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, November 28, 2010

The First Sunday in Advent


The Nativity, by Norma Boeckler.



The First Sunday in Advent

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn # 245 God Loved the World 4:6
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 # 290 We Have A Sure 4:89

Put On the Lord Jesus Christ

The Hymn # 305:1-6 Soul Adorn Thyself 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 # 657 Beautiful Savior 4:24

KJV Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering [lewdness] and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

KJV Matthew 21:1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, 2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. 3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. 4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. 6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. 8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

First Sunday in Advent - The Collects of Veit Dietrich
Lord God, heavenly Father, we thank Thee, we bless and praise Thee forever, that Thou didst send Thy Son to rule over us poor sinners, who for our transgressions did justly deserve to remain in the bondage of sin and Satan, and didst give us in Him a meek and righteous King, who by His death became our Savior from sin and eternal death: We beseech Thee so to enlighten, govern and direct us by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may ever remain faithful to this righteous King and Savior, and not, after the manner of the world, be offended with His humble form and despised word, but, firmly believing in Him, obtain eternal salvation; through the same, Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Put On the Lord Jesus Christ

Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

Believers do not need to be reminded about the Christian Church straying from its own beliefs. The latest headline I mentioned was that few younger people even know what the King James Version of the Bible is.

One reader said this about the story:

Beginning of Quotation
“Is this a surprise to anyone? The atheists, secularists and the other anti God minions couldn't erase the effect KJV's "thus saith the Lord" from souls and minds in the English speaking world. It took the churches, seminaries, synods, et al only a few generations to accomplish it, and WELS only a couple generations to by convincing the flocks that the unchurched could never be reached with KJV, then convincing the flocks themselves that KJV was incomprehensible to themselves as well. Never mind that current generations' parents, grandparents and great grandparents didn't converse in Elizabethan English but had been brought to faith through baptism or instruction, nourished and grew in faith with KJV until mid 20th Century. The hew and cry to ditch the KJV did not come from the pews. It came from leaders and change agents in seminaries. The orchestration was obvious to the few who understood and recognized the management by objections process used to first get students, students then people in the pews to accept moving away from the KJV. At first to no specific translation just as long as it wasn't KJV. Then when enough confusion prevailed, it was decided (not by, but for the people in pews) that NIV would reign supreme. Just "coincidentally", liturgy, hymns et all had to be realigned with the new order of things.

Much the same process has gone on in all denominations. Lutherans were latecomers to the created funeral for KJV. And we are surprised that 35% of people under 35 never heard of KJV? How could they, when the world has tried for nearly 400 years to defeat it without success until the churches themselves worked overtime not to expose anyone over 35 to KJV? A remnant of mature adults and even smaller remnant of young didn't dispatch KJV to the dustbin of forgotten history. But to accommodate KJV with contemporary translations in general use in churches today with a blended or scattered use of a smorgasbord of translations is to capitulate to the idea that it doesn't matter what family of manuscript evidence is used by translators even when they say different things. Contemporary translations all use to some degree or another, different manuscript evidence than what Luther and KJV translators used. The results are the statistics we read and what we see.”
End of Quotation

I grew up at the end of the KJV era. It was the Jet Age, the Atomic Age, and no one thought the KJV was misleading us children. The RSV led the way, translated in cooperation with the National Council of Churches. The NCC had been the Federal Council of Churches in the old days, but the ecumenical group was so obviously Marxist that they disbanded completely and reformed with the same leaders under the name National Council of Churches.

The mainline denominations are doing their best to go along with the worst in American life. They are pro-abortion, opposed to the Biblical restrictions on women usurping authority over men and teaching men, so they are naturally out front in promoting homosexual ordination.

The traditional Christians funded the institutions which are being used to drive them out of their own denominations. Sleep is a good metaphor. I have asked more than once, “Where were you people when this was out in the open 23+ years ago?”

WELS and Missouri pretend to be against this, but they have worked with ELCA the entire time and still do – for the money.

I find it difficult to imagine the apostles working with the lowest elements of Roman paganism (which celebrated the same rites of sodomy) – for the money.

We now see the weeds in full bloom, the seeds sown by the enemy—working within the churches—after 100 years of hard work, with almost everyone asleep.

12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

Lenski does not like the emphasis placed on clothing. According to him, “casting away” is better than “casting off.” He has a good point, because the apostle is stating the situation in the strongest possible terms. There can be no dealing with the works of darkness because people fall victim in the very act of saying they can withstand temptation and not go too far.

Jesus also said to remove temptation in those famous amputation verses – if your right arm causes you to stumble, cut it off.”

The armor of light is a parallel reference to Ephesians. Romans was written afterwards. The readers probably memorized the entire armor listed by Paul, because it was written for that purpose and easily associated with the Roman occupation troops everywhere. In Rome, the center of the Empire, they were everywhere.

KJV Ephesians 6:11 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: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

To show how bad things are, I hesitate when I see “armor of light” because light is used so often in association with the occult, with evil. I even had one of those people, a Lutheran professor’s daughter, say she was “sending me light” during a meeting. She was in love with necromancy - but not in a harmful way, of course. (That is always the excuse.)

13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering [lewdness] and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

Paul follows up with an explanation of what it means to put on the armor of light. Behavior is often conditioned by daytime and night, although it should be the same. At night, in the big city, people feel anonymous. Whatever they do and say will be forgotten or the witnesses will be confused. That is also why so many evil things are said anonymously on the Internet.

We were probably more frightened at night in downtown Chicago than any other time. We were walking back to the hotel and someone was behind us. We walked faster. I kept glancing back. Then I said, “Is that you Jack?” It was Jack Preus, President of the LCMS. We felt a lot better. During the day I would not have been nervous at all or looked back.

Almost all the violent crime reports in Phoenix began, “At 2 AM, outside a downtown bar.” A large share of the crime could have been prevented by following Paul’s admonition.

