Friday, April 27, 2012

Worship for Easter 4 - 2012

Friday after Easter 3
April 27, 2012

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday is the Fourth Sunday of Easter. It also happens to be a fifth Sunday. We have one of those every three months. (As far as that goes, in every three month cycle there will be one month that has five Mondays, five Tuesdays, etc.) At Lamb of God we have a regular cycle of liturgies we use. On the first Sunday of the month we use the Service of Prayer and Preaching. On the second Sunday of the month we use the third setting of the Divine Service. On the third Sunday we use Matins. On the fourth Sunday we use the first setting of the Divine Service. But, what happens on fifth Sundays? We use Morning Prayer (page 235). Because there are only four fifth-Sundays in a year, the service is less familiar.

Our appointed lessons are: Acts 4:1-12, 1 John 3:16-24, and John 10:11-18. In this service we use the appointed Psalm instead of the appointed Introit. This Sunday it will be Psalm 24. The antiphon will be verse 6. Our opening hymn will be “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today; Alleluia” (LSB 463). The sermon hymn will be “All the Earth with Joy Is Sounding” (LSB 462). The closing hymn will be “Son of God, Eternal Savior” (LSB 842).

The sermon text will be 1 John 3:18. The sermon is titled “A Pilgrimage to Holy Ground.”

We will continue our regular prayer pattern in our public prayers Sunday. That means we will remember in our prayers Sunday the Portuguese Evangelical Lutheran Church and their President, Rev. Jonas Roberto Flor. We will remember Matt and Kim Myers, missionaries in Macau. Macau is one of the two special administrative regions of the People’s Republic of China lying on the western side of the Pearl River Delta across from Hong-Kong. We will remember the persecuted believers in Kuwait, and our sister congregations: Mountainside, Linville, NC; St. Matthew, Marion, NC; Grace, Nags Head, NC; Holy Cross, Newton, NC; Grace, Summerville, SC. We remember the orphans in Haiti that our youth are seeking to help. We also will continue to remember those who are trapped by the modern practice of slavery, and those who have fallen victim to our cultures acceptance of abortion and advocacy of sexual immorality.

Below is a video of “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today; Alleluia.” It only has the music.

Our adult Bible class meets at 9:00 Sunday morning. This Sunday we will continue in Matthew. As always, everyone is invited to come.

Preview of the Lessons

Acts 4:1-12:    This lesson is the sequel to the lesson read Easter 3. In that lesson Peter and John healed a man born lame. When a crowd gathered, Peter gave an impromptu sermon. We pick up at the close of the message. Peter and John are arrested and jailed. However the message was well received by the crowd, and the number of men who believed in Jesus grew to around 5,000. The next day, Peter and John are brought before the Sanhedrin to be examined. Once again they give a powerful witness to Jesus, with Peter taking the lead. Peter makes it clear that the good deed was done by the power of Jesus and that “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (verse 12). When the Lord provides us an opportunity to share our faith, we should take advantage of it.

1 John 3:16-24:          This is one of those lessons that have way too much in it to cover in these brief notes. We know God loves us because Christ gave his life for us. God’s love is known through God’s actions. As Christians we are called to share the love of God in Christ Jesus. That love is also known through action. A “faith” that has no action is not a real faith. At best it is knowledge of facts. In light of the fact that we are all sinner, and fall short of how we should live, this truth John teaches can be rather frightening. We may wonder if we have a real faith or just some pale imitation. John reminds us “whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything” (verse 20). God’s grace is greater than our sin. This is not to be an excuse to ignore how we should live, but an assurance that forgiveness is always available to the repentant heard. Not what it means to obey Jesus, “we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another” (verse 23). Faith first, then action.

John 10:11-18:           Jesus describes himself as “the good shepherd.” As the good shepherd he lays down his life for his sheep, that is, you and me. Of special note in this Easter Season are verses 17-19 “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” The vast majority of times the New Testament refers to the resurrection of Jesus the Father (or simply God) is given credit for the resurrection. These verses are an example of one of the relatively few times when Jesus is credited with his own resurrection. There are also a few times when the Holy Spirit is given the credit. These passages in no way conflict with each other. They are a peek into the mystery of the Trinity. So, while the Father is the source of all, nonetheless, the works of God are attributed to the entire Trinity. Therefore all Three Persons of the Trinity is involved in our salvation, including the resurrection of Jesus. Notice also in this passage the importance Jesus places on reaching sheep (people) with the Gospel. We, who are the Body of Christ, are part of his calling to “sheep” who are not part of our fold.

  • Youth, don’t forget to bring in the money you have been gathering for the relief of the orphans in Haiti. 
  • The May newsletter has been posted to this blog. Go to the link on the left hand side of this page. Paper copies will be available Sunday.
Well, I pray I’ll see you Sunday.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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