Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Worship Notes for Epiphany IV - 2014

Commemoration of Jacob (Israel), Patriarch
Wednesday after the Feast of the Purification of Mary and the Presentation of Our Lord
Wednesday after Epiphany IV
February 5, 2014

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday is the Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany. We will be using Divine Service, Setting One (page 151) for our liturgy. This is a communion service. To prepare the Christian Questions with Their Answers (page 329 of the hymnal) found in most any copy of Luther’s Small Catechism.

The appointed lessons are: Isaiah 58:3-9a, 1 Corinthians 2:1-16 and Matthew 5:13-20. As most every reader of this blog knows, the Epiphany season is about revealing just who Jesus is. So we have lessons like the baptism of Jesus and Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana. So Sunday’s lessons might seem out of place. Isaiah speaks of God’s chosen fast. Paul begins with the weakness he first presented the Gospel and follows up with words about the Holy Spirit. Jesus speaks of us as salt and light of the world and the place of the Law. The closest thing, it seems, to teaching specifically about who Jesus is, is in Matthew 5:17 where Jesus speaks of his role at the one who fulfills the Law and the Prophets. However, when we remember that Jesus is our righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21), we begin to recognize that such readings like Sunday’s are, first and foremost, how Christ manifests himself through us. God’s chosen fast is first a description of Jesus. The weakness and humility of Paul in presenting the Gospel and well as Paul’s words about the work of the Spirit are based on Jesus and his humility and his perfect communion with the Holy Spirit. Jesus fulfill the Law and the Prophets that we may receive the credit for his work by grace through faith in our Lord. So these lessons do indeed reveal Christ, who he is and how he manifests himself through us.

Below is the summary of the lessons provided by the LCMS.

The Righteousness of Christ
Jesus warns that “unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20), but He also calls His imperfect people “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matt. 5:13, 14). That’s because the Lord Jesus came not to abolish the Law or the Prophets “but to fulfill them” (Matt. 5:17) in perfect faith and love. Since He does and teaches all of God’s commandments, He is “called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:19). God manifests His “demonstration of the Spirit and of power” in “Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2–4) and through the preaching of the Gospel gives His “secret and hidden wisdom” (1 Cor. 2:7). Christ gives this perfect righteousness to His people, and it leads them to true fasting, which is “to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free” (Is. 58:6) and “to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house” (Is. 58:7).

Sunday’s Lessons
Isaiah 58:3-9a
3         ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?
                   Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’
          Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,
                   and oppress all your workers.
4         Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
                   and to hit with a wicked fist.
          Fasting like yours this day
                   will not make your voice to be heard on high.
5         Is such the fast that I choose,
                   a day for a person to humble himself?
          Is it to bow down his head like a reed,
                   and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?
          Will you call this a fast,
                   and a day acceptable to the Lord?

6         “Is not this the fast that I choose:
                   to loose the bonds of wickedness,
                   to undo the straps of the yoke,
          to let the oppressed go free,
                   and to break every yoke?
7         Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
                   and bring the homeless poor into your house;
          when you see the naked, to cover him,
                   and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8         Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
                   and your healing shall spring up speedily;
          your righteousness shall go before you;
                   the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
9         Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
                   you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’

1 Corinthians 2:1-16
2:1       And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
6         Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. 7But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9But, as it is written,

          “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
                   nor the heart of man imagined,
          what God has prepared for those who love him”—

10these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
14        The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16“For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

Matthew 5:13-20
13        “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.
14        “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

17        “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Sunday’s hymns will be:
Opening hymn: “Arise and Shine in Splendor” LSB 396
Sermon hymn: “May We Thy Precepts, Lord, Fulfill” LSB 698
Distribution hymns: “Renew Me, O Eternal Light” LSB 704
          “O Lord, We Praise Thee” LSB 617
          “I Love Your Kingdom, Lord” LSB 651
Closing hymn: “I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light” LSB 411

The sermon is titled “Christ Through You.” The text is Matthew 5:13.

Below is the Lutheran Quartet singing “May We Thy Precepts, Lord, Fulfill.”

Our Sunday morning Bible hour begins at 9:00 am. We continue with Colossians.

Well, I pray we will see you Sunday morning.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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