Saturday Worship: 6:30PM
Sunday School/Bible Study: 8:30AM
Sunday Worship: 9:30AM
Sermon Audio & Transcript
Easter Sunday Service
I suppose most of you know the story of Jonah. Jonah is called the reluctant prophet and for good reason. See God told Jonah that he was to go to a city called Nineveh. It was one of the major cities in the Assyrian Empire. They were enemies of God’s people Israel. In fact, the Assyrians are said to have invented terrorism. They knew how to intimidate their enemies and the nations that surrounded them. They treated prisoners so cruelly before they killed them. They treated their captive nations with UTTER TERRIBLE, terrible mistreatment. And Jonah was told by God I want you to go to the city of Nineveh and preach to them because their wickedness has come up before me. Jonah, the reluctant prophet, was not the only one of God’s prophets who was reluctant to be one. You think back to Moses at the burning bush. When the Lord told Moses go. I am sending you to the Israelites to lead them out of captivity. Do you remember what Moses said? He said oh I’m not very good public speaker. I don’t know how to talk. I stammer. I forget my words. God said I will put the words in your lips. I will send Aaron to be your partner your brother will be a spokesperson for you. Moses said, send someone else, and God said no I want to send you, and Moses went.
Isaia,h in Isaiah 6:4-9 was told by God I’m sending you, and Isaiah said but I’m a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips woe is me for I have seen the Lord God Almighty. God said, you are going to go, and Isaiah went. Then there was Jeremiah. When God called Jeremiah, Jeremiah said, I’m too young to go. I’m only a child. God said, don’t say that you’re only a child. Even before you were conceived in your mother’s womb, I knew you, and I called you. From even ancient times. Don’t say that you’re too young, and Jeremiah went. Jonah didn’t even bother to argue with God or to offer any excuses. The Bible tells us that after God said, Jonah, I’m sending you, then Jonah instead of going East, he turned around and he went west, got onto a boat that was destined for Tarshish, and he set sail. God provided a storm that was meant to call Jonah to repentance, and as the storm raged, Jonah realized what he had done. And Jonah told the sailors the only way to save yourselves is to throw me overboard. The sailors didn’t want to throw overboard the prophet of the Lord God. They had heard about him. He had a reputation, this Lord. So they tried to bail out the waters best they could. They tried to keep their ship afloat, but finally, as the last resort, they throw Jonah overboard. And God provided a great fish that swallowed Jonah. And from the belly of that great fish, that’s where Jonah prayed this prayer. Jonah was in the belly of that great fish for three days. Jesus Christ, when he was demanded from the Pharisees give us a sign. Jesus said I will not give you any sign except for this, the sign of the prophet Jonah. Just as Jonah was three days in the belly of the great fish, so I will be three days in the belly of the earth. He was predicting his resurrection, the Easter morning miracle.
When we look at many parts of the Bible, some of them are harder to believe that others aren’t they? They’re a little bit more challenging. For instance, many people would say that the story of Jonah and the great fish, and being kept alive for three days, and then being spit out upon dry ground, that has to be a myth. A fable. But if it’s hard to believe that, then it’s gotta be equally hard, more difficult even, to believe that God created the entire universe in six days. If you can believe that Jesus was born of a virgin named Mary. If you can believe that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, then it should provide no problem for us to believe that Jonah could be preserved in the belly of the fish. This is what I believe. I believe that Jonah was preserved and that during that time in the fish, he was able to pray to God. Because God is a God of miracles.