Paul did not simply list the common descriptions of vice, but also the interior crimes of strife and envying, the origin of so many problems, based on the two commandments against coveting. An evil desire to have something else, whether property, money, or the affections of another person, will lead to many sins. So will coveting the members of another church. Some ministers use their snake-oil charm to lure members away. One even said to a couple from another church, “I want you to consider me your pastor.” That is a strange and evil concept of the divine call, and it has led to a great deal of strife and unhappiness. The same minister also coveted another wife.

14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Lenski made an interesting point that we pray for the one thing God provides anyway – our daily, material needs. That is, we worry too much about what God already does for us – and for unbelievers as well.

But we do not pray for help against the greatest danger – the spiritual evil that is around us, all the dangers of false doctrine wrapped up in glittering rags to make it appealing. I saw several ministers on a TV show. One had 3,000 in church on Sunday. The other had 6,000. The worst one today had a whole stadium. I wondered if the minister with 3,000 felt like a loser, a failure. Or maybe he was coveting the larger numbers – exponential growth.

Pilgrim’s Progress, my favorite allegory, deals with false doctrine throughout the book. Bunyan was very much like Luther, showing the dangers of Christianity where it promised something good while displacing the Gospel of Christ. Christian sees Vanity Fair, the outward display of the vices described in today’s lesson, but most of the book involves the subtle temptations – to despair, depression, works-righteousness, trusting in the Law.

“Put on Christ” means to trust in the spiritual power of the Gospel, which is our primary protection. First of all, it defeats Satan by giving us the righteousness of Christ through faith. Justification by faith means God declares us completely forgiven by virtue of the cross of Christ. This justification is received only in faith and never apart from faith. When we stop believing in Christ’s merit, we lose that justification. Worst of all, that loss is often step by step, so that most people do not realize they are straying until they live and walk in utter confusion.

Many people poisoned by false doctrine are almost impossible to reach, because the filaments of those ideas cling to spirit and react with alarm when sound doctrine is taught. For instance, communing with the apostates sound appealing when done “only once a year.” I challenged that with “why not murder someone, just once a year”? That can come across as mean, abrupt, abrasive, snarky, etc. The response was visiting all the family and getting them out of an apostate church body, ELCA, long before the major eruptions took place.

We still have a body of orthodox Lutherans in America because they were trained that way by the clergy who are almost all dead now. The new, hip clergy did not want to do the hard work of admonishing false doctrine, of dealing with bad, sinful behavior. Being young and hip meant that their denominations are full of the elderly, who stayed with the Gospel anyway. Many keep their peace because they are alone and scattered now, abandoned by the very church body they supported all their lives.

Luther said it is good to be disillusioned by church leaders, because that teaches us to trust in the Word alone. The Gospel will not fail us. Paul did not urge them because he was a charter member of the Christian Church. He admonished them to follow the Word of God, even if an angel from heaven taught them differently.



Quotations

The night is far spent, and the day is at hand. "By the word 'night' we are to understand all doctrines apart from the Gospel. For there is no other saving doctrine; all else is night and darkness." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 15f. First Sunday in Advent, Romans 13:11-14.

"For the Holy Spirit aids us, fortifying our hope and enabling us not to fear nor to flee from the disasters of the world; but to stand firm even unto death, and to overcome all evil; so that evil must flee from us and cease its attacks. Remember, it is hope in the power of the Holy Spirit, not in human weakness, that must do all this through the medium of the Gospel." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 63. First Sunday in Advent, Romans 13:11-14.

"Hence, you see, the ecclesiastical traditions that flatly forbid the eating of meat are contrary to the Gospel." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 27. First Sunday in Advent, Romans 13:11-14.

"It is our duty to allow the body all necessary food, whether wine, meat, eggs or anything else; whether the time be Friday, Sunday, in Lent or after the feast of Easter; regardless of all orders, traditions and vows, and of the Pope. No prohibition contrary to God's command can avail, though made by the angels even." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 26. First Sunday in Advent, Romans 13:11-14.

"The other class is represented by the blind saints who imagine the kingdom of God and his righteousness are dependent upon the particular meat and drink, clothing and couch, of their own choice...Upon this subject Paul says (1 Corinthians 8:8): 'Food will not commend us to God; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse; nor, if we eat, are we the better.'" Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 25f. First Sunday in Advent, Romans 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 8:8.

"We are to place our whole confidence in God, and in Him alone, being very careful not to devote any portion of it to the mother of God or any saint and so set up an idol in our hearts." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p.54. First Sunday in Advent, Romans 13:11-14.

"Using a convenient term, he calls Christ a 'minister,' as he calls all preachers and apostles ministers. 'What then is Apollos? and what is Paul? Ministers through whom ye believed.'" 1 Corinthians 3:5. Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 57. First Sunday in Advent, Romans 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 3:5.

"Paul in Romans 12:7-8 devotes the office of the ministry to two things, doctrine and exhortation. The doctrinal part consists in preaching truths not generally known; in instructing and enlightening the people. Exhortation is inciting and urging to duties already well understood. Necessarily both obligations claim the attention of the minister, and hence Paul takes up both." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 9. First Sunday in Advent, Romans 13:11-14; Romans 12:7-8.

"But, being deceived by the devil, we forsake the light of day and seek to find truth among philosophers and heathen totally ignorant of such matters. In permitting ourselves to be blinded by human doctrines, we return to the night. Whatsoever is not the Gospel day surely cannot be light. Otherwise Paul, and in fact all Scripture, would not urge that day upon us and pronounce everything else night." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 17. First Sunday in Advent, Romans 13:11-14.

"Other books may have power to slay us, indeed, but no book except the holy Scriptures has power to comfort us. No other bears the title here given by Paul--book of comfort--one that can support the soul in all tribulations, helping it not to despair but to maintain hope. For thereby the soul apprehends God's Word and, learning His gracious will, cleaves to it, continuing steadfast in life and death." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 43. First Sunday in Advent, Romans 13:11-14.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Eve Service - Wednesday at 7 PM Central



Thanksgiving, 2010

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 7 PM Central Standard Time

The Hymn # 558 All Praise to Thee 4.44
The Order of Vespers p. 41
The Psalmody Psalm 100 p. 144
The First Lection 1 Timothy 2:1-8
The Second Lection Luke 17:11-19
The Sermon Hymn # 574 Come Ye Thankful 4.9


Thanksgiving Is Medicine

The Prayers and Lord’s Prayer p. 44
The Collect for Peace p. 45
The Benediction p. 45
The Hymn #361 O Jesus King 4.1

KJV 1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. 7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. 8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

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.

