Left Alone, by Ourselves? Never!

by Pastor Edwin Lehmann on May 17, 2020 in

The 6th Sunday in Easter – Rogate                                                      May 17, 2020
Text: John 14:15-21                      ILCW-A                                         20:2195
Theme: Left Alone, by Ourselves? Never!

What is it like to be an orphan? If you are orphaned, you are a child with no parents. Strictly speaking, an orphan’s parents have died, leaving the child alone in the world. But many children are simply abandoned by parents who don’t want them. Perhaps something is wrong with the child, or the parents can’t take care of it so the child is left at an institution or left to fend for itself.
How must an orphan feel: deprived…defenseless…destitute… helpless…alone in the world? I can’t imagine what that is like. The Lord blessed me with parents who loved and took care of me.
The other day I asked my students in China if China has many orphanages. You see, I know a family here which has adopted 3 children from China. Each of them has a problem: one is blind, one has a heart condition, and the last has a tumor on the brain. One of the students, Liujie, was familiar with an orphanage in Yinchan, where she lived. She said that the healthy children are adopted, but not the ones who have problems. They are left behind, never to grow up supported by a family of loved ones. How sad is that!
To my knowledge, none of us are orphans…or are we? Left Alone, by Ourselves?

I. Never alone because we’ve got a Counselor with us.
Jesus’ disciples must have felt that way when He told them that He was leaving them and they could not go where He was going – although He did assure them that He was going away to prepare a place for them and would come back to get them. But it doesn’t seem like they heard that part.
First, Thomas said, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. So how are we going to know the way to get there?” Then Philip responded: “If you show us the Father, that will be enough for us” – as though then they wouldn’t be as scared with Jesus leaving. Jesus also told them that all were going to run away from Him. So, they were baffled, to say the least. How were they going to make it without Him at their side? They were losing their dearest friend.
No more would they see His kindly face. No more would they hear His gracious words that filled them with joy and hope. No more could they watch Him do what noone else could do. No more could they come to Him with their questions and concerns. No more! Was He going to abandon them? Leave them alone in the world? They were confused and concerned, feeling empty inside.
Such an empty feeling of being left alone, by oneself, shouldn’t be hard for us to understand. Don’t we feel it too when someone close to us leaves? What must it mean to an orphan? Alone… unloved….they go together, don’t they? It leaves a person empty.
Such emptiness of feelings was expressed in a story about a group of soldiers. At Christmas they had stopped at an orphanage where all the children there had lost their parents in war. The soldiers saw no Christmas trees, no decorations, and no gifts. So they gave the children whatever they had in their pockets. One soldier saw a small boy standing alone in a corner. He went over to him and asked, “Little boy, what do you want?” Turning his face to the soldier, the boy answered, “Please, sir, I want to be loved.”
Alone, unloved, afraid! That’s how the disciples felt on the night before Jesus’ death. When they heard the news of His suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension to the Father’s House above, they were greatly troubled. They didn’t understand it, and their hearts were filled with grief because they didn’t want to be left alone, by themselves, helpless, orphans in an unfriendly world.
So it was that the Savior promised, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever, the Spirit of truth. He stays with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans.”
Jesus may be gone, dear friends, even as the Church will celebrate the Ascension this coming Thursday. He is no longer bodily present on earth. But He never leaves disciples alone, by ourselves. We’ve got another Counselor with us
Counselors offer support, guidance, direction, comfort, and give help to people. We’ve got them for almost any need in life. But this Counselor is special. God sends Him to our side to speak the truth. He only speaks divine truth that God has forgiven us for Jesus’ sake. He reminds us of all the promises the Savior taught, and He’s with us forever, especially in the sad and bad times, to support us. He’s there lifting you up even when you don’t know it. Think of this Counselor’s presence and work in your life this way.
During this time I’m refinishing an old dining room table set of my parents’ and friends who had it before them. It’s quite heavy. Have you ever tried to move a heavy piece of furniture by yourself? It’s not easy. First you take hold of one end and move it. Then you go to the other end and shove. After much grunting and groaning, you get it done. But the job is made much easier and done more efficiently when someone else helps you.
That’s the picture here of what the Counselor, the Comforter, the Helper, the Spirit of truth, does for those who in faith are missing the Savior. It appears like we are left alone, like orphans, struggling to move in life. But don’t you believe it! Jesus sends us the Holy Spirit to be our special aid, comfort, and guide. The Bible says, “He helps us in our weakness” (Ro.8:26) – literally, “He comes to our side” and takes hold of the other end with us, to move the burden. And it is done! That’s God’s promise to you.
So, don’t ever think you are left alone with any struggle. It’s not true. You’ve got another Counselor with you – the Spirit of truth.

