The Twenty-fourth Sunday after Trinity

November 19, 2023

The Twenty-sixth Sunday of the Pentecost Season

 ”So, I’m Going To Heaven.

What Do I Do Until Then?”

       The date was the 19th of May, 1780. The place was Hartford, Connecticut. The day has gone down in New England history as a terrible foretaste of Judgment Day.   At noon the skies turned from blue to gray and by mid-afternoon they had become so densely black that, in that religious age, men began to fall on their knees, begging a final blessing before the End of the world arrived.  The Connecticut House of Representatives was in session. And as some men fell down on their knees, while others clamored for an immediate adjournment, the Speaker of the House, Colonel Davenport, came to his feet.   He silenced them and said these words: “The Day of Judgment is either approaching or it is not.  If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment.   If it is, I choose to be found serving my LORD, doing my duty.   I order, then,   that candles be brought out to light our chamber.”

     As Colonel Davenport intended to faithfully serve up to his end, even so each of us as Christians, has been called into the service of our Lord by virtue of the gracious privilege He has given us to be members of His Kingdom.    As a key part of citizenship and Christian character under Christ our Savior-King, we are called to be fully faithful to Him to the very end.  It is this “call to remain faithful” upon which we will focus our attention during today’s worship service.

     In our First Lesson Paul rejoices in the faithfulness to Christ of the Thessalonian congregation .  In spite of severe persecution their faith in Christ had not floundered, but had grown – and they had not only honored God by their fidelity, they had become a source of encouragement to their fellow believers around the world.    In today’s Epistle Lesson the Lord commends the church in Philadelphia (Asia Minor) for its faithfulness in the face of extreme opposition, and He holds out to them the promise of ultimate deliverance and vindication on the Last Day.   It is the Last Day that Jesus focuses on in our Gospel Lesson .  Here we see the believers and unbelievers being judged, and while it seems – at first impression – that they are being judged on the basis of their works, we need to pay attention to all of Jesus’ words.    When we do, we realize that the deeds of the faithful are performed not for the benefit of their fellow men alone, but especially out of love for Christ (“you did it for Me”).   The faithful works of a believer, then, are the evidences (or fruits) of saving faith….and not the means of earning our salvation.   Today’s Sermon is based on the final section of First Thessalonians (the letter from which our First lesson also comes).  As we wait for Jesus to return or call us home, Paul will remind us that we will want to live with the right Spiritual attitude, holding on to what is good and Godly, and trusting that God will keep us in His grace and in our faith.   Finally, our Children’s Lesson will also stress the importance of every Christian remaining faithful in heart and action to the Lord Jesus, and the result of that faithfulness – Christ’s gift of the “crown of life” everlasting in heaven. 


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.


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.


Silent Prayer

Pre-service music                                                                                                                                              


We Praise Our God

The Welcoming and Invitation to Worship

following which, at the invitation of the Pastor,  the Congregation will rise for the invocation

The Invocation

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



The Psalm for Today                                                                                                                   Psalm 119:9-16

P:  How can a young man keep his path pure?

C: By guarding it with Your Words.


P:  With all my heart I seek You.  Do not let me stray from Your commands.

C: I have hidden Your sayings in my heart  +   so that I might not sin against You.

P:  Blessed are You,  O LORD;

C: Teach me Your statutes.

P:  With my lips I tell about all the judgments that come from Your mouth.

C: I rejoice in the way that is taught by Your testimonies +   as much as I delight in all riches.


P:  I will meditate on Your precepts       

C: and I will consider Your paths.

P:  In Your statutes, I delight.

C: I will not forget Your Words.

after which the Congregation will be seated for

The Opening Hymn                                                                     Hymn 226   “To Your Temple I Draw Near”

sung antiphonally


Verse 1 – Entire Congregation

Verse 2 – Women and Girls                  Verse 3 – Men and Boys

Verse 4 – Entire Congregation

Verse  – Lectern Side                            Verse 6 – Pulpit Side

Verse 7 – Entire Congregation

1 To your temple I draw near;  Lord, I love to worship here.

Here are sacrament and Word;   Here believers meet their Lord.


2 I through Christ am reconciled;   I through Christ become your child.

Abba, Father, give me grace  In your courts to seek your face.


3 While your glorious praise is sung,   Touch my lips, unloose my tongue,

That my joyful soul may bless   Christ the Lord, my righteousness.


