Worship: July 19, 2020 7th Sunday after Pentecost
Welcome & Announcements Birthdays: (none this week)
Introduction to the Day:
It is an age-old question: why is there evil in the world? In the parable of the wheat and the weeds Jesus suggests that both grow together until the harvest. With Paul, we long for the day that all creation will be set free from bondage and suffering.
Call to Worship We Plow the Fields and Scatter (LBW #362)
Confession and Forgiveness:
P: If we say we have fellowship with God while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:6-7) (Silence for self-reflection and examination) P: Have mercy on us, O God, according to your steadfast love. C: According to your abundant mercy, blot out our transgressions. Wash us thoroughly from our iniquity and cleanse us from our sin. Create in us a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within us. Cast us not away from your presence and take not your Holy Spirit from us. Restore to us the joy of your salvation and uphold us with a willing spirit. Amen. (from Psalm 51) P: In the mercy of almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for you, and for his sake, God forgives you all your sins. For thus says the Lord: I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be made clean. A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and will give you a heart of flesh. You shall be my people, and I will be your God. (from Ezekiel 36:25-28) C: Amen.
Prayer of Day:
God of glory, Father of love, peace comes from you alone. Send us as peacemakers and witnesses to your Kingdom and fill our hearts with joy in your promises of salvation, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
First Reading: Isaiah 44:6-8 God is the One God
There are no other gods besides God: the word of the Lord does not fail to come to pass. We can trust in God, through whom Israel—and we—are redeemed. Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. Who is like me? Let them proclaim it, let them declare and set it forth before me. Who has announced from of old the things to come? Let them tell us what is yet to be. Do not fear, or be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? You are my witnesses! Is there any god besides me? There is no other rock; I know not one.
Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth. (Ps. 86:11)
Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name. I will thank you, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and glorify your name forevermore. For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the pit of death. The arrogant rise up against me, O God, and a band of violent people seeks my life; they have not set you before their eyes. But you, O Lord, are gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger, and full of kindness and truth. Turn to me and have mercy on me; give your strength to your servant, and save the child of your handmaid. Show me a sign of your favor, so that those who hate me may see it and be put to shame; because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.
Second Reading: Romans 8:18-25 Eagerly Awaiting Future Glory
For Paul, true spirituality means that we experience the reality of the Spirit, which enables us
to pray as God’s children, keeps us in solidarity with creation, and gives us unseen hope that God will liberate us and creation from bondage to death and decay. So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now;and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Response Song: Seek Ye First (WOV #713)
Verse 1 Seek ye first the kingdom of God And His righteousness And all these things Shall be added unto you Allelu alleluia Verse 2 Man shall not live by bread alone But by ev'ry word That proceeds From the mouth of God Allelu alleluia Verse 3 Ask and it shall be given unto you Seek and ye shall find Knock and the door Shall be opened unto you Allelu alleluia
Gospel Reading: Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 Parable of the Weeds
Jesus tells a parable about the coexistence of good and evil in this world. God’s judgment
will remove all evildoers and causes of sin, but not until the end of human history. [Jesus] put before [the crowds] another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field;but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’ ” Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!”
Sermon: God is At Work! Pastor Jill
God is at work in the world today! That’s why there is protesting, rioting, lawlessness running like wild fire. YET, God is at work in the world today. Covid 19 is causing thousands to get sick, and many to die. Politicians lie, cheat, and slander if they think it will help them win. Yet, God is at work in the world today. Do you know what Matthew is trying to get across? That when Jesus Christ came to earth, He brought the kingdom of God with Him. Wherever Jesus went, the kingdom went. That’s the whole point of the book of Matthew. And because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave, His kingdom remains in the world today. Do you feel the kingdom’s presence? You may ponder that. If the kingdom of heaven is here, tell me why evil is still here too. Today, Jesus tells a parable that helps us understand. “If the kingdom of heaven has come in Christ, why does rebellion and murder and selfishness and pride still abound?” If the kingdom of God is here, why is there still evil? Listen: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” Jesus explains further: “The one who sowed the seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters eare angels. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. Jesus tells us that the field is the world. This parable is not about the church. This parable is about the world at large. Now in this world, He says there are two kinds of seed that get sown. Christ, sows good seed—represented by the sons and daughters of the kingdom.--those who submit to the King. They acknowledge their sin, repent of it, and who put their trust in Christ and what He did for them on the cross. If you are a believer, you are God’s good seed planted by Him in this world. Unfortunately, there is another sower who works the field of this world- the devil. He plants weeds. These are all those people who will not repent & follow Jesus. Remember Him saying right out to the person: “You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and was not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.” John 8:44 He didn’t mince words! Today, the sons of the kingdom and the sons of the evil one dwell together on earth. Yes, in Christ the kingdom of God has come. But for the moment, the kingdom of the devil has not yet been put away. Now we can answer our question. If the kingdom of God has come to this world, why does evil still exist in this world? Here’s the short answer—Jesus permits it. He acknowledges that this world is full of sin and sinners and, for the moment, refuses to do anything about it. Of course, that raises another question. Why would Jesus, who is holy, permit evil to remain? Believe it or not, He permits evil to remain in this world for your eternal benefit and mine. Because, if He judged the world right now, some of the people God has marked for salvation would be lost. 2 Peter 3:8-9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise--He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. So he permits it so sinful people like us can be saved from sin and the hell we deserve. But here’s what we must never forget. Even though Jesus permits evil to remain today, He will not permit it to remain forever! Let both grow together until when? …Until the harvest. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. A day of judgment is coming. Some people deny it. Some people mock it. But on multiple occasions, Jesus warns us that it’s true. There is a final day when all humanity will be divided into one of two groups—those who have been made righteous in Christ and those who stand condemned. On that day the only thing that matters is—are you wheat or weed? Are you a child of the kingdom or are you a child of the evil one? If you are a child of the kingdom this parable encourages you. It teaches us not to be dismayed by all the evil in the world. This parable reminds us—someday it will be judged & taken care of. YET we are reminded—as believers, we shouldn’t play judge. “Do you want us to pull up the weeds?” We might ask! We get sick of all the wickedness that goes on in the world and we want to go yank some weeds. When Jesus is ready to judge, He’ll judge. And He’s not going to ask for our help. Today—when the sons of kingdom and the sons of the devil dwell together—is a day of grace. Today, weeds can still become wheat. Our calling is never to condemn the weeds, our calling is to share Christ with them. Yes, there are times when we must confront lies. Yes, there are times to speak out against sin. But never forget, even in those times our motivation must always be salvation, not condemnation. Compassion must drive us rather than spite. Don’t play judge. The position has already been filled. As believers, this parable reminds us—don’t let the evil in this world dismay you. It won’t last forever. Don’t play judge. And don’t get cozy with the sin you turned away from when you gave your life to Christ. If you haven’t done so—today can be the day of your salvation. Believe, confess, repent, receive. This parable ends on a high note! Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears let him hear. And let’s all shout AMEN!
