures should praise him.
SERMON TEXT:  Psalms 103:13-22

As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.
Praise the Lord, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
Praise the Lord, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, my soul.


Bible Readings

FIRST LESSON:  Genesis 50:15–21

When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and will pay us back in full for all of the evil that we did to him.” They sent the following message to Joseph: “Before he died your father commanded us, ‘You are to tell Joseph, “Please forgive the offense of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ Now, please forgive the offense of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. His brothers also came and fell down in front of him, and they said, “See now, we are your servants.” Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring this to pass and to keep many people alive, as it is this day. Now therefore do not be afraid. I will nourish you and your little ones.” He comforted them and spoke to them in a kind way.

SECOND LESSON:  Ephesians 4:29-5:2

Do not let any unwholesome talk come from your mouths. Say only what is beneficial when there is a need to build up others, so that it will be a blessing to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of every kind of bitterness, rage, anger, quarreling, and slander, along with every kind of malice. Instead, be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one other, just as God in Christ has forgiven us. :Therefore, be imitators of God as his dearly loved children. And walk in love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself for us, as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

VERSE OF THE DAY:  Romans 15:4

Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

GOSPEL: Matthew 18:21-35

Then Peter came up and asked Jesus, “Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother when he sins against me? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but I tell you as many as seventy-seven times. For this reason the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle them, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Because the man was not able to pay the debt, his master ordered that he be sold, along with his wife, children, and all that he owned to repay the debt. “Then the servant fell down on his knees in front of him, saying, ‘Master, be patient with me, and I will pay you everything!’ The master of that servant had pity on him, released him, and forgave him the debt. “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him one hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began choking him, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ “So his fellow servant fell down and begged him, saying, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back!’ But he refused. Instead he went off and threw the man into prison until he could pay back what he owed. “When his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were very distressed. They went and reported to their master everything that had taken place. “Then his master called him in and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt when you begged me to. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had mercy on you?’ His master was angry and handed him over to the jailers until he could pay back everything he owed. “This is what my heavenly Father will also do to you unless each one of you forgives his brother from his heart.”

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