The First Sundayin Lent

also known traditionally as  “Invocavit Sunday”

February 21, 2021

What Do I Do When Tempted?


            There’s an old Indian legend that has something to say to us about temptation:    Many years ago, Native America young men would go away in solitude to prepare for their coming into manhood.   One particular  youth hiked into a beautiful valley, green with trees, and bright with flowers.   He spent some time fasting there.    But on the third day, as he looked up at the surrounding mountains, he noticed one tall rugged peak, capped with dazzling snow.    “I will test myself against that mountain,”  he said to himself.   So he put on his buffalo-hide shirt, threw his blanket over his shoulders and set off to climb the peak.   When he finally reached the top,  with a feeling of great satisfaction he looked down on the world below him.   He could see almost forever, and his heart swelled with pride at his act of manhood.  Just then he heard a rustling noise at his feet, and looking down, he saw a snake.   Before he could move, the snake spoke to him.

            “I am about to die,” said the snake. “It is too cold for me up here and I am freezing.   I shouldn’t have come up here.   There is no food and I’m starving.   I am too weak to make it down the mountain on my own.   Please put me under your shirt and take me down to the valley.”

            “No,” said the youth. “I have been warned about your kind.   You are a rattlesnake.   If I pick you up, you will bite me, and your bite will kill me.”

            “That’s not true,” said the snake.  “I promise that I will treat you differently.   If you do this for me, you will be special.  I will not harm you.    You have my word of honor.”

            The youth resisted awhile, but this was a very persuasive snake with beautiful markings.  At last the youth picked up the snake, tucked it under his shirt, and carried it down to the valley. There he laid it gently on the grass.  As he did, the snake suddenly coiled, rattled, leapt, and bit him on the leg.

“But you promised…” cried the youth, writhing in pain.   All the snake said as he

slithered away was:  “You knew what I was when you picked me up.”


            The Devil, this wicked world and our own sinful flesh – which, combined, are at war against our souls – are not unlike that rattlesnake that lied to the youth in our story.   The snake assured the boy that he would be his friend and wouldn’t bite him…..until he did bite,  with devastating effect.  Actually, that’s a big part of what temptation is:   it’s a lie that promises us security, success, satisfaction, or something else selfish – only to bite us in the end….if we give in to it (….and yet we don’t have to succumb to it!)   

            In fact, there’s a very common misconception concerning temptation that many people have.  They believe that it is sinful simply to be tempted.    Well, that’s not true.   It is not a sin to be tempted;   the sin occurs when you give in to that temptation.   Temptations come from a variety of places and come in all types.   They can come from our personal, sinful desires.   They can also come through the influences and encouragements of the sinful world in which we live.    And, they can be the product of the Devil’s working against us.  Each and every one of us faces temptation on a daily basis….and no one is exempt.           In Hebrews 4:15-15, we are reminded that even our Savior was tempted.  The writer of Hebrews says:  “For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One Who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin.   So let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Therefor, even though Jesus was tempted, we find that He was “without sin;”  He didn’t succumb to it….He overcame it for us.

            Christ’s success against temptation should encourage us whenever we face temptation.   The same power He used to resist it completely is available to us today…..that power is Jesus’ almighty power as the true God, Who is always for us.   As Paul says in I Corinthians 10:13, “ No testing has overtaken you except ordinary testing.   But God is faithful.  He will not allow you to be tested beyond your ability, but when He tests you, He will also bring about the outcome that you are able to bear it..” 

            Think about how many and how varied are the temptations that you and I face during the course of an ordinary day:   Staying in bed late – the temptation to be slothful;   Growling and grumbling at the breakfast table – the temptations to be unkind and ungrateful;   Starting work 10 minutes late – the temptations of laziness and selfishness;   Losing your temper when a co-worker crashes your computer – the temptations of  impatience and anger;    Flirting with that good-looking woman, or taking a second look at that handsome – the temptation to lust;   Refusing to speak to a person who has hurt you – the temptations of malice and an unforgiving heart;   Repeating a juicy story about someone else’s misfortune – the temptation to gossip;    Lying awake at night thinking sensual thoughts – the temptation to impurity;   Spending so much on yourself that your offering to God is a “token tip,” rather than the generous, faithful gift that He deserves – the temptation to be greedy;   Taking your anger out on your children or spouse after a hard day – the temptation to be cruel and harsh;    Buying something you can’t afford – the temptation to self-indulgence;     Having a second helping and then a third – the temptation to gluttony;     Firing off an ugly text, letter or email to some-one who hurt you – the temptations to be vengeful and unforgiving.   And there’s much more.

