River of Life Lutheran Church
27400 SE Stark Street
Troutdale, OR  97060
Phone: 503.667.3141

Sunday worship service: 9:00am 

ORDER OF WORSHIP FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY IN LENT  March 15, 2020


L: We begin in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,

C: AMEN.

CONFESSION  L: Let us confess our sins and be reassured of God’s forgiveness, as we enter this time of worship of our God.

C: GRACIOUS GOD, WE CONFESS THAT WE HAVE SINNED IN OUR THOUGHTS, WORDS AND ACTIONS, AND IN OUR FAILURE TO ACT IN LOVE. WE ADMIT THAT WE HAVE FAILED TO REACH OUT WITH THE GOSPEL AND IN LOVE TO OTHERS WHO ARE DIFFERENT FROM US. WE ARE SORRY FOR THESE OUR SINS, AND ASK FOR YOUR FORGIVENESS.

L: God knows our failures and sins, and wants us to worship in the joyful knowledge that his grace covers all our sins. Therefore, on Christ’s behalf, I declare to us the forgiveness of all our sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

C: AMEN.

Songs: 





 

PRAYER  L: Dear Lord, as you brought Good News to the Samaritan woman at the well, extending your gracious love to her troubled life, so help us to live in grace toward others, showing them how you accept and care for them where they’re at; in Jesus’ name.

C: AMEN.

LESSONS   [those present may share in reading the following lessons from a Bible]   

Exodus 17:1-7 Moses strikes the rock to get water for the thirsty Israelites in the desert…prefiguring Jesus who came to bring the “living water.”  

Exodus 17:1-7 English Standard Version (ESV)
Water from the Rock
17 All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” 3 But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” 4 So Moses cried to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” 5 And the Lord said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 And he called the name of the place Massah[a] and Meribah,[b] because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Exodus 17:1-7 English Standard Version (ESV)

Water from the Rock

17 All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” And the Lord said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah[a] and Meribah,[b] because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”


Exodus 17:1-7 English Standard Version (ESV)
Water from the Rock
17 All the congregation of the people of Israel moved on from the wilderness of Sin by stages, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” 3 But the people thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” 4 So Moses cried to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” 5 And the Lord said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 And he called the name of the place Massah[a] and Meribah,[b] because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Romans 5:1-8  We are justified through Christ; while we were sinners Christ died for us. 

Romans 5:1-8 English Standard Version (ESV)

Peace with God Through Faith

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith[b] into this grace in which we stand, and we[c] rejoice[d] in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


John 4:4-30, 39--42 Story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well.

John 4:4-30 English Standard Version (ESV)

And he had to pass through Samaria. So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.[a]

A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.[b] The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

27 Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30 They went out of the town and were coming to him.

39-42 39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”



MESSAGE  “Grace upon Grace”

SOME PEOPLE ARE EASY TO LOVE – THOSE FAMILIAR TO US, THOSE SIMILAR TO US, THOSE WHO LOVE US BACK, THOSE WHO ARE NOT STRANGE OR DIFFERENT OR THREATENING TO US. THE TEST OF AGAPE LOVE OR CHRISTLIKE LOVE IS WHETHER WE REACH OUT TO LOVE THOSE WHO ARE DIFFERENT FROM US, STRANGE TO US, NOT RECIPROCAL IN LOVING US BACK. JESUS IN OUR LESSON SHOWS US PRECISELY THAT KIND OF LOVE.

IN JESUS’ TIME AND CULTURAL SETTING, THE JEWS BELIEVED THEY WERE THE CHOSEN PEOPLE, RECIPIENTS OF SALVATION, SO THEY DIDN’T REACH OUT TO NON-JEWS, THE PAGANS WHO WERE NOT SAVED ANYWAY. THAT’S WHAT MAKES THIS INCIDENT AT THE WELL IN SAMARIA SO STRIKING AN EXAMPLE OF JESUS MISSION TO SHARE HIS GOSPEL OF GOD’S GIFT OF SALVATION FOR ALL PEOPLE…AN EXAMPLE OF GRACE UPON GRACE, UPON GRACE. 1ST, IN THAT CULTURE, MEN DID NOT SPEAK TO WOMEN IN PUBLIC, PERIOD. 2ND, HER GOING OUT ALONE IN PUBLIC DURING THE DAY WAS A FORWARD ACTION BY A WOMAN, LIKELY EVIDENCE OF A QUESTIONABLE CHARACTER. 3RD, SHE WAS A HATED SAMARITAN, AND JEWS, ESPECIALLY RABBIS, WOULD NOT HAVE SPOKEN TO THESE HATED, INFERIOR SAMARITANS IN ANY CASE, ESPECIALLY NOT A MORALLY SUSPECT FEMALE SAMARITAN. IN FACT, THE WOMAN HERSELF WAS SURPRISED AT JESUS’ BOLD AND UNUSUAL REQUEST. .4TH, JESUS MADE HIMSELF VULNERABLE TO THIS WOMAN, ASKING HER TO HELP HIM WITH HIS NEED FOR WATER. AND 5TH, SHE WAS IN FACT AN IMMORAL WOMAN, LIVING WITH A MAN TO WHOM SHE WAS NOT MARRIED, AFTER GOING THROUGH 5 HUSBANDS IN HER LIFE. ALL OF THESE WERE REASONS WHY JESUS MIGHT HAVE CHOSEN NOT TO SPEAK TO THIS WOMAN AT THE WELL. YET HE DID SPEAK TO HER, CROSSING GENDER AND ETHNIC AND RELIGIOUS AND MORAL LINES IN CHOOSING TO INTERACT WITH HER. HE SPOKE TO HER OPENLY AND RESPECTFULLY, HONORED HER BY ASKING FOR HER HELP WITH A NEEDED DRINK OF WATER. WHEN HIS DISCIPLES CAME BACK FROM TOWN, THEY TOO WERE SURPRISED TO SEE JESUS SPEAKING TO THIS WOMAN. YET THERE HE WAS, ENGAGING HER, ASKING FOR HER HELP, SHOWING THAT HE KNEW HER MORAL CONDITION AND HISTORY, YET SHOWING INTEREST AND CARE IN HER LIFE. EVEN MORE, HE OFFERED THIS WOMAN THE GIFT OF SALVATION, LIVING WATER. SHE WAS CLOSE ENOUGH TO JUDAISM, AS WERE MANY SAMARITANS, THAT SHE BELIEVED IN THE COMING OF A MESSIAH, A SAVIOR WHO WOULD REVEAL ALL WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT OUR RELATIONSHIP TO GOD AND SALVATION. JESUS TELLS HER POINT BLANK THAT HE IS THAT VERY MESSIAH. THIS SAMARITAN WOMAN CLEARLY BELIEVES HE IS THE ONE, AND BECOMES THE FIRST MISSIONARY FOR JESUS, ACCORDING TO JOHN’S GOSPEL…SHE GOES BACK TO TOWN TO INVITE THE OTHERS TO COME AND HEAR JESUS FOR THEMSELVES.. THE TOWNSFOLK COME OUT TO SEE FOR THEMSELVES, AND MANY OF THESE SAMARITANS ALSO COME TO FAITH IN JESUS AS THE SAVIOR, AND IN HIS GOSPEL AS THE TRUTH OF SALVATION.  HOW IS THIS RELEVANT FOR OUR LIVES? JESUS SHOWED US IN HIS OWN LIFE THAT HIS GOSPEL IS MEANT FOR ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE, AND WE SHOULD FOLLOW HIS EXAMPLE IN REACHING OUT TO ALL PEOPLE: (A) THE SAMARITAN WOMAN WAS PART OF GENDER DISCRIMINATION – WE CAN FOLLOW JESUS’ LEAD IN DOING ALL WE CAN TO RESPECT AND EMPOWER ALL WOMEN IN OUR SOCIETY, ESPECIALLY WHERE THEY MAY BE TREATED DISRESEPECTFULLY OR PAID INFERIOR WAGES  (B) THE SAMARITAN WOMAN WAS PART OF ETHNIC OR RACIAL DISCRIMINATION – WE CAN FOLLOW OUR LORD BY DOING OUR PART TO HONOR AND EMPOWER PERSONS OF ALL ETHNIC BACKGROUNDS BY TREATING THEM WITH LOVE AND RESPECT WHEREVER WE CAN (C) SHE WAS DISCRIMINATED AGAINST ON THE BASIS OF HER RELIGIOUS INFERIORITY TO THE JEWS – JESUS SHOWED HER THAT HIS GIFT OF SALVATION INCLUDED THOSE OF HER RELIGION, WHO DIDN’T KNOW HIM AS THE MESSIAH (D)  SHE WAS MORALLY QUESTIONABLE WITHIN HER SOCIETY – WE CAN FOLLOW OUR LORD IN ACCEPTING PEOPLE WHO MAY LIVE A LIFESTYLE OUR SOCIETY MIGHT CONSIDER MORALLY UNACCEPTABLE OR UNHEALTHY, REACHING OUT TO BRING HEALING AND FORGIVENESS AND HOPE TO THEIR BROKEN LIVES. MAY GOD GIVE US HIS HOLY SPIRIT POWER TO FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS IN HOW WE TREAT THE SAMARITAN WOMAN TYPE OF PEOPLE WHO COME INTO OUR LIVES, ENABLING US TO OVERCOME OUR OWN DISCRIMINATION AND THAT OF OTHERS AROUND US, BY REACHING OUT TO THEM WITH GRACE, FORGIVENESS, ACCEPTANCE, AND HEALING.  AMEN.

