Worship Helps for Pentecost 12

Art: Elijah Fed by an Angel
Artist: Ferdinand Bol

Worship Theme: Have you ever faced a frustrating, seemingly impossible task? For Christians, believing all of Jesus’ promises and loving others as he loves us sometimes seems out of the question. In today’s lessons, though, we see how Jesus gives us the ability to fulfill impossible tasks by giving us the Bread of Life. Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing (John 15:5).  But with God, nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37).

Old Testament: 1 Kings 19:3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day's journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, LORD," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors." 5 Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, "Get up and eat." 6 He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. 7 The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, "Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you." 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.

1. What was Elijah grumbling about?

2. Through the angels, what did the LORD command Elijah to do?

Epistle: Hebrews 5:11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. 6:1 Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so.

3. How does the writer to the Hebrews describe the elementary truths of God’s Word?  More advanced truths?

4. The writer to the Hebrews does not seem to be upset that his first readers were not leading godly, moral lives. What is he concerned about?

5. In a word, what did the writer to the Hebrews want his readers to press on to?

Gospel: John 6:41 At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." 42 They said, "Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, 'I came down from heaven'?" 43 "Stop grumbling among yourselves," Jesus answered. 44 "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: 'They will all be taught by God.' Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

6. With what statement of Jesus were the people have difficulty and why? How did Jesus react?

7. What important truth about our Christian lives does Jesus make clear in verses 44-45?


Answers:
1. Elijah was complaining about his life as a prophet of God. Wicked Queen Jezebel was chasing him (1 Kings 19:2), and now he simply wanted to give up and die.

2. The LORD told Elijah to get up and eat. He sustained Elijah when the prophet thought that his situation was impossible.

3. The writer to the Hebrews describes the elementary truths of God’s Word as ‘milk’ and the more advanced truths as ‘solid food.’

4. The writer to the Hebrews seems concerned that his first readers were not pressing on as believers, perhaps because of their unwillingness to suffer more for the gospel. Like babies, they could not see and work out the deeper implications of the gospel in their lives.

5. The writer to the Hebrews wanted his readers to press on to maturity.

6. The Jews in the synagogue in Capernaum (John 6:59) grumbled at the fact that Jesus called himself the “bread that came down from heaven.” His claim that he was from heaven seemed to be blasphemous. Jesus told them to stop their grumbling.

7. Jesus points out that apart from the working of his heavenly Father, we are unable to believe in him and come to him. (We could even translate, ‘no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me drags him.’) The Father does this work of dragging/drawing us to faith through the Holy Spirit. (See 1 Corinthians 2:9-10.)  The Holy Spirit brings us to faith by supplying us with the Bread of Life, the truth about Jesus our Savior. Apart from the working of the Holy Trinity, we could never trust in Jesus. We would rely on our own goodness.


Putting your faith into action
It has been said, “When God lets us stumble; he does so that we may fall into his arms.” He does this that we might lose faith in our strength and employ his. All that we are, all that we have, and all that we accomplish is for the Lord and because of his strength. “We give thee but thine own, whate’er the gift may be; all that we have is thine alone, a trust O Lord from thee. And we believe thy Word, though dim our faith may be: whate’er for thine we do, O Lord, we do it unto thee” (Christian Worship 485:1,6).

A reading from the Book of Concord for Pentecost 12
It would be very proper to place on the coat of arms of every pious prince a loaf of bread instead of a lion, or impress it on money.  This would remind both princes and their subjects that by their office we have protection and peace.  Without them, we could not eat our daily bread.  Princes are worthy of honor.  We should give to them for their office what we ought, as to people through whom we enjoy peace and quietness.  We should pray for them that through them God may bestow more blessings and goods.

This petition [Give us this day our daily bread] extends through all conditions on earth, like when we ask God to give us food and drink, clothing, house and home, and health of body.  Or when we ask that He cause the grain and fruit of the field to grow and mature well.  Furthermore, we ask that He help us at home with good housekeeping and that He give and preserve for us a godly wife, children, and servants.  We ask that He cause all we are engaged in to prosper and succeed, favor us with faithful neighbors and good friends.  We ask that He give wisdom, strength, and success to emperors, kings, and especially to the rulers of our country and to all counselors, magistrates, and officers.  Then they may govern well and vanquish the Turks and all enemies.  We ask that He give to subjects and the common people obedience, peace, and harmony in their life with one another. – Large Catechism, Part III, Prayer, paragraphs 75-77

            
Text of the opening hymn: “The Most Beautiful Thing” words & music by Stephen Bautista
the warm subtle hues of a delicate bloom
and a song bird that greets the new morning
a cascading stream flowing through fields of green
and the mountains that rise up before them
in oh so many ways
the beauty of life has shined on my face
and yet I know of one thing
that surpasses by far the beauty I've seen
chorus
the most beautiful thing I know
is the cross with a savior who died for us all
and the blood that flowed
from his hands and feet
and the wounds he bore
so that we'd be redeemed
this is the most beautiful thing

I've stood on the edge of a grand precipice
overwhelmed by the span of creation
then sat teary eyed while the sun paints the sky
as it settles beyond the horizon
and I'm still so amazed
at the beauty that life has shined on my face
but one thing stands alone
unrivaled and incomparable

chorus
the most beautiful thing I know
is the cross with a savior who died for us all
and the blood that flowed
from his hands and feet
and the wounds he bore
so that we'd be redeemed
this is the most beautiful thing

and I'm still so amazed
at the beauty that life has shined on my face
but one thing stands alone
unrivaled and incomparable

chorus

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