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 CDT.


Midweek Lenten - 7 PM Central Daylight.

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

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Why Ski Learned at Drive 08

We were assigned three tasks. They were:


1.At exactly 12:!5 PM (during lunch) stand up on your chair & dance in place & shake your maracas. Don’t worry Abbie & Megan, I saved them for you. After that sit down like nothing happened. It was hilarious. I never knew John and Jim could move like that. If the WELS ever gets a hold of that video...


2.Right before the main session starts there will be a cue word. Once that word is spoken the “flash mob” is to freeze, no matter where you are or what you are doing, freeze for 2 minutes & then sit down.


3.After Andy is done speaking, stand up and yell, “Road Trip!” Start the chant, for those of you who have seen it... like in Animal House when Belushi starts to yell Toga!


The plan is to take everyone at the conference on a 20 miles road trip in ATL traffic at rush hour to the new site at Brown Bridge I’ll let you know how that works out.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Whitsunday, The Feast of Pentecost





Whitsunday, The Feast of Pentecost

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 8 AM Phoenix Time

Note – if you are having trouble reading Ichabod or the Bethany blog, Google is reporting problems not yet fixed - as of this post. One solution is to download and use the Firefox browser (much faster working than Internet Explorer). The free download site is : http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/ie.html
I made changes to Ichabod, which have helped.

The Hymn #10 This is the day 3:39
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 Acts 2:1-13
The Gospel John 14:23-31
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #370 My Hope Is Built 3.11

We Are the True Pentecostals

The Hymn #231 We Now Implore - Luther 3.38
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 #354 In the Cross of Christ 3.84

KJV Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. 12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? 13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

KJV John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. 25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. 26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. 30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. 31 But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.

Pentecost
O Lord Jesus Christ, Thou almighty Son of God: We beseech Thee, send Thy Holy Spirit into our hearts, through Thy word, that He may rule and govern us according to Thy will, comfort us in every temptation and misfortune, and defend us by Thy truth against every error, so that we may continue steadfast in the faith, increase in love and all good works, and firmly trusting in Thy grace, which through death Thou hast purchased for us, obtain eternal salvation, Thou who reignest, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen.

We Are the True Pentecostals
One denomination has made a splash in the world. They call themselves Pentecostals but they do not mark this day, which is based upon the Old Testament calendar. Pentecost is still observed today by Jews because it marks 50 days after the Passover. Of course, Easter is directly related to the Passover, but they do observe Easter.

The Day of Pentecost is just as Jesus-centered as Easter, because the Savior’s promises were fulfilled on this day. All the parting sermons from Jesus in John are about the coming of the Holy Spirit. The disciples remained in Jerusalem because of these promises.

On this day, the disciples were gathered with one accord – Concordia. The Book of Concord expresses that harmony. I used to wonder, as an outsider to the old Synodical Conference, why so many things had to be named Concordia. Now that I have seen so much discordia over the years, Concordia sounds so much better. If only we had more Concordia, and pursued the path toward that harmony – study of the Word and Confessions.

The miracle of Pentecost is simply told. The Holy Spirit entered with a great rush of wind. In Greek and Hebrew, the word for Spirit is the same as wind. What better word could be found for the shy member of the Trinity? We do not see the wind but its power is so great that walls are knocked down and roofs torn away in seconds.

Tongues of fire appeared above the disciples. They spoke in foreign languages. When scoffers want to get rid of the miracles of the Bible, they explain that the word in this text really means dialect, so the disciples were only speaking the same language in those various dialects, not unlike Minnesotan compared to Milwaukee or Southern. But the disciples were Galilean, so that was their dialect, whether speaking in Greek or Aramaic. To say they switched dialects is a bit silly – all the rationalisms of apostates are equally strained. When Paul wrote about speaking in tongues, he used another word and made it clear that they were speaking an ecstatic language, not one that made sense to others. See 1 Corinthians 12-14. The love chapter (13) is aimed at the practice.

Most of people were shocked and amazed, hearing the miracles of God in their own language. We know that 3,000 were baptized, so the Word converted them to faith in Christ. At the same time, other mocked and said, “They are drunk.” This encapsulates the effectiveness of the Word. Those who receive the Word with meek hearts find the living Word grafted onto their hearts. Those who harden themselves against the Word feel compelled to mock. Even today, some begin their lives with faith because of infant baptism, but they lose this gift through the various devices and problems described in Mark 4 – the Parable of the Sower.

We are the true Pentecostals because we believe in the power of the Holy Spirit as described in the Scriptures.

When I was began studying the doctrinal problems of Lutherans, I knew about Calvin separating the Holy Spirit from the Word and Sacraments. I looked for Biblical passages that consistently taught what I knew from Lutheran doctrine.

This one is the most extensive treatment:

KJV Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.


The passage first establishes that God’s Word and ways are far beyond ours, therefore not subject to man’s approval or analysis – like the person who says, “I cannot believe in a God who…” Nor is there any suggestion that we need to make God’s Word appealing, germane, or in harmony with our own perspective.

Secondly, the role of precipitation in God’s Creation is described as everyone knows it. Rain and snow always have an effect, and that is life-giving – watering the earth, making it fertile, providing seed for the sower and bread for the eater. If we have a long, slow rain in Phoenix, something rare – like Israel – plants simply burst into activity, in a rush to bloom and set seed. Weeds erupt from plastic barriers and gravel. Trees bloom and form their pods. Cactus blooms. Western sage is covered with purple blossoms for a day, and ocotillo (buggy whip) greens up.

Thirdly, the three-fold effect of the Word is portrayed with clarity, in a few words:
A. The Word never returns void – a double negative that excludes any exceptions.
B. The Word will always accomplish what God desires, so we can see that includes both the good and the bad, converting and hardening, enlightening and blinding.
C. The Word will prosper whatever God blesses.

As I saw from studying Luther and the great theologians of the Lutheran Church, this is a passage which destroys any separation of the Holy Spirit from the Word. Notice that the term Holy Spirit is not used, but the concept is clearly taught. God always works through the Word = the Holy Spirit always works through the Word. The WELS theologian Hoenecke said, “The Holy Spirit never without the Word; the Word never without the Holy Spirit. That is sound doctrine.”

In this light we can see why the Bible will use “Word” and “Holy Spirit” as synonyms. In other words, the work of the Holy Spirit is always through the Word and never apart from the Word. The Word is always divine, always powerful and effective.
KJV Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
KJV Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
The only purpose of the Bible is to show us Christ and His death on the cross for our sin. So grace comes to us through the Holy Spirit, which means through the Word, only through the Word.

Paul taught the same thing, using these words:

KJV 1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

The Church Shrinkers are always saying, “We want something that works.” The word for “works” in the Greeks texts is “effective” or “efficacious,” a different version of the same word. What works? The Word of God works. Nothing else is effective. If they are, it is only because of the Word. Man likes to measure, so the human temptation is to forget the opening of the Isaiah passage (My ways are not your ways) and change the message to get results, to push the hot buttons, as one council president told me.

This means that the only source of God’s grace, forgiveness, and love is the Word. The Holy Spirit creates a meeting place for the individual and Christ – the Word. The individual believer comes before Christ, is known to Him by name, and receives the blessings promised by the Savior.

When the Holy Spirit works through the Law, we do not call that a Means of Grace, because the Law cannot work grace or provide forgiveness. But the Law of God in the Word effectively reminds us of our sinful nature and need for the Savior. God’s Law is a burning fire and a hammer that smashes our stubborn pride.

Our earlier Cattle Dog told me she was there by putting her mouth on my heels, left and right, as I walked through the house. Our new one, Sassy, nibbles on my fingers as I walk. They remind me of the Law – always there, always reminding. The Law is good and useful, as Paul wrote, but limited. When I heard Helmut Thielicke speak in Canada, he compared Law and Gospel to the Shepherd Dog and the Good Shepherd. If we wander from the Good Shepherd, the Shepherd’s Dog (the Law) nibbles at us until we follow again.

When someone has done something horrible, we want to take revenge, but God’s Law will catch up with the miscreant in time. The longer God takes, the greater the terror of conscience that person faces. Sometimes the Law of God takes an immediate toll on the sinner. The folly of this age teaches people they can do whatever they want without consequences.

Sacraments and the Holy Spirit

Calvin separated the Holy Spirit from the Word, and also from the Sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion – just as Zwingli did.

There are dozens if not hundreds of passages where the Sacraments are clearly taught as the visible Word, as Means of Grace.

First of all, Christ commanded the Sacraments, so they could not be empty rituals condemned as Roman Catholic.

Secondly, they are effective, something lost in the new Calvinistic translations (NIV, etc) loved by the LCMS, WELS, and ELS.

KJV 1 Peter 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

NIV 1 Peter 3:21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also-- not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

Or we look at the classic passage about the Lord’s Supper conferring forgiveness upon us:

KJV 1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

NIV 1 Corinthians 10:16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?

In baptism and communion, the Word of God is active through the earthly elements.

We are the true Pentecostals because we look for the Holy Spirit in the Word, which is what God teaches us throughout the Scriptures. So we know from the Word that the Word and Sacraments are instruments of God’s grace.

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 attain ourselves."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #38, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 689.
"For now we are only half pure and holy, so that the Holy Ghost has ever [some reason why] to continue His work in us through the Word, and daily to dispense forgiveness, until we attain to that life where there will be no more forgiveness, but only perfectly pure and holy people, full of godliness and righteousness, removed and free from sin, death, and all evil, in a new, immortal, and glorified body."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #58, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 693.
"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.
"Everything, therefore, in the Christian Church is offered to the end that we shall daily obtain there nothing but the forgiveness of sin through the Word and signs, to comfort and encourage our consciences as long as we live here. Thus, although we have sins, the [grace of the] Holy Ghost does not allow them to injure us, because we are in the Christian Church, where there is nothing but [continuous, uninterupted] forgiveness of sin, both in that God forgives us, and in that we forgive, bear with, and help each other."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #55, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 693.
"Therefore, before the conversion of man there are only two efficient causes, namely, the Holy Ghost and the Word of God, as the instrument of the Holy Ghost, by which He works conversion. This Word man is [indeed] to hear; however, it is not by his own powers, but only through the grace and working of the Holy Ghost that he can yield faith to it and accept it."
Formula of Concord, Epitome, II, Of the Free Will, #19, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 791.
"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. Matthew 11:28.
"But if ordination be understood as applying to the ministry of the Word, we are not unwilling to call ordination a sacrament. For the ministry of the Word has God's command and glorious promises. Romans 1:16 The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. Likewise, Isaiah 55:11: So shall My Word be that goeth forth out of My mouth; it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please...And it is of advantage, so far as can be done, to adorn the ministry of the Word with every kind of praise against fanatical men, who dream that the Holy Ghost is given not through the Word, but because of certain preparations of their own...."
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XIII (VII), #11, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 311. Romans 1:16; Isaiah 55:11.
"But Christ was given for this purpose, namely, that for His sake there might be bestowed on us the remission of sins, and the Holy Ghost to bring forth in us new and eternal life, and eternal righteousness [to manifest Christ in our hearts, as it is written John 16:15: He shall take of the things of Mine, and show them unto you. Likewise, He works also other gifts, love, thanksgiving, charity, patience, etc.]. Wherefore the Law cannot be truly kept unless the Holy Ghost is received through faith...Then we learn to know how flesh, in security and indifference, does not fear God, and is not fully certain that we are regarded by God, but imagines that men are born and die by chance. Then we experience that we do not believe that God forgives and hears us. But when, on hearing the Gospel and the remission of sins, we are consoled by faith, we receive the Holy Ghost, so that now we are able to think aright."
Augsburg Confession, Article III, #11, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 159.
"The Holy Spirit works through the Word and the Sacraments, which only, in the proper sense, are means of grace. Both the Word and the Sacraments bring a positive grace, which is offered to all who receive them outwardly, and which is actually imparted to all who have faith to embrace it."
Charles P. Krauth, The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology, Philadelphia: The United Lutheran Publication House, 1871, p. 127.
"The Holy Spirit teaches man better than all the books; He teaches him to understand the Scriptures better than he can understand them from the teaching of any other; and of his own accord he does everything God wills he should, so the Law dare make no demands upon him."
Sermons of Martin Luther, III, p. 280.
"The Holy Spirit is given to none except to those who are in sorrow and fear; in them it produces good fruit. This gift is so precious and worthy that God does not cast it before dogs. Though the unrepentant discover it themselves, hearing it preached, they devour it and know not what they devour."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 281f.

"He allows the affliction to remain and to oppress; yet He employs different tactics to bestow peace; He changes the heart, removing it from the affliction, not the affliction from the heart. This is the way it is done: When you are sunk in affliction He so turns your mind from it and gives you such consolation that you imagine you are dwelling in a garden of roses."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 285. John 14:23-31.
"Thus true spiritual leaders fight. They strike Satan dead and rescue souls from him; for to pierce Satan to death is nothing else than to rescue from him a human being whom he has taken captive by deceitful teachings. And that is the right kind of spiritual tactics."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 289. John 14:23-31.
"Neither is he [Satan] truthful; he is the spirit of lies, who, by means of false fear and false comfort having the appearance of truth, both deceives and destroys. He possesses the art of filling his own victims with sweet comfort ; that is, he gives them unbelieving, arrogant, secure, impious hearts...He can even make them joyful; furthermore, he renders them haughty and proud in their opinions, in their wisdom and self-made personal holiness; then no threat nor terror of God's wrath and of eternal damnation moves them, but their hearts grow harder than steel or adamant."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 302. John 14:23-31.
"Again, with truly pious hearts, which in many respects are timid and tender, his [Satan's] practice is just the opposite. He tortures them with everything terrible that can be imagined, martyring and piercing them as with fiery darts, until they may find no good thing nor comfort before God. His object in both cases is to ruin souls by means of his lies and to lead them to eternal death."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John N. Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 302. John 14:23-31
"Therefore, let God's Word be of more authority to you than your own feelings and the judgment of the whole world; do not give God the lie and rob yourself of the Spirit of truth."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 304. John 14:23-31.
"In the eyes of the world, and even in her own estimation, she has not the appearance of a prosperous and well ordered organization; rather she is a scattered group of poor, miserable orphans, without leader, protection or help upon earth. All the world laughs at her and ridicules her as a great fool in thinking that she is the Church and comprises the people of God. Furthermore, each individual is so burdened and oppressed in his need and suffering as to feel that no one else lies so low or is so far from help as he."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 304f. John 14:23-31.
"It will not do for individuals to formulate their own ideas of conduct, act accordingly and then say that the Church is led by the Holy Spirit."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 320. John 14:23-31.
"Secondly, it is shown here that this Word precedes, or must be spoken beforehand, and that afterwards the Holy Spirit works through the Word. One must not reverse the order and dream of a Holy Spirit who works without the Word and before the Word, but one who comes with and through the Word and goes no farther than the Word goes."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 329. John 14:23-31.
"We hear God's Word, which is in fact the preaching of the Holy Spirit, who is at all times present with it, but it does not always at once reach the heart and be accepted by faith; yea, in the case of those who are moved by the Holy Spirit and gladly receive the Word, it does not at once bear fruit."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 330. John 14:23-31.
"Likewise, in the matter of preaching, we must make selection that order may be preserved. But since all who are Christians have authority to preach, what will be the outcome? for women will also want to preach. No so. St. Paul forbids women to put themselves forward as preachers in a congregation of men and says: They should be subject to their husbands."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 375. 1 Timothy 2:11-12.
"Paul does not speak of opposing or antagonistic doctrines, but of those placed beside the true doctrine; they are additions, making divisions. Paul calls it a rival doctrine, an addition, an occasion of stumbling, an offense and a byway, when on establishes the conscience upon his own goodness or deeds. Now the Gospel is sensitive, complete and pre-eminent: it must be intolerant of additions and rival teachings."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 376. Romans 16:16-17.
"The world desires such wolf preaching, and is not worthy of anything better since it will not hear nor respect Christ. Hence it is that there are so few true Christians and faithful preachers, always outnumbered by the members of the false church."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 385. Deuteronomy 29:19.
"For you do not find Him; He finds you. For the preachers come from Him, not from you. Your faith comes from Him, not from you. And everything that works faith within you comes from Him, not from you."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 345. Matthew 21:1-9.
"(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.
"The Lutheran theologians, in general, had reason to illustrate very particularly the doctrine of the operation of the Word of God, in order to oppose the Enthusiasts and Mystics, who held that the Holy Spirit operated rather irrespectively of the Word than through it; and to oppose also the Calvinists, who, led by their doctrine of predestination, would not grant that the Word possessed this power per se, but only in such cases where God chose...."
Heinrich Schmid, The Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, trans., Charles A. Hay, Henry E. Jacobs, Philadelphia: Lutheran Publication Society, 1889, p. 511.
"Mrs. Barnhill looked at me and said, with such a loving look in her gray eyes, 'Oh, Grace, Christ said, 'No man cometh unto the Father but by Me,' and, my dear, you have no way of approach to a holy God unless you come through Christ, His Son, as your Saviour.' "The Scripture which she quoted," Mrs. Fuller continues, "was the Sword of the Spirit, and at that moment Unitarianism was killed forever in my heart. I saw the light like a flash and believed at that moment, though I said nothing. She had quoted God's Word, the Spirit had used it, and, believing, I instantly became a new creation in Christ Jesus. She might have talked and even argued with me about it, but instead she just used the Word." [conversion of Mrs. Grace Fuller, wife of Charles Fuller, Old Fashioned Revival Hour broadcast, founder of Fuller Seminary]
J. Elwin Wright, The Old Fashioned Revival Hour and the Broadcasters, Boston: The Fellowship Press, 1940, p. 54.







Sunday, May 24, 2009

Non-Lutheran Smells the Fetid Waters of Willow Creek



Church and Chicanery: "Let's just sweep this under the rug."



http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/exposes/hybels/people.htm


As I went on to research The Willow Creek Association, I discovered that thousands upon thousands of established churches around the country were being transformed into sensory driven "seeker churches" EXACTLY like ours under the guidance and direction of this organization, all with the same tolerance, diversity and unity theme, liberal worship format, scripturally shallow teaching, heavy on the comfort and light on the conscience, equipped with huge multi-media projection screens, large sound systems, exotic music, no choir, female ministers, feelings-motivated skits, dance interpretations and heavily burdened with millions of dollars of debt from building state-of-the-art entertainment venues they call "worship centers". I think the revolving disco ball sparkling overhead at our dedication service a couple of years ago was a REAL poignant moment for me personally.

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever." (1st John 2:15-17)

I have long-since worn out my welcome with certain members of the church staff by repeatedly protesting our involvement in these ecumenical movements and carnal extravaganzas beginning with the "men's movement"; that emotionally driven, highly advertised, celebrity endorsed, spiritually misguided and now financially bankrupt organization known as "Promise Keepers". The "Consensus Process" or "Hegelian Dialectic" teaches "facilitators" to isolate, intimidate and even shame their critics into silence and cooperation with "hurt feelings" as their license and authority. This too is carnal. Those seeking group acceptance and approval are powerless against it. Frankly, I'd much rather have God's acceptance and approval than the herd's. You see The Willow Creek Association always emphasizes "felt needs", unity, harmony, peace and human relationships over everything else...Just like the United Nations. But, that's not the Gospel.

"Consensus" is all about compromising toward "group-think" not God think. It is conformity to the collective through peer-pressure. This is the very heart of the heresy.

***

GJ - Go to Trapp's WELS congregation and Parlow's - and find the same doctrinal ID, along with heavy debt.

Both of them joined the Willow Creek Association, but Trapp desisted at some point. Nevertheless, Trapp transformed the congregation into a Willow Creek clone.

This corruption is far more extensive in WELS than most people realize. The Little Sect on the Prairie has its echo version, and Missouri is rife with it. McCain-Barry had nine years to rebuke the false doctrine of CGM and did nothing at all.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Exaudi, The Sunday after the Ascension



The Last Supper, by Norma Boeckler



Exaudi, The Sunday after the Ascension

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 8 AM Phoenix Time

Note – if you are having trouble reading Ichabod or the Bethany blog, Google is reporting problems not yet fixed - as of this post. One solution is to download and use the Firefox browser (much faster working than Internet Explorer). The free download site is : http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/ie.html
I am still having IE problems but have no problems using Firefox.