 

Sermon Points:

“GRACE UPON GRACE” John 4:4….42

  • Prejudice and discrimination are part of life…where do you see discrimination playing out in your life?
  • Jesus overcame discrimination in reaching out to the Samaritan woman.  What were the strikes against her according to the sermon?
  • If the Pharisees had heard of Jesus engagement with the Samaritan woman, how do you think they would have reacted?
  • What was it in Jesus’ message that supported his dealing with this woman as he did?
  • Jesus shared the Gospel with this Samaritan woman.  What indicates that she believed in him and his message?
  • What do you think was the townsfolks’ attitude toward this woman?  How do you think things changed in that village after Jesus’ visit?
  • How might this episode in Jesus’ life impact how you deal with those you know who experience discrimination, prejudice, neglect?



 

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH  C: WE BELIEVE IN GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY, CREATOR OF HEAVEN AND EARTH. WE BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST, HIS ONLY SON, OUR LORD, WHO WAS CONCEIVED BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, BORN OF THE VIRGIN MARY, SUFFERED UNDER PONTIUS PILATE, WAS CRUCIFIED, DIED, AND WAS BURIED. HE DESCENDED TO THE DEAD. ON THE THIRD DAY HE ROSE AGAIN FROM THE GRAVE, ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN, AND IS SEATED AT THE RIGHT OF GOD THE FATHER. FROM THERE HE WILL COME TO JUDGE THE LIVING AND THE DEAD. WE 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.

 

PRAYERS OF GOD’S PEOPLE  [here prayers may be shared, including thanks for blessings and requests for particular needs and concerns]

L: Lord in your mercy,

C: HEAR OUR PRAYER.

LORD’S PRAYER 

Our Father, who is in heaven, holy be your name. May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, now and forever, amen.

CLOSING BLESSING   L: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all.

C: AMEN.

SONG    


DISMISSAL

L: Go in peace! Serve the Lord!   C: THANKS BE TO GOD!.