            Regarding temptation, Martin Luther once said, “Don’t sit near the fire if your head is made of butter.”  In other words, the closer we get to the fire, the hotter the fire feels to us.  So, even though the fire remains at the same temperature, the heat affects us according to how close we are to it. The closer we are to the temptation, the more it influences us.

            One last observation about temptation – particularly when others we know are facing it    Whenever you and I see a brother or sister in Christ caught up in sin, there are at least two things we don’t know:    First, we don’t know how hard he or she tried not to sin.    And second, we don’t know how powerful were the forces of temptation that attacked him or her.   You and I also don’t know what we would have done in the same circumstances.  

            So, let’s be firm against temptation, yet also evangelical in the way in which we approach our temptations and those that others face.   Most important….let’s call “temptation” exactly what it is: “sin!”    Also, let’s take to heart what God teaches us in His Word about the dangers of temptation, so that we can recognize them when we are confronted with life’s various temptations.   And, finally, let’s rely both on the example of Christ insofar as He consistently and completely resisted all temptation for our sakes….and on His power (through His Holy Spirit) by which we can fend off every temptation that the Devil, this wicked world and our sinful flesh sends our direction on a daily basis.


This Morning’s Scripture Lessons

       We’ll begin our examination of God’s Word today with our Old Testament Lesson, taken from the Old Testament book of Genesis.  It’s the well-known story of how Joseph – as a slave in Egypt, far from home and away from the support of his family, in a very vulnerable position – had to face and fend off the invitations/temptations of his master Potiphar’s wife as she repeatedly attempted to seduce him.    He tried to “reason” with her – that she was his master’s wife, a master he respected – but she wouldn’t listen.   He told her that he would not commit this sin against God.   He tried to avoid her.  And ultimately, he had to run away from her … relentless was the temptress, Mrs. Potiphar.  He was committed to not ever giving in to her temptations.  But Mrs. Potiphar would not be rejected without revenge.   She lied to her husband about Joseph, falsely accusing him of trying to seduce her, and she saw to it that Potiphar had Joseph thrown (innocently) into prison.   But the Lord was with Joseph and blessed him even in that awful, unfair situation….just as He has promised to work out everything for the good of His children who love Him.   In due time, Joseph was released – not as a slave but (due to his God-given ability to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams) into the position of being the right hand man of Pharaoh….a role in which God would use Joseph to save from famine both the nation of Egypt and his own extended family (and the family line of God’s Promised Savior).

       For today’s Epistle Lesson  we turn to the “Full Armor of God” chapter – Ephesians 6.   Tying this lesson in with today’s other Scripture readings and their truths, we’ll want to recognize that we are under daily assault from Satan, but that ultimate and inevitable victory against him is already assured us through the redemptive work and power of Christ, our Savior.   Wrapped in the “spiritual armor” that He gives us, we can safely stand against all Satan’s assaults certain that our souls remain eternally secure through faith in Christ.

       In this morning’s Children’s Lesson we’ll be reminded that Jesus came to earth for especially one reason:  to defeat the Devil and to destroy his power over our souls….and so when He faced – and defeated – Satan’s temptations, He did it for us.   And so He certainly knows how to help us defeat temptation when we face it.   Let’s be sure to ask for His help.

            Finally, the account of Satan appearing before Jesus three times in succession in an effort to tempt Him into sinning (in the vain hope of stopping Jesus from carrying out His mission of saving fallen mankind) serves as both our Gospel Lesson and our Sermon Text for today.   Each time the Devil tried to tempt Him, Christ turned away temptation by relying on and responding with a portion of God’s Word.   Nearly 2000 years later the Devil continues to work his wiles of temptation on God’s people.   Since he never gives up, let us always be on our guard against Satan’s repeated temptations, and may we always be prepared to use the power of God’s Word as our best defense against the Devil’s schemes.


