The 19th Sunday after Pentecost October 3, 2021
Text: James 4:6-12 CW 3-year series B 21:2281
Theme: Learn to Want What God Wants
Some friends asked a man who prayed a lot to pray for rain. Before he began, he asked them what day would be best for rain.
Some of the women didn’t want it to rain on Monday because it was their wash day and they liked to hang things outdoors. On Tuesday the people who went to the lake and those who planned to hike wanted clear weather. On Wednesday the farmers were going to cut hay, and they wanted the hay to dry on Thursday. Friday there was a ball game. On Saturday people wanted to work on their yards and houses. On Sunday, of course, the ministers didn’t want rain to keep people away from church. There was no day that suited everyone. So, the man asked the Lord to send the rain whenever He thought it best. And that’s the way God sends it.
We could pray for good weather because we have something planned. When we awake the next morning and it’s raining, we may think that God didn’t hear our prayer or doesn’t care about us. But God cares about all people, and He does what is best for all people. A selfish payer asks for things that may harm others.
What would happen if every day one person prayed to keep the rain from falling? If God always did what was asked, there wouldn’t be any food to eat because food can’t grow without rain.
Earlier in this chapter James wrote: “You ask and yet do not receive, because you ask with wrong (motives).” Jesus prayed, “Father, not my will but Yours be done.” From the Savior we learn to let God decide what is best when we pray, and we learn to want what God wants.
(I. God wants us to be humble.)
It’s a lesson that the people of James’ scattered congregation needed to learn because it seemed like they weren’t happy with the things they had. They looked at what others had, and with bitter envy and selfish ambition in their hearts they were greatly dissatisfied. So, James admonished in last week’s lesson: “If you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts…this is not wisdom that comes down from above, but it is worldly, unspiritual, and demonic. Where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and every bad practice” (3:14f).
Earlier in this 4th chapter their envy and selfish ambition led them to pick fights and quarrels with each other. James wrote, “You want something but do not get it, so you murder. You desire something but cannot obtain it, so you quarrel and fight” (v.2).
I think that James did not mean that they were actually killing one another. But hatred, anger, and discontent can lead to “murder” within the heart. That can easily lead Christians out of faith. So, James admonished, “Learn to Want What God Wants.”
When we are finished with the Epistle of James, it would be hard not to see that one of the great things that God wants for us is to be humble. This is the 4th lesson we’ve had from his Epistle and each time the subject of humility has come up in some way. Humility, humility, humility – James hammers that thought home.
Why? Well, look at our world. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. The only way that the world says you are going to get to the top is by putting on a front. You are not going to get there by being “Mr. Nice Guy.” You’ve got to put yourself forward; you’ve got to “toot your own horn.” Be aggressive, assertive, even if it leads you to lie about others and take them down. How different God’s desires for our lives in Him are. The Bible declares, “God opposes the proud, but He gives grace to the humble” (v.6). What God Wants is opposite that which the world wants.
The lack of such humility is a heart problem. It leads to a mouth and hand problem for if the heart is not right with God, the behavior won’t be either. It’s as James said earlier: “Don’t your conflicts and quarrels come from your cravings for pleasure, which are at war in the parts of your body. You want something, but don’t get it…you ask wrongly so that you may spend it on what gives you pleasure.”
Why do we quarrel? Why are there fights in the home, the workplace, at school? Why was Joshua upset with those who were prophesying in the O.T. lesson? Why was John upset in the Gospel Lesson with the man who was healing in Jesus’ name, but wasn’t one of them? Because self-centered concerns, even self-love churn within. So often we want things the way we want them instead of the way God wants them. Pride enters the heart, not humility.
To that end Jesus said, “Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Mt.11:29). Think of His way.
Here He was, true God in heaven, Creator of all. Yet, He wasn’t too proud to do anything that needed to be done to help us. He wasn’t too proud to take on human flesh. He wasn’t too proud to have poor people and undesirables as His friends. He wasn’t too proud to suffer and die for us. It surely was not out of envy and selfish ambition that He humbled Himself for our eternal good.
