Worship Service – January 15, 2023

God is faithful and ever-present.  The God who knew us before our birth loves us still and strengthens us, that we will one day be blameless.  Through the gift of Jesus Christ, God offers forgiveness, grace, and mercy.  Come, let us worship the God!
Scriptures; Isaiah 49:1-7 and John 1:29-42
Message; “Seekers and Pointers”
Isaiah 49:1-7
The Servant of the Lord
(1) Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name.
(2) He made my mouth like a sharpened sword; in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver.
(3) He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.”
(4) But I said, “I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing. Yet what is due me is in the Lord ‘s hand, and my reward is with my God.”
(5) And now the Lord says- he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord and my God has been my strength-
(6) he says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”
(7) This is what the Lord says- the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel- to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation, to the servant of rulers: “Kings will see you and rise up, princes will see and bow down, because of the Lord , who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”
John 1:29-42
Jesus the Lamb of God
(29) The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (30) This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ (31) I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”
(32) Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. (33) I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ (34) I have seen, and I testify that this is the Son of God.”
Jesus’ First Disciples
(35) The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. (36) When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
(37) When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. (38) Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?”
(39) “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So, they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour.
(40) Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. (41) The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). (42) And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter ).
This is the word of God, for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
While growing up there’s something my parents used to say that’s always puzzled me. I’ve probably even said it to my kids. And you’ve probably said it to yours. It usually happened when we were very young and hadn’t learned all the etiquettes of life. But I can clearly remember seeing someone dressed or acting strange, pointing at them and my mother slapping my hand and saying: “Joe”, it’s not polite to point.” But then whenever, I would do something she didn’t approve of, she would point a finger at me saying, No! No! No! I’m going to tell your father when he gets home! And I would be tempted to say to her, I thought you said it wasn’t polite to point.
At that time, I then never really understood why it was impolite to point. Or why we still today teach that to our children. So, I did a little research.
One article I read said that “Pointing at objects is not considered rude, but useful for foreign nationals who don’t know the name of something. But pointing at people is not polite, because of its use in court, to point out wrongdoers. In some cases, pointing someone out can even get you killed, which is why we must have witness protection programs. Criminals refer to it as “being fingered.”
The word point comes from the Latin word punctus, meaning to puncture or pierce. No wonder it’s considered impolite! Nobody wants their identity fingered, penetrated, punctured, or pierced without first consenting.
I’m sure most of you have pointed at something in your travels. Dangers like a deer standing next to the road. Or a new shopping center just waiting for you to make a purchase. Sometimes we point things out as a reminder to use a hot pad when taking something out of the microwave or oven. Or pointing to a person in a crowd, helping someone locate the person they’ve been seeking.
Well, all of my ramblings will make sense in a little bit, I promise.
Now, I know what our mothers told us, it’s not polite to point, but as Christian I think it’s OK. Because, we’re called to be, “Pointers” of Jesus, as Lord and Savior, to a world of “Seekers”. It’s OK because, Jesus has already been fingered by God when God spoke at His baptism and said: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”
We know He was pointed out in the kangaroo court of His trial and crucified even though he was innocent and sinless. And having been crucified, He was definitely punctured, penetrated, and pierced for our sake. And he showed those puncture wounds to Thomas after the Resurrection. He pointed to them Himself. Not only that but John the Baptist, Jesus’ own cousin, points Him out to the crowd and to Andrew and to John, the writer of the gospel of John.
But before we get into our gospel reading today, let’s first look at our reading of Isaiah 49 titled, “The Servant of the Lord”. We’re not told who the Servant is exactly. When most people first read these verses, they think that Isaiah was pointing to himself, as the Servant, until we read verses 6 and 7. Where we read: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”
This is what the Lord says- the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel- to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation, to the servant of rulers: “Kings will see you and rise up, princes will see and bow down, because of the Lord , who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.” Isaiah is pointing to none other than the Messiah. Our Redeemer and Holy One. Jesus the Lamb of God.
As one commentator put it, “Before the Servant, the Messiah, was born, God had chosen him to bring the light of the gospel to the world. Isaiah is seeking a way to tell his people of the Messiah, pointing to a time when Christ offers salvation to all nations, and his apostles began the missionary movement to take this gospel to the ends of the earth.“
Then in our gospel reading today John tells the story of the calling of the disciples a little differently from the way the other gospel writers tell it. John tells us that soon after Jesus was baptized, John the Baptist, was talking with some of his own followers and he looked up and saw Jesus passing by. John pointed at Jesus and said, “Look the Lamb of God!” (v. 36). The disciples heard John call Jesus “the Lamb of God.” I can imagine the disciples thinking, “I wonder what in the world he meant by that.” Because lambs were often used as a sacrifice to God.
