Lutheran Worship and Resources

Sunday, December 19, 2021

The Fourth Sunday in Advent, 2021

 


 Saved videos will be on Facebook and YouTube a bit later. 



The Hymn #612                   That Day of Wrath            
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16

Introit
Drop down, ye heavens, from above: 
and let the skies pour down righteousness.
Let the earth open: and bring forth salvation.
Psalm. The heavens declare the glory of God: and the firmament showeth His handiwork

The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19

Collect
Stir up, O Lord, we beseech Thee, Thy power, 
and come and help us with Thy great might, 
that by Thy grace whatsoever is hindered by our sins 
may be speedily accomplished 
through Thy mercy and satisfaction; 
who livest and reignest with the Father 
and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.

The Epistle and Gradual   

Gradual

The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him: 
to all that call upon Him in truth.
V. My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord: 
and let all flesh bless His holy name. 
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
V. Thou art my Help and my Deliverer: 
make no tarrying, O my God. Hallelujah!

The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #90               Come, Your Hearts              

Martyrs Were Witnesses

The Hymn #87           Joy to the World            
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #85:10 - 15            From Heaven Above to Earth I Come    


Announcements and Prayers

  • December 22nd - Norma Boeckler's Birthday.
  • Randy Anderson is doing well after his surgery.
  • Zach Engleman just had a birthday.
  • Pastor Jackson's eye surgery, January 10 and 17.
  • This week's services will be Wednesday at 7 PM, Christmas Eve at 7 PM, and Sunday (Boxing Day) at 10 AM.
  • The laptop will monitor the live service in the chapel, and another blog will have this service (without the live Vimeo) on the big screen in the chapel.
        


KJV Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

KJV John 1:19 And this is the record [GJ - witness] of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? 20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed [GJ - homiletics, preaching], I am not the Christ. 21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. 22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? 23 He said, am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. 24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. 25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? 26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; 27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose. 28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.



Fourth Sunday In Advent

Lord God, heavenly Father, it is meet and right that we should give thanks unto Thee, that Thou hast given us a more glorious baptism than that of John the Baptist, and hast therein promised us the remission of sins, the Holy Spirit, and everlasting life through Thy Son, Jesus Christ: Preserve us, we beseech Thee, in such faith in Thy grace and mercy, that we may never doubt Thy promise, but be comforted by the same in all temptations: and grant us Thy Holy Spirit that we may renounce sin, and ever continue in the righteousness bestowed upon us in baptism, until by Thy grace we obtain eternal salvation, through the same, Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen. 



Martyrs Were Witnesses

KJV John 1:19 And this is the record [GJ - witness] of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?

People are always finding fault with the KJV, word for word, so they might say, "Why record? Why that word?" And all the modernizing paraphrases have a go at it, then change the wording again a few years or months later. No one can use the same English word for the same Greek word, because no language works that way. How would you translate "drawn"? 

The toy wagon was drawn by a little boy. That scene was drawn by his mother, an artist. His father watched while he had lobster with drawn butter. His wife said, "You need to eat more or get more sun. You look drawn." 

Knowing the Biblical language helps, because we associate the original word martyr with those who were killed because they witnessed their faith in Jesus Christ. When John the Baptist confessed his faith, that was also his death sentence. So now we use the word martyr for suffering (often dramatic suffering), so it makes some sense to associate witnessing and death in the apostolic era, because persecution often rose up against the tiny Christian congregations. And that made the Faith grow, because they scattered to new areas in the Roman Empire. While most regions were locked in by water, mountains, and desert, the Roman Empire was by law connected by highways, some still being used today. Roman roads were military roads, like our Interstate system. Colonel Eisenhower had to take troops from one coast to another in the early days and swore one day they would have highways that were not slowed down by villages, stoplights, and various obstacles. As president, Eisenhower began the Interstate highway system.

In this case, the leaders in Jerusalem sent priests to ask about John the Baptist - and for good reason. The concept of the Messiah was well established through the Books of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms - though not completely understood. Who can miss the shift in Isaiah, chapter 40? which is quoted by John in this passage. A prophet - in the desert - would arrive and announce the coming of the Messiah - Prepare the way of the Lord!

John was clearly a modern prophet, and he added to the excitement of the region. Great crowds came to hear him, and his preaching doubtless caused many to remember the excitement of the Star of Bethlehem and those exotic strangers who came openly and departed secretly. People remember those things. Just today I saw an article and debate about housing in my hometown area - nicknamed Flintstone Flats. There were various stories and denials of those stories, vague rumors and a few who witnessed the facts. One person said, "It's all true. I grew up there."

Who art thou?

Some people do not like "thou" which is still used today. It is singular, unlike "you" which can be singular or plural.  They are only asking about John, not about some or all of his followers. Clearly, the response to his preaching had annoyed, alarmed, and excited people back in Jerusalem. The Messiah, a title taken from the anointing with oil of kings, was their concern. Have you noticed we still use the term "anointed" when speaking about a leader?

20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed [GJ - homiletics, preaching], I am not the Christ.

Removing a misunderstanding came first. And thus we have the root word for preaching, homiletics, which means explaining what we believe. This is used for official statements about Christian beliefs in confessions of various denominations - the Westminster Confession, the confessions in the Book of Concord. The term "confessional" is tossed around with great abandon, so leaders who deny and repudiate Justification by Faith also call themselves "Confessional Lutherans" (LCMS, WELS, ELCA, ELS, CLC]. Faith and action come together, as shown by the disgraceful weak response of those officials to the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation (the only Reformation, which other nations tried to copy once it was safe).

John removed himself from the title Messiah, which many people must have used for him, or at least debated about him.

21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. 22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?

As I have said before, I have had people ask me questions, and a few questions in a row can narrow things down. "What synod are you?" followed by "Do you ordain women?" followed by "Do you then agree with Rome?" [No, with the Bible] And that leads the individual into the clutches of the  Woke. Notice how this series of questions and answers narrows down who John must be. If he is not Elijah or the final prophet then what does he say about himself? This is causing grave concern in Jerusalem and among the Roman leaders.

23 He said, am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

For us, the wilderness is a dense forest with wolves howling and hungry. The literal meaning of this word is "dry place" or desert, not the forests of Wisconsin.

KJV Isaiah 40:3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: 5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

They definitely believed that the Word of God from Isaiah would come true one day, so this was alarming and exciting to people at the same time.

John was announcing the coming of the Messiah, not in the distant future but now! The Star of Bethlehem and the Wise Men were still on their minds and doubtless many searched the Scriptures for more verification of the coming events. First of all, it would be a time of judgment. No matter what people pretended, judgment was a terrifying prospect for many evil and brutal people. That is what we have in America today. Many are stunned by what is happening but a large segment is also terrified of being identified with a little black book and a couple of blackmailing pimps. 

24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. 25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?

The Pharisees had some definite questions to be answered by their delegation. This was a distinct honor for John, because the delegation represented the highly respected class of Pharisees, true work-saints admired by the people. 

26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; 27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose. 28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.

So this Sunday is a reminder to be prepared for Christmas and the New year. There are various ways this can be done. Through the Federal Council of Churches (look that up!) and the rebaptized National Council of Churches, political activism was made the goal of all the mainline denominations, including the Lutherans. That did not work well, because everything seems to be worse than when they began, and their activism today is the opposite of witnessing to Christ.  When we think they have reached the bottom, they continue to radicalize.

Here are some considerations for Christmas and the New Year:
  • The Bible is extremely concise. Focus on some phrases or words and see what they mean. I use the KJV concordance and look up (via the computer) every example of certain words or phrases.
  • No one can know all of it, but we can specialize in favorite parts of the Bible. That could be the Psalms or the Gospel of John, or just the least-mentioned books of the Bible. I just found this - "Psalm 110:4 The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek." Also Hebrews 7.
  • One person goes through TLH hymns and makes suggestions from those we know less well, if at all.
  • We can pray especially for one person or family, even if we have not met them.
Faith in Jesus Christ and witnessing go together. I am not especially welcome in many places of worship, so I let them come to me, knock on the door, or ask me questions via the Internet. Some trust in cookies and smiling ushers, truly a stupendous theory. But far simpler and more effective is the Gospel Word, clothed in everyday terms and conversation.


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