Sermon Title: Liberated by God's Grace

(Isaiah 61:1-4, Matthew 13:31-32)

Rev. Erik Kindem, October 8, 2017

Quick Summary:

We’re marking the 500th anniversary of the Reformation movement over the next four Sundays by building worship around themes and texts and music from the Lutheran World Federation Global Assembly in Windhoek, Namibia, last May. The central theme of that gathering, and this series, is: LIBERATED BY GOD’S GRACE. The three sub-themes are: humans are not for sale; creation is not for sale; salvation is not for sale.

Three years after posting his95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Luther wrote a little essay entitled: ON CHRISTIAN LIBERTY, in which he states his thesis in two seemingly contradictory sentences:
A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none.
A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.

The Freedom we receive in Christ is both a FREEDOM FROM...all that would bind us and keep us captive, and a FREEDOM FOR...looking beyond ourselves and our needs to the need of the neighbor. As we grapple as a nation with violent rhetoric and actions, this paradoxical framework offered by Luther can guide us to common ground.

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Isaiah 61:1-4

61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations. (ESV)

Matthew 13:31-32

31 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” (ESV)

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