The Hymn #231 We Now Implore God 3:38
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 1 Peter 4:7-11
The Gospel John 15:26-16:4
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #39 Praise to the Lord, the 3:1

The Spirit of Truth

The Hymn #216 On Christ’s Ascension 3.41
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 #37 Lord Tis Not 3:52


KJV 1 Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. 8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. 9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging. 10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: 27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. John 16:1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. 2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. 3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.

Exaudi Sunday
Lord God, heavenly Father, we give thanks unto Thee, that through Thy Holy Spirit Thou hast appointed us to bear witness of Thy dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: We beseech Thee, inasmuch as the world cannot endure such testimony, and persecutes us in every way, grant us courage and comfort, that we may not be offended because of the cross, but continue steadfastly in Thy testimony, and be found always among those who know Thee and Thy Son, until we obtain eternal salvation through the same, Thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Gaost, one true God, world without end. Amen
.

The Comforter, The Spirit of Truth

Man searches for truth. The Information Age has increased the distribution of facts and opinions, but people still wonder, “What is truth?”

In this Gospel, Jesus teaches us about the work of the Holy Spirit. This particular Sunday comes after the Ascension of Jesus and just before the Day of Pentecost. Most Christians think that Pentecost is a holiday unique to Christians, but the day is simply taken over from Jews who continue to celebrate Pentecost as they did in the past, as 50 days after Passover.

The Gospel lessons from John address the coming of the Holy Spirit several times. I find one description of the work of the Holy Spirit annoyingly cute, but it also fits the Biblical portrait well. Once Northwestern Publishing House published a book about the Holy Spirit called, The Holy Spirit, The Shy Member of the Trinity.
This title comes from the Biblical witness that the work of the Holy Spirit is to witness to the glory of the Father and the Son. If you read many different passages in the Bible, you will see how often the Father and the Son are emphasized, while the work of the Holy Spirit is implicit.

Dr. Robert Preus taught at Ft. Wayne that Pentecostalism arose because modern Christianity was too interested in Jesus alone, to the detriment of understanding the Holy Trinity, especially in how the Holy Spirit works. This requires some explanation. The liberals attacked Christianity by denying the divinity of Christ and wondering out loud what He really thought about Himself. Their main code word was “the mind of Christ,” distorting a phrase from Philippians 2. What they meant by this was that Jesus did not consider Himself the Son of God, so we should have this same “mind of Christ.” This also became a good excuse to teach a new doctrine of salvation by works – rather, the old doctrine of works.

Obviously in this concentration upon Jesus, built upon distortions and the manipulation of facts, the work of the Holy Spirit was forgotten. In one verse we have two descriptions of the work of the Holy Spirit. One is that of Comforter, or Spokesman, or Advocate. In this role we know that those who are faithful in their study of the Word and careful in teaching the Word alone, without distortions or man-made additions, will speak God’s truth. That does not mean that any kind of blabber is the work of the Holy Spirit. But it does mean that “he who listens to you listens to Me.”

No individual can speak God’s Word on his own. The Holy Spirit moves us to witness to the truth. Only the Spirit can plant faith in our hearts and nurture that faith through the Word and Sacraments. Knowing and believing this solves several basic problems. One is: how can I ever speak for God? The other is: how can I know what truth is?

The Christian faith is taught so clearly in the Bible that anyone can become an orthodox Christian through reading the Scriptures alone. We are helped by having other books, but the Bible does not require another book. What people often lack is not an understanding of the “difficult” Bible but a lack of study of the Word. The best professor of the Scriptures is the Holy Spirit. If we want to know what the Gospel of John teaches, the best books are not by Lenski and Luther, as good as they are, but by Matthew, Mark, and Luke. That is also what Luther and Lenski taught, following what the Christian Church has done from the beginning – using Scripture to interpret Scripture.

I remember how excited Time magazine got about hyper-linked texts. We are used to it on the Internet now. Click on a link about Moby Dick and it takes you to the Melville museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, next to the WELS congregation there. Click on a word in the museum site and it takes you to the complete text of the novel.

The Bible did this many centuries ago. Every verse is linked to all other verses. We are confident that the entire Bible is God’s truth, but also that it is a unified truth. The tiny book of Jonah relates directly to the death and resurrection of Christ. The expulsion of Adam and Even from the garden includes the first Gospel promise of our Savior. The New Testament is filled with verses that contain a phrase from the Old Testament. Then we can see how God prepared His people for centuries to see and believe in the Incarnate Son of God, Jesus our Savior.

The Bible is the Book of the Holy Spirit. We can say the Holy Spirit does not get much credit, but to have that One Book on His resume is quite an achievement. After all, the Bible is not judged by any book. Instead, it judges all books. I read a massive book on Charles Darwin, who was quite a genius and student of biology. Nevertheless, Darwin’s works do not stand above the Bible even if Darwin is the smartest of all scientists. (I find it ironic that he studied the earthworm for 40 years and missed its unique role in improving the soil, emphasizing instead its ability to create soil and bury all the creations of man.)

The explosion of information makes people uncertain about the truth, but every believer can open the Scriptures and test the latest claims with what the Bible has always taught. This is a great comfort for adults and children, because we can be thrown into all kinds of educational turmoil and remain believers by clinging to the revelation of the Holy Spirit.

Although we have many faults, weaknesses, and sins, and fall into doubt about God’s power and goodness, the Holy Spirit constantly teaches us and strengthens our weak faith. As one person said to Jesus, “I believe. Help thou mine unbelief.” We believe. We trust in Christ, yet we fall into turmoil from the assaults of Satan, our weak flesh, and the unbelieving world.

How is an individual forgiven? Most of the confessions of Christianity are in confusion about this, but the Bible speaks clearly. Forgiveness comes only through the appointed Means of Grace: the Word, Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. In each case, the Holy Spirit works exclusively through the Word to bring us forgiveness: through the invisible Word of teaching and preaching, the visible Word of Baptism and Holy Communion.

We have consistent worship throughout the Lutheran Church (that is the ideal, no longer in effect) for a reason – to call attention to the Holy Spirit’s work in worship, creating sorrow for sins through the Law and rejoicing in forgiveness through the Gospel. The worship service should be consistent from congregation to congregation, so that people do not whisper to each other, “I like the congregation’s pit band better than ours. We really need some bongo drums and better sound. I think I will donate some loud speakers in memory of my mother-in-law.”
Christianity Today was forced to admit one time that the traditional Lutheran worship service glorifies the grace of God more than any other. Isn’t it odd to have people gibbering in tongues to prove they have the Holy Spirit when the Word, baptism, and communion are welded to the Holy Spirit. In fact, God never works apart from these means of grace.

This is important to realize in terms of forgiveness. The entire world may refuse to forgive you, but every believer knows he is forgiven by God because of the promises given by the Holy Spirit. Ultimately what matters is God’s forgiveness and not the world’s forgiveness.

I know that many pastors and laity are facing great difficulties today. But there is little respect for the Word of God today, especially among church leaders who no longer recognize the divine call of the pastor. Nevertheless, as bad as things may be, we still know that the Holy Spirit guides us through the Scriptures. God will judge all these things in time and the judgment will begin in the house of God.
KJV 1 Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

It is easy to be in a position of power and gloat over the harm done to others through bullying and abuse of power, but God sees all and understands what is in the heart of man. Many a poor Lazarus will be in the bosom of Abraham in the age to come. Many a rich baron will cry out for a drop of water when his unrepentant sins toss him into the eternal flames of Hell.

The Holy Spirit warns us and comforts us. If we love the truth, the Spirit of Truth gives us confidence and peace. If we hate the truth, the Spirit of Truth will seem to be a burning fire, a hammer, a terror, and wrath without end.

Part II
John 16:1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. 2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. 3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. 4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.
The second part of this lesson should resonate with many, because people continue to be shocked that sound doctrine causes strife, alienates people, and brings the cross. The first stage of the growth of Christianity came from the preaching of the Gospel in the synagogues. The first converts were Jews, and they used the worship and teaching centers to say that everything they learned from the Scriptures was fulfilled in Jesus the Messiah. The Jewish followers were excommunicated for teaching the truth, so Jesus said, “I am telling you so you won’t be scandalized when it happens.”

Simply from preaching the Word the apostolic church saw explosive growth and immediate persecution. We know from the historical records of non-Christians that vast numbers became followers from the beginning. That should not shock us because 500 were eyewitnesses of the risen Lord and heard Him preach before His Ascension.
The apostles also drew from the dregs of society, the criminal class and the slaves. This added to the low esteem of Christianity, which was considered a sect of the Jews, who were nothing but trouble for the Romans. This loathing made it easy to persecute Christians and put them in the arena for sport, to be attacked by wild animals.

Jesus warned, “They will think they are doing a service for God when they kill you.” As Luther commented, the most bitter pill is the persecution of Christians by Christians. In the early days it was the Jews defenestrating fellow Jews, accompanied by Rome killing Christians in the name of religious harmony.
Now there are subtler forms of persecution. But rather than feel sorry, we should be satisfied that the Word is exactly right about this. Besides, conflict makes us study the Word and learn more. Ease and luxury have always made people lazy about the Word and more prone to fall away, as Jesus warned in the Parable of the Sower. The cares and riches of the world choke part of the crop because people pay more attention to material things. They even think that material means will create spiritual blessings. They say, “If only we had more money,” instead of “If only we applied ourselves to the Word.”

3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.

Someone wrote, “Don’t take things personally.” This verse shows where the animus comes from. There are many indications, such as deceitfulness, hiding behind anonymity, and quoting false teachers as their authority. As one stealthy person claimed recently, Lutherans need to be judged by something D. James Kennedy (Reformed) wrote, a quotation so steeped in Law and Pietism that it was laughable. “How many people are you taking to heaven with you?” I cannot imagine a better load of guilt to lay on people – the Protestant version of Purgatory: motivate works with fear, guilt, and uncertainty.

The same has happened when people imagined they had a special claim on the Holy Spirit. They increased their annoying behavior many times over by always speaking for God—“the Holy Spirit told me…”—in spouting their hostilities. I know of ministers who cringed because they could not stand up to these self-appointed apostles, surrendering the great blessing of teaching where the Holy Spirit can always be found – in the Word and Sacraments.

When ministers turn against the Scriptures, they turn toward Rome as the materialistic symbol of truth. Or they spend their careers teaching people the Bible is not true, as so many mainline ministers do. Or they focus on personality, performance, and entertainment, because they think the Holy Spirit is not capable of producing the miracle of faith without their marketing skills and pop music.

False teachers cause a lot of damage, but they also prove how powerful the Word of God is. That is why they rage against orthodoxy and try to silence anyone who figures them out. They would not rage if they had a soft target.

"Nevertheless, He has said that the Holy Spirit should testify of him and that they also should bear witness; and He assures them that their testimony shall not be effaced by this rage and persecution of the world." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 258. Exaudi John 15:26-16:4.

Quotations


"We have the comfort of this victory of Christ—that He maintains His Church against the wrath and power of the devil; but in the meantime we must endure such stabs and cruel wounds from the devil as are necessarily painful to our flesh and blood. The hardest part is that we must see and suffer all these things from those who call themselves the people of God and the Christian Church. We must learn to accept these things calmly, for neither Christ nor the saints have fared better." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 263. Exaudi John 15:26-16:4.
"From these two convictions—that they do not know Him and that they persecute and slay His advocates—Christ now passes the judgment that the so-called Church is not the Church. He then concludes that with their false doctrines and persecutions they are both liars and murderers of God and of Christ and of all His saints." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 270. Exaudi John 15:26-16:4.
"It is not the devil's aim to plague us physically; he is a spirit who is always thirsting for the tears and the drops of blood that come from our hearts. He wants us to despair and to perish from sadness. This would be his joy and delight. But he will not succeed." What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, III, p. 1244. John 15:19.
"Nevertheless, He has said that the Holy Spirit should testify of him and that they also should bear witness; and He assures them that their testimony shall not be effaced by this rage and persecution of the world." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 258. Exaudi John 15:26-16:4.

In Memory of Our Fallen Soldiers
I have had the great privilege of teaching active duty military in college classes, and I often teach former members of the military and family members as well. In church work I have also know WWII veterans, Korean, Viet Nam, and Iraq war veterans. Memorial Day began after the Civil War, to honor those who lost their lives in our bloodiest conflict. Graves were decorated, so I remember it still being called Decoration Day, as it was among some in the beginning.

Every time I read a book about our wars, I marvel at the courage and tenacity of our military people in facing political battles and logistic struggles while fighting the enemy.

The strength of our country has come from a core of veterans who placed their country above their own interests and saw their best friends die for it.

Our best way of remembering their service is to thank them and their families for their sacrifices.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ascension Day Holy Communion Service
Thursday, 6:30 PM Arizona Time



The Risen Christ by Norma Boeckler


Ascension, Holy Communion Service, 6:30 PM

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 8 AM Phoenix Time


The Hymn #221 Hark Ten Thousand Harps 3:33
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 Acts 1:1-11
The Gospel Mark 16:14-20
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #496 From Greenland 3:23


Post Resurrection Appearances of Jesus

The Hymn #316 O Living Bread 3:45
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 #294 O Word of God 3:31

KJV Luke 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. 50 And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. 51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: 53 And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.

[The ending of Luke fits with the opening of Acts, which Luke also wrote.]

KJV Acts 1:1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: 4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. 6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

KJV Mark 16:14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. 15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. 19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

Ascension
O Jesus Christ, Thou almighty Son of God, who art no longer in humiliation here on earth, but sittest at the right hand of Thy Father, Lord over all things: We beseech Thee, send us Thy Holy Spirit; give Thy Church pious pastors, preserve Thy word, control and restrain the devil and all who would oppress us: mightily uphold Thy kingdom, until all Thine enemies shall have been put under Thy feet, that we may hold the victory over sin, death, and the devil, through Thee, who livest and reignest with God the Father and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen,

Post Resurrection Appearances of Jesus

As I promised one layman, I am going to discuss the appearances of Christ after His resurrection, because we tend to pass over them.

The Gospel of John

The Fourth Gospel unifies the four-gospel account of Christ, giving us one coherent gospel, as Lenski wrote in his Interpretation of John.

The appearances of Jesus in John are vivid and compelling. The women saw the empty tomb first but they did not see Jesus right away.

When Mary Magdalene saw the empty tomb (John 20) she ran to tell Peter and John. Those disciples saw the empty tomb but did not see Jesus.

Mary returned to the tomb, she saw two angels in the place where Jesus lay. She was weeping when Jesus spoke to her. She did not know who He was at first, until He spoke her name, “Mary.”

She responded, “Rabboni – Master,” a response which gives many people goosebumps.

KJV John 20:17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

The rest of the chapter is well known, since we use it every year on Doubting Thomas Sunday. Jesus appeared to the disciples without Thomas being there and gave them (not the pope) the Office of the Keys. That was Easter evening.

He appeared again a week later, and they were still locked in a room.

KJV John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

John concluded his Gospel:

KJV John 20:30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

So what do we make of John 21, which has another and similar conclusion? I agree with Lenski that people prevailed upon the aging apostle to produce a supplement, which could have been written down by someone else, but was still dictated by the apostle. John 21 is found in all the early copies of the Gospel, so it was part of the account from very early times. So we have to wonder, “Why was this account of Jesus meeting them by the sea so important?”

In this account, Jesus appeared to some apostles while they were fishing, but the disciples did not recognize him. Jesus hid His identity as He did at first with Mary and the disciples walking to Emmaus. The disciples had not caught any fish, so Jesus suggested casting the net on the other side of the boat.

Biblical students recognize this as almost a duplicate of the miraculous catch of fish, as the Savior doubtless intended. The disciples were not out preaching the Gospel, but providing for their material needs. “Broiled fish” is another name for wages – The broiled fish of sin is death, as Paul said literally. So they were earning wages instead of preaching.

As soon as they obeyed the Word, the net was too heavy with fish to be pulled into the boat. John recognized Jesus.

KJV John 21:7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.

Peter was not literally naked, but down to his skivvies. He grabbed his outer garment and jumped into the sea, to get to shore first.

When everyone got to the shore, they saw Jesus had a fire, fish, and bread for them to eat. And he invited them to dine.

What is the purpose of this supplement?

One striking feature is the irony of the fishermen going back to their fishing. Jesus already had a meal for them, before the fish were hauled to shore. This example said to them, “I will take care of you. The fishers of men will not starve.”

I have told ministers, who confused a synod organization with the Savior, “You can still be a pastor. Just start studying the Bible with some people and let the Word do its work.” The Word is the Means of Grace, visible and invisible. Money is not.
Another lesson from John 21 is Jesus absolution of Peter. He used the Gospel, not the Law, to bring Peter to repentance. Just as Peter denied Him three times before a charcoal fire, so Jesus asked him the same question in three ways – before a charcoal fire.

KJV John 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Jesus also addressed the death of Peter, how he would glorify God, but with no details about the death of John.

Matthew’s Gospel

Matthew’s Gospel is first in order and may be the first written. (Early on, some though of Mark as a harmony of Matthew of Luke. I tend to agree, but this is not a big issue, nor is it one we can solve on this side of the veil.)

In Matthew, it is clear that the angel opened the tomb for the women, not to let Jesus out. The Savior was not limited by His human nature. He left the sealed tomb, just as he entered the locked room of the disciples.

The two Mary’s saw the empty tomb, then ran to see the disciples. On the way, Jesus revealed Himself to them. They held Him by the feet and worshiped Him.

KJV Matthew 28:10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.

Matthew’s Gospel ends with the Great Commission as it is called:

KJV Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

The Church Shrinkers, using their Reformed doctrine, try to persuade people that Jesus said, “Make disciples!” The text does not say that at all. Jesus Gospel admonition says:


· Go and teach all nations – literally “disciple all nations.”
· Baptizing them in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
· Instructing them to observe all things I have commanded you.
· I am with you to the end of the world.

Luther commented (Lenski, Matthew, p. 1150) – “These are the words of a Majesty which must be termed Majesty indeed.”

So the basic admonition is not to make something, but to teach all nations – without discrimination. Not so surprisingly, the McGavran followers were taught to distinguish races and social classes. The apostolic church did not. The apostles included the scum of the earth and wealthy socialites. Man creates barriers. The Word transcends barriers.

There are many important lessons in this ending of Matthew. Lenski identifies it with the appearance of Christ to 500 brethren (1 Corinthians 15).

KJV 1 Corinthians 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

So this gathering in Galilee was a great teaching event. The 500 believers were eyewitnesses of the risen Lord, the same who was publicly crucified. No one could doubt the death of Jesus, with the sword piercing Him and the flow of blood and water. Now 500 witnesses were in agreement about His resurrection.

The tendency of many teachers is to have Jesus giving the Great Commission to the eleven, who are mentioned specifically (Matthew 28:17). Matthew takes special notice of them and says they worshiped Him, but some of them doubted. This is paralleled in the account in John, also showing the disciples were human, not plaster saints whose feet never touched the ground. And we, who know so much, still doubt. Vast numbers of mainline clergy disbelieve the empty tomb but talk glowingly about “the Easter faith of the disciples.”

Many conservative clergy say they believe the Word of God is inerrant, but they only trust the wisdom of man.

I have had many conservative Lutheran clergy argue with that Jesus said, “Make disciples,” and that our job is to “make disciples.” That has also appeared in many Lutheran publications.

So here we have the risen Lord instructing the gathered Church of its time, urging them outward across the world, trusting in the efficacy of the Word and Holy Baptism. Clearly, Holy Communion would follow the instruction – “all things I have commanded you.”

Mark’s Gospel

Many new and improved Bibles drop the second half of Mark 16, based on very questionable texts from the Vatican and a monastery, miraculously discovered by the same man, Tischendorf, who declared them the best manuscripts of the New Testament. By the way – there are many fake discoveries which have made the reputations of a man - until the fraud was proven.

