August 12, 2010
The Lord be with you
This coming Sunday is the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost. It is also the Festival of Saint Mary, Mother of Our Lord. We will recognize the festival with our opening hymn, “By All Your Saints in Warfare” (LSB 518). Verse 22 is about this festival so we will sing verses 1, 22, and 3. We will use the service of Matins (page 219) for our liturgy. The sermon hymn will be “All Depends on Our Possessing” (LSB 732) and our closing hymn will be “My Faith Looks Up to Thee” (LSB 702). The appointed lessons are: Jeremiah 23:16-29; Hebrews 11:17-31; 12:1-3; Luke 12:49-53. The appointed Psalm is Psalm 119:81-88; antiphon verse 81. The text for the sermon is Hebrews 11:17. The Sermon is titled “By Faith.”
The video below is the singing of the hymn “My Faith Looks Up To Thee.” The nice thing is that the words are included so you can sing along.
St. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is mentioned repeatedly in the Gospels and the Book of Acts, with nearly a dozen specific incidents in her life being recorded: her betrothal to Joseph; the annunciation by the angel Gabriel that she was to be the mother of the Messiah; her visitation to Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptizer; the nativity of our Lord; the visits of the shepherds and the Wise Men; the presentation of the infant Jesus in the temple; the flight into Egypt; the Passover visit to Jerusalem when Jesus was twelve; the wedding at Cana in Galilee; her presence at the crucifixion, when her Son commended her to the care of His disciple John; and her gathering with the apostles in the Upper Room after the ascension, waiting for the promised Holy Spirit. Thus she is present at most of the important events in her Son’s life. She is especially remembered and honored for her unconditional obedience to the will of God (“Let it be to me according to Your word” [Luke 1:38]); for her loyalty to her Son even when she did not understand Him (“Do whatever He tells you” [John 2:1-11]); and above all for the highest honor that heaven bestowed on her of being the mother of our Lord (“Blessed are you among women” [Luke 1:42]). According to tradition, Mary went with the apostle John to Ephesus, where she died. Aside from this coming Sunday she is remembered on our liturgical calendar on February 2 (The Purification of Mary and the Presentation of Our Lord) and March 25 (The Annunciation of Our Lord).
Jeremiah 23:16-29: Every time I read this passage, and ones similar to it in the Bible, I can’t help but think of the so-called prophets on television and the so-called prophets in so many charismatic churches. There are two types of prophets, false prophets that proclaim the imaginations of their own heart, and true prophets that are grounded in and proclaim the word of God. God knows, of course, which is which. You can also know by comparing their words to the words of Scripture. We will have both types of prophets until the Last Day. When Jeremiah says “Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream” (28) we need to remember that these dreams are described in verse 25 as lies. True prophets are those who “speak my [God’s] word faithfully’ (28). False prophets lead you away from Christ. The word leads you to Christ. False prophets tell you what you want to head (health, wealth, success, blessings, etc.) The word of God reminds us of our sin and our need for our Savior, Jesus Christ. The word “prophet” means “one who speaks forth.” A true prophet is not so much someone who has a vision or dream, but one who speaks forth the pure word of God.
Preview of the Lessons
Preview of the Lessons
Hebrews 11:17-31; 12:1-3: This is our second lesson in a row out of Hebrews 11, the famous “Faith Chapter” of the Bible. This reading is basically a catalogue of saints who, by faith in the Messiah, triumphed. “Triumphed” needs to be understood as the writer of Hebrews understood it; as remaining faithful unto death and inheriting the crown of life. We are not to think of temporal victory as the promised victory these saints rejoiced in. This is accented by reference to suffering for the Christ in this list. It is especially accented in the omitted verses 11:35-38, where stories that in no way could be thought of as temporal earthly success stories are referenced. (This, by-the-way, is perhaps the biggest weakness I’ve seen in Christian fiction. Where are the stories that end like verses 35-38?) I will say no more as the sermon is coming from this reading.
Luke 12:49-53: This is a short lesson, but tricky for some to understand. Jesus uses the word “baptism” metaphorically to refer to his upcoming death. He may have chosen this imagery because of the upcoming institution of baptism, where we are baptized into his death. He also speaks of the division he brings into the world. Those who stand for Christ are rejected, even persecuted, for their determination to cling to the one true God. Think of the ten medical missionaries who were murdered in Afghanistan this past week. The main reason they were slaughtered was that they believed in Jesus. If you wish to learn more about the price many have to pay to remain faithful to the Lord you can check out Voice of the Martyrs. Jesus goes on to say that this division based on him will even split homes. Faithfulness has a price.
Merciful Lord, cleanse and defend Your Church by the sacrifice of Christ. United with Him in Holy Baptism, give us grace to receive with thanksgiving the fruits of His redeeming work and daily follow in His way; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Gradual (Psalm 34:9, 19, alt.)Fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him lack nothing!
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
Verse (Jeremiah 23:29a, 28b)Alleluia. Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD? What has straw in common with wheat? Alleluia.
IntroitInstead of the Intorit we will be using the appointed Psalm for the day.
Adult Bible StudyWe continue our series “Puzzlers and Questions about the Bible.” This Sunday we will look at two questions:
1. Matthew attributes this quote to Jeremiah, but Jeremiah has no verse that is even similar to the words given in Matthew. Matthew confused Jeremiah with Zechariah.
“Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, ‘And they took the thirty pieces of silver, and the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced’” (Matthew 27:9).
“So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said unto me, ‘Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prized at of them.’ And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD” (Zechariah 11:12-13).
- • This has often been used as proof that the Bible is not inerrant – that it contains error, and thus cannot be the inerrant word of God. How do we, as Christians, respond to this?
- • Abraham was born when his father was 70 (Genesis 11:26)
• Abraham’s father died at the age of 205 (Genesis 11:32, making Abraham 135 at that time.
• Abraham left his home after his father died at God’s instruction (Acts 7:4), at age 135 or more – but …
• Genesis 12:4 says Abraham was 75 when he left his homeland. If Abraham was born sometime after his father was 70, the math would be closer, but a 60-year difference is difficult not to see as a contradiction, isn’t it?
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert