The Twelfth Sunday after Trinity     August 27, 2023   

The Fourteenth Sunday of the Pentecost Season 


Several years ago, a professional baseball player was hit in the head by a pitch.   He was seriously injured, and missed the rest of that season.    When he came back the following year, he was not the same player as before.   He ended up being traded from the Chicago White Sox to the Detroit Tigers.   In one of their games, the pitcher who “beaned” him was on the mound for the opposing team.    Chet Lemon went to bat.   The pitcher threw his pitch.   And Chet hit a ground ball.   But instead of running to first base, he ran straight to the pitcher’s mound and proceeded to attack the pitcher.     All that was in his thoughts at that moment was getting revenge.   Clearly forgiveness was the farthest thing from Chet Lemon’s mind.

            No doubt that’s because forgiving others who’ve sinned against us can be a very hard thing to do.  Forgiveness humbles us – even hurts us, especially when it must be extended to someone who (we’re sure) doesn’t deserve it, who hasn’t earned it, and who might misuse it.    Forgiveness costs, too.   It requires us to bury those “sinfully satisfying” feelings of anger and bitterness.   It means releasing those sinful emotions – completely,  instead of exacting revenge.   It means making ourselves vulnerable to being sinned against again and again and again, rather than making that other person pay until we’re satisfied that he’s been hurt – just as much, or ever more than we were at his hand.     Real forgiveness comes only through the Christian who is ever-mindful of the fact that, regardless of what anyone else has done to me, I’ve sinned more and worse against my God, and yet for the sake of Jesus Christ my Savior, my LORD has forgiven me, fully, freely and forever.   And it makes no difference who the trespasser is.   Whether that offending person is your husband or wife, ex-spouse, parent or child, casual or Christian friend, stranger or even adversary…….They’re all the objects and recipients of Christ’s redeeming love and forgiveness….just as you are (and must be, to be saved!).   Therefore they are all supposed to be the recipients of your heartfelt forgiveness too.    With Christ’s forgiving love as our motivation and model, the Christian who has been sinned against will consistently, consciously, choose to lay his/her hard and hurt feelings aside in order to purposefully extend to the transgressor genuine love, kindness, and the offer of a restored (and improved) relationship…..even if the offender isn’t “sorry” for what he or she has done.   Real Christian forgiveness, then, is more than a fleeting feeling or mere words – it’ is a continuing attitude that results in action, and it is founded on, is ever-grateful for, and is committed to daily reflecting Christ’s forgiving love toward any- and everyone (us, included):   whether we’re the victim who does the forgiving, or the (repentant) victimizer who needs to be forgiven. 

            Incidentally, we trample the sinless, saving blood of the Son of God into the ground if we dare to think that we have been forgiven by Him either because we have earned it by being sorry for our sins, or because we make the choice to forgive those who sin against us.   Don’t be misled:  We can’t ever “earn” Christ’s forgiveness, and the blessing of eternal life in heaven – through faith in Him.   The only explanation for God’s forgiving us is the unfathomable, perfect love of our Savior for us.   He willingly gave Himself into death for us in order to permanently pay for all our transgressions and to open heaven’s doors to those who believe in Him as Savior and Lord.   Our desire to repent, then,  as well as our willingness to forgive those who trespass against us, are simply the Holy Spirit-driven products of our faith in Christ, with our realization of and appreciation for the redemption and reconciliation which Jesus has earned for every one of us. 

            Sadly, when an unwillingness to forgive develops in anyone’s heart (which sometimes happens inside us, right?), the Devil has a field day.   Then all sorts of personal and spiritual problems are sure to develop.  (We know this by bitter experience, don’t we?)  For example, an unforgiving spirit can, and often has torn apart parent-child relationships, husband-wife relationships, relationships between old friends, and even relationships between fellow Christians and church members.   Much worse… unforgiving attitude toward others (whether they are friends, family, strangers, or even foes) keeps a person from receiving and enjoying the forgiveness of sins that God wants to give to that individual.    It can even, if left unrepented, jeopardize a person’s eternal salvation.  That’s why forgiveness is both a necessary and a serious matter!!!!

            Unless you and I are willing to forgive others whatever their transgressions against us are – forgiving them fully, freely, and from our heart –  we cannot benefit from the forgiveness that God, through Christ, offer us.    And without His forgiveness, we have no hope of eternal life in heaven.    Think about that the next time you want to withhold your forgiveness from anyone…..     

            Jesus made that point crystal clear in our Children’s Lesson (from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount;   specifically, Matthew 6).   In it,  we’ll use a backpack and a load of potatoes to represent the burden people carry when they won’t forgive those who sin against them.     Unforgiveness is a horrible burden you don’t want to carry around!   So, get rid of it, and forgive.  

            In today’s First Lesson   we have the example of Stephen, the first Christian martyr, who prayed for the forgiveness of those who were in the process of putting him to death for his faith in Christ

            Paul uses this morning’s our Epistle Lesson to remind us that,

with the help of the Holy Spirit, and motivated by Christ’s love and forgiveness for us, we can rid our hearts of angry, bitter and vengeful feelings, fully (and permanently) forgiving whatever grievances we might have against others – just as, through Christ’s merits – God has forgiven us fully, freely and forever.

            Next, through this morning’s Gospel Lesson Jesus reminds His disciples (and us) that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, and motivated His love and forgiveness for us, we can forgive not only our friends (which even the pagans can do) but also our enemies. What’s more He reminds us (ala the “Fifth Petition” of the Lord’s Prayer [“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”]) that we’ll be forgiven to the same extent that we forgive others.

            And, finally, in today’s Sermon Text, as we continue our study of the life of Joseph, we’ll find Joseph confronted with the challenge of meeting – and either getting revenge on, or forgiving – his brothers who  so many years earlier had irreparably changed the course of his life …initially, intending to kill him, and subsequently selling him away from his family into slavery in Egypt.   God had been with Joseph, blessing him throughout his ordeal.   And we see not only those blessings of God, but God’s grace in Joseph’s life displayed in the way that Joseph – in spite of whatever sinful instincts might have been tempting him – forgave his brothers from the heart…..and without them apologizing to him first!   What an outstanding lesson on mercy that each of us can also learn from, and apply to our relationships with others – particularly those who have sinned against us.




The Fifth Petition: 

 “Forgive Us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”

(Excerpted from Luther’s Large Catechism)


                  This petition has to do with our poor, miserable life.   Although we have God’s Word and believe it, and although we obey and submit to His will and are supported by His gifts and blessings, nevertheless we are not without sin.   We still stumble daily and transgress, because we live in the world among people who do us much harm and give us many opportunities to be impatient, angry, and vengeful, etc.    Besides, Satan is always at our backs, besieging us on every side, and – as we have heard – directing his attacks against all the previous and foregoing petitions, so that it is not always possible to stand firm in the face of such persistent attacks.

            Here, then, is yet another reason for us to call upon God and pray: “Dear Father, forgive us our trespasses!” Not that He does not forgive sin even without and before our prayer.  (After all, He gave us the Gospel, in which there is nothing but pure forgiveness, even before we prayed or ever thought about it).    But the point here is for us to recognize and accept this forgiveness!  For the flesh in which we daily live is of such a nature that it neither trusts nor believes God, and is constantly aroused by evil desires and devices, so that we sin daily in word and deed, in deliberate acts of sin as well as through what we fail to do.   Thus our conscience becomes restless;   it fears God’s wrath and displeasure, and so it loses the comfort and confidence that comes from the Gospel.   Therefore it is necessary constantly for us to turn to this petition for the comfort that will restore our conscience.

            This petition should also serve God’s purpose to break our pride and keep us humble.   If anybody boasts of his goodness and despises others, he should examine himself in the light of this petition.   If he does, he will find that he is no better than anyone else, and that in the presence of God we must all humble ourselves, and be glad that we can receive His forgiveness through Christ.    Let no one think that he will ever in this life reach the point where he does not need this forgiveness!   In short, unless God constantly forgives us, we are absolutely and eternally lost.

            Thus this petition is really an appeal to God not to regard our sins and punish us as we daily deserve, but to deal with us graciously, forgiving us as He has promised and granting us a happy and cheerful conscience to stand before Him in prayer.   Where the heart is not right with God and cannot achieve such confidence, it will never be able to comfortably, confidently pray to Him.   Such a confident and joyful heart can only come from the knowledge and faith that all our sins have been freely and fully forgiven for Jesus’ sake.

            Meanwhile, a necessary (and comforting) clause is added to this petition:   “as we forgive those who trespass against us.”    God has promised us that every sin is forgiven and pardoned…..and ties this assurance to the fact that Christians also forgive our neighbors who sin against us.   In as much as we sin greatly against God every day, and yet He forgives it all through grace,  we must also always forgive our neighbor who does us injury, violence, and wrong, shows malice toward us, etc.    If you do not forgive, do not think that God forgives you!      But if you do forgive, you have the comfort and assurance of knowing that you surely are forgiven by God in heaven.   This occurs – not on account of your forgiving, for God forgives freely and without condition, out of pure grace, because He has so promised, as the Gospel teaches.    Rather, He has set up this direction for our own strengthening and assurance, thus serving as a sign along with the following promise from Luke 6:37 (which is in agreement with this petition):   “Forgive and you will be forgiven.”    Therefore Christ repeats it in Matthew 6:14, immediately after giving the Lord’s Prayer: “If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you.”




The portions of God’s Word used in this worship flyer have been taken from The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version    Copyright 2019,    The Wartburg Project, Inc.   All rights reserved.   Used with permission Music and lyrics, as needed, are used with permission via #A712831




Pre-Service Prayer 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.




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


Congregation   Who gave us our lives through His almighty power.


P: And of the Son

C:       Who redeemed our lives with His precious blood.


P:       And of the Holy Spirit

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


P:       Amen.



The Responsive Psalm for Today                                                                                               Psalm 103

P: Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name.

C: Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits-


P: Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,

C: Who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,   +  Who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.


P: The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.

C: He made known His ways to Moses, His deeds to the people of Israel:


P: The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

C: He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor His anger forever;   +  He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.


P: For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him;

C: as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.


P: As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.

C: As for man, his days are like grass,   +    he flourishes like a flower of the field;   +   the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.


P: But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children’s children – with those who keep His covenant and remember to obey His precepts.

C: The LORD has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all.


P: Praise the LORD, you His angels, you mighty ones who do His bidding, who obey His word.

C: Praise the LORD, all His heavenly hosts, you His servants who do His will.


P: Praise the LORD, all His works everywhere in His dominion.

C: Praise the LORD, O my soul.


The Congregation will then be seated for


Today’s Opening Hymn                                                                         “The Morning Sun Is Dawning”

                                                                                                                                                             (CW 566)


The morning sun is dawning,    And I thank God once more

Beneath Whose care awaking    I find the night is o’er:

I thank Him that He’s called me     To be His child and heir;

I know, whatever happens    I’m safely in His care.


O Lord of all creation,    Watch over me this day;

In all I do be near me,     For others too I pray –

To You I do commend them:  

Our church, our youth, our land;

Direct them and defend them,    When dangers are at hand.


You are the Vine, O Savior,    May we, Your branches be,

Connected to You firmly,     And for eternity.

Your Spirit place within us,     And let His gifts of grace

Empower us to serve You – throughout our earthly race.


So grant us, Lord, Your blessing    

  That we may do Your will,

No more Your ways transgressing,     Our calling to fulfill;

To go and tell the Good News:    Christ died for all, that we –

through faith in Him, forgiven —  Have heaven eternally.



After which the Congregation will rise



The Confession of Our Sins


Pastor:    As we approach the Lord in worship today, let us all confess our sins and seek God’s forgiving mercy:   “O holy and merciful God,  we confess with shame that we are unworthy to stand in Your presence.   Our hearts are

 corrupted by sin and we have broken Your law repeatedly through our sinful actions, thoughts, and words – doing the evil you forbid and failing to do the good which You command.     We are guilty and deserve to be condemned eternally.   But we rely on Your mercy, and we ask You to forgive us all our sins, for the sake of Jesus Christ Your Son, our Lord and Savior.     In the words of the prophet Daniel, in chapter 9 of his book, we pray:


Congregation   O Lord, my great and awesome God, +   my merciful Father in heaven, +   Who keeps His covenant of love with all who love Him and obey His  commands,   +    I confess that

 I have sinned and done wrong.    +    I have been wicked and have rebelled against You.   +    I have turned away from Your commands and laws.   +    I have not listened to Your Holy Word faithfully.


Lord, You alone are righteous, +    while I am covered with shame because of my unfaithfulness to You.   +    Indeed, at times I have refused to obey You, +    and have repeatedly done wrong in my thoughts, words, and actions.


O Lord, in keeping with all Your righteous acts,   +    I plead with You to turn away from me Your anger and Your wrath.    +    O gracious God, hear this humble petition of Your servant.   +    Look with favor upon me and be gracious to me, an undeserving sinner.   +   O Lord, listen!    +    O Lord, forgive me all my sins!    +    O Lord, hear and act!     +     I do not make this request of You because I am righteous,   +   but because of Your great mercy,   +   and for the sake of the perfect life, +    and the innocent sufferings and death of Your Son,   +   my Savior, Jesus Christ, +    in Whose name I pray.  +    Amen.


Pastor:            Jesus says to His followers:    “If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven.”    Do you believe this word and promise of your Savior?


Congregation:        Yes, I believe.


Pastor           Then, upon this, your voluntary confession, and according to 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.


Congregation:        O Lord, my God    +   I called to You for help   +   and You answered me.   +   I thank You for  the love You have shown me  in Jesus Christ, my Savior.    +   Through Him

 You have rescued me from the guilt and curse of my sin.   +   Renew me now, through Your Holy Spirit    +  that I might faithfully fight against all temptation,   +   correct whatever wrongs I can,   +   and live in the peace of Your forgiveness.   +    Let my life be filled with Your love and praise.   +   Now and forever.   +   Amen.


Our Response to God’s Forgiveness                                                                                                            

“All Glory Be To God On High”

                                                                      sung to the melody of “My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less” (CW 382)


All glory be to God on high  We praise, we thank, we glorify 

And worship Him Who gives earth peace   Whose love and favor never cease.

O Lord, our King, on heaven’s throne,    Our Father, THE Almighty One.


O Lord, the Sole-begotten One,   Lord Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son,

O Lamb of God, You take away   The sin of all, now hear us pray.

You rule at God’s right hand this day   Have mercy on us, Lord, we pray.


You only are the Holy One,    O’er all things You are Lord, alone,

Lord Jesus Christ, we glorify You     Only as the Lord, most high,

Who with the Spirit, e’er shall be   One in the Father’s majesty.   Amen.



The Prayer For This Morning


To forgive as You forgive, dear Savior…..You have given me this command.   +   Thank you for loving me enough to forgive me.  +   Give me also the strength of faith, +   and the love for You and others +   to cheerfully and consistently forgive everyone who sins against me   +   regardless of what they have done to me,  +  or how often they have sinned against me.  +   Dearest Christ, Your example is my guide and my goal:  +   I truly want to live, and love, and forgive as You do.  +   What You expect of me, work in me through Your Holy Spirit   +   as I draw on His power in Your Word and Sacrament.    + Precious Savior, enable me to depend more thoroughly on You, +   and especially on Your grace.   +   Then, I will believe more confidently and live more faithfully,   +   displaying Your all-encompassing love in everything I say, think, and do….. forgiving all who sin against me, +   even as You have forgiven me all my sins against You.   +    This is my plea, as I pray in Your name, Lord Jesus,   +   for You live and rule with the Father and the Holy Spirit   +   as the One, true God   +   forever and ever.   +   Amen.



We Listen to the Word of God



The First Lesson                                                                                                                         Acts 7:51-60


51 “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit! You are doing just what your fathers did. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who prophesied the coming of the Righteous One, and now you have become his betrayers and murderers— 53 you who received the law as transmitted by angels, but did not keep it.”


54 When they heard these things, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed up into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 He said, “Look, I see heaven opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”


57 But they screamed at the top of their voices, covered their ears, and rushed at him with one purpose in mind. 58 They threw him out of the city and stoned him. The witnesses laid their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul.


59 While they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” 60 Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” After he said this, he fell asleep.



The Second Lesson                                                                                                           Colossians 3:1-17


Therefore, because you were raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.


5 So put to death whatever is worldly in you: sexual immorality, uncleanness, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. 6 It is because of these things that the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience.  7 You too once walked in these things, when you were living in them.


8 But now, you too are to rid yourselves of all of these: wrath, anger, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to each other since you have put off the old self with its practices, 10 and put on the new self, which is continually being renewed in knowledge, according to the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcision or uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but rather Christ is all and is in all.


12 Therefore, as God’s elect, holy and loved, clothe yourselves with heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Bear with one another and forgive each other if anyone has a complaint against anyone else. Forgive, just as Christ forgave you. 14 And, in addition to all these things, put on love, which ties things together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ control your hearts, to which you were also called, in one body. And be thankful.


16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God.  17 And everything you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


After which the Congregation will rise for


The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                   Luke 6:27-38


27 “But I say to you who are listening: Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. 28 Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone strikes you on one cheek, offer the other too. If someone takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes away your things, do not demand them back.


31 “Treat others just as you would want them to treat you. 32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? To be sure, even the sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even the sinners do the same thing. 34 If you lend to those from whom you expect to be repaid, what credit is that to you? Even the sinners lend to sinners in order to be paid back in full. 35 Instead, love your enemies, do good and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the unthankful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.


37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured into your lap. In fact, the measure with which you measure will be measured back to you.”



The Apostles ‘ Creed


I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth,  And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;  Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit;  Born of the virgin Mary;  Suffered under Pontius Pilate;  Was crucified, died, and was buried;  He descended into hell;  The third day He rose again from the dead;  He ascended into heaven;  And is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; From there He will come to judge the living and the dead.   I believe in the Holy Spirit;  The Holy Christian Church, the Communion of Saints;  The forgiveness of sins;  The resurrection of the body;  And the life everlasting.  Amen.


Following which the Congregation may be seated for


Our Children’s Lesson                                                                                                       Matthew 6:14-15


14 “Indeed if you forgive people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive people their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.


What’s In Your Backpack?



The Sermon Hymn                                                                             “Forgive Our Sins As We Forgive”

                                                                                      used with permission, # A715676

                                                                 to the tune of St. Anne (“Our God Our Help In Ages Past” / CW…441)


“Forgive our sins as we forgive,”    You taught us, Lord, to pray,

But You alone can grant us grace      To live, and words to say.


How can Your pardon reach and bless       The unforgiving heart

That broods on wrongs and will not let    Old bitterness depart?

In blazing light Your cross reveals       The truth we dimly knew:

What trivial debts are owed to us     – How great our debt to You.


Lord, cleanse the depths within our soul        And bid resentment cease;

Then, off’ring everyone our love…       Our lives will spread Your peace.    Amen.



The Greeting


Grace and peace be yours in abundance, through the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, our Lord.  May the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer!   Amen.



The Sermon Text                                                                                                                          Genesis 42


When Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why are you standing here looking at each other?” 2 He also said, “Listen, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us there, so that we may live and not die.” 3 So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. 4 But Jacob did not send Joseph’s brother Benjamin along with his other brothers, because he said, “Something bad might happen to him.”


5 The sons of Israel were among those who came to buy grain because of the famine in the land of Canaan. 6 Joseph was the governor over the land. He was the one who sold grain to all the people of the land. Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. 7 Joseph saw his brothers and recognized them, but he acted like a stranger toward them and spoke harshly to them. He asked them, “Where did you come from?”


They said, “From the land of Canaan to buy food.”


8 Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. 9 Joseph remembered the dreams that he had dreamed about them and said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see where the land is exposed.”


10 They said to him, “No, my lord, your servants have come to buy food. 11 We are all one man’s sons. We are honest men. Your servants are not spies.”


12 He said to them, “No, you have come to see where the land is exposed!”


13 They said, “We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan. Listen, at the present time the youngest remains with our father, and one is no more.”


14 Joseph said to them, “It is just as I said. You are spies! 15 This is how you will be tested: By the life of Pharaoh, you shall never get out of here, unless your youngest brother comes here. 16 Send one of you to get your brother. The rest of you will be kept under arrest, so that your words may be tested, whether you are telling the truth. Otherwise, by the life of Pharaoh, you are spies.” 17 He kept them all together, confined in the jail for three days.


18 On the third day Joseph said to them, “Do what I tell you and you will live, because I fear God. 19 If you are honest men, let one of your brothers be confined in the jail, but the rest of you go and deliver grain to your houses to relieve the famine. 20 Bring your youngest brother to me so that your words may be verified, and you will not die.” So they did as he said.


21 They said to one another, “We are certainly guilty concerning our brother, because we saw the misery of his soul when he begged us, but we would not listen. That is why this misery has come upon us.”


22 Reuben answered them, “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Do not sin against the boy’? But you would not listen. So now payment for his blood is being required from us.”


23 They did not know that Joseph understood them, because an interpreter was being used between them. 24 Joseph turned away from them and wept. After he returned and spoke to them, he seized Simeon from among them and tied him up before their very eyes. 25 Then Joseph gave a command to fill their containers with grain, to return each man’s money into his sack, and to give them food for the journey. So all this was done for them.


26 They loaded their donkeys with their grain and departed from there. 27 When one of them opened his sack at the lodging place to give his donkey food, he saw his money. It was right there in the mouth of his bag. 28 He said to his brothers, “My money has been returned! Look, there it is, in my bag!” Their hearts sank, and they turned to one another trembling and said, “What is this that God has done to us?”


29 They came to Jacob their father in the land of Canaan and told him everything that had happened to them. They said, 30 “The man, the lord of the land, spoke harshly to us and accused us of being spies against the country. 31 We said to him, ‘We are honest men. We are not spies. 32 We are twelve brothers, sons of our father. One brother is no more, and at the present time the youngest is with our father in the land of Canaan.’ 33 That man, the lord of the land, said to us, ‘This is how I will know that you are honest men: Leave one of your brothers with me. Take grain to relieve the famine at your houses, and go on your way. 34 Bring your youngest brother to me. Then I will know that you are not spies, but that you are honest men. Then I will release your brother to you, and you will be allowed to conduct business in the land.’”


35 Then as they emptied their sacks, they were surprised to see that each man’s pouch of money was in his sack. When they and their father saw their pouch of money, they were afraid.


36 Jacob, their father, said to them, “You have deprived me of my children! Joseph is no more. Simeon is no more. And now you want to take Benjamin away. All these things are against me.”


37 Reuben spoke to his father, “You may put my two sons to death if I do not bring him back to you. Entrust him to my care, and I will bring him back to you again.”


38 Jacob said, “My son shall not go down with you, since his brother is dead, and he alone is left. If he has a mishap on the journey that you are taking, you will bring my gray hairs down to the grave with sorrow.”


The Power and Blessing of Forgiveness in Joseph’s Life


after the Sermon, the Congregation will REMAIN SEATED for



The Post-Sermon Blessing


May the Lord our God be with us as He was with our fathers;    May He never leave us or forsake us.   May He turn our hearts to Him, to walk in all His ways.    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 rise as the offerings are brought to the altar

Today’s Prayers


P     O Almighty God, Maker of heaven and earth, You never slumber nor sleep, but always watch over Your whole creation. Bless Your Church that it may always declare Your glory, tell of Your salvation, and make known the treasures You have prepared for those who call on Your name.


C:    Help us, as Your people,    +    to proclaim the truth that there is no other god beside You    +    and to make known to others the story of Your marvelous works.   +     Enable us all to remain fully faithful to Your Word of truth,   +    and in every circumstance, near or far, keep us from physical and spiritual harm.

P     For all the blessings You have bestowed on this congregation, we give thanks to You, O Lord. Help us remember each other in our daily prayers.


C:    Send Your Holy Spirit with power among us   +   to strengthen our faith   +   and to equip us for works of service to You.    +    Give us true zeal to work and witness for You.   +    And teach us to warmly welcome all who seek Your mercy in this place of worship.  


P     O God, Yours is the glory and power that rules and judges the nations. Where there is division and strife, bring unity and peace. Where there is hunger and thirst, give rain, abundant harvest, and generous neighbors. Where there is prejudice and lack of justice, give understanding, fairness, and trustworthy rulers.


C:    Bless our nation,   +   our President, +   and all who serve in government from the local to the national level,   +   that we who rejoice in Your truth may continue to publicly proclaim the Gospel +   and to serve You without restriction.    Also sustain and protect those who whose vocations call them to the service of their country, especially the members of our armed forces.  Bless their efforts to establish peace and stability in the world. Sustain them during lonely times;   guard and defend them from all danger.


P     Heavenly Father, our eyes look to You to send help to all who are in need. Give work, we pray, to the unemployed. Give confidence in Your love to those who are anxious about tomorrow.


C:    Grant strength and patience to those who bear heavy burdens at work,   + in the home +  and elsewhere;  +   and give the peace of Your forgiveness to those who live with regrets over past actions.   +    Grant the comfort of Your Holy Spirit to all who confess You to be the only God,  +   that as they call on Your name they may find rest for their souls.


P     O God, we call to Your attention all those persons who know and love who are ill, or who are suffering in other ways.    For all those we know and love, as well as those with which we are not acquainted who are also experiencing various difficulties in life, Lord please sustain them in their difficulties and grant them relief – according to Your gracious and perfect will.


C:    For all these, and so many other things   +    we pray that You, O Lord, +    would give Your gracious and wise attention to our necessities and desires,   +   conforming all our hopes and needs to Your perfect will.


P     Hear us also, Lord, as each of us now takes a few moments to silently offer You our personal petitions and praises.


Time for Silent Prayer


P      Finally, O Lord, into Your hands we commend everything and everyone for which we pray, trusting in Your wisdom and mercy; through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, in Whose name we offer this prayer, and in Whose name we 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 Conclude our Worship


The Benediction


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 129  “Alas and Did My Savior Bleed”


1 Alas! and did my Savior bleed,   And did my Sov’reign die?

Would he devote that sacred head    For sinners such as I?

2 Was it for crimes that I had done    He groaned upon the tree?

Amazing pity, grace unknown,    And love beyond degree!


3 Well might the sun in darkness hide    And shut its glories in

When God, the mighty Maker, died   For his own creatures’ sin.


4 Thus might I hide my blushing face   While his dear cross appears,

Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,   And melt my eyes to tears.


5 But drops of grief can ne’er repay   The debt of love I owe;

Here, Lord, I give myself away –   ‘Tis all that I can do.


Silent Prayer


Post-service music