Pastor Weise’s Sermon – First Things First
I Corinthians 10.6-13/St. Luke 16.-13
Trinity IX/August 18, 2019
Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd/Good Shepherd Community Chapel, Sauk Rapids, MN
Rev. Keith R. Weise, pastor/chaplain
Prayer of the Day
Let Your merciful ears, O Lord, be open to the prayers of Your humble servants; and that they may obtain their petitions, make them to ask such things as shall please You; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Epistle Reading: I Corinthians 10.6-13
6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” 8 Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; 9 nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (NKJV)
The Holy Gospel: St. Luke 16.1-13
1 He also said to His disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. 2 So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’
3 “Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg. 4 I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.’
5 “So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 7 Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ So he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ 8 So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.
9 “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home. 10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?
13 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (NKJV)
Invocation In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
I Today Jesus tells us a story—
And like all Jesus’ parables
this one is
an earthly story
with a heavenly point.
However confusing the details of this story seem—
the point is exactly what Jesus says at the very end.
You cannot serve God and mammon. (St. Luke 16.13)
You cannot serve both God and money.
You cannot serve both God and stuff.
It doesn’t work.
If you try—
you will hate one and love the other.
you will be loyal to one and despise the other.
The point of this parable is this—
Put first things first.
Get your priorities straight.
Put God first—
Then money and everything else after God.
II So what do you put first in your life?
What is your greatest priority?
the single most important thing in your life?
III We know how this is supposed to work.
It’s all right there in the first commandment, plain as day.
You shall have no other gods before Me, says the LORD our God. (Exodus 20.3)
And we know—we KNOW!—that this means that
We should fear, love, and trust IN GOD ABOVE ALL THINGS.!
(Small Catechism. X Comm. 1st Comm.)
That’s how it’s supposed to work in our lives.
We know that.
IV But we also know
that sometimes we find ourselves in situations
like that steward
in Jesus’ parable.
We get caught up in the things of this life—
all kinds of things
start to steal our fear, love, and trust
away from the Lord our God.
V When Jesus says
. . . the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light, (St. Luke 16.8)
that the godless people of this world
at least have their priorities straight in their own minds.
The sons of this world
know what’s most important to them—
and they live accordingly.
The steward’s number one priority
was making friends with the people of his community
so he would have a place to land after he got fired from his job.
He put that first
and did everything in his power to make it happen.
Worldly people have their priorities—
and they live by them.
VI But we Christians—
even all of us gathered here today—me included—
Sometimes we lose sight of what’s most important—
for this life—
and the next.
And when we don’t put first things first—
bad stuff happens.
starts to edge God out of the top spot in our lives—
IT NEVER GOES WELL.
VII In our epistle for today
St. Paul gives us some examples
of just how bad it can go.
These all happened while Israel wandered in the desert during the Exodus from Egypt.
They lusted after evil.
They made idols out of earthly things.
They made food and drink and entertainment the most important things in their lives.
They got involved in sexual immorality.
. . .and in one day twenty-three thousand fell. (I Corinthians 10.8/Numbers 25.1-9)
They tempted Christ by abandoning their God.
The were destroyed by serpents.
and in the end
they were destroyed by the destroyer. (I Corinthians 10.10)
VIII That’s what happens when
you knock God out of the number one spot in your life
and put something else—anything else—
So I ask you again
What is the most important thing in your life?
IX Is it Christ—
who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven
and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary
and was made man?
who was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate
and suffered and was buried
and the third day rose again according to the Scriptures and ascended into
and sits at the right hand of the Father
from whence He will come to judge the living and the dead
and take you into everlasting peace in heaven
send you into the eternal flames of hell
to suffer torment forever? (Nicene Creed/Apostles’ Creed)
Is Christ and his salvation
the most important thing in YOUR life?
is it something else?
What comes first for YOU?
X If it’s not Christ—
today is a great day
to repent of that sin.
today is a great day
to turn around
and make Christ your number one priority AGAIN.
Today is a great day
to start acting shrewdly in the THINGS OF GOD!
Just like the steward made friends using money
to benefit himself here on earth—
Christ calls on us to make friends using the things of God
to benefit ourselves in heaven!
XI Well, how do I do that?
Well, you’re already here at Church—
that’s a great start.
But what happens after church?
What happens later today?
The rest of the week?
The rest of this month?
The rest of my life?
What happens then?
How CAN you use the things of God
for your blessing here and in eternity?
we can use the things God gives us
for what He’s given them for.
Use the talents and resources you have
to bless other people
and make known the wondrous things of God in Christ Jesus.
Use the Word and the Sacraments
to grow in faith
to increase in holiness
to bring about humility in your life
to strengthen your bond with everyone in the communion of saints.
XIII God has given us his Word.
St. Paul tells us that
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (II Timothy 3.16-17)
Read your Bible.
Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest it.
If you need help with that—ASK!
We’ll find someone to read to you or with you.
And God’s word will illumine your heart and light up your path.
Through Isaiah, God says—
It shall come to pass That before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear. (Isaiah 65.24)
Make your requests known to God
and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your heart and mind through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4.7)
God has given us Christ
as the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
(I John 2.2)
Confess your sins.
Return to your baptism in repentance and contrition
and our God who is faithful and just will forgive your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. (I John 1.9)
Christ promises that
Whoever eats My flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. . . He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me and I in him. (St. John 6.54, 56)
Partake of the Sacrament of the Altar.
and Christ will come and make his home in your heart
and strengthen you for a life of holiness here and now—
and he will raise you up on the Last Day
to a life of perfection in the world to come.
Continue to worship with the saints and serve them in love.
In Hebrews the Holy Spirit says—
. . . let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10.24-25)
XIV Use what God has given you
for the purpose for which he has given it.
Be just as shrewd in the things of God
as that servant in the parable was in the things of men.
Put first things first!
XV And during this life—
You won’t have to decide
whether to be loyal
to the things of this world
to the King of all creation.
You won’t have to struggle in your heart
with love for stuff
that threatens to overtake your love for the Lord Jesus Christ.
XVI Put first things first.
Put God first.
Have no other gods before Him.
Fear, love, and trust in God above all things.
And when your time in this life comes to its end—
YOU will be commended by your master. (St. Luke 16.8)
Well done, good and faithful servant, (St. Luke 19.17)
he will say.
Welcome into the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
(St. Matthew 25.34)
That’s the promise
first things first.
Invocation In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Hymn of Response: Create in Me.