The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
O Lord, mercifully hear our prayer and stretch forth the right hand of Thy majesty to defend us from them that rise up against us; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth, etc.
The Epistle and Gradual
For He shall give His angels charge over thee: to keep thee in all thy ways.
V. They shall bear thee up in their hands: lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Tract. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High: shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
V. I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God: in Him will I trust.
V. He shall cover thee with His feathers: and under His wings shalt thou trust.
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #146 Lamb of God
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 #154 Alas and Did My Savior
- Medical treatment - Dr. Kermit Way, Pastor Jim Shrader, Chris Shrader, Doc Lito, and Callie.
- Pray for our country and our duly elected President.
- Mid-week Lenten service - Wednesday, 7 PM Central.
First Sunday In Lent
KJV Matthew 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
I was talking to someone, and we discussed the content of sermons. Many times, the subject is condemning one particular sin or another. A friend of mine once said, "Our synod's sermons are 20 minutes of railing against sin and finishing by saying, "But Christ died for us. Glory be to Him. Amen."
I wonder if many could answer this question, "Considering the Temptation in the Wilderness, what is the greatest sin of all?" Some would say, "Not rooting for the Green Bay Packers," which is the foundational sin in Wisconsin. Others would pick various carnal sins that are obvious to everyone.
But the greatest sin is this - not believing in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Savior, born of the Virgin Mary, dying for our sins, rising from the dead, and ascending to Heaven. Most are going to say, "I believe all that - and the miracles!"
Luther always argued - and included himself in this - Sin comes from lacking complete trust in Christ. God gave us brains and emotions so we would be constantly tempted when we did not believe in His Son. For instance, someone in sales can be perfectly legal and obey all the rules of his company, and prosper. But there are ways he can make the sale a little bit more profitable for him. The more individual items there are, the more can be added, and that accumulates. Others blatantly cheat, and some even get caught at it. One salesman offered this escape, "All we have to do is keep our coverage for malpractice up to date." Clever fellow! Behind that escape is greed, which comes from not trusting in God to provide. Others judge us for having an old car, an ordinary house, a lowly job compared to a glamorous and rewarding one.
In fact, lack of complete trust in God is associated with - "Turn these stones into bread!" when the bread is not only lacking but completely missing. "If Thou be the Son of God..." is easily translated into "Where is your God?" - a taunt found in the Bible, Psalm 79 for example. Human logic says, "I had things figured out and now all of it has collapsed!" Yet God is answering us even before we think to ask.
We are so filled with food that the threat of a major storm will empty the stores of food, all flashlight equipment, and strawberry Pop Tarts. They know to send extra Strawberry Pop Tarts as essentials for tolerating a huge storm. (Blech!)
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
The source of peace is God's own power through the Word. Living by bread alone is what makes people frightened, insecure, and willing to engage in the sins outwardly from the lack of faith inwardly.
If this one verse were emphasized in the visible Christian Church, many blessings would come from it and many sorrows would be eased or even taken away. There are many instances of people starting with nothing for a church and building from scratch, with the emphasis on providing a place, not a cathedral, a place for the Word of God to be emphasized, not documents and dogmas protected by law.
7. But as to how temptation takes place and how it is overcome, is all very beautifully pictured to us here in Christ. First, that he is led up into the wilderness, that is, he is left solitary and alone by God, angels and men, by all creatures. What kind of a temptation would it be, if we were not forsaken and stood not alone? It is, however, painful when we do not feel anything that presents its back to us; as for example, that I should support myself and have not a nickel, not a thread, not a twig, and I experience no help from others, and no advice is offered. That means to be led into the desert and to be left alone. There I am in the true school, and I learn what I am, how weak my faith is, how great and rare true faith is, and how deeply unbelief is entrenched in the hearts of all men. But whoever has his purse, cellar and fields full, is not yet led into the desert, neither is he left alone; therefore he is not conscious of temptation.
Because Americans have more, we worry more. When my teaching schedule is not exactly what I want, I worry. Then suddenly everything is fixed again. In fact, there are lots of reason not to worry, but that resolution happens. I am reminded of how much has happened that could not be predicted or believed for the future.
This is another efficacy passage, because it begins with everything be satisfied by the mouth of God - that is - His Word. Whatever we think man is doing, God is doing more, building up and tearing down. We may put a little top spin on events, but God provides the final act, as He will on Judgement Day. There it is said, "When we did we feed you and given you to drink and clothe you and visit you?" Jesus Christ will say, "When you did it unto the least of mine, you did it unto Me." Where will be the marble statues and shrines be? the rosaries and "sacred places"? If God needed a bigger and better cathedral, he would buy it from a Robert Schuller or Joel Osteen.
Sedona has a beautiful church that people visit, but the irony is, the divinely-crafted scenery is so breath-taking that the church looks like a small toy in comparison.
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
As Luther comments, the first temptation failing, Satan moves to the opposite side and has Jesus and others prove the supernatural power of God. There is a lot of that today, including the recent fake Revival at Asbury University that was in the news. They claimed that the campus was choked with students there and from other schools spontaneously piling into the chapel, praying, singing, and worshiping 24/7. It was well organized with specific starts and stops, not a miracle, but a staged event pushed along by lying, deceit, and bloated publicity.
This is the residue of previous similar events, including snaking handling. People demand a miracle, name the miracle, and rejoice that they received that miracle. Those is often accompanied by swooshing a jacket around (power) falling down (power) and frantic dancing (clearly choreographed). Nothing shows more doubt than people dramatizing non-miracles and completely fake ones.
The irony is that God is always providing miracles in His quiet and unassuming way. He only urges us through Christ to trust not only His power but also His wisdom. He will answer before we even start to pray and He will take care of us.
The LCMS has proved that 70 different people cannot publish Luther's Large Catechism and have a coherent, faithful presentation of the 100 pages in the original, based upon his sermons! - not so-called expert essays with very different arguments. Nobody would predict, wager, or brag that we had hundreds of traditional, Lutheran, often-forgotten books available for free, to be used all over the world.
Someone can read Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant from 8,000 miles away and wonders why his printed copy takes so long to arrive. Neither one is a divine miracle, but the effect of being able to send a demand book or a PDF is pretty astonishing for someone from the last century.
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
This is the ultimate temptation. Jesus had every reason to give in, knowing how much lay ahead of Him, taunting, torture, disgrace, and death. He is the ultimate example of turning away from such temptations and enduring far more loss than anyone on earth could fathom, therefore elevated above all creatures and people.
But the line up for Satan's wishes is great. Politicians, ministers, teachers, leaders, and all kinds of influential people want that power and glory from worshiping and obeying their Father Below. It is the cause of apostate Christianity, because so many want to be like the people they covet, the buildings they want to glorify with their names. They remind me of my favorite animal graphic, the Garasene pigs rushing off the cliff to destruction, and Orwell's warning against the same.
| "Let's have our own spontaneous revival, next Thursday!"|
|Orwell's Animal Farm.|