Today is “Invocavit” Sunday    Over the past sixteen centuries, the Christian church – at least that portion of the church which follows the traditional “Church Calendar” –  has retained the custom of identifying the six Sundays of Lent by the first words of their Latin “introits” (Psalm readings for the day;  “introit” is the Latin word for “he enters” and refers to a particular point in the worship liturgy/order when the minister approached the altar/the symbolic “presence” of the Lord in worship).   The first Sunday in Lent, then, is known as Invocavit Sunday, taken from verse 15 of our Psalm for this morning, Psalm 91 (“invocavit” means “He will call”).  The Scripture readings for today were originally assembled to focus the Church’s attention on Satan’s relentless efforts to tempt Jesus (and us), as well as on Christ’s ability to successfully overcome all of the Devil’s temptations.   He defeated Satan for us!


The Origin of the Season of Lent  “We are going up to Jerusalem.”  With these words Jesus invites us to follow Him as He travels the way of the cross during another season of Lent.   Having already begun this past Ash Wednesday, Lent is a 40 day period which ends on Holy Saturday, just before Easter Sunday.     While Ash Wednesday actually takes place 46 days prior to Easter, the six Sundays in Lent are traditionally not included in the 40 day count of this Lenten season with its penitential emphasis.   The reason for this omission is that, by custom, the Sundays during Lent are regarded as interludes during which the Church can celebrate, however briefly and still with a measure of solemnity, the joy that continues to be ours by virtue of God’s grace to us in Christ.  

       The term “Lent” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word for “spring,” the time when the days lengthen.  The earliest Christians to observe Lent did so over 40 hours, remembering the 40 hours during which our Savior lay in the tomb.  The period of commemoration was later extended to two weeks (that period is still referred to as “Passiontide”), and eventually to forty days. 

       The 40 days, incidentally, are representative of several biblical events: Jesus’ 40-day fast at the beginning of his ministry (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12,13; Luke 4:1-13);   Moses’ stay on Mt. Sinai in connection with the Lord’s giving the Ten Commandments and His other laws to Israel (Exodus 24:18);  and Elijah’s period of fasting on his way to the mountain of God (I Kings 19:8) .


The Focus of Worship during Lent       The Christian Church traditionally has made use of the season of Lent as a period of spiritual preparation – specifically, a time during which it has devoted itself to the contemplation of the cross of our Savior, and all for which it stands.  While the midweek Vespers (evening) worship services during Lent have a more “penitential” character, and thus focus the worshiper’s attention on Christ’s Passion (His sufferings for our sins), the Scripture readings and prayers for the Sundays of Lent are typified by a modest tone of “celebration” which anticipates Jesus (and our) victories won on Easter morning.    And so, all of the traditional Scripture lessons and prayers of the six Sundays in Lent deal in one way or another deal with the challenges and battles which our Savior waged and won against the kingdom of Satan.  Each victory “prefigures” (points ahead to) the glorious triple- victory which Jesus won through His resurrection – His (and His Church’s ) victories over sin, death, and Satan’s power.           


The Special Prayers and Scripture Lessons During Lent          Today’s (and our entire Lenten season’s) Scripture lessons and Prayers can be traced back to the first centuries of the early Christian Church.  Initially “collect-prayers” were simply the product of early church pastors gathering/collecting prayer requests from church members prior to the worship service.   The “collected” requests would then be offered in one, general prayer.    Over time, and due to the consistency of many prayer-requests, formal collect-prayers were written down and used from one year to the next, and were handed down from one generation to the following – all the way to us today.   In addition, during its early era the Church customarily required its adult candidates for Baptism to undergo a 40 day period rigorous discipline, prayer, and fasting, which — in time — came to be known as the season of Lent.  The intent was to provide spiritual support to these soon-to-be baptized members so that they might be freed from affection for worldly matters and from any attachments to the Devil’s wicked works and ways.  The terminal point of their period of Lenten denial was Easter Eve (or Holy Saturday), when they were baptized into the faith and first permitted to commune with their Savior through the Lord’s Supper.  

       In the weeks ahead, we will be hearing – with some variation – many of the same Scripture readings those early Christian candidates for Baptism also heard during the worship services that they attended over 19 centuries ago.  We will also join in offering essentially the same “Collect-Prayers” to the Lord which they joined in offering.  In addition to giving us a sense of the heritage we possess, which connects us with the earliest Christians and believers since then, these specially-selected readings and prayers should also help us  better prepare our hearts and lives both for the reception of the Sacrament during Holy Week, for the observance of Christ’s death on Good Friday, and for the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter morn.



Pre-service Silent Prayer

Heavenly Father, please guide me in wisdom and truth through Your Holy Spirit, as I

spend this hour meditating on Your Word and rejoicing in Your limitless love for me.  Assist me in being attentive in heart and mind to Your Word, as well as to the hymns of praise, the various petitions, and the prayers of thanksgiving my voice directs toward You.  Use this worship service, O Lord, to deepen my love for You, to strengthen my trust in You, and to renew my commitment to You.  All this I ask for the sake of and in the name of Your One and only Son, Jesus Christ, my Savior.  Amen.



The Order of Worship for the 1st Sunday in Lent



Silent Prayer upon entering the worship area

Pre-service music                                                                                                                                              


We Praise Our God


The Introduction and Invitation to Worship


after which the Congregation will rise for


The Invocation


Pastor              “We begin this service in the name of the Father,

and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.   Amen.



The Psalm for Today                                                                                                                            Psalm 91


P:         One who lives in the shelter of the Most High will stay in the shadow of the Almighty.

C:         I will say to the Lord, “My Refuge and my Fortress, my God, in Whom I trust.”


P:         Surely He will rescue you from the fowler’s trap, from the destructive plague.  With His feathers He will cover you, and under His wings you will find refuge;   His truth s will be your shield and armor.

C:         You will not fear the terror of night,   +   nor the arrow that flies by day,   +  nor the plague that prowls in the darkness,   +   nor the pestilence  that destroys at noon.  +   A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand,   + but it will not come near you.   +   You will only observe it with your eyes.  You will see the punishment of the wicked.   +   Yes, Lord, You are my Refuge!


P:         If you make the Most High your shelter — evil will not overtake you.   +   Disaster will not come near your tent.

C:         Yes, He will give a command to His angels concerning you  +   to guard you in all your ways;   +  so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.   +   You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;  +   you will trample the great lion and the serpent.


P:         The LORD says, +   “Because He clings to Me,  I will rescue him.   +   I will protect him   +   for he acknowledges My name.”     

C:         He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;   +   I will be with him in distress,   +  I will deliver him and I will honor him.   +   With long life I will satisfy him + and I will let him see My salvation.


After which the Congregation will be seated for


The Opening Hymn                                                                   Hymn 200   “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”


1 A mighty Fortress is our God,  A trusty Shield and Weapon;

He helps us free from ev’ry need   That hath us now o’ertaken.

The old bitter Foe   Now means deadly woe:

Deep guile and great might   Are his dread arms in fight;

On earth is not his equal.


2 With might of ours can naught be done,   Soon were our loss effected;

But for us fights the Valiant One,    Whom God Himself elected.

Ask ye, Who is this?–   Jesus Christ it is,

Of Sabaoth, Lord,  And there’s none other God,

He holds the field forever.


3 Tho’ devils all the world should fill,   All eager to devour us,

We tremble not, we fear no ill,   They cannot overpow’r us.

This world’s prince may still   Scowl fierce as he will,

He can harm us none,  He’s judged; the deed is done;

One little word can fell him.


4 The Word they still shall let remain,   Nor any thank have for it;,

He’s by our side upon the plain   With His good gifts and Spirit.

And take they our life,   Goods, fame, child, and wife,

Let these all be gone,   They yet have nothing won:

The Kingdom ours remaineth.    Amen.


After which, the Congregation will rise as



We Join in Confession of Our Sins


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



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


Just as I am without one plea

But that Thy blood was shed for me,

And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee,

O Lamb of God, I come, I come.



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


Just as I am, though tossed about

With many a conflict, many a doubt,

Fightings and fears within, without,

O Lamb of God, I come, I come.



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


                        Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;

Sight, riches, healing of the mind,

Yea, all I need, in Thee to find,

O Lamb of God, I come, I come.



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



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


Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,

Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;

Because Thy promise I believe,

O Lamb of God, I come, I come.


Congregation              Almighty and most merciful God,   +   We acknowledge and confess   +    that we have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed;    +    That

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


Pastor              Upon this, your voluntary confession, and in accordance with the responsibilities entrusted to me as a called and ordained servant of the Living Word, I assure you that God, our heavenly Father, has forgiven you all your sins.   By the perfect life and innocent death of our Lord Jesus Christ, He has removed your guilt and condemnation forever.   You are His own dear child –  an heir of everlasting life through faith in Christ.   May God now give you the strength of faith to live according to His will.   Go in His grace and peace.   Amen.


Our Grateful Response for God’s Forgiveness

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

meter:    7777D


Blessed Holy Trinity,

Glorious in Your majesty,

Father, Spirit and the Son –

Savior-God, the Three-in-One –

From sin’s curse You set me free

Heaven’s mine – eternally.

All I am, to You I owe,

Source from Whom all blessings flow.    Amen.


The Prayer for This Morning                                                                                                                           


O Lord God,   +   graciously hear our prayers,   +   and help us in all our times of need.   +   Stretch out  Your powerful right hand   +  to defend and preserve us   +  from every attack of the Devil,  +   from every assault of this evil world,   +   and from every inclination of our sinful human nature,  +   through Jesus Christ,   +   Your Son, our Lord,   +   Who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit,   +   One God, forever and ever.   +    Amen.


After which the Congregation will be seated



We Listen to the Word of God


Today’s Old Testament Lesson                                                                                                Genesis 39:1-23


When Joseph was brought down to Egypt, Potiphar the Egyptian, who was an officer of Pharaoh and the captain of the guard, bought Joseph from the Ishmaelites who had brought him down to Egypt. 2 The Lord was with Joseph, and he became successful. He served in the house of his master the Egyptian. 3 His master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord made everything that he touched a success. 4 Joseph found favor in his sight. Joseph served him, and he made Joseph manager of his household. He put Joseph in charge of everything.  5 From the time that Potiphar made him manager of his household, in charge of everything that he had, the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s household for Joseph’s sake, and the blessing of the Lord rested on everything that he had, both in the house and in the fields. 6 So he left Joseph in charge of everything that he had. He did not concern himself with anything except the food that he ate.


Joseph was well built and handsome. 7 Sometime after all this, his master’s wife had her eye on Joseph, and she said, “Come, lie down with me.”   8 But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Look, my master does not concern himself with anything that has been entrusted to me in the house. He has put me in charge of everything that he has. 9 He has no one in this house greater than I am, and he has not withheld anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a great evil and sin against God?”


10 She kept speaking to Joseph day after day, but he would not listen to her. He would not lie down beside her or even be with her. 11 But one day when he went into the house to do his work, none of the men of the household were there inside the house. 12 She caught him by his garment and said, “Come, lie down with me!” He left behind his garment in her hand and ran outside.


13 When she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had run outside, 14 she called to the men of her household and said to them, “Look, my husband has brought a Hebrew man in to put us to shame. He came in to lie down with me, but I screamed loudly. 15 When he heard me scream, he left behind his garment with me and ran outside.” 


16 She kept his garment beside her until his master came home. 17 This is what she told him: “The Hebrew servant, whom you have brought to us, came to me to put me to shame and said to me, ‘Let me lie down with you.’ 18 And look, when I screamed and cried out, he left behind his garment with me and ran outside.”   19 As soon as his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him, saying, “This is what your servant did to me,” he became very angry. 20 Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison where the king’s prisoners were confined, so Joseph was kept in prison there.   21 But the Lord was with Joseph. He showed mercy to him and gave him favor in the sight of the warden of the prison. 22 The warden of the prison made Joseph responsible for all the prisoners who were in the prison. Joseph was responsible for whatever they did there. 23 The warden of the prison did not pay attention to anything that was under his authority, because the Lord was with Joseph, and the Lord made everything that he did succeed.



The Epistle Lesson                                                                                                               Ephesians 6:10-20


10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can stand against the schemes of the Devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 For this reason, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to take a stand on the evil day and, after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand, then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness fastened in place, 15 and with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace tied to your feet like sandals. 16 At all times hold up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the Evil One. 17 Also take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.


18 At every opportunity, pray in the Spirit with every kind of prayer and petition. Stay alert for the same reason, always persevering in your intercession for all the saints. 19 Pray for me also, that when I open my mouth a message will be given to me that boldly reveals the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may speak about it boldly, as it is necessary for me to speak.


After which the Congregation will rise for


The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                   Matthew 4:1-11


Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. 2 After He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. 3 The Tempter came and said to Hm, “If You are the Son of God, command these stones to become bread.”    4 But Jesus answered, “It is written:  Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God.”

5 Then the Devil took Him into the holy city. He placed Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and he said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:  He will command His angels concerning you. And they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”    7 Jesus said to him, “Again, it is written:  You shall not test the Lord your God.” 


8 Again the Devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 He said to Him, “I will give You all of these things, if You will bow down and worship me.”    10 Then Jesus said to him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written:  Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.”


11 Then the Devil left Him, and just then angels came and served Him.



The Apostles’ Creed                                                           to the melody of “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You”


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

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

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

Suffered under Pontius Pilate;     Our salvation to achieve.


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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



After which the Congregation will be seated for


Our Children’s Lesson                                                                                                           Hebrews 2:14-18


14 Therefore, since the children share flesh and blood, He also shared the same flesh and blood, so that through death He could destroy the one who had the power of death (that is, the Devil) 15 and free those who were held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death. 16 For surely He was not concerned with helping angels but with helping Abraham’s offspring.  17 For this reason, He had to become like His brothers in every way, in order that He would be a merciful and faithful High Priest in the things pertaining to God, so that He could pay for the sins of the people. 18 Indeed, because He suffered when He was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.





The Sermon Hymn                                                                    Hymn 431   “I Walk in Danger All The Way”


1 I walk in danger all the way;   The thought shall never leave me

That Satan, who has marked his prey,   Is plotting to deceive me.

This foe with hidden snares   May seize me unawares

If e’er I fail to watch and pray;  I walk in danger all the way.

4 I walk with angels all the way;    They shield me and befriend me.

All Satan’s pow’r is held at bay   When heav’nly hosts attend me.

They are my sure defense;   All fear and sorrow, hence!

Unharmed by foes, do what they may,   I walk with angels all the way.


5 I walk with Jesus all the way;   His guidance never fails me.

He takes my ev’ry fear away    When Satan’s pow’r assails me,

And, by his footsteps led,   My path I safely tread.

In spite of ills that threaten may,   I walk with Jesus all the way.


6 My walk is heav’nward all the way;    Await, my soul, the morrow,

When you farewell can gladly say   To all your sin and sorrow.

All worldly pomp, begone!    To heav’n I now press on.

For all the world I would not stay;   My walk is heav’nward all the way.   Amen.



The Greeting

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


The Sermon Text                                                                                                                      Matthew 4:1-11

(today’s Gospel lesson)


            Where to turn when facing Temptation


after 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 and Prayers to the Lord


Our Offerings of Love to our Lord  


Because we aren’t able to pass an offering plate today during today’s worship  service those in attendance may leave their offerings in the plates  by the exit door at the close of our service today.

For those watching today’s service, we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:  

1) You can send a check (no cash) in the mail to the church address

(415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745)

2) You can also visit our website ( and use the giving option there.


At the Pastor’s invitation, the Congregation will rise for


Our Prayers for This Morning


Included in today’s prayers are:


A Prayer of Intercession for Mary Fisher, (the wife of Pastor Wayne Fisher).   Mary is in serious condition at Mercy Hospital in Springfield, MO;


A Prayer of Thanksgiving and Support on behalf of the Bronson Bullock (Carol Ann Heinemann’s great-grandson) and his family.  Earlier this week God took young Bronson home to heaven after a brief life-time of serious health problems.  We pray that his family

will find comfort in God’s promises of continuing support, even in the midst of their loss.

and also

A Prayer of Thanksgiving on behalf of Kevin and Mary Turner, as they

celebrate their wedding anniversary this coming Thursday;


P          And, finally, into Your hands, O Lord, we commend ourselves and all for whom we pray, trusting in Your mercy, through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.   In His name we offer these prayers and continue now, by 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


The Preface


            P:         The Lord be with you.


            C:         And also with you



            P:         Lift up your hearts


            C:         We lift them up to the Lord



            P:         Let us give thanks to the Lord our God


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



            P:         It is truly good and right that we should at all times and in all places give You thanks, O Lord, Holy Father, almighty, everlasting God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Who has promised that wherever two or three are gathered together in His name, there He is in the midst of them, until the day of His return in glory,


Therefore, with angels and archangels, and all the company of heaven, we praise Your holy name and join their glorious song:


Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Heav’nly hosts  Heaven and earth are full of Your glory

Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest.   Blessed is He.  Blessed is He.

Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna.  Hosanna.  Hosanna in the highest.

            The Words of Institution


            The Peace


            P:         The peace of the Lord be with you always


            C:         Amen






(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.  To us the Lord’s Supper is both an expression of our common faith in Christ (which we share with all our fellow Christian worshipers this morning), and also a public expression of our complete doctrinal agreement as a congregation and church body (as I Corinthians 1:10 and 10:17, as well as Romans 16:17 and I John 4:1 require of us).  

     Accordingly if you are not a communicant member of Grace Lutheran Church or our Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, we are not, in any way, judging your Christian faith by respectfully asking you not to join us in the Lord’s Supper this morning.  Rather, we pray that our Scripture-based practice of “Close Communion” will encourage all those Christians who are not presently in full fellowship with us to seriously examine the teachings and practices of their church in order to determine if those teachings and practices are really in full agreement with God’s Word. It is our earnest desire that you might become familiar with the doctrines of our congregation, so 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 patience and understanding of our Communion practice.   Finally, if you do have any questions or concerns about our “Close Communion”  practice, please speak with our Pastor following today’s worship service, or at your convenience.




The Distribution Hymns                                                                                                  Hymn 306   ‘Before You God, the Judge of All”


1 Before you, God, the Judge of all,   With grief and shame I humbly fall.

I see my sins against you, Lord,   My sins of thought and deed and word.

They press me sore; to you I flee:   O God, be merciful to me!


2 O Lord, my God, to you I pray:   Oh, cast me not in wrath away!

Let your good Spirit ne’er depart,   But let him draw to you my heart

That truly penitent I be:   O God, be merciful to me!


3 O Jesus, let your precious blood   Be to my soul a cleansing flood.

Turn not, O Lord, your guest away,   But grant that justified I may

Go to my house at peace to be:   O God, be merciful to me!   Amen



 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 the eternal grace,

And all my weariness upon You lean.

2 This is the hour of banquet and of song;

This is the heav’nly table spread for me;

Here let me feast and, feasting, still prolong

The brief bright hour of fellowship with thee.


3 I have no help but Yours nor do I need

Another arm but Yours to lean upon.

It is enough, my 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.   Amen.


After the distribution of the Lord’s Supper is complete, the Congregation will be invited to rise


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.    Amen.


The Benediction


            Pastor –            The LORD bless you and keep you.

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

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



The Closing Hymn                                                                                Hymn 333   “Abide, O Dearest Jesus”

                                                                                                                                       Verses 1, 5 & 6


1 Abide, O dearest Jesus,   Among us with Your grace

That Satan may not harm us   Nor we to sin give place.

5 Abide with Your protection   Among us, Lord, our strength,

Lest world and Satan fell us   And overcome at length.


6 Abide, O faithful Savior,   Among us with Your love;

Grant steadfastness and help us   To reach our home above.      Amen.



silent prayer


post-service music                                                                                                                                             





This Past Week At Grace          Sunday Worship: 11 in person (snowstorm);    60 online views

Budgetary Offerings:  $ 1330        School Fund:  $ 50       Capital Improvement: $ 50

Tuesday Bible class: 11                                    Midweek Lenten Worship (cancelled, snow) Online views: 42


Serving Us This Coming Sunday                                                           Elders:   Rick Tragasz, John Johnson

Ushers:   Pat Quinlan,   Fred Cusanelli               Altar Guild:   Mary Karloski,   Karen Swogger


Looking Ahead At Grace Lutheran Church’

Today                                    The First Sunday in Lent, Worship, 9:30 a.m. including the Lord’s Supper      

  • Fellowship time, followed by Bible Class/Sunday School, 11:05 a.m.
  • Youth Confirmation Class, 12:00 to 1:15 p.m.
  • Feb 23 (Tues) Morning Bible Class, 10:15 a.m. to noon
  • Board of Elders meeting, 6 p.m. (in the back of church)
  • Feb 24 (Wed) Midweek Lenten Worship, 7:00 p.m. (in the chapel)
  • Feb 27 (Sat) Outreach Calling, 10 a.m.             
  • Feb 28 (Sun) The 2nd Sunday in Lent, Worship, 9:30 a.m.
  • Voters’ Meeting, after worship
  • Youth Confirmation, Noon to 1:15 p.m.
  • Birthdays/Anniversaries Feb 23 – Halei Ferguson; Feb 25 – Kevin & Mary Turner;
  • Feb 26 – Tracy Weed; Feb 27 – Lindsey Bratton; Feb 27 – Helen Mayer;
  • Remember, Midweek Lenten Services Have Begun!!!…. Starting last Wednesday, February 17th, through April 1st, over 6 Wednesday evenings we will be offering six special Lenten worship services, each beginning at 7 p.m.   Our  goal is to enable us to become better prepared spiritually for the commemoration of our Savior’s death and the Easter celebration of His resurrection.   This  year’s sermon theme is Our Spiritual Vision Problems….and How They Can Be Corrected.”      Though snowed out last Wednesday, we did post an Ash Wednesday service and message for you on the topic of “Spiritual Astigmatism” on our page (search for “Grace Lutheran Church and Academy”).   If you haven’t viewed it yet, please do. 
  • In the weeks ahead we’ll also consider Spiritual Astigmatism. Physical astigmatism occurs when the curvature of a person’s eye is not right, which hinders that individual from seeing as clearly as he/she should.  “Spiritual astigmatism” bears a striking similarity to that physical vision disorder, as we sinners naturally are inclined to look at our lives from an impaired, sinfully blurry perspective.   Our will, wishes and “needs” too often get in the way of the Lord’s expectations for us.   And so, through His Word, we need a thorough Spiritual vision examination , so that we can repent of our Spiritual vision deficiencies and tendencies and rely on the “corrective lenses” of God’s grace in Christ and His Word.   In the coming weeks we will consider the following other spiritual vision maladies and God’s remedies for them:  Far-Sightedness, Near-Sightedness, Macular Degeneration,  Glaucoma,  and Cataracts. 
  • Please keep in mind that many churches don’t offer worship services like these midweek Lenten services. Midweek Lenten worship provides us, then, with an opportunity to invite others to join us in one or more of these special services.   They especially give us opportunities to invite to worship with us people who ordinarily have to work on Sunday.  So, please pray about whom you might encourage to attend one of these services, and then invite  person or family (maybe offer them a ride) to worship with us.
  • Meditations, Available on the Entryway Table, ….serve as an excellent personal, daily, devotional booklet. They are produced by our Synod’s Northwestern Publishing House. The devotions in this upcoming edition are scheduled to begin next Sunday.   Please take home and put to good use a copy for you and/or your family today.
  • CONGREGATIONAL MEETING – NEXT SUNDAY (Feb 28) Please keep in mind that we will hold a congregational meeting next Sunday, February 28, following our worship service
  • Daily Devotions for Your Smart Phone, Computer or Tablet – Through a web site identified as “What About Jesus” (, operated by our Synod, we can sign up to have short, morning devotions sent straight to our smart phones each day via an email address. Each devotion is Biblically accurate, and takes about a minute to read.  They arrive around 4 a.m, so you can start your day with it.   Just go to the web address, and click “Recent Devotions,” and (on the right side of the page) click “Get It Delivered.”  After providing some information to identify you, you’ll be sent an email with directions to complete the sign up process.   It takes a few minutes….and you will be blessed by these devotions on a daily basis.
  • “Bible Class” Encouragement……Won’t you please participate??? — Besides our Sunday morning Bible study opportunities, you also have on Tuesday mornings (from 10:30 to noon) to study God’s Word with us.   We hope that every individual in our church family will make it a priority to be in at least one of these studies.  Our Sunday adult class is currently involved in a study of First John (today’s class will talk about  our responsibility before God to love one another).   On Tuesday mornings we’re studying First Kings.   Tuesday’s class (chapters 5 and following) will examine  Solomon’s efforts to construct the Temple of the Lord.


  • 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