The Sermon for the 12th Sunday after Pentecost August 28, 2022
Text: Luke 14:1,7-14 CW-21 Series C 22:2340
Theme: Friend, Move to a Higher Place
Why is it that people want to be first – first in line at the store, first in line to get tickets, first in line at a big sales event, etc.? That driving desire to be first is already there when we are children.
I remember 4th grade. Hertha Sievert was my teacher, a fine, gentle Christian lady. But we students weren’t always so gentle. We would come from recess and race to the bubbler (drinking fountain), pushing and shoving to be first in line. I remember the day Miss Sievert caught me by my arm, set me in the corner, and gave me a brief lecture on being kind to others, letting them go before me.
Maybe as adults we don’t react that way as much anymore. Still, the Scriptures frequently admonish us to be humble, to put ourselves last, not first. All too often we can be “me-first” people.
At the end of last week’s lesson Jesus said, “Those who are last will be first, and the first will be last” (Lk.13:30). The O.T. Lesson today says, “Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence” (Pv.25:6). Self-exaltation never works. It will catch up to you in the end. King Solomon continued, “It is better to be told, ‘Come up here,’ than to be humiliated.” In the end claiming to be first before others will end in your disgrace, especially in eternity. How could anyone do that anyway in the presence of God? He is King over all.
Humility not self-pride is the Christian’s work. It was that way for Christ who gladly “humbled Himself, making Himself nothing, taking on the work of serving” so that we could be saved. And now, turning to us, the Scripture’s say, “Let your attitude be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (Phlp.2:5f).
The Christian’s work is not self-exaltation; it’s not being #1. The Christian’s work is that of humility, imitating Christ through one’s faith in the Savior, putting oneself last. In the end such a person will thrill to hear the Savior say, “Friend, Move to a Higher Place.”
(I. Let go of pride – lifting yourself above others, seeking your own advantage.)
The gospel lesson began, “One Sabbath when Jesus went into the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat bread, they were watching Him closely.” Jesus was being scrutinized because His detractors wanted to catch Him doing or saying something wrong so they could
accuse Him as a fake. See, right there you have pride at work, the desire to put themselves first, to lift themselves above Jesus as better than He, seeking their own advantage by accusing Him of wrong.
Ironically, Jesus was watching them as they were watching Him. But He was watching them, not with the desire to put them down, like they wanted to do with Him. He was watching in order to help them by showing them the error of their prideful ways, and to point them to Himself as the Savior.
The story continues, “Jesus said: When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline in the place of honor, or perhaps someone more distinguished than you may have been invited. The one who invited both of you may come and tell you, ‘Give this man your place.’ Then you will begin, with shame, to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and recline in the lowest place, so that when the one who invited you comes, he will tell you, ‘Friend, move up to a higher place.’ Then you will have honor in the presence of all who are reclining at the table with you. Yes, everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
Imagine yourself invited to a wedding. You look around for a good seat at the reception. At first you don’t see any. Then you notice that the table up front has seats available. So, you go and sit down there. Those seats are reserved for the wedding party! You wouldn’t think of taking those seats, would you? Someone who does that has a problem. Either he is grossly ignorant, or he disregards others, lacking humility, he seeks his own advantage.
Our fallen nature struggles with that, whether we are willing to admit it or not. It makes us want to be first; it makes us want to take the seats of honor and glory; it wants us to lift ourselves up and seek our own advantage. Who wants to put himself last?
Jesus did. He put Himself last, even though, as God, He is first. He put Himself last, to the point of sacrificing Himself for us on the cross so that He might take us into His Kingdom. He disadvantaged Himself as He sought our advantage in eternity. And He encourages, His redeemed people to carry that same attitude towards others – to seek other people’s advantage, rather than seeking just our own, to lift them up, rather than lifting up ourselves, to let go of pride. How?
Only think of Christ. He, the Son of God, did the opposite of proud, sinful people of all stations in life. Of all He was the highest, the noblest, yet “He, who was God, emptied Himself by taking the nature of a servant. And being found in fashion as a man (a human being), He humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Phlp.2:7f) that He might save and serve us.
As we deeply contemplate the unsearchable love of Him who died to forgive our sin, that gospel will motivate us to let go of pride, not lifting ourselves above others, not seeking our own advantage, but in humbling ourselves to take the “lower seat.” And marvel upon marvels, to the Christian’s surprise the Savior will turn and say, “Friend, Move to a Higher Place!” Such a servant’s attitude is honorable in His eyes.
(II. Let go the desire to be repaid favor for favor – be generous and kind.)
To describe that attitude a bit more, Jesus continued with the advice, “When you make a dinner or a supper, do not invite your friends, or your brothers, or your relatives, or rich neighbors, so that perhaps they may also return the favor and pay you back. “But when you make a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind. You will be blessed, because they cannot repay you.”
