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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Reformation II, 2009






Reformation Sunday, II, November 1, 2009

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 10 AM Central Standard


The Hymn #265 Thine Honor Save Erhalt Uns Herr
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 Rev 14:6-7
The Gospel Matthew 11:12-15
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #262 A Mighty Fortress Ein feste Burg
          God Works Through His Pure Word
The Hymn #308 Invited Lord By Boundless Grace Das walt Gott
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 #651 Be Still My Soul Finlandia

KJV Revelation 14:6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, 7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

KJV Matthew 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. 14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. 15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

All Saints' Day
O almighty and everlasting God, who through Thine only-begotten and beloved Son, Jesus Christ, wilt sanctify all Thine elected and beloved: Give us grace to follow their faith, hope, and charity, that we together with them may obtain eternal life: through Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

God Works Through His Pure Word

Book of Concord, Solid Declaration, II. Free Will. Triglotta, p. 903.
54] Through this means, namely, the preaching and hearing of His Word, God works, and breaks our hearts, and draws man, so that through the preaching of the Law he comes to know his sins and God's wrath, and experiences in his heart true terrors, contrition, and sorrow, and through the preaching and consideration of the holy Gospel concerning the gracious forgiveness of sins in Christ a spark of faith is kindled in him, which accepts the forgiveness of sins for Christ's sake, and comforts itself with the promise of the Gospel, and thus the Holy Ghost (who works all this) is sent into the heart, Gal. 4:6.

55] Now, although both, the planting and watering of the preacher, and the running and willing of the hearer, would be in vain, and no conversion would follow it if the power and efficacy of the Holy Ghost were not added thereto, who enlightens and converts the hearts through the Word preached and heard, so that men believe this Word and assent thereto, still, neither preacher nor hearer is to doubt this grace and efficacy of the Holy Ghost, but should be certain that when the Word of God is preached purely and truly, according to the command and will of God, and men listen attentively and earnestly and meditate upon it, God is certainly present with His grace, and grants, as has been said, what otherwise man can neither accept nor give from his own powers. 56] For concerning the presence, operation, and gifts of the Holy Ghost we should not and cannot always judge ex sensu [from feeling], as to how and when they are experienced in the heart; but because they are often covered and occur in great weakness, we should be certain from, and according to, the promise, that the Word of God preached and heard is [truly] an office and work of the Holy Ghost, by which He is certainly efficacious and works in our hearts, 2 Cor. 2:14ff; 3:5ff.

KJV 1 Corinthians 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.

The Free Will or Powers of Man section of the Formula of Concord was written for two reasons. One was the error of the Roman Catholic party. But the other was the error of some theologians of the Augsburg Confession. The passage quoted above from Free Will is a clear reference to 1 Corinthians 3:6-8.

Those errors are still prevalent today. On the Roman side, the Catholic Church teaches that man cooperates in his salvation. They also emphasize adding good works, which are required but rarely considered sufficient. Therefore, Purgatory is a long season of torture to finish the purification of the soul, making it ready for heaven. Purgatory is a semi-Hell for the partially saved.

Although Purgatory is not popular among Protestants, the other error addressed in this article is quite popular. There are many “have-to” statements among the modern Protestants, and the Lutherans often follow the errorists down the same path. Some have-to statements are:
1. You have to think exponentially. (Rick Warren, Southern Baptist) Would that be the theme of the Exponential Conference attended by WELS leaders? http://www.exponentialconference.org/
2. You have to grow in numbers.
3. You have to make disciples, who must be soul-winners.
4. You must transform lives and be relational and relevant.

This can be condensed to the cooperation of man in salvation. That sounds appealing to people, and it has appealed to millions, but the thoughts of man are not the thoughts of God (Isaiah 55:8-10)

Paul’s comparison to agriculture is devastating, because no one with experience in the field can claim, “This is what I did.”

Let’s take the planting of sweet corn. First of all, the gardener/farmer wants to have the best seed possible. Thanks to hybrids, we can select early-maturing, short, or late-maturing corn, white or yellow or bi-color. I favored Silver Queen, which tended to be short in stature but had a long growing season and famous sweetness.

Corn wind-pollinates, so it will not do to plant all varieties together. The root system is large because of the water and nutrition absorbed by the corn plant as it grows and matures. I watered corn in Midland because the plants often wanted more than the rain provided, even though I heavily mulched the corn patch with grass and newspapers. I also grew pumpkins between the rows to deter varmints and keep moisture in the ground. I planted pole beans to climb the corn stalks, too. Beans add fixed nitrogen to the soil while corn takes nitrogen compounds away to build plants.

The complications of raising corn are infinite. If the soil is too cold, sweet corn will not germinate. Pests can eat the corn. A gaudy necktie on the ground may serve to deter birds and make the neighbors wonder. Nothing short of electricity stops a squirrel. Rain can be supplemented, but too much rain causes smut, a mold problem in corn. Insects get into corn and some birds attack the corn to get the insects. If the corn is perfect, raccoons and squirrels harvest it at the perfect time. I thought I had a corn patch in Columbus. Instead, a crop of weeds grew up. They looked just like corn at first, but the produced nothing but additional weed seeds (nutgrass).

These are only some of the complications, because the entire created world works together in the formation of one crop. Soil is not dirt, but an ocean of life, comprising many different chemicals, mixes, organisms, and animals, from the tiny springtail to the prolific earthworm.

Watching a crop grow successfully is a great experience. Anyone with that experience can see the parallel created by Paul – I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. The glory does not belong to Paul or Apollos but to God.

I am astounded that so many have talked about growth and written about growth in the church, but all of them carefully avoid the clear, plain words of Scripture. Any Scripture about growth emphasizes the effective Word, not the human effort.

The Gospel is the living seed of the Church. Just like God’s created seed, it is full of potential far beyond our imagination or knowledge. Just like seed, no one knows what will happen when the Gospel is broadcast.

Someone asked once, “If God does everything, then what do we do?”

I could also ask, “If everything depends on man, how weak is God?”

The positive answer is clear – God does everything through His Word, but He allows us to share in what He does. We enjoy the accomplishments of the Word just as we enjoy the product of the garden.
Luther did not start the Reformation. The Word of God started the Reformation. Luther’s spiritual struggles and his study of the Word (doctorate, Biblical studies) enabled him to teach what was revealed in the Scriptures and teach against what was not in the Scriptures.

So many people claim they love the Church or their synod. They want their favorite institution to do well. Or they want others to share in the blessings of the Gospel.

Neither preacher nor hearer is to doubt this grace and efficacy of the Holy Ghost, but should be certain that when the Word of God is preached purely and truly, according to the command and will of God, and men listen attentively and earnestly and meditate upon it, God is certainly present with His grace, and grants, as has been said, what otherwise man can neither accept nor give from his own powers. (Formula of Concord, Free Will)

The ministers and members are not to doubt the grace and efficacy of the Holy Spirit. Those who doubt both are bound to start altering the Word to achieve the fruits they desire from their human perspective. The Pietists of yesteryear and today develop methods to accomplish what they desire. Human methods are at war with the divine Word.

KJV Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive (method – the Greek word);

KJV Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (methods - Greek) of the devil.

False doctrine is the method of the devil, to deceive the simple and seduce the crafty ones. Those who equate worldly success with God’s blessing are bound to

Believing in God means trusting in Him completely, so His Word must accomplish His will.

One reason we do not trust His Word is that we want other results or better results. It is easy to blame someone or something for the results we do not like.

Another reason we do not trust the Word - The true Gospel brings the cross, so we shun the cross and the Word with it. That is subtle. People do not claim to be doing this, but our Old Adam recoils from paying a price. And many are glad to gloat that sincere Christians seem to have a much harder time in life. False teachers gloat that they repudiate the Word and do fabulously well anyway.

The Reformation began when the Word of God threatened the vast money scheme of the papacy, building St. Peter’s in Rome with indulgence money. In fact, the deal was more complicated. Huge loans were obtained for the construction project. The loans were paid back through indulgence sales, so the salesmen were highly motivated to get good results.

Luther’s 96 Theses asked whether the pope really had the keys to the heavenly treasure of merits. If the pope did, why not open up this treasury for the whole world to enjoy?

This threatened indulgence sales, where people could buy forgiveness in advance (pre-UOJ). The theses also attacked the tourism of the day, visiting shrines dedicated to saints in order to obtain release from some time in Purgatory. Like carbon credits, these saintly relics were bought and sold, gaining value with the pilgrims they attracted. If touching the relics did not gain release from Purgatory, then they were worthless bones.

To this day, every Roman Catholic church has a certified fragment of a saint embedded, to make it an official and approved congregation.

Christianity is the only world religion where people receive from God instead of giving to God. If people have works added to faith, they imagine they have to do various things to please God. This is contrary to the Gospel and guilt-inducing, anxiety-provoking. True, people can be motivated to do a lot through fear and the hope of a reward, but that is not what Jesus taught. It is what the Pharisees taught. The Savior taught:

John 6:27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. 28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

KJV John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

False doctrine always turns things around. The false teachers look for works and demand works.

The Gospel teaches that the works of God are believing in the Messiah sent by God the Father. Everyone comes into this world condemned. Those who do not believe remain in that state of condemnation. But all who believe in Christ become children of God and heirs of salvation. Good works follow naturally as the fruit of faith.

This is such a simple message, yet people rage against it, from the outside of the Church and from the inside.

Quotations

Augsburg Confession


  • J-525
    "Also they teach that the Word, that is, the Son of God, did assume the human nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary, so that there are two natures, the divine and the human, inseparably conjoined in one Person, one Christ, true God and true man, who was born of the Virgin Mary, truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, that He might reconcile the Father unto us, and be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of men."
    Augsburg Confession, III. #1. Of the Son of God. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 45. Tappert, p. 29. Heiser, p. 12.






  • J-526
    “Also they teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ’s sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight. Romans 3 and 4.”
    Augsburg Confession, IV. #1. Of Justification. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 45. Tappert, p. 30. Heiser, p. 12f.
    Apology of the Augsburg Confession






  • J-527
    "The Third Article the adversaries approve, in which we confess that there are in Christ two natures, namely, a human nature, assumed by the Word into the unity of His person; and that the same Christ suffered and died to reconcile the Father to us; and that He was raised again to reign, and to justify and sanctify believers, etc., according to the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed."
    Apology of the Augsburg Confession, III. #52. Of Christ, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 119. Romans 4:25; 2 Corinthians 5:19ff. Tapper, p. 107. Heiser, p. 32.






  • J-528
    "Faith is that my whole heart takes to itself this treasure. It is not my doing, not my presenting or giving, not my work or preparation, but that a heart comforts itself, and is perfectly confident with respect to this, namely, that God makes a present and gift to us, and not we to Him, that He sheds upon us every treasure of grace in Christ."
    Apology of the Augsburg Confession, IV. #48. Of Justification. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 135. Heiser, p. 36.






  • J-529
    "Now, that faith signifies, not only a knowledge of the history, but such faith as assents to the promise, Paul plainly testifies when he says, Romans 4:16: 'Therefore it is of faith, to the end the promise might be sure.' For he judges that the promise cannot be received unless by faith. Wherefore he puts them together as things that belong to one another, and connects promise and faith."
    Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article IV. #51. Of Justification, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 135. Romans 4:16. Tappert, p. 114. Heiser, p. 36.






  • J-530
    "This faith, encouraging and consoling in these fears, receives remission of sins, justifies and quickens. For this consolation is a new and spiritual life [a new birth and a new life]. These things are plain and clear, and can be understood by the pious, and have testimonies of the Church [as is to be seen in the conversion of Paul and Augustine]. The adversaries nowhere can say how the Holy Ghost is given. They imagine that the Sacraments confer the Holy Ghost ex opere operato, without a good emotion in the recipient, as though, indeed, the gift of the Holy Ghost were an idle matter."
    Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article IV. #63. Of Justification,, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 139. Tappert, p. 115. Heiser, p. 37.






  • J531
    "Now we will show that faith [and nothing else] justifies."
    Apology of the Augsburg Confession, IV. #69. Of Justification. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 141. Tappert, p. 116. Heiser, p. 37.






  • J-532
    "But to believe is to trust in the merits of Christ, that for His sake God certainly wishes to be reconciled with us. Likewise, just as we ought to maintain that, apart from the Law, the promise of Christ is necessary, so also is it needful to maintain that faith justifies. [For the Law does not preach the forgiveness of sin by grace.] For the Law cannot be performed unless the Holy Ghost be first received. It is, therefore, needful to maintain that the promise of Christ is necessary. But this cannot be received except by faith. Therefore, those who deny that faith justifies, teach nothing but the Law, both Christ and the Gospel being set aside.”
    Apology of the Augsburg Confession, IV. #69. Of Justification. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. p. 141. Tappert, p. 116. Heiser, p. 37.






  • J-533
    "We do not believe thus {that faith is just a beginning of justification} concerning faith, but we maintain this, that properly and truly, by faith itself, we are for Christ's sake accounted righteous, or are acceptable to God. And because 'to be justified' means that out of unjust men just men are made, or born again, it means also that they are pronounced or accounted just. For Scripture speaks in both ways. [The term to be justified is used in two ways: to denote, being converted or regenerated; again, being accounted righteous.] Accordingly we wish first to show this, that faith alone makes of an unjust, a just man, i. e., receives remission of sins."
    Apology of the Augsburg Confession, IV. #71-2. Of Justification. Concordia Triglotta. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 141. Tappert, p. 116f. Heiser, p. 38.






  • J-534
    "But since we receive remission of sins and the Holy Ghost by faith alone, faith alone justifies, because those reconciled are accounted righteous and children of God, not on account of their own purity, but through mercy for Christ's sake, provided only they by faith apprehend this mercy."
    Apology of the Augsburg Confession, IV. #86. Of Justification. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 147. Tappert, p. 119. Heiser, p. 39.






  • J-535
    "In the Epistle to the Romans, Paul discusses this topic especially, and declares that, when we believe that God, for Christ's sake, is reconciled to us, we are justified freely by faith."
    Apology of the Augsburg Confession, IV. #87. Of Justification. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 147. 2 Corinthians 5:19ff. Tappert, p. 119f. Heiser, p. 39.






  • J-536
    "These things are so plain and so manifest that we wonder that the madness of the adversaries is so great as to call them into doubt. The proof is manifest that, since we are justified before God not from the Law, but from the promise, it is necessary to ascribe justification to faith."
    Apology of the Augsburg Confession, III. #177. Of Love and the Fulfilling of the Law. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 205. Tappert, p. 153. Heiser, p. 60.







  • J-537
    "Scripture thus uses the term faith, as the following sentence of Paul testifies, Romans 5:1: Being justified by faith, we have peace with God. Moreover, in this passage, to justify signifies, according to forensic usage, to acquit a guilty one and declare him righteous, but on account of the righteousness of another, namely, of Christ, which righteousness of another is communicated to us by faith...1 Corinthians 1:30. Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. And 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. But because the righteousness of Christ is given us by faith, faith is for this reason righteousness in us imputatively, i. e., it is that by which we are made acceptable to God on account of the imputation and ordinance of God, as Paul says, Romans 4:3, 5: Faith is reckoned for righteousness."
    Apology of the Augsburg Confession, III. #184. Of Love and the Fulfilling of the Law. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 205f. Romans 5:1; 2 Corinthians 5:21. Tappert, p. 154. Heiser, p. 60.






  • J-538
    "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. Tappert, p. 187. Heiser, p. 81.






  • J-539
    “That absolution, however, is not received except by faith can be proved from Paul, who teaches, Romans 4:16, that the promise cannot be received except by faith. But absolution is the promise of the remission of sins [nothing else than the Gospel, the divine promise of God’s grace and favor]. Therefore, it necessarily requires faith. Neither do we see how he who does not assent to it may be said to receive absolution.”
    Apology of the Augsburg Confession, XII. #61-62. Of Repentance. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 269. Romans 4:16. Tappert, p. 190. Heiser, p. 83.






  • J-540
    "The Gospel teaches that by faith we receive freely, for Christ's sake, the remission of sins and are reconciled to God."
    Apology of the Augsburg Confession, XV. #5. Human Traditions. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 317. Tappert, p. 215. Heiser, p. 96.
    The Smalcald Articles






  • J-541
    “Likewise: All have sinned and are justified without merit [freely, and without their own works or merits] by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in His blood, Romans 3:23f. Now, since it is necessary to believe this, and it cannot be otherwise acquired or apprehended by any work, law, or merit, it is clear and certain that this faith alone justifies us, as St. Paul says, Romans 3:28: For we conclude that a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the Law. Likewise, v. 26: That He might be just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Christ.”
    Smalcald Articles, The Second Part, Article I. #4. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 461. Tappert, p. 292. Heiser, p. 137.






