Lutheran Worship and Resources



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

Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
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Midweek Lenten - 7 PM Central Daylight.

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

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

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

Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson's Author's Page

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity



Sunflower by Norma Boeckler. Fibonacci numbers by God.


The Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn # 44 Ye Lands 2:41
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
The Gospel
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #203 Morning Breaks 2:70
Unity of the Word
The Communion Hymn # 315 I Come O Savior 2:66
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 # 467 Built on a Rock 2:83

KJV Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

KJV Luke 14:1 And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him. 2 And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. 3 And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? 4 And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go; 5 And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day? 6 And they could not answer him again to these things. 7 And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, 8 When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; 9 And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. 10 But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. 11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Seventeenth Sunday After Trinity
Lord God, heavenly Father: We beseech Thee so to guide and direct us by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not exalt ourselves, but humbly fear Thee, with our whole hearts hear and keep Thy word, and hallow the Lord's day, that we also may be hallowed by Thy word; help us, first, to place our hope and confidence in Thy Son, Jesus Christ, who alone is our righteousness and Redeemer, and, then, so to amend and better our lives in accordance with Thy word, that we may avoid all offenses and finally obtain eternal salvation, through Thy grace in Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God. world without end. Amen.

The Unity of the Word

Ephesians 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

The seven ones in this passage are no accident. Some say that seven is the perfect number because it combines the “four” used to represent the entire world with the “three” of the Trinity. This perfect number is often represented in liturgical design, such as seven candles on each side of the altar.

Needless to say, some people have to turn numbers into magic. That is a common theme in Asian religion, with an obsession about magic numbers and numerology. One of my denser students went to a Buddhist temple and was astonished that they found his magic, or favorite number. They pulled it out of box and converted him – for the moment. Since he was so talkative, he probably gave away the number during his tour. People prefer magic to revelation. Cary Grant lost his stagehand job when he was young because he let the spotlight shine on the wrong area of the stage, giving away the secret of a magic act. Magic loves darkness.

There is no doubt that God has embedded a mathematical relationship in nature, as shown by Fibonacci numbers.

http://creationwiki.org/Fibonacci_number

This numerical relationship can be found throughout God’s Creation, and people find it pleasing to the senses. Artists use the numbers for planning their work.

One
The significance of one throughout the Bible is impossible to miss.

First of all, there is One God, Three Persons. This is a mystery revealed by the Holy Spirit. Human reason cannot grasp it. Whenever someone tries to subject this mystery to human logic, reason, and experience, horrible distortions appear to replace the clear teaching of the Word.

God existed before time came into being. As Augustine wrote, time is the measure of change. Until the universe was brought into being by Creation, there was no change and no concept of time.

God created time for us in the form of seven, 24-hour days. Various powerful societies have tried to change the week, to make everyone work more, but the seven-day week has continued, with one day still a day of rest and worship.

Because God is One, there is only One message – the truth of revelation. And there is only One Book where God’s will is revealed – the Bible.

There are many human authors of the Bible but only one divine author – the Holy Spirit. That gives the Scriptures a unity not found anywhere else, and yet the various human personalities come through all too clearly.

From the beginning of time in Genesis until the closing of time in Revelation, there is one message – Jesus Christ crucified for the sins of the world. The Gospel is so important in the Bible that the first Gospel promise is given already in Genesis 3, when Adam and Eve were forced out of Paradise because of their sin. They were no longer innocent and carried original sin with them, but they also had the Gospel Promise of the Savior, who would crush the head of that Tempter who led them away from God’s Word.

The unity of the message of the Bible is obvious, because the Word of God has no other purpose except to convey Christ to us and to plant faith in our hearts. Sin is not believing on Jesus Christ (John 16), and justification comes from the revelation of His crucifixion and resurrection (you will see Him no more).

John 16:10 Of righteousness [justification], because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;

The emptiness of the tomb is the ultimate sign of God’s victory in Christ – His conquest of sin, of death, and of Satan.

Because this is the One Truth of the Scriptures, any other message that seeks to supplant it is fraudulent, cancerous, and toxic.

The unity of the Word means that all the books of the Bible speak with the same voice, across the centuries, in many different cultures. The Word is not conformed to culture but cultures are transformed by the unchanging Word of God, from the wandering herder culture of Genesis to the powerful metropolitan culture of the New Testament.

Because there is one divine Author of the Bible, there is only One Doctrine. There are not many little doctrines that are strung together like pearls on a necklace, with people picking 27 pearls versus 36 pearls.

The reason we often talk about one article of faith is our limitations as humans.
Dividing the One Doctrine lets people think the truth of God’s Word is subject to a vote. Synod conventions continue to promote this view, by voting on doctrine and declaring anathemas on people who do not accept the latest, most popular heresy.

Therefore, this One Doctrine cannot be accused of contradicting itself. Anyone who has studied the Scriptures seriously has seen that. There is a Christ of the Psalms and a Christ of Isaiah, as if Christ is different when revealed by one author or another.

What religion has four biographies of its leader, side by side, all of them in agreement and all four in harmony with history (to the extent we can verify ancient facts)?
In fact, there is no difference between Paul’s teaching about false teachers and Jesus’ teaching, except that Jesus is even harsher in His words – whitewashed sepulchers full of dead-men’s bones, wolves in sheep’s clothing, blind guides, hypocrites, etc.

Because of this unified Doctrine, Law and Gospel are taught throughout the Scriptures, with the sole purpose of creating and sustaining faith.

We also see in the Scriptures a unified teaching about how Christ comes to us, how we receive forgiveness in Him.

I read many different religious documents, often claiming to show me the way. But they do not. They have many vague statements about Jesus, but also include odd expressions about emotions and experiences, as if I have to capture the right feeling.

The Word of God prepared mankind for the Means of Grace from the beginning, with many physical signs of God’s Promises: the rainbow, the ark (prefiguring baptism, the Passover Lamb, the pillar, the rock gushing with pure water, the serpent raised on the staff (John 3), the manna from heaven, the Promised Land (heaven). Those are just a few that prepared man to see Holy Baptism and Holy Communion as the visible Word, earthly elements combined with the power of the Word.

The Word of the Gospel exists for faith, and faith is justification.

How do I know that I am forgiven of all my sins? My feelings? No – they are deceptive and constantly changing. My experiences? No – I may think I have made up for my sins by doing some good, which is sin piled on sin.

