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

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Quasidmodogeniti, The First Sunday after Easter

"The Incredulity of Saint Thomas" by Caravaggio




Quasimodogeniti, The First Sunday after Easter, 2011


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Daylight Savings Time


The Hymn # 199 Jesus Christ is Risen 1:83
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual
The Gospel
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #200 I Know that My Redeemer 1:80

Faith Comes from Hearing the Word Preached

The Communion Hymn #187 Christ Is Arisen 1:45
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 # 195 (Luther) Christ Jesus 1:46

First Sunday After Easter
Lord God, heavenly Father, we thank Thee, that of Thine ineffable grace, for the sake of Thy Son, Thou hast given us the holy gospel, and hast instituted the holy sacraments, that through the same we may have comfort and forgiveness of sin: We beseech Thee, grant us Thy Holy Spirit, that we may heartily believe Thy word; and through the holy sacraments day by day establish our faith, until we at last obtain salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

KJV 1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. 10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

KJV John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. 21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. 24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. 26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. 30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Faith Comes from Hearing the Word Preached
John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Lenski:
In his risen and glorified state time, space, the rock of the tomb, the walls and the doors of buildings no longer hamper the body of Jesus. He appears where he desires to appear, and his visible presence disappears when he desires to have it so. This is wholly supernatural, wholly incomprehensible to our minds. Nor may we ask or seek to comprehend where Jesus stayed during the intervals between his appearances during the forty days. When our bodies shall eventually enter the heavenly mode of existence, we may know something of these supreme mysteries, but we doubt if even then we shall really comprehend the profundities of the divine omnipresence of which the human nature of Jesus partakes and which he exercised since his vivification in the tomb as in these wondrous appearances. “He came and stood in their midst” is all that human thought and language can say. He did not walk through anything. The disciples did not see him take so many steps from the door or the wall to their midst. He was there, and that was all.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. John's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 1365.

KJV John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

The text begins with a miracle, one that is denied for various bad reasons. Calvin did not allow for Jesus appearing in the locked room, unless He came in a secret way. Calvin believed the human nature of Christ limited His divine nature, but there were already several examples of the same kind of movement before in the Gospels. Two times an angry crowd surrounded Jesus but He passed through them. Another example would be His walking on the water.

We do not question God’s presence or ability when we pray. We normally pray in the Name of Christ, which is what He commanded and urged. Does anyone think Jesus left His humanity behind so He could hear us through His divine nature? That runs into all kinds of absurdities. That is why human reason is destructive when the Word of God is subordinated to it. Or, to put it another way – If the Word of God must be reasonable, eventually it will be nothing more that what human reason can accept. That is the path to Unitarianism and atheism.

Instead, we use all our God-given abilities to understand and appreciate what God reveals in His Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. That Word is so powerful that we know and experience it. We know it is true and we experience its truth at the same time.

In contrast, those who subject the Word of God to the test of their human reason and experience will find themselves blinded by their own vanity. Countless false teachers have bragged about their new insights and promoted them as unique bits of wisdom hidden from everyone else. One man in New England decided the Trinity did not exist. He began services in the name of the One God and people remained with him. That was the birth of Unitarianism in New England. It was not exactly new. In the Reformation it was called Socianism, but he thought it was special.

New England today is deeply affected by this Unitarianism. One LCA pastor told me decades ago, “We stand outside church on Sunday and beg people to visit.” He was joking, but it was bleak there. Fitting in meant being as Unitarian as the natives, and that naturally happened.

I asked one LCA group, as I was leaving, “What is our message? Join our church and help burn down the bank on the corner?” The moderator looked at his watch and said, “It’s time for lunch.” Everyone emptied the room.

The doors (plural) were locked because of fear. This is a lesson where fear and faith are contrasted. The plural suggests that the outside door was locked, and the room door was also locked. If I thought a mob might kill me too, I would lock every door, too.

Their fears were reasonable, and that is worth considering. They had every right, apart from faith, to be afraid. And yet they were the chosen disciples who had been told what would happen. The passion of Christ did take place as predicted, so they should have been full of faith.

The disciples often make very good stand-ins for us, because we should not be afraid but full of faith. We know as much as they did and also have their examples of timidity, but we still lock all the doors instead of trusting Christ. We can look back on their histories and say, “Christ was not going to let them die. Instead He planned to send them across the Roman Empire to preach the Gospel.”

This is what we can overlook about evil. If evil happens, it is because of man’s sinfulness. But God lets evil take place in a limited form. He also transforms that evil for those who believe in Him. Thus the hymn-writer Paul Gerhardt was subjected to a lifetime of tragic and painful experiences, but God transformed those events into beautiful poetry, the best hymns (along with Luther’s) in the Christian faith. When I hear a newer classic Christian hymn, I often think, “Which Gerhardt hymn is he trying to emulate?”

Gerhardt was a man with unique gifts, a mild disposition, and sound doctrine. But the doctrine got him in trouble, and he lost most of his family, his wife and all his children but one. Every one of his hymns expresses love of God, trust in His wisdom, and thankfulness for His blessings.

In the same way, the persecution of the Gospel in New Testament times drove the Christians to the corners of the Roman Empire. The persecutions were sporadic, so Christians were able to settle in, copy Scriptures, and train leaders. Then it would start up again. Thus through the evil of persecution the Word went to the corners of the world.

came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

Jesus, after being abandoned by the disciples (except John), just as He predicted, and denied by Peter, as He predicted, came into their midst and said “Peace.” He might have denounced their sinfulness, but He came to show them His risen state and to nurture their faith.

His appearance in the locked room revealed the everlasting union of His divine and human natures. He appeared there - as only God could do, and yet His body showed the dreadful scars of His crucifixion.

John 20:20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.

The disciples rejoiced when they saw Him. They already believed in His resurrection, because the disciples saw the empty tomb, as the women reported. The Emmaus disciples (Luke 24:13) also reported being with Him and eating with Him. Mary Magdalene already spoke with Him (John 20:11), blinded by her own tears until He spoke her name.

We see in the resurrection accounts a building up of the followers’ faith, with repeated and varied appearances, accompanied by teaching them the Word of God.

John 20:21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

This peace greeting is very important to understand and appreciate. It is not only God’s blessing but also a special blessing by itself. Jesus was giving them His peace, meaning that He would preserve their peace even when all the world was raging around them. Peace follows justification by faith and salvation – for all believers – and this peace offered them by Jesus, by His Word, is one that took them through their fiery trials and deaths as martyrs.

Indeed, nothing was so disconcerting to the pagan Romans as seeing the Christians die peacefully in their stadiums, while being torn apart by wild beasts. The luxury loving and slave owning Romans had all the material blessings life could offer, and the Christians were mostly riff-raff, the slaves, the former criminals. They were the bottom of society, but they had the peace that elude the pleasure-loving Romans.

Jesus also taught them the continuity between His mission, from the Father, and theirs, from Him. Just as He spoke the Father’s will, so will they speak the Son’s will. As He said, “When they hear you, they hear Me.” That is just as true for those who reject the Word. “When they reject you, they reject me.”

John 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

The continuity also includes the Holy Spirit, which is often overlooked. People have said correctly that the Pentecostal movement began precisely because the work of the Holy Spirit was neglected in the teaching of the visible church. The miraculous element was downplayed, for instance. How many have heard that Holy Communion itself is a miracle of the Holy Spirit?

More importantly, the union of the Holy Spirit and the Word was neglected to the point of total amnesia. We can speak of the Holy Spirit’s work and the effect of the Word interchangeably. They are never independent of each other and never without effect.

The disciples, in receiving the Holy Spirit, would write their works inspired directly by God. They would pray and perform miracles through the Spirit. They would preach through the Spirit. Knowing their limitations, they would recognize and teach that their miraculous results were from God the Spirit, not from their inventory of spiritual gifts (a Fuller gimmick).