Thanksgiving Is Medicine
KJV Luke 17:17 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.



Thankfulness to God one of our most important responses to all He gives us, but this thanks is often forgotten – or replaced with bitterness, anger, and coveting.

The illustration of the 10 lepers is noteworthy. Only one out of 10 thanked Jesus for taking away the most horrible and stigmatizing disease of that era.

When I told my wife that I usually get 10% of the students posting comments about liking the class, she said, “That is the normal ratio, just like the Bible.” They normally press the most positive response for the survey, which affects my future income. But they seldom write in personal remarks, which are also kept and read by the supervisors. The interesting fact is that this ratio of 10% holds true for class after class, no matter where the students come from or what the subject matter is.

What God gives is vastly different from anything we can do for others, because He gives us life and prosperity, the blessings of the Gospel, everlasting life, and a country where we can still enjoy our religious freedom. Very few people in history have lived with such prosperity and freedom.

Our response to what God gives is either healthy and healing, or unhealthy and damaging.

Our attitude toward God expresses our faith in Him. As Chytraeus (Book of Concord editor) said, “Doubting the graciousness of God is a sin.” Even the kindest and most loving parents (who are fallible) will do plenty of things their children view as negative, restrictive, oppressive, and just plain mean. When children grow up, they realize that the very things they resisted the most were the surest signs of parental love.

The irony is that we become more thankful to God when our faith is more child-like (rather than childish). We have to become more mature to realize God’s wisdom and love in all that He does. Unlike human parents, He can change things in a moment, so the times of difficulty are revealed as a necessary prelude to blessings.

Many opportunities that might have given me financial stability would have also tied me down. For example, one university is now offering people like me full-time positions, but only if I live in Phoenix. A year ago I would have interviewed for that position and received a full-time job, because they are short in that area. And we would be lining up for our pat-downs and body scans instead of routinely seeing our grandchildren.

So it is better to be laying up treasures in heaven rather than on earth, where moth and rust do corrupt and thieves break in and steal (and not all of them bankers – some are neighbors).

I told my classes that I would go easy on deadlines this week, as I always do for holidays, because time with their family and friends is more important than deadlines. What do we remember in 20 years? – The great committee meeting? Beating a deadline? Or a priceless moment with a family member or friend?

Many people mis-identify what they should be thankful for. The eternal treasures of the Gospel are the most important. What God alone can give us goes along with the Gospel. Every single life is precious in His eyes, and should be in ours as well. Marriage and the family are God’s Creation, declared His will by the Word. World-wide, even the pagans observe the importance of the family, even though they often distort its meaning.

I have noticed, living in this area where people take the Christian faith seriously, that it constantly influences how they treat each other. Smiles, thank-yous, and God bless you are quite common. So is an attitude of patience and consideration. That can also be the way we treat one another in Christian Church and in our families, co-workers, and friends.

Politeness creates a different attitude, and the words we use generate a different kind of atmosphere, if we are thankful to God.

This thankfulness is derived from being forgiven of our sins and knowing God loves us. We cannot be thankful if no sins are forgiven. When people imagine there is no reason for repentance, because the whole world is free of sin, they are not thankful.

The true Gospel produces the Fruits of the Spirit. Variations on the Law will never produce those fruits, especially when they are demanded as proof of a transformation.

Many times we need to evaluate what we are thankful for, and what we are overlooking. My experience over the years has shown me that people would much rather have the ordinary blessings known only in a family than all the honors and glory of the world – although the outward honors and privileges seems so appealing from a distance.

Most people realize that a terrible price is paid for the glamour, and they would rather have the simple joys of life instead.

A poll would probably show that everyone would like to have fresh citrus in their backyards in the winter. They would like to walk outside in summer clothes and pull an orange, lemon, grapefruit, or tangelo from a tree.

In Phoenix we saw oranges hanging on trees and dropping on the ground, uneaten. Roof rats were attracted to them. (“Very cute creatures,” a scientist told us. I said – “Not on your own roof.”)

We had two lemon trees and a tangelo tree. The fact is, an abundance of free citrus made me say, “Oh, I will go out and harvest some tomorrow.” The very proximity of the fruit, the ease of harvesting, made them less desirable. It was not like my first berry on my first vine, that I waited and watched while it ripened, only to see a jay fly off with it.

I always picked the citrus eventually, although I had to give away lemons by the bag.

The Gospel comes to us in the same abundance. Now that faithful congregations are so rare, people value them that much more. They wonder, “Can I drive 50 or 100 miles each Sunday?” I cringe at the situation because the ordinary LCA congregation in the 1960s was far more conservative in worship and preaching than the typical “conservative” church of today.

One woman even began giving me the Church Growth talk before inviting me to her LCMS church. “We had a study and we have to start reaching out into our community, inviting more people, or we are going to die.” Nothing she said in her sales pitch mentioned the Gospel, proclaiming the Word, or being faithful. It was “do, do, do.” Very sad.

In our own families, the fruit of the Gospel shows in our appreciation for each other and our expressions of that attitude. It is so easy to say “I want to” or “I am happy to” instead of “Do I have to?” One student impressed me by saying how important gift-giving had become to him. He learned that from his Asian relatives, because gift-giving is practiced so carefully. That is not the same as buying everything someone wants, but little acts of kindness, such as unexpected flowers, not to mention speaking the words.

In fact, as one author noted, people respond differently to acts of love. Some like gifts while others like the words being spoken. Still others look at gestures shown.

Thankfulness is contagious and spreads to others, and it is medicine for the soul. A merry heart doeth good, like a medicine, as the Proverbs say.

Luther said, “You have as much laughter as you have faith.’



