Monday, October 28, 2013

Sermon - October 27, 2013,  Pentecost 23, by Pastor Paul G. Eckert
Sermon text - Deuteronomy 10:1-2, 12-22
    Next Thursday is October 31.  That date is well known for
especially two events: Halloween, and the Lutheran Reformation.  One
will be noted by many and the other, the Reformation, by only a few.
We are among the few.  Of both of them - Halloween and the
Reformation - we can say that they have a “From Then To When.”
    With regard to Halloween the “From Then” takes us back to the
past, to the 6th century and an ancient Celtic festival that related to
death.  The “From Then To” takes us to the 8th century when
November 1 was designated by church leaders as All Saints’ Day and
the evening before, October 31, was known as All Hallows’ Eve, a
time to honor all saints and martyrs.  The “From Then To When” is
when Halloween transitioned from a Celtic festival, to All Hallows’
Eve, and finally from All Hallows’ Eve to Halloween when, instead of
thinking of 6th or 8th century events, today many think of costumes,
scary things, tricks or treats. 
    The Reformation, October 31, also has a “From Then To When.”
We’ll say more about that in a short while.  But first we’ll use FROM
THEN TO WHEN  as a theme to cover our entire text, and to see
what we can LEARN FROM THE PAST and how to LIVE IN
I  LEARN FROM THE PAST  (1-2, 14-15)
    1. Let’s look at the past in Israel’s history. 
        a) Because of a famine in their land, Israel went to Egypt and
there grew into a large nation.  Then at His right time God brought
about the exodus from Egypt to take them to the Promised Land
where at the fullness of time the Savior was to be born in Bethlehem.
On the way, at Mount Sinai, He gave them the 10 commandments
written on two stone tablets.  Exodus 31 tells us: “When the LORD
finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two
tablets of the Testimony, the tablets of stone inscribed by the
finger of God.”
        b) How many of you remember what happened then?  Do you
remember the golden calf?  The people became tired waiting for Moses
to come down the mount.  They very quickly deserted God and built a
golden calf to be their god - they had learned that from Egypt.  Then
this is what we are told in Exodus 32: “When Moses approached the
camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he
threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the
foot of the mountain.  And he took the calf they had made and
burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder ---.”
    2. Next, after Israel, let’s look at the past in church history.
        a) God had given His Church His truth to be passed on.  Jesus
had said: “Go and make disciples of all nations --- , teaching them
to obey everything I have commanded you.”  And in the last words
of our Bible He gives a warning about not adding to or subtracting
from His Words of truth.
        b) But over the years such adding and subtracting took place.
And finally not a golden calf was built, but instead a man was elevated
who made new teachings, like inventing a purgatory which says Christ
did not do enough suffering for us with His death on the cross, but
after death we also have to do some suffering before reaching heaven.
And that is not the only false teaching that comes from the papacy of
    3. Let’s go back now to God starting over with Israel.  (1-2,15)
At that time the LORD said to me, “Chisel out two stone tablets
like the first ones and come up to me on the mountain.  Also make
a wooden chest.  I will write on the tablets the words that were on
the first tablets, which you broke.  Then you are to put them in
the chest.”  ---  Yet the LORD set his affection on your forefathers
and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the
nations, as it is today. 
        a) Etched on tablets of stone God again gave Israel His words.
        b) While they still often rebelled in the future, God saw to it that
what He had promised from that nation  would be fulfilled.  The Son of
David would come born of a virgin, would die as our Substitute to
forgive us, would arise to be our Resurrection and Life.
    4. God also started over with the Reformation.  (14)
To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest
heavens, the earth and everything in it. 
        a) God continued ruling over the years as the visible church fell
into many false teachings that endangered the faith of the people.
        b) But then God in the 16th century went from then, from that
past,  to when He chose to make use of a man named Martin Luther to
reform the church.  That started not with Luther chiseling stone tablets
as Moses did (“Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones”), but
with posting for all to read 95 theses or written statements opposing
some of the false teachings of  the Roman papacy. 
        c) The purpose?  As God brought Israel from then to when the
Savior was born into this world, so God used Martin Luther and the
Reformation to bring the church of the day back from man’s word to
God’s written Word as the only source of God’s revealed truth.  This
is what we can learn from the past as we now go on to
II  LIVE IN THE PRESENT  (12-13, 16-19)
    1. God wants His will lived.  (12-13)
And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but
to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to
serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your
soul, and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am
giving you today for your own good?
        a) God’s commandments - God wants them lived, not ignored.
        b) And the purpose?  Not to hurt us, but for our good.
    2. But the commandments are not God’s way to save us.
        a) The man in our Gospel reading earlier said, “All these I have
kept since I was a boy.”  Impossible!  How totally wrong he was!
          b) God gave the commandments not to save us, but to reveal His
will and to show us our sin, to show us how much we needed saving.
    3. God’s way of being saved is freely given.  (16-17)
Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any
longer.  For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of
lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no
partiality and accepts no bribes.
          a) Could we bribe God with deeds or money to get into heaven?
        b) Impossible!  The price for our sins, for our breaking of God’s
commandments, we couldn’t pay that price by bribery or anything else.
God did it!  God paid the wages of our sins!  He so loved the world
that He gave His Son to substitute for us, so that whoever believes in
Him, what He did, His atoning death to pay the wages of our sin, will
not perish but has forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life.
    4. Now live in the present reflecting God.  (18-19)
[God] defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves
the alien, giving him food and clothing.  And you are to love those
who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt. 
        a) Live now, in our daily lives, following God’s commandments -
not to be saved, but to thank God and to show that we are saved!
        b) That means deeds of love that reflect God’s love.
        c) That includes love for aliens.  We can call that mission work -
speaking with relatives and friends, bringing offerings to bring the
Gospel of salvation to others, to aliens in foreign lands.  As we do that
    1. God did great things for Israel.  (20-21)
Fear the LORD your God and serve him.  Hold fast to him and
take your oaths in his name.  He is your praise; he is your God,
who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw
with your own eyes. 
        a) Were the people of Israel better than others?
        b) No. They often were rebellious - sad to say, just like us.
    2. It was God’s grace that preserved them for a purpose. (22)
Your forefathers who went down into Egypt were seventy in all,
and now the LORD your God has made you as numerous as the
stars in the sky.
        a) Israel is no longer a special nation as in Old Testament times.
        b) In God’s plan in history their purpose was fulfilled when in
that nation in a specific geographical location a birth took place, when
on a cross God’s Son died to pay the wages of the world’s sins, when
there was a tomb that was empty because Jesus not only took care of
our sins but conquered death itself that we might be forgiven and live.
    3. That purpose includes us.
        a) God loved Israel.  He also loves the world, loves you and me.
        b) When it comes to God and history, it is indeed His story, a
plan with you and me in it, a plan with Heaven as our real home.
    4. For this let us praise our gracious God.
        a) May He strengthen us by His Word of truth to learn from the
past, to appreciate the truth restored by the Reformation - surely to
see that, and not Halloween, as what is really important.
        b)  Then may He move us to live in the present, glorifying Him
with our daily lives that follow His holy will to show Him our thanks.
        c) And may we look to the future in the full confidence
the Apostle Paul expressed in our epistle reading when he said, “The
Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me
safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever.

Monday, October 21, 2013

October 19-21, 2013 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: Ruth 1:1-19A WE KNOW THAT IN ALL THINGS GOD WORKS FOR THE GOOD!

October 19-21, 2013
Pastor Timothy J. Spaude
Text: Ruth 1:1-19A

1. He Sustains Our Faith in Times of Trial.
2. He Uses These Trials for Eternal Good.

If you are familiar with the Bible book Ruth you probably know it contains a great love story. It’s four easy reading chapters if you’ve never read it before and your heart will be warmed by the love of Boaz and Ruth. What many people forget is that the love story begins with tragedy, the tragedy of death, multiple deaths. “In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. 2The man's name was Elimelech, his wife's name Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there. 3Now Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, 5both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.”
Ruth’s story begins with tragedy. First we find this takes place in the time of the Judges. That’s not a great point in history for God’s people. Tragically they kept forsaking God and turning to idols. God used tragedies to bring them back. This time we hear it’s a famine. It got so bad that Elimelech and Naomi with their sons Mahlon and Kilion left their house, their land, their extended family, their friends and neighbors, they left everything and moved to the foreign country of Moab. That had to hurt. While there Naomi’s husband died. That hurt. At least she had her sons. They married. I’m sure Naomi’s heart looked forward to having grandchildren to give her joy. They never came. After ten years Naomi’s boys both died. That had to hurt even more.
Can you just try to imagine how Naomi felt? Actually we know how she felt. When she came back her homeland this is what she said. "Don't call me Naomi, " she told them. "Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. 21 I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me."   Here is a woman who was having a hard time seeing a loving God. Her heart was hurting. She spoke words she would look back and regret. Brothers and sisters, remember that when you are with a brother or sister who is hurting. They may say some things that come out of their hurt that they will regret later. They may get angry with God. They may get angry with you. You may get angry with God when you have times of trial. This word of God is here to help you. Let Naomi’s experience here prepare you so that you don’t turn on God when you face tragedy.
And you will face tragedy. We all do. Many of the hardest ones are like what Naomi faced. Death. The death of aged parents or spouses we expect but it still hurts. When people die at an age we don’t expect them to those deaths get even harder and hurt more. Stillborn children. Miscarriages. They all hurt. How about the death of a relationship? Whether that is a marriage that has failed or a friendship, it hurts. You wonder why. Teens hurt when they break up and get so frustrated with their parents who act like it’s no big deal. Actually teen and parent are both right. It’s a tragedy for the teen. But parent know it will pass! Accidents. Natural disasters. Job loss. Chronic illness. Tragedies and times of trial are a part of living in a sin messed world.
So is the God who sustains you. The Lord sustains faith in times of trial. Naomi’s faith was sustained. It might not have sounded like it when she first returned home but as we’ll find out, that’s not the end of the story. When you are going through times of trial too, it may seem overwhelming, like you just can’t handle it or go on. But unbeknownst to you God is right there with you protecting your faith, keeping you going. He never leaves you or forsakes you in times of trial. He sticks with you no matter what. He does that because He has a plan.
That’s the second thing we need to remember in times of trial. God will use it for eternal good. To allow pain and suffering for no good reason when you could stop it is spiteful and mean. God is not spiteful and mean. He is love. Let’s see how God worked in love for the good of Naomi and Ruth…and many more!
6When she heard in Moab that the LORD had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, Naomi and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. 7With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah. 8Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go back, each of you, to your mother's home. May the LORD show kindness to you, as you have shown to your dead and to me. 9 May the LORD grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband." Then she kissed them and they wept aloud 10and said to her, "We will go back with you to your people." 11But Naomi said, "Return home, my daughters. Why  would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? 12Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me--even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons-- 13would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the LORD's hand has gone out against me!" 14At this they wept again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-by, but Ruth clung to her.” Naomi did here what many people do in times of trial and when they are hurting. She pushed people away. She tried to push Orpah and Ruth away and even thought it was the loving thing to do. Orpah agreed.
But not Ruth.15"Look," said Naomi, "your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her." 16But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me." 18When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.” Something had happened here, something wonderful with Ruth. This Moabite woman had grown up worshipping an awful idol name Chemosh. “Worship” of him required the  Moabite people to make human sacrifices. But now Ruth knows and uses the saving name of God, the LORD! He has become her God. So Ruth stayed with Naomi. And then?
 And then. 19So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem.” Ah, there we see it. With just one word God makes everything  clear. Bethlehem. That’s what God was doing the whole time! Bethlehem. That’s the birthplace of Jesus. God was working for the good the whole time. He used the tragedy of a famine to move Naomi and family to Moab. He used the deaths to get Naomi to move back. He used the whole situation to bring Ruth into the family of faith so she would be saved and the rest of the story is that Ruth meets Boaz. They fall in love. They get married and have kids. Naomi gets a true and faithful daughter in Ruth and grandchildren to bounce on her knee. But that’s not the end of it. That first grandchild, Obed, is the great, great, great, great, (you get the idea) grandpa  of Jesus the Savior. You see the true God does not require His people to make human sacrifices to Him. No when sacrifice was needed to pay for sin God sent His one and only Son. He had to be God and man at the same time and at the right time. This is just one glimpse of the plan.  In all things God was working for the good the whole time.
So we see that the Biblical account of Ruth is a great love story. There is the love between Naomi and Ruth and the love between Boaz and Ruth you can read about at home. But most importantly it shows the love God has for His people. Hold on to the God of love in time of trial. He knows what you are going through. He knows the hurt of tragedies. He knows that in time of tragedy the Devil is right there trying to lead us to despair, to be angry with God. So in love God provides what we need. He shows us in Ruth how He always works for the good. He takes no pleasure in our hurting hearts and He only lets times of trial last for as long as is necessary. Nothing in your life or my life is happening willy nilly or out of God’s control. As one of the sisters mentioned in Bible Class the other day. Nothing takes God by surprise. He sustains our faith in times of trial and uses each and every one of them for eternal good. What shall we say in response to this? Say it with me. WE KNOW THAT IN ALL THINGS GOD WORKS FOR THE GOOD.  Say it again when you’re hurting because it is most certainly true. Amen.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Mission Festival Devotion October 13, 2013