4 While the prayers of saints ascend,    God of love, to mine attend.

Hear me, for your Spirit pleads;   Hear, for Jesus intercedes.


5 While I listen to your law,   Fill my soul with holy awe

Till your gospel brings to me   Life and immortality.


6 While your ministers proclaim   Peace and pardon in your name,

Through their voice, by faith, may I   Hear you speaking from the sky.


7 From your house, when I return,   May my heart within me burn,

And at evening let me say,   “I have walked with God today.”

after which the Congregation will rise



We Make Confession Of Our Sins To God

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

Congregation Holy and merciful Father,   I confess that I am by nature sinful   and that I have  disobeyed You in my  thoughts, words, and actions;    I have done what is evil in Your sight   and have failed to do

 what is good.    For this I know that I deserve Your punishment, both now and for eternity.     But I am truly sorry for all my sins    and trusting in the perfect life     and innocent death of my Savior, Jesus Christ,     I plead:    God have mercy on me, a sinner.


(Sung)  Lord have mercy on us.  

Christ Have Mercy on Us

Lord have mercy on us.

Pastor      Our gracious Lord and Master has shown us His mercy:   He has given His one and only Son to save us from all our sins.     And now, having humbly and sincerely confessed your sins before Almighty

 God, be strengthened in your faith, mindful that our Lord is not willing that anyone should perish eternally, but that everyone should come to repentance, turning from their evil ways and receiving from Him everlasting life.    God has commanded His ministers to declare His forgiveness of sins to all who are penitent.   Therefore, addressing you as a called servant of Christ,  and according to His command and under His authority,   I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

May the peace of God rest upon all of you.    Amen.


(Sung)    Glory be to God on high

and on earth peace good will to men.

We praise You, we bless You, we worship You.

We glorify You,

we give thanks to You for Your great glory.

O Lord God heavenly King,

God the Father almighty.

O Lord, the only begotten Son, Jesus Christ,

O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,

You take away the sin of the world. 

 Have mercy on us.

You take away the sin of the world. 

 Receive our prayer.

You sit at the right hand of God the Father. 

 Have mercy on us.

For You only are holy.   You only are the Lord.

You only, O Christ, with the Holy Spirit.

Are most high in the glory of God the Father.   Amen


The Prayer for Today

Almighty God, have mercy upon us, weak and sinful people that we are.   + Do not leave us dependant on our own strength to remain faithful to you.   Instead, uphold us by Your grace,   + so that strengthened by Your Holy Spirit – working in the Word and Sacrament,   + our love for You might grow,   + that we might more faithfully keep Your commandments, + rejoice in Your blessings, +   trust in Your grace for time and eternity,   + and be sure of everlasting life in heaven.   + Grant that, whatever challenges we will face in this life, +   we might always remain faithful to You + serving You to the best of our God-given abilities + in reverent gratitude to You as the Giver of all good gifts + and the Source of our salvation.    This we humbly pray in the name of Jesus Christ, + Your Son, our Lord and Savior.   +   Amen.

after which the Congregation will be seated

We Hear God’s Word

The First Lesson                                                                                                            I Thessalonians 3:1-13

So, when we could not stand it any longer, we thought it best to remain behind in Athens alone, 2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and coworker for God in the gospel of Christ. We sent him to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, 3 so that no one will be shaken by these trials, for you know well that we are destined for this. 4 In fact, even when we were with you, we told you ahead of time that we were going to suffer, and it happened just that way, as you know. 5 This is why, when I could not stand it any longer, I sent to find out about your faith, because I was afraid that somehow the Tempter had tempted you and our labor might have been for nothing.

6 But now, Timothy has returned to us from you and has told us the good news about your faith and love. He also told us that you always have fond memories of us and long to see us, just as much as we also long to see you. 7 Because of this, brothers, in all our distress and affliction, we have been encouraged about you through your faith. 8 For now we really live, if you are standing firm in the Lord. 9 Indeed, how can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have before God on account of you? 10 Night and day we are praying earnestly to see you in person and to supply what is lacking in your faith.

11 May God our Father Himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. 12 And may the Lord increase your love and make it overflow for each other and for all people, just as ours does for you, 13 so that He may establish your hearts as blameless in holiness before our God and Father, when our Lord Jesus comes with all His saints.