Quotations

Lenski:
When Christians do pray for themselves, the blessings they receive are by no means confined to themselves; equally, when they pray for all men, their rulers, etc., “all men” not only includes all Christians but the many blessings secured by this prayer for the non-Christians, for rulers and people are again not confined to non-believers. One of the very great results will be the one here stated. Some specify what is to be prayed for. The best interpretation as to the contents of such a prayer is that embodied in our General Prayer: “Cause thy glory to dwell in our land, mercy and truth, righteousness and peace everywhere to prevail, etc.… Graciously defend us from all calamities by fire and water, from war and pestilence, from scarcity and famine,” etc.

Stellhorn comments: “In the case of an individual mature Christian little or nothing for his own spiritual life may depend on the government of his country; the most wicked government may afford him opportunity to attest and to prove his faith in the most notable way. But for the weaker and younger Christians and thus for the congregation and the church, which as a rule consists for the greater part of such, ‘a tranquil and quiet life’ is necessary if it is to be at the same time a life of ‘godliness and gravity.’… How disorder and wild, undisciplined conditions in a country, how especially cruel persecution harms the weaker members of the church and thus the church herself, experience has abundantly proved. Thousands, hundreds of thousands have permitted themselves to be drawn away from the Christian confession and life, have lost faith and salvation, no more living ‘in all godliness and gravity.’ ”
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Paul's Epistles to the Colossians, to the Thessalonians, to Timothy, to Titus and to Philemon. Columbus, O. : Lutheran Book Concern, 1937, S. 540

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

"'If there ever was a strictly conservative body, it surely is the Missouri Synod. Nevertheless, this growth!...It is a mark of the pastors and leaders of the Missouri Synod that they never, aye, never, tire of discussing doctrine on the basis of Scripture and the Confessions. That is one trait that may be called the spirit of Missouri. People who thus cling to doctrine and contend for its purity are of an entirely different nature from the superficial unionists who in the critical moment will declare five to be an even number. God will bless all who value His Word so highly.'"
            (Dr. Lenski, Kirchenzeitung, May 20, 1922)
            cited in W. A. Baepler, "Doctrine, True and False," The Abiding Word, ed., Theodore Laetsch, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1946, II, p. 515f.

"We should not consider the slightest error against the Word of God unimportant."
            What Luther Says , An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 637.

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

“You cannot of a truth be for true doctrine without being unalterably opposed to false doctrine. There can be no 'positive theology' where the God-given negatives have been eliminated from the Decalog."
            Norman A. Madson, Preaching to Preachers, Mankato: Lutheran Synod Book Company, 1952. Preface.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Twenty-Fouth Sunday after Trinity




Jesus heals the ruler's daughter.




The Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Trinity


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




The Hymn #  281     The Savior Calls               1:29
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 # 531            Come ye Disconsolate            1:15

 Faith and Miracles

The Communion Hymn #   157            There Is a Fountain            1:58
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
            [Hymn numbers verified by Arthur Anderson, CPA]

KJV Colossians 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; 12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

KJV Matthew 9:18 While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. 19 And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples. 20 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: 21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. 22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. 23 And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, 24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. 25 But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. 26 And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.

Twenty-Fourth Sunday After Trinity

O almighty and everlasting God, who by Thy Son hast promised us forgiveness of our sins and deliverance from eternal death: We pray that by Thy Holy Spirit Thou wilt daily increase our faith in Thy grace through Christ, and establish us in the certain hope that we shall not die, but peacefully sleep, and be raised again on the last day to eternal life and salvation; through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

 Faith and Miracles


Many people believed in Christ because of His teaching and His miracles. When the Christian faith was being established, Jesus and the apostles performed miracles with teaching God’s Word. Each one supported the other.

Because people trusted in Christ’s power and mercy, they were drawn to Him and asked Him to help them in their distress.



The two miracles presented show a feature that can be found in the Gospels. A story begins, is interrupted by a second story, then concludes. The stories relate to each other, as shown in this lesson.

In the first miracle, a ruler of the synagogue asked Jesus in faith to heal his daughter, who was already dead. The position of this man tells us a lot about the spread of Christianity in the early decades after His resurrection.

The ruler of the synagogue was a man of influence, so his faith in Christ certainly spread to others, especially because of this miracle. The next stage, as Jesus predicted in John, was having all Christians thrown out of the synagogues. That was the cross the early Jewish Christians had to bear. They were overjoyed at being witnesses to Christ, since each congregation began around a conversion or a miracle. They loved to tell their fellow Jews about it at the synagogue, which meant the fulfillment of everything they heard all their lives in the Law and Prophets. Their reward was being thrown out of the synagogue and cut off from friends and family.

Jesus began to follow the ruler to visit the daughter. As I have mentioned, each miracle has a slightly different point, so it was important for Jesus to be present this time, because it gave even more force to the miracle.

Along the way is the central miracle in this doublet. A woman with a flow of blood has faith in Jesus that He will heal her. Crowds followed and surrounded Him, and the disciples doubtless formed a ring around Him, to some extent. Simply asking Him for a miracle was daunting.

The flow of blood meant that the woman was ritually unclean for the last 12 years. That alone was a burden, but so was the trial of going to doctors and never getting better. Time and expense had meant nothing, so she was desperate.

Because of her great trust in Christ, she believed that touching His garment was enough to heal her.

Matthew 9:21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.

She trusted in His power and mercy. Jesus, omniscient, knew this as she approached, and even before. She utterly trusted in Him and touched His robe. He gave her the blessings she trusted would come from Him. She was healed at that moment and knew it.

Most people have probably had the experience of being given the right medicine and knowing at once that it was working. The woman might have crept away in the crowd, but Jesus called out to her, “Daughter. Be comforted, for your faith has made you whole again.” And she was healed (made whole) from that hour.

“Made whole” could also be translated “saved.” Your faith has saved you. And she was saved from that hour. In this context, the emphasis upon healing is preferred, but the two meanings are closely related.

She was forgiven her sins and given the blessing of good health again. All her friends and relatives, plus her doctors, knew of her misery for the last 12 years. Every single one had the chance to hear that Jesus healed her, that she believed in Him.

No doubt this miracle was the subject of discussion as the crowd moved toward the home of the synagogue leader. We can see why faith receives a double-emphasis in this doublet (or triptych – a central picture illustrated on each side with pictures related to the main one).

When they arrived at the house, the funeral proceedings had already started. Lenski explained the noise and commotion, since the family was prominent -

---

Lenski:
Matthew at once takes us to the house where the Jewish mourning is in full blast. Judging from the indications of time in this chapter, it must have been toward dusk, and the child would be buried the next morning. Matthew alone mentions the hired “flute players”; beside them would be found the hired wailing women with hair streaming, beating their breasts and filling the air with loud moans and bursts of sobs. The prominence of the family would call for a goodly number of these hired mourners. Besides there would be present many friends of this important family. The whole house was thus full of noise. Paid mourners were professionals at the business, and the custom of having them in houses of mourning and at funerals dates far back, even beyond the times of Jeremiah (9:17), and is found among Jews and pagans alike. Naturally, Jesus would order these people out and hush them; a deed such as he was about to do called for the decency and the dignity of silence.
24) The word with which Jesus put out the noisy crowd has sometimes been misunderstood as though it implied that the girl had merely lapsed into a coma and appeared to be dead while still holding to life. “Did not die” is taken to deny the death, and “sleepeth” is understood to refer to sleep. But the people who were ordered out of the room knew better; from their loud wailing they turned to scornful laughter at this word of Jesus, sie lachten ihn aus.
[1]Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 375

---

The large group of mourners and musicians were ordered out. They laughed at Jesus for saying the girl was not dead, because they knew better from experience. This alone is a good lesson for us all. We may have all the facts and have many decades of experience, but God is not limited by anything we know. The facts and our wisdom go out the window when the efficacious Word of God changes the picture.

And do we imagine that the world goes on, based on natural principles alone, without God’s intervention? People should not expect the tinkling of bells with every miracle and a golden glow around certain heads (It’s a Wonderful Life, Going My Way, The Bells of St. Mary’s). God is constantly ordering the world around us. If not, we would quickly run it into the ground, even with massive recycling efforts.

Secular government and the Christian church provide outward manifestations of God’s order, but He works constantly through His Word and His angels to guide and protect us. Anyone with children should believe in angels, because God clearly preserves them from an infinite number of accidents and follies. Our friend had his little girl wander out into heavy traffic. She was not scared, she said, “Because the cars all swerved around me.” Her logic was irrefutable. How can a child fear a car when it swerves so adroitly?

KJV Matthew 9:25 But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose.

He made this miracle private, but it soon became public. He took the little girl by the hand and she arose, alive and healthy again.

--

Lenski:
Here we again have marked abbreviation. Nothing is said about the five witnesses who were admitted to the death chamber, the word spoken to the girl, the resulting amazement, and other details found in Mark and in Luke. Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 376
--

KJV Matthew 9:26 And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.

This miracle is told in the first three Gospels, with the details varying somewhat. In collusion, the same story is told verbatim. When people lie, they contradict each other. In the synoptics, the details vary without contradiction. To get a measure of this difficulty, multiply this story by all the others in two, three, or four Gospels. And yet, they remain in agreement with each other.

Specialists in evidence have never been able to refute the truth of the Gospels. The best anyone can do is to say, “I do not believe this or that…” Indeed, they do not believe. Their eyes are blinded by their own obstinacy, and the more they reject it, the blinder they become.

In this case, the dead girl did not have faith, which illustrates two points in God’s Word. The first is her father’s faith. He asked on her behalf, in faith, and his prayer was answered. Prayer is the fruit of faith in Christ. There can be no prayer until one believes, and that faith is planted in our hearts by the Word of the Gospel.

Secondly, this healing shows that God’s Word acts upon all those who are dead to sin and makes them alive in Him. God does not meet the individual half-way. God does not make a deal with a person, that He will do something and the mortal will complete the transaction or do his part.

God acts upon the person with His Word. In this case, Jesus spoke to the young girl, and His effective Word raised her from the dead, without her will or consent or decision.

Thus all faithful teachers and preachers trust that the Gospel Word will act upon people with His divine power, not needing human gimmicks or adornment. Wherever the Gospel is preached, faith is begun and renewed, sins are forgiven, prodigal sons return, the spiritually dead are raised, and eternal life springs up.

Quotations

Chrysostom:  "If those who touched the hem of His garment were properly healed, how much more shall we be strengthened if we have Him in us whole?  He will quiet in us the savage law of our members, He will quench the perturbations of the mind, drive out all sicknesses, raise us up from every fall, and, when the power of the enemy has been overcome, He will incite us to true piety and indeed will transform us into His own image."             Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, trans., Fred Kramer, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1986, II,  p. 234.                 
"The body of Christ is to the sick a medicine, to pilgrims a way; it strengthens the weak, delights the strong, heals weariness, preserves health. Through it man becomes more gentle under reproof, more patient under labor, more ardent for love, wiser for caution, more ready to obey, more devoted to giving of thanks."            Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, trans., Fred Kramer, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1986, II,  p. 234.                  
[Ignatius calls the Eucharist] "a medicine of immortality, an antidote, that we may not die but live in God through Jesus Christ, a cleansing remedy through warding off and driving out evils." Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, trans., Fred Kramer, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1986, II,  p. 234.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Twenty-Third Sunday after Trinity



The Risen Christ, by Norma Boeckler



The Twenty-Third Sunday after Trinity


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn # 29 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 #246 Holy, Holy, Holy 3:35

Citizenship in Heaven

The Communion Hymn #316 O Living Bread 3:45
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 Philippians 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. 18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) 20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
KJV Matthew 22:15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. 16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. 17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? 18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? 19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. 20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? 21 They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. 22 When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.

Twenty-Third Sunday After Trinity
Lord God, heavenly Father: we thank Thee that Thou hast hitherto granted us peace and graciously spared us from war and foreign dominion: We pray Thee, graciously let us continue to live in Thy fear according to Thy will, giving no cause for wars or other punishment; govern and direct our magistrates, that they may not hinder the obedience due to Thee, but maintain righteousness, that we may enjoy happiness and blessing under their government, through our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Citizenship in Heaven – Not in the Chow Line

This passage is one of the clearest Law and Gospel passages.

The first part condemns the wrong path in life and describes the results.

I have no doubts that the people described in the first part are within the visible church, or once were and fell away. Many times that is not an obvious change, but one which takes place over many years and decades.

Many heard the Gospel and joined with great joy, but following Mark 4 (Matthew 13) they had the implanted faith snatched away from them or became consumed by the cares of the world.

The same reaction can be seen today, taking place over a period of time. What might have been indicated at first is now blossoming in its glory. As I once observed in gardening, “Is that a weed?” became rank growth when left alone.

Philippians 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.

This urging by Paul does not mean that he alone is the example, but that sincere believers should imitate one another. In that way we serve to admonish each other before someone wanders off in the wrong direction.

“Mark” means to examine closely, so we get “remarkable” from that verb.

KJV Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

These passages have been changed in intent, to protect the false teachers. Now the organizations use Mennonite shunning to silence and ostracize anyone who dares to mention that false doctrine is being taught.

KJV Philippians 3:18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:

The verb “walk” is used to include a whole range of behavior. If there is a gulf between behavior and supposed belief, then that person ought to re-examine what is believed. As Luther said, more than once, our outward behavior says a lot about our repentance or lack of repentance.

I told one young husband, “When you hang out with potheads after work, you are telling your wife that they are more important than she is. And you expect her to welcome you when you finally come home, smelling like marijuana?” I added that they were sure losers, and they felt better if he added to their numbers.

That is one of the dynamics about error, whether it means engaging in obvious carnal behavior or falling for false doctrine. Error loves company and hates correction of any kind.

Paul in his travels had a lot of experience in seeing people fall away and become trapped in their own carnal nature. Then, as now, the world culture encouraged the worst.

KJV Philippians 3:19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

This four-fold description shows how all-inclusive this behavior is.
1. It can only end in destruction. For example, one Assemblies of God TV show featured “ministers” carrying on off-stage just before getting on camera and weeping about how they loved Jesus.
2. Literally “God belly”,
3. “glory in shame”. The expressions in the text show how emphatic Paul is. Making the belly God includes all the aspects of our carnal nature, from greed to lust to gluttony. False teachers love to glory in how they are getting away with it. I know of several cases where they published or announced their gloating. One religion lecturer used to denounce all the articles of faith and say, “There God did not strike me down.” Those religion teachers are greatly valued in academic life because they reinforce the atheistic nature of our culture.
4. who mind earthly things. They obsess about their rewards on earth and forget about the Kingdom of God. Step by step they become atheists. One pastor promoted Church Growth and found himself promoted as a “conservative Lutheran.” Then he was finally caught in adultery and kicked out. Now he is an atheist. Who is that? I am thinking of three different men, and I knew all three. And there is a fourth…the list goes on.

The Ten Commandments are natural law – God commands what is good for us. If we defy those commandments, about pure doctrine and behavior, we will pay a price. My radio announcer friend said he used to work out in the hot sun in construction, drinking chocolate milk and eating doughnuts. He said he gave it up when he got dizzy and could not work.

These matters are too obvious. Anyone embarking on false doctrine will find himself damaged and blinded by the misuse of the Word. Likewise, engaging in sinful behavior will lead more obviously to destruction. That is why false doctrine is more dangerous, because the effects are less obvious and often take a long time to show up. I have pointed out how the notable TV frauds of today once looked and sounded normal, somewhat conservative. Now they act and look demonic.

20 For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

I do not know where “conversation” came from – in King James English. The word Paul used means “citizenship.” Believers are spiritual citizens of the Kingdom of God, whether they belong to one country or another.

Luther took the long view. If we trust in pure doctrine, we will have the cross as our companion, a short period of turmoil in which everything is challenged – one way or another. We will have a short period of affliction, eternal peace with Christ the life hereafter.

If we trust in the ways of man, if our bellies come first, we will have great peace and rewards in this life. Apostates are adored and rewarded in dozens of ways. Almost every academic teacher of religion is an atheist, and many of them started out to be ministers. The ministers loved by politicians are the bad ones. So earthly peace and rewards are great but short-lived. “Their end is destruction” means eternal suffering.

in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ

At some time in the future, Christ will return and claim everything promised. The vast majority will say, “It really was true.” The minority will rejoice and say, “We believed it. We knew it.”

21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

Final judgment will mean an end to history, and a complete resurrection of all who have died.

KJV John 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

Just as the Gospel Word calls us to faith and declares us forgiven, so will the Word of Christ call us from the grave and glorify our bodies, making them like His. Those who died unbelieving will have the opposite fate.

God’s promises are always kept, unlike man’s. His promise of grace is accompanied by the Instruments of His grace, the Word and Sacraments. Justification is always His declaration – it belongs to the work of His Word.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

All Saints Sunday


Christ risen by Norma Boeckler



All Saints Sunday, 2010


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn # 656 Behold a Host 2:39
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 # 463 For All the Saints 4:31
Behold a Host Arrayed in White
The Communion Hymn # 371 Jesus Thy Blood 4:6
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn # 657 Beautiful Savior 4:24

KJV Revelation 7:2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. 5 Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. 6 Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. 7 Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. 8 Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand. 9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. 13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

KJV Matthew 5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

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

Behold a Host Arrayed in White
13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

This text shows us the purpose of the Gospel – to give people the blessings of forgiveness, salvation, and everlasting life.

The Book of Revelation is the most vivid of all the New Testament books – a series of images easily imagined. Because Revelation is poetic in structure, too, hymns are based on this book.
1. Behold a Host Arrayed in White
2. For All the Saints
3. Holy, Holy, Holy
And others as well.

Jugie, one of the great scholars of the Roman Catholic Church, portrays the afterlife as a debtors’ prison - Purgatory, where people arrive each day to pay their debts, and eventually leave after working down their debts.

Revelation portrays the afterlife as believers which come from the struggles and tribulation of life to enjoy the blessings of the Gospel in eternal life.

13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?

