Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Funeral Sermon for My Dad

Funeral Sermon for Paul G. Walther
1 Corinthians 15.3-8

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.  (NIV Adapted)

     Dear Mom, Susan, Kathy, Mike, Tim, Carol, children, relatives, friends and members of Zion Lutheran Church,

     My message this morning is based on the same text that I was studying and preaching from for last Sunday, Easter. I only had to adapt my sermon just a little on Sunday after mom called me about Dad’s dying. I want to share it again with all of you with just a few more changes.

     As most of you know the first Paul was a zealous Pharisee. He wasn’t in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’ death and resurrection, but he must have come soon after - within a year. About that time Stephen was stoned to death and Paul was there guarding the cloaks of his murders. Paul enthusiastically joined the persecution of the church and was on his way to Damacus to find, arrest, and punish the Christians who had fled there. Some of them may have been killed also. But on the road to Damascus Paul, or as he was known then, Saul, was met by the risen Christ. He was the last person to see the risen Lord, and he was the most unlikely - for he had never loved Him but had in facted hated Him with all the hatred a human being could have. Paul was a proud, self-confident Pharisee who viewed God as a rewarder and punisher. His entire faith at that point was based on his own achievements. But as always happens in the Bible, when sinful men, no matter how holy they think they are meet a holy angel or the holy Son of God, it is a complete shock. Suddenly they realize their sinfulness.  Paul described his shock by saying that Jesus appeared to him as one “abnormally born.” The Greek word that Paul uses here is the word for “abortion” or “stillbirth.” But Paul’s shock wasn’t just that he saw Christ risen from the dead. The greater shock was that this Christ came to him in forgiveness and mercy, which Paul knew was totally underserved. He was told go on to Damascus where a disciple named Ananius would say, “rise, be baptized, and wash away your sins.”  Paul’s shock was that God is not just a rewarder and a punisher, but a forgiver. This is why Paul would refer to himself not as a man, not even as a child, but as one who had been abnormally born or aborted and had not even taken a breath. This is why Paul would refer to himself as the “least of the Apostles” and as “the chief of sinners.” Paul’s life was completely and forever changed. Paul would go on to become the greatest of all the apostles.

     Easter, and in fact the entire Christian life, is about forgiveness. The first sentence of Jesus’ first sermon was, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The last command He gave to the disciples was to “Preach repentance and the remission of sins.” From the cross He said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” In the heart of His own prayer is the profound petition: “Forgive us our tresspasses.”  It is always about forgiveness. Thus Paul also says in our text, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance, that Christ died for our sins.”  

    This is the same forgiveness giving Jesus into whom my father was baptized and with whom and by whom he continued to live all of his life. By God’s grace he met my mother and together they established a home in which Jesus was always the center of attention. He lived out his vocations as teacher, professor, administrator and friend in a Christ-like way. He and mom stood outside our nearest abortion clinic praying for minds to change and for babies to be saved. They went to St. Louis to help the homeless. Once when we were driving home from Ft. Wayne to see my Grandmother, Dad and Mom were have a serious discussion about the Seminex problem.* I was a precocious boy in junior high at the time. Dad was frustrated that some pastors were saying Jonah wasn’t actually swallowed by a great fish and vomitted back up on the beach. They were saying it was just a story. That’s when I piped in from the back seat. I decided to take up a little for those wiseacres with a little of my own logic. I said, “So what if Jonah wasn’t swallowed a great fish. It’s still a good story, and it still could teach us good spiritual lessons.” Looking straight ahead, and with the most matter of fact tone you could imagine he said, “Mike, Jesus said that Jonah was swallowed by a great fish.” Dad taught me not to question the Bible and it’s center in Jesus.

     Saturday he watched two basketball games, sports being one of the great loves of his life. He and mom had their last devotions together. The text of that devotions was from John 14. “In my Father’s house there are many mansions. If it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” Shortly after that he left his home here on earth and joined the first Paul and many other disciples since to celebrate the greatest Easter we all look forward to celebrating someday - Easter with the risen Christ Himself.

     What about all of us? Dad would not be happy if I did not bring this sermon directly to you. My family and my sisters and their families know about this. At family gatherings we often talk about our faith. What are you thankful for? How is your faith? Always remember Jesus and hold on to Him. Can we be transformed like Paul of Tarsus and like Paul G. Walther? Can we depart this life in peace and see the risen Christ ourselves?

     The answer is certainly “yes.” But like the first Paul God has to break us down. He has to tear from our souls those terrible misbeliefs that Satan wants us to hold: That maybe there is no such thing as sin; That we can pick and choose which things are to be called sins so that we can continue in some of them; That we can compensate for our sins by trying to be a good person.  None of those approaches do anything about sin. Quite often I see people looking to God for blessings. They want a good life. But they don’t always want forgiveness. Why would God give you more life if the life He has given you is being destroyed by sin already, and you don’t really care?  The sin has to be removed, and it can only be removed by the forgiveness of sins through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. It’s all about forgiveness.  And that is, amazingly, what Jesus wants to bring us more than anything.  Once we have that, we have everything.  Paul said, “How shall He who did not spare His own Son but gave Himself up for us also, along with Him, graciously give us all things” (Romans 8.32).  Realizing his own complete weakness as a sinful human being Paul found complete strength in Christ. “It is not I who live but Christ who lives in me, and the life I live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2.20). God has given that strength for life and for death in the forgiveness of our sins in Christ. Oh Holy Spirit, sustain us in that faith that holds dearly to the Easter truths that Christ died for our sins, that He was buried, and that He rose again on the third day; And, that as He lives, so shall we live also. (John 14.19)

Amen!


Obituary - Paul G. Walther (1931 - 2015)

Paul G. Walther, 84, of Belleville, Ill., born March 25, 1931, in Brownstown, Ind., passed away Sunday, April 5, 2015.

Mr. Walther received a Bachelor of Science degree from Concordia University, Seward, Neb., a Master's of Science degree from the University of Michigan, and his Ph.D. from Indiana University. He spent many years as a teacher, a principal, a superintendant, and a professor.

He taught at Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, Ill., and was an assistant-superintendent and superintendent in the Vandalia, Ill. public school system. He was also the Director of the Area Agency on Aging in Belleville, Ill.

Paul was an active member of Zion Lutheran Church in Belleville, Ill., where he was a member of various boards and committees. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and brother.

He was preceded in death by his parents; F.J. and Amanda, nee Woempner, Walther; and a brother, Richard Walther.

Surviving are his loving wife of 59 years, Ruth, nee Michael, Walther, whom he married on June 25, 1955; a son, Reverend Michael (Carol) Walther of Maryville, Ill.; two daughters, Susan (Mike) Garrison of Litchfield, Ill., and Kathy (Tim) Weber of St. Charles, Mo.; eight grandchildren, Aaron, David, Paul (Laurie), Stephen, and Lydia Walther, Blake Garrison, Adam and Sydney Weber; two great-grandchildren, Jackson and Casen Walther; a sister, Hildegarde (Marvin) Brammeire; three brothers, Wayne (Marlyn) Walther, John (Caroline) Walther, and Daniel (Kathy) Walther, and two sisters-in-law, Doris Walther, and Marilyn Michael.

Memorials may be made to Zion Lutheran Church, to the Lutheran Laymen League, or to the Lutherans for Life. Condolences may be expressed online at: www.rennerfh.com.

Visitation: Friends may visit from 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 8, 2015, at Zion Lutheran Church, 1810 McClintock Ave., Belleville, Ill.

Funeral: A celebration of his life will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, April 8, 2015, at Zion Lutheran Church, Belleville, Ill., with Pastors Brian Downs, Michael Walther, and Dr. Darwin Schrader officiating.

At Paul's request, his body was donated to Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Mo.


GEORGE RENNER & SONS FUNERAL HOME, Belleville, Ill.


*Seminex is short for “Seminary in Exile.” During the 1960s and 70s some pastors and professors in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod were adopting the presuppositions and methods of Bible interpretation known as Higher Criticism. This approach denied many, if not all, the miraculous reports of the Bible. Yet they tried to retain the spiritual truths. For more on this see two short videos I made:  Part One  Part Two

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Setting Our Minds on the Things of God


This is an excerpt from my sermon this morning titled "Setting Your Mind on the Things of God Not the Things of Men."