First note Jesus’ intent in what He says. His point is not to make us feel guilty about whom we have and have not invited into our home. He is not forbidding you to ever invite your family and friends. How many times did He go to eat at the home of his friends Mary and Martha and Lazarus, to enjoy their company? His intent here is not to strike at the outward invitation. He is seeking to address the motivation of the heart – the heart of pride that seeks the same or greater favor for the favor that person has shown someone. In other words – repayment! Doing something so that you get something in return. “I’ll scratch your back, if you scratch mine.” Here is a lesson in generosity and unselfish kindness rather than in seeking one’s own advantage. Let go the desire to be repaid favor for favor.
How desperately our world today is in need of such a lesson on humility! How desperately it is needed! All too often people restrict kindness and generosity, and instead channel their lives in ways by which one will receive repayment – favor for favor.
Think of it. Where would we be if the Savior had dealt with us in such an unkind, selfish, pay-me-back attitude? If He had said, “I will go to the cross to forgive and save you only if you do this or do that first.” Where would we be? Could we pay Him sufficiently to cover our sin? Could we pay Him enough to escape death and hell? Doing it perfectly is the payment – holiness, which no one achieves on their own, except for Him, the Savior. But Christ in His unselfish, generous, kindness that did not seek His own advantage and the desire to be repaid favor for favor gives us forgiveness, salvation, and life – all by grace. And wonder upon wonders, through such faith in Him that walks in His ways, at the end He will say: Friend, Move to a Higher Place! Heaven! And it shall be, by faith, and the humility of faith alone in what the Savior has done for all.
God grant us such a life of humility and generous kindness as we find our contentment in Christ and His gracious invitation: “Friend, Move to a Higher Place for my name’s 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 email: email@example.com
You can also find us on Facwbook
The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost August 28, 2022
“Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14:11
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
Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD. They seek Him with all their heart….I will praise You with an upright heart as I learn You righteous laws” (Psalm 119).
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
Godly Humility & Generosity. A Canticle that is sung frequently in the Church’s worship services is the song: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” A clean heart is one that is forgiven, washed clean in the blood of Christ. What is a “right spirit?”
It entails many things. Many psalms address it. Our psalm today speaks of walking blamelessly according to the law of the LORD, keeping His statutes, learning His way of righteousness, following His decreases to the end. That takes a humble spirit which looks for God’s guidance rather than self-centered direction.
To that end we pray: O Lord Jesus Christ, preserve the congregation of believers with Your never-failing mercy. Help us avoid whatever is wicked and harmful and guide us in the way of humility that leads to our salvation through Jesus Christ, our Lord. 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: Proverbs 25:6,7
Jesus might well have been thinking of this verse when He spoke the Gospel Lesson today. Solomon warns that self-exaltation ends in humiliation and disaster. Humble yourselves before the King and let Him raise you up.
The Epistle Lesson: James 2:1-13
Christians don’t show partiality towards some that is based on wealth or other factors. Like Christ they treat all people as God has graciously treated them, striving to keep the whole Law, motivated by Christ’s redeeming love and love for one’s neighbor.
The Gospel Lesson: Luke 14:1, 7-14
While a guest at dinner, as the Pharisees were closely watching Him to catch Him in a “mistake,” Jesus was observing them. He taught them about the pitfalls of self-exaltation and desire for repayment, while instructing them on the blessings of Christ-like humility and generosity as fruits of faith.
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The Organist: Jane Rips is visiting her mother in IA this weekend
The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Points to Ponder: “A man cannot be thoroughly humbled until he gets to know that his salvation lies utterly beyond his own powers, counsels, efforts, will, and works and depends absolutely on the pleasure, counsel, will and work of Another, namely, God alone. For if man, convinced that he is able to do the least thing toward his own salvation, retains confidence in himself and does not utterly despair of himself, he is not humble before God.”
— Martin Luther on The Inability to Save Ourselves Keeps Us Humble
“There is no difference between rich and poor in Christ. Pay no attention to the outward appearance but look for the inner faith instead.” — The early Church Father, Chrysostom, on James 2:3-4
Outline of Our Worship
Lord, Hear Us
Opening Thoughts on the Service
Opening Hymn: #614
The Order of Service Morning Prayer: Hymnal pg.207
Lord, Feed Us
Psalm of the Day: #119
Proverb s 25:6-7
Hymn Response: #697
Sermon Hymn: #767
Sermon Text: Luke 14:1,7-14 Friend, Move Up to a Higher Place
Lord, Accept Our Response
Hymn #953 (In place of the Te Deum Laudamus)
“Lord, Have Mercy”
Prayers, Lord’s Prayer
Lord, Bless Us
The Benediction Hymnal pg.214
Closing Hymn: #644
The Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost – Series C
Old Testament Lesson: Proverbs 25:6,7 – Wise Sayings of Solomon
6Do not honor yourself in a king’s presence.
