Here you will find Christ centered messages by Pastor Lee Stisser of the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Tampa, Florida

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

September 2009 Newsletter

September 2009 Newsletter

Dear Blessed Redeemed;
A pastor recounted calling members of his parish who had been absent for a long time. Several declined to speak of their reasons for being absent; but one man simply said, “Every sermon is about sin and grace, and we are sick of hearing about it. So we won’t be back.” The pastor readily admitted that every sermon is about sin and grace, saying, “That is unlikely to change.”
Of course, every sermon is about sin and grace, or, as we say in the Lutheran church: law and Gospel. That is what the Christian religion is all about. There is no greater problem in the world than sin, and there is no better solution than hearing and receiving the love, mercy, and forgiveness of the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Sin can only be rightly dealt with by forgiveness and only then are we reconciled to God. If the church does not forgive sin then it leaves people to their own devices, which – always – only lead away from Christ and His church. They seek ways to assuage their burning consciences, trying to put out the fires with the gasoline of self right­eousness. Or they try to paper over their fail­ures with legalistic excuses: “Everyone is doing it,” “I am better than everyone else,” “I did my best,” “I couldn’t help myself,” “I was close,” “I had the best intentions,” and so on. None of this will squelch the fires of conscience, because the excuses are so clearly an evasion of the truth; because without the intrusion of for­giveness from God, the sinner is in a closed system, where there is no help. Something from outside must come in to change the sinner’s status in the presence of God. That something is the forgive­ness of sins.

How remarkable forgiveness is because of its absolute character. God generously and for Christ’s sake forgives all; none are beyond His love. No one can run so far as to be beyond the reach of God’s grace. No sin is too big, and no amount of excuse making can keep God from offer­ing full and free blood-bought forgiveness to sin­ners like us. Only in God’s speech to us, “I forgive you,” can the conscience be pacified and calm to the heart restored. This is why the church is always talking about sin and forgiveness. They belong together in the church’s speech. Anything else is just a painful evasion. And that is unlikely to change.
In Christ’s love and forgiveness,

Pastor Lee

Subscribe To Pastor Lee's Podcast