The Gospel of Mark’s ending, Mark 16:9-20, shows the harmony of the Gospel with other accounts.

Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene first.
The disciples had a lot of trouble believing Jesus was risen.
Jesus appeared to the two who were walking in the country (Emmaus story).
Jesus upbraided the disciples for not believing the first accounts of His resurrection.

KJV Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. 19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

The ending of Mark is worth reading with fresh eyes. The same story is told but in different words. When people conspire to lie, they use the same words. Truthful witnesses will use different words but agree in details.


The Gospel of Luke

We owe the Gospel of Luke our favorite unique passages of the New Testament, including the birth of Jesus, the Good Samaritan, the Lost Sheep, and the Prodigal Son.

In Luke, the women discover the empty tomb, but only Peter is mentioned in the race to the tomb. This shows how John supplements and unifies the accounts so well. Once we add John to the picture, we have the compelling picture of two men racing to see this great wonder. John enjoys stating that he won the race, but impulsive Peter went into the tomb first. (Peter also jumped into the sea, John 21.)

Cleopas and another follower were on the road to Emmaus when Jesus drew up to them and joined them. He got them to talk about the commotion in Jerusalem, giving us an important insight, “Are you just a stranger in Jerusalem?” In other words – everyone knows what just happened:

KJV Luke 24:19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: 20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. 21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. 22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; 23 And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. 24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.

Jesus was not exactly meek and mild at this point, a common theme in all the resurrection appearances:

KJV Luke 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

Jesus made Himself known in the breaking of the bread, so the two disciples (one of them Cleopas) rushed back to Jerusalem to tell the eleven.

KJV Luke 24:33 And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, 34 Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. 35 And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread. 36 And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

Here we see the perfect harmony between Luke and John. The disciples rushed back. Jesus had already appeared to Peter. And soon Jesus appeared to them in the locked room, saying “Peace be unto you.”

When we read all the resurrection accounts together, we see a more complete picture of the foundation laid by Jesus before His Ascension:

1. They saw the empty tomb and heard from the angels.
2. The women, Peter, and the Emmaus disciples saw the risen Lord.
3. Jesus instructed His followers and upbraided them for their lack of faith, since He had taught them about His suffering, death, and resurrection.
4. This instruction lasted for a period of time, so the Eleven, other disciples, and the 500 saw and heard the risen Savior before His Ascension.

Luke’s interest in historical accuracy preserves a bit of information which is easily overlooked.

KJV Acts 1:3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

Christ spent 40 days teaching them and showing them miraculous proofs, all of which confirmed them in their faith and trained them in what they would teach. When we read the works of the New Testament, it is not only the Holy Spirit speaking through human beings, but also Jesus in His initial training, His death and crucifixion, and His post-resurrection instruction of the Apostles – and the 500. The Christian Church grew miraculously because God provided a broad base of carefully trained people who were eyewitnesses of the Risen Lord.

Jesus rose into heaven, probably from Jerusalem, His disciples lost in wonder, still gazing at the sky.

Two angels spoke to them:

Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

That statement is the beginning and the final purpose of the Christian Church. The disciples stopped gazing and began teaching what they had learned. One day Jesus would return in the same way He left. On that day, every knew will bow and confess that Jesus is the Lord.

Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rogate Sunday



Sunflower and Bee, by Norma Boeckler


Rogate, The Fifth Sunday after Easter

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 8 AM Phoenix Time


The Hymn #458:1-5 Our Father - Luther 4.50
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 James 1:22-27
The Gospel John 16:23-30
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #458:6-9 Our Father - Luther 4.50


Ask And You Will Receive

The Hymn #518 If Thou But Suffer God 4.74
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 #657 Beautiful Savior

KJV James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. 26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. 27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
KJV John 16:23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. 24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. 25 These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. 26 At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: 27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. 28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. 29 His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. 30 Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.

Fifth Sunday After Easter
Lord God, heavenly Father, who through Thy Son didst promise us that whatsoever we ask in His name Thou wilt give us: We beseech Thee, keep us in Thy word, and grant us Thy Holy Spirit, that He may govern us according to Thy will; protect us from the power of the devil, from false doctrine and worship; also defend our lives against all danger; grant us Thy blessing and peace, that we may in all things perceive Thy merciful help, and both now and forever praise and glorify Thee as our gracious Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Ask And You Will Receive

Rogate Sunday is named for the Latin verb – Pray – and that is the topic of this Gospel lesson.

I have had the chance to read a lot of fraudulent religious material. I recall a huge volume from the Urantia Society. Like many cults, it pretended to be organized around Christ. The book went into detail about what the disciples did. (The New Testament properly focuses on Christ and what He did.) The funniest description was that a certain disciple was responsible for organizing games on Thursdays. No doubt the author felt that was essential information, even if invented. The tone of the book was pompous, inflated, ultra-serious and yet hilarious in trying to establish a new religion. And they are still around 20 years later. Luther said no religion is too foolish to have followers, so the existence of followers should not be evidence of truthfulness. In the Age of Apostasy, the greatest numbers will flock to the Antichrist and the little Antichrists.

So the Urantia Society is pompous.

In contrast, this sermon by Jesus is very simple and plain. The Holy Spirit chose to use the simplest language in the most profound Gospel. Luke is far more elegant, but John’s Gospel is more likely to be our favorite, because we seem to be standing at His side while He speaks. The immediate nature of the Fourth Gospel, I believe, comes from its author being the favorite disciple of Jesus (John, “the disciples Jesus loved).

The point of this Gospel message from Jesus is that the disciples will soon face a time when they no longer ask Him for anything. It is expressed in an odd way that makes us think: “You shall no longer ask Me.” We can go back to that expression of Jesus and see what He was teaching His disciples and us. We can see two meanings here. On the historical level, Jesus is pointing out that they will no longer have Him visibly among them, as they were accustomed. So they would ask the Father in Jesus’ Name.

The other meaning moves us to pray today. We are not asking Jesus directly, but the Father in Jesus’ Name. If people prayed because they felt worthy, only the proud and arrogant would pray. Works-salesmen would pray – “Thank God I am not like that open sinner over there.” But this version moves us by saying that our worthiness comes from Christ alone, that we ask the Father to see His Son’s merit instead of our own sinfulness.

Recently our dog Sassy got in serious trouble for eating the couch outside. She was punished once, then carried outside a second time when it happened again. She did not want to go outside at all. After that, calling her from the outside kept her inside. Once she came out to the pool to get me, but ran inside right away. The backyard and my presence spelled doom for her. So finally we had a reconciliation and absolution outside, right on the half-eaten couch. She had left it alone for a period of time. She climbed on it and wiggled in abject contrition and love, so we hugged and everything was fine again. Dogs simply display what humans feel – an aversion to punishment.

That is why all the world religions teach salvation by works. The unconverted man wants to appease, to do good works to earn the favor of God. Horrible things have been done in the name of man atoning for sin. Instead, the Christian faith teaches that Christ has already atoned for our sins and welcomes the contrite sinner.

When believers pray, they are asking God the Father “in the name of Christ.” The Holy Spirit moves us to pray because of the Gospel promises and helps us in our prayers. Therefore, the Holy Trinity has a combined role in every prayer of the Christian.

As I have said many times before, the Bible does not merely tell us we should pray. It would be easy for God to say, “Thou must pray.” Instead, the Word of God fills us with desire to pray by reminding us of God’s love for us. Parents fall into this from time to time. They take a moment to tell their children how much they love them and appreciate them. Halfway through the speech, one child will recognize that this is the moment to ask for something based upon this profound love and appreciation.

In this example, Jesus says, 26 At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: 27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.

Several excuses keep believers from praying. One excuse is that God does not love each and every one of us. This is a false view of God and a sin against God’s revealed nature. We should never doubt the goodness of God. Believers will fall into this mode of thought by imagining that God loves humankind in the abstract but not themselves directly. God knows each and every one of us by name.

"The Lord's Prayer opens with praise and thanksgiving and the acknowledgement of God as a Father; it earnestly presses toward Him through filial love and a recognition of fatherly tenderness. For supplication, this prayer is unequaled. Hence it is the sublimest and the noblest prayer ever uttered."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., VI, p. 107. Philippians 4:4-7; Matthew 6:9-13.

Another excuse is - I am not worthy to pray to God for anything. This is not altogether wrong. No one is worthy, as the communion prayer says, “We are not worthy to gather the crumbs that fall from Your table, nevertheless…” Jesus makes us worthy. It is not our worthiness, but the merit of Christ. He is our unending source of forgiveness and love. God plants faith in our hearts through the Word. He moves us to love Christ by His Word. Then He teaches us that He answers prayer because of that love and faith.

Notice how this is entirely based upon the Gospel. Prayer is the fruit of the Gospel. That is why Lutherans properly reject the Reformed error of basing salvation upon praying Jesus into our hearts. The non-Lutheran Protestants (as a whole, with variations abounding) turn the Gospel into Law by saying, “You will be forgiven and saved when you pray this particular prayer and ask Jesus to come into your heart.” Since this is based upon an action, the question arises whether it is done with the proper fervor and zest.

"The Christian's faith trusts in the ordinary means. Prayer is not a means of grace. Means of grace are divine appointments through which God uniformly offers blessings to all who use them. Faith is the means by which the blessings are received and appropriated. God gives us bread, when we ask it, not through the channel of prayer, but through the ordinary channels of His providence. He gives us grace when we ask it, not through prayer, but through the ordinary means appointed for this end, namely the Word and Sacraments. He who despises these will as little have grace as he who refuses to accept bread produced in the ordinary way of nature. Faith asks with confidence, and trusts in the ordinary means of God's appointment for the blessings asked."
Matthias Loy, Sermons on the Gospels, p. 387.

It also implies that Jesus does NOT enter our hearts already through the Word. If you have to pray to obtain salvation, and pray in a certain way, the monster of uncertainty fills the heart with doubt. Reformed doctrine never remains Trinitarian for long. Rationalism and salvation based upon works will follow without fail. In the United States, the Congregationalists became Unitarians, giving up the Trinity. After a few more decades it became impossible to make the Unitarian group agree that there is a God. They merged with the Universalists because both groups deny Hell, so they joined forces in their denial, even though they have slightly different perspectives.

