The Twenty-first Sunday After Trinity

The Twenty-third Sunday of the Pentecost Season


November 06, 2022

We’ve Been Elected…not Selected


                  There’s a rather humorous story told about a gathering of theologians which ended in a debate between the correctness of absolute predestination versus total free will.  Things became so heated that they eventually broke into two opposing factions, each separating from the other by moving into adjacent rooms……all of them, that is, except for one individual who stood in between, “straddling the theological fence.”    Recognizing that both sides had some Biblical support for their positions, yet also aware that each side was using logic to reach certain unScriptural conclusions, he knew that he could join neither side – for both were correct in some things but were in error on other matters.   The “Absolute Predestinarians” were Biblically correct in teaching that man’s salvation is totally due to God causing their salvation, but they erred in logically believing that man’s unbelief and damnation were also due entirely to God’s control or choice.    The “Total Free Will-ers” were Scripturally correct in believing that man’s unbelief is totally his fault and his choice.   They erred in the “reasoned” teaching that man’s coming to faith must also be due to his personally choosing for God – or at least due to his choosing not to resist God as stubbornly as others.

            From his knowledge of Scripture, the man-in-the-middle knew that God is both omniscient and omnipotent – knowing everything and all-powerful over all things.   Likewise he knew it is true that God, solely in His grace (and not in any way on the basis of man’s merit), has predestined (or chosen) for eternal salvation those He would bring to saving faith in Him.  And he knew that God deserves and gets all the glory for man’s salvation.  At the same time, He understood that the Bible teaches clearly that all who are lost eternally in unbelief are totally at fault for their going to hell,  because they have chosen to reject the Lord.  And so the responsibility for their condemnation is obviously and entirely their own.   It is not God’s fault or doing in any way whatsoever.   

            While that man-in-the-middle “got it right.”    Albert Einstein, one of the physicists and intellectuals of the 20th century – perhaps of all time, did not “get it” at all.    Einstein felt compelled to give his grudging acceptance to “the necessity for a supernatural beginning” and eventually, to “the presence of a superior reasoning power.”    But he was never able to accept the existence of a personal, loving God.   He claimed that two specific obstacles, one of experience and the other of logic, blocked his way.    According to what he wrote in his journal, Einstein said that he wrestled with a deeply felt bitterness toward the clergy, toward priests in particular, due to a variety of unsatisfying experiences with them during his life.   He also struggled and stumbled spiritually over his inability to resolve the paradox in logic between God’s omnipotence and man’s total responsibility for his wrongs.    “If this Divine Being is truly omnipotent,” he wrote, “then every occurrence, including every human action, thought, feeling and aspiration are also His work and responsibility.   Consequently, how can He possibly hold men responsible for their deeds and thoughts when He is such an almighty being?     In giving out punishment and rewards to men would He not, to a very great  extent, be passing judgment on Himself?   How can this justice be combined with the goodness and righteousness supposedly also attributed to Him?”    Seeing no logical solution to this evident paradox, Albert Einstein, like many other powerful intellectuals through the centuries, stumbled over these two seemingly conflicting, yet very true teachings of Scripture.    He chose to rely on his reason to logically rule out the existence of a personal God…..and in so doing Einstein forfeited not only any hope of being brought to faith in the true God, but also any hope for eternal salvation in heaven.   

            Although “The Doctrine of Election” is, in some respects one of Scripture’s most difficult – and in some ways most “scandalous” – teachings (some have even referred to it as the Bible’s “Gordian Knot”), it is not a teaching with which you and I are unfamiliar.    Every Sunday at Grace Lutheran Church (and I would hope this is the case in every Biblically-driven Christian Church), we speak indirectly – and in certain cases, directly – about our specific theme for today: “We’ve Been Elected…..Not Selected” … This wonderful,  comforting, and illogical (even confusing) Doctrine of Scripture affirms for us all that God in His extraordinary and incomprehensible love for us (and before the world was even formed) personally chose (elected) each of us not only to believe in Him as the true Savior-God, but to one day live eternally with Him in heaven.   He didn’t “select” us because of our potential or our goodness.

            Each of us (along with Luther in his explanation to the 3rd article of the Apostles’ Creed) expresses our faith that God has chosen us for salvation every time we personally or publicly confess:    “I know that I cannot by my own thinking or choosing believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to Him, but [that] the Holy Spirit has called my by the Gospel, enlightened my with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the one, true faith.”  

