Sunday Worship Service

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December 4, 2022

Worship Theme

John the Baptist’s job was to point to the only way to prepare for a judgment, one where the stakes are that high. Repent! And look to the Lord Jesus. For when Jesus came into our world the first time, it was not as judge, but as Savior. As John the Baptist once said, “All people will see God’s salvation.” The only question is if one sees Christ’s second coming with joy or regret. For those who fail to repent, the coming of the Judge brings certain doom. Today, saints, we see the reign of God is near.

Pastor Westendorf’s Welcome

Prepare the Royal Highway – CW 302



In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Confession and Absolution

God sent John the Baptist to prepare people’s hearts for Jesus by repenting of their sins. If we’re honest, there are so many sins for which we need to repent. Here are some of the sins God pointed out to his people long ago:
“Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land.”

“Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine.”
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness.”

“Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.”
“Woe to those who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent.”

“For they have rejected the law of the LORD Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.”

To those same, sinful people long ago, God gave this promise about Jesus: “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

“God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Because of Jesus, you can be sure of this: God has forgiven every one of your sins. You are at peace with God. 

Comfort, Comfort All My People – Koine video

1 “Comfort, comfort all my people;
    speak of peace,” so says our God.
“Comfort those who sit in darkness,
    groaning from their sorrows’ load.
Speak to all Jerusalem
of the peace that waits for them;
    tell them that their sins I cover,
    that their warfare now is over.”

2 All their sins our God will pardon,
    blotting out each dark misdeed;
all that well deserved his anger
    he no more will see or heed.
They have suffered many’‿a day;
now their griefs have passed away.
    God will change their aching sadness
    into ever-springing gladness.

3 John the Baptist’s voice is crying
    in the desert far and near,
calling people to repentance
    for the kingdom now is here.
O that warning cry obey!
Now prepare for God a way;
    let the valleys rise to meet him
    and the hills bow down to greet him.

4 Then make straight the crooked highway;
    make the rougher places plain.
Let your hearts be true and humble,
    ready for his holy reign.
For the glory of the Lord
now o’er earth is spread abroad,
    and all flesh shall see the token
    that his word is never broken.

The Word

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.


The people walking in darkness have seen a great light:
On those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

John the Baptist called out in the wilderness: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
“Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.”

Christ himself has given us the power for repentance. By his holy life and innocent death he has conquered Satan and sin and is able to help us when we are tempted.
He reigns in our lives with his grace and brings us to eternal life.


Let us pray.

Almighty God, your holy Word has called us to repent of sin and walk in your path of righteousness. For the sake of Jesus Christ, you have not quickly judged the world for sin, but have given all a time of grace and a call to turn from evil ways. By the power of your Spirit, turn our hearts to you. Make us grow in our obedience to your Word. In Jesus, you have revealed to us your holy love. Move us to love one another as he has loved us and to serve one another as if we were serving you; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

First Reading – Isaiah 11:1-10

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
    from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him –
    the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and of might,
    the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord –
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.

He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
    or decide by what he hears with his ears;
but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
    with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
    with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
Righteousness will be his belt
    and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

The wolf will live with the lamb,
    the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
    and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
    their young will lie down together,
    and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
    and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy
    on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea.

In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Adult Choir – I Will Wait for You – Psalm 130


I will wait for you, I will wait for you;
    on your word, I will rely.
I will wait for you, surely wait for you,
    till my soul is satisfied.

3 So put your hope in God alone;
    take courage in his pow’r to save –
completely and forever won
    by Christ emerging from the grave. (Chorus)

4 Now he has come to make a way,
    and God himself has paid the price,
that all who trust in him today
    find healing in his sacrifice. (Final Chorus)

Final Chorus – Congregation joins
I will wait for you, I will wait for you;
    through the storm and through the night.
I will wait for you, surely wait for you,
    for your love is my delight.

I wait – my soul waits – for the Lord;
    my hope is in his word.
More than the watchman waits for dawn
    my soul waits for the Lord.

Congregation joins
O Israel, put your hope in God,
    for mercy is with him
and full redemption. From their sins
    his people he’ll redeem.

Second Reading – Romans 15:4-13

  For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
  May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written:

“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles;
    I will sing the praises of your name.”

Again, it says,

“Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.”

And again,

“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles;
    let all the peoples extol him.”

And again, Isaiah says,

“The Root of Jesse will spring up,
    one who will arise to rule over the nations;
    in him the Gentiles will hope.”

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Adult Choir – Once He Came in Blessing

Once He came in blessing,
All our sins redressing.
Came in likeness lowly,
Son of God most holy.
Bore the cross to save us;
Hope and freedom gave us.

Gospel – Matthew 3:1-12

  In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.’ ”

  John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
  But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
  “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

The Gospel of the Lord.
Praise be to you, O Christ!

On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry – CW 316


Pastor Frick’s Sermon – Romans 15:4-13

A Merry Christmas for All

Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
        maker of heaven and earth.

I believe 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.

Prayer of the Church

Eternal Father, throughout the centuries you repeated and affirmed your promise to send the offspring of the woman to crush the serpent’s head. Through your prophets of old, you continually directed the eyes of your people to the advent of their Savior.
We praise you, O Lord, for keeping your promise and sending your Son to destroy the works of the devil.

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of our King, use your mighty Word to shatter our pride and to rouse us from spiritual slumber and apathy.
Move us to take to heart the words of John: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

You sent your Son to redeem us from sin. Let this good news be our joy and strength. Use it to cheer the lonely, encourage the fearful, and give hope to the despairing. In these days before Christmas, spare us from the stress of deadlines and the frenzy of commercialism.
Fill our lives with the message of your peace and the music of your grace.

Direct our eyes not only to the manger but also to the skies, where we will see your Son coming again, not as a lowly child but as the Lord of lords.
Lift up our hearts in joyful anticipation of that day.

Hold in your care, Lord, those who are experiencing physical and emotional pain and all who are afflicted by disease or facing death. Pour out your compassion on the grieving and comfort the mourners who miss someone they loved.
Move us to pray for these brothers and sisters and to help when we can.

Hear us, Lord, as we pray in silence.

Silent prayer

Come quickly, Lord Jesus, in your grace, in your power, and in your glory.
Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.


Dawning Light of Our Salvation – CW 311



Blessed Lord, you have given us your Holy Scriptures for our learning. May we so hear them, read, learn, and take them to heart, that being strengthened and comforted by your Holy Word, we may cling to the blessed hope of everlasting life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name,
    your kingdom come,
    your will be done
        on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
    as we forgive those
    who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
    and the glory are yours
    now and forever. Amen.


The Lord bless you and keep you.
  The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
    The Lord look on you with favor and give you peace.

Hark! A Thrilling Voice Is Sounding – CW 318