The Parish Church of Connersville, Indiana

Sermons

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:14-17).

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Epiphany II 2022

All of us have been exposed to a false gospel which says we can have the joy of Christian peace without embracing the sacrificed Christian life described in Chapter 12 of St. Paul’s letter to the Romans. This promise of false joy is built upon a lie and hand-crafted to appeal to our vanity. In it, Christian peace is ripped from its proper place in God’s perfect time-table, and we are led to believe that we can enjoy heaven on earth by building a cocoon of temporary comfort around ourselves. For example, our church is surrounded by thousands of people, and every Sunday morning the majority of them choose to spend more time with their pillows or eat too much breakfast or watch one more screen. We should look at their behavior, their open rebellion against their Creator, in the same way we would look at a newly discovered tribe on some remote island found worshipping the Sun: both are lost, both need to be found. In fact, the Sun-worshipping tribe is in a much better position because at least they are looking for a god outside of themselves rather than religiously feeding the insatiable appetites of human desire in a doomed attempt to find meaning. While this situation is tragic, we are blessed that our mission field is right outside our doors, filled with people who are consumed by lies and inoculated against Christianity’s true nature by all the pastors turned adult daycare workers tripping over themselves to dilute the gospel with sweet tasting poison. We are blessed that after placing our souls and bodies on God’s altar, we are now prepared to be God’s means of drawing the lost tribes of Fayette County back to Him.


Sermon Date: January 16, 2022

Passage: Romans 12

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Epiphany I 2022

Here is why Christian ethics is so much more than a list of things to do or not do, so God won’t be mad at us. We are living in the merciful age foretold by the prophets. As we read in Isaiah, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising” (Isaiah 60:1-3). We are living in the light of this prophecy, and so our lives are governed by something bigger than the moral calculations of politicians or celebrities, blind professors or internet keyboard warriors; none of these victims of our ever-changing age are allowed to have sway over a living sacrifice. How could they? I am not my own. What about my anger or disordered sexual feelings, aren’t these just manifestations of who I really am? No, because I am not my own. What about my past sins and the shame I carry from all those I have hurt with my terrible selfishness, isn’t that who I really am? No, because I am not my own. It is God’s love which makes a dead man alive: a son of wrath into a son of grace; we are more than we could ever be without Him, for without Him we will live as empty, unloving imitations of the glorious, fully-realized humanity which is every Christ follower’s destiny.


Sermon Date: January 9, 2022

Passage: Romans 12

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The Circumcision of Christ 2022

And what it took to make us a family, for us to become “children of promise,” was not for the law to be swept aside as some lawless tyrant would, for such an act would make sin and death and pain nothing more than a meaningless simulation, but those who have suffered know the profound meaning to be experienced there; no, God the Son bleeds on his 8th day of life to become part of the covenant people, to be a marked man in the war between good and evil. For every man who came before, going all the way back to Abraham, circumcision was “a seal of the righteousness of faith,” gifted by God to His chosen people, but on this day we celebrate, He who bore the mark of righteousness was none other than the one Jeremiah called, “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Instead of failing to live up to the great gift bestowed upon them, this recipient of the covenant sign would perfectly fulfill the law and carry our humanity to the victory we do not deserve but are destined to be a part of. When we believe, when our faith and trust are placed in the Lord Our Righteousness, we become the sons and daughters of promise in perfect fulfillment of the law: His righteousness becomes our righteousness in the great exchange even now filling the mansions of the new heaven and new earth.


