The Second Sunday after Epiphany January 17, 2021
Text: 1 Samuel 3:1-10 CW 3 Year Series B 21:1695
Theme: Speak, Lord, I’m Listening
I can still see it as though it happened this morning. It is a picture in my childhood Sunday school lesson booklet. Young Samuel lies on a pallet at night. He is raised up on one elbow, face turned toward a brilliant light shining in the upper corner of his room. The caption below reads: “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” At the time I wished that I could be Samuel and get to hear God speaking to me. God speaking to me! When I was young, I longed for such a thing. Would I still long to hear Him speak to me today?
The innocence of youth is past. Its humble, unassuming, trusting way is a distant memory. So many things of life lie behind me, some would make me drop my head in shame were I to stand before God and hear His voice. The Psalmist wrote, “Lord, You have investigated me, and You know. You know my thoughts. You are familiar with all my ways. You know it completely” (Ps.139:1f). He knows what I’ve done. What might He say to me about it? Would I want to hear it? Would I still respond, “Lord, I’m Listening. Speak to me”? But if He withholds His word from me, my situation will be even more desperate.
I. When people stop listening, a desperate situation arises.
That’s the state in which God’s Old Testament people found themselves, desperate, desperate to hear God speaking again. Our text began, “The word of the LORD was rare in those days. Prophetic vision was not common.”
It’s not because God didn’t want to communicate with His people. It’s because they didn’t care to hear from Him. They had little interest in what God had to say. The Books of the Law that God had given through Moses were kept in the temple, but the priests neglected them. If they used them at all they regarded God’s Word as something that could be used for their own advantage, not for the welfare of the people. They stole from the sacrifices and offerings that were brought to the Lord. And the Lord reacted with silence. Not since the death of Moses, 300 years before, had there been a prophet in Israel. When people stop listening and go their own way, God grows silent. Soon a desperate situation arises.
No greater judgment can fall on people than to suffer the loss of God’s Word. Is that happening in our own land – in the world today?
Surely, that can’t be. We have Bibles without number all around us. They lie on the tables in our homes…shelves in book stores are stocked with them, translations of many kinds…churches stand on many street corners. It would seem like the Word of God is in abundance around us. Yes, it seems to be all around. But are we listening? No greater judgment can fall upon a people than when they stop listening and suffer the loss of God’s Word. Are we listening? So many churches stand empty today.
God’s judgment was about to fall on Israel. Years later the prophet Amos wrote, “The days are coming,” declared the Lord, “when I will send a famine through the land – not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the Lord, but they will not find it” (Amos 8:11).
When famines strike, people die. Should God remove His Word because He will no longer be mocked, souls perish. When people stop listening, a desperate situation arises. God’s people were on the brink.
II. But a faithful God still makes Himself known.
But God is faithful even when His people aren’t. He will remain true to His promises. Those who repent and return will receive His blessing. In His mercy and grace He has said: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hb.13:5). And again, “the word of the Lord stands forever” (1Pt.1:25). He will not abandon or remove His Word completely from those who look to Him, but will come and make Himself known once more.
So it was that He was about to raise up a faithful, spirit-filled messenger who would receive His Word in reverent faith and proclaim it clearly again. That messenger came from the most unlikely of people – a young boy.
Samuel was perhaps 4 or 5 years-old when his parents brought him to serve the Lord at the tabernacle. He became the personal attendant of the High Priest Eli, who in his old age was going blind.
Many of Samuel’s duties could best be described as caretaker. He opened the doors of the Lord’s House in the morning. He trimmed the wicks on the lamps outside the Holy of Holies and filled them with oil to last through the night. He attended to Eli’s needs.
One night the boy awakened to the sound of his name being called: “Samuel!” Quick as a flash he ran to Eli’s bedside, thinking the dim-seeing priest needed his help. “I’m here,” Samuel cried. As if to say, “Sir, I’m at your service.” But Eli dismissed him with the words, “I did not call. Go back and lie down again.”
Soon, the same thing happened with a similar outcome. It happened a third time. But after the third occurrence, the aged priest realized that the Lord was calling the boy. With a wise directive, Eli sent Samuel back to bed, saying, “Go, lie down, and if He calls you, say: ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.’”