Now He turns to those He saved and says, “Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart.”
Learn to Want What God Wants. He wants us to be humble.
(II. God wants to bless us.)
But too often people think that if one does that, putting yourself and your desires aside, you’ll lose out. But with God the opposite is true for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Do you remember the definition we use for grace? It’s made up of 3 words: “God’s…Undeserved…Love.” Each word is important. But the one word that truly highlights what grace is, is the word “Undeserved.” If you receive something that is undeserved, you haven’t done anything for it. It is freely given to you, without merit from you. It’s an unearned gift that has no strings attached to it.
Salvation is such a gift – freely given to us through faith in Christ. And along with it come other gifts. The Bible calls them “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Ga.5:22). No proud man has those, does he? Think of it. What proud man is patient or kind? But the one who grows in faith in Christ, receives them. They are the graces with which God wants to bless our lives. He pours them into the humble heart of faith. It’s What He Wants to Do. And Christians want that too.
(III. God wants to draw us near Him.)
In it all God has one great desire. He wants to draw us to Him. James writes, “So, submit yourself to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you.” He will come near to you! How near are you to God?
That reminds me of a devotion I once read in a child’s devotion book. A little girl wondered where God was. She asked her father, “Is God up there where the airplanes fly?” “He sure is,” her father replied. “And when the plane flies far away, is God still where the airplane is?” “Yes, He is there too.” “Is He always far away then?” she asked. “No, God is everywhere, and He is also very close to us,” her father said. “Well, how can I be real close to God?” At that her father picked out this verse and read, “Come near to God, and He will come near to you.” “But how does one come near to God?” she asked. Yes, how do you draw near to Him as He wants?
That is not hard. We draw near to Him by listening to what He says in His Word. We draw near by coming to Him in prayer. We ask for His help in our Christian living so that we humbly approach Him and others without quarreling, fighting, and unrighteously judging. And one of the closest ways in drawing near to God is in the reception of His body and blood in the Sacrament. He wants us to draw near to Him in these ways and will enable us to fight against the world, the devil, and our sinful flesh. As we draw near to Him, James promises, “And He will lift you up.”
So, dear Christian friend, may we leave all things to Him. That is the mark of humility. Pray, pray most fervently for things you need. James said, “You do not have because you do not ask” (v.3). And Jesus encouraged, “Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you. For whoever asks, receives, whoever seeks finds, and to whomever knocks, the door will be opened” (Mt.7:7f). But God cares about all people, and He does what is best for all people. A selfish payer asks for things that might harm others.
And so we pray Lord, Help Us to Learn to Want What You Want. You want us to be humble; You want to bless us; You want us to draw near to You. We ask it 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
You can also find us on Facebook
The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost October 3, 2021
“Come near to God and He will come near to you.” James 4:8
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
“O LORD, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” (Psalm 51).
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
God Gives Grace to the Humble. As Christians pick up the cross to follow Christ, they expect trouble in the world. Sadly, some of the most painful experiences they go through do not come from worldly outsiders but from those within the Church. The devil seeks to tempt believers with thoughts of envy, selfish ambition, jealousy, and false spiritual pride. God’s gifts are so rich and varied that the devil uses God’s generosity to stir up bad blood. See it in others; find it in yourself. Oh, how we need the Savior!
Furthermore, our struggle against our own flesh gives us the greatest difficulty and anguish. It does not want to give up things. But the glorious truth remains – in Christ God still gives grace to the humble. As you draw near to Him, He will enable you to resist such temptations.
To that end we pray: Mercifully grant, O God, that Your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts, for without Your help we are unable to please You. Help and humble us 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: Numbers 11:16, 24-29
The Lord’s Spirit came to rest on 70 elders of Israel who began to prophesy. Joshua became jealous for Moses’ honor and wanted to stop them. But in humility Moses corrected Joshua’s feelings, for it was the Spirit’s will that these men also proclaim God’s Word.
