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Prince of Peace Lutheran Church -- Traverse City, Michigan

No Worship Services for February 24th due to the weather.  Please stay safe.  

 

Greetings brothers and sisters in Christ,
 
If your elder has not contacted you yet it may be because they do not have an updated phone number.  But after consultation with Church President Dan Butler and a look at the Weather announcement that said that roads tomorrow morning would be dangerous to impossible to drive, it was decided to cancel services at Prince of Peace.  That does not mean that you need to miss your weekly meal of God's Word.  Some suggestions for tomorrow.  
 
If you are an adult grab your Meditation and read the daily devotion.
If you are a parent read a Bible story to your child.
If you are the head of a household, teach your family the awesome responsibility that God has given to parents by having a family worship service.  How can you go about this?  If you have a Hymnal at home, you can follow one of the services and use the Bible readings that I will have below.  If you don't have a hymnal, try this simple service.  Your family will be blessed by your fulfilling your responsibility as the head of the house.  
 
Parent:  In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Family:  Amen.
 
Parent:  God loves us dearly.  But we sin against God and deserve his punishment instead of his love.  Let us confess our sins and ask him for forgiveness.
Family:  Holy and merciful Father, I am a sinner.  I fail to love you as you deserve.  I sin against my family.  I am sorry. Lord, have mercy on me. a sinner.
 
Parent:  God, our heavenly Father, has been merciful to us.  He sent his Son Jesus to live and die in our place.  In the name of Jesus, I forgive your sins.  
 
Parent:  Let us pray.    Almighty and merciful God, you never despise what you have made and always forgive those who turn to you. Create in us such new and contrite hearts that we may truly repent of our sins and obtain your full and gracious pardon; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever 

FIRST LESSON                                                                            Genesis 45:3-8a, 15

3Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?”

His brothers could not answer him, because they were terrified by his presence. 4Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me, please.”

They came closer. He said, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. 5Now do not be upset or angry with yourselves for selling me to this place, since God sent me ahead of you to preserve life. 6For two years now the famine has been in the land, and there are still five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7God sent me ahead of you to preserve you as survivors on the earth, and to keep you alive by a great act of deliverance. 8So it was not you who sent me here, but God.

15He kissed all his brothers and wept over them. After that his brothers talked with him.



 




SECOND LESSON Romans 12:14–21  

14Bless those who persecute you; bless, and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who are rejoicing; weep with those who are weeping. 16Have the same respect for one another. Do not be arrogant, but associate with the humble. Do not think too highly of yourselves.

17Do not pay anyone back evil for evil. Focus on those things that everyone considers noble. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, maintain peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath. For it is written, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20But:

If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink.  For by doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.

21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

VERSE OF THE DAY Luke 6:36

Alleluia. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Alleluia.

 

GOSPEL Luke 6:27-38

 27“But I say to you who are listening: Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. 28Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, offer the other too. If someone takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes away your things, do not demand them back.

31“Treat others just as you would want them to treat you. 32If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? To be sure, even the sinners love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even the sinners do the same thing. 34If you lend to those from whom you expect to be repaid, what credit is that to you? Even the sinners lend to sinners in order to be paid back in full. 35Instead, love your enemies, do good and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the unthankful and the evil. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

37“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured into your lap. In fact, the measure with which you measure will be measured back to you.” 
39He also told them a parable: “A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Won’t they both fall into a pit? 40A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher. 41Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to notice the beam in your own eye? 42Or how can you tell your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck in your eye,’ when you do not see the beam in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck in your brother’s eye.



Parent then could read this sermon based on the above gospel lesson.

Jesus said, "With the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you." That sounds pretty fair, doesn't it? We often say the same thing in different ways. "You reap what you sow." "You get what you deserve." "What goes around comes around." What you dish out to others, that's what God will dish back to you.