            Furthermore, we regularly express this truth – that God is totally responsible for our salvation and our conversion to faith – in many of our Lutheran-Christian hymns, such as “Jesus, Your Blood and Righteousness.”  There in the fourth verse we sing these words:   “Lord, I believe were sinners more  Than sands upon the ocean shore, You have for all a ransom paid,  For all a full atonement made.”    Later this morning in our Sermon Hymn, we’ll declare:   “Lord, ’tis not that I did choose You;   That, I know, could never be;   For this heart would still refuse You    Had Your grace not chosen me.”     Martin Luther also wrote the doctrine of election into a hymn we sing here in church (“Dear Christians, One and All Rejoice”) through these familiar words: “But God beheld my wretched state   Before the world’s foundation   And, mindful of His mercies great,  He planned my soul’s salvation.   A father’s heart He turned to me,  Sought my redemption fervently; He gave His dearest treasure.”

            Of course we also will see this teaching revealed in each of today’s Scripture Lessons, starting with our Old Testament Readingfrom the inspired pen of the prophet Ezekiel.   Here the LORD makes it clear that He takes no pleasure whatsoever in the death of the wicked, but instead He desires the salvation of everyone.   God does not desire to damn those who reject Him to hell.   Nevertheless, those who live impenitently in their unbelief will be condemned and die eternally – the just consequence for their choice to life in wickedness and unbelief.    In this morning’s Epistle Lesson the Apostle Paul assures his readers that, in spite of their sin and the world’s sinfulness, God the Father loves them and has redeemed them through His Son – indeed, He has predestined/chosen them from all eternity to be His children and heaven’s heirs…..and nothing will change that wonderful assurance!   Today’s Gospel Lesson is Jesus’ parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard.    Here, too, we see the amazing grace of our God (in the parable, represented by the vineyard owner), Who offers the same pay (salvation) to all who labor for Him (that is, who believe in Him) – regardless of when they are hired in the day (are brought to saving faith).   Note also that it is the vineyard owner who goes out and chooses/finds His laborers – just as God has found/chosen us to believe in Him.   In our Children’s Lesson we’ll use the example of someone choosing or picking the right fruit in a grocery store to illustrate how God has also chosen us to be His followers.  Finally, through today’s Sermon we will discuss in more detail the doctrine of Election and its significance for each of us.   The portion of Scripture on which our sermon is based is considered the “foundation” (the Latin word is “sedes”) or chief passage for the reassuring doctrine of divine election.



Pre-Service Prayer O Lord God, Almighty Creator, from Whom every good and perfect gift comes, You have bountifully blessed me throughout the days of my life.   You have chosen me as Your own – granting me the faith to believe in You.   You have also preserved me in that one, true Christian faith through Your Word and Sacrament.  You have provided for my bodily needs.   And You have protected me from all spiritual harm.  For Your abundant goodness to me, I humbly praise and thank You.  In however many days and years that might lie ahead for me, I implore You to continue to bless me with Your abiding presence, Your Fatherly protection, and Your guidance in all areas of my life.   I submit myself to Your gracious will, with the confidence that You will use me, as Your humble servant, in whatever ways will serve to further Your glory and Your kingdom. Bless and enrich my faith as I hear Your Word today, and receive my heart-felt praises, prayers, and offerings, in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ, Your Son, my Savior and Lord.  It is in His name that I pray.   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.




Pre-service prayer

Pre-worship music



Let Us Praise The Lord


The Greeting and Introduction to Worship


The Invocation   


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



Our Psalm Reading for Today                                                                                                              Psalm 98


P:  Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things;   His right hand and His holy arm have worked salvation for Him.

C: The Lord has made His salvation known.    + He has revealed His righteousness to the eyes of the nations.


P:  He has remembered His mercy and faithfulness to the house of Israel.

C: All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.


P:  Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.  Break forth in joyful song.   Make music!

C: Make music to the Lord with the lyre,   +    with the lyre and the sound of music.


P:  with trumpets and the sound of the ram’s horn –

C: shout for joy before the King, the Lord.


P:  Let the sea roar, and everything that fills it, the world and all who live in it.

C: Let the rivers clap their hands.   +   Let the mountains sing for joy together before the Lord.


P:  For He comes to judge the earth.

C: He will judge the world in righteousness,   +    and the peoples with fairness.


After which the Congregation will be seated for


The Opening Hymn                                                                                         “God Is Here Among His People”

                                                                                                                                                             sung to the melody of “‘Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          — cwh, 2000


God is here among His people!   As we join in praise and prayer,

May we find in fuller measure, Jesus’ grace which we all share.

Here, though in the world abiding, as God’s children set apart,

We rejoice to join together, one in faith, in love, in heart.


Here the Means of Grace remind us of our life-long need for grace.

Here are altar, font, and pulpit;   here Christ’s cross has central place.

Here in faithful Bible preaching, here in silence and in songs,

Here the Spirit, edifying, heart-felt joy in us prolongs.


Here our children find in Baptism   entry to the Shepherd’s fold;

Here, in Sacramental Union,   Christ sustains us, young and old.

Here the servants of the Servant, seek in worship to explore

What it means in daily living, to believe and to adore.


Lord of all, the Church and Kingdom, in an age of change and doubt,

Keep us faithful to all Scripture;   Help us work Your purpose out.

Here, in bringing praise and off’rings, all we have to give, receive;

We who cannot live without You, We adore You!   We believe!”      Amen.


After which, the Congregation will be asked to rise for



The Confessional Order of Service


Pastor       O LORD, Open my lips.


Congregation   (Sung)   And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.



Pastor       Hasten,  O God, to deliver me.


Congregation – (sung) Hasten to help me, O LORD.



Pastor       “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit.”


Congregation –    (Sung) A broken and a contrite heart, O God,  You will not despise.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son   And to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be.    World without end.   Amen.


We Make Confession Of Our Sins To God


Pastor       I now ask you before God, who searches your heart, do you confess that you have sinned against God  and deserve His wrath and punishment?  Then declare so by saying, “I do confess.


Congregation     “I do confess.”


Pastor    Truly you should confess, for the Holy Scriptures say, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive  ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

     Second, do you, with all your heart, repent of all your sins, committed in thought, word, and   deed?  Then declare so by saying, “I do repent.”


Congregation    “I do repent.”


Pastor     Truly, you should repent, as other penitent sinners have done:  King David, who prayed for a contrite  heart;  Peter, who wept bitterly;  the sinful woman, the prodigal son, and others.

Third, do you sincerely believe that God, by grace, for Jesus’ sake, will forgive you all your sins?  Then declare so by saying, “I do believe.”


Congregation     “I do believe.”


Pastor     Truly you should so believe, for the Holy Scriptures say, “God so loved the world that He gave His  one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Fourth, do you promise that with the help of the Holy Ghost, you will, from this time forward, reform your sinful life?  Then declare it by saying, “I do promise.”


Congregation    “I do promise.”


Pastor    Truly, you should so promise, for Christ, the Lord says:  “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” 

Finally, do you believe that through me, a called servant of God, you will receive from God the  forgiveness of all your sins?  Then declare it by saying, “I do believe.


Congregation    “I do believe.”


Pastor    Upon this, your confession, I, because of my office as a called and ordained servant of God’s Word, announce the  grace of God to all of you.  And, in the place, and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ,  I  forgive you all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Peace  be with you.  Amen.



The Prayer for Today


Almighty and merciful God, +   in Your grace You have called us out of unbelief’s darkness  +   into the light of saving faith in You.   +   Indeed, even before You framed the world   +   from all eternity   +  You knew and chose each of us + to be Your children and to be heaven’s heirs.   +   As we meditate on Your Word this morning   +   fill us with a greater measure of Your Holy Spirit      that we might increase in our faith +   and become even more certain of our eternal salvation   +   which is ours through the merits +    and for the sake of Jesus Christ, Your Son our Savior and Lord, Who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit as one God, now and forever. Amen.



After which the Congregation will be seated



We Hear God’s Word


The Old Testament Lesson                                                                                                                 Ezekiel 18


The word of the Lord came to me.   2 What do you mean, you who keep repeating this proverb concerning the soil of Israel, “Fathers eat sour grapes, and their sons’ teeth are set on edge”? 3 As surely as I live, declares the Lord God, you will never again use this proverb in Israel. 4 Indeed, all souls are mine. The soul of the father is mine just like the soul of the son. The soul who sins is the one who will die.


5 If a man is righteous and practices justice and righteousness, 6 if he does not eat on the mountains and does not lift up his eyes to the filthy idols of the house of Israel, if he does not defile his neighbor’s wife and does not approach a woman during her period, 7 if he does not exploit anyone but returns the collateral given to him for a loan, if he does not seize another person’s property by force but gives his own food to the hungry and covers the naked with clothing, 8 if he does not deduct a fee from the money he lends to someone and he does not demand that people repay more than he lent them, if he holds back his hand from unrighteousness and administers impartial justice between two parties, 9 that is, if he walks in my statutes and keeps my ordinances by acting faithfully, that man is righteous and he will surely live, declares the Lord God.


10 Now if he fathers a violent son, who sheds blood or who does any one of these evil things to a brother 11 (although the father did not do all these things), but the son goes so far as to eat on the mountains and even defiles his neighbor’s wife, 12 exploits the poor and the needy, seizes other people’s property by force, does not return the collateral on a loan, lifts up his eyes to the filthy idols, commits abominations, 13 and deducts a fee from the money he lends to someone and demands that people repay more than he lent them—will he live? He will not live! He committed all these abominations, so he will surely be put to death. His blood will be upon him.

14 But if that son himself fathers a son who sees all the sins that his father has committed, and though he sees, he does not do likewise— 15 he does not eat on the mountains, he does not lift up his eyes to the filthy idols of the house of Israel, he does not defile his neighbor’s wife, 16 he does not exploit anyone, he does not require collateral for a loan, he does not seize another person’s property by force, he gives his own food to the hungry and he covers the naked with clothing, 17 he takes care not to harm the poor, he does not deduct a fee from the money he lends someone or demand that people repay more than he lent them, but he keeps my ordinances and walks according to my statutes—that man will not die because of his father’s guilt. He will surely live. 18 But his father, if he practices extortion, seizes his brother’s goods by force, and does what was not good among his own people, he will surely die because of his own guilt.


19 But you ask, “Why doesn’t the son share in the guilt of the father?” Because the son did what was just and right. He kept all my statutes and carried them out, so he will surely live. 20 The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share in the guilt of the father, and the father will not share in the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous person will be credited to him alone, and the wickedness of the wicked person will be charged against him alone.


21 A wicked man, if he turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and carries out justice and righteousness, he will surely live. He will not die. 22 All of the rebellious acts that he had committed will not be remembered against him. Because of his righteousness that he has practiced, he will live. 23 Do I really find any pleasure in the death of the wicked? says the Lord God. Don’t I want him to turn from his ways and live?


24 But if a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and does what is unrighteous—namely, all the abominations that the wicked man practices—will he live? All the righteous deeds that he did will not be remembered. Because he added one infidelity to another and because of the sins that he has committed, because of them, he will die.


25 But you say, “The Lord’s way is not fair.” Listen now, house of Israel. Is it my way that is not fair? Is it not your ways that are not fair? 26 If a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and practices unrighteousness, he will die because of it. Because of the unrighteousness that he has practiced, he will die.


27 But if a wicked man turns from his wickedness that he has done and practices justice and righteousness, he will preserve his life. 28 Because he has seen and turned away from all the rebellious acts that he had committed, he will surely live, and he will not die. 29 But the house of Israel says, “The Lord’s way is not fair.” Is it really my ways that are not fair, O house of Israel? Is it not your ways that are not fair?


30 Therefore, I will judge each one of you according to his ways, O house of Israel, declares the Lord God. Repent and turn away from all your rebellious acts, so that you will not set out a stumbling block that makes you guilty. 31 Throw off from yourselves all your rebellious actions by which you have rebelled, and obtain a new heart and a new spirit for yourselves. Why should you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies, declares the Lord God. So repent and live!



The Epistle Lesson                                                                                                                     Romans 8:18-39


18 For I conclude that our sufferings at the present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. 19 In fact, creation is waiting with eager longing for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in the hope 21 that even creation itself will be set free from slavery to corruption, in order to share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.  22 For we know that all of creation is groaning with birth pains right up to the present time. 23 And not only creation, but also we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we eagerly await our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 Indeed, it was for this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for something we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patient endurance.


26 In the same way the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we should pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that are not expressed in words. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints, according to God’s will.


28 We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose, 29 because those God foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called. Those he called, he also justified. And those he justified, he also glorified.