Epistle Lesson: James 4:7-12
Submit yourself to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Repentance is a part of such submission, with humility as its fruit. Such humility will not lift the individual above God, nor will it lead one to slander or speak unjustly about one’s neighbor.
Gospel Lesson: Mark 9:38-50
Like Joshua had done, the disciples showed jealous concern because another man was driving out demons in the Lord’s name. But their concerns were self-centered. Jesus warns about such sins, especially against young and tender believers.
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
Out of deep love for the truth of God’s Word and precious souls, we follow the practice of Close Communion in our congregation. This has been the practice of Christians for centuries and reflects the Bible’s teaching on unity of faith in the reception of the Supper (1 Cor.10:17). It does not judge a person’s heart but anticipates agreement in that which God says. Since we do not wish to put anyone in the position of declaring such agreement with us before study in the Word is possible, we ask that only those who are communicant members of this or another Wisconsin Synod or ELS congregation come to receive the Sacrament.
The Organist: Jane Rips The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Points to Ponder: “Robert Louis Stevenson once said to a friend: ‘The most dangerous height I ever climbed was Mt. Ego.’ The great church father St. Augustine once exclaimed: ‘Should you ask me, ‘What is the first thing in religion?’ I should reply, ‘The first, the second, the third thing – nay, all – is humility!’
“Let us, then, be done with silly pride and shallow boasting. May we ever contemplate the unsearchable love of Him who humbled Himself for us, even to the death of the cross.”
Herman Gockel on Afraid to Be Humble?
Outline of Our Worship
Opening Thoughts on the Service
Opening Hymn: #184
Order of Worship: The Common Service with Holy Communion: page 15-16
Prayer of the Day
The Ministry of the Word
Hymn Response: #462
The Gospel Responses: pg.18
The Nicene Creed pg.18
Sermon: James 4:6-12 Learn to Want What God Wants
Our Response to the Word
The Offertory & Offering: page 20
Prayers & The Lord’s Prayer
The Lord Blesses Us
Order of Holy Communion
Hymnal pages 21-23
(Visitors: Please read the box on page 2 regarding Holy Communion)
Distribution Hymn: #515
Thanksgiving Prayer & Blessing Hymnal pages 24-25
Closing Hymn: #469 st.5-6
The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost – Series B
Old Testament: Numbers 11:16,24-29 – Moses Appoints Israel’s Elders
16The Lord said to Moses, “Gather 70 men from the elders of Israel for me, men whom you know to be elders and officers for the people. Take them to the Tent of Meeting and make them stand there with you.”
24Moses went out and told the people the Lord’s words. He gathered 70 men from the elders of the people and had them stand all around the tent. 25The Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him. He took from the Spirit that was on Moses and put it on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, but they did not do it again.
26Two men, however, remained in the camp. The name of one was Eldad, and the name of the other was Medad. They were listed among the elders, but they had not gone out to the tent. The Spirit rested on them, and they prophesied back in the camp. 27A young man ran and reported this to Moses. He said, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp!” 28Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide from his youth, answered, “My lord Moses, stop them!” 29Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? If only all of the Lord’s people were prophets so that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!”
Epistle Lesson: James 4:7-12 – Humble Yourself and Draw Near to God
7Submit yourselves to God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God, and he will come near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded people. 9Lament, mourn, and weep. Let your laughter be changed into mourning and your joy into gloom. 10Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he will lift you up.
11Do not speak against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother is speaking against the law and judging the law. But if you judge the law, you are not one who does the law, but a judge. 12There is one lawgiver and judge. He is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
Gospel Lesson: Mark 9:38-50 – Have Salt in Yourselves
38John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name. We tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39But Jesus said, “Do not try to stop him, because no one who does a miracle in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil about me. 40Whoever is not against us is for us.
41Amen I tell you: Whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you belong to Christ, will certainly not lose his reward. 42“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to fall into sin, it would be better for him if he were thrown into the sea with a large millstone hung around his neck.
