The Third Sunday after Epiphany January 24, 2021
Text: Mark 1:14-20 ILCW – B 21:2236
Theme: Jesus Calls: “Follow Me!”
Are you good at making things? That is going to depend on the skill and abilities you have to turn the materials with which you are working into a finished product. For example, give a trained mechanic the right tools and things he needs, and he will build you an engine. He has the skill and know-how. Give an artist a canvass, paint, and brushes and he will paint you a picture. He has the skill and know-how to do it.
On the other hand, give me the tools or the brushes and you will probably be disappointed with the product I make. I do not have the skill or know-how to build an engine or to paint a picture. The value of what can be made does not depend on the items but on the person who uses them.
(I. “Follow Me!” It’s a call of grace.)
Think about that as you listen again to a portion of our text: “As Jesus was going along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea, since they were fishermen. He said, ‘Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.”
What did Jesus make of these two? He took two fishermen who were good at catching fish and He began to change them into something completely different – catchers of people. They left their little fishing boats on the Sea of Galilee and began to train for carrying the gospel of Christ into many parts of the world so that people would be “caught” for the Savior. Peter wrote a few books of the Bible. These common, obscure fishermen lived 2,000 years ago, yet we talk about them today. What made them such great followers and fishermen for Christ when He said, “Follow Me”?
Was it because they had a special talent within them? They may have had an ability for catching fish, but catching fish and catching people for God are two different things. And consider this: how often don’t we see sad things coming out of them of their own accord, like the time that Peter denied that he knew Jesus and followed Him? Or the time he contradicted the Son of God when Jesus told him that God planned for Jesus to die on the cross. There was no special quality within them that made them effective fishers of men for they were sinful men like all the rest. Then what made them eventually become such loyal followers and effective fishermen for Christ when He Called?
Remember the examples of the mechanic and the artist? The value of what they made did not come from the materials but from the ability of the person using them.
Jesus made them what they became. It was the transforming power and grace of God through Christ that accomplished this. In His omnipotent and loving hands, ordinary men became rich with usefulness as they followed Him. His call of grace made of them something that wasn’t there before.
Think of it this way. The story is told of Albert Schweitzer, the well-known doctor and missionary to Africa of the last century. One time a visitor spent some days with him. Upon entering the dining room his first evening there, the visitor saw a piano in a corner which he described as an old, broken down, and warped instrument, nothing special. When the meal was finished, Dr. Schweitzer sat at the keyboard of the decrepit instrument and began to play. Within a moment the room was filled with beautiful and majestic harmonies. Later, as the visitor described the incident, he said: “That old piano seemed to lose its poverty in his hands.”
What an apt description of the transforming power of God’s grace through Christ Jesus when He calls people to follow Him! In His omnipotent and loving hands, old, broken-down, sinful, seemingly useless lives lose their poverty and become rich in Him.
By nature, the human heart is warped and twisted, capable of producing nothing eternally good. “Out of the heart,” the Bible says, “proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Mt.15:19). So abject is the spiritual poverty of the heart that it can do nothing about its bankrupt state unless it is touched by the hand of the Master. In His hand its poverty is transformed to plenitude, its helplessness to hope, and its emptiness to usefulness.
The God of salvation reaches down from heaven, touches the lives of men, and makes them something that they weren’t. In the words of St. Paul: “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich” (2Co.8:9). Our lives lose their poverty in the hands of the One who lived and died for us.
That was true of Simon and Andrew. Of their own, they were nothing special. But in the Savior’s hands He could make them something that they weren’t. And He did when He called them. It is a call of grace.
So, what can Jesus make of you? Sometimes we think we can’t do anything for Him. Sometimes we think our lives are nothing more than old, warped, broken-down instruments with no potential. “What talent or ability is in me that I can be useful to Him and His Kingdom?” we might say. At such times remember, the value of our lives depends upon the abilities of the one we follow. That is grace. And we follow Christ. The truth is it is not what you make of yourself that counts; it’s what the Savior makes of you!
“Follow Me!” He Calls. It’s a call of grace in which He turns you into what He would have you be for His Kingdom – unless you refuse Him and turn away. Sadly, many turn away; many refuse to follow and fish for Him; many seem to have no time for Him or don’t want to be bothered by committing their lives to the One who has saved them. That’s not what happened here.
(II. “Follow Me!” It’s a call to commitment.)
“Immediately they left their nets and followed him….He saw James and his brother John…Immediately Jesus called them. They left their father Zebedee in the boat…and followed him.”
Notice what happened when Jesus called, “Follow Me.” Immediately they left and took up behind Him. There was no hesitation, no doubts, no reservations, no objections, no excuses. Immediately they went, leaving everything behind.
Two of them left their father standing there! Such concerns they could have had for him! And what concerns might he have had for his sons’ welfare? Lots of concerns all the way around.
It makes me think of the way it is for people today. We have concerns, lots of concerns all around through a dark landscape of pandemic, politics, and personal apprehensions for health, safety, and life itself. Are they legitimate concerns? Perhaps. But what strikes me as different was the way these men approached their lives. They seemed to give little thought to the future, leaving it in God’s hands. If He would call them to this life of discipleship, then they trusted that He would provide for them, according to what He saw was fit. Jesus called and immediately they followed, committing their lives into His hands. “Follow Me!” is a call to commitment, not later, but now.
What does that have to say about worshiping Him? What does that have to say about serving Him? What does that have to say about serving each other? What does it have to say about the time in which we do it? I think it’s a most appropriate thing for us to consider as Christ’s followers today in our present situation.
Christians follow and press forward in Christ, no matter the circumstances around them. They do it knowing “the eternal God is our refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Dt.33:27).
He who has found forgiveness for his sins through Christ, who hears the Savior’s call to follow and fish for Him, that one can leave his life behind and commit his future to Christ today. He can launch out on what might seem to be a trackless future, confident that, come-what-may, “underneath are the everlasting arms.” Christ will uphold him. That is only seen by the eyes of faith. But the eyes that see it can walk upon the floods of time.
The story is told by a man taking a trip on a train when the spring floods seemed to cover everything. Farmlands and highways lay covered beneath a murky lake. It stretched as far as he could see. Slowly and cautiously the train made its way into what seemed to be a trackless, deep lake. Would it sink? Would it lose its way? Was it headed for disaster? Confidently the engineer headed the diesel into the swirling waters. He knew that only a few inches below the surface of the flood were solid tracks, invisible to the eye. Those unseen tracks were able to hold the train above the danger and lead them to dry ground just a mile or two ahead. As the man looked out the window of the train, he was confronted with the surreal view of a heavy streamliner sailing gracefully forward into the unknown, across the surface of the surging flood.
What a picture of the Christian life! Christ upholds us in every circumstance of life. He does it because our lives and their value do not depend on us, but on the abilities of the One who calls us.
Jesus Calls: “Follow Me!” It’s a call of grace, a call to commitment. God grant us to follow willingly in our lives; 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
The Third Sunday after Epiphany January 24, 2021 R
“Jesus said to them, ‘Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’
Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.” Mark 1:17-18
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
The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer in whom I take refuge. He reached down from on high and took hold of me. He brought me into a spacious place. He rescued me…and turns my darkness into light” (Ps.18).
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
His Call Has Urgency. Repeatedly the Bible tells us things like: “the time is short,” or “the kingdom of heaven is near,”’ or “without delay He called them.” What do such phrases imply?
God intends that we stop putting off matters of faith and salvation for another day. In our human weakness we procrastinate and delay in many areas of our lives, even in things spiritual. But in view of eternity, that could be disastrous. So the Bible urges: “Today is the day of salvation.” Tomorrow on this present earth may not come.
God grant that we live each day hearing and responding to the Savior’s call. His call to faith and service in His kingdom rings of urgency to all.
To that end we pray: Almighty God, You sent Your Son to proclaim Your kingdom and to teach with authority. Anoint us with the power of Your Spirit that we may bring good news to the afflicted, bind up the broken-hearted, and proclaim liberty to the captive today; 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: Jonah 3:1-5,10
After God released Jonah from the belly of the fish, He called Jonah again to go and preach repentance to the people of Nineveh. This time Jonah did not run away from the call. He went to Nineveh. The whole city listened and repented. In His compassion God did not destroy them.
The Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Paul calls on believers to realize the transient nature of this present world and to live their lives accordingly. Let nothing interfere in your relationship with God. Even the dearest relationships that we have in our families shouldn’t come in-between. This world is passing away.
The Gospel Lesson: Mark 1:14-20
As John the Baptist is silenced by his imprisonment, Jesus begins His public ministry. He begins calling on disciples to follow Him. Knowing that the time is short, He calls Peter, Andrew, James, and John to take up the task of “catching” souls for eternity. Without delay they respond.
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Today’s Organist: Jane Rips
Today’s Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Point to Ponder: The question is why Christ called such simple, plain folk to the apostleship and not some wealthy, mighty, learned, and holy people, who would at least have enjoyed the esteem of the world.….
Three reasons may be given. Firstly, in order to show the power and might of God, in that He began and also carried out a work so great with people so insignificant and simple. Men should see that it was not done by human power but by power and might divine.
Secondly, to keep one from thinking that God is a respecter of persons, choosing the wealthy, noble, wise, and despising the poor, simple, unlearned.
Thirdly, Christ wanted to choose simple, poor folk for the ministry that they might find it all the easier to follow Him for no man of wealth would have followed Him at once and let go his possessions, because wealth is a great hindrance in following Christ.”
Martin Luther on Why Christ Chose Apostles form the Lowly
Outline of Our Worship
Lord, Hear Us
Opening Thoughts on the Service
Today’s Order of Worship: Morning Praise: Hymnal pg.45
Opening Hymn: #82
Lord, Feed Us
Psalm of the Day: #18 Hymnal pg.69
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Hymn Response: #79 st.1-3
Sermon Hymn: #463
Sermon Text: Mark 1:14-20 Jesus Calls: “Follow Me!”
Lord, Accept Our Response
“We Praise You, O God” Hymnal pg.48
“Lord, Have Mercy”
Prayers, Lord’s Prayer & Prayer for Grace
Hymnal pg. 50
Lord, Bless Us
Hymnal pg. 51
Closing Hymn: #470
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
on line – Facebook
Fellowship & Brief Bible Study
Midweek Bible Class
Divine Worship Service
on line – Facebook
Fellowship & Brief Bible Study
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
How do unbelievers come to find out about Jesus? Does the Holy Spirit just strike them with lightning one day and bring them to faith? No. Paul tells us that “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Ro 10:17). We can’t expect others to come to faith in Jesus if we remain silent. We are reminded that Jesus is revealed by preaching repentance.
The Old Testament Lesson: Jonah 3:1-5,10 (answers are found on the back side)
- What message did Jonah have for Nineveh?
- What is repentance?
- What fruit of repentance did the people of Nineveh show?
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Dea Windsor; Clyde & Sharon Johnson; Dave Ballou; Greg Miller; Lou Schulz; Felicia Nichols’ family; Bill Buchanan; Norine Richardson; Barbara Long; Jodi Milam; Laurie Moon’s husband. William; Jodi’s brother and sister-in-law; Pastor James Witt, St. Louis; Lois Wiese; Felicia Nichols.
Forward in Christ’s latest monthly edition for January will be found in the narthex.
Copies of the Daily Devotions written by pastor this past week will be found in the narthex.
The Third Sunday after Epiphany – Series B
Old Testament Lesson: Jonah 3:1-5,10 – Jonah Preaches in Nineveh
1 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 2“Get up, go to Nineveh, the great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.”
3So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh just as the word of the Lord had commanded. Now Nineveh was a great city to God. It required a three-day walk. 4Jonah walked through the city for a day, and he called out, “Forty more days and Nineveh is going to be overthrown!”
5The men of Nineveh believed God. They proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least.
10When God saw their actions, that they had turned from their evil way, God relented from the disaster which he said he would bring on them, and he did not carry it out.
Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 – The Time Is Short
29I also say this, brothers: The time is short. From now on, let those who have wives live as if they have none; 30those who weep, as if not weeping; those who rejoice, as if not rejoicing; those who buy, as if not possessing; 31and those who use the world, as if not getting any use out of it. For the way of life that belongs to this world is passing away.
Gospel Lesson: Mark 1:14-20 – Jesus’ Ministry Begins: “Follow Me.”
14After John was put in prison, Jesus went to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God. 15“The time is fulfilled,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near! Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
16As Jesus was going along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea, since they were fishermen. 17Jesus said to them, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 18Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19Going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat mending the nets. 20Immediately Jesus called them. They left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.
The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) copyright © 2019 The Wartburg Project.
Health Ordinance With Springfield and the Greene County Health Dept. extending the mask requirements until April, we will continue wearing masks in the worship service. You will find masks, disposable gloves, and sanitizer in the narthex and the fellowship hall for your use. Please, continue to watch your physical distancing, side to side and front to back. We are not passing the offering plate during the service at this time, but it will be found at the door upon leaving the sanctuary.
MN District Southern Conference Pastors’ study conference – February 1-2 at Peace LC, Marshfield
Midweek Lenten Suppers & Services Begin at Zion – Thursday, February 18
The Week in Review
Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 20; Sunday Bible Class: 8; Midweek Bible Class: 6; Offering: $928.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany (Series B): Deuteronomy 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13; Mark 1:21-28
Answers to Today’s Old Testament Lesson Brief Study:
- Jonah preached a message of repentance.
- Normally when the Scriptures use the word “repentance” it not only means that people are sorry for their sins, but that they believe that God forgives them in Jesus. Repentance, then, includes both sorrow over sin and faith that our sins are forgiven. St. Paul explains: “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret” (2 Co 7:10).
- They declared a fast and put on
- This week I am praying for……