The Fifth Sunday of the Epiphany Season       February 04, 2024

Jesus Has The Authority To Forgive Sins

Because He Is the Promised Savior!


            Many of you have served in the military. If so, you know one thing for certain:   If your commanding officer barked an order, you obeyed.   To do otherwise was to risk punishment.    If he said, “Right face,” you right–faced.   If he said, “Load that truck,” you loaded that truck.   If he said, “Polish those shoes,” you did so – without hesitation.  “Yes Sir!” was your reply.   You obeyed your commander’s every order …..for his word carried authority!

            There is Someone else Whose words are even more powerful and authoritative. When He speaks, everyone and everything obeys His voice…..At least that’s the way it’s supposed to happen.   In the beginning, He spoke and the universe immediately came into existence. When He said, “Let there be light!” light instantly came into being.   When He said to a raging storm, “Peace, be still,” it suddenly became calm and quiet.    When He said to a dead corpse, “Young man, I say to you arise,” the dead man sat up and began to speak.    Indeed, this Man’s words were—and still are and always will be— the most powerful force there is!  

            This Man, of course – as we all know by faith – is more than a mere Man.   He is God in human flesh.    His name is Jesus, and throughout the course of His public ministry, He demonstrated His power and authority as the Almighty God and the Promised Messiah in a variety of ways.  They included:   turning water into wine; feeding in excess of ten thousand people through a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish;   and healing one sick person after another by His miraculous pronouncements and His powerful touch.   During the course of His public ministry many people were led into faith in Him by the work of the Holy Spirit – not so much because of the power that He demonstrated in performing miracles before them, but because through His preaching and teaching He demonstrated that, as the almighty God, He had the authority to meet their greatest need of all:   their need for the forgiveness of all their sins so that, reconciled to God, they might enjoy the believer’s sure hope of eternal salvation in heaven.            

            This morning, as we continue our journey through the Epiphany Season, we’re still examining those portions of God’s Word which reveal Jesus as the Promised Messiah.   In particular this morning, we’re going to focus our attention on that which was the core message of Christ’s preaching and teaching (and, indeed, of all Scripture), the central emphasis of our Christian faith, and the primary purpose of Christ’s coming………namely, the message of the Gospel….that sinners are fully forgiven and our salvation is assured, not by our works, but by God’s grace (undeserved love) through faith alone in the redeeming work of Jesus Christ.

In no way intending to minimize the miracles that Jesus performed over disease, demons and death, what

 we want to stress this morning is that Christ especially used His power and authority while on earth as the almighty God in human flesh to proclaim to His hearers (and then to personally see to it) that all our sins are forgiven.   He further assured them (and us) that our eternal salvation is certain through faith in all that He achieved for us through His substitutionary perfect life and sacrificial death, along with His glorious resurrection.

            And so this morning, we’ll use our time in God’s Word to review and reaffirm our faith in Jesus’ authority as the True God to forgive our sins and to guarantee a place in heaven to all (us included) who believe in Him as Savior and Lord.     

            The Old Testament Lesson for this morning is the familiar account of the prophet Nathan’s visit to David in order to call David to repentance over his “secret” sins of coveting, adultery, murder, and deceit – among others.    David needed to be led to repent, because he was in a bad place, Spiritually-speaking.  He had hidden his sin from many people (though God, obviously, knew).  For whatever reason, miserable though David was Spiritually, he didn’t repent until Nathan challenged him through a special parable.   Seeing himself in the parable as the guilty man that he was, David confessed his sins and was immediately assured by Nathan that God had forgiven him….which was precisely what David had needed to know all along.  However…. there would be a consequence for his sin:   the child conceived through his illicit relationship with Bathsheba would die.  Also, David’s family would, from now on, have to deal with a variety of challenges and difficulties because he had ruined Uriah’s family.   This reminds us that forgiveness from God, or others, doesn’t also guarantee that there will be no earthly consequences for our sin.

            Today’s Epistle Lesson comes from the inspired pen of Paul, the Apostle, as part of his letter to the Church in Ephesus.   Our reading consists of Paul’s introductory remarks, in which He begins to lay out the foundation/motivation for the Ephesians’ (and our) lives of faithful Christian living.   He makes it clear that the LORD  – from all eternity – has chosen us to be His faithful followers, and that – in time – He has effected that choosing (or election) first by sending His Son to earn and secure for us the full forgiveness of all our sins, and then by bringing us to saving faith in Him as the true God through the converting work of God the Holy Spirit..    

