Third Sunday in Advent                                                       December 12, 2021                                              


Today’s Theme for Worship: When the Lord Comes Near, He Humbles His Enemies Last week we saw that the Lord sends messengers to call us to repentance. This week we learn that those who refuse to heed that call to humble themselves will be humbled anyway.


Opening Hymn 4  Lift Up Your Heads, You Mighty Gates


1  Lift up your heads, you mighty gates! Behold, the King of glory waits.

The King of kings is drawing near; The Savior of the world is here.

Life and salvation he will bring; Therefore rejoice and gladly sing.

To God the Father raise Your joyful songs of praise.


2  The King is born in poverty, His chariot is humility,

His kingly crown is holiness, His scepter, pity in distress.

The end of all our woe he brings; Therefore the earth is glad and sings.

To Christ the Savior raise Your grateful hymns of praise.


3  How blest the land, the city blest, Where Christ the ruler is confessed!

O peaceful hearts and happy homes To whom this King in triumph comes!

The cloudless sun of joy is he Who comes to set his people free.

To God the Spirit raise Your happy shouts of praise.


4  Fling wide the portals of your heart; Make it a temple set apart

From earthly use for heav’n’s employ, Adorned with prayer and love and joy.

So shall your Sov’reign enter in And new and nobler life begin.

To God alone be praise For word and deed and grace!


5  Redeemer, come! I open wide My heart to you; here, Lord, abide!

Oh, enter with your saving grace; Show me your kind and friendly face.

Your Holy Spirit guide us on Until our glorious goal is won.

Eternal praise and fame We offer to your name.


Text: Georg Weissel, 1590-1635; tr. Catherine Winkworth, 1827-78, alt.


P: The grace of our Lord + Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.

C: And also with you.


Confession of Sins

P: We have come into the presence of God, who created us to love and serve him as his dear children. But we have disobeyed him and deserve only his wrath and punishment. Therefore, let us confess our sins to him and plead for his mercy.

C: Merciful Father in heaven, I am altogether sinful from birth. In countless ways I have sinned against you and do not deserve to be called your child. But trusting in Jesus, my Savior, I pray: have mercy on me according to your unfailing love. Cleanse me from my sin, and take away my guilt.

P: God, our heavenly Father, has forgiven all your sins. By the perfect life and innocent death of our Lord Jesus Christ, he has removed your guilt forever. You are his own dear child. May God give you strength to live according to his will.

C: Amen.

P: In the peace of forgiveness, let us praise the Lord.


Oh Taste And See


Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.

Bless-ed are they who take re-fuge in him.


Your Word, O Lord, is e-ter-nal;

it stands firm in the heav-ens.

Your faith-ful-ness con-tin-ues for-ev-er.


Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.

Bless-ed are they who take re-fuge in him.


Prayer of the Day

P: Let us Pray.

Hear our prayers, Lord Jesus Christ, and come with the good news of your mighty deliverance. Drive the darkness from our hearts and fill us with your light; for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. C: Amen


First Lesson: Zephaniah 3:14-17

14Sing out, daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, you daughter of Jerusalem. 15The Lord has removed the judgment against you. He has turned back your enemy. Israel’s king, the Lord, is in your midst! You no longer need to fear disaster. 16In that day Jerusalem will be told, “Do not be afraid, O Zion. Do not give up. 17The Lord your God is with you as a hero who will save you. He takes great delight in you. He will quiet you with his love. He will rejoice over you with singing.”


Children’s Choir   Dance and Sing


Second Lesson: Philippians 4:4-7

4Rejoice in the Lord always! I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6Do not worry about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


Special Music   O Savior Rend the Heavens Wide


Gospel: Luke 3:7-18

7So John kept saying to the crowds who came out to be baptized by him, “You offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8Therefore produce fruits in keeping with repentance! Do not even think of saying to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ because I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones. 9Even now the ax is ready to strike the root of the trees. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is going to be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

10The crowds began to ask him, “What should we do then?”

11He answered them, “Whoever has two shirts should share with the person who has none, and whoever has food should do the same.”

12Tax collectors also came to be baptized. They said, “Teacher, what should we do?”

13To them he said, “Collect no more than what you were authorized to.”

14Soldiers were also asking him, “And what should we do?”

He told them, “Do not extort money from anyone by force or false accusation. Be satisfied with your wages.”

15The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John could be the Christ. 16John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But someone mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17His winnowing shovel is in his hand, and he will thoroughly clean out his threshing floor. He will gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

18Then with many other words, he appealed to them and was preaching good news to the people.


P: This the gospel of our Lord.

C:  Praise be to you, O Christ!


Hymn of the Day: 18  O Lord, How Shall I Meet You


1  O Lord, how shall I meet you, How welcome you aright?

Your people long to greet you, My Hope, my heart’s Delight.

O Jesus, let your Word be A lamp to light my way,

To show me how to please you, To guide me ev’ry day.


2  Love caused your incarnation; Love brought you down to me.

Your thirst for my salvation Procured my liberty.

Oh, love beyond all telling That led you to embrace

In love, all love excelling, Our lost and fallen race!


3  Rejoice, then, you sad-hearted, Who sit in deepest gloom,

Who mourn o’er joys departed And tremble at your doom.

Despair not; he is near you, He’s standing at the door

Who best can help and cheer you And bids you weep no more.


4  Sin’s debt, that fearful burden, Let not your souls distress;

Your guilt the Lord will pardon And cover by his grace.

He comes, for you procuring The peace of sin forgiv’n,

His children thus securing A heritage in heav’n.


5  He comes to judge the nations, A terror to his foes,

A light of consolations, And blessed hope to those

Who love the Lord’s appearing. O glorious Sun, now come,

Send forth your beams most cheering, And guide us safely home.


Text: Paul Gerhardt, 1607-76, abr.; tr. composite.




Apostles Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I 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.



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Prayer of the Church



Hymn: 27  O Jesus, Lamb of God, You Are

1  O Jesus, Lamb of God, you are

My comfort and my guiding star;

I come, a sinner, trustingly

And bring my many sins with me.


2  O Lord, my sin indeed is great;

I groan beneath the dreadful weight.

Be merciful to me, I pray;

Take guilt and punishment away.


3  Saint John the Baptist points to you

And bids me cast my sin on you,

For you have left your throne on high

To suffer for the world and die.


4  Help me to change my ways, O Lord,

And gladly to obey your Word.

While here I live, abide with me,

Then take me home eternally.


Text: Bartholomäus Helder, 1585-1635; tr. August Crull, 1845-1923, alt.



Prayer and Blessing


P: Almighty God, we thank you for teaching us the things you want us to believe and do. Help us by your Holy Spirit to keep your Word in pure hearts that we may be strengthened in faith, guided in holiness, and comforted in life and in death, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

C:  A-men.


P: Brothers and sisters, go in peace. Live in harmony with one another. Serve the Lord with gladness.

The Lord bless you and keep you.

The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.

The Lord look on you with favor and + give you peace.

C:  A-men, A-men, A-men


Closing Hymn: 745 May the Peace of God

Verse 1

1. May the peace of God our heav'nly Father,

And the grace of Christ the risen Son,

And the fellowship of God the Spirit

Keep our hearts and minds within his love.



And to him be praise for his glorious reign

From the depths of earth

to the heights of heav'n.

We declare the name of the Lamb once slain

Christ eternal, the King of kings.


2. May this peace which passes understanding,

And this grace which makes us what we are,

And this fellowship of his Communion

Make us one in spirit and in heart.



And to him be praise for his glorious reign

From the depths of earth

to the heights of heav'n.

We declare the name of the Lamb once slain

Christ eternal, the King of kings.