43If your hand causes you to fall into sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed, than to have two hands and go into hell, into the unquenchable fire, 44‘where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’ 45If your foot causes you to fall into sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, than to have two feet and be thrown into hell, 46‘where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’ 47If your eye causes you to fall into sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, 48‘where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’ 49For everyone will be salted with fire. 50Salt is good. But if the salt loses its flavor, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another.”
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
Fellowship & Brief Bible Study
Midweek Bible Class,
4:30 pm Confirmation
|LWMS Fall Rally at Grace LC, Columbia
Divine Worship Service
online – Facebook
Fellowship & Brief Bible Study
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
We all sin. Sin requires radical surgery: Jesus says: “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off” (Mark 9: 43). The Good News is that Jesus was “cut off” from His own Father through His death on the cross in order to reunite us with God and with one another. As His servants we are the “salt” of the earth, demonstrating allegiance to Jesus and the Gospel.
.The Gospel Lesson: Mark 9:38-50 (answers are found on the back side)
- What prompted John to protest to Jesus about a miracle worker that was not one of the twelve?
- Summarize the obligations of disciples for one another according to Mark 9:42-50.
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Clyde Johnson; Greg Miller; Lou Schulz; Norine Richardson; Jodi Milam; William & Laurie Moon; Patsy Mickelson; Pauline Jaeger, Randy’s mother; Dave Ballou now in rehab; Lois Wiese; Barbara Long; John Workentine, Schulz’s brother-in-law; Khendra Murdoch’s husband, Jason.
Fall Rally The Missouri River Valley Circuit of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society will hold its fall rally this coming Saturday at Grace LC, in Columbia, MO. It begins with registration at 9:30 and the worship service marking its beginning at 10 am. It will close around 2:30-2:45 pm. Pastor and Liz will be attending. Will you join us? See him if you would like a ride. Also see the insert for more information about the missionary speaker for the day.
More on the New Hymnal After more study on the new hymnal, pastor and our organist Jane are becoming more familiar with it. We invite you to peruse the book. You will find new hymns as well as old favorites in it. The 3 main worship services are of the same character as the traditional Communion Service, with 2 of the services carrying new melodies for the canticle and versicle portions of the liturgy. There are also some new devotional additions both for the congregation as well as individual use which are historical in nature and you might find rewarding spiritually. We invite you to look through the book as we begin to make a decision about bringing it into our worship practice at Zion. You will find a copy in the fellowship hall.
No Face Mask Regulations Facemasks are not required in a church setting in Springfield. If you feel more comfortable wearing a mask, especially with the upswing in Covid cases, you may do so. Masks, disposable gloves, and sanitizer are in the narthex and the fellowship hall for your use.
Saturday, October 9 – LWMS Fall Rally at Grace LC, Columbia, MO; Africa Missionary Howard Mohlke – speaker
The Week in Review
Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 22; Bible Class: 9; Midweek Bible Class: 6; Offering: $712.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
Pentecost 20: Genesis 2:18-24; Hebrews 2:9-11; Mark 10:2-16 (CW 3 Year Series B)
Answers to Today’s Gospel Lesson Brief Study:
- Perhaps John was jealous because he “was not one of us.” How often don’t we look down on other Christians who are not part of our church body? Jesus said, “Do not stop him” because his view of the Church was much more inclusive than the narrow view of the twelve disciples. Food for thought.
- A disciple will do everything possible to save the life of the soul. Participation in Christ’s Kingdom is worth any sacrifice. The hand will not grasp what God forbids. The foot will not go where God’s “No Trespassing” sign stands. The eye will not gaze on that which God hates. Keep your “saltiness” by living for the Gospel and Christ Jesus.
This week I am praying for……
Missouri Valley Circuit
Fall Rally | Oct. 9, 2021
Registration begins 9:30am
Topic: The One Africa Team
Rev. Howard Mohlke,
Director of the One Africa Team
4540 N. Oakland Gravel Rd.
Columbia, MO 65202