I’m Waiting on the Lord
by Pastor Edwin Lehmann on December 10, 2022 in James 5:7-11
Lighting Candles at Advent
The lighting of candles in the Advent Wreath helps to symbolize the age before the first advent of Christ when the light of prophecy concerning the coming Messiah became brighter and brighter. Then suddenly He appeared saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
As we now await His second advent, the light of faith shines within each believer producing in ever increasing brightness the divine gifts of Love, Peace, Joy, and Hope that the Savior gives. Each gift is a fruit of the Spirit which God bestows upon the heart by way of faith in Jesus, the Savior.
The first candle in the wreath was called the candle of Love in order to symbolize the love of God that was revealed to fallen mankind during this season. The second candle was called the candle of Peace to symbolize the blessed relationship with God that we now enjoy through the Savior. The third candle that we light today has been called the candle of Joy to symbolize the effect that faith in the Savior has upon the one who trusts in Him.
The Third Candle: Joy
The faith-filled Christian knows that Jesus came the first time to save him from sin. He knows that in Christ is forgiveness and life. And he knows that Christ shall come again to take him to the mansions prepared above. All is cause for great joy.
The Christian also understands the fragile nature of his existence in this world. There will be times of trouble and great testing. He will weep in pain inflicted by bodily illness or emotional distress. He will suffer in the face of trials and tribulations for bearing the name of Christ. He will grieve at the death of loved ones. And he will cry in anguish for the sins that so easily beset him.
Yet, in all things we fix our eyes on the Lord Jesus, “who for the joy set before Him endured the cross and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). From there He will come again to call us to Himself forever. Then He will wipe away every tear from our eyes. “Surely, this is our God; we trusted in Him and he saved us. Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation” (Psalm 25:9). This is the joy born in us through faith in the Christ-child this most holy season.
Congregational Scripture Reading:
“In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me. I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn….You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy….and your joy will be complete.” (John 16:19-24)
O Holy Spirit, keep our eyes upon the wonders of Christ and the joy that He brings to us through faith in Him. Then in the midst of the trials and difficulties of this life, we shall be filled with comfort and strength as we stand in anticipation of the complete joy that is yet to come. Hear us and grant our request for His name’s sake. Amen
The Third Sunday in Advent December 11, 2022
Text: James 5:7-11 CW-21 Series A 22:2356
Theme: I’m Waiting on the Lord.
It seems like everyone is well on their way to getting ready for Christmas. Trees are up and decorated, songs are being sung, lights sparkle on houses, presents are wrapped and placed under the tree – but we still have 2 weeks to go before it is Christmas. Do you think we could be pushing the season too much? We are just in the midst of the Advent Season and already Christmas is upon us.
That brings me to a question. For us who live in this present time, which season would you say is most important and the one we should pay closer attention to – Advent or Christmas? No question. It’s Advent. For us living in the present time, Advent is most important and ought to be given lots of attention. Now, before you brand me as a heretic, hear me through on this.
The birth of Jesus is a past event. It has already taken place in history. Thank God for that because God has already given us His Son, our Savior. In that sense it’s a done deal. In Christ you have forgiveness and salvation. To quote Jesus’ words: “It is finished.”
On the other hand, Advent points our attention to that which lies ahead of us, not yet finished, for which we are to keep watch lest we miss it – the return of Christ in judgment. That is a most critical event. If you are not ready for it when it happens, you will miss out eternally. You don’t need to be prepared for Christmas because it has already taken place. But you better be ready for that which it yet to come or you’ll find yourself outside of God’s heavenly kingdom.
Let me put it to you this way. What do you long for most – the celebration of Christmas or Christ Jesus’ return? I like Christmas, but I’m waiting on the Lord in His advent at the end. And…
I. He is not far away. In fact, James declares in our text, “The coming of the Lord is near….The judge is standing at the doors!”
You know, if you invite guests over to your house for a gathering and they are already standing at the front door ready to come in, it would be a little late for you to start cleaning the house and getting the food ready, don’t you think? Your preparations for your guests should be done. It ought to be the same for us as each day we draw closer to Christ’s Second Advent.
The story is told of a little girl who came home from Sunday
school and said to her mother: “Mom, teacher told us today that God puts people into this world so that they can get ready for heaven.” Almost without thinking, her mother replied, “Yes, dear, that’s right.” The little girl hesitated a moment and then asked in all child- like seriousness: “Then why don’t we see anybody getting ready?”
A child’s question, yet, how true! If God puts people into this world so that they can get ready for heaven, then why don’t we see people getting ready? People are getting ready for Christmas. How many are getting ready for Christ’s Second Advent?