  • J-542
    “What I have hitherto and constantly taught concerning this I know not how to change in the least, namely, that by faith, as St. Peter says, we acquire a new and clean heart, and God will and does account us entirely righteous and holy for the sake of Christ, our Mediator. And although sin in the flesh has not yet ben altogether removed or become dead, yet He will not punish or remember it. And such faith, renewal, and forgiveness of sins is followed by good works.”
    Smalcald Articles, The Third Part, Article XIII. #1-2. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 499. Tappert, p. 315. Heiser, p. 148.


  • Sunday, October 25, 2009

    Reformation Sunday I





    The Seven-Headed Luther is still used as a polemic against the Reformation, even though its lies have been repudiated by Catholics.



    Reformation Sunday, I, October 25, 2009

    Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

    Bethany Lutheran Worship, 10 AM Central Time


    The Hymn #258 Lord of Our Life Herzliebster Jesus
    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 Eph 5:15-21
    The Gospel Matthew 22:1-14
    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 Magdalen

    God’s Purpose and Counsel

    The Hymn #309 O Jesus Blessed Lord Old Hundredth
    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 Ephesians 5:15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

    KJV Matthew 22:1 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, 2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, 3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. 4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. 5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: 6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. 7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. 9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. 10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. 11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

    Collect
    Almighty and everlasting God, who by Thy Son hast promised us the forgiveness of sins, righteousness, and everlasting life: We beseech Thee, do Thou by Thy Holy Spirit so quicken our hearts that we in daily prayer may seek our help in Christ against all temptations, and, constantly believing His promise, obtain that for which we pray, and at last be saved, through Thy Son Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

    God’s Purpose and Counsel

    Namely, that God in His purpose and counsel ordained [decreed]:
    15] 1. That the human race is truly redeemed and reconciled with God through Christ, who, by His faultless [innocency] obedience, suffering, and death, has merited for us the righteousness which avails before God, and eternal life.
    16] 2. That such merit and benefits of Christ shall be presented, offered, and distributed to us through His Word and Sacraments.
    17] 3. That by His Holy Ghost, through the Word, when it is preached, heard, and pondered, He will be efficacious and active in us, convert hearts to true repentance, and preserve them in the true faith.
    18] 4. That He will justify all those who in true repentance receive Christ by a true faith, and will receive them into grace, the adoption of sons, and the inheritance of eternal life.
    19] 5. That He will also sanctify in love those who are thus justified, as St. Paul says, Eph. 1:4.
    20] 6. That He also will protect them in their great weakness against the devil, the world, and the flesh, and rule and lead them in His ways, raise them again [place His hand beneath them], when they stumble, comfort them under the cross and in temptation, and preserve them [for life eternal].
    21] 7. That He will also strengthen, increase, and support to the end the good work which He has begun in them, if they adhere to God's Word, pray diligently, abide in God's goodness [grace], and faithfully use the gifts received.
    22] 8. That finally He will eternally save and glorify in life eternal those whom He has elected, called, and justified.
    23] And [indeed] in this His counsel, purpose, and ordination God has prepared salvation not only in general, but has in grace considered and chosen to salvation each and every person of the elect who are to be saved through Christ, also ordained that in the way just mentioned He will, by His grace, gifts, and efficacy, bring them thereto [make them participants of eternal salvation], aid, promote, strengthen, and preserve them.
    Election, Solid Declaration, Formula of Concord, Book of Concord

    We are observing two consecutive Sundays for the Reformation, since so many Lutheran congregations refuse to honor the Reformation, calling it “Unity Sunday” and “Reconciliation Sunday.” We stopped at a Tulsa LCMS congregation for directions to the Aquarium, and they advertised a Unity Sunday coming up. I suggest calling it Friendship Sunday and inviting a Roman Catholic priest to preach. Wisconsin Lutheran College did that with Archbishop Weakland and a group of priests. When Roman leaders from around the world met for Vatican II, they affirmed all the glorious decrees of Vatican I, including the Infallibility of the Pope. Lutherans have back-pedaled from the Reformation while Catholics have increased the height, width, and depth of their apostasy.

    The passage above, from the Formula of Concord, is a summary of the Biblical message. The New Testament contains many similar summaries. Confessions of faith are good to compare since they are saying – This is what the Word of God teaches. A confession is always secondary to the Scriptures, so we call our Book of Concord – the ruled norm, the norma normata, ruled by the Scriptures. The Word of God is the ruling norm – norma normans.

    Namely, that God in His purpose and counsel ordained [decreed]:

    15] 1. That the human race is truly redeemed and reconciled with God through Christ, who, by His faultless [innocency] obedience, suffering, and death, has merited for us the righteousness which avails before God, and eternal life.

    This is a clear summary of the Atonement of Christ, using the Biblical words – redeemed and reconciled. God ordained this Atonement so that no one could ever question whether it was universal, applying to all people for all time, and objective – true whether anyone believes or not. The Atonement is not justification and was never taught as justification until the Pietists tried to merge Reformed doctrine with Lutheran doctrine and ended up with…Reformed doctrine. Some would say, “Why don’t the Reformed teach this combination now?” They do – only they call themselves Universalists and Unitarians. God has done everything so everyone is forgiven, they imagine. That is also what Universal Objective Justification teaches.

    The Atonement is our comfort - that no sin is so great that we cannot be forgiven. The sin against the Holy Spirit is rejection of the Gospel at the point of death, because that is saying, “I do not need forgiveness through the merits of Christ.” Faith in Christ does indeed matter, as subsequent statements declare in the Formula of Concord.

    But first, we need to know how the benefits of Christ’s death come to us:

    16] 2. That such merit and benefits of Christ shall be presented, offered, and distributed to us through His Word and Sacraments.

    This is a concise summary of the Means or Instruments of Grace. God ordained the Atonement as the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of man. He also bound Himself to the Word and Sacraments as the ways in which we would receive this forgiveness. As Luther said, and we confess – the Atonement is the great treasure of the Gospel. The Means of Grace are the Word and Sacraments, the Holy Spirit distributing this treasure to each one of us. We always know the source of forgiveness, and we know this is objectively true, not based on our feelings, virtue, or works.

    Seeking forgiveness, we always know where forgiveness is found. The liturgical worship service, continued from Old Testament times, gives us an abundance of the Law and Gospel, so we acknowledge our need for our Savior and receive what He so abundantly offers.

    17] 3. That by His Holy Ghost, through the Word, when it is preached, heard, and pondered, He will be efficacious and active in us, convert hearts to true repentance, and preserve them in the true faith.

    The Formula of Concord was written after decades of attack from Roman Catholics and non-Lutheran Protestants. The Concordists’ battles with non-Lutheran Protestants included the Zwinglian influence from Switzerland and the Anabaptists in Germany, not to mention the first Unitarians (Poland). We generally say “the Reformed” but I want to emphasize that denials of the Means of Grace came in various disguises.

    So the question comes up repeatedly: How do we know that forgiveness has come to us, that we are truly forgiven?

    The Biblical answer is clear – The Holy Spirit is always effective (efficacious) in creating godly contrition in our hearts through the preaching of the Law. The Holy Spirit is also efficacious and active in us when the Gospel produces faith in the Savior and nurtures or preserves that faith.

    Man is anxious and wants certainty in the effectiveness of his congregation or religious association. God’s Word says - faithfulness to the Scriptures is success; the steward of the mysteries of God has one requirement – that he be found faithful. When that is turned around and focused on numbers (budget and parking lot acreage), anxiety increases and no God-pleasing success is possible.

    The Rock N Roll “Lutheran” sermon at the beginning of this year revealed this truth. The sermon noted the need to pray for more members, to invite more people, and to get a $200,000 grant for a worship leader. There was no need for doctrinal faithfulness and trust in God’s Word. Instead, the rock band was replaced with another group, to encourage visible success rather than Scriptural fidelity.

    This shows the power of God’s Word, because apostasy leads to even more hardening of the heart. The final result is a blind rage that hates the truth and delivers people to eternal damnation, unless someone wakes them up with the true Gospel. One friend recently confessed that he was finally delivered from a Seeker Sensitive church, yet some Lutherans pursue that model as something good, because it promises results. The results are clear:

    KJV 2 Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

    18] 4. That He will justify all those who in true repentance receive Christ by a true faith, and will receive them into grace, the adoption of sons, and the inheritance of eternal life.

    The declaration of forgiveness (justification) is always associated with receiving Christ, His Promises, in faith. The distribution of the treasure is constant, in preaching and teaching, but not everyone trusts the Gospel. Some do trust the Gospel for years and decades, but lose that trust for various reasons (Parable of the Sower, Mark 4, Matthew 13). The truth of the Gospel does not depend on its reception, its outward success. The truth of the Gospel belongs to God and can never be altered in any way, no matter what man may say, declare, or confess.
    Justification is not making a decision. The Holy Spirit changes our hearts through the Word to make us willing recipients of the Gospel, through the Law, and creates that faith to embrace the Gospel Promises.

    We are not divine robots. We have the freedom to turn away from the truth and embrace falsehood. Many people fall for the vices of the world or the evil desires of the heart and corrupt their faith to the point of no return. Although godly contrition is always possible, even at the hour of death, many have deceived and blinded themselves to the point where they know nothing but the fear of death (Pope Pius 12, Paul Tilich). Truly, the last state is worst than the first. Some have fallen from the faith, denying God, and are more difficult to reach than the ordinary atheist. That is why atheist groups covet former clergy who love to say, “I used to be a conservative Lutheran minister.” Ah, what a prize, to have the scalp of Lutheran minister who deceived himself into defending Church Growth and fell into adultery. As Walther said, the loss of faith comes first. The outward carnal sins come along second.

    19] 5. That He will also sanctify in love those who are thus justified, as St. Paul says, Eph. 1:4.
    20] 6. That He also will protect them in their great weakness against the devil, the world, and the flesh, and rule and lead them in His ways, raise them again [place His hand beneath them], when they stumble, comfort them under the cross and in temptation, and preserve them [for life eternal].

    God reaches out to give us the Law and Gospel, to convert us into believers, and make us members of His Kingdom. But He does not stop there. He makes us holy, giving us the righteousness of Christ, and causes the Gospel to produce the fruits of the Spirit in our lives. He continuously helps us and protects us against the snares of Satan, giving us comfort and strength in the midst of temptation. So God makes us part of His Kingdom and gives us willing hearts to enjoy the spiritual blessings of that Kingdom.

    KJV Ephesians 5:15 but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

    Notice that the cross is included in this statement. Nothing is clearer than this – the cross always accompanies the Word, as it did with Christ and His apostles. If we do not take up the cross daily, we are not worthy to be His disciples, as Jesus admonishes us. Therefore, presenting the Theology of Glory to supplant the Theology of the Cross is a gross and carnal rejection of the Gospel itself. Telling people they will be more popular, relaxed, and wealthy because of the Gospel is a blatant seduction of the Old Adam in the listeners by the Old Adam in the minister. Gatherings to tickle the Old Adam are always going to be popular, as witnessed by various thriving institutions. But they do not advance the Kingdom of God. If the Old Adam is not converted, in the name of success religion, the church involved is worse than the most evil den of vice in the land, worse than the lowest crack-house, etc. Worse because the cross of Christ is rejected in the name of Christ. No greater blasphemy can be imagined.

    And yet, conservative Lutherans gladly join in fellowship with Willow Creek Community Church, and brag about their membership on that odious website. I was there at Willow Creek and had to search out one instance of a cross in the building, finding one in the basement, but none outside or in the Sneaker Service entertainment area. Certainly not in their pricey Food Court.

    22] 8. That finally He will eternally save and glorify in life eternal those whom He has elected, called, and justified.
    23] And [indeed] in this His counsel, purpose, and ordination God has prepared salvation not only in general, but has in grace considered and chosen to salvation each and every person of the elect who are to be saved through Christ, also ordained that in the way just mentioned He will, by His grace, gifts, and efficacy, bring them thereto [make them participants of eternal salvation], aid, promote, strengthen, and preserve them.

    God’s plan, so clearly revealed to us, is that He will give us the spiritual blessings of this life—with the cross—along with the blessings of eternal life. That means whoever believes can be assured that God has elected, called, and justified him in faith. We know the source and meaning of this great treasure so we return to this treasure in our poverty and weakness, confident in the power of the Gospel to restore us.

    Quotations
    "The modern radical spirit which would sweep away the Formula of Concord as a Confession of the Church, will not, in the end, be curbed, until it has swept away the Augsburg Confession, and the ancient Confessions of the Church--yea, not until it has crossed the borders of Scripture itself, and swept out of the Word whatsoever is not in accord with its own critical mode of thinking. The far-sighted rationalist theologian and Dresden court preacher, Ammon, grasped the logic of a mere spirit of progress, when he said: 'Experience teaches us that those who reject a Creed, will speedily reject the Scriptures themselves.'" Theodore E. Schmauk and C. Theodore Benze, The Confessional Principle and the Confessions, as Embodying the Evangelical Confession of the Christian Church, Philadelphia: General Council Publication Board, 1911, p. 685.

    "Early in the morning it rises, sits upon a twig and sings a song it has learned, while it knows not where to obtain its food, and yet it is not worried as to where to get its breakfast. Later, when it is hungry, it flies away and seeks a grain of corn, where God stored one away for it, of which it never thought while singing, when it had cause enough to be anxious about its food. Ay, shame on you now, that the little birds are more pious and believing than you; they are happy and sing with joy and know not whether they have anything to eat." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 114. Matthew 6:24-34.

    "Since now, in the sight of God and of all Christendom [the entire Church of Christ], we wish to testify to those now living and those who shall come after us that this declaration herewith presented concerning all the controverted articles aforementioned and explained, and no other, is our faith, doctrine, and confession, in which we are also willing, by God's grace, to appear with intrepid hearts before the judgment-seat of Jesus Christ, and give an account of it; and that we will neither privately nor publicly speak or write anything contrary to it, but, by the help of God's grace, intend to abide thereby: therefore, after mature deliberation, we have, in God's fear and with the invocation of His name, attached our signatures with our own hands."
    Formula of Concord, SD, XII. #40. Other Factions and Sects. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 1103. Tappert, p. 636. Heiser, p. 296.

    "The Lutheran Church is a doctrinal Church. She attaches supreme importance to pure doctrine. The preaching and teaching of God's pure Word is her central activity. Say the Confessors: 'The true adornment of the churches is godly, useful, and clear doctrine.' (Triglotta, p. 401)"
    W. A. Baepler, "Doctrine, True and False," The Abiding Word, ed., Theodore Laetsch, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1946, II, p. 496.

    "Let him therefore who is concerned about his life not be taken in by the friendliness of heretics to agree with their doctrine. Neither let him be offended at my faults, who am a teacher, but let him consider the doctrine itself." [Origen, Homily 7, on Ezekiel]
    Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, trans., Fred Kramer, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1971, I, p. 154.

    "But now I ought not to quote the Nicean, nor you the Ariminensian Council, as if to judge beforehand. I will not be bound by the authority of this, nor you by the authority of that. On the authority of the Scriptures and not on any one's own, but on the common witnesses of both, let matter contend with matter, cause with cause, reason with reason." [Augustine, Contra Maximum, Book 3, chap. 14]
    Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, trans., Fred Kramer, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1971, I, p. 155.
    "What is the reason for certainty in Christian doctrine?...7. the hatred of the devil over against this doctrine;
    David Chytraeus, A Summary of the Christian Faith (1568), trans., Richard Dinda, Decatur: Repristination Press, 1994. p. 21.

    "The worst of all is, that we must not only suffer shame, persecution and death; but that the world rejoices because of our great loss and misfortunes. This is indeed very hard and bitter. Sure it shall thus come to pass, for the world will rejoice when it goes ill with us; but this comfort we have that their joy shall not last long, and our sorrow shall be turned into eternal joy."
    Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 80. Third Sunday after Easter John 16:16-23.

    "For it is not possible for those not to be offended in Christ who walk by sight and feeling and do not adhere firmly to the Word."
    Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, I, p. 23.