Speak, Lord, I’m listening. Ah, what beautiful instructions, and how reverently Samuel carried them out! When the voice of the Lord came the fourth time, making His presence known, Samuel responded, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.”
Note it well, dear friends. When a faithful God in His mercy and grace looks for someone to speak for Him and make Him known once more, the first qualification for which He looks is that the person be willing to listen when God speaks. Listening, how desperately that skill is needed today. There’s more talking than listening in our world – listening to God. The secret behind Samuel’s long success as a prophet was not that he excelled in speaking, but in listening to God. That’s how God expects us to receive Him.
At a time when some people do more talking than listening, when others presume to stand in judgment on God’s revelation of Himself in the Scriptures, every true servant of the Lord does well to stand quietly, in silent humility before God. He is faithful; He will makes Himself known in His Word. God help us all to breathe the simple prayer: “Speak, Lord; I’m listening.” Then we must listen to Him.
III. More time for listening.
The story is told of a busy preacher telling his friend of all the things he had to do during the upcoming week. There were sermons to write and deliver, weddings to perform, classes to be taught, and sick calls to be made. Raising his hand before the list was done, the friend interrupted and quietly remarked, “If you do so much talking, when does the Lord have a chance to talk to you?”
It’s a good question for everyone who calls himself a follower of Christ to consider. When does the Lord have a chance to talk to you? We need more time for listening.
Of the Lord Jesus we are told that He made it His custom weekly to attend the synagogue services. In addition, He frequently withdrew from the busy rounds of His work as the Christ to solitary mountain spots for quiet conversations with His heavenly Father. Even the Son of God needed the worship, the refreshment, and the encouragement that comes from quiet communion with heaven. And who can forget the scene in the Garden of Gethsemane when, alone while His disciples slept, He spoke with His heavenly Father as the hour of His death approached? To be sure, He not only spoke during those solitary moments, but He listened for He went out of the Garden strengthened to carry out His Father’s will on the cross where He died for our sins. If our divine Savior took so much time for listening, shouldn’t we take even more? And a faithful God will bless His people who listen, for “His ears are attentive to their cry” (Ps.34:15).
In our loud, confused, and topsy-turvy world today in which we hurry and scurry from here to there, how important that we stop, close the door against the noises of the world, and listen to our Savior.
Speak, Lord, I’m listening. And He responds, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, and in quietness and trust shall your strength be” (Is.30:15). God grant it to us 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 Second Sunday after Epiphany January 17, 2021
“The next day…Jesus found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’” John 1:43
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
“LORD, You have searched me and You know me; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You are familiar with all my ways. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Your hand will guide me and hold me fast” (Psalm 139).
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
God Calls to Serve Him. The Lord calls His people to follow and to serve Him in His Kingdom. He calls us through His Word. At times it may surprise us to see whom He calls. Maybe we are even surprised that He should call us! What have we done to merit His attention? He knows what we are like. He knows us through and through. Could He possibly use us?
Still, the Lord calls whom He will, from a young servant boy in the temple, to lowly fishermen in poor Galilee, to you in your present station in life. With each call there are challenges and obstacles to be surmounted. But the Lord graciously equips His people for the task and blesses each effort. God is calling to serve Him. How will you respond?
To that end we pray: Almighty God, You gave Your only begotten Son to be the Light of the world. Grant that all whom You call, illumined by Your Word, may faithfully walk in His footsteps and shine with His radiance that He may be honored, worshipped, and believed upon to the ends of the earth; 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 Samuel 3:1-10
At a critical turning point in the lives of God’s Old Testament people, the Lord God came to a young boy, Samuel, who was serving Him in the tabernacle. It was a time when God’s revelation of Himself was rare. When God called, Samuel responded by listening and then doing.
The Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
Since Christ paid such a high price to make us His own, no desire should rule us except the desire to honor Him. Paul warns Christians about abusing Christian liberty to cover sinful actions. In all things Christians give evidence that they belong to Christ and the Spirit dwells in them.
The Gospel Lesson: John 1:43-51
Jesus calls some of His first disciples, Philip and Nathanael, to follow Him. Jesus finds Philip first. Excited over his “discovery” of the Christ, Philip brought a friend to see Jesus. As they responded to Jesus’ call, He promised that great blessings would flow to them from Him.