God still does miracles. Every single time a person was been born of flesh, receives the Holy Spirit, and comes to believe in the Lord, and receive forgiveness through faith, that is a miracle. Every time a person is baptized in the waters of baptism. Every time the water in the word combined with the Holy Spirit’s power to call someone to faith that is a miracle. Every time we receive in the Lord’s Supper, the true body and blood of Jesus Christ, that’s a miracle. And who knows how many miracles there are the God does that we don’t even see! Miracles that go undetected. Perhaps you can think of one in your life or your family’s life, where there is no other explanation for a medically unexplained event, where you are loved one survived against all odds! Sometimes we wonder is it medical science, or is it a miracle. We can’t tell very often, but God does intervene in our lives, and God does do miracles. The greatest miracle? If you want to take a poll, I suppose many people would give creation is the greatest miracle. Someone might say that the incarnation of Jesus that the virgin birth. The fact that God, the infinite God, eternal God, became a little baby. That was the greatest miracle. The Bible makes it pretty clear that for us the most important miracle was the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. And Jesus pointed to the fact of Jonah’s miracle as proof and prediction that he would rise from the dead, great and mighty miracle itself. Another reason that it’s the most important miracle for us is this, without the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, then we would still be in our sins, and then all of the gloom and doom that Jonah saying about in his prayer would have been ours. From the depths of the grave, I called for help. The grave would be a terrible disaster if you and I did not know that our sins were forgiven. You hurled me into the deep into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me. All your waves and breakers swept over me. One of the great fears that many people have is the fear of drowning. We imagine what it would be like and it turns our stomachs, and it sets our hearts into race motion. The terror of sin is so much worse. To know that God should punish us because of our sins is such a terrifying thought. We yell we scream, we pray God help me. We might say words like Jonah. We might say it more like this, this is kind of a modern way. I feel like I’ve been banished from your site. Someone might say I don’t feel God’s presence in my life anymore. I don’t feel that I’m loved. I don’t feel like I’m forgiven. But this is a fact, as soon as we call to God, then God hears us. And we can express with confidence and with joy, I will look again toward your holy temple.
By Jesus death, he worked out the forgiveness of our sins. By his resurrection, God was placing his stamp of approval on his son’s sacrifice, and by his resurrection from the dead Jesus proves to you and me that everything he promised he is able and willing to fulfill. Did Jesus promise as I live you also will live? Did Jesus promise I am the resurrection and the life? He who […] believes in me will never die? Did Jesus promise come to me if you are weak and burdened and I will give you rest? Did Jesus promise that you will be with him forever in paradise? Yes, Jesus did make all of those promises. Yes, through faith in him they are most certainly yours, and yes, you have that good news to share. God brought about forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ even for Jonah. Even for his treachery, for his running away from God. God forgave him. And when God forgives, he also restores. He gives us a new life. He gives us a new purpose. See Jonah was restored to his calling as a prophet. After his prayer, after he repented of his sins after he expressed the joy of forgiveness and the anticipation that he would look toward God’s temple again, God provided that great fish would spit Jonah up on the dry ground. Jonah would be saved. Jonah would live, and the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time; the same thing, go to the city of Nineveh and preach the words that I have given you to preach. Part of Jonah’s reluctance was that this word of God is very powerful. The word might actually work, and Jonah thought what would happen if I going preach judgment to the people and whammy the Holy Spirit works and brings them to repentance? And then hellfire won’t ring down on them all what a terrible tragedy that would be. Oh how mistaken, how wrong thinking Jonah was. He would be corrected.
You can read the rest of the story in the book of the prophet Jonah, and I recommended this week. God provided the plant. God provided the worm to kill the plant, and then God told Jonah, you are so concerned about this plant that I provided, and then I killed. Shouldn’t I be concerned about the great city of Nineveh? Jonah was restored to the office of prophet. You have been restored to be God’s spokesman as well, You whose sins have been forgiven freely, have been given a mission. Jesus tells you in his word, go I am making you witnesses. You will be my witnesses in Judea, Samaria, Galilee, and to the ends of the earth. He says go and teach the gospel to all creation. What a mission we have. What a privilege to be part of God’s army. God’s God’s beautiful mission team. And so as we look into the book of Jonah this week, we think to ourselves in what ways have we run away from God? In what ways have we run away from our responsibilities? Know this, no matter how far you have run, no matter how long you have been running, you are not too far gone. The long arm of God’s grace can still reach you. He can still bring you back, and that’s what he desperately wants to do. He wants to bring you back into his family. In fact, he wants to spend eternity with you. He wants to give you that free gift, the crown of life. We have been restored. Yes God does do amazing.
Easter Sunday Service
SERMON TEXT: Jonah 2:2-9
He said: “In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God. “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD.”
SECOND LESSON: Colossians 3:1-4
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
GOSPEL: Matthew 28:1-10
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
Sermon Audio & Transcript
Easter Sunrise Service
Dear friends in Christ made God’s grace mercy and peace be yours through God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
There are certain things that you expect in life. Especially living here in Southern California you expect that the freeways are going to be jammed at rush hour. You expected when you came to church this morning that you were going to be greeted with the pleasing aroma of Easter Lilies. In fact, many of us are anticipating that very soon we will be greeted with the beautiful smell of Easter bacon, and sausage, and ham. Can’t quite smell it yet but we’re looking forward to it aren’t we? Other things that you expect you might expect that you’re going to hear a sermon when you come to church on Easter day, and you will not be disappointed because here it is. But that very first Easter there were a lot of things that were not expected, for instance every once in a while you get out on the 91 freeway at a busy time and you might be able to sail right through without waiting. You might sometimes receive something unexpected like if you go to McDonald’s and you find a salad. Today as we look at what the women were expecting. We find that they found exactly the opposite. Let’s remember what the women experience when they first came to that tomb of Jesus. When they first arrived. What had they witnessed two days before? On the evening of Good Friday they had seen Jesus body suspended on the cross. There was no hope that there was any life in that body. When the body was taken down and was placed into a tomb and as they placed it into the tomb they watched carefully where where he was laid and the stone was rolled across the entrance. The women had to observe the Sabbath day, and so one full day Jesus body remained in that tomb, laid out on that cold rock slab. As soon as they could which was probably after sunset, on the day that we call holy Saturday the technical ending of the Sabbath, they went out purchase the spices that they would used to anoint Jesus body.
See these were dear friends of Jesus. These women had perhaps been following Jesus throughout his ministry. One of them probably Jesus mother another Mary Magdalene, we heard her story. Another the mother of James and John, and there were a few others that provided for the needs of the disciples as they traveled. Human dignity and human friendship provided that these women should give Jesus the final respect that he deserved. And then what? And then they would get on with their lives the next thing that they would do was go on putting one step in front of the other keeping on breathing until the pain would go away. Their life they knew would be much drastically different. So they arrive near the tomb and there wondering to themselves who is going to roll the stone away? As they come around the bend they saw that the stone had already been rolled away. Who could possibly have done this? They knew that a guard had been posted outside the entrance to be sure that Jesus disciples wouldn’t come and steal his body and then make that’s outlandish claim that he had been risen from the dead. And they knew that Roman legionnaires Roman soldiers are like pit bulls. They don’t give up. They will stand at their guard even if it means certain death, but the women arrived at the tomb and what they were not expecting was an Easter sermon that morning. The grave were Jesus have been laid became the very first Easter chapel. The very first Easter sunrise service and that slab where Jesus had been laid became the very first Easter sunrise service pulpit as an angel spoke to the women these words, “why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here. He is risen. Remember how he told you while he was still with you in Galilee? The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and on the third day be raised again.” What the women had thought that they would see was a place of death. Now if you think about it, we do kind of the same thing that the women were doing to this garden tomb. We try to beautify death. In fact, if you go to Rose Hills, or if you go to Riverside National Cemetery, and when you look out over the grounds you see how beautiful he kept it is. The grasses mown perfectly every day. The view is spectacular and when we visit a grave usually were thinking about those things. We’re not thinking about what’s underground. When we go to a funeral we’re usually saying to each other things like, oh she looks so lifelike. The undertaker did such a good job with her hair. We try to focus on those things and not the stark reality of death. So the women were expecting to find the dead Jesus but what they expected to find was the opposite of what they needed to find.
What they needed is the same is what we need. Imagine if they had been met with exactly their expectation as they came to the grave. Just imagine for a second that Jesus was still there. The women had their spices and they would’ve prepared his body. They would’ve rolled the stone back in front of the entrance, and gone on with their lives. If Jesus had still been in his grave everything that he told them would have been a lie. If Jesus was still in his grave–let’s just imagine that the women really were delusional, that they didn’t know what they were talking about, let’s imagine that the Angels were just a fantasy, a figment of someone’s imagination, and let’s imagine that Saint Luke was just making this stuff up–and what does that mean for us. St. Paul says that if Christ is not been raised then we are still in our sins. If Christ has not been raised then when Jesus said, “it is finished,” he meant nothing more than I’m about to die. If Christ had not been raised from the dead, then we would have no reason to expect that God the father accepted his sacrifice for sin. How would we know that it worked? But St. Paul says Christ has indeed been raised from the dead. In fact, the resurrection is one of history’s more certain facts. It was witnessed by more than 500 people close to Jesus. It was witnessed by four different contemporaries who wrote about it. It was believed by disciples who were willing to die for the message that they proclaimed. They did not deny they did not retract their stories. Jesus has been raised from the dead indeed a very surprising fact but what it means for us is that our sins have been taken care of. When we die, because of what Jesus did. We know that we will go to heaven and we know that our bodies even though they remain on the earth for a while are merely a sleep. Waiting for the reuniting with the soul, and we know that we will live with our Lord Jesus Christ forevermore. That’s what we need from Easter.
Sometimes a funeral director at the death of a Christian whom I’m officiating for will say to the family please come up and go by the coffin one last time for your final goodbyes. It’s not a final goodbye when we bury a fellow believer, we know that it’s only a temporary thing it’s like when your loved one gets on an airplane to go on a trip and you expect you’ll see them again because they will be coming back. So with the women went to the tomb of Jesus that morning, let us be once again surprised by Easter. Let us be surprised by that empty tomb and let us be joyed, let us be comforted by that unexpectedly living Savior.
The one who lives and reigns for you and me. And let’s remember his words he said it had to happen, it had to happen for you and me. There was no other way but Jesus is the way.
Easter Sunrise Service
SERMON TEXT: Luke 24:1-8
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.
FIRST LESSON: Isaiah 12:1-6
In that day you will say: “I will praise you, Lord. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.” With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. In that day you will say: “Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”
SECOND LESSON: 1 Corinthians 15:51-57
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
VERSE OF THE DAY:
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
GOSPEL: John 20:1-18
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
The mission of our congregation is to make disciples for Jesus Christ by sharing the gospel in God’s Word and sacraments. With the help of God, we will fulfill this mission through the following activities:
- glorifying and praising God through public worship services,
- teaching classes for all ages (to strengthen those who believe, to train (equip) members to lead exemplary Christian lives, and reach out to others).
- seeking the lost and the wayward,
- administering the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion,
- to help and encourage one another through fellowship activities,
- supporting one another (carrying each others’ burdens),
- finally, Grace Lutheran is a contributing member of a synod of churches (WELS). We do this to help to carry out Christ’s command to, “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”
Readings From Lent Service
(Note: the transcript for this sermon is unavailable. Sorry for any inconvenience)
Good Friday (Service of Darkness)
- Jesus suffered the insufferable
- Jesus forgives the unforgiveable
SERMON TEXT: Luke 23:32-34
Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
Readings From: Lamentations 1:1-14
How deserted lies the city, once so full of people!
How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations!
She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave.
Bitterly she weeps at night, tears are upon her cheeks.
Among all her lovers there is none to comfort her.
All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies.
After affliction and harsh labor, Judah has gone into exile.
She dwells among the nations; she finds no resting place.
All who pursue her have overtaken her in the midst of her distress.
The roads to Zion mourn, for no one comes to her appointed feasts.
All her gateways are desolate, her priests groan,
her maidens grieve, and she is in bitter anguish.
Her foes have become her masters; her enemies are at ease.
The Lord has brought her grief because of her many sins.
Her children have gone into exile, captive before the foe.
All the splendor has departed from the Daughter of Zion.
Her princes are like deer that find no pasture;
in weakness they have fled before the pursuer.
In the days of her affliction and wandering, Jerusalem remembers all the treasures that were hers in days of old.
When her people fell into enemy hands there was no one to help her.
Her enemies looked at her and laughed at her destruction.
Jerusalem has sinned greatly and so has become unclean.
All who honored her despise her nakedness;
she herself groans and turns away.
Her filthiness clung to her skirts; she did not consider her future.
Her fall was astounding; there was none to comfort her.
“Look, O Lord, on my affliction, for the enemy has triumphed.”
The enemy laid hands on all her treasures;
she saw pagan nations enter her sanctuary—
those you had forbidden to enter your assembly.
All her people groan as they search for bread;
they barter their treasures for food to keep themselves alive.
“Look, O Lord, and consider, for I am despised.”
“Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see.
Is any suffering like my suffering that was inflicted on me,
that the Lord brought on me in the day of his fierce anger?
“From on high he sent fire, sent it down into my bones.
He spread a net for my feet and turned me back.
He made me desolate, faint all the day long.
“My sins have been bound into a yoke; by his hands they were woven together.
They have come upon my neck and the Lord has sapped my strength.
He has handed me over to those I cannot withstand.”
SECOND LESSON: Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12
See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him— his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness— so he will sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand. Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
GOSPEL: John 19:17-30
Carrying his own cross, Jesus went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”
Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.
“Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”
This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, “They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” So this is what the soldiers did.
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Sermon Audio & Transcript
Grace mercy and peace from God our father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.
A lot of games that we played as children are based on the idea of passing something on. In a relay race, the runners have to pass the baton from one to the other. The most challenging part of the race oftentimes is passing that baton. The exchange can be so tricky, even in the Olympics last summer one of the teams dropped to the baton, and another team was disqualified because they pass the baton outside of the zone where it was supposed to happen. In the game of football, nearly every play begins by the center passing the ball to the quarterback, and it continues with the quarterback passing or handing off or pitching the ball to another player. The passing on of the ball is a crucial and key element in football, and even in the game of tag, there’s something that you have to pass on. Nobody really knows what it is but it’s whatever makes someone it. It has to be passed on from one player to the next, and if you are it, you have to find someone to pass it on to.
The apostle Paul tells us that he is passing something on but, it’s not a child’s game. It’s not even a grown-ups game. It is as precious as the person of Jesus Christ, and it is as valuable as the forgiveness of sins. What the apostle Paul passed on to the people of Corinth was this; he said that he received it from the Lord, and he also passed on to you, the Lord Jesus on the night he was betrayed. Paul receive those truths of the Lord’s supper from God himself, from Jesus Christ, and he passes them on to the Corinthians, and the Holy Spirit has seen fit to in to inspire this word and to preserve this word so that it would be passed on to us as well. This wonderful teaching about this wonderful meal, and tonight the relay continues. As we remind ourselves and each other, and as we refresh our memory of what this meal is. Repent and turn to Jesus has been our theme — for the Wednesday services during the season of Lent, and tonight we continue that theme by saying this: repent and turn to Jesus, and receive a special assurance of his forgiveness.
If there ever was a church that desperately needed a refresher course in what the Lord’s Supper is, it was the Corinthians. They had botched their celebration of the Lord’s supper terribly. It is thought that the Lord’s supper meal would be preceded in Corinth by something called the agape. The meal in which kind of like our potlucks. Everyone would bring some food to share; they would eat together. And then perhaps at the end of it, or in some places perhaps in be in the beginning as they started the celebration, they would have the Lord’s supper. But it was in some way connected with this big meal. And what would happen? Far too often it was used as an excuse for some to drink too much. It was used by some as an excuse to eat too much. There was jostling for position. There were people claiming they should go first before the others. It sounds like what they had rather than the Lord’s Supper was a free-for-all celebration of gluttony. Drunkenness and gluttony was not the Corinthians only issue. Some of them were using it as an opportunity to show off their divisions. To show why their party was better than the others. Some of them in Corinth would say, “I follow Paul.” Others would say, “I follow Apollo’s.” Some would say I follow Peter and there were others who even claimed superiority by saying I don’t follow any of those guys. I follow only Christ. And so instead of celebrating a holy communion, they were celebrating an unholy disunion. Instead of a wonderful unity that was rooted in God’s word, they were squaring off into factions. They were trying to sanctify their love-less-ness and self-indulgence before the Lord’s altar. No wonder the apostle Paul writes before the close of Chapter 11, that is why many of you are sick, and some of you have fallen asleep. The Lord’s Supper had become the Corinthian’s supper, and they were not blessed because of it. They were sinning spiritually and suffering bodily.
For Paul to fix the bad practices of the Corinthian congregation, he took them back to the center, back to the beginning, to the source of this doctrine. He said I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you, “the to the Lord Jesus on the night he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and said this is my body which is for you do this in remembrance of me. In the same way after supper, he took the cup saying this cup is the new covenant in my blood.” With the clear words of Jesus Paul tells them to turn aside from what you want and turn to God’s gracious gift. This is not ours to tinker with. This is God’s gift. The supper proclaims Christ’s sacrifice for sins for you. The Lord’s Supper is Christ’s gift to us. In fact, in the Lord’s supper, Christ himself gives us the gift that keeps on giving. He blesses unworthy sinners with the gift of himself in a most wonderful way. Jesus said this is my body. He said this is my blood. Jesus body and blood are really present. Our Catechism uses these terms in with, and under the bread and wine. The Lord’s Supper is a real presence of Christ’s body and blood together with the bread and wine.
If you ask me to explain this I will say I have no idea how to, but how can the body and blood of Christ really be present? Where ever this meal is celebrated from place to place around the globe, many of millions of times simultaneously for 2000 years? I can’t explain how but I can simply say it is. We know that this is a promise made by Jesus Christ himself who cannot lie. We know that Jesus Christ himself has all power in heaven and on earth. In John 1:3b, it tells us that “without him, nothing was made that has been made.” If he can create a universe, can’t he assure you and me that the true body and blood of himself are in the sacrament? The Lord’s supper is not given for us for our logical speculation nor for scientific investigation. The Lord’s supper is given for our comfort, and we need that comfort. Tonight you come to this worship service as you are. You bring with you the sins of youth, or perhaps an entire lifetime supply of sins accumulated in your skeleton closet. There are little sins and large sins. Sins that you committed willfully and sins that you committed by careless neglect. There are ugly sins and awful sins. You come as you are, sinful from birth, and by nature separated from God. But in spite of that, Jesus comes to you tonight just as he is, the friend of sinners. The Savior of sinners. He comes to you tonight and mouth and soul to make you whole. Turn to Jesus tonight first special assurance of your forgiveness, and know for certain that just as surely as you stand before the Lord’s altar, just as surely as your ears hear the words of Jesus instruction, just as surely as your tongue tastes the bread, and your lips sipped the wine, so surely do you receive the body and blood of Jesus.
The body and blood that were given upon the cross to save you from your sins. There is no more personal, no more intimate way of bringing Christ’s forgiveness to us sinners than through his holy supper. Picture it when the pastor speaks the words of the benediction nor the words of the absolution to the congregation that’s for everyone. It’s broadcast to everyone that will listen, but the Lord’s supper you receive a bite of bread and a sip of wine. No one else receives that very bread, and that very wine. Nobody else receives that little piece of Christ’s body and Christ’s blood. It is for you, and make no mistake about it. It conveys the love that Jesus held in his heart for you and it contains the forgiveness of sins that only he is able to give. Such a gift, because it is so precious is why Satan works so hard to try to get us to drop the baton. It’s been said that the Christian faith is always only one generation from disappearing from the face of the earth. If we do not pass along, if we do not hand over the truths of God’s word and the truth concerning this sacrament, future generations will not understand or appreciate what it is. Satan works so hard to try to get us to question this sacrament. Some of the common objections to this, that Satan brings up our this; some people say that the Lord’s supper cannot really be the true body and blood of Christ, When Jesus said this is my body and this is my blood he must’ve meant only this represents my body, or this is a symbol of my body and blood, but the words of Jesus are very clear He says this is my body for you. This is my blood for you. Others will say but how can Jesus body and blood be in more than one place at a time. Well, remember that this is Jesus who was able to walk through a solid door. This is Jesus who is able to walk on water. This is Jesus who is seated at the right hand of his father and who is ruling all things. He is God, and with God all things are possible. Some will challenge but what good can it do to eat and drink something physically? How can that have a spiritual benefit? Well, the truth is that those who eat and drink only believing in something physical receive no spiritual benefit. The spiritual benefit is received by faith when we rely upon the words of Jesus and the promise he gives. This evening Jesus gives his body and blood to us for an assurance of our forgiveness and to strengthen us. Such a blessing needs to be treated reverently and responsibly, and it’s that way with anything in life. If you purchase a new car I hope that you read through the owners manual, so you know the basics of how to take care of that car. If you have a child, you need to learn how to take care of that baby and what to expect as the child grows. Blessings always carry responsibilities and so it is with the awesome blessing of the Lord’s supper carries with it an awesome responsibility. Paul says whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Just as powerful medicine always needs to be taken as directed following the doctor’s orders, so the Lord’s supper needs to be taken according to the will of God himself. But notice something, the apostle Paul does not say whoever is unworthy. Says whoever eats and drinks in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.
Over the years I’ve spoken to many brothers and sisters who knew that they were not worthy to receive the sacrament. I’ve spoken to many who because they felt unworthy stayed away from the sacrament. One because she felt she couldn’t fully forgive her estranged husband. Another, because he felt that he hadn’t fully repented of his sins, and another because he still felt guilty and couldn’t reconcile that with the fact that he was forgiven. Those are people who are unworthy, but guess what? So are you and so am I. If the Lord’s supper depended on us being worthy then, none of us could receive it, and there would be no pastor who is worthy to administer it. Whoever eats and drinks in an unworthy manner is what is what Paul says.
If you believe that Jesus died on the cross. If you believe that you are a sinner who needs that sacrifice. If you believe that through faith in him you are forgiven. If you believe that in the Lord’s supper Jesus offers his own body and blood for the forgiveness of your sins. If you believe that you are with a body of believers with whom you share the same doctrine then, you are worthy. You are ready and your manner is right. Therefore come, come to the Lord’s supper. Come to receive the body and blood of Jesus. Come and receive forgiveness from Jesus, only from Jesus, always from Jesus.
SERMON TEXT: 1 Corinthians 11:23-28
For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to youThe Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”In the same way, after he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me. ”For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup.
FIRST LESSON: Exodus 12:1-14
The Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, year old having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. The animals you choose year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats.Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs, and internal organs. Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. This is how you are to eat it with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.
“On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.
“This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come, you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance.
GOSPEL: John 13:1-15,34
Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
“Then, Lord,”Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you. ”For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’and ‘Lord,’and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
OUR STEWARDSHIP OF GOD’S WORD AND GIFTS LAST WEEK: Attendance: Saturday, 4; Sunday, 74; Adult Bible Study: 10; Sunday School: 6 (3 teachers); Saturday Teen Bible Study: 0; General Fund Offerings: $5,794.37 (Includes Sprint); Crown of Life, Riverside: $53.00.
SERVING OUR LORD TODAY: Saturday accompanist: David Stansfield; Sunday accompanist: Mrs. Erickson; Acolyte: Ilena Vandiver; Ushers: Smithling, Hood Refreshments: ??; Altar Guild: Hurst; Flowers: ??
SERVING AT GRACE NEXT WEEK: Saturday Accompanist: David Stansfield; Altar Guild: Hurst; Sunday Accompanist: Margie Erickson; Acolyte: Ilena Vandiver; Ushers: Bauman, Leigh; Refreshments: McClelland; Flowers: ??
PLEASE PRAY FOR:
- Amy Bolks, niece of Patty Stansfield, mycobacterium infection
- Rebecca Bridges, brain cancer (stage 2); seizures
- Randy Buth, cancer
- Bradford Davis, brother of DeLyn Wagenknecht, cancer
- Anne Falster, engaged to Michael Schwab; wedding scheduled for 11/11/17
- Carol Ford, homebound
- Henry Frey, 5, son of Pastor David Frey and Heidi, Mission Viejo, chemotherapy and radiation
- Maxine Heitshusen, homebound
- Carol Hubbard, homebound
- Bob Krueger, homebound
- Kathe Lind, homebound
- Tom Lindley (son of Phyllis Lindley), serving in the military
- Wayne and Annette Madsen, homebound
- Wendy Moy, heart surgery March 15
- Steve Nelson, serving in the Air Force
- Mickie Nitz, injury to the base of the spine
- Dolores Poorman, homebound
- Eunice Preku, homebound
- John Preku, grandson of Eunice Preku, serving in the military
- Francis Rich, foot
- Pene Seiler, friend of Liz Ehlers
- Jim Smithling, cancer treatments
- Hulda Stoppelmann, homebound
- Walter Storm, cancer
- Sam Warskow, USAF in Oklahoma
- Marcus Warskow, USAF in Hawaii
- Don Wulf, gall bladder stones and infection
WEDNESDAY MORNING BIBLE STUDY –THE PROPHET DANIEL: Join us at 10 am as we marvel at the amazing visions and history of Daniel and his friends in Babylon.
CLHS 40TH ANNIVERSARY GALA, April 29: They are looking for donations of goods or services for their auction, and are selling tickets for the dinner and program. For more information, CALL 951-678-7000 or email email@example.com.
DONATIONS FOR GRACE: The following items can be donated to church for benefits to the congregation:
- CRV cans and bottles (Please make sure to leave the labels on all CRV containers because without the CRV labels they are only redeemed for scrap, lowering the value from 5c per container to <1cent. The labels, if they come off, can be inserted into the bottle. Bags may be placed behind sheds. )
- Used eyeglasses
- Postage stamps and collections
- Copy paper
- Used ink and toner cartridges
- Campbell’s labels and “Boxtops for Education”
- Christian books for the library
- Used cell phones, smart phones, pagers
Please note: Other items like toys, equipment, furniture, art, etc. must be approved by the property elder before being donated to church. Storage space is limited.
LENTEN WORSHIP service Wednesday at 7 pm. We will also be sharing special soup, salad, sweets, and sometimes sandwiches for supper at six. This year the sermon series for Lent is “Repent! Turn to Jesus.” Pastors Ernest Zimdars and Tim Wempner will participate in a Lenten Pulpit Rotation with us this year.
SERMON SERIES: “Things God Never Said,” continues next week with
- “I want you always to be happy and never sad” (today)
- “You need to invite me in to make me your Savior” (March 12)
WELS 2017 NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON WORSHIP, MUSIC, & THE ARTS will be held in two locations this summer. In addition to the one in Wisconsin, it will also be held in Irvine, California, June 27-30. Members of Grace have attended in the past and they will tell you it was a great experience. For more information and to register go to www.wels.net/worshipconference.
PASTOR AND MRS WAGENKNECHT ARE OUT OF TOWN UNTIL LATE TONIGHT to attend events in Wisconsin with their children at Wisconsin Lutheran College. Thank you, Pastor Mark Mammel, for filling in for Sunday Bible Class and Worship.
THIS WEEK AT GRACE
Today: Sunday School and Bible Class 8:30 am
Worship 9:30 am
Monday Church Council 7:00 pm
Tuesday Choir Practice 7:00 pm
Wednesday Morning Bible Study 10:00 am
Lenten Supper 6:00 pm
Lent 2 worship 7:00 pm
Thursday Brookdale-Walnut Bible Study 3:00 pm
Basic Bible Christianity 7:00 pm
Saturday YOUTH GROUP 12 noon
SATURDAY EVENING WORSHIP 6:30 pm
Next Sunday: Sunday School 8:30 am
Adult Bible Study 8:30 am
Worship 9:30 am
Mar 15, 22, 29 Lent Soup Suppers 6 pm, Worship services 7 pm
April 1 LWMS Spring Rally in Santa Barbara
April 5 Lent Soup Supper, Worship
April 13 Maundy Thursday 7 pm
April 14 Good Friday Tenebrae 7 pm
April 15 Easter for Kids 9 am – 12 pm
Easter Vigil 9:00 pm
April 16 Easter Worship, 7 am & 9:30 am
April 29 CLHS 40th Anniversary Gala
June 27-30 Regional WELS Conference on Worship, Irvine
July 16-22 Good Shepherd Bible Camp
July 31-Aug 4 Vacation Bible School
Nov 11 Falster-Schwab wedding