Thursday after Pentecost 11
August 8, 2013
The Lord be with you
This coming Sunday (August 11) is the 12th Sunday after Pentecost. We will celebrate the Lord’s Supper. To prepare you may read the Christian Questions with their Answers from Luther’s Small Catechism. For our liturgy we will use Divine Service 1 (page 151). Our lessons will be Genesis 15:1-6; Hebrews 11:1-16; and Luke 12:22-40. Our sermon will be titled “Faith” and the text will be Hebrews 11:6. Our opening hymn will be “Children of the Heavenly Father” (LSB 725). Our sermon hymn will be “I Am Trusting Thee, Lord Jesus” (LSB 729). Our closing hymn will be “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” (LSB 803). Our distribution hymns will be “We Walk by Faith and Not by Sight” (LSB 720), “Seek Ye First” (LSB 712), and “Rejoice, My Heart, Be Glad and Sing” (LSB 737).
Below is a video of our opening hymn, “Children of the Heavenly Father.” It is performed by the Concordia Choir. It isn’t the arrangement in our hymnal, but it is the same melody line.
In our prayers, we will remember The Evangelical Church of America and their leader Bishop Hanson. We will remember the persecuted believers in Pakistan. We will remember Emily Goddard, our missionary in South Africa. We will continue to remember the churches in our denomination. This week we lift up before our Lord Bethany, Bethlehem, Calvary & Emmanuel, Baltimore, MD; and Good Shepherd, Greenville, SC. We will continue to remember all those who have been misled by our cultures advocacy of sexual immorality and abortion. We ask, not only that the Lord turn our country around, but also that he bring healing to the lives damaged by our current culture. We will remember the modern slave trade and ask God to bless all efforts pleasing in his sight to end this sinful practice. We will also remember the Lutheran Malaria Initiative as we seek to end Malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.
In our Sunday morning Bible study we are in our second read through of the Gospel of Luke. We are using the “book” method of studying Luke. This means we are giving our own titles to the book, and small sections, seeking to capture in our own words, the message of Luke. Everyone is welcome to join us and provide your own section titles. In discussing our titles and why we like them, we are discussing the themes of Luke. Bible study begins at 9:00 am.
Preview of Lessons
Abraham has an encounter with God. God promises Abraham a “very great reward.” Abraham points out that he is childless. God’s great reward, which would be to be the ancestor of the Messiah, is humanly impossible. Nonetheless, God says Abraham would have descendants. Abraham believes the promise. This faith is counted for Abraham as righteousness. Though obviously the saints before Abraham believed (Adam, Eve, Noah, etc.), this is the first time the Bible specifically says someone “believed” in God. Paul makes a major point out of the fact that this happened before the covenant of circumcision. Paul’s point being that salvation has always been a gift granted to those who believe.
This is the famous “Faith Chapter” of the Bible. I’ve always regretted that the appointed lesson doesn’t go through the end of the chapter. This section reviews those who had faith and things went well for them. Skipped are those who had faith but, from a human perspective, things didn’t go well. Reading the whole chapter keeps us from the false idea that, if you just believe hard enough, then God will grant you an unending stream of temporal successes and riches. If you accept such false teaching, then one of the greatest assets we have when facing trials, faith in Jesus, is taken from us. We are cast upon ourselves, searching for the reason our faith is not strong enough and God has (at least from our perspective) abandoned us. But if we know that Christ is with us no matter what, then we have a sure confidence that he is with us in our troubles. It is clear from this reading that “faith,” to be of any real value, must be faith in the true God. “Faith in self,” “Faith in the government,” “Faith” in anything else, leads to disappointment and despair. It is also clear that our faith is in he who is coming, and the kingdom he brings at that time. We are not seeking to bring in a heaven on earth, for which those who believe in some future, 1,000 year, earthly reign of Jesus, hope. We look forward to the new heavens and earth.
I guess this reading could be summed up with the words, “Trust God.” We spend a lot of our time and energy scheming, seeking to advance this or that cause, as if God is not ultimately in control. We fret over who gets elected, as if God is not in control. We worry about our income, is if God isn’t in control. But God is in control. Indeed, he even has the greatest gift of all time for you, the Kingdom of God. Therefore, as the closing paragraph urges us, live like you are servants of the Almighty. The reward is startling. The Master serves the slaves.
Lesson Synopsis (from the LC-MS)
The Lord Is Surely Coming to Give You His Kingdom
The Lord Himself was Abraham’s shield and great reward. For “the word of the Lord came to him” and sustained the patriarch’s faith in the face of death (Gen. 15:4). By divine grace, Abraham “believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness” (Gen. 15:6), on account of the holy Seed, Christ Jesus. To that one old man, the Lord granted “descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore” (Heb. 11:12). The Lord is likewise faithful to you. It is His glad desire “to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). Therefore, “do not be anxious about your life,” but instead “seek his kingdom” (Luke 12:22, 31). Set your heart on that treasure. “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning … for the Son of Man is coming” (Luke 12:35, 40).
- It was a real pleasure to welcome Cyril and Glenn into membership last Sunday.
- The Board of Evangelism will meet Sunday.
- Remember, we are all on “Walkabout” all summer long (through August). So, keep walking in your neighborhood, and beyond. When you see someone, say hello. If you don’t know them, introduce yourself. It is that simple.
- We will have a short Voters’ Meeting Sunday, August 18, following the worship service.
- One final “tidbit:” At Lamb of God we recognize August 9 as the Commemoration of Hermann Sasse. This is one of two commemorations we put on our calendar that is not on the general liturgical calendar of our Synod. The other one is for Catherine Winkworth.
Well, I pray we will see you Sunday.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert