The Third Sunday after Pentecost

June 21, 2020

SERVICE OF THE WORD

This service offers the congregation a form of worship that focuses on the proclamation of God’s Word.  Believers respond to this divine gift with prayer, praise, and thanksgiving.  The service begins on page 38 in the front of the hymnal.

M:       We worship today in the name of our Triune God— God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

C:        Amen

Confession of Sins

M:       We have come into the presence of God, who created us to love and serve Him as His dear children.  But we have disobeyed Him and deserve only His wrath and punishment.  Therefore, let us confess our sins to Him and plead for His mercy.

C:        Merciful Father in heaven, I am altogether sinful from birth.  In countless ways I have sinned against you and do not deserve to be called your child.  But trusting in Jesus, my Savior, I pray:  Have mercy on me according to your unfailing love.  Cleanse me from my sin, and take away my guilt.

M:       God, our heavenly Father has forgiven all your sins.  By the perfect life and innocent death of our Lord Jesus Christ, He has removed your guilt forever.  You are His own dear child.  May God give you strength to live according to His will.

C:        Amen.

Prayer and Praise

M:       In the peace of forgiveness, let us praise the Lord.

C:        Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.  Blessed are they who take refuge in Him.  Your Word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.  Your faithfulness continues forever.  Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.  Blessed are they who take refuge in Him.

PRAYER OF THE DAY

M:       Let us pray.

O Lord, our God, govern the nations on earth and direct the affairs of this world so that your Church may worship you in peace and joy; we ask this through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

C:     Amen

The Word

FIRST LESSON – Jeremiah 20:7-13

The LORD’s promise to Jeremiah kept him safe and reaffirms his value as a prophet of the Lord and a child of God.

O LORD, you deceived me, and I was deceived; you overpowered me and prevailed.  I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me.  Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction.  So the word of the LORD has brought me insult and reproach all day long.  But if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones.  I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.  I hear many whispering, “Terror on every side!  Report him!  Let’s report him!”  All my friends are waiting for me to slip, saying, “Perhaps he will be deceived; then we will prevail over him and take our revenge on him.” But the LORD is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail.  They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced; their dishonor will never be forgotten.  O LORD Almighty, you who examine the righteous and probe the heart and mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you I have committed my cause.  Sing to the LORD!  Give praise to the LORD!  He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked. (NIV1984)

PSALM OF THE DAY – Psalm 31

In You, O LORD, I have taken refuge;

deliver me in Your righteousness.

Be my rock of refuge,

a strong fortress to save me.

Into Your hands I commit my spirit;

redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth.

My times are in your hands;

save me in Your unfailing love.

How great is Your goodness,

which You have stored up for those who fear You.

You heard my cry for mercy

when I called to You for help.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son

            and to the Holy Spirit,

as it was in the beginning,

            is now, and will be forever.  Amen

SECOND LESSON – Romans 5:12-15eba

All of Adam’s children must die as Adam did because all of us inherited Adam’s sin.  But, thanks be to God!  He sent the second Adam, Jesus Christ, who by His death restored holiness and life to all of Adam’s children.

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned — for before the law was given, sin was in the world.  But sin is not taken into account when there is no law.  Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.  But the gift is not like the trespass.  For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! (NIV1984)

 VERSE OF THE DAY

Alleluia.  Because we are His children, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba!  Father!”  Alleluia.  (Galatians 4:6)

CAlleluia!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!  These words are written that we may believe that Jesus is

       the Christ, the Son of God.  Alleluia!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!

GOSPEL LESSON – Matthew 10:24-33 (Sermon Text)

In Christ, we find courage and commitment to stand firm in God’s family.  We are valuable in the eyes of our God!

“A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.  It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master.  If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household!  So do not be afraid of them.  There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.  What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.  Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.  But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.” (NIV1984)

C:        Praise be to you, O Christ!

SERMON  A Father We Can Look Up To!

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

When I was attending the Seminary, we were required to teach confirmation class in one of the local WELS grade schools.  The goal was to give us a little bit of “real life” experience before we went out into a congregation to serve as a vicar.  I was assigned to an inner-city school in Milwaukee.  After observing a veteran teacher for a few days to see how it is done, the very first lesson I was assigned to teach was a lesson on the First Petition of the Lord’s Prayer— “Our Father, who art in heaven….”  I emphasized to the children that just as our earthly fathers love us and protect us and provide for our needs even more so our heavenly Father loves us and protects us and provides for our needs.  My goal was to show a correlation between our earthly fathers and our heavenly Father.

 

After the class that day the regular teacher asked to speak with me.  He began by telling me that while my teaching technique was fine, my perception of reality was flawed.  He then shared with me the reality that many of the children in the class were dealing with.  Some of the children I was teaching that day came from a single parent household— Mom’s household.  Some of them had very abusive fathers.  There was even a child who for awhile lived in a local park with their mother because that was safer than living at home.  I learned that day that when it comes to the area of being a father my perception of reality was vastly different from other people’s perception of reality.