Do not stand in a place reserved for great people,
7because it is better to be told, “Come up here,”
than for you to be humiliated before a ruler.
Epistle Lesson: James 2:1-13 – Show No Favoritism, but Mercy
1My brothers, have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ without showing favoritism. 2For example, suppose a man enters your worship assembly wearing gold rings and fine clothing, and a poor man also enters wearing filthy clothing. 3If you look with favor on the man wearing fine clothing and say, “Sit here in this good place,” but you tell the poor man, “Stand over there” or “Sit down here at my feet,” 4have you not made a distinction among yourselves and become judges with evil opinions? 5Listen, my dear brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom, which he promised to those who love him? 6But you dishonored the poor man. Don’t the rich oppress you, and don’t they drag you into court? 7Aren’t they the ones who blaspheme the noble name that was pronounced over you? 8However, if you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9But if you show favoritism, you are committing a sin, since you are convicted by this law as transgressors.
10In fact, whoever keeps the whole law but stumbles in one point has become guilty of breaking all of it. 11For the one who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not commit murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12So speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law of freedom. 13For there will be judgment without mercy on the one who has not shown mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Gospel Lesson: Luke 14:1,7-14 – Take the Lowly Place
1One Sabbath day, when Jesus went into the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat bread, they were watching him closely.
7When he noticed how they were selecting the places of honor, he told the invited guests a parable. 8“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not recline in the place of honor, or perhaps someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him. 9The one who invited both of you may come and tell you, ‘Give this man your place.’ Then you will begin, with shame, to take the lowest place. 10“But when you are invited, go and recline in the lowest place, so that when the one who invited you comes, he will tell you, ‘Friend, move up to a higher place.’ Then you will have honor in the presence of all who are reclining at the table with you.
11“Yes, everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
12He also said to the one who had invited him, “When you make a dinner or a supper, do not invite your friends, or your brothers, or your relatives, or rich neighbors, so that perhaps they may also return the favor and pay you back. 13“But when you make a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. Certainly, you will be repaid in the resurrection of the righteous.” The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) copyright © 2019 The Wartburg Project.
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
Fellowship & Bible Study
Divine Worship Service
with Holy Communion
online – Facebook
Fellowship & Bible Study
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
“Hey, that’s my seat!” School children get in fights day after day, arguing over their special place. Adults look and laugh, and yet we do the same in life when we take pains to assure that we get what’s coming to us—at work, at home, among friends and family—and that everybody sees and knows how important we are. But in these lessons, we are reminded that our King is coming, the Almighty Ruler of the universe, Jesus Christ, next to whom, because of sin, we are nothing and deserve the lowest place. But, because of His love for us, Jesus invites us to the place of honor.
The Gospel Lesson: Luke 14:1.7-14 (answers are found on the back side)
- Why did Jesus tell the guests at this Pharisee’s house the parable of the wedding feast?
- Why does Jesus tell the host to invite “the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind” to a dinner?
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Greg Miller; Lou Schulz; William & Laurie Moon; Pauline Jaeger; Kirsten Jaster (Laurie Moon’s sister); Greg Pierson (the Long’s son-in-law); Libya, Jodi Milam’s granddaughter, diagnosed with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis; Elizabeth Lisenby; Barbara Long; Lois Wiese; all students who have recently or will in the near future return to school.
Did You Know that Judas (Hebrew: Judah) was one of the most popular names in Biblical times? The name means: “Praise the LORD.” Do you know anyone with that name today? What happened? Who wrote the book of Jude and what is it about when he tells us of a fight over Moses’ dead body? Join us in Bible Study today after worship to find out.
Meditations next series of daily devotions for the fall season begins today. There are plenty of copies for family and friends in the narthex.
The Week in Review
Last Sunday Worship: 39; Communed: 33; Bible Class: 18; Midweek Bible Class: 5; Offering: $1,841.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
Pentecost 13: Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Philemon 1,7-21; Luke 14:25-35 (CW-21, Series C)
Answers to Today’s Gospel Lesson Brief Study:
- To remind them of the need for humility. Those who think they have earned a high seat at the wedding feast of the Lamb in heaven by their own good deeds will be disappointed when they are turned away. It is those who humbly stand at the lowest seats saying, “I only belong here because of what Jesus Christ did for me,” who will be elevated to the places of honor.
- The Pharisee looks only to his own public image, “Who can I impress with my guest list? Who can help me out in life?” If you invite only the rich and the wealthy, what good does that do? You perhaps earn favors in this life. You pad your own sinful pride. But if from faith you understand that it is the poor and needy that need your help and comfort, even though they cannot help you in this life, you will reap a hundredfold reward in heaven.