Another excuse for not praying is founded upon whether God can and will do what He is asked. Many people lose their faith, as Satan desired, because they confused demands with prayer. If you demand that God do something in prescribed manner, to satisfy your gnawing doubts or immediate needs, He will give you nothing. I noticed from the newest WELS statistics that the denomination now has the lowest number of baptized members since 1979, a net loss of 3,285 souls in one year. The communicant number went up by almost 60 one year, even though confirmations would add thousands of communicants to the list. Obviously God is throwing their concern about Church Growth statistics back in their face. When the main concern was doctrine, the synod grew like kudzu vines in the South.

I once hoped those administrators who fired the WELS pastor in the Deep South for not having a “growing” congregation will face the facts and resign from the ministry themselves. Now their destruction has gone so far that many of them will face termination in a week or two.

Luther taught a very simple thing to remember about prayer. One is that we ask everything in faith. Nothing is too small for God to consider. The other is that we receive in faith what God supplies. The nature of God is to take care of all of us, even unbelievers, but also to take care of us according to His wisdom and not ours. If we have no faith in His wisdom, then we will be pouty when He does not give in to our demands.

It is an indictment against this age that much of the talk about prayer focuses upon materialistic prayers. The Reformed and the Pentecostals especially have dwelt upon obtaining wealth and success by demanding it from God, even declaring that God is unable to share the wealth unless He is ordered about like a zombie. (Paul Y. Cho, The Fourth Dimension, a favorite Church Growth, Evangelical, and Pentecostal text.)

"In like manner, St. Paul says that God's ability is thus proved, in that He does exceeding abundantly above and better than we ask or think. Ephesians 3:20. Therefore, we should know we are too finite to be able to name, picture or designate the time, place, way, measure and other circumstances for that which we ask of God. Let us leave that entirely to Him, and immovably and steadfastly believe that He will hear us."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., III, p. 179f. Ephesians 3:20.

We can and should pray for the means to support our families, thanking God for the abundance He has provided. But our prayers should be mostly concerned with the spiritual needs of our family, friends, and others. It is in remembering others that we give support and comfort and prove to be a channel of God’s love, as He intends.



Quotations

"This doctrine concerning the inability and wickedness of our natural free will and concerning our conversion and regeneration, namely, that it is a work of God alone and not of our powers, is [impiously, shamefully, and maliciously] abused in an unchristian manner both by enthusiasts and by Epicureans; and by their speeches many persons have become disorderly and irregular, and idle and indolent in all Christian exercises of prayer, reading and devout meditation; for they say that, since they are unable from their own natural powers to convert themselves to God, they will always strive with all their might against God, or wait until God converts them by force against their will; or since they can do nothing in these spiritual things, but everything is the operation of God the Holy Ghost alone, they will regard, hear, or read neither the Word nor the Sacrament, but wait until God without means..."
Formula of Concord, Free Will, 46, Triglotta, p. 899.

"The Christian's faith trusts in the ordinary means. Prayer is not a means of grace. Means of grace are divine appointments through which God uniformly offers blessings to all who use them. Faith is the means by which the blessings are received and appropriated. God gives us bread, when we ask it, not through the channel of prayer, but through the ordinary channels of His providence. He gives us grace when we ask it, not through prayer, but through the ordinary means appointed for this end, namely the Word and Sacraments. He who despises these will as little have grace as he who refuses to accept bread produced in the ordinary way of nature. Faith asks with confidence, and trusts in the ordinary means of God's appointment for the blessings asked."
Matthias Loy, Sermons on the Gospels, p. 387.


"Prayer is made vigorous by petitioning; urgent, by supplication; by thanksgiving, pleasing and acceptable. Strength and acceptability combine to prevail and secure the petition."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., VI, p. 107. Philippians 4:4-7.

"The Lord's Prayer opens with praise and thanksgiving and the acknowledgement of God as a Father; it earnestly presses toward Him through filial love and a recognition of fatherly tenderness. For supplication, this prayer is unequaled. Hence it is the sublimest and the noblest prayer ever uttered."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., VI, p. 107. Philippians 4:4-7; Matthew 6:9-13.

"In like manner, St. Paul says that God's ability is thus proved, in that He does exceeding abundantly above and better than we ask or think. Ephesians 3:20. Therefore, we should know we are too finite to be able to name, picture or designate the time, place, way, measure and other circumstances for that which we ask of God. Let us leave that entirely to Him, and immovably and steadfastly believe that He will hear us."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., III, p. 179f. Ephesians 3:20.

"Only begin this [prayer, self-examination], I say, and see how you will succeed in the task; and you will soon discover what an unbelieving knave is hidden in your bosom, and that your heart is too dull to believe it."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., II, p. 257. Mark 16:1-8.

Prayer Quotations for Rogate Sunday




Pray and Prayer, From Megatron:

Luther and Luther field headings

(2) "Come, Thou Incarnate Word, Gird on Thy mighty sword, Our prayer attend. Come and Thy people bless And give Thy Word success; Stablish Thy righteousness, Savior and Friend!" Author unknown, c. 1757, "Come, Thou Almighty King," The Lutheran Hymnal, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1941, Hymn #239. Revelation 4:8.

Crypto-Calvinists – Church and Change in WELS
"By mistake the letter was delivered to the wife of the court-preacher Lysthenius....After opening the letter and finding it to be written in Latin, she gave it to her husband, who, in turn, delivered it to the Elector. In it Peucer requested Schuetze dexterously to slip into the hands of Anna, the wife of the Elector, a Calvinistic prayer-book which he had sent with the letter. Peucer added: 'If first we have Mother Anna on our side, there will be no difficulty in winning His Lordship [her husband] too.' Additional implicating material was discovered when Augustus now confiscated the correspondence of Peucer, Schuetze, Stoessel, and Cracow. The letters found revealed the consummate perfidy, dishonesty, cunning, and treachery of the men who had been the trusted advisers of the Elector, who had enjoyed his implicit confidence, and who by their falsehoods had caused him to persecute hundreds.
F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 190.

"You hear that Augustine does not pray for his mother because he thinks her held in the torments of purgatory or still held in the judgment of God, liable for her sins."
Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, trans., Fred Kramer, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1986, III, p. 279.

"However, all sane people know that it does not follow by any kind of necessity: If a church prays for the dead, therefore the souls of the dead are tormented in purgatory. For there can be many other reasons and far other purposes for such prayer." [Lindanus charge that Apology allows for prayers for the dead, "If the Lutherans want to be consistent, they cannot escape, but are compelled to grant that there is a purgatory." Apol, Art XXIV, par. 94, Tappert, p. 267; see also Confession Concerning Christ's Supper, by M. Luther, American Edition, 37, p. 369
Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, trans., Fred Kramer, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1986, III, p. 260.

"In the same way, after the time of the prophets, the Jews began to imitate also the prayers and sacrifices for the dead, around 170 B.C. An example of this is found in 2 Macc. 12:39-45. What began to happen at that time, when the teaching had broken down, and all things were greatly disturbed both in the government and in the temple, was that the Jews with their confederates sought and practiced conformity with the Gentiles also in their speech, expressions, customs, and religious practices, as the whole history of the Maccabees shows. For that Maccabaeus wanted to make a sacrifice for the dead, if indeed he did it, he did without a command from God and without any example of the saints."
Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, trans., Fred Kramer, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1986, III, p. 235. 2 Maccabees 12:39-45.

"For we are not justified because of our faith (propter fidem), in the sense of faith being a virtue or good work on our part. Thus we pray, as did the man in Mark 9:24: 'I believe, Lord; help my unbelief'; and with the apostles: 'Lord, increase our faith,' Luke 17:5."
Martin Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, 2 vols., trans. J. A. O. Preus, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1989, II, p. 506 Mark 9:24; Luke 17:5

"The purest and best part of the human race, the special nursery and flower of God's Church, is tender youth. Youth retains the gift of the Holy Spirit which it received in Baptism; it learns eagerly the true doctrine about God and our Redeemer, Jesus Christ; it calls Him God with a chaste mind and with a simple, pure faith; it thanks Him with a quick and joyful heart for the blessings received from Him; in its studies and the other parts of life, it carries out the duties commanded it; and it obeys God and parents reverently. Particularly God-pleasing, therefore, are the studies of one's earliest age: prayer, obedience and praises which honor God, regardless of how weak and stammering its voice may be."
David Chytraeus, A Summary of the Christian Faith (1568), trans., Richard Dinda, Decatur: Repristination Press, 1994. p. 9.

"Here again there is great need to call upon God and pray, 'Dear Father, forgive us our debts.' Not that He does not forgive sin even without and before our prayer; and He gave us the Gospel, in which there is nothing but forgiveness, before we prayed or even thought of it. But the point here is for us to recognize and accept this forgiveness."
(LC III:88) Rick Nicholas Curia, The Significant History of the Doctrine of Objective or Universal Justification, Alpine, California: California Pastoral Conference, WELS. January 24-25, 1983. p. 13.

"When the preacher who is administering this holy Sacrament repeats, along with the Lord's Prayer, the words of institution, he first of all is testifying that he does not desire to perform, from his own opinion, a human action and institution; rather, as a householder [steward] of the divine mysteries, he is, in accordance with Christ's command, desiring to administer a holy Sacrament. Accordingly, he sets aside visible bread and wine so that it can be the means and instrument for the distribution and fellowship of the body and blood of Christ. Further, he prays that, in accordance with His institution and promise, Christ would be present in this action, and that by means of the consecrated bread wine he might distribute Christ's body and blood.
Johann Gerhard, A Comprehensive Explanation of Holy Baptism and the Lord's Supper, 1610, ed. D. Berger, J. Heiser, Malone, Texas: Repristination Press, 2000, p. 301f.