            This morning’s Gospel Lesson is the account of Jesus miraculously healing a paralyzed man as a proof of His deity and of his authority to forgive sins.  This lame man had been let down by ropes, through the roof of a home in Capernaum that Jesus was visiting.   Before He heals the man, Jesus assures him that his sins are forgiven.  (After all, forgiveness is infinitely more important than earthly considerations like dealing with illnesses.)   Anyway, Jesus telling the man he was forgiven offended His ever-watching and always-critical adversaries.  They were already hovering around Him here at the start of His ministry, in order to try to find some fault with Jesus….which they never, really could do!)   So, Jesus rebukes their lack of faith in Him by “proving” through a miracle of physical healing that He also had the right to provide spiritual healing through the declaration that the man’s sins were forgiven.   He does so by asking them what would be the easier thing to do….to forgive sins, or to heal a paralyzed man.   His opponents surely would have answered, “to SAY his sins were forgiven, since miraculously healing a lame man would require you, Jesus, to possess the power of God.”   But before they can even give their answer, Jesus demonstrates that He has the authority to forgive sins, because He IS God….He does so by healing the lame man of his paralysis and telling him to pick up his mat and go home.

            In our Children’s Lesson we’ll look at why it’s so important for us to know that God forgives our sins.

            Finally, through today’s Sermon, based on the story of Jesus’ visit to the home of Simon the Pharisee, we will see Jesus extend the assurance of forgiveness to a woman who had lived a questionable life but who, now repentant, had turned in faith to Him for His much-needed mercy.   Sadly, Simon (a representative of many today) was too self-righteous in his thinking and attitude to recognize that he was a sinner who also dearly needed (and could have received) Christ’s mercy.




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



Pre-Service Prayer

Lord Jesus, though but two or three    In Your dear name assembled be,

You will among them show Your face  And bless them with Your saving grace.

In Your dear name again we meet     And worship humbly at Your feet;

You will Your gracious Word fulfill     And cheer us with Your presence still.

Jesus, from Whom all blessings flow,     Your peace and comfort now bestow;

Abide with us till life is o’er      And keep us Yours forevermore.     Amen.



Silent Prayer upon entering the sanctuary                                                                                                        

Pre-service music


We Praise Our God


Greeting and Introduction to Worship


After which, the Congregation will rise


Pastor We begin this service in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.   Amen.



Our Psalm for Today                                                                                                                          Psalm 32


P:  How blessed is the person whose rebellion is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

C: How blessed is the person whose guilt the LORD does not charge against him, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

P:  When I kept silent, my bones wasted away as I groaned all day long.

C: For day and night Your hand was heavy on me;     +   my moisture

     was dried up by the droughts of summer.


P:  I acknowledged my sin to You and I did not cover up my guilt.

C: I said, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD”– and You forgave

     the guilt of my sin.



P:  Because of this let everyone who receives favor pray to You at a time when You may be found.   Surely when the mighty waters over flow, they will not reach him.

C: You are my hiding place;    +   You will protect me from distress.   + You will surround me with shouts of deliverance.


P:  I will make you wise.   I will instruct you in the way that you should go.   I will guide you, keeping My eye on you.

C: Do not be like a horse or a mule, which has no understanding.   +

Its mouth must be controlled by a bit and bridle, +   or else it will not come to you.  


P:  Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but mercy will surround those who trust in the LORD.

C: Rejoice in the LORD and celebrate, all you righteous;     +    and shout joyfully, all you upright in heart!

The Opening Hymn                                                                                        God the Father, Gracious Lord,

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

   meter: 7777D;    cwh 2005)

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.



We Make Confession Of Our Sins To God


Pastor      Brothers and sisters in Christ:    the Word of God urges us to confess to our Lord all our sins of thought, word, and action.   This is something that ought to be a daily part of spiritual lives, and

 should come forth from every heart that is humble and penitent.    But we should especially do this when we meet together in His house to thank God for all that He has done for us, to praise Him, and to hear His life-giving Word.  Therefore, come with me now, to our Heavenly Father’s throne of grace, and let us confess our sins together.

