The Third Sunday after Trinity
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The Hymn #231 by Luther - Nun bitten wir
The Invocation p. 15
The Confession of Sins
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 1 Peter 5:6-11
The Gospel Luke 15:1-10
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #277 Vox dilecti
We Are the Lost Coin, the Lost Sheep
The Hymn #313 by Luther – Gott sei gelobet
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 #436 - Belmont
1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Luke 15:1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.
2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. 3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. 8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? 9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
THIRD SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY
Lord God, heavenly Father, we all like sheep have gone astray, having suffered ourselves to be led away from the right path by Satan and our own sinful flesh: We beseech Thee graciously to forgive us all our sins for the sake of Thy Son, Jesus Christ; and quicken our hearts by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may abide in Thy word, and in true repentance and a steadfast faith continue in Thy Church unto the end, and obtain eternal salvation, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end Amen.
We Are the Lost Coin, the Lost Sheep
People sometimes wonder why the religious leaders hated Jesus and wanted to kill Him. The answer is found in the opening of the Gospel lesson –
Luke 15:1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.
2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
Luther pointed out that Jesus angered the religious leaders by saying, “Your righteousness does not come from your works but from Me.”
The religious leaders clearly thought of themselves as righteous through their works. They condemned Jesus for eating with open sinners. The word used identifies these people as obvious sinners, such as tax collectors for the Roman occupation, criminals, prostitutes. How many have been driven away from God with these words – you can never be forgiven for what you did.
In that light, Jesus told the two parables which introduce the Parable of the Prodigal Son. In the Scriptures we always have a wealth of spiritual instruction. One parable about God seeking the lost might be enough, but the Holy Spirit has given us three in a row. If we cannot grasp the Lost Coin and Lost Sheep parables, we can at least comprehend the Prodigal Son.
But what Jesus did in these parables was to move the lesson from a lost animal (some worth to man) to a lost coin (great worth to man) to a lost soul (the greatest worth to God).
The economy in Jesus’ day was largely based upon sheep, so there are abundant references to sheep in Bible - to Jesus as the Shepherd, Good Shepherd, and the Lamb of God. Any animal owner would leave his flock and go searching for the lost one. Here we are expected to identify with God searching for that one lost sheep. The touching part of the parable is the ending. The owner goes home with his sheep on his shoulders (suggesting His strength and our weakness), rejoicing and telling His neighbors. This is an important lesson for all those who feel lost and alienated from God by His anger. His nature is not to push away the sinner but to bring him home rejoicing. God’s overwhelming character is mercy, love, and forgiveness.
This is also a parable for the Pharisee in all of us. Our natural tendency is to take pride in our works and to feel above others. Jesus’ parable has the sheep in safety left alone so the Savior can seek the lost.
7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
The message is subtle but impossible to miss. Most feel no need to repent and believe in Christ, but Heaven is filled with rejoicing when one person repents, not with 99 who need no repentance. Of course, that is impossible, that people need no repentance. However, that does not keep people from becoming hardened against repentance.
Once again I was asked today about books written by an apostate. His hatred is so great that he writes books full of false claims about the origin of the Bible. His minions forward his messages and disturb new Christians who are shaken by the confidence he places in his “facts.” I never heard of him before, so I googled his name and read a little more. I could tell right away that he was brought up in a Christian family. Those who fall away from the faith are the worst opponents.
God says in effect, “The God you imagine is the God I will be for you.” There are those who say they cannot believe in God the Father sending His Son to die for our sins. They refuse to see the God of mercy and love, so they always reject this god of wrath they have imagined. “God wrath remains on unbelievers,” as John’s Gospel teaches.
The purpose of the Scriptures is to be that one infallible guide and revelation of God’s will. Here Jesus teaches in the kindest way possible that the lost person is sought and found by God and retuned while still weak with sin to the rejoicing of God’s Kingdom. The angels rejoice.
That is why Christianity invaded and took over the Roman Empire from the bottom up. The first converts were mostly slaves and low-lifes, repentant criminals, former prostitutes and former homosexuals. Others were alcoholics and degenerates of various types. Public debauchery was common then. The stadiums were like our rock music concerts, where anything could happen and did happen. Those who get drawn in are thrilled at first but become despairing later. And God seeks them out.
God seeks the lost exclusively through the Word. Programs and methods come and go. Without the Word of God, no conversion can take place. If man waters down the Word to make it more appealing, the Spirit’s power is drowned out by man’s supposed wisdom. Recent examples in the Lutheran Church are too numerous to name more than the worst. For Christmas an LCMS minister mocked Holy Communion, portraying himself as an addled or drugged Jesus talking about His birthday. Sadly, that is the largest congregation in the LCMS and not to be touched by doctrinal discipline.
The same can be said about one of the largest in WELS, Green Bay, where the ministers have plagiarized the sermons of false teachers (almost word for word) and posted them on the church website as their own. Their concession to this crime (it is illegal to plagiarize) was to start giving credit to the false teachers who wrote the sermons. This avoids the issue of well prepared and creative ministers actually doing the work of proclaiming the Word after careful study and preparation.
The Word is conveyed in many different ways. People do not have to be anxious about how much or when they witness. The opportunities never stop. Nor do they have to wonder if they were effective. The Word is effective. Just try repeating the Word to Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness door-knockers. Every Word of God quoted will make them angry. Why? The Word hardens and blinds those who will not receive it. But anger is a good thing. If they become angry they may think over their errors. Better to lodge one verse in their heads than to argue them into the truth. They are prepared to argue. They are never prepared or strong enough to confront the Word of God in its purity and truth.
The Lost Coin
Everyone can identify with the lost object, whether it is a coin, a purse, a wallet, or a set of keys. Once I lost my keys and needed to drive to work. My wife Chris phoned the school. The receptionist laughed about me running all over the house looking for keys. Everyone has done that.
My biggest panic was looking for tickets to Disneyland. We were meeting the grandchildren and their parents in LA with the tickets. The morning we were to leave I began looking for the lost tickets. They were for all of us for a number of days. I cleaned. I straightened. I filed. I unfiled. I did everything possible. It was almost time to go, early in the morning. We were going to fly. I fell into my chair and confessed, “I lost the tickets.” Just then my eyes fell on the tickets, only a few inches away. I wonder if anyone has not had that experience, one way or another.
So Jesus taught:
8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? 9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
Once again there is an emphasis on the woman having 90% of her coins, but searching the house carefully until the lost coin is found. We have all been in that situation. And we love to tell our friends, even strangers, what a panic we fell into and how happy we were when we found the lost object.
And so all of Heaven rejoices when one sinner repents.
Repentance is sorrow for sin and faith in Christ. Depth of feeling is not the core of repentance. It is godly sorrow for sin – knowing we have broken God’s commandments. The Medieval Church taught people to pay for their sins, through their emotional outburst, their physical pain, and their money. That has made people think that repentance equals how hard they cry. Repentance means knowing we need a Savior and trusting in His work for us.
Holy Communion unites believers in receiving the visible Word of Christ’s Body and Blood.
Justification by Faith Quotations
"For neither you nor I could ever know anything of Christ, or believe on Him, and obtain Him for our Lord, unless it were offered to us and granted to our hearts by the Holy Ghost through the preaching of the Gospel. The work is done and accomplished; for Christ has acquired and gained the treasure for us by His suffering, death, resurrection, etc. But if the work remained concealed so that no one knew of it, then it would be in vain and lost. That this treasure, therefore, might not lie buried, but be appropriated and enjoyed, God has caused the Word to go forth and be proclaimed, in which He gives the Holy Ghost to bring this treasure home and appropriate it to us. Therefore sanctifying is nothing else than bringing us to Christ to receive this good, to which could not
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #38, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 689. Tappert, p. 415.
"But outside of this Christian Church, where the Gospel is not, there is no forgiveness, as also there can be no holiness [sanctification]. Therefore all who seek and wish to merit holiness [sanctification], not through the Gospel and forgiveness of sin, but by their works, have expelled and severed themselves [from this Church]."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #56, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 693. Tappert, p. 418.
"This faith, encouraging and consoling in these fears, receives remission of sins, justifies and quickens. For this consolation is a new and spiritual life [a new birth and a new life]. These things are plain and clear, and can be understood by the pious, and have testimonies of the Church [as is to be seen in the conversion of Paul and Augustine]. The adversaries nowhere can say how the Holy Ghost is given. They imagine that the Sacraments confer the Holy Ghost ex opere operato, without a good emotion in the recipient, as though, indeed, the gift of the Holy Ghost were an idle matter."
Article IV., Justification, Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 139. Tappert, p. 115.
"Now, that faith signifies, not only a knowledge of the history, but such faith as assents to the promise, Paul plainly testifies when says, Romans 4:16: 'Therefore it is of faith, to the end the promise might be sure.' For he judges that the promise cannot be received unless by faith. Wherefore he puts them together as things that belong to one another, and connects promise and faith."
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article IV, Justification, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 135. Tappert, p. 114. Romans 4:16.
"But as the Confutation condemns us for having assigned these two parts to repentance, we must show that [not we, but] Scripture expresses these as the chief parts in repentance and conversion. For Christ says, Matthew 11:28: Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Here there are two members. The labor and the burden signify the contrition, anxiety, and terrors of sin and of death. To come to Christ is to believe that sins are remitted for Christ's sake; when we believe, our hearts are quickened by the Holy Ghost through the Word of Christ. Here, therefore, there are these two chief parts, contrition and faith."
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XII (V), #44, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 263. Tappert, p. 187. Matthew 11:28.
"How is a person justified before God? This occurs solely by faith in the Son of God, Jesus Christ; that is, freely, not because of any works or merits of one's own but only because of the one Mediator, Jesus Christ, who became the sacrificial victim and propitiation on our behalf. By this sacrifice, man obtained forgiveness of sins and became righteous; that is, God-pleasing and acceptable. His righteousness was imputed to man for Christ's sake, and man becomes an heir of eternal life when he believes with certainty that God gives him these blessings for the sake of His Son."
David Chytraeus, A Summary of the Christian Faith (1568), trans., Richard Dinda, Decatur: Repristination Press, 1994. p. 105.
"Christian righteousness is the forgiveness of sin, the imputation of the righteousness of Christ and acceptance to eternal life. It is free, not the result of any virtues or works but is given solely because of Christ, the Mediator, and apprehended by faith alone."
David Chytraeus, A Summary of the Christian Faith (1568), trans., Richard Dinda, Decatur: Repristination Press, 1994. p. 106.
"Scripture therefore uses these words, 'We are justified by faith,' to teach both: 1) What the reason (or merit) for justification is, or what the blessings of Christ are; to wit, that through and for the sake of Christ alone we are granted forgiveness of sins, righteousness and eternal life; and 2. How these should be applied or transferred to us; namely, by embracing the promise and relying on Christ by faith alone."
David Chytraeus, A Summary of the Christian Faith (1568), trans., Richard Dinda, Decatur: Repristination Press, 1994. p. 107.