Old Testament: Genesis 12:1-9
The Call of Abram
12 Now the Lord said[a] to Abram, “Go from your country[b] and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”[c]
4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, 6 Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak[d] of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. 8 From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord. 9 And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb.
Epistle: Romans 4:1-8, 13-17
Abraham Justified by Faith
4 What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in[a] him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:
7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
and whose sins are covered;
8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
The Promise Realized Through Faith
13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.
16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.
Holy Gospel: John 3:1-17
You Must Be Born Again
3 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus[a] by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again[b] he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.[c] 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You[d] must be born again.’ 8 The wind[e] blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you[f] do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.[g] 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.[h]
For God So Loved the World
16 “For God so loved the world,[i] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
694. Thee Will I Love, My Strength, My Tower
1 Thee will I love, my strength, my tower;
Thee will I love, my hope, my joy.
Thee will I love with all my power,
With ardor time shall ne’er destroy.
Thee will I love, O Light Divine,
So long as life is mine.
2 Thee will I love, my life, my Savior,
Who art my best and truest friend.
Thee will I love and praise forever,
For never shall Thy kindness end.
Thee will I love with all my heart–
Thou my Redeemer art!
3 I thank Thee, Jesus, Sun from heaven,
Whose radiance hath brought light to me;
I thank Thee, who hast richly given
All that could make me glad and free;
I thank Thee that my soul is healed
By what Thy lips revealed.
4 O keep me watchful, then, and humble;
Permit me nevermore to stray.
Uphold me when my feet would stumble,
And keep me on the narrow way.
Fill all my nature with Thy light,
O Radiance strong and bright!
5 Thee will I love, my crown of gladness;
Thee will I love, my God and Lord,
Amid the darkest depths of sadness,
And not for hope of high reward,
For Thine own sake, O Light divine,
So long as life is mine.
571. God Loved the World So That He Gave
1 God loved the world so that He gave
His only Son the lost to save,
That all who would in Him believe
Should everlasting life receive.
2 Christ Jesus is the ground of faith,
Who was made flesh and suffered death;
All then who trust in Him alone
Are built on this chief cornerstone.
3 God would not have the sinner die;
His Son with saving grace is nigh;
His Spirit in the Word declares
How we in Christ are heaven’s heirs.
4 Be of good cheer, for God’s own Son
Forgives all sins which you have done;
And, justified by Jesus’ blood,
Your Baptism grants the highest good.
5 If you are sick, if death is near,
This truth your troubled heart can cheer:
Christ Jesus saves your soul from death;
That is the firmest ground of faith.
6 Glory to God the Father, Son,
And Holy Spirit, Three in One!
To Thee, O blessed Trinity,
Be praise now and eternally!
743. Jesus, Priceless Treasure
1 Jesus, priceless treasure,
Fount of purest pleasure,
Truest friend to me.
Ah, how long in anguish
Shall my spirit languish,
Yearning, Lord, for Thee?
Thou art mine,
O Lamb divine!
I will suffer naught to hide Thee,
Naught I ask beside Thee.
2 In Thine arms I rest me;
Foes who would molest me
Cannot reach me here.
Though the earth be shaking,
Ev’ry heart be quaking,
Jesus calms my fear.
And thunder crash;
yet, though sin and hell assail me,
Jesus will not fail me.
3 Satan, I defy thee;
Death, I now decry thee;
Fear, I bid thee cease.
World, thou shalt not harm me
Nor thy threats alarm me
While I sing of peace.
God’s great pow’r
Guards ev’ry hour;
Earth and all its depths adore Him,
Silent bow before Him.
4 Hence, all earthly treasure!
Jesus is my pleasure,
Jesus is my choice.
Hence all empty glory!
Naught to me the story
Told with tempting voice.
Pain or loss,
Or shame or cross,
Shall not from my Savior move me
Since He deigns to love me.
5 Evil world, I leave thee;
Thou canst not deceive me,
Thine appeal is vain.
Sin that once did blind me,
Get thee far behind me,
Come not forth again.
Past thy hour,
O pride and pow’r;
Sinful life, thy bonds I sever,
Leave thee now forever.
6 Hence, all fear and sadness!
For the Lord of gladness,
Jesus, enters in.
Those who love the Father,
Though the storms may gather,
Still have peace within.
I here must bear,
Thou art still my purest pleasure,
Jesus, priceless treasure!