First Sunday of Lent
9 March 2014
Lent is a 40-day liturgical season that begins on Ash Wednesday and concludes on Easter Saturday.
Sundays are not included in the 40-day count because every Sunday is a joyful celebration of Jesus' resurrection.
Though not Biblical, Lent has long been a tradition in the Christian Church, and it is thought that the tradition of the 40 days recalls the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness fasting and being tempted by Satan (Matthew 4:1-11), the 40 days and nights Noah and his family spent on the ark and the 40 years of Israel's wandering in the wilderness. Focused on the Easter promise of new life and renewed faith, Lent invites us to look honestly at ourselves as we seek to be strengthened in the call to be Christ's disciples. Lent is considered a time of penance, discipline, almsgiving (sharing what we have), prayer (for ourselves and others), and fasting (special resolve to work on greater faithfulness).
THIS MORNING'S MUSIC OF PRAISE:
FIRST BIBLE READING:
Genesis 2: 15-17, 3:1-7
'Adam and Eve fall into sin'.
Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden, to work it and to take care of it.The LORD God commanded the man, "From every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but you shall not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. For in the day when you eat from it you will surely die."
The snake was more cunning than any other wild animal that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Has God really said, 'You shall not eat from any tree in the garden'?"The woman said to the snake, "We may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden, but about the fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden God has said, 'You shall not eat from it, and you shall not touch it, or you will die!'"The serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to look at and that the tree was desirable for making someone wise, she took some of its fruit and ate it. Then she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realised that they were naked. So they sewed fig leaves together and made loin coverings for themselves.
SECOND BIBLE READING:
Romans 5: 12-19
'Death through Adam, life through Christ' (CEV)
Adam sinned, and that sin brought death into the world.
No everyone has sinned, and so everyone must die.
Sin was in the world before the Law came.
But no record of sin was kept, because there was no Law.
Yet death still had power over all who lived from the time of Adam to the time of Moses. This happened, though not everyone disobeyed a direct command from God, as Adam did.
In some ways Adam is like Christ who came later.
But the gift that God was kind enough to give was very different from Adam's sin. That one sin brought death to many others.
Yet in an even greater way, Jesus Christ alone brought God's gift of kindness to many people.
There is a lot of difference between Adam's sin and God's gift. That one sin led to punishment.
But God's gift made it possible for us to be acceptable to him, even though we have sinned many times.
Death ruled like a king because Adam had sinned. But that cannot compare with what Jesus Christ has done.
God has been so kind to us, and he has accepted us because of Jesus. And so we will live and rule like kings.
Everyone was going to be punished because Adam sinned.
But because of the good thing that Christ has done, God accepts us and gives us the gift of life.
Adam disobeyed God and caused many others to be sinners.
But Jesus obeyed him and will make many people acceptable to God.
Matthew 4: 1-11;
'The temptation of Jesus'
Then the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. He did not eat anything for forty days and forty nights, and at the end of that time He was hungry.
The Tempter came to Him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread." Jesus answered, "Scripture has said: 'A person does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes out through the mouth of God."
Then the Devil took Him into the Holy City and had Him stand on the ledge of the temple. He told Him, "If You
are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For Scripture has said: 'He will command His angels concerning you.
They will carry you in their hands so that you may not strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered him, "Again, Scripture has said, 'You shall not put the LORD your God to the test.'"
Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. The Devil told Him, "I shall give You all this if You fall down and worship me." Then Jesus answered him, "Go away, Satan! For Scripture has said: 'You shall worship the LORD your God and you shall serve Him alone."
Then the devil left Him, and angels came and served Him.
NOTES ON THE READINGS:
ROMANS 5: 12-19:
Through the sin of Adam, through the breaking of the one command God had given him, all were born in sin.
Even though there was no verbal or written commandment right through from Adam to Moses, yet death which entered humanity through Adam's sin came upon all because of sin. Though Paul says that Adam was a type of Christ, what a difference exists in the outcome of Christ's humanity! Through Adam came judgment upon sin and its consequence, death. Through Christ came justification, righteousness and life as a free gift of God's grace.
MATTHEW 4: 1-11:
Having been acknowledged by the Father at his baptism to be the Messiah, it was necessary for Jesus to be subjected to temptation. The text specifically mentions that the Spirit led him into the desert for that reason. We see the second Adam approached by Satan with similar sinister subtlety to the temptation presented to Eve in today's first reading.
He is challenged to use his power as God's Son to attain plenty (bread), prestige (temple) and power (kingdoms), to take the easy way without dealing with the world's real problem, ie sin. Our Lord met those temptations with total trust in and obedience to the word of his heavenly Father
('It is written...'). 'By one man's sin the many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience the many will be made righteous.' (Rom 5:19).
Bible readings for Sunday 16th March 2014:
Genesis 2: 1- 4a, Romans 4: 1-5,13-17, John 3: 1-17.
Coming up for your diary:
Tuesday 18th March - 12.30 pm - Kaffeestunde.
Tuesday 1st April - 7.30 pm - Deacons.
This week in the Lord's Service - 9th - 16th Mar:
Wednesday - 4.30 pm - Confirmation class.
Thursday - 10.30 am - Ladies Fellowship Group.
Friday - 9.30 am - Worship Team.
Saturday - 10.00 am - 11.00 am - 'Sing - along' time for those who wish to learn songs for the Sunday.
Saturday - 11.00 am to 12 noon - Choir practice.
Next Sunday - 9.30 am - Public Divine service - (Non-Communion) and Sunday School.