The Third Sunday after Trinity  – July 03, 2022

also known as the Fifth Sunday of the Pentecost Season

The Saving, Transformative Power of Paul’s Gospel and Ours


Last week we began a summer worship service and sermon series on selections from Paul’s letter to the Galatians.   Our inaugural message came

 under the heading, “The Unchangeable, Absolute (and only) Gospel.” Paul opened his letter by telling the Christians in Galatia how astonished he was that, after he had left them, they so quickly began to embrace a different Gospel than the one he had preached to them…one which, in fact, wasn’t really the Gospel at all.   Some false teachers had arrived to teach the Galatians that Paul hadn’t given them the full Gospel.  Yes, Jesus had died for their sins on the cross, but – they said – Paul failed to tell the Galatians that they also had to keep all the old covenant regulations Moses had given Israel….if they were going to be saved.   Paul warned the Galatian Christians that if they fell for that lie, they would miss the whole point of the Gospel – that we are saved by grace alone, not by our works – and that they could lose their faith and salvation.   It was that serious!

     As we move farther into chapter one today, in our Sermon Text, Paul will tell the Galatians (and us) more about the gracious privilege God gave him to preaching the Lord’s Gospel for the salvation and transformation of souls.   There are three things in these verses that we’ll be focusing on this morning.   Paul will be emphasizing:   1) The Gospel he preached came to him directly from God;   its origin is not human (and so, it is not arbitrary in any way);    2) The Gospel Paul preached is a Gospel of salvation dependant on God’s grace…..never on human good works (no matter what anyone else might say or think);   and finally, 3) The Paul had the privilege of preaching the true Gospel that actually transforms lives.

     First, the Gospel Paul preached came from God, not from any man.  The apostle stated that very strongly:   “the Gospel I preached is not of human origin.  For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation from Jesus Christ.”   Paul made a big deal of this because his opponents back in Galatia were claiming that his message and that of the apostles in Jerusalem were different, and so that Paul’s Gospel was insufficient and inadequate.   They even suggested that he wasn’t a real apostle.   Basically these false teachers (we refer to them as Judaizers) were determined to undermine Paul’s ministry.  And so they attacked his apostleship and the Gospel he preached.

     In response, Paul essentially says, “It’s true (as the false teachers indicate) that I did not get my Gospel from the apostles in Jerusalem. But that does not mean I’m not speaking the truth.   The Gospel I preached to you I received  directly from Christ Himself….so it is authentic!

     Second, Paul knew that he was saved purely by God’s grace….and that grace was at the heart of the Gospel he preached:  namely, that God graciously and freely forgives sinners for the sake of the redeeming work Christ (His sinless life, sacrificial death and bodily resurrection for us).    Believing that Gospel truth assures us of eternal life in heaven;   without faith in the Gospel, a soul cannot be saved.   (Which is a critical point that John the Baptist makes in the closing portion of today’s Gospel Lesson.)   

     In I Timothy 1:15, Paul even referred to himself as the “chief of sinners.”  Why?  Because at one point in his life he had hated Christ and anyone who followed Christ.   He even aggressively and violently persecuted the Christian church, hoping to exterminate it.   As he was doing this he actually thought he was in the right and was serving God.  That’s how blind and wrong Paul had been (as is the case with unbelievers today!) 

     Our First Reading tells us that, as a zealous Pharisee and persecutor of the Church, Paul was on his way to Damascus to capture and persecute Christians who lived there…until Christ appeared to him outside the city and proved to Saul (Paul’s earlier name) that he was wrong and that Christ truly is the Promised Savior.   Paul’s conversion outside Damascus was dramatic, but it was no less miraculous than your conversion or mine.   (Anytime God brings someone to faith it’s always something miraculous….given our natural hatred for him – see Romans 8:7).   For the remainder of his life Paul was always very aware of his own sinfulness in general, and his persecuting past, and how God had had mercy upon him, forgiving his sins and saving him purely out of His grace.   He knew he didn’t deserve anything from God except damnation.   Yet God had given him the tremendous gift of knowing – by faith – Christ as his Savior.  What’s more, God even gave Paul the privilege of preaching that saving Gospel to others.   (We’ll talk about that in our Children’s Lesson today.)   He never got over how amazing God’s grace to him was.   Neither should we.    It’s a tremendous gift and blessing for us, too, to know Christ as our Savior!

     Finally, third, the Gospel Paul preached (and that we believe and preach) transforms lives.   It had changed Paul.   He went from being Saul the persecutor to Paul the apostle.   From persecutor to preacher……that’s the dramatic turnaround the Gospel effected in Paul’s life.  The Christians at that time were amazed at his transformation.  It truly was a miracle.   They said, “The one who was once persecuting us is now preaching the faith that he once tried to destroy.”