John 20:23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

The ministry of the keys include both loosing (absolving) and binding (not absolving). In the Middle Ages, no one was ever really forgiving, so there was no loosing key. Today we have universal and cheap grace, so everyone is forgiven (no binding key). The purpose of the keys is to discern god repentance and faith from a lack of repentance.

The disciples were given this power to teach the true Church.

John 20:24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

No reason is given, but Thomas was not there. Another glimpse of him was fearing that they would all die in Jerusalem when they went to the funeral and raising of Lazarus.

He was called “The Twin” but we remember him as Doubting Thomas.

John 20:25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

The testimony of the other disciples was not enough for him, a telling point for each and every one of them. They would soon be preaching to people who never saw Jesus before or after the resurrection. How could they believe, based on the criteria of Thomas – seeing and touching?

His unbelieving boasting is to be contrasted with the actual event, a gap which many fail to see.

Doubting Thomas Sunday, One Week Later, Quasimodo Geniti

John 20:26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.

This is an important detail. All the doors were still locked because the disciples were still afraid. And yet Jesus appeared before them and still wished them Peace.

That is why we say “Gracious Lord,” because Jesus is full of forgiveness for our grave weaknesses and timidity. Instead of looking at all our sins and doubts, He builds up our faith to receive His righteousness. He builds us slowly through His Word, as He did the disciples.

Lenski:
Unbelief always was and always will be unreasonable. This is glaringly plain in the case of Thomas. For him all this unanimous testimony of all these people, whose character for veracity he knew so Well, amounts to nothing. The fact that all of them, like himself, had never dreamed of Jesus’ resurrection, had thought it impossible, and had then been convinced from this unbelief by overwhelming evidence, affects Thomas in an opposite way: he determines to set himself against them all. The more they speak to him and the more they present the facts, the more stubborn Thomas becomes. He has been called “doubting Thomas,” but he does not doubt, he is openly unbelieving. He challenges the evidence the others present. They have only seen—seeing does not count. If he is to believe he demands two lines of evidence, seeing plus feeling with his own finger and his own hand. And even the feeling must be twofold, that of the holes in Jesus’ hands and that of the gash in his side. Thomas demands what he deems a real test. What the other disciples claim to have is not nearly enough for him. Here the silliness of unbelief comes to view. If sight can be deceived, sight which takes in so much, what assurance has Thomas that feeling, which takes in far less, will not also be deceived?
The disciples had seen Jesus, but think of the wonder of that sight! Recall Luke 24:30, 31 and 35; John 19:19, the locked doors; v. 20, his hands and his side; Luke 24:39, “handle me and see”; v. 41–43, he ate fish and honeycomb. This was seeing indeed. Some had held his feet in worship (Matt. 28:9); Mary Magdalene had clung to him (John 20:17); they all had also heard him speak. Here is the pride, haughtiness, and arrogance of unbelief: it sets up a criterion of its own. It will have what it demands. The unbeliever makes himself a superior person, looking down on believers as credulous fools who cannot be trusted. The wisdom of the unbeliever exceeds that of all other men. Thomas is surely typical of the entire class. But all this action of unbelief reveals that, while it pretends to obey reason and genuine intelligence alone, it does nothing of the kind. It is actuated by an unreasoning and unreasonable will, I secret, stubborn determination, unacknowledged by the unbeliever himself, not to believe (7:17).
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. John's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 1380


John 20:27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

This address to Thomas is one of confrontation and rebuke. Jesus commanded Thomas to touch His hands and reach His wounded side. Lenski takes the position, which is entirely fitting, that Jesus commanded and Thomas obeyed. Thomas demanded to touch the wounds, and Jesus took him at his word. Jesus also told the Emmaus disciples to handle Him (Luke 24:39).

Lenski: “The decisive factor is the command of Jesus.”

Taking this approach, we have three people at least who touched the risen Lord and could preach about this experience. The early Church was built upon the preaching of the resurrection, and the witness of 500+ people who saw and heard Him.

John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

This is a combination of the Word of Christ and Thomas obeying Him. Three men were crucified and killed. One Man returned to life, and He bore the scars, which Thomas touched.

Thomas the unbeliever became Thomas the believer, through the Word and obedience to Jesus’ command.

John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Jesus moved from the miracle of faith in Thomas to the greater miracle of faith the audiences would experience from preaching the Gospel.

John 20:30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

This conclusion to John’s Gospel (there are two conclusions) leads me to think that faith is good, God-pleasing, and the way of salvation.

The entire Gospel was written down to create and sustain faith, to be the power behind justification by faith.

Quotations


"Thus we have two parts, preaching and believing.  His coming to us is preaching; His standing in our hearts is faith.  For it is not sufficient that He stand before our eyes and ears; He must stand in the midst of us in our hearts, and offer and impart to us peace."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids:  Baker Book House, 1983, II,  p. 355.               

"This is going through closed doors, when He comes into the heart through the Word, not breaking nor displacing anything.  For when the Word of God comes, it neither injures the conscience, nor deranges the understanding of the heart and the external senses; as the false teachers do who break all the doors and windows, breaking through like thieves, leaving nothing whole and undamaged, and perverting, falsifying and injuring all life, conscience, reason, and the senses.  Christ does not do thus."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 355. 

"Hence I send you into the world as my Father hath sent me; namely, that every Christian should instruct and teach his neighbor, that he may also come to Christ.  By this, no power is delegated exclusively to popes and bishops, but all Christians are commanded to profess their faith publicly and also to lead others to believe."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 359.   
          
"The first and highest work of love a Christian ought to do when he has become a believer, is to bring others also to believe in the way he himself came to believe.  And here you notice Christ begins and institutes the office of the ministry of the external Word in every Christian; for He Himself came with this office  and the external Word."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 359.

"Now God drives us to this by holding the law before us, in order that through the law we may come to a knowledge of ourselves.  For where there is not this knowledge, one can never be saved.  He that is well needs no physician; but if a man is sick and desires to become well, he must know that he is weak and sick, otherwise he cannot be helped."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 370. 

"For the devil will not allow a Christian to have peace; therefore Christ must bestow it in a manner different from that in which the world has and gives, in that he quiets the heart and removes from within fear and terror, although without there remain contention and misfortune."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 380.   
               
"Reformed theologians, in order to support their denial of the illocalis modus subsistendi of Christ's human nature, have sought, in their exposition of John 20, an opening in the closed doors, or a window, or an aperture in the roof or in the walls, in order to explain the possibility of Christ's appearance in the room where the disciples were assembled."
            Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1950, II, p. 127.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday, 2011




Easter Sunday: 
The Feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord, 2011


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Church, 7 AM Central Time


The Hymn # 191 Christ the Lord 2:97
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual
The Gospel
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #188 Hallelujah 2:20

Resurrection: Destruction of Satan’s Power

The Communion Hymn #206 Jesus Christ, My Sure Defense 2:81
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #212 A Hymn of Glory 2:93

KJV 1 Corinthians 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

KJV Mark 16:1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. 2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. 3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? 4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. 5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. 6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. 7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. 8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.

