Thursday, September 9, 2010

Worship for Pentecost 16 - 2010

Thursday after Pentecost 15
September 9, 2010

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday is the Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost. We will be using the third setting of the morning service (page 184) for our liturgy. We will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper. To prepare you can read the section on the Lord’s Supper in Luther’s Small Catechism. The appointed lessons are Ezekiel 34:11-24, 1 Timothy 1:12-17, and Luke 15:1-10. The sermon, titled "The Good Shepherd," is based on the Old Testament lesson. Our hymns will be “Chief of Sinners Though I Be” LSB 611, “Savior, like a Shepherd Lead Us” LSB 711, “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven” LSB 793, “Wide Open Stand the Gates” LSB 639, “The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want” LSB 710 and “Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer” LSB 918.

The following vide of “Chief of Sinners Though I Be” is by Rachel and can be found on her site “Lutheranwarbler’s Channel.” Her goal is to record everything in LSB for her site. I know that will not happen due to copyright laws (also it is just a tremendous undertaking). What she does post will be a blessing, not only for people who can’t make it to church on Sunday, but also for pastors like me who like to post previews of the upcoming Sunday’s service. Check her sight out. (It is even better if you have a hymnal so you can sing along.

Preview of the Lessons

Ezekiel 34:11-24: This is a wonderful passage, filled with shepherding metaphors. Ezekiel is looking forward to the coming of Jesus. Because this text is the foundation of the sermon, I won’t say much. However there is one point easily misunderstood, especially by those who wish to find fault with the Bible. In verses 23-24 Jesus is called “David.” This is a similar use of language as when, in prophecy, John the Baptist was called “Elijah” (Malachi 4:5). When Ezekiel wrote he did not know our Lord would be named “Jesus.” When Malachi wrote he did not know the forerunner of our Lord would be named “John.” David and Elijah typified and pointed to the greater reality of John and Jesus. We still do this, but it often goes unnoticed. On facebook we might type “lol,” which means “laugh out loud.” We might say “he is a Good Samaritan,” but we are not speaking of the person’s national origin. When I was young, Sun Yat Sin was called the “George Washington of China,” but he was never named George Washington. In a Stevie Wonder song he sings about a “ribbon in the sky.” He means a rainbow. Context is always king, and in the context of the Bible we know the prophets were not talking of reincarnation (Hebrews 9:27). The prophets used symbolic language regularly, and that is what they did in calling Jesus “David” and John “Elijah.” That is because the rolls of Elijah and David were similar, but lesser, than that of John and Jesus.

1 Timothy 1:12-17: Paul is writing to his co-worker, Timothy. He recalls his past, when he persecuted the Church, and sings the praises of God’s grace in Christ Jesus by which he was saved. It was this very passage that inspired William McComb to write the hymn “Chief of Sinners Though I Be,” our opening hymn.

Luke 15:1-10: Luke 15 is a pivotal chapter in Luke’s Gospel. In it, Jesus tells three parables, the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Lost Sons (the Prodigal Son). This reading has the context of the stories (the religious leaders grumbling about the company Jesus keeps – vs. 1-2) and the parables of the Lost Sheep (vs. 3-6) and Lost Coin (vs. 8-9). These two parables strongly accent the passive nature of salvation on our part and the active nature of salvation on God’s part. Now both a lost silver coin and a lost sheep are objects that most anyone would desire to find. This makes the context rather shocking. The very people the religious leaders were grumbling about are represented by these desirable things. If we are to be about the Lord’s work, then the people who society considers undesirable we should view as desirable. God’s love does not stop when you drop below a certain income or educational level. God’s love does not dissipate if a person has an despised job, even if you have a sinful job. (Of course he does want to lead you away from sinful work, but he wants to do that because of his love. We also need to remember that a changed life is not a requirement but a result of salvation.) Jesus teaches that these so-called undesirable people are so desired by God that when any single one of them is brought to faith in Christ there is more “joy in heaven” than there is over ninety-nine righteous people who do not need to repent (vs. 7, 10). In light of the fact that we are all sinners and in need of repentance, this reference to righteous people who do not need to repent might well be referring to self-righteous people who do not think they need to repent, and so smugly look down on others who are repentant. This would also fit the context where the smug religious leaders looked down on the sinners Jesus associated with.

Sunday’s Collect

Lord Jesus, You are the Good Shepherd, without whom nothing is secure. Rescue and preserve us that we may not be lost forever but follow You, rejoicing in the way that leads to eternal life; for You live and reign with the Father 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 (Luke 15:10)

Alleluia. I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Alleluia.

Introit (Psalm 30:2-5; antiphon: Psalm 30:11a, 12b)

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
O LORD my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
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.
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

Adult Bible Study

We will tackle two questions in the next study in our series Puzzlers and Questions about the Bible. They are:

1. We hear nothing in the Christian world about prophecy but how do we understand 1 Corinthians 13:2, 1 Corinthians 14:4-6, and 1 Corinthians 13:10?

2. What are examples of the gifts 8, 9, & 10 of 1 Corinthians 12.

Both of the questions deal with gifts God gives to the Church. Both are asking “What does this mean?” (a good Lutheran question) and therefore are exegetical questions. The first question also says, “We hear nothing in the Christian world about prophecy”. Is this observation accurate? If so, then why this omission? If it is not true, then where can we turn to find solid, biblical information on the topic? The study it titled “Gifts.”

Well, I hope to see you Sunday.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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