But such a statement, while it may be fair, is also terrifying. Think about it: God's going to do to you as you've done to others. Unless you're being dishonest with yourself, that doesn't sound comforting but threatening. We know that we've sometimes treated others with disrespect or even hostility by our words and actions. We know how we in relationships prefer taking over giving. We know what it's like when we've been wronged not to want to show mercy but to get revenge. What we've been measuring out, even if only in our hearts, isn't always good.

And the good we have been dishing out doesn't always have pure motives attached to it. People often do good because it makes them feel good about themselves or because they have some sort of self-interest in the matter.

This is the "love" of the hypocrite about which Jesus speaks. It's a love that loves as long as the other person responds in the right way. But as soon as the other doesn't return the love, then it is quick to judge and condemn. "After all I've done for you, this is the thanks I get?" It sees others' specks of sawdust and misses its own 2 x 4's. It easily identifies the neighbor's flaws but is unable to recognize its own. It is a reality that we tend to recognize most easily in others the evil that we ourselves are all too familiar with personally.

In the verses of our Gospel Jesus tells us how the faithful will live. "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you."

Such words crush us for we have no strength to keep them. We have no power of ourselves to be sons of the Most High. Such words crush us for they point out our sin, sin that damns us.  But if such words crush us, then that is good. For our Father is One who crushes us so that He might restore us.  Our Father accuses us so that He might forgive us.  Our Father strikes us dead so that He might raise us up–not that our God is pleased when we are brought low. But our God is like a good surgeon who does not hesitate to cut into us so that He might heal us.

That is why our heavenly Father sends His Son into our flesh. For Jesus comes not merely to show us how we should be, nor to give us a standard to live up to, but in order to bear our sin and redeem us and be our very life. So our Lord takes into Himself our human flesh and blood. He endures our unmercifulness and suffers the judgment we deserve, so that He might give us His mercy and take us out from under judgment. Our Lord Jesus comes, not to demand that we get better, but to give us His betterment, to do what we are unable to do, to live and die and rise again so that He Himself might live and arise daily within us.

This is the mercy of God. Although He doesn't have to be, He is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love. He saved us by his grace and mercy in Christ.  Our Father put to death His Son and raised Him again so that we might be forgiven and restored to Him, so that we might have a new life in Him, and so that the Son of God Himself might live and breathe and do His works within us and through us.   Through faith we are a new creation as we no longer live but Christ lives in us. 

You see.  Apart from Christ God is not our Father. In Christ, however, we truly are children of God. Our heavenly Father's mercy compels us to show mercy in our lives.  With this understanding, the words of Jesus, Do not judge and you will not be judged, are no longer accusing demands but simply a description of our life in Him.

'Do not judge and you will not be judged." This is one of those verses that has been twisted and turned on its head by countless numbers of people - usually to form a defense to justify sin or false doctrine. But remember the Devil can quote Scripture better than anyone, but he never teaches the Word of God correctly. He always puts his demonic "spin" on it to deceive people and move them away from the truth into believing the lie.

If Jesus was prohibiting any and all forms of judging then we could never say anyone was wrong for anything they would do. Parents could never judge the misbehavior of their children and discipline them. Schools would be in chaos because they could not judge the students who were destructive. Courts could never pass judgment on any criminal and put them in jail so they could not harm or steal from honest law abiding citizens. And the Christian Church could never judge any false teaching or immoral lifestyle at all, and would have to permit every religious statement whether it was true or false and allow every act of immorality. The Devil and all evil would have total freedom because they could never be judged.

Obviously, this is not what Jesus, the God of truth and grace, had in mind. God has given us courts so that justice is done. God has given us the church and pastors to show us our sins so that we might repent. God has given us parents and teachers to guide us and to discipline us when we wander. Jesus is not talking about that kind of judging in our text.  Even in our text Jesus implies that a certain type of judging is required.  Jesus said, "First take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

So what judging is acceptable to God and what judging is wrong.  At another time Jesus said (John 7:24) "Stop judging by mere appearance, and make a right judgment."  A "right judgment" is that judgement which is true, honest, and impartial. God always judges right, for He is a just, holy and merciful God. He never makes a wrong judgement nor is dishonest or unfair.

So, what is it that He is talking about here, when He says, 'Do not judge and you will not be judged.  Do not condemn and you will not be condemned"Our judgement of one another is NOT to be the "plank-in-the-eye" type of judging. Our judgment is not to be the judgement of the blind leading the blind, the judgment of ignorance.  This is the judgment God forbids and of which Jesus is speaking. The "unrighteous" judgment is the kind of judging that does not consider the Word of God nor our sinful condition. We are sinners.  We can make wrong judgements and fail to judge right. How can we tell when we are judging according to God's "right judgment?" The only way is to know God's will from His Word. Therefore God wants us to judge, but not on the basis of what we think is right, or what Oprah or Barbara Walters says is right, but based on what He says is right and true in His Word.  

How do we show mercy?  We show mercy when we let God and his word judge and condemn our sin.  We show mercy when we show the same forgiving and giving nature of God.  

Jesus uses a market illustration to make the point. In the market, grain (usually barley) was sold in bulk. An honest merchant would weigh out a generous portion for the buyer. We are to be generous and merciful in our judging of one another and in our forgiving. 

God teaches us a lesson in mercy this morning.  God teaches us how we are to live with each other and deal with each other.  As we live with each other we are never to forget the mercy of our heavenly Father, who tells us that even though we are sinners who deserve to go to hell, all of our sins are forgiven because the Lord Jesus suffered our punishment for us on the cross.  And it is in the light of that truth, that any and all judging and condemning we do will be done.  That will make us forgiving, kind, gentle Christians who also want all our fellowmen to be saved.  Be merciful as your father is merciful.  Amen.
Let us pray:
Dear Father in heaven, we come to you as thank you for your undeserved mercy and grace, help us to live and forgive, to love and have mercy,  be with Kourtney Dane's grandmother and enable her to walk once again.  be with Gary Beyersdort and his wife Bunny--comfort him as he grieves the death of his sister and as death looks to be approaching ever closer for him (he is hospitalized right now) bless him with comfort and hope in the resurrection.  Continue Lord to bless the Jeschkes who are thankful for another year of God's grace to them in their marriage.  And we pray the prayer you taught us to pray.  
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread.  Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.  Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever.  Amen. 



Parent:  The Lord bless you and keep you.  The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you.  The Lord  look on you with favor and give you peace.  
Family:  Amen. 


Announcements


Pastor and family are going to visit family starting Tuesday, February 26 until Tuesday March 5.  Please contact an elder or Pastor Dave Horton if you need pastoral assistance.  Pastor Horton’s number is 507-430-2901.  


Shall we try again?  Sledding Party on March 10th at 2:00pm at Grace MacDonald Park.  All are invited.


Lent starts on March 6th with our Ash Wednesday service at 6:30pm  The theme for the year is:  Three Words of Truth.    Ash Wednesday we focus on these words spoken on the night of Jesus’ betrayal:  “Is it I?”  Join us.  There will be meals before the services.  Sign up sheets are in the fellowship hall.


Sunday Catechism Class--Since there will be no class on Sunday please spend some time this week and next week reading and answering the questions for the next 3 lessons.  This way we can get through three lessons the next time we meet.  Our next classes will be on March 10.  Memory Work:  Please memorize the 3rd Article as well as the 2th article for March 10


Monday Catechism Class--I still hope to meet on Monday.  But there will be no class on Monday March 4.  


In Christ, who loves you,


Pastor



Welcome to Prince of Peace!

1776 High Lake Road

Traverse City, MI 49696 
Phone: 231.941.7812
 

DIVINE WORSHIP

Sundays: 8:30am & 11:00am 
Adult Bible Class: 10:00am