Easter
Lord God, heavenly Father, who didst deliver Thy Son for our offenses, and didst raise Him again for our justification: We beseech Thee, grant us Thy Holy Spirit, that He may rule and govern us according to Thy will; graciously keep us in the true faith; defend us from all sins, and after this life raise us unto eternal life, through the same, Thy beloved Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Resurrection: Destruction of Satan’s Power
Lenski:
Why did they go so early when they had the entire day before them? For the best of reasons even also as all the evangelists record this point. Jesus had been dead since Friday. In that climate dead bodies start to decompose very quickly, wherefore also the dead are buried the same day that they die, or, if it is too late on that day, then on the next. All haste was necessary in the minds of these women, every hour counted if they wanted to find Jesus’ body in a condition still to be handled. That even under these conditions they were determined to anoint it with costly essence speaks volumes for their love and devotion just as does their going alone without a single disciple, without even John. Mark omits the account of the earthquake and of the fact that the stone was rolled away from the door of the tomb. In this section (v. 1–8) as well as in what follows he is exceedingly brief.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Mark's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 738

In my hometown, Moline, we always had Easter sunrise services, which came from the Swedish tradition. Easter will always be associated with early morning because the women who first walked to the tomb went out quickly, before sunrise, and reached the tomb as the sun began to appear.

The reason for this rush was two-fold. The complete burial preparations had not been made, so they wanted to be finished. Secondly, they wanted to avoid the desert heat and its effects. In Phoenix we had workmen ask if they could please start early, especially if they had to be in the attic. That was also why I got used to early morning walks, around 5 AM, because the 110 degree days were still pleasant at that hour.

The women were purpose-driven, but they had the wrong purpose in mind. They were weak and sorrowing, not knowing they would reach an empty tomb. This is the effect of sin and death, to make us weak and always grieving. Sin and death make us concentrate on the wrong things and miss what God has accomplished.

The women faithfully went out to honor the corpse of Jesus. They went out to labor on His behalf, loaded with the spices they were using. They wondered how they would get into the tomb, because it was sealed with a door that was more like a stone lid, which rolled in a groove. Religious art often shows a large boulder, impossible to move unless a group of men worked very hard at shoving it aside. The last time I moved a boulder, four men helped with a truck. It did not roll and was not large enough to cover the opening of a tomb.

The women did not even think of the problem until they were close to the tomb. The stone lid was too much for them to roll aside in its groove. They wondered who would do this service for them.

Lenski has this detailed information:
Matthew tells us that an angel rolled the stone away and sat on it. It was not rolled aside in its groove in the regular way so as to be rolled back again to shut the entrance. No, it was hurled out of its groove by some tremendous power, thrown flat upon the ground in front of the tomb, thus making a seat for the angel who waited until the women drew near and then went inside the tomb. This stone was not again to be rolled in front of the entrance. It had been laid flat so that the tomb should stand wide open for all men to see that it was emptied of the body of Jesus, the bodiless wrappings lying undisturbed and flat just as they had been wrapped, mute but mighty evidence of the resurrection, John 20:5–10.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Mark's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 740

The faithful should remember always that the angel did not release Jesus from the tomb, as if stone could enclose Him. The tomb was opened up to show everyone that Jesus was already risen from the dead.

The human nature of Christ did not hamper His divine nature in any fashion. During His public ministry He was surrounded by angry crowds twice, yet passed through them – not a feat anyone else could do. He also entered the locked room after the resurrection. Those three instances are significant because of Calvin’s confusion about the Two Natures of Christ.

How can Christ be present in both Natures in the consecrated elements of Holy Communion? That is answered by these examples. He is not confined by His human nature, as we are confined by ours. We cannot be two places at once, so some people confuse our limitations with God’s ability. The two have no parallels. “My ways are not your ways.” Isaiah 55

They entered the tomb and found an angel rather than the body of Jesus, which frightened them. When we dream and suddenly wake up, reality is startling. I used to dream that I never graduated from school. I would be having discussions with faculty about it when I woke up. Then I went over the facts as I was walking. I remember graduation. I do have a diploma. No one has disputed it…

The women would not have been startled by death. They expected that. They were shocked by the empty tomb and the angel, and that frightened them.

The angel spoke to them, and we can see the poetry in his address:

Mark 16.6
And he saith unto them,
Be not affrighted:
Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth,
which was crucified:
he is risen; he is not here:
behold the place where they laid him.

I can imagine people memorizing that as an early catechism of the resurrection. I was writing back and forth with a pastor about Hoenecke, who used similar short phrases in his writings. They are easy to memorize. In fact, it is difficult not to memorize simple, short phrases.

“Do not be afraid,” also means “Have faith in what God has done.” We fear the unknown, which is out of our control. But we trust in God’s revelation.

The great fear that burdens mankind is death. Man fears the unknown and is afraid of passing into nothingness, or eternal torment, or eternal meaninglessness.

The resurrection of Christ reveals that we do know what happens in this life and the next. Any other concept, such as reincarnation, is a dream or a nightmare.

Our lives have meaning, which pass from this short time on earth to eternal life with Christ.

Jesus established His humanity by dying (since there were heretics who denied His human nature) and His divinity by rising from the dead. One speaker in chapel said, “Jesus was the only person to rise from the dead.” We know that was an error, since the young girl, the widow’s son, and Lazarus all rose from death. But no one claimed that these three persons remained alive forever.

The resurrection of Christ is so fixed in human history that any effort to deny it is an obvious rejection of the Christian faith. False teachers prefer to stay hidden and not reveal their antagonism toward the Word of God. They will even say, “That is not an important doctrine,” as one future Disciple of Christ minister claimed. My response was, “What will you say at funerals?” That silenced her.

Mark 16:7 But go your way,
tell his disciples and Peter
that he goeth before you into Galilee:
there shall ye see him,
as he said unto you.

This second statement has the same poetic structure as the first one. Jesus appeared before His disciples, to show them the reality of His resurrection, to teach them, and to build up their faith.

Lenski observed these important details:
It is asked why the Eleven were informed in this way, through the women; why angels did not appear to them, or perhaps Jesus himself. Gerhard has enumerated five reasons: God chooses the weak; overwhelmed most by their sorrow, they are to be first in joy; the presence of the women at the tomb silences the Jewish falsehood that the disciples stole the body; as death came by woman, so salvation and life are to be announced by her; God wanted to reward woman’s active love. But why wander so far afield? The women alone went to the tomb on Sunday morning, the women, none of the men, not even John. Thus they were honored by being made the messengers to the men. If the Eleven had also gone out, the story would have been different. The love of these women receives its fitting reward.
“And to Peter,” which is preserved by Mark alone and is taken from Peter’s own lips by him, deserves special attention. Few attentive readers of what has preceded in this Gospel concerning Peter will agree that Peter is here singled out because he is the first and foremost of the Eleven. If that were the intention of Mark’s record and of the angel’s words, the order should be reversed: “say to Peter and to the disciples.” Peter is mentioned last as though his being a disciple is not definite.
Some have thought that he is mentioned because the Lord intended to appear to him especially (Luke 24:34; 1 Cor. 15:5); but it is hard to see that the message given to Peter differed in any way from that delivered to the other disciples, and the angel himself states that message. No; Peter is singled out because he denied his Lord on the night of the betrayal. “And Peter” wants him to know that he is still included in the circle of the disciples by Jesus. The word includes absolution for Peter. This has been denied because the absolution is only implied; but the Scriptures are full of such blessed implications.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Mark's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 746

The women were honored for being there at the tomb, before any of the men. Luther observed that women are more easily moved to sorrow and joy than men. They sorrowed even more than the disciples. They were there at the cross. Their grief moved them to honor Jesus’ body in death, and God turned that pain into joy.

The Sacraments and the Word are in perfect harmony with the death and resurrection of Christ.

We are baptized because we will die. We are mortal because we are sinners, but we live in Christ because of His death and resurrection. When babies are baptized, they are justified by faith. The Word spoken, the Gospel promises, fill their hearts with faith, and this faith receives the Promises of God. The Holy Spirit makes His dwelling in them, and responds to God’s Word from that time on.

Holy Communion is also a sacrament of death and resurrection. Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper before His death, because of His upcoming crucifixion. He commanded that we receive this blessing of the visible Word to take away our sins, nurture our faith in Him, and prepare us for eternal life.

