Sermons by “Rev. John R. Larson”

A Pod of P’s

Jesus says of us, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:8) That word “much” fruit can also be translated “great” fruit. Do you ever find that you have had the best day when you did something that benefitted another person? You called them. You listened to them. You prayed for them. You cared for them. Paul, in Ephesians, writes, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

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All In

Love that person who is a pain in your rear-end. Love the person who gets under your skin. Love the person who nobody can stand. Martin Luther said of this, “He who is learned should serve him who is not learned; he who is rich should serve him who is poor; he who is sensible should serve him who is foolish, and so on. ” (AE 30:279)

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The God Who Makes Us Strong

Fight. With everything you have – fight. Don’t let the devil destroy your life and leave you beaten and defeated. But don’t fight alone. Our battle is not against flesh and blood and victory will only come with the Lord God fighting this battle for us and with us. When the people of Israel were being pursued by the Egyptians and they had the Red Sea in front of them and Pharaoh and his well-equipped armies closing in on them, Moses said, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you only need to be still.” (Exodus 14:13-14)

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The God Who Lives in Homes and at Work

A few weeks ago when I was saying good-bye to my dad on the phone he said, “John, we’re proud of you.” Wow. When is the last time you told your kid, or anyone that you know, “I’m proud of you”? Do it. If the only word that your kid hears is “No”, “You’re doing that wrong”, or if you use cruel or vulgar words to them, or about them, you have to stop and ask for their forgiveness. “Do not embitter your children.” “Do not exasperate your children.” Don’t tear them down. Build them up. Love them.

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Go!

Go to Him. Go to His word. Trust Him. Become a Christian. Be a Christian. And the truth of Jesus and His resurrection is also for others. In our reading the angel spoke to the women with a directive, “But go, tell His disciples and Peter.” (Mark 16:7a) They must have gone. The disciples heard and believed. Peter heard and believed. Later they would all come face to face with the resurrected Jesus. And they told us. They told us, in written word what they so wonderfully experienced. Everyone that was stuck in grief and depression and hopelessness were visited by a living Christ and they were made bold and alive.

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Set!!

This is a sad day. Worship on Good Friday is quite dark. The hymns are somber. In this service we move toward a more reflective, emotional, even grief-stricken day. This isn’t Easter with the sweet smell of lilies, the joyous hymns of triumph, the choir and trumpets. Some people avoid this day and avoid this service because it is too sad and depressing. But it is the day that He owns and this day owns us. This is the day that allows us to “stand firm” and “let nothing move you.”

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Ready!

Ready? If you have a broken heart you are ready. If you have a contrite spirit you are ready. If you can see that this meal is a feast of Christ’s body and blood given for your eternal salvation, you are ready. If you know that this gift is not just for emergencies but it is the ongoing feeding of God for His children, for you, you are ready.

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The Grand Procession

Grand processions, for us, often mean death and sorrow and loss. In these next days a number of those 10 will have a grand procession from a church or mortuary to a cemetery. Others will join them to honor them and to share their sorrow. As believers in Jesus we are told to weep with those who weep, we are told to bear one another’s sorrows, we are commanded to love each other as we have been loved. Go with them, all of them, in their grief.

I pray that this procession that we make on this Sunday and then throughout the week is a journey with Christ. We experience joy, we learn of humility and suffering. We receive grace and forgiveness and we see His great triumph. This Grand Procession is His and it is yours.

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The God Who Loves Marriage

If you are married, or you are not, I want you to know that we have a God who loves marriage. If you are married and you have forgotten the foundation of your love, if you have forgotten the other person, if you need a new beginning, this would be a good day for it. Jesus is in the business of new beginnings. His forgiveness is for all of us who along the way forget that we are supposed to love marriage as much as God does. Confess your heart to your spouse and to God – forgiveness and love are good things to receive from them and to give to them.

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Build On Rock

Do what is wise. Build on Rock. Build on Jesus and His work for your salvation. There is a book, dedicated to wisdom, written in the Bible. It is the book of Proverbs. This is what it says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Listen to God’s Word and then apply it. First of all believe that Christ calls for our hearts to be repentant, broken, needy, looking to Him to make us well and healed. Believe that you need Him. Believe that Jesus came to forgive your sins, count you as one of His chosen and that you will live eternally in heaven. Have faith in Jesus. Trust Him. That is the foundation, He is the foundation that won’t be washed away

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