When the Comforter Comes
Good Shepherd Evangelical Lutheran Church
Affiliated with ELDoNA
(Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America)
“Holding Forth the Word of Life”
2305 S. Dixieland Road/P.O. Box 2335
Rogers, AR 72757
Sunday After Ascension — Exaudi
May 16, 2021
Order of Matins
V. O LORD, open Thou my lips. And my mouth shall show forth Thy praise.
V. Make haste, O God, to deliver me. Make haste to help me, O Lord.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost: As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Hallelujah.
V. O come, let us worship the Lord. For He is our Maker.
O COME, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving: and make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God: and a great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is His also. The sea is His, and He made it: and His hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God: and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost: As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
The Hymn: “If God Were Not Upon Our Side” by Martin Luther (1524)
1 If God were not upon our side
When round us foes are raging,
Were not Himself our help and guide
When bitter war they’re waging,
Were He not Israel’s mighty shield,
To whom their utmost craft must yield,
We surely must have perished.
2 But now no human wit or might
His chosen people frighteth,
God sitteth in the highest height,
And He their counsels blighteth;
When craftiest snares and nets they lay,
God goes to work another way,
And makes a path before us.
3 Against our souls they rage and mock,
Exciting great commotion:
As billows meet with angry shock
Out on the stormy ocean,
So they our lives with fury seek;
But God hath pity on the weak,
And Him they have forgotten.
4 They call us heretics, and aye
Their Christian name are flaunting;
They seek to spill our blood, while they
Their fear of God are vaunting.
Ah, God! that precious name of Thine
O’er many a wicked deed must shine,
But Thou wilt once avenge it.
5 They open wide their ravenous jaws,
And threaten to devour us,
But thanks to God, who rules our cause,
They shall not overpower us;
Their snares He yet will bring to naught,
And overthrow what they have taught;
God is too mighty for them.
6 How richly He consoleth those
Whom no one else befriendeth!
The door of grace doth never close;
Sense cannot comprehend it,
How this may be, and deems all lost,
When through this very cross a host
Of champions God is raising.
7 Our foes, O God, are in Thy hand,
Thou knowest their endeavor;
But only give us strength to stand,
And let us waver never,
Though reason strives with faith, and still
It fears to wholly trust Thy will,
And sees not Thy salvation.
8 But heaven and earth, O Lord, are Thine,
For Thou alone hast made them;
Thy light let on Thy people shine,
And in their sorrows aid them;
Kindle our hearts to love and faith
That shall be steadfast e’en to death,
Howe’er the world may murmur!
Epistle: 1 Peter 4:7-11
7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. 8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. 9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging. 10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Gospel: John 15:26 —16:4
26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: 27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. 1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. 2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. 3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.
Sermon: “When the Comforter Comes” — John 15:26 — 16:4
Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
In Revelation 22:17, God’s Word says: “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
The Holy Spirit, through the witness and testimony of Christ’s Bride, the Church, to the truth of God’s Word, calls upon all to repent of their sins and come and partake of Christ and the blessings of forgiveness of sins and life eternal which He won for us when He suffered and died upon the cross and made full atonement for the sins of the entire world.
Similarly, in Isaiah 55:1-3,6-7 it says, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. … Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
And so, in the Gospel of John, Jesus said, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning” (John 15:26-27).
The Holy Spirit testifies of Christ, who He is and what He has done for fallen mankind; and, the apostles of the Lord Jesus, who were with Jesus throughout His ministry and were witnesses of His crucifixion and His resurrection, bear witness to the world concerning Jesus and what He has done for us.
And that commission to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature is still the task of Christ’s Church today. “The Spirit and the bride say, Come” (Rev. 22:17; cf. Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46-48; John 3:14ff.). The Church, through its called ministers still calls upon all people in all places to repent of their sins and sinful ways and to look in faith to Christ Jesus and His atoning sacrifice upon the cross for the forgiveness of all their sins and for everlasting life.
But calling upon all to repent of their sinful ways and come to Christ for pardon and forgiveness will bring persecution. Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:12: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
And Jesus told His apostles in advance (John 16:1-4): “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.”
Therefore, we should not be surprised when the world and even those in the outward visible church in this world hate us, speak evil of us, excommunicate us or kill us for speaking the truth revealed to us by God’s Spirit in the Word. As Jesus explained in John 3:18-20, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”
Dear brethren, we are lights in this dark and dying world when we trust in Christ and follow Him, and the people of this world, including many who count themselves Christians, would rather not have the light of God’s Word shine upon them, upon their doctrine or upon their lifestyles and reveal their wayward ways and sinfulness. Therefore, we can expect the world to try and snuff out the light and silence our witness to the truth. Why? Because they don’t know the Father (or the Son) or trust in Him.