In the hurry and hubbub of our busy world, we become so preoccupied with the affairs and problems of the day that multiply weekly. Have too many forgotten about getting ready for the next world? Moses writes (Ps.90): “Lord, You sweep (people) away like a flood…. They are like grass. In the morning it sprouts and grows. By evening it is cut down, and it withers. Teach us to number our days in such a way that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (v.5,6,12). In other words, teach us to get ready and to wait on the Lord for He is not far away. “His coming is near.”
James wrote that almost 2,000 years ago. Was he mistaken? If he was, then Peter, Paul, and Jesus were also mistaken. They all said His coming is near. He is not far away. That can be hard to see.
Perhaps our problem is the way we think. We picture time as though we are running straight ahead towards a cliff called Judgment Day. When time finally gets to that point, it stops and Jesus returns.
It would be better to picture time as running parallel to eternity. In other words, as we go through life, the end is always right next to us. We travel together and eternity can curve into our path at any moment. If we look at it that way, Jesus’ coming is always near. He isn’t far away from us. He might be closer to us in His return than the celebration of Christmas in two weeks. Then all our preparations for the holidays would be for naught. But the preparations we make for His Second Advent would be realized. That makes the season of Advent pretty important, don’t you think? He is not far away.
How does that make you feel? Uneasy because you realize that we so often fail to keep better watch for His coming? Afraid lest you have not lived up to God’s will for life? Perhaps you’ve even been doing the very thing that James warns against – grumbling and complaining: “Do not complain about one another, brothers, so that you will not be judged. Look! The Judge is standing at the doors!” Interesting that James should pick out the sin of grumbling and
complaining as we wait on the Lord. Obviously, it was a problem for the people of his day who were being persecuted for their faith and were taken advantage of by the rich (5:1ff). It was easy to see the unfair nature of things and complain. Hmmm, sounds like today, doesn’t it? So much grumbling and complaining in our society. It is a sin that is so destructive to the unity and mission of God’s people as we wait on the Lord to return.
Think of how it affects a group of people who are trying to work together. For example, what happens if a team starts falling behind in a game and the players begin yelling at one another? The offense complains about the defense, the defense complains about the offense, and all begin to complain about the coaches. When you hear a team doing that, you know they are going to lose. Grumbling and complaining is a sure sign of imminent defeat.
In the Church it’s also a sign of lack of faith. Remember Adam? When God confronted him, he complained about Eve, then grumbled against God for giving him Eve. It led to Cain murdering his brother Abel. Complaining and blaming one another is a warning sign that faith is in danger of being defeated by Satan. Within the church, it destroys our united front as we seek to proclaim the Gospel. We need each other, supportive of each other as we fight on in our lives of faith, waiting on the Lord who is not far away from us.
That’s the reason the Advent Season is so important to us. It’s a season of repentance in which we hear John the Baptist’s encouragement, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
God help us lay our sins of complaining and blaming and all others at the foot of the cross. There Jesus died for them and His blood covered it all. He was “full of compassion and mercy” for us. And that same compassionate and merciful Lord encourages us to be patient as we wait on Him.
II. He encourages us to be patient
James writes, “Therefore, brothers, be patient until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the valuable harvest from the ground, patiently waiting for it, until it receives the early and late rain. You be patient, too. Strengthen your hearts because the coming of the Lord is near.”
Having patience, that is a hard thing for us, don’t you think? We live in a world of immediate gratification – fast food, purchases on the internet, we expect things quickly. But such a desire for instant gratification gives birth to problems. We don’t like to wait! We want things now, quickly, easily. We are an impatient society, getting worse. It affects faith and preparation for the Lord’s return.
To help us see the problem, James points to farmers. They know what it means to wait. Even with modern technology and equipment, farmers must wait. They prepare the soil, plant crops, and wait – wait for rain, wait for sun, wait for seed to grow. They can’t do one thing about making it happen. They can’t schedule the rain or sun or growth of the seed. They must pray, wait, and trust God to provide things at the right time until the harvest. With that example, the Lord encourages me to be patient as I wait on Him for His return.
Sometimes we call such patient waiting “long-suffering.” It means suffering a long time through severe testing like Job did, who lost everything, or the prophets who were attacked on every occasion (Hb.13), or Jesus Himself who endured such bad treatment. Their examples encourage us. But what encourages us most in the midst of trials is to remember that “the Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”
With it He entered our world at just the right time in history. He was born in the stable of Bethlehem so that He could conquer Satan and a sinful world for us. He did it so that He could come back again and take us home to Himself. Meanwhile, as we patiently wait on His return, He will give us comfort and strength at just the right time so that we can stand up under any difficulty as we look to Him (1Co.10:13). He promises to turn suffering into perseverance; perseverance into character, and character into a hope that will not disappoint us as God pours out his love into our hearts (Ro.5:3f). Besides all this, He is not far away from us.
