God, open our hearts and our eyes to know You in Christ. Amen.
Text: First Timothy 6:13-21
I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen. Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and vain babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge – by professing it, some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen.
o one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (Joh 1:18). There is no other God than the One who has revealed Himself in Christ, and there is no revelation of the true God except in Him. Therefore it is of the highest importance to have the doctrine of faith in Christ pure and undefiled. But it is just as important to receive it, to hold and keep it, to believe and willingly obey it. For God has not revealed Himself to your soul, even if you have the doctrine of Christ and regard it as true, if you do not obey it. But if you follow the truth from your heart, then God reveals Himself in it for your soul, and the light of eternity enlightens you. When you learn to know Him, to whom none can come except through the Son, then you have found the blessed and only mighty One, from whom all life and all power come; yes, then you live in Him and He lives in you!
Whoever does not believe in Christ does not know God, and those who do not know God in Christ argue about who and what God is, or they deny that there is any God, declaring themselves free of any God while serving their chosen idol with abject devotion. They say they are free, and they do not know that they are servants of corruption and offer all they have on their idolatrous altars. But whoever believes in Christ believes in the true, living God, knows Him, has power over all idols, and is able to use all to the glory of heaven.
Let believers show that they know the glorious God of love and serve Him! Let them show that they are children of the heavenly Father and are like Him. Let the holy faith be evident in their holy life and spring up to fruits that are good in the sight of God and men! No one can really do good except believing Christians, but no one can be a true believer without doing good. Use your goods to help your neighbor, become rich in good works, and lay up for yourself treasures in heaven!
Merciful, eternal God, help us to believe in You through Christ, and serve You, and live our whole life in You. Free us from the world, and teach us to use it for heaven. Amen.
O Holy Spirit, enter in
And in our hearts Thy work begin,
Thy temple deign to make us.
Sun of the soul, Thou Light divine,
Around and in us brightly shine,
To joy and gladness wake us.
To Thee giving
Still may be in love increasing.
Give to Thy Word impressive power
That in our hearts from this good hour
As fire it may be glowing,
That we confess the Father, Son,
And Thee, the Spirit, Three in One,
Thy glory ever showing.
Our souls ever,
That they never
May forsake Thee,
But by faith their refuge make Thee.
Thou Fountain whence all wisdom flows,
Which God on pious hearts bestows,
Grant us Thy consolation.
That in our pure faith’s unity
We faithful witnesses may be,
Of grace that brings salvation.
By Thy teaching;
Let our preaching
And our labor
Praise Thee, Lord, and bless our neighbor.
Schirmer: O Holy Spirit, enter in L 19:1-3 ELH 27:1-3 tr. C. Winkworth;
tune: Wie schön leuchtet. (Note: Hymns that fit this meter can be arranged in the shape of a chalice.)