Your February 18th, Sermon & Ministry Resources
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Lectionary Readings — First Sunday in Lent — February 18, 2024
Genesis 9:8-17; Psalm 25:1-10; 1 Peter 3:18-22; Mark 1:9-15
Call to Worship (based on Mark 1:9-15)
Leader: In those days, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
People: And just as He was coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on Him.
Leader: A voice came from heaven, saying, 'You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.
People: Immediately, the Spirit drove Him out into the wilderness.
Leader: He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on Him.
People: After John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.
Leader: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news."
People: As we enter into this Lenten season, let us journey with Jesus, from the waters of baptism into the wilderness, preparing our hearts for the coming of the Kingdom of God.
All: Together, let us repent and believe in the good news. Let us worship God, who calls us to be part of His unfolding story.
Opening Prayer (based on 1 Peter 3:18-22)
Let us pray.
Gracious and Almighty God, as we enter this solemn season of Lent, we turn our hearts and minds toward the mystery of Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection. In the depths of our reflection, we are reminded by the words of 1 Peter that Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to You, God.
Lord, we marvel at the gift of salvation, made possible through the waters of baptism, which now saves us—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to You for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He who has gone into heaven and is at Your right hand—with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to Him.
In this season of Lent, we ask for Your guidance to walk in the footsteps of Christ. Teach us to embrace the humility and sacrifice demonstrated so profoundly in His journey to the cross. Help us to understand the depths of His love for us, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us, bringing us safely through the water, a symbol of our own baptism into His death and resurrection.
We pray for the strength to resist temptation and to live in righteousness, even as Christ was tempted and remained without sin. May we, like Noah and his family, who were brought safely through the water, find our safety and salvation in the ark of Christ’s body, given for us.
Renew in us a steadfast spirit of devotion and obedience. As the days lengthen and we follow the path to the cross, let our lives reflect the hope that is ours through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. May our worship, our fasting, our prayer, and our almsgiving be pleasing in Your sight and bring us closer to the heart of Your divine will.
Pour out Your Holy Spirit upon us, that we may be empowered to live as witnesses to Your love and grace. Guide us through these forty days of Lent, that we might emerge purified, renewed, and ready to celebrate the glorious resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
In His most holy name, we pray.
Sermon Outline: [NOTE to Paid subscribers — scroll down for the full manuscript sermon].
Purpose: To guide the congregation, on this first Sunday of Lent, through a deep, reflective journey that mirrors Jesus’ own experiences of baptism, temptation in the wilderness, and the commencement of His public ministry. It aims to illuminate the significance of these events in the context of the Lenten season—a time for believers to engage in self-examination, repentance, and spiritual renewal. By drawing parallels between Jesus' journey and our own spiritual practices during Lent, the sermon encourages attendees to embrace their own wilderness experiences as opportunities for growth, to reaffirm their baptismal vows, and to actively participate in the life and mission of the Kingdom of God through repentance and faith in the gospel.
Title: Journey through the Wilderness (Mark 1:9-15)
Begin with an overview of Mark 1:9-15, highlighting the baptism of Jesus, His temptation in the wilderness, and the beginning of His ministry in Galilee. Emphasize the significance of these events as we enter the Lenten season, a time for reflection, repentance, and preparation for Easter.
Connect the themes of this passage to the Lenten journey, focusing on the wilderness as a metaphor for the trials and spiritual growth we experience.
I. Baptismal Beginnings
Verse 9: In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
Discuss Jesus' baptism as the initiation of His ministry, symbolizing purification and dedication to God's will.
Apply this to our own lives, considering baptism as the start of our spiritual journey and a call to renewal, especially during Lent.
II. Wilderness Wanderings
Verses 12-13: And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild animals; and the angels waited on him.
Reflect on Jesus' time in the wilderness, focusing on the significance of the 40 days, the temptations by Satan, and the presence of wild animals and angels. This represents a period of testing, reliance on God, and spiritual strengthening.
Connect this to our Lenten experience, encouraging the congregation to embrace their own "wilderness" periods as opportunities for growth, reliance on God, and overcoming personal temptations.
III. Proclaiming the Promise
Verses 14-15: Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news."
Highlight Jesus' proclamation of the Kingdom of God as the core of His message, emphasizing the call to repentance and belief in the gospel.
Encourage the congregation to reflect on what it means to repent and believe in the good news during Lent. Discuss how we can proclaim this message in our actions, words, and interactions with others.
Summarize the key points of the sermon, emphasizing the importance of the baptismal beginnings, wilderness wanderings, and proclaiming the promise as we journey through Lent.
Challenge the congregation to use the Lenten season as a time to deepen their faith, confront their temptations, and renew their commitment to live according to the gospel.
End with a prayer for strength and guidance through the Lenten wilderness, asking for a closer walk with Jesus and a deeper understanding of His love and sacrifice.