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 CDT.


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, October 31, 2010

Reformation Sunday





The Festival of the Reformation, 2010


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn # 265 Thine Honor Save Erhalt Uns Herr
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual
The Gospel
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 262 A Mighty Fortress 1:86
The Gospel Shows the Father’s Grace
The Communion Hymn # 264 Preserve Thy Word 2:55
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 # 347 Jesus Priceless Treasure 2:77

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

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

Collect
O almighty, eternal God: We confess that we are poor sinners and cannot answer one of a thousand, when Thou contendest with us; but with all our hearts we thank Thee, that Thou hast taken all our guilt from us and laid it upon Thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and made Him to atone for it: We pray Thee graciously to sustain us in faith, and so to govern us by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may live according to Thy will, in neighborly love, service, and helpfulness, and not give way to wrath or revenge, that we may not incur Thy wrath, but always find in Thee a gracious Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

The Gospel Shows the Father’s Grace

Lenski:
“The angel has “the everlasting gospel to preach” εὐαγγέλιον αἰώνιον εὐαγγελισαι; the noun and the infinitive repeat and thus emphasize the gospel and the idea of good news. We need not ask what this gospel is, for its content is stated in v. 7. The older Protestants regarded this first angel flying in midheaven as a prophecy of Luther and his gospel, and to this day Rev. 14:6, 7 is the regular pericope for Reformation Day. Sometimes it was thought that Luther was prefigured by the third angel. The other two were thought to be Wycliff and Huss. When commentators reject this interpretation they do so without sufficient reason. The text for Reformation Day is well chosen, for the fathers of Reformation days selected it not because they identified the first angel wholly with Luther. The Reformer, too, preached only the old apostolic gospel. The angel with the eternal gospel is the messenger from heaven for the whole New Testament Era and thus most certainly includes a man like Luther who once more made the eternal gospel ring out in all its saving power and purity in the whole wide world despite all the devil’s effort to hush his voice. Use the text as the fathers intended it to be used, and all is well. If any made the angel apply only to the Reformer, their only fault lay in the narrowness of their interpretation.” Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. John's Revelation. Columbus, O. : Lutheran Book Concern, 1935, S. 428.

Some stained glass windows have a figure of Luther with wings, carrying the Bible. The symbol is quite powerful, because Luther and the Reformers went against 1000 years of Medieval tradition to restore the Gospel.

The Gospel, in the simplest words, shows the Father’s grace. The Reformation worked against ten centuries of Law preaching, fear, and condemnation.

The concept of Purgatory came from Plato, from pagans, as the Roman Catholic Church has admitted. Anyone who belongs to the Church of Rome agrees with Purgatory by virtue of membership. Purgatory fits well with man’s wisdom – we are imperfect and need to be cleansed after death. That by itself is a repudiation of the Gospel. Even worse, Purgatory is a system of works teaching people how they can earn their way into heaven by pleasing God with works. Although a few people may reach heaven immediately after dying, they claim, the vast majority spent hundreds and thousands of years being tortured in Purgatory, comforted by the Virgin Mary and consoled by the presence of so many priests, nuns, and Notre Dame coaches. Mother Angelica spoke glowingly of Purgatory by saying, if she died and woke up there, “I made it!”

The fear-stoked Catholics are told to aim at heaven so they land in Purgatory. If they aim for Purgatory, they may miss and…

Grace
The issue is how we receive grace and what this grace means.

KJV Genesis 6:7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

The ark saved Noah from the global destruction that followed, and that ark became a symbol of Holy Baptism.

KJV 1 Peter 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

Luther was trained to be a Biblical scholar. Even with all the Medieval traditions he had to learn, he studied the Word of God. Luther was an Augustinian monk, which meant that Augustine was especially respected in his order (compared to other figures, such as Aquinas, who is still the favorite of Rome today).

Augustine is the greatest theologian of the Christian Church, next to Luther, and he emphasized God’s grace and the power of the Word.

Paul, Augustine, and Luther were converted by the Word of God, so they knew and experienced the grace of God in His Word.

The Word of God must necessarily go against the traditions of man. God reveals His Word and calls men to teach it, but Satan fulminates against the Word and tries to destroy it by supplanting it with an imitation Gospel.

When prisoners escaped from Alcatraz, they fooled the guards by having dummies in the beds. The guards saw human forms and heads, and assumed the prisoners were in bed for the regular head count.

Satan uses grand and popular worship services to re-assert the folly of a religion of works. Modern man faces the same withering religion of Law that Medieval man suffered under. Two versions are popular. One is the Law religion of political activism, where the church is used to advance the Marxist agenda in the name of caring about the poor and making peace a reality.

The other Law religion concerns itself with prosperity, self-fulfillment, and transforming lives. These are two versions of the same Enthusiasm, new revelations from man and his Father Below, displacing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The religion of works teaches that man must do to earn God’s grace and favor,

The Gospel teaches God’s grace, converts man to faith, and brings to man that grace of the Gospel, earned by Christ in His titanic struggle against Satan.

The religion of grace teaches that God’s favor and forgiveness come to man through faith alone, apart from the works of the Law.

When man is not certain of God’s grace, he looks for ways to make himself confident. Man is not good at this, so he always fastens onto something wrong, whether emotions (religious ecstasy) or works of the Law (suffering, giving, lobbying for the Left).

To counter this, God has given us the clearest possible tokens of His grace. They symbolize His grace and favor, but they also provide what they symbolize. These are the instruments of His grace, the Means of Grace.

The Word is the Means of Grace in each instance. We are confident in His forgiveness because it is based upon the objective Word, not our feelings or works.

People confuse that proclamation. The atonement of Christ is the universal payment. The crucifixion is the redemption of the entire world. The message of this atonement or redemption (propitiation, expiation, ransom payment, reconciliation) is the Gospel.

The purpose of Gospel preaching is to teach man first that he does not believe in Christ. Secondly, to show by the empty grave and Ascension that Christ lives eternally to give us eternal life.

Conversion itself is important, but re-emphasis is also an essential part of worship and teaching. Man loses his confidence in the Gospel and begins to trust in himself. That is a natural process called entropy. We drift away from the truth, just as engines wear out and fires die down.

When man begins to lose his trust in the Gospel alone, he reaches out for certainty in other forms – traditions, works, emotions, and worldly honors. Grace plus works is no longer God’s grace but some form of Law – not God’s Law, but man’s Law leavened with snippets of Christianity.

Luther’s sermons emphasized faith in Christ, faith in God’s Word, because that is God’s message –
1. That He has done everything for us.
2. That He has given us certainty in the Means of Grace, no matter what others or our feelings may tell us – not even if Satan assails us with doubts.
3. That the Word is our only light, our foundation, our assurance of God’s grace, favor, and forgiveness.

The power of the Gospel is so great that it permeates every aspect of our lives. The Gospel makes us impatient with false teachers and intolerant of false doctrine. The world begs us to give the cancer of works and feelings a little more time to be straightened out. Friends urge us to be flexible and compromise on just a few points, to be uniters rather than dividers.

The Gospel brings the cross, but it also brings that inner peace that does not abandon us when people rage against the Word.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity





The Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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



Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time



The Hymn # 199 Jesus Christ Is Risen 1:83
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 # 261 Lord Keep Us Steadfast 1:93
The Whole Armor of God
The Communion Hymn # 308 Invited, Lord, by Boundless Grace 1:63
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 # 49 Almighty God 1:81

KJV Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

KJV John 4:46 So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. 48 Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. 49 The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. 50 Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. 51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. 52 Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. 53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house. 54 This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee.

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

The Whole Armor of God

KJV Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

I liked verse 11 so much that I added it to the bottom of Ichabod and the Bethany blog.

This passage is one of the classics in the Bible, perfect for the month where we remember Luther and the Reformation, because it concerns the souls of individual Christians and the Church Militant.

Professor Reu (ALC, Iowa Synod) clarified the relationship between unionism and doctrinal indifference. They go together so well that one causes the other, to paraphrase Aristotle, one is either the mother or daughter of the other. (Aristotle said that of patience and courage.)

When people work together in spite of doctrinal differences, they put those differences aside and no longer care about them. Also, when people become neutral about doctrine, they look for ways to work with other confessions of faith.
One example is rather plain to see. When churches get together to host a Vacation Bible School, and various denominations are included, no one wants to contact the unchurched for fear of offending their fellow churches, even when the group includes Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, and Episcopalians.

Also, when a denomination is completely apostate, there is little interest in special programs and people avoid responsibility for anything laborious. So they say, “Why not have a community VBS, so we can fill this enormous barn with children?”

Union efforts have a strange math, just like congregational mergers – 1 plus 1 plus 1 plus 1 equals a little more than 1.

ELCA, WELS, and LCMS worked together on a huge, lavishly funded evangelism project, to restore membership, and membership in all three groups declined even more rapidly!

All three still work together through Thrivent and Lutheran World Relief. Denomination headquarters of each synod could safely be called branch offices of the One Big Generic Lutheran Church. No wonder WELS gave money to the United Nations.

The worst church bodies in doctrine and practice are those with the most mergers in their history:
1. The United Church of Christ.
2. The United Methodists.
3. The Presbyterians.
4. The ELCA.
5. The Disciples of Christ
6. The big Baptist groups.
7. The Church of Rome, which practices “big tent” ecclesiology – believe whatever you want as long as you belong.

In contrast, during a time of doctrinal crisis, when groups are militant against error, the battling groups produce - books and essays which become doctrinal classics, great hymns, and a rebirth of spiritual life.

To quote Mother Angelica, the liberals do not produce anything – offerings, vocations, or any kind of growth. What she said about Catholics was just as true about other confessions of faith.

The Biblical Passage
6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

This passage is the climax of the letter, followed by personal notes, which we still use as a PS (for those who remember).

The Apostle Paul urged his brothers to be strong “in the Lord” and for emphasis “in the power of His might.” Our strength as Christians does not come from within but from God, through the Word.

As Luther said, we poor, frail mortals enrage Satan because we are so weak, yet we are protected from him by the Word of God. That does not make Satan give up, but stirs him up to try even more of his arts against us.

Kingdom of God, Kingdom of Satan
People often mix up their terminology with Luther, referring to the Two Kingdoms as church and government. He used the term “regiment” for that distinction. The Two Kingdoms in Luther are – God’s Kingdom and Satan’s. These kingdoms are at war with each other. Satan never gives up while we are still alive. We are born in the Kingdom of Satan, but Holy Baptism rescues us from sin, death, and the devil. Once a soul is included in God’s Kingdom, Satan wants him back.

Paul used a familiar figure to remind his fellow believers of what God provided them for the battle against Satan. The Roman Empire controlled the entire civilized world, more than most people imagine. There are Roman ruins in Lebanon, for example, and military camps in England from those days – complete with flush toilets and hot tubs. The soldiers built a wall across the entire country, East to West, to keep out illegal aliens from across the northern border.

The Armored Soldier
Paul used the armored soldier as his image, because everyone saw them at outposts and marching through town. (Also see Is. 59:17)

11 Put on the whole armour (panoply) of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

The weapons against Satan are combined, to show how a soldier would employ all his equipment, not just one or two parts of it, before going into battle. Satan has many arts, many tricks. One trick may work against one person and not against another, so he has many at his disposal.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

I remember when a pastor friend walked up to a Church Growth professor and warned him, using this passage. He wanted to warn him that this was not just a political game, but one where God and Satan were contending. The young pastor was forced out of the ministry, which was the one thing he wanted to do his whole life, following the footsteps of his father. Evil does not want to be warned.

Flesh and blood contend, but the ultimate victory is never one involving life and death. The martyr who dies for the faith has more power than the people who murder him. These killings are going on all over the earth, especially in Africa, but also wherever the Christian faith is hated.

One father was asked if he would kill his son for becoming a Christian. He said, “Not in America.” What a horrid religion, to say – Not where I would get caught and punished, but definitely in a safe place for my pagan practices.

The spiritual wickedness in high places refers to the transcendent power of evil. It is not simply located in wicked individuals but is driven by a higher power, a power which has motivated Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Castro, and Margaret Sanger. It explains why a cancer fund in memory of a dead cancer victim – Susan Komen – can donate $700 million to Planned Parenthood, the chief provider of abortions in America. All the Lutheran synods are in on this genocide, working with Thrivent, LWR, and ELCA.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

We can imagine ourselves strong, until everything is thrown against us. Then we are like the gladiator, hammered down to the ground by multiple strikes from all directions. The easiest one to land is from a friend. At that point we realize how we need the panoply of God’s weapons, all of them rather than one, our own strength too diminished to prevail against so much hatred and deception.

I know many who have gone through this, and they know better than anyone how powerful God’s Word is. I have also watched the great and wise ones engage in betrayal. Although they seemed to have everything on their side, their betrayal of the Word unhinged them and they fell. One official was sowing hatred in a meeting. A few months later he was thrown out of the ministry, for cause, and looking for work at a hardware store, still lying to his own family, still deceiving others.
God has a way of punishing people according to their own vanity. He humbles the great and proud. But Satan helps too. Satan blinds people in their wrath and hatred, but takes off the blinders to let them see their folly.

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

There can only be one truth. People love to juggle with words and downplay religious differences especially, as if we were talking about liking French fries more than mashed potatoes.

If people do not fight for the truth, they lose their concept of it and stop valuing it as well. At that point they will have a two hour meeting over where to hang the banners but dismiss talk about false doctrine as a matter of taste.

The leather or metal breastplate on the soldier was vital to him because it protected against sword thrusts to his heart and lungs. Weapons were also used to bash in the chest area. Even in athletics, the heart can be bruised and a life threatened from the injury.

Our breastplate is the righteousness of Christ, which comes from the outside (extra nos, like the blog) through the Means of Grace. That means we are protected against the emotional assaults of Satan. That is, he would rather drain our emotions than spill our blood. He would rather have us listless and despairing than awakened by physical pain.

When Satan attacks us as weak, fallible, and sinful, we can say, “All true, but Christ is my righteousness. He has paid for my sins. He has given me grace through the Word and Sacraments.”

Christian refused to be employed by Satan again, because he did not like the wages, saying to Apolyon (The Destroyer): “The wages of sin is death.”

15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

What soldier will go to battle bare-footed? I would rather be, but if there is anything worthwhile to be done, the shoes have to go on. Bare feet outside or in the garage can make us very timid and careful. I had three meetings with a foot specialist to remove glass from my foot, because the tiniest piece causes pain with every step. (I now wear combat boots in the kitchen.)

The Gospel of peace is preparedness. Knowing the Gospel Promises arms us in the battle. Notice how the weapons are defensive against Satan but also take the offensive as well. Wherever the Gospel goes, Satan is defeated.

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

I agree with Lenski in taking the shield to be the Shield of The Faith. While individual faith also works well as an interpretation, making it more inclusive is fitting. The Christian Faith, Law and Gospel, Word and Sacraments, Blessings and Promises, shields us against the arrows of Satan.

That leads us to the main weapon of defense and offense.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Without being too literal, the helmet protects our head in the way that our thoughts protect us from our emotions. If we know the Biblical basis for our faith, then we can control our emotions with the intelligence God has given us. For instance, remembering Biblical verses, the catechism, and hymns will protect us – knowing our salvation comes from Christ rather than from our own virtue.

The passage ends with the Sword of the Holy Spirit, which is the Word of God. In ancient times the sword was a major weapon, sharp as a razor and used both to hold off attacks while thrusting and cutting to finish the enemy. Few realize today that Luther’s own sword cut him severely in that thunderstorm where he made his vow to serve God.
He was in pain and could have bled to death in that storm, having no shelter and no aid.

The Word of God is our protection against all the wiles of Satan and defeats him by attacking his palace of evil. Nothing stirs up wrath more than saying, “This is false doctrine. This is contrary to God’s Word.” It is worse than kicking over a hornet’s nest. It is more like jumping into a den of hungry wolves. Nevertheless, the Word of God makes them cringe, yelp, and hide.

Luther said it best when addressing the First Table of the Ten Commandments:

The Large Catechism, Preface
10] Besides, it is an exceedingly effectual help against the devil, the world, and the flesh and all evil thoughts to be occupied with the Word of God, and to speak of it, and meditate upon it, so that the First Psalm declares those blessed who meditate upon the Law of God day and night. Undoubtedly, you will not start a stronger incense or other fumigation against the devil than by being engaged upon God's commandments and words, and speaking, singing, or thinking of them. For this is indeed the true holy water and holy sign from which he flees, and by which he may be driven away.

