4th Sunday in Lent

SERMON TEXT:  Luke 15:11-32

All the tax collectors and sinners were coming to Jesus to hear him. But the Pharisees and the experts in the law were complaining, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” He told them this parable: “A certain man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered together all that he had and traveled to a distant country. There he wasted his wealth with reckless living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that country, and he began to be in need. He went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. He would have liked to fill his stomach with the carob pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, and I am dying from hunger! I will get up, go to my father, and tell him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’ “He got up and went to his father. While he was still far away, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran, hugged his son, and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick, bring out the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let us eat and celebrate, because this son of mine was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found.’ Then they began to celebrate. “His older son was in the field. As he approached the house, he heard music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what was going on. The servant told him, ‘Your brother is here! Your father killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ The older brother was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. He answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I’ve been serving you, and I never disobeyed your command, but you never gave me even a young goat so that I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours arrived after wasting your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ “The father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. But it was fitting to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found.’”

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Bible Readings

FIRST LESSON:  Isaiah 12:1-6

In that day you will say:
I will give thanks to you, LORD,
for though you were angry with me,
your anger has turned away,
and you comfort me. Surely God is my salvation.
I will trust him and will not be afraid, because, the LORD, is my strength and song, and he has become my salvation. Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. In that day you will say, Give thanks to the LORD! Proclaim his name. Declare among the peoples what he has done. Proclaim that his name is exalted! Sing to the LORD, for he has done amazing things!
Let this be known in all the earth! Shout aloud and sing for joy, daughter of Zion, for the Holy One of Israel is great among you!

SECOND LESSON:  1 Corinthians 1:18-25

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God. In fact, it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will bring to nothing. Where is the wise man? Where is the expert in the Jewish law? Where is the probing thinker of the present age? Has God not shown that the wisdom of this world is foolish? Indeed, since the world through its wisdom did not know God, God in his wisdom decided to save those who believe, through the foolishness of the preached message. Yes, Jews ask for signs, Greeks desire wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified which is offensive to Jews and foolishness to Greeks, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. We preach Christ crucified, because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

VERSE OF THE DAY:  John 3:16 (NIV)

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life

GOSPEL: Luke 15:11-32

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