Thank God! We Have Somewhere to Go!

by Pastor Edwin Lehmann on March 21, 2020 in
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The Fourth Sunday in Lent                                                                             March 22, 2020
Text: Hosea 5:15-6:3                          Three Year Series-A                            20:2183
Theme: Thank God! We Have Somewhere to Go!

What do you see happening in the world today, in the fallout from the Corona Virus? Do you see God in this? Everything that happens in the world, especially in trying times, should remind people as to who God is, who we are, and where we are headed.
Such reminders are called “Signs of the End Times.” They are things that we see taking place around us in nature, in society, and in the Church that remind us an end to this world is inevitable. They serve to keep us alert and watchful because we do not know when our Lord is returning in judgment. He will come at a time when people do not expect Him (Mt.24:42f).
Jesus told us these things when He spoke about wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, famines, persecution, love growing cold, people falling from faith, and so on (Mt.24). In the book of Luke (21:11) He added to the list “plagues in various places.” Diseases, epidemics, plagues – such things happen throughout history.
In the 1300s the Bubonic Plague (Black Death) decimated the population in Europe. Historians estimate that over half the population of Europe died. During the Thirty Years War in the first half of the 1600s, famines and disease took hundreds of thousands of lives. In the early 1900s our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents suffered the ravages of swine flu, smallpox, and polio. More recently people died from SARS and H1N1 (swine flu) epidemics. Now we’ve got Covid19 and the entire world is on edge. Why do these things take place? What’s happening? Several things.

I. …When we are inflicted with the pain of our sin.
Ever since Adam and Eve first bit into the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden and disobeyed God, the consequences of sin came into our world. Pain, toil, sickness, death did not exist in the perfect world. Sin brought it upon us all. Sickness is a consequence of sin. But there is more involved. Things don’t happen without God.
When He allows them, like the 10 plagues in Egypt, they could be sent as punishment on people who reject Him. They can fall on believers as well, not as punishment to destroy but as chastisement to turn us from our wandering ways and keep us in Him. The writer to the Hebrews says (12:6f), “Endure suffering as discipline. God is dealing with you as sons. Is there a son whose father does not discipline him? …No discipline seems pleasant when it is happening, but painful, yet later it yields a peaceful harvest of righteousness. Therefore, strengthen your weak hands and feeble knees…For the Lord disciplines the one whom He loves.”
Consequence of sin, reminder of the end times – illnesses serve those purposes. And in them God graciously turns our thoughts, which so easily wander, to Him as our eternal Savior whom we need and in whom we rejoice. This is how the Bible and Christians will see what is happening in our world today. But it seems that many just don’t get it. Israel in Hosea’s day didn’t get it either.
Israel had turned away from God. Due to their prosperity, they became very worldly. Besides pursuing luxuries and worldly goods, they ran after Baal and Ashtaroth, Moloch, and other idols, and they rarely worshipped in God’s House. The Lord accused them of committing adultery, not physically but spiritually, against Him – unfaithfulness to Him who should be their first love. They would not listen to God anymore and He was done with it.
If, as a parent, you have had it with the way your children are acting, what do you do? Do you just ignore it? Do you not say anything? What kind of a parent would you be if you said nothing?
God reacts. It wasn’t going to be pleasant. He said, “I will tear them to pieces and go away…I will return to my place until they admit their guilt and seek my face. In their distress they will earnestly seek me.” He would inflict them with the pain of sin.
Do you like pain? Nobody likes pain. You have to be a masochist in order to like pain. We don’t want to endure a toothache or headache, so we take aspirin. Who wants to hurt? But there is a beneficial side to pain.
It’s good that we feel it. If we were sticks or stones, we wouldn’t have pain. But then, we wouldn’t know when we needed help, and we’d be broken, crushed, or burned out of existence. But as God put us together, He allows for pain, for a purpose. Pain leads us to seek help when we need it.
Think of the nerve endings in your body. The nerves are a network of sensors that let you know what is happening to you. If your hand gets too close to the fire or your finger gets caught in a car door, the nerve endings shout the alarm: “Pain! Something’s wrong; something’s got to change or be fixed, or you will be in deep trouble! Find help or something worse may happen!”
With such intent God allowed the Children of Israel to be inflicted with pain so that they would turn back to Him.
It’s somewhat similar to that which people experience if they find themselves lying in a hospital bed and say: “God put me on my back so I would remember to look up.” That can happen to those who are mindlessly wandering apart from Him or it can happen to those who are close to Him in order to keep them closer. If you should catch this virus, that is what He is doing. He is graciously drawing you closer to Him. But it’s not so much the physical pain that helps the most; it’s the inner pain of conscience that does.
Perhaps we could compare the conscience to a nerve ending. It sounds alarms when sin cuts into our lives and threatens our souls eternally. That alarm was barely ringing anymore in Israel. So, in an effort to wake them up, God said, “I will return to my place.”
Go away? What if God should go away from me in my life? That’s a frightening thought. Where would we be without Him who created us and holds all things together (Col.1:17) for our good (Rm.8:28f)? Remove Himself from my life! How could I go on?
If we refuse to admit our guilt, God could remove Himself. What pain that would cause! But even if He should remove Himself, as He threatened, He never stops caring for us. He would only threaten to go away as a last attempt to wake us up in our sin.
The One who felt the horror of that for us was the Lord Jesus on the cross when He cried, “My God, My God; why have You forsaken Me”(Mt.27:46). Christ was forsaken with our sin on Him so that we might have forgiveness and never be forsaken by God in eternity. Paul said in the Epistle Lesson today, “So then, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Ro.8:1). For Jesus’ sake God forgives, forgets, and opens wide His arms to receive us back in faith. He sent His Son here not to be served, but to serve by paying the ransom price for sin so that we might obtain the blessings of salvation and eternal life (Mt.20:28).
Thank God! We Have Somewhere to Go when we are inflicted with the pain of our sin. We have a Savior. Go to Him!