When we are older, we are always in mourning. We have lost parents and children, friends, and co-workers. Our good friend from Cleveland said, “I cannot believe that it is 24 years since I lost my husband.” He was a healthy construction worker and suddenly came down with cancer. On a whim we visited him one weekend, without notice, driving almost a day to see him in the hospital. He ordered us not to see him a second time before we left the next day, so we did. I will never forget the look on his face. He beamed. He looked perfectly healthy, ready to jump out of the hospital bed. But he died soon after. I told his widow, “I would not have traded that day for tickets to the Superbowl.” It is one of our best memories. In this way, God unites the Gospel with grief, so the grief is transformed into joy, as it was on Easter morning.

As Paul says, “Purge out the old leaven,” referring to the Jewish practice of eliminating all leaven from the home before Passover. Leaven always grows. One form is false teacher, so the question later is not so much about its abundance, but “Where did all this come from?” It only takes a little leaven (yeast) to leaven an entire denomination, an entire denomination.

Purging the old leaven means to live the Easter reality and see our lives as a brief pause before eternity. God does not tell us that these problems are illusions or something to be conquered with will and determination. Instead, He teaches us to trust in Him and His compassion. He will provide an answer so quickly, so far beyond our control, that the old reality will become a dream that fades at dawn.

Quotations about the Appearance in the Locked Room
"Thus we have two parts, preaching and believing. His coming to us is preaching; His standing in our hearts is faith. For it is not sufficient that He stand before our eyes and ears; He must stand in the midst of us in our hearts, and offer and impart to us peace."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 355.

"This is going through closed doors, when He comes into the heart through the Word, not breaking nor displacing anything. For when the Word of God comes, it neither injures the conscience, nor deranges the understanding of the heart and the external senses; as the false teachers do who break all the doors and windows, breaking through like thieves, leaving nothing whole and undamaged, and perverting, falsifying and injuring all life, conscience, reason, and the senses. Christ does not do thus."
Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 355.

"Hence I send you into the world as my Father hath sent me; namely, that every Christian should instruct and teach his neighbor, that he may also come to Christ. By this, no power is delegated exclusively to popes and bishops, but all Christians are commanded to profess their faith publicly and also to lead others to believe."
Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 359.

"The first and highest work of love a Christian ought to do when he has become a believer, is to bring others also to believe in the way he himself came to believe. And here you notice Christ begins and institutes the office of the ministry of the external Word in every Christian; for He Himself came with this office and the external Word."
Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 359.

"Now God drives us to this by holding the law before us, in order that through the law we may come to a knowledge of ourselves. For where there is not this knowledge, one can never be saved. He that is well needs no physician; but if a man is sick and desires to become well, he must know that he is weak and sick, otherwise he cannot be helped."
Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 370.

"For the devil will not allow a Christian to have peace; therefore Christ must bestow it in a manner different from that in which the world has and gives, in that he quiets the heart and removes from within fear and terror, although without there remain contention and misfortune."
Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 380.

"Reformed theologians, in order to support their denial of the illocalis modus subsistendi of Christ's human nature, have sought, in their exposition of John 20, an opening in the closed doors, or a window, or an aperture in the roof or in the walls, in order to explain the possibility of Christ's appearance in the room where the disciples were assembled."
Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1950, II, p. 127.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday, 2011


Good Friday Vespers, 2011


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 7 PM Central Time

The Hymn # 172 O Sacred Head 2:55
The Order of Vespers p. 41
The Psalmody Psalm 22 p. 128
The Lections

The Sermon Hymn #143 O Dearest Jesus 2:56

The Sermon – Atonement and Forgiveness

The Prayers
The Lord’s Prayer
The Collect for Grace p. 45

The Hymn #151 Christ the Life 2:78

Isaiah 52:12 For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward. 13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: 15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
KJV Isaiah 53:1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

KJV John 19:1 Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. 2 And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, 3 And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. 4 Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. 5 Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! 6 When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. 7 The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. 8 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; 9 And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? 11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. 12 And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. 13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! 15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. 16 Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. 17 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: 18 Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. 19 And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20 This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. 21 Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. 22 Pilate answered, What I have written I have written. 23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. 24 They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did. 25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. 28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. 29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. 31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: 34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. 35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. 36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. 37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced. 38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. 39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. 40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. 42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

For Holy Communion Preparation on Easter Sunday
O Lord Jesus Christ, we thank Thee, that of Thine infinite mercy Thou hast instituted this Thy sacrament, in which we eat Thy body and drink Thy blood: Grant us, we beseech Thee, by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not receive this gift unworthily, but that we may confess our sins, remember Thine agony and death, believe the forgiveness of sin, and day by day grow in faith and love, until we obtain eternal salvation through Thee, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Atonement and Forgiveness

Today I was working on the great statements of the Book of Concord, turning some of them into graphics, so others would remember them and perhaps use them in various ways. Each graphic has a statement from the Book of Concord, either associated with its author’s portrait or its content.

The Book of Concord really means – The Book of Harmony. I used to make fun of all the Concordia names here and there. We even have a Concordia village for assisted living, not too far from us.

When I discovered how much disharmony there was in Luther-land, and how painful it was, I began to appreciate the beauty of doctrinal harmony.

All the passages of the Book of Concord fit together well, even though they come from various authors. The reason is – they faithfully teach what the Bible teaches, and that book is one unified Truth, with many authors, cultures, and times.

When I hear from my Jewish Lutheran friends, this harmony is especially memorable. Far back in time, their ancestors were chanting in Hebrew and looking for the promised Messiah. Now they have the unusual mission of representing the Jewish mission today, just by their existence. Their faith says, “We believe Jesus is the Promised Messiah.”

This ancient religion begins at Creation, with the Son of God as the Creating Word (Gen 1 and John 1). The first Gospel Promise is Gensis 3:15, when Adam and Eve (real people, not concepts or myths, as the NNIV teaches) were promised the Savior, who would crush the head of Satan.

The Old Testament patriarchs believed in the Messiah, too. Abraham believed, and it was counted as righteousness. The Prophets and King David offered hundreds of predictions about the Messiah, and every single one of them came true. We are enormously pleased with ourselves when one prediction comes through, and we hasten to forget the many that did not come true.

Only God could offer, in writing, hundreds of promises, and have them all fulfilled. This makes the prophecies all the more compelling – we see bits and pieces of them all over the Old Testament, never congregated in a single place. And yet, if we see how the Bible holds Jesus the way a cradle holds a baby (Luther), then we can see the Messiah in many other places as well.

One is the Angel of the Lord.

Another is where we see the Hebrew word “salvation,” which is the Hebrew version of Jesus’ name. In many places in the Psalms, we can replace “salvation” with “Jesus” and the verse makes sense. In fact, it makes even more sense.

Psalm 9:14 That I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation.

Nothing upsets the apostates more than finding Christ in the Psalms and Isaiah. They have been trying to purge those associations for about 200 years, especially in the last 75. They would be so pleased if no believers remained, as long as everyone kept supporting the church institutions financially. Do not be offended. Many denominations today have no Christian content offered by their leaders, but they are keen on gathering money and even become temporary Fundamentalists on the issue of tithing.

This long preparation of God’s people for the Messiah meant that centuries of animal sacrifice would inform them about the innocent Lamb of God, Isaiah 53.

The Word of God teaches us about salvation strictly from God’s perspective and power. That is, God determined how mankind would be saved and put that plan into action, far beyond the counsel or wisdom of man.

We can see that because the Atonement of Christ is clearly portrayed in Isaiah 53. I have never found a group of children who missed the association with Christ – the spotless lamb, the silence before the shearers, the rejection and humiliation – all point to Christ. At the time, no one thought that to be true of the Messiah. When Jesus fulfilled all things, this reading from Isaiah became part of the New Testament. Almost every word of Is. 53 is found in the New Testament.