     The Gospel still changes lives today.   However, some of you might say, “That’s hardly the case in my life.   When I look at my own life, I don’t see nearly as much change as there ought to be.   I’m frustrated by how ungodly I often am.  There are some sins that I just can’t seem to overcome no matter how hard I try.  The Gospel might transform others…..but I don’t see much of a change for the better in me!”  Guess what?  Paul experienced that frustration in his Spiritual life too – and he was an Apostle!   He said as much in Romans 7:19… “I fail to do the good I want to do.  Instead, the evil I do not want to do, that is what I keep doing.” Until we reach heaven we Christians are going to be saddled with our “Old Adam,” (the sinful nature in us that daily gets in the way of our sanctification and drags us into sin).   In response, we’ll want to repent daily and trust in the grace of God in Christ that forgives us – not for our sake, but for Jesus’ sake.   That’s the Gospel’s message! 

     In spite of what we mighty see in ourselves and say critically about ourselves, the Gospel has transformed each of us, changing us from unbelievers into believers.   God’s Holy Spirit dwells in us, giving us a recognition of our sinfulness, as well as the desire to please God.  As that Spirit continues His sanctifying work in us, we learn to love and serve the Lord, as well as others….all out of our love for and gratitude to Christ…Who was perfect, crucified and rose for our salvation.  Through the transforming power of the Gospel the Holy Spirit also gifts and equips us to live life in new, Godly ways.   We might not notice this so much in ourselves, because we have to live with ourselves every day.  And we know – deep down – how sinful we truly are.   By God’s grace we’ve learned never to boast about or rely on our good works as the cause for our salvation in any way.  All the glory for that goes to the Triune God alone.   What God also does for us is continue to fill us with His Spirit, so that we grow in our love for Him and our service to Him.    Consequently, we are new people through faith in Christ.  God says so, and He makes it happen.  God calls and enables us to be faithful, godly husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, citizens, workers, church members ….you name it.   In all these areas of life, there are good works that God has prepared for us and equipped us to do.   So believe God’s Word when He promises that He will help you to live as the new person you are in Christ.   The Gospel transforms lives. It transformed Paul from being a persecutor to a preacher.   God has – and will continue to transform you too….for your benefit, but especially for His glory.



A Word Of Welcome To Our Guests . . . Good morning and welcome to Grace Lutheran Church.  Thank you for choosing to worship with us today.  Whether you’re a guest, or a member of this Christian family, your presence at this service is sincerely appreciated.  We hope that the time you spend here will be enjoyable and spiritually edifying, and so it is our desire to serve you in the best way we can.  If there is anything that we might do to assist you in your worship today, please speak with one of our ushers or our Pastor.  They will be pleased to serve you in any way they can.   Following the worship service this morning, we invite you to join those around you for some coffee, refreshments, and good conversation in our gymnasium/fellowship hall. After that, you are encouraged to join us for additional time in God’s Word through our Bible Class and Sunday School.



Pre-Service Prayer     Lord, as I sit in this chapel today, I have many reasons to offer You my thanks and praise.    Over those years You have blessed the ministry of the Word here – granting spiritual growth to those who have assembled here.  You have also given us opportunities to increase in number and to grow in our service to You, O Lord.   Now, as I prepare to worship You, I pray that You will bless the pastor as he brings God’s Word to me and all who have gathered here.  Allow this congregation to wisely and faithfully use the opportunities for ministry that You give us for the Spiritual enrichment of all who pass through these doors, and — of course — for Your glory, O God.  Gracious Lord, favorably receive my expressions of praise, my offerings, and my prayers today.  And finally, allow Your Word which I shall soon hear to take root in my heart, fostering in me a stronger faith and producing through that faith the kind of Christian expressions of love that are pleasing to You.  All this I ask in Jesus’ name.   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

Music and lyrics, as needed, are used with permission via #A712831




Prayer upon entering the worship area                                                                                 Pre-service Music


Let Us Praise The Lord


The Greeting and Invitation to Worship


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 of the Holy Spirit

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


P:        Amen!


Our Psalm for Today                                                                                                                 Psalm 16


Pastor       Guard me, O God, for I take refuge in You.   I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord.   I have no good apart from You.”


Congregation The holy ones who are in the land are glorious.   +   All my delight is in them.  


     P    Those who chase after another god will increase their sorrows.

     C   I will not pour out their drink offerings of blood.   +   I will not take up their names on my lips.


     P    LORD, You are the cup that has been given to me.   You have secured an allotment for me.

     C   The property lines chosen for me fall in pleasant places.   +   Yes, a delightful inheritance is mine!  


     P    I will bless the LORD, Who guides me.  Even at night my heart instructs me.

     C   I have set the LORD always before me.    +   Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  


     P    Therefore my heart is glad and my whole being rejoices.  

     C   Even my flesh will dwell securely   +   because You will not abandon my life to the grave.   + You will not let Your Favored One see decay.


     P    You have made known to me the path of life

     C   – fullness of joy in Your presence,   + pleasures at Your right hand forever.


After which, the Congregation will be seated for


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



Entire congregation:    Verse 1                Women & Girls:   Verse 2                  Men & Boys:   Verse 3

Entire congregation:    Verse 4                Lectern Side:   Verse 5                       Pulpit Side:   Verse 6                 Entire congregation:    Verse 7

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 for

Bless Us With Your Presence, Lord

The Salutation

P:        The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you

C:       And also with you.


The Confession of Sins


Pastor       God, our Heavenly Father, invites us to come into His presence  and to worship Him with humble and penitent hearts.  Therefore, let us acknowledge our sinfulness and ask Him to forgive us.

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    +   and failed to do what is good.   +    For this I deserve Your punishment,   +    both now and in eternity.     +     But I am truly sorry for my sins,     +   and trusting in my Savior,  Jesus Christ, +   I pray:    +  God have mercy on me, a sinner.

Pastor       God our heavenly Father, has been merciful to us and has given His only Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Therefore, as a called servant of God and by His authority, I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  


Congregation   Amen.



Lord Have Mercy


P:        For all that we need in life, and for the wisdom to use all Your gifts with gratitude and joy, hear our prayer,  O Lord.

C:       (sung)   Lord have mercy.

P:        For the steadfast assurance that nothing can separate us from Your love and for the courage to stand firm against the assaults of Satan and every evil, hear our prayer, O Christ:

C:       (sung)   Christ have mercy.

P:        For the well-being of Your holy Church in all the world and for those who offer here their worship and praise, hear our prayer, O Lord

C:       (sung)   Lord have mercy.

P:        Merciful God, Maker and Preserver of life, uphold us by Your power, and keep us in Your tender care:

C:       (sung)   Amen.

P:        The works of the Lord are great and glorious;   His name is worthy of praise.


     O Lord, our Lord, How glorious is Your name in all the earth. Almighty God, merciful Father,  You crown our life with Your love.

You take away our sin;    You comfort our spirit;   You make us pure and holy in Your sight.

You did not spare Your only Son, but gave Him up for us all.   O Lord, our Lord, How glorious is Your name in all the earth.

O Son of God, eternal Word of the Father,   You came to live with us;   You made Your Father known;

You washed us from our sins in Your own blood.   You are the King of glory;   You are the Lord!

O Lord, our Lord, How glorious is Your name in all the earth.



after which the Congregation may be seated as

We Give Our Attention to God’s Word

The First Lesson                                                                                                                               Acts 9:1-21

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any men or women belonging to the Way, he might bring them to Jerusalem as prisoners.   3 As he went on his way and was approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”   5 He asked, “Who are You, Lord?”  He replied, “I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting. 6 But get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you need to do.” 

7 The men traveling with him stood there speechless. They heard the voice but did not see anyone.  8 They raised Saul up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes, he could not see anything. They took him by the hand and led him into Damascus. 9 For three days he could not see, and he did not eat or drink.

10 There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to  him in a vision, “Ananias!”    He answered, “Here I am, Lord.”   11 The Lord told him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. In fact, at this very moment he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he can regain his sight.”    13 Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many people about this man and how much harm he did to Your saints in Jerusalem. 14 And he has authority here from the chief priests to arrest all who call on Your name.”    15 The Lord said to him, “Go! This man is My chosen instrument to carry My name before the Gentiles and kings and the people of Israel. 16 Indeed, I will show him how much he must suffer for My name.”

17 Ananias left and entered the house. Laying his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, Whom you saw on your way here, has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”    18 Immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized. 19 And after taking some food, he regained his strength.

Saul stayed with the disciples in Damascus for several days. 20  Immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”    21 All who heard him were amazed.

The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                        I Corinthians 2:1-2


As for me, brothers, when I came to you, I did not come with superior speech or wisdom in order to proclaim to you the testimony of God. 2 For I had no intention of knowing anything among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

If You Don’t Tell Them Anything Else….Be Sure To Tell Them This !!!

After which the Congregation will rise for     

The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                       Luke 11:1-13

22 After this, Jesus and His disciples went into the Judean countryside where He spent some time with them and was baptizing. 23 John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water there. People kept coming and were being baptized, 24 for John had not been thrown into prison yet.

25 Then an argument broke out between John’s disciples and a certain Jew about purification. 26 His disciples came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, the One Who was with you across the Jordan, about Whom you testified—look, He is baptizing, and everyone is going to Him!”   27 John answered, “A man cannot receive a single thing, unless it has been given to him from heaven. 28 You yourselves are witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent ahead of Him.’ 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. But the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and listens for him, is overjoyed when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”   31 The One Who comes from above is superior to everyone. The one who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in a way that belongs to the earth. The One Who comes from heaven is superior to everyone. 32 He testifies about what He has seen and heard, yet no one receives His testimony. 33 The one who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. 34 In fact, the One Whom God has sent speaks God’s words, for God gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son and has put everything in His hands. 36 The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who rejects the Son will not see life; instead, God’s wrath remains on him.

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.


Afterward, the Congregation will be seated for


The Hymn of the Day                                                                      Hymn 340 “O For A Thousand Tongues”


1 Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing   My great Redeemer’s praise,    

The glories of my God and King,    The triumphs of his grace!


2 My gracious Master and my God,   Assist me to proclaim,

To spread through all the earth abroad,   The honors of your name.


3 The name of Jesus calms our fears   And bids our sorrows cease.

‘Tis music in the sinners ears;   ‘Tis life and health and peace.


4 He breaks the pow’r of canceled sin;   He sets the pris’ner free.

His blood can make the foulest clean;   His blood avails for me.


5 See all your sins on Jesus laid;   The Lamb of God was slain.

His life was once an off’ring made   That you might live again.


6 Glory to God and praise and love   Be ever, ever giv’n

By saints below and saints above,   The Church in earth and heav’n.



The Pre-Sermon Greeting

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

After which the Congregation will rise for the reading of

The Sermon Text                                                                                                                   Galatians 1:11-24

11 But I want you to know, brothers, that the Gospel I preached is not of human origin. 12 For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation from Jesus Christ.

13 Certainly you have heard of my former way of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God to an extraordinary degree and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my own people, because I was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 However, God, Who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by His grace, was pleased 16 to reveal His Son in me, so that I would preach Him among the Gentiles. At that time, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, 17 and I did not go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me. Instead I went away into Arabia, and then I returned again to Damascus.

18 Next, after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to meet Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles, except James, the Lord’s brother. 20 (Now about the things I am writing to you—look, I assure you in the presence of God that I am not lying.) 21 Then I went to the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was still personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They heard only: “The one who was once persecuting us is now preaching the faith that he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they were praising God for what happened to me.

The “Hit Man” Who Became Christ’s Man

following the sermon the Congregation will REMAIN SEATED for

The Post-Sermon Blessing

May the God of peace, Who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that Great Shepherd of the sheep, now equip you with everything good for doing His will!  Amen.

We Offer Our Gifts 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) to the church address  (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745);   or

2) You can donate on our website:


the Congregation will please rise as the offerings are brought to the altar

We Offer Our Prayers to the Lord


Today’s Prayers   

Included in our Prayers today are:   Intercessory Prayers for

Bill Krizsan, who was hospitalized this week, and who will be undergoing surgery again this coming Thursday;   and for

Dan Beck, who continues to contend with pancreatic cancer;


The Lord’s Prayer     Our Father, Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name;   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


P:  The Lord be with you.


C: (sung)    And also with you.


P:  Lift up your hearts.


C: (sung) We lift them up to the Lord.


P:   Let us give thanks to the Lord our God


C: (sung) It is right to give Him thanks and praise.


P:  Praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!   In love He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing.   He sends His Holy Spirit to testify that we are His children, to strengthen us when we are weak, and to enable us to grow in our faith in the one, true God.   Now have come the salvation and power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ.  To Him Who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and thanks and honor and glory forever and ever.  Amen


(Sung)    Holy, Holy Holy is the Lord of hosts.   The whole earth is full of Your glory

You are my God and I will exalt You.   I will lift You up for You have become my salvation.

Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts.     The whole earth is full of Your glory

The Words of Institution


P:   “The peace of the Lord be with you always.”


     C:  (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 Your peace.   Amen.


After which the Congregation may be seated.

The Exhortation Regarding the Lord’s Supper                                                                                               


The Distribution of the Sacramental Elements



            (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 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.



                                                                                        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.



‘following the Sacrament’s distribution,  at the Pastor’s invitation the Congregation will rise


The Thanksgiving


(Sung)   Thank the Lord and sing His praise.     Tell everyone what He has done.

Let all who seek the Lord rejoice, and proudly bear His name.   He renews His promises and leads His people forth in joy,

With shouts of thanksgiving, Alleluia!   Alleluia!



We Leave with the Lord’s Blessing


The Closing Prayer


Hear the prayer of Your people, O Lord, that the lips which have praised You here may glorify You in the world, that the eyes which have seen the coming of Your Son may long for His coming again, and that all who have received in his true body and blood the pledge of Your forgiveness may be restored to live a new and holy life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


C: (sung)     Amen.


The Benediction


P:  Brothers and sisters, go in peace.   Live in harmony with one another.  Serve the Lord in gladness.


     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.   


C: (sung)        Amen.   Amen.  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 ev’ryday 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 thanksgiving    Give honor to Christ and His name that we bear.


silent prayer, announcements





Last Week at Grace                   Worship Attendance: 69    Online views: 14                  Sunday Bible Class: 28   (Online views 12)         Sunday School: 3

Tuesday Bible Study: 11      Budgetary Offerings: $3505        Online: $110


This Week’s Birthdays                       July 3 – Chris Tart;     July 05 – Maisie Calkins;     July 07 Madison Carr; 


This Coming Week at Grace Lutheran Church


Today              Morning Worship with the Lord’s Supper, 9:30 a.m.    Fellowship, 10:45 pm              Bible Class/Sunday School, 11 am                                                                                         

Tuesday        Morning Bible Class,   10:30-11:30 am

Saturday        Outreach Calls, 10 a.m.

Sunday          Morning Worship, 9:30 a.m.   Fellowship Time, 10:40 a.m.              Bible Class and Sunday School – 11:05 a.m.    


Serving Us Next Sunday (7-10)                 Elders: Rick Tragasz, Steve Stone             Ushers: James Boatright;   Jim Winnat              Fellowship:   the Johnsons

Altar Guild:   Christine Quinlan, Linda Winnat


July 31 Voter’s Meeting AND Potluck/Cookout/Indoor Picnic …..although it’s going to occur four weeks from now, please make a note now to be part of our July 31 pot-luck/cookout/indoor picnic.   Prior to the meal we’ll hold a congregational/voters’ meeting.



Grace Lutheran Church  of Lowell, Arkansas




The mission of Grace Lutheran Church and School, as expressed in Matthew 28:19-20, is:  To reach out into our community with the Gospel of our Lord and Savior in all its truth and purity, and to provide Christian worship, education, and encouragement to all members of our congregation.”




 …that there is only one, true God – the Triune God of the Bible Who is three persons, yet one God (Ex 3:14; Mt 28:19; II Cor 13:14; Mt 3:16,17)…..the Father, Who is

our Creator and Preserver (Gen 1:1; Heb 1:3);   the Son Who, as the God-Man (Mt 16:13,16; Rom 9:5)  is our one-and-only Redeemer (II Cor 5:19-21);   and the Holy Spirit, Who is our Sanctifier  (I Cor 2:14;   I Pet 1:5).


…that the Bible is the totally inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God.  (2 Tim 3:16; II  Pet 1:21; Jn10:35; Jn 17:17)


…that the Bible is the only source and standard of faith and life for the Christian. (Ps 119:105; Lk 16:29)


…that the main purpose of the Word of God is to show us God’s plan of salvation in Christ (Jn 20:31;   II Tim 3:15)


…that God, our Father in Heaven, created this world and our first parents in His image to be perfect and  holy.  (Gen 1:31; Lev 19:2; Col 3:10; Eph 4:24)


…that man lost that image of God when Adam and Eve sinned against the LORD in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3;  Rom 5:12)


…..that all mankind, since Adam’s fall, have been conceived and born in sin  (Ps 51:5; Eph 2:1; Rom 8:7) and  so, because of sin, we have all failed to live up to God’s

      holy standards; consequently, we deserve to be punished eternally. (Rom 3:23; Rom 6:23)


…that the only way for anyone to be saved from the terrible consequences of our sins is through faith in  Jesus Christ our God and Savior (Acts 16:31;  Rom 10:17), Who

– as our Substitute – lived a life of perfect obedience to God’s holy Law (Heb 4:15; Gal 4:4,5), endured for us the wrath of God against sin through His death on the cross (Mk 10:45; Heb 2:14; Mk 15:34), and bodily rose from the grave three days later as the proof that our sins are forgiven and our salvation is assured (Rom 1:4; Rom 4:25; I Cor 15:17).


…that whoever trusts in Jesus Christ as their Savior from sin will not die eternally, but will have everlasting life.   (Jn  3:16)


…that faith is a gift which God the Holy Spirit miraculously works in us;   it is not something we personally acquire or accomplish. (I Cor 12:3; Rom 9:16)


…that we are saved by God’s grace (His undeserved love) through the redeeming work of Christ Jesus, and that no one can or has to earn his or her way into God’s favor

     by doing good deeds.   (Eph 2:8-10)


…that, in response to God’s love for us, Christians will want to daily repent of their sins (Rom 6:3-6; Ps 51:4,17;  Lk 15:21; II Cor 7:10)  live God-pleasing lives and

     seek to serve God and to do His will (I Cor 10:31).


…that, as God’s redeemed children, we will fear, love, and trust in God over and beyond anything or anyone else (Ecc 12:3;   Matt 4:10)


…that, as Christians, we are to make faithful use of the Means of Grace – God’s Word and the Sacraments  of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper — for the continued growth

      of our faith    (Rom 1:16;  II Thess 2:14; Lk 16:16; Titus 3:5-7;   Acts 2:42

From Clay Jars to Tents, to Our Home in Heaven

through Faith in Christ’s Reconciling Work for All

2 Corinthians 5:1-6:2

From verse 7 of chapter 4 through the end of chapter 5, Paul writes about a matter of life and death.   The Gospel message that the Apostle and his colleagues proclaimed stood out in sharp contrast to the message of those Paul identified as “false apostles,” who were attempting to win over the hearts, minds and souls of the Corinthians to their “gospel.”    In this portion of 2 Corinthians he establishes the fact that true apostles (and ambassadors for Christ) are willing to suffer and die for the sake of Christ and His Gospel.   They are willing to die because they know, through the Gospel, that they have the certain hope of eternal life in heaven after death, through faith in the redeeming work of Jesus Christ – particularly His sinless life, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection for us.

Going back in chapter 4, verse 7, Paul began by comparing himself and his fellow-laborers to disposable clay jars.  Yet, inside of them was a precious “treasure” – the Gospel…..the glory of God in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ (see 4:6-7).   When these fragile “clay pots” were shattered by opposition and persecution, the glory of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was “broadcast” to the world.  Those early Christians were letting their “light” (faith) “shine” for others to see and through which to be Spiritually influenced (Matthew 5:13-16).   This “shattering” (persecution) shouldn’t be something surprising for any Christian.  It is, after all, the common lot in life of everyone who lives out his our her life of faith in the death and the resurrection of Christ.    Routinely Paul and his associates experienced in their bodies the sufferings and “death” of Christ (see Colossians 1:24), so that redeeming life and death of Christ could also be displayed through them.  (4:10).  The “death” Paul and others were experiencing produced “life” for the Corinthian believers (4:12).  And so, difficult as their trials and tribulations were, Paul and his companions were not discouraged or afraid, because they knew that their earthly afflictions were “light” and “momentary” when compared to the glory that was certain to be theirs in heaven (4:16-18).

Now, in chapter 5, Paul continues to address the matter of “dying” for Christ and of “being made alive” in Christ.   He also writes in verses 14-21 about the doctrine of justification, from an “objective” point of view: namely, that Christ died for the sins of the entire world, and then closes the chapter with a “missions” emphasis by reminding his readers that he (and they) were called to be Spiritual “ambassadors,” presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world for which He died and rose.   There’s certainly a lot of application for us in the last half of this chapter, including in verses 16-18, which have often been misunderstood and even misapplied.   There Paul is emphasizing the life of faith and love that the “new man” (believer) lives following his/her conversion – a life that no longer focuses on human differences and distinctions, but regards all believers as equally redeemed and valued in Christ. 

5:1       “the tent that is our earthly home” – Paul’s referring here to our physical bodies.   As a tent is a temporary

                        dwelling, and is fairly flimsy, even so our bodies are weak and wasting away.’‘

“a building from God, an eternal home in heaven” – A building is solid and permanent, compared to a tent.  Our home in heaven is a gift from God, and is certain and secure for us and all who believe.

            “not built by human hands” – your salvation and mine is God’s work alone.   Moreover, our home in heaven

                        will be absolutely perfect….beyond anything we can ask for or imagine.  (Ephesians 3:20-21)

5:2       “we groan” – we are uncomfortable – even miserable – while waiting for the perfect Spiritual body which

                        God will give us in the resurrection (I Corinthians 15:42-49)

            “clothed” – covered, like our clothing covers us – in the perfection of heaven.

5:3       “naked” – without a body….the state of those whose earthly tent has been taken down through death.  

                        (2 Timothy 4:6b)

5:4       “burdened” – knowing that eternal life is ahead for us, life here in a sinful world can be burdensome.

            “so that the mortal may be swallowed up by life” – referring to our eventual participation in the resurrection

                        on the Last Day.

5:5       “the One Who prepared us for this” – God is the One Who elected us for heaven in eternity (Ephesians 1:3-6)

                        and called us to saving faith in time, via the Holy Spirit’s converting work.

            “gave us the Spirit as a down payment” – The Holy Spirit’s presence in us (His indwelling) is the guarantee

                        that we are God’s believing children and heaven’s heirs.  (Ephesians 1:14)

5:6       “Therefore” – because of what God has done for us, we want to live for Him.

            “confident” – also translated “of good courage”….Paul was unafraid and not intimidated.  Rather, he was

 bold no matter what the circumstances in which he ministered, or the audience to which he ministered.

            “at home…..away” – Paul and his associates…and we…continue to live for the time being here in our earthly


5:7       “by faith, not by sight” – See Hebrews 11:1.   Faith isn’t based on provable or observable facts (the absence of

                        which are a stumbling block for many people)

5:8       “prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord” – see Philippians 1:23.   Isn’t this, when push

                        comes to shove, every Christian’s desire while living in this evil world?

5:9       “for this reason” – knowing with confidence that heaven is ours, freely, for Jesus’ sake.

“our goal [is] to please Him” – not in order to earn heaven, but out of gratitude for God’s saving grace.   (Romans 12:1)

            “whether at home or away” – whether someone is physically alive, or his/her body is dead, on the Last Day.

5:10      “we must all appear”  – see John 5:28;   Matthew 25:31-32.   There is going to be ONE Judgment Day.

“the judgment seat of Christ” – Jesus will return to judge everyone on the Last Day.  (Acts 17:31;   2 Tim 4:1;  2 Peter 3:10)

“so that each one may receive what is due for what he did” – This sounds a lot like salvation by works….IF this was the only statement in Scripture on that subject.   It isn’t, however.   This activity has nothing to do with our justification…other than that the works we have done as Christians will furnish the evidence of our faith – as well as the evidence of others unbelief.   (Romans 2:5, 16)

5:11      “fear of the Lord” – being fearful of the One to Whom everyone is accountable, and Who possesses the

                        power to damn sinners to hell.  (see Matthew 10:28)

“trying to persuade people” – Paul wants to persuade the Corinthians that he is an authentic apostle of the true Gospel.   The “false apostles, “ on the other hand, are not the Corinthians’ friends – but instead are their spiritual foes and a grave danger to their souls.

            “We are well known to God” – God knows everything about us, from our wants and needs to what is in our

                        hearts.   (see Matthew 10:30;   II Timothy 2:19;   Luke 16:15; and Psalm 94:11.)

5:12      “not commending ourselves to you again” – Paul had no intention of “arguing” the case before the

Corinthians regarding his faithfulness and apostolic office.   His actions spoke for him in bringing them the Gospel that had converted them from unbelief to faith.

            “an opportunity to boast about us” – Those Corinthians should have been grateful to God (and to a lesser

extent, to Paul) for having been brought to faith.   The Christian’s “boast” is always in God’s grace to him/her.

            “outward appearance” – The “false apostles” were superficial…..all show and no substance, Spiritually-

                        speaking.  Their concern wasn’t for the eternal souls of the Corinthians, but for their (the false

                        apostles’) power, popularity and personal wealth.

5:13      “if we were out of our minds” – Apparently Paul’s enemies were denigrating him by suggesting that He was

                        spiritually delusional…..perhaps tied to the dramatic conversion he claimed to have had.   (See I

                        Corinthians 1:14:9-13)

            “for God” – His conversion was for God’s glory as were Paul’s sufferings (so are ours!).   See Acts 9:15-16 and

                        I Corinthians 10:31.

“right minds” – Paul was sensible, sober-minded, and avoided sensationalism in presenting God’s Word to those he served.   


5:14      “love of Christ” – almost certainly this is a reference to Jesus’ life and death for us.   Some, however, believe

                        that this refers to our love for Christ…..which would be in response to His love for us.

            “One” – Christ, Who is God incarnate.

            “compels” – the driving influence in his ministry……what motivated Paul.

“died for all” – this is a foundational passage for the teaching of objective justification, which tells us that Christ died for the whole human race – from those who would believe in Him to those who don’t.   (John 3:16;   John 1:26;   Romans 3:22-24;   Romans 5:6-8;   I Tim 2:6;   John 2:2).   Our justification – objectively – occurred at the cross when Christ died for us all.  “Subjective justification” is the “flip-side” of objective justification.   Subjective justification occurs, in time, when God the Holy Spirit brings an individual to saving faith in Christ.   (Romans 3:24,28;   Romans 4:5; Luke 23:43; Ephesians 2:8-9)

5:15      “so that those who live would no longer live for themselves but for Him” – Matthew 5:14-16;   Romans 6:1-4

5:16      “As a result” – of our being justified by grace, through faith in Christ.

“we regard no one according to the flesh” – We don’t judge one another according to mere human standards like age, wisdom, wealth, education, accomplishments, and earthly status.   This was an on-going problem in Corinth (some thinking they were spiritually better than others), in large part due to the personality divisions that existed within the church.   Paul is saying that, in view of Christ’s righteousness applied to us, no one is better or worse than another.  We are all the same…redeemed.

“we knew Christ according to the flesh” – namely, Christ’s being fully human.  Prior to his conversion Paul regarded Jesus as just a human adversary….and not the Promised Messiah.   Many today also see Christ only as a great man….but not the God-Man and our Savior.

            “know” – the Greed word used for know here (“gnosko”) means to comprehend something intelligently.

5:17      “if anyone is in Christ” – that is, united through faith in Christ, with his/her fellow believers.

            “new creation” – Our redemption is the fulfillment of God’s promise to reconcile and restore fallen humanity

                        to Himself by granting us the perfection that we lost through Adam’s fall.   (Romans 8:18-23)

            “old” – our former unspiritual way of life.

“new” – through the Holy Spirit’s work in our conversion, we are “born again,” that is, we are no longer spiritually dead, but have been spiritually alive in Christ   (John 3:5,6;   Titus 3:5-7)

5:18      “all these things are from God” – the LORD graciously took all the initiative in working out our salvation

                        (Ephesians 2:8-9;   Romans 5:8;   John 3:16)

“and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” – God has entrusted to us (as stewards/caretakers) the Gospel ministry.  We have been chosen by God to be witnesses of Christ’s redeeming love to the world (Acts 1:8;   Matthew 28:20;   Mark 16:15-16).

5:19      “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” – When Christ died God’s holy judgment against sin

was completely satisfied (John 19:30).  It was paid for in full, the price being Christ’s holy, precious blood and His innocent suffering and death for us all.   With His anger against sin now appeased, God is at peace once more with sinful humanity.

5:20      “We are Christ’s ambassadors” – Paul was, and we are God’s spokesmen and spokeswomen.   How well do

                        you represent Christ?   (Matthew 5:13-16)

            “God is making His appeal through us” – The Gospel that we offer others has not originated with us, nor

can we adjust or adapt it as we see fit.   This message of salvation is God’s.  We are merely His mouthpieces.   AT the same time, He promises to bless the Word that we speak for Him (Matthew 10:19-20;   Luke 10:16;   Isaiah 55:11)

            “We urge you, on Christ’s behalf: BE RECONCILED” – this call to repentance is not optional.   There is no

other way to be saved than through faith in Christ.  (Acts 4:12;   John 14:6)   Without faith in Christ, there can be no reconciliation with God, but only eternal condemnation.

5:21      “who did not know sin to become sin for us” – This is a synopsis of the Gospel.  The perfect Christ took upon

Himself the obligation to the Law of God (Galatians 4:4) and kept it flawlessly in our place.   In addition, He embraced all of humanity’s sinfulness (Isaiah 53:6).   He endured from God the Father the punishment and eternal death that we deserve for our transgressions.   In so doing, Jesus exchanged our sinfulness for His righteousness, so that we are now regarded as holy in God’s sight…for Jesus’ sake.

6:1       “we also urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain” – in other words, don’t reject the Gospel of Christ,

either by outright rejection (persisting in unbelief), or by falling away after having been converted (Hebrews 6:4-6).

6:2       “Now is the day of salvation” – Using the words of Isaiah 49:8, Paul reminds his readers and us that every

day is a gift of God’s grace to us.  Don’t take your faith for granted, let alone become Spiritually lax or indifferent.   (Hebrews 2:3)   Also, don’t put off witnessing about Christ to others, urging them to repent and believe the Good News.    Souls are at stake today.   Today, after all, could be the day of death, or the Last Day for us and those we know and love.