Trinity 9

Psalmody
1Make haste, O God, to de- | liver me!*
         O LORD, make haste to | help me!

2Let them be put to shame and confusion who | seek my life!*
         Let them be turned back and brought to dishonor who de- | sire my hurt!

3Let them turn back because | of their shame*
         who say, “A- | ha, Aha!”

4May all who seek you rejoice and be | glad in you!*
         May those who love your salvation say evermore, | “God is great!”

5But I am poor and needy;hasten to me, | O God!*
         You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do | not delay!
               —Psalm 70

Additional Psalm: Psalm 75

Old Testament Reading:
1 Samuel 17:1–19
David and Goliath
1Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle. And they were gathered at Socoh, which belongs to Judah, and encamped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. 2And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered, and encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in line of battle against the Philistines. 3And the Philistines stood on the mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with a valley between them. 4And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. 6And he had bronze armor on his legs, and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders. 7The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron. And his shield-bearer went before him. 8He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. 9If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” 10And the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day. Give me a man, that we may fight together.” 11When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.

12Now David was the son of an Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, named Jesse, who had eight sons. In the days of Saul the man was already old and advanced in years. 13The three oldest sons of Jesse had followed Saul to the battle. And the names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next to him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. 14David was the youngest. The three eldest followed Saul, 15but David went back and forth from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem. 16For forty days the Philistine came forward and took his stand, morning and evening.

17And Jesse said to David his son, “Take for your brothers an ephah of this parched grain, and these ten loaves, and carry them quickly to the camp to your brothers. 18Also take these ten cheeses to the commander of their thousand. See if your brothers are well, and bring some token from them.”

19Now Saul and they and all the men of Israel were in the Valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.

New Testament Reading: Acts 26:1–23
Paul’s Defense Before Agrippa
1So Agrippa said to Paul, “You have per-mission to speak for yourself.” Then Paul stretched out his hand and made his defense:

2“I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am going to make my defense today against all the accusations of the Jews, 3especially because you are familiar with all the customs and controversies of the Jews. Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.

4“My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews. 5They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee. 6And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, 7to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O king! 8Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?

9“I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10And I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them. 11And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging fury against them I persecuted them even to foreign cities.

Paul Tells of His Conversion
12“In this connection I journeyed to Da-mascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. 14And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, 17delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you 18to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

19“Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. 21For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. 22To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: 23that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”

Writing
The Scriptures flatly call natural man in spiritual and divine things darkness (Ephesians 5:8; Acts 26:18). John 1:5 says, “The light shines in the darkness” (that is, in the dark, blind world, which does not know or regard God), “and the darkness has not overcome it.” Likewise, the Scriptures teach that a sinful person is not only weak and sick, but also finished and entirely dead (Ephesians 2:1–5; Colossians 2:13).

Now, a person who is physically dead cannot from his own powers prepare or make himself come back to life again. So the person who is spiritually dead in sins cannot by his own strength make or apply himself to acquire spiritual and heavenly righteousness and life. This is true unless he is delivered and brought to life by God’s Son from the death of sin.

The Scriptures deny to the intellect, heart, and will of the natural man all readi-ness, skill, capacity, and ability to think, to understand, to be able to do, to begin, to will, to undertake, to act, to work, or to agree to work anything good and right in spiritual things from himself.

…“The natural person does not accept [or, as the Greek word properly signifies, grasps not, comprehends not, accepts not] the things of the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:14). This means he is not capable of spiri-tual things. For they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them. Much less will he truly believe the Gospel or agree with it and regard it as truth.

For the mind that is set on the flesh [or the mind of the natural man] is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. (Romans 8:7)

In a word, what God’s Son says remains eternally true, “For apart from Me you can do nothing” [John 15:5].

Paul says, “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” [Philippians 2:13].
               —Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord II 10–14

Hymnody
True God, He first
         From death has burst
Forth into life, all subduing.
         His enemy
         Doth vanquished lie;
His death has been death’s undoing.
         “And yours shall be
         Like victory
         O’er death and grave,”
         Saith He, who gave
His life for us, life renewing.
               —With High Delight Let Us Unite (LSB 483:2)

Prayer of the Day
Gracious Lord of all, You turned the apostle Paul from a persecutor of the Church to the apostle to the Gentiles. By Your Holy Word, turn our hearts from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God, that we might receive the forgiveness of our sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (1070)

Suggested Reading from the Book of Concord
Apology of the Augsburg Confession V (III) 9–14 [130–135]

By Rev. Michael Mayer

Lutheran Pastor of two small Lutheran Churches in rural SW Ontario.