All…All…All…Yet, Not All!

by Pastor Edwin Lehmann on January 26, 2024 in

Septuagesima (Run to Win the Prize)        January 28, 2024

Text: 1 Corinthians 9:24-10:5 Historic Series                                            24:2425

Theme: All…All…All…Yet Not All.

Do you like contests, athletic contests? Many people do, and they get very enthusiastic about them. Just watch this afternoon as the championship football games are played in Baltimore and San Francisco. These are big games, and the fans will cheer boisterously for their team to win.
But for many, the greatest, noblest, and best of all “contests” will receive scant attention today. It is the race which the gospel sets before us – the race of the Christian life, the race of saving faith, the race for eternal life. That race is now underway for you.
It is a different way to speak of the life of faith as a contest, a race, a struggle in the present. It will end only when the finish line is crossed at the time of death. But for those who cross that line in faith in Christ – oh, the glory that awaits, unsurpassed in its magnificence. Today’s events in the stadiums of our land pale in comparison. The race for eternal life is the greatest, noblest, and worthiest of all. But, by far, it is not the easiest. And all must run.
It demands determination, devotion, and dedication that knows no surrender. It requires courage, endurance, and the straining forward of every fiber that is within you. It permits no letdown. If the race is finished and won, it is well for all eternity. But the race can be lost. Indeed, the course is littered with the wrecks of lives that fell by the wayside. What disaster! There is no second chance to regain the prize.
So, dear friend, consider: the race must be run by All…All…All people. Yet Not All receive the crown of life. How are you running?

I. Not All will receive the prize. This could even include an apostle, like Paul himself. He takes us into the “stadium” to watch his “race.”
Paul pictures us as observers, sitting in the stands of one of the great stadiums of the ancient Greek world where the Isthmian games were held. These games were the pre-runners to our Olympics. As we watch the games unfold before us, the track is teeming with activity. The athletes are stretching, flexing their muscles, running warm-ups, seeing to all kinds of last-minute preparations – toeing the mark, practicing their starts, waiting for the signal that will send them flying down the track. The starter’s signal sounds, and we see them in the race, arms pumping, legs gliding, each runner straining forward, drawing on every last ounce of strength with one purpose in mind – to win and receive the prize! Do you see yourself down there?
That’s what Paul wants you to see as he compares the Christian life we now live to that of a race run towards the finish line which God has set. We entered the race when in His grace God brought us to faith in Christ. The race was on the minute you were baptized or the hour that the Holy Spirit planted faith in you through the hearing of God’s Word. And now, having entered the race, we are to pursue the Christian life of faith in such a way as to win the prize. But there is a difference with this contest. We are not competing against each other, but we are running towards a blessed prize that awaits all who apply themselves to the course and don’t give up. But be aware, the course is filled with obstacles that could make us falter and fall. This was true even for the Apostle Paul.
His life of faith had been a bitter, hard-fought battle. He strained forward against opposition by the heathen, by unbelieving Jews, by temptations and doubts raised by Satan, by attacks against him from false teachers, by spiritual challenges and physical dangers. Through it all, Satan had not yet made him fall, although he tried very hard. Even when the race was almost done and Paul was dead-tired, sitting in a jail cell in Rome from which he would never walk away alive, he kept straining forward in faith, always in the Word, never relaxing, never giving in to the temptations of life, striving to keep the salvation that is only obtained by holding on to the cleansing blood of Christ. Finally, when the time was just about up, Paul could say, “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord will award to all who long for His appearing” (2Tm.4:8).
The race in this life was difficult even for a Paul. It was filled with obstacles from without and from within. Thorough, continuous preparation was needed. And the same is true for us all.
You know, every athlete must put in hours of work, preparing days, weeks, months, and years with intensive training to be in the best condition. You don’t just walk onto a field and win, let alone have the strength to last through the contest. One commits himself to a life of training so that he can stand up to the one who opposes him.
Paul sees little difference to the Christian life of faith. Nothing less than thorough preparation in the Word and Sacraments is needed for “our struggle in faith is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the power of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ep.6). With Satan behind them, they are determined to make you fall. So, preparation and attention to matters of faith are needed. You dare not slough off in your life of faith with spiritual inattention or laziness.
So it is that Paul writes, “I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize,”
That could even include an apostle. It was possible that Paul, the great missionary of the Church, could preach to all others, yet, in not paying attention to his own life of faith, lose the race and salvation for himself because of personal negligence and neglect. If that could be possible for the greatest theologian of the N.T. Church, what could it mean for us if we do not pay full attention to our lives of faith?
Fight, run, train always in the Word of God and His Sacraments. Nothing else will do if you one day wish to see heaven, for the truth of the matter is that All…All…All… have the opportunity. Yet Not All will cross the finish line.

II. The most tragic example of that is Israel in the desert. They had everything going for them. God led them all out of Egypt with a strong hand and great signs and wonders. God went before them all in a pillar of cloud, leading them Himself. He miraculously opened a way through the sea for all, using that same sea to destroy Pharaoh and his army. God sustained all Israel with miraculous food and water. In so many wonderful ways God showed all Israel His gracious presence for them. He covered them in His grace. Certainly, they would reach the Promised Land.
But what happened to all of them? Of the 600,000 fighting men and the rest who left Egypt, of all who witnessed God’s presence and grace, only two of the adults, Joshua and Caleb, entered the Promised Land. The others perished on the way. All received the blessings of God’s wondrous grace. Yet Not All received the goal’s end. Israel in the desert is the tragic example of losing out on God’s promise.
And what of you, dear Christian trainee? Those signs of God’s grace and His presence that the Israelites once received are types of His holy Sacraments to Christendom. In them He gives us even greater gifts of His gracious promises and presence in our lives. Likewise, God’s wrath upon those highly favored people are a type of His wrath upon those who today let themselves fall by the wayside and do not maintain their faith through constant attention to His grace and presence in Word and Sacrament. The Israelites fell. Will we?
When you were baptized into Christ in the name of the Triune God, your place in His family and the crown of life was sealed to you. When you were confirmed in the faith and prepared to receive Christ’s body and blood in the Sacrament as the Scriptures instruct us, your forgiveness from sin and the crown of life was sealed to you. These are God’s promises. If you hold to Christ, your Savior from sin, and grow in faith in Him, the crown of life is sealed to you. But:
– if you let sin and disobedience to God dominate you,
– if you do not walk in newness of life in the Holy Spirit,
– if you make infrequent or no use of His Means of Grace,
– if you let your faith decline through neglect of His Word,
– if you treat it all as a matter of indifference to you,
– then the crown of life that was once yours will fall to another. All…All…All have the opportunity. Yet Not All will make it.
Paul’s race is run. His fight is over. He fought the good fight. He finished the race. By God’s grace he kept the faith. The crown of righteousness is now his.
So run, dear Christian friend, with your eyes fixed on the goal. Permit nothing to waylay you. If you do, your race will be lost. Immerse yourself in God’s grace in Christ through Word and Sacrament, and by an enduring faith that the Holy Spirit will work in you, the crown of life will be yours. God grant it to us all in faith, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield

(A member congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod)

4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)

Church phone: 417.887.0886        Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244              email:

You can also find us on Facebook  

Septuagesima Sunday – Pre-Lent 1      January 28, 2024

“I am the LORD who shows mercy, justice, and righteousness on earth.” Jer. 9:24

Welcome: The family of Zion welcomes you as we worship the Lord today. We encourage children to worship with us. However, if you need to leave with your child, there is a nursery room to the right as you exit the sanctuary. The rest rooms are located in the hallway between the sanctuary and the fellowship hall. Visitors, please sign our guest book to the right, just outside the sanctuary. We’re glad that you are here and pray that through our worship the Lord grants you peace.

U p o n   E n t e r i n g    G o d’ s   H o u s e

“The ropes of death entangled me. The ropes of the grave wrapped around me. In my distress I called to the LORD. To my God I cried out. He heard my voice and rescued me from my powerful enemy” (Psalm 18).

W h a t   T h i s   S u n d a y   i s   A b o u t

Blessed by God’s Gracious Kindness. With this Sunday we begin to turn from the joy and jubilation of the Christmas and Epiphany Seasons to the more serious, penitential aspects of the Lenten preparation.

The names of the next three Sundays point to the approximate days remaining until Easter. Today’s “Septuagesima” means seventy. Its lessons focus on the kindness and goodness of God that drive Him in grace to mercifully take care of His people. Yet, He expects them to carry on with a life of self-discipline and godly endeavors within His Kingdom.

The life of a Christian is not the life of a sluggard. It is like a race, requiring godly effort. Still, one never merits grace through effort. God’s mercy moves Him to bestow it, for as we fall short of His demands, He is moved to help us in our need so that in all things we trust in Him alone.

To that end we pray: O Lord, graciously hear the prayers of Your people that we, who justly suffer the consequence of our sin, may be mercifully delivered by Your goodness to the glory of Your name in Christ. Amen.

– T h e  W o r d   o f   G o d f o r   T o d a y –

The Old Testament Lesson: Jeremiah 9:23-24

The Prophet Jeremiah warns that no one should boast in himself or in his abilities. If any boasting is to be done, do it only in understanding and acknowledging that the Lord exercises loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.

The Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 9:24-10:5

Although the heavenly prize is of grace and not of merit, run in this life so as to obtain it. Yes, we are saved by grace alone. But God also exhorts us to a life of self-discipline and god-fearing endeavors. Not everyone who runs gains the prize. Train and run so that you will not be disqualified like some have been in the past.

The Gospel Lesson: Matthew 20:1-16

Jesus’ Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard describes God’s goodness and kindness. Called to labor in His Kingdom of Grace on earth, we are encouraged to appreciate His grace in our lives and not to murmur against it. Many are called, but few are chosen. Those left out are dissatisfied with God’s merciful kindness, preferring their own merits.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Organist: Jane Rips                

The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann

Points to Ponder: “Christians are children of privilege. In His mercy and grace God has called us into His Kingdom and permitted us to share the riches of His house. In His kindness He gives us also the high privilege of working for the maintenance and extension of His blessed Kingdom. We are saved to serve. We are called to be laborers in His vineyard – not to be shirkers, all to be workers. But the parable in the Gospel today would urge upon all to test their hearts and see whether they are working for the Lord in the right spirit and from the proper motive.”                           — Pastor Walter Hohenstein on today’s Gospel Lesson

“The substance of this Gospel is that no mortal is so high who will not have occasion to fear that he may become the very lowest. On the other hand, no mortal lies so low to whom the hope is not extended that he may become the highest, because here all human merit is abolished, and God’s goodness alone is praised.” — Martin Luther on today’s Gospel Lesson

Outline of Our Worship

Lord, Hear Us

Opening Thoughts on the Service

The Entrance Hymn: #876

The Order of Service

Morning Prayer: Hymnal pg.207

Lord, Feed Us

Psalm of the Day: #130

Jeremiah 9:23-24

1 Corinthians 9:24-10:5

Matthew 20:1-16

Sermon Hymn: #712

Sermon Text: 1 Corinthians 9:24-10:5    All…All…All…Yet, Not All!

Lord, Accept Our Response

The Te Deum Laudamus     Hymnal page 210

The Offering

Hymnal pg.213-214

“Lord, Have Mercy”

Prayers, Lord’s Prayer

Lord, Bless Us

The Benediction     Hymnal page 214

Closing Hymn: #710

Silent Prayer

WELS Connection:  Special WELS Ministry Events to be held in 2024

Septuagesima Sunday – Historic Series

Old Testament Lesson: Jeremiah 9:23-24 Do Not Boast in Yourselves

23This is what the Lord says. The wise man should not boast in his wisdom. The strong man should not boast in his strength, nor the rich man in his riches. 24 Instead, let those who boast, boast about this: that they have understanding, and that they know me. They know that I am the Lord, who shows mercy, justice, and righteousness on earth, for I delight in these things, declares the Lord. 

Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 9:24-10:5 Run to Win the Prize

24Do you not know that when runners compete in the stadium, they all run, but only one receives the prize? Run like that—to win. 25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable victor’s wreath, but we do it for an imperishable one. 26 That is why there is nothing aimless about the way I run. There is no pummeling of the air in the way I box. 27 Instead I hit my body hard and make it my slave so that, after preaching to others, I myself will not be rejected.

10 1For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea, and they were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them—and that rock was Christ! Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them. He had them die in the wilderness.

