Third Sunday of Easter – (Jubilate) April 18, 2021
Text: 1 John 1:1-7 ILCW – B 21:2256
Theme: What a Foundation for Joy!
What word would you pick that best characterizes the Easter season? A word that captures the breadth and depth of a Christian’s emotions at Easter? I would pick joy.
Just think of titles or lines from hymns we like to sing: “This Joyful Eastertide;” “Awake, My Heart with Gladness;” “For Christ the Lord is risen, Our joy shall have no end” (The Day of Resurrection); “Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives: ‘I know that my Redeemer Lives.” Then, there’s the hymn people like to sing first thing on Easter morning: “Jesus Christ is Risen Today. Hallelujah!” It doesn’t even have the word “joy” in it. Yet, it captures the feeling in a Christian’s heart at Easter. Joy is a great word to describe our feelings at Easter. What a happy time of year!
For the Christian who daily thinks Easter, the joy never ends. It remains through every season of life, even the bad ones. In fact, we Christians often learn that Easter’s joy means the most to us during times of greatest heartbreak. Even if life itself is not always jolly at Easter, Easter will be a time of rejoicing because our joy is built on a solid foundation that doesn’t shift from week to week. It’s not based on worldly things. It’s built on the Savior. How does it work?
I. My Word of Life.
John begins to explain it by calling Jesus “the Word of Life.” It’s the second time in his writings that John used that expression for Jesus. The first time was in his Gospel when he wrote (1:1), “In the beginning was the Word; and the Word was with God; and the Word was God….In Him was life….The Word became flesh and dwelled among us.” John called Jesus “the Word of life.”
First of all, the Word – what a strange name to give someone! It is a rare and unusual name for the Savior (Martin Luther). It’s not easy to understand, either. Why is Jesus called “the Word”?
Well, think of the purpose of words. Through the words a person speaks we get to know him better. We get to know what he is thinking, what he is feeling, what he is planning to do, and so on. So, when John calls Jesus “the Word of life” and links Him to God at creation, John wants to tell us that by looking and listening to Jesus we get to know the thoughts and attitudes that God has towards us as our Creator. He sent Jesus to tell us the way to life. He is God’s Word of life to us. Listen to Him and He’ll help you make sense out of this world and life here. Outside of Him it is hard to make sense out of anything.
One of my past professors told us the following to illustrate that Jesus, as God’s Word of life, helps us make sense of things. He once had a meeting with a university official who despised religion. He felt that religion made no sense and that people used religion as a crutch to lean on, keeping them from thinking for themselves.
That might be true of worldly religions. They want you to follow a certain leader and what he says. Many of you remember the Jim Joneses and the David Koreshes years ago who made their followers do whatever they said, even to the point of killing themselves. The same is true of suicide bombers Islam. Religions like that and their leaders certainly don’t want their followers to think for themselves. But Christianity is not that way. Christianity does not call on you to stop thinking. Rather, Christianity calls on you to start thinking and to make sense of things.
When Jesus came into our world, He helped us make sense out of life that oftentimes seems so senseless. Man doesn’t seem to be doing very well at making sense out of it and fixing it. Look at all the things that happened this past week: the shootings, the killings, the robberies, and more. Certainly, worldly governments aren’t doing well in advancing solutions to life’s problems. But then Jesus came as God’s Word of life to let us know what life is truly about.
He is life itself and He alone brings true life to others. He is the Christ who came in the flesh to die that man might live. Therefore, He promises positively, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (Jn.11:25f).
God doesn’t want us to die; He wants us to find life in Him and with Him. To that end Jesus came, God’s Word of life, telling us what it’s all about. Do you want to know? Listen to Jesus. He is God’s word to us on it. That’s the first point John wants you to see. What Jesus says, He says from God. His word is foundational.
II. He is the Stain-remover (who cleanses me).
John continues, “This is the message we heard from Him and proclaim to you: God is light. In Him there is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him but still walk in darkness, we are lying and do not put the truth into practice. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.”
The second thing which makes Jesus the great foundation for joy is the fact that He is God’s stain remover who cleanses me.
There are a lot of products in our world today that claim to be “miracle stain removers.” I’ll bet you’ve got some in your cabinets at home. Some work, others don’t; some only half the time. But nowhere is there a better stain-remover than in the risen Savior.
Sin’s stain is much stronger and penetrates more deeply than tomatoes or juice or any other staining agent can. It not only stains my soul; it saturates it and dooms it. It will take more than a splash of chemicals to make me white again. It’s going to “take the blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleansing me from all sin.”
