Thursday after the Fourth Sunday of Easter
April 30, 2015
He is Risen.
I posted no worship notes for this past Sunday. That was because exactly what would happen was up in the air right to the last minute. You see, I was in Beaufort attending the Chartering Service of our one-time mission, Faith Lutheran. (Pictures of the service have been posted on this blog.) We got a late start in seeking to find a pastor to fill our pulpit, and in the end that effort was not successful. However, when I left on Friday, it wasn’t clear yet if our efforts would pan out or not. So I developed two worship plans. Plan A assumed we would have an ordained pastor and we would celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Plan B assumed that two of our lay leaders (Tim Kuether and Wayne Maab) would lead the service and we would use the Service of Prayer and Preaching for our liturgy. In the end, it was option B we used. I wrote a sermon before I left (just in case we used plan B). Tim did the liturgy and Wayne read the sermon. Based on all the reports I’ve received, these two deserve both a “thank you” for doing this and recognition for a job well done.
Because I record my sermons on a small digital recorder that I take into the pulpit, Sunday’s message wasn’t recorded. However, I will be back in the pulpit this coming Sunday along with my trusty recorder, so the message will appear on the sermon page next week.
Speaking of next Sunday, it will be the Fifth Sunday of Easter. The appointed lessons are Psalm 150 (antiphon verse 6), Acts 8:26-40, 1 John 4:1-21 and John 15:1-8. We will use Matins for our liturgy (LSB 219). The sermon text will be 1 John 4:11 and titled “What Kind of Love is This?”
In Matins we sing only three hymns. One of the hymns we will be singing is “Jesus Christ, My Sure Defense” (LSB 742). While not in the Easter section of the hymnal, it is certainly an appropriate hymn for the Easter season. However it is kind of long with eight verses. So Sunday we will divide it in two and sing verses one through four as our opening hymn and verses five through eight for our closing hymn. Our sermon hymn will be “What Wondrous Love Is This?” (LSB 543).
Below is a video of our sermon hymn, “Jesus Christ, My Sure Defense” (LSB 742). It is sung by the Lutheran Quartet and uses the words found in The Lutheran Hymnal. The only difference from it and Lutheran Services Book is that the newer hymnal has updated some of the words.
What follows is a synopsis of Sunday’s lessons, provided by the synod, then the lessons. Following that are some additional notes of interest.
Jesus Christ Is the True Vine Who Bears Much Fruit in Us
“God is Love,” and He has manifested Himself to us by sending “His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him” (1 John 4:9, 16). By the ministry of the Gospel, “He has given us of His Spirit,” so that we also believe and confess “that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.” In this way we “abide in Him and He in us,” and we “love one another” (1 John 4:2, 7, 13). Such divine love is exemplified in Philip’s preaching of “the good news about Jesus” to the Ethiopian eunuch. And when “they came to some water,” the eunuch was baptized into the very Gospel that Philip had preached (Acts 8:35–38). That Ethiopian was thereby grafted into “the true Vine,” Jesus Christ (John 15:1), just as we are. Already we are clean because of the Word that Christ has spoken to us and by the washing of water with His Word. We now abide in Him by faith in His forgiveness. As He abides in us, both body and soul, with His own Body and His Blood, He “bears much fruit” in us (John 15:3–5).
1 Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens!
2 Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his excellent greatness!
3 Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
4 Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
5 Praise him with sounding cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. 27And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” 30So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this:
“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter
and like a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he opens not his mouth.
33 In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth.”
34 And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. 36And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?”a 38And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.
aSome late, but no early, manuscripts add 37And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
1 John 4:1-21
4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. 4Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. 6We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19We love because he first loved us. 20If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
Some Additional Notes
- Sunday, at 5:00 pm, Bethlehem Lutheran in Aiken will have a “Call Service” which Pastor Rickert will lead as the Circuit Visitor. This should be his last duty as the Circuit Visitor. At the upcoming District Convention, Rev. Ted Crandall will be installed as our new Circuit Visitor.
- Sunday, at 4:00 pm, Immanuel Lutheran in Simpsonville will be installing Rev. Jeff VanOsdol as their pastor. Members from Lamb of God are invited to join in the celebration. Pastor will be unable to attend as he will be in Aiken.
- Our Sunday morning Bible hour begins at 9:00 am. We continue our examination of the biblical teachings concerning Vocation.
- Walking our neighborhoods and meeting our neighbors officially began this past Sunday. Please remember to record how far you walked on the chart in the hallway. We are seeking to walk, collectively 2,015 miles in 2015.
- Remember, we have pledged to pray for our neighbors. You can get a list of your 100 your closest neighbors from pray4everyhome.com. If you have no internet access, speak with Rachel Swain or Kitty Rickert and they will sign you up and get you a list.
- In an earlier post this week you can find pictures from the Chartering service of Faith Lutheran in Beaufort.
Blessings in Christ,