The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost August 15, 2021
Text: John 6:41-51 CW 3 Year Series – B 21:2274
Theme: Jesus and Me. What’s the Connection?
“This Is the Life.” Does anyone know that TV show? It’s an old one. You might have to be at least as old as I am to know of it.
“This Is the Life” was a religious show, Lutheran produced, back in the (dare I say) 1950’s. We used to watch it as children if we were sick and couldn’t go to church that Sunday. It was written and directed by a Lutheran pastor named Herman Gockel. Every now and then you will see his name on the Points to Ponder that we put in the Sunday bulletin. Those come from devotional books that he wrote.
In one of those devotions, he tells the story how one day, after a long shooting session, an actress approached him and asked, “Pastor, I have heard you say over and over again that Jesus died, and because He died our sins have been forgiven. What I don’t get it, what’s the connection?”
The connection between me, sin, and Jesus’ death? Really. People don’t get it? That may seem strange to us as baptized believers, but many people don’t get it and need help. Why don’t they get it? I’m not sure, but here is a suggestion in part.
Throughout history there have been many men who stood for a good cause. Some even gave their lives for it. But who would say, for example, that because Abraham Lincoln lived and gave his life, that my sins are forgiven, and I can go to heaven? Pres. Lincoln may have died for a good cause. But what would be the connection between him and me and heaven? There isn’t any.
But it’s different with the Lord Jesus because of who He is, where He came from, and what He accomplished. On their own people can’t make the connection. The people in our text didn’t get it either. In fact, they refused to get it and rejected Him.
I. Faith that sees Jesus as the One come down from heaven.
Rejection of something is not always bad. If you are allergic to a certain food, you better reject it lest you get sick. Or God’s Word tells us to reject certain lifestyles and cravings for the welfare of our souls. Paul wrote in the Epistle Lesson today, “Get rid of every kind of bitterness, rage, anger, quarreling, and slander, along with every kind of malice” (Ep.4:31). We must reject such things for our eternal welfare.
But there is a rejection that we dare never make a part of our lives – the rejection of Christ Jesus as the Savior. That can happen if we don’t see the connection that exists between Him and us.
In our text the leaders of the Jews couldn’t see it. They began grumbling about Jesus because He said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” That put Him on the level with God. And that they wouldn’t accept. Why not?
Because they grew up with Him. They knew His mother Mary and His stepfather Joseph. He was from Nazareth in Galilee, like some of them were. They’d known Him for almost 30 years. So, how could He dare to say that He had come from heaven and claim something special about Himself? Was He better than they were?
We have a saying that addresses their problem in part: “Familiarity breeds contempt.” To me that means if you are familiar with something, it is common to you and not spectacular enough to catch your attention.
For example, you know that I grew up in Wisconsin, but I never really saw a lot of things Wisconsin had to offer until after I left there. It was too familiar to me when I lived there. Or, how many of you travel to Branson every week to see the shows? I don’t. Branson has become too familiar to me. Yet, people flock from all over to spend weeks there. Maybe those aren’t the best examples. But familiarity can breed contempt for a variety of reasons.
These people were familiar with Jesus – nothing special about Him. He was from their hometown. So, when He dared to claim that He was come down from heaven, they rejected Him and would not accept their need of His heavenly greatness. And they had seen so much of His greatness – recently, the feeding of over 5,000.
Oh, but we would never do that – reject him – would we? We would never fail to see the connection between Jesus, heaven, and ourselves, would we? We would never reject Him for being greater than we are, would we? We would never grumble against any claim on us being loyal to Him first and putting everything else aside to keep Him #1 in our lives, would we? We would never put our concerns about Covid 19 ahead of Him, would we?
Pray God that we wouldn’t. But things have seemed to change this past year. I’m not sure that the vital connection between Jesus and us is as strongly perceived by some people anymore.
Faith sees Jesus as the One come down from heaven for me. It makes Him vital in my life. I can’t live without Him. Have you made that connection? Don’t let familiarity breed contempt in your life.
II. Faith that is from the Father that draws you to Jesus.
It won’t under one condition – that the heavenly Father, through the sending of the Holy Spirit enables you to see the connection and draws you to it. It’s the only way you understand it – if the Father through the Spirit draws you. Jesus said it that plainly, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”
Well, that verse really shoots a hole in decision theology – all those who say that they made their decision for Christ. How plain and simple can these words be? If we are God’s, if we are connected with the Lord Jesus in faith, it’s not our doing in any way. It’s totally God’s. Jesus said, “Unless the Father draws you.”
Do you remember what Jesus said in last week’s Gospel Lesson? He said, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.” If you believe in Jesus as your Savior and see the connection between you, that’s God’s accomplishment from start to finish, not yours. Faith is of the Father, drawing you to Jesus.
Think of it in terms of a magnet and a nail. Put them on a table together. What will happen? They will stick together – not because the nail, under its own power, rolls over to the magnet, but because the magnet, all on its own, has the power to draw the nail to itself.
So also with faith. If you have found the connection between Jesus and yourself, it is not because that you have rolled to Him, but it is totally because He has drawn you to Himself – His working, not yours. In fact, you did nothing. That is grace, dear friends, the Father in His love drawing you to himself in Jesus through the Holy Spirit.