    "Perhaps you look about and think: What, could so many people be wrong all at once? Beware, and do not let their number trouble you; hold fast to God's Word; He cannot deceive you, though all mankind be false, as indeed the Scriptures say, Psalm 116:11: 'All men are liars.'"
    Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, I, p. 416. Epiphany Matthew 2:1-12.

    "It is true, the injury is not so glaring, and it appears to be much worse if a person's head is struck off, than if a false prophet or writer comes forward; but a false sermon, yea even a false word, which comes whirling along in God's name, will cut off a great number of souls, so that an entire city or country may fall under it."
    Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, IV, p. 386. Twelfth Sunday after Trinity, Second Sermon Mark 7:31-37.

    "Perhaps you look about and think: What, could so many people be wrong all at once? Beware, and do not let their number trouble you; hold fast to God's Word; He cannot deceive you, though all mankind be false, as indeed the Scriptures say, Psalm 116:11: 'All men are liars.'"
    Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, I, p. 416. Epiphany Matthew 2:1-12. Psalm 116:11.
    "The doctrine may well be correctly taught by a person even though his life is evil. Bad doctrine is a thousand times more harmful than a bad life."
    What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 846.

    "All the others also say that they are teaching the Word of God. No devil, heretic, or sectarian spirit arises who says: I, the devil, or a heretic, am preaching my own views. On the contrary, all know how to say: This is not my doctrine; it is God's Word."
    What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 640.

    "Error and heresy must come into the world so that the elect may become approved and manifest. Their coming is in the best interests of Christians if they take the proper attitude toward it. St. Augustine, who certainly was sufficiently annoyed by wretched sectaries, says that when heresy and offense come, they produce much benefit in Christendom; for they Christians industriously to read Holy Scriptures and with diligence to pursue it and persevere in its study. Otherwise they might let it lie on the shelf, become very secure, and say: Why, God's Word and the text of Scripture are current and in our midst; it is not necessary for us to read Holy Scripture."
    What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 639.

    "The devil has the advantage of being able to find pupils for a doctrine or a dream no matter how absurd the doctrine or the dream may be. The more absurd it is the sooner he finds pupils."
    What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 632. WLS #1940 Mark 7:31-37.

    "However, if anything is undertaken against the Word, faith, and the honor of God, we are in no wise to preserve silence, are to bear it far less patiently. Then we should offer stubborn resistance."
    What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, III, p. 1308. Sermon, 1523

    "Hence everything here depends only upon this, that you rightly learn to look upon Christ according to the Word, and not according to your own thoughts and feelings, for human thoughts are frauds and lies, but His Word is true and cannot lie."
    Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, IV, p. 92. Third Sunday after Trinity, Second Sermon Luke 15:1-10.

    "This is going through closed doors, when He comes into the heart through the Word, not breaking nor displacing anything. For when the Word of God comes, it neither injures the conscience, nor deranges the understanding of the heart and the external senses; as the false teachers do who break all the doors and windows, breaking through like thieves, leaving nothing whole and undamaged, and perverting, falsifying and injuring all life, conscience, reason, and the senses. Christ does not do thus."
    Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 355. First Sunday after Easter John 20:19-31.

    "But when St. Peter stood up and preached, they made a mockery of it and considered the apostles drunken fools. When they had urged the Gospel a long time, they gathered together three thousand men and women. But what were they among so many? Yea, no one could discern that the Gospel had accomplished anything, for all things continued in the same state as before. No change was seen, and scarcely anyone knew that there were Christians there. And so it will be at all times."
    Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 306. Easter Tuesday Luke 24:36-47.

    "Be not worried because of this! for even though a man preach and continue in the Gospel for many years, he must still lament and say: Aye, no one will come, and all continue in their former state. Therefore you must not let that grieve or terrify you."
    Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 305. Easter Tuesday Luke 24:36-47.

    "He permits it to happen that many great saints err and stumble, in order that we may not trust in men, though they be many, great, and holy. We must be led to rely upon the Word that is sure and cannot deceive, as here these two men, and all the others afterward, were directed to the Scriptures."
    Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 290. Easter Monday Luke 24:13-35.

    "All preaching of sin and God's wrath is a preaching of the Law, no matter how or when it may be done. On the other hand, the Gospel is such preaching as sets forth and bestows nothing but grace and forgiveness in Christ. And yet it is true that the Apostles and preachers of the Gospel sanctioned the preaching of the Law, as Christ Himself did, and began with this in the case of those who had not yet acknowledged their sins and had felt no fear of God's anger."
    Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, IV, p. 158. Fifth Sunday after Trinity Luke 5:1-11.

    "You may tie a hog ever so well, but you cannot prevent it from grunting, until it is strangled and killed. Thus it is with the sins of the flesh."
    Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 247. Easter, Second Sermon Mark 16:1-8.

    "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. Pentecost Sunday John 14:23-31.

    "Godly and believing persons know their sins; they bear all their punishment patiently, and are resigned to God's judgment without the least murmur; therefore, they are punished only bodily, and here in time, and their pain and suffering have an end. Unbelievers, however, since they are not conscious of their sins and transgressions, cannot bear God's punishment patiently, but they resent it and wish their life and works to go unpunished, yea, uncensured. Hence, their punishment and suffering are in body and soul, here in time, and last forever beyond this life."
    Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 131. Fourth Sunday after Easter, Second Sermon John 16:5-15.

    "Therefore the Holy Spirit rightly and justly convicts, as sinful and condemned, all who have not faith in Christ. For where this is wanting, other sins in abundance must follow: God is despised and hated, and the entire first table is treated with disobedience."
    Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 141. Fourth Sunday after Easter, Third Sermon John 16:5-15.
    "A hardened heart will not be instructed, no matter how plainly and clearly the truth is presented; but the faith of the righteous is strengthened when they see that the ground of their faith is right and good."
    Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 157. Third Sunday in Lent Luke 11:14-23.

    "Christ, in the saying we have quoted from Matthew (24:45), tells us further, the servant of the household should be not only faithful, but also wise, able to discern between the mysteries of God and the mysteries of the devil, that he may safely guard and keep himself and those committed to his care. For, as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 11:13-14, false apostles sometimes fashion themselves into true apostles of Christ, even as the devil transforms himself into an angel of light."
    Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 77. Third Sunday in Advent, 1 Corinthians 4:1-5, Matthew 24:45; 2 Corinthians 11:13-14

    "You cannot of a truth be for true doctrine without being unalterably opposed to false doctrine. There can be no 'positive theology' where the God-given negatives have been eliminated from the Decalog."
    Norman A. Madson, Preaching to Preachers, Mankato: Lutheran Synod Book Company, 1952 Preface.
    "...and Luther asked that his early writings be read 'with much charity,' since they were not yet entirely free from Romish errors."
    Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1950, I, p. 89. SL XIV, 439; also XIX, 293, 296

    "When the time comes that the worldly shall gnash their teeth, they shall witness all the elect and angels saying to God: 'This man has been a faithful minister and teacher. He has proclaimed the saving Word of God to a world of castaways. On yonder earth he was despised, persecuted, and maligned, but he shines now as a star with imperishable luster.'"
    C. F. W. Walther, The Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel, trans., W. H. T. Dau, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1928, p. 402. Daniel 12:3.

    Saturday, October 17, 2009

    Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity



    By Norma Boeckler


    The Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity

    Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

    Bethany Lutheran Worship, 10 AM Central


    The Hymn #260 O Lord Look Down 1.4
    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 4:22-28
    The Gospel Matthew 9:1-8
    Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
    Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
    The Nicene Creed p. 22
    The Sermon Hymn #225 Come Holy Spirit 1.39

    New Clothes – New Man

    The Hymn #261 Lord Keep Us 1.93
    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 #452 The Son of God 1.10

    KJV Ephesians 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil. 28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

    KJV Matthew 9:1 And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. 2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. 3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? 5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? 6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. 7 And he arose, and departed to his house. 8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men
    Nineteenth Sunday After Trinity
    O mighty and everlasting God, who by Thy Son Jesus Christ didst mercifully help the palsied man both in body and soul: We beseech Thee, for the sake of Thy great mercy: Be gracious also unto us; forgive us all our sins, and so govern us by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not ourselves be the cause of sickness and other afflictions; keep us in Thy fear, and strengthen us by Thy grace that we may escape temporal and eternal wrath and punishment, through Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

    New Clothes – New Man

    KJV Ephesians 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

    The image in this lesson is familiar in Paul’s letters. The phrase is associated with putting on clothing, especially a robe. Take off the old robe, the conduct of the Old Adam, which is corrupt, and be renewed in your mind, and put on the new robe of the New Man, created by the Word in righteousness and true holiness.

