Sermon for the Eleventh Sunday after Trinity August 20, 2023
Text: Exodus 20:5-6 Summer Sermon Series 23:2400
Theme: LORD, THY WILL BE DONE BY US…
That We Keep Your Commandments – The Conclusion.
One day a friend of Mark Twain told the humorist that it was his life’s ambition to visit the Holy Land and see Mount Sinai, where God gave the Ten Commandments in stone. Knowing his friend’s behavior over the years left much to be desired, Mark Twain looked him straight in the eye and said, “Why don’t you just stay home and keep them.”
It can be easier going to see the commandments rather than keeping them…easier lecturing on the commandments rather than living them…easier viewing obedience as a course to be studied rather than a course to be run. The Pharisees, like the one in the Gospel Lesson today, are an example of this.
They made their association with the commandments a head-knowledge, not a heart-and-hands experience. They prided themselves in doing things, but had no understanding of what was truly involved in keeping them. Of such people, Jesus said, “They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” “You have let go the commands of God.”
Keeping the Ten Commandments is not fulfilled with a head knowledge. It includes a conversion of the heart and a translation to the hands. It is not done by standing on the spot where the commandments were given and viewing them from a distance. It is living them daily and walking with them in life.
So it is that as we conclude our study on the 10 Commandments we pray: LORD, MAY THY WILL BE DONE BY US…That We Keep Your Commandments with heart, hands, and voice….
I. …for You are serious about them and us.
He is so serious about both that these concluding words contain threats of wrath and promises of grace, to terrify and warn us, to allure and persuade us so that we prize God’s words. They express divine earnestness. How intensely He has His commandments and our obedience to them at heart. He will severely punish those who scorn and violate them! But He promises to richly reward, bless, and grant all good things to those who prize them. Remembering both, we shall have our hands full in holding to them.
Can you remember a time when your parents gave you a warning so that you would do what they asked of you? If you failed to do what they asked, but they didn’t carry out their warning, you sighed in relief because you didn’t have to suffer the consequences of your disobedience. On the other hand, maybe you can also recall a time when they promised you something, but then forgot about fulfilling their promise. How did that make you feel? Disappointed?
Relieved or disappointed. Now, instead of focusing your attention on how you felt, think of what their failure to follow through said. When people fail to follow through on what they say, it tells you that they weren’t too serious about what they said.
Could we say the same thing about God and His commands? Is He serious about His words? Does He really expect us to keep them – perfectly? Or are they just casual reminders, more like The Ten Suggestions rather than The Ten Commandments?
In another vein, some people like to say, “Rules are meant to be broken.” Does God view His commandments that way?
Absolutely not. Our heavenly Father is serious, dead serious about them and us keeping His commands. He says, “I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God.” Now, that’s a strange way for God to describe Himself. Jealous? What does He mean?
He can’t mean “jealous” in the same sense that we become jealous. Normally, jealousy is an emotion of our sinful flesh.
For example, in the O.T. Jacob had two wives who were sisters, Leah and Rachel. Leah was blessed in having children. Rachel had none but desperately wanted them. Her barrenness made her feel inferior. The Bible says (Gn.30:1), “When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister.” That jealousy turned into anger, resentment, and filled her with hatred to the point where she wished to die.
Jealousy often leads to feelings of anger, resentment, or hatred for what others are or have. A child becomes jealous when it sees its sibling receive a toy that it doesn’t have. A worker becomes jealous when a fellow worker receives a promotion, but he doesn’t. That’s how we tend to view jealousy. As such it is sin for it leads us to despise, even harm our neighbor, if not in action, then at least in thought and word. Normally, jealousy is sin. So, what’s this when the holy God says: “I am a jealous God”?
Think of jealousy in God in the sense of a devoted husband who loves his wife and family with all his heart. Such a one could be said to be “jealous” towards them in a good sense. It means he is dedicated to them; he’ll stand by their side; he won’t allow anyone or anything to step in between and take them from him. Why? Because he loves them with all his heart. He is serious about keeping, protecting, and loving them. Jealous in a good sense. In that way God is a jealous God — in two directions.
First, in relation to His commandments. They are His will for life. They reflect what He is: faithful, true, loving, kind, just, not hateful, not covetous, etc. His commandments reflect His holiness and righteousness, His image that He does not want destroyed. Nor does He want us to shrug our shoulders at Him and His will for life. His honor and our good is at stake. He is serious about it.
