Can you make a decision for Christ?
“Have you made a decision for Christ?” One often hears this question from radio and television preachers, or even from our friends and family. “Have you invited Jesus into your heart? Have you received Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? Have you dedicated your life to Christ?” Many churches have a “Time of Decision” at the end of their services, with altar calls and emotional appeals for the person to respond. All of these questions rotate around this same premise: the unbeliever has the ability and responsibility to choose Jesus. But is this what the Bible teaches? Can the unbeliever make a decision for Christ?
Pr. Wolfmuller: "I was in the McDonald's ... and I was there to rent a movie at the RedBox and I was standing there in line. And this older lady looks up at me and she says, 'What do you do?' I wasn't wearing my collar or anything. I was undercover just trying to get a movie. And I told her, 'I'm a Lutheran pastor.' And she said, 'Oh, I'm a Southern Baptist. What's the difference between a Lutheran and a Southern Baptist?'
"And I said, 'Well, here's one thing you might notice: I bet you at your service you have a time of decision at the end.' And she said, 'Yes, that's right.' And I said, 'And that's the time where you have an altar call and the preacher will tell people to come up and they can pray and they can dedicate their life to Christ or rededicate their life, they can hand things over to Him, they can make a decision, pray the "Sinners Prayer", et cetera, et cetera. And that's one of the highlights of your church service.' And she said, 'Yeah, it surely is.'
"'Well, we Lutherans ask a different question: The question we ask is not: Have you made a decision for Jesus? But rather, Has Jesus made a decision for you? The question is not, Have you accepted Jesus into your heart? But rather, Has Jesus accepted you into His heart? The question is not, Have you given your whole life for God? But rather, Has God given His whole life for you?'
"And this was an incredible thing, Todd, because here is this woman and I, standing in the lobby of the McDonald's, and she was crying. Tears were rolling off of her cheeks. And she says to me, 'I've never heard anything so wonderful in my whole life.'
"Now, why? Because the Gospel for her had always been a condition, it had always been something she had to do, it had always been up to her.
"And it never had had the absolute, one hundred percent assurance of knowing that it was Jesus who's done it all. It's Jesus who won her salvation. It's Jesus who's made the way open to heaven for her. And to know that and to know the answer is, Yes! Even though my faith wavers, even though I have doubts, and I have questions. Yes, Jesus has given Himself to me. Yes, He has prayed for me. Yes, He has poured out His life and His blood so that I would be His and my sins would be forgiven. And there's no question, there's no doubt, there's no room for wondering there. It's just this absolutely, wonderful, forgiving, confident-building assurance that I am the child of God, the friend of Jesus."
Read also Pr. Bryan Wolfmuller's article, "Can You Make a Decision for Christ?"
Pr. Todd Wilken reviews a sermon preached by Pr. Daniel Preus on The Baptism of Jesus. Pr. Preus (Executive Director of Luther Academy and Assistant Pastor of Hope Lutheran, St. Louis, Mo.) preached the sermon at Memorial Lutheran Church, Houston, Texas (mp3, 42:59, 17.2 MB, 2010-Jan-13)
Pr. Daniel Preus, Executive Director of Luther Academy and Assistant Pastor of Hope Lutheran, St. Louis, Mo., discusses the aftermath of the battle for the Bible with Pr. Todd Wilken (mp3, 40:26, 16.2 MB, 2010-Jan-05)
Dr. John Saleska, Concordia Bible Institute, Mequon, Wisc., discusses Paul's Letter to the Romans with Pr. Todd Wilken:
Part 1 - Chapters 1-3 (mp3, 54:31, 21.9 MB, 2009-Dec-28)
Part 2 - Chapters 4-7 (mp3, 54:31, 21.9 MB, 2009-Dec-29)
Part 3 - Chapters 7-8 (mp3, 54:30, 21.8 MB, 2009-Dec-30)
Part 4 - Chapters 8-10 (mp3, 54:34, 21.9 MB, 2009-Dec-31)
Part 5 - Chapters 11-16 (mp3, 54:30, 21.9MB, 2010-Jan-01)
Listeners vote for their favorite Christmas hymn and give reasons why to Pr Todd Wilken (mp3, 54:29, 22.3 MB, 2009-Dec-22)
Lutheran Service Book (p. 219), Treasury of Daily Prayer (p. O-1)
- Opening Versicles mp3
- Venite mp3
- Responsory mp3
- Easter Responsory mp3
- Te Deum mp3
- Benedictus mp3
- Kyrie mp3
- Salutation mp3
- Collect, Benedicamus & Benediction mp3
Lutheran Service Book (p. 229), Treasury of Daily Prayer (p. O-11)
- Opening Versicles mp3
- Responsory mp3
- Canticle mp3
- Kyrie mp3
- Salutation mp3
- Benedicamus & Benediction mp3
Lutheran Service Book (p. 253), Treasury of Daily Prayer (p. O-17)
Lutheran Service Book (p. 235), Treasury of Daily Prayer (p. O-24)
Lutheran Service Book (p. 243), Treasury of Daily Prayer (p. O-32)
First Sunday in Advent
(Dec. 2, 2018)
Jeremiah 33:14–16; Ps. 25:1-10; 1 Thessalonians 3:9–13; Luke 19:28–40 or Luke 21:25–36
Entrance: LSB 343 Prepare the Royal Highway
Of the Day: LSB 332 Savior of the Nations, Come
Offertory: LSB 335 O Bride of Christ, Rejoice
Distribution: LSB 334 O Lord, How Shall I Meet You;
LSB 353 Jesus Came, the Heavens Adoring
Closing: LSB 339 Lift Up Your Heads, You Everlasting Doors
The Lord Jesus Comes in Humility to Redeem Us
The season of Advent focuses on the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and this first Sunday establishes this theme for the rest of the season. The Son of God came long ago to be our Savior, “a righteous Branch” descended from David (Jer. 33:15). As He then came into Jerusalem, riding on a lowly donkey to sacrifice Himself for the sins of the world (Luke 19:28-40), so does He come to His Church today in the humility of Word and Sacrament to deliver the fruits of His Passion: the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. He absolves us and establishes our hearts “blameless in holiness before our God and Father” (1 Thess. 3:13). The same Lord Jesus, who came to Jerusalem then and who comes to us now in peace, will come again with power and great glory on the Last Day. Then there will be “distress of nations in perplexity,” with “people fainting in fear.” Yet, as we anticipate that great and terrible day, He bids us to rest securely in Him: “Raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:25, 26, 28).
Second Sunday in Advent
(Dec. 9, 2018)
Malachi 3:1–7b; Ps. 66:1-12; Philippians 1:2–11; Luke 3:1–14 (15–20)
Entrance: LSB 344 On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry
Of the Day: LSB 511 Herald, Sound the Note of Judgment
Offertory: LSB 518 By All Your Saints in Warfare (sts. 1, 15, 24, 3)
Distribution: LSB 936 Sing Praise to the God of Israel;
LSB 346 When All the World Was Cursed
Closing: LSB 343 Prepare the Royal Highway
The Preaching of Repentance Prepares Us for the Coming of the Lord
The preaching and Baptism “of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 3:3) prepare us for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The historic work of John the Baptist was completed with the first advent of our Lord Jesus in the flesh, but the ministry of the forerunner continues in the preaching of Law and Gospel and in Holy Baptism. Through His messengers, the Lord calls people of all nations to “see the salvation of God” (Luke 3:6). Our haughtiness is removed and our mountains of pride are brought low, but the Lord humbles us in order to exalt us in His mercy. As the Lord has begun this good work of repentance in us, so also does He perfect it by His Word and Holy Spirit, and He “will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). He purifies us to be His priestly people, precious in His sight and abounding in faith and love, so that we offer our very lives in righteousness to the Lord (Mal. 3:3–4).
Third Sunday in Advent
(Dec. 16, 2018)
Zephaniah 3:14–20; Ps. 85:1-13; Philippians 4:4–7; Luke 7:18–28, 29–35
Entrance: LSB 349 Hark the Glad Sound
Of the Day: LSB 345 Hark! A Thrilling Voice Is Sounding
Offertory: LSB 511 Herald, Sound the Note of Judgment
Distribution: LSB 347 Comfort, Comfort Ye My People;
LSB 515 Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers
Closing: LSB 338 Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus
The Coming of Jesus Enables Us to Rejoice
The Third Sunday in Advent has traditionally been called by the Latin word Gaudete, meaning “Rejoice!” For as you are called to repentance, so also are you urged to rejoice in the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. By His own cross, He has accomplished salvation for you; “He has cleared away your enemies,” “taken away the judgments against you” and come to reign in your midst. Indeed, He rejoices over you with gladness and song (Zeph. 3:15–17)! Therefore, even from prison St. Paul encourages us to “rejoice in the Lord always,” knowing that the peace of God will guard and keep us in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:4, 7). We find an example and encouragement in the case of John the Baptist. As he languishes in prison, he calls upon Jesus and is strengthened by the Word of the Gospel that he receives. The same good news is preached to you, by which all things are made new and even “the dead are raised up” (Luke 7:22). Do not be offended by the cross, therefore, but let your life be one of prayer and thanksgiving (Luke 7:23; Phil. 4:6).
Fourth Sunday in Advent
(Dec. 23, 2018)
Micah 5:2–5a; Ps. 80:1-7; Hebrews 10:5–10; Luke 1:39–45, 46–56
Entrance: LSB 935 Tell Out, My Soul, the Greatness of the Lord
Of the Day: LSB 356 The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came
Offertory: LSB 353 Jesus Came, the Heavens Adoring
Distribution: LSB 357 O Come, O Come, Emmanuel;
LSB 332 Savior of the Nations, Come
Closing: LSB 387 Joy to the World
The Lord Comes to Visit Us in Peace
The Fourth Sunday in Advent turns our attention toward the Nativity of Our Lord. With Mary, we await the coming of the Christ, her Son, conceived in her womb by the Spirit of God. As the Lord dealt graciously with her and did great things for her (Luke 1:48–49), so also He manifests Himself and His glory to us in mercy and gentleness. He comes to rule His people in peace, to “shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord.” He comes forth not from the great capital city of Rome or Jerusalem, but from lowly little Bethlehem (Micah 5:2, 4). He comes to sacrifice Himself, in fulfillment of His Father’s will, for the salvation and sanctification of His people (Heb. 10:10). He who once visited Elizabeth while hidden in the womb of Mary (Luke 1:39–45) now comes to visit us today, hidden in the lowliness of simple water, bread and wine.
(24 December 2018)
Isaiah 7:10–14; Ps 110:1-4; 1 John 4:7–16; Matthew 1:18–25
The Word of the Lord Is Fulfilled in the Flesh of Jesus
Though Ahaz would not ask, the Lord gives a sign to the house of David that “the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Is. 7:14). With this promise, He signifies that salvation is by His grace alone; it is no work or achievement of fallen humanity, but the Lord’s own work and free gift. The promise is fulfilled as the Son of God is conceived and born of the Virgin Mary, and the sign is received in faith by the house of David in the person of Joseph (Matt. 1:20–24). “Incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary” (Nicene Creed), God is with us (Immanuel) in the flesh of Jesus, Mary’s Son. Joseph believes that Word of God and so demonstrates a marvelous example in his immediate and quiet obedience, taking Mary to be his wife and caring for her in faith and love. He loves her because the love of God is manifest in this, that “the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world,” “to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9–10, 14).
(24 December 2018)
Isaiah 9:2–7; Ps 96; Titus 2:11–14; Luke 2:1–14, 15–20
Entrance: LSB 377 On Christmas Night All Christians Sing
Or LSB 360 All My Heart Again Rejoices
Of the Day: LSB 358 From Heaven Above to Earth I Come
Offertory: LSB 368 Angels We Have Heard on High
Distribution: LSB 361 O Little Town of Bethlehem;
LSB 370 What Child Is This
Closing: LSB 363 Silent Night, Holy Night
The Light of Christ Shines Forth in the Darkness
Heaven and earth rejoice on this night because the glory of the blessed Trinity is manifested in the human birth of “our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). In Him, the Father’s grace, mercy and peace rest upon the world. The silence of death is broken by this “good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10). And all we who have gone astray like lost and wandering sheep, who have “walked in the darkness” of doubt and fear and sinful unbelief, behold “a great light” in the nativity of Christ (Is. 9:2). In Him, “the grace of God has appeared” (Titus 2:11). For this Child of Mary who is born for us, this dear Son of God who is given to us, will bear the burden of our sin and death in His own body on the cross. He thereby establishes a government of peace, “with justice and with righteousness,” which shall have no end; not by any work of man, but “the zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this” (Is. 9:7).
(25 December 2018)
Isaiah 62:10–12; Ps 98; Titus 3:4–7; Luke 2:1–14, 15–20
Christ Jesus Reveals Himself in the Signs He Has Given to His Church
The Lord has not forsaken us. He has come and sought us out to save us (Is. 62:11–12), so that “being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7). In Christ Jesus, conceived and born of Mary, “the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared” (Titus 3:4). Now He is lifted up in the Gospel, “a signal over the peoples” (Is. 62:10), that He might call us to rejoice in His salvation. St. Luke emphasizes the signs by which the shepherds once found Him: in Bethlehem, the City of David, “wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12). The same Lord Jesus reveals Himself to us in the sure and certain signs of His Gospel. His Church is a true Bethlehem (House of Bread); for the Son of David, “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11), feeds us with His body and His blood from the manger of His altar, wrapped in swaddling cloths of bread and wine. Let us ponder these mysteries and, as the shepherds did, go about our vocations, “glorifying and praising God” (Luke 2:19–20).
(25 December 2018)
Isaiah 52:7–10; Ps 2; Hebrews 1:1–6, 7–12; John 1:1–14, 15–18
Entrance: LSB 379 O Come, All Ye Faithful
Of the Day: LSB 382 We Praise You, Jesus, at Your Birth
Offertory: LSB 380 Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Distribution: LSB 384 Of the Father’s Love Begotten;
LSB 368 Angels We Have Heard on High
Closing: LSB 386 Now Sing We, Now Rejoice
The Living and Life-Giving Word of God Dwells among Us in the Flesh
The Lord sends out His ministers of the Gospel to make disciples “of all the nations,” so that “all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” For the Lord has “bared his holy arm” in the incarnate Christ (Is. 52:7, 10). The Child in the manger, born of the Virgin Mary, is the very Word of God, the only begotten Son of the Father, “whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world” (Heb. 1:2). As “all things were made through him” (John 1:3), so are all things redeemed and made new in Him. In His body of flesh and blood, we behold “the radiance of the glory of God” (Heb. 1:3), “glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). He dwells among us in peace that we might have life and light and salvation in Him. For by His Word of the Gospel, we are born again as the children of God, bearing His name and sharing His eternal life.
First Sunday after Christmas
(Dec. 30, 2018)
Exodus 13:1–3a, 11–15; Ps 111; Colossians 3:12–17; Luke 2:22–40
Entrance: LSB 367 Angels from the Realms of Glory
Of the Day: LSB 389 Let All Together Praise Our God
Offertory: LSB 384 Of the Father’s Love Begotten
Distribution: LSB 897 O Rejoice, Ye Christians, Loudly;
LSB 937 Lord, Bid Your Servant Go in Peace
Closing: LSB 938 In Peace and Joy I Now Depart
The Firstborn Son of God Is Our Redemption from Sin and Death
When the Lord destroyed the firstborn sons of Egypt, He spared the sons of Israel by providing a lamb in their stead. Hence, all the firstborn sons belong to Him. Every firstborn male animal was sacrificed, and every firstborn son of man was redeemed (Ex. 13:12–13). Therefore, the parents of Jesus “brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord” (Luke 2:22). However, He is not redeemed from priestly service but is consecrated for “the redemption of Jerusalem” and “the consolation of Israel” (Luke 2:25, 38). For God the Father did not spare His only begotten Son, but offered Him up as the true Passover Lamb, in order to redeem His people from bondage. His cross has caused many to stumble and fall, but His blood atoned for the sins of the world and delivers us from death. We now depart in the peace of Christ because we are also raised with Him. As we receive His body and blood, we join Simeon and Anna in “giving thanks to God the Father through him,” “singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,” including the Nunc Dimittis, with thankfulness in our hearts (Luke 2:28–32, 38; Col. 3:15–17).
Feast of The Circumcision and Name of Jesus (New Year’s Day)
(1 January 2019)
Numbers 6:22–27; Ps 8; Galatians 3:23–29; Luke 2:21
Entrance: LSB 818 In Thee Is Gladness
Of the Day: LSB 900 Jesus! Name of Wondrous Love
Distribution: LSB 896 Now Greet the Swiftly Changing Year;
LSB 362 O Sing of Christ
Closing: LSB 924 Lord, Dismiss Us with Your Blessing
The Lord Jesus Comes in the Flesh to Fulfill the Law for Us and Save Us from Our Sins
Circumcision is the covenant God made with Abraham and his seed. It sealed God’s promises and blessings in the flesh, but it also signified the burden of the Law. When the Lord Jesus came in the flesh to redeem His people, He subjected Himself to the Law, in order to fulfill the Law and release all men from its captivity. “He was called Jesus” (Luke 2:21) because He came to save His people from their sins. He would shed His blood on their behalf, as He did already when “he was circumcised” (Luke 2:21). As He also sacrificed Himself upon the cross, you are “justified by faith” in His blood (Gal. 3:24). Therefore, “you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Gal. 3:29), not by the circumcision of your flesh, but in the flesh and blood of Christ Jesus, the true seed of Abraham. “Baptized into Christ,” you belong to Him and are clothed and covered by His righteousness (Gal. 3:27). Holy Baptism is the true circumcision made without hands, by which the Lord Jesus puts His name on you and blesses you (Num. 6:22, 27).
The Epiphany of Our Lord
(6 January 2019)
Isaiah 60:1–6; Ps. 72:1-11, 12-15; Ephesians 3:1–12; Matthew 2:1–12
Entrance: LSB 367 Angels from the Realms of Glory
Of the Day: LSB 395 O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright
Offertory: LSB 400 Brightest and Best of the Stars of the Morning
Distribution: LSB 399 The Star Proclaims the King Is Here;
LSB 394 Songs of Thankfulness and Praise
Closing: LSB 397 As with Gladness Men of Old
The Lord God Is Manifested in the Incarnate Son
The Feast of the Epiphany centers in the visit of the Magi from the East. In that respect, it is a “Thirteenth Day” of Christmas; yet, it also marks the beginning of a new liturgical season. While Christmas has focused on the incarnation of our Lord — that is, on God becoming flesh — the season of Epiphany emphasizes the manifestation or self-revelation of God in that same flesh of Christ. The Lord Himself has entered our darkness and rises upon us with the brightness of His true light (Is. 60:1–2). He does so chiefly by His Word of the Gospel, which He causes to be preached within His Church on earth — not only to the Jews but also to Gentiles (Eph. 3:8–10). As the Magi were guided by the promises of Holy Scripture to find and worship the Christ Child with His mother in the house (Matt. 2:5–11), so does He call disciples from all nations by the preaching of His Word to find and worship Him within His Church (Is. 60:3–6). With gold, they confess His royalty; with incense, His deity; and with myrrh, His priestly sacrifice (Matt. 2:11).
The Baptism of Our Lord (First Sunday after the Epiphany)
(13 January 2019)
Isaiah 43:1–7; Ps. 29:1-11; Romans 6:1–11; Luke 3:15–22
Entrance: LSB 405 To Jordan’s River Came Our Lord
Of the Day: LSB 406 To Jordan Came the Christ, Our Lord
Offertory: LSB 601 All Who Believe and Are Baptized
Distribution: LSB 596 All Christians Who Have Been Baptized;
LSB 399 The Star Proclaims the King Is Here
Closing: LSB 594 God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It
The Triune God Opens Heaven to You in Holy Baptism
The Baptism of our Lord is an “Epiphany” of the one true God in the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. In divine mercy, He takes His place with sinners and takes their sin upon Himself. “When all the people were baptized,” Jesus submitted Himself to a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:21). He had no sins of His own, but He took the sins of the world upon Himself and so was baptized into His own death. Therefore, “when you pass through the waters,” He is with you (Is. 43:2). He created you for His glory, and He has redeemed you with His blood, that you may be His own and live with Him in His Kingdom (Is. 43:1, 7). As you are baptized with a baptism like His, so also are you united with Him in His death and resurrection that you “might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). For all who are baptized into Christ Jesus receive His anointing of the Holy Spirit and are named by His Father as beloved and well-pleasing sons and daughters.
Second Sunday After the Epiphany
(20 January 2019)
Isaiah 62:1–5; Ps. 128:1-6; 1 Corinthians 12:1–11; John 2:1–11
Entrance: LSB 394 Songs of Thankfulness and Praise
Of the Day: LSB 408 Come, Join in Cana’s Feast
Offertory: LSB 910 Now the Silence
Distribution: LSB 395 O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright;
LSB 399 The Star Proclaims the King Is Here
Closing: LSB 402 The Only Son from H
The Divine Glory Is Manifested in the Signs of Christ
When Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding in Cana, it was “the first of his signs,” by which He “manifested his glory” (John 2:11). It pointed to His coming “hour,” when He was lifted up on the cross for the forgiveness of sins and the life of the world (John 2:4; 12:23–32). The glory of the cross is incomprehensible apart from the Word and Spirit of God, but disciples of Jesus recognize that glory in the signs of His Gospel, and so they believe in Him. Jesus does not wait for His disciples to discover Him on their own, but He seeks out the forsaken and the desolate and unites them to Himself. He adorns them with His own beautiful righteousness and delights in them “as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride” (Is. 62:4–5). Purified by the washing of water with His Word in Holy Baptism, His disciples confess that “Jesus is Lord,” and they return thanks to Him “in the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:3) as they drink the good wine that He pours out for them, which is the new testament in His blood.