Sermon Date: January 2, 2022

Passage: Romans 4

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Christmas 2021

St. Paul in his letter to the Hebrews drives us back again and again to that central truth with which we began: God has been perfectly reveled in Jesus Christ. John adds his voice to the chorus, writing in today’s Gospel, “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” These two passages appointed for today’s celebration of the incarnation work hand in hand to focus our attention on two aspects of God’s perfect revelation of Himself in the Son. St. John focuses on the divine Son who was in the beginning with the Father, and through whom all creation was made. John would have us bask in the radiant glory of knowing the one true, living, creator God of the Old Testament has broken through the wall of sin and death we created to be united with our humanity. St. Paul, in a complimentary way, highlights the public resurrection of Christ as the means by which the incarnation of God the Son is forever vindicated. Christ is superior to both the prophets and the angels because His resurrection from the dead reveals both the Father’s unstoppable, untamable love and the undeniable identity of the Son. He is the only begotten of the Father, the firstborn of the dead, the first fruits of the resurrection and so all other competing voices, even those sent by the Father in the earlier stages of salvation-history, are subsumed under the perfect reliability of Him who sits victorious at the right hand of the Father. This Jesus we celebrate today is the “heir of all things,” and by uniting ourselves to him through faith, we are welcomed into the family of God to be children once again—protected in the mighty arms of the Father, embraced in the brotherly love of the Son.


Sermon Date: December 28, 2021

Passage: Hebrews 1 and St. John 1

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Advent IV 2021

Sadly, what we are seeing is just one more example of the false religions which have always sought to replace Word and Sacrament, humility and patience, with the terrible gods of entertainment, manipulation, emotion, and violence. If worship, nay life fulfillment, is all about the feelings conjured inside me then those feelings have become my god: the cruel almighty to whom I am most devoted. And sadly, in the worship of this idol we will chase those feelings wherever they leads us. In fact, we begin to believe that if we can just feel enough, scream enough, want it enough, we can make our favorite politicians win or make ourselves less sad or make more money or feel less guilty or any of the other crushing burdens this dying world puts on our shoulders. In our world of instant gratification, in a world where we are daily told to act like little gods, we just don’t have time to wait for God to act, we don’t have time for the second advent of Christ and the general resurrection of the dead, we don’t have time for the new heaven and new earth where every tear is wiped away forever; no, I feel hurt now and I want to feel better now, and I will find a god who will give me what I think I need. In this false religion, there isn’t any room for prophets who won’t step up and perform for us, there isn’t any room for the God who dies on a Cross, and there certainly isn’t any room for us to take up our own cross and die alongside Him. Of course, there is also no hope in this false religion; there is only the dark terror which waits for us when the false gods abandon us


Sermon Date: December 19, 2021

Passage: St. John 1

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Advent III 2021

What we should now begin to see is that the strange and unusual ministry of Christ is not accidental or hap-hazard or tentative; no, the first coming of Jesus was and is a time of blessed mercy in which the rightful, avenging wrath of God has been temporarily held back. From the inside of his prison cell, John thinks he wants God to bring the fire and burn away the evil of this world, but what John doesn’t yet fully understand is that if that were to happen then all of creation would stand condemned before the holy and good God. The vengeful messiah John wants would indeed swat the Herods of the world into the swirling oblivion, but He would also crush every human being who stands before God wearing the weighted down garments of sin and death dragging us deeper and deeper into the abyss—deeper and deeper into the selfishness and fear from which we can never free ourselves. Rather than death and destruction, Jesus calls the battered and bruised people of earth to join Him in a centuries long campaign of sacrificial love and God-honoring morality fought against the forces of naked aggression and blood-soaked power which seek to turn lies into truth, death into life, and sin into virtue. This campaign will cost Jesus his life, the life of His cousin, the lives of His 12 apostles, and the lives of all those who daily die to the world and live in supernatural, loving gratitude for the mercy God gives to our undeserving race. This life of mercy and holiness and sacrifice is the path to which Jesus beckons us.


Sermon Date: December 12, 2021

Passage: St. Matthew 11

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Advent II 2021

What then do we gain by earnestly seeking our hope and comfort in the Word of God? We gain nothing less than the endurance and encouragement we need to fight our way out of this broken world as one holy people—united in heart and soul and mind. St. Paul is writing to a church in Rome newly created out of the union of God and Man, Jew and Greek, rich and poor—a union made possible through the reconciling death of Christ. He is commanding this group of men and women to be a public refutation of everything the fallen world tries to worship: the idolatry which breaks the unity which can only come from worshipping the true, saving God with one united voice. The Word of God is where we find that voice, so that we no longer speak with the vain, babbling tongues of men, but rather sing in the exalted language of Almighty God. By reading and singing and praying through the Bible, we become the human heralds of God’s victory; we discard the discordant arguing of those whose only hope lies in the schemes of men; we join with the heavenly choir—praising God with our every breath and thought.