II. Never alone because we enjoy a wonderful fellowship with God
But He’s not the only one with you. Listen again to what Jesus said, “I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you. The world won’t see me, but you will….In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. The one who loves me and holds on to my words will be loved by my Father. I will also love him and show myself to him.”
You see, alone as we sometimes feel – that’s not true. Jesus is still with us “to the end of the world,” as He promised.
That is what I mean when I write you a text or email and say, “Lord go with you,” because He does. I mean that as more than just a greeting or a wishful thought. I mean it as a reality, because Jesus said, “I am coming to you.”
Like a mother who soothes her tearful child when she has to go away for awhile, the Savior soothes our fears by saying, “I’ll be right back.” And He was, at least for the 12; they saw Him.
How many times after the crucifixion and the resurrection didn’t they see Him? Once He even appeared to over 500 of them. The world, which rejected Him, didn’t see Him again. But those who followed Him did. Even after He ascended, His disciples continued see Him – not with these eyes (physical), but with these (heart) – with the eyes of faith. And with those eyes, they enjoyed a wonderful fellowship with Him.
It was a fellowship that was not limited to the Lord Jesus. It included the presence of the Father with them. He said, “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” If the Lord Jesus is in the Father, and Jesus is in His people, then the Father is in them, too
One with the Father, one with the Lord Jesus, one with the Spirit of truth – it’s a special kind of connection that you have with the triune God. He fills you with His complete presence. This wonderful fellowship is a constant source of power, assurance, and comfort for you throughout your life. And I would suggest especially in times like these, today. Don’t you forget it! Practice it.
The story is told of a pious old Christian who practiced in his way the meaning behind God’s presence in his life. I like the picture behind the illustration. That’s why I’ve told the story before.
One day the older Christian was visited by the new minister in town. After the pastor seated himself by the old man’s bedside, he saw a vacant chair pulled up on the other side of the bed. Evidently, it had been occupied just before he entered the room. Pointing to the chair, the pastor said, “I see that I’m not your first visitor today.” Following the pastor’s eye to the vacant chair, the old man replied, “Oh – that chair? Let me tell you about it.
“Many years ago I found it difficult to pray when I went to bed. I was so tired that I often fell asleep on my knees. And if I stayed awake, I couldn’t keep my thoughts from wandering. I spoke to the minister about it. He told me not to worry. ‘Just sit on your bed, put a chair opposite you, and imagine that the Lord Jesus is in it. Talk to Him just as you would to a friend with you.’ I began doing that, and have been doing it ever since.”
The elderly man died that night. The next day they found him, his hand resting upon the chair at his side.
Maybe it’s not possible to cultivate the habit of a vacant chair in your bedroom, but how important that each of us cultivates the practice of God’s presence in our lives – for the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are with us in a much higher way than we imagine.
Left Alone by Ourselves? Orphans in the world? Never! For we enjoy a wonderful fellowship with God. And it will last forever. God grant it to us in faith for Jesus’ sake. Amen.


 Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield

(Member 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                                                    You can also find us on Facebook

 The Sixth Sunday of Easter: Rogate (“Ask”)     May 17, 2020 

 “I will ask the Father and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever….I will not leave you as orphan; I am coming to you.”   John 14:16,18

 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 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

“Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what He has done for me.   If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.”       (Psalm 66)

W h a t   T h i s     S u n d a y   i s   A b o u t

“I will not leave you.” Are you prepared for anything that may come at you in life? As a Christian the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” For your heart is set on Christ. Oh, things may get difficult, especially as you faithfully confess His saving name to a world that frequently ridicules it. But the blessings of Christ’s resurrection and baptism give you hope. And hope, when it is sure, overcomes all obstacles.

Besides, you will not stand alone in the world. You have the Comforter to guide you and Christ who is in you. That’s a risen and ascended Savior’s promise. He says, “I will not leave you.” What a marvelous aid and comfort in times of distress.

To that end we pray: Father of lights, every good and perfect gift comes from You. Inspire us to think things that are true and long for those things good, that we may always make our petitions according to Your gracious will, comforted in the presence of Your Son; for His 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 First Lesson:   Acts 17:22-31    

On Mars Hill in Athens a council of Greek men, known as the Areopagus, met to hear Paul proclaim the true God and the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Paul urged them to seek the truth about God for He is not far from anyone. A person’s salvation depends on it.

