Sermon for Sixth Sunday after Pentecost July 5, 2020
Text: Matthew 10:24-33 CW 3-Year Series A 20:2202
Theme: Fearlessly, Faithfully Follow
Well, how did your holiday go yesterday? It was different this year. With the rise of the health threat, many places cancelled the usual July 4th celebration – no parades, no rodeos, no carnivals, even no fireworks. Around here there were still some aspects of the celebration. Marshfield still had the parade, although we didn’t go this year and we didn’t put out the outreach water table. Were there many people there? Did they dress like many normally do for the 4th – red, white, and blue? July 4th is one day that you know where people stand ideologically by the clothes they wear. Those who appreciate the blessings of our country dress so that you see it.
You can think of your Christian life in a similar way. When you became a child of God, you began to wear something special – you wear Christ Jesus, your Savior. That clothing is not made of cloth or leather. Your clothing in Christ is shown by what you say and do and how you act. It connects you with the Lord Jesus. When you wear it, you are telling everyone that Jesus is the Savior and most precious to you. As you wear it, God is with you blessing you, forgiving your sins, hearing your prayers, and assuring you that one day you’ll arrive at the grandest celebration of all as He takes you to heaven. That is what dressed in Christ means to you. When you wear the clothing, others will see it.
Some will laugh at it; others will demand that you do things for them; still others will want to know what it is all about. With all the questions and demands made upon you, you may be tempted to think it’s not worth it and you’ll take it off. That would be denying how important Jesus is to you. He said, “Whoever denies me before men, I will also deny him before my Father in heaven.”
So, what will you do? God help us daily to put on Christ and fearlessly, faithfully follow, for in following much is gained. But by putting Him aside much is lost.
I. Even though you are opposed, be content in your Lord.
Such fearless and faithful following will not be easy. You will be opposed for calling yourself a disciple of Christ. That is certain for Jesus said: “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor is a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the master of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!” What does that mean? Let’s take an example relative to July 4th.
Think of our country, those who are over us, guarding, protecting, and governing us, trying to keep us safe and our liberties intact. What is our responsibility and approach to them to be? If you are wearing the clothing of Christ, the Scriptures are clear when they say: “Everyone must submit to the governing authorities. For no authority exists except by God, and the authorities that do exist have been established by God. Therefore, the one who rebels against the authority is opposing God’s institution, and those who oppose will bring judgment on themselves” (Ro.13:1f).
Think of what that is saying to those in our country at this time who defy authority and rebel against that which God has graciously established for us. That does not mean the authorities are always wearing Christ, and if they tell us to do that which is contrary to God’s Word, we will tell them like Peter and John told the ungodly authorities in their day, “We must obey God rather than men.”
But those who are presently rebelling and raising anarchy in our land better heed Paul’s warning, “Rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to evil…If you do wrong, be afraid, because he does not carry the sword without reason. He is God’s servant, a punisher to bring wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit, not only because of wrath, but also because of conscience…Pay what you owe to all of them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, and honor to whom honor is owed.” Such is owed not according to a person’s personal thought, but because the authority is established by God, who is higher than we are.
It’s similar to that which Jesus means here when He says, “A disciple is not above the teacher, nor is a servant above the master.”
A servant, disciple, citizen of our country have this in common, submission to the will and direction of those whom God has placed over them. Such submission is not a bad thing. Look at Christ.
He’s our Lord, right! Our Creator! He’s in charge, right! Yet, our Master came as a servant for our eternal blessing. When He was confronted with difficulties and challenges, when people opposed Him, He didn’t give up; He didn’t even lord it over them. But He submitted in order to carry out a specific mission – to redeem us from sin, to restore us to God, to open the door to the Father in heaven once again. His Father asked Him to suffer and die for us, and He did what was asked of Him – willingly, lovingly.
As He lived in that humble obedience, the world despised Him, persecuted Him, yes, killed Him. At no point, however, did Jesus ever give up or complain about what His Father asked Him to do. Should our attitude as His followers be any different?
What happens when the world opposes us; what happens when it makes life hard because we call ourselves Christians and wear this clothing? Jesus makes it plain that such opposition will come for a student is not above his teacher. If He was opposed, if the world slandered Him by calling Him a devil, it shouldn’t surprise us as we experience the same. It’s getting close to that in parts of our country, isn’t it? Are we better than our Savior? Obviously not. So, don’t be surprised or angry when it comes – expect it.