Revelation is also a grand harmony of the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament books. Almost every verse is a reference to another part of the Bible.
Here we can see an insight into the wedding banquet guest who was not dressed properly and tossed out, and not mere tossed out, but consigned to Hell. He needed a white robe, the righteousness of Christ.

Those arrive in heaven have on them the righteousness of Christ, which is outside of us, given to us through faith in Jesus. The robes emphasize the forgiveness of the Gospel and our similarity as believers.

14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

The elder asked, but also answered, knowing that this great white host consists of those coming from the great tribulation.

That does not mean just those people who died during New Testament times, during those persecutions, but also those who have moved from this life to eternal life. So this is a continuous arrival of the blessed.

Notice how the robes have become white. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. For unbelievers, this is nonsense, but believers know the meaning of this phrase. The crucifixion of Christ is the atoning sacrifice. Instead of animals, God substituted the Lamb of God, who paid for our sins. Those who trust in this atonement have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb.

The only sins removed from us are those washed by the blood of the Lamb. No act of ours will remove a sin. No amount of tears or sorrow will atone for a single sin, no matter how small. Godly contrition is good, because it is the effect of the Holy Spirit in the Law. But the Law cannot and will not remove a sin. Only the Gospel can absolve us. It is God’s declaration following His work in the Gospel.
The Gospel creates faith in Jesus, and faith receives the atoning sacrifice, the removal of sins.

Any formula or statement which says, Are you sorry enough or Have you done enough is pure folly, feeding the Old Adam who wants to earn forgiveness or play a part in the transaction. (When people say, “God has done all this for you, now you must do your part in the transaction, that is Decision Theology, or synergism.)

God gives us the Gospel, creates faith in our hearts, and justifies us through faith. The Gospel comes from those who teach the Word of God, and they are provided by God. All this comes from God, so we call it monergism – God alone working. That was Luther’s constant emphasis, in harmony with the Word.

and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

This is a great message for all of us sinners. The blood of the Lamb makes us righteous. This declaration of forgiveness does not depend on our feelings, whether we feel elated or sorrowful. Instead, our feelings should rest upon the objective truth of the Gospel. Like the disciples in the storm-tossed boat, we react with our emotions, based upon our perceptions and our experience. As Luther says, when we are afraid, faith goes out the window.

The Gospel calms our fears about being forgiven and gives us a greater trust in the power of God. He can take away our sins, so He can also fix problems in an instant.

One pastor was clearly miffed that he was in the boonies and not in a rich, influential suburb. (I recall from history that the really great calls were once downtown. Our son calls those “prune parishes – they used to be plums but they dried up.”) I told one pastor, “This is your chance to apply the Word to those who do not have a lot of academic training. It will test your teaching ability.” I have been a member of and also a pastor of a congregation where the average education was unusually high, with engineers and PhDs everywhere. However, that did not make them more receptive to the simple truths of the Gospel. An education plus corporate life can make anyone agile in defending any absurdity.
The mainline churches are proof of that, with the highest income, the highest level of education, the worst percentage giving, and the worst doctrine. Read the Dr. Seuss liturgy posted on Ichabod – from an Episcopal church.

There is no greater message than – made them white in the blood of the Lamb. That cannot be grasped by the great, wise, and powerful, unless they have a child-like faith.

The great tribulation is comforting for all those suffering persecution and for anyone bearing the cross. Jesus said that we must bear the cross daily to be His disciples, so that is the normal experience for sincere believers. Therefore, the temptation to escape the cross is always before us.

One Polish man said he was very attentive to all things religious when he was persecuted in Poland. He despised the West for being so lax. When he came to America and freedom he confessed that he was worse than the rest. He realized that tribulation and persecution made the Christian faith more appealing to him. That is one one layman said, “The great persecution today is indifference, which is hard to take than active persecution.”

Revelation 7:15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

This is a great image of what we can expect. In truth, we know very little about eternal life, and we probably could not grasp it if we were told. However, we do have these words – about no longer suffering from physical privation and emotional torments.
I think about the disabled, who would love to have normal body functions or be without pain. The Left pays lip service to the disabled, but that is all. People who have so little of what we call normal will say that they value the Gospel all the more.

The Lamb will feed them. Here is a reference the Psalm 23. Jesus is both the Lamb of God and the Good Shepherd. As Lenski says, human writers cannot attain the simple eloquence of the Scriptures. No one can even imagine trying.

I will repeat a story because it is a good one and few have read all 5,000 posts or remember them all. I met with a Christian who was simply flattened by his worries about making a living. I asked him about all the articles of the Creed. He said he believed. He did believe that Christ, the Son of God, born of a Virgin, died on the cross for the sins of the world and for his sins too. He believed in the resurrection of Christ and eternal life.

So I asked, “You believe God can do all that and not feed your family?” He began smiling and crying at the same time. He realized the folly behind his worries. We are all the same that way. We sail away on our feelings and forget the Promises of God.

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Word shall never pass away.”

Quotations

Eternal Life
"For the papalists understand the word 'justify' according to the manner of the Latin composition as meaning 'to make righteous' through a donated or infused quality of inherent righteousness, from which works of righteousness proceed. The Lutherans, however, accept the word 'justify' in the Hebrew manner of speaking; therefore they define justification as the absolution from sins, or the remission of sins, through imputation of the righteousness of Christ, through adoption and inheritance of eternal life, and that only for the sake of Christ, who is apprehended by faith."
Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1971, I, p. 467.

"And, in short, the meritum condigni is the Helen for which the Tridentine chapter concerning the growth of justification contends. For they imagine that the quality, or habit, of love is infused not that we may possess salvation to life eternal through this first grace but that, assisted by that grace, we may be able to merit eternal life for ourselves by our own good works. For concerning the meritum condigni Gabriel speaks thus: 'The soul shaped by grace worthily (de condigno) merits eternal life.'" [Kramer note - Scholastics taught that the good works of the unregenerate had only meritum congrui; the good works of the regenerate rewarded as meritum condigni, merit worthy with being rewarded with eternal life.]
Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, 1971, I, p. 541.