Almighty God, Heavenly Father, we have violated Your holy will through our sinful actions, in our failure to do what You righteously expect from us, with our wicked words, and by our evil thoughts and desires.

C: We come, O Lord, to Your altar to confess our sins.   +   We beg for Your mercy, + though we do not deserve it.   +   Hear our prayer.    +  Grant us the forgiveness of all our sins, for Jesus’ sake.


Just as I am without one plea   But that Thy blood was shed for me,

And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee,   O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

P:  Our sins are many….inexcusable, yet inevitable given our weakness and dullness.    We have sworn falsely and used Your name to curse, rather than to bless others and to praise You.   We have not worshiped You as faithfully as we ought.  We have not listened to Your Word as we should.  Too often we have conformed our lives – not to Your perfect will – but to the norms and dictates of this sinful world.    At times we have lived as though we were “god” instead of humbly submitting everything that we are and have to You, O Lord.

Just as I am, though tossed about   With many a conflict, many a doubt,

Fightings and fears within, without,   O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

P:  We have acted spitefully toward friends and strangers.    We have fought with our family.  We have been impatient with each other, and even with You, O Lord.  We have sought superiority over others at work, in the home, at school, and in the church.   We have preferred materialism more than we have pursued our spiritual growth.   We have committed the very evils that we have self-righteously – and You have properly – condemned.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;   Sight, riches, healing of the mind,

Yea, all I need, in Thee to find,   O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

P:  We have passed by and ignored those who have been in genuine need.   We have thought too highly of ourselves and too little of others.      Though converted by the Gospel’s power, we have been reluctant and indifferent to bring the Good News to others.    We have not readily forgiven those who have sinned against us.    We have not loved You and others as You have commanded us to do.

C: Forgive us all our sins,   +  those known and unknown to us,   + according to the mercy of Your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ.     +   Pour Your grace upon us, +    that we might know the peace which surpasses all understanding, + and that we might share eternal life with Christ, our Lord.


Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,   Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;

Because Thy promise I believe,   O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Congregation Almighty and most merciful God,   +   We acknowledge and confess   +    that we have sinned

                             against You in thought, word, and deed;    +    That we have not loved You with all our heart and soul,   +   and with all our mind and strength;   +    and that we have not loved our neighbor as ourselves.   +   We ask You, O God, + to be forgiving of what we have been,   + to help us to amend what we are,   +   and – in Your mercy – to direct what we shall be,   +   so that the love of what is righteous in Your sight   +    might always be in our hearts,   +     that we may always walk blamelessly in Your commandments,   +   and faithfully follow in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ to the very end.   +   Amen.  

Pastor            Upon this, your voluntary confession, and in accordance with the responsibilities entrusted to me as a called and ordained servant of the Living Word, I assure you that God, our heavenly Father, has

 forgiven you all your sins.   By the perfect life and innocent death of our Lord Jesus Christ, He has removed your guilt and condemnation forever.   You are His own dear child –  an heir of everlasting life through faith in Christ.   May God now give you the strength of faith to live according to His will.   Go in His grace and peace.   Amen.


after which the Congregation will be seated as

We Hear God’s Word

The First Lesson                                                                                                                    II Samuel 12:1-23

So the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came and told him this:  There were two men in a city. One was rich and one poor. 2 The rich man had a large number of flocks and herds. 3 The poor man did not own anything except one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. He raised it so that it grew up together with him and his children. It ate from his food and drank from his cup. It slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him. 4 When a traveler came to the rich man, the rich man was unwilling to take an animal from his flock or from his herd to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. So he took the lamb from the poor man and prepared it for the man who had come to him.

5 David’s anger flared up against that man. He said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this is as good as dead. 6 In place of that lamb, he will restore four lambs, because he did this and had no pity.”

7 Nathan told David, “You are the man. This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says.”

I anointed you king over Israel. I rescued you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave the house of your master to you, and I gave the wives of your master into your embrace. I gave you the house of Israel and the house of Judah. If this was too little, I would have added even more. 9 Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in his eyes? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword. You have taken his wife as your own wife. You have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 So now the sword will not depart from your house forever, because you have despised Me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.

