The Fifth Sunday of Easter

Mother’s Day

May 10, 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.

 

P:         He is risen!

C:        He is risen indeed!

All:     Alleluia!

 

M:       The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.

C:        And also with you.

 

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.

OH, TASTE AND SEE

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.

The minister says the Prayer of the Day.

O God, you form the minds of your faithful people into a single will.  Make us love what you command and desire what you promise, that among the many changes of this world, our hearts may ever yearn for the lasting joys of heaven; we ask this through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

C:        Amen.

The Word

 

FIRST LESSON – Acts 1:1-14

As Jesus ascends into heaven, He leaves His disciples with a promise of power from the Holy Spirit.

 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.  After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive.  He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.  On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command:  “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.  For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”  So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”  He said to them; “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.  They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.  “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky?  This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”   Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city.  When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying.  Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.  They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.  (NIV1984)

PSALM OF THE DAY – Psalm 8

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your Name in all the earth!

You have set Your glory above the heavens.

When I consider Your heavens,

The work of Your fingers,

What is man that you are mindful of him,

the Son of Man that you care for Him?

You made Him a little lower than the heavenly beings

and crowned Him with glory and honor.

You made Him ruler over the works of Your hands;

You put everything under His feet.

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 – 1 Peter 4:12-17; 5:6-11

In this life we struggle to reach the goal of glory in heaven, always confident that God’s hand protects and strengthens us.

 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.  If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.  If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.  However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.  For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?   Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.  And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  To him be the power for ever and ever.  Amen.  (NIV1984)

 

VERSE OF THE DAY

Alleluia.  Alleluia.  Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia.  I am the way, the truth and the life, says the Lord.  Alleluia.  (John 14:6)

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 – John 17:1-11 (Sermon Text)

Jesus’ prayer for us is that one day we would reach the glory of heaven, even as we are gathered around the glory of our Lord Jesus now.

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:  “Father, the time has come.  Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.  For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.  Now this is eternal life:  that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.  I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.  And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.  I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world.  They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.  Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you.  For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them.  They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.  I pray for them.  I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.  All I have is yours, and all you have is mine.  And glory has come to me through them.  I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you.  Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name— the name you gave me— so that they may be one as we are one.”  (NIV1984)

C:        Praise be to you, O Christ!

SERMON  The Lord’s Prayer

Dear fellow worshipers of our living Lord and Savior,

He is risen!  He is risen indeed!

As I was preparing this sermon I ran across a statement concerning Mother’s Day that I would like to share with you today.  It goes like this, “Some people ridicule Mother’s Day as a lot of sentimental drivel.  They say that it is nothing more than the creation of the greeting card companies and florists.  And, to be perfectly candid, there are many ministers who shun this day because, they say, it is not a religious holiday.  Furthermore, they preach from the lectionary, which has an assigned scriptural reading each week, and therefore mother’s day is left out.”

I have a problem with this.  In fact, I have several problems with this!  Is Mother’s Day simply “sentimental drivel”?  Is Mother’s Day purely a ploy by greeting card companies and florists to make money?  Should I “shun” Mother’s Day on the grounds that it is not a “religious holiday”?  Do the Scripture readings for today necessitate that Mother’s Day be “left out” of our worship service this morning?  Personally, I think the answer to all of those questions is a resounding:  No!

With that being said I will grant that the sermon text you heard me read just moments ago may not have instantly instilled thoughts of Mother’s Day in your mind.  My goal then this morning is twofold.  First, I want to remain faithful to my training and proclaim to you the Scriptural truths contained here in our text for today.  Secondly, I want to acknowledge the fact that today is indeed Mother’s Day.

In order to achieve both of those goals we will study this text under the theme:  The Lord’s Prayer.  Since our text is by far mostly written in red we first and foremost need to make sure we understand how these words apply to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Once we have achieved that goal then let’s see how these words, how this Lord’s prayer, apply nicely to Christian mothers.

Our text for today is a portion of Scripture that is very often referred to as Jesus’ high priestly prayer.  As we look at the Lord’s prayer recorded here in John 17 we see that our Savior focuses on two things.  First, Jesus prays for Himself.  Second, Jesus prays for His disciples.

Look at verses 1-5.  The Lord’s prayer begins with Jesus praying for Himself.  He says, “Father, the time has come.  Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.  For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.  Now this is eternal life:  that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.  I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.  And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”

Jesus spoke this prayer in the upper room on the night before He was crucified.  As the Almighty God Jesus knew exactly what was about to take place.  That’s why He says, “Father, the time has come.”  The entire history of the world had been leading up to this moment in time— the moment when God’s Son would die to pay for all the sins of the entire human race, the moment when God’s Son would physically rise from the dead to guarantee that our salvation is complete!

As Jesus comes face-to-face with this pivotal moment in time He prays to His heavenly Father, “Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.”  What does Jesus have in mind here as He talks about “glory”?  In a way that goes completely contrary to our mortal sinful human minds Jesus is focused on— the cross!  (Pointing to the cross)  That horrible shameful death by crucifixion will bring “glory” or “exaltation” to both God the Father as well as to God the Son!  In fact, Jesus is so committed to the “glory” of the cross that He speaks of it here in our text as a completed fact!  He says, “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.”  Even though He knew the physical torture He was about to undergo, even though He knew the hellish anguish He was about to endure, Jesus stays focused on the “glory” of the cross and prays, “Father, the time has come.  Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.”