That is a most comforting truth for it means that from start to finish my life of faith is in the hands of God – almighty God. Therefore, it is sure and certain, and I can be confident where I stand in connection with Him – not because of me, but because of Him. Faith that is from the Father draws us to Jesus.
III. Faith “eats” of Him and enjoys eternal life.
It draws us to Him to believe in Him as our Savior. Or, as Jesus said it, that “eats” of Him, takes Him into our lives, and enjoys eternal life with Him now and forever.
Jesus spoke about this in terms of food – bread. He referred to Himself as the Bread of Life.
Bread is a staple food. And there is bread a plenty everywhere. Just go into a store and note the rows of bread that are there. It’s available to us every day. But if you don’t eat the bread, it won’t do you any good. Your body will not be nourished. But to eat the bread, you are nourished, and your life goes on.
As bread is for the body, so Christ is for the soul. Jesus said, “The bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” That is talking about His death on the cross to earn our forgiveness. To “eat of Him” is nothing other than to believe in Him, to take Him into your life as the Savior. That is necessary for keeping you going in eternity. “If anyone eats this bread,” He said, “he will live forever.” Faith eats of Jesus and enjoys the eternal life He gives.
You know, dear friends, there are plenty of people who don’t get the connection. I pray that you are not one of them. If you are, pray God, listen to His Word, and the Father through the Holy Spirit will draw you to believe. God grant it to us all in our lives of faith; for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)
Church phone: 417.887.0886 Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244
You can also find us on Facebook
The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost August 15, 2021
“Jesus said to them: ‘No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me
draws him. And I will raise him up on the Last Day.’” John 6:44
F o r O u r V i s i t o r s
We extend a warm and sincere welcome in our Savior’s name. Please sign our guest book, located to the right just outside the sanctuary. If you desire more information about Zion Lutheran Church or are in need of spiritual guidance, please call upon our pastor at any time. We are delighted to have you join us today and invite you to return soon.
U p o n E n t e r i n g G o d’ s H o u s e
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked. His delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water” (Psalm 1).
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
Drawn to Jesus for Life. Only God provides the “bread from heaven” that keeps us alive forever. To “eat this bread” simply means to take Him in, to believe in the Lord Jesus as the Savior who died and rose again to life for our sin. Were it not for Him, our life in the present would be one of despair and our doom in the next life would be sealed.
But thanks to a gracious God who provides the food that is needed to keep our souls alive in Him. Through Christ Jesus He draws us to Himself in time and for all eternity. Drawn to Jesus for life through faith in Him.
To that end we pray: Almighty God, You are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve. Pour upon us the abundance of Your mercy, forgiving those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Christ Jesus. Draw us to Him in faith through the Spirit’s power; for Jesus’ 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: 1 Kings 19:3-8
Do you have reason to be discouraged, complain, or give up? Elijah thought he did. God disregarded his complaints but did not ignore His prophet. Instead, He strengthened him for the work ahead. In times of discouragement God strengthens believers, drawing them to Himself.
The Epistle Lesson: Ephesians 4:30-5:2
God’s grace for us in Christ draws us closer to Him. It forgives, strengthens, and enables us to follow Him and get rid of the sin that affects our relationships. Grateful for His redeeming love, we imitate Him with our lives.
The Gospel Lesson: John 6:41-51
Many grumbled when Jesus called Himself the “bread from heaven.” It was a claim to His divine, saving purpose. He appeared “too human” for them, no one special. So they rejected Him. Only the Father can enable one to be drawn to Jesus for life. In such faith we will live forever.
O u r P r a c t i c e o f H o l y C o m m u n i o n
The Lord’s Supper is a wonderful gift in which we receive Jesus’ own body and blood to forgive our sins and strengthen us in faith. It is a gift given with certain responsibilities. The Sacrament is intended for those who have been instructed, understand, and confess as one what they are receiving and doing. Through it we express our unity of faith (1 Cor.10:17). Therefore, we ask that only confirmed members of Zion Lutheran Church or our sister congregations of the WELS or ELS approach to receive Communion. If you would like to become a communicant member of Zion or have any questions about our practice, the pastor would be happy to meet with you after the service.
The Organist: Jane Rips The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Point to Ponder: “It is possible to get so wrapped up in our work or activities that we neglect our spiritual needs and faith gradually shrivels and dies. That is what Christ meant when He said, “Do not work for food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life which the Son of Man will give you….I am the Bread of Life.” He is to be the source of our most needed sustenance….In our Christian lives we are to cultivate and maintain a proper scale of priorities.”
— Herman Gockel on What Are We Working For?
Outline of Our Worship
Opening Hymn: #338
Order of Worship: Service of Word and Sacrament Hymnal page 26
The Ministry of the Word
1 Kings 19:3-8
Hymn Response: #452
The Gospel Response: pg.30
Sermon Hymn: #387
Sermon: John 6:41-51 Jesus and Me? What’s the Connection?
