Friday, September 13, 2013

Worship for Pentecost 17 - 2013

Friday after Pentecost 16
September 13, 2013

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday is the 17th Sunday after Pentecost.  For our liturgy we will use the service of Prayer and Preaching (page 260). This adaptation of the old monastic “hours” is a service of the word (i.e., we will not celebrate the Lord’s Supper). Instead of the Introit, we will use the appointed Psalm for the day, which is Psalm 1. The appointed lessons are Ezekiel 34:11-24, 1 Timothy 1:5-17, and Luke 15:1-13.

We are making a change to our start time, beginning a bit before 10:30 with our “Opening Worship Moments.” These “moments” are the pre-service announcements, receiving prayer requests, and greeting each other. How much time we allot to these “moments” is still in flux, but the goal is to sing our opening hymn at 10:30.

The sermon text will be 1 Timothy 1:15. The sermon is titled “Chief of Sinners Though I be.” Our opening hymn will be “Jesus Sinners Doth Receive” (LSB 609). Our sermon hymn will be “Chief of Sinners Though I Be” (LSB 611). Our closing hymn will be “I Lay My Sins on Jesus” (LSB 606).

Below is a video of our sermon hymn, “Chief of Sinners Though I Be.” It is performed by the Lutheran Warbler. I’m happy to announce that my computer has been fixed, so I’m able to be more selective in my hymn picking.

In our prayers, we will remember the Southern Baptist Convention and their president, Rev. Bryant Wright. We will remember the persecuted believers around the world. We will remember Ginger Taff-Lagergren, our missionary in South Africa. She asks that we pray that God would use her to spread His love and that she would be a help to others with challenges in their day-to-day life, also that the Lord protect her and keep her in good health, so that she may serve to her fullest capacity. Finally, to thank the Lord that she has answered His call to serve in South Africa! We will continue to remember the churches in our denomination. This week we lift up before our Lord Our Savior, Bryans Road, MD; Our Shepherd, Cambridge, MD; St. Paul, Catonsville, MD; Galilee, Chester, MD; and Grace, Summerville, 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 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 third 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. Currently we are giving a title to each chapter. Everyone is welcome to join us and provide your own 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
Ezekiel 34:11-24
This passage is an extended metaphor, much like a parable. In it the Lord is depicted as a shepherd and humanity (especially those who are called by his name) as sheep. The Lord is not pleased with the sheep as the strong ones are taking advantage of the week ones. So God will intervene on behalf of the abused sheep, sending a Good Shepherd identified as “David.” The reference to the Old Testament Shepherd/King David is obvious as the background, but the Bible does not teach reincarnation (Hebrews 9:27), so the text is not primarily speaking of King David. Instead, it points to the “greater” David, our Lord Jesus. The greatest danger in preaching this text is feeling self-righteousness. “All those other sheep are the ones muddying the waters. Aren’t we blessed to be the ones that drink only pure water?” This has even been taken to the point by some where they justify the sin of skipping corporate worship because they don’t want to associate with the sheep who muddy the waters. We should leave the judging to the Lord, as the text says. We need to focus on drinking from the sweet stream of Word and Sacrament.

1 Timothy 1:5-17
Paul calls us to love others, as the Ezekiel text does also. He lists all kinds of sins, explaining that the Law of God exposes these. Any sin can be self-justified. The Law of God, though, exposes it for what it is, bringing us to sorrow. The Gospel then shines the light of God’s love on the situation, giving us sure hope of forgiveness. Indeed this was the purpose of the coming of Jesus, to save sinners. However, in this life, we remain sinners, so we always need the forgiveness of Jesus. That is all here for my sermon is based on this text.

Luke 15:1-10
Certainly both of the other readings can be understood in light of how important it is to the Lord that the spiritually lost are found. This reading would underscore that idea. Jesus tells two parables, inspired by criticism of him by some scribes and Pharisees, because our Lord was keeping company with “tax collectors and sinners.” Each parable teaches that the Lord loves the “lost” and will go to extreme lengths to “find” them. Because it is familiar, we just might not catch the surprising elements in the story, especially in the lost sheep parable. What “responsible” shepherd would leave 99 sheep to go looking for one? What “responsible” shepherd would find more joy in finding one lost sheep than over 99 who are safe? This is even more shocking as the context indicates the lost sheep are the “tax collectors and sinners.” You and I are the good sheep that didn’t wander away. Maybe, once upon a time, you were in the “tax collector and sinner” category, that is, a person society looked down on, but now you are in the fold. Well, our Shepherd didn’t stop searching for the socially outcast sinners just because you were brought to faith. Of course culture determines who the “tax collectors and sinners” are. In God’s eyes, we all need to be found. Praises God that he has found us. May he continue to add to his fold, both around the world, and here at Lamb of God.

Lesson Synopsis (from the LC-MS)
Jesus Christ Is the Good Shepherd of His Sheep
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). As He had mercy on Paul in order to display his perfect patience (1 Tim. 1:16), so also does He seek out His sheep from all the places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness (Ezek. 34:12). To deliver His flock, He will seek the lost … bring back the strayed … bind up the injured, and … strengthen the weak (Ezek. 34:16), and they shall no longer be a prey (Ezek. 34:22). He sets over them one great Good Shepherd, the Son of David, who shall feed them and be their shepherd (Ezek. 34:23). For Christ Jesus is the one man who, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them would leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it (Luke 15:4). When He finds the lost one and brings it home rejoicing, the angels of God and all the company of heaven rejoice with Him, with great joy (Luke 15:7, 10).


  • The September newsletter is posted on this blog. Just go to the newsletter link.

  • We rejoice that we have received enough money for a new heater.

Well, I pray we will see you Sunday.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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