          Have you ever heard someone say, “They’re so heavenly minded they are no earthly good?” That’s not a compliment. It’s a dig that Christians and churches can sometimes receive. It means that the person or church cares only about a person’s eternal well being that they care nothing for the earthly well being. It’s worth thinking about. Can that even be true? I suppose if a person withdrew from society so that they never rubbed shoulders with another person and simply thought about God and read the Bible every day that it might look that way. But really can that be true? Can a Christian or church be so heavenly minded they are of no earthly good? No way! If you are heavenly minded you have in mind and take most seriously the things of God, what He says. It’s actually true that the more heavenly minded you are the more earthly good you do.

God makes that clear to us in Ephesians 2:8-10. This is a such a key passage of Scripture we should probably all have it memorized. Let’s start that process by saying it together.

…So Heavenly minded, we do earthly Good.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV 1984) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

WELS Christians are equipped to be  so heavenly minded we do earthly good. Do you see how that’s true. We know we are saved by grace, solely because God loves us. We know salvation comes only through trusting in the works of Jesus Christ, not our own. That’s heavenly minded. Out of love and thankfulness we want to do the good works God prepared in advance for us to do. Let’s look at an example of WELS Christians doing earthly good helped by the work and planning of WELS Christian Aid and Relief.


When we are heavenly minded we do earthly good. We love our neighbor as ourselves. We respond to earthly needs. And that leads to our second point. When we are earthly minded, striving to care for earthly needs we need to remember, the mission Jesus gave us, to be His witnesses. We remember the truth. Those who died without faith in Jesus Christ die eternally. As Jesus said, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” As we do earthly good then we remember to keep our eyes on heaven. The Apostle Paul encouraged that thinking in his letter to the Colossians.

…So earthly minded, we do heavenly Good.

Colossians 4:2-6 (NIV 1984) “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

First the heavenly minded Paul encouraged the heavenly minded activity of prayer. Then he encouraged earthly actions that are heavenly mind. Be wise in your actions. Let conversations be seasoned with the salt of the Gospel message. Let’s watch now a great example of that in action again spurred on by the activity of WELS Christian Aid and Relief.

Watch video

Brothers and sisters, this is what we are. WELS Christians. We are so heavenly minded we do earthly good and while doing earthly good we remember to stay heavenly minded. May the Lord of our Church bless all our efforts so more and more are added each day to the number of those being saved.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

September 29, 2013, Pentecost 19, sermon by Pastor Paul G. Eckert
Sermon text - Luke 1619-31