Gospel Lesson: Matthew 20:1-16 The Workers in the Vineyard  

1“Indeed the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. After agreeing to pay the workers a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard. He also went out about the third hour[a] and saw others standing unemployed in the marketplace. To these he said, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will give you whatever is right.’ So they went. Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour and did the same thing. When he went out about the eleventh hour, he found others standing unemployed. He said to them, ‘Why have you stood here all day unemployed?’ “They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ “He told them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’

When it was evening, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, starting with the last group and ending with the first.’

“When those who were hired around the eleventh hour came, they each received a denarius. 10 When those who were hired first came, they thought they would receive more. But they each received a denarius too. 11 After they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner: 12 ‘Those who were last worked one hour, and you made them equal to us who have endured the burden of the day and the scorching heat!’ 13 “But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not make an agreement with me for a denarius? 14 Take what is yours and go. I want to give to the last one hired the same as I also gave to you. 15 Can’t I do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ 16 In the same way, the last will be first, and the first, last.”

The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) copyright © 2019

Calendar & Announcements for Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church















Next Sun.


9:00 am

Divine Worship Service

online -Facebook

10:15 am

Fellowship & Bible Study

Slides of the Holy Land

(and maybe a few others)



11 am Midweek Bible Class




9:00 am

Divine Worship Service

With Holy Communion

online – Facebook

10:15 am

Fellowship & Bible Study






A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today

John the Evangelist writes that “through (Jesus) all things were made… In him was life, and that life was the light of men” (Jn 1:3,4). Apart from Jesus there is no life. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn 14:6). God grants us the blessings of life in Him by grace through faith. That grace is granted in the same amount to all who heed God’s call to faith.

The Gospel Lesson: Matthew 20:1-16 (the answers are found on the back side)

1.    How is the world’s system of justice different from God’s?

  1. Explain the seeming contradiction that “the last will be first and the first last”?

Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Greg Miller; William & Laurie Moon; Pauline Jaeger; Kirsten Jaster (Laurie Moon’s sister); Greg Pierson (Long’s son-in-law); Libya, (Jodi Milam’s granddaughter); Barbara Long; Kathy Workentine; Robbie Woessner; Liz & Roger Lisenby; Lois Wiese; Kay Schmidt at Quail Creek Rehab after tumor removal; Liz Lisenby at home after heart valve replacement; Norine Richardson following pace-maker procedure.

Divine Call Sent At the joint call meeting of Zion and Peace two weeks ago this past Thursday, Pastor Jason Enderle was selected to whom our call for pastor will be sent. He is 38 years old and presently serves Cross of Glory Lutheran Church, Washington, MI. He and wife Hannah are blessed with 2 children, 2 years old and under. Please keep Pastor Enderle and family in your prayers over the next few weeks as he prayerfully considers where the Lord would have him serve in His Kingdom of Grace.

Upcoming Services and Events

Monday-Tuesday, February 5-6 – Pastors’ Winter Study Conference at Grace LC, Columbia, MO

Tuesday, February 13 – Monthly Church Council Meeting

Thursday, February 15 – First Midweek Lent Supper and Worship with Holy Communion

The Week in Review

Last Sunday Worship: 23; Communed:23; Bible Study: 13; Midweek Bible Class: 4; Offerings: $1,876 (wintry weather day).

 Next Sunday’s Lessons:               

Sexagesima: Amos 8:11-12; 2 Corinthians 11:19-12:9; Luke 8:4-15   (Historic Pericope Series)

Answers to Today’s Gospel Lesson Brief Study:

1.    In temporal, worldly affairs, whatever a person accomplishes and merits will be credited to him as a matter of just reward. But in the kingdom of God,       all are justified solely by the grace of God. Whether we labor diligently in God’s vineyard all our lives or heed God’s call in the eleventh hour of life, the resulting salvation in the same.

  1. Unfortunately, there are those who are full of vain self-conceit who believe themselves to be the first before God, and for that very reason, in their woefully inadequate state, are the last. Conversely, those who are subservient and sincerely humble, assuming a meek attitude of heart, will be first where it counts—in the eyes of God.

This week I am praying for……


Pastor Edwin Lehmann

Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann