Worship Helps for Pentecost 6
Artwork: The Repentance of Nineveh
Artist: John Martin
Worship Theme: Following seems easy. We just go behind the person in front of us. But following Jesus daily for our whole lives requires endurance. It is a struggle between our old and new selves.
Old Testament: Jonah 3:3-4:4
But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry.
1. When Jonah finally got to the city where God had sent him and preached there, the people on Nineveh believed God. When he saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, what did God do? (See 3:10.)
2. How angry was Jonah, as a result?
Epistle: 2 Corinthians 11:21b-30
3. When Paul compared himself to the “super-apostles” in Corinth, he did not list all his success. What did he list?
4. What other constant pressure did Paul feel? (See 11:28.)
5. About what then, did Paul boast? (See 11:30-32.)
Gospel: Luke 9:51-62
As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
6. As the time approached for Jesus to be taken up to heaven, what did he do? (See verse 51.)
7. Why didn’t one Samaritan village welcome Jesus? (See verse 53.)
8. What is the main point for us, as Jesus talks with three men separately about following him (verses 57–62)?
1. When God saw how the Ninevites repented and turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.
2. Jonah was so angry at God’s patience and mercy—which Jonah knew by heart from God’s description of himself in Exodus 34:6-7—that Jonah got irate. He told God he wanted to die. He refused to answer God when God asked him if he had a right to be so upset. (How similar we can be to Jonah! How opposite Jesus was!)
3. Paul listed as his credentials all the trials he had gone through, including imprisonment, frequent floggings and many dangers. He had often been near death.
4. Paul also felt daily the pressure of his concern for all the Christians in the churches he had helped start and had visited. When the people were weak, he felt weak. When believers fell into sin, it tore Paul up inside.
5. Paul boasted about his weakness, not his strengths. Final case in point: Paul began his ministry by narrowly escaping death in Damascus.
6. As the time approached for Jesus to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. Literally, he “fixed his face for Jerusalem.” He was determined to die for us.
7. The people of the Samaritan village did not welcome Jesus, because he was heading for Jerusalem. Jews and Samaritans in Jesus’ day usually had strong dislike for each other. (Yet Jesus had mercy on these people.)
8. The main point for us, as Jesus talks with three men about following him, is full dedication to Jesus and his kingdom. Halfway? No way.
Putting your faith into action
Corporations today often run what is known as a cost-benefit analysis. Before spending millions of dollars the company wants to know what real benefits will result. If the ultimate benefits to the company don’t outweigh the expenses, the project is killed. Most of us, at least subconsciously, do a cost-benefit analysis of our giving. To give time, energy, and money to church costs us something personal. If all we do is weigh the physical evidence, we will concentrate too much on what we are giving up. However, our relationship to the Lord is spiritual. If we look with spiritual eyes, we will see that the rewards of being part of God’s kingdom far outweigh the earthly cost.
This heresy is that the Mass justifies by the outward act, that when applied it merits the pardon of guilt and punishment even for the unjust if they do not present an obstacle. We object to these deadly errors, which divert people from the glory of Christ’s passion and overthrow the doctrine about the righteousness of faith. In the [Old Testament], the godless believed they merited the forgiveness of sins, not through faith, but through sacrifices. They increased these services and sacrifices, set up the worship of Baal in Israel, and even sacrificed in the groves in Judah. Therefore, the prophets condemn this belief and war against not only the worshipers of Baal, but also other priests who made sacrifices ordained by God with this godless belief [1 Kings 18:1–40]. Carnal people cannot tolerate that the honor of an atoning sacrifice belongs solely to Christ’s sacrifice because they do not understand the righteousness of faith. The godless priests in Judah held a false belief about such sacrifices; Baal worship even continued in Israel. Nevertheless, a Church of God was there that objected to these godless services [1 Kings 19:18]. Baal worship remains in the realm of the pope: the abuse of the Mass. They think they can merit the pardon of guilt and punishment for the unrighteous. All who believe the Gospel should condemn these wicked services. – Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XXIV, The Mass (paragraphs 96-98)