The Epistle Lesson                                                                                                                Revelation 3:7-13

7 To the messenger of the church in Philadelphia write:

The Holy One, the One Who is true, the one who has the key of David, the One Who opens and no one can shut, and who shuts and no one can open, says this:

8 I know your works. Look, I have set before you an open door, which no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, and yet you have kept My word and have not denied My name. 9 Look, I will make those who are from the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not but are lying—look, I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them realize that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept My word about patient endurance, I will also keep you from the hour of testing, which is about to come over the whole inhabited world, to test those who dwell on the earth.

11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have so that no one takes your crown.   12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of My God, and He will never leave it again. I will also write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God—the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from My God—and My new name.   13 Whoever has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                               Matthew 25:31-46

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 His 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. 35 For I was hungry and you gave Me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed Me. 36 I was lacking clothes and you clothed Me. I was sick and you took care of Me. I was in prison and you visited Me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You a drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and welcome You, or lacking clothes and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick or in prison and visit You?’

40 “The King will answer them, ‘Amen I tell you: Just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did it for Me.’

41 “Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire, which is prepared for the Devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you did not give Me food to eat. I was thirsty and you did not give Me anything to drink. 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome Me, lacking clothes and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not take care of Me.’

44 “Then they will also answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or lacking clothes or sick or in prison and did not serve You?’

45 “At that time He will answer them, ‘Amen I tell you: Just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for Me.’ 46 And they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”


The Nicene Creed


I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth,  and of all things visible and invisible.  And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God,  Light of Light.  Very God of Very God.  Begotten, not made.  Being of one substance with the Father, By whom all things were made;  Who for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven   And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary   And was made man;  And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.  He suffered and was buried;  And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures;  And ascended into heaven,  And sitteth on the right hand of the Father;   And he shall come again with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead;  Whose Kingdom shall have no end.   And I believe in the Holy Ghost,  The Lord and Giver of Life,  Who proceedeth from the Father and the Son,  Who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified,  Who spake by the Prophets.  And I believe one holy Christian and Apostolic Church.  I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins,  And I look for the resurrection of the dead,  And the life of the world to come.  Amen.


After which, the Congregation may be seated for


The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                             Revelation 2:10

10 Do not fear anything that  you are about to suffer. Look, the Devil is about to throw some of you into prison so that you will be tested, and you will suffer for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

To The Faithful Goes The Crown

The Sermon Hymn                                                                               Hymn 488 “Savior, Thy Dying Love”


1 Savior, thy dying love   Thou gavest me;

Nor should I aught withhold,   Dear Lord, from thee.

In love my soul would bow,   My heart fulfill its vow,

Some off’ring bring thee now,   Something for thee.


2 O’er the blest mercy seat,   Pleading for me,

My feeble faith looks up,   Jesus, to thee.

Help me the cross to bear,   Thy wondrous love declare,

Some song to raise or prayer,   Something for thee.


3 Give me a faithful heart,   Likeness to thee,

That each departing day   Henceforth may see

Some work of love begun,   Some deed of kindness done,

Some wand’rer sought and won,  Something for thee.


4 All that I am and have,   Thy gifts so free,

In joy, in grief, through life,   Dear Lord, for thee!

And when thy face I see,   My ransomed soul shall be

Through all eternity   Something for thee.



after which the Congregation will rise

The Greeting      Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual  blessing in Christ!   O Lord, open my lips, that my mouth may declare Your praise.  Amen.

The Sermon Text                                                                                         based on I Thessalonians 5:16-28


16 Rejoice always. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In everything give thanks. For this is God’s  will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not extinguish the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 But test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Keep away from every kind of evil.   23 May the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The One Who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.   25 Brothers, pray for us. 26 Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss. 27 I put you under oath to the Lord to read this letter to all the holy brothers.   28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

 ”So, I’m Going To Heaven.  What Do I Do Until Then?”

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:

As the offerings are brought forward, the Congregation rises for prayer

  • The Prayers of the Church


    A Prayer of Thanksgiving on behalf of Rachel and Roger Kattestand, whose wedding anniversary is Monday.



    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 up unto the Lord


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


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

    Pastor   It is truly good and right that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to You, O Lord, holy Father,  almighty, everlasting God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Who promised that wherever two or

     three come together in His name, there He is with them to shepherd His flock until He comes again in all His glory.  Therefore with angels and archangel, and all the company of heaven, we praise Your holy name and join their glorious song:



    Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of heavenly hosts.

