Thursday, November 6, 2014

Worship Notes of Pentecost 21 (aka Third-Last Sunday of the Church Year; First Sunday of the End Times)

Thursday after All Saints’ Sunday
November 6, 2014

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday will be 21st Sunday after Pentecost. Back in The Lutheran Hymnal days, this would be the Third-Last Sunday of the Church Year. Some liturgical calendars will identify this Sunday as the First Sunday of the End Times. Whatever you call it, the readings for the last three Sunday’s have an End Times accent. For the record, there is nothing more or less “correct” or “Lutheran” with any of these names. As we read as part of our liturgy on Reformation Sunday:
P:   In the days of Jesus true believers didn’t celebrate Reformation Sunday, or many of the other special days we set aside and celebrate. On the other hand, there have been many special days in the past that we no longer observe. Why is this so?
C:  Our churches teach that ceremonies ought to be observed that may be observed without sin. Also, ceremonies and other practices that are profitable for tranquility and good order in the Church (in particular, holy days, festivals, and the like) ought to be observed.
            Yet, the people are taught that consciences are not to be burdened as though observing such things was necessary for salvation. (Augsburg Confession, Article XV:1-2a)

For our liturgy this Sunday we will use the first setting of the Divine Service (page 151). The appointed lessons are: Amos 5:18–24; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18; Matthew 25:1–13. The text for Sunday’s sermon will be 1 Thessalonians 4:18 and the sermon will be titled “Don’t Get Sidetracked.” Divine I is a communion service. That means we include hymns to be sung during distribution. Sunday’s opening hymn will be “Christ Is Surely Coming” (LSB 509). The sermon hymn will be “Jerusalem the Golden” (LSB 672). The closing hymn will be “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” (LSB 809). Our distribution hymns will be “Seek Ye First” (LSB 712), “Jesus, Priceless Treasure” (LSB 743) and “What Is This Bread” (LSB 629).

I will post a Bible study on one of these hymns later today or tomorrow.

Below is a video of the Lutheran Warbler playing and singing our sermon hymn, “Jerusalem the Golden,” hymn 672.

Our Sunday morning Bible hour begins at 9:00 am. We will continue our consideration of the biblical themes of Witness, Mercy and Life Together. Last week we actually got a bit sidetracked, which is okay. We were talking about the Roman Catholic doctrine of Purgatory. I will bring a handout this Sunday for anyone in the class who wants it.

The study of God’s word is a key way to keep the Third Commandment which Luther explains as meaning, “We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.” Our Sunday morning Bible study is a great opportunity to “gladly hear and learn” God’s word.  

What follows is a summary of Sunday’s lessons provided by the LC-MS and then the actual lessons.

The Gospel Prepares Us for Our Heavenly Bridegroom’s Coming
The Day of the Lord is “darkness, and not light” (Amos 5:18, 20) for all who trust in their own righteousness and piety. The Lord will not accept their “burnt offerings and grain offerings,” nor will He look upon their “peace offerings” (Amos 5:22). Instead, He desires a heart of faith that trusts in Him, which lets “justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24) in love for the neighbor. In order for the “lamps” of our lives to burn brightly with such love, we must be filled with the “oil” of forgiveness through faith in our Bridegroom, Jesus Christ (Matt. 25:1–4). Therefore, as we await His coming, wisdom directs us “to the dealers” (Matt. 25:9), that is, to the ministers of His Gospel. Thus we wait upon the Lord, and we “encourage one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:18). Waking or sleeping, we are prepared to meet Him when He comes “with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God,” and “we will always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:16, 17).

Amos 5:18–24
18          Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord!
                        Why would you have the day of the Lord?
            It is darkness, and not light,
19                      as if a man fled from a lion,
                        and a bear met him,
            or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall,
                        and a serpent bit him.
20          Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light,
                        and gloom with no brightness in it?

21          “I hate, I despise your feasts,
                        and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
22          Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings,
                        I will not accept them;
            and the peace offerings of your fattened animals,
                        I will not look upon them.
23          Take away from me the noise of your songs;
                        to the melody of your harps I will not listen.
24          But let justice roll down like waters,
                        and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

1 Thessalonians 4:13–18
13          But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Matthew 25:1–13
25:1        “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. 6But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. 11Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

A Couple of Quick Notes:

  • The Board of Evangelism will meet Sunday, after the worship service.  
  • Last week I wrote that this past Sunday was the Festival of St. Andrew, Apostle. I don’t know what I was thinking, maybe I was having a “senior moment,” but that particular holiday will be the last Sunday of November, which is also the First Sunday in Advent.

Well, I pray we will see you Sunday morning.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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