11 This is what the Lord says. Look! I am raising up disaster against you from your own house. Right in front of your eyes I will take your wives and give them to your neighbor, and he will lie down with your wives in the sight of the sun. 12 Because you acted in secret, I will do this in front of all Israel in broad daylight.

13 David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”

Nathan said to David, “The Lord Himself has put away your sin. You will not die. 14 Nevertheless, because by this deed you have treated the Lord with utter contempt, the child that is born to you shall surely die.” 15 Then Nathan went to his house.

The Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne for David, and the child became sick. 16 David sought the Lord’s mercy for the child. David fasted and spent the night lying on the ground. 17 The elders of his household stood beside him to pick him up off the ground, but he was not willing, and he would not eat food with them.

18 On the seventh day the child died. The servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, because they said, “Look! When the child was living, we spoke to David, but he did not listen to what we said. How will we speak to him now when the child is dead? He might do something harmful.”

19 When David saw that his servants were whispering together, he understood that the child was dead. So David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They said, “Yes, he is dead.”

20 Then David got up from the ground, washed, put on lotion, and changed his clothes. He went to the House of the Lord and worshipped. He then went back to his house and asked for food. So they prepared a meal for him, and he ate.

21 His servants said to him, “What are you doing? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept. But when the child died, you got up and ate food.”

22 He said, “While the child was alive, I fasted and wept because I said, ‘Who knows? Will the Lord be gracious to me and let my child live?’ 23 Now he has died. Why should I fast? Am I able to return him to life again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”

The Epistle Lesson                                                                                                                 Ephesians 1:3-14

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

4 He did this when He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, so that we would be holy and blameless in His sight. In love 5 He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ. He did this in accordance with the good purpose of His will, 6 and for the praise of His glorious grace, which He has graciously given us in the One He loves.

7 In Him we also have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in keeping with the riches of his grace, 8 which He lavished on us in all wisdom and insight. 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will in keeping with His good purpose, which He planned in Christ. 10 This was to be carried out when the time had fully come, in order to bring all things together in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth.

11 In Him we have also obtained an inheritance, because we were predestined according to the plan of Him Who works out everything in keeping with the purpose of His will. 12 He did this so that His glory would be praised as a result of us, who were the first to hope in Christ.

13 In Him, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and in Him, when you also believed, you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. 14 He is the down payment of our inheritance until the redemption of God’s own possession, so that His glory would be praised.

After which the Congregation will please rise, out of respect for the words of Christ

The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                        Mark 2:1-12

When Jesus again entered Capernaum some days later, people heard that He was home. 2 So many people were gathered together that there was no more room, not even by the door, and He was speaking the word to them. 3 Some people came to Him bringing a paralyzed man, carried by four men. 4 Since they could not bring the man to Jesus because of the crowd, they dug through the roof above where He was. When they had made an opening, they lowered the stretcher on which the paralyzed man was lying. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

6 But there were some experts in the law sitting there and thinking in their hearts, 7 “Why does this fellow speak like this? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins except God alone?”

8 Jesus immediately knew in His spirit that they were thinking this way within themselves. He asked them, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier: to tell the paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your stretcher, and walk’? 10 But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralyzed man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your stretcher, and go home.”

12 At once the man got up, picked up the stretcher, and went out in front of everyone. So they were all amazed and glorified God. They said, “We have never seen anything like this!”

The Apostles’ Creed                                                                   to the melody of “What A Friend We Have in Jesus”

I believe in God the Father,   Maker of the heav’ns and earth.

And in Jesus Christ, our Savior,   God’s own Son, of human birth.

Virgin born, the Lord incarnate,       Whom the Spirit did conceive,

Suffered under Pontius Pilate;        Our salvation to achieve.


Crucified, was dead and buried,    Down to hell in victory;

From the dead He rose the third day;      Up to heav’n triumphantly.

There at God’s right hand He’s ruling,        By His will the world is led.

He will come to judge the nations,       Both the living and the dead.


I believe in God the Spirit,    In His Church, His chosen band.

They are joined in close communion,       Holy in His sight they stand.

I believe in sins forgiven;    That the dead will rise again;  

I believe in life eternal.    Amen!   Amen!   A – – men!


