Lutheran Worship and Resources



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

Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

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


Thanksgiving Eve - 7 PM Central Time.

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

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

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

Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson's Author's Page

Thursday, December 10, 2009



I am the True Vine - you are the branches


Vespers, Mid-Week Advent Service, 2009

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 7 PM Central Time

The Hymn # 457 What a Friend 2.24
The Order of Vespers p. 41
The Psalmody Psalm 100 p. 144
The First Lection Romans 10:1-16
The Second Lection John 15:1-10
The Sermon Hymn # 552 Abide with Me 2.11

Abiding in Christ

The Prayers and Lord’s Prayer p. 44
The Collect for Peace p. 45
The Benediction p. 45
The Hymn #651 Be Still My Soul 2.17

KJV Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. 5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) 7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) 8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

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. 9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

Abiding in Christ

Romans 10 is a clear, beautiful description of how people are justified by faith.

The first few verses are important, because the provide a stark contrast to the Gospel. The Jewish people are zealous but they want to establish their own righteousness, not God’s righteousness.

The righteousness of the Law condemns.

Romans 10:5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.

Either the Law is completely fulfilled, which is impossible for man, or it condemns the person trying to be justified by the Law.

The righteousness of God comes through faith:

6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) 7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) 8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

For good reason, the Formula of Concord speaks of the righteousness of faith, which the Pietists have opposed so harshly that some people are afraid to speak of faith.

Many people are confused because they do not know this simple passage and its implications. Step by step, reverse-engineering what he just said, Paul explains the origin of the righteousness of faith.

First is the declaration of how one is saved:

9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

No works are demanded, and works are not mixed with the Gospel, as if man must make himself good in the eyes of God to receive the blessing of salvation.

How does this happen? So many rush around making these demands, oppressing people with the very Gospel that should free them, because the Gospel mixed with Law is worse in some respects than pure Law.

The steps for salvation are given in reverse order.

1. Whoever calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved.
2. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? (Faith is the pre-requisite for calling on the Lord for salvation.)
3. Origin of faith - and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? (Faith comes from the preaching/hearing of the Gospel.)
4. Sermons come from where? - and how shall they hear without a preacher?
5. How do we find preachers? - 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

John 15 – The True Vine

The True Vine passage is especially pointed for those who are familiar with growing grapes, thorns, or bushes. Jesus’ sermon is both a warning and a comfort.

Grapes, roses, and bushes have this in common – they grow much better when the deadwood is pruned away. The productive branches are also pruned to make them more fruitful.

In fact, when we had mesquite trees, the biggest problem was that normal pruning made them grow even more productive, so the more they were pruned, the more they grew, even without being watered.

Roses also become dormant when left alone. The deadwood drains the energy of the plant. The flowers turn to seed, according to the Creator’s design, and stops producing flowers.

Peas, beans, and tomatoes will also flower and bear more when the fruit of the plant is picked. When we picked beans and peas, which were planted by the pounds, we had so many that we asked people to pick their own, and then we had even more.

This sermon answers two questions which the Pietists avoid.

One question is – What should believers do to become more fruitful in the Kingdom?

There is nothing about forming cell groups, conventicles, or committees. The answer is simple and basic – abide in Me and I will abide in you.

Pruning is justification: godly contrition and receiving forgiveness through faith.
The Holy Spirit daily forgives us our sins, because the Holy Spirit is always active through the Word, whether, heard, read, or remembered.

The second question is – What happens to others?

Many begin in the faith but become dead wood. They are pruned away to be gathered up in the Final Judgment.

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.

This five-step description fits those who never believe the Gospel and those who fall away from the faith. In our country, where there are so many churches and so much apostasy, it is more descriptive of those fallen away from the faith (apostates).

A survey of ELCA members shows that 30% of them of pro-life, believe in the Six-Day Creation, oppose evolution and abortion. Yet they remain with those who teach exactly the opposite. This can only erode the faith of millions because they seldom hear the truth, and they often hear ministers of all types attacking the Word of God.

Romans 1 is clear enough:

KJV Romans 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

In John 15, Jesus is clear about how He blesses our lives, and this is all Gospel:

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. 9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

Our prayers will be answered if we abide in Christ, and we will be fruitful. Not only that, but we loved as deeply by Christ as He is by the Father.

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