Most Certainly True

The Christian Writings of Lutheran Preacher Justin Clavet

Adoration of the Shepherds

A sermon by Justin Clavet for the First Sunday in Advent, Preached at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Flanagan, Illinois, Isaiah 2:1-5, Romans 13:8-14, and Matthew 24:36-44, December 1, 2019

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

St. John starts his Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … All things were made through him … In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (Jn 1:1-5).

The three words “in the beginning” start off another book in our English Bible – the book of Genesis: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gn 1:1) – which is fitting, since both John 1 and Genesis 1 are recounting the same event, the moment when nothing became everything.

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Moses vor dem Brennenden Dornbusch

A sermon by Justin Clavet for the Twenty-Second Sunday After Pentecost, Preached at New Hope Lutheran Church, Geneva, Illinois and Renewed Hope Church, La Grange Park, Illinois, Exodus 3:1-15 and Luke 20:27-40, November 10, 2019

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus was preaching in the temple when he was approached by a group of people called Sadducees who asked him a question about marriage and the resurrection. It is a rather stupid question, and intentionally so. Throughout this twentieth chapter of Luke’s Gospel, Jesus has been asked other stupid questions by people looking to trip him up in his teachings. First by the chief priests and the scribes and the elders, who asked Jesus what authority he had to be teaching at all. Before he would answer, however, Jesus first had a question for them.

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St. Paul in Prison

A sermon by Justin Clavet for the Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost, Preached at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of Clarion, La Moille, Illinois, 2 Timothy 3:14—4:5, October 20, 2019

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

St. Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy – a fellow preacher of the Gospel whom Paul described as his “beloved child” (2 Tm 1:2) – in the year of our Lord 68. This is the same year that he would be martyred in Rome. And when reading this letter, his last known to us, it is clear that Paul wrote as man who knew his days were numbered. In fact, he dictated this letter to a co-worker while he was chained and imprisoned for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. “[T]he time of my departure has come” (2 Tm 4:6), he writes. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tm 4:7). He wants badly for Timothy to be able to travel from Ephesus to visit him in prison before the winter – before it is too late (2 Tm 4:21). He is suffering. He is weary. But he has not lost hope.

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The Healing of Ten Lepers

A sermon by Justin Clavet for the Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost, Preached at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Rockton, Illinois, 2 Timothy 2:1-13 and Luke 17:11-19, October 13, 2019

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

We know that our righteousness before God and our salvation relies not upon what we have done or what we will do, but only upon what God has already done for us. But this is easy to forget. Especially because the world we live in today is populated by fallen sinners who have created gods in their own image, after their own likeness, and – even more worrying – to their own liking. We live in a time that prizes individuality and identity above all else. We are told that each person is entitled to his or her own reality. If we do not like the truth, or if it offends our sensibilities, there is no need to worry. Another truth awaits on the horizon, yours for the making. This is why, at first, the Gospel seems foolish, dangerous, and offensive; and Christ, who frees the faithful from the works of the Law, reckless. But God has made foolish the wisdom of the world. He has chosen what is foolish in the world to bring shame upon the wise and chosen what is weak in the world to bring the strong to their knees (1 Co 1:27).

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The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah

A sermon by Justin Clavet for the Seventh Sunday After Pentecost, Preached at New Hope Lutheran Church, Geneva, Illinois and Renewed Hope Church, La Grange Park, Illinois, Genesis 18:17-33 and Luke 11:1-13

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

In today’s reading from the Old Testament, God and Abraham are standing on a peak overlooking the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in the valley below them. The Lord asks: ‘Should I hide what I am about to do from Abraham, or should I tell him?’ If he will be the founder and leader of a great nation of people, he should surely get a peek behind the curtain. And so, God takes this opportunity to teach Abraham how “to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice” (Gn 18:19). Abraham in turn must teach such things to his children and so on. After all, how could the Israelites ever have kept what they were given by God if they did not know how to render justice?

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The Calling of St. Peter and St. Andrew

A sermon by Justin Clavet for the Third Sunday After the Epiphany, Preached at St. Timothy Lutheran Church, Naperville, Illinois, Jonah and Mark 1:14-20, January 21, 2018

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

When God gives the Law, people grumble. Nobody wants to be told they can’t do the things they like. Nobody wants their shortcomings and failures to be pointed out. But their reaction is often worse when God gives the Gospel. When the faithful look to their neighbors and see godless sinners, they want to find a just God who punishes the wicked and rewards the righteous. When instead they find the Gospel, which promises mercy to all who repent and believe, this can be more terrifying to them than the Law which accuses all sinners. Humans lust for the punishment of sin and wrongdoing. Forgiveness is hard, but vengeance is easy and feels so good. But God is most certainly better at forgiveness than we are. Which is wonderful news for us indeed, because nobody can be more deserving of God’s grace than anybody else is. None of us are deserving.

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Saint Paul Writing His Epistles

Lord God Heavenly Father,

By your will, we are called to be disciples of Christ Jesus. We are sanctified in him, called to be saints, and are together in spirit today with all those who in every place call on the name of the Lord, both theirs and ours.

We give thanks to you, our God, always for the grace that has been given to us through your Son, who enriches us in every way, in speech and knowledge of every kind, as we strive always to strengthen the testimony of Christ among us. Through you we are called into the fellowship of your Son Jesus Christ.

You who destroy the wisdom of the wise, thwart the discernment of the discerning, and make foolish the wisdom of the world: help us to remember always that Christ has not been divided, as we proclaim Christ crucified.

Help us always to see that love is patient and kind—never envious, boastful, arrogant, or rude. Let us not insist on our own way, or be irritable or resentful. Let us never rejoice in wrongdoing, but always in the truth. Through our loving, let us bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things.

God, your foolishness is wiser than human wisdom. Your weakness is stronger than human strength. We give thanks to you, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Amen.

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