The Fourth Sunday after Epiphany January 31, 2021
Text: Mark 1:21-28 CW 3-year series B 21:2237
Theme: This Is He, the One in Control
I want to tell you a story, but you must see it in your mind.
You are on a boat in the middle of the sea where the water is deepest. You peer over the side. Dark are those waters below you. Above you a panoply of stars fills the night sky, glistening ever so brightly. You are far from city lights that would dull the brilliance of their glow. What a sight!
But you are on a sea, known for its sudden, violent storms. The twinkling stars darken as thick black clouds roll overhead. A wind springs up and at once the water grows choppy. The boat rises and falls on the swells. The wind increases in violence. Waves spew over the gunwales of the boat. Panic arises as water rushes in faster than can be bailed out. The boat rides low on the sea.
The men who tend the boat for you are not cowards. They are fishermen who make their living on this sea. They have survived many a storm and heard of others from which men never came back. Was this one from which there would be no return?
Frantically they pull at the oars. Their eyes betray the terror in their hearts. Finally, they cry out to a figure sleeping in the back of the boat. “Lord, save us. We perish!” The figure stirs, then rises to His feet. He calls to the wind, “Hush!” And to the waves, “Be still!” At once, all is at rest. The man turns, looks at you, and asks, “Why the fear? Don’t you trust in God?” Astonished, you wonder with the rest, “Who is this man? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!”
How well you know that story! Did you ever place yourself into that boat? What would you have thought? Jesus talks to the wind, and it quits blowing. He calls to the thunder, and it quits rolling, the lightening quits striking, the rain quits falling. He commands the fire to quit burning, the sickness to quit hurting; everything does what He tells it. Why must it do what He says? He explains, “All authority is given to me in heaven and on earth.” He has authority over all. This Is He – the One in Control,
(I. With an authority that captivates people.)
It’s been that way since the very beginning. When men falter and fail and lose heart, He prevails. He Is the One in Control.
Go back to the very beginning. By the authority of His word everything came into being. Then, into this marvelous creation, He told our first parents what they were to do to keep it going. They knew what to do – take care of creation and worship their Creator by doing as He directed. But, as is often the case with us, in our humanity it is much easier saying what we will do than doing it.
That proved true for Adam and Eve. They thought in themselves that they could do it. But they didn’t bank on the temptations of the evil one. He convinced them and they let their eyes grow big with a desire to know things withheld from them. Their resolve weakened, their strength failed, and their love for God was replaced with a lust for things not given them. You know the rest of the story of the fall into sin.
Think of it. Even at the time of creation when man was perfect, made in God’s holy image, human strength and ability failed. It’s been that way ever since.
How many times don’t you see yourself falling short in living for God and not yourself? How many times don’t you see your love for the Lord and His ways replaced by a desire to do what you want to do? How many times don’t you see your life fail to give Him glory in everything you do? It’s much easier knowing and saying what to do than it is doing it. Human strength falls short, sin overtakes us, and we fail. So it is that Christ entered our world to do what we couldn’t. And here He came in our text.
On the Sabbath Day He went into the synagogue to teach. I don’t know what He said, but Mark shares with us the impact His teaching had on people. With just His words, this One captivated them for He spoke with a divine authority that struck their hearts.
What was that like – to hear the Son of God preach and teach? Astonishing! not just the sight, but the words, spoken with heavenly authority. No one had ever heard anything like it before this.
The teachers of the law fell short of what this One taught. They were all about “human traditions and rules taught by men” (7:7f). It left hearts empty – laws, customs, traditions, ceremonies, derived from people who fail. But Christ spoke the words of God, authorized in heaven. He spoke with a divine authority that soothed their troubled hearts and it captivated them. What was it?
It was the Gospel, the good news that the forgiveness with God that we crave, which cannot be bought, earned, or obtained by anything we do, is graciously bestowed on us through Christ – His suffering, death, and resurrection for us. Its message comforts the soul when sin oppresses….calms the spirit when disobedience saddens and grief overwhelms…floods darkened hearts with heaven’s peace when Satan accuses. That comfort and assurance of the Savior is what the people heard, and it captivated their hearts.
You hear it, too, this Gospel. When you hear the Lord Jesus say, “Be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven” for my sake (Mt.9:6); when you hear Him say, “I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your hand and says, ‘Do not fear; I will help you’” (Is.41:13); when you hear Him say, “I will provide for all your needs and am with you always to the end of the age” (Phlp.4:19; Mt. 28:21); when you hear such words, you hear the same authority that captivated and soothed their hearts. All is true for This Is He who speaks with heaven behind Him. He Is in Control and what a treat it is to hear Him, for He teaches words that come straight from God. But Satan seeks to rob us of such comfort.
(II. With an authority that delivers from evil.)
Suddenly a commotion stirred in the assembly. A man stood up in the middle of the service and cried out, “What do we have to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are.”
