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Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
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Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Fourth Sunday after Trinity




John Huss was burned at the stake in 1415 for opposing the Pope's doctrine.


Sunday Worship, 8 AM, Phoenix Time

FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 8 AM Phoenix Time

The Hymn #259 by Luther - Denby
The Invocation p. 15
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual Romans 8:18-23
The Gospel Luke 6:36-42
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #260 Ach Gott vom Himmel
The Sermon

Big (doctrine) and Little (everything else)

The Hymn #311 by Huss – Jesus Christus, unser Heiland
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #27 – St. Thomas

Hymn notes – “Flung to the heedless winds” (#259, The Lutheran Hymnal) is Luther’s first hymn, inspired by the death of the first two Lutheran martyrs. Two young men were burned at the stake for their Lutheran doctrine. This beautiful hymn, easily sung, is omitted from all the new Lutheran hymnals.

Flung to the heedless winds,
Or on the waters cast,
The martyrs' ashes, watched,
Shall gathered be at last.

And from that scattered dust,
Around us and abroad,
Shall spring a plenteous seed,
Of witnesses for God.

The Father hath received,
Their latest living breath,
And vain is Satan's boast,
Of victory in their death.

Still, still, though dead, they speak,
And, trumpet tongued, proclaim,
To many a wakening land,
The one availing Name.

The Huss Hymn
The Huss hymn (#311) is singled out because the Czech reformer was burned at the stake for being the first to challenge the Church of Rome monopoly. His name means “goose” in his native language, so he died, saying, "You are roasting a poor Bohemian goose, but in 100 years there will arise a swan whom you will neither roast nor boil." Huss died in 1415; God raised up Martin Luther 100 years later. Significantly, Luther was accused of being a “Hussite,” and pleaded guilty. Frederick the Elector (http://www.luther.de/en/friedr.html) stood up to the Pope and kept Luther from being burned at the stake. Today’s Lutheran ministers cringe and cower if they are thought to associate with anyone confessional.

http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bio/7.html

http://beck.library.emory.edu/luther/luther_site/luther_text.html

Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

Luke 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. 39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? 40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. 41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.

Prayer
Lord God, heavenly Father, who art merciful, and through Christ didst promise us, that Thou wilt neither judge nor condemn us, but graciously forgive us all our sins, and abundantly provide for all our wants of body and soul: We pray Thee, that by Thy Holy Spirit Thou wilt establish in our hearts a confident faith in Thy mercy, and teach us also to be merciful to our neighbor, that we may not judge or condemn others, but willingly forgive all men, and, Judging only ourselves, lead blessed lives in Thy fear, through Thy dear Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen. (Veit Dietrich)

Big (Doctrine) and Little (Everything Else)

This is an important Gospel lesson, because the words are currently being distorted to say exactly the opposite of what Christ taught and still teaches.

The Gospel is summarized well by Luther, who said we should bend and be flexible with the personal failings of others, but be completely inflexible about the doctrine of the Bible. Some—I hope, many—realize that this is turned around in current thought.

"In matters concerning faith we must be invincible, unbending, and very stubborn; indeed, if possible, harder than adamant. But in matters concerning love we should be softer and more pliant than any reed and leaf and should gladly accommodate ourselves to everything." Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 412f. Galatians 2:8.

Don’t be judgmental
“Don’t be judgmental” is the motto of the century. Few realize that it came from Carl Rogers, largely forgotten except in counseling and psychology, who bragged that he started a new religion. In fact, he was an apostate. He grew up in a strict Christian home, almost became a minister, and then earned a PhD in psychology at Columbia. He is known for Client-Centered Therapy, where there is no such thing as right or wrong. He popularized the concept of condemning someone who honored the values of right and wrong by snapping: “Don’t be judgmental,” which is the broadest possible judgment of all.

First of all, it would be impossible for God to set aside the Ten Commandments, which were revealed to Moses out of divine love. Natural law means - God commands what is good for us. The only way to set aside the Ten Commandments is to reject God, a popular move today. Decisions made on the basis of God’s Creation are no longer acceptable in this country or in everyday life.

Christ is talking about condemnation in the ordinary things of life. Examples are endless. People hold endless grudges about whether they receive this honor or another. Any minister knows how dangerous it is to mention charter members on an anniversary Sunday. The most unforgiving charter member will be overlooked and make everyone pay for it, forever.

Life is full of daily annoyances because everyone is fallible. Although people love to condemn Luther, his personal life was quite remarkable. He put up with Agricola, one of the most destructive and damaging of the early Reformation. He forgave Agricola (the Antinomian – there is no Law) time after time. One instance Agricola was plotting against the Reformation while staying at Luther’s home. Yet Luther was not stupid about what was happening. He said once, “My friends have done more damage that the Pope and the Turks put together.”

Luther’s behavior was the result of justification by faith and his adherence to the Ten Commandments. He went over the Catechism regularly and knew his sinfulness. At the same time, because he was declared righteous through faith in Christ, he forgave as freely as he was forgiven by God.

Families need to have the same Gospel forgiveness, practicing it daily. The biggest problems of the day are often trivial. Nothing is more damaging than the accumulation of bitterness and resentment over a bunch of nothings. Because mutual condemnation flies in the face of God’s wisdom, it is mutually destructive.

I attended family court in Canada where a young couple accused each other before the judge. Each one had wild accusations and equally loud denials about those accusations. The husband was a motivational speaker. I imagine he lived in a van down by the river. He asked to retrieve his prosthetic arm from his former home. Anyone who thinks a judge is going to straighten out such problems is crazy – by definition. The judge—as a fallible human being—can only guess.

Luke 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

The first part of the lesson means that Gospel forgiveness will bear Gospel fruit. The opposite is true as well. Many who are very big deals in the visible church are miserable at home. One man received all the honors possible from his denomination and told a friend, “I am a complete failure. These are all empty honors.”

Gospel forgiveness means being contrition and faith in the atoning death of Christ. Justification by faith is the opposition of self-justification. One desert father (an early monk) said, “What a heavy burden we lay down when we give up self-justification. What a light burden we pick up when we accept justification by faith.”
The mark of contrition is humility. The marks of self-justification are pride, resentment, bitterness, and a desire for revenge. I have noticed that the need to get even is never met in the visible church. To use an example from the Church of Rome – when the scandal broke out in Boston over priestly abuse, only one priest was kicked out of the priesthood for good. No, he did not generate any court cases. He was not accused of anything as a priest. He did commit one horrible, unforgivable sin – he said Cardinal Law and the hierarchy were wrong.

Leaven (yeast) is used in two ways in the New Testament. One is the leaven of the Kingdom, which permeates one’s life through the Means of Grace. The other is the leaven of the Pharisees, which corrupts.

The good leaven cannot be stopped because it is living, like the Word. We used to store old leavened dough in the cooler at my father’s bakery. The old wives tale holds that dough is always improved by the addition of a previous batch. No one knew whether this was true. But we kept it and used it. The cooler had an old, beery smell from the dough kept there. When I went down to the basement to get it, the dough was always full of new air pockets from the living yeast cells. Yeast never stops working, so if it bad leaven, it corrupts just as thoroughly as good leaven lifts the dough.

Luke 6:39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? 40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. 41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.

The second part of the lesson can be applied to daily life and to doctrine. We have too many blind guides who use the Scriptures as a magical device to conjure up benefits for themselves while denying its truths. Most denominational energy is spent on attacking the truth, defending error, and claiming, “Look at all our money” as the sign of genuine success. Nothing is more meaningless in God’s Kingdom as having money. Even in Jesus’ time, when cash was rare and valuable, money is dismissed as a little thing. The great things are doctrinal.

What we believe, teach, and confess is foundational for all our actions. Someone blind to the truths of God’s Word will lead people into a ditch. The concept is humorous to consider. People are wandering around in their blindness, so a blind person says, “I will show you the way,” and they all fall into the same ditch.

God created light before the sun and stars, so light has a meaning beyond a lack of darkness. That is why the occultists like to steal the word and use it for their darkness. My wife asked me why someone was looking at me so strangely during a meeting. I told her what this woman said with great pride, “I am surrounding you with light.” That can only come from an occult follower, a self-described witch, who confuses light and darkness.

We see so many examples of blind guides in church history. Zwingli and Calvin wanted to lead people away from Holy Baptism and Holy Communion as sacraments. In their explanations they took people away from the Two Natures of Christ. Their followers easily become Unitarians because the ability of the divine nature of Christ is denied in Holy Communion, the efficacy of the Word is denied in both sacraments. Thus the good yeast of the Means of Grace is replaced with the corrupt yeast of the Pharisees.

In this age a similar process has accelerated with the so-called conservative Lutherans embracing and teaching the doctrine of Zwingli and Calvin, saying to the blind, “We will be your guides.” The results are predictable but the blind guides say, “True we are in a free-fall, in every visible category, but we need more light from Zwingli and Calvin, Fuller and Willow Creek, Waldo Werning and Leonard Sweet.

The darkness of the blind guides make the light of the Gospel more brilliant. In God’s Word we have the wisdom of the Holy Spirit conveying the atoning death of Christ to us, especially in an individual way in Holy Communion.

Quotations

Love For Sound Doctrine Chapter 6, Thy Strong Word

Harkey: "We want love as much as orthodoxy, yes, a thousand times more than what some men call orthodoxy." F. Bente, American Lutheranism, 2 vols., The United Lutheran Church, Gen Synod, Gen Council, Un Syn in the South, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1919, II, p. 121.

"As a rule, it is assumed that only the genuine Lutherans indulged in unseemly polemical invective, and spoke and wrote in a bitter and spiteful tone. But the Melanchthonians were, to say the least, equally guilty...The 'peace-loving Melanchthon started a conflagration within his own church in order to obtain a temporal and temporary peace with the Romanists; while the loyal Lutherans, inasmuch as they fought for the preservation of genuine Lutheranism, stood for, and promoted, a truly honorable, godly, and lasting peace on the basis of eternal truth. And while the latter fought honestly and in the open, the Philippists have never fully cleared themselves from the charges of duplicity, dishonesty, and dissimulation." F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 104.

"The method of debate on the part of the papalists is far different now than it was at the time of Eck, Emser, and others like them. These men did not refuse to fight with us with the weapons of the Scripture. Pighius, however, has perceived that this arrangement has done the papal kingdom more harm than good. Therefore he has shown a different and shorter way by which, provided they stuck to it, they could obtain practically anything without trouble. It consists in this that they bring together every oratorical device and then declaim loudly about the shortness, the incompleteness, the insufficiency, ambiguity, and obscurity of the Scripture and strenuously fight for the necessity, authority, perfection, certainty, and clarity of the unwritten traditions." Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, trans., Fred Kramer, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1971, I, p. 71.

"When they are proved wrong from the Scriptures, they turn and accuse the Scriptures themselves, as if they were not correct and were without authority, both because they speak now one way, now another, and also because the truth cannot be found from Scripture by those who do not know the tradition; for (so they say) the truth was not given through epistles, but through the living voice, etc." [Irenaeus, Contra haereses, chapter 2] Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, trans., Fred Kramer, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1971, I, p. 82.

"Here are no learned, no rich, no mighty ones, for such people do not as a rule accept the Gospel. The Gospel is a heavenly treasure, which will not tolerate any other treasure, and will not agree with any earthly guest in the heart. Therefore whoever loves the one must let go the other, as Christ says, Matthew 6:24: 'You cannot serve God and mammon.'" Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, I, p. 154. Christmas Day Luke 2:1-14; Matthew 6:24.