But even though you are opposed for your allegiance to Christ and what is right before Him, you can be content in your Lord. Why? Because He died to make you His own; He rose from the dead to give you life. He received you as His dear child in Baptism. He assures you of those blessings in the Lord’s Supper. In Him eternal life is yours today and always. So, He says in our text: “Do not be afraid.” And then He adds later: “Be faithful even to death, and I will give you a crown of life” (Rev.2:10). In reality, such opposition to faith marks you as one of God’s redeemed children. That’s a comfort and assurance.
So, follow Him, dear friend – follow faithfully, fearlessly, for even though you are opposed for the clothing you wear, you can be content in Your Lord. And our nation will be blessed by it.
II. Even though you seem so insignificant, you are not forgotten.
But even more, you can live content because you are always under the watchful eye of the Savior as you live and speak for Him. Nothing gets past Him. He sees, He knows, and He will bless.
Here He assures you of that in a variety of ways, but perhaps the best known and the one that creates such comfort is found in His words: “Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without the knowledge and consent of your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all numbered. So, do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
Two weeks ago, I saw a sparrow building a nest in a bird house in our backyard. I rebuilt that bird house 2 years ago, but no bird used it until two weeks ago. So, I was excited to see what would happen. Last week I found the sparrow on the ground. It fell victim to a cat. I thought of this verse. God knew that sparrow and what happened. It goes beyond that. Jesus said that such a creature does not fall to the ground without the consent of the Father. I might not understand why He would consent to it, but He’s involved in it.
To many the fall of 1 sparrow or the number of hairs on my head is a trite thing. Who cares! The Savior does. Think about that. How many sparrows are there in the world? A billion? trillion? I don’t know. I don’t care. But the Lord does, and He cares for each.
How many hairs are on your head? It would be easier to count mine than yours, but I bet you couldn’t count mine exactly. Yet the Lord Jesus has. He knows the smallest things about me. He knows the minutest detail about life. Although it seems insignificant to you, it’s important to Him. The point is You are not forgotten.
If He knows such things, then, surely, He knows when one of His beloved believers for whom He died is harassed and ridiculed for the clothing of faith you wear. He wants you to know that as you confess Him before others, He will confess you in heaven. Or another way to say it: stand up for Him; He stands up for you. He promises, “I will be with you always.” “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” “Be faithful until death; I will give you a crown of life.”
Those are great things to tell others. Maybe you won’t climb to the top of your house and shout it from the roof as people could in ancient times. But you can live your confession of faith, you can wear the clothing of Christ everyday by what you say and by what you do. As you wear that clothing, don’t be afraid. God will take care of you. Most of the time, we aren’t even aware of His care.
So, Fearlessly, Faithfully Follow. Such a life is greatly needed in our land today. God grant it to us 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
www.zionluthchurch.com You can also find us on Facebook
The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost June 7, 2020
“Don’t be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:31
F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
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
“In You, LORD, I have taken refuge. Let me never be put to shame. In Your righteousness deliver me….Be a rock where I take refuge, a fortified place that saves me….My times are in Your hand….Be strong, and let your heart be firm, all you who wait confidently for the LORD.” (Psalm 31)
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
Boldly Talk about the Savior. So often fear keeps us from proclaiming the Savior, for we live in a world that is antagonistic towards Christ and His Church, in both open and subtle ways. As it was for the Lord Jesus, so it will be for those who follow Him.
However, since the gospel is such great news, the Christian cannot help but proclaim it. He lives for his Savior, knowing that the Savior has promised not to forget him. He will take care of His people in life.
So, dear friend, boldly talk about your Savior, or, as the hymn writer said: “Stand Up! Stand Up for Jesus!”
To that end we pray: O Lord, our God, govern the nations on earth and direct the affairs of this world so that Your Church may grow, worship you in peace and joy, and boldly proclaim Your message of salvation throughout the world; for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
– T h e W o r d o f G o d f o r T o d a y –
Old Testament Lesson: Jeremiah 20:7-13
As Jeremiah proclaimed the Word of the Lord, things did not go so easily for him. Israel turned against him so that the prophet wanted to give up. Yet Jeremiah knew the Lord Almighty was on His side. He could not help but preach, confident that the Lord would protect him.
The Epistle Lesson: Romans 5:12-15
The disobedience of Adam left all mankind in a horrible state. Since the Fall, the perfect image of God has been lost and all are now born in a sinful condition. Thank God for Christ, who overthrew the power of sin. Through His death all people can have life. We’ve got a Savior!
The Gospel Lesson: Matthew 10:24-33
Jesus tells disciples that they shouldn’t expect any different treatment from people than that which He received. But He will protect and care for them because they are of great value to Him. Therefore, stand unafraid as His witnesses.
