This Week’s Theme
It Is Written
After his baptism by John in the Jordan, Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit, and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness where he spent forty days, being tempted by the devil. During that time he did not eat anything. When these days were done, the Lord was hungry. Jesus was directly tempted by the devil to command stones be turned into bread, to embrace all the kingdoms of the world in exchange for worshiping the devil, and thrust himself down from the pinnacle of the temple to provoke God’s rescue. In each case, Jesus withstood the devil’s lies and onslaught by quoting the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures. Through his clinging to the Word, he defeated the devil’s attacks.
Jesus’s defeat of the devil in the wilderness is a “recapitulation” (i.e., re-enactment, retracing) of Israel’s wanderings and temptations. While they failed to trust God, Jesus withstood the temptations of the devil by quoting as final authority passages from Deuteronomy chapters 6 and 8. These texts suggest that he was thinking about the experience of Israel in their wilderness wanderings.
In every case Jesus deferred to the will of God – that we do not live by bread alone but by God’s Word (Deut. 8.3), that we worship God alone (Deut. 6.13), and that we never should put the Lord to the test (Deut. 6.16). The devil’s efforts to deceive and distract the Lord were not successful; Jesus refuted his lies and distractions with the Word of God, “It is written.” It remains an effective sword against the enemy’s lies (cf. Eph. 6.17).
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Thank you, heavenly Father, for the gift and the power of your Word, the Scriptures. As Jesus defeated the enemy’s lies in the wilderness, so grant us the grace to remember and use your holy Word in every situation where the enemy seeks to overwhelm us or distract us from your will. In Jesus’s name, amen.
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, Amen.
Praising Our God
Te Deum Laudamus
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.
Listening to His Voice
Chronological Reading for the Day
Friday: 1 Sam. 18-19; Ps. 59
Lectionary Readings for the Day
Psalm: Ps. 91.1-2, 9-16
OT: Deut. 26.1-11
Gospel: Luke 4.1-13
NT: Rom. 10.8b-13
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling
Responding in Faith
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, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Departing to Serve
Lord Jesus, you withstood the temptations of the devil by quoting the Word of God as the final authority. You declared that we do not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. As you rebuffed the devil by the Word of God, so equip us to use that same Word to stand our ground and withstand the temptations and lies of the enemy. Do this for your sake, O Lord, amen.
Affirmation for the Day
The devil’s efforts to deceive and distract us can be defeated when we use the Word of God.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
We shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
It Is Written
Metaxas, Martin Luther