31 What then will we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 Indeed, he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also graciously give us all things along with him?   33 Who will bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies! 34 Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus, who died and, more than that, was raised to life, is the one who is at God’s right hand and who is also interceding for us! 35 What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will trouble or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 Just as it is written:   “For your sake we are being put to death all day long.  We are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. 


37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor rulers, neither things present nor things to come, nor powerful forces, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.



After which the Congregation will rise for


The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                      Matthew 20:1-16


“Indeed the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing to pay the workers a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 He also went out about the third hour and saw others standing unemployed in the marketplace. 4 To these he said, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will give you whatever is right.’ So they went. 5 Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour and did the same thing. 6 When he went out about the eleventh hour, he found others standing unemployed. He said to them, ‘Why have you stood here all day unemployed?’


7 “They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’


“He told them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ 8 When it was evening, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, starting with the last group and ending with the first.’


9 “When those who were hired around the eleventh hour came, they each received a denarius. 10 When those who were hired first came, they thought they would receive more. But they each received a denarius too. 11 After they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner: 12 ‘Those who were last worked one hour, and you made them equal to us who have endured the burden of the day and the scorching heat!’


13 “But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not make an agreement with me for a denarius? 14 Take what is yours and go. I want to give to the last one hired the same as I also gave to you. 15 Can’t I do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ 16 In the same way, the last will be first, and the first, last.”



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 will be seated for


The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                  II Thessalonians 2:13-17


13 But we are always obligated to thank God for you, brothers, loved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning for salvation by the sanctifying work of the Spirit and faith in the truth. 14 For this reason he also called you through our gospel so that you would obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold on to the teachings that were passed along to you, either by word of mouth or by a letter from us. 16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and in his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and establish you in every good work and word.



We Have Been Specially Chosen !



The Hymn of the Day                                                                                                                         Hymn 380

                                                                                                              “Lord, ‘Tis Not That I Did Choose You”


1 Lord, ’tis not that I did choose you;   That, I know, could never be,

For this heart would still refuse you    Had your grace not chosen me.

You removed the sin that stained me,    Cleansing me to be your own;

For this purpose you ordained me,   That I live for you alone.


2 It was grace in Christ that called me,    Taught my darkened heart and mind,

Else the world had yet enthralled me,    To your heav’nly glories blind.

Now I worship none above you;    For your grace alone I thirst,

Knowing well that, if I love you,   You, O Father, loved me first.


3 Praise the God of all creation;    Praise the Father’s boundless love.

Praise the Lamb, our expiation,    Priest and King enthroned above.

Praise the Spirit of salvation,   Him by whom our spirits live.

Undivided adoration   To the great Jehovah give.



The Greeting


Grace and peace be yours in abundance, through the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, our Lord.  May the God of peace fill you with all joy in believing!   Amen.

The Sermon Text                                                                                                                         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.

We’ve Been Elected….not Selected



following which 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)

2) You can also donate on our website:

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

Today’s Prayers

P:  We give thanks to You, Lord and Father, for the rest and peace of the night which You have given us, and for the blessing of sharing another day of worship with Your saints and study of Your precious Word. 

C: Enable us to grow in Your grace   +   and build each of us up in our faith   +   since we have meditated upon Your Word,   +   and are now about to receive the blessed assurance that our sins are forgiven   +  and that new life and salvation are ours   +   through the Sacrament of our Savior’s body and blood.

P:  Be with all those in our church family and extended family who are contending with physical, emotional, material and spiritual problems.    Strengthen them through Your Word to successfully face the challenging circumstances into which You have placed them, and – according to Your mercy  and in Your own, perfect time – grant them relief, recovery and restoration as You, alone know best.

C: Give us all genuine enthusiasm and true wisdom for the tasks You have given us to do in this life.   +   Keep us from becoming worldly.   +   Never let us forget that we are men, women and children which You have called + to the “salt” and “light” of Your grace to this sinful world.   +   Keep all discouragements from us,   +   and enable us to be pillars of strength and sources of encouragement +   for both the people of our church and extended families, + as well as for all those whose lives touch ours.


P:  Finally, Lord God, accept our thanks for the privilege of being part of Your Church for today and for all eternity through Your grace to us in Christ, our Savior.    Receive and bless this prayer for Jesus’ sake, Who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit, as the one, true God, forever and ever.   It is in His name that we also join now in praying:

C: 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 to 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.)


       At Grace Lutheran Church, on the basis of what the Bible teaches, we practice what is known as “Close Communion.”   That means we are able to offer the Lord’s Supper this morning only to those individuals who – after completing a thorough study with us of the doctrines contained God’s Word – have already publicly committed themselves to be members of our fellowship because of their agreement with those teachings.   In so doing we are endeavoring to express our comprehensive commitment (and unity which we – as a Christian congregation – share with each other as members of this fellowship) to all the teachings of the Scriptures. and to our striving to put them fully and faithfully into practice in our ministry.  

     That “comprehensive commitment” requirement (which our Lord expects of all His children and so of every church – please see Romans 16:17-18;   2 John 10-11;   I John 4:1-3;   John 8:31-32;   Matthew 28:19-20 …among other portions of Scripture that express this)  allows us only to offer the Lord’s Supper to those persons who are already committed, confirmed, communicant members of Grace Lutheran congregation, or who have become members of one of the congregations of our Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.   

     We do this, not to offend anyone, but  because the Scriptures teach that only those who are “one,” that is, in complete doctrinal agreement, united in a comprehensive public confession of faith, are to commune together at the same altar (see I Corinthians 10:17 and I Corinthians 1:10).

    Through membership in a particular congregation or 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 congregation, church body or Lutheran Synod teaches and practices the same things, we at Grace and in the WELS want to be honest in our recognition of the doctrinal/teaching differences that, here on earth, separate us from other church bodies.    

     To our Guests this morning…..  We want you to know that we sincerely appreciate your presence among us today, and we do rejoice that we share faith in Christ with you.   Please understand that by asking you to refrain from communing with us this morning we are NOT judging your faith in Christ.   What we are doing is expressing – as a congregation – our complete unity of faith in Christ, as well as our joint commitment to all the teachings (doctrines) of God’s Word.   Consequently, we hope that you will do us the courtesy of kindly respecting our Biblical practice of close communion practice by refraining from taking the Lord’s Supper with us today.

      It is our hope that our Scripture-based practice of “Close Communion” will encourage anyone among us this morning who is not presently in full doctrinal 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.     In fact, we pray that all of our guests – and many others – will one day share with us in this “close” fellowship which we enjoy at Grace Lutheran and in the WELS, by your studying God’s Word with us , by joining us in this joint, comprehensive commitment to His Biblical teachings that our Lord wants us to have with each other, and by committing yourself to membership in our church family.

     A brochure further explaining the Biblical basis for this Close Communion practice is available on the entryway tract/brochure rack.    We encourage you to carefully examine it – especially the Biblical references within it –  and also to speak with our Pastor after the service (or, at your convenience) so that you might better understand and appreciate our Biblically-based “Close Communion” practice.

     Thank you for your understanding, your patience, and for your presence here among us this morning.   May God bless you, as you are a blessing to us !


Distribution Hymns                                                                       Hymn 538    “The Church’s One Foundation”


1 The Church’s one foundation   Is Jesus Christ, her Lord;

She is his new creation   By water and the Word.

From heav’n he came and sought her   To be his holy bride;

With his own blood he bought her,   And for her life he died.


2 Elect from ev’ry nation,    Yet one o’er all the earth;

Her charter of salvation:    One Lord, one faith, one birth.

One holy name she blesses,    Partakes one holy food,

And to one hope she presses,    With ev’ry grace endued.


3 The Church shall never perish.    Her dear Lord, to defend,

To guide, sustain, and cherish,    Is with her to the end.

Though there be those that hate her    And strive to see her fail,

Against both foe and traitor    She ever shall prevail.


4 Though with a scornful wonder    The world sees her oppressed,

By schisms rent asunder,    By heresies distressed,

Yet saints their watch are keeping;    Their cry goes up, “How long?”

And soon the night of weeping    Shall be the morn of song.


5 Mid toil and tribulation    And tumult of her war

She waits the consummation    Of peace forevermore

Till with the vision glorious    Her longing eyes are blest

And the great Church victorious   Shall be the Church at rest.






                                                                              Hymn 551   “For All the Saints Who From Their Labor Rest”


1 For all the saints who from their labors rest,    All who their faith before the world confessed,

Your name, O Jesus, be forever blest.    Alleluia! Alleluia!


2 You were their rock, their fortress, and their might;    You, Lord, their captain in the well-fought fight

And in the darkness drear their one true light.    Alleluia! Alleluia!


3 Oh, may your soldiers, faithful, true, and bold    Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old

And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.    Alleluia! Alleluia!


4 Oh, blest communion, fellowship divine!    We feebly struggle; they in glory shine,

Yet all are one within your grand design.    Alleluia! Alleluia!


5 And when the fight is fierce, the warfare long,    Steals on the ear the distant triumph-song,

And hearts are brave again and arms are strong.    Alleluia! Alleluia!


6 The golden evening brightens in the west;    Soon, soon, to faithful warriors comes their rest.

Sweet is the calm of paradise the blest.    Alleluia! Alleluia!


7 But then there breaks a yet more glorious day:    The saints triumphant rise in bright array;

The King of glory passes on his way.    Alleluia! Alleluia!


8 From earth’s wide bounds to ocean’s farthest coast    Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,

Singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.    Alleluia! Alleluia!


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 with favor upon you, and give you His peace.   Amen.


The Closing Hymn                                                                                    Hymn 213   “Forever With The Lord”


1 Forever with the Lord!    Amen! So let it be.

Life from the dead is in that word,    My immortality.


2 While time on earth is spent,    Absent from him I roam,

Yet nightly pitch my moving tent     A day’s march nearer home.


3 My Father’s house on high,    Home of my soul, how near

At times, to faith’s foreseeing eye    The golden gates appear!


4 Lord, be at my right hand,    Then can I never fail.

If you uphold me, I shall stand;    With you I shall prevail.


5 So when my dying breath    Shall rend the veil in two,

By death I shall escape from death    To endless life with you.


6 I’ll know as I am known;    How shall I love that word

And oft repeat before the throne,    “Forever with the Lord!”


Silent Prayer


Post-service music




Last Sunday At Grace                                                                     Worship Attendance: 56      Online views: 44

Bible Class Attendance: 27    Online: 3                                                                      Sunday School Attendance: 5

Budgetary Offerings: $1765     Online offerings: $163

Special Gift (Ladies of Grace) for Audio/Visual: $1500

Serving Next Sunday                                                                                      Elders:   John Johnson, Vic Walker

Ushers: James Boatright,   Jim Taylor,    Jim Winnat

Altar Guild:   Linda Winnat, Christine Quinlan

Looking Ahead For Grace Lutheran Church

Today                   Morning Worship, with the Lord’s Supper, 9:30 a.m.

                             Bible Class/Sunday School, 11:05 a.m.     

                             Youth Confirmation, 12:15

Nov 08 (Tues) Morning Bible Study, 10:15 a.m.

Nov 09 (Wed) Evening Bible Studies, 6 to 7:15 p.m.

Nov 12 (Sat)          Outreach Calling/Visitation Day, 10 a.m.

Nov 13 (Sun)        Morning Worship, 9:30 a.m.     Fellowship, 10:45 a.m. 

                             Bible Class & Sunday School, 11:05 a.m.

                             Youth Confirmation Class, 12:15 to 1:30 p.m.

Birthdays This Week                       Nov 09 – Carl Boettcher;        Nov 09 – JoAnn Diewock;     Nov 11 – Emily Watkins;

Thanksgiving Day Worship and Special Dinner   We’re just over two weeks away from celebrating our national day of Thanksgiving.  We’d like to encourage you to make your plans now to join us in setting the tone for a “Spiritual” Thanksgiving Day by starting November 24th   here at Grace with a service of celebration and thanksgiving at 9:30

a.m.   We’ll follow the service with a special pot-luck/fellowship Thanksgiving  dinner.   In addition to it being a special occasion’  through which you can thank the Lord for His many mercies to you, please see this as an  “outreach  opportunity” (since few churches even hold Thanksgiving Day worship services), and consider inviting family

members and a friend (or  friends) to join you in worship here Thanksgiving morning.

Fellowship Volunteers Needed    Would you be willing to volunteer to   prepare after-worship coffee, drinks, and light snacks?   A sign-up poster is on the fellowship hall bulletin board.  We need more volunteers for the rest of this year (November through December).  A reimbursement of $25 per week for expenses is available to help defray costs.  (It comes through our “donation jar.”)