"In like manner we will also do to our princes and priests; when they attack our manner of life, we should suffer it and show love for hatred, good for evil; but when they attack our doctrine, God's honor is attacked, then love and patience should cease and we should not keep silent, but also say: I honor my Father, and you dishonor me; yet I do not inquire whether you dishonor me, for I do not seek my own honor." Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 176. Fifth Sunday in Lent John 8:46-59.

"To love God with all the soul is to devote your entire bodily life to him that you can say when the love of any creature, or any persecution threatens to overpower you: All this will I give up, before I will forsake my God; let men cast me away, murder or drown me, let what God's will is happen to me, I will gladly lose all, before I will forsake Thee, O Lord!" Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 25 Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity, Luke 10:23-37

"Therefore, do not speak to me of love or friendship when anything is to be detracted from the Word or the faith; for we are told that not love but the Word brings eternal life, God's grace, and all heavenly treasures." Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, III, p. 1411f. Ephesians 6:10-17.

"In matters concerning faith we must be invincible, unbending, and very stubborn; indeed, if possible, harder than adamant. But in matters concerning love we should be softer and more pliant than any reed and leaf and should gladly accommodate ourselves to everything." Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 412f. Galatians 2:8.

"Doctrine is our only light. It alone enlightens and directs us and shows us the way to heaven. If it is shaken in one quarter (in une parte), it will necessarily be shaken in its entirety (in totum). Where that happens, love cannot help us at all." Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 414. Galatians 5:10.

"But this tender mercy is to be exercised only toward Christians and among Christians, for toward those who reject and persecute the Gospel we must act differently; here I am not permitted to let my love be merciful so as to tolerate and endure false doctrine. When faith and doctrine are concerned and endangered, neither love nor patience are in order. Then it is my duty to contend in earnest and not to yield a hairbreadth." Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 637f.

"It is self-evident that if the perfectio, or sufficientia, of Scripture be surrendered , the Scripture principle is given up. If a deficiency in the Bible must be supplied from some outside source, the Christian Church is eo ipso moved off its foundation, the Word of the Apostles and Prophets, and based on the Ego of the alleged supplementers." Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1950, I, p. 319.

"We have no intention of yielding aught of the eternal, immutable truth of God for the sake of temporal peace, tranquility, and unity (which, moreover, is not in our power to do). Nor would such peace and unity, since it is devised against the truth and for its suppression, have any permanency. Still less are we inclined to adorn and conceal a corruption of the pure doctrine and manifest, condemned errors. But we entertain heartfelt pleasure and love for, and are on our part sincerely inclined and anxious to advance, that unity according to our utmost power, by which His glory remains to God uninjured, nothing of the divine truth of the Holy Gospel is surrendered, no room is given to the least error, poor sinners are brought to true, genuine repentance, raised up by faith, confirmed in new obedience, and thus justified and eternally saved alone through the sole merit of Christ." (Closing of Formula of Concord, Trigl. p. 1095) Francis Pieper, The Difference Between Orthodox And Heterodox Churches, and Supplement, Coos Bay, Oregon: St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 1981, p. 65.

"When a theologian is asked to yield and make concessions in order that peace may at last be established in the Church, but refuses to do so even in a single point of doctrine, such an action looks to human reason like intolerable stubbornness, yea, like downright malice. That is the reason why such theologians are loved and praised by few men during their lifetime. Most men rather revile them as disturbers of the peace, yea, as destroyers of the kingdom of God. They are regarded as men worthy of contempt. But in the end it becomes manifest that this very determined, inexorable tenacity in clinging to the pure teaching of the divine Word by no means tears down the Church; on the contrary, it is just this which, in the midst of greatest dissension, builds up the Church and ultimately brings about genuine peace. Therefore, woe to the Church which has no men of this stripe, men who stand as watchmen on the walls of Zion, C. F. W. Walther, The Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel, trans., W. H. T. Dau, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1928, p. 28.

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