I’m reminded of the story of a tourist who visited a church in Germany and was surprised to see the carved figure of a lamb near the top of the church’s tower. While pointing to that carved figure of the lamb, he asked, why it was there and was told that when the church was being built, a workman fell from a high scaffold.
His co-workers rushed down, expecting to find him dead. But to their surprise and joy, he was alive and only slightly injured.
A flock of sheep were passing beneath the tower at the time, and he landed on top of a lamb. The lamb broke his fall and was crushed to death, but the man was saved.
So, to commemorate that miraculous escape, someone carved a lamb on the tower at the exact height from which the workman fell.
Like that tourist, John the Baptist pointed to Jesus, saying: “Behold! The Lamb of God, which take, away the sin of the world!”
So, because of their curiosity as seekers of God the two the disciples left John and followed Jesus, apparently at a distance, to see what they could learn about him. But Jesus became aware that they were following and so he turned and looked at them. I can imagine there was a little smile on the face of Jesus, who was just getting started in the work He felt God had assigned to Him. He asked, “What do you want?” That probably surprised the disciples. Scrambling for something to say, they asked, “Rabbi, where are you staying?” That really wasn’t what they wanted to know. They wanted to know much more. And there were questions they didn’t yet know how to ask. But it was the first thing of which they could think. I can imagine that Jesus smiled and waved a hand as he said, “Come”… “And you will see.”
Andrew and John, the unnamed disciple, were Seekers who thought they might have found the Messiah. Did you noticed that these two disciples answered Jesus’ question; ”What do you want?“ with a question. Saying: “Rabbi”, “Where are you staying?” Maybe it was a way of saying politely in public, our business would take too long to explain here.
Anyway, Jesus pointed to them and said: “Come”. “And you will see.” And they did.
Isn’t that what we do when someone excitedly says: Come and you will see? It may be our spouse talking about something on television or an appliance in the house that has gone haywire. It might be a friend wanting to show you their new car or new whatever. Or pictures of their grandchild. Or maybe it’s one of your children or grandchildren wanting to show you their newest creation or discovery.
It could be any of those things, but we know the invitation and the excitement of that invitation. That excitement was in the invitation of Jesus to Andrew and John. Jesus said: “Come”. “And you will see.” They went and their lives were changed completely.
They went and saw where Jesus was staying and spent that day with Him. What gave them the desire to follow Jesus? Have you ever wondered that? I’ve always been curious. We don’t know. We really can’t even speculate because there’s nothing to base it on. And maybe it wasn’t anything Jesus said. Maybe all they had to do was look in His eyes.
We all know there are times when we get the look! Sometimes it’s not of approval. Too often I get that look from my wife. But I know when I do something that Bonne truly appreciates, I get the look of approval and appreciation. And when I’m in need of help she will give me the look of willingness without my even asking.
I think that’s what happened to Andrew and John. Jesus said, “Come and you will see;” they went, they saw, they were changed from Seekers to Pointers and then they Pointed Jesus out to others.
That’s basically the Message Andrew had for his brother. Andrew Pointed out Jesus to his brother Simon in a very simple way. He said: “We’ve found the Messiah.” I’m sure Simon must’ve seen the excitement in Andrews eyes. Because he didn’t say, “We’ve done it Simon. We’ve found him.”
Andrew Pointed to Jesus and he didn’t get in trouble for pointing. But then I guess he was doing a different kind of pointing. He was pointing people to Jesus, not pointing out their faults and phobias. Andrew was pointing the way.
And by Pointing the way, Simon’s life and name were changed.
That’s what it’s all about. Isn’t it. Pointing to Jesus and seeking out others telling them, “He saved my life. I took his name.” Jesus saved our lives, and we take His name. Just like Simon became Peter. We become someone new. We might have the same name, legally, but in the Kingdom of God we have been given a new name. One written in the book of life. One that claims us as a brother or sister of Jesus. One that claims we are Sons and Daughters of God and heirs to the Kingdom because of what Jesus has done for us. A name that calls us to share the Good News. You and I have been transformed like Andrew, Peter, and John from Seekers to Pointers.
Mom was probably right. “It’s not polite to point.” Except when it comes to Jesus. Then, you and I are called to point to Him in all we do. We’re called to Point to Him as Lord and Savior or our lives. We’re called to Point Him out in how we live and how we treat one another and those who are different.
If you’ve accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, then you’re no longer a Seeker, you’re a Pointer. And the challenge is simple. “Start Pointing.” Invite others to come and see. Like Isaiah we can approach others and say, “Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name.”
Come and you will see what the Lamb of God did for you!
Are you Pointing to Jesus?
In His Service,
Pastor Joe
Listen To Audio: Sermon 20230115
Call to Worship:
L:  Let us raise our voices unashamedly
P:  Rivaling heaven’s angels
L:  To praise our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
P:  Let us lift every voice and sing to our Master and Maker
Prayer of Confession:    Faithful God, you call us to be saints, but we are more comfortable with the role of sinner; you  call us to be your servants, but we worry that we lack the skills to do your work; you put a new song of praise in our mouths, but we stumble on unfamiliar words; you show us the work to be tackled, but we turn away defiant, insisting we have more important things to do.  Put your song on our lips and in our hearts, and remind us of the joy that awaits us when we put our trust in you.  Guide us into the light of your unwavering, never-ending, and grace-filled love.  We ask this in Jesus’ Name.    Amen



Pastor Joe will be available at the church on Thursday afternoon from 11 to 1.  If you need to speak to him, contact Pastor Joe at 570-267-4570 (cell) or Email: joe.s.travis@gmail.com

Loose change goes to Kenya/Rev. Malaho

Sunday School starts at 8:30am

Choir practice will be on Thursday at 1:00!   Please come a join us in singing praises to Jesus! 

Corporation Meeting after church TODAY!!

Men’s Breakfast Wednesday January 18th at 8:00 A.M.

Session Meeting Saturday, January 21st at 9:00 A.M.

Newsletter Deadline – Tuesday, January 31st, 2023.

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