Worship Helps for Easter 6
Artwork: The Light of the World
Artist: William Holman Hunt
Worship Theme: In today’s lessons we hear about peace between us and God. How can rebels find peace with their holy Lord and Judge? Not at all by their deserving it, but by his declaring it. God’s peace is so profound, and his willingness to receive us as his children so sincere, that Jesus even assures us that he and his Father will come to us and make their home within us.
Old Testament: 2 Kings 6:15-17 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked. 16 "Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." 17 And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
1. Why didn’t Elisha’s servant have peace?
2. The army had come to capture Elisha. What was ironic about the way Elisha’s servant reacted, compared to the way Elisha reacted?
3. According to this story, what is one reason God’s servants can have true peace?
Epistle: Revelation 3:14-22 "To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm-- neither hot nor cold-- I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. 21 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
4. As he wrote to a lukewarm, self-satisfied congregation and to their pastor, how did Jesus describe himself?
5. Does our peace consist in knowing that Jesus is harmless and cuddly?
Gospel: John 14:23-29 Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. 25 "All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. 28 "You heard me say, 'I am going away and I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.
6. How will the triune God make his home with believers?
7. What is the “peace” that Jesus gives?
1. Elisha’s servant had no peace one morning when he awoke to discover the city of Dothan, in which he and Elisha had spent the night, surrounded by an army of horses and chariots sent to capture Elisha.
2. The irony was that Elisha was the one the army wanted; he was not afraid. The army was not after Elisha’s servant, yet he was afraid. (How often we are like that servant, fearfully lacking peace, for the wrong reasons.)
3. God’s servants can have his true peace because no matter what army threatens us and surrounds us, many more holy angels surround us. The fast, fiery angels on our side far outnumber our enemies.
4. Jesus described himself as “the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.” What peace we can have, knowing that he will keep his word and that he rules over all things! How we should fear to disregard his Word!
5. Our peace does not consist in Jesus being harmless and cuddly. Jesus is our best friend. Since he is, he rebukes and disciplines all he loves. He insists we get serious and repent.
6. The triune God makes his home with believers through the Word. The Spirit, sent from God, works through the Word. Believers demonstrate that God is dwelling in them by being faithful to God’s Word and putting that Word into practice in their lives.
7. The peace Jesus gives differs from what the world gives. The world’s peace consists of words and feelings with no eternal value. Jesus gives us the peace he won for all mankind. This peace makes us at one with God. It calms a troubled heart and a guilty conscience. Jesus gives us a peace where we can find true rest, now and forever, for we have no more war with our Maker.
Putting your faith into action
Love and obedience go together, especially when it is God loving us. We have opportunity to show our love for him through faithful use of all his gifts to us. The misuse of our time, talents, and financial resources can lead to trouble and unnecessary stress. The Holy Spirit reminds us of the way to be at peace: We are at peace with God knowing our sins are forgiven through Jesus and we are at peace with ourselves as he guides us in responsible living.
God will eternally save and glorify in life eternal those whom He has elected, called, and justified.
God has prepared salvation not only in general in this counsel, purpose, and ordination. In grace He has considered and chosen to salvation each and every one of the elect who are to be saved through Christ. He has also ordained that in the way just mentioned He will, by His grace, gifts, and efficacy, bring them to salvation. He will aid, promote, strengthen, and preserve them.
All this, according to the Scriptures, is included in the teaching about God’s eternal election to adoption and eternal salvation, and is to be understood by it. It must never be excluded or omitted when we speak about God’s purpose, predestination, election, and ordination to salvation. When our thoughts about this article are formed according to the Scriptures in this way, we can simply adapt ourselves to it by God’s grace.
The following also belongs to the further explanation and teaching about God’s foreknowledge to salvation: Only the elect, whose names are written in the book of life [Revelation 21:27], are saved… We should listen to God’s revealed will. For He has made “known to us the mystery of His will” (Ephesians 1:9) and made it clear through Christ so that it might be preached (2 Timothy 1:9). – Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article XI, God’s Eternal Election (paragraphs 22-26)
Hymns for this Sunday: 515; 599; 265; 315; 406
1 This is the threefold truth on which our faith depends;
And with this joyful cry worship begins and ends:
Christ has died!
Christ is risen!
Christ will come again!
2 Made sacred by long use, new-minted for our time,
Our liturgies sum up the hope we have in him:
3 On this we fix our minds as, kneeling side by side,
We take the bread and wine, take him, the Crucified:
4 By this we are upheld when doubt or grief assails
Our Christian faith and love, and only grace avails:
5 This is the threefold truth which, if we hold it fast,
Changes the world and us and brings us home at last:
Text: Fred Pratt Green, 1903–2000, alt. © 1980 Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, IL 60188. All rights reserved. Used by permission.