Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Worship for Pentecost 25 - 2010

Birthday of Martin Luther, 1483
November 10, 2010

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday will be the Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost. On our old calendar it was known as the Second-Last Sunday of the Church Year. While the name has changed, the theme for the last three Sunday’s of the Church Year remain the same – Eschatology. (Eschatology is a word that means the study of “end things.” End things can be anything from our own death to the Second Coming of Jesus and beyond.) The Lutheran Church is sometimes accused of not teaching about the End Times. Nothing could be further from the truth. What we don’t teach is the false doctrines popularized by those influenced by Darby and the Scofield Reference Bible. These fancies may make for exciting movies, but they do not represent the teaching of the Bible.
This Sunday is also the Commemoration of Emperor Justinian, Christian Ruler and Confessor of Christ. While Justinian is certainly worthy of being remembered, alas this Sunday he will be overlooked at our church.

The appointed lessons for the day are: Malachi 4:1-6, 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13, and Luke 21:5-28. The sermon text is Luke 21:8 and the sermon is titled “False Prophets and the Church.”

We will be using the third setting of the Divine Service in the hymnal for our liturgy Sunday (page 184). We will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper. Our hymns will be “Father Most Holy,” (LSB 504), “Faith and Truth and Life Bestowing” (LSB 584), “Almighty God, Your Word is Cast” (LSB 577), “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less” (LSB 575), “O Jesus, Blessed Lord, to Thee” (LSB 632), and “My God Bestow on Us His Grace” (LSB 824).

Below is a video of a young man playing “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less.” There are actually two well know tunes associated with these words. The one in this video is the one we will be singing Sunday.

Preview of the Lessons
Malachi 4:1-6: Malachi looks forward to the “End Times.” These times began with Jesus (Hebrews 1:1-2). God uses images for fire to describe his judgment against the wicked. The wicked are those who do not fear God’s name (2), that is, lack faith. In the end, all that they valued is destroyed. The role of believers in the judgment is also revealed as well as the glory that will be ours at the resurrection. While the religious leaders in Malachi’s time were faithless, the faithful are to remember Moses, God’s faithful servant, and the word God delivered to him. Even in a time when the leaders of the Church have abandoned God’s word, we still have the examples of God’s faithful past servants and the testimony of God’s word. The reference to the appearance of Elijah might be a reference to John the Baptist (Matthew 11:14) or the Transfiguration of our Lord when Elijah and Moses appeared on this earth again (Matthew 17:3). Either way, the End Days began with Jesus.

2 Thessalonians 3:6-13: It appears that some in this church believed that the Second Coming of Jesus was eminent and so had quit their jobs and were living off the good will of other members in the Church while they waited. I guess they even felt a little smug about their supposed spirituality. Paul tells them to get off their lazy behinds and go back to work. No one knows when Christ will return. Not only that but, if we are gainfully employed then, as good stewards of what the Lord gives us, we are able to do good to all people, especially those of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10). Therefore Paul urges us in this lesson to “not grow weary in doing good” (13).

Luke 21:5-28: This is one of Jesus’ famous “eschatological discourses.” Because he is speaking of things dealing with End Times, and because the End Times began with him, the events he describes span history from his day until the Second Coming. For example, the destruction of the Temple he speaks of (6) happened in 70 AD when the Romans destroyed it. Certainly there have been plenty of wars and rumors of wars for the last 2,000 years. People are always pointing to unusual celestial events, and have been for the last 2,000 years. Of course one of the most remarkable is the Christmas star. We will be focusing our considerations on verse 8 and see how this has been and is being fulfilled and consider what difference it makes for us today.

Gradual (Rev. 7:14b; Ps. 84:5)
These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation.
They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.

Verse (Luke 21:28b)
Alleluia. Straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. Alleluia.

Collect for the Day
O Lord, almighty and ever-living God, You have given exceedingly great and precious promises to those who trust in You. Rule and govern our hearts and minds by Your Holy Spirit that we may live and abide forever in Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Introit for the Day (Ps. 121:1-2, 7-8; antiphon: Luke 21:33)
Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will not pass away.
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
The LORD is your keeper;
the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
The LORD will keep from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.
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.
Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will not pass away.
Adult Bible Study
We continue our series “Puzzlers and Questions about the Bible.” The next question is, “Regarding O.T. offerings, how do we reconcile giving a tithe at the temple/tabernacle with the verse that says that if the place is too far away, use the $ for “strong drink,” etc.?” This question seems to be based on Deuteronomy 14:22-29. We will consider just what “strong drink” is, what this text means, and what it means for us today. The study is titled “Tithes and Strong Drink.” Class begins at 9:00 AM. Everyone is invited.

Well, I hope to see you Sunday.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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