The Twenty-third Sunday after Trinity    November 12, 2023

The Twenty-fifth Sunday of the Pentecost Season


Heaven Is My Home

            “Is there a heaven?” “Where is heaven?”   “What’s heaven like?”   And, “Who goes to heaven?”   Those are just some of the questions that people have as death takes their loved ones away, as well as when they ponder what lies beyond the grave for themselves and the rest of us.   The views vary.   

            Some people are convinced that the only life is the “here and now,” and that there’s nothing whatsoever beyond this life.  Others believe that a person’s spirit returns to earth in another form (or incarnation) – which form depends upon whether you were good or bad in that previous life.    Some religions (like Islam and Mormonism, among others) maintain that faithful obedience to their various principles/rules will earn the devout a preferred place in the next life – in the case of Mormonism, a “planet” to rule over as a god in the next life.  Then there’s Buddhism’s view (similar to that of other eastern religions):  that there really is no “heaven” per se, but that through death the deceased’s spirit (if he/she lived a devout, enlightened life on earth) escapes the prison of the physical and becomes part of the greater cosmic consciousness (….whatever that means!). 

            Unfortunately, there are also misguided, legalistic Christians who teach that eternal life in heaven requires more than faith in Jesus;   it has to be earned, they maintain, by a person’s goodness on earth, or denied based on his/her badness – though they’re often vague about what constitutes “good” enough, and what is sufficiently “bad.”    There are still other people who believe that everyone (or almost everyone) will go to heaven, because God is going to let (almost) everybody in.  

            Yes, there are plenty of perspectives on what heaven is, and

what heaven isn’t………but they’re not all correct;   they can’t possibly be.   In fact, none of the aforementioned are right – which includes those views “lathered” in Christian terminology and proclaimed from some “Christian” pulpits and podiums.

            However, you and I can be sure not only that there is a heaven, we can also be certain of what heaven provides and why we will be there……..provided we simply believe what God teaches us in His Word about heaven, and about the only way to heaven:   namely, through faith in Christ Jesus, God the Son and our Savior from sin. 

            Whenever the believing Christian, who accepts without questioning what the Bible has to say, pauses to think about heaven, those thoughts are always going to be wonderful and comforting.   We Christians love to hear about it.  We frequently talk about it.   By God’s grace, through faith in Christ Jesus, heaven is the home which we know that we will occupy for all eternity!   “I can’t wait until I get to heaven!” is the sincere and confident cry of every Christian’s heart and soul.   And when we gather for Christian funerals – even with our personal losses, keen though they might be at the moment – we gather with joy in our hearts and souls, grateful that God has called another brother or sister in Christ “home” to heaven.

            Of course, since heaven is the dwelling place of the LORD, whatever knowledge we have of heaven can only come to us from the Bible – which is God’s exclusive revelation of spiritual and heavenly things to mankind.   Without this divine revelation we wouldn’t even know that there is a heaven!    What’s more, if our LORD had not spoken to us in His Word about His abiding love for us all in Christ Jesus, not one of us here could ever say with any confidence, “When my body dies, I know that the real me will still be alive, because I will have passed on from this mortal life to eternal life in heaven.”  But because God has spoken the absolute truth to us in His Word, and because He has sent His Son to be our Savior, we know that heaven is a guaranteed destination for all of us who believe in this one, true, Triune God.

            And so this morning we’ll turn – as we always do in our worship services – to what God’s own written revelation has to say to each one of us concerning heaven.   May these precious truths provide each of us with comfort as we contend with death, and with confidence as we look forward to our eternal, heavenly future….one which God has promised and will certainly provide for all who are part of His Church on earth.

Today’s Scripture Lessons

            In today’s Old Testament Lesson, using language that is clearly figurative, the inspired prophet Isaiah gives us a description of heaven as a place of peace, contentment, and joy — a concept which is entirely foreign, yet very encouraging, to us living in this sin-corrupted world. 

            In our Epistle Lesson John gives us another inspired vision of what heaven will be like, this time describing it as a place where the LORD is endlessly praised and worshiped by the saints (believers) and angels.  Thus, as we praise Him here today and through our lives, so we will praise God eternally in heaven.

            Today’s Gospel Lesson is Jesus’ familiar story of the Rich Man and Poor Lazarus.   Of particular interest to us this morning is the comfort that Lazarus, having lived and died as a believer in the LORD, received in heaven.   His earthly woes forever past, Lazarus would know only the peace, perfection and pleasure of everlasting life in heaven.   When life’s labors end for us, we too – dying in faith in Christ – will live forever in the Paradise that heaven is.

            Today’s Children’s Lesson will find us talking about what an “inheritance” is, as well as how and why someone receives an inheritance.    Then, of course, we’ll discuss the most important “inheritance” anyone can have:   heaven.  