12] And what need is there of many words? If I were to recount all the profit and fruit which God's Word produces, whence would I get enough paper and time? The devil is called the master of a thousand arts. But what shall we call God's Word, which drives away and brings to naught this master of a thousand arts with all his arts and power? It must indeed be the master of more than a hundred thousand arts. 13] And shall we frivolously despise such power, profit, strength, and fruit-we, especially, who claim to be pastors and preachers? If so, we should not only have nothing given us to eat, but be driven out, being baited with dogs, and pelted with dung, because we not only need all this every day as we need our daily bread, but must also daily use it against the daily and unabated attacks and lurking of the devil, the master of a thousand arts.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Twentieth Sunday after Trinity



Photo and altar by Norma Boeckler



The Twentieth Sunday after Trinity


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn # 39 Praise to the Lord 3:1
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual
The Gospel
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 370 My Hope Is Built 3:11
Wedding Garment – Righteousness of Faith
The Communion Hymn # 246 Holy, Holy, Holy 3:35
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 # 309 O Jesus Blessed Lord 3:70

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

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

Twentieth Sunday After Trinity
Lord God, heavenly Father: We thank Thee, that of Thy great mercy Thou hast called us by Thy holy word to the blessed marriage-feast of Thy Son, and through Him dost forgive us all our sins; but, being daily beset by temptation, offense, and danger, and being weak in ourselves and given to sin, we beseech Thee graciously to protect us by Thy Holy Spirit, that we fall not; and if we fall and defile our wedding-garment, with which Thy Son hath clothed us, graciously help us again and lead us to repentance, that we fall not forever; preserve in us a constant faith in Thy grace, through our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Wedding Garment – Righteousness of Faith
Jesus spoke in parables so the actual followers would be trained in the Gospel. The crowds were enormous, because many people came out of curiosity, or hostility, or the need to be entertained with miracles.
Jesus converted people through the Word, and instruction followed. More than once, people fell away (John 6) because they did not want to hear the explanation of His Word.

This parable is an example of an interesting short story that would fly past anyone who does not understand its meaning. The story makes sense until the end. When the guest is tossed into eternal torment for not dressing properly – that appears to be in conflict with everything before.

Jesus explained His parables to His disciples, who were often puzzled.

The setting is clear, because the King and His Son are the Father and Jesus. The wedding feast is a common theme in the New Testament, with Jesus as the groom and the church as the bride. This is also found in Paul and Revelation.

The Father/Son relationship is especially important in John’s Gospel, but it is also emphasized in Matthew:

KJV Matthew 11:27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

The wedding feast is the Kingdom of God. The servants (apostles, missionaries, pastors) go out to invite people through the Gospel. The Holy Spirit calls people to faith through the Gospel:

The Third Article.
Of Sanctification.
I believe in the Holy Ghost; one holy Christian Church, the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.
What does this mean?--Answer.
I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He forgives daily and richly all sins to me and all believers, and at the last day will raise up me and all the dead, and will give to me and to all believers in Christ everlasting life. This is most certainly true.
The Word of God answers clearly how people come to faith (Isaiah 55; Romans 10) and why people fall away (Mark 4 – Parable of the Sower). The Scriptures do not answer why some are saved and not others.

This parable, like many other passages in the Bible, teaches us how often God proclaims the Gospel to the entire world, how patiently He works, and also how ultimate refusal results in His wrath.

Matthew 22:4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. 5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: 6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.

The first stage of the invitation is an exact parallel of the start of the Christian Church. God’s gracious invitation to the Kingdom resulted in persecution in Jerusalem, especially because so many were converted. The Jewish opponents drove the Christians out and killed their leaders. A few years later, the foolish war with the Roman Empire resulted in the siege of Jerusalem, its utter destruction, the execution or enslavement of everyone trapped in the city.

7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.

Jesus warned His followers more than once that Jerusalem would face His wrath. Even though the crucifixion took place there, God called people to faith through the apostles. But they persecuted the Christian Church and drove them out. They decided to take on the Roman Empire and brought about their own destruction, since God uses foreign powers to chasten the unrepentant.

Matthew 22:8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. 9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. 10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.

These verses correspond to the Gentile mission. The first part of the apostolic mission was aimed at the Jews, and it was very successful, in spite of the persecution in Jerusalem. Unlike the so-called mission pastors of today, who only want to gather other Christians from nearby churches, the apostles went to the heart of the opposition. They went to the synagogues and preached to them the way they preached on Pentecost.

KJV Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

KJV Acts 4:10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.

Through this message of Law and Gospel, they brought many people to repentance and faith in Christ. This only inflamed the opposition, so the synagogues were closed to them. That did not mean that the mission to the Jewish people ended or stopped. To this day Jews are converted by the Word because all their teaching is the foundation of the Christian faith. One of my birthday greetings came from a Jew who became a Lutheran pastor, one of the orthodox confessors in his synod – and pounded for that very reason. We once had a conversation about the liturgy being “invented in the Middle Ages” – an argument from Church Growth. The Jewish worship service today is entirely liturgical, even high church in its own way. The Christian Church simply continued that Word-based tradition. That is why a sincere Jewish believer who looks past the polemics will find the Christian faith the fulfillment of everything in the Old Testament. Everything in the OT prepares him for faith in Christ, because faith in the crucified Messiah is embedded in the books of the Old Testament.

gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good:
The initial mission was not a failure. It was a roaring success, but opposition and indifference made the Gospel rain move on, as it does. For instance, today in America, very little Gospel is taught, although we have more churches than the rest of the world put together. We have enormous endowments. A little sect like WELS has something like $100 million, not counting individual congregations and separate entities, like Christian Life Resources, which had $2 million the last time I looked.

The gathering of the Kingdom includes “the good and the bad.” As Luther said, more people go to heaven from the scaffold than from anyplace else. They do not have the luxury of denying their sinfulness.

When people are told they are already forgiven, born forgiven, as UOJ teaches, there is no reason for Holy Baptism, the Keys, or faith. Although the Word is powerful, man’s substitution of other thoughts is not. “My thoughts are not your thoughts,” says the Lord in Isaiah 55.

This gathering is shown as all-inclusive because the Gospel transcends all cultures. The reason the apostolic church stretched from England to India was the disciples’ conviction that they were teaching the truth. They followed Jesus in His basic sermon – to convict the world of sin, because they did not believe on Him (John 16).

KJV John 16:6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. 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.

God’s grace is shown in the lack of works-requirements and merit in forgiveness and salvation.

Faith in Christ is forgiveness, as Jesus said. Not believing is a sin, as He said Himself in John 16:9.

Christianity grew to be the world’s largest religion because people preached and taught the Gospel Word with abandon. In casting the Word in all directions, they planted faith in the hearts of those who listened with seriousness and sincerity. The large net drew in all kinds, some looking for a way to make money or a reputation from this religion.

11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

This last section seems to turn the story upside-down, but that is only true for unbelievers. Believers can recognize the familiar theme of “putting on Christ” and righteousness as a robe.

The robe image is good because it is outside and covers us. The righteousness of Christ is outside of us and covers our sin.

Some enter the banquet with some knowledge of the Gospel but still clinging to merit, the Law, or works.

Augustine wrote many fine theological works, the best in the Christian Church – next to Luther’s.

When his mother died, he wrote that he hoped she would not point to her merit as a reason to enjoy eternal life but to lay her claims upon Christ alone.


"In the Word of God there is not only a speaking about God, but in and through His Word God Himself speaks to us, deals with us, acts upon us. Therefore the Word of God is also an efficacious means of grace through which God regenerates, converts, and sanctifies man. This efficacy the Word of God possesses always; it is always united with the Word, never separated from it. The effect which God intends through the Word is indeed not always attained, but this is owing to no lack of efficacy in the Word, but solely to the resistance of man; for man has the power to resist God and to prevent His Word from accomplishing the effect which He intends." E. Hove, Christian Doctrine, Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1930, p. 27.

"To the Lutheran the sermon, as the preached Word, is a means of grace. Through it the Holy Spirit calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth. It is a constant offer of pardon; a giving of life, as well as a nourishing and strengthening of life. In the Reformed churches the sermon is apt to be more hortatory and ethical. It partakes more of the sacrificial than of the sacramental character. The individuality of the preacher, the subjective choice of a text, the using of it merely for a motto, the discussion of secular subjects, the unrestrained platform style, lack of reverence, lack of dignity, and many other faults are common, and are not regarded as unbecoming the messenger of God in His temple. Where there is a properly trained Lutheran consciousness such things repel, shock, and are not tolerated." G. H. Gerberding, The Lutheran Pastor, Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1915, p. 278.

"To the Lutheran the sermon, as the preached Word, is a means of grace. Through it the Holy Spirit calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth. It is a constant offer of pardon; a giving of life, as well as a nourishing and strengthening of life. In the Reformed churches the sermon is apt to be more hortatory and ethical. It partakes more of the sacrificial than of the sacramental character. The individuality of the preacher, the subjective choice of a text, the using of it merely for a motto, the discussion of secular subjects, the unrestrained platform style, lack of reverence, lack of dignity, and many other faults are common, and are not regarded as unbecoming the messenger of God in His temple. Where there is a properly trained Lutheran consciousness such things repel, shock, and are not tolerated." G. H. Gerberding, The Lutheran Pastor, Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1915, p. 278.

"Is the success of preaching as a means of grace conditioned by the observance of similar principles by the preacher? Undoubtedly. For it is not preaching itself, but the Word as preached which is a means of grace. This demands not only that nothing be preached but what comes directly or indirectly from Holy Scripture, but also that the contents of Holy Scripture be preached in due proportion and in the proper order." Henry Eyster Jacobs, A Summary of the Christian Faith, Philadelphia: General Council Publication House, 1913, p. 293.

"The doctrine of the means of grace is a peculiar glory of Lutheran theology. To this central teaching it owes its sanity and strong appeal, its freedom from sectarian tendencies and morbid fanaticism, its coherence and practicalness, and its adaptation to men of every race and every degree of culture. The Lutheran Confessions bring out with great clearness the thought of the Reformers upon this subject." "Grace, Means of," The Concordia Cyclopedia, L. Fuerbringer, Th. Engelder, P. E. Kretzmann, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1927, p. 299.

Heresy
"Paul says that people can, in some way, 'adorn the doctrine' (KJV). Does that mean adding anything to the Gospel, thereby making the Means of Grace more 'effective'? Of course not. But it does mean that a Christian, a Christian slave in the original context, can discredit the Gospel--and thus erect a human barrier--through actions and words that contradict the profession of faith." Lawrence Otto Olson, D. Min., Fuller Seminary, "A Response to Gregory L. Jackson, Ph.D.," Christian News, 3-28-94, p. 23. Titus 2:9-10

"Faithfulness is the standard by which God judges those he calls into the public ministry. That faithfulness may or may not be 'effective' in terms of visible results; results are up to God, not us. But part of faithfulness ought to include striving to be as 'effective' as we can be in the methods that we use to take the Means of Grace to people." Lawrence Otto Olson, D. Min., Fuller Seminary, "A Response to Gregory L. Jackson, Ph.D.," Christian News, 3-28-94, p. 23.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity




By Norma Boeckler


The Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn # 513 Art Thou Weary 4:37
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 #657:6-9 Beautiful Savior 4:24

Faith Is Forgiveness

The Communion Hymn #305 Soul, Adorn 4:23
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 #277 I Heard the Voice 4:57

Nineteenth Sunday After Trinity
O mighty and everlasting God, who by Thy Son Jesus Christ didst mercifully help the palsied man both in body and soul: We beseech Thee, for the sake of Thy great mercy: Be gracious also unto us; forgive us all our sins, and so govern us by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not ourselves be the cause of sickness and other afflictions; keep us in Thy fear, and strengthen us by Thy grace that we may escape temporal and eternal wrath and punishment, through Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

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

KJV Matthew 9:1 And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. 2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. 3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? 5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? 6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. 7 And he arose, and departed to his house. 8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.

Faith Is Forgiveness

Matthew 9:5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?

Luther:
“There must be sins, and if we are conscious of them, we must confess them; when I have confessed them, forgiveness and grace are immediately present. Before forgiveness is present there is nothing but sin. This sin must be confessed that I may feel and know that all that is in me is blindness; otherwise forgiveness of sins could not exist where there is no sin. However, there is no lack of sins to confess, but the lack is in not feeling and knowing our sins to confess them; then only forgiveness of them follows.”
http://www.trinitylutheranms.org/MartinLuther/MLSermons/Matthew9_1_8.html


Lenski:
The faith that Jesus saw manifested itself plainly enough. It was more than the ordinary faith which sought help of Jesus; it was a faith strong, persistent, inventive enough to discover the most unusual way of placing the sick man before Jesus. Why “their faith” should exclude the faith of the paralytic, as some assert, is hard to see. Surely, his friends did not bring him against his will, and surely, he must have consented to be lowered through the roof. It is true that Jesus healed some who had no faith at the moment and waited for faith to follow the healing; but no man’s sins are forgiven without faith being present in his heart. Instead of ruling out the faith of the paralytic, we must credit him with stronger faith than that of his friends. They may have had faith only in the power of Jesus to heal miraculously. This paralytic felt that he suffered from a greater ailment than paralysis, and thus he came to Jesus with his burden.
Not a word is uttered by either the paralytic or his friends. More eloquent than words is the prostrate form lowered through the ceiling to the feet of Jesus, interrupting his teaching in the packed house. As a true heart-knower Jesus sees all that is involved in this sufferer’s case and also all that it will mean for the present assembly and for all future time. First the soul, then the body. With the greatest tenderness Jesus absolves this sufferer’s soul. Men saw only his bodily affliction, Jesus saw the guilt and the contrition in the man’s heart. “Cheer up,” the present imperative θάρσει, takes away the gloom and the discouragement from the man’s heart and puts courage and happiness in its place. The address “child,” is far more tender and gentle than “son”; it is like a mother’s loving embrace. Jesus actually enters into this man’s heart and condition with the master-touch of his love.
Now the mighty word of release, “dismissed are thy sins.” The readings vary between the passive present ἀφίενται (or ἀφίονται) and the Doric yet common passive perfect ἀφέωνται (R. 315), the latter having its strong present implication. For both forms imply that the sins are dismissed the instant Jesus speaks this word. This is the great ἄφεσις, “dismissal” or “remission,” of which the Scriptures speak so constantly. The sins are sent away from the sinner so completely that they shall never be found again, to the depth of the sea, and so far that no one “can possibly bring them back, as far as the east is from the west (Ps. 103). Only God is able to send our sins away in this manner.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 355. A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, by A. T. Robertson, fourth edition.

Each miracle story has a slightly different emphasis, so we not only have Jesus’ miracles confirming His Word, but also a significant lesson within that miracle.

Jesus’ teaching and His miracles created a major stir and a large following. As shown by the miraculous feedings, thousands followed Him at one time. Some followed because of their faith in Him. Others looked for miracles to please or satisfy themselves. Still others looked for ways to condemn Christ.

Jesus taught in a few words what others have struggled over and turned into confusion and doubt.

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.

Jesus saw the faith of the group and said to this man, “Cheer up, your sins are forgiven.”

Faith and forgiveness go together.

How is someone forgiven of his sins?
1. The Church of Rome says – It never really happens until one spends hundreds or thousands of years in Purgatory, paying for those sins. There may be a few exceptions, but not many.
2. The Enthusiasts all say – You know when you feel forgiven. That plunges people into sorrow when that feeling goes away, as it must, since our feelings are volatile and untrustworthy. I just talked to a man who was is despair even though they had a two-income household, plenty of benefits, and no threat to their income. Emotions are often back-stabbing demons at time. That is why Satan attacks chiefly through our emotions.
3. The Bible and the Confessions are clear – The Word conveys Christ to us and God justifies us through faith. Faith receives what God promises.

The Gospel Promises are only for poor, weak sinners. Proud, haughty Pharisees, who trust in their own righteousness, will never grasp what the Gospel is. Nor will they desire it.

The message of the Gospel is so simple and plain that people spend years being trained to make it confused and complicated. I am not going to list all their confusions but return to what the Word of God teaches.

Faith is justification. Emotions are just emotions. The mind is a tool to grasp what the Word teaches, but intellectualism does not make someone better or worse as a Christian.

We should use our minds to study what takes away from the Word and to become even more confident in God.

What we know best will always be on our minds. Simply knowing what the Bible says is not enough if we have let false teachers get in the way of its meaning. For example, Donald McGavran (father of Church Growth) admitted that his students in India asked themselves this question whenever they read the Bible – “What do we not believe in this passage.” The reason was that Leftist apostate missionaries taught them doubt. They saw the words but put that doubt between themselves and the Word.

Here is a simple solution to that problem. Isaiah 55 teaches clearly that the Holy Spirit is always at work in the Word. Every phrase in the Bible is divinely powered and effective. God is speaking directly in each passage.

This is so simple and plain that the Gospel message has been summarized in one verse:

KJV John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Faith is forgiveness. Faith is salvation. Faith is everlasting life.

Faith comes from hearing the Word of God, when the Word of God is taught (not when the word of man is offered in place of it.)

Let’s say I want a commentary, to explain what John 3:16 says.

It is right here. The best interpreter of the Word is the Word. Or, as they say, Scripture interprets Scripture.

KJV John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Here I see that God’s nature is one of love – that God sent His Son for salvation, not for condemnation. If someone thinks of Jesus as the condemning Judge, this passage corrects that and inspires faith in Jesus as He is.

Does faith matter? These verses also explain that. Believers are not condemned – they receive complete, free, full forgiveness through the Word. Unbelievers are condemned already.

All the religious congresses and all the theologians in the world could agree that faith does not matter, but the Word of God says otherwise.

Faith in the Name of Christ means everything. Another way to say that is to use trust. Do you trust in the righteousness of Christ or in your own self-righteousness? Does it matter that you are related to someone in your sect? Then you trust in your own righteousness. Do you trust in the opinion of the sect, because it claims to be correct? That is trust in an organization rather than Christ.

Jesus said that everything will pass away, “But My Word will last forever.”
Why did Jesus say to a sick man, “Cheer up. Your sins are forgiven”?

Clearly it was a witness to the Pharisees and the crowd – to show He has divine power to forgive sins. One might say that is the greatest power of all. He said at the end, Rise up and walk. The man could do that as soon as Jesus pronounced the Word to him.

I see an important distinction here. Some debate about whether the man’s sins were the cause of his illness and that is why he was healed. Still others will claim that he thought he was sick, then thought he was health, so he could walk again.

Many people are blamed for being sick. People do that to absolve themselves. Is it in your family? Did you live in a toxic waste area, like Love’s Canal? Did you have unhealthy habits? Illegal drugs? Job’s comforters must have had a lot of children, because their descendants are all over the planet.

The most important healing the man could receive was forgiveness. That was the message of comfort. We cannot all be healthy. Not every illness has a cure, no matter what the medical fiction shows indicate. Therefore, forgiveness of sin overshadows actual healing. That is the one thing needful.

God gives what He promises through the Word. If we feel troubled and insecure about forgiveness, we know where to look for assurance. As Luther wrote – We are to look to the Word, which conveys Christ to us. John’s Gospel is especially clear about God’s love, although the same message permeates the Bible, from beginning to end.

Confessing our sins makes us aware of our own failings and shortcomings, our sins against God and our neighbor. The only cure for that is the Gospel, which gives us power to resist temptation, return God’s love, and to show our thankfulness in works of faith.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity



KJV Luke 13:32 And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.
Art by Norma Boeckler.



The Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn # 239 Come Thou Almighty King 2:72
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 #269 O Lord Our Father 2:56

Built on the Word

The Communion Hymn # 315:11-15 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 #651 Be Still My Soul 2:17

KJV 1 Corinthians 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; 6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

KJV Matthew 22:34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. 35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. 41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. 43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? 45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? 46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

Eighteenth Sunday After Trinity
Lord God, heavenly Father: We are poor, miserable sinners; we know Thy will, but cannot fulfill it because of the weakness of our flesh and blood, and because our enemy, the devil, will not leave us in peace. Therefore we beseech Thee, shed Thy Holy Spirit in our hearts, that, in steadfast faith, we may cling to Thy Son Jesus Christ, find comfort in His passion and death, believe the forgiveness of sin through Him, and in willing obedience to Thy will lead holy lives on earth, until by Thy grace, through a blessed death, we depart from this world of sorrow, and obtain eternal life, through Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Built on the Word, Built on the Gospel

Matthew 22: 41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. 43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? 45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? 46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

Lenski had extensive parish experience and was also a district president. He edited a periodical for German Lutherans, taught at the seminary in Columbus, wrote a complete commentary on the New Testament, and published other books as well. A Baptist missionary doctor brought up the fact that he loves Lenski’s work. Augsburg-Fortress let it go out of print, but it came back because people appreciate his scholarship.

Lenski had a unique perspective when he said that “Programs come and go, but only one thing builds the church – the Word of God.”

Today’s lesson is a good example of how this happens. This section of Matthew shows a typical Passover type setting, still employed today, where questions are asked, first by the audience, finally by the rabbi. This tradition encouraged the teacher and the audience to study the Word of God, and it applied to the head of the household as well. Fathers can do the same thing today with their own families. That is God’s design, which is often neglected.

The audience was supposed to stump the rabbi and the rabbi was supposed to ask them a question they could not answer. Jesus led the religious leaders into a difficulty they could not resolve, and it clearly indicated He was talking about Himself.

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Lenski:
Already the ancient fathers saw that Jesus here renews the supreme question he had a few weeks ago addressed to his own band of disciples, 16:13–16. Peter had given the true answer; the Pharisees refuse to give that answer. Until Palm Sunday Jesus had avoided use of the name “Messiah” because of its political and nationalistic implications. Now the time has arrived to disregard all such implications. On Palm Sunday Jesus had entered Jerusalem and the Temple as David’s son, Israel’s King, the Messiah. The pilgrim multitudes had shouted his great titles, the boys marching in the Temple courts had echoed those shouts. As the Messiah Jesus now asks the Pharisees this question, and they know that it is not an academic or a theoretical inquiry but the supreme question concerning his own person. It is put objectively, in the third person: “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?” It is thereby made easier to answer; but it pertains to Jesus himself nonetheless.


Luther finds a natural connection between the question concerning what makes a commandment great in the law (v. 36) and the answer Jesus gave (v. 37–40) and this great question which Jesus now asks and answers from Ps. 110. This connection has been denied, and yet it is only too obvious. Why would the covenant God of Israel, Yahweh Eloheka, ask his people to love him as he did if that love could never be realized in their hearts because of their sin and their doom under sin? His very covenant name points to the covenant promise of the Messiah in and through whose grace Israel would, indeed, come to love the Lord their God with the whole heart, soul, and mind (Jer. 31:33, 34). “The great and first commandment” (v. 38) and the Messiah, David’s son and David’s Lord, will ever belong together.


Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 884.

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The first question in this lesson concerns the love of God (First Table of the Ten Commandments) and the love of our neighbor (Second Table). The famous religious leaders of Israel agreed that this statement summarized the entire Old Testament, and that is Jesus’ answer as well.

Left unspoken, as Luther observed, is how this love relationship is resolved when all of us are sinful. When people are sinful and only expect divine justice, their response to God is hatred and fear, not love. Notice how hardened criminals respond to the police. They only see punishment in the police, so they hate and fear them. If an honest citizen sees a police vehicle, he feels safe, but a criminal runs. One Chicago policeman made a name for himself because of his own checkered past. He knew where to show up, and when suspects ran for no apparent reason, he chased them down and solved crimes.