We can see how the 500 Old Testament references to sheep and shepherds were a preparation for the Good Shepherd. Nor should we think it is an accident to have Psalm 22 (about the crucifixion) just before Psalm 23, about the sheep and his Shepherd.

In other words, the more we know the Old Testament, the more we see the Gospel in the Old Testament.

God determined the solution for man’s sinful nature. He planned the giving of His beloved Son so that the Savior would redeem the sins of the world and be the ultimate sacrifice.

Even though evil men carried out the plan, God used all their evil for good. People received warnings about what they were doing. That only made them more obstinate and angry. And yet in the midst of this, God converted people through His Word. The soldier guarding the crucifixion was converted, saying, “Truly this man was the Son of God.” The repentant thief confessed his sin and his faith in Christ.

This too is God’s plan. Believing is salvation, not just the start of salvation. As the Book of Concord teaches, we are forgiven in believing, because of the power of the Word.

This is a great message of comfort – because the crucifixion reminds us of our sinful nature. Those are our sins He paid for, the only proper way to meditate on the meaning of the cross. Anyone who wants to lay the blame on the religious opponents or the Roman authorities has missed the point of Bible. God wants all men saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. Blaming others is not repentance.

A contrite person has true Godly sorrow for sin, which takes many forms. All sin really begins with a lack of trust in God. If the Ten Commandments are utterly true, then breaking one of them in any way is a lack of trust in God’s wisdom. He commands what is good for us.

An honest evaluation of our nature means that we make up for our sinful nature by doing good things for others or whatever bargain we might want to make.

Forgiveness comes from believing that the Savior died on the cross for the sins of the world and for my sins. The Word convicts us, as Jesus promised, for not trusting utterly in Christ, in His mercy.

The comfort of the Gospel is the complete and full forgiveness He gives us through faith. Yes, faith is a good thing. The goal of the Bible is to proclaim the Promises so that we believe in them.

What about all that Law, all the threats and condemnation? The Law is necessary to soften our hearts and prepare them for an honest view of ourselves, a mirror that reflects our nature accurately. The Law leads us to Christ and the Good Shepherd directs us from there, serving God and our neighbor out of love rather than compulsion. Of course, we wander, like sheep, but the shepherd dog of the Law nips our heals and brings us back to the fold.

Am I forgiven by God of all my sins? Believing is forgiveness, as Luther taught from the Bible. The instant that the Gospel plants faith in our hearts, we receive that forgiveness, declared by God in His Word.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Palm Sunday


By Norma Boeckler



Palm Sunday, The Sixth Sunday in Lent, 2011


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time



The Hymn #160 All Glory, Laud 4:49
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 # 162 Ride On 4:80

Messianic Arrival

The Communion Hymn # 42 O Thou Love 4:93
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 # 388 Just As I Am 4:91

KJV Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

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.

Palm Sunday
Almighty and everlasting God, who hast caused Thy beloved Son to take our nature upon Himself, that He might give all mankind the example of humility and suffer death upon the cross for our sins: Mercifully grant us a believing knowledge of this, and that, following the example of His patience, we may be made partakers of the benefits of His sacred passion and death, 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.

Messianic Arrival
Lenski:
John materially supplements the accounts of the synoptists which he assumes are well known to his readers. From him we learn that the day is the Sunday before Jesus’ death. While Jesus makes ready to ride into Jerusalem, the multitude of festival pilgrims, having heard of his coming, starts out to meet and to receive him (John 12:12). In v. 9 two multitudes are referred to: one that was with Jesus, and another that went out to meet him. John makes this point clear. From him we also learn that the enthusiasm grew so high because of the raising of Lazarus and that, after spending the Sabbath in Bethany, Jesus started from this village for his entry into the city.
Judging from the way in which Mark and Luke combine Bethphage and Bethany, the two were close together, the former lying in the direction toward Jerusalem. All trace of Bethphage has disappeared, but Bethany is still known; it lies a little over the ridge and on the far side of Mount Olivet. Here Jesus paused.
2) This time he will not walk but will ride into Jerusalem.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 800

Everything about Jesus’ entry is Messianic, proclaiming His role and His title.

To understand this, we have to step back a little before the arrival.

There was so much tension and fear among the disciples, before they headed toward Jerusalem, to heal Lazarus, that Doubting Thomas said they would go there to die.

KJV John 11:14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. 15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him. 16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.

The healing of Lazarus was the key event that explains Palm Sunday and the immediate reaction by religious and government leaders.

Jesus deliberately delayed his arrival in nearby Bethany, where Lazarus died.

KJV John 11:6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.

His dear friend was dead for days and buried in a tomb. No one could say Lazarus was just in a swoon or coma (a fear in those days and even in modern times – being buried alive). Jesus was warned away from the tomb, because of putrefaction of the corpse – in blunt terms – “He stinks.”

KJV John 11:39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.

Jesus, who had just said “I am the Resurrection and the Life,” spoke –

KJV John 11:43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.

The Word of God called Lazarus to life again, and he came out of the opened tomb.

He was a rich, influential man. Instead of being buried in the ground, he had a tomb carved out of rock. The long funeral meant that people came from all over to be with his family.
KJV John 12:9 Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead.

Thus, when Jesus went to nearby Jerusalem, the crowd followed from Bethany, and the miracle was broadcast in Jerusalem, so people streamed out of the city to meet the Man who was Lord over death itself.

Lazarus was a problem for the Jewish leaders, because he was living proof of the power of Christ. They plotted against him too, but he was not harmed.

KJV John 12:10 But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death;

This is why we need to read John’s Gospel with the first three, since essential details explain to a later audience what the first listeners and believers knew from apostolic testimony.

The triumphal entry on Palm Sunday happened in conjunction with the raising of Lazarus.

But some are thinking, “Jesus raised the widow’s son and the young girl. There were witnesses then, too.”

That is true, but raising of Lazarus was parallel to a state funeral of the governor of a state, multiple days of mourning, family and friends from the entire region, followed by his being raised from the dead.

Jesus was already known for His miracles and teaching. This miracle confirmed His power in the neighborhood of Jerusalem, at the peak of His three-year public ministry.

Too often the crucifixion of Jesus is portrayed as if a meek, mild teacher was suddenly grabbed by the authorities, beaten, and killed. Thus it looks like strange and bizarre injustice.

In light of the raising of Lazarus, we can see that Jesus terrified the Jewish and Roman authorities. They did not work together against Him because He was weak and harmless, but because He had power over life and death.


Matthew 21:4 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.

This royal entry was well known to the citizens. It happened after the successful Maccabean war, about 200 years before the crucifixion. Entering Jerusalem and being hailed as the Messiah, the Son of David, was a repeat of that success, but it was different too.

Jesus said, “My Kingdom is not of this world.”

But men are always moved to protect their jobs, even when their jobs are not really threatened. Jesus was a thread to the Jewish and Roman leaders.

Jesus defeated both by rising from the dead, and overcame both kingdoms. Christianity was nothing at that moment but spread over the entire world. The Roman Empire was the greatest kingdom of all, up to that point, but was already in decline from corruption and immorality. The Roman Emperor Tiberius was all-powerful but incredibly vile and immoral. He is now remembered for his evil.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, He created faith and joy. The children believed and cried out. The adults shouted in triumph. Jesus was told to silence His followers, but He said,

KJV Luke 19:40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

God gave His people centuries to prepare for the Messiah, teaching everything that would happen – in the Psalms and the Prophets.

Jesus three-year public ministry gave everyone in the region a chance to hear Him teach the Gospel and perform miracles.

Jesus brought His miracle with Him to Jerusalem. Lazarus was living proof of the Messiah’s power over life and death.

