Sunday, March 6, 2016

Time in the Word - Lent 5

The Theme for Lent 5, “Forecast of the Future,” helps us see the purpose and the necessity of the cross. It is a one-time act but has eternal consequences. In the Old Testament lesson (Isaiah 43:16-21), God will do a new thing for His people. He promises to do a new thing for His people, something good. In the Epistle lesson (Philippians 3:8-14), Christians strain forward to the future goal of Christ. Paul says that he forgets the past and looks forward to the future. In the Gospel lesson (Luke 20:9-19), judgment will come to those who reject God’s Son. This is brought out in the parable of the wicked tenants. The Hymn of the Day is a contemplative hymn, which focuses on Christ’s crucifixion. It is one of the most powerful hymns in our hymnal. 

A morning prayer – Faithful God, whose mercies are new to us every morning, we humbly pray that You would look upon us in mercy and renew us by Your Holy Spirit. Keep safe our going out and our coming in, and let Your blessings remain with us throughout this day. Preserve us in Your righteousness and grant us a portion in that eternal life which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

A prayer before worship – O Lord, our Creator, Redeemer, and Comforter, as we come to worship You in spirit and in truth, we humbly pray that You may open our hearts to the preaching of Your Word, so that we may repent of our sins, believe in Jesus Christ as our only Savior, and grow in grace and holiness. Hear us for His same. 

A prayer for help in times of temptation – Almighty and everlasting God, through Your Son You have promised us forgiveness of sins and everlasting life. Govern our hearts by Your Holy Spirit that in our daily need and especially in all time of temptation, we may seek Your help and, by a true and lively faith in Your Word, obtain all that You have promised; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

A prayer for reconciliation - God of love, through Your Son You have commanded us to love one another. By the guidance of Your Word and Spirit, deliver us from impenitence and teach us the truth that we might confess our sins, receive Your forgiveness and be reconciled to one another; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Collect for Lent 5 – Almighty God, by Your great goodness mercifully look upon Your people that we may be governed and preserved evermore in body and soul; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen 

Monday, 7 March 2016—Psalm 3:3-6, Antiphon, Psalm 3:8, Salvation belongs to the Lord; Your blessings be on Your people! Though threatened by many foes, the psalmist prays confidently to the Lord. A common feature in the prayers of the Psalter is a concluding expression of confidence that the prayer will be heard. David’s confidence becomes a testimony to God’s people. As he stands before God, the psalmist, King David, prays on behalf of the nation. 

Tuesday, 8 March 2016—Psalm 126; key verse, verse 3: The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Psalm 126 is a song of joy for restoration to Zion. If not composed for those who returned from Babylonian exile, the place of exiles is not named; it surely served to voice the joy of the restored community. The psalm divides into two stanzas of four Hebrew lines each with their initial lines sharing a common theme. Thematic unity is further served by repetition and other key words 

Wednesday, 9 March 2016— Isaiah 43:16-21–In this passage God asks us to stop thinking and talking about all the good things God did for us in the past such as the Exodus from Egypt. Something better is going to happen to us – a new and better Exodus from the slavery of sin. God promises to do a new thing (verse 19). God will make a way out of bondage (verse 19). God will provide provisions on the way (verse 20). God will give you reason to praise Him (verse 21). 

Thursday, 10 March 2016—Philippians 3:8-14–In this reading, Paul shows us how the past, present, and future come together in a Christian’s life. We do not live in any one tense. All of time is involved in a Christian’s life. The past –we consider it refuse (verse 8). The present – we have Christ by faith (verse 9). The future – we look to the future goal of oneness in Christ (verses 12-14). 

Friday, 11 March 2016 – Luke 20:9-20–In the parable packed with truths in allegorical form, the Savior teaches us. He tells us about God – God is the owner of our world and is entitled to rent. God is patient with us. Three times, He sent a servant, then a son. God’s patience has an end-judgment that will be enacted. God has no other plan to reconcile us – Christ was His only Son. He can do no more. If the world does not accept Christ, nothing but destruction lies ahead. He tells us about Christ. He is God’s Son. 

Others before Him were only “servants.” He holds a unique position with God the Father, an intimacy and a oneness. He was sent by God – to receive us our obligation to God. Jesus has a mission. He was obedient to God’s will. He knew that His end was death at the hands of wicked men. His death was not an accident, not bad luck, not forced. In obedience to God, He faced the cross courageously and voluntarily. 

The parable announces His approaching end. He tells us about mankind. Man is only a steward, not the owner. As such, he owes God a return. Man is a rebel – in constant rebellion against God. He refuses to render to God what is God’s. He rejects servants and son. Man wants to be the owner-God. He refuses to give God his portion and hopes to take over the vineyard by killing the son. Man is prone to violence – beating and killing servants and son. Elijah was driven into the wilderness. Isaiah was sawn asunder. Zachariah was stoned to death before the altar. John the Baptizer was beheaded. Jesus was crucified. 

Saturday, 12 March 2016—-Isaiah 53:3-6, Acts 4:11-12, Romans 4:23- The hymn of the day is Stricken Smitten, and Afflicted (451 LSB). We move deeper into Lent and the cross now becomes the focal point of our Lenten journey. The cross cannot be denied the Savior. This week’s hymn is one of the most profound hymns written in the Lent and Holy Week section of the hymnal. It speaks for itself. Take some time as you prepare for worship tomorrow to contemplate all the Savior has done for you.

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