But Jesus did not send His disciples out into the world alone and in their own strength; He told them to wait in Jerusalem until they were “endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). Jesus told His disciples: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). And consider the strength and boldness given to Jesus’ disciples on the day of Pentecost and afterward, as we read of their witness to Christ in the Book of Acts.
Nor does Jesus send us out into the world alone or in our own strength and power. He not only commissioned His church to disciple the nations (cf. Matt. 28:16ff.); he also promised, “lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:20).
And, in our Baptisms, He gives us His Holy Spirit, who creates faith in our hearts, washes away our sins in Christ’s shed blood, and regenerates us that we might love God and seek to live for Him in accord with God’s Word (cf. John 3:3-6).
St. Paul wrote to Titus, chapter 3, verses 3ff.: “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Therefore, in the strength of the Holy Spirit, and using the witness of the Spirit and of the apostles and prophets recorded in God’s Word, we hold fast in faith to Christ Jesus as our Savior and we bear witness to the world of Jesus, who He is and what He has done for our salvation.
We know the world will hate us and persecute us. We need not be surprised. Even those within the outward pale of the visible church will persecute us and may excommunicate us because they don’t know the Father whom they claim to worship and serve because they don’t know and trust in the Christ of the Bible who died for them and rose again.
We hold fast to Christ our Savior, and in the power and strength of the Holy Spirit, we bear witness to Christ and the truth of His Word in this dark and dying world.
Grant unto us Thy Holy Spirit, O Lord, that we may hear and believe Thy Word, trust in Thee for pardon and bear witness to the truth to all around us. Amen.
The Canticle — Te Deum Laudamus
We praise Thee, O God, we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord. All the earth doth worship Thee, the Father everlasting. To Thee all Angels cry aloud, the heavens, and all the powers therein. To Thee Cherubim and Seraphim continually do cry, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth; Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of Thy Glory. The glorious company of the Apostles praise Thee. The goodly fellowship of the Prophets praise Thee. The noble army of Martyrs praise Thee. The holy Church throughout all the world doth acknowledge Thee; the Father of an infinite Majesty; Thine adorable, true and only Son; also the Holy Ghost, the Comforter. Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ. Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father. When Thou tookest upon Thee to deliver man, Thou didst humble Thyself to be born of a Virgin. When Thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, Thou didst open the kingdom of heaven to all believers. Thou sittest at the right hand of God in the glory of the Father. We believe that Thou shalt come to be our Judge. We therefore pray Thee, help Thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy precious blood. Make them to be numbered with Thy saints in glory everlasting. O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine heritage. Govern them and lift them up for ever. Day by day we magnify Thee; and we worship Thy Name ever, world without end. Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin. O Lord, have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us. O Lord, let Thy mercy be upon us as our trust is in Thee. O Lord, in Thee have I trusted, let me never be confounded.
Our Father, Who art in heaven; Hallowed by Thy Name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven; Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation; But deliver us from evil; For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
ALMIGHTY, everlasting God, make us to have always a devout will towards Thee, and to serve Thy Majesty with a pure heart; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Collect for Grace
O LORD, our Heavenly Father, Almighty and Everlasting God, who hast safely brought us to the beginning of this day: Defend us in the same with Thy mighty power; and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all our doings, being ordered by Thy governance, may be righteous in Thy sight; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
V. Bless we the Lord. R. Thanks be to God.
THE Grace of our Lord + Jesus Christ, and the Love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. +
[Scripture quoted from the KJV]
Members desiring the Lord’s Supper but not comfortable attending services during the COVID-19 pandemic may call Pastor Moll at 479-233-0081 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will arrange a time to bring the Sacrament to them.
Online Services will continue each week via Facebook Live and with recorded YouTube videos posted on the church website after the service when we are back in the church building. The bulletin is posted and made available online. In addition, devotionals and sermon summaries are also available on the church website: https://goodshepherdrogers.org.
Midweek Bible Study will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday via Google Meet. We will begin a study of the Book of Acts.
A Voter’s Assembly meeting will be held following our morning worship service on Sunday, May 23. In addition to other items, the congregation will consider adopting an amended Constitution and Bylaws.
Church Council will next meet via Google Meet at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 18.