Can you see the ushers rushing forward to get this man out of the building? But before they can seize him, Jesus commands the spirit within him, “Be quiet! Come out!” In his fury the demon convulses the man and throws him down. But it cannot withstand the authority of God. With a loud cry the spirit flees, leaving the man delivered from evil by the authority of Jesus. And all were amazed by His work.
It’s not surprising that the devil sought to interrupt Jesus’ teaching for he does not want to give sinful mankind hope. He seeks to destroy all that is good, and he would do it had not Christ come to destroy the works of the devil (1Jn.3:8) and restore us to God.
It’s not an easy thing to bind Satan, anymore than it is to quiet a storm upon the sea. Were it easy, none of us would ever be tempted and succumb to sin. But we fail and fall. Yet, Christ prevails. It was not easy for Him either – to rescue those whom Satan enslaves. Jesus had to die to do it. But He accomplished it, for This Is He – the One in Control – shown through His words, shown through His works that deliver us from evil.
So, when Satan whispers in your ear and tempts you to fear the storms in life or strives to enslave you….when he tempts you to join in His rebellions against God, remember this account. For God has set it down for us during this Epiphany season so that we might always know for sure that Christ is stronger and conquered Satan for us these many years ago.
This Is He – the One in Control. The less our hope is fixed on us and the more firmly it is fixed on Him, the more immoveable He makes us. There is no greater authority than His, which is from above. He will not leave you without hope or help for He will not depart without His kindness resting upon you. God grant it in our lives of faith 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
The Fourth Sunday after Epiphany January 31, 2021
“(Jesus) was teaching them as one who has authority.” Mark 1:22
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
“Great are the works of the LORD. Glorious and majestic are His deeds. He has caused His wonders to be remembered. He ordained His covenant forever. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111).
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
With Divine Authority. To whom do you listen? Whom do you trust is telling you the truth? If you want the truth, you go to one who is an “expert” on the subject, one who has studied the matter and knows what he is saying. Only such a one can truly speak with authority.
When it comes to matters divine, there is only One whose words are true and reliable, Christ Jesus. Long ago God promised He would send Him. When God did, He proclaimed that He was pleased with His Son through whom He spoke. Therefore, when Jesus speaks, all must listen for His words are true, reliable, and have power. They come with divine authority. Even demons must obey Him. Therefore, those who trust in the Lord Jesus find comfort, assurance, and healing when He speaks.
For that reason we pray: Lord, God, You know that we are surrounded by many dangers and that we often stumble and fall. Strengthen us in body and mind. As we look to Christ and His word for comfort and deliverance, bring us safely through all temptations; 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: Deuteronomy 18:15-20
To whom do people listen? The nations around Israel listened to sorcerers and false prophets. God warned His people not to be misled. He promised to give them a special prophet in the future, like Moses, yet superior to him, one with greater authority. They must listen to Him.
Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 8:1-13
In the New Testament time of fulfillment, Christ frees us from the Ceremonial Laws. He neither commands nor forbids us to do many things, like eating certain meats. But not everything is helpful and may create problems for a weaker Christian. Out of love stronger Christians watch what they do, mindful of the weaker brother.
Gospel Lesson: Mark 1:21-28
Jesus showed Himself to be the prophet whom God promised to send. He was like Moses in that God spoke through Him. Likewise He acted as a mediator between God and man. There was divine authority in what Jesus said and did, and people responded to it in amazement.
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Today’s Organist: Jane Rips
Today’s Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Point to Ponder: “Why should you be afraid? Do you not know that the prince of this world has been judged? He is no lord any more. You have a different, a stronger Lord, Christ, who has overcome and bound him with His authority. Therefore, let the prince and god of this world look sour, bare his teeth, make a great noise, threaten and act in an unmannerly way. He can do no more than a bad dog on a chain, which may bark, run here and there, and tear at the chain. But because it is tied and you avoid it, it cannot bite you…. Continue in the fear of God and in prayer; then the chained dog cannot harm us.”
— Martin Luther on Do not Fear the Devil
Outline of Our Worship
Opening Thoughts on the Service
Opening Hymn: #93
Order of Worship: The Common Service: page 15
The Ministry of the Word
Old Testament Lesson: Deuteronomy 18:15-20 – A Prophet like Moses
15The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brother Israelites. Listen to him. 16That is exactly what you asked from the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly. You said, “Do not let me hear the voice of the Lord my God anymore, and do not let me see this great fire again, or I will die.”
17Then the Lord said to me, “They have done well by saying what they said. 18I will raise up a prophet for them from among their brothers, like you, and I will put my words in his mouth, and he will speak to them everything that I command him. 19Anyone who will not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account. 20Any prophet who presumes to speak something in my name that I have not commanded him to speak or speaks something in the name of other gods—that prophet shall die.”
