Lutheran Worship and Resources



Traditional Lutheran worship services, using The Lutheran Hymnal and the KJV.

Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream - Sunday, 10 AM Central.


Thanksgiving Eve - 7 PM Central Time.

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works asgregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson's Author's Page

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday



"In Adam we have all been one, one huge rebellious clan." Art by Norma Boeckler.


Mid-Week Lenten Vespers


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/bethany-lutheran-worship

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 6 PM Phoenix Time

The Hymn #142 An Wasserfluessen Babylon
The Order of Vespers p. 41
The Psalmody Psalm 1 p. 123
The Lection John 15:1-10

The Sermon Hymn #347 Jesus meine Freude

The Sermon – The Treasures of Heaven

The Prayers
The Lord’s Prayer
The Collect for Grace p. 45

The Hymn #554 O Welt, ich muss

KJV Joel 2:12 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: 13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. 14 Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God? 15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: 16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. 17 Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? 18 Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people. 19 Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen:

KJV Matthew 6:16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Prayer

Lord God, heavenly Father, inasmuch as the adversary doth continually afflict us, and as a roaring lion doth walk about, seeking to devour us: We beseech Thee for the sake of the suffering and death of Thy Son, Jesus Christ, to help us by the grace of the Holy Spirit, and to strengthen our hearts by Thy word, that our enemy may not prevail over us, but that we may evermore abide in Thy grace, and be preserved unto everlasting life; through the same, Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

The Treasures of Heaven

Matthew 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

God has given man plenty of reasoning power for practical decisions. He even seems to have granted some people a level of genius and a measure of persistence to change the world. One man, Tesla, created the 20th century with the generation of alternating current, remote control, radio waves and TV (though Marconi got the Nobel for Tesla’s invention), x-ray (overshadowed by Roentgen), and some inventions still being disputed.

However, there is another area where God alone is the master, judge, and teacher – spiritual treasure. We have only one Book where God speaks directly to His people in order to reveal these treasures. People try to insist “many truths” and “many paths to God” but there is only One Truth, one revelation, and that is found in God’s Word, in His Holy Scriptures. Many religions reflect some of the truths of the Bible, but they are man’s effort to borrow the glory of God and turn it over for their own use. The quasi-Christian sects (Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witness, liberal denominations) use the terms and even the passages that suit them, but they have no interest in the truth of the revealed Word.

Although God has given man enough reasoning power to overcome many practical problems of life, such as bridging huge chasms and turning oil into dozens of chemicals, He has not given over His Word to man to judge, adulterate, twist, and market.
That is why the Commandment says, “I am a jealous God.” As a child, I thought, “That sounds wrong,” but many passages are there for us to learn as children and apply as adults.

Jealous means that God does not want or permit us to set aside true worship for the worship of false gods. Those false gods can be fame, economic security, popularity, worldly honors, carnal pleasures, and so forth. If an idol is set up, God is displaced.

For that reason Biblical worship has always been contrary to culture. God gave laws to the Jews to separate them from everyone else. It is too easy to say, “You are very much like us.” Time after time the Jews abandoned the true worship to bow before gods who offered them fertility, pleasure, wealth, and other false promises.

Biblical worship is more like being in an enemy occupied country where the invading soldiers have taken away most of the communications. In WWII, people huddled near makeshift radios to hear the truth in the dark land. A radio is especially fitting as a comparison, because a radio does not tune a station in – it tunes all other stations out. Biblical worship means tuning out the strident noise of our culture so we can hear the still, small voice of God.

KJV 1 Kings 19:8 And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God. 9 And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? 10 And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. 11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: 12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

Many find it odd and alarming that pastors will claim they are proclaiming the Gospel when they bring in the noise, confusion, and glitter of the outside world into worship in the name of making worship “relevant.” Christian worship is inherently irrelevant to most concerns. The more someone wants to make the Christian faith practical, the more the Christian faith is displaced by how-to talks and cheerleading efforts. The nadir of practical sermons came during the Age of Rationalism, when sermons were about building better roads, getting inoculated, and other programs of social improvement. Their shame in the Gospel and refusal to teach the Gospel of Christ led many astray, into atheism and a “scholarly” repudiations of the Scriptures.
Because the Christian faith is irrelevant, the Gospel is able to move across all barriers – social, racial, cultural, and governmental. Nothing can stop God’s Word when God’s Word is taught in its purity and truth.

But we all have this Old Adam hanging around our necks. Laity want to be in big, successful churches. I even had a dentist bragging about what a big, big church she attended, communicating her scorn for our small church as she worked on my captive teeth. Pastors want to be invited to say the prayer at the Kiwanis luncheon and be in the annual civic parade. Theologians covet the cover of Time magazine, given recognition for their great wisdom.

All those tendencies are a despising of the cross. If a minister quietly conspires to adulterate the Word in order to be successful, he is no longer laying up for himself treasures in heaven, but treasures on earth. The cross means pain for holding to the truth of the Word, and some people will inflict that pain with great joy and energy. That will never change. One member even told me that he was the guy who never gave the minister anything but grief. When the Word finally converted him, he realized how blinded he had been and how stubbornly obnoxious he was. He once said, “I know that kind of person. I was that person.”

Some people are driven almost crazy with their opposition to the Word, then convert and see the light. Others continue on their path of hatred and fall into complete denial of God, freedom from religion.

If our treasure is in heaven, nothing can corrupt it and no one can steal it. If our treasure is on earth, it can be stolen, reduced in value, or worn down by time. One man showed me his silver dollar, which he was given to keep him from drinking. The friend said, “You will wear away like this dollar if you keep this up.” He pulled out the silver dollar, which was little more than a shiny disk. It was hard to believe, but carrying that coin wore it down. In Phoenix we see a lot of things eaten up by the strength of the sun’s rays. Wooden fences rot in the sun. Plastic turns hard, brittle, and bleached out.

God’s treasure is revealed to us in the Word and most clearly seen in the crucifixion of Christ for the sins of the world. The true Gospel teaches that forgiveness is pure grace. God has already accomplished everything for us. He cares for our physical needs and provides for our spiritual needs as well. The treasure is Christ crucified for us, but to distribute that treasure, He appointed pastors and teachers to spread the Gospel to each and every person.

"For the Word of God is the sanctuary above all sanctuaries, yea, the only one which we Christians know and have. For though we had the bones of all the saints or all holy and consecrated garments upon a heap, still that would help us nothing; for all that is a dead thing which can sanctify nobody. But God's Word is the treasure which sanctifies everything, and by which even all the saints themselves were sanctified. At whatever hour, then, God's Word is taught, preached, heard, read or meditated upon, there the person, day, and work are sanctified thereby, not because of the external work, but because of the Word, which makes saints of us all. Therefore I constantly say that all our life and work must be ordered according to God's Word, if it is to be God-pleasing or holy. Where this is done, this commandment is in force and being fulfilled."
The Large Catechism, The Third Commandment, #91-2. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 607. Tappert, p. 377. Heiser, p. 175. Exodus 20:8-11.

So everything revealed to us in the Bible is a great treasure, one which we can never fully explore in our lifetimes. If someone does not like to see up baptizing babies, should we be ashamed of this treasure and try to appease them? They are scowling at the Word, not us. If they are offended by Holy Communion as a sacrament, should we hide it away to appease them? If Gerhardt hymns are difficult the first time they are sung, should we switch to little ditties that appeal to the immature?

Perhaps very few appreciate the Word in these dark times. But Jesus did say, “When the Son of Man returns, will he find faith?”

The treasure offered does not depend on the love of the unbelieving world, but the power of God.


Quotations

"For the Word of God is the sanctuary above all sanctuaries, yea, the only one which we Christians know and have. For though we had the bones of all the saints or all holy and consecrated garments upon a heap, still that would help us nothing; for all that is a dead thing which can sanctify nobody. But God's Word is the treasure which sanctifies everything, and by which even all the saints themselves were sanctified. At whatever hour, then, God's Word is taught, preached, heard, read or meditated upon, there the person, day, and work are sanctified thereby, not because of the external work, but because of the Word, which makes saints of us all. Therefore I constantly say that all our life and work must be ordered according to God's Word, if it is to be God-pleasing or holy. Where this is done, this commandment is in force and being fulfilled."
Large Catechism, Preface, #91, Third Commandment, Concordia Triglotta, 1921, p. 607. Tappert, p. 377.

"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 attain ourselves."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #38, Concordia Triglotta, 1921, p. 689. Tappert, p. 415.

Luther: "True, the enthusiasts confess that Christ died on the cross and saved us; but they repudiate that by which we obtain Him; that is, the means, the way, the bridge, the approach to Him they destroy...They lock up the treasure which they should place before us and lead me a fool's chase; they refuse to admit me to it; they refuse to transmit it; they deny me its possession and use." (III, 1692)
The. Engelder, et al., Popular Symbolics, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1934, p. 5.

"These treasures are offered us by the Holy Ghost in the promise of the holy Gospel; and faith alone is the only means by which we lay hold upon, accept, and apply, and appropriate them to ourselves. This faith is a gift of God, by which we truly learn to know Christ, our Redeemer, in the Word of the Gospel, and trust in Him, that for the sake of His obedience alone we have the forgiveness of sins by grace, are regarded as godly and righteous by God the Father, and are eternally saved." Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, III 10 Righteousness, Concordia Triglotta, 1921, p. 919.

"Early in the morning it rises, sits upon a twig and sings a song it has learned, while it knows not where to obtain its food, and yet it is not worried as to where to get its breakfast. Later, when it is hungry, it flies away and seeks a grain of corn, where God stored one away for it, of which it never thought while singing, when it had cause enough to be anxious about its food. Ay, shame on you now, that the little birds are more pious and believing than you; they are happy and sing with joy and know not whether they have anything to eat."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 114.



"These means are the true treasure of the church through which salvation in Christ is offered. They are the objective proclamation of faith which alone makes man's subjective faith possible (Augsburg Confession, Article V). The Formula of Concord (Solid Declaration, Article XI, 76) states expressly that God alone draws man to Christ and that he does this only through the means of grace."
Walter G. Tillmanns, "Means of Grace: Use of," The Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church, 3 vols., Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1965, II, p. 1505.


"It is a faithful saying that Christ has accomplished everything, has removed sin and overcome every enemy, so that through Him we are lords over all things. But the treasure lies yet in one pile; it is not yet distributed nor invested. Consequently, if we are to possess it, the Holy Spirit must come and teach our hearts to believe and say: I, too, am one of those who are to have this treasure. When we feel that God has thus helped us and given the treasure to us, everything goes well, and it cannot be otherwise than that man's heart rejoices in God and lifts itself up, saying: Dear Father, if it is Thy will to show toward me such great love and faithfulness, which I cannot fully fathom, then will I also love Thee with all my heart and be joyful, and cheerfully do what pleases Thee. Thus, the heart does not now look at God with evil eyes, does not imagine He will cast us into hell, as it did before the HS came...."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 279.

"Thus we see what a very splendid thing Baptism is. It snatches us from the jaws of the devil, makes us God's own, restrains and removes sin, and then daily strengthens the new man within us. It is and remains ever efficacious until we pass from this state of misery to eternal glory. For this reason everyone should consider his Baptism as his daily dress, to be worn constantly. Every day he should be found in the faith and its fruits, suppressing the old man, and growing up in the new; for if we want to be Christians, we must practice the work whereby we are Christians. But if anyone falls from baptismal grace, let him return to it. For as Christ, the Mercy Seat, does not withdraw from us or forbid us to come to Him again even though we sin, so all His treasures and gifts also remain with us."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 61.

"(3) Hollazius (ib.): 'The Word of God, as such, cannot be conceived of without the divine virtue, or the Holy Spirit, who is inseparable from His Word. For if the Holy Spirit could be separated from the Word of God, it would not be the Word of God or of the Spirit, but a word of man. Nor is there any other Word of God, which is in God, or with which the men of God have been inspired, than that which is given in the Scriptures or is preached or is treasured up in the human mind. But, as it cannot be denied that that is the divine will, counsel, mind, and the wisdom of God, so it cannot be destitute of the divine virtue or efficacy.'"
Heinrich Schmid, Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, trans., Charles A. Hay and Henry E. Jacobs, Philadelphia: United Lutheran Publication House, 1899, p. 505.

Roman Catholic Indulgences
"Indulgences are, in the Church, a true spiritual treasure laid open to all the faithful; all are permitted to draw therefrom, to pay their own debts and those of others."
Rev. F. X. Schouppe, S.J., Purgatory, Illustrated by the Lives and Legends of the Saints, Rockford: Tan Books and Publishers, 1973 (1893), p. 195.

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