Some like to concentrate on how people turned from cheering to jeering, but perhaps they were two different crowds. I like to look at how the Gospel entered the highest levels of Jewish leadership, so that two powerful figures (Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea) were involved in their support of the Gospel.

Even the Roman governor had a chance to see and hear Jesus. Pontius Pilate could not say on his deathbed, “But I didn’t know.”

God makes His Gospel go forth in many different ways. Sometimes it is spread by persecution, the way people put out a grease or oil fire by pouring water on it and making it spread farther.

Sometimes the Gospel spreads because believers have children and grandchildren.
Sometimes the Gospel spreads because believers are sent into areas where there is no faith but there is a great need.

God provides many ways to show that the Gospel Word is life over death, forgiveness over sin.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mid-week Lenten Service

The Lord's Supper, by Norma Boeckler




Mid-Week Lenten Vespers, April 13, 2011


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 7 PM Central Time

The Hymn # 291 Lamp of Our Feet 4:3
The Order of Vespers p. 41
The Psalmody Psalm 23 p. 128
The Lection The Passion History

The Sermon Hymn #364 How Sweet the Name 4:18

The Sermon – The Sword of the Spirit

The Prayers
The Lord’s Prayer
The Collect for Grace p. 45

The Hymn # 285 How Precious Is 4:59

KJV Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. 14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Lenski:

Do not Underestimate the Word of God, v. 12, 13.
12) This appendix is vital as the concluding word of both the warning voiced in chapter 3 and the promise given in 4:1–11. It is so essential because not only the warning and the promise are based on the Word of God as being “my voice,” Ps. 95 (see 3:8–11), but also because all that this epistle contains from 1:1 onward (“God spoke”) and will contain in the following chapters is based directly on God’s Word. So the writer says: Let there be no illusion in you, my readers, regarding this Word of God and what it says about Jesus; let no one think that disbelieving or disobeying this Word is a light matter. The writer has dwelt especially on Ps. 95:11 (3:8, 11; 4:3, 4), God’s oath, a most terrible Word of God. He now stresses the full power of the Word in its damning force. He has likewise dwelt on Ps. 95:7b plus 11: “Today” and “my rest,” with all the promise that lies in this Word (3:8, 15; 4:3–8). This, too, leads him to stress the power of the Word, the blessed promise of which is so mighty.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews and of the Epistle of James. Columbus, O. : Lutheran book concern, 1938, S. 139

There is a major gulf between the Lutheran interpretation of the Scriptures and the Pietistic/Reformed view of the Scriptures.

Many people overlook it because the difference has been obscured by those who favor un-Lutheran and anti-Lutheran theology.

Here is the difference.

Luther, following the plain, clear truth of the Word, always emphasized the Word of God accomplishing His will. That is why he and the Lutheran Reformers always fought for the pure Word, because it belongs to God alone and not to man. We are privileged to have the Bible, but we do not have a license to change its meaning to suit ourselves.

The Reformed view, from Calvin, is this – God’s Word is dead by itself. We must make it come alive and be relevant (real, relational) to others. That places the burden on man to make the Word of God reasonable and attractive. Man’s effort is absolutely necessary. That obviously leads to compromise with others, since each person becomes a little pope, deciding what God really meant originally – or in the cafeteria style – deciding what applies to us.

One woman said to me, when I said re-incarnation was not Biblical – “But I like the idea!” That settled it for her.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful,
and sharper than any twoedged sword,
piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit,
and of the joints and marrow,
and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight:
but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Judica Sunday - The Fifth Sunday in Lent

By Norma Boeckler




Judica Sunday, The Fifth Sunday in Lent, 2011

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Daylight Savings Time


The Hymn #462 I Love Thy Kingdom 4:21
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 #40 The God of Abram Praise 4:94

Jesus’ Divine Nature

The Communion Hymn #245 God Loved the World 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 Hebrews 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

KJV John 8:46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. 48 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? 49 Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. 50 And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. 51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. 52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. 53 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? 54 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: 55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. 59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

Prayer
O Lord Jesus Christ, we thank Thee, that of Thine infinite mercy Thou hast instituted this Thy sacrament, in which we eat Thy body and drink Thy blood: Grant us, we beseech Thee, by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not receive this gift unworthily, but that we may confess our sins, remember Thine agony and death, believe the forgiveness of sin, and day by day grow in faith and love, until we obtain eternal salvation through Thee, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Jesus’ Divine Nature

John 8: 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. 59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

Lenski:
56) The charge of self-glorification is answered first, by the facts of Jesus’ relation to the Father, and now, secondly, by the relation of Jesus to Abraham. Abraham, your father, exulted to see my day; and be saw it and was glad. It is correct to say that “your father” here refers to the father of whom these Jews boast. Also that in regard to Jesus this father acted very differently from these Jews who claim. to be his children. We must add that when Jesus said, “this (seeking to kill me) did not Abraham,” Jesus had in mind what he now says about Abraham. But apart from these points, Jesus cannot say “our Father,” for even physically Abraham is not the father of Jesus in the same sense as he is the father of the Jews. Invariably Jesus marks this difference in his human descent.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. John's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 667

This Gospel lesson teaches justification by faith and the divine nature of Christ.
The saving work of Christ began before the Incarnation. God promised the Messiah long before the Word became flesh, thousands of years before the atoning death of Jesus. If someone claims an insight into the Scriptures, that insight must be consistently true throughout the Bible.

Universal Objective Justification, which came from Pietism, claims that the entire world was justified the moment Christ died on the cross, and not until then. Sometimes they paraphrase Walther and say “the moment Christ rose from the dead,” the whole world was justified and saved.

Sometimes error hides through the use of the “darker” passages of Scripture, those places where the meaning is not immediately clear. But in the case of Abraham, there is no doubt about what the Word of God teaches, from Genesis to John to Paul.

KJV Genesis 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

KJV Genesis 15:5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

KJV Genesis 12:2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

KJV Romans 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Genesis and Romans are in perfect harmony, both teaching that Abraham was justified by faith, counted righteous. God gave the Promises, and Abraham believed. The Gospel Promises created faith in the patriarch, so it was not “making a decision,” not “an act of will,” not “a virtuous act.”

In contrast, UOJ teaches that no one was justified until the moment of world-absolution, which is either at the time of the crucifixion or the resurrection. The jury is still out on that important decision. But after that ill-defined moment, everyone has been declared innocent, forgiven of sin, and saved. Just as the UOJ mob claims people are forgiven but not forgiven, the entire world is saved but not saved. UOJ does not survive thinking and analysis, so its proponents (like the Intrepids) keep quoting from that tiny band of UOJ writers from a faction of the Olde Synodical Conference: Kretzmann, Stoeckhardt, Pieper, Walther.

http://www.intrepidlutherans.com/2011/04/dr-p-e-kretzmann-standing-on-gods-word.html

Divinity of Jesus

Righteousness comes from faith in Jesus – faith alone, apart from the works of the Law, apart from the merit of man.

Justification by faith means nothing apart from the Two Natures of Christ. For Jesus to die on the cross, He had to be human in all respects. To die innocently for the sins of the world, He had to be divine in all respects. Nevertheless, His divinity was never impaired in any way by His humanity. He wanted to “let this cup pass from Me,” and yet He said “Not My will, but yours.”

This particular text emphasizes the divinity of Christ. The religious opponents recognize the dual-message of justification and divinity, at least enough to be furious.

“Abraham rejoiced to see My day” was enough to make them consider the issue of time, which UOJ advocates duck at every opportunity. Jesus was not even 50 years old, so how could Abraham have seen Him?

The “50” is a hyperbole, an exaggeration to make a point. It is a way of saying, “Even if you were 50, which you clearly are not, you could not claim this relationship with Abraham.”