"How is a person justified before God? This occurs solely by faith in the Son of God, Jesus Christ; that is, freely, not because of any works or merits of one's own but only because of the one Mediator, Jesus Christ, who became the sacrificial victim and propitiation on our behalf. By this sacrifice, man obtained forgiveness of sins and became righteous; that is, God-pleasing and acceptable. His righteousness was imputed to man for Christ's sake, and man becomes an heir of eternal life when he believes with certainty that God gives him these blessings for the sake of His Son."
David Chytraeus, A Summary of the Christian Faith, (1568), trans., Richard Dinda, Decatur: Repristination Press, 1994. p. 105.

"Christian righteousness is the forgiveness of sin, the imputation of the righteousness of Christ and acceptance to eternal life. It is free, not the result of any virtues or works but is given solely because of Christ, the Mediator, and apprehended by faith alone."
David Chytraeus, A Summary of the Christian Faith, (1568), 1994. p. 106.

"Scripture therefore uses these words, 'We are justified by faith,' to teach both: 1) What the reason (or merit) for justification is, or what the blessings of Christ are; to wit, that through and for the sake of Christ alone we are granted forgiveness of sins, righteousness and eternal life; and 2. How these should be applied or transferred to us; namely, by embracing the promise and relying on Christ by faith alone."
David Chytraeus, A Summary of the Christian Faith, (1568), 1994. p. 107.

"The second argument is that 'God desires all men to be saved' (1 Timothy 2:4), and He gave His Son for us men and created man for eternal life. Likewise: All things exist for man, and he himself exists for God that he may enjoy Him, etc. These points and others like them can be refuted as easily as the first one. For these verses must always be understood as pertaining to the elect only, as the apostle says in 2 Timothy 2:10 'everything for the sake of the elect.' For in an absolute sense Christ did not die for all, because He says: 'This is My blood which is poured out for you' and 'for many'--He does not say: for all--'for the forgiveness of sins.' (Mark 14:24; Matthew 26:28) Martin Luther, Luther's Works, 25 p. 375. 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Timothy 2:4; Mark 14:24; Matthew 26:28 "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.

"In this epistle lesson Paul gives Christians instruction concerning the Christian life on earth, and connects with it the hope of the future and eternal life, in view of which they have been baptized and become Christians. He makes of our earthly life a death--a grave--with the understanding, however, that henceforth the risen man and the newness of life should be found in us."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 141.

"Therefore, whoever would have a joyful conscience that does not fear sin, death, hell, nor the wrath of God, dare not reject this Mediator, Christ. For He is the fountain that overflows with grace, that gives temporal and eternal life."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols V, p. 331.

"Therefore, do not speak to me of love or friendship when anything is to be detracted from the Word or the faith; for we are told that not love but the Word brings eternal life, God's grace, and all heavenly treasures."
Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, III, p. 1411f.

"In all simplicity and without any disputing, children believe that God is gracious and that there is an eternal life. Oh, what a blessing comes to the children who die at this time! Such a death would, of course, cause me extreme sorrow, because a part of my body and the mother's body would die. These natural affections do not cease in the pious, as those who are without feeling and are hardened imagine, for such affections are the work of divine creation. Children live with all sincerity in faith, without the interference of reason, as Ambrose says: There is lack of reason but not of faith."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 142.

"To be converted to God means to believe in Christ, to believe that He is our Mediator and that we have eternal life through Him."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 343. Acts 26:20.

"The Church has no word of its own. Whatever is not taken from Scripture is not the 'Word of the Church,' but what Luther bluntly calls 'prattle.' Also other books can exert a divine power and efficacy, but always only inasmuch as they have absorbed God's Word. Of Scripture Luther says: 'No book teaches anything concerning eternal life except this one alone' (St. Louis edition XIV:434)."
Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans. Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1950, I, p. 315.

"But Christ was given for this purpose, namely, that for His sake there might be bestowed on us the remission of sins, and the Holy Ghost to bring forth in us new and eternal life, and eternal righteousness [to manifest Christ in our hearts, as it is written John 16:15: 'He shall take of the things of Mine, and show them unto you.' Likewise, He works also other gifts, love, thanksgiving, charity, patience, etc.]. Wherefore the Law cannot be truly kept unless the Holy Ghost is given." Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article IV, Justification, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 159. Romans 3:31; John 16:15.

"But Christ was given for this purpose, namely, that for His sake there might be bestowed on us the remission of sins, and the Holy Ghost to bring forth in us new and eternal life, and eternal righteousness [to manifest Christ in our hearts, as it is written John 16:15: He shall take of the things of Mine, and show them unto you. Likewise, He works also other gifts, love, thanksgiving, charity, patience, etc.]. Wherefore the Law cannot be truly kept unless the Holy Ghost is received through faith...Then we learn to know how flesh, in security and indifference, does not fear God, and is not fully certain that we are regarded by God, but imagines that men are born and die by chance. Then we experience that we do not believe that God forgives and hears us. But when, on hearing the Gospel and the remission of sins, we are consoled by faith, we receive the Holy Ghost, so that now we are able to think aright."
Augsburg Confession, Article III, #11, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 159.

"This power {the Keys} is exercised only by teaching or preaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments, according to their calling, either to many or to individuals. For thereby are granted, not bodily, but eternal things, as eternal righteousness, the Holy Ghost, eternal life. These things cannot come but by the ministry of the Word and the Sacraments, as Paul says, Romans 1:16: The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. Therefore, since the power of the Church grants eternal things, and is exercised only by the ministry of the Word, it does not interfere with civil government; no more than the art of singing interferes with civil government."
Augsburg Confession, Article XXVIII, #8, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 85. Romans 1:16

"This righteousness is offered us by the Holy Ghost through the Gospel and in the Sacraments, and is applied, appropriated, and received through faith, whence believers have reconciliation with God, forgiveness of sins, the grace of God, sonship, and heirship of eternal life." Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, III 16 Righteousness Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 921. "Also they teach that at the Consummation of the World Christ will appear for judgment, and will raise up all the dead; He will give to the godly and elect eternal life and everlasting joys, but ungodly men and the devils He will condemn to be tormented without end."
Augsburg Confession, Article XVII, Of Christ's Return to Judgment, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 51.