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
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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, September 27, 2009

The Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity

The Lost Sheep, by Norma Boeckler

The Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 8 AM Phoenix Time

The Hymn #361 O Jesus King 4.1
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 Ephesians 3:13-21
The Gospel Luke 7:11-16
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #123 Our God Our Help 4.3

Thankfulness to God

The Hymn #371 Jesus Thy Blood 4.6
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 4.24

KJV Ephesians 3:13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. 14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

KJV Luke 7:11 And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. 12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. 14 And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. 15 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. 16 And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people. 17 And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about.

Sixteenth Sunday After Trinity
Lord God, heavenly Father, who didst send Thy Son to be made flesh, that by His death He might atone for our sins and deliver us from eternal death: We pray Thee, confirm in our hearts the hope that our Lord Jesus Christ, who with but a word raised the widow's son, in like manner will raise us on the last day, and grant us eternal life: through Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Thankfulness to God

Ephesisans 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

These two lessons go together well, instead of heading off in different directions, which is what we find in so many Epistle/Gospel selections. One tradition says that the Epistle was read on one side of the church to members, the Gospel read on the other side to prospective believers. When Holy Communion began, the non-members were ushered out and the doors locked. In the Greek liturgy, the priest chants, “The doors, the doors, in wisdom let us attend.” That was the signal to have the non-members ushered out.

One name for Holy Communion is the Eucharist, which means thanksgiving.

Luther preached that the widow lost her son because she was not grateful for her husband and son. Bear with me – this is not about the cruelty of God. It is good to remember the allegoric and symbolic style of Medieval preaching. So, as Luther said, the woman lost her husband and said, “I am still fine. My son will work and provide for me. I am not destitute.” Because she took that for granted, God took her son as well. Then she knew how valuable her husband son were. In Biblical times, a widow had almost no means of support. If she did not have sons or relatives to help her, she was truly destitute and alone.

Luke tells us that this was her only son. Maybe she had daughters, but that meant she had even more burdens to bear. How would they find food and shelter and clothing? How would they get married?

Jesus had compassion on her and told her not to weep. The Savior went to bier and touched it. He spoke and said, “Young man, I say, arise.” And the young man came to life again. A fear came upon everyone because they knew they were in the presence of God.

Luke 7 they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people. 17 And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about.

Details of this story teach us a number of things. “Faith-healing” is still a way of dismissing all miracles of healing. Some say, “He thought he was sick, saw Jesus, and no longer felt ill. So he thought he was healed.” In this case, the young man, his grieving mother, and the whole crowd – thought he was dead. If this was at the end of a multi-day funeral, no one had any doubts about his demise.

Secondly, Jesus was not asked to do anything. This is an important corrective to a common myth of today – that God is unable to do anything until He is asked, that He can only do what He is asked, that He is more powerful when people pray harder and longer for His help.

Jesus first had compassion on this family, then comforted the widow, and finally raised the young man from death to life.

This is a perfect illustration of what Paul taught:

Ephesisans 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

The grieving widow did not ask and her son could not. There is no plea from the crowd, as we read in many cases. Each miracle emphasizes something different.

Before anyone thought to ask, God provided an answer with Christ raising the widow’s son from the dead. Likely, this widow and her son became another part of the circle of believers who established the Christian Church with the leadership of the apostles. She is clearly identified, in the custom of the day (Jesus of Nazareth) so I assume she was known by early readers. Doubtless people in the crowd also believed and continued to be followers, after the death and resurrection of Christ. Jesus taught the Word and confirmed His authority with miracles no one could deny. That converted many and enraged others. Fear can become respect or revenge.

Jesus threatened justification by works because He taught the righteousness that must come from God alone, apart from works, received in faith. God declares believers forgiven. They trust in the merits of their Savior and receive His righteousness in faith.

Notice too that Jesus raised the young man from the dead by speaking the Word. The idea is not that the young man could hear anything. This speaking is a continuation of the Biblical doctrine of the Word. When God speaks, there is no difference between His will and His work. “Let there be light” and there was light (before the sun, moon, and stars).

This outward or external Word is an antidote to the Enthusiasts who often imagined and taught falsely that God’s Spirit came to them while they were meditating. Even today, people say, “The Holy Spirit came to me in a dream.” They deny the Holy Spirit coming to them in the divinely appointed Word and Sacraments, but they claim the Holy Spirit makes a personal visit in a dream, as if any human could separate a dream about going to Disneyland from a dream about starting a new mission. And, we might wonder, how many “dreams” are just invented to impress the gullible.

Luther’s point about thankfulness is worth emphasizing. Once the widow lost her son and gained him back, she was definitely thankful to God for providing a blessing she once took for granted.

Lutherans have repeatedly taken the blessings of Biblical doctrine for granted and lost that truth for a period of time.

After the Book of Concord, they fell into philosophical distinctions and abandoned Biblical study.

The lack of Biblical study opened the doors to Pietism, which made headway on those grounds alone. There was a total vacuum in the seminaries where the Bible should have been taught.

The Synodical Conference gloried in itself so much that every discussion revolved around how perfect they were and how dare anyone question that, as if the Lutheran Reformation started in C. F. W. Walther’s study.

Bad events turn into good ones, but only through God’s intervention. Supposedly one of my ancestors was the richest man in Scotland. He loaned money to Charles I, who was executed. My ancestor sued Cromwell and was imprisoned for his trouble. That forced one side of my family over to America. Another side came over because of the French persecution of the Protestants. Someone a branch became Seventh Day Adventists, but moving to Iowa for farming left them without a church. Also, Adventism made farming almost impossible (pork, work rules, etc). So the family became Christian.

I read yesterday about many difficulties, since homesteading worked only if the crops were good and the prices were high. Many families moved here and there for a better life. Finally, both sides of the family lost the farms to the Great Depression. That left my parents reaching adulthood in a time of little cash, few jobs, and general hardship. That made them believe in education, so all of us children obtained what was not even debatable at home – professional degrees.

Now I realize that those old aunts I knew from family reunions were relatives who went through countless hardships and lived without any of the luxuries I already took for granted. They were happy and thankful for what they accomplished with God’s help. The aunt who wrote one family history constantly mentioned their close connection with the Christian Church.

Thanks to incompetence and pure evil, millions are suffering today. The median price of a home in Detroit is $7,000. A photo essay of the city in Time looks like Berlin after WWII. Yet in the midst of this trouble God blesses people, often before they even ask. And He supplies more than we can imagine or think. (Paul Y. Cho is dead wrong.)

KJV Isaiah 65:24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

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