Thursday, December 9, 2010

Worship for Advent 3 - 2010

Thursday in the week of Advent 2
December 9, 2010

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday will be the Third Sunday in Advent. The appointed lessons for the day are: Isaiah 35:1-10, James 5:7-11; and Matthew 11:2-15. The text for the sermon will be James 5:7. The sermon is titled “In-Between Time.” We will be using the third setting of the morning service (page 184) for our liturgy. This will be a Communion Service. Our hymns will be LSB 337, “The Night Will Soon Be Ending;” LSB 359, “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming;” LSB 618, “I Come, O Savior, to Thy Table;” LSB 515, “Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers;” LSB 338, “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus;” and LSB 643, “Sent Forth by God’s Blessing.”

Below is a video of the Tyler Junior Collage A Cappella Choir singing the first two verses of “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming.”

Preview of the Lessons
Isaiah 35:1-10: I wanted to preach on this lesson, but I’ve done it so many times I really thought I should make my sermon on one of the other texts. This is the reading where Isaiah speaks of the New Testament era in glowing metaphorical language. It is also a foreshadowing of what will be after Christ returns. Life without Christ is depicted as a bleak desert. After the coming of the Gospel everything springs to life. The desert is the last place one would expect a green paradise, but God does the impossible. Danger is gone, sickness is eliminated, and sorrow has given way to singing and everlasting joy. As I said, this passage finds its first fulfillment with the first advent of our Lord. Then it is fulfilled when we come to faith. Finally it is fulfilled when Christ returns.

James 5:7-11: Believers live in “in-between time.” In the Former Days they lived in-between the first promise of the Messiah (Genesis 3:15) and the fulfillment of that promise by the life of Jesus. In these Ladder Days we live in-between the fulfillment of the promise that Christ would come to redeem us and the fulfillment of his promise to return. As the fulfillment of the first advent of Christ stretched out for thousands of years, believers had to live in hope (which was not always easy to do). We are in the same position. James addresses this issue for us, and we will hear about it in the sermon.

Matthew 11:2-15: This passage has perplexed many. John the Baptist is in prison, soon to be executed, and he sends some of his disciples to Jesus asking if Jesus is the “One who is to come,” i.e., the Messiah. Why did John do this? Didn’t he know? The text is silent concerning John’s motivation. Jesus treats it seriously, though, giving an answer that would assure his cousin. Jesus then begins to speak about John, telling us that his ministry was prophesied in the Old Testament. John is a great example of how God works in ways that are contrary to human expectations. In stead of living in a palace, he lived in the wilderness. In stead of wearing fine clothing, he word rugged clothing. In stead of calling down fire from the sky or raising the dead, he simply preached. Yet Jesus calls him the greatest of all prophets. Still, such greatness is nothing compared to what is the possession of the “least in the kingdom of heaven.”

Gradual (Zech 9:9; Ps 118:26, alt.)
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion.
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem.
Behold, you king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
From the house of the Lord we bless you.

Verse (Matthew 11:10b)
Alleluia. Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.. Alleluia.

Collect for the Day
Lord Jesus Christ, we impolore You to hear our prayers and to lighten the darkness of our hearts by Your gracious visitation; for You live and reign with the Fahter and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Introit (Psalm 105:4-8; antiphon Isaiah 40:3b)
Rejoice in the Lord always;
again I will say, Rejoice.
I will hope continually
and will praise you yet more and more.
My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day,
for their number is past my knowledge.
With the mighty deeds of the Lord GOD I will come;
I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone.
O God, from my youth you have taught me,
and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.
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.
Rejoice in the Lord always;
again I will say, Rejoice.

Adult Bible Study
We continue our series “Puzzlers and Questions about the Bible.” This coming Sunday we will be considering three questions. They are not necessarily related. It is just that I don’t think any of them will take a full hour. I could be wrong, in which case we will just stretch it out to two weeks.

The questions are: 1) Peter and Paul say God raised Jesus from the dead, but Jesus says he lays down his life and takes it up again – which is correct? 2) Mark 7:4 – Why is it talking here about washing pots and cups? 3) Mark 7:11 – What is corban? What does the rest of this verse mean also? The study is titled “Shotgun V” (because this is the fifth time I’ve grouped unrelated questions).

If I was just doing a lecture, I’m sure I could cover these questions in an hour. However we typically have a lively discussion. This question sparks another one, and so on. Everyone is welcome to join us. The study begins at 9:00 AM.

Well, I hope to see you Sunday.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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