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Microsoft word - 11_11_07_use_it_or_lose_it.doc

Hymns: 210, 456, 207/316, 208 (v. 4) Luke 19:11-27 While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. He said: "A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. 'Put this money to work,' he said, 'until I come back.' "But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, 'We don't want this man to be our king.' "He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it. "The first one came and said, 'Sir, your mina has earned ten more.' "'Well done, my good servant!' his master replied. 'Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.' "The second came and said, 'Sir, your mina has earned five more.' "His master answered, 'You take charge of five cities.' "Then another servant came and said, 'Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.' "His master replied, 'I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? Why then didn't you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?' "Then he said to those standing by, 'Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.' "'Sir,' they said, 'he already has ten!' "He replied, 'I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away. But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them--bring them here and kill them in front of me.'" Dear Christian Friends: My wife and I recently took a beginner’s Spanish class at UWM. This class was for adults, not regular college students. But even though it was a class for beginners, a few of the adult students had taken Spanish in high school. The trouble for them was that they had forgotten what they had learned all those years ago. So they had to start over. That’s the way it is with language skills. If you don’t use those language skills, you lose those skills. “Use it or lose it.” That is true with language skills. It is also true with the gospel. In our text Jesus uses a parable from the business world to teach us how using the gospel is vitally important for our faith and the life of the Church. That familiar expression crystallizes Christ’s desire for the gospel: USE IT OR LOSE IT. Now, Jesus told this parable just after he had shocked the self-righteous Pharisees by eating dinner with the tax collector, Zaccheus. Jesus explained why he did it. Jesus said, “for the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Why did Jesus leave his heavenly throne? Why did Jesus take on human flesh to suffer and die on the cross? Jesus did all that to save sinners from death and hell. That’s the gospel. That’s the power of God to save us. Now, when it comes to the gospel, some people reject it. This is their fate. A man of noble birth went…to have himself appointed king and then to return. But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, 'We don't want this man to be our king.' "He was made king, however, and returned home. {Then he said}…those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king--bring them here and kill them in front of me. This part of the parable is painfully obvious. Jesus is the nobleman. Jesus left earth when he ascended into heaven to be crowned by God as King of kings. When Jesus returns again on Judgment Day, he will sentence all the enemies of the gospel to eternal death in hell. So, for unbelievers, Judgment Day will be a day of sorrow, sadness and weeping. But what about believers? How is Jesus going to judge us? Well, Jesus tells us. Believers in Christ are the servants who receive a mina, that is about $15,000 from their master. Jesus says, A man of noble birth…called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. 'Put this money to work,' he said, 'until I come back.' Notice how the servants got the money. The master simply gave it to them. That is how we received the gospel. We did not earn it. God did not look at you and say, “Oh, he is such a cute little damned sinner. He is worthy to receive the gospel. Oh, she is so adorable wallowing there in the filth of her sin. I just have to give her the gospel.” No, God did not owe you the gospel. He gave you the gospel because of his undeserved love for unlovable lost sinners. But now, Jesus wants a return on his investment. In other words, Jesus tells us, “The good news of my life, death and resurrection is my treasure. Only that gospel builds up my body, the Church. I gave you my gospel. So use the gospel. Hear the gospel in church. Receive the gospel in the sacrament. Study the gospel in Bible Class, devotions and Sunday School. Then share the gospel by speaking it to your friends at work and your neighbors at home. Share the gospel by supporting your congregation’s evangelism activities. Share the gospel by supporting your Synod’s mission of bringing my love, my forgiveness and my salvation to all people.” If Jesus came back now, how would he judge you? What type of gospel servant are you? Jesus says, He sent for the servants …to find out what they had gained with [the money]. "The first one.said, 'Sir, your mina has earned ten more.' "'Well done, my good servant!' his master replied. 'Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.' "The second…said, 'Sir, your mina has earned five more.' "His master answered, 'You take charge of five cities.' On Judgment Day Christ will reward a believer’s faithful use of the gospel. But understand this. Faithfully using the gospel does not earn heaven. Notice that the servant said to the master, YOUR mina has earned ten more. The gospel belongs to Christ and works by Christ’s power, not by our power. But what about those who have Christ’s gospel but don’t put it to work? Another servant came and said, 'Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man.' "His master replied, “…you wicked servant! Why didn't you put my money on deposit, so…I could have collected it with interest?' "Then he said… 'Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten…To everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away. When it comes to using his gospel the proper way, Jesus is truly a hard man. That does not mean Jesus is nasty. No, Jesus is loving. But he takes the gospel seriously. As a comparison consider a brain surgeon. This surgeon is a nice guy. He’s always happy and tells funny jokes. But in the operating room he does not find it funny if the nurse gives him a rubber chicken instead of a scalpel. This friendly surgeon rightly gets angry and fires the nurse. That’s because the patient’s life depended on that operation. Likewise, a sinner’s forgiveness and eternal life depend on the gospel. So the loving Savior rightly punishes and condemns those who fail to use the gospel properly or fail to use it at all. So, I ask you. How have you been investing the gospel that Christ entrusted to you? Do you trust the power of the gospel? Or do you fail to speak the gospel because you think you have to use wise and persuasive words to convince someone to believe? Likewise, do you fail to share the gospel because you are ashamed of your church? Do you think, ‘My church is too conservative. My church has too many problems. Nobody would want to come and hear the gospel from us anyway?’ Or perhaps your reasons for failing to share the gospel are even worse. You don’t share the gospel because you are lazy and selfish. You don’t share the gospel because you really don’t care whether or not other people go to heaven or hell. You don’t share the gospel because you don’t really care what Jesus wants you to do. You think, “Hey, sharing the gospel doesn’t get me into heaven. So, if I’m going to heaven anyway, why bother using the gospel?” Well, if you think that way or act that way, you will lose the gospel. Worse than that, you will lose what the gospel gives. It’s like the Rogaine commercial I just saw. Rogaine is a product that grows hair for men who are losing their hair. The commercial ends by saying, ‘Use it or lose it.’ In other words, use Rogaine or else you will lose what Rogaine gives you—hair! The same is true with the gospel. If you fail to use the gospel, Jesus won’t just take it away and give it to someone else. Jesus will also take away what the gospel gives you—forgiveness of sins and eternal life in heaven. So even though we can never earn heaven, we can lose heaven by failing to use the gospel. So are you afraid for your salvation because you have not used the gospel like you should have? Do you fear Judgment Day because you have not taken the gospel seriously? Well, you should fear because you are guilty. And so am I. But if you have fears of damnation; if you properly confess, “Lord, I have sinned by failing to appreciate the gospel, receive the gospel and share the gospel;” then there’s only one thing to do. Go back and use that gospel. And thank God! Jesus used the gospel on you. Jesus always uses the gospel faithfully and properly. He gives you his powerful forgiveness and perfect salvation through the gospel in Word and sacrament. Jesus does that because he has promised that he will never lose you. Rest safe and secure in the life, death and resurrection of Christ. Christ uses the gospel so that he doesn’t lose you. AMEN.

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Microsoft word - zoopharmacognosy and your animals.doc

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Microsoft word - lithium.doc

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