Lutheran Worship and Resources



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

Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream - Sunday, 10 AM CDT.


Midweek Lenten - 7 PM Central Daylight.

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

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

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

Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson's Author's Page

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Rogate - The Fifth Sunday after Easter, 2011




Rogate, The Fifth Sunday after Easter, 2011


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn # 202 Welcome Happy Morning 4:28
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 #458 Our Father 4:50

The Communion Hymn # 207 Like the Golden Sun 4:76
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 James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. 26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. 27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

KJV John 16:23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. 24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. 25 These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. 26 At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: 27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. 28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. 29 His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. 30 Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.

Fifth Sunday After Easter
Lord God, heavenly Father, who through Thy Son didst promise us that whatsoever we ask in His name Thou wilt give us: We beseech Thee, keep us in Thy word, and grant us Thy Holy Spirit, that He may govern us according to Thy will; protect us from the power of the devil, from false doctrine and worship; also defend our lives against all danger; grant us Thy blessing and peace, that we may in all things perceive Thy merciful help, and both now and forever praise and glorify Thee as our gracious Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.


Five Parts of Prayer
1. God’s Promise.
2. Faith.
3. Specific petitions.
4. Asking.
5. In the Name of Christ.

Many aspects of the Christian Faith seem similar in various denominations and even in various world religions. This illustrates how people are kept in falsehood by bad doctrine and practice, or bewitched away by seeming agreement.

Luther divided prayer into five parts in his sermon on Rogate Sunday (Lenker edition).

Part One – God’s Promise
The dominant wing of Protestantism today, usually called the Evangelicals, were once called the Arminians. Their religious express is termed Decision Theology, which is easy to summarize:
a. Present the Gospel in an appealing, logical way.
b. Ask for a Decision for Christ.
c. Pray for faith and forgiveness.

As most readers can see, this is wrong on three counts. To begin, conversion and faith begin with God’s Promise, the Word, the Gospel. The message of God’s love and mercy produces and builds faith. The Law prepares us to hear this Gospel, but the truest essence of the Law is not – you are a carnal sinner – but “You trust in your own virtue for salvation and not in the righteousness of Christ.” Therefore, “ye of little faith” is the ultimate Law message, the rebuking Word, which we all need to hear.

The Decision for Christ is also wrong, because conversion is not the result of intellect, will, or virtue. When the Law takes away all our props for false doctrine and fake salvation, the Gospel plants the Word in our hearts. “Receive with meekness the engrafted Word, which is able to save your souls.” (James) A graft is what we see in hybrid tea roses. The wild rose root is the foundation, sturdy and resisting cold, producing unimpressive flowers. The tea rose is cut from its root and grafted onto the wild rose. The coarse nature of the wild rose remains underneath the soil, while the flowering, aromatic tea rose produces flowers and fruit (the rose hip) above.

In the same way, our coarse and unbelieving nature remains, but God Himself grafts the Word in our heart by preaching and infant baptism. From the Word-created faith comes the fruit of the Spirit. If anyone understands this, the Pietist program of cell groups and prayer is nothing more than deceit, fraud, and Law salvation.

“Must” is Law. When a congregation or pastor says, You must enroll in a cell group and meet with them to transform your life, that is man-made law and salvation by works.

I was exposed to Church Growth long before some of its adherents were potty trained. The cell group concept comes from the Pietists, via the Calvinist who borrowed it from the Church of Rome. I attended a conference where a layman said every good thing in his congregation came from the cell groups. The cell groups showed up for clean up day. The cell groups were the largest part of Sunday worship. The cell groups did this and that. They were the better Christians. The congregation grew because of cell groups and was better because of the cell groups. Anyone can see that this was nothing but righteousness based on works and a veering away from glorifying the Gospel.

No one can pray to Christ without faith in Christ. The trouble with “the sinner’s prayer” and similar devices is that it turns the activity of the Holy Spirit in the Gospel into a two-sided contract, often called synergism: “God has done this for you, what will you do for Him?” The answer is – Make a Decision for Christ, pray for forgiveness, and be accepted into the Kingdom by fulfilling the contract.
The correct answer is – Believing in Christ for salvation is forgiveness of sin. God’s Word has convicted you of unbelief and converted you to faith in Jesus as your Savior. This forgiveness is instantaneous, and from it grows the fruit of the Spirit – which includes prayer.

Law preaching will produce law results, and Gospel preaching will produce Gospel fruits.
The first is showy is some respects, because of all the bragging. The second is unlimited in its effect, although people scorn this God-pleasing way because of the cross which accompanies it.

One of my favorite parts of Pilgrim’s Progress has a man knocking down poor Christian and beating him up. When Christian says, “Have mercy,” the man who represents the law says, “The law has no mercy.” That is why the law salesmen ultimately wind up as atheists or secular saviors, because their own law condemns them so savagely, Since it all depends on them on their works, they demand more of others until their showy bric-a-brac falls apart.

Part Two – Faith
Anyone should be suspicious of those modern Pharisees who spend so much time denouncing faith.

Faith is produced by God’s Word, through the Holy Spirit, not from the efforts of man. The law does not produce faith. Only the Gospel can stir up and renew faith.

When people never progress beyond the immature notions of prayer, they imagine they can make a deal with God. If they do certain good things, or give up bad things, God should do His part of the bargain.

First of all, God does not need anything from us, so such offers are blasphemous. That is because God cares for us and provides for us, even for non-believers. “The sun shines on the just (justified by faith) and the unjust (unbelievers).”

Faith is trust in the goodness and mercy of God.

Part Three – Specific Petitions
The New Agers, taking their cue from Asian religions, confuse people and lead them astray in this part. Paul Y. Cho was quite the rage a few years ago. He demanded that people write down a list, because God cannot answer a prayer unless He has all the specifications. Do not ask for a bike, but for a 15 speed bike with a light, side baskets, etc etc. Name the color.

Luther listed specific petitions in a completely different way. Trusting God, we can take all our needs and concerns to Him, having faith in His ability to do far more than we can ask or imagine. This is the great blessing of prayer, to rely on the Creator of the universe and to see how He answers.