 The Epistle Lesson: 1 Peter 3:15-22

 As Christians give Christ the highest place in their hearts, they want to tell others of all that He means for them and the hope that He gives.
That hope began when He proclaimed His triumph over the devil. It continues in our Baptisms and prepares us be ready to give answers.

The Gospel Lesson:   John 14:15-21

On Maundy Thursday evening, with the cross looming before Him the next day, Jesus promised His disciples that He would not leave them alone. He would send another Counselor, the Holy Spirit, to comfort them and He Himself would come to them

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 We Serve the Lord with Gladness:

 Today’s Organist: Jane Rips        

Today’s Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann

Points to Ponder: “The comfort and courage of Christendom, created by the Holy Spirit, are steadfast, properly motivated, and pleasing to God and His angels. Thus we read of the holy martyrs who were defiantly courageous against tyrants, torments, and suffering. When they went to prison and death, they were very confident and joyful. They felt, as some said aloud, as if they were going to a wedding. Truly, if going to prison and being beheaded is like going to a dance, you must in truth have a heart, mind, and courage different from those of the world! Such courage assuredly is the work of the Holy Spirit alone.”    

Martin Luther on Christians Courage

 Outline of Our Worship

The Preparation

Opening Hymn: #183

Order of Worship:  The Common Service: page 15

The Ministry of the Word

Acts 17:22-31

Psalm of the Day: #66 pg.90

1 Peter 3:15-22

Duet: Shelter Me

Gospel Responses: pg,18

John 14:15-21

Apostles’ Creed: pg.19

Sermon Hymn: #169

Sermon: John 14:15-21   Left Alone; by Ourselves? Never!

 Our Response to the Word

 The Offertory:  Hymnal pg.20

Prayers & The Lord’s Prayer

Hymn: #355

The Lord Blesses Us

Prayer: Hymnal pg.25

 The Benediction

The Closing Hymn: #332

Silent Prayer


The Sixth Sunday of Easter – Series A

 First Lesson: Acts 17:22-31 – Paul in Athens

22Then Paul stood up in front of the council of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I see that you are very religious in every way. 23For as I was walking around and carefully observing your objects of worship, I even found an altar on which had been inscribed, ‘To an unknown god.’ Now what you worship as unknown—this is what I am going to proclaim to you.

24“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples made with hands. 25Neither is he served by human hands, as if he needed anything, since he himself gives all people life and breath and everything they have. 26From one man, he made every nation of mankind to live over the entire face of the earth. He determined the appointed times and the boundaries where they would live. 27He did this so they would seek God and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘Indeed, we are also his offspring.’

29“Therefore, since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by human skill and planning. 30Although God overlooked the times of ignorance, he is now commanding all people everywhere to repent,31because he has set a day on which he is going to judge the world in righteousness by the man he appointed. He provided proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

Epistle Lesson: 1 Peter 3:15-22 – Suffering for Doing Good

15Regard the Lord, the Christ, as holy in your hearts. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that is in you. 16But speak with gentleness and respect, while maintaining a clear conscience, so that those who attack your good way of life in Christ may be put to shame because they slandered you as evildoers. 17Indeed, it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil, 18because Christ also suffered once for sins in our place, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in flesh but was made alive in spirit, 19in which he also went and made an announcement to the spirits in prison. 20These spirits disobeyed long ago, when God’s patience was waiting in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In this ark a few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water. 21And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you, not removal of dirt from the body but the guarantee of a good conscience before God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 22He went to heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.

Gospel Lesson: John 14:15-21 – Not Left as Orphans

15“If you love me, hold on to my commands. 16I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. 17He is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see him or know him. You know him because he stays with you and will be in you.

18“I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you. 19In a little while the world will see me no longer, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21The one who has my commands and holds on to them is the one who loves me. And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. I too will love him and show myself to him.”

The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) copyright © 2019 The Wartburg Project.


The Sixth Sunday of Easter – Series A

 

First Lesson: Acts 17:22-31 – Paul in Athens

22Then Paul stood up in front of the council of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I see that you are very religious in every way. 23For as I was walking around and carefully observing your objects of worship, I even found an altar on which had been inscribed, ‘To an unknown god.’ Now what you worship as unknown—this is what I am going to proclaim to you.

24“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples made with hands. 25Neither is he served by human hands, as if he needed anything, since he himself gives all people life and breath and everything they have. 26From one man, he made every nation of mankind to live over the entire face of the earth. He determined the appointed times and the boundaries where they would live. 27He did this so they would seek God and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘Indeed, we are also his offspring.’

29“Therefore, since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by human skill and planning. 30Although God overlooked the times of ignorance, he is now commanding all people everywhere to repent,31because he has set a day on which he is going to judge the world in righteousness by the man he appointed. He provided proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

 

Epistle Lesson: 1 Peter 3:15-22 – Suffering for Doing Good

15Regard the Lord, the Christ, as holy in your hearts. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that is in you. 16But speak with gentleness and respect, while maintaining a clear conscience, so that those who attack your good way of life in Christ may be put to shame because they slandered you as evildoers. 17Indeed, it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil, 18because Christ also suffered once for sins in our place, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in flesh but was made alive in spirit, 19in which he also went and made an announcement to the spirits in prison. 20These spirits disobeyed long ago, when God’s patience was waiting in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In this ark a few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water. 21And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you, not removal of dirt from the body but the guarantee of a good conscience before God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 22He went to heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.

 

Gospel Lesson: John 14:15-21 – Not Left as Orphans

15“If you love me, hold on to my commands. 16I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. 17He is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see him or know him. You know him because he stays with you and will be in you.

18“I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you. 19In a little while the world will see me no longer, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21The one who has my commands and holds on to them is the one who loves me. And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. I too will love him and show myself to him.”

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

 

 

Today

May 17

 

Mon

May 18

 

Tues.

May 19

 

Wed.

May 20

 

Thurs.

May 21

 

Fri.

May 22

 

Sat.

May 23

 

Next Sun.

May 24

 

 

9:00 am

Divine Worship Service on line – Facebook

 

10:15 am

Bible study?

 

 

Easter 6

 

 

Some weekly activities will still be curtailed because of the restrictions

 

 

No Gardens

Bible Study

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midweek Bible Class?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ascension of Our Lord

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9:00 am

Divine Worship Service on line – Facebook

 

10:15 am

Bible study?

 

 

Easter 7

 

A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today

Confession of Christ and of our hope in Him is the calling of all who have been baptized. Such confession includes not only our faithful testimony but also our loving obedience to Jesus’ commands. As we live out our confession of Christ, we are comforted by the presence of the Spirit whom the Son has sent while we await his return.

 The Epistle Lesson (1 Peter 3:15-22)

  1. Who will ask us the questions that we should be prepared to answer?
  2. What makes me “prepared to give an answer”?
  3. What does Peter mean by “the hope that you have”?
  4. Why did Jesus descend into hell?

Prayer/Sick List Those We Remember In Our Prayers         Dea Windsor; Barbara Long; Clyde & Sharon Johnson; Angela Meek; Roger & Liz Lisenby’s brother & sister-in-law and granddaughter Jackie; Dave Ballou, recovering at home; Laurie Moon’s father.

 New Gathering Guidelines were passed two weeks ago in Greene County allowing gatherings of 25. That allows more members to attend our Sunday service, as long as distancing is observed.   We know that some will not be coming because of relevant health concerns. For those attending, please watch your distancing. Probably one family to a pew and utilizing the ends of each pew would be best. Also please watch your distancing from those in front of you. That is probably more critical. We will continue live-streaming for awhile yet.

Forward in Christ’s issue for May has arrived. Also Meditations next series of devotions, beginning the end of May is here. Copies for both may be found in the narthex. Northwestern Publishing House is also offering free things at this time to help with the teaching of children and with devotional materials. You can reach them at: www.nph.net

 The Week in Review

 Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 14; Adult Bible Class & Sunday School: no classes at this time; The Gardens Bible Class: no class; Midweek Bible Class: no class; Offering: $3695.

 Upcoming Dates

 There are no church related activities, other than Sunday’s online Facebook services, scheduled now, but perhaps soon.

            

                                                                        Next Sunday’s Lessons:        

The 7th Sunday of Easter: Acts 1:1-14; 1 Peter 4:12-17; John 17:1-11

 Answers to Today’s Gospel Brief Study:

  1. The unbelieving world will see the way we live under the cross and ask us why we are so happy to live like that.
  2. A true knowledge of the Scriptures through prayerful study and meditation on how it applies to my life not only prepares me to give an answer, but calms my own fears.
  3. The hope that we have is that this life of humble living and service will someday be followed with the glories of heaven.
  4. Jesus proclaimed that Good Friday had not been a defeat, but a glorious victory. It was a public humiliation that was inflicted upon the defeated forces of Satan.

    This week I am praying for……

Pastor Edwin Lehmann

Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann