St. Paul's Weekly Update
Introduction & Notes
2021 is a time for...
Losing weight? Getting in shape? Changing my habits? Going on a trip? Going out of the house? Getting back to normal?
You may feel like now that it's 2021 it is time for a lot of things. For the Christian, we know it is definitely time for the most important thing: The Kingdom of God to come into our lives!
What is the kingdom of God? It is God's gracious ruling work in our hearts through the Gospel! When Jesus started his ministry (which we'll talk about this weekend), his first sermon recorded in Mark is, "The time is fulfilled! The Kingdom of God is at hand! Repent and believe in the gospel." The kingdom of God is still at hand today through the same gospel that Jesus preached and embodied.
So 2021 is time for... for me to repent daily and to believe in the good news about the Kingdom of God!
-- Merry Christmas and Happy New Year St. Paul's family! "Though we are many, we are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another." (Romans 12:5) What a blessing to be united with each other through our Savior this past year! In the new year pray to Jesus that we may have the strength to love each other as one body as he instructs: "Be devoted to one another with brotherly love. Think of others as deserving more honor than yourselves... Be joyful in hope. Endure trials patiently. Persist in prayer... (Romans 12:10-12)." Endure and persist, because remember, it won't be long until Jesus returns. With every passing year and every passing day, "our salvation is nearer now than we we first believed (Romans 13:11)."
--Bible studies resume today! Both studies are in the church basement for now. For this week, the 10am will be on Zoom again, and the 7pm will finish up its study on Civil Government. Next week Civil Government begins in the morning, and Pastor Buelow will begin a study on Jeremiah in the 7pm class. We will gauge interest to see which ones will be made available online.
--Join today at 10am through the Zoom app, meeting ID: 813 9931 8006, passcode: 011081, or click: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81399318006?pwd=ZW5JR3BDL3d1RzNTZzNTZDlreEVrZz09
-- Thank you to everyone who helped take down the Christmas decorations!
-- Sunday Worship is at 8:00am and 10:30 (mask-optional), with Bible Class and Sunday School in-between.
-- Monday night worship (mask-required) is at 6:30pm.
-- DVDs and sermon copies are available by contacting the church office, between 9am-12pm on weekdays.
-- Private communion always available by appointment. Don't let anything separate you from God's means of grace! Call the office or call/email Pastor Naumann (412-0232); Pastor Buelow (412-0458)
Worship Preview for Sunday
The worship notes with study questions and answers below taken from wels.net/worship-help
Epiphany 2: Jesus is Revealed as Our Perfect Substitute
“Why did Jesus need to be baptized? I thought baptism was for sinners?” That’s a common question among Christians. It doesn’t make sense that our perfectly sinless Savior would need to be baptized, yet he was. Why? Because Jesus had come to be our perfect substitute, and he is revealed as such in his baptism. God laid on him the sin of the world. (See John 1:29.) Even from birth, he endured the effects of our sin. Jesus wasn’t a sinner himself, but he was carrying our sin, pain, and sorrow. (See Isaiah 53:4.) He needed the assurance of God’s love and forgiveness, just as if he were a sinner himself. Jesus received those promises in baptism, just like we do.
First Lesson – Isaiah 49:1-6 (sermon text)
Which person of the Trinity is speaking through the prophet Isaiah in these verses?
True or false: Jesus felt frustration in his job as Savior.
True. The Savior voices his frustration in verse 4. Sometimes he felt like he had “labored to no purpose” and that he had “spent (his) strength in vain and for nothing.” Yet Jesus persevered in his role as our perfect substitute.
What task has been given to Jesus?
Not only to “bring Jacob back to (God) and gather Israel” (i.e., Jewish Christians) but also to be “a light for the Gentiles” (non-Jews) that they might be brought to faith. (See John 10:16.)
Second Lesson – Acts 16:25-34
How does the Holy Spirit work the faith that Paul encouraged the jailer to have in verse 31?
God works faith through the hearing of the gospel promises. (See Romans 10:17.) In this particular instance, those promises were proclaimed in word and in the sacrament of Holy Baptism.
Who was baptized that evening?
The jailer’s whole household was baptized. We may assume that his household included both adults and children.
Gospel – Mark 1:4-11
What was the purpose of the baptism given by John?
The purpose was the same as the baptism we have today: it’s “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Mark 1:4).
If Jesus was sinless, why was he baptized?
Though Jesus did not have any personal sin, in his role as Savior he was carrying the sins of the world. He had come to be our perfect substitute. He very much desired the promises of God that baptism gives sinners.
Which three special people were present at the baptism of Jesus?
The Holy Trinity (God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) was present at Jesus’ baptism. In the same way, the Holy Trinity was present at our baptisms, as we are baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
Hymns: 88, 736, 737
Psalm: 2 (Hymn 93 sung by vocal group)
Order of Service: DS1 with Baptism Gathering Rite
Bible Reading Options for the New Year
The new year is a great time to start a new Bible reading routine! Choose a book of the Bible and read when you can, or set aside a particular time and place every day, or listen on your commute etc. A couple options are below:
--The God's Story of Salvation plan from the Forward in Christ magazine. You won't read ever verse or chapter, but you will grow in faith as you read chronologically through sections of the Bible and see God's grace in each account. Go online to forwardinchrist.net/bible-readings-2021 or see below:
Week 1: Genesis 1:1-2:3; 2:4-25; 3:1-24; 4:1-16; 6:5-22; 7:1-24; 8:1-22
Week 2: Genesis 9:1-17; 11:1-9; 11:27-12:9; 15:1-7 & 17:1-8; 18:1-15; 19:1-29; 21:1-21