"Take heed, then, to embrace the message of these words presenting the love and kindness of God to all men. Daily exercise your faith therein, entertaining no doubt of God's love and kindness toward you, and you shall realize His blessings. Then you may with perfect confidence ask what you will, what your heart desires, and whatever is necessary for the good of yourself and your fellow-men."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 146. Second Christmas Sermon Titus 3:4-8.

Repeated experience builds our trust in Him. Luther said once, “The longer I live, the less confidence I have in myself and the more I have in God.”

When people are told to demand specific things from God, at specific times, they are tempting God and setting themselves up for a falling away from the faith. God will deny what is demanded, yet supply what is asked.

Step Four - Asking
Prayer means asking. Those who have no experience in prayer do not know where to start. Those who act upon the Word’s guidance take their needs to God and also ask for the needs of others. In asking for others we focus on our neighbor’s needs as well.

The influence of the Gospel in our nation means that people pray for those in disaster areas and also immediately respond to their neighbors’ needs. The mayor of a city near Joplin, Missouri, mentioned her prayers for those in Joplin and also helped organize a semi-truck full of emergency supplies for them.

Step Five – In the Name of Christ
All genuine prayer is in the Name of Christ. Praying without His Name is simply a mockery of prayer. Thus today we have people praying “to whatever god or higher power you believe in” or to ancient pagan gods and goddesses. False teachers use the Christian church as a place where they can recruit for their pagan religion. The feminists of the mainline churches organized a Goddess Worship conference years ago, and that influence continues.

In this Gospel, we get a glimpse of Jesus taking care of His disciples and praying for them in previous years. Now He will no longer pray for them. They will pray directly to the Father in His Name, and God the Father will answer the way He would for His own dear Son.

Prayer, like the Sacraments, shows how God cares for us. He does not give us one help in our life here on earth, but many helps to keep us within His flock.


Quotations

"Prayer is made vigorous by petitioning; urgent, by supplication; by thanksgiving, pleasing and acceptable. Strength and acceptability combine to prevail and secure the petition."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 107. Fourth Sunday in Advent, Philippians 4:4-7;

"The Lord's Prayer opens with praise and thanksgiving and the acknowledgement of God as a Father; it earnestly presses toward Him through filial love and a recognition of fatherly tenderness. For supplication, this prayer is unequaled. Hence it is the sublimest and the noblest prayer ever uttered."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 107. Fourth Sunday in Advent, Philippians 4:4-7; Matthew 6:9-13

"Take heed, then, to embrace the message of these words presenting the love and kindness of God to all men. Daily exercise your faith therein, entertaining no doubt of God's love and kindness toward you, and you shall realize His blessings. Then you may with perfect confidence ask what you will, what your heart desires, and whatever is necessary for the good of yourself and your fellow-men."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 146. Second Christmas Sermon Titus 3:4-8

"In like manner, St. Paul says that God's ability is thus proved, in that He does exceeding abundantly above and better than we ask or think. Ephesians 3:20. Therefore, we should know we are too finite to be able to name, picture or designate the time, place, way, measure and other circumstances for that which we ask of God. Let us leave that entirely to Him, and immovably and steadfastly believe that He will hear us."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 179f. Fifth Sunday after Easter Ephesians 3:20.

"O God, I am Thy creature and Thy handiwork and Thou hast from the beginning created me. I will depend entirely on You who cares more for me, how I shall be sustained, then I do myself; Thou wilt indeed nourish me, feed, clothe and help me, where and when You know best."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House 1983, IV, p. 206. Seventh Sunday after Trinity Mark 8:1-9

"Only begin this [prayer, self-examination], I say, and see how you will succeed in the task; and you will soon discover what an unbelieving knave is hidden in your bosom, and that your heart is too dull to believe it."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 257. Easter, Third Sermon Mark 16:1-8.

"The Christian's faith trusts in the ordinary means. Prayer is not a means of grace. Means of grace are divine appointments through which God uniformly offers blessings to all who use them. Faith is the means by which the blessings are received and appropriated. God gives us bread, when we ask it, not through the channel of prayer, but through the ordinary channels of His providence. He gives us grace when we ask it, not through prayer, but through the ordinary means appointed for this end, namely the Word and Sacraments. He who despises these will as little have grace as he who refuses to accept bread produced in the ordinary way of nature. Faith asks with confidence, and trusts in the ordinary means of God's appointment for the blessings asked."
Matthias Loy, Sermons on the Gospels, Columbus: Lutheran Book Concern, 1888, p. 387.

"His good heart and faith naturally teach him how to pray. Yea, what is such faith, but pure prayer? It continually looks for divine grace, and if it looks for it, it also desires it with all the heart." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 70. Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity, Luke 17:11-19

"Lord God, Thou hast placed me in Thy church as a bishop and pastor. Thou seest how unfit I am to administer this great and difficult office. Had I hitherto been without help from Thee, I would have ruined everything long ago. Therefore I call on Thee. I gladly offer my mouth and heart to Thy service. I would teach the people and I myself would continue to learn. To this end I shall meditate diligently on Thy Word. Use me, dear Lord, as Thy instrument. Only do not forsake me; for if I were to continue alone, I would quickly ruin everything."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 926. W 42, 513 Genesis 27:11-14

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Fourth Sunday after Easter




Cantate, The Fourth Sunday after Easter, 2011


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn # 199 Jesus Christ is Risen Today 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 # 262 A Mighty Fortress 1:86
The Holy Spirit and the Word of God
The Communion Hymn #308 Invited Lord 1:63
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #46 On What Has Now Been Sown 1:62
Fourth Sunday After Easter
Lord God, heavenly Father, who didst through Thy Son promise us Thy Holy Spirit, that He should convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment: We beseech Thee, enlighten our hearts, that we may confess our sins, through faith in Christ obtain everlasting righteousness, and in all our trials and temptations retain this consolation, that Christ is Lord over the devil and death, and all things, and that He will graciously deliver us out of all our afflictions, and make us forever partakers of eternal salvation, through the same, Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

KJV James 1:16 Do not err, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. 19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. 21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

KJV John 16:5 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? 6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

The Holy Spirit and the Word of God
This is one of the most important passages about justification, how we are forgiven our sins. The context is Jesus’ parting messages, very important to have the disciples aware of what will come.