Advent is the time to sit and listen and marvel and sing about these wonderful truths. Watch how many Christmas hymns actually do that. These things are critical because they lie in all our futures, and we want to be ready. His Advent is the one thing that still remains. Jesus’ birth is done. His death, resurrection, and ascension are complete. He fulfilled those promises. All that’s left is His return.
I’m waiting for it; I’m waiting on the Lord. He’s not too far away. Even now He is standing at the door. God grant us patience as we get ready for Him, 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 email: email@example.com
You can also find us on Facebook
The Third Sunday in Advent (“Gaudete – Rejoice!”) December 11, 2022
“Therefore, brothers, be patient until the coming of the Lord.” James 5:7
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
“I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. Blessed are those whose hope is in the LORD. He sets prisoners free; He gives sight to the blind. The LORD reigns forever” (Psalm 146).
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
Waiting Patiently for the Lord. When Isaiah described the coming of the Lord, the glorious description must have aroused an intense feeling of longing and eagerness to see the day: “The desert will bloom…The blind will see…Water will gush forth in the wilderness…Gladness and joy will overtake you…”and so on. But there were still seven centuries to wait in the Old Testament times until the Christ was born.
The New Testament times place us into a situation similar to that experienced by the people of Isaiah’s day. We also wait in eager anticipation of Christ’s coming at His second advent. As we await that day, which will be more glorious than His first coming, God encourages us to balance our anxious expectation with calm and humble patience.
To that end we pray: Hear our prayers, Lord Christ, and come with the good news of Your mighty deliverance. Drive the darkness from our hearts and fill us with Your light, for Your name’s sake. 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: Isaiah 35:1-10
The Savior’s coming will bring a time of great change. Joy to the suffering, strength to the weak, healing to the sick, and divine deliverance to the spiritually oppressed would signal His advent. The redeemed will walk in the way of the Lord, and they will rejoice.
The Epistle Lesson: James 5:7-11
In every age God’s people endure oppression in a fallen world. Sin stirs up trials and tribulations. But Christ will return with divine deliverance, for God is full of compassion and mercy on those who look to Him. Persevere in faith; avoid complaining; blessings await at His coming.
The Gospel Lesson: Matthew 11:2-11
While in prison John the Baptist sent his disciples to Jesus to ask if He were the long-awaited Messiah. Jesus pointed John’s disciples to the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. To His own disciples, Jesus speaks of John’s importance, but even more, of His own importance in the Kingdom and that of those, who in humility, place all their trust in Him.
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The Organist: Jane Rips is attending the funeral of a relative in Iowa.
The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Points to Ponder: “Come, Lord Jesus! – As Messiah
Humanity desires a made-to-order Messiah. We want the Savior we want. The Jews wanted a political Messiah to save them from Rome. Many a modern Christian wants a Messiah who is a good teacher, an inspiration of brotherly love, or a dispenser of liberally-given blessings to ensure that life is blessed, as people like to define it.
That is not the Messiah who came and will come again. Jesus defied the expectations of Israel and continues to defy the desires of the world.
He reminds us that blessed is a term that He defines. It begins with not rejecting the Messiah because He fails to meet our expectations. One proof that He truly is the Messiah is that He fulfilled every prophecy made about Him. Therefore, blessed people respond to adverse circumstances with patient waiting and confidence that at the right time, the Messiah will fix all that is broken in life when He returns
Outline of Our Worship
Lord, Hear Us
Opening Thoughts on the Service
Opening Hymn: #313
The Service of Word and Prayer Hymnal pgs.266-267
(Today’s Responsive Versicles & Prayers will follow the Time of Christmas)
Lord, Feed Us
Psalm of the Day: #146
Sermon Hymn: #384
Sermon Text: James 5:7-11 I’m Waiting on the Lord
Lord, Accept Our Response
The Confession of Faith: The Apostles’ Creed – pg.268
Prayers & Lord’s Prayer
Lord, Bless Us
Closing Hymn: #310
The Third Sunday in Advent – Series A
Old Testament Lesson: Isaiah 35:1-10 – The Joyful Return
1 The wilderness and the desert will be glad. The wasteland of the Arabah will rejoice and blossom like a crocus. 2It will bloom lavishly, and there will be great joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it. It will be excellent like Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. 3Strengthen the weak hands, and make the shaky knees steady. 4Tell those who have a fearful heart: Be strong. Do not be afraid. Look! Your God will come with vengeance. With God’s own retribution, he will come and save you. 5Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unplugged. 6The crippled will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will sing for joy. Waters will flow in the wilderness, and streams in the wasteland. 7The burning sand will become a pool, and in the thirsty ground there will be springs of water. There will be grass, reeds, and rushes where the haunts of jackals once lay. 8A highway will be there, a road that will be called the holy way. The impure will not walk there. It will be reserved for those who walk in that holy way. Wicked fools will not wander onto it. 9No lion will be there, nor will any ferocious animal go up on it. They will not be found there, but only the redeemed will walk there. 10Then those ransomed by the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with a joyful shout, and everlasting joy will crown their heads. Happiness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
Epistle Lesson: James 5:7-11 – Wait Patiently for the Lord’s Coming
7Therefore, brothers, be patient until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the valuable harvest from the ground, patiently waiting for it, until it receives the early and late rain. 8You be patient too. Strengthen your hearts because the coming of the Lord is near. 9Do not complain about one another, brothers, so that you will not be judged. Look! The Judge is standing at the doors! 10Brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord as an example of suffering with patient endurance. 11See, we consider those who endured to be blessed. You have heard of the patient endurance of Job and have seen what the Lord did in the end, because the Lord is especially compassionate and merciful.
