The First Sunday in Advent
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson
Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time
The Hymn # 245 God Loved the World 4:6
The Confession of Sins
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
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.
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.