In our Sermon for today, we’ll consider the words God gave

Paul in which he encourages the congregation in Corinth to look past the persecutions and problems they currently face, as well as the normal deterioration of their bodies – and ahead to the eternal life that’s theirs in heaven, for Jesus’ sake.   As our theme we’ll use “There’s No Place Like Home!”


Pre-Service PrayerO Lord God, Almighty Creator, from Whom every good and perfect gift comes, You have bountifully blessed me across the course of my life.   You have preserved me in Your Word.  You have provided for my bodily needs.   You have protected me from spiritual harm and have kept me in the true faith.  For your abundant goodness to me, I humbly praise and thank You.  In the days and years that lie ahead for me, I implore You to bless me with Your continued presence, Your Fatherly protection, and Your guidance in all areas of my life.   I submit myself to Your gracious will, with the confidence that You will use me, as Your humble servant, in whatever ways will serve to further Your glory and Your kingdom. Bless and enrich my faith as I hear Your Word today, and receive my heart-felt praises in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ, Your Son, my Savior.  It is in His name that I pray.   Amen.

A Children’s Nursery is available to assist parents with small children during the worship hour.  We encourage parents to bring children into worship.  This helps children learn why we come here each week — to praise God.  Furthermore, we believe that the power of God the Holy Spirit in the written and spoken Word blesses the hearts and souls of little children, no less than adults.  But for very young children, the nursery is, at times, a necessity.  It is located behind the first door, along the north wall, of our second/rear seating area….and it is available to you at any time during today’s service.

The portions of God’s Word used in this worship flyer have been taken from The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version    Copyright 2019,    The Wartburg Project, Inc.   All rights reserved.   Used with permission Music and lyrics, as needed, are used with permission via #A712831

Silent Prayer upon entering the sanctuary

Pre-service music                                                                                                                                              


We Praise Our God

The Greeting and Introduction to Worship


the Congregation will rise for

The Invocation

Pastor              We begin this service in the name of the Father

Congregation  Who gave us our lives through His almighty power.


P:         And of the Son

C:         Who redeemed our lives with His precious blood.


P:         And in the name of the Holy Spirit

C:         Who gave us eternal life through faith in Christ Jesus.

P:         Amen.

The Opening Psalm                                                                                                            Psalm 37:1-9, 39-40

P:         Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong.

C:         for like the grass they will soon wither,     like green plants they will soon die away.


P:         Trust in the LORD and do good;   dwell in the land and enjoy safe pastures.

C:         Delight yourself in the LORD    and He will give you the desires of your heart.


P:         Commit your way to the LORD;  trust in Him   and He will do it.

C:         He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn;    the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

P:         Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him;

C:         do not fret when men succeed in their ways,  when they carry out their wicked schemes.


P:         Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;   do not fret — it only leads to evil.

C:         For evil men will be cut off,    but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.      


P:         The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD;   He is their stronghold in time of trouble.

C:         The LORD helps and delivers them;   He delivers them from the wicked and saves them,    because they take refuge in Him.

The Opening Hymn                                                                                    “God the Father, Gracious Lord”

2005 by cwh      meter:    7777D

To the tune of “Come You Thankful People, Come”

God the Father, gracious Lord,

May Your name be e’er adored.

All exists by Your command

In the sky or sea or land.

Precious Father, You know all –

When each hair and sparrow fall.

Guide and guard me from all harm

With Your strong, protecting arm.

Jesus Christ, my Lord, God’s Son,

Who, for me, salvation won –

You Who hung on Calvary

Bore my sins and set me free!

You, my ever-faithful Friend,

Who will love me to the end,

By Your grace in heav’n I’ll live.

Heart-felt praise to You I give.

Holy Spirit, Light Divine,

Through the Means of Grace, please shine

In my heart again today,

Drive sin’s darkness far away.

Keep me in Your Word, so true,

Day by day my faith renew.

Use me, Lord, as You know best

Serving here – in heav’n to rest.

Blessed Holy Trinity,

Glorious in Your majesty,

Father, Spirit and the Son –

Savior-God, the Three-in-One –

From sin’s curse You set me free

Heaven’s mine – eternally.

All I am, to You I owe,

Source from Whom all blessings flow.      Amen

After which the Congregation will rise

Hear Us and Forgive Us, Lord

Pastor           The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.

Congregation                And also with you.

Pastor           God invites us to come into His presence and worship Him with humble and penitent hearts.  Therefore, let us now turn to Him, acknowledging our sinfulness and seeking His forgiveness.

