Preached at Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rocklin, California on the Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost, October 18, 2020 by Pastor Todd Peperkorn.
Sermon Text: Matthew 22:15-22
Sermon Theme: “The Things of God“
Old Testament: Isaiah 45:1–7
Epistle : 1 Thessalonians 1:1–10
Holy Gospel: Matthew 22:15–22
We Are Recreated in the Image of God by the Cross of Christ
Plotting against Jesus, the Pharisees attempted “to entangle him in his words” by asking about the payment of taxes to Caesar (Matt. 22:15). The Lord pointed to coins required for the tax, and He answered that we should “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21). But if coins bearing the image of Caesar should be rendered to him, then man — who is made in the image of God — must be rendered to the Lord. That tax is paid for us by the Lord Jesus, the image of God in the flesh, by His self-offering on the cross. And from His cross, as the Lord’s anointed, He reigns as the true Caesar over all nations “from the rising of the sun and from the west” (Is. 45:6). The Lord once called and anointed Cyrus “to subdue nations before him and to loose the belts of kings” (Is. 45:1). Now by the preaching of the Gospel, “in power and in the Holy Spirit” (1 Thess. 1:5), foreigners from all over the world are “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thess. 1:9–10).
Preached at Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rocklin, California on the Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost, October 11, 2020 by Pastor Todd Peperkorn.
Sermon Text: Matthew 22:1-14
Sermon Theme: “Singing at the Feast“
Old Testament: Isaiah 25:6–9
Epistle: Philippians 4:4–13
Holy Gospel: Matthew 22:1–14
Clothed in the Righteousness of Christ, We Partake of His Wedding Feast
By His cross and resurrection, the Lord has swallowed up death forever, and by His Gospel He “will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth” (Is. 25:8). Therefore, “let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation” (Is. 25:9). On the mountain of the Lord of hosts — in His Church on earth, as in the kingdom of heaven — He has made “for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine” (Is. 25:6). It is the royal “wedding feast” of the Son of God, “and everything is ready” (Matt. 22:1, 4). Thus, His servants are sent into the highways and byways to invite and gather as many as they find, “both good and bad,” to fill the wedding hall with guests (Matt. 22:8–10). In Holy Baptism, He clothes them all in the “wedding garment” of His own perfect righteousness (Matt. 22:11). Therefore, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God,” and “rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4:4–6).
Preached at Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rocklin, California on the Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost, October 4, 2020 by Pastor Todd Peperkorn.
Sermon Text: Matthew 21:33-46
Sermon Theme: “God’s Vineyard“
Old Testament: Isaiah 5:1–7
Epistle: Philippians 3:4b–14
Holy Gospel: Matthew 21:33–46
The True Vine Redeems the Vineyard of the LORD of Hosts
“The vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel” (Is. 5:7), which He planted “on a very fertile hill” (Is. 5:1). He did everything for His vineyard, not only clearing it of stones and planting it with “choice vines,” but also building the “watchtower” of His prophets and hewing out the “wine vat” of His priesthood in its midst (Is. 5:2). But when “he looked for it to yield grapes,” there were only “wild grapes” of bloodshed and unrighteousness (Is. 5:2, 7). The Lord Jesus likewise described the unfaithfulness of those who were called to care for His vineyard (Matt. 21:33–35). But in this He also describes His cross and Passion (Matt. 21:38–39), by which He has redeemed the vineyard for Himself. He is the true Vine, planted by death into the ground, and in His resurrection He brings forth “the fruits in their seasons” (Matt. 21:41). Among those good grapes of the true Vine is the apostle Paul. Once a zealous persecutor of the Church, he “suffered the loss of all things” in order to “gain Christ and be found in him,” to “know him and the power of his resurrection” (Phil. 3:8–10).
Preached at Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rocklin, California on the Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost, September 27, 2020 by Pastor Todd Peperkorn.
Sermon Text: Matthew 21:23-27 & Philippians 2:1-4, 14-18
Sermon Theme: Christ’s Interest in You“
Old Testament: Ezekiel 18:1–4, 25–32
Epistle: Philippians 2:1–4, 14–18
Holy Gospel: Matthew 21:23–27
The Cross of Christ Opens to Us the Way of Repentance to Life with God
The way of the Lord is righteous and just: “the soul who sins shall die” (Ezek. 18:4). However, because the Lord has “no pleasure in the death of anyone” (Ezek. 18:32), He calls sinners to repentance and faith in His gracious forgiveness of sins. The man who is thus turned away from his wickedness, who henceforth lives by the grace of God, “shall surely live; he shall not die” (Ezek. 18:28). This way of repentance has been opened for us by the cross of Christ. In the righteousness of faith and love, “he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death” (Phil. 2:8), and He was vindicated in His resurrection from the dead. Indeed, “God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name” (Phil. 2:9). He has given us this name in our Baptism into Christ, in whom we now “shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15). He uses the authority that He has received from His Father (Matt. 21:23–27) to preach a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, by which even “the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God” (Matt. 21:31–32).
Preached at Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rocklin, California on the Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost, September 20, 2020 by Pastor Todd Peperkorn.