Thank God, He revealed this miracle stain remover. Even though you know it, you can never hear what is found in Jesus’ blood often enough for your assurance. Only the precious blood of God’s Son is powerful enough to remove sin’s stain. Such cleansing power can’t be found on a shelf in the store. But on the pages of God’s Word it is revealed. John wanted to make sure we understood it. Instead of groping about in the darkness of uncertainty and unbelief, He wants us to go about in the light of truth: Jesus’ blood cleanses us completely. He is the stain remover who washes away my sin – all of it. That makes a sure foundation of joy – not found in me but in Him.
III. He is my lawyer who defends me (before God’s throne).
John has one more thing to say about this because sometimes we don’t believe that our sin is completely taken care of. But God wants our joy to be solid. So, John continues, “If anyone does sin, we have an Advocate before the Father: Jesus Christ, the righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the whole world.”
Unless you are one of those who thinks he doesn’t sin (then you’d be fooling yourself), sin will trouble you. It troubles people who take their relationship with God seriously. They hear God’s warnings about sin. They fight it. But often fail. They try again. But end up failing again. What can they do? Is there no hope?
John points us beyond Calvary’s cross, past the empty tomb, up to the throne of heaven. There stands God’s Word of Life, the Stain-remover who cleanses us. There He stands before the throne and pleads for us. Powerfully and personally, He steps before God as my lawyer. And His Father listens! Behind His pleas stands the cross where He sacrificed Himself as the perfect payment. “Case dismissed!” the heavenly Father says as Jesus points to the nail prints in His hands and feet. “Not guilty” is the verdict – not because I don’t sin, but because Jesus paid for it all. He is my lawyer, defending me before God’s throne. He takes care of me completely. Remarkable and sure!
Here’s the cause for Easter joy. It’s built on these truths: that Jesus is God’s Word of life to me; He is the stain remover who washes away my sin; and He is my lawyer who defends me before God’s throne. With these three great truths, the Christian can’t help but sing: “Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives; I know that my Redeemer lives.” God grant it to us in faith 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
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The Third Sunday of Easter Jubilate (Rejoice!) April 18, 2021
“Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures…Repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all….You are witnesses of these things.” Luke 24:45f
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
“Shout praise to God, all the earth! Make music to the glory of His name! Make His praise glorious! Say to God, ‘How awesome are Your deeds!’ All the earth bows before You. Come and see the works of God” (Psalm 66).
W h a t T h i s S u n d a y i s A b o u t
Proclaim the Resurrection. At first the disciples had no peace after Jesus rose from the grave. Their minds were closed to believing Jesus was alive again until the Lord appeared and graciously opened them.
However, once their minds were opened to the resurrection truths, they rejoiced in the peace that God gives through the risen
Savior. Eventually, they went across the whole countryside, proclaiming the good news as Jesus equipped them for the task.
Now it is our turn. May God open our hearts to see the joys of the resurrection and the opportunities He places before us to be witnesses of the Gospel in the world.
To that end we pray: O God, by the humiliation of Your Son You lifted up this fallen world from the despair of death. By His resurrection to life, grant us gladness of heart and the zeal to reveal its eternal joy to others; 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 First Lesson: Acts 4:8-12
Peter proclaims to the Jewish leaders the necessity of believing in Jesus for salvation. Peter had been called to give an account before them of how he had healed a crippled man in the temple. He tells them it was by the power of the risen Christ that the miracle was done.
The Epistle Lesson: 1 John 1:1-2:2
John proclaims the good news of Jesus, the Word of Life, so that in faith we might have fellowship with God. He is the One whom God sent to wash away all sin and who makes our joy complete.
The Gospel Lessons: Luke 24:36-49
On Easter evening Jesus appeared to His disciples to open their minds to the truth of His resurrection. After convincing them through the Scriptures, He prepares them to be His witnesses to the world.
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
The Lord’s Supper is a wonderful gift in which we receive Jesus’ own body and blood to forgive our sins and strengthen us in faith. It is a gift given with certain responsibilities. The Sacrament is intended for those who have been instructed, understand, and confess as one what they are receiving and doing. Through it we express our unity of faith (1 Cor.10:17). Therefore, we ask that only confirmed members of Zion Lutheran Church or our sister congregations of the WELS or ELS approach to receive Communion. If you would like to become a communicant member of Zion or have any questions about our practice, the pastor would be happy to meet with you after the service.
The Organist: Jane Rips (Jane is not with us today)
The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann
Point to Ponder “The place where you will most certainly find peace and joy of heart is none other than the Word of divine promise. You must turn your eyes away from the evil that is afflicting you and direct yourself with all your might to the promises. For in them you find rest and peace and joy of soul which all hell is unable to take away from you.” — Martin Luther on Jesus’ Greeting to the Disciples: Peace Be with You
Outline of Our Worship
Opening Hymn: #149
Order of Worship: Service of Word and Sacrament Hymnal page 26
The Ministry of the Word
1 John 1:1-2:2
Hymn Response: insert #771
The Gospel Response: pg.30
Sermon Hymn: #373
Sermon: 1 John 1:1-7 What a Foundation for Joy!
Our Response to the Word
The Nicene Creed: page 31
The 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: #156 st.1-3
Third Sunday of Easter – Series B
The First Lesson: Acts 4:8-12 – Salvation Is Found only in Christ
8Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel, 9if we are being questioned today for a kind act that was done for the lame man, as to how this man has been healed, 10let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that it was by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead! By him this man stands before you healed. 11This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.”
Epistle Lesson: 1 John 1:1-2:2 – Walking in the Light of the Word of Life
1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have observed and our hands have touched regarding the Word of Life— 2the life appeared, and we have seen it. We testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3We are proclaiming what we have seen and heard also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us. Our fellowship is with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. 4We write these things to you so that our joy may be complete.
5This is the message we heard from him and proclaim to you: God is light. In him there is no darkness at all. 6If we say we have fellowship with him but still walk in darkness, we are lying and do not put the truth into practice. 7If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. 8If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar, and his Word is not in us.
2:1My children, I write these things to you so that you will not sin. If anyone does sin, we have an Advocate before the Father: Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the whole world.
Gospel Lesson: Luke 24:36-49 – Jesus Appears to His Disciples
36As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37But they were terrified and frightened and thought they were looking at a ghost.
38He said to them, “Why are you troubled? Why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself. Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41While they still did not believe it (because of their joy), and while they were still wondering, he said to them, “Do you have anything here to eat?”
42They gave him a piece of broiled fish and some honeycomb. 43He took it and ate in front of them. 44He said to them, “These are my words, which I spoke to you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.”
45Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. 46He said to them, “This is what is written and so it must be: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49Look, I am sending you what my Father promised. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
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
Divine Worship Service
with Holy Communion on line – Facebook
Fellowship & Brief Bible Study
Midweek Bible Class
|LWMS Spring Rally
Registration begins at 9:30 am; Opening worship 10 am
Divine Worship Service
on line – Facebook
A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today
Does witnessing to your faith intimidate you? Are you afraid of how people will react? Today we will see that Jesus’ death and resurrection give the believer confidence. Our sins have been washed clean in His blood. We have forgiveness for all sins. Such truths give us courage to witness boldly to others of Christ’s love and of the salvation that we have in His name.
The Epistle Lesson (1 John 1:1-2:2) (answers are found on the back side)
- How could John be so sure about what Jesus did for our salvation?
- With what confidence do we confess our sins to God?
- What does the word “atonement” mean?
Those We Remember In Our Prayers: Dea Windsor; Clyde Johnson; Dave Ballou; Greg Miller; Lou Schulz; Bill Buchanan; Norine Richardson; Barbara Long; Jodi Milam; William Moon; Patsy Mickelson, Jane Rip’s mother; Lance Milam; Jodi Milam, recovering from knee replacement surgery; and all those affected and recovering from the virus.
Forward in Christ’s latest issue for April has arrived. There are copies for family and friends in the narthex. Copies of the Daily Devotions written by pastor this past week on Psalm 16 will also be found in the narthex.
Phase Yellow of Restrictions This past Friday Springfield/Greene County Health Department entered its yellow phrase with covid restrictions. Churches and gatherings under 500 people may resume activities safely. However, masks are still to be worn. Our understanding about social distancing is that it is encouraged but not mandated. We still should follow cautious procedures at this time, but gatherings are not under the strict restrictions as they were previously. You will find masks, disposable gloves, and sanitizer in the narthex and the fellowship hall for your use. For today we continue to not pass the offering plate during the service. You will find it at the door upon leaving the sanctuary. That may change in the weeks ahead as we return to normal worship procedures. If you have any questions or thoughts on all of this, please see Pastor.
Saturday, April 24 – LWMS Spring Rally here at Zion; registration begins at 9:30 am; opening worship at 10 am.
The 1st Quarter Voters & Women Working For Christ Meetings after worship is being postponed 1 week until Sunday, April 25
The Week in Review
Last Sunday’s Worship Attendance: 24; Bible Class: 16; Offering: $1,820; Midweek Bible Class: 5.
Next Sunday’s Lessons:
Easter 4: Acts 4:23-33; 1 John 3:1-2; John 10:11-18 (Series B)
Answers to Today’s Epistle Lesson Brief Study:
- He was an eyewitness to Jesus’ life, ministry, death and resurrection.
- The confidence that God will always forgive us because Jesus washed away all of our sins with His sacrifice on the cross.
- To atone literally means to make “at one” with someone. It has the idea of reconciliation. Our sins separate us from God, but Jesus’ sacrifice reconciles us to God and makes us “at one” with the Father.
This week I am praying for……