    Heaven and earth are full of Your glory

    Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest.

    Blessed is He, Blessed is He, Blessed is He

    Who comes in the name of the Lord.

    Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest.

    Consecration of the Communion Elements                                                                                                                                                               (Pastor)

    Pastor         The peace of the Lord be with you always.

    Congregation   (Sung)  Amen.


    O Christ, Lamb of God,

    You take away the sin of the world;

    Have mercy on us.

    O Christ, Lamb of God,

    You take away the sin of the world;

    Have mercy on us.

    O Christ, Lamb of God,

    You take away the sin of the world;

    Grant us peace.   Amen.

    The Exhortation Regarding the Lord’s Supper                                                                                   (Pastor)


    The First Distribution Hymn                                                                                 “I Stand Here Before You

                                                                                                      Sung to the melody of “How Firm A Foundation”


    I stand here before You, O mightiest One

    In need of forgiveness for wrongs I have done.

    Oh, grant me Your pardon, my spirit now pleads

    Forgive my transgressions in thoughts, words, and deeds.


    The Tempter keeps taunting me day after day,

    I often succumb and submit to his way.

    From birth I’ve been evil — my mortal flesh weak,

    I do not abide by the words that You speak.


    I humbly confess with the deepest of shame

    The times I abused Your magnificent Name.

    In spite of Your right to demand faithfulness,

    My life’s often guided by my selfishness.


    I covet, I slander, I look with lust, too.

    I fail to give honor where honor is due.

    I steal and I gossip… far do I fall –

    Your perfect commandments:   I’ve broken them all.


    Right here at Your table forgiveness is found

    In Christ’s holy blood that flowed down to the ground,

    His body and blood in the bread and the wine

    A marvel of love that is truly divine!


    That blood of Your Chosen was shed to erase

    The sins of the world.   How I cherish that grace!

    Dear God I am thankful to be such a one,

    Washed clean by the blood of my Savior, Your Son.


    Second Distribution Hymn                                     Hymn 315     “Here, O My Lord, I See You Face to Face”

    1 Here, O my Lord, I see you face to face;

    Here would I touch and handle things unseen,

    Here grasp with firmer hand eternal grace,

    And all my weariness upon you lean.


    2 This is the hour of banquet and of song;

    Here is the heav’nly table spread anew.

    Here let me feast and, feasting, still prolong

    The brief bright hour of fellowship with you.


    3 I have no help but yours nor do I need

    Another arm but yours to lean upon.

    It is enough, O Lord, enough indeed;

    My strength is in your might, your might alone.


    4 Mine is the sin but yours the righteousness;

    Mine is the guilt but yours the cleansing blood.

    Here is my robe, my refuge, and my peace:

    Your blood, your righteousness, O Lord, my God.


    5 Too soon we rise; the vessels disappear.

    The feast, though not the love, is past and gone.

    The bread and wine remove, but you are here,

    Nearer than ever, still my shield and sun.


    6 Feast after feast thus comes and passes by,

    Yet, passing, points to that glad feast above,

    Giving sweet foretaste of the festal joy,

    The Lamb’s great marriage feast of bliss and love.

    We Leave With The Lord’s Blessing

    The Closing Prayer


    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 on You with favor upon you, and give you peace.  Amen.

    The Closing Hymn                                                                      Hymn 318   “Sent Forth By God’s Blessing”

    1 Sent forth by God’s blessing,  Our true faith confessing,

    The people of God from His dwelling take leave. 

    The supper is ended.   Oh, now be extended  

    The fruits of this service in all who believe.  

    The seed of His teaching,   Receptive souls reaching,

    Shall blossom in action for God and for all. 

    His grace did invite us,   His love shall unite us

    To work for God’s kingdom and answer His call.


    2 With praise and thanksgiving   To God ever living,

    The tasks of our everyday life we will face.

    Our faith ever sharing,    In love ever caring,

    Embracing His children of each tribe and race.

    With Your feast You feed us,   With Your light now lead us;

    Unite us as one in this life that we share.

    Then may all the living   With praise and thanks giving

    Give honor to Christ and His name that we bear.

    Silent Prayer


    Post-Worship Music