When Jesus rebuked Peter in Mark eight, He showed us that the evil of our own hearts, of our families, of our church, and of the world can only be conquered by looking to the things of God rather than than the things of men. 

The things of men are what we can get by our selves - by our logic, our strength, our efforts, etc. These are not bad things. But they are insufficient to conquer evil and Satan. That can only be done by the things of God. These are His righteousness, love, sacrifice, and forgiveness. As Jesus descended to death on the cross to defeat evil so also we descend in repentance to destroy evil. As He rose from the dead, so also we arise to a new life.

The following is the last part of the sermon in which I applied this principle to one of the most serious political problems of our day…

One more important application of thinking the things of God has to do with our current political situation. We recently finished one of the most popular Bible class series that we have ever had at Good Shepherd by comparing the Christian faith to the faith of Islam. No two faiths could be further apart when it comes to Jesus’ saying that we should take up our crosses and follow Him. Muhammad clearly said to take up the sword. In fact the Quran calls for violence 45 times, a fact that no Muslim can deny.  Some Muslims say these only applied to specific situations, but many radical Muslims do not agree. They say it means what it says.  I’m glad there are peace-loving Muslims who try to soften the sayings of their prophet and inspire their people to peace instead of fighting for their faith. But that is having no affect on the radicals. In fact the radical Muslims think that the peace-loving Muslims are as much infidels as Christians and Jews.
How are we, as cross-bearing Christians, to think of the radical Muslims who are committing terrible atrocities every day?  The answer is not as simple as, “Send in the Special Forces and Marines and wipe them out.” That is the thinking of men, and it’s not working so well. What would be the thinking of God?  Martin Luther faced the exact same situation in his day. The Muslims were fighting at the gates of Vienna. Germany was on the brink of disaster. Luther reminded his people that the Muslims or Turks, as they were also called at that time, would have no power unless God had allowed it. Therefore he said:
But since people (ignored the Gospel) in the course of time and many heresies arose, the blasphemous Mohammed came with his Koran... After our time punishment will come upon Germany and other countries, too, because of the terrible ingratitude and contempt for the dear, saving Word which was preached to them purely and abundantly.1
The Turk, you see, is our “schoolmaster.” He has to discipline and teach us to fear God and to pray. Otherwise we will do what we have been doing—rot in sin and complacency. If we really want help and guidance, let us repent and change (our) evil ways…”2
Cross-bearing Christians who set their minds on the things of God turn to God in evil times.  The first evil they consider is that of their own hearts. In repentance and forgiveness that evil is destroyed. Then they humbly pray to God, “Deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever” (Matthew 6.13). They know that God will deliver whatever needs to be delivered for the sake of His kingdom. They pray for their own nation that it would turn from its sinful ways, because only then can the discipline of God be removed from the land. Finally they pray for strong and courageous soldiers who put their trust not in themselves but in God and say with the Sons of Korah:
For I will not trust in my bow, Nor shall my sword save me. But You have saved us from our enemies, And have put to shame those who hated us. In God we boast all day long, And praise Your name forever. (Psalm 44.6-8).
Prayer

O Lord, You carried the cross for us to defeat Satan and to forgive us and save us. Help us now to take up our crosses in repentance and faith. Help us defeat temptations. Help us to endure hardships, slander, abuse, even suffering, persecution and death if necessary for Your sake. You will always be our help and our shield. Amen.

1Plass, Ewald M., What Luther Says,” p. 533.

2Luther, M. (1999). Vol. 43: Luther's works, vol. 43: Devotional Writings II (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.) (224). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.



Saturday, February 21, 2015

Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources, Dr. Martin Lings




Dr. Martin Lings was a close friend of C.S.Lewis when they were in college. Lings was trained as a Shakespearian scholar, but he became interested in Islam and converted in the 1940s. His biography of Muhammad is one of the most widely accepted biographies in the English language. 

I highly recommend this book because it portrays the life of Muhammad from the point of view of a true Muslim believer. Much of Islamic faith and practice is based on the life of Muhammad. Lings does not gloss over things like Muhammad's marriage to Aisha when she was six years old (consummated when she was nine). He definitely shows Muhammad's great involvement in warfare and that in Islam, state and religion are "inextricably bound together." 