That is how many people view God, and atheists are especially strident in their remarks. They are not indifferent. They use up their lives getting people to stop believing in God. This hatred and fear is obviously fueled by the Word hardening and blinding them.

KJV 2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away [Greek word – Apostasy, believers becoming atheists] first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.


And we would be in the same darkened place, without faith in the love of God, which is shown to us in Christ crucified for our sins.

When Jesus asked about the Messiah, He brought up a subject He avoided until then. Hundreds of articles have been written about why Jesus did not want to discuss His Messianic role when He performed miracles.

One example explains it – the crowd wanted to crown Him as king (Messiah). Their political ambitions were opposed to the role of the true Messiah. The strength of this popular feeling can be measured by the Zealot war 40 years later, which cause the destruction of the Temple and the enslavement of the people who were not killed. And yet, another Messianic revolt started up another 50 years later.

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/revolt1.html

Hundreds of rationalistic articles and books by “scholars” claimed that Jesus suppressed His messianic title because He did not consider Himself the Messiah. However, the truth is that almost no one could understand Him at that point, so He spent three years instructing the disciples. Even then, all but John ran away during the crucifixion.

Jesus asked this question using the assumptions of the religious leaders.

41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David.

Their assumption was that the Son of David was inferior to King David, the model of the Messiah for his military might and political savvy.

43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? 45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? 46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

This seems quite puzzling to the newcomer to this passage, so I will put it in more familiar language –

If you assume the Son of David is inferior to King David, then why does King David, inspired by the Holy Spirit, call Him Lord? How can the son of the king be the Lord of the king?

That silenced the religious leaders.

Silence is the most telling form of opposition. It shows a great level of anger, anxiety, and hatred than shouting and carrying on.

This silence led to opponents to put an end to Jesus. He not only had great power, divine power, but He also had popularity with vast crowds and the ability to teach the Word. He was a threat to them, and they could use His messianic claims as a threat to Rome.

Thus Jesus knew from the beginning how His ministry had to proceed. He had to gather disciples and plant members of the Christian church in various places. He did this through teaching the Word, inspiring faith in Him, and gathering disciples to organize the Christian Church after His resurrection and Ascension.

This Gospel creates and sustains faith in Jesus when it is taught in context. As I said before, hundreds of scholars have looked at this passage and missed its meaning. They know the words, they know the language. Without faith in Christ they might as well be reading blank pages. That is exactly what Jesus warned against – not having a child-like faith.

Someone said recently, “The synods have lost the Gospel by attacking faith.” I added my version. I said, “If everyone is born forgiven, why bother with any article of faith. The Confessions are meaningless, too.” That is being acted out on all fronts. The most obvious show it with their obvious contempt for the Word. The least obvious are the ones who want to politely engage over tea and cookies, anxious lest anyone take offense at their objections. Would anyone accept a 30-year plan of renewal if they knew they had five years left?

The Word of God is like seed. It will grow where it is broadcast, and we cannot tell exactly where that will be. I talked to someone about tomatoes, so I brought up dill. I said, “Plant dill.” Dill seed is very cheap. I bought a large envelope and scattered it all over the yard in Midland. Dill is weak the first year and reseeds itself after that. I did not examine each seed or determine where each one would land. I scattered the dill and saw it grow and seed itself.

The Gospel seed is exactly the same. When the Gospel of forgiveness is proclaimed, faith springs up in some for the first time and faith is renewed in others. This Matthew passage has Jesus teaching with authority that He is the Messiah. He is the one predicted by the Holy Spirit in Psalms of David. The mightiest king of Israel foresaw the coming of Christ and exactly how He would die and become our Good Shepherd.

Read Psalm 22 and 23. Notice the Messianic predictions in Psalm 22 and the great comfort proclaimed in Psalm 23.

In the midst of a dark, dying world, the Word of the Gospel builds up the invisible Church and gives eternal-life to all those who hear and believe that Jesus is their Savior, that He died for their sins, that He rose from the dead and ascended to heaven.

"The New Testament is the inerrant record of the revelation of Jesus Christ in word and deed, and of the truths and principles proceeding, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, from that revelation. The Old Testament is in like manner an inerrant record, having the express and often repeated testimony and authority of Christ, of the preparatory and partial revelations made concerning Him before His coming. Hebrews 1:1." Henry Eyster Jacobs, A Summary of the Christian Faith, Philadelphia: General Council Publication House, 1913, p. 3. Hebrews 1:1.

"The Old Testament dealt with the promises of God to the chosen people. Thereby God placed Himself in 'covenant' relation to Israel (berith). This relation, like the promises and the gifts of God to Israel, is always onesided. It is always God's covenant, not Israel's, and not a mutual agreement, not a suntheke. This promise and covenant indeed obligates Israel, and Israel assumes these obligations, but the covenant emanates entirely from God." R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews, Columbus: Lutheran Book Concern, 1938, p. 235. Hebrews 7:22;

"In view of their spiritual meaning the psalms are really lovely and sweet; for they are comforting to all depressed, wretched consciences, who are in fear of sin, the anguish and agony of death, and all sorts of trouble and misery. To such hearts the Book of Psalms is a sweet, comforting, lovely song, because it sings and preaches the Messiah, although one merely reads or recites the words without notes. Nevertheless, the use of notes or music, as a wonderful creation and gift of God, helps greatly to produce this effect, especially when the people sing along and do so with fine devoutness...Thus David, too, often dispelled, or at least checked or weakened, the evil spirit for Saul with his minstrelsy (1 Samuel 16:17ff.). For the evil spirit is not at ease when one sings or preaches God's Word in true faith. He is a spirit of sadness and cannot stay where a heart is spiritually joyful (joyful in God and His Word). What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed. Ewald M. Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 981. 1 Samuel 16:17ff.