But how, my friends?  How does the cross bring “glory” and “exaltation” to both God the Father and God the Son?  The answer to that question is found in verses 2-3 of our text.  Jesus continues, “For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.  Now this is eternal life:  that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

The glory of God is seen here in this world through the work of God the Son and the work of God the Son is focused on securing for us the gift of eternal life.  To know deep down in our hearts that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16) brings “glory” and “exaltation” to God the Father!  To know deep down in our hearts that “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28) brings “glory” and “exaltation” to God the Son!  To know deep down in our hearts that eternal life in heaven is a free gift— a gift that is ours purely by grace through faith in Jesus Christ— brings “glory” and “exaltation” to our Savior God!  Therefore, my friends, as Jesus prays for Himself here in His high priestly prayer it is very easy for us to see that His focus is on bringing glory to His heavenly Father by completing the work that He came into this world to do— securing for us the gift of eternal life by saving us from our sins.

As we turn then to the second half of our text for today we see our Savior earnestly praying for His disciples.  Since there is so much contained in these verses we will never be able to cover it all here this morning.  Therefore, I would like us to focus our attention on verse eleven.  As Jesus prays for His disciples He says, “I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you.  Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name— the name you gave me— so that they may be one as we are one.”

Jesus knew that after His ascension, after He returned Home to Heaven, the hatred of the unbelieving world would be directed against us— Jesus’ disciples.  Therefore, Jesus asks His Father to “protect” us by the “power of His name.”  I find it intriguing that the Greek word that is translated here in John 17:11 as “protect” is the exact same Greek word that our Savior used in John 14:15 when He said, “If you love me you will obey what I command.”  This Greek word can also be translated as “to keep under guard.”  That is the “thread” which I think ties John 14:15 and John 17:11 together.  Our love for Jesus is what leads us to “keep under guard” the holy Word of our God.  At the very same time our heavenly Father “keeps” us “under guard” “by the power of His name”— the Name which we find right here in His holy Word!  In my mind Jesus here links together our obedience to His holy inspired Word with the protection that our heavenly Father gives to us through the power of His holy inspired Word— with the goal that we might be united as one on the basis of His holy inspired Word.

It probably won’t surprise you to hear that I think that this portion of the Lord’s prayer once again reminds us of how important it is for us to remain faithful to Scripture.  Faithfulness to this (the Bible) is how we show our love to Jesus and this (the Bible) is how our heavenly Father protects us from the temptations and the deceptions and the false teachings that are so prevalent in our world today.

Let’s shift gears now and focus our attention on our second goal for this morning, shall we?  How does the Lord’s prayer recorded for us here in John 17 apply to Christian mothers today?  The simple fact that Jesus is praying to His heavenly Father is where we need to start, isn’t it.  Prayer is an extremely important part of the lives of Christian moms.  And just as Jesus’ prayer included a prayer for Himself so also moms need to pray for themselves as well.  Now what exactly you might include in this portion of your prayers could vary from one Christian mom to the next.  I can imagine a prayer for guidance and strength.  I can envision a prayer for patience and wisdom.  I can understand a prayer for peace and contentment.  But at the heart of it all I would anticipate that Christian moms would pray that their “work” as a mom would serve to bring glory to their heavenly Father!

So moms— pray!  Pray that the words that you speak to your children will bring glory to God.  Pray that the example that you set for your children will bring glory to God.  Pray that the values and the priorities that you strive to instill in your children will bring glory to God.  But above all, pray that the good Lord Himself will give you the guidance and the insight and the patience and the wisdom that you need to nurture the gift of saving faith which God Himself created in the heart of your child so that both you and your family will spend all of eternity bringing glory and praise to your Savior God.

At the same time as Christian moms you will want to be praying for your children.  And while there are indeed many different things that you will want to include in this portion of your prayers I would like to encourage all Christian moms to follow Jesus’ example and pray to the heavenly Father on behalf of your children, “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name.”  Eventually our children grow up and then they go out into the world on their own.  You know as well as I do that our world today is a very dangerous place for Bible-believing Christians— especially for Bible-believing children.  Don’t let one single day go by without asking your heavenly Father to protect your family.  Ask Him to keep your children faithful to His Word.  Ask Him to empower your children to use the “sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17) so that they can overcome the temptations of the devil, the world and their own sinful flesh.  Ask Him to keep your children safe in His almighty arms until the very moment He brings them home to heaven.  Pray for your children as earnestly as Jesus is praying for you.

Obviously there are a number of different ways that Mother’s Day is viewed today.  And yes, I know that there are preachers whose sermons today made little or no mention of the fact that today is indeed Mother’s Day.  My hope is that in some small way I was able to achieve the two-fold goal I set before you at the beginning of this sermon.  I hope that the Lord’s prayer recorded here in John 17 will lead you to rejoice in both the “glory” of the cross (Pointing to the cross) as well as in the protection of your heavenly Father.  I also hope that the Lord’s prayer recorded here in John 17 will lead all of us— and today we will say especially Christian moms— to rejoice in the fact that you have the awesome privilege of going to the throne of your heavenly Father and praying for both yourself as well as for your children.

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 holy Name on this Mother’s day we bring our thanks and praise to you.  We thank you that you caused your own eternal Son to be born in time of a human mother in order to save us from our sins.  We praise you for our mothers who carried us into this life and for the mothers who helped us as we journey through this life.  We thank you for all of the many blessings that you give to us through our earthly mothers— blessings that we all too often take for granted.  We especially thank you for the spiritual and eternal blessings that our mothers have given to us in your holy Name.  Grant to mothers 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 mothers 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.