Our Response to the Word
The Nicene Creed: page 31
The Offering & Prayers
Hymnal page 32
Lord, Bless Us
Order of Holy Communion: Hymnal pages 33-35
(Visitors: Please read box inside about the practice of Holy Communion)
Distribution Hymn: #312
Thanksgiving & Blessing: Hymnal pages 36-37
The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost – Series B
Old Testament: 1 Kings 19:3-8 Discouraged, Elijah Flees for His Life
3Elijah was afraid, and he ran for his life. He went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and he left his servant there. 4But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. There he sat down under a broom tree, where he prayed that he would die. He said, “I’ve had enough, Lord. Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” 5Then he lay down and went to sleep under the broom tree.
Suddenly an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.”
6Then he looked around, and near his head there was a loaf of bread baking on coals and a jar of water, so he ate and drank, and then he lay down again.
7Then the angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, because the journey is too much for you.”
8So he got up and ate and drank. Then, with the strength gained from that food he walked for forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God.
Epistle Lesson: Ephesians 4:30-5:2 – Living the New Life, Imitating God
30Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of every kind of bitterness, rage, anger, quarreling, and slander, along with every kind of malice. 32Instead, be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one other, just as God in Christ has forgiven us.
5:1Therefore, be imitators of God as his dearly loved children. 2And walk in love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself for us, as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Gospel Lesson: John 6:41-51 – The Bread of Life Sent from Heaven
41So the Jews started grumbling about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42They asked, “Isn’t this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? So how can he say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
43Jesus answered them, “Stop grumbling among yourselves. 44No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the Last Day. 45It is written in the Prophets, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 46I am not saying that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God. He is the one who has seen the Father. 47Amen, Amen, I tell you: The one who believes in me has eternal life.
48“I am the Bread of Life. 49Your fathers ate manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that anyone may eat it and not die. 51I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread, he will live forever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
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
with Holy Communion
on line – Facebook
Fellowship/Potluck in Appreciation for Member Help & Service at Church
Midweek Bible Class,
Confirmation, or Choir this week.
Divine Worship Service
on line – Facebook
Fellowship & Brief Bible Study
Rev. Matthew Brooks will be the Guest Preacher
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
Have you ever been faced with an impossible task? When a job seems impossible, it’s difficult and frustrating to even attempt fulfilling it. For Christians, trusting in Jesus, believing His promises and loving others as He loves us sometimes seems impossible. But in today’s lessons we are shown how Jesus gives us the ability to fulfill impossible tasks by giving us the Bread of Life. Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing (Jn 15:5). But with God, nothing is impossible (Lk 1:37).
The Gospel Lesson: John 6:41-51 (answers are found on the back side)
- With what statement of Jesus were the people have difficulty and why? How did Jesus react?
- What important truth about our Christian lives does Jesus make clear in verses 44-45?
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Dea Windsor; Clyde Johnson; Dave Ballou; Greg Miller; Lou Schulz; Norine Richardson; Barbara Long; Jodi Milam; William & Laurie Moon; Patsy Mickelson; Lance & Jodi Milam; Pauline Jaeger, Randy’s mother; Laurie Moon’s family, the Lord took her father to Himself this past week.
For the Next Two Sundays guest preachers will lead us in worship. Pastor and Elizabeth will be gone on a trip with friends. Should need arise, please contact one of our council members or Pastor Timothy Buelow in Carthage at 417.388.4374; Pastor Matthew Brooks at 507.304.0267; or Pastor James Witt at 314.799.1864.
You Are Invited to the wedding of Lindsey Bates and Samuel Anibal on Saturday, September 4, 6 pm at the “I Do Event and Wedding” center in Joplin, MO. You will find the invitation on the bulletin board in the hallway for the address.
No Face Mask Regulations Facemasks are no longer required in a church setting, although with the current rise of the Covid variants, many places are offering them. If you feel more comfortable wearing a mask, especially with the upswing in Covid cases in our community, you may do so. Masks, disposable gloves, and sanitizer are in the narthex and the fellowship hall for your use. We are again passing the offering plate in our worship service.
Forward in Christ’s latest edition for August has arrived. You will find copies in the narthex. Copies of the Daily Devotions written by Pastor this past week, continuing on portions of Psalm 78, will also be found in the narthex. And the next series of Meditations daily devotions, beginning the end of August, have arrived. Large print copies are available
The Week in Review
Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 28; Bible Class: 18; Midweek Bible Class: 4; Offering: $1,226
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
Pentecost 13: Proverbs 9:1-6; Ephesians 5:15-20; John 6:51-58 (CW 3 Year Series B)
Rev. Matthew Brooks from the Jefferson City area will be the guest preacher.
Answers to Today’s Gospel Lesson Brief Study:
- They grumbled at the fact that Jesus called himself the “bread that came down from heaven.” His claim that He was from heaven seemed to be blasphemous. Jesus told them to stop their grumbling.
- Jesus points out that apart from the working of His heavenly Father, we are unable to believe in Him and come to Him. The Father does this work of winning and wooing us to faith through the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Co 2:9-10). The Holy Spirit brings us to faith by supplying us with the Bread of Life, the truth about Jesus our Savior. Apart from the working of the Holy Trinity, our faith in Jesus would be an impossible task for us.
This week I am praying for……