Sermon for the Tenth Sunday after Trinity August 13, 2023
Text: Exodus 20:17 Summer Sermon Series 23:2399
Theme: LORD, THY WILL BE DONE BY US…
That We Keep Our Hearts Pure and Content on You.
Years ago, we had a dog named Maggie. When she was young, she loved to chase things: birds, butterflies, bees. If it had wings and flew past her, she chased it. She didn’t need it. She lacked nothing, for we gave her plenty to eat. Still, she kept chasing. Funny thing, I never saw her catch and enjoy one thing she chased.
Many of our wishes and the things we set our hearts upon are like dogs chasing bees. We don’t get what we wish for. Usually, no harm is done. But there are those times when we wish for things that God does not will us to have and we teeter on the brink of covetousness. What is covetousness?
Coveting is overreaching. Coveting is lusting after things we don’t have. Coveting is the evil desire for people or worldly goods that belong to someone else, making the attaining of them the goal of life. Coveting is discontent to the highest degree so that I seek to get those things that are not mine. Coveting is idolatry for it takes my heart away from God and His blessings to me and centers it on worldly things. As with the breaking of the other 8 commandments, we have come full circle to the First Commandment.
We are to have a single heart’s desire – the Lord and His goodness to us. Nothing in our hearts should rise above Him. So it is that we pray: LORD, MAY THY WILL BE DONE BY US…That We Keep Our Hearts Pure and Content on You.
I. Make God and His blessings to You the goal of life.
It is very much a part of our fallen human nature that we do not desire another person to possess as much as we have. That fallen human nature wants to secure as much as it can for itself without any regard to our neighbor’s best interests. So, here again, as in the Seventh Commandment against stealing, God forbids us to deprive our neighbor of anything of his own, even if in the eyes of the world we could do it honorably, for people want to be thought of as upright and among the most righteous and best of people.
So it is that in coveting, people are tempted to dress themselves in “fine-looking outer-clothing” to conceal one’s inner dishonesty. Oh, the clever ways our world seeks and invents to defraud one’s neighbor of the blessings God has given him. And, quite often, it is done under the guise of justice in a more subtle way than by outright stealing from one’s neighbor. Laws are distorted and stretched for one’s own gain, and it often leads to the breaking of multiple commandments of God.
For example, in the days of the Prophet Elijah, Ahab was king in Israel. In his heart he did not make God and God’s blessings to him the goal of life. Although he lived in a house lined with ivory and gold, Ahab was discontented and desirous of more material things. His wife, Jezebel, was even more idolatrous than he.
Near the palace a man named Naboth owned a beautiful piece of property with a nice vineyard and pleasant gardens. Ahab wanted it. However, Naboth was not willing to part with it, since it had been in his family for a long time. Ahab offered to buy it, but Naboth would not sell it. The king went home and pouted because he didn’t get what he coveted. Jezebel made plans to get it for him.
She wrote letters to the city officials filled with lies about Naboth. They said that Naboth had cursed God and the king, crimes that were punishable in the O.T. with death. Her false witness to the court prompted the officials to execute Naboth. As soon as Naboth died, Ahab grabbed possession of the vineyard he coveted.
Ahab’s coveting Naboth’s property (10th) led to cursing and false oaths (2nd). That led to lies in court (8th). Lies led to seemingly “righteous” execution, really murder (5th). With Naboth out of the way, his property was stolen (7th). And, as with the breaking of every commandment, Ahab did not make God and the carrying out of His will the goal of life (1st). Look how the discontent and evil desires of the human heart led to a domino effect in breaking God’s commands. Instead of treasuring God and His individual blessings on a person’s life as most important, gaining worldly things by any means become of primary importance. As Ahab lived apart from God in life, so he died apart from God in eternity.
With these last commandments, God addresses our hearts, just as He has done throughout. Set your heart on Him. “Fear, love, and trust in Him with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.” The constraining love of God as well as the restraining fear of God will keep the heart from covetousness that takes my heart away from Him. Nothing must rise above Him there.
As the Apostle Paul wrote in last week’s Epistle Lesson (1Co.10:6f): “These things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters…We should not test the Lord…Do not grumble…These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall. No testing has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
Like a kindly and wise father who knows our weakness in thinking that “things are greener on the other side of the fence,” He commands: “You shall not covet,” whether it be inanimate, material possessions or a neighbor’s spouse, workers, or any living thing.
When we fall to this, let us run to Christ “who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet was without sin.” As our hearts are set again on Him in sorrowful repentance, His forgiveness from the cross and His righteousness in life will again purify our hearts and help us to stand against evil. He promises to “provide the way out so that we can stand up under it.” That is God’s promise to all who believe His Word.
So may we find peace of mind and conscience and purity of heart in Him. Make Him and His blessings to you the goal of life. Only He Can Keep Our Hearts Pure. And…
II. …then we will be able to live in godly contentment with what He has given each of us.
Contentment – that’s the antidote to covetousness. The Apostle Paul, who may have struggled with covetousness in his own life (Ro.7:7f), writes of his experience in this, saying: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me” (Phlp.4:11f).
The secret for Keeping Our Hearts Pure is contentment, godly contentment. Paul continued, “Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that” (1Tm.6). In such contentment the hand of the Lord will be upon us. What is such godly contentment like?
John Newton described it this way. “If two angels came down from heaven to carry out a divine command and one was appointed to sweep the streets while the other was appointed to a high and noble task, they would feel no inclination to change employments.” Why not? Because each would have the sure conviction that he was doing what his Lord had given him to do, and that by his service, great or humble, he was glorifying God.” That’s living in godly contentment with what the Lord has given.
No matter what station in life God has chosen for you, no matter what He has given you or what service you can render to Him, you can find joy in His choices for you. There is no need to chase after birds, butterflies, or bees for what He gives to you is the path along which He has chosen to lead you to glory. No matter what material possessions He gives, it is enough, and we find joy knowing that He has given each of us exactly what He knows that we need. With it He will guide us down the path that leads to eternal glory.
“I have learned to be content in whatever the circumstances,” for the one who holds to Christ as the Savior already has the most priceless treasure on earth. Nothing that we could desire can match the eternal life that the Savior has won for us. Neither rust, nor moth, nor thief can ever take it from you (Mt.6:20).
In love for Christ and in obedience to this commandment we can say with the hymnist:
What is the world to me With all its vaunted pleasure.
When Thou, and Thou alone, Lord Jesus art my Treasure!
Thou only, dearest Lord, My (heart’s) Delight shall be.
Thou art my Peace, my Rest – What is the world to me!
To that end we pray: LORD, MAY THY WILL BE DONE BY US…That We Keep Our Hearts Pure and Content on You.
God grant it to us in faith for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
The Tenth Sunday after Trinity August 13, 2023
Welcome in our Savior’s name. We are glad to have you worshiping with us today and pray that as we grow in grace, we will be encouraged to use His gifts to glorify His name.
Similar to last Sunday’s lessons, today’s lessons continue with the emphasis on faithful use of God’s gifts to us. Not only are we to be wise and faithful stewards of His gifts, but we are responsible to Him for the way we use them. As Jesus said, “To those who have been given much, much is to be expected.” He holds us accountable for the way we use the gifts He has given.
In the sermon text we continue in our study of the Ten Commandments with the Ninth and Tenth Commandments. These commandments also deal with God’s gifts. He gives them freely for the enjoyment, blessing, and use of His Kingdom. He gives them as He sees fit to each person. Therefore, we can be content, knowing that He has blessed us with that which He has seen fit to give. Therefore, we need not look to others and covet what is theirs.
These commandments also have a very close relationship to the First Commandment, although, at first, we might not see it. They seek to direct us in the proper attitude of the heart that lets no desire replace the fear and love of God within us.
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Accountable to God for His Gifts of Grace.
Opening Thoughts on the Service
The Entrance Hymn: “Oh Worship the King” #620
Order of Worship: Service: Setting One without Communion: pages 154-160
Prayer of the Day
The Ministry of the Word
(The Lessons for the Day are taken from the Historic Pericope Series of the Christian Church.)
The Responses following each lesson are on page 160
Jeremiah 7:1-11 The Lord considered Israel’s unfaithfulness to His gifts of grace as robbery. Guilty of idolatry, adultery, stealing, and murder outside of the temple grounds, the people shamelessly ventured into the Temple where they thought they were safe. God admonished them to return to Him, the God of grace.
Psalm of the Day: Psalm 100 “Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving”
1 Corinthians 12:1-11 The Holy Spirit gives various gifts to His Church, all for the common good of His Kingdom. He determines the gifts and their proportion. Each believer is accountable for its use for the good of all.
The Gospel Acclamation: God’s Love page 161
Luke 19:41-47 Jesus weeps over Jerusalem’s rejection of Him who is God’s greatest gift. Such rejection would result in their destruction. Their rejection of God’s Gift is also seen in their turning of the Temple from a “house of prayer into a den of thieves,” where they not only robbed people of their money but robbed God of the glory due Him.
The Sermon Hymn: “What Is the World to Me” #717
The Sermon: Lord, Thy Will Be Done By Us…
…That We Keep Our Hearts Pure.
Our Response to the Word
The Confession of Faith: The Apostles’ Creed page 163
Prayer of the Church page 164
The Lord Blesses Us
The Hymn: “Create in Me a Clean Heart” #942
The Closing Prayer and Blessing page 171
Closing Hymn: “Drawn to the Cross” #808
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The Organist: Jane Rips The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Point to Ponder: “Here, again, we are forbidden to deprive our neighbor of anything of his own even when, in the eyes of the world, we could honorably do it, without accusation or blame or fraudulent dealing. Such is human nature that no one of us desires the other to possess as much as himself, and each secures as much as he can, without regard to his neighbor’s interests. Yet, we want to be thought upright. We dress ourselves up to conceal our roguery. We seek and invent ingenious devices and clever frauds under the guise of justice….
“Let us understand these commandments to be directed particularly against envy and wretched avarice, God’s purpose being to remove the cause and source of our injuries to our neighbor. In plain words, therefore, He expresses it: “Thou shalt not covet.” For, above all, He would have our hearts pure, although so long as we live upon earth, we shall not fully succeed in this. These commandments, then, like the others, remain our constant monitor and become the recorder of our righteousness before God.”
— Martin Luther in a Sermon on Coveting
The Tenth Sunday after Trinity – Historic Series
Old Testament Lesson: Jeremiah 7:1-11 – Change Your Evil Ways.
1The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord. 2 “Stand in the gate of the House of the Lord and proclaim this message there. ‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah who are coming through this gate to worship the Lord. 3 This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says.
Reform your ways and your actions, and I will establish you in this place. 4 Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.”
5 Sincerely reform your ways and your actions. Carry out justice between a man and his neighbor. 6 Do not oppress the alien who lives in your land, the fatherless, or the widow. Do not shed innocent blood in this place. Do not follow after other gods to your own harm. If you avoid these things, 7 I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your fathers forever and ever.
8 Take warning. You are trusting in deceptive words that cannot help you. 9 Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and swear falsely? Will you offer sacrifices to Baal and follow other gods you do not know? 10 Will you come and stand before me in this temple that bears my Name, and say, “We are safe,” the whole time you do all these detestable things? 11 This house bears my Name! Have you made it a den of robbers? Watch out! I myself have been watching,’ declares the Lord.”
Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 The Spirit Gives Various Gifts.
1Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, you were deceived and somehow led away to mute idols. 3 Therefore I am informing you that no one speaking by God’s Spirit says, “A curse be upon Jesus,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
4 There are various kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different kinds of ministries, yet the same Lord. 6 There are various kinds of activity, but the same God produces all of them in everyone.
7 Each person is given a manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 To one person a message of wisdom is given by the Spirit; to another, a message of knowledge, as the same Spirit provides it; 9 by the same Spirit, faith is given to someone else; and to another, the same Spirit gives healing gifts. 10 Another is given powers to do miracles; another, the gift of prophecy; another, the evaluating of spirits; someone else, different kinds of tongues; and another, the interpretation of tongues. 11 One and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them to each one individually as he desires.
Gospel Lesson: Luke 19:41-48 – Jesus Weeps Over Jerusalem.
41 As he came near, he saw the city and wept over it. 42 He said, “If you, yes you, had only known on this day the things that would bring peace to you. But now, it is hidden from your eyes. 43 In fact, the days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you, surround you, and hem you in on every side. 44 Within your walls, they will dash you and your children to the ground. And within your walls, they will not leave one stone on top of another, because you did not recognize the time when God came to help you.”
45 Jesus entered the temple courts and began to drive out those who were selling things there. 46 He told them, “It is written, ‘My house will be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of robbers’!” 47 Every day he was teaching in the temple courts, but the chief priests, the experts in the law, and the leaders of the people continued to look for a way to put him to death. 48 They could not find any way to do it, because all the people were clinging to him and listening.
The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) © 2019
The Ninth Commandment
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God that we may not craftily seek
to get our neighbor’s inheritance or house, and obtain it by a show of justice and right,
but help and be of service to him in keeping it.
The Tenth Commandment
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his man-servant,
nor his maid-servant, nor his cattle, nor anything that is his.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God that we may not estrange, force, or entice away our neighbor’s wife, servant, or cattle, but urge them to stay and diligently do their duty.