    In Genesis chapter12 we are told, “The LORD had said to
Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s
household and go to the land I will show you.’”
    Abraham listened and left the territory we today know as Iraq and
Iran, traveled to another territory much in the news, to Syria.  Finally
he reached Canaan, known today as Israel.  While there, because of a
famine, he went to Egypt for a short while.  But then he returned to
Canaan where the only land he ever actually owned was a burial plot.
    Canaan, however, was not his final destination.  In our text we find
him in Heaven, his real home.  There a man named Lazarus sat at his
side.  And all of this started with Abraham listening to God’s Word.
    I personally am not interested in going to Iraq or Iran or Syria or
Israel or Egypt.  But I am sure that all of us gathered here do want to
go to Heaven.  So, with regard to Heaven, let’s ask ourselves: To get
to Heaven, do we listen to God as Abraham did?
    1. Life has many differences. (19-21)
There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen
and lived in luxury every day.  At his gate was laid a beggar
named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell
from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his
        a) There were two men: one rich; the other poor and unhealthy.
        b) While neither situation is right or wrong in itself, we heard in
our epistle reading that one could be more dangerous than the other (1
Tim. 6:9-10): “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and
a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men
into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all
kinds of evil.  Some people, eager for money, have wandered from
the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
    2. What is common to all is death.  (22)
The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him
to Abraham’s side.  The rich man also died and was buried. 
        a) Health and wealth might help extend earthly life a bit.
        b) But neither can stop death, the great equalizer, from coming.
    3. And life after death also is common to all.
        a) Some might like to think death is the end and then
nothingness; or they might get a second chance, like in reincarnation
        b) But in our text three people, while in differing circumstances
on earth, after death still were Abraham, Lazarus, and another man.
        c) In the same way we will not cease to exist.  We’ll be who we
are.  But, there will be a difference as to location and circumstances.
    1. There is either Heaven or hell.  (23)
In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham
far away, with Lazarus by his side. 
        a) This would be denied by those who say there is no life after
death.  Or some would change this, like the Roman Catholic church
saying there is a third place,  a purgatory, where you have to suffer, be
purged to a greater or lesser degree, before reaching Heaven.
        b) But God throughout Scripture speaks of only two places:
either with Him or apart from Him; either Heaven or hell.
    2. How terrible the judgment of hell is. (24)
So he called to him, “Father Abraham, have pity on me and send
Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
because I am in agony in this fire.”
        a) People may speak of some situations being hell on earth.
        b) But that which endures for a time on earth cannot be
compared with the picture Jesus gives us here of eternal misery in hell. 
    3. And this judgment at death is final.  (26)
“And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been
fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor
can anyone cross over from there to us.”
        a) In our legal system a criminal might be given a life sentence in
prison.  But often it isn’t for life.  Many prisoners get out sooner.
        b) But once in hell, there will be no getting out, sooner or later.
        c) And what about being home in Heaven?  Scripture says, “We
will be with the Lord forever.”  (1 Thessalonians 4:17)
    1. We are not saved by our outward circumstances. 
        a) The poorness and sickness of Lazarus are not what got him to
Heaven, but are given here as a contrast to heavenly joy.
        b) To reach Heaven, deliverance comes from outside of us.
    2. It is God’s message that is the means of deliverance.  (27-29)
[The rich man] answered, “Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus
to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them,
so that they will not also come to this place of torment.”  Abraham
replied, “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to
        a) Moses and the prophets proclaimed God’s way of deliverance
from the beginning.  As the answer to Adam and Eve’s sin, the
offspring of a virgin woman was proclaimed, as was His birthplace in
Bethlehem.  Because of Him Isaiah said, “Though your sins are like
scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”  In chapter 53 he gives a
description that makes you feel you are at the cross where Jesus died.
        b) This, not someone back from the dead, the brothers should
listen to, as Lazarus obviously had and the rich man had not.
    3. This, God’s Gospel message, is the only means.  (30-31)
“No, father Abraham,” he said, “but if someone from the dead
goes to them, they will repent.”  He said to him, “If they do not
listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even
if someone rises from the dead.”
        a) The Bible, the preaching of sin and grace, Jesus as God’s
promised Savior from sin - can that become so routine that we don’t
hear it, that we need a gimmick, something sensational? 
        b) Please don’t expect someone back from the dead in this pulpit.
        c) Whether it is Pastor Spaude, Waldschmidt, or Eckert, listen to
the message, to God’s Word which proclaims deliverance and promises
Heaven because God loved us so much that He gave His Son for us.
    1. Don’t place the wrong priorities on now.  (25)
But Abraham replied, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you
received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but
now he is comforted here and you are in agony.” 
        a) Do our priorities take us from Jesus and His Word as our true
treasure and make earthly wealth or pleasure our first concern?  We
can check that by something as simple as church attendance.  Do we
come just to show up, and then not put our hearts and thoughts into
hearing God’s Word and worshiping Him?
         b) What did it profit the rich man who put other things first, and
what will it  profit us if we lose eternal joy?
    2. See its importance for others.  (27-29)
He answered, “Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my
father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so
that they will not also come to this place of torment.”  Abraham
replied, “They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to
        a) Others need to hear of the Savior.  That also is why we come
to church.  It is not only to grow in our faith, but also to share the
Gospel with others, to bring our offerings so others can do that for us.
        b) Now, personally or through others by our financial support, is
the time to share with relatives and friends and others what Moses and
the prophets foretold and what Christ fulfilled for our salvation.
    3. And let’s never forget ourselves.  (24)
So he called to him, “Father Abraham, have pity on me and send
Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
because I am in agony in this fire.”
        a) We want others in Heaven and not facing hell.
        b) And surely we want the same for ourselves, for our families.
        c) Instead of needing to cool our tongues, let us now use our
tongues, our voices, to praise our God.  And let us now, as we heard
in the epistle reading earlier, “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith,
love, endurance and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of the faith.
Take hold of the eternal life to which [we] were called.” 

    Abraham traveled in a part of the world that has been much in the
news.  He ended up in Heaven because of his Savior God.
    We now are traveling in this world.  We know that after this life
there is either Heaven or hell.  God’s Word tells us how to travel in
this life, and in Christ Jesus proclaims His salvation so that we reach
Heaven as our eternal home of glory.