Third Sunday After the Epiphany
(27 January 2019)
Nehemiah 8:1–3, 5–6, 8–10; Ps. 19:1-6, 7-14; 1 Corinthians 12:12–31a; Luke 4:16–30
Entrance: LSB 836 O God of Light
Of the Day: LSB 839 O Christ, Our True and Only Light
Offertory: LSB 523 O Word of God Incarnate
Distribution: LSB 398 Hail to the Lord’s Anointed;
LSB 583 God Has Spoken by His Prophets
Closing: LSB 810 O God of God, O Light of Light
The Lord Is Manifested as Our Savior through the Preaching of the Gospel
When Jesus opens His mouth to preach, gracious words flow from His lips. The Scriptures are, indeed, fulfilled in your hearing (Luke 4:21–22). For Christ was anointed by the Spirit of the Lord “to proclaim good news to the poor,” “to proclaim liberty to the captives” and “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18–19). By this proclamation, Christ releases His people from captivity and gathers them to Himself in His Church. So it was when the Lord released His people from Babylon and returned them to Jerusalem. “Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people,” sanctified the whole congregation by the reading and preaching of the Law (Neh. 8:8–9). As the people then were urged to “eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready” (Neh. 8:10), so are you anointed by the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ to share in His feast and to serve the fellow members of His Body with His good gifts, “giving greater honor to the part that lacked it” (1 Cor. 12:12, 24).
Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany
(03 February 2019)
Jeremiah 1:4–10, 17–19; Ps. 71:1-6, 7-11; 1 Corinthians 12:31b—13:13; Luke 4:31–44
Entrance: LSB 535 How Wide the Love of Christ
Of the Day: LSB 541 “Away from Us!” the Demon Cried
Offertory: LSB 842 Son of God, Eternal Savior
Distribution: LSB 695 Not for Tongues of Heaven’s Angels;
LSB 619 Thy Body, Given for Me, O Savior
Closing: LSB 849 Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness
Jesus Has Authority to Forgive Your Sins and Give You Life
Jesus was sent to “preach the good news of the kingdom of God” (Luke 4:43). His preaching is an epiphany, or manifestation, of God because His Word reveals the authority of His cross and resurrection, by which He has atoned for the sins of the world. By the preaching of His Gospel in every place, He silences the unclean spirits and casts out demons, heals the diseases of body and soul, and restores life and health to His creation (Luke 4:40–41). For the sake of His divine love, He is “patient and kind” toward us; He “bears all things,” “endures all things” and delivers up His body to save us (1 Cor. 13:3–4, 7). So also for the sake of His love, He calls and sends His prophets, as ministers of His Word, “to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant” (Jer. 1:10).
Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany
(10 February 2019)
Isaiah 6:1–8, 9–13; Ps. 138:1-8; 1 Corinthians 14:12b–20; Luke 5:1–11
Entrance: LSB 907 God Himself Is Present
Of the Day: LSB 398 Hail to the Lord’s Anointed
Offertory: LSB 831 “How Shall They Hear,” Who Have Not Heard
Distribution: LSB 507 Holy, Holy, Holy;
LSB 688 “Come, Follow Me,” the Savior Spake
Closing: LSB 856 O Christ, Who Called the Twelve
Jesus Manifests His Divine Glory by Forgiving Sins
When Isaiah beheld the glory of the Holy Triune God in the Temple, he confessed that he was lost because he was sinful and unclean. If even the holy angels cover their faces in the presence of “the King, the Lord of hosts,” then how could Isaiah stand before Him? (Is. 6:1–5). The glory of the Lord, however, was manifested precisely in His forgiving of Isaiah’s sins. He touched Isaiah’s mouth with a burning coal from the altar of incense, and sanctified his lips for the proclamation of His Word (Is. 6:6–9). Similarly, when Simon Peter witnessed the glory of God in the miraculous catch of fish, he was brought to his knees and confessed, “I am a sinful man” (Luke 5:8). Yet, the Lord Jesus did not depart from him, but calmed his fear and raised him up with His gracious forgiveness (Luke 5:10). With this same forgiveness and love, Christ gathers people from every nation into His Church and pours out His Spirit upon them. The gifts of that same Spirit are manifested in the speaking and hearing of the Gospel for the building up of the Church (1 Cor. 14:12).
Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany
(17 February 2019)
Jer. 17:5-8; Ps. 1:1-6; 1 Corinthians 15:1–11,12-20; Luke 6:17-26
Entrance: LSB 474 Alleluia! Jesus Is Risen
Of the Day: LSB 394 Songs of Thankfulness and Praise
Offertory: LSB 729 I Am Trusting Thee, Lord Jesus
Distribution: LSB 699 I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say;
LSB 619 Thy Body, Given for Me, O Savior
Closing: LSB 795 Voices Raised to You We Offer
Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany
(24 February 2019)
Gen. 45:3-15; Ps. 103:1-13; 1 Corinthians 15:21-26, 30-42; Luke 6:27-38
Entrance: LSB 820 My Soul, Now Praise Your Maker
Of the Day: LSB 834 O God, O Lord of Heaven and Earth
Offertory: LSB 544 O Love, How Deep
Distribution: LSB 851 Lord of Glory, You Have Bought Us;
LSB 848 Lord, Whose Love through Humble Service
Closing: LSB 692 Praise to You and Adoration
Transfiguration of Our Lord
(03 March 2019)
Deuteronomy 34:1–12; Ps. 99:1-9; Hebrews 3:1–6; Luke 9:28–36
Entrance: LSB 415 Jesus on the Mountain Peak
Of the Day: LSB 413 O Wondrous Type! O Vision Fair
Offertory: LSB 414 ‘Tis Good, Lord, to Be Here
Distribution: LSB 416 Swiftly Pass the Clouds of Glory;
LSB 537 Beautiful Savior
Closing: LSB 417 Alleluia, Song of Gladness
The Glory of God Is Manifested in the Body of Christ
“Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant,” but Christ Jesus “has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses” (Heb. 3:3, 5). A beloved and well-pleasing Son, faithful even to the point of death, Jesus’ own body was raised up on the third day as the house of God, and He has brought us into that house through the waters of Holy Baptism (Heb. 3:6). Thus, it was not Moses the lawgiver, but his successor, Joshua (the Hebrew name for Jesus), who led the people into the promised land (Deut. 34:1–4, 9). Now, on the Mount of Transfiguration, the New Testament Joshua appears in the glory that He is about to manifest by His “departure” (exodus) in Jerusalem (Luke 9:31). Having entered the waters of the Jordan in His Baptism, He passed through those waters and entered into glory by His Cross and Passion. What He thereby accomplished in His own flesh and blood, crucified and risen, He reveals and gives to His Body, the Church, by the means of His Word. Therefore, the Father declares from heaven, “Listen to Him!” (Luke 9:35).
(06 March 2019)
Joel 2:12–19; Ps. 51:1-13, 14-19; 2 Corinthians 5:20b—6:10; Matthew 6:1–6, 16–21
Entrance: LSB 419 Savior, When in Dust to Thee
Of the Day: LSB 607 From Depths of Woe I Cry to Thee
Offertory: LSB 574 Before the Throne of God Above
Distribution: LSB 915 Today Your Mercy Calls Us;
LSB 563 Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness
Closing: LSB 610 Lord Jesus, Think on Me
Return to the Lord Your God with All Your Heart
On Ash Wednesday, we come down from the mountain with Jesus and set our face with His toward the cross in Jerusalem. We make our pilgrimage with Him by the way of repentance, and thus return to the dying and rising of Holy Baptism. For Christ Jesus, “who knew no sin,” became our sin, so that by His death we are released from sin, and in His resurrection we “become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). Since God has thereby reconciled the world to Himself in Christ, “now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). He summons you to return to Him with all your heart because He is “gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love” (Joel 2:13). Do so in faith and confidence before Him, and pray to Him as your Father. Give to the needy from a heart of love, and fast for the sake of repentance (Matt. 6:3–4, 6, 17–18).
Mr. Craig Parton, author of The Defense Never Rests, discusses Apologetics/Defending the Faith in a recent lecture (mp3, 1h17m58s, 53.5 MB, 2009-Oct-30)
Dr. Rod Rosenbladt, Professor of Theology at Concordia University, Irvine in Irvine, CA, and well-known as the co-host of the nationally syndicated radio program "The White Horse Inn", in Introduction to Apologetics, covers subjects like what questions non-Christians ask and a Lutheran defense of the Gospel. (mp3, 1h03m36s, 43.7 MB, 2009-Oct 30)
Continuing our conversation with Pr. Steven Parks, University Hills Lutheran Church in Denver, Colorado, about the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and the Solas of the Reformation. This edition talks about Sola Fide and the Roman Catholic understanding of Justification. (mp3, 53m35s, 18.3 MB, 2009-Nov-23)
There is a handful of Protestant pastors who have left their church bodies and have joined the Roman Catholic church. Some of them have taken it upon themselves to convince other non-Catholics to also "come home to Rome." The first step in the process is to get the person to question "Sola Scriptura" or "Scripture Alone." But do these Catholic apologists have the proper understanding of Sola Scriptura? Pr. Steven Parks, pastor of University Hills Lutheran Church, Denver, Colorado, joins Pastor Wolfmueller in this discussion about Sola Scriptura. (mp3, 1h10m52s, 24.3 MB, 2009-Nov-13)
Dr. Lawrence Rast, Professor of Historical Theology and Academic Dean, Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, Indiana, reviews Joel Osteen's new book, "It's Your Time" with Pr. Todd Wilken (mp3, 54:54, 22.1 MB, 2009-Nov-16)
Excerpt from Dr Rast:
"Here we have a gospel that moves into a different arena. The Gospel in the Bible is about the forgiveness of sins because of the work of Jesus Christ. That is largely absent in this book and that is profoundly disturbing to me. Instead, what we hear is kind of a power of positive thinking rhetoric that says, 'By virtue of your own state of mind, you can create your own reality.' The criticism, in other words, is not having a positive view of the world. It's rather, how do you respond to the world when the world does what the world is wont to do, namely, when it is destructive, when it causes heartache, when it causes absolute despair, in the life of a human person because of events they couldn't control no matter what they may have said. That is where you need the word of the Gospel; the real Gospel."
Will the host of the radio program Issues Etc defeat the Iron Preacher? Pr. Todd Wilken challenges Pastor Wolfmueller in a match of Iron Preacher, judged by Dr. Carl Fickenscher of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Then Pastor Wilken will spend the rest of the time talking about the proper distinction between Law and Gospel. (mp3, 51m18s, 18 MB, 2008-Dec-30)
Pr. Steven Parks, University Hills Lutheran Church, Denver, Colo., discusses The Reformation and Its Theology with Pr. Todd Wilken
Word (Scripture) Alone (mp3, 40:27, 16 MB, 2009-Oct-19)
Faith Alone (mp3, 40:29, 16 MB, 2009-Oct-20)
Grace Alone (mp3, 54:16, 22 MB, 2009-Oct-21)
Christ Alone (mp3, 40:31, 16 MB, 2009-Oct-22)
Dr. Lawrence White, Our Savior Lutheran Church, Houston, Texas, discusses The Reformation Today with Pr. Todd Wilken (mp3, 40:18, 16 MB, 2009-Oct-23)
Origin of the Creed and God the Father (mp3, 53:59, 22 MB, 2009-Oct-05)
God the Son and the Incarnation (mp3, 54:00, 22 MB, 2009-Oct-06)
The Work of the Son (mp3, 53:59, 22 MB, 2009-Oct-07)
God the Holy Spirit (mp3, 53:59, 22 MB, 2009-Oct-08)
The Church and the Life of the World to Come (mp3, 54:00, 22 MB, 2009-Oct-09)
Dr. Richard Stuckwisch, pastor of Emmaus Lutheran Church, South Bend, Ind., discusses a core set of hymns that all congregations should sing and know with Pr. Todd Wilken (mp3, 28:30, 11.4 MB, 2009-Sep-28)
Issues, Etc., Classics (before June 30, 2008) originated at KFUO-AM in St. Louis, and were broadcast on other stations around the country. Phone number and address mentioned are no longer valid.
Pr. J. Bart Day discusses proper reverence during the celebration of the Lord's Supper with Pr. Todd Wilken on Issues, Etc., Classics (mp3, 23:16, 6.8 MB, 2007-May-07).
Issues, Etc., Classics (before June 30, 2008) originated at KFUO-AM in St. Louis, and were broadcast on other stations around the country. Phone numbers and address mentioned are no longer valid.
Higher Things Magazine: Mining the Riches: Take, Eat!
by Pr. J. Bart Day
Is there a right or wrong way to receive the Lord's body into your mouth at Communion? Should you be given it from your pastor's hand or take it from your own? Is one way more Lutheran? Pastor Day explains the importance of reverence during Communion, what the Church has said about it through the ages, and the gifts we are given by receiving it.
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