Congregation           Holy and most merciful Father,     I confess that I am by nature sinful, and that I have

disobeyed You in my thoughts, words, and actions; Each day I turn away from Your Will.    I have left undone those things which You have asked me to do,    and I have done those things which You tell me not to do.    I do not love You or my neighbor the way I should.     Because of these,    and all of my other sins,    too numerous for me to recall,    I acknowledge that I deserve nothing less than Your punishment      both now and for eternity.  But I am truly sorry for the evil that I have thought, spoken, and done,     and trusting in the perfect life,   and innocent death of my Savior, Jesus Christ, I pray:    Lord, forgive me all my sins,      restore to me the joy of Your salvation,   and strengthen my weak faith through the promises of Your divine Word     that I may obtain Your promised grace.

Pastor            Find comfort for your souls, then, in these words of our Lord:   “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just, and will purify us from all unrighteousness,  because we have One Who speaks to the Father

in our defense — Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.  We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”   And now, upon this, your voluntary confession,  I, because of my office as a called servant of God’s Word,  announce the grace of God to all of you.  And, in the place of, and according to the command of my Lord Jesus Christ,  I forgive you all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.   May the peace of God be with you.  Amen.

Our Response To God’s Forgiveness

ALL sing:                                                                            to the tune of “I Know That My Redeemer Lives”


All praise, eternal Son, to Thee   For Thy forgiveness, full and free,

He, who by grace, this truth believes    The blessings of Christ’s love receives


Praise God the Father, God the Son   And God the Spirit,   Three in One,

As ’twas, is now, and so shall be   World without end,  eternally!     Amen.

after which the Congregation  may be seated ,

We Hear God’s Word

The Old Testament Lesson                                                                                                       Isaiah 65:17-25

17 Watch this! I am about to create new heavens and a new earth.

The former things will not be remembered.

They will not come to mind.

18 Instead, rejoice and celebrate forever, because of what I am creating.

Watch this! I am about to create Jerusalem to be a source of gladness,

and her people will be a source of joy.

19 I also will be glad because of Jerusalem,

and I will rejoice over My people.

The sound of weeping will not be heard in her again,

nor will the sound of crying.

20 There will never again be an infant there who lives for only a few days,

or an elderly man who does not fill out all his days,

for one who dies at a hundred will be considered a young man,

and one who fails to attain the age of one hundred will be regarded

        as cursed.

21 Then they will build houses and live in them.

They will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

22 They will not build a house and have another person live in it.

They will not plant and have another person eat the crop,

for the days of My people will be like the days of a tree,

and My chosen ones will enjoy all the work of their hands.

23 They will not labor only to receive nothing,

and they will not give birth to children doomed to disaster,

for they will be offspring who are blessed by the Lord,

and their descendants will be with them.

24 Then even before they call, I will answer.

While they are still speaking, I will hear.

25 The wolf and the lamb will graze together,

and lions will eat straw like cattle,

but the serpent will eat dust as its food.

They will not harm or destroy anywhere on My holy mountain,

says the Lord.

The New Testament Lesson                                                                                                 Revelation 19:1-9

After these things I heard what seemed to be the loud sound of an immense crowd in heaven, saying:   “Alleluia!   Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, 2     for His judgments are true and just, because He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality,  and He has avenged His servants’ blood that was shed by her hand.”

3 A second time they said, “Alleluia! Her smoke goes up forever and ever.”

4 Then the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures bowed down and worshipped God, Who sits on the throne, saying, “Amen! Alleluia!”

5 And from the throne came a voice that said, “Praise our God, all you His servants and you who fear Him, small and great.”

6 And I heard what seemed to be the roar of a large crowd or the roar of many waters or the sound of loud rumblings of thunder, saying:  “Alleluia!  For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.   7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory, because the wedding of the Lamb has come.   His bride has made herself ready, 8 and she was given bright, clean, fine linen to wear.”     (In fact, the fine linen is the “not guilty” verdicts pronounced on the saints.)

9 The angel said to me, “Write: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb.” He also said to me, “These are the true words of God.”

After which the Choir will come forward for



Today’s Choral Selection                                                                                             “Crossing Over There”

I have been to the mountain and I’ve looked over Jordan,

but the land is beyond my hopeful stare.

But the little I can see is so beautiful to me,

and I long to cross over, over there.

Well, I used to think this life was meant to be sweet –

And the path I would walk was clear and fair.

But now more and more, I am drawn to the shore,

and I long to cross over, over there.

There’s a boat that crosses over, and I know the Captain,

and He has already paid by fare.

When He calls me by name, my place I will claim

and we’ll sail – we will sail – we will sail on that boat over there,

sailing over, over there.

When my time in this land will come to an end,

I will close my eyes in final prayer.

But I won’t be surprised, when I open up my eyes

on a boat crossing over – over there, over there, over there, over there.

The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                     Luke 16:19-31

19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen, living in luxury every day. 20 A beggar named Lazarus had been laid at his gate. Lazarus was covered with sores and 21 longed to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Besides this, the dogs also came and licked his sores. 22 Eventually the beggar died, and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In hell, where he was in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus at his side. 24 He called out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me! Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in misery in this flame.’