Which leads us to the second part. He is jealous in the sense that He does not want anyone or anything to take us away from Him. He loves us with an everlasting love, a love that caused Him to send His Son to die as payment for sin. Through Christ He says, “I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.” He is the perfect loving and faithful husband and father. He does not want anything or anyone to get in the way and take us from Him.
But there is one thing that can – sin and continuing to live in it. As the Bible says, sin separates from God – a barrier that comes in-between us. That barrier He tore down. Paul writes, “In Christ… He has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility….Through Him we have access to the Father” (Ep.2:13f). But if we continue to live apart from Him and separate ourselves against Him, He will punish sin to the third and fourth generation of those who willingly continue in it. He is serious about it, so serious that He does not want to lose anyone for whom He bled and died. He wants to keep us members of His family who walk by faith in His ways.
To that end we pray: LORD, MAY THY WILL BE DONE BY US…That We Keep Your Commandments, for in so doing…
II. …we show that we are serious about You. It’s our way to thank You for what You have done for us in loving and saving us.
What a privilege that is, to have not only a way of telling Him, “Thank you,” but a way of showing Him. Just like we sometimes say, “actions speak louder than words,” keeping the commandments speaks volumes of our love and gratitude to God. It tells how serious we are about Him. If we do not keep His commands, our actions only serve to tell others that He is not important in our lives. It is the opposite of what Paul says when he writes, “In every way, make the teaching about God our Savior attractive” (Titus 2:10).
The story is told of a jeweler who spent a long summer’s day under the hood of his car. The next day, as he took his place behind the sales counter filled with sparkling diamond necklaces, he became painfully aware of his soiled hands. “Of all people,” he said, “I should have hands that are immaculately clean. There is nothing more unfitting than to offer a sparkling string of pearls for sale when one’s fingers are soiled and stained. Hands like mine make poor background for such precious jewelry like this.”
He’s right. Stained hands are not meant to sell dazzling jewelry. Neither do lives that continue to be soiled and stained by all manner of bad habits and disobedience to God’s commands become attractive witnesses for the Gospel of our Lord. “In every way, make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.”
Our lives are to be proper settings for the Pearl of Great Price. They are to be adornments for the Gospel. Sometimes what we do speaks volumes to others. Only the hearing of the Gospel leads to faith and salvation. But what we do tells our heavenly Father and those around us how serious we are about Him – fit salesmen for the Gospel in faith, heart, word, and deed.
LORD, MAY THY WILL BE DONE BY US…That We Strive in All We Do To Keep Your Commandments.
God grant it in our lives of faith for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
The Eleventh Sunday after Trinity August 20, 2023
Welcome in our Savior’s name. We are happy that you could join us in worship today and pray that you find comfort and encouragement in the mercy and grace of God through Christ.
Without Christ and His atoning work in our behalf, the chains of sin would bind us so firmly that eternal condemnation would be our lot. It is no secret, as we have seen over the past ten weeks. We have let go and transgressed God’s commands for our lives in Him. Who of us has kept the Ten Commandments perfectly in thought, word, and deed? None. Yet in His great mercy and love for sinners the Father provided His Son who broke the chains of sin for us on the cross and opened the door to freedom from sin and freedom to serve God through faith. Without Him we are and remain nothing. With Him we have access to His blessings which promise that all things are ours as we, in gratitude, live our lives to His glory.
Today we draw to the end of our study on the Ten Commandments with the Conclusion. It reveals what a blessed life in Christ is held out to us so that we may fear, love, and trust in God above all things and gladly keep His commands.
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Human Need Relies Completely Upon God’s Grace
Opening Thoughts on the Service
The Entrance Hymn: “God Has Spoken by His Prophets” #639
Order of Worship: Service of Word and Prayer pages 266-267
The Ministry of the Word
(The Lessons for the Day are taken from the Historic Pericope Series of the Christian Church.)
The Response following each lesson is on page 267.
Daniel 9:15-19 While the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah languished in captivity in Babylon, Daniel earnestly prayed for his people. Confessing their sin and pleading for God’s mercy, Daniel interceded before the Lord, begging His forgiveness and trusting that He would graciously hear and answer his prayer on behalf of all.
1 Corinthians 15:1-10 Paul encourages his readers to hold firmly to the Gospel. Paul himself holds to it completely as the means by which God’s forgiving grace flows to His people. That grace made Paul what he was, a redeemed believer and apostle of Christ. It is that grace, and grace alone, on which Paul relied.
Hymn Response: “By Grace I’m Saved, Grace Free and Boundless” st.1-3 #575
Luke 18:9-14 There is a wrong and a right way to appear before God. The wrong way relies upon and brags about one’s works and moral goodness so that God must accept him. The right way acknowledges the sinner’s desperate need in failing to keep God’s commands. It pleads for mercy and trusts only in God’s grace for forgiveness. Both are seen in the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (or Tax Collector).
The Sermon Hymn: “The Man Is Ever Blest” insert #CW1 475
The Sermon: Lord, Thy Will Be Done By Us…
…That We Keep Your Commandments.
Our Response to the Word
Preparation for Holy Communion: Christian Questions pages 295-296
The Lord Blesses Us
The Institution and Distribution of Holy Communion
Prayer of the Church page 268
The Closing Hymn: Oh, That the Lord Would Guide My Ways“” #705
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The Organist: Jane Rips is not with us today. The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Point to Ponder: “In the Conclusion to the Ten Commandments, God speaks of judgment against all evildoers who hate Him, and of mercy toward all who love Him and live according to His will. And how jealous God is of His Law and of His Commandments! On the other hand, how eager to exercise His grace and loving kindness has God forcefully demonstrated in our generation!
“God cannot be left out of the picture, though the attempt is constantly made to do so. This seems to be ‘man’s hour.’ Man invented the machine. Man invented the automobile. Man invented the airplane. (Man invented the computer, cell phone, A I, etc.). Though man has become a slave to all his inventions, he seems to be the architect of his own world as well as of his own destiny. Yet, “He that sits in the heavens shall laugh. The Lord shall have them in derision” (Ps.2:4).
“This is God’s hour! God’s hour of judgment, God’s hour of mercy, God’s hour of opportunity. Let us not deny Him our full co-operation to help bring salvation to a despairing world as it awaits judgment or mercy.”
— adapted from Pastor Ronald Goetsch on “This Is God’s Hour”
The Eleventh Sunday after Trinity – Historic Series
Old Testament Lesson: Daniel 9:10,11,15-19 – Daniel Prays for Israel.
10 We did not listen to the voice of the Lord our God by walking according to his laws that he set before us through the hand of his servants, the prophets. 11 All Israel violated your law and turned away by not listening to your voice. So you poured out the curse on us and fulfilled the oath that is written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, because we sinned against him….15 And now, Lord our God, you who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made a name for yourself to this very day, we have sinned, we have acted wickedly. 16 According to all your righteous acts, let your anger and wrath turn from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain, although, because of our sins and the guilt of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people are viewed with contempt by everyone around us.
17 Now listen, our God, to the prayer of your servant and to his plea for grace and let your face shine upon your desolate sanctuary for your sake, my Lord. 18 My God, turn your ear toward us and listen. Open your eyes and see the desolation that is upon us and the city that is called by your name. No, it is not because of our righteous acts that we are casting our plea for grace before you, but because of your great acts of compassion. 19 Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, pay attention! Act, and do not delay—for your sake, my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.
Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 15:1-10 – Grace Sets the Unworthy Worthy
1Brothers, I am going to call your attention to the gospel that I preached to you. You received it, and you took your stand on it. 2 You are also being saved by that gospel that was expressed in the words I preached to you, if you keep your hold on it—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. 6 After that he appeared to over five hundred brothers at the same time, most of whom are still alive, but some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, and then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, he appeared also to me, the stillborn child, so to speak. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, and I am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted God’s church. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not ineffective. On the contrary, I worked more than all of them (and yet it wasn’t my doing, but it was the grace of God, which was with me, that did it).
Gospel Lesson: Luke 18:9-14 – The Humbled Will Be Exalted.
9 Jesus told this parable to certain people who trusted in themselves (that they were righteous) and looked down on others: 10 “Two men went up to the temple courts to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed about himself like this: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people, robbers, evildoers, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week. I give a tenth of all my income.’ 13 “However the tax collector stood at a distance and would not even lift his eyes up to heaven, but was beating his chest and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’
14 “I tell you, this man went home justified rather than the other, because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) © 2019
The Conclusion to the Commandments
What Does God Say of All These Commandments?
He says thus (Exodus 20:5f): “I the LORD, thy God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me, and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me and keep My commandments.”
What does this mean?
God threatens to punish all that transgress these commandments. Therefore, we should dread His wrath and not act contrary to these commandments. But He promises grace and every blessing to all that keep these commandments. Therefore, we should also love and trust in Him, and gladly do according to His commandments, that means zealously and diligently order our whole life according to them.
(English text as published in the Concordia Triglotta, 1921)
The connection between all the commandments.
“Now let us weave all the commandments into a garland, the last commandment into the first commandment. In all of them you find these two things: you should fear God, and you shall trust God. If you fear God, you will not mistrust Him, you will not blaspheme, you will not be disobedient to your parents, you will not kill anybody or do him physical harm, but rather help him; and so with all the rest of the commandments….
“To the Conclusion of the Commandments add the threat and the promise of the First Commandment. The reason why the generations and nations are going to ruin is because this word, that is, God’s threat, is not observed. On the other hand, however, it says: ‘Showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep My commandments.’ There is set forth life and death, wrath and grace, blessing and curse, benefit and evil. These two, threat and promise, are the cord with which one binds the garland together….
“You see, then, how the First Commandment is the fountainhead whence all the others have their source. To it they all revert, upon it they depend, and beginning and end are linked and bound together. Thus, the First Commandment shines and imparts its splendor to all the others.”
— Martin Luther in a Sermon on the Catechism, 1528
Calendar & Announcements for Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
A member congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod
4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue), Springfield, MO 65810
Church phone: 417.887.0886 www.zionluthchurch.com
Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244 email: email@example.com
You can also find us on Facebook
Divine Worship Service
with Holy Communion online -Facebook
Fellowship & Bible Study
11th Sunday after Trinity
|Confirmation Class recessed for summer.
Midweek Bible Class.
Divine Worship Service
online – Facebook
Fellowship & Bible Study
12th Sunday after Trinity
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
The resurrection of Christ is everything to us every day, not just on Easter. If the Son of God had not risen from the grave, Satan would have the victory over us, we would be in sin’s condemnation for our disobedience to God’s commandments, and our faith would be worthless. But Jesus arose and made us what we are daily – redeemed in the blood of the Lamb.
The Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 15:1-10 (the answers are found on the back side)
- The good news that Jesus has risen is not just what Paul preached. What else is it?
- What will happen if we stop trusting in Jesus and start trusting in ourselves?
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Greg Miller; William & Laurie Moon; Pauline Jaeger; Kirsten Jaster (Laurie Moon’s sister); Greg Pierson (the Long’s son-in-law); Libya, Jodi Milam’s granddaughter; Barbara Long; Barbara Breidel; John, Elisha & Isaac Covey; Lucille Huston; Kathy Workentine, Glenn Schulz’s sister, diagnosed with a reoccurrence of cancer; Lois Wiese, at home.
Meditations next series of daily devotions begins next Sunday. There are copies in the narthex for family and friends.
The Church Council Meets Today after the service to begin evaluating some of the ministry needs and opportunities the Lord places before us here at Zion as we begin to enter the calling process later this fall. With Pastor Lehmann retiring next year, we will prayerfully consider the needs of the Gospel ministry for Zion and Peace as a dual parish and where the Lord may take us in the upcoming years. Later in fall we will be meeting with the MN District President, Pastor Dennis Klatt, who will assist us in the calling process. If you have any thoughts on the needs and opportunities that lie ahead, please share them with one of our church council members.
Lord, May Thy Will Be Done By Us Today we wrap up our journey through the Ten Commandments with that which is known as The Conclusion to the Commandments. God attached the words of the Conclusion to the First Commandment. They reflect the importance of that commandment as it gives direction to the rest. In the weeks that lie ahead during late summer and early fall, our next sermon studies will center on prayer and the Seven Petitions of the Lord’s Prayer.
Upcoming Services and Events
Monday-Tuesday, September 25-26 – Fall Pastors’ Study Conference in Cedar Rapids, IA
Saturday, October 14 – LWMS Fall Rally at Zion LC, Springfield
The Week in Review
Last Sunday Worship: 19; Bible Class 12; Midweek Bible Class: no class; Offerings: $876.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
The 12th Sunday after Trinity: Isaiah 29:18-21; 2 Corinthians 3:4-11; Mark 7:31-37 (Historic Pericope Series)
Answer to Today’s Epistle Lesson Brief Study:
- The good news that Jesus has risen is what we have received deeply in our hearts by the gift of the Holy Spirit. On it we have taken our stand. It makes us what we are before God – forgiven, heirs of eternal life, and witnesses to the Gospel.
- If we do not hold firmly to the Gospel until our dying day, but end up trusting in ourselves instead of Jesus, our current faith in the Risen One will have been worthless. We will be condemned for our sin that has not been removed from us.
This week I am praying for……