HOW MAJESTIC IS YOUR NAME Chorus Oh Lord our Lord how majestic is Your name in all the earth Oh Lord our Lord how majestic is Your name in all the earth Oh Lord we praise Your name Oh Lord we magnify Your name Prince of Peace Mighty God Oh Lord God Almighty
I WILL SING OF THE MERCIES OF THE LORD FOREVER!
Chorus I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever I will sing I will sing I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever I will sing of the mercies of the Lord Verse With my mouth will I make known Thy faithfulness Thy faithfulness With my mouth will I make known Thy faithfulness to all generations
OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD
Our God is an awesome God He reigns from heaven above With wisdom pow'r and love Our God is an awesome God Verse 1 When He rolls up His sleeves He ain't just puttin' on the ritz Our God is an awesome God There is thunder in His footsteps And lightning in His fists Our God is an awesome God And the Lord wasn't joking When He kicked 'em out of Eden It wasn't for no reason That He shed His blood His return is very close And so you'd better be believin' That our God is an awesome God Verse 2 When the sky was starless In the void of the night Our God is an awesome God He spoke into the darkness And created the light Our God is an awesome God Judgment and wrath He poured out on Sodom Mercy and grace He gave us at the cross I hope that we have not Too quickly forgotten That our God is an awesome God
Prayers of the Church
O Lord, our Rock and Redeemer, there is no one like you. You alone are God. As you have called the whole Church to be your witnesses, proclaiming to the world the good news of him who has been prophesied since ancient times, give us all boldness to declare your salvation and sow the seeds of your Word wherever we go. Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer. Gracious God, give your holy Church a heart for you alone, that we may keep your commandments, and bring you honor so that you glorious name may be praised in all the earth. May the lives of your people mirror your own steadfast love and mercy. Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer. God of all hope, sometimes it seems like everything around us is futile. Help us to rely on faith instead of feelings, upon what we know to be true because of your promises, instead of the false signals given through the sorrows of this present time. Cause us to consider these trials in light of the glory that awaits us through Christ. Give the hopeless courage to wait with patience for what they do not see, yet know to be true because of the witness of your Spirit. [We pray especially for Larry & Melissa Finseth, Brady; Les & Mavis Finseth; Healing for Sid, Joan, Sierra, Cathy, Orlie, Our active military men & women: Austin Sannes, Briana Finseth, Dusty & Lisa Halvorson, Zachary Olson-Burkman, Dawn Fick, Catherine Finseth …] Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer. Lord God, you are the sower of good seed in our lives. Pour out your Holy Spirit upon that the seed of your holy Word would fall on fertile soil within us and take root and grow. Grant us the amazing gift of faith, that we would follow Jesus in obedience, joy, and love. Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer. In the certain hope that nothing can separate us from your love, we offer these prayers to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
Offering: Prayer (led by the pastor)
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, maker of all things. Through your goodness you have blessed us with these gifts. With them we offer ourselves to your service and dedicate our lives to the care and redemption of all that you have made, for the sake of him who gave himself for us, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Offering Song ‘Praise and Thanksgiving (LBW #409 v 1 & 4)
1 Praise and thanksgiving, Father, we offer for all things living, you have made good: harvest of sown fields, fruits of the orchard, hay from the mown fields, blossom and wood. 4 Then will your blessing reach ev'ry people, freely confessing your gracious hand. Where you are reigning, no one will hunger; your love sustaining showers the land. Text: Albert F. Bayly, 1901-1984, alt. Text © Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
As we go from here, remember this: As followers of Jesus Christ, we have not received a spirit of fear, but one of hope and confidence. For we are children of God, members of God’s own family, and heirs with Jesus Christ himself. So go out with joy to love and serve the Lord. Amen.
Sending Song: I Love Your Kingdom Lord (LBW #368)
1 I love your kingdom, Lord, the place of your abode; the church our blest Redeemer saved with his own precious blood. 2 I love your church, O God! Its walls before you stand, dear as the apple of your eye and graven on your hand.
3 Beyond my highest joy I prize its heav’nly ways, its sweet communion, solemn vows, its hymns of love and praise. 4 Sure as your truth shall last, to Zion shall be giv’n the brightest glories earth can yield, and brighter bliss of heav’n
Text: Timothy Dwight, 1752-1817, alt.