25 “But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus received bad things. But now he is comforted here, and you are in misery. 26 Besides all this, a great chasm has been set in place between us and you, so that those who want to cross from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

27 “He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s home, 28 because I have five brothers—to warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

29 “Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets. Let them listen to them.’

30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

31 “Abraham replied to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”



The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.  And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;   Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost;   Born of the Virgin Mary;  Suffered under Pontius Pilate;   Was crucified, dead and buried;   He descended into hell;   The third day He rose again from the dead;   He ascended into heaven And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;   From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.  I believe in the Holy Ghost;   The Holy Christian Church, the Communion of Saints;  The forgiveness of sins;   The resurrection of the body;    And the life everlasting.  Amen.



after which the Congregation will be seated for

The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                         Matthew 25:31-34


31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered in hHs presence, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on His left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

“You Have a Heavenly Inheritance”



The Hymn of the Day                                                                             Hymn 214   “Jerusalem, the Golden”


1 Jerusalem the golden,  With milk and honey blest —

The sight of it refreshes   The weary and oppressed.

I know not, oh, I know not   What joys await us there,

What radiancy of glory,   What bliss beyond compare.

2 They stand, those halls of Zion,   All jubilant with song

And bright with many an angel   And all the martyr throng.

The Prince is ever in them;   The daylight is serene;

The pastures of the blessed   Are ever rich and green.

3 There is the throne of David,   And there, from care released,

The shout of them that triumph,   The song of them that feast;

And they who with their leader   Have conquered in the fight

Forever and forever   Are clad in robes of white.

4 Oh, sweet and blessed country,   The home of God’s elect!

Oh, sweet and blessed country   That eager hearts expect!

Jesus, in mercy bring us   To that dear land of rest;

You are with God the Father   And Spirit ever blest.


The Salutation


Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ.   May the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be pleasing  in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer!   Amen.



The Sermon Text                                                                                                                2 Corinthians 5:1-9

Now we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal home in heaven, which is not made by human hands. 2 In fact, the reason we groan is that we long to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven. 3 If we do indeed put it on, we will certainly not be found naked. 4 To be sure, while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed, but to be clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the One Who prepared us for this very purpose is God, Who gave us the Spirit as the down payment.

6 Therefore we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body, we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 But we are confident and would much prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 And for this reason we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home or away


There’s No Place Like Home


following the sermon the Congregation will stand for

The Post-Sermon Blessing               

May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, Who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word!   Amen.

after which the Congregation may be seated as


We Offer Our Gifts and Prayers to the Lord

Our Offerings of Love to our Lord

Offerings will be received this morning through offering plates passed among those who have gathered here for worship.     However, for those viewing this service online,  we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:     

1) You can mail a check (no cash, please) to our church address:    (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745); or

2) You can donate through our website:

  • Today’s General Prayer


    Included in our prayers is a Prayer of Thanksgiving for

    Vic & Vicki Walker, and for John & Tina Wambold,

    both couples are celebrating their wedding anniversary this Friday


    The Lord’s Prayer


    Our Father, Who art  in heaven,   Hallowed be 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    forever and ever.  Amen.



    We Conclude our Worship


    The Doxology

    Pastor              Now, to Him Who is able to keep you from falling  and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy –

    Congregation  to the only God, our Savior,   be glory, majesty, power and authority,    through Jesus Christ our Lord,   before all ages,  now and forevermore!  Amen.

    The Benediction

    The LORD bless you and keep you.

    The LORD make His face to shine upon You and be gracious unto you,

    The LORD look upon you with favor,  and grant you His peace.   Amen.

    The Closing Hymn                                                                              Hymn 417   “I’m But A Stranger Here”


    1 I’m but a stranger here;   Heav’n is my home.

    Earth is a desert drear;   Heav’n is my home.

    Danger and sorrow stand    Round me on ev’ry hand.

    Heav’n is my fatherland;   Heav’n is my home.

    2 What though the tempest rage,   Heav’n is my home.

    Short is my pilgrimage;   Heav’n is my home.

    And time’s wild, wintry blast   Soon shall be overpast;

    I shall reach home at last;   Heav’n is my home.

    3 There at my Savior’s side –   Heav’n is my home.–

    I shall be glorified;   Heav’n is my home.

    There are the good and blest,   Those I love most and best,

    And there, I, too, shall rest;   Heav’n is my home.

    4 Therefore I murmur not;   Heav’n is my home.

    Whate’er my earthly lot,   Heav’n is my home.

    And I shall surely stand    There at my Lord’s right hand.

    Heav’n is my Fatherland;   Heav’n is my home.


    Silent Prayer, Announcements, 

    Post-Service Music