Sermon Date: December 5, 2021

Passage: Romans 15

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Advent I 2021

This love we are called to then makes absolutely no sense outside of the law. There is simply no way to “just love” because without the law and without the God/Man who fulfilled it, the word “love” will always be a cruel shadow of the reality all lesser loves point us toward. Any supposed Christian teacher who tells you we are no longer called to follow the moral law, but rather, instructs you to “just love,” worships a different God than He who says, “If you love me keep my commandments” (St. John 14:15). Anyone who says we can abandon the new way to be human revealed by Jesus and the apostles He chose is an anti-Christ who seeks nothing less than to build their little earthly kingdom with the pain and misery of human failure Christ suffered and died to eradicate forever. The debt of love we owe God and our fellow man is honored through the obedience and trust we give to God before the eyes of the world, and this purpose for our lives is but an humble imitation of the loving obedience and trust our Lord carried to the Cross. This loving obedience and trust between God and Man is more important to the salvation of the world than any nation or war, king or president, and God has blessed us all with the call to participate no matter our strength or weakness, intelligence or beauty. All men can daily kneel and ask God to use them as part of the world’s salvation. All men can love as Christ loved.


Sermon Date: November 28, 2021

Passage: Romans 13

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Trinity XXV 2021

The rebellion from the grounding of reality began with eating; it began with Adam’s act of anti-communion (his black mass) where the union between God and Man was broken in the first taste of evil: this perverse, false sacrament of disunion and alienation. We might complain that eating or not eating from a particular tree is a stupid or arbitrary way of setting the boundary between good and evil, but this would be to ignore the inherent mercy of setting up such a visible and straightforward line of demarcation between right and wrong—one can’t accidentally eat a piece of fruit. But, we would also be ignoring all the many powerful symbols which govern our own up-to-date, modern lives: one could easily say borders are just imaginary lines, but a walk across the Korean peninsula’s 38th parallel is to step between two different worlds. Or, what about money? The dollars in our pockets have no intrinsic value: they are symbols of a value regulated by our government, and yet these symbols govern so much of our lives because of the power someone tells us they have. Whether it is the fruit of the garden or the bread of heaven, God’s symbols are much more real than even these examples because they are the divinely established marks of our eternal status. To eat the fruit of the tree was to declare citizenship in the ranks of death; to eat of the bread of heaven is to regain again the divine benefits of being on God’s side in the war between good and evil.


Sermon Date: November 21, 2021

Passage: St. John 6

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Trinity XXIV 2021

The father of today’s Gospel reading, on his knees begging Jesus to come and save his dying child has been a recipient of the joyous gift I just described, but he has been given still another gift from his daughter, for it is her imminent death which has ripped away any skepticism or pride which might have prevented him from this act of abject surrender before the Lord. What good is pride or money or any of the other nonsense people care about when that which one most loves in the world can no longer be protected by our love and strength? We would give it all up to save that love; we would burn down our lives and face every humiliation to save that love. It isn’t an accident that Christ feels compassion for this grieving father, for it is this father’s willingness to do anything for love which most closely emulates the Trinity’s mission to save the world: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (St. John 3:16). The Son who stands before this broken, begging father is the Son who has answered the Father’s call to die for the children He loves, to stand in the space between sin and a parent’s love, to stand in that space and make true and beautiful and perfect love victorious forever. This victory is not some abstract longing or immaterial hope. Just as the great sacrifice was a real Son dying for the real sin and real pain we inflict upon each other, the great victory is a real universe restored: creation healed, tears wiped away, children back in our arms.


Sermon Date: November 14, 2021

Passage: St. Matthew 9