 

As you and I gather together here in the house of our heavenly Father my goal is to place this portion of God’s holy Word before you in a way which hopefully accomplishes two things.  First, let’s see how this portion of Scripture comforts us with the knowledge that the Lord our God is our perfect heavenly Father.  Secondly, let’s see how this portion of Scripture motivates us to be the kind of Christian fathers and grandfathers that the Lord wants us to be.  To that end let’s study our text for today under the theme:  A Father We Can Look Up To!

 

Matthew chapter ten focuses our attention on the “instructions” which Jesus gave to the twelve disciples whom He has personally chosen to be His apostles.  As Jesus sends these men out in His name, He gives them the scope of their work.  In verses five and six the Lord said to them, “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans.  Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.”  In verse seven He gives them the message they are to proclaim, “As you go, preach this message:  ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’”  In verses 9 & 10 He tells them about the confidence they are to have as they carry out His work, “Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep.” 

 

And then in verses 17 and following Jesus warns His disciples that as they faithfully carry out His work, they can expect to endure the same kind of negative reaction from the unbelieving world that Jesus received.  Did the disciples need to be afraid?  Not at all!  Not only would the Holy Spirit give them the right words to say (verses 19-20), not only can they trust the Lord to fulfill His promise that “he who stands firm to the end will be saved” (verse 22), but the “worst” thing that the unbelieving world could ever possibly do to any of Jesus’ disciples— including us!— was to kill them.  (See verse 28)  But even if, even if, the unbelieving world physically takes our life we don’t need to be afraid!  Why?  There are two reasons.  First, we do not need to be afraid because even if the world kills our physical body, they can not touch our soul!  Second, we never need to be afraid because we are always safe in the hands of our heavenly Father!  Look at verses 29-31 of our text.  Jesus says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

 

Our heavenly Father cares so much for His Creation that He lovingly watches over even the most “insignificant” parts of His Creation— such as the lowly sparrow.  We might look at a sparrow and see a nuisance.  Our heavenly Father looks at a sparrow and sees a thing of beauty.  So deep is our heavenly Father’s concern for even the lowly sparrow that He daily opens His hand to satisfy its desires.  (See Psalm 145:15-16)  So deep is our heavenly Father’s concern for even the lowly sparrow that the sparrow was allowed to build a home for herself and her young in the Temple of the Lord.  (See Psalm 84:3)  So deep is our heavenly Father’s concern for even the lowly sparrow that Jesus says here in our text that not one sparrow falls to the ground “apart from the will of your Father.”  Since our heavenly Father has such a deep care and concern for all of His Creation— even the lowly sparrow— Jesus comforts us with the words, “So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

 

What causes you to be afraid, my friends?  Are you afraid to boldly stand up for your Lord and for the Truth of His Word because you aren’t sure how people will react?  If so, remember the deep care and concern that your heavenly Father has for you!  The promises that Jesus gives to His disciples here in our text apply to you as well.  Are you afraid because that routine visit to the doctor revealed a serious health problem that may or may not be treatable?  If so, remember the deep care and concern that your heavenly Father has for you!  As both the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth as well as your loving Savior God your heavenly Father has both the power and the desire to see to it that everything works together for your eternal good.  (See Romans 8:28)  Are you afraid because your relationships with other people— whether it be your spouse, your parents, your children, your siblings, your friends— that relationship is “strained” and you don’t know how to “fix” it?  If so, remember the deep care and concern that your heavenly Father has for you!  The cross on Calvary’s hill (Pointing to the cross) assures you that just as the Lord God was able to “fix” your relationship with Him so also His grace and His mercy, His love and His forgiveness can “fix” your relationships with others.  Are you afraid because it seems that no matter how hard you work you are always struggling financially?  If so, remember the deep care and concern that your heavenly Father has for you!  As the One who “owns” absolutely everything in the universe your God is serious when He says to you and to me, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).  Are you afraid because the future seems so very uncertain— especially now because we do not know when or how this pandemic is going to end?  If so, remember the deep care and concern that your heavenly Father has for you!  Since your heavenly Father lives in the eternal present (for Him there is no past and there is no future) you can trust Him when He says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

 

So yes, my friends, as the dearly beloved adopted children of God we do indeed have a heavenly Father that we can look up to.  The care and the concern that our heavenly Father has for us, the care and the concern that is so evident every time we see what our heavenly Father was willing to do to save us from our sins (Pointing to the cross)— that care and that concern fills our heart with comfort.

