Worship Helps for Pentecost 21

Artwork: The Healing of Ten Lepers
Artist: James Tissot

Worship Theme: Our faithfulness as Christians is a response to the faithfulness God has shown toward us. His love for us when we were unlovable and his salvation for us when we were without hope are divine acts of faithfulness. These acts inspire us to thanks and praise.

Old Testament: 1 Samuel 12:20 "Do not be afraid," Samuel replied. "You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. 21 Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless. 22 For the sake of his great name the LORD will not reject his people, because the LORD was pleased to make you his own. 23 As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. 24 But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.

1. The Israelites knew they had been wrong to demand a king like other nations had. Why did Samuel tell them to serve the LORD with all their heart? (See 12:21.)

2. The LORD did not promise to forgive them because they meant well, etc. Why did he not reject his people? (See 12:22.)

3. Since God is so faithful to whom he is and what he has promised, are we safe to disobey him? (See 12:24‒25.)

Epistle: 2 Corinthians 1:8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

4. Why did Paul have such deadly perils in Asia? (See 1:9.)

5. What attitude did Paul have about future perils therefore? (See 1:10.)

6. What result did Paul foresee, in the end? (See 1:11.)

Gospel: Luke 17:11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" 14 When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him-- and he was a Samaritan. 17 Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" 19 Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well."

7. One leper came back to say “thanks.” What can the other nine healed lepers teach us about difficult and prosperous times in life?

8. The Samaritan’s faith had made him well. How?

1. Samuel told them to serve the LORD with all their heart because the only other option was to serve idols, and those were useless. They could not rescue. Only the LORD can.

2. The LORD would not reject Israel then, and the LORD will not reject us now, because of his own reputation (“name”). He is the most consistent, loyal, unchanging One. He sticks with what he starts. He stands by his promises. What grace!

3. No, we are not safe to disobey the LORD. We must revere him with all our heart and keep in mind what great things he has done for us. If we keep doing evil, he will destroy us.

4. Paul said it had happened so that he, and we, might not rely on ourselves, but on God, who raises the dead.

5. Paul felt that if God had delivered him before, God would do it again. We look back on past trials, then look forward with the same confidence.

6. Paul foresaw the Corinthian Christians joining him in giving thanks to God. Let us do the same whenever God comes through for us and for fellow believers. (When was the last time you thanked God for bringing your pastor, or former pastor, through something difficult?)

7. One thing the other nine lepers can teach us is that the Lord may use trouble in our lives to turn us to him, but we can harden our hearts to his goodness. We need to be wary of taking his blessings for granted in times of comfort and prosperity.

8. Like the hand of a small child gripping the mighty hand of a world champion power-lifter, the Samaritan’s faith hung onto the most powerful person possible, the Son of God. When Jesus spoke about going to the priest, the Samaritan trusted that Jesus had the ability to heal him, and his trust was rewarded.

Putting your faith into action
Imagine what it must have been like to be the Samaritan leper. He was mixed in with this group of nine Jewish lepers as Jesus approached. Jesus told them to go to the priests. The Samaritan leper obeyed Jesus’ command even though he was forbidden to see the Jewish priests. Full of faith in what Jesus said, he must have thought, “Surely Jesus will provide a way.” Then imagine the faith it took, after he was healed, not to complete the journey but to take a chance by turning back. What if, in turning back, his disease would return? Why did the Samaritan leper do it? For the praise Jesus would give? Certainly not. It was just the right thing to do because of what had happened. Our stewardship is the same. It is the right thing to do because of how much God gives us in Jesus.

A reading from the Book of Concord for Pentecost 21
Give us this day our daily bread.

Here we consider the poor breadbasket, the necessities of our body and of the temporal life.  For when you mention and pray for daily bread, you pray for everything that is necessary in order to have and enjoy daily bread.

It would be very proper to place on the coat of arms of every pious prince a loaf of bread instead of a lion.  This would remind both princes and their subjects that by their office we have protection and peace.  Without them, we could not eat and keep our daily bread.  Therefore, princes are also worthy of all honor.  We should give to them for their office what we ought and can, as to people through whom we enjoy what we have in peace and quietness.  In addition, we should also pray for them that through them God may bestow on us more blessings and goods.

Let this be a very brief explanation, showing how far this petition extends through all conditions on earth.  One could list all the things that are included, 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 give and preserve for us a godly wife, children, and servants. We ask that He cause our work to prosper and succeed, favor us with faithful neighbors and good friends, and other such things. – Large Catechism, Part III The Lord’s Prayer (paragraphs 71-72, 75-76)

Hymns: 562; 573; 576; 571; 579

Lift high the cross; the love of Christ proclaim
Till all the world adore his sacred name.

1  Come, Christians, follow where our captain trod,
Our king victorious, Christ, the Son of God.

2  Led on their way by this triumphant sign,
The hosts of God in conqu’ring ranks combine.

3  So shall our song of triumph ever be:
Praise to the Crucified for victory.

Text: George W. Kitchin, 1827–1912, abr., altered by Michael R. Newbolt, 1874–1956, alt.
© 1974 Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, IL 60188. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


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