The truth of God’s Word makes people agitated and wild in their accusations. I have heard them all in various situations, aimed at many different people. The good part of this comes from an angry person re-thinking his arguments. That is why we should make an effort to stir up people with the quiet recitation of sound doctrine and the obvious implications. If a cult member comes to the door, I say, “You are leading people to Satan, who is your true father.” They typically deny Hell (a feature of cults) but that bothers them enormously.

Or I might say to a Lutheran, “You are a Universalist.” That has spawned an entire conference paper in Texas, poorly written and not argued at all. The very production of the essay was proof that UOJ = Universalism is a serious and disturbing charge.

The accusation of the religious opponents was good in causing Jesus to teach His true nature – not that it was hidden. In the midst of chaos and doctrinal conflict, people make clear statements about what they believe and teach.

Here Jesus said,

“Before Abraham was, I AM.”

The Greek phrase can be used as the equivalent of identification – “it’s me.” However, John’s Gospel does not do this. Try that translation for this passage. It is nonsense. Good translating takes a grasp of two languages at once, and a facility for expressing things in the translation itself.

I used all caps, because that is one way to demonstrate the divinity of Christ taught in this passage. It reflects the Burning Bush language of Exodus 3.

KJV Exodus 3:13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? 14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

It was the Angel of the Lord who called out of the Burning Bush:

KJV Exodus 3:2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

The Burning Bush is a symbol for the Two Natures of Christ, and the Angel of the Lord is Christ before the Incarnation. The God who spoke to Moses, saying I AM, is the God speaking to the religious opponents,

“Before Abraham was, I AM.”

This great harmony of the Old and New Testaments teaches us that God is eternally true, that His revelation in the Scriptures is God speaking to us.

The hymns and liturgy speak God’s voice when they quote the Word.

For instance, the benediction is not a set of pretty words to make people feel better. The benediction is God’s actual blessing upon you as an individual. This benediction is Trinitarian in the three-fold use of “The Lord.”

KJV Numbers 6:24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
People line up to hear the living voice of a celebrity they admire, a celebrity who does not know them. I have seen it many times. When Sandra Bullock and Jesse came to Bentonville, the auditorium was packed. Cell phones flashed pictures.

The end of the service is God speaking – The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit blessing you. And God knows you by name.

Justification in the Book of Concord

“...God in His purpose and counsel ordained [decreed]:
1. That the human race is truly redeemed and reconciled with God through Christ, who, by His faultless [innocency] obedience, suffering, and death, has merited for us the righteousness which avails before God, and eternal life. 2. That such merit and benefits of Christ shall be presented, offered, and distributed to us through His Word and Sacraments. 3. That by His Holy Ghost, through the Word, when it is preached, heard, and pondered, He will be efficacious and active in us, convert hearts to true repentance, and preserve them in the true faith. 4. That He will justify all those who in true repentance receive Christ by a true faith, and will receive them into grace, the adoption of sons, and the inheritance of eternal life."
Formula of Concord, SD, XI. #15. Of God's Eternal Election, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 1069. 2 Corinthians 5:19ff

"On this account, as the Augsburg Confession in Article XI says, we also retain private absolution, and teach that it is God's command that we believe such absolution, and should regard it as sure that, when we believe the word of absolution, we are as truly reconciled to God as though we had heard a voice from heaven, as the Apology explains this article. This consolation would be entirely taken from us if we were not to infer the will of God towards us from the call which is made through the Word and through the Sacraments."
Formula of Concord, SD, XI. #38. Of God's Eternal Election, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 1075.

"The Third Article the adversaries approve, in which we confess that there are in Christ two natures, namely, a human nature, assumed by the Word into the unity of His person; and that the same Christ suffered and died to reconcile the Father to us; and that He was raised again to reign, and to justify and sanctify believers, etc., according to the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed."
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, III. #52. Of Christ, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 119. Romans 4:25; 2 Corinthians 5:19ff.

"Faith is that my whole heart takes to itself this treasure. It is not my doing, not my presenting or giving, not my work or preparation, but that a heart comforts itself, and is perfectly confident with respect to this, namely, that God makes a present and gift to us, and not we to Him, that He sheds upon us every treasure of grace in Christ."
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, IV. 48, Of Justification Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 135.

"Now we will show that faith [and nothing else] justifies."{that faith justifies italicized} Apology of the Augsburg Confession, IV. 69, Of Justification
Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 141.

"We do not believe thus {that faith is just a beginning of justification} concerning faith, but we maintain this, that properly and truly, by faith itself, we are for Christ's sake accounted righteous, or are acceptable to God. And because 'to be justified' means that out of unjust men just men are made, or born again, it means also that they are pronounced or accounted just. For Scripture speaks in both ways. [The term 'to be justified' is used in two ways: to denote, being converted or regenerated; again, being accounted righteous.] Accordingly we wish first to show this, that faith alone makes of an unjust, a just man, i. e., receives remission of sins."
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, IV. 71, Of Justification. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 141.

"It is, therefore, needful to maintain that the promise of Christ is necessary. But this cannot be received except by faith. Therefore, those who deny that faith justifies, teach nothing but the Law, both Christ and the Gospel being set aside."
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, IV. #70. Of Justification, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 141.

"In the Epistle to the Romans, Paul discusses this topic especially, and declares that, when we believe that God, for Christ's sake, is reconciled to us, we are justified freely by faith."
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, IV. 87, Of Justification Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 147. 2 Corinthians 5:19ff.

"But since we receive remission of sins and the Holy Ghost by faith alone, faith alone justifies, because those reconciled are accounted righteous and children of God, not on account of their own purity, but through mercy for Christ's sake, provided only they by faith apprehend this mercy." Apology of the Augsburg Confession, IV. #86. Of Justification.
Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 147.

"The Gospel teaches that by faith we receive freely, for Christ's sake, the remission of sins and are reconciled to God."
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, XV. #5. Human Traditions, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 317.

"Also they teach that the Word, that is, the Son of God, did assume the human nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary, so that there are two natures, the divine and the human, inseparably conjoined in one Person, one Christ, true God and true man, who was born of the Virgin Mary, truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, that He might reconcile the Father unto us, and be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of men."
Augsburg Confession, III. 1. Of the Son of God, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 45.

"Therefore there is here again great need to call upon God and pray: Dear Father, forgive us our trespasses. Not as though He did not forgive sin without and even before our prayer (for He has given us the Gospel, in which is pure forgiveness before we prayed or ever thought about it). But this is to the intent that we may recognize and accept such forgiveness."
The Large Catechism, The Lord's Prayer, Fifth Petition, #88, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 723. Matthew 6:12

"This article concerning justification by faith (as the Apology says) is the chief article in the entire Christian doctrine, without which no poor conscience can have any firm consolation, or can truly know the riches of the grace of Christ, as Dr. Luther also has written: If this only article remains pure on the battlefield, the Christian Church also remains pure, and in goodly harmony and without any sects; but if it does not remain pure, it is not possible that any error or fanatical spirit can be resisted. (Tom. 5, Jena, p. 159.) And concerning this article especially Paul says that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump."
Formula of Concord, SD, III. 6, Righteous of Faith before God, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 917.

"These treasures are offered us by the Holy Ghost in the promise of the holy Gospel; and faith alone is the only means by which we lay hold upon, accept, and apply, and appropriate them to ourselves. This faith is a gift of God, by which we truly learn to know Christ, our Redeemer, in the Word of the Gospel, and trust in Him, that for the sake of His obedience alone we have the forgiveness of sins by grace, are regarded as godly and righteous by God the Father, and are eternally saved."
Formula of Concord, SD, III 10, Righteous of Faith before God, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 919.