After which the Congregation may be seated for


The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                                  Psalm 32:1-2


How blessed is the person whose rebellion is forgiven, whose sin is covered.   How blessed is the person whose guilt the LORD does not charge against him, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

Who Needs To Be Forgiven?    I Do…And So Do You….Every Day!


The Sermon Hymn                                                                      Hymn 385    “Chief of Sinners Though I Be”


1 Chief of sinners though I be,   Jesus shed his blood for me,

Died that I might live on high,   Lives that I might never die.

As the branch is to the vine,   I am his and he is mine!


2 Oh, the height of Jesus’ love,   Higher than the heav’ns above,

Deeper than the depths of sea,   Lasting as eternity,

Love that found me — wondrous thought!–   Found me when I sought him not.


3 Only Jesus can impart   Comfort to a wounded heart:

Peace that flows from sin forgiv’n,   Joy that lifts the soul to heav’n,

Faith and hope to walk with God   In the way that Enoch trod.


4 Chief of sinners though I be,   Christ is all in all to me.

All my wants to him are known;   All my sorrows are his own.

Safe with him in earthly strife,   I await the heav’nly life.


5 Strengthen me, O gracious Lord,   By your Spirit and your word.

When my wayward heart would stray,   Keep me in the narrow way;

Grace in time of need supply   While I live and when I die.

The Greeting


Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God, and of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Sermon Text                                                                                                                                  Luke 7:36-50

36 A certain one of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him. Jesus entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 Just then a sinful woman from that town learned that He was reclining in the Pharisee’s house. She brought an alabaster jar of perfume, 38 stood behind Him near His feet weeping, and began to wet His feet with her tears. Then she began to wipe them with her hair while also kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. 39 When the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this Man were a Prophet, He would realize who is touching Him and what kind of woman she is, because she is a sinner.”

40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

He said, “Teacher, say it.”

41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. The one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he forgave them both. So, which of them will love him more?”

43 Simon answered, “I suppose the one who had the larger debt forgiven.”

Then He told him, “You have judged correctly.” 44 Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house, but you did not give Me water for My feet. Yet she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give Me a kiss, but she, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing My feet. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but she has anointed My feet with perfume. 47 Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; that is why she loved so much. But the one who is forgiven little loves little.” 48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.”

49 Those reclining at the table with Him began to say among themselves, “Who is This Who even forgives sins?”

50 He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

Simply, Fully, Freely FORGIVEN

following the sermon the Congregation will REMAIN SEATED for

The Post-Sermon Blessing

To Him Who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy — to the only God our Savior, be glory, majesty, power, and authority now and forever.  Amen.



We Bring our Offerings and Prayers to the 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) to the church address:    (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745)

2) You can also donate on our website:


Our Offerings of Love to our Lord

after the offerings are brought forward, the Congregation will rise for

  • The Prayers for this Day   


    Included in our Prayers this morning:

    Linda and Jim Winnat, who will celebrate their wedding  anniversary this coming Tuesday;   and      

    Janice and Steve Davis, who will be celebrating their wedding anniversary this coming Saturday.

    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 Celebrate the Lord’s Supper


    Pastor          The Lord be with you.


    Congregation (sung)    And also with you.


    Pastor         Lift up your hearts.


    Congregation       (sung)   We lift them unto the Lord.

    Pastor         Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.


         Congregation  (sung)   It is good and right so to do.

    Consecration of the Elements                                                                                                                                                                            

    Pastor         The peace of the Lord be with you always.

         Congregation(sung)        Amen.


         The Exhortation Regarding the Lord’s Supper


    (Please read the following if you have not spoken with our Pastor about taking communion.  Thank you.)


         We ask that only “Confirmed, Communicant” members of this congregation, or of one of our Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod congregations come forward to receive the Lord’s Supper at this time.            

         We believe, according to Scripture, that only those who are “one,” that is, in complete doctrinal agreement, united in a common public confession of faith, are to commune together at the same altar (see I Corinthians 10:17 and I Corinthians 1:10).

         To be “in communion” means to share and to hold in common.   By eating and drinking at our Lord’s Table, we are not only sharing in, with, and under the bread and wine, Jesus’ very body and blood…we are also publicly declaring that we hold in common a specific confession of faith.  In other words, as a result of having comprehensively studied the Scriptures together all of our communicants have agreed to accept and proclaim the same Biblical doctrines and practices.