 

The care and the concern which we daily enjoy from the Lord our God is what motivates us to be the kind of earthly fathers and grandfathers that our heavenly Father wants us to be!  The role of the father in our society today has (in my estimation) become very confused.  Men and boys are fathering children without hardly any regard or insight as to what it means to be a father to their children.  Now don’t get me wrong. I am certainly not claiming to be the “perfect” father.  I have made plenty of mistakes— just ask my wife, my children, and my grandchildren!  But over the course of the last 37 years (which is how long I have been a father) I have become more and more convinced that one of the main goals we are to have as Christian fathers and Christian grandfathers is to take the care and the concern that our heavenly Father showers upon us and reflect that same care and that same concern to our children and to our grandchildren.  What does this mean?

 

Does this mean that we are to work hard to provide for our family’s physical needs?  Of course it does!  Scripture very clearly says, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (I Timothy 5:8).  But that’s simply where it begins!  We can give our children all the food and all the clothes they could ever want, we can put a roof over their heads and the latest and greatest smart phone in their hands— and still leave them wondering if we really “care” about them!

 

Showing care and concern for our children includes disciplining our children in Christian love.  Fathers have the primary responsibility of teaching their children right from wrong.  Showing care and concern for our children includes conducting ourselves in a God-pleasing way.  Fathers play a huge role in setting the “tone” of the household.  If we’re always angry and if we’re always yelling, if we’re cold and distant we should not be surprised when that is reflected by our family.  Showing care and concern for our children includes making time for them.  Our children need to see that they are more important to us than any recreational activity or any earthly possession.  Showing care and concern for our children means teaching our children, especially our sons, how to treat others with respect.  This begins with the way we treat their Mom.  Over the course of the years I have talked with more than one member who was quite upset at the way their son both treated their mother and talked to their mother.  Guess where they learned that behavior!  But more than absolutely everything else the #1 way for a Christian father to show care and concern for their children is by making sure his children know their heavenly Father by knowing His Son, Jesus Christ.

 

Look at the closing verses of our text.  Jesus says, “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.  But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.”  As Christian fathers we need to care so deeply for our children that we make sure that we fulfill the leadership role God Himself has given to us— which includes making sure that our children are in church and in Sunday school as often as we can.  As Christian fathers we need to care so deeply for our children that we show them by both word and example how important it is for us to be in our heavenly Father’s home and how important it is for us to be studying our heavenly Father’s Word.  As Christian fathers we need to care so deeply for our children that we not only prepare them for life here in this world, but that we especially prepare them for the day when they will stand before the heavenly Father who will ask them that all important question:  Why should I let you live in My heavenly home?  As Christian fathers we need to care so deeply for our children that we daily strive to be the kind of fathers that our heavenly Father wants us to be.

 

A father who openly shows his deep care and concern for his children.  That’s the kind of father we can look up to!  As the children of God, we have the comfort of knowing that we can always look up to our heavenly Father because He has so clearly revealed His perfect care and His perfect concern for us.  May God grant that the care and the concern of our heavenly Father will indeed motivate us to be the kind of Christian fathers and grandfathers that others will be able to look up to as well.

 

To God be the glory!

 

Amen

APOSTLES’ CREED

I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.  He descended into hell.  The third day He rose again from the dead.  He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.  From there He will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.  Amen.

 OFFERING

During this time of uncertainty we still want to bring our thank offerings to our dear Lord and Savior.  We ask that you continue to set your offerings aside so that when we are able to come together again in God’s House we will be able to place our offerings on His altar.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH

Dear gracious Lord and God, as we gather together in your House on this Father’s day we bring our thanks and praise to you.  We thank and praise you for the guidance and the example that Joseph gave to your Son while He was here on this earth.  We thank and praise you for the fathers who faithfully fulfilled the role you gave to them and guided us as we were growing up and who helped us as we journey through this life.  We thank and praise you for the men who are willing to serve your children by serving as stepfathers and foster fathers and for those who have adopted children into their hearts and homes.  We thank and praise you for all of the many blessings that you give to us through our earthly fathers— blessings that we all too often take for granted.  We especially thank and praise you for the spiritual and eternal blessings that our fathers have given to us in your holy name.  Grant to fathers everywhere the wisdom and the desire to reflect your agape love to the people around them— especially to their own families.  Forgive us for all of the times that we have not given to our fathers the love and the respect that they deserve to receive.

LORD’S PRAYER

C:        Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever.  Amen.

M:       O Lord God, our heavenly Father, pour out the Holy Spirit on your faithful people.  Keep us strong in your grace and truth, protect and comfort us in all temptation, and bestow on us your saving peace, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

C:        Amen.

M:       Brothers and sisters, go in peace.  Live in harmony with one another.  Serve the Lord with gladness.

The Lord bless you and keep you.  The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you.  The Lord look on you with favor and give you peace.

C:        Amen.