"Moreover, neither contrition nor love or any other virtue, but faith alone is the sole means and instrument by which and through which we can receive and accept the grace of God, the merit of Christ, and the forgiveness of sins, which are offered us in the promise of the Gospel."
Formula of Concord, SD, III 31, Righteous of Faith before God, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 925.

"For good works do not precede faith, neither does sanctification precede justification. But first faith is kindled in us in conversion by the Holy Ghost from the hearing of the Gospel. This lays hold of God's grace in Christ, by which the person is justified. Then, when the person is justified, he is also renewed and sanctified by the Holy Ghost, from which renewal and sanctification the fruits of good works then follow."
Formula of Concord, SD, III 41, Righteous of Faith before God, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 929.

"But to believe is to trust in the merits of Christ, that for His sake God certainly wishes to be reconciled with us."
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, IV. #69. Of Justification, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. p. 141.

"#305. Why do you say in this article: I believe in the Forgiveness of Sins? Because I hold with certainty that by my own powers or through my own works I cannot be justified before God, but that the forgiveness of sins is given me out of grace through faith in Jesus Christ. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also true justification. Psalm 130:3-4; Psalm 143:2; Isaiah 64:6; Job 25:4-6 (Q. 124)."
Kleiner Katechismus, trans. Pastor Vernon Harley, LCMS, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1901, p. 164ff.

"#306. What is justification? Justification is that activity (Handlung) of God by which He out of pure grace and mercy for the sake of Christ's merits forgives the sins of a poor sinner who truly believes in Jesus Christ and receives him to everlasting life."
Kleiner Katechismus, trans. Pastor Vernon Harley, LCMS, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1901, p. 164ff.

"The two terms are relatively modern. They are not used in the Lutheran Confessions. They are also not really synonymous. 'Universal justification' is a term denoting the doctrine that God has forgiven the sins of all men. Strictly speaking, the term 'objective justification' expresses the thought that the sins of a man are forgiven by God whether he believes it or not. Objective justification is not necessarily universal, but if justification is universal it must of necessity be objective."
Sigbert Becker, "Objective Justification," Chicago Pastoral Conference, WELS, Elgin, Illinois, November 9, 1982, p. 1.

"The doctrine of universal justification is often ridiculed with the argument that if God really forgives sins prior to faith then the Lutheran doctrine of justification by faith becomes meaningless. Such conclusions demonstrate a rationalistic spirit that consciously or unconsciously refuses to be guided by Scriptures alone."
Sigbert Becker, "Objective Justification," Chicago Pastoral Conference, WELS, Elgin, Illinois, November 9, 1982, Unpaginated.

"The forgiveness comes first. Faith is merely the response to the message."
Sigbert Becker, "Objective Justification," Chicago Pastoral Conference, WELS, Elgin, Illinois, November 9, 1982, Unpaginated.

"The first three statements are taken verbatim from WELS sources."
Sigbert Becker, "Objective Justification," Chicago Pastoral Conference, WELS, Elgin, Illinois, November 9, 1982, Unpaginated.

"Every one of the statements can be understood correctly, even though one must swallow a little hard to accede to the fourth [Kokomo Statement]."
Sigbert Becker, "Objective Justification," Chicago Pastoral Conference, WELS, Elgin, Illinois, November 9, 1982, Unpaginated.

"Three of the four [Kokomo] statements, because of their lack of clarity, tend to confuse the issue. But since the disciplined laymen used them to advance their false doctrine, it was understandable that the congregation should also use them in its rejection of the falsehood being advocated. I do not consider any of the four statements to be false doctrine, but I would rather not use the language used in the first, second, and fourth." [conclusion of paper]
Sigbert Becker, "Objective Justification," Chicago Pastoral Conference, WELS, Elgin, Illinois, November 9, 1982, Unpaginated

"But if forgiveness comes first, if it is always there, if it is true whether I believe it or not, I do not need to know whether I have faith or not before I can cling to God's promise. I know that my sins are forgiven whether I feel forgiven or unforgiven. I know that my iniquity is pardoned whether I believe it or not. And when I know that, then I know also that I am a believer."
Sigbert Becker, "Objective Justification," Chicago Pastoral Conference, WELS, Elgin, Illinois, November 9, 1982, Unpaginated

"It is contrary to Scripture and the pure Gospel to teach: That forgiveness and justification before God do not involve each other, or that justification and reconciliation are entirely different from each other, as though a person can be reconciled without being justified or justified without being reconciled."
Commission on Theology and Church Relations "Theses on Justification" St. Louis: May, 1983, #3.

"In normal Biblical and ecclesiastical usuage the terms 'justify' and 'justification' refer to the ('subjective') justification of the individual sinner through faith (Romans 4:5, 5:1, etc.; AC IV, 3; FC SD III 25). But because theologically justification is the same thing as the forgiveness of sins (Romans 4:1-8; Ap IV, 76; FC Ep III, 7), it is Biblically and confessionally correct to refer to the great sin-cancelling, atoning work of the Redeemer as the 'objective' or 'universal' justification of the whole sinful human race. (John 1:29; Romans 5:6-18; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Colossians 2:14-15; 1 Timothy 3:16; Ap IV, 103-105; LC V, 31, 32, 36, 37; FC SD III, 57)
Commission on Theology and Church Relations "Theses on Justification" St. Louis: May, 1983, #4.

"Thus objective justification or reconciliation is the forgiveness of sins both as it has been acquired for the entire human race by Christ's work of obedience in its stead and declared by His resurrection, and as it is seriously and efficaciously offered to all in the means of grace." Commission on Theology and Church Relations "Theses on Justification" St. Louis: May, 1983, #5. "Subjective justification or reconciliation is this same forgiveness as it is received, appropriated by, and applied to the individual sinner through God-given faith alone (sola fide)."
Commission on Theology and Church Relations "Theses on Justification" St. Louis: May, 1983, #6.

"The third controversy which has arisen among some theologians of the Augsburg Confession is concerning the righteousness of Christ or of faith, which God imputes by grace, through faith, to poor sinners for righteousness."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, III. 1 Righteousness Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 917.

"If this only article remains pure on the battlefield, the Christian Church also remains pure, and in goodly harmony and without any sects; but if it does not remain pure, it is not possible that any error or fanatical spirit can be resisted."
Dr. Luther, Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, III. 4 Righteousness Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 917.

"Accordingly, the word justify here means to declare righteous and free from sins, and to absolve one from eternal punishment for the sake of Christ's righteousness, which is imputed by God to faith, Philippians 3:9. For this use and understanding of this word is common in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament. Proverbs 17:15: He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord. Isaiah 5:23: Woe unto them which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him! Romans 8:33: Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth, that is, absolves from sins and acquits."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, III 17 Righteousness Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 921 Philippians 3:9; Proverbs 17:15; Isaiah 5:23; Romans 8:33.

"For when man is justified through faith [which the Holy Ghost alone works], this is truly a regeneration, because from a child of wrath he becomes a child of God, and thus is transferred from death to life, as it is written; When we were dead in sins, He hath quickened us together with Christ, Ephesians 2:5. Likewise: The just shall live by faith, Romans 1:17; Habakkuk 2:4."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, III 20 Righteousness Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 921.

"Here belongs also what St. Paul writes Romans 4:3, that Abraham was justified before God by faith alone, for the sake of the Mediator, without the cooperation of his works, not only when he was first converted from idolatry and had no good works, but also afterwards, when he had been renewed by the Holy Ghost, and adorned with many excellent good works, Genesis 15:6; Hebrews 11:8. And Paul puts the following questions, Romans 4:1ff.: On what did Abraham's righteousness before God for everlasting life, by which he had a gracious God, and was pleasing and acceptable to Him, rest at that time? Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, III 33 Righteousness.
Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 927. Romans 4:3; Romans 4:1ff; Genesis 15:6; Hebrews 11:8.