Forgiveness is based upon the objective truth of God’s Word. Jesus died for the sins of the world, while we were weak with sin, while we were still enemies of God, while we were still sinners.

From justification by faith come the works of faith, the fruit of the Spirit.

This truth has lasted throughout each generation, no matter how many or how few believed. The Gospel is constantly attacked and persecuted and often moves on, always bringing God’s grace through the Word.

"We have no intention of yielding aught of the eternal, immutable truth of God for the sake of temporal peace, tranquility, and unity (which, moreover, is not in our power to do). Nor would such peace and unity, since it is devised against the truth and for its suppression, have any permanency. Still less are we inclined to adorn and conceal a corruption of the pure doctrine and manifest, condemned errors. But we entertain heartfelt pleasure and love for, and are on our part sincerely inclined and anxious to advance, that unity according to our utmost power, by which His glory remains to God uninjured, nothing of the divine truth of the Holy Gospel is surrendered, no room is given to the least error, poor sinners are brought to true, genuine repentance, raised up by faith, confirmed in new obedience, and thus justified and eternally saved alone through the sole merit of Christ." (Closing of Formula of Concord, Trigl. p. 1095) Francis Pieper, The Difference Between Orthodox And Heterodox Churches, and Supplement, Coos Bay, Oregon: St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 1981, p. 65. Tappert, p. 632. Heiser, p. 294. FC SD XI, #94-96.

"Thus too, if our confidence is to begin, and we become strengthened and comforted, we must well learn the voice of our Shepherd, and let all other voices go, who only lead us astray, and chase and drive us hither and thither. We must hear and grasp only that article which presents Christ to us in the most friendly and comforting manner possible. So that we can say with all confidence: My Lord Jesus Christ is truly the only Shepherd, and I, alas, the lost sheep, which has strayed into the wilderness, and I am anxious and fearful, and would gladly be good, and have a gracious God and peace of conscience, but here I am told that He is as anxious for me as I am for Him." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, IV, p. 86. Third Sunday after Trinity, Second Sermon Luke 15:1-10.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity




The Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn #  191 Christ the Lord 2:97
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  
The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #188 Hallelujah 2:20    
Faith Praised in the New Testament
The Communion Hymn #  206 Jesus Christ, My Sure Defense  2:81
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 #   212 A Hymn of Glory 2:93

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

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

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

Faith Praised in the New Testament

John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

Luther:
“These are the three parts we have in this Gospel lesson: Sin is unbelief; righteousness is faith; the judgment is the holy cross. Therefore give heed and learn to consider everything that is without the Spirit as nothing and as condemned, and afterwards be prepared for the holy cross that thou must suffer on account of it.”
Luther’s Sermon on John 16:5-15, Fourth Sunday after Easter

Introduction

This Scripture is the one most ignored in the Synodical Conference, and Luther’s sermon on it is the most ignored of all his sermons.

Lenski has written about this, but he is also ignored.

Lenski:
The thought is not that the world knows nothing about sin. Its daily crime list contradicts that, as well as its moralists with their repressive and reformatory measures. What the world lacks and the Spirit supplies is something that goes far deeper, something that actually convicts in regard to sin. This is not the fact that sin is sin, or that the real essence of sin is unbelief. The Spirit is not to repeat the work of Moses in preaching the law. The conviction in regard to sin lies in one direction: “inasmuch as they do not believe in me.” Yet note that this is the capital sin. For to believe in Jesus is to be saved from sin, to have sin forgiven; and thus not to believe in Jesus is to remain in sin, to perish forever in sin. The Spirit’s work in regard to sin is to confront the world with the terrible fact of its unbelief in Jesus, which means, with the fact that this unbelief leaves it in its damnable sin, doomed and damned forever, in other words, that only he who believes escapes from his sin. This conviction in regard to sin naturally operates in two ways. It will crush some hearts so that they will be frightened at their unbelief and cry out like the 3,000 at Pentecost, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Acts 2:37, and thus be led to repent and to believe. Or it will further harden those who resist this conviction; they will go on, convicted though they are, more obdurate than before, fighting against this conviction until they perish. In this the Spirit will do exactly what Jesus did in 7:33, etc., and again in 8:22–24: “I said, therefore, unto you that ye shall die in your sins; for except ye believe that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”
Some fix their attention on the phrase “concerning sin” and thus fail to see the significance of the word “believe” in the elucidating clause, “inasmuch as they do not believe in me,” with its implication that this unbelief leaves them in their sin, and that faith, and faith alone, relieves them of their sin. Thus we get those interpretations which turn only on the word “sin,” unbelief as the greatest sin, the real nature of sin, and the like. But the Spirit uses “me,” Jesus; believing and not believing in Jesus apply to Jesus, unbelief in him and faith in him to the world’s sin—if possible, to save the world from sin, otherwise to brand the world with the conviction of its damning unbelief.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. John's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 1082.

The Evangelist himself should have some standing in this discussion, but he does not –
KJV John 20:30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. [Following the Doubting Thomas passage]

And in many places in the New Testament – faith is good.

KJV Matthew 8:10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

KJV Matthew 15:28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

KJV Matthew 17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

KJV Acts 6:8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.

1. “Sin is unbelief.”

This passage goes against many dearly held, but false concepts. The word “sin” conjures up images of fast women, slow horses, the “hellish lure of the card table” (as the Pietistic Augustana Synod once said). Many other layers of sin are added to this definition, including:
1. Telling the truth about false doctrine.
2. Questioning Holy Mother Synod on anything.

As Luther and Lenski both observed, the world has a concept of sin, but their definition is wrong. Anyone can list the many wrongs of society and individual, but the default attitude is to take care of these sins with atoning works, which are sins in themselves. Anything done without faith is a sin, so a good work done without faith does not atone for sin but only makes the sin worse.

The Planned Giving Counselors have honed this error so that no one goes near it for fear of being sliced to death. They sooth the guilty conscience of a greedy, dishonest, and adulterous businessman by selling him an indulgence to calm those nagging doubts about all the evil he has done. Then he can say, “Sure I cheated all those people, but look at all the good it is doing. There are buildings named after me, all over Lutherdom.” And he saw that it was very good – and died. Judgment Day may not sound as appealing as the soft flexing of Gucci loafers worn by an obsequious Planned Giving Counselor.

