Lutheran Worship and Resources



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

Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

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


Thanksgiving Eve - 7 PM Central Time.

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

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

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

Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson's Author's Page

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.

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