II. …When we need His blessing.
So, Israel, after feeling pain, responded, “Come, let us return to the LORD. He Himself has torn us, but He will heal us. He is wounding us, but He will bandage us. He will restore us to life.” Finally, Israel was looking in the right direction, the only direction that could help them in their pain and need – God. “Let us return to Him,” they cried. “He is the answer to what we need.”
If you have an aching spirit, if you feel stressed out, if you feel the pain of life overcoming you, what do you do? Where do you go? Some people go shopping. Others turn to amusement parks. But the blessings that you need which will last can only come from the eternal God. The anger, the gloom, the pain will return because sin is still present, and the signs of the end times remain. The pain will be there unless the heart and soul are healed and find rest. Only Christ cuts through the darkness to heal the heart and soul. We do have somewhere to go for the blessings we need. We go to God, through Christ, on our knees for forgiveness and in prayer.
Sin is the cause behind all our problems, not necessarily a specific sin, but our disobedience to God. So, on our knees we go, confessing it. And then we thrill to hear God’s answer – He still loves us, He still cares for us, and for His Son’s sake forgives us. To Christ we go in faith, and He blesses us with what we need. Hosea pictured the refreshment this way: “His coming forth is as sure as the coming of dawn. He comes to us like the winter rain, like the spring rain that waters the earth.”
When the farmer plants his crop in Israel, he plants it earlier than we do. He’s already planting. When he plants his crop, he’s counting on the rain to fall and the sun to shine.
Likewise, in our suffering and pain, Christians count on God with confidence. He will be there. He will revive us. He will restore us. He will come to us like the sun and the rain to refresh the dry soil of our hearts and help it produce good fruits in Him. See in this a gracious call to repentance and a stronger faith in the Savior. We need Him. Our world needs Him now as much as ever.
What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear; What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer. Oh, what peace we often forfeit, Oh, what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer….In His arms He’ll take and shield thee; Thou wilt find a solace there.”
God grant our world the wisdom needed to sit up, take notice, repent, and believe in the Savior. Thank God, We Have Somewhere to Go…when inflicted with the pain of our sin and when in need of His blessing. We have a Savior. God grant it to us in faith for Jesus’ sake. Amen.


The Fourth Sunday in Lent – Series A
Old Testament Lesson: Hosea 5:15-6:3 Israel Needs to Return to the Lord
15“I will go. I will return to my place until they are judged guilty, and they seek my face in their distress. They will seek me eagerly.”
6:1Come, let us return to the Lord. He himself has torn us, but he will heal us. He is wounding us, but he will bandage us. 2He will restore us to life after two days. On the third day he will raise us so that we may live before him. 3We will know. We will pursue knowledge of the Lord. His coming forth is as sure as the coming of dawn. He comes to us like the rain, like the spring rain that waters the earth.