I have written a brief comparison between Christianity and Islam that draws from some of the things presented in this book. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Lost in Shangri-La, by Mitchel Zuckoff



Near the end of World War II an American pilot accidentally discovered a "lost valley" high in the mountains of New Guinea. The Americans were so interested in this valley that they began to take sight seeing flights over it. Flying low over the valley they would observe the natives, their huts and gardens.

One of the flights failed to clear the ridge at the end of the valley and crashed in the jungle. Twenty-one men and women (WACs) were killed. Three survived. The survivors struggled down the mountainside and soon encountered the valley natives. Initially they were very fearful of cannibalism, but eventually both groups overcame their fears. There were many humorous incidents as they began to understand each other's culture.

Stop reading here if you want to find out on your own what happened!

One of the strangest orders ever given in military history occurred when the native men kept rubbing the arms, backs and legs of the American GIs. The captain in charge became concerned about this behavior and suspected that it was sexual in nature. He thought the natives thought the Americans were females. So he ordered all his men to drop their drawers and walk around for a whole day without pants or underwear. Later, the natives recalled this incident and were quite surprised by it. While the men only wore a penis gourd, this small piece of clothing was very important to them, and to be without it was very embarrassing to them. As it turned out the natives were rubbing the GIs because they had never seen clothing before, and they couldn't figure out what this strange "skin" was which was on the soldiers!

There was no way in or out of the valley except by air. Paratroopers and supplies were dropped in to help the survivors. Eventually the Americans came up with a plan to fly gliders into the valley and to retrieve them with a daring "snatch"from a tow plane. All three survivors and their rescuers were flown out of the valley along with a little pet pig the Americans had named "Peggy."

The encounter between the two cultures left a tremendous impression on both. The Americans were glad to find out that the people who helped them, the Dani Tribe, only ate their enemies. The tribesmen thought that the Americans were ghosts. Despite their cultural differences they developed friendships that made the survival of the Americans possible.

One of the saddest and most ironic discoveries was that the tribes of this valley lived in perpetual warfare with each other. The Americans realized that even this part of the world, virtually untouched by modern civilization, suffered from the effects of war. Reading between the lines it is easy to see that the problem of sin and its effects are embedded in the hearts of all people.

Not long after this Christian missionaries came to the valley and most of the tribesmen became Christians. With the influence of the Christian faith and with government pressure the warfare among the tribes ceased.

Alexander Cann, a movie producer, parachuted into the valley and made a twelve minute film of the story.






Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Responding to Scoffers - You Don't Go Far Enough




       There are many people, like the author of this poster, who say there is no god, no Son of God, no soul, no… _____________.

     The problem with this poster is that it doesn't go far enough. The poster should go on to say, "and, there is no meaning and purpose to this life."

     When we deny the Creator and ultimate Law Giver and Lover of the universe, when we believe that all of life and existence is the result of random accidents, we lose any sense of justice; right and wrong; or meaning and purpose in life. This is nihilism (Latin: nihil, "nothing"). 

     Nihilism is the black hole of atheism. Some atheists accept it, but many try to avoid it. It is difficult to live with a nihilistic worldview. How can you honestly look at your beautiful little child and say to yourself, "this is just a bunch of molecules that happened to come together after a long process of evolution"? How can you argue for justice for yourself personally or for this world when you have denied that there is no ultimate justice. It's all arbitrary.   

     Most atheists say that they overcome this problem by looking for the meaning to life within themselves. But this is also meaningless. What is there "within themselves" if they are the product of accidental mutations? Even their very thoughts are accidents of nature. How can randomness give rise to permanence? How can meaninglessness have meaning? These things are completely contradictory to one another. They want their "cake" of randomness and godlessness, and they want to "eat" or live by a sense of justice, meaning and purpose that is only possible if is permanent and eternal and therefore established by God. 

     David wrote in Psalm 14.1 "The fool says in his heart there is no god." The Hebrew word translated "fool" (נבל, nabal) means "futile, worthless." That is exactly right. To deny the existence of God is to say that all of life is ultimately futile and essentially worthless. It means nothing.

     God does not want us to view life in this way. Rather, He urges us to believe that there is an ultimate purpose in this life. Paul said, "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8.28).  That purpose, as Paul goes on to say, is that we might be justified, forgiven of our sins, and permanently established in His eternal glory. 

   

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Thirty Five Parables of Jesus in Eight Categories

I have always been fascinated with the parables of Jesus. I never tire of hearing them or thinking about them.  A parable is a story that makes you think. Jesus' parables are stories that not only make you think but believe, repent, do good works, and much more. 

I've taken a list of thirty five parables and tried to organize them in eight different categories. You may see different categories than I have, but this is just one way for me to get a summary of the theology of the parables.  Here are the categories with a brief description:

1. God's Word-Believe It or Not:  Jesus was concerned about our hearing and believing God's word. In John 8.47 Jesus said, "He is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God." These parables show how important it is for us to hear God's word. They also show what happens when people aren't interested in God's word.

2. Jesus is the Messiah: One of the great things that Jesus had to teach was the purpose of the Law of Moses. Paul said in Galatians 3.24-25 "Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor." These parables show how Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law of Moses. He is our Sabbath, Sacrifice, Temple and Promised Land. See also Colossians 2.17. 

3. Repentance/Salvation: The beginning and ending of Jesus' earthly ministry are marked by the distinction of Law and Gospel. At the beginning we read, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 4.17). At the end we read, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem" (Luke 24.46). 

4. Salvation/Sanctification: The other side of the coin of salvation is sanctification. While salvation is a free gift given apart from our works, it is always a gift that is working.  Paul says that Jesus "gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people zealous for good works" (Titus 2.14). These parables show us that faith works.

5. The Kingdom Is Of God: In the Lord's Prayer Jesus taught us to say, "Thy kingdom come" (Matthew 6.1o). These parables show how God builds His kingdom. We do not build it for Him. These parables encourage us and remind us that Jesus also said, "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16.18). 

6. Judgment: Depending on how you categorize the parables between six and eight of these parables have to do with Judgment Day. The last prayer of the Bible is "Amen. Even so, 'Come Lord Jesus'" (Revelation 22.20). Paul said that in the Lord's Supper "For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes" (1 Corinthians 11.26). Christians should think often about what lies ahead.

7. Kingdom/Treasure: Jesus said, "Seek first the Kingdom of God" (Matthew 6.33). These parables show how God's kingdom is our greatest treasure. It is also His greatest treasure as well.

8. Prayer: If faith comes by hearing (Romans 10.17), then faith is expressed in prayer. Prayer is the first good work of any believer. In most cases I think it will also be our last good work on earth. Prayer is a wonderful thing. 

Here are the parables in Biblical order. You can also find these on my Quizlet account in the form of flashcards

Thirty Five Parables

1. The Wise & Foolish Builders- Matthew 7:24- 27 (Luke 6:47- 49) Gods' Word Believe It Or Not: Those who believe and obey God's word will prosper and be saved. Those who do not will perish. End of the Sermon on the Mount

2. The New Cloth and New Wineskins- Matthew 9:16- 17  Messiah: Transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant - Jesus is the Messiah - Prompted by a question about fasting.

3. The Sower- Matthew 13:5- 8 (Mark 4:3- 8; Luke 8:5- 8) Repentance/Salvation: God's word does not grow in a hardened or distracted heart. God's word grows in a heart that is broken in repentance. Sermon by the Sea. Jesus then refers to Isaiah's call in which he is told that many would not listen to him.

4. The Wheat & the Weeds- Matthew 13:24- 30  Judgment: God's kingdom will have hypocrites. We can't remove them. They will be removed at the Last Judgment.

5. The Mustard Seed- Matthew 13:31- 32 (Mark 4:30- 32; Luke 13:18- 19)  Kingdom Is Of God: God's kingdom grows mysteriously and has a big influence from small sources.

6. The Yeast- Matthew 13:33 (Luke 13:20- 21)  Kingdom Is Of God: God's kingdom grows and has a big influence from a small source.

7. The Hidden Treasure- Matthew 13:44  Kingdom/Treasure: God's kingdom (to be saved) is our greatest treasure. Or God's kingdom is His greatest treasure for which He gave His Son. If one is true, the other is true.

8. The Pearl of Great Price- Matthew 13:45- 46  Kingdom/Treasure: God's kingdom (to be saved) is our greatest treasure. Or God's kingdom is His greatest treasure for which He gave His Son. If one is true, the other is true.

9. The Fishing Net- Matthew 13:47- 50  Judgment: God's kingdom will have hypocrites. We can't remove them. They will be removed at the Last Judgment.

10. The Unforgiving Servant- Matthew 18:23- 35 Salvation/Sanctification: As God has forgiven us, we are to forgive others

11. The Workers in the Vineyard- Matthew 20:1- 16  Salvation/Sanctification: Salvation is God's call. Each of us suffer and/or produce fruits at different levels.

12. The Two Sons- Matthew 21:28- 32  Repentance/Salvation: Salvation is based on true repentance not good intentions.

13. The Wicked Vinegrowers- Matthew 21:33- 46 (Mark 12:1- 12; Luke 20:9- 19)  Messiah: Transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant - Jesus is the Messiah - Holy Week

14. The Wedding Banquet- Matthew 22:1- 14  Gods' Word Believe It Or Not: Those who believe and obey God's word will prosper and be saved. Those who do not will perish.

15. The Two Servants- Matthew 24:45- 51 (Luke 12:42- 48)  Judgment: Faithful servants work and wait on the Lord. Unfaithful servants squander God's grace.

16. The Ten Virgins- Matthew 25:1- 13   Judgment: Jesus will return and be with those who are with Him now through His word.

17. The Talents- Matthew 25:14- 30  Judgment: We will be ready for the Lord is His word is alive and at work in us.

18. The Seed Growing Secretly- Mark 4:26- 29  Kingdom Is Of God: It grows mysteriously by God's grace.

19. The Doorkeeper- Mark 13:34- 37  Judgment: Faithful servants stay awake

20. The Rude Children- Luke 7:31- 35  Messiah: Transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant - Jesus is the Messiah - Against those who rejected John's Bapism & Repentance

21. The Two Debters- Luke 7:41- 43  Repentance/Salvation: Salvation is based on true repentance not good works.

22. The Good Samaritan- Luke 10:25- 37  Repentance/Salvation: The Law requires perfect love. Only God has perfect love.

23. The Friend at Midnight- Luke 11:5- 8  Prayer: God hears our prayers therefore we should pray.

24. The Rich Fool- Luke 12:16- 21 Salvation/Sanctification: Since God has given us everything we should not desire the gifts more than the Giver.

25. The Barren Fig Tree- Luke 13:6- 9  Judgment: God desires men to be saved and is patiently working for that.

26. The Great Banquet- Luke 14:15- 24  Gods' Word Believe It Or Not: Those who believe and obey God's word will prosper and be saved.

27. The Unfinished Tower and the King's Rash War- Luke 14:28- 33  Salvation/Sanctification: Because we are saved we cannot be attached permanently to anything in this world. Spoken to large crowd, some of which were not following Jesus completely.

28. The Lost Sheep- Matthew 18:12- 14 (Luke 15:4- 7) Kingdom Is Of God: God goes to get those who will be in His Kingdom

29. The Lost Coin- Luke 15:8- 10  Kingdom Is Of God: God goes to get those who will be in His Kingdom

30. The Prodigal Son- Luke 15:11- 32  Repentance/Salvation: Salvation is based on true repentance not good works.

31. The Shrewd Manager- Luke 16:1- 9 Salvation/Sanctification: Use well the blessings God has given you. (Faithful in little/ Faithful in much)

32. The Servant's Reward- Luke 17:7- 10 Salvation/Sanctification: It is good to be a servant of a good master therefore serve the master first.

33. The Unjust Judge- Luke 18:1- 8  Prayer: If we can sometimes overcome injustice by persistance, imagine what can happen when we are persistent with a just Judge!

34. The Pharisee and the Tax Collector- Luke 18:9- 14 Repentance/Salvation: Good works do not save. God saves the broken hearted.

35. The Minas- Luke 19  Judgment: We will be ready for the Lord if His word is alive and at work in us.