Nevertheless, the disciples are rather dense about what will develop and fail to ask about where Jesus is going.

John 16:5 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? 6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.
The sending of Jesus by the Father is very important, because He will send the disciples to represent Him in exactly the same way. They will speak His Word just as He has always spoken His Father’s Word.

Their limitations will be overcome by Jesus sending the Holy Spirit to guide them.

I was thinking about the spread of Pentecostalism today, when I spoke to a friend from Ohio. Robert Preus made this point in a lecture – that Pentecostalism grew because ministers failed to teach the Holy Spirit’s work, concentrating on the Quest for the Historical Jesus. That was when the Bible was being attacked and the modernists became unsure that we knew anything at all about Jesus.

The Pentecostals thrived in the vacuum, in part by teaching the miraculous in the Bible when the modernists were using the Word of God as a tool for political activism. (The Left-wing activism political activism owes its origin, in part, to this religious activism, which became known as the Social Gospel. The term Social Gospel faded after 1930, but the activism grew. FDR’s socialist program was almost identical to the Social Gospel’s program, which was laid out about 30 years before.)

The Pentecostals have no concept of the Holy Spirit’s work in the Bible, but few Lutheran clergy can claim any more insights. The trouble is that pastors do not do the work in Biblical studies that they require to understand the Christian faith and the Bible as the Book of the Holy Spirit (Luther’s term).

The Bible is not understood by applying a series of theories about what one faction or another thinks, trying to maintain loyalty to one group of men or another, ignoring the real leaders of the Lutheran Reformation. Nevertheless, the only solution is individual study, because these insights are more learned than taught. If someone does not dwell upon the Word of God, the knowledge remains superficial.

This is why many laity are superior to clergy in their knowledge of the Bible. This whole section (not just this lesson) in John, about the Holy Spirit, shows us why. The Holy Spirit only works through the Word of God. That means that the Holy Spirit never works through a seminary degree or even a doctorate in Biblical studies.

A doctoral paper on John will ask whether the Gospel was written in 300 AD or 100 AD, never asking the real questions addressed by John, the disciple Jesus loved. Biblical scholarship today gets Talmudic in its ability to stay away from the original text while debating theories and interpretations.

When ministers use the study of Greek or Hebrew to prove why they are always right, they are missing the most basic message of the Bible – the Word of God is plain, clear, and simple for all to understand, yet so profound that we can study it a lifetime and still find many new insights from day to day, never completely mining the spiritual treasures. In fact, the more we delve into the Bible, the more it unfolds to us and the more we see its infinite riches.

Once we had a Bible study about 1 John, in Greek, in Columbus. That has the simplest Greek in the New Testament. The pastor of the biggest church and the district vp could not even start to read the Greek, so I really question how well trained the WELS pastors are, no matter what they claim. The point is this – claiming to know Greek or even knowing Greek quite well is not a winning point. The issue is whether we know and comprehend what the Spirit reveals in the Word of God.

7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

The Comforter is one way to translate this unusual word. Advocate is another. Lenski uses the Greek – the Paraklete, which may not help anyone. The term is defined by what the Holy Spirit does. The Son sent the Holy Spirit for a three-fold work – verse 8.

8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

He will reprove the world in three ways:
A. Of sin.
B. Of righteousness.
C. Of judgment.

Reprove means to convict. Lenski has an interesting distinction. Either this word means to convict beyond any questioning, so the subject must admit its truth, or – it means convicting the subject so that the reality is beyond question, whether admitted or not.

Lenski:
The verb to reprove may mean “to convict” so that the conviction is fully admitted by those convicted, or “to convict” so that, whether the conviction is admitted or not, its reality is beyond question. Here the latter sense prevails. For “the world,” upon which the Paraclete of the disciples works his conviction, will in part be won by that conviction and in part remain obdurate under that conviction. Yet all who do not bow in repentance will, nevertheless, stand convicted like guilty criminals who may still deny the guilt which has been fully proved against them.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. John's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 1081

This means that the Word always convicts. Some respond to the conviction by repenting and believing in the Gospel. Others respond by becoming angry, hardened, and blind, rejecting the Gospel completely.

The three-fold conviction is explained by Jesus. We would be happy for an explanation from the Evangelist, John. But this explanation comes from Jesus so we should pay special attention to it. This is the Son of God explaining the work of the Holy Spirit through the Word – convicting in three ways.

A Of sin, because they believe not on me;
B Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
C Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

A Of sin, because they believe not on me;
This unique explanation, which is in harmony with the rest of the Bible, destroys all notions of forgiveness without faith.

Jesus is also teaching us here – “The foundational sin is unbelief, which leads to all other sin. The answer is to preach the Gospel Promises to create faith, not to pound carnal sin as if the Law will cure the problem of sin.”

We are born in unbelief and original sin. If we did not have the Gospel given to us as newborns, in infant baptism, we would have to be converted later by the invisible Word. That does happen.

But it is folly to say we are born already forgiven. So with infant baptism comes infant faith, which Luther calls the purest form of faith.

With adults, in this sectarian society, it is easy to fall into the thinking that problems of sin are answered by more Law. We think that way by default, because we are wandering sheep. But to do so means we are saying, “The x-ray shows I have a broken arm. Now I need more x-rays to heal it.” Or – “The blood test condemns me as a diabetic. I need more blood tests to alleviate my condition.”

“They believe not on me.”
This is our constant state (by default) and we need the Means of Grace to correct it. Another way of phrasing this is to say, “They do not utterly trust in Me.”

Notice that Jesus put this in negative terms to rule out vague agreement as faith. George Allen called Jesus the Son of God in “Oh God.” He also called Moses and Mohammed the sons of God, rendering the first statement meaningless.

The preaching of the pure Word means telling the entire audience that justification, forgiveness, comes from utter trust in Christ, or in faith in Christ alone and His righteousness.
This comes as great comfort to believers, who say, “I believe, help my unbelief.”