(English text as published in the Concordia Triglotta, 1921)
How these commandments are transgressed and fufilled.
Of the last two commandments, these enjoin absolute purity and an utter contempt for worldly pleasures and possessions. The perfect fulfillment of their requirements is possible only in the life to come.
In general, for all the commandments – All works performed in obedience to these commandments are inspired by love for others, a love which goes beyond self and embraces God and the neighbor. It does not seek its own interests, but those of God and the neighbor, freely offering itself to the service of everybody according to his need and pleasure….
All this is demonstrated by the fact that in these commandments no instruction is given in reference to what man is to do or to abstain from for his own advantage and in reference to his claims upon others. The instruction given is limited to his obligation, both negative and positive, in relation to God and his neighbor. Thus we cannot but understand that the fulfilment of these commandments does not stand in the love of self, but in the love of others. That man lives the best life who lives not for himself. That man lives the worst life who lives for himself. Such is the teaching of the Ten Commandments, and in the light of this teaching it is seen how few there are who live as they ought. Yea, it is impossible for any man to live as he ought. Therefore, it behooves us to learn in the next place where the strength for a good life and for the fulfilment of these commandments is to be found – in Jesus!
(Martin Luther on: A Treatise on the Law, Faith, and Prayer of 1520)
Calendar & Announcements for Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
A member congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue), Springfield, MO 65810
Church phone: 417.887.0886 www.zionluthchurch.com
Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find us on Facebook
Divine Worship Service
Fellowship & Bible Study
10th Sunday after Trinity
|Confirmation Class recessed for summer.
6 pm Elders/Trustees
Midweek Bible Class.
Divine Worship Service
with Holy Communion online – Facebook
Fellowship & Bible Study
11th Sunday after Trinity
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
“Grace” is a beautiful Bible word. We normally define grace as God’s undeserved love. And that’s exactly right! Grace suggests the idea of giving gifts without a sense of obligation. God loves us and gives us of Himself not because He is obligated. He doesn’t owe us things. Everything He does and gives us is done because He is gracious. Of His manifold gifts to us, the best are His spiritual gifts which He freely gives to His people through the working of the Holy Spirit.
The Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 (the answers are found on the back side)
- What subject does St. Paul begin to address in these verses?
- Who is the giver of all Christian gifts?
- For whose sake does the Holy Spirit give us gifts?
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Greg Miller; William & Laurie Moon; Pauline Jaeger; Kirsten Jaster (Laurie Moon’s sister); Greg Pierson (the Long’s son-in-law); Libya, Jodi Milam’s granddaughter; Barbara Long; Barbara Breidel; John, Elisha & Isaac Covey; Lucille Huston; Kathy Workentine, Glenn Schulz’s sister, diagnosed with a reoccurrence of cancer; Lois Wiese, now at home.
Forward in Christ’s next edition for August and Meditations next series of daily devotions beginning the end of August have arrived. There are copies in the narthex for family and friends.
Lord, May Thy Will Be Done By Us Today we conclude our journey through the Ten Commandments with Commandments #9 and 10. Each Sunday over the summer we have reviewed a commandment and Martin Luther’s Small Catechism’s explanation of it. We encourage each member and friend to keep reviewing the commandments and their explanations daily. What a vital and necessary review that is! It is also a good study on which we can focus our daily prayers. If you don’t have a catechism, see Pastor. Next Sunday we look at the Conclusion to the Commandments.
Upcoming Services and Events
The Week in Review
Last Sunday Worship: ; Bible Class ; Midweek Bible Class: ; Offerings: $.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
11th Sunday after Trinity: Dan.9:15-18; 1 Cor.15:1-10; Luke 18:9-14 (Historic Pericope Series); The Conclusion
Answer to Today’s Epistle Lesson Brief Study:
- Paul begins to address the subject of spiritual gifts. The Corinthian Christians were extremely gifted (1 Co 1:5-7), but they were not putting their gifts to use according to Christian love, which is God’s greatest gift (1 Co 13) outside of the Savior.
- No matter what gift we have, the Holy Spirit is the gracious Giver of that gift. Christians have many different gifts, but the Holy Spirit is the Giver of them all.
- Christians are not to use their gifts for their own selfish gain or benefit. Instead, Paul explains that all gifts are “given for the common good.” In other words, Christians are to use their gifts to benefit their fellow Christians.
This week I am praying for……