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
Point to Ponder “When Christ became man, entered the ministry, and began to preach, the heavens opened (Mk.1:9-11). And they remain open. When you come to Baptism or receive the Lord’s Supper or get absolution, or hear a sermon, heaven is standing open and we are hearing the voice of our heavenly Father. For God is speaking to us, governing us, and taking care of us through His Word and Sacrament.”
— Martin Luther on Heaven Is Open; God Is Speaking
Outline of Our Worship
Opening Hymn: insert #735
Order of Worship: Service of Word and Sacrament Hymnal page 26
The Ministry of the Word
1 Samuel 3:1-10
1 Corinthians 6:12-20
Duet: We Are the Workers of the Lord
The Gospel Response: pg.30
Sermon Hymn: #560
Sermon: 1 Samuel 3:1-10 Speak, Lord, I’m Listening.
Our Response to the Word
The Nicene Creed: page 31
Prayer & Lord’s Prayer: 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)
Thanksgiving & Blessing: Hymnal pages 36-37
The Closing Hymn: #562
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
Annual Voters/WWFC Meetings
Midweek Bible Class
Divine Worship Service
on line – Facebook
Fellowship & Brief Bible Study
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
How is Jesus revealed to the sinful people of this world? Not through the nagging of the law. We can’t force people to be and act as Christians. Only God could do that, and even He doesn’t. Instead, Jesus is revealed through the call of the gospel, God’s word of peace and forgiveness. It’s the gospel that calls people to a life of faith and Christian living.
The Old Testament Lesson: 1 Samuel 3:1-10 (answers are found on the back side)
- Whom did Samuel think was calling him?
- Who was really calling Samuel?
- What model attitude does Samuel display for Christians?
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.
Offering Envelopes for the upcoming year are in the mail boxes in the narthex. If for some reason you did not receive a set, please see Jim Wiese.
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.
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.
The Week in Review
Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 16; Sunday Bible Class: 12; Midweek Bible Class: 6; Offering: $2,106.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
Third Sunday after the Epiphany (Series B): Jonah 3:1-5,10; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; Mark 1:14-20
Answers to Today’s Old Testament Lesson Brief Study:
- The Lord.
- Samuel displays a wonderful willingness to hear the Word of the Lord. Only through the gospel does the Holy Spirit awaken and strengthen faith.
This week I am praying for……
The Second Sunday after Epiphany – Series B
Old Testament Lesson: 1 Samuel 3:1-10 – God Calls the Boy Samuel
1 The boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days. Prophetic vision was not common.
2Now it happened that Eli’s eyes had begun to grow dim, so that he could not see. Once when Eli was lying down in his place 3and God’s lamp had not yet gone out, Samuel was lying down in the Lord’s temple, where God’s ark was. 4The Lord called Samuel, and Samuel said, “I am here.” 5He ran to Eli, and said, “I am here, since you called me.” Eli said, “I did not call. Lie down again.” So he went and lay down.
6Then the Lord called once more, “Samuel!” So Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “I am here, since you called me.” He answered, “I did not call, my son. Lie down again.”
7Now Samuel had not yet experienced the Lord’s presence, that is, the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.
8The Lord called Samuel for the third time. So he got up and went to Eli and said, “I am here, since you called me.” Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the young man. 9So Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and once again lay down in his place. 10The Lord came and stood there and called as he had the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 – Glorifying God in Body and Spirit
12“All things are permitted for me”—but not all things are beneficial. “All things are permitted for me”—but I will not allow anything to control me. 13“Foods are for the belly, and the belly is for foods, but God will do away with both of them.” However, the body is not for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. 14God raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. 15Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then remove the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Certainly not! 16Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute is one body with her? For it says, “The two will become one flesh.” 17But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.
18Flee from sexual immorality! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20for you were bought at a price. Therefore, glorify God with your body.
Gospel Lesson: John 1:43-51 – Jesus Calls His First Disciples to Follow
43The next day, Jesus wanted to leave for Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the hometown of Andrew and Peter. 45Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46Nathanael said to him, “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” “Come and see!” Philip told him.
47Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said about him, “Truly, here is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” 48Nathanael asked him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered, “Before Philip called you, while you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
50Jesus replied, “You believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that!” 51Then he added, “Amen, Amen, I tell you: You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) copyright © 2019 The Wartburg Project