(1) "Lord Jesus Christ, we humbly pray That we may feed on Thee today; Beneath these forms of bread and wine Enrich us with Thy grace divine. (2) The chastened peace of sin forgiven, The filial joy of hears of heaven, Grant as we share this wondrous food, Thy body broken and Thy blood. (3) Our trembling hearts cleave to Thy Word; All Thou hast said Thou dost afford, All that Thou art we here receive, And all we are to Thee we give."
Henry E. Jacobs, 1910, "Lord Jesus Christ, We Humbly Pray," The Lutheran Hymnal, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1941, Hymn #314. 1 Corinthians 10:17.

(1) "He that believes and is baptized Shall see the Lord's salvation; Baptized into the death of Christ, He is a new creation. Through Christ's redemption he shall stand Among the glorious heavenly band Of every tribe and nation. (2) "With one accord, O God, we pray: Grant us Thy Holy Spirit; Look Thou on our infirmity Through Jesus' blood and merit. Grant us to grow in grace each day That by this Sacrament we may Eternal life inherit."
Thomas Kingo, 1689, "He That Believes and Is Baptized" The Lutheran Hymnal, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1941, Hymn #301. Mark 16:16.

(4) "O Triune God, we humbly pray That all Thy blessings be conferred Upon this child here cleansed today By means of water and the Word." Albert Knapp, 1841, "Dear Father, Who Hast Made Us All" The Lutheran Hymnal, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1941, Hymn #299. Galatians 3:27.

"The Christian's faith trusts in the ordinary means. Prayer is not a means of grace. Means of grace are divine appointments through which God uniformly offers blessings to all who use them. Faith is the means by which the blessings are received and appropriated. God gives us bread, when we ask it, not through the channel of prayer, but through the ordinary channels of His providence. He gives us grace when we ask it, not through prayer, but through the ordinary means appointed for this end, namely the Word and Sacraments. He who despises these will as little have grace as he who refuses to accept bread produced in the ordinary way of nature. Faith asks with confidence, and trusts in the ordinary means of God's appointment for the blessings asked."
Matthias Loy, Sermons on the Gospels, Columbus: Lutheran Book Concern, 1888, p. 387.

"And yet, one single Christian believer, by his preaching and prayer, can be the means of salvation to uncounted multitudes. In spite of Satan's hatred and desire to hinder, many people hear the Gospel, receive baptism and become teachers of the faith; and through the influence of the Gospel the sacredness of home and country are preserved."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 241. Ascension Day Psalm 110:2.

"Only begin this [prayer, self-examination], I say, and see how you will succeed in the task; and you will soon discover what an unbelieving knave is hidden in your bosom, and that your heart is too dull to believe it."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 257. Easter, Third Sermon Mark 16:1-8.

"Is not this a perverted and blind people? They teach we cannot do a good deed of ourselves, and then in their presumption go to work and arrogate to themselves the highest of all the works of God, namely faith, to manufacture it themselves out of their own perverted thoughts. Wherefore I have said that we should despair of ourselves and pray to God for faith as the Apostle did. Luke 17:5 When we have faith we need nothing more, for it brings with it the Holy Spirit, who then teaches us not only all things, but also establishes us firmly in it, and leads us through death and hell to heaven."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, IV, p. 306. Ninth Sunday after Trinity Luke 17:5.

"There are the infants, bare and naked in body and soul, having neither faith nor works. Then the Christian Church comes forward and prays, that God would pour faith into the child; not that our faith should help the child, but that it may obtain a faith of its own. If it has faith, then after that whatever it does is well done, whether it suckle its mother's breast, or whether it soil itself, or whatever it may please to do."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, IV, p. 378. Twelfth Sunday after Trinity Mark 7:31-37.

"The first [kind of confession] is that which is made to God, of which the prophet David speaks in Psalm 32:5: 'I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and my iniquity did I not hide: I said, I will confess my transgressions unto Jehovah; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.' Likewise, in the preceding third verse David says: 'When I kept silence, my bones wasted away as with the drought of summer;' that is, before God no one is able to stand unless he come with this confession, as Psalm 130:4 declares: 'But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared;' that is, whoever would deal with thee must deal so that this confession proceeds from his heart, which says: Lord, if thou be not merciful all is lost, no matter how pious I may be. Every saint must make this confession, as again we read in the Psalm mentioned, verse 6, 'For this let everyone that is godly pray unto thee.'"
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983 II, p. 195. Psalm 32: 3-6.

"In the first place it is a characteristic of faith to presume to trust God's grace, and it forms a bright vision and refuge in God, doubting nothing it thinks God will have regard for his faith, and not forsake it. For where there is no such vision and confidence, there is no true faith, and there is also no true prayer nor any seeking after God."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 64. Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity, Luke 17:11-19

"Behold this good inclination or comforting trust, or free presumption toward God, or whatever you may call it, in the Scriptures is called Christian faith and a good conscience, which man must have to be saved. But it is not obtained by human works and precepts, as we shall see in this example, and without such a heart no work is good...But here you observe what a thoroughly living and powerful thing faith is. It creates wholly a new heart, a new man, who expects all grace from God. Therefore it urges to walk, to stand, makes bold to cry and pray in every time of trouble."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 65f. Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity, Luke 17:11-19

"His good heart and faith naturally teach him how to pray. Yea, what is such faith, but pure prayer? It continually looks for divine grace, and if it looks for it, it also desires it with all the heart." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 70. Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity, Luke 17:11-19

"Since we are unable to keep the Law and it is impossible for the natural man to do so, Christ came and stepped between the Father and us, and prays for us: Beloved Father, be gracious unto them and forgive them their sins. I will take upon Me their transgressions and bear them; I love Thee with my whole heart, and in addition the entire human race, and this I will prove by shedding My blood for mankind. Moreover, I have fulfilled the Law and I did it for their welfare in order that they may partake of my fulfilling the Law and thereby come to grace."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 188. Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity, Matthew 22:34-46

"But the only thing that was taught and advocated was: Invoke the Virgin Mary and other saints as your mediators and intercessors; fast often and pray much; make pilgrimages, enter cloisters and become monks, or pay for the saying of many masses and like works. And thus we imagined when we did these things we had merited heaven."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 191. Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity, Matthew 22:34-46

"Prayer is made vigorous by petitioning; urgent, by supplication; by thanksgiving, pleasing and acceptable. Strength and acceptability combine to prevail and secure the petition."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 107. Fourth Sunday in Advent, Philippians 4:4-7;

"The Lord's Prayer opens with praise and thanksgiving and the acknowledgement of God as a Father; it earnestly presses toward Him through filial love and a recognition of fatherly tenderness. For supplication, this prayer is unequaled. Hence it is the sublimest and the noblest prayer ever uttered."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 107. Fourth Sunday in Advent, Philippians 4:4-7; Matthew 6:9-13

"Now, the Christian hatred of sin discriminates between the vices and the individual. It endeavors to exterminate only the former and to preserve the latter. It does not flee from, evade, reject nor despise anyone: rather it receives every man, takes a warm interest in him and accords him treatment calculated to relieve him of his vices. It admonishes, instructs and prays for him. It patiently bears with him."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 35f. Second Sunday in Advent Romans 15:4-13

"In the first part of the text he shows the depth of his concern that the Ephesians should retain the Gospel preaching received from him, not allowing themselves to be torn away from it. To this end he employs two expedients: first, he consoles and admonishes; second, he prays and desires."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p.260. Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity Ephesians 3:13-21.

"When the Spirit of prayer is enkindled and burns within the heart, the body will responsively assume the proper attitude; involuntarily, eyes and hands will be upraised and knees bended. Witness the examples of Moses, David and even Christ Himself."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 268. Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity Ephesians 3:13-21,

"When we pray with glowing hearts, external gestures will take care of themselves. They are prompted by the Spirit, and therefore are not to be denounced. If assumed, unbidden of the Spirit, they are hypocritical; as, for instance, when one presumes outwardly to serve God and perform good works while his heart is far way. The prophet says (Isaiah 29:13), 'This people draw nigh unto Me, and with their mouth and with their lips do honor Me, but have removed their hear far from Me.'"
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 268. Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity Ephesians 3:13-21, Isaiah 29:13

"I say these things to teach us to be careful not to join the caviler in judging presumptuously the work and Word of God. Notwithstanding our weakness, we are yet certain the kingdom of God is in our midst so long as we have His Word and daily pray for its efficacy and for an increase of our faith, as the follow words recommend: 'That ye may be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inward man.'"
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 275. Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity Ephesians 3:13-21; Isaiah 26:10

"It is necessary also to keep within bounds and not make too much of calling her 'Queen of Heaven,' which is a true-enough name and yet does not make her a goddess who could grant gifts or render aid, as some suppose when they pray and flee to her rather than to God. She gives nothing, God gives all, as we see in the words that follow."
The Magnificat, trans. A. T. W. Steinhaeuser, Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1967, p. 45. Luke 1:49.

"We pray God to give us a right understanding of this Magnificat, an understanding that consists not merely in brilliant words but in glowing life in body and soul. May Christ grant us this through the intercession and for the sake of His dear Mother Mary! Amen.
The Magnificat, trans. A. T. W. Steinhaeuser, Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1967, p. 77. Luke 1:55.

"The deeper a person is sunk in sadness and emotional upheavals, the better he serves as an instrument of Satan. For our emotions are instruments through which he gets into us and works in us if we do not watch our step. It is easy to water where it is wet. Where the fence is dilapidated, it is easy to get across. So Satan has easy access where there is sadness. Therefore one must pray and associate with godly people."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, III, p. 1243. 1532

"But the sinners who confess their sins, and are repentant, who wish they had not so angered God, who find all their concern and sorrow in the fact that they have offended God and have not kept His Commandments and, therefore, pray for grace--these sinners shall find grace."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 694. Matthew 18:21-35.

"The ultimate purpose of afflictions is the mortification of the flesh, the expulsion of sins, and the checking of that original evil which is embedded in our nature. And the more you are cleansed, the more you are blessed in the future life. For without a doubt glory will follow upon the calamities and vexations which we endure in this life. But the prime purpose of all these afflictions is the purification, which is extremely necessary and useful, lest we snore and become torpid and lazy because of the lethargy of our flesh. For when we enjoy peace and rest, we do not pray, we do not meditate on the Word but deal coldly with the Scriptures and everything that pertains to God or finally lapse into a shameful and ruinous security."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 18. Genesis 45:3.

"Whoever intends to enter married life should do so in faith and in God's name. He should pray God that it may prosper according to His will and that marriage may not be treated as a matter of fun and folly."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 891. Genesis 24.

"Marriages in which both husband and wife are contrary are the common variety, as the proverb has it: "Three things are rare but dear to God: the unity of brethren, the love of neighbors, a man and a wife that agree together," (Ecclus. 25:1). But the reason why this so rare is that people enter upon this kind of life without prayer." What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 903. 1 Peter 3:5ff; Ecclesiasticus 25:1. [endangered infant not baptized in womb] "But the women who are present at the birth should kneel down and with a prayer of faith commit the endangered infant to God who is mighty and able to do more than we ask. Without a doubt He will accept the infant for the sake of the prayer of the believers."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 49. J. Aurifaber, undated

"A very fine example of the power of prayer is provided by Monica, the mother of St. Augustine. She asked for nothing in her prayer for her son except that he might be liberated from the madness of the Manichaeans [pagans] and be baptized...But the more she prayed, the more stiff-necked and stubborn the son became, and her prayer seemed to her to have become a sin. But when the time for hearing her solicitous prayer had come (for God usually defers His help), Augustine is not only converted and baptized but devotes himself entirely to the study of theology and turns out to be such a teacher that he shines in the church to this day, teaching and instructing the church. Monica had never asked for this. It would have been enough for her if her son had been freed from error and had turned Christian. But God wants to give us greater blessings than we can ask for, as long as we do not weaken in our prayer."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald M. Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959 II, p. 1094. Genesis 17:19-22

"Let the preacher of the Gospel be sure that he has a divine call. Moreover, it is expedient for him to follow the example of Paul and highly praise and exalt his calling before the people (e.g. 1 Corinthians 4:14) so that he may gain the respect of those who hear him, just as a royal ambassador highly commends his embassy. This is not vainglory but a necessary glorying, because he is glorying, not in himself but in the King Who sent him, whose authority he desires to have honored and held in holy respect. And when in the name of the King he wants anything done by the subjects, he does not say: We pray you, but We command; we want this done. But for his own son he says: We pray, etc.
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 925. W 40 I, 56f. 1 Corinthians 4:14

"Consequently, I say to my worst enemies: Where it is only my own person that is involved, there I am very willing to help you and to do everything good for you in spite of the fact that you are my enemy and that all you ever do for me is to harm me. But where it is the Word of God that is involved, there you must not expect any friendship or love that I may have for you to persuade me to do something against that, even if you were my nearest and dearest friend. But since you cannot endure the Word, I will speak this prayer over you: May God dash you to the ground! I shall willingly serve you, but not in order to help you overthrow the Word of God. For this purpose you will never be able to persuade me even to give you a drink of water."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed. Ewald M. Plass St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, III, p. 1480. 1532 Matthew 5:43-48

"Unionism is characterized by these marks: It fails to confess the whole truth of the divine Word; it fails to reject and denounce every opposing error; it assigns error equal right with truth and creates the impression of church fellowship and of unity of faith where they do not exist." (Wisconsin Synod, Prayer Fellowship, Tract No. 10, 1954) Francis Pieper, The Difference Between Orthodox And Heterodox Churches, and Supplement, Coos Bay, Oregon: St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 1981, p. 64.
(1) "O Holy Spirit, enter in And in our hearts Thy work begin, Thy temple deign to make us; Sun of the soul, Thou Light Divine, Around and in us brightly shine, To joy and gladness wake us That we, In Thee Truly living, To Thee giving Prayer unceasing, May in love be still increasing. (2) Give to Thy Word impressive power That in our hearts, from this good hour, As fire it may be glowing; That we confess the Father, Son, And Thee, the Spirit, Three in One, Thy glory ever showing. Stay Thou, Guide now Our souls ever That they never May forsake Thee, But by faith their Refuge make Thee." Michael Schirmer, 1640, alt., "O Holy Spirit, Enter In," The Lutheran Hymnal, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1941, Hymn #235. Isaiah 11:2.

"Here and there this form of absolution is used: 'The passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, the merits of the most blessed Virgin Mary and of all the saints, be to thee for the remission of sins.' Here the absolution is pronounced on the supposition that we are reconciled and accounted righteous not only by the merits of Christ, but also by the merits of the other saints. Some of us have seen a doctor of theology dying, for consoling whom a certain theologian, a monk, was employed. He pressed on the dying man nothing but this prayer: 'Mother of grace, protect us from the enemy; receive us in the hour of death.'"
Apology Augsburg Confession, XXI. #25-6 Invocation Saints. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 349. Tappert, p. 232. Heiser, p. 106.

"Granting that the blessed Mary prays for the Church, does she receive souls in death, [the example of her faith and her humility]. But the subject itself declares that in public opinion the blessed Virgin has succeeded altogether to the place of Christ. Men have invoked her, have trusted in her mercy, through her have desired to appease Christ, as though He were not a Propitiator, but only a dreadful judge and avenger."
Apology Augsburg Confession, XXI. #27. Saints. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 349f. Tappert, p. 232f. Heiser, p. 106.

"Although concerning the saints we concede that, just as, when alive, they pray for the Church universal in general, albeit no testimony concerning the praying of the dead is extant in the Scriptures, except the dream taken from the Second Book of Maccabees, 15:14."
Apology Augsburg Confession, XXI. #8. Invocation of Saints. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 345. Tappert, p. 230. Heiser, p. 104. 2 Maccabees 15:14.

"This doctrine concerning the inability and wickedness of our natural free will and concerning our conversion and regeneration, namely, that it is a work of God alone and not of our powers, is [impiously, shamefully, and maliciously] abused in an unchristian manner both by enthusiasts and by Epicureans; and by their speeches many persons have become disorderly and irregular, and idle and indolent in all Christian exercises of prayer, reading and devout meditation; for they say that, since they are unable from their own natural powers to convert themselves to God, they will always strive with all their might against God, or wait until God converts them by force against their will; or since they can do nothing in these spiritual things, but everything is the operation of God the Holy Ghost alone, they will regard, hear, or read neither the Word nor the Sacrament, but wait until God without means..."
Formula of Concord, Epitome, Article II, Free Will, 46, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 899. Tappert, p. 530. Heiser, p. 246.

"Thus we do also in infant baptism. We bring the child in the conviction and hope that it believes, and we pray that God may grant it faith; but we do not baptize it upon that, but solely upon the command of God. Why so? Because we know that God does not lie. I and my neighbor and, in short, all men, may err and deceive, but the Word of God cannot err." [Ego et proximus meus et in summa omnes homines errare possunt et fallere, porro autem Verbum Dei nec potest errare nec fallere.]
Large Catechism, Infant Baptism. #57. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 747. Tappert, p. 444. Heiser, p. 208.

"For as truly as I can say, No man has spun the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord's Prayer out of his head, but they are revealed and given by God Himself, so also I can boast and given by God Himself, so also I can boast that Baptism is no human trifle, but instituted by God Himself, moreover, that it is most solemnly and strictly commanded that we must be baptized or we cannot be saved, lest any one regard it as a trifling matter, like putting on a new red coat. For it is of the greatest importance that we esteem Baptism excellent, glorious, and exalted, for which we contend and fight chiefly, because the world is now so full of sects clamoring that Baptism is an external thing, and that external things are of no benefit. But let it be ever so much an external thing, here stand God's Word and command which institute, establish, and confirm Baptism."
The Large Catechism, Part Fourth, Of Baptism. #6-8. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 733. Tappert, p. 437. Heiser, p. 205.

"Therefore there is here again great need to call upon God and pray: Dear Father, forgive us our trespasses. Not as though He did not forgive sin without and even before our prayer (for He has given us the Gospel, in which is pure forgiveness before we prayed or ever thought about it). But this is to the intent that we may recognize and accept such forgiveness."
The Large Catechism, The Lord's Prayer, Fifth Petition, #88, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 723. Tappert, p. 432. Heiser, p. 202f. Matthew 6:12

[Fresenius and levels of Christianity.] "(As if an unconverted person could seriously pray for conversion! He should have said: He must hear the Word of God. But that he has put into his third rule. His whole scheme makes conversion dependent on man's own effort to obtain grace.)"
C. F. W. Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, trans., W. H. T. Dau, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1928, p. 144. Fresenius

"As a matter of fact, any one who has been quickened, that is, raised from spiritual death, is converted. After his conversion he must, indeed, pray and wrestle. His faith at the beginning is like an infant that can easily die if it is not given nourishment. Praying and wrestling is not an exercise for unconverted, however, but for converted persons."
C. F. W. Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, trans., W. H. T. Dau, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1928, p. 144. Fresenius

"For the confounding of Law and Gospel that is common among the sects consists in nothing else than this, that they instruct alarmed sinners by prayer and inward wrestling to fight their way into a state of grace until they feel grace indwelling in them, instead of pointing them to the Word and the Sacraments."
C. F. W. Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, trans., W. H. T. Dau, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1928, p. 153. Ninth thesis

"But when a person persists in his sin against his conscience, though he knows it to be a sin, and continues sinning purposely for a long time, he no longer has faith and cannot truly pray to God; the Holy Spirit leaves his heart, for another spirit, the evil spirit, rules in it, whom the sinner has admitted into his heart. To him the Holy Spirit yields His place and departs."
C. F. W. Walther, The Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel, trans., W. H. T. Dau, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1928, p. 220.

"6. Their labors have the most glorious promise of the cooperation of the Lord, so that they are never entirely futile and in vain. 7. Their labors have the promise of a gracious reward, which consists in a glory in the world to come that is unutterably great, exceeding abundantly above all they ever could have asked and prayed for in this life."
C. F. W. Walther, The Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel, trans., W. H. T. Dau, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1928, p. 285.

"Thou who the night in prayer didst spend and then didst Thine apostles send And bidd'st us pray the harvest's Lord To send forth sowers of the Word, Hear and Thy chosen servants bless With sev'n fold gifts of holiness."
Christopher Wordsworth, "Thou Who the Night in Prayer," #493, The Lutheran Hymnal, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1941. Luke 6:12ff.