Epistle Lesson: Romans 8:1-10 God Placed Our Judgment on Christ
1 So then, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3Indeed, what the law was unable to do, because it was weakened by the flesh, God did, when he sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to deal with sin. God condemned sin in his flesh, 4so that the righteous decree of the law would be fully satisfied in us who are not walking according to the flesh, but according to the spirit.
5To be sure, those who are in harmony with the sinful flesh think about things the way the sinful flesh does, and those in harmony with the spirit think about things the way the spirit does. 6Now, the way the sinful flesh thinks results in death, but the way the spirit thinks results in life and peace. 7For the mind-set of the sinful flesh is hostile to God, since it does not submit to God’s law, and in fact, it cannot. 8Those who are in the sinful flesh cannot please God.
9But you are not in the sinful flesh but in the spirit, if indeed God’s Spirit lives in you. And if someone does not have the Spirit of Christ, that person does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, but your spirit is alive because of righteousness.

Gospel Lesson: Matthew 20:17-28 Jesus Foretells Death & Resurrection
17As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside; and on the way he said to them, 18“Look, we are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and experts in the law, and they will condemn him to death. 19They will hand him over to the Gentiles to mock, flog, and crucify him. On the third day he will be raised.”
20Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to him with her sons, kneeling and asking something of him. 21He said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Promise that in your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit, one on your right hand and one on your left hand.”
22But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to him, “We are.” 23He said to them, “You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not for me to give; rather these places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”
24When the ten heard this, they were angry with the two brothers. 25But Jesus summoned them and said, “You know that the rulers of the nations lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26It will not be that way among you. Instead whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, 27and whoever wants to be first among you will be your slave— 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage VersionTM (EHVTM) copyright © 2016 The Wartburg Project.


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
Pastor’s email: revelehmann@gmail.com

The Fourth Sunday in Lent: Laetare (“Rejoice!”)    March 22, 2020

“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve,
and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

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
“Rejoice with Jerusalem and celebrate with her, all you who love her. I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD….Peace be within you.’ As Jerusalem is surrounded by mountains, so the LORD surrounds His people from now to eternity.” (Psalm 122&125).

W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
Saved to Serve Wherever He went, the Lord Jesus served people. The one purpose for which He came into this world was to serve by humbly laying down His life for our sin. Thank God! We rejoice for the shadow of His cross now falls over all who believe and gives them life with God.
As Christians humbly and joyfully live under that shadow, they think differently, act differently, pray differently, and have different ambitions from those of the world. The spirit of Christ dwells in them. They don’t put themselves first, but they place themselves last like the Savior did. They realize that they have been saved to serve.
So it is that we pray: Almighty God, we confess that we deserve to be punished for our evil deeds. But we ask You graciously to cleanse us from all sin and to comfort us with Your salvation. You have saved us to serve. Help us to follow in the footsteps of the Savior now and forever; for His name’s sake we pray. 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: Hosea 5:15-6:3

Israel had turned away from the Lord. God chastised them heavily. He withdrew and waited for their response. The prophet admonishes them to return in repentance, trusting God will forgive, heal, and bless them. Israel responds but lacks a heart of sincere repentance and humble service to God.

The Epistle Lesson: Romans 8:1-10

How beautiful the message of the Gospel is! Though we have sinned, through faith in Christ we hear the verdict: “Not condemned!” The law could not save us, so Christ did. He gave us a new life and a new spirit through which we seek to serve Him. Rejoice and live in His salvation!

The Gospel Lesson: Matthew 20:17-28

Jesus once again clearly states His purpose of going to the cross. It took His humble, loving spirit to accomplish it. But the disciples failed to show such a spirit. Jesus taught them that greatness in God’s kingdom lies not in being served but in rejoicing in humble service as He did.

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

We Serve the Lord with Gladness:

Today’s Organist: Jane Rips The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
March’s Ushers: Wade Richardson, Bob Woessner, & Jerry Hunt

Point to Ponder: “Our Old Adam finds the “washing of feet” (i.e., humbly serving) very sour work, for he would always prefer being served to being obliged to serve others. And he is especially hurt when gratitude fails to follow. But the washing of feet is to continue even if little or no gratitude follows. Therefore, we need constant prayer that God would give us His grace to be patient and humble.”
— Martin Luther on Not to Be Served but to Serve

Are we weak and heavy laden, Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge – Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer.
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; You will find a solace there.

Outline of Our Worship

Lord, Hear Us

Opening Thoughts on the Service

Opening Hymn: #486

Today’s Order of Worship:  Morning Praise: Hymnal pg.45

Lord, Feed Us

Psalm of the Day: #42-43    Hymnal pg.82

Hosea 5:15-6:3

Romans 8:1-10

Hymn Response: #125

Matthew 20:17-28

Sermon Hymn: #411

Sermon Text: Hosea 5:15-6:3
Thank God! We Have Somewhere to Go!

Lord, Accept Our Response

The Te Deum: Hymn #278
Hymnal pg.48

The Offering

“Lord, Have Mercy”
Prayers, Lord’s Prayer & Prayer for Grace
Hymnal pg. 50

Lord, Bless Us

The Benediction
Hymnal pg. 51

Closing Hymn: #260

Silent Prayer


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  March 22  Lent 4 (Laetare)

9:00 am  Divine Worship Service

10:15 am  Bible study for all ages

Mon  March 23

Tues.  March 24

No Gardens Bible Study

Wed.  March 25

7 pm Midweek Lent 5 at Peace

Thurs.  March 26

11 am   Midweek Bible Class

No Lenten Supper

6:30 pm  Midweek Lent 5: …To His Condemnation

Fri.  March 27

Sat.  March 28

Next Sun.  March 29  Lent 5 (Judica)

9:00 am  Divine Worship Service

10:15 am  Bible study for all ages

A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
As Christians, we have nothing to fear! The condemnation of the Law was removed by Christ’s life and death on our behalf. Reassured of God’s forgiveness on a daily basis, we can live our lives to his glory by serving others.

The Gospel Lesson (Matthew 20:17-28)
1. What was the “cup” of which Jesus spoke?
2. Why is pride such a dangerous sin?
3. How do Jesus’ life and ministry provide a model for us?

Prayer/Sick List Those We Remember In Our Prayers Gail Stuesser; Dea Windsor, Alyssa Cook’s mother; Barbara Long; Clyde & Sharon Johnson; Dave Ballou; Angela Meek; Roger & Liz Lisenby’s brother & sister-in-law and granddaughter Jackie.

At Zion, Handling the Virus Situation During this time we will continue holding worship services and Bible class for those who would wish to attend. Remember, the ban is no more than 10 gathering together. It is the feeling of some that, since the ban of 10 is on groupings, should we have more in attendance at worship than 10, we could have an overflow in the fellowship hall as long as that group did not number more than 10 nor intermingle with the 10 in church. The ban is on groupings of 10. That is the way some feel at this time. Thursday evening we had 9 in attendance at our worship service. We will seek to follow what the authorities ask of us and we leave it up to each individual, looking at their own situations, to decide what is wisest for them. Pastor will always be available to bring you communion or devotions. Do not hesitate to call.

Midweek Lent Due to the gathering ban of 10, no suppers will be held, but we will make a pot of soup for those who would like to eat before or after the service. Lenten Service begins at 6:30 pm. The suppers at Peace are also cancelled, but a service will be held Wednesday evenings at 7 pm. A ban of 10 is now in effect for Marshfield too. But should we have more in either place, it appears to some that we can have 10 in church and 10 in the fellowship hall or basement.

Live Streaming Services Hopefully we have figured out how to live-stream our worship services for those who may not be able to attend. It happens through Facebook. If you have a Facebook account or desire one, friend Zion Lutheran Church. We will try to stream the service at our normal worship times. Marshfield will attempt the same on Sunday and Wednesday.

The Week in Review

Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 25; Adult Bible Class 20; Sunday School: -; The Gardens Bible Class: no class; Midweek Bible Class: 6; Sunday Offering: General Fund $1,223.25; Lawn Maintenance: $1,200; Midweek Lent 4 Attendance: 9.

Forward in Christ’s latest issue for April has arrived. There are copies for family and friends in the narthex.

Upcoming Dates

March 25/26 – The 4th week of Midweek Lenten Services; Peace on Wednesday evenings, Zion on Thursdays
Sunday, March 29 – 5th Sunday of the Month Song Service (pick your favorite hymns)
Saturday, April 4 – Zion Annual Spring Cleaning beginning at 10 am

Next Sunday’s Lessons:
Lent 5 (Judica): Ezekiel 37:1-14; Romans 8:11-19; John 11:17-27, 38-45

Answers to Today’s Gospel Lesson Brief Study:
4. The cup was Jesus’ suffering and death, which He was headed to Jerusalem to drink.
5. It is incorrect to consider one sin more punishable than another, but pride causes a person to ignore his need for spiritual help, and that can be a damning mistake.
6. Jesus gave the ultimate model: Serve others!


 

Pastor Edwin Lehmann

Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann