Worship Helps for Lent 2

Jacob’s dream
Gustave Dore
1865

Worship Theme: Lent has to last a while and come around every year if for no other reason than this – that it is so hard for us to get the points made so strikingly in Lent. This Sunday we see God’s seriousness in Lent in this: Salvation and suffering go hand in hand, for Jesus and for us too!

Old Testament: Genesis 28:10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. 11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it stood the LORD, and he said: "I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." 16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it." 17 He was afraid and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven."

1. Whom did Jacob see on the stairway? Above it?

2. What promises did Jacob receive which include you?

Epistle: Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! 10 For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

3. What amazing gifts do we receive by trusting that Jesus died for our sins? (Verses 1-2)

4. Why do we rejoice in our sufferings? Isn’t that a bizarre way to act? (Verse 3)

5. In Christ, what three things are no longer true about us? (Verses 6, 8, 10)

Gospel: Mark 8:31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. "Get behind me, Satan!" he said. "You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." 34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37 Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."

6. Why did Jesus have to suffer and die? (Verse 31)

7. When Jesus told Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!” he didn’t mean Satan had taken total control of him and made Peter helpless. What did Jesus mean?

8. Why is trying to become rich apart from God such a poor choice?


Answers:
1. God’s holy angels were going up and down on the stairway. The Lord God himself was at the top of the stairway.

2. a) God is the God of all believers, both dead (Abraham) and alive (Isaac and Jacob). Even dead believers are alive with God! b) With all people on earth, we are blessed in Jesus with a holy Savior. c) God will keep all his promises to us, for Jesus’ sake.

3. We stand innocent before God in his court. We have peace toward God. We have entrance into God’s grace. We rejoice because we are sure that we will share glory with God forever.

4. It might surprise the rest of the world, but rejoicing in our sufferings fits with faith in God’s promises. We know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces proven character, and proven character produces confident hope of eternal life.

5. We were powerless; we were sinners; we were God’s enemies. Relying on Jesus’ blood, we’re none of those things anymore in God’s sight. We have God’s strength. We are holy in God’s sight. We are God’s friends.

6. He said so. God the Father told him so. God the Spirit said so in the Old Testament in many places. There was no other way we could have eternal life. “For the joy set before him” Jesus endured the cross and scorned its shame (Hebrews 12:2). His joy was seeing us sinners receive the gift of eternal life.

7. He meant that for Peter to try to keep Jesus from dying for us was Satanic. If Jesus hadn’t died for us, we would all have spent eternity with the devil in hell.

8. Even if we gain the whole world, it won’t do us any good if we lose our souls and end up in eternal fire, body and soul.


Putting your faith into action
Promises . . . How do we respond? God made promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants. In a dream, God spoke to Jacob, “Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring . . . I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” In Genesis 28:18-22 we read about a promise from Jacob—in response to the loving promise of  his Lord—that he will give back one tenth of what the Lord has given to him. God gives us all that we have and everything that we are and can be.  Your time, talent, and treasure all come from God! Are you willing and able to give back proportionately to what God has given to you? Try it! You'll like it! Try it for a week, a month, a year, a lifetime!


A reading from the Book of Concord for Lent 2
“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) – Epitome, Article V, Law and Gospel (paragraphs 30-32)

           
Text of the Opening Hymn: What Wondrous Love Is This
What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this That caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul!

When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down Beneath God's righteous frown,
Christ laid aside his crown For my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside his crown for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb, Who is the great I Am,
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing,
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I'm free, I'll sing on, I'll sing on;
And when from death I'm free, I'll sing on.
And when from death I'm free, I'll sing his love for me,
And through eternity I'll sing on, I'll sing on,

And through eternity I'll sing on.

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