Saturday, January 19, 2008

“See No Evil”, Isaiah. 42:17

S-1024 3/02/08 4SIL 3/A. Hymns: (O)#; (S)#; (C) #
Texts: Isaiah 42:14-21; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41
Theme: “See No Evil” (Is. 42:17).

Faithful followers of the Savior, the text for this 4th Sunday in Lent is from the O.T. Prophet Isaiah “They are turned back and utterly put to shame, who trust in carved idols, who say to metal images, ‘You are our gods’” (Isaiah 42:17).

Saints in Christ perhaps you have seen this picture, three little monkeys, sitting in a row. One has his hands over his eyes, so he cannot see. One has his hands over his ears, so he cannot hear. And the third has his hands over his mouth, so he cannot speak. And they are sitting on a battlefield.

There is a war going on around us every day – a war for our souls and the souls of our children and grandchildren. It is not a war that is fought with bombs and bullets, but a war fought with weapons of the spirit. It is a war between good and evil, and God and Satan. As in any war, there are casualties, soldiers who die for their cause and soldiers who live to tell about it

Yet this war is unlike any other:
Scripture is clear regarding this war. There are no neutral forces – you are either on the side of JESUS CHRIST AS LORD. Or you belong to Satan and the forces of darkness. All of the other “gods and powers” of this world are simply masks for a single enemy – the Devil. No one “chooses” sides – you begin life as an enemy of God, and by His grace and power He converts you to His side. By the Holy Spirit we have been changed from the hated enemy to the beloved allies.

And now the enemies of Jesus Christ come seeking to claim us and win us over to the other side again. They want to steal back our souls. The war is real – it rages around us every day. Yet all too often we sit around in lines like those three monkeys, waiting to be destroyed and fooling ourselves into thinking that if we “see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil” then the evil isn’t real. It doesn’t affect us at all, and we bury our heads in the sand. The three monkeys remind us of the text for today from the prophet Isaiah.

They shall be turned back, They shall be greatly ashamed, Who trust in carved images, Who say to the molded images, ‘You are our gods.’ “Hear, you deaf; And look, you blind, that you may see. Who is blind but My servant, Or deaf as My messenger whom I send? Who is blind as he who is perfect, And blind as the LORD’s servant? Seeing many things, but you do not observe; Opening the ears, but he does not hear.”

“See no evil…”
What a tragic fate awaits this monkey. He covers his eyes so that he will not see, and so he remains in darkness. By doing so, he blinds himself to the evil of this world and protects himself from fear. But at the same, he also blinds himself to the saving light of Christ, and in the end will be destroyed.

Many in our world are blinded by the deceptive light of the devil. There are so many who refuse to see the evil going on in the world and shut their hearts to the goodness of God. Many don’t see the decline into destruction. Blind to the evils of our culture – not seeing the decline in truth and morality for the evil that it is–ignoring and even denying the danger that it poses to our immortal souls. They say, Get with the program, we are living in the 21st century.

The Good News is that Jesus gives sight to the blind. This is demonstrated in the Gospel reading today. Jesus opened the eyes of the blind man physically and spiritually. However, if they cover their eyes they will not see their course of destruction. As Jesus said to His disciples that night in the Garden, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mark 14:38)

“Hear no evil…”
This monkey too is in terrible danger. His eyes can see the evil around him, but he allows himself to be caught up in the illusions and trickery of the Devil. He covers his ears to the truth of evil, and therefore is unable to properly understand the visions that dance before his eyes. He sees it coming, but cannot understand the danger. There are so many people in our world like this monkey. They allow themselves to see the evils of the world but fail to hear the Word of God and come to understanding. They abstain from God’s house where the Word is spoken and become entangled in the seductive words of the devil.

Only the truth of God’s Word as taught by the Holy Spirit can help us to see and hear and know the will of the devil—to destroy us. In this world, people call evil good and good evil. They are theologians of glory. In this, they seek their own glory at the expense of God and their own souls.

How sad that in our world, the devil has blinded us to the truth. For many see it as evil to call sin a sin, and to call sinners to repentance, and it is called good to be tolerant of sin and evil and not to intrude upon another person’s business. Yet, ONLY the Word of God can truly define what is good and evil. And if we choose to close our ears to that Word we become deaf to the truth and fall prey to the devil and his cohorts.

“Speak no evil…”
This is the saddest monkey of all. This is the monkey we are most tempted to be. For speaking evil, he says nothing. Mouth covered, he remains silent. He can see and hear the truth—he knows right from wrong yet afraid and ashamed to speak up. Afraid to open his mouth and tell others of the danger they are living in.

Many Christians struggle with this temptation. We choose to remain silent so that we might be included in the popular crowd—as if popularity matter. We keep our mouth shut so that we don’t offend someone. We remain silent as not to reveal the truth that leads to eternal life. Wide is the road that leads to destruction. On it there will be many “friends.”

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are at war—souls are at stake. The Lord has called us in the faith to be an example to others and share the hope we have in Christ our Savior who showed us what is precious about our lives. He paid the price of our redemption on the cross of Calvary so that we may see, speak and hear of His love that oozes out of the throne of Grace and carried out on the cross of Calvary.

Indeed we are at war and the only weapon we posses to fight the enemy is the Living Word of God. Through the Word we are able to speak and live and be a light to those who don’t know the love of Jesus. In the battle filed we need to know the tools and power we have to use. What good are we if we don’t use the gifts the Lord has given us to speak of His love? “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Mt. 10:32-33).

Do not close your eyes to the truth of the Godless culture that surrounds you – Do not close your ears to the Word of God that provides true understanding – Do not close your mouth in fear and be counted for nothing – Do not be a monkey for the devil.

Faithful followers of the Savior Jesus – you have all been blessed by God. When our Lord Jesus came to earth to suffer and die, He did it for you. When He bore all your sins on His shoulders, He did it for you. When He rose from the grave He rose for you. When He returns in glory, He will return for you. He did all of these things for you and me. And because of sacrifice for us, we are to have our eyes opened, our ears unplugged and our tongues loosed to speak.

Saints in Christ, the battle line has been drawn in the war for our souls and our children’s. But by God’s grace you and I are privileged to know and to share and show the love of Jesus. What a gift God has given us as His children to speak of His love, show He selfless sacrifice; and point them to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel that reveals the gift of the Savior through the cross and the empty tomb. Through this Gospel we are victorious in the war and receive the blessings of—eternal life, forgiveness, joy, and peace. Praise be to Jesus for what Has accomplished for us. Amen.

Now the peace…

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Heard the Voice Lately? Matthew 13:17

S-1023 1/13/08 Baptism of Jesus 3/A. Hymns: (O)#5; (S)#600 LSB; L.S. #301; 298; #302; (C) #47
Texts: Isaiah 42:1-9; Romans 6:1-11; Matthew 3:13-17
Theme: “Heard the Voice Lately?” (Mt. 13:17).

Faithful followers of the Savior, ‘Christ is Risen!’ “He is Risen! Indeed! Alleluia!” The text for this Baptismal day of Jesus, is from the Gospel lesson, “and behold, a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased’” (Mt. 3:17).


Saints in Christ, how many different voices do we hear in the course of the day? We hear the alarm clock waking us up. The voice of the coffee maker brewing sounds heavenly in our ears. The voice of water running over our sleepy bodies, the heater kicking in; and the voice of the cereal box being opened; the cell phone turned on and the TV announcer blaring. We hear children driving to school. There are many voices.

This is the way our world is today. There are so many voices out there. There are the voices of the candidates on the campaign trail that shout their message. The voices of fear-mongers who scream about terrorism, nuclear destruction, pandemics of disease, financial doom and global warming and any of a thousand more. There are voices of the preachers who preach a message of impending doom if Israel is not defended. The voice of some churches that chant you can have your best life—have it all, grab it all, do it all, and ignore it all. Then we have the voice of the world that screams borrow, spend, desire, covet and never be content. It almost seems impossible to distinguish any of the voices, let alone listen to just one.

But today, I ask you to clean-up your ears, get the wax out of them, and pay attention—careful attention as we turn our eyes from the glories of Christmas and Epiphany to the coming glories called Lent and Easter, we make the turn at the sound of A VOICE. This voice is not muddled, muddied or muffled. But a sound as clear and commanding as a Church bell on a calm quiet Sunday morning. The voice we hear that turns us from Epiphany toward Easter is no other voice than the voice of the Heavenly Father Himself. ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased’”

As this voice burst from the clouds, ears were opened, eyes looked up and hearts were moved at the sound. The voice from heaven struck a cord with those listening at the edge of the Jordan. And if we were privileged to be standing at the bank of the Jordan, we would do the same—look up and wonder what voice is this. Our eyes would be turned to the man standing in the muddied water. We would see more than a human, but the holy Son of God, with whom the Father’s joy is bubbling to the point of speaking the words of the Text. ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased’” In this action of a Son seeking to fulfill all righteousness, we see the Father rejoicing at His Son’s activities. Jesus is the One who will do everything needful to please His Father and save sinners.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could hear a voice like that this morning? What a wonderful place our world would be if God’s voice were as clear today as it was there in Jesus’ day. If only all those other voices that would seek to pull us away from our well-pleased Father could be so easily drowned out! I just wonder how our existence would be different.

Well, we do still hear the voice today. You heard that voice in this service where the Lord speaks in His word. The Eternal Father still speaks to us in the Words of Holy Scripture. It is in these words that we are reminded again just how crucial this baptism of Jesus is. Jesus’ baptism wasn’t necessary. But He did it to take our mud, our filth and our guilt upon Himself. Our baptism was for the forgiveness of our sins; but Jesus was baptized to wash us away from all filth. We heard about this back in Advent. John preached in the wilderness. His preaching was not like the prosperity driven preaching of Joel Osteen that never speaks about sin, or Pat Robertson who claims to hear God telling him things. No, John pointed the people to their sin. By submitting to baptism, they were confessing that they were in need of a savior, the very savior who is greater than John and promised from of old.

Unlike Jesus’ baptism ours was necessary so that we might receive the righteousness of God. Behold in Jesus the work of cleansing us and making us His dearly beloved. This Jesus here now presents Himself to John for the very same baptism that those awful Jewish sinners were coming out for. Why? Jesus’ own voice confirms the reason. “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Jesus doesn’t need this baptism. We do. However, in order to be under the Law, just like us, He willingly undergoes a process that He doesn’t need. This baptism isn’t for Jesus, it is for you! He comes to walk in our place, to wear our sin, to bear our guilt, die our death and live our life. Why? To fulfill all righteousness!

The fact that Jesus is at the Jordan at all is a clear sign of God’s goodness and grace. He is there to begin the process that brings our heavenly Father the greatest joy. We are told in the Bible that God does not desire the death of sinners. We are told that He wants nothing else than all men to come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved. The one thing that Jesus comes to do to please His Father is to offer Himself in our place! This Jesus has come for you! The voice confirms it. As we follow this Jesus from the Jordan to the wilderness, from the wilderness to Galilee, from Galilee to Jerusalem and from Jerusalem to Calvary and the cross, we see what pleases the Father. This entire journey will lead to the Father, from the cross to the tomb, and from the tomb to the ascension we see God being pleased in our salvation!

We hear this voice in the Scriptures. But there are so many along the way that refused to listen. Pharaoh would not listen to the voice of the Lord through Moses, and it cost him his army and kingdom. Abihu and Nadab didn’t listen to the command of God and they got smoked (Lev. 10). Herod would not listen and he died a miserable death. Judas’ wouldn’t listen to the Savior’s bidding, and he betrayed Him. And there are millions through history and even now that will not listen to the voice of the Lord. The Lord’s voice calls us today to listen to the Son and repent of our sins. But do we? Do we listen to the Son, or do we listen to the world? Do we listen to the Son or do we listen to satan and his schemes that would lead us not to please God but to please ourselves. Do we listen to the Son or do we listen to our own sinful desires that are still reaching for that forbidden fruit of being the god of our own life? The truth is, every time we sin we are not listening. We are plugging our ears and doing what pleases us, and God is displeased in the process. When we do, we are choosing to join our names with the likes of Pharaoh, Abihu, Nadab, Herod and Judas.

It is not that we don’t hear God. We do hear Him. It is just that we selective hearing. We love to hear that the Lord forgives us, and loves us and wants to care for us; but we hate to hear that we are sinners who need to turn away from sin. We love to hear that the Lord has prepared a place in eternity for us, but we hate to hear that it means to live a life of obedience and of service to Him. We love to hear that which makes us sound good, look good and feel good. Anything else, we select not to hear. THIS IS BLATENT SINNING AGAINST GOD AND HIS WORD.

And what does the Father do? He sends Jesus. It is for that purpose that Jesus is at the Jordan in our text. Remember, He is there to fulfill all righteousness. That was not to make Himself look good or to receive forgiveness. No, He is there to fulfill a righteousness that we could never fulfill on our own. Jesus takes our place at the Jordan so that we can take His place with the Father. Jesus takes our place at Calvary so that we can take His place in eternity. Any righteousness that we have comes from Christ. We are not good enough. We never have been and never will be. This is the very reason why Jesus does what He does FOR YOU.

That same voice is speaking to you today. The very same voice that commended Jesus for His work to fulfill all righteousness speaks to you. For we have been baptized, not in the Jordan, but in the life giving flood of Holy Baptism. In the waters that washed over us we are given righteousness as a gift. That gift is the gift of a voice, the voice of the Father who says to you what He says to Jesus. You are my son/daughter with you I am well pleased. You didn’t fulfill all righteousness, Jesus did. But you get all the credit.

Have you heard this voice lately? Yes you have! You heard it when the Absolution was pronounced over you. You heard it as the Scriptures were read. You will hear it again as you receive the invitation to come to the Table and receive the Father-pleasing Son’s body and blood for the forgiveness of sin. This voice is clear. It can’t be drowned out. It can only be ignored. But by the grace of God we hear. We hear and believe. Have you heard the voice lately? In the name of Christ you have! Then place your name in front of this sentence and say it out loud “Nabil, you are my beloved son, with you I am well pleased. AMEN

Now the peace of God….

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Nour Tour of the Holy Land for 2008.

You are invited to join me on the Holy Land Nour Tour" We will leave from MN on Thursday May the 15th for an 11 day tour. The price is $3200.00 per person. If you are interested please contact Pastor Nour via e-mail.
or phone:
(605)724-2489 (O)
(605)724-2722 (H)

In Christ's love and in His service,

Rev. Nabil S. Nour Pastor and foot washer Phil. 1:6
Redeemer Lutheran Church
P. O. Box 158
Armour, SD. 57313-0158
(605)724-2489 (O)
(605)724-2722 (H)
"Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ" Philippians 1:6

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Contact Pastor Nabil Nour

image Rev. Nabil S. Nour
P. O. Box 158
Armour, SD 57313-0158

Church: (605)724-2489
Home: (605)724-2722


Pastor Nour is Available to Speak at Your Event.

Speaking Engagements

Pastor Nour is available for speaking engagements:
He has spoken on these topics:

  • 1. How to witness to Muslims?
  • 2. Who are the Muslims?
  • 3. How do we as Christians live on Temptation's Island?
  • 4. The true meaning of Evangelism.
  • 5. Will the Real Son of Abraham Please Stand Up?
  • 6. Sharing the Good News.
  • 7. What is Love?
  • 8. Living the Happy Married Life.

Rev. Nabil S. Nour
P. O. Box 158
Armour, SD 57313-0158

Church: (605)724-2489
Home: (605)724-2722