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Sermons Illustrations for Proper 13 | OT 18 (2022)

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Hosea 11:1-11, Psalm 107:1-9, 43
A.W. Tozer wrote, “Grace is the good pleasure of God that inclines him to bestow benefits upon the undeserving. Its use to us sinful men is to save us and make us sit together in heavenly places to demonstrate to the ages the exceeding riches of God’s kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”

Timothy Paul Jones, co-author of the book, Proof: Finding Freedom through the Intoxicating Joy of Irresistible Grace tells the story of taking his adopted daughter to Disney World. By the time Jones and his family had adopted the little girl, she was eight years old. Her former family had been to Disney before but had never taken her. She’d always had to stay with a family friend. Timothy and his wife announced to the whole family that they were going to Disney. What happened next startled them. Their adopted daughter began to act out. Jones relates how he was thankful he didn’t resort to the threat, “If you don’t start behaving, you won’t go.”  He simply asked her if this trip was something they were doing as a family. When he asked, she nodded. He then said, “you’re going.”  According to Jones, her behavior did not improve until the night of the first day at Disney in the hotel. That night his little girl said to him, ““Daddy, I finally got to go to Disney World. But it wasn’t because I was good; it’s because I’m yours.”

Not because they were good, but because they were his. That’s the story of God’s children, too. We see it plainly in these verses.  May we find comfort and peace in his grace.
Bill T.

* * *

Hosea 11:1-11, Psalm 107:1-9, 43
Both this chapter and Hosea and this thanksgiving Psalm 107 reference the exodus, and God’s continuing steadfast love. Hosea laments the people’s faithlessness, after the wonders of their liberation,they turned to other gods, but like a parent, God has not given up hope for change. God will restore what we have lost. And Psalm 107 talks about the years of wandering in the desert, along with many other times of trial and tribulation, some of our doing, but demonstrates how again and again and again God remembers and restores the people!
Frank R.

* * *

Colossians 3:1-11
A 2021 poll conducted by Real Faith found that a near majority of Americans (45%) think that most Christians are hypocrites.  And yet a 2017 Gallup poll indicated that 55% of us believe that religion can answer all of today’s problems.  How can this tension exist?  Our lesson answers this question in making clear that the Christian life is hidden, that sin remains in Christians so in that sense they are hypocrites and may as well admit it.  Martin Luther had a lot to say on this subject:

Therefore I am at the same time a sinner and a righteous man, for I do evil and I   hate the evil which I do.  (Luther’s Works, Vol. 25, p. 63)

From all this is it evident that sin remains in the baptized and the saints as long as they are flesh and blood and live on earth.  (Luther’s Works, Vol. 32, p. 20)

... our life is hidden in God... finding in ourselves nothing but sin, foolishness, death, and hell...  (Luther’s Works, Vol. 31 p. 41)

When you see nothing in your life but sin, you can’t help but pay more attention to God in Christ, because then you know that he is the only source of goodness in life.
Mark E.

* * *

Luke 12:13-21
Landon Parvin in the “Leaders” section of Readers Digest (May 1996) wrote a humous anecdote that connects with this text.

A miserly man was called on by the chairman of the community charity. “Sir,” said the fund-raiser, “our records show that despite your wealth, you’ve never once given to our drive.”

 “Do your records show that I have an elderly mother who was left penniless when my father died? fumed the tightwad. “Do your records show that I have a disabled brother who is unable to work? Do your records show I have a widowed sister with small children who can barely make ends meet?”

“No, sir,” replied the volunteer. “Our records don’t show that.”

Without missing a beat, the man answered, “Well, I don’t give to any of them, so why should I give anything to you?”

God has words for those who hoard up wealth for themselves. “‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So, it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God” (vs. 20-21).
Bill T.

* * *

Luke 12:13-21
The words of life spoken by Jesus in the leadup to this passage inspires one listener to ask himself, “How can I use this guy to my personal advantage?” This individual sees a wonderful opportunity to take advantage of Jesus’s expertise to pad his pockets. “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” Now this person may have a legitimate case here, but that’s beside the point. This causes us to ask the question: “Is the purpose of the church to increase my bottom line?” Or, “What’s in it for me?” I have heard of people leaving one church to attend another not because of a theological question, but because their child’s coach attends there, and this may increase the child’s playing time. Some choose a church in order to network for business purposes. They see more potential customers at one church instead of another. They want to pin their business card on the bulletin board. Me. Me. Me.

Which leads Jesus into the parable of the rich fool. Me. Me. Me.
Frank R.
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