Sermon Text: Matthew 20:1-16
Sermon Theme: “The Generosity of God”
Old Testament: Isaiah 55:6–9
Epistle: Philippians 1:12–14, 19–30
Holy Gospel: Matthew 20:1–16
Disciples Live in Their Vocations by Grace through Faith in Christ
Those who are sent as “laborers for his vineyard” (Matt. 20:1) depict the wide diversity of vocations to which the disciples of Christ Jesus are called. Whatever our particular stations in life may be, we are called to live and serve by faith in His promises. Our labors do not merit anything before Him, for He is already generous to one and all without partiality. In mercy, He has chosen to bear “the burden of the day and the scorching heat” on our behalf, to make us equal to Himself and to give us what belongs to Him, that is, the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 20:12–15). This way of the Lord is foolishness to the world and foreign to our thoughts, but He draws near, so that “he may be found” (Is. 55:6), “have compassion” and “abundantly pardon” (Is. 55:7). So it is that we are found in Christ Jesus, and He is honored in our bodies, “whether by life or by death” (Phil. 1:20), by “fruitful labor” (Phil. 1:22) or by suffering. It is by faith in His forgiveness that our works are “worthy of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27).
Preached at Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rocklin, California on the Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost, September 13, 2020 by Pastor Todd Peperkorn.
Sermon Text: Matthew 18:21-35
Sermon Theme: “In Place of God”
Old Testament: Genesis 50:15–21
Epistle: Romans 14:1–12
Holy Gospel: Matthew 18:21–35
Forgiving as the Lord Forgives Us
In settling His accounts with us, our Lord acts not with anger, but with compassion. He does not imprison us as we deserve, but He forgives all our debts and releases us (Matt. 18:23–27). Therefore, our Lord bids each of us to have “mercy on your fellow servant” and “forgive your brother from your heart” (Matt. 18:33, 35). By the Lord’s forgiveness of our sins, we are free to forgive those who sin against us, because He has been handed over to the jailers in our stead and He has paid our entire debt with His lifeblood. Whether we live or die, we “are the Lord’s” (Rom. 14:8). Since we all will “stand before the judgment seat of God,” we are not to despise our brother (Rom. 14:10), but gladly forgive him. By the grace of God, our brother also “will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand” (Rom. 14:4). Though we daily sin against each other, the Lord intends “to bring it about that many people should be kept alive” (Gen. 50:20). Jesus speaks kindly by His Gospel and promises: “I will provide for you and your little ones” (Gen. 50:21).
Preached at Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rocklin, California on the Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost, September 6, 2020 by Pastor Todd Peperkorn.
Sermon Text: Matthew 18:1-20
Sermon Theme: “If Your Brother Sins Against You”
Old Testament: Ezekiel 33:7–9
Epistle: Romans 13:1–10
Holy Gospel: Matthew 18:1–20
Living as Humble Little Children of the Father
True greatness is not self-sufficient strength, but humility like that of a little child. The greatness of childlike faith receives all good things as gracious gifts from our Father in heaven. Apart from such faith, “you will never enter the kingdom of heaven,” but whoever is humbled like a little child will be “the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3–4). Though in our sin we deserve to be “drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt. 18:6), we have instead been drowned (“buried”) with Christ in Baptism and then raised to the new, humble life of a child of God. The Lord sends His watchman to warn us with a word from His mouth, in order that we may not die in our iniquity but be turned from our pride and selfishness to live (Ezek. 33:7–9). Thus, we live in humility and faith before God as well as in love for our neighbor, which “is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13:10). In the reverent fear of God, we do no harm to our neighbor, but we “pay to all what is owed to them” (Rom. 13:7) and we “owe no one anything, except to love each other” (Rom. 13:8).
Preached at Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rocklin, California on the Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost, August 30, 2020 by Pastor Todd Peperkorn.
Sermon Text: Matthew 16:21-28
Sermon Theme: “Following Jesus”
Old Testament: Jeremiah 15:15–21
Epistle: Romans 12:9–21
Holy Gospel: Matthew 16:21–28
The Glory of God Is the Passion and Cross of Christ Jesus
After St. Peter confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, our Lord “began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised” (Matt. 16:21). Upon hearing this “theology of the cross,” Simon Peter stumbled into a satanic “theology of glory.” But the glory of God is revealed in the Passion and cross of His incarnate Son. The faithful prophets, such as Jeremiah, suffered persecution and rejection in anticipation of Jesus’ cross. Yet the Lord did not abandon them; He remembered them, and He was with them to deliver them (Jer. 15:15–20). By His cross, Jesus has redeemed the world, and in His resurrection, He has vindicated all who trust in Him. Thus, the Christian life is a discipleship of self-sacrificing love. Since Christ Jesus has reconciled us to God, we “live peaceably with all” (Rom. 12:18). By the certainty of His cross and resurrection, we “rejoice in hope,” and we are “patient in tribulation” and “constant in prayer” (Rom. 12:12).
The Lord Jesus Christ Is the Son of the Living God
Jesus asked His disciples: “But who do you say that I am?” (Matt. 16:15). The question is also put to us: Who do you say that He is? Flesh and blood do not reveal this to us, but by the ministry of the Gospel, the Father in heaven reveals His Son to us on earth, who has become flesh and suffered death for our salvation. Thus, we believe and confess that He is “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16). As He died for our transgressions and was raised for our justification, He looses us from all our sins and preserves our life within His Church, against which even “the gates of hell shall not prevail” (Matt. 16:18–19). His salvation is forever, and His righteousness “will never be dismayed” (Is. 51:6). He comforts us with the Gospel in His Church, so that “joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song” (Is. 51:3). Therefore, “according to the measure of faith that God has assigned” (Rom. 12:3), we also offer ourselves “as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” (Rom. 12:1) through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
Rev. Todd A. Peperkorn, Pastor