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Today’s Organist: Jane Rips is away today
The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Points to Ponder: “Though the devil and the world be as mighty and strong as ever they please, they can do nothing against a Christian unless it is the will of God. Christ gave us the example of sparrows. The sparrow is a useless bird, which does more harm than good; and yet, Christ says, not one of them falls to the ground and perishes unless it is the will of the Father in heaven. Here a Christian must surely conclude that God values one human being more than many sparrows….God is acting in your best interests to keep you in His fear and drive you to the Word and prayer… to show us His love and to protect us.”
— Martin Luther on Look to the Word, Not to Reason
“Go! And do not be silent. You are not the only one to be saved; the remaining multitude of men should also be preserved. This is the noblest and greatest work and the most important service that we can perform for God on earth – to bring other people, and especially those who are entrusted to us, to the knowledge of God by the holy Gospel.”
— Martin Luther on Go & Tell; Begin at Home & Look to Foreign Fields
Outline of Our Worship
Opening Hymn: #618
Order of Worship: The Common Service: page 15
Song of Praise: #612
The Ministry of the Word
Hymn Response: #419 st.1-3
Gospel Responses: pg,18
The Nicene Creed pg.18
Sermon Hymn: #474
Sermon: Matthew 10:24-33 Fearlessly, Faithfully Follow
Our Response to the Word
The Offertory: Hymnal pg.20
Prayers & The Lord’s Prayer
The Lord Blesses Us
Prayer: Hymnal pg.25
The Closing Hymn: #619
C a l e n d a r & A n n o u n c e m e n t s f o r Z i o n L u t h e r a n C h u r c h
Divine Worship Service with Holy Communion afterwards
on line – Facebook
Fellowship & Bible Study
| Some weekly activities are still curtailed.
Midweek Bible Class has resumed.
Divine Worship Service
on line – Facebook
Fellowship & Bible study
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
Are you afraid to reach out with the gospel? If so, why? Are you afraid of rejection? Today’s lessons and Gospel remind us that—if that’s what we’re afraid of—there’s nothing to fear! That doesn’t mean that we won’t be rejected as we proclaim God’s Word. We most certainly will. But we’re not the ones being rejected; Jesus is. And He will take care of Himself and us! Jesus has called us to proclaim His Word to others and He promises to be with us every step of the way (Mt 28:19, 20). So we don’t need to be timid or afraid. We can be fearless in our proclamation. We have the Lord’s backing!
The Gospel Lesson: Matthew 10:24-33 (answers are found on the back side)
- Since we are Jesus’ disciples, how should we expect the people of this world to treat us?
- If people reject the truth of God’s Word, are they rejecting us?
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Dea Windsor; Barbara Long; Clyde & Sharon Johnson; Angela Meek; Roger & Liz Lisenby’s brother & sister-in-law and granddaughter Jackie; Dave Ballou, at home; Laurie Moon’s father, out of the rehab hospital; Greg Miller; Casey Milam & family, Jodie’s son, under quarantine; the Breidel family at the passing of Barbara’s sister in Wisconsin; the Lisenby family at the passing of Roger’s brother.
Daily Devotions If you would like a hard copy of pastor’s daily devotions for the week past, you will find a few on the credenza in the narthex. If you would like to receive them through text on your cell phone or by email, let him know.
Please Watch Your Distancing To our knowledge we are still allowed gatherings of 50% of capacity of the building in Greene County and Springfield. But cases of the Covid Virus are on the rise and Greene County is talking of mandatory face masks. That is not the case yet today. But please, watch your physical distancing in the service today, not only side to side but also front to back! If you prefer wearing a face mask during the service, that is totally acceptable. At this point we are not passing the offering plate during the service, but it will be found at the door upon leaving.
Meditations’ present series of devotions and copies of July’s Forward in Christ may be found in the narthex. Northwestern Publishing House is no longer offering Forward in Christ on-line following the month of June. But there are many materials they offer and suggest at this time. You can see them all at: www.nph.net.
The Week in Review
Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 19; Adult Bible Class & Sunday School: no classes at this time; The Gardens Bible Class: no class; Midweek Bible Class: 5; Offering: $405.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
Pentecost 6 – Series A: Jeremiah 28:5-9; Romans 6:1-11; Matthew 10:34-42
Answers to Today’s Gospel Lesson Brief Study:
- We should expect to be mocked like Jeremiah was in the first lesson and like Jesus was throughout His ministry.
- No. They are rejecting God, and on the Last Day God will reject them. In other words, as we fearlessly proclaim God’s Word, we should never take rejection personally. God will act with swift justice on the Day of Judgment.
This week I am praying for……