The entire construct of Purgatory, which is still essential to Roman Catholicism, is based upon one sin (works without faith) atoning for a lifetime of sin. These works are demanded during one’s lifetime, facing death, and forever after. The ideal Roman Catholic attends Mass daily to reduce time in Purgatory, pays for additional ceremonies to reduce time in Purgatory, and endows perpetual Masses to be said during his almost endless time in Purgatory, because nothing was ever enough to pay for his sins. This goldmine of faithless works will never be updated because it has been all too successful.

Jesus says that everything has already been accomplished by Him, that righteousness must come from Him. Unbelief is sin, but faith is justification – God’s declaration that sins are removed, absolved, and forgotten.

Luther:
“As if he wished to say: Had they believed on me, everything would already have been forgiven them, whatever sin they might have committed, for I know that they by nature cannot do otherwise. But because they will not receive me, neither believe that I can help them, this it is that will condemn them. Therefore, God will at the final judgment pass a sentence like this on them: Behold, thou wast in sin and couldst not free thyself from it, still I did not on this account wish to condemn thee, for I sent my only begotten Son to thee and intended to give thee a Saviour, in order that he might take the sin from thee. Him thou didst not receive. Therefore, on this account alone, thou wilt be condemned, because thou hast not Christ.” (Sermon, ibid, found here –
http://www.trinitylutheranms.org/MartinLuther/MLSermons/john16_5_15_1st.html)

The message of the Gospel and faith are the same in this respect. The Gospel teaches us that Christ has accomplished everything for us. He has shown mercy and love to us, before we could even ask about it. Faith means that we trust in His work rather than our own.

The oddest part of this passage is also the most comforting when we understand it.

2. Of righteousness, because I go to my Father

Many passages in the Bible are impossible to understand without additional study. Sometimes we know the words years before we know the meaning behind them. The more we study the Word, the more we see what these passages mean, but we need a sound, clear guide to show us the way.

Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to the Father for our sakes, to build our faith in Him as the crucified Messiah, Savior, and Son of God. He might have done things quite differently, since He often downplayed His power and went away from people. The resurrection took place as a spectacular display of God’s power and His victory over death. The tomb was opened up and He was not there. The disciples visited and saw the empty tomb instead of a corpse. He spent time with His disciples and taught the 500, to give the Church hundreds of witnesses to the resurrection. He ascended to heaven before their eyes and appeared to Paul.

I have often dealt with apostates. In the past I had a project of writing to all the ELCA seminaries and asking if any of their professors believed in the Virgin Birth of Christ or His resurrection. Finally one of them gave me a name, and this professor did say in writing that the resurrection might be a historical fact.

This may seem rather weak—and it is—but the research led me to the literature showing that no one has ever refuted the resurrection of Christ. Many reject anything divine about Him, but no one has made a case for it being fraudulent.
The empty grave is the concrete reminder of Christ victorious over death.

As Luther observed, the resurrection was not for Jesus, but for us. And the Ascension was not for Jesus, but for us. Even today, people feel the great joy of Easter, which remains as free of commercialism as we could hope in these last days of an insane old world.

But the Ascension. Conservative Lutherans mark this day especially  because the unbelieving world and apostates would like to keep Easter without the reason-defying picture of Jesus rising from the earth. It is more than Easter, because it marks the first witnesses watching the event as it takes place. Nothing says more about the unimportance of all things worldly when the King of Kings reigns over us.

Luther:
“ Wherever Christ is now preached and acknowledged, there he reigns in us, from the right hand of his Father, and is himself here below in the hearts of men. There he reigns with might, power and dominion over you and all your enemies, and guards you from sin, death, devil and hell. Thus is his resurrection and ascension our comfort, life, blessing, righteousness and everything in one. This is what the Lord means when he speaks of righteousness, that the people thereby should become pious and righteous, that he ascends to heaven to the Father and we see him no more. This the world does not know, therefore the Holy Spirit must come and convict the world of it.” (ibid)

“Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more” means – Faith is righteousness.

Faith in Christ means we spend our time studying the Word, worshiping, receiving grace through the Means of Grace.

Isn’t it strange how people say, as we children do, “Why do we have to go to church? Why does God demand church?” In faith, we know that we receive in church. We do not give to God, who needs nothing.

The childish notion of church is – a demand. Many ministers present it as such, and that works outwardly in creating inward Pharisees who do what they must do, as works of the Law.

The faith notion of church is – God gives righteousness, forgiveness, mercy, and love to troubled souls. When there is a government hand-out program, thousands show up to receive. When Notre Dame says that they may sell some extra tickets, which are paid in advance whether seats are assigned or not – thousands respond.

When God says His grace is freely distributed through the Means of Grace and received in faith, man:
1. Argues against the Means of Grace (Calvinism and Pietism).
2. Ignores the Means of Grace and copies Pietism (Synodical Conference).
3. Fakes the Means of Grace and eviscerates their meaning (Rome).

Ministers were shocked when I reduced pastoral work to the Word, which is the only way God works:
1. Preaching the Gospel.
2. Teaching the Gospel to adults, catechizing the young.
3. Taking the Word to people through visitation.

The truly successful Lutheran pastor today:
A. Plagiarizes a false Gospel – concoction of works and New Age tomfoolery.
B. Has someone else do the teaching, or copies synodical and non-Lutheran materials.
C. Spends all his time planning and going to Schwaermer conferences.

Since the Pharisee plan is being employed, based on works-righteousness rather than the righteousness of faith, the churches are attracting and producing little Pharisees.

Relying on the Word of God, trusting in the Means of Grace can only lead to:

John 16:11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

That can be seen as a victory—and it is. But we also have to wonder, with Luther, what the Prince of this Word thinks about it.

Luther translated the meaning as – Bearing the cross.

The unbelieving world, Satan and his followers, and the apostates will not listen to the Gospel, hate the Gospel, and impede the Gospel whenever they can. Chytraeus wrote that the surest sign of orthodoxy is persecution.
Because we lack faith, the surest sign of God’s blessing (see the Beatitudes) is viewed with alarm – the cross.

That shows a lack of understand and a lack of depth. The cross must happen, and we must wait for God’s blessing to come through that cross. If it were appealing, we would never call it a cross.

