Worship Helps for Lent 1

The temptation of Christ
Scapegoat Studio

Worship Theme: The call to sinners in Lent is a serious call to struggle. While we throw out and leave behind the trivial outward Roman type practices of Lent, let’s not throw out repentance in the process. Let’s not replace the trivial externals with something even worse: assurances that we are so forgiven that we need not bother anymore with repentance.

Old Testament: Genesis 22:1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. 2 Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about." 3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you." 6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, "Father?" "Yes, my son?" Abraham replied. "The fire and wood are here," Isaac said, "but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" 8 Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." And the two of them went on together. 9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. 12 "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son." 13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." 15 The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, "I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me."

1. Abraham believed God would somehow quickly raise Isaac from the dead (see Hebrews 11:19). How did Abraham show this to his servants?

2. Who is the Angel of the Lord?

3. By what two unchangeable things did God say to Abraham, encourages us to trust in Jesus?

Epistle: Romans 8:31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-- how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died-- more than that, who was raised to life-- is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

4. What do we have to endure, for God’s sake? (Verse 36)

5. Do we conquer in Christ now, forever, or both? (Verse 37)

6. Where is God’s love? (Verse 39)

Gospel: Mark 1:12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, 13 and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. 14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"

7. Who sent Jesus into the desert to be tempted?

8. Wild animals in stadiums threatened some of Mark’s first readers. What comfort did Jesus’ temptation give them?

1. See the end of verse 5. Abraham assured his servants that after he and Isaac worshiped atop Mt. Moriah, they would both come back down the mountain.

2. The Angel of the Lord is God the Son himself. The proof is in verses 12 and 16, where the Angel of the Lord speaks of himself as God. 1 Corinthians 10:4 says that the Angel of the Lord was Christ. This does not mean Jesus is a created angel. “Angel” in both Hebrew and Greek means “messenger.” Essentially, even before he became man, the Son of God was the Father’s messenger to us.

3. See Hebrews 6:18. God both made a promise to Abraham, and swore by himself. What could be surer?

4. We daily suffer great grief and pain. Paul says this by quoting from Psalm 44:22.

5. We conquer both now and forever. In all our troubles we are more than conquerors, not just after all our troubles.

6. God's love is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Since Jesus lives forever, God’s love for us will never end.

7. God the Holy Spirit drove Jesus (in overly-literal Greek: "threw him out" into the desert). We can take comfort that the devil never tempts us unless God allows it.

8. When Jesus was tempted in the desert he too was with the wild animals. He overcame all temptations by the same Word that steadied the hearts of martyrs whom Roman officials fed to lions. No matter how God allows us to be tempted, he will always make a way out for us (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Putting your faith into action
If God spoke to you, tested your sacrificial limits, how far would you be able and willing to go? Would you “go the distance” as Abraham did? As Moses did? As God himself did, sacrificing his Son, Jesus Christ for your sins? During this season of Lent we reflect upon such questions. 

A reading from the Book of Concord for Lent 1
“The one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:13).  Also, “For we share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end” (Hebrews 3:14).  We must explain well how righteousness and salvation are preserved in us, lest salvation be lost again.

This false Epicurean delusion is to be rebuked and rejected: some imagine that faith, and the righteousness and salvation that they have received, cannot be lost through sins or wicked deeds, not even through willful and intentional ones.  They imagine that a Christian retains faith, God’s grace, righteousness, and salvation even though he indulges his wicked lusts without fear and shame, resists the Holy Spirit, and purposely engages in sins against conscience.

Against this deadly delusion the following true, unchangeable, divine threats and severe punishments and warnings should be repeated often and impressed upon Christians who are justified through faith:

Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers … will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9–10)

Those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:21; see also Ephesians 5:5)

If you live according to the flesh you will die. (Romans 8:13) – Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article IV, Good Works (paragraphs 30-32)

Text of a Hymn: Nothin’ But the Blood
            What can wash a – way my sin?
Noth-in’ but the blood of Jesus.
            What can make me whole again?
Noth-in’ but the blood of Jesus.
Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow.
No other fount I know, noth-in’ but the blood of Jesus.
            Nothing can for sin atone,
Noth-in’ but the blood of Jesus.
            Not the good that I have done,
Noth-in’ but the blood of Jesus.
Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow.
No other fount I know, noth-in’ but the blood of Jesus.
            This is all my hope and peace:
Noth-in’ but the blood of Jesus.
            This is all my righteousness:
Noth-in’ but the blood of Jesus.
Oh, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow.
No other fount I know, noth-in’ but the blood of Jesus.

              noth-in’ but the blood of Jesus.


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