Worship Helps for Pentecost 3


Paradise
Artist: Lucas Cranach, the Elder

Worship Theme: Adam and Eve ruined everything for everyone. They destined themselves for death. They took the perfect world that God created for everyone and put it under constant attack from all the demons. But God made a promise almost immediately. God said he would send a descendant of Eve to crush Satan’s power. Jesus, that descendant, demonstrated his authority over Satan even before he rose from the dead.

Old Testament: Genesis 3:8–15  
8They heard the voice of the Lord God, who was walking around in the garden during the cooler part of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9The Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”
10The man said, “I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid myself.” 11God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree from which I commanded you not to eat?” 12The man said, “The woman you gave to be with me—she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13The Lord God said to the woman, “What have you done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” 14The Lord God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all the livestock, and more than every wild animal.  You shall crawl on your belly, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. 15I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will crush your head, and you will crush his heel.

1. Why were Adam and Eve hiding from God?

2. How did Adam and Eve respond to being “found out?”

3. How did God respond to Adam and Eve’s deadly fall?

Epistle: Revelation 20:1–6  
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven. He had the key to the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2He seized the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, bound him for a thousand years, 3threw him into the abyss, locked it, and set a seal on it, so that he could no longer deceive the nations until the thousand years come to an end. After this he must be released for a short time.
4Then I saw thrones, and those who were sitting on them were given the authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast and his image, and they did not receive his mark on their forehead and on their hand. They lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5(The rest of the dead did not live until the thousand years came to an end.) This is the first resurrection.
6Blessed and holy is the one who has a share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them. Instead they will be priests of God and of Christ. And they will reign with him for a thousand years.

4. In Revelation 1:18, Jesus said he holds the keys of death and Hades. Who, then, is the Angel?

5. Will Jesus reign on earth for 1000 years before Judgment Day?


Gospel: Mark 3:20–25  
20They went into a house. A crowd gathered again so that they were not even able to eat a meal. 21When his own people heard this, they went out to take control of him, because they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”
22The experts in the law who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “He drives out demons by the ruler of demons.”
23Jesus called them together and spoke to them in parables. “How can Satan drive out Satan? 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.

6. What accusation did the religious leaders level against Jesus?

7. How did he counter their argument?

8. Is there any sin for which people will not be forgiven?


 Answers:
1. Adam and Eve hid from God for his nearness exposed their guilt. Satan had promised Eve that she would be like God; instead, Adam and Eve became fools, thinking they could hide from One who sees all. And Adam and Eve ran away from their best Friend rather than turning to him and repenting. How tragic when we do the same!

2. Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed the snake. Adam, in effect, blamed God for the situation he was in that supposedly made him fall (“the woman you put here with me…she gave me…”) Look at your own response to being found out for your sin. Real repentance owns up to the full guilt of your reactions, as well as your previous actions.

3. In amazing love, God responded by providing a way of escape. He set up the only plan to undo the damage of sin. He promised that a “seed” of the woman (Jesus) would crush Satan’s head, even when his own heel was struck. That promise came true when Jesus died for us and rose again.

4. This angel seems to be Jesus himself.

5. No, Jesus will not reign visibly on earth for 1000 years before Judgment Day. He is reigning right now in heaven for 1000 years (a picture of the New Testament era). Those beheaded for their faith reign with him. They are winners, though when they died, they seemed losers to the world.

6. The leaders said that Jesus was demon-possessed (possessed by Beelzebub, “Lord of the Flies”). They claimed Jesus must be one of them if he could drive demons out.

7. Jesus said Satan could not survive if he worked against himself. “A house divided against itself will not stand.”

8. Those who turn against the Holy Spirit’s workings in their life through the gospel and fall away from Christ shut him out. They persistently wall themselves off from the only thing that could save them – God’s forgiveness.


Faith in Action
You can run, but you can’t hide. The primal pair tried running. They ate that “stupid piece of fruit,” but that was not just a stupid piece of fruit. It was God’s way of having them show their love for him. We can make many excuses for our foolish misuse of God’s gifts. We can even try to run and hide. With whatever we have, in whatever we do, we strive to serve faithfully and use God’s gifts wisely. We do that knowing that the Head-crusher has stomped out Satan and once again opened paradise.


A reading from the Book of Concord for Pentecost 3
Mankind’s reason or natural intellect still has a dim spark of the knowledge that there is a God.  It also knows about the doctrine of the Law.  Yet it is so blind, and perverted that even when the most learned people on earth read or hear the Gospel of God’s Son and the promise of eternal salvation, they cannot by their own powers understand, or believe it as true.  They want to understand these spiritual things with their reason.  Before they are taught by the Holy Spirit, they regard all this only as foolishness.
The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him.  (1 Corinthians 2:14)
The Gentiles [not born of God’s Spirit], in the futility of their minds, are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. (Eph. 4:17-18)
To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given… This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.  (Matthew 13:11–; see also Luke 8:18)
The Scriptures call natural man, in spiritual things, darkness (Ephesians 5:8: Acts 26:18).  John 1:5 says, “The light shines in the darkness” (the blind world that does not know God), “and the darkness has not overcome it.” – Formula of Concord, Article II, Free Will, paragraphs 9-10

1  The tree of life with ev’ry good In Eden’s holy orchard stood,
And of its fruit so pure and sweet God let the man and woman eat.
Yet in this garden also grew Another tree, of which they knew;
Its lovely limbs with fruit adorned Against whose eating God had warned.

2  The stillness of that sacred grove Was broken as the serpent strove
With tempting voice Eve to beguile And Adam to by sin defile.
Oh, day of sadness when the breath Of fear and darkness, doubt and death,
Its awful poison first displayed Within the world so newly made.

3  What mercy God showed to our race, A plan of rescue by his grace:
In sending One from woman’s seed, The One to fill our greatest need—
For on a tree uplifted high His only Son for sin would die,
Would drink the cup of scorn and dread To crush the ancient serpent’s head!

4  Now from that tree of Jesus’ shame Flows life eternal in his name;
For all who trust and will believe, Salvation’s living fruit receive.
And of this fruit so pure and sweet The Lord invites the world to eat,
To find within this cross of wood The tree of life with ev’ry good.


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