    This image is very clearly associated with conversion to faith and Holy Baptism. Perhaps this image applied directly to the baptismal gown worn by adult converts. I am skeptical that all churches followed the same traditions in all places. However, it has been a custom to baptize on Easter Sunday. Even in modern churches one can find adults wearing a special robe for the occasion, not necessarily because they are being immersed. (The Baptists have an interesting argument. They say everyone must be immersed because the verb means to immerse. But the verb really means to wash, emphasizing the sacrament – God giving grace through a visible instrument.)

    KJV Galatians 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

    In Galatians, which was most likely earlier than Ephesians (and well known to all), Paul connected this verb “put on” with Holy Baptism.

    The Christian faith is a great blessing to mankind, because this only true religion, revealed by God, does not take, does not demand, but gives to man. Forgiveness is not earned by works, pain, torture, and self-sacrifice, but won by Christ and distributed by the Gospel Word, in preaching, teaching, Holy Baptism, and Holy Communion.

    I often wonder why a nominal Christian society is saturated with so much bad behavior. One indication came to me at a political meeting I attended with my wife. Much was made of a new trend, called oath-takers or oath-keepers. Everyone who takes an oath to perform an office is included (military, firemen, police officers). That may remind people of another fad from 15 years ago, Promise Keepers. The idea is to get people to promise all the good things they will do and make them keep those promises. I have seen that adapted by Lutheran youth groups too. All of this is the Law and bears the fruit of hypocrisy.
    People put their trust in their own actions, determination, virtue, and methods employed. Maybe they should write down their promises. Share them with others. Have a special service where they make their promises.

    The Lutheran Pietists, who borrowed heavily from the Reformed, were always anxious to prove they were getting good results, visible results in their members.
    Sermons and worship were aimed at this, and the conventicle or cell group was considered the key method.

    Paul’s admonitions are just the opposite. That is why we see such a contrast between the Means of Grace and Reformed methods.

    Luther was often criticized for emphasizing the Gospel so much in his sermons. He reasoned that the people had heard the Law alone for centuries and were properly scared to death about judgment and condemnation. They knew their sinful condition. He preached the Gospel to them to show them the cure was already planned, arranged, and fulfilled for them.

    Modern drama evolved out of Medieval plays, which were ways of showing people how they were going to burn forever in Hell. These were effective fund-raising devices when indulgences were sold. That may sound crude but I know of a pastor who used the same method in visiting an elderly patient with brain cancer. He scared the man but that was not a comfort to him or the family.

    Indulgences and Pietism methods both aim at works of the Law, so they fail in providing comfort and forgiveness. They stir up the dust of the Law, the evil desires (carnal and spiritual) without providing a solution or cure.

    The false Gospel of Universal Objective Justification sounds like pure Gospel to some, but its Pietistic roots give it away. UOJ is anti-Means of Grace and therefore anti-Biblical. The method is clear, quoting Paul Kelm. He reversed Law and Gospel and said we should start with the Gospel (meaning everyone in the world is forgiven, without faith) and move to the Law (imposing demands on people). The Zinzendorf Pietists (now called Moravians) advocated the same plan, starting with the Gospel and ending with the Law.

    Calvin and Karl Barth said the same thing – The gift (salvation) is a demand.

    All the holiness and Reformed groups end up in the same position, requiring works with faith for salvation. That is why one Baptist author said his denomination was very close to Roman Catholicism in its concept of sanctification (the Christian life).

    So how do we escape the swamp of Pietism, the Slough of Despond, which has attracted and trapped so many well-meaning Christians?

    Paul’s words must be taken in the context of Scripture interpreting Scripture. Putting off the Old Adam means giving up on the way the world conducts itself and measures virtue.

    Putting on the New Man, the New Creature, does not mean making a vow or going on a pilgrimage. Paul equates Holy Baptism with putting on Christ. Our robe of righteousness is not ours, but His.

    Paul’s admonition is Gospel. Our conduct in life is based upon Christ paying for our sins and giving us His righteousness through the visible and invisible Word.
    Remaining on the True Vine makes us fruitful, not because of us and our promises, but because of the Vine.

    KJV John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

    Notice that the Father is glorified when believers bear fruit. Nothing speaks more eloquently about false teachers than their glorying in themselves. They are the best, the greatest, and they have most stuff. One CG blogger wrote, “Look at all the people we have.” Not once did he mention being faithful to the Word.

    The anti-Means of Grace nominal Lutherans love the word “disciples” but they never quote this verse:

    KJV John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

    The statement is not, “If you have a large congregation, you are my disciples indeed.”

    The statement is not, “If the world admires you and features you in the Sunday magazine supplement, you are my disciples indeed.’

    KJV John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

    Jesus, in John’s Gospel, constantly emphasized the hatred of the world toward believers and the importance of guarding the Word. It is God’s Word given to them and to us, not our word to be bandied about and manipulated for our purposes. The Word has the cross attached to it, so many prefer the toxic word of success-magic, borrowed from the Asian magic religions (Taoism especially and perhaps Buddhism). One man told me he was becoming a Buddhist because his special number was 22 and they showed him that number as his number - at their temple. Knowing how much he talked, I imagine they gleaned that from him first, then “revealed” it later. He probably owns Trump mortgage bonds today.

    The new WELS youth rally is saturated with success propaganda based on the low ebb of Pietism, bordering on the occult. Pietism gets boring and the occult concepts tickle the fraying nerves of law-mongers. “Heather is 18 and recently graduated from High school. She is a single mom, and has a newborn baby named Kendall. She will talk about the struggles and trials she has overcome and the breakthrough victories she was able to accomplish because of her fearless faith in her Savior Jesus.” Her faith accomplished these things, so let’s all admire her fearless faith.

    The Scriptures constantly emphasize faith, but they point to faith in Christ, not faith in us.

    So put on the New Man means – Remember your baptism. Because Christ has done everything for you, paid for your sins with His innocent blood, and risen from the dead, conduct yourselves according to the Gospel.

    Our baptism is a constant reminder of God giving us the Gospel at the earliest point in life (in many cases) or confirming our faith in the case of adult conversions. I remember seeing my baptism certificate, from a Congregational church. Later my family joined the local personality-cult church growthy church (Disciples of Christ). That led me to join the Lutheran Church. The pastor thought I might be put off by the liturgy. He never realized how superficial the non-liturgical churches were. Those who grow up in liturgical Lutheran churches take them for granted and think Evangelicals have more freedom and attractiveness. But what is better than the Word?

    I have told this story often but it sticks with me. I was just at the world headquarters of Wal-Mart this week and attended a meeting there. An Evangelical minister toured McDonald’s headquarters and was dazzled by all the media equipment. He said to the Evangelism conference, “If only the church had all that equipment!”

    But the church has the Word, and Gospel-energy is far more powerful than hardware and software, sub-woofers and tweeters.

    Lenski has an ironic statement in one of his books, which is parallel to this discussion. He says, “Everyone prays for the one thing we do not need to pray for.” (Our daily bread – God provides this to believers and unbelievers alike). “But we do not pray for the one thing Christ prayed for – the unity of the church.” That unity can only come from agreement in doctrine, sound doctrine, God’s revealed Word.

    Civilization IV recognizes that. This video game rewards the gamer who has the same religion in all his cities. It even helps in taking over other cities that belong to another country. Christian disharmony has been at the center of many crises affecting national governments. That leads to the influence of pagan religions. Minnesota was once a Lutheran state. Now it is rapidly becoming a Muslim run state, with a radical Muslim as Senator and the other Senator a comedian who supports the radicals.

    So man constantly corrupts the true Word of God and turns it into the word of man. Justification by faith alone, apart from the works of the Law, is the healing message of the Gospel and the power to face temptation.

    No one likes bad directions, which we got recently on the way to a doctor 120 miles away. I said, “Let’s try it my way,” and I was right for once. People can die from bad medicine.

    I had a member whose father was dying in the hospital. His adult brother was called home from South America for the final days. They discovered the father was being given the wrong medicine for his condition, and that was killing him. They took him off the wrong medicine and he went home from the hospital, healthy.

    It is essential that we receive the right medicine, no other Gospel, as Paul said to the Galatians. The right medicine is the cure. It is a comfort and relief, not a burden. It brings healing. From time to time I have had to take medicine for an illness or condition. The moment I took one pill, I said, “That’s it. Now I know what I needed.” Many types of medicine are on-going treatments, for things like blood pressure and diabetes. The Gospel is our medicine for our on-going condition of sinfulness, which is treated but never cured this side of Heaven.

    A chorus of voices will tell us to take nostrums and bad medicine, but the Word of God prescribes the right medicine even if everyone else says otherwise.

    KJV Psalm 103:1 {A Psalm of David.} Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: 3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; 4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; 5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. 6 The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. 7 He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel. 8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. 9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. 10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. 13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. 14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. 15 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. 16 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. 17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children; 18 To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them. 19 The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all. 20 Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. 21 Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure. 22 Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul.
    The benefits of this everlasting Gospel are the fruits we see from the power of the Word. We enjoy them first of all in our families, which are God’s appointed schools for building Christian character. We see them in many other relationships blessed by Christian faith.

    I have lived in many different regions, thanks to the Church Growth people, and I have noticed a distinct difference in the populations. I was confirmed in an Augustana Synod church, a group profoundly influenced by William Passavant. He was so firm about the Confessions, after being part of the Church Growthism of the 19th century (revivalism, which was also unionistic), that he constantly emphasized Lutheran orthodoxy according to the Book of Concord. He insisted on a confessional subscription for all the seminary professors at the school he established by buying the land. He bought the land where Wrigley Field is located. That was bought by him for the seminary. It was purchased and land bought in Maywood, where the seminary was actually established. Every seminary professor had to sign his name to the Book of Concord, in order to teach there. Even then that was a remarkable emphasis, going against all the trends of the moment. Augustana never reconciled its divergent doctrine, but Passavant’s leadership (as an outsider!) meant the Swedish Lutherans were actively engaged in all kinds of charitable and missionary work as the fruit of the Gospel. They were far more involved and generous than their liberal, ULCA counterparts. Ultimately Pietism won out with unionism, and they turned their charitable work into political activism. The first LCA lobbyist in Washington DC was an Augustana pastor. Sad.

    The Gospel rain moves on, as Luther said. It is inevitable that people will take for granted whatever is abundant. We value Lutheran orthodoxy all the more now because so few give it any credibility, and it seems to be fading away in so many quarters. To judge results is not our job – only to remain faithful stewards of the mysteries of God.

    Quotations

    "Next in importance to the above three framers was David Chytraeus (1530-1600). A south German, educated at Wittenberg under Melanchthon, he spent most of his professional ife, 49 years, as professor at Rostock in Mecklenburg in north Germany. Like Melanchthon he was never ordained. Next to Chemnitz, he was the brightest and best theologian in the group...Like many other had had become disenchanted with Melanchthon and turned against him on the Lord's Supper."
    J. A. O. Preus, The Second Martin, The Life and Theology of Martin Chemnitz, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1994, p. 186.

    6) Antinomistic Controversy, 1527-1556. John Agricola, repentance wrought by Gospel, not Law. Rejection of Third Use. Decided by FC, Articles V and VI. 7) Crypto-Calvinistic Controversy, 1560-1574. Philippists in Wittenberg, Leipzig, Dresden, tried to supplant Luther's doctrines with Calvin's on the Lord's Supper and the majesty of the human nature of Christ. Unmasked in 1574. Decided by FC, Articles VII and VIII. 8) Descent into Hell - John Aepinus in Hamburg. FC, Article IX. Once saved, always saved. Zanchi, a Crypto-Calvinist, in Strassburg. FC, Article XI.
    F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, 031 p. 103.

    of innocent and faithful Lutheran ministers. The fact was clearly established that these Philippists had been systematically plotting to Calvinize Saxony. The very arguments with which Luther's doctrine of the Lord's Supper and the Person of Christ might best be refuted were enumerated in these letters. However, when asked by the Elector whether they were Calvinists, these self-convicted deceivers are said to have answered that 'they would not see the face of God in eternity if in any point they were addicted to the doctrines of the Sacramentarians or deviated in the least from Dr. Luther's teaching.' (Walther, 56.)"
    F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, 057 p. 190.

    "Calvin and his adherents boldly rejected the universality of God's grace, of Christ's redemption, and of the Spirit's efficacious operation through the means of grace, and taught that, in the last analysis, also the eternal doom of the damned was solely due to an absolute decree of divine reprobation (in their estimation the logical complement of election), and this at the very time when they pretended adherence to the Augsburg Confession and were making heavy inroads into Lutheran territory with their doctrine concerning the Lord's Supper and the person of Christ,--which in itself was sufficient reason for a public discussion and determined resentment of their absolute predestinarianism."
    F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, 061 p. 195f.

    "Calvin and his adherents boldly rejected the universality of God's grace, of Christ's redemption, and of the Spirit's efficacious operation through the means of grace, and taught that, in the last analysis, also the eternal doom of the damned was solely due to an absolute decree of divine reprobation (in their estimation the logical complement of election), and this at the very time when they pretended adherence to the Augsburg Confession and were making heavy inroads into Lutheran territory with their doctrine concerning the Lord's Supper and the person of Christ,--which in itself was sufficient reason for a public discussion and determined resentment of their absolute predestinarianism." F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, 061 p. 195f. "It was, above all, the spirit of indifferentism toward false doctrine, particularly concerning the Lord's Supper, which Luther observed and deplored in his Wittenberg colleagues: Melanchthon, Bugenhagen, Cruciger, Eber, and Major."
    F. Bente, Concordia Triglotta, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, 005 p. 94.

    "For Scripture never calls either Baptism or the Lord's Supper mysteries or sacraments. Therefore this is an unwritten (agraphos) appellation." Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, trans., Fred Kramer, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1986, II, p. 29. "In addition there is this perversion, that whereas Christ instituted the use of His Supper for all who receive it, who take, eat, and drink, the papalist Mass transfers the use and benefit of the celebration of the Lord's Supper in our time to the onlookers, who do not communicate, yes, to those who are absent, and even to the dead."
    Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, trans., Fred Kramer, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1986, II, p. 498.

    "For a sacrifice, according to Augustine, Contra adversarium legis et prophetarum, Bk. 1, and De civitate Dei, Bk. 10, is a work which we offer, render, and dedicate to God in order that we may dwell in Him in holy fellowship. A sacrament, however, is a holy sign through which God freely offers, conveys, applies, and seals His gratuitous benefits to us. It is therefore an extraordinary perversion of the Lord's Supper to make a sacrifice out of a sacrament, in the way the papalists speak of the sacrifice of their Mass, namely, that the representatory action of the priest procures for us the application of the benefits of Christ and that anyone who causes a Mass to be celebrated in his behalf by this work procures grace and whatever other things are ascribed to the Mass."
    Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, trans., Fred Kramer, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1986, II, p. 498.

    "Naturally, Universalists deny that the Sacraments are Means of Grace. Some Universalists observe three sacraments--consecration, Baptism, and the Lord's Supper. The act of consecration of children consists in the parents' pledging themselves to rear their children in the admonition of the Lord." The. Engelder, W. Arndt, Th. Graebner, F. E. Mayer, Popular Symbolics, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1934, p. 409f. "As distinguished from the Gospel, Sacraments are acts, we apply water in Baptism, and we eat and drink in the Lord's Supper. They are sacred acts, and must, as such, be distinguished from ordinary washing, eating and drinking...A Sacrament which offers God's blessings cannot be instituted by man or the Church, but by God alone."
    Edward W. A. Koehler, A Short Explanation of Dr. Martin Luther's Small Catechism, Fort Wayne: Concordia Theological Seminary Press, 1946, p. 254.

    "The same is true of other factions--the Anabaptists and similar sects. What else do they but slander baptism and the Lord's Supper when they pretend that the external [spoken] Word and outward sacraments do not benefit the soul, that the Spirit alone can do that?" Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, ed. John Nicolas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 208. 1 Corinthians 12:1-11;

    "For in Confession as in the Lord's Supper you have the additional advantage, that the Word is applied to your person alone. For in preaching it flies out into the whole congregation, and although it strikes you also, yet you are not so sure of it; but here it does not apply to anyone except you. Ought it not to fill your heart with joy to know a place where God is ready to speak to you personally? Yea, if we had a chance to hear an angel speak we would surely run to the ends of the earth."
    Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983 II, p. 199.

    "The devil does not rest yet, and hence he stirs up so many sects and factions. How many sects have we not already had? One has taken up the sword, another has attacked the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, others that of baptism."
    Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 266. John 4:46-54; 1 Peter 5:8; Ephesians 6:12

    "For we can definitely assert that where the Lord's Supper, Baptism, and the Word are found, Christ, the remission of sins, and life eternal are found. On the other hand, where these signs of grace are not found, or where they are despised by men, not only grace is lacking but also foul errors will follow. Then men will set up other forms of worship and other signs for themselves."
    Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 914. Genesis 4:3.

    "Both Baptism and the Lord's Supper qualify as Means of Grace because of the simple fact that they are visible forms of the essential Gospel message announcing the forgiveness of sins." Martin W. Lutz, "God the HS Acts Through the Lord's Supper," God The Holy Spirit Acts, ed., Eugene P. Kaulfield, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1972, p. 117. "Since God has connected His most gracious promise of forgiveness with Baptism and the Lord's Supper, these also are true and efficacious means of grace, namely, by virtue of the divine promises that are attached to them."
    John Theodore Mueller, Christian Dogmatics, A Handbook of Doctrinal Theology, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1934, p. 444.

    "In reconciling the world unto Himself by Christ's substitutionary satisfaction, God asked no one's advice concerning His singular method of reconciliation. In like manner, without asking any man's advice, He ordained the means by which He gives men the infallible assurance of His gracious will toward them; in other words, He both confers on men the remission of sins merited by Christ and works faith in the proffered remission or, where faith already exists, strengthens it. The Church has appropriately called these divine ordinances the means of grace, media gratiae, instrumenta gratiae; Formula of Concord: 'Instrumenta sive media Spiritus Sancti' (Triglotta, p. 903, Solid Declaration, II, 58). They are the Word of the Gospel, Baptism, and the Lord's Supper, as will be shown more fully on the following pages."
    Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 103.

    "We saw before that Scripture ascribes the forgiveness of sins without reservation to the Word of the Gospel, to Baptism, and to the Lord's Supper. Therefore all means of grace have the vis effectiva, the power to work and to strengthen faith." [Note: Augsburg Confession, V, XIII]
    Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 108f.

    "In fact, there is no basis for a real disagreement between Zwingli and Calvin. The situation here is analogous to the one that obtains in the doctrine of Christ's Person and Word and the doctrine of the Lord's Supper. In these doctrines Zwingli and Calvin and all Reformed will agree as long as they all teach that Christ's body can possess only a local and visible mode of subsistence or presence. Similarly, Zwingli and Calvin cannot differ materially in their teaching on the means of grace because they agree, first, that Christ's merit and saving grace do not apply to all who use the means of grace; secondly, that saving grace is not bound to the means of grace."
    Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1950, III, p. 163.

    "The Reformed, and all Reformed sects, deny the Real Presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Lord's Supper. Through this they detract from God's honor." Francis Pieper, The Difference between Orthodox and Heterodox Churches, and Supplement, Coos Bay, Oregon: St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 1981, p. 36. "Whoever denies the Real Presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Lord's Supper must pervert the words of Institution where Christ the Lord, speaking of that which He gives His Christians to eat, says: 'This is My body,' and, speaking of that which He gives them to drink, says: 'This is My blood.' [Also 1 Corinthians 10:16]
    Francis Pieper, The Difference between Orthodox and Heterodox Churches, and Supplement, Coos Bay, Oregon: St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 1981, p. 40. 1 Corinthians 10:16.

    "Furthermore, consider this: All doctrines of the Bible are connected with one another; they form a unit. One error draws others in after it. Zwingli's first error was the denial of the presence of Christ's body and blood in the Lord's Supper. In order to support this error, he had to invent a false doctrine of Christ's Person, of heaven, of the right hand of God, etc."
    Francis Pieper, The Difference between Orthodox and Heterodox Churches, and Supplement, Coos Bay, Oregon: St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 1981, p. 41.

    "It is, for example, very terrible that the Lutheran Church, because it has the true doctrine of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, is decried as 'Catholic.' This attack against the true Church is no small matter." Francis Pieper, The Difference between Orthodox and Heterodox Churches, and Supplement, Coos Bay, Oregon: St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 1981, p. 44.

    "Is the Lord's Supper the place to display my toleration, my Christian sympathy, or my fellowship with another Christian, when that is the very point in which most of all we differ; and in which the difference means for me everything--means for me, the reception of the Savior's atonement? Is this the point to be selected for the display of Christian union, when in fact it is the very point in which Christian union does not exist?"
    Theodore E. Schmauk and C. Theodore Benze, The Confessional Principle and the Confessions, as Embodying the Evangelical Confession of the Christian Church, Philadelphia: 1911, p. 905f.

    "As to your observation that this kind of open communion is common practice in the WELS, you may be correct. It is an aberration that has caught on, especially in the mission fields like California. It's a kind of 'Don't ask, don't tell' for the Lord's Supper!" Rev. Steve Spencer, Letter to Gregory L. Jackson, 3-15-95.

    "If we call Sacraments rites which have the command of God, and to which the promise of grace has been added, it is easy to decide what are properly Sacraments...Therefore Baptism, the Lord's Supper, and Absolution, which is the Sacrament of Repentance, are truly Sacraments. For these rites have God's command and the promise of grace, which is peculiar to the New Testament. For when we are baptized, when we eat the Lord's body, when we are absolved, our hearts must be firmly assured that God truly forgives us for Christ's sake. And God, at the same time, by the Word and by the rite, moves hearts to believe and conceive faith, just as Paul says, Romans 10:17: 'Faith cometh by hearing.' But just as the Word enters the ear in order to strike our heart, so the rite itself strikes the eye, in order to move the heart. The effect of the Word and of the rite is the same..." [Luther, Bab Captivity, 3 sacraments]
    Article XIII, Number/Use Sacraments, Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 309.

    "Our adversaries have no testimonies and no command from Scripture for defending the application of the ceremony for liberating the souls of the dead, although from this they derive infinite revenue. Nor, indeed, is it a light sin to establish such services in the Church without the command of God and without the example of Scripture, and to apply to the dead the Lord's Supper, which was instituted for commemoration and preaching among the living [for the purpose of strengthening the faith of those who use the ceremony]. This is to violate the Second Commandment, by abusing God's name."
    Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XXIV, The Mass, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 414f.

    "In what vulgar terms does Zwingli here speak of these sacred matters! When the Holy Spirit wants to approach man, He does not need the Word of God, the Gospel, Baptism, the Lord's Supper, for a conveyance; He can come without them! It must be a queer Bible which Zwingli read."
    C. F. W. Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, trans., W. H. T. Dau, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1928, p. 156.

    "They separate grace from Baptism and leave us a mere external sign, in which there is not a grain of mercy; all grace has been cut away. Now, if the grace of Christ has been removed from Baptism, there remains nothing but a mere work. Likewise, in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper the fanatics remove the promise offered us in this Sacrament; they tell us that what we eat and drink is nothing but bread and wine. Here, too, the proffered grace is cut away and renounced. For they teach us that the only good work that we do by communing is professing Christ; as to the rest, we merely eat and drink bread and wine in the Supper, and there is no grace in it for us. That is the result of falling away from the First Commandment: a person promptly sets up an idol in the form of some meritorious work, in which he trusts." (Luther, on Deuteronomy 4:28; St. L. III, 1691 ff.)
    C. F. W. Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, trans., W. H. T. Dau, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1928, p. 160. Deuteronomy 4:28.

    "Calvin was dissatisfied with Zwingli's interpretation of the Lord's Supper, but his own interpretation was also wrong. He said that a person desiring to receive the body and blood of Christ could not get it under the bread and wine, but must by his faith mount up to heaven, where the Holy Spirit would negotiate a way for feeding him with the body and blood of Christ. These are mere vagaries, which originated in Calvin's fancy. But an incident like this shows that men will not believe that God bears us poor sinners such great love that He is willing to come to us."
    C. F. W. Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, trans., W. H. T. Dau, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1928, p. 185.