Gospel Lesson: Matthew 11:2-11 – John the Baptist and Christ
2While John was in prison, he heard about the things Christ was doing. He sent two of his disciples 3to ask him, “Are you the Coming One or should we wait for someone else?” 4Jesus answered them, “Go, report to John what you hear and see: 5The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the gospel is preached to the poor. 6Blessed is the one who does not take offense at me.” 7As these two were leaving, Jesus began to talk to the crowds about John. “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8What did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? No, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. 9So what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you! And he is much more than a prophet. 10This is the one about whom it is written, ‘Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ 11 Amen I tell you: Among those born of women there has not appeared anyone greater than John the Baptist. Yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”
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
Confirmation on Skype
Monthly Church Council Meeting is postponed till next Tuesday
Midweek Bible Class
Divine Worship Service
with Holy Communion online – Facebook
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
The coming of Christ in history and His return at the end of time proclaim the good news of God’s mighty deliverance. Our hearts rejoice as we hear Isaiah describe our deliverance. James tempers our joyful anticipation of our Lord’s return with patience as we undergo daily trials. We take comfort in Jesus’ words of consolation to John the Baptist. Jesus is God’s chosen Deliverer.
The Old Testament Lesson: Isaiah 35:1-10 (answers are found on the back side)
- Where had the Israelites seen the “glory of the Lord” years before?
- How does God’s deliverance affect his children’s attitude (v. 10)?
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; Lucille Huston; Barbara Long; Lois Wiese at Mercy Hospital;
Notes for the Holiday Season Next Sunday, Dec. 18th, we invite you to remain following the worship service for our annual pre-Christmas Brunch. There is a sign-up list in the fellowship hall if you can provide a dish to bring. See Dee for more details. Our Christmas Eve worship will be at 6 pm on the 24th. The service at Peace will be at 9 pm. Since New Year’s falls on a Sunday this year, we will not be holding our regular New Year’s Eve Communion service on the 31st. Join us on Sunday as we reflect on God’s blessings in the past and begin the New Year in Him with a Service of Holy Communion.
Advent Devotion Booklets are still available in the narthex.
Sunday, December 4 – Church Decorating for Christmas following the Fellowship & Bible Study Time
Tuesday, December 20 – the monthly elders/trustees and church council meetings are postponed until the 20th
Sunday, December 18 – Christmas Brunch after the worship service (sign-up in the Fellowship Hall)
Sunday, December 18 – Christmas Poinsettias final day to sign up to buy a poinsettia to adorn the altar
Christmas Eve, December 24, 6 pm – Christmas Eve Candlelight Service (at Peace LC Marshfield, 9 pm)
Sunday, New Year’s Day, Jan.1 – New Year’s Day Communion Service at our regular worship time
The Week in Review
Last Sunday Worship: 21; Bible Class: 13; Midweek Bible Class: 3; Offerings: $1,824
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
Advent 4: Isaiah 7:10-14; Romans 1:1-7; Matthew 1:18-25 (CW-21, Series A)
Answers to Today’s Old Testament Lesson Brief Study:
- When the Lord led His chosen people out of Egypt, the “glory of the Lord” appeared as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. God was delivering His people from the captivity they faced in Egypt. Here Isaiah says that people will see the glory of the Lord when He comes to deliver His people from their sins.
- Isaiah says that God’s children will enter Jerusalem with singing. Joy and gladness follow. For us who live in a sad world because of sin and its effects, we have an attitude change—thanks to our gracious God’s deliverance.
This week I am praying for……