The time we spend in agony, awaiting a change, teaches us patience, because we see once again how God works – beyond all hope, without any wisdom or skill on our own.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity





Since by man came death, by man came also the Resurrection.
Art by Norma Boeckler.




The Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn #479 Zion Rise 2:13
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
The Gospel
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #427 How Firm a Foundation 2:18

Romans 5 and Justification by Faith

The Communion Hymn #314 Lord, Jesus Christ 2:49
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 # 508 Thou Whose Almighty Word 2:72

Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For every man shall bear his own burden. 6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. 7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

KJV Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Fifteenth Sunday After Trinity
Lord God, heavenly Father, we thank Thee for all Thy benefits: that Thou hast given us life and graciously sustained us unto this day: We beseech Thee, take not Thy blessing from us; preserve us from covetousness, that we may serve Thee only, love and abide in Thee, and not defile ourselves by idolatrous love of mammon, but hope and trust only in Thy grace, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Romans 5 and Justification by Faith

Highpoint of Romans 4

23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

The Holy Spirit revealed through Paul that Abraham was the first of many, not just a single figure in the Bible. The Word of God teaches us that we are also counted righteous (imputation, reckoning) if we believe on Him that raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. The entire sentence should be quoted and cited and not just Romans 4:25 in a misleading way.
Romans 4:25 explains the glorious work of God in the Atonement (delivered for our offences) and the resurrection. There is no claim that the world was absolved of its sin and forgiven the moment Christ rose from the dead.

Lenski:
“Our” transgressions, “our” being declared righteous, as in other similar expressions, speak of the believers alone because in them the purpose of Christ’s death and his resurrection is fully realized. The fact that Christ died also for those who deny him and bring swift destruction on themselves (2 Pet. 2:1) does not need to be introduced here. The two “our” prevent us from making “because of our justification” signify the justification of the whole world instead of “our justification,” “our” referring to us believers (personal justification). It is this justification with which the entire chapter deals and constantly also emphasizes faith.
Lenski, R. C. H. (1936). The Interpretation of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans (328–329). Columbus, Ohio: Lutheran Book Concern.

Transition to Romans 5:1-2

The highpoint of Romans 4 is the transition to Romans 5:1-2, the classic statement of justification by faith. All of Romans 4 should be read as the introduction to Romans 5 – that is, as an extended explanatory passage teaching faith in the Word of God. Very much like the Gospel of John, Paul begins with a spiritual truth and expands upon it by repetition, giving more and more meaning to the term as it is repeated and explained. Justification by faith in Romans 3, 4, and 5 is like the Bread of Life in John 6 or the Good Shepherd in John 10.

KJV Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

To derive justification without faith (UOJ) from Romans 4:25, right in the middle of Paul’s justification by faith chapters, is an act of criminal dishonesty. The Missouri Synod absorbed the toxins of UOJ slowly, not even reflecting them in their 1905 catechism. Once established as a doctrinal norm, UOJ sped the transition to the doctrines of Enthusiasm and the works of the flesh.
Even more dishonest is using Romans 5, which begins explicitly with justification by faith, to promote justification without faith.

Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

The particle “therefore” is critical to understanding Romans 4. The word signals that Paul has already established justification by faith in the previous section. In chapter 5, Paul is elaborating on what that means for people who believe in the Savior. In other words, justification by faith is the singular theme of Romans 4 - not the imaginary absolution of the world found in Walther, the Brief Statement, and subsequent Synodical Conference teachers. Only in justification by faith can we have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. This peace is not the world’s peace, but the peace of having our sins forgiven through faith in the Gospel. That is precisely why Luther taught that faith is justification.
That does not make justification a work, as anxious Walther disciples want to claim. God creates and sustains individual faith through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the Word. God creates the faith, which is a gift, and declares us forgiven of our sins. This alone glorifies God, unlike UOJ, where people are instructed to make a decision after being told that Hitler, Mao, and Judas Iscariot are guilt-free saints, thanks to UOJ. A study of the word “peace” in the New Testament shows that the word is always connected with salvation. Justification by faith means forgiveness of sin and peace with God, Who is seen as He is – loving, kindly, and merciful.

By whom also we have access by faith into this grace

Someone who does not grasp this clause should not be allowed to teach or preach as a Lutheran, for these words condense the preaching office of the Church, according to the Scriptures and the Confessions. Simply put, these words remind us of the efficacy of the Word in the Means of Grace. God has united His grace to His appointed instruments or means. Therefore, it is impossible for anyone to receive God’s grace apart from His instruments – the Word and Sacraments.
Forgiveness is grace, because we have not deserved forgiveness for any or all of our sins, much less a complete and free forgiveness from God. However, the false teachers of UOJ want us to agree that God has already bestowed His grace upon the entire world by absolving the world of its sin, without the Word and Sacraments, without any means, without faith.
The UOJ opinion is a version of Calvinism, which divided into two streams of Enthusiasm. In its original form, the audiences were told, like UOJ – you are already saved, now believe what is already true. Breaking with double-predestination Calvinism. the Arminians argued for man’s decision, so they typically say, “God has done this much for you. Now you must complete the transaction by making a decision for Christ.” This is called synergism, making man part of the formula. True Calvinism is rare, except among the UOJ fanatics. Most people in the Calvinist tradition favor the Arminian decision for Christ. Both forms of Calvinism are Enthusiasm, inheriting from Zwingli a mockery of the efficacy of the Word, a rejection of God acting through the visible Word of the Sacraments. As a result, the UOJ philosophy of the LCMS, WELS, and ELS finds itself at home with Pietists, Baptists, Pentecostals, and Presbyterians.
Romans 10 ( to be considered later)—the Means of Grace chapter in this epistle—explains why all the blessings of the Gospel come from the Word alone and never apart from the Word. The combined efforts of the Enthusiasts, in making the Word attractive, germane, relevant, and relational all betray a profound lack of trust in God’s appointed Means of Grace. Reaching for an effective method, as they claim, they shun the Holy Spirit’s work in favor of man’s alleged wisdom.
Faith receives the grace of God, and the Bible teaches us consistently how important this faith is. Faith is the most frequently found word in the New Testament, often extolled by Christ.

Examples of faith:

KJV Matthew 8:10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

KJV Matthew 9:2 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.

KJV Matthew 15:28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

KJV Mark 10:14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.

KJV Luke 18:42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.

Three Statements of God’s Grace
KJV Romans 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

“Christ died for the ungodly!” is used as support for UOJ, but that can be tested by reversing the meaning – Christ died for the godly! That makes no sense – even Unitarians would reject that statement. Christ died for the unbelieving world. The UOJ philosophy combines the atoning death of Christ with justification, creating an amalgamation that is false to both. As unbelievers, continuing in sin, we have no strength. Only the Gospel Promises can give us strength through this gracious forgiveness received in faith. Trying to convert others through love or relationships is a denial of God working through the Word.
Paul is reminding us that God provided for our forgiveness and salvation before we could even imagine it.

Lenski, Romans 5:6
The aorist “Christ died” is historical and appears again with emphasis in v. 8. It is true that Paul is addressing the Roman Christians, and that his “we” includes himself, and we may admit that all of them came to faith after Christ had died. Yet Paul’s words are not restricted to these believers, to their ungodliness before they came to faith. The preceding
chapter deals with Abraham who was justified exactly as were these Roman believers but was justified a thousand years before Christ died. With him Paul in chapter 4 combines all his seed of the old covenant era who also lived before Christ’s death. That should not be overlooked when discussing chapter 5. The fact that Christ died for the ungodly applies to all believers from Abraham, yea from Adam, onward. Ungodliness was the characteristic of all of them before they believed, and for them Christ died as he did for us later believers, not as those who would eventually become godly people but as originally being ungodly people. The fact that his death occurred at a specific time in history makes no difference as far as its relation to the ungodliness of even the believers for whom he died is concerned. Rev. 13:8.
Lenski, R. C. H. (1936). The Interpretation of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans (344–345). Columbus, Ohio: Lutheran Book Concern.

Romans 5:8-9
KJV Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

The Scripture often describes God’s work in groups of three. This is the second of three statements, each one offering more perspective. Weakness is an attribute of sinfulness, an obvious attribute of those who remain in sin and have no power to leave it, even though they participate in numerous self-help programs. We are alike in that regard, having no strength on our own – weak, fallible, and flawed. But Christ died for us sinners, and because we are justified by faith, we are spared from God’s wrath through the sacrifice of our Savior.

Romans 5:10-11

KJV Romans 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

The terms “reconciled” and “reconciliation” are useful for the UOJ Enthusiasts, because they want to have entire world forgiven by an exchange, one for the other, the literal meaning of the word. Atonement is an English construction from at-one-ment. The original Greek term was used for making change, such as four quarters for a dollar, but it is misleading to take a secular term and apply a doctrinal meaning to it, without regarding the context and the rules of Biblical interpretation.
Grace only comes to us through the Means of Grace, so if we imagine this verse promises grace without God’s appointed instruments of grace, the premise must be wrong. The Bible is not logical, according to man’s rules of logic, but it is consistent, without error or contradiction, as Luther said in his Large Catechism (Baptism).
The UOJ premise takes this verse to mean that the moment Christ died on the cross, His righteousness was exchanged for man’s sinfulness, one for the other, God’s Great Exchange, so that the entire world became absolved from sin.
God established the reconciliation (the Atonement) so that man was reconciled to God, knowing his sins were redeemed on the cross. This was, as Lenski stated, man’s need. God already loved the world, but man remained a weak sinner, an enemy of God, until the Gospel was preached to him. The distinction between the Atonement and justification is made twice in two verses.
1. Were reconciled, being reconciled. The objective act of God’s work on the cross is true, whether anyone believes it or not. Being reconciled means being justified by faith.
2. By whom we have now received the Atonement (reconciliation).

Receiving is also used by John’s Gospel as synonymous with believing.

KJV John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

KJV John 17:8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.

Lenski, Romans 5:10:
God always loved the world (John 3:16). It was this love which dated from all eternity that caused him to give his Son into death for the ungodly world (v. 8). God needed no reconciliation, nothing to change him, for God is love—why should he change? The whole trouble was with us, with what we had made ourselves (enemies), with the state into which we had placed ourselves (sin, godlessness). The view is inadequate that, as it so often happens in the case of men, so it happened in the case of God and of us, that we had mutually fallen out with each other, and that reconciliation was completely one-sided, even doubly so: we were wrong, we alone; a change had to take place in our case, and we could not make it ourselves, God had to make it. It took the sacrificial death of his Son to do it.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans. Columbus, Ohio : Lutheran Book Concern, 1936, S. 352.

Romans 5:12-18
KJV Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

Many is not the same word as all, and yet the UOJ fans cannot comprehend this important difference. All have sinned (verse 12), but many (verse 16) are justified by faith. This passage is directed especially at those who are justified by faith, to show the results of forgiveness.
Does verse 18 declare that every single person on earth has been declared forgiven, given the status of guilt-free saints? The free gift of salvation is offered to all and is available to all.

Romans 5:19

KJV Romans 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

If Paul meant to say that everyone is already justified, without the Word, then he must be confused in his use of “many” once again. The false premise is the confusion of the universal Atonement, objectively true, and the distribution by the Holy Spirit of this treasure, through the preaching of the Gospel.
To declare everyone forgiven without the Gospel is a complete negation of the preaching office and the ministry of the Word in all forms. That negation is the reason why UOJ is never explored and never really defended. The talking points are simply repeated endlessly and the Book of Concord Lutherans are attacked as outside the Kingdom.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity


Justification by Faith cover, designed by Norma Boeckler
The book should be finished this weekend.


The Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn # 292 Lord Jesus Christ 1:2
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
The Gospel
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 192 Awake My Heart 1:22

Fruits of the Spirit

The Communion Hymn # 480 Lord of the Worlds 1:62
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 # 511 Jesus Shall Reign 1:80

KJV Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

KJV Luke 17:11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. 14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. 15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. 17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. 19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Fourteenth Sunday After Trinity
Lord God, heavenly Father, who by Thy blessed word and Thy holy baptism hast mercifully cleansed all who believe from the fearful leprosy of sin, and daily dost grant us Thy gracious help in all our need: We beseech Thee so to enlighten our hearts by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may never forget these Thy blessings, but ever live in Thy fear, and, trusting fully in Thy grace, with thankful hearts continually praise and glorify Thee; through Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Fruits of the Spirit
Lenski:
"We have discussed the fact that Paul has in mind “spirit” in v. 16. He does not say, “the works of the spirit” (v. 20, “the works of the flesh”) but uses the nobler word, “the fruit of the spirit.” Compare the significant expression, “the unfruitful works of the darkness” (Eph. 5:11). “Fruit” is also singular although it is a collective. The flesh spreads out in many directions with its evil works; all its many activities are bad. The spirit follows one direction, produces unit fruit. The flesh has “works,” deeds. In listing them Paul has used many plurals. As fruit of the spirit Paul lists nothing but virtues, the highest moral qualities, and thus also lifts this list above the other. The other list is heterogeneous: 3–2–4–4–2; this list is homogeneous: 3–3–3: each group has three members, and there are three groups. The other list is a jangle, this one a sweet harmony. While it may be only rhetorical and apparent only because we have the lists side by side, this appears intentional to the writer. Paul has the capacity for such perfect rhetoric.
First Corinthians 13 is Paul’s own description of “love,” the most essential product of faith, the mother of all other Christian virtues, hence the first in this list."
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Paul's Epistles to the Galatians, to the Ephesians and to the Philippians. Columbus, O. : Lutheran Book Concern, 1937, S. 290.


Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

Paul’s discussion of flesh versus Spirit should be seen in the context of his short, energetic letter to the Galatians, who were being led astray by false doctrine. The immediate concern is the requirement of circumcision, but we can see that the implications are with us today, because the works-salesmen are still with us and constantly promote their new, improved version of Christianity, which is just another flavor of the very thing Paul denounced. No other Gospel exists – not even an angel from heaven, not even Paul himself can issue a new version of the old, revealed truth.

Spirit and Word are together throughout the Scriptures. The Spirit never acts without the Word and the Word is never divorced from the Spirit. Therefore, we can paraphrase this opening clause by saying

Walk in the Word and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Each one wars against the other.

Although one is opposed to the other, the battle is not parallel, the way we find it in Zoroastrianism or Taoism (good/evil, ying/yang).

The flesh does not like the Word. This alone should defeat all the claims that something is good because it is popular. Munching popcorn during a church service is popular, but does that make it good, useful, and worthy of emulation? Our family attended the famous Willow Creek service (Chicago suburb). They bragged about their food court, but no one ate and drank during the service. Now “conservative” Lutherans hand free popcorn and soft drinks to people as they enter church. Ironically, both are especially good at adding body fat, so the flesh part is especially apt.

The flesh can include many things. Those who are not faithful to the Word are not inclined to be faithful to their spouses. Someone can show up at church and look every bit the elder, but if he is cheating, he will not like hearing the Word. He won’t say, “I am against the Sixth Commandment.” He will just undermine a faithful pastor using the same cheating tactics employed elsewhere. Likewise, an unfaithful elder will love the minister who adulterates the Word, making it attractive by creating an amalgamation of falsehood and truth, enough to fool some people and please the important ones.

The WELS/ELS/LCMS has never faced the fact that their richest sugar daddy, Marvin Schwan, left his wife and married the wife of his division manager. No, they fell all over each other to beg for his money. They were like the Episcopal bishops who rode the national conference in the private railroad cars of J. P. Morgan, who brought his mistress along for the ride. (I was denounced for the Forbes story I placed in Christian News, but no one ever denounced good ol’ Marvin for busting up two marriages. He was and is, no coincidence, the main sugar daddy behind Church Growth false doctrine among the “conservative” Lutherans. Thus the flesh wars against the Word/the Spirit. The Catholic Church has endowed masses for the souls of departed sinners. The old Synodical Conference has endowed foundations to keep their favorite false doctrine being promoted. (The lovely second wife of Marvin converted to the Lutheran faith when she married him and went back to Rome when she buried him. Thus Lutherans have concluded that money is indeed a means of grace.)

18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

This verse shows us why the war is not on an equal plain. If we are led by the Spirit, the law no longer has the same effect. Luther’s Small Catechism is the best summary of that effect. Each commandment is explained by what we must do under the Law but also by what we want to do through the Gospel. The Word of the Gospel moves us to desire what is God pleasing, not from obligation or fear but from love and thankfulness.

The Ninth Commandment.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house.
What does this mean?--Answer.
We should fear and love God that we may not craftily seek to get our neighbor's inheritance or house, and obtain it by a show of [justice and] right, etc., but help and be of service to him in keeping it.
Part 1 of the explanation tells us what we must not do, which is fairly common, use various means of trickery and the loopholes of the law to get what does not belong to us.
Part 2 tells us what we do willingly because we live under the Gospel – we will help him out and make sure he can keep his property. For example, neighbors will help build a barn, recommend the man’s business to others, tide him over with material help. My father would load up his truck with flour or other supplies when his competitors in baking ran out of something and needed an emergency supply. During WWII his basement was a depot for bakery supplies. At that time there were no clubs to supply 50 pound cubes of shortening and 100 pound bags of sugar and flour. Yeast came in one-pound packages, not in little foil envelopes.

19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance [strife, contention], emulations [jealousies], wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like…

The two lists are not symmetrical, in two different ways. Works are compared to fruit. Works come from us while the fruit of the Spirit is from the Gospel

The numbers are not parallel. The works of the flesh list is a rhetorical device (whose name does not help anyone) suggesting that the works are almost endless. [Similar – He ate peas, carrots, corn, potatoes, ham, chicken, pie, cookies… In other words, he ate everything possible. That is an asyndeton:
http://www.virtualsalt.com/rhetoric.htm#Asyndeton. I told you the name of the rhetorical device would not help.]

Some of these sins are carnal, easily seen, and obvious to others. Other sins on this list express an attitude [contentious, heretical]. The idea is not to check the list and say, “Nothing about coveting. I’m ok. It’s not a sin.” The list implies more sins, which make themselves known in various ways.

of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

This clause is especially significant, in view of the way in which people use the Gospel to excuse their behavior. If God has already declared the entire world forgiven (the claim of Universal Objective Justification) then Paul’s explanation of the works of the flesh, quoted above, is obliterated.

In fact, the Antinomians (against the Law) have argued this for centuries. There is no law; everyone is forgiven – they claim. I run into this attitude in church organizations all the time. In contrast, people recognize the civil law and obey it. (I kid doctors about violating HIPAA regulations and faculty about FERPA rules.)

According to the church organizations I know, deceiving people benefits the Kingdom of God. But Paul says the opposite. Those who engage in works of the flesh will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

This is where Satan tricks people into rejoining his kingdom. Christ did indeed die on the cross for all sins. There is no sin so damning that God cannot forgive it. (The sin against the Holy Spirit is dying without faith.) However, remaining in sin, having no contrition, and justifying sin for some ulterior motive – all contribute toward falling away from faith.

I content that we are in the Age of Apostasy because the greatest number of church officials are willing to overlook everything in the name of making their own lives more comfortable. In doing so they fail to protect their own members from clergy and teacher predators, their flocks from false doctrine. Instead, the church officials desire the flesh, the appearance of peace and prosperity.

Matthew 7:15ff is especially harsh when it comes to false doctrine being promoted by wolves in sheep’s clothing, anticipating “Lord, Lord, did we not do…” instead of claiming, as Jesus did, “We taught God’s Word.”

Satan pays his workers well during this lifetime, but he wants it all back with interest at the end.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Contrasted to what we do ourselves is the fruit of the Spirit, which comes from the Gospel. The Scriptures clearly teach that this fruit comes from the Means of Grace.

Jesus’ IAM sermon – the True Vine – is especially clear.

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.

Gardeners know that they do certain things and God provides the results. Paul wrote, too, that he planted, Apollos watered, and God brought the increase.

In the True Vine sermon, Jesus did not even mention human work. The Vine is already there and God tends the vine. The vine bears fruit, is pruned for more fruit and to get rid of dead wood. And it is even more fruitful.

When we garden, we plant seeds or bushes or trees. We do certain things to nurture them, but all the growth is from God. We even water our plants, but there is nothing like rain. Either we wait for the rain or store it in barrels for future use.

The fruits of the Spirit are nine-fold, making them easy to remember in groups of three. In the Bible, those things associated with God are grouped in threes, reminding us of the Trinity:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is
love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, gentleness, goodness,
faith, 23 Meekness, temperance.

The entire world seems to praise love above all else, but the way to obtain this love is obscured by many invented paths to it. The way to have more love is to have more Gospel.

The New Age – Eastern religion opposite – can be found in Julia Roberts film “Eat Pray Love.” She says that the true god is the god within which is the real you. The constant refrain in the film is “Do the work.” The work is her quest to find peace through meditation, reciting prayers in another language, and sending “light” to a feminist friend getting married in India. Hinduism and Buddhism are meditation religions, and meditation is man’s work.

From the Gospel we receive love and therefore grow in that spiritual fruit. That also gives us joy, because the forgiveness of sin brings love, joy, and peace.

Peace is often blurred by many conflicting claims for it. It is the result of justification by faith.

KJV Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

Satan might accuse us for our sinfulness. As Luther said, “I may be a thousand times worse than Satan says, but Christ has died for my sins.” But peace comes from forgiveness from Christ, so the entire Christian life is based upon justification by faith.

It is ironic that the false teachers who claim to provide so much are really building up the false doctrine Paul tore apart so effectively. The neo-wolves claim they will transform lives, but Paul said the Gospel does that, through God’s work alone. The neo-wolves want to take credit for a religion of glory, a theater of the absurd (bad music, stale popcorn, flat soda pop) – but Paul gave glory only to Christ crucified.

Rather than exalt the flesh, as the neo-wolves do, Paul wrote:

24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

Galatians 5 Quotations

"We believe, teach, and confess also that at the time of confession [when a confession of the heavenly truth is required], when the enemies of God's Word desire to suppress the pure doctrine of the holy Gospel, the entire congregation of God, yea, every Christian, but especially the ministers of the Word, as the leaders of the congregation of God [as those whom God has appointed to rule His Church], are bound by God's Word to confess freely and openly the [godly] doctrine, and what belongs to the whole of [pure] religion, not only in words, but also in works and with deeds; and that then, in this case, even in such [things truly and of themselves] adiaphora, they must not yield to the adversaries, or permit these [adiaphora] to be forced upon them by their enemies, whether by violence or cunning, to the detriment of the true worship of God and the introduction and sanction of idolatry...Galatians 5:1." Formula of Concord, SD X. #10-11. Adiaphora. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 1055. Tappert, p. 612. Heiser, p. 284. Galatians 5:1.

"In philosophy an error that is small at the beginning becomes very great in the end. So a small error in theology overturns the whole body of doctrine...That is why we may not surrender or change even an iota (apiculum) of doctrine." What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, III, p. 1365. Galatians 5:9.

"Doctrine is our only light. It alone enlightens and directs us and shows us the way to heaven. If it is shaken in one quarter (in une parte), it will necessarily be shaken in its entirety (in totum). Where that happens, love cannot help us at all." What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 414. Galatians 5:10.

"Joy is the natural fruit of faith. The apostle says elsewhere (Galatians 5:22-23): 'The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control.' Until the heart believes in God, it is impossible for it to rejoice in Him. When faith is lacking, man is filled with fear and gloom and is disposed to flee at the very mention, the mere thought, of God. Indeed, the unbelieving heart is filled with enmity and hatred against God. Conscious of its own guilt, it has no confidence in His gracious mercy; it knows God is an enemy to sin and will terribly punish the same." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 93. Fourth Sunday in Advent, Philippians 4:4-7; Galatians 5:22-23.

"That forbearance which is a fruit of the Spirit retains its characteristic kindness whether directed toward friend or enemy, toward rich or poor." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 103. Fourth Sunday in Advent, Philippians 4:4-7; Galatians 5:22-23 .

Spiritual Gifts Quotations

"People Person: Have been recognized as a counselor and mediator. Brought harmony to what was once described as 'the most troubled Lutheran church in America. Personal: Born, December 6, 1941, Columbus. Married, three children. Spiritual gifts: Exhortation, teaching, administration and evangelism.
Floyd Luther Stolzenburg 2904 Maryland Avenue Columbus, Ohio 43209-1157 614-235-5200. Forgot to add – divorced. Kicked out of LCMS for cause. Church Growth fanatic embraced by WELS/ELS. Closely associated with John Shep (ELS to ELCA) Roger Kovaciny (WELS to ELS to Whatever) and Jay Webber – Thoughts of Faith, ELS/WELS.

"Recognizing the need for professional church growth consultation, in 1975 he [C. Peter Wagner] invited John Wimber to become the founding director of what is now the Charles E. Fuller Institute of Evangelism and Church Growth. Wimber got the Institute off to an excellent start, then left to become the founding pastor of Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Anaheim and Vineyard Ministries... Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow (Regal, 1979) is approaching the 100,000 mark... Church Growth and the Whole Gospel (Harper and Row, 1981) is a scholarly discussion of criticisms of the Church Growth Movement from the viewpoint of social ethics, in which Wagner did his doctoral work."
C. Peter Wagner, ed., with Win Arn and Elmer Towns, Church Growth: The State of the Art, Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1986, p. 271f.

"Pastors and lay persons trained in Church Growth are leading Christians to discover their spiritual gifts. They are looking into the Scripture and discovering those verses in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4 where some of the gifts are listed." [See C. Peter Wagner, Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow, 1979, "a discussion of gifts which relates specifically to the potential of mobilizing God's people for church growth," p. 33.]
Kent R. Hunter, Launching Growth in the Local Congregation, A Workbook for Focusing Church Growth Eyes, Detroit: Church Growth Analysis and Learning Center, 1980, p. 26. WELS and Missouri love this apostate.

"This epistle selection treats of spiritual things, thing which chiefly pertain to the office of the ministry and concern the Church authorities. Paul instructs how those in office should employ their gifts for the benefit of one another and thus further the unity and advancement of the Churches."
Sermons of Martin Luther, ed. John Nicolas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 197f.

"Whenever the Word of God has a foothold, there the devil will be. By the agency of his factions he will always build his taverns and kitchens beside God's house. So he did at first, in Paradise. In the family of Adam he entrenched himself, establishing there his church." Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, ed. John Nicolas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 198. "But dissensions, sects and divisions are sure signs that the true doctrine is either ignored or misunderstood, men thus being left in a condition to be 'tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine,' as Paul says (Ephesians 4:4); which is indisputably the case with these same schismatics who condemn the Church and her doctrines because of some discordant ones."
Sermons of Martin Luther, ed. John Nicolas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 204.

"Thus Paul rejects the glorying and boasting of the sects over their offices and gifts--they who pretend to be filled with the Spirit and to teach the people correctly, and who make out that Paul and other teachers are of no consequence...MOre than that, they demand a higher attainment in the Spirit for Gospel ministers, deeming faith, the Sacrament, and the outward office not sufficient."
Sermons of Martin Luther, ed. John Nicolas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 206.

"You are either reproaching and cursing Jesus, or praising him and owning him your Lord. If your preaching and teaching fail to point to Christ, something else being offered, and you nevertheless boast of the Spirit, you are already judged: the spirit you boast is not the Holy Spirit, not the true Spirit, but a false one. To it we are not to listen. Rather we are condemn it to the abyss of hell, as Paul declares, (Galatians 1:8), saying: 'But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any Gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema [damned to Hell].'"
Sermons of Martin Luther, ed. John Nicolas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 206.

"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. "Flesh and blood are too weak to obtain this glorious confidence; the Holy Spirit is essential. Reason and our own hearts cry out in protest: 'Alas, I am far too evil and unworthy! How could I be proud and presumptuous enough to boast myself the servant of the Lord Jesus Christ?"
Sermons of Martin Luther, ed. John Nicolas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 210.

"The gift of prophecy is the ability to rightly interpret and explain the Scriptures, and powerfully to reveal therefrom the doctrine of faith and the overthrow of false doctrine. The gift of prophecy includes, further, the ability to employ the Scriptures for admonition and reproof, for imparting strength and comfort, by pointing out, on the one hand, the certainty of future indignation, vengeance and punishment for the unbelieving and disobedient, and on the other hand presenting divine aid and reward to godly believers. Thus did the prophets with the Word of God, both the Law and the promises."
Sermons of Martin Luther, ed. John Nicolas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 213.

"Christians, however, though obliged to live among swine and to be at times trampled under foot and rooted about, have nevertheless surpassing glory; for they can look up and intelligently behold their Lord and His gifts."
Sermons of Martin Luther, ed. John Nicolas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 217.

"Regarding the baptizer--who may be a woman even--and the baptized, we certainly can see nothing wonderful. The humanity in the case does not effect any great work; the work is wrought by Him who is God, Lord, and Spirit."
Sermons of Martin Luther, ed. John Nicolas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 218.

"But the discerning Christian can with satisfaction boast on this wise: 'My baptism or my absolution is not of my own devising or ordaining, nor of another man's. It is of Christ my Lord." Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, ed. John Nicolas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 219. "His gifts and works in His Church must effect inexpressible results, taking souls from the jaws of the devil and translating them into eternal life and glory."
Sermons of Martin Luther, ed. John Nicolas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 220.

"The instructor may find it best not to distribute the Spiritual Gifts Analysis (pp. 33-49) until the end of the course, when the time has come for class members to work through it."
David J. Valleskey, Gifted to Serve, Parish Services, WELS. Brains may not be thoroughly washed until the end of the Fuller propaganda program.

"2. The distinction between a witness and an evangelist. a. Some are evangelists (Eph. 4:11-12) 1) C. Peter Wagner: 'The average church can realistically expect that approximately 10 per cent of its active adult members will have been given the gift of evangelist' ("Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow," Glendale: Gospel Light, 1979, p. 176)...3) but don't expect everyone to have that gift - Wagner (op. cit.): 'It is a misunderstanding of biblical teaching, in my opinion, to try to convince every Christian that he or she has to be sharing the faith constantly as a part of their duty to the Master."
Prof. David J. Valleskey, Class Notes, The Theology and Practice of Evangelism, PT 358A p. 51. Wagner is a Pentecostal Babtist.

Steps of gift discovery: 1. Explore the possibilities. 2. Experiment with as many [spiritual gifts] as possible. 3. Examine your feelings. When you experiment with a gift and enjoy using it, that is a good sign... 4. Evaluate your effectiveness...If you are not seeing any results, it may be a sign that you do not have that particular gift. 5. Expect the confirmation of others.
SPIRITUAL GIFTS ANALYSIS Sent to WELS congregations using a Spiritual Renewal Program consultant (directed by Rev. Paul Calvin Kelm) p. 40.