This message is also a rebuke, which is why those who love wolf-preaching demand “practical, how-to messages” instead of Gospel sermons.

When Ski came to Appleton, he acted as if no one had heard the Gospel before. That is law, man-made law, pure snake oil. His answer was to copy and paste Groeschel sermons, giving the law as their answer, their antidote. The Pietism in his audience warmed to that message. Glende was doing the same thing with Groeschel’s anti-Lutheran approach. The results are in – members must obey their lupine leaders or be thrown out of their congregation in a secretive, dishonest, brutal way – reserved for Holy Week.

A Of sin, because they believe not on me;

To paraphrase Chytraeus, this includes doubting the gracious love of God. It happens this way. Christians undergo many trials and bear various crosses. As Jesus said, we must take up our crosses daily. When believers feel they are getting a bad deal, too much trouble, or pain when others have rewards, this is doubting the goodness of God.

God allows evil to some extent, which the Holy Spirit transforms into a blessing through faith. If God simply turned us over to our own devices, we would quickly destroy ourselves (Romans 1). There are many cases of this happening. Those who turn away from the Faith are examples of this process. It can happen rather quickly. One minister was leaving the liberal Lutherans for the conservatives. Next he was having a rough time, so he joined the apostate UCC, the equivalent of becoming an atheist, but with a polite cover of being a Rev, an open-minded Rev.

Afterwards we can see God’s providence (literally – God seeing ahead, knowing our needs). What looks like a bad turn in the road is a good one. So it is a sin to doubt God’s goodness because we do not utterly trust in Christ.

Otherwise we are stuck in the synthetic faith of the sectarians, who say, “I believe in God because I am prosperous, as long as I am prosperous.”

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

B Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;

This phrase always makes me start over, and that is the intention of the Word of God, to make us puzzle over a section and learn it better. The Spirit’s mission is only through the teaching and administration of the Word.

Therefore, this is a way of saying, “The Word which you preach will convict the world of righteousness, because you will teach them, sent by Me just as I was sent by My Father.”

The only way of being justified is through faith in Christ – that is convicting the world of righteousness, the righteousness of faith, as the Formula of Concord states.

That means no longer trusting in emotions, which are the opposite of faith. Do we feel terrible? Guilty? Depressed? Angry? Disappointed? Crushed by troubles? Regretful over past mistakes and sins? The world would have us worship our emotions, pet them, love them, and admire them. Many people spend their lives talking about their emotions. The wolf-preachers get up and talk about their insecurities and their ovine audiences follow them off the cliff.

This preaching of righteousness means – No matter how you feel, Christ has died for your sins and given you the Gospel, so you can receive his righteousness in faith. Utter trust in Him is just the opposite of feelings, and they overcome our frail, volatile, fickle feelings. Luther said wisely that Satan attacks us through our emotions. No fact in the world (health, money, freedom) can stand up to our feelings. Money? What if I lose it tomorrow? Health? But that could change. Freedom? That does me no good. I am woebegone.

One writer had four typewriters because he feared that his machine would stop working and he could not write. He was an atheist, a real genius in many ways, but his emotions controlled his stash of typewriters. Asimov. He wrote and published 400 books, including 3 autobiographies.

The foundation for all we do as believers is utter faith in Christ, in the goodness and mercy of God. Even illness and death among believers serves to glorify His Name.

C Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

Satan is the prince of this world. He controls everything up to the point where he is allowed. He is judged, condemned. That is not the team to join, although he makes it appealing. His guys have the best parishes as ministers and the best jobs. A loud-mouthed atheist is going to do well as a university professor. A known believer in academics will have a hard time.

But Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress has a good answer to Satan. I used to work for you but no longer. Your pay is terrible, for the wages of sin is death.

Satan would like to have any remaining believers. He will fight for each one, not for those already in his hellish flock.

Knowing that he is condemned gives us strength against temptations, especially when our emotions attack us.

As Luther said to Satan, I may a thousand times worse than what you say, but Christ is my Savior, and He forgives my sins.

The Holy Spirit keeps this message before us in the Gospel, so we are forgiven of our sins, fully and freely – each and every day.
Quotations

(1) "Almighty Father, bless the Word Which through your grace we now have heard Oh, may the precious seed take root, Spring up, and bear abundant fruit. (2) We praise you for the means of grace As homeward now our steps we trace. Grant, Lord, that we who worshiped here May all at last in heaven appear." Scandinavian, The Lutheran Hymnal, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1982, Hymn #52

"It is a glory which every preacher may claim, to be able to say with full confidence of heart: 'This trust have I toward God in Christ, that what I teach and preach is truly the Word of God.' Likewise, when he performs other official duties in the Church--baptizes a child, absolves and comforts a sinner--it must be done in the same firm conviction that such is the command of Christ. He who would teach and exercise authority in the Church without this glory, 'it is profitable for him,' as Christ says, (Matthew 18:6), 'that a great millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be sunk in the depths of the sea.' For the devil's lies he preaches, and death is what he effects."
Sermons of Martin Luther, ed. John Nicolas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 227. Twelfth Sunday after Trinity 2 Corinthians 3:4-11; Matthew 18:6

"Such a divine kingdom can be governed, built up, protected, extended and maintained only by means of the external office of the Word and Sacraments, through which the Holy Spirit is powerful and works in the hearts etc., as I have often said in speaking on this theme."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 238. Twentieth Sunday after Trinity, Matthew 22:1-14

"The church is recognized, not by external peace but by the Word and the Sacraments. For wherever you see a small group that has the true Word and the Sacraments, there the church is if only the pulpit and the baptismal font are pure. The church does not stand on the holiness of any one person but solely on the holiness and righteousness of the Lord Christ, for He has sanctified her by Word and Sacrament." What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 263. Matthew 24:4-7.

"Thus also the devil is angry because God wants to trample him under foot by means of flesh and blood. If a mighty spirit were opposed to him, he would not be so sorely vexed; but it greatly angers him that a poor worm of the dust, a fragile earthen vessel defies him, a weak vessel against a mighty prince. God has placed his treasure, says St. Paul, in a poor, weak vessel; for man is weak, easily aroused to anger, avaricious, arrogant, and weighed down with other imperfections, through which Satan easily shatters the earthen vessel; for if God would permit him, he would soon have utterly destroyed the whole vessel." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 268. Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity, John 4:46-54; 1 Peter 5:8; Ephesians 6:12.

"In the Word of God there is not only a speaking about God, but in and through His Word God Himself speaks to us, deals with us, acts upon us. Therefore the Word of God is also an efficacious means of grace through which God regenerates, converts, and sanctifies man. This efficacy the Word of God possesses always; it is always united with the Word, never separated from it." E. Hove, Christian Doctrine, Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1930, p. 27.

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

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

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

"She desired nothing besides this Word, nor did she ask for more than merely to touch His garment, which she used as an external means and sign to gain the desired help. Likewise, we need nothing more in our lives and in the kingdom of faith than the external Word and Sacraments, in which He permits Himself to be touched and seized as if by His garment." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 350. Twenty-fourth Sunday after Trinity, Matthew 9:18-26

"The Christian's faith trusts in the ordinary means. Prayer is not a means of grace. Means of grace are divine appointments through which God uniformly offers blessings to all who use them. Faith is the means by which the blessings are received and appropriated. God gives us bread, when we ask it, not through the channel of prayer, but through the ordinary channels of His providence. He gives us grace when we ask it, not through prayer, but through the ordinary means appointed for this end, namely the Word and Sacraments. He who despises these will as little have grace as he who refuses to accept bread produced in the ordinary way of nature. Faith asks with confidence, and trusts in the ordinary means of God's appointment for the blessings asked." Matthias Loy, Sermons on the Gospels, Columbus: Lutheran Book Concern, 1888, p. 387.

"For we can definitely assert that where the Lord's Supper, Baptism, and the Word are found, Christ, the remission of sins, and life eternal are found. On the other hand, where these signs of grace are not found, or where they are despised by men, not only grace is lacking but also foul errors will follow. Then men will set up other forms of worship and other signs for themselves." What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 914. Genesis 4:3.

"From this it follows that they act foolishly, yea, against God's order and institution, who despise and reject the external Word, thinking that the Holy Spirit and faith should come to them without means. It will indeed be a long time before that happens." What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 915.

"Another defect of Reformed preaching is its contempt for the Means of Grace. They will tell you that the Holy Spirit needs no vehicle, neither ox-cart nor aeroplane, to enter the heart of man; and by this rationalistic argument they think to have done away with the Means of Grace. But notice how they set about immediately to construct their own Means of Grace. Luther told them in his day:'If the Holy Spirit needs no vehicle, no preaching, then why are you here? And why are you so earnest in spreading your errors? It seems that what you really meant to say was that the Holy Spirit does not need true prophets, but He is very much in need of false prophets.' If the Holy Spirit needs no Means of Grace, who do these Reformed churches undertake their campaigns of revivalism?" Martin S. Sommer, Concordia Pulpit for 1932, Martin S. Sommer, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1931, p. iv.

"However, here the Lord speaks quite differently, and says: 'The Holy Spirit will convict the world in respect of sin, because they believe not on me.' Unbelief only is mentioned here as sin, and faith is praised as suppressing and extinguishing the other sins, even the sins in the saints. Faith is so strong and overpowering that no sin dare put it under any obligation. Although sins are present in pious and believing persons, they are not imputed to them, nor shall their sins condemn them." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 127. Fourth Sunday after Easter, Second Sermon John 16:5-15.

"Godly and believing persons know their sins; they bear all their punishment patiently, and are resigned to God's judgment without the least murmur; therefore, they are punished only bodily, and here in time, and their pain and suffering have an end. Unbelievers, however, since they are not conscious of their sins and transgressions, cannot bear God's punishment patiently, but they resent it and wish their life and works to go unpunished, yea, uncensured. Hence, their punishment and suffering are in body and soul, here in time, and last forever beyond this life." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 131. Fourth Sunday after Easter, Second Sermon John 16:5-15.

"Therefore the Holy Spirit rightly and justly convicts, as sinful and condemned, all who have not faith in Christ. For where this is wanting, other sins in abundance must follow: God is despised and hated, and the entire first table is treated with disobedience." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 141. Fourth Sunday after Easter, Third Sermon John 16:5-15.

"Lo, how the dragon's-tail of the devil and all hell must follow unbelief! The reason is, that he who does not believe in Christ, has already turned away from God and quite separated himself from Him." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 142. Fourth Sunday after Easter, Third Sermon John 16:5-15.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Actual Third Sunday after Easter



Note – I skipped a week because I was not paying attention to the shift from “after Easter” to “of Easter.” Everyone else seems to be following the Roman Catholic three-year calendar. I am repeating the Easter 3 lessons today and using the Second Sunday after Easter Gospel lesson for the sermon.

Jubilate, The Third Sunday after Easter, 2011


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn # 1 Open Now 3:33
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 # 307 Draw Nigh and Take 3:72
The Good Shepherd
The Communion Hymn #
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 #628 Shepherd of Tender Youth 3:74

THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EASTER
Lord God, heavenly Father, who of Thy fatherly goodness dost suffer Thy children to come under Thy chastening rod here on earth, that we may be like unto Thine only-begotten Son in suffering and hereafter in glory: We beseech Thee, comfort us in temptations and afflictions by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not fall into despair, but that we may continually trust in Thy Son's promise, that our trials will endure but a little while, and will then be followed by eternal joy; that we thus, in patient hope, may overcome all evil, and at last obtain eternal salvation, through the same, Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

The Good Shepherd

KJV John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

We all know instinctively that the term Good Shepherd is a special title for Jesus. The title is not used for any other person, unlike “Lord,” which is also used in pagan religions.

The Greek word for “Good” in this verse really means noble, and the combination is meant to say – The Shepherd above all shepherds, the unique shepherd.

This term is especially compelling because it associates Jesus with the role of Good Shepherd and us with our role as wandering sheep.

When Luther preached on this text, he cited the great passage in Ezekiel:

KJV Ezekiel 34:1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3 Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. 4 The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. 5 And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. 7 Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; 8 As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; 9 Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; 10 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them. 11 For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. 13 And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. 15 I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD.

Many people also think of this passage from Isaiah:

KJV Isaiah 40:11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

Everyone recalls this passage from memory:

KJV Psalm 23:1 {A Psalm of David.} The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

The Old Testament has 500 references to sheep and shepherding, including the often repeated (in the NT) Isaiah 53.

An English teacher would say, “Do not mix metaphors. A man cannot be a Good Shepherd and a spotless lamb.” But we can see the eloquence of the Bible in being able to teach us the wisdom of the Holy Spirit without being bound by human rules. There is nothing else like it, because many authors, inspired by the Holy Spirit, use many styles and backgrounds to teach us God’s will.

This Good Shepherd passage is the one place where all of this comes together. Every single verse about sheep and shepherding leads to this passage, and this passage explains them all.

John 10:11
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

The Good Shepherd (compared to the evil shepherds of Ez 34) will lead his flock in love and grace (as the sheep in Psalm 23 stated). The Good Shepherd shows His love by being the spotless Passover lamb (Isaiah 53).

John 10:12
But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.

This verse distinguishes between the weak leaders, like the District Presidents, who allow the wolves to rend the flocks, and the wolves who rip, and tear, and scatter the sheep.

The Lutheran Church is in such sad shape that the District Presidents, Synod Presidents, and Circuit Pastors use all their resources to protect and promote the wolves while they persecute and threaten faithful pastors. Example, in WELS the Intrepid pastors have been threatened with firing “if they step out of line.” However, absolutely nothing is done about the clear cases of pastoral abuse they have carefully and patiently described. (I might even add “meekly, conformedly, quietly”.) After playing by all the rules set down by the false teachers, they are still threatened.

One constant citation is Matthew 18, about going to someone first, then taking witnesses, then telling it to the church to win over the erring brother. But the bullies of Fox Valley (DP Englebrecht included) ran away from meetings, refused to answer emails, and ignored face-to-face efforts. And yet, they (and DP Englebrecht) had no compunction about excommunicating a member behind his back, secretly, deviously, dishonestly. I am sure the bullies began their slaughter sessions with a fervent prayer. Their Father Below loves such devotion, coming from flinty hearts, blinded eyes, perverted brains.

The hirings here are also the weak pastors who will do nothing because they might lose their income. They are confessing as a group that flabby DPs have more power than God. The DPs are their Good Shepherds, they dream, leading them to green pastures (parishes in rich suburbs, with rolling lawns untainted by a single dandelion). God will abandon these pastors and let them starve, they fear, if the speak the truth, if they say, “If ye continue in My word, then are ye my disciples indeed.” John 8.

The wolves are those pastors who always work in a pack. They chase down and devour the sheep. What they cannot kill, they scatter. Their chief strength comes from working in a pack, so they can surround and bring down the prey. In the Wisconsin Sect they have started many of their own wolf organizations, such as Church and Change, Prayer Warriors, Men of the Word, Feet of Clay, Women’s Ordination Movement – all with synod offering money and their own picked leaders.

How many have noticed that one WELS church after another has gone into expensive remodeling projects, far too expensive for the parish? What do they have in common? Church and Change consultants (paid huge fees) followed up by Cornerstone Church and Changers, also charging far too much money. The pastor builds a monument to his ego, as Buchholz did, and leaves the members holding the bag of debt.

John 10:14
I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
This verse is especially important, because it reveals how the Word connects the Good Shepherd with His true flock, the Invisible Church. The visible church has many who do not believe or think they do while using the Gospel to feather their nests. An enormous congregation will always attract business people who realize they have an automatic base of customers to rely upon, for example.

Some people live to persecute the Gospel, and there is no other place than a congregation to do that. Others nurse old grudges.

The Word converts and binds together all those who sincerely believe in Christ as their Savior. There would be a lot more Christians, except for the cross, as Luther mentioned. The world would be packed with believers if they never ran into any pain, inconvenience, or hardship because of the Word. One of the best methods of the hireling pastors is to remove all teaching about bearing the cross. They teach triumphalism instead, so they serve Satan in their weak, self-centered way. When someone runs into any kind of hardship because of the Word, that person is easily lost to Gospel. The same is true of personal misfortunes, such as difficult diseases.

John 10:15
As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

The Gospel of John emphasizes especially the Father-Son relationship. The Father and Son’s relationship is revealed through the Holy Spirit. That alone is worth many chapters, even books. People long for spiritual wisdom, and here it is, directly from the Word of God. We understand through the work of the Holy Spirit. It is taught through the Holy Spirit at work in the preacher or teacher. It was originally revealed through the Holy Spirit in the Gospel writer.

And yet the blind cannot find the Trinity in the Bible. Nowhere! And the feminist ministers will not say “The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit.”

John 10:16
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

No shepherd in Israel ever died for his sheep. He protect them and led them. Only Jesus can say, as the Good Shepherd, he lay down His life for the sheep. As we hear those verses and connect them with the others we know so well, we believe in His love, grace, and mercy. In believing we receive forgiveness.

This is the marvel about the Word of God, which is powerful and effective whenever we:
1. Read.
2. Hear.
3. Or remember it.

"For him who believes and keeps Christ's Word heaven stands open and hell is locked. The devil is also taken captive, sin is forgiven, and the believer is a child of life eternal. This is taught by this Book, Holy Scripture, and by no other book on earth. For this reason let him who would live forever study in it diligently. He who does not do so and does not want to do so is and remains in death eternal." What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed. Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. p. 82. John 8:51.

Quotations

"Christians should not, and cannot, have their glory in the things the world esteems and honors; for the world will not, not can it, honor even God and His Word. Christ's followers, then, should not be terrified at such treatment as Paul received nor feel disgraced. Let them rather rejoice, deriving comfort and glory therefrom, as did the apostles. We read (Acts 4:13) of their boldness, and (Acts 5:41) that they rejoiced in being 'counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the Name.' So it fared with Christ Himself, and Christians ought to be grieved if it be otherwise with them and if the world regard them in a kindly way. In proportion as the world persecutes them and heaps upon them its malice, should they rejoice. Let them accept persecution as a good indication, regarding themselves blessed, as Christ teaches in Matthew 5:11."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 266. Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity Ephesians 3:13-21, Acts 4:13; Acts 5:41; Matthew 5:11

"This will show that 'redeem' here is a matter not of morality but of faith, that it includes faith." Martin Luther, Lectures on Galatians, 1535, ed., Jaroslav Pelikan, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1963, 26, p. 294 Galatians 3:14

"As soon as the Word of God appears, the devil becomes angry; and in his anger he employs every power and wile to persecute it and wipe it out completely. For he is the father of lies and a murderer (John 8:44); he plants his lies in the world through false teachers, and he murders men through tyrants." Martin Luther, Lectures on Galatians, 1535, ed., Jaroslav Pelikan, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1963, 26, p. 455. Galatians 4:29

"For him who believes and keeps Christ's Word heaven stands open and hell is locked. The devil is also taken captive, sin is forgiven, and the believer is a child of life eternal. This is taught by this Book, Holy Scripture, and by no other book on earth. For this reason let him who would live forever study in it diligently. He who does not do so and does not want to do so is and remains in death eternal." What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed. Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. p. 82. John 8:51.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Third Sunday of Easter

Jubilate, The Third Sunday of Easter, 2011

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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


Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time

The Hymn # 536 Awake My Soul 3.28

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 # 36 Now Thank We 3.40

No Man Takes Your Joy Away

The Communion Hymn # 354 In the Cross 3.84

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 #231 We Now Implore 3.38

THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER

Lord God, heavenly Father, who of Thy fatherly goodness dost suffer Thy children to come under Thy chastening rod here on earth, that we may be like unto Thine only-begotten Son in suffering and hereafter in glory: We beseech Thee, comfort us in temptations and afflictions by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not fall into despair, but that we may continually trust in Thy Son's promise, that our trials will endure but a little while, and will then be followed by eternal joy; that we thus, in patient hope, may overcome all evil, and at last obtain eternal salvation, through the same, Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

KJV 1 Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. 13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. 17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. 18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

KJV John 16:16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father. 17 Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father? 18 They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith. 19 Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? 20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. 21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. 22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. 23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.

No Man Takes Your Joy Away

In this Gospel, we can see the process of building up the disciples’ faith. It should be familiar to parents and pastors. We train children in adult concepts long before they have a chance to use them. When they mature and face challenges, they draw upon those lessons.

Mothers use a combination of assurance and love with admonitions about what can happen. The warnings come from love, not from spite. Children naturally react against parental wisdom. They are slow to be thankful, yet they deeply appreciate the guidance in their mature years. Mothers especially have to be patient to wait for the return in their investment of love and labor.

Jesus did many things to build up His disciples before the crucifixion. When they proved to be timid and afraid, which were natural reactions to the reality of arrest and torture, He built them up with His appearances and His grace-filled Word. He did not refrain from admonishing them, but He did so in a gentle way, so they were not crushed with condemnation.

This particular lesson is unusual in the way the same phrase is used four times in a row. Even Luther registered a certain amount of frustration with the repetition.

"Here in this Gospel we see how the Lord comforts and imparts courage to His children whom He is about to leave behind Him, when they would come in fear and distress on account of His death or of their backsliding. We also notice what induced the evangelist John to use so many words that he indeed repeats one expression four times,which according to our thinking he might have expressed in fewer words."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 73f. Third Sunday after Easter John 16:16-23

But that also shows us how important it was to remember:

A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.

This can be seen as His death, followed by His resurrection, or looking further into the future, the return of Christ.

I think both apply. They were grief-stricken and afraid after His death on the cross, then encouraged and strengthened by His resurrection appearances and teaching. After the Ascension, they were without His visible presence, yet encouraged by His promise of coming again.

"Therefore we must also feel within us this 'a little while' as the dear disciples felt it, for this is written for our example and instruction, so that we may thereby be comforted and be made better. And we should use this as a familiar adage among ourselves; yes, we should feel and experience it, so that we might at all times say, God is at times near and at times He has vanished out of sight. At times I remember how the Word seems neither to move me nor to apply to me. It passes by; I give no heed to it. But to this 'a little while' we must give heed and pay attention, so that we may remain strong and steadfast. We will experience the same as the disciples."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 75f. Third Sunday after Easter John 16:16-23

People often want the Bible in journalist-time, with a steady progression of dates and events. However, God does not work that way. When Adam and Eve were driven from Paradise, they were promised the Savior, an event which would not be fulfilled for 4,000 years. Likewise, the prophetic promises were not fulfilled for many centuries.

Older people have a better sense of time. When we see a grandchild we also see the parent at that age. The two events seem to exist together at the same time, even though they do not. Likewise, for the young, everything takes too long. Looking back, the same things (like school) are collapsed in time.

As Luther points out in his sermon on this text, God allows us to go through sorrow and difficult times, but we are to be steadfast and rely on His comfort when nothing seems to offer hope.

As he said so astutely, Satan works on our emotions, where we are weakest. We can have everything going well and yet our emotions can cry out in panic. My wife and I laugh about our three dogs reacting to everything on our little street. They bark in a frenzy when the UPS driver arrives, when anyone drives onto our circle, when a deer runs through our ravine. If I go outside to take out the garbage, all three carry on at once, even bumping into each other as they sound the alarm.

For that reason, the Word is our foundation and the assurance of God’s promises.

It is ironic that this Gospel lesson has fallen on Mother’s Day, because Jesus comparison to labor and childbirth is used in John 16. I remember that comparison from childhood, although I had no idea what labor was.

Our cousin in German described it well. Her child is 8 years old now. She started labor by saying, “This is not so bad.” Soon, she said, “All the drugs in the world were not enough for the pain.”

Jesus said about labor in His day, that the mother was full of sorrow and pain during that time. But all that went away with the joy of having a baby.

This parable of the woman is a strong and stubborn argument against free will, that it is entirely powerless and without strength in the things pertaining to the salvation of our souls. The Gospel shows very plainly that divine strength and grace are needed. Man's free will is entirely too weak and insignificant to accomplish anything here. But we have established our own orders and regulations instead of the Gospel and through these we want to free ourselves from sin, from death, from hell, and from all misfortune and finally be saved thereby. A great mistake."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 81. Third Sunday after Easter John 16:16-23

..."but wait thou patiently and permit God to do with you according to His will. He shall accomplish it; permit Him to work. We shall accomplish nothing ourselves, but at times we shall feel death and hell. This the ungodly shall also feel, but they do not believe that God is present in it and wants to help them. Just as the woman here accomplishes nothing, she only feels pain, distress and misery; but she cannot help herself out of this state."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 82. Third Sunday after Easter John 16:16-23

John 16:22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.

The sorrow in the disciples was natural, because they were being warned that Jesus would be away from them. He told them in advance what they would experience, both the pain and the joy.

Here Luther distinguishes between worldly joy and Christian joy. The unbelievers rejoice in any pain or bad news that comes to the believer. I recently posted an excellent quotation on this concept. Unbelievers only see fanaticism and folly in believers. Therefore, they rejoice when anything bad happens to Christians or the Christian Church.

I hear people complaining about Hollywood and TV. I find their negative portrayals to be perfectly natural for their culture. The writers hate patriotism, the family, and Christian faith. So every conservative is a bigot. Every family is a cesspool of pathology, and all Christians are evil, blundering fools.

Unbelievers love to join forces with apostate denominations in promoting their causes. They like “good Christians” who endorse their radical and destructive policies. And the apostates love them in return.

"The nice, envious person who is sad when another prospers, and would gladly have one eye less if thereby his neighbor had none, is the product of Satan."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 102. Third Sunday after Easter John 16:16-23.

The apostate Lutherans go to court to keep Creation from being taught in schools. They use World Hunger Appeal money to lobby the US and Canada (and the states) for all left-wing causes. All over America, people give up this and that to put money in envelopes that having starving children on them. The posters in the church hallways have starving children on them. They should have a photo of a fat lobbyist drinking a toast with the paid Lutheran lobbyist in DC (and other places).

Also, within the so-called conservative synods are people who rejoice in overthrowing the Gospel. They love the apostates from all denominations, because they share a common hatred which unites them. As my father used to say, “There is no love like that of one drunk for another.”

Those who hate the Word and the Confessions make sure they have the best positions and the most money. They crow about their great success. Even worse, when they tumble (as they must), their friends cover up for them. One man has promoted himself as a great Church Growth expert and founder of Church and Change in WELS. His congregation is half the size it was when he took over and the school is gone. So that is the person WELS paid to write a series on the Ten Commandments. If anyone objects, that person is cut out of any opportunities.

Two WELS pastors were supposedly fighting Church Growth years ago. They told an elderly lady that they would no longer say anything because they were looking for better calls in the denomination. And they went silent, leaving her hanging, alone. They did get their calls. Bribery works. I have seen many give into such blandishments, not only to be silent, but to turn on former friends. And they rejoice in their evil turn-arounds.

These experiences make us think that God rewards the evil while punishing the faithful. God does indeed lay a cross on us, whenever we faithfully confess His Word. Some might think, “I can take any remarks from an opposing denomination or from an atheist and Marxist. But these are my classmates, my friends, my own relatives from the same church.”

Unfortunately it takes great upheavals to make us appreciate the spiritual wisdom of the Word. We take for granted what is inexpensive and free. God has given us an ocean of air and seven oceans of water for our existence, but we only miss them when we need oxygen and cannot get it, or live through a drought and realize what water means to life and ordinary comfort.

Every single Creed has come from a period of fiery trial. The Reformation was not a time of calm. The Peasants’ War alone threatened all of society. So did the Zwickau prophets. Worst of all, the Muslim armies from the Ottoman Empire were at the gates of Vienna, Austria in 1530 and several times after that. The Lutherans no longer agreed with one another, after Luther died. It took them 34 years to create harmony from a common confession, the Book of Concord, in 1580.

Times of trial never feel good at the moment, but they yield Christian joy, which no one can take away, whether we are in a hospital bed or a prison.

"We should take to heart and firmly hold fast to these words and keep them in mind when in sorrow and distress, that it will not last long, then we would also have more constant joy, for as Christ and His elect had their 'a little while,' so you and I and everyone will have his 'a little while.' Pilate and Herod will not crucify you, but in the same manner as the devil used them so he will also use your persecutors. Therefore when your trials come, you must not immediately think how you are to be delivered out of them. God will help you in due time. Only wait. It is only for a little while, He will not delay long."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 77. Third Sunday after Easter John 16:16-23.

Each person is just a speck in this world, but whatever we do in faith glories God and honors His Name. To do that we must take up the cross daily. God will honor whatever is done in faith. We only need to wait and see. Those who rejoice in the downfall of believers and confessors will find out what it means to mock the Word of God, to juggle with words, as if the Bible were a toy or Rubic’s Cube.

Easter Quotations

"When Christ arose, He brought with Him complete righteousness. For He arose for the sake of our righteousness, Romans 4:25. So then, when you, in a similar fashion, arise from sin through true repentance, you are justified from sins, for faith lays hold of this completed righteousness in Christ, by which we are enabled to stand before God."

Johann Gerhard Eleven Easter and Pentecostal Sermons, Malone: Repristination Press, 1996, p. 80. Romans 6:3-4; Romans 4:25. [Note: order the Gerhard sermons from Repristination Press, hunnius@aol.com

"That the Lord Christ, after His resurrection, wishes peace to the disciples and eats the broiled fish and honey comb in their presence, and thereby portrays the benefit and fruit of His resurrection. For through His death and resurrection He has reconciled us with God, His heavenly Father, so that we may from now on, through faith in Him, have peace with God, have peace in our hearts, and have peace against the accusations of the devil and our conscience. When a war lord victoriously overcomes the enemy, peace follows after. So also, since Christ has overