Thursday, July 8, 2010

Worship for Pentecost 7

Thursday after Pentecost 6
July 8, 2010

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday is the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost. The epistle lessons for the next four Sundays all come from Colossians. This short letter of Paul’s (only 95 verses) is packed with great spiritual treasure. For each of the next four Sundays I will be using the Colossians’ readings for my text, making this a “series.” The “Preview of the Lessons” will provide information that I will not be able to cover in the sermons. Even then this “series” will be more like skimming the cream off the top of Colossians.

We will be using the third setting of the morning service (page 184) for our liturgy. We will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper. The appointed lessons are Leviticus 19:9-18, Colossians 1:1-14, and Luke 10:25-37. The sermon text is Colossians 1:13. The sermon is titled “You’re in the Son’s Kingdom.” The opening hymn is “Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty” (LSB 901). The sermon hymn is “I Love Your Kingdom, Lord” (LSB 651). The distribution hymns are “O Jesus So Sweet, O Jesus So Mild” (LSB 546), “Jesus Comes Today with Healing” (LSB 620), and “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word” (LSB 655). Our closing hymn is “Sent Forth by God’s Blessing” (LSB 643).

The following video is of a church as its members are leaving. The tune being played is our closing hymn, “Sent Forth by God’s Blessings.” The words of the first verse are included. To hear the music of some of the other hymns go to Better Noise; the link is on the right hand side of this page.

Preview of the Lessons

Leviticus 19:9-18: If one took a survey to determine which book in the Bible was the favorite in America, I am quite certain Leviticus would not win. In some ways, that is a shame. Sunday’s reading is an example of why. This text is an application of loving your neighbor as yourself. As such we see a picture of Jesus, who indeed loved his neighbor as himself, even being willing to die for his neighbor, as we are willing to die for ourselves. Here we see modeled in the Old Testament compassion, fairness, honesty, and forgiveness in concrete ways. Often we need concrete examples. It is easy to give lip-service to compassion, fairness, honesty, and forgiveness, without actually demonstrating these traits in our lives. God calls us to not only honor such things with our words, but also with our lives.

Colossians 1:1-14: Colossae was in Asia Minor (modern Turkey). The church there was founded by Epaphras (co-worker of Paul’s) while Paul was in Ephesus. Paul felt responsible for them like a bishop feels responsible for all the churches under his care. While the church at Colossae had a good beginning and a good pastor, it was troubled by false teachers. What they taught today is called the “Colossian Heresy.” Scholars identify it as “proto-Gnosticism” or “insipient-Gnosticism.” “Gnosticism” (meaning “knowledge”) is a second and third century heresy. It denied most of the fundamental teachings of the Bible (the Trinity, the incarnation, the resurrection, the substitutionary death of Jesus, salvation by grace through faith, the goodness of God’s creation, to name a few). Salvation was obtained by acquiring knowledge of the convoluted spiritual world they imagined. Key terms for the Colossian heretics, like “light,” “darkness,” “knowledge,” “wisdom,” “understanding,” and “power,” are found throughout the letter. Because they were leading the people away from Christ by the supposed authority of the Holy Spirit, and because Paul seeks to point the Colossians squarely to Jesus, the only clear reference to the Holy Spirit is found in verse 7. Nonetheless, this reference firmly grounds the letter in Trinitarian doctrine. The heretics were promising more, but what the people were getting was just smoke and mirrors.

Luke 10:25-37: Jesus tells the now well known story of the Good Samaritan in answering a “lawyer’s” question, “Who is my neighbor?” The Samaritan shows a Christ-like love, even though he was an outsider. So Christ, who is the ultimate outsider, shows his unsurpassed love for us in dieing for us. Luke doesn’t tell us how the lawyer responded. Certainly he felt the demands of the Law and saw that he fell short. Hopefully he came to trust in he to whom the Good Samaritan pointed, Jesus Christ. Jesus did what we could not. Not only in paying for our sins on the cross, but also by keeping the Law perfectly for us. His righteousness is “imputed” to us (that is, assigned, ascribed, attributed, accredited to us) when we come to faith in him.

Sunday’s Collect
Lord Jesus Christ, in Your deep compassion You rescue us from whatever may hurt us. Teach us to love You above all things and to love our neibhbors as ourselves; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Gradual (Romans 10:15b; Isaiah 52:7b, alt.)
How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news,
who publish peace and bring good news of salvation.
Their voice has gone out to all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.

Verse (Luke 10:27)
Alleluia. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself. Alleluia.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
and rescued us from our foes,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
he who gives food to all flesh,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of heaven,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

Adult Bible Study
We continue our series “Puzzlers and Questions about the Bible.” This week’s question is: “I might be wrong, but I think Lutheran beliefs do not demonize the use of alcoholic beverages – only the “over-use” of them. Yet, they don’t seem to have the same sense of moderation regarding gambling, marijuana, or pornography. Why or why not? Couldn’t these three be no more harmful than a glass of wine, if enjoyed moderately?” As a theme verse I’ve selected 1 Corinthians 10:23.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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