         Through membership in a particular church body (for us, that church body is the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod), each person makes a public statement that he/she is in full agreement with the teachings and practices of that body.  Because not every church body or Lutheran Synod teaches and practices the same things, we in the WELS want to be honest in our recognition of the doctrinal differences that, here on earth, separate us from other church bodies.   Please bear in mind that we are not, in any way, judging the legitimacy of your Christian faith.  Still, we ask that  if you have not (upon study of the Word with us) declared yourself to be in full doctrinal agreement with us, you would respectfully not join us in the Lord’s Supper this morning.  

         It is our prayer that our Scripture-based practice of “Close Communion” will encourage anyone among us today who is not presently in full fellowship with us to seriously examine the teachings and

    practices of his/her church in order to determine if those teachings and practices are really in full agreement with God’s Word. 

         And if you are guest among us today, we want you to know that it is our earnest desire that you might become familiar with the Biblical doctrines our congregation confesses, in order that you might one day join with us at the Lord’s altar in this public expression of full unity of doctrine and practice.  Until then, please know that we are most grateful for your participation as a fellow Christian in this worship service, and that we appreciate your understanding and respect of our Communion practice.  

    The Distribution Hymns                                                                 Hymn 304   “Jesus Sinners Does Receive’


    1 Jesus sinners does receive;   Oh, may all this saying ponder

    Who in sin’s delusions live   And from God and heaven wander.

    Here is hope for all who grieve–   Jesus sinners does receive.


    2 We deserve but grief and shame,   Yet his words, rich grace revealing,

    Pardon, peace, and life proclaim;   Here their ills have perfect healing

    Who with humble hearts believe–   Jesus sinners does receive.


    3 Sheep that from the fold did stray   Are not by the Lord forsaken;

    Weary souls who lost their way   Are by Christ, the shepherd, taken

    In his arms that they may live–   Jesus sinners does receive.


    4 Come, O sinners, one and all,   Come, accept his invitation.

    Come, obey his gracious call;   Come and take his free salvation!

    Firmly in these words believe–   Jesus sinners does receive.


    5 I, a sinner, come to you   With a penitent confession.

    Savior, show me mercy, too;   Grant for all my sins remission.

    Let these words my soul relieve–   Jesus sinners does receive.


    6 Oh, how blest is it to know,   Were as scarlet my transgression,

    It shall be as white as snow   By your blood and bitter passion,

    For these words I do believe–   Jesus sinners does receive.


    7 Jesus sinners does receive.   Even I have been forgiven.

    And when I this earth must leave,   I shall find an open heaven.

    Dying, still to him I cleave–   Jesus sinners does receive.



                                                                                    Hymn 309   “Draw Near And Take the Body of the Lord”


    1 Draw near and take the body of the Lord,   And drink the holy blood for you outpoured.

    Offered was he for greatest and for least,   Himself the victim and himself the priest.


    2 He that his saints in this world rules and shields   To all believers life eternal yields,

    With heav’nly bread makes them that hunger whole,   Gives living waters to the thirsty soul.


    3 Come forward, then, with faithful hearts sincere,   And take the pledges of salvation here.

    Before your altar, Lord, your servants bow;   In this your feast of love be with us now.


    Following the distribution, at the Pastor’s invitation  the Congregation will rise as

    We Leave With The Lord’s Blessing

    The Closing Prayer                                                                                                                                           

    The Benediction            

    And now, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

    and the love of God,

    and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.   Amen.

    The Closing Hymn/Choral Selection                                                                     “May the Lord Bless You”

    May the Lord bless you.   May the Lord keep you.

    May the Lord lift up His face to shine on you.

    May the Lord bless you.   May the Lord keep you.

    May the Lord lift up His face to shine on you.

    May the Lord hold you in His hand.

    May His love always protect you from all harm.

    May God go with you where-e’er you walk.

    May His love guide you throughout your life.

    May the Lord bless you.   May the Lord keep you.

    May the Lord lift up His face to shine on you.

    May the Lord bless you.   May the Lord keep you.

    May the Lord lift up His face to shine on you.


    Silent Prayer, Announcements, Post-service music