Thursday, January 29, 2015

Worship Notes for Epiphany 4, 2015

Thursday after Epiphany 3
January 29, 2015

Blessed Epiphany season

This coming Sunday will be the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, or simply Epiphany 4. While there are no Feasts, Festivals, or even Commemorations, on our liturgical calendar for February 1, nonetheless many in our country will be feasting because the NFL will be playing their Super Bowl. Isn’t it interesting how much joy (or sorrow) a game between people we’ve never met, for a championship which is largely meaningless, can generate in us? What that says about us I’m really sure. But, I hope you have a good time if you go to a Super Bowl gathering, Well, back to the “first half” (ha) of our Sunday celebration.

For our liturgy we will be using the Service of Prayer and Preaching (260). This service uses the appointed Psalm for the Day instead of the Introit. We will use the common options. Our lections are Psalm 111 (antiphon verse 3), Deuteronomy 18:15-20, 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 and Mark 1:21-28. As we are returning to the regular Epiphany lessons (remember, no Feasts or Festivals) we return to the regular Epiphany question, ‘Who is Jesus?’ This week we will hear of his authority in the spiritual realms in the sermon titled, “Jesus, Lord over the Devils.” The text will be Mark 1:27.

Our opening hymn will be “O Savior of Our Fallen Race” (LSB 403). Our sermon hymn will be “Away from Us! The Demon Cried” (LSB 541). Our closing hymn will be “O Savior, Precious Savior” (LSB 527).

Our closing hymn is “O Savior, Precious Savior.” The video below is of the “Lutheran Warbler” playing and singing the hymn.

What follows is a synopsis of the OT, Epistle and Gospel lessons, provided by the synod. What then follows are the readings themselves, including the Psalm.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, True God in the Flesh, Cleanses Our Consciences from Sin
As He promised, the Lord our God has raised up a prophet like Moses, namely Jesus, our brother in the flesh. To him you shall listen,” because the Word of the Lord is in his mouth (Deut. 18:15–18). Indeed, He is more than a prophet and more than a scribe of the Scriptures; He is the incarnate Word, and He speaks a new teaching with authority (Mark 1:22, 27). He enters the synagogue of His Church and provides true Sabbath rest, using His authority to silence and cast out even the unclean spirits (Mark 1:21–27). By His Word of the cross, He removes the accusations of the Law and of the devil, and He cleanses our consciences before God the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist.” Hence, we are now set free from bondage and commended to God by the one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist (1 Cor. 8:6). Therefore, use your freedom to care for your brothers and sisters, neither causing them to stumble nor wounding their consciences (1 Cor. 8:9–12), but cleansing and strengthening them with the Gospel.

Psalm 111
1:1         Praise the Lord!
            I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
                        in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
2           Great are the works of the Lord,
                        studied by all who delight in them.
3           Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
                        and his righteousness endures forever.
4           He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
                        the Lord is gracious and merciful.
5           He provides food for those who fear him;
                        he remembers his covenant forever.
6           He has shown his people the power of his works,
                        in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
7           The works of his hands are faithful and just;
                        all his precepts are trustworthy;
8           they are established forever and ever,
                        to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
9           He sent redemption to his people;
                        he has commanded his covenant forever.
                        Holy and awesome is his name!
10          The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
                        all those who practice it have a good understanding.
                        His praise endures forever!

Deuteronomy 18:15-20
15          “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen—16just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ 17And the Lord said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. 18I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. 20But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’

1 Corinthians 8:1-13
8:1         Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. 2If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. 3But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.
4           Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” 5For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”—6yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
7           However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. 9But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? 11And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. 12Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

Mark 1:21-28
21          And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. 22And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. 23And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24“What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” 25But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. 27And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” 28And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.

Some Additional Notes

·         No additional activities are planned for Sunday. I guess we all want to get to our Super Bowl parties.

·         Remember, we have pledged to pray for our neighbors. You can get a list of your 100 closest neighbors from Pastor has signed up the congregation and is waiting for confirmation, but you can sign-up as an individual.

·         You can read the February newsletter by clicking on the newsletter page on this blog. All print copies have already been scooped up.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Rickert

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