Psalm of the Day: #11 Hymnal pg.106
Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 8:1-13 – Love Builds Up
2 Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2If anyone supposes that he knows something, he does not yet know the way he ought to know. 3But if anyone loves God, this person has been known by him.
4So, concerning the eating of food from idol sacrifices, we know that an idol is not anything real in the world and that there is no God but one. 5Indeed, even if there are so-called “gods,” whether in the heavens or on earth (as in fact there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 6nevertheless for us there is one God—the Father, from whom all things exist, and we exist for him—and one Lord—Jesus Christ, through whom all things exist. We exist through him.
7However, that knowledge is not in everyone. Instead some, who are still affected by their former habit with the idol, eat the food as something sacrificed to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.
8Food will not bring us closer to God. We do not lack anything if we do not eat, nor are we better off if we do. 9And be careful that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10For if someone sees you, a person who has knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of this man, weak as he is, be emboldened to eat food from an idol sacrifice? 11You see, the weak person is being destroyed by your knowledge—the brother for whose sake Christ died! 12And when you sin in this way against your brothers and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13Therefore, if food causes my brother to sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I do not cause my brother to sin.
Song: This Is He
Gospel Responses: pg,18
Gospel Lesson: Mark 1:21-28 – Jesus Drives Out an Unclean Spirit
21Then they went into Capernaum. On the next Sabbath day, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22They were amazed at his teaching, because he was teaching them as one who has authority and not as the experts in the law.
23Just then there was a man with an unclean spirit in their synagogue. It cried out, 24“What do we have to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” 25Jesus rebuked the spirit, saying, “Be quiet! Come out of him!” 26The unclean spirit threw the man into convulsions, and after crying out with a loud voice, it came out of him. 27Everyone was so amazed that they began to discuss this with each other. They said, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He even commands the unclean spirits, and they obey him!” 28News about him spread quickly through all the region of Galilee. The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) copyright © 2019 The Wartburg Project.
Apostles’ Creed: pg.19
Sermon Hymn: #395
Sermon: Mark 1:21-28 This Is He, the One In Control.
Our Response to the Word
The Offertory: Hymnal pg.20
The Lord’s Prayer
The Lord Blesses Us
Closing Prayer: Hymnal pg.25
The Closing Hymn: #346
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
on line – Facebook
Fellowship & Brief Bible Study
| Southern Conference – MN District Pastors’ Conference at Peace, Marshfield
Communion Worship at 7 pm
|Begins 1 pm Monday till Tuesday 11 am.
Topic: Smalcald Articles of faith
Midweek Bible Class
Divine Worship Service with Holy Communion
on line – Facebook
Fellowship & Brief Bible Study
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
We call Jesus our Redeemer. The word “redeem” means to buy back from capture and captivity, to pay a ransom. As sinful human beings we were captive to the law of God because of our sin and the consequences of sin, principally death. But Jesus has set us free from the law, its threats and its curses, by keeping God’s law for us perfectly. As Christians we are no longer “under law, but under grace” (Rom 6:14). But we don’t abuse our Christian freedom. Instead, Jesus has set us free that we might become slaves to righteousness, serving others in love in service to our Redeemer.
The Old Testament Lesson: Deuteronomy 18:15-20 (answers are found on the back side)
- What request did the people of Israel have for the Lord when they had previously assembled at Mt. Horeb (Sinai)?
- Whom was the Lord going to send?
- Who was the fulfillment of this prophecy?
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; Pastor James Witt, St. Louis; Lois Wiese; Felicia Nichols.
Copies of the Daily Devotions written by pastor this past week will be found in the narthex.
Pastors’ Conference You are invited to stop in at the pastors’ conference at Marshfield tomorrow and Tuesday if you are interested in hearing what pastors discuss at such meetings. The topic will be on the Smalcald Articles, one of the major confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church that arose in Martin Luther’s Day. A communion service will be held at 7 pm Monday at which you will hear one of the other pastors in our conference preach the sermon. You may come for all or part.
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.
MN District Southern Conference Pastors’ study conference – February 1-2 at Peace LC, Marshfield
Midweek Lenten Suppers & Services Begin at Zion – Thursday, February 18
The Week in Review
Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 16; Sunday Bible Class: 12; Midweek Bible Class: 3; Offering: $1,245.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany (Series B): Job 7:1-7; 1 Corinthians 9:16-23; Mark 1:29-39
Answers to Today’s Old Testament Lesson Brief Study:
- They requested that the Lord no longer speak to them with His own voice (with His majesty revealed), less they die. We sinful people cannot deal interacting with our holy God in His majesty, as the Lord had told Moses: “You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live” (Exodus 33:20).
- He was going to send a prophet from among the people of Israel who would speak on God’s behalf. In time, God’s Old Testament people saw this prophecy as being connected to God’s promise of a Messiah.
- Jesus fulfilled this prophecy; He is the Prophet that people often spoke about in the Gospel accounts (cf. Jn 1:21; 7:40).
This week I am praying for……