Lutheran Preaching and Teaching from St. John Random Lake, Wisconsin
By Rev. Christopher Gillespie
St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church & School (Sherman Center) is in Random Lake, Wisconsin and is served by Rev. Christopher R. Gillespie. St. John Lutheran is God's place for Christians to gather around our Lord's Word and be edified by His gifts.
We are a congregation of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). We unconditionally subscribe the Unaltered Augsburg Confession. St. John Lutheran School has been approved for accreditation through the accreditation process of the National Lutheran School Accreditation of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod.
What does Christ say about those who remain in His Word? First, He said that you are His true disciples and members of the true Church. Second, that you know the truth. And third, that this Word makes you truly free. Remain in God’s Word as His true disciples. Fix your hearts on Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life. Learn and believe the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and be free!
Join the congregation of St. John in prayer each day and for Divine Service each Sunday, where God serves us with His gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation. For more information and seasonal service times, check our website at https://stjohnrandomlake.org.
The justice and vengeance for evil and wickedness committed against you and by you were entirely taken into His body. He suffered the pain and anguish deserved for our sin. He was flogged for your neighbor's trespasses, beaten for your enemies’ treachery, killed for every unjust act man has ever committed. He died the death of the cross for your sins, confessed and unconfessed. “‘Vengeance is mine,’ says the LORD.” He has exacted the punishment you and your neighbor deserves upon His own son.
Christ’s person and work is inseparable from His teaching. Christ’s person and work is the focus and the foundation of His teaching. If this foundation crumbles, then the entire structure of his teaching falls down. Jesus says this Himself in today's Gospel. After the Pharisees had referred the question, "What is the greatest commandment in the Law?" to Him and Christ had answered this question, He subsequently put forward the question to the Pharisees: "What do you think about Christ?" Now, that’s the real question.
Each Divine Service, you are taken from the land of death into the land of life. You are led from wilderness wandering through waters into the promised land. All who are weak, guilty, terrified, ashamed, fearful, humiliated, dying… receive strength in the forgiveness of your sins received in Christ’s body and blood, given and shed for you. He takes from the lowest seat and gives a seat of honor, along with all joined in the unity of the Spirit with Jesus Christ. Be exalted, lifted up, resurrected in the Lord. Amen.
20. September 2020
Matt. 6:24-34; Gal 6:9-10
Without Jesus, we'll believe the liars who tell us that the goal of Christian life is to, "Get along with everybody, comply, bend the knee, and obey the authorities because it's the nice thing to do. It's what God wants us to do.” Without Jesus, we're at the mercy of life's temptations, subject to idols, and doomed to be consumed by worry. Sinful, evil men will rule over us. Petty authoritarians will discourage us. Society will be eclipsed by moral darkness. The bullies of the world will take to the streets to terrorize and prey upon all the nice people. But, when we're in Christ Jesus through faith, we can defy and defeat evil because He will deliver our enemy into our hands, just as He's promised.
Text: Luke 17:11-19
Jesus’s ways are not your ways and His thoughts are not your thoughts. He seems to go out of his way to put himself in the worst situations. He doesn’t avoid the awkward. He doesn’t shy away from the uncomfortable. He doesn’t hide from the disgusting. He puts His own life at risk even gives His own life that others may live. Seeing a village of lepers, you would take the long way around. You’d circle back, take a detour, or go the long way around. Lepers are gross. They’re sick, they’re disgusting, they’re unclean. Yes, today, leprosy is easily cured by modern medicine available in any first world country. You’re not likely going to know any leper.
As a nation, we can strive to improve our laws, to elect virtuous and wise rulers, seek to bring justice and peace to all our citizens. But there is no possibility of a perfect union of states. While a noble goal and one worth striving for, there is no perfection in this world or its rulers. It’s a constant struggle to maintain a nation worth living in and leaving for generations to come. But there isn’t a single kingdom that has withstood the capacity of mankind to destroy, tear down, and bring chaos and disorder. Once majestic nations are now nothing but rubble under layers of sand. There is only one kingdom that has stood the test of time and that’s Jesus’ kingdom.
Old Testament: 2 Chron. 28:8-15
Epistle: Gal. 3:15-22
Holy Gospel: Luke 10:21-37
Collect: Almighty and everlasting God, give us an increase of faith, hope, and charity; and that we may obtain what You have promised, make us love what You have commanded; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Jesus opened your ears and mouth when He baptized you. Jesus put His fingers into your ears, spoke to you, and washed your sins away. That's why, in the early church, the pastor would put his fingers into the candidate’s ears and say, “Ephphatha, be opened.” That is the great baptismal confession of the Church! When you were born, you couldn’t hear God’s words. But when you were reborn, Jesus “Ephphatha-ed" you. He opened your ears and mouth. When you were born, you couldn’t speak to God. But when you were reborn, Jesus “Ephphatha-ed" you. He opened your ears and mouth. He said, "Be opened!” And you confess Jesus as Lord and God.
Thank God I am baptized. Thank God I am forgiven. Thank God I am given faith. Thank God I am enlightened with the Word of God. Thank God He has kept me in this faith and given me the good confession. Thank God I am fed with Christ’s body and blood. Thank God I am saved. Thank God I am an inheritor of eternal life. Thank God I am His child. “Thank God that I am” is the right way, because that way is to look to Christ for every confidence of salvation.
Or have you considered what Jesus means when He says, “Lo, I will be with you always even unto the ages of ages?” As He gave that promise, He says the means that He uses to bring about that presence: in the teaching of His Word, in your baptism into Him, and by His body and blood in the Sacrament. His Word exposes your sin for what it is, His Baptism crucifies your old Adam/the flesh, and His body and blood that went into death and poured out from His pierced side is given to you for your forgiveness. That means that every time you gather here around His gifts, it is the day of your visitation.
Jesus commends the unjust/unrighteous steward to you because that steward scatters the master’s wealth to gain friends and a home when he is fired from his job. It’s smart, really. Everyone knows you should have a contingency plan if things don’t work out with your employer. Especially employees who are squandering the time, money, and assets should have backup plans, just in case. But does that make the unjust steward a hero or a villain? Does Jesus want you to squander the blessings of Father? Should you waste your time on unimportant things? Should you abuse your job by “borrowing” paper and postage, checking Facebook, and pursuing interests on employer time? Should you store up the abundance God grants for a “rainy day” or use it immediately for the one in need?
You don’t need God to give you more rules or advice. You don’t need a church to be a place of tips for living or full of activities that need doing. You don’t need to make a deal with God as you’d break it anyway. You are baptized, raised from such dead works, to live in the newness of Christ’s life. You live as free people, dead to sin and alive in Christ Jesus. You live each day in Christ’s Word, Christ’s baptism, and Christ’s body and blood. You live in the forgiveness of sins. You live in Christ’s righteousness and live forever.
12. July 2020
The direction of your life’s journey and where it will end is completely dependent on who you follow. All roads apart from the narrow path of Christ. Even if paved with gold and diamonds, they still lead to judgment and eternal condemnation. Not all roads are full of Christ’s mercy and lead to His heaven. To be a Christian is to forsake all self-appointed and self-created means of justification and to trust in Christ alone. As a certain scribe said, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go” (Matthew 8:19).
28. June 2020
Jesus today speaks three parables in a row of the lost and how He finds them and restores them. Nothing brings Jesus more joy than to bring lost into His loving embrace. When they are found, Jesus rejoices with His friends, neighbors, and holy angels. He welcomes them and gives to them a terrific feast. “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost!” “Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.” “Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.”
Join us each Wednesday at 7:30pm CST live on Facebook and YouTube. Help us upgrade our video production equipment to better serve our homebound members, to produce media resources for the congregation, and for outreach to the Random Lake community. Give today at https://stjohnrandomlake.org/technology.
21. June 2020
The color for the Trinity season is green, of growth. The holy Christian Church is the tree that has grown from the root of Jesse. The tree is fed with the Word of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This lifeblood grants her growth. This growth is rooted in the death and resurrection of Jesus. This Trinity season you will be fed with Christ Jesus, that you may grow into Him who is your head.
Specifically, today, we learn that the lifeblood of the Word of Jesus is the Word of mercy. St. Luke’s Gospel is focused on mercy particularly for the outcasts, the poor, and the sinners. Jesus feeds us with His mercy so that would grow in a glorious shade tree for all those here in Chicago who need mercy.
Text: Matthew 8:1-4
Help us upgrade our video production equipment to better serve our homebound members, to produce media resources for the congregation, and for outreach to the Random Lake community. Give today at https://stjohnrandomlake.org/technology.
14. June 2020
You are surrounded by disease, chaos, riots, protests, rebellion, oppression, and disorder. It has nearly always been true, as there’s nothing new under the sun. Sometimes the dark reality is hiding under the cover of propriety and decency, but its always there. If you would only look honestly at this world, you’d know it isn’t the paradise you thought. If you made a serious assessment of your life, you’d see the darkness within. If you’d be realistic in your expectations, you’d stop living like you’re going to live forever. But you’re good at ignoring it, looking the other way, and putting all your effort in homes, barns, boats, clothing, food, and fun...
So why should you trust in God? What does He say that you can't hear anywhere else? Why should you trust Him above anyone and anything else? Jesus has a life for Nicodemus and you that is extends out and fills the whole world. He speaks with a word that transforms Nicodemus and you who believe in Him by the breath of His Spirit.
There it is! The Gospel of the free forgiveness that is yours in Christ Jesus. All of your vain attempts to make a truth for yourself… all your trust in country, politicians, media, or gurus…and all the hope you have in what you have done, what you have built, and what you have set up for yourself finally won’t amount to anything. That’s because they don’t answer the real question that haunts your every day: who is going to save me from this body of death? How can I live even while I am dying? Who alone has life where all we see is death and decay?
That’s who Jesus is. That’s who Jesus was for Nicodemus And that’s who Jesus is for you. He alone is the way, the truth, and the life! God promised from day eight to save His people from their sins. He promised that the offspring of Eve, Sarah, Rebekah, and Leah would remove the real enemy, sin; destroy the bonds that hold us, death; and free us from the ruler of this world, the deceiver. And this makes Jesus is unlike anyone else. He makes promises and He keeps them! God promised to save you and in Christ Jesus, He has done it! And more that, He gives you this new life as a free gift, worked from above by the power of His Spirit. As you were washed in Baptism, you were already made clean. You were already given new life. You were already saved. And the Spirit of God keeps blowing on you to keep you with Jesus Christ. God the Trinity works in you trust and gives you life by the trustworthy message that you are saved!
Old Testament: Ezek. 36:22-28
Psalm 51:1-12 (antiphon: v. 10)
Epistle: 1 Peter 4:7-11(12-14)
Gospel: John 15:26-16:4
The Spirit of Truth Bears Witness to Jesus
The Spirit of Truth bears witness to Jesus, who is the truth. But the world does not receive the truth. It loves its own and hates those who are of the truth. Just as Jesus was scorned, so is His Church. "The hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God" (John 16:2). Yet it is by Jesus' suffering and death that we are saved. Therefore we rejoice to share in His sufferings, that we may also share in His resurrection glory (1 Pet. 4:7-14). Through the ministry of the Spirit of Truth, we are cleansed from the deceit of our idols and given a new heart and a new spirit, the heart and Spirit of Christ (Ezek. 36:22-28). He now works in us fervent, self-giving love for one another, love which covers a multitude of sins, "that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen" (1 Pet. 4:11).
24. May 2020
Where is Jesus? How does the Christian live in the intervenient time between the Ascension and the Day of Judgment? We might follow our doubt and think that He has forgotten this promise. Perhaps having set His church in motion, Jesus has left us to fend for ourselves? That’s what His disciples thought after our Lord’s resurrection. They hid in the upper room or hid in their work, not quite sure if Jesus was a man of His word. They grew impatient. Their prayers faltered. Their mercy ended. They drew into their shells for fear and with doubt.
The Father Answers Our Prayers Because of Jesus
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you” (John 16:23). To pray in Jesus' name is to pray as one who has been baptized. For it is in the water that He put His name upon you, claiming you as His own, making you a son of God with access to the Father. By His incarnation and crucifixion, our Lord Jesus broke through the barrier of sin which separated us from God, opening a portal to the Father. To pray in Jesus' name is to pray with faith in Him as the one Mediator between God and men, who gave Himself a ransom for all (1 Tim. 2:1–6). Like Moses in the wilderness, Jesus is our go-between and intercessor before the throne of heaven. He was lifted up for us on the cross that we might be saved and restored to fellowship with the Father (Num. 21:4–9). Looking into this perfect teaching of liberty (James 1:22–27) we pray with boldness and confidence as dear children of God.
Those Who Wait on the Lord Shall Rejoice - The people of God are pilgrims and sojourners in this world, looking ahead to a destination yet to come (1 Peter 2:11–20). Though we are now children of God, the fullness of what we shall be has not yet been revealed (1 John 3:1–3). We are those who wait on the Lord. “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him” (Lam 3:25). Jesus tells us that the wait is just a little while. “A little while, and you will see me no longer, and again a little while, and you will see me” (John 16:16). Though you must experience sorrow for a time, though you must live as strangers in a world that is at enmity with Christ, yet your sorrow will be turned to joy when He returns. “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength” (Is. 40:31). The little while of weeping shall be replaced with an eternity of rejoicing in the presence of Christ the crucified and risen Savior. “And no one will take your joy from you” (John 16:22).