Martin Luther’s Birthday
November 10, 2011
The Lord be with you
This coming Sunday is the Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost according to the liturgical calendar used by most LC-MS congregations. Other liturgical calendars can identify the day as the Third Last Sunday of the Church Year and the Third Sunday of the End Time. As you might surmise from the other names, the Church Year is almost over. With our three-year lectionary there is the chance for up to 27 Sunday’s after Pentecost. Just how many you have depends on what date Easter is. We have but one more (November 20) this year.
The accent of the lessons at the end of the Church Year are themes that deal with the “eschatology.” Eschatology is the study of end time things. This obviously includes the Second Coming of Jesus, but also our death, heaven, judgment, and eternity. Some of these traditional themes come through in our assigned lessons for Sunday. They are: Zephaniah 1:7-16; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Matthew 25:14-30. The sermon text will be Matthew 25:19 and is titled “Will Christ Say, ‘Well Done’?”. For our liturgy we will be using the third setting of the Communion service, which begins on page 184 of the hymnal. The opening hymn will be “Why Should Cross and Trial Grieve Me” (LSB 756). The sermon hymn will be “Wake, Awake, for Night Is Flying” (LSB 516). Our closing hymn will be “Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers” (LSB 515). The distribution hymns will be “Jesus Sinners Doth Receive” (LSB 609), , “Glory Be to the Father” (LSB 506), and “Sent Forth By God’s Blessing” (LSB 643).
The video below is of the LutheranWarbler singing and playing “Glory Be to the Father.” This hymn by Horatius Bonar was first published in 1866. It has been in all four of the main English hymnals used in the LC-MS.
Good Lord willing, we will finish chapter 10 in Matthew in our adult Bible class this coming Sunday. Class begins at 9:00 AM. As always, everyone is invited to come.
Preview of the Lessons
Zephaniah 1:7-16: Zechariah is one of the so-called Minor Prophets. These twelve prophets received this title, not because their writings are unimportant, but because they are short when compared to the Major Prophets. All twelve could fit on one scroll. (Zephaniah is only three chapters long.) Zephaniah was active from 640 to 609 BC. This puts him about a generation prior to the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians in 586. Jeremiah was a contemporary, beginning his work after Zephaniah did, and ending his work after Zephaniah. Not surprisingly there are many similar themes in Zephaniah and Jeremiah. The fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel to the Assyrians in 722 BC happened a generation or so earlier, so only the Southern Kingdom of Judah remained. Zephaniah spoke of the coming judgment on Judah because of their sin and rebellion against God, as well as providing great comfort in speaking of God’s mercy in Christ. Of course few listened to him, just like few listened to Jeremiah. The same is always true when God’s Law is spoken. Does our nation listen when told that sexual relationships outside of marriage are sinful? Does our nation listen when told that even “committed” homosexual relationships are sinful? Do people listen when told that skipping worship services Sunday after Sunday so they can sleep in, watch NASCAR, or whatever, is sinful? Do people change when they are told that profaning God’s name by using it casually or as an expletive is sinful? Do people cringe when the True God of the Bible is placed on a pare with the idols of the nations? In this particular pericope Zephaniah warns the people of the coming disaster (a warning they ignore). As always, these disasters not only warn of some calamity in time, but also the great calamity for those who reject God at the end of time. Scripture consistently uses such temporal judgments to warn us about the final judgment. However most will respond just like the Jews of Zephaniah’s day. Most said in their hearts, “The LORD will not do good, nor will he do ill” (verse 12). Such are the proud of heart today who believe God will not judge. They interpret his patience as either an endorsement of their sin, or as evidence that God cannot, or will not judge.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11: Paul writes about the coming “Day of the Lord.” He tells us to not be concerned, because we are ready by grace through faith in Jesus. The Last Day will mean destruction, but not for Christians. However we are told that we do not know when the Last Day will be. So we are encouraged to always be ready. As believers we are to “put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation” (verse 8). Faith denotes our relationship with God. Love denotes our relationship with our fellow man. Hope denotes our confidence in our future in glory.
Matthew 25:14-30: This reading is a parable Jesus told about a man who goes away on a journey. Before going he gives sizable amounts of money to three of his servants, entrusting them to use it in their master’s best interest. After a long time the master returns and receives an accounting from the servants concerning how they used the money. This parable is sometimes called the “Parable of the Talents.” All of chapter 25 in Matthew deals with Christ’s return on the Last Day, and this parable is no different. However, as this text will serve as the foundation for Sunday’s sermon, I’ll say no more.
• Our Cub Council will meet Sunday after the worship service.
• The Arbors Homeowners Association will be meeting at Lamb of God Monday, beginning at 7:00 PM.
• The Kappa-Alpha Fraternity of Wofford College will be using our building Monday through Wednesday, 8:00 PM to midnight, for their induction ceremony.
• Our Greek Club will meet Monday morning at Panerra’s Bread Company for breakfast and some translating.
• The office will be closed Thursday, November 17. Pastor will be attending his “supervision group” meeting in Asheville, NC. This is part of his D.Min program.
• Our Beading Class will meet Saturday, November 19, from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM. The gathering includes lunch. Cost is $10.00.
• HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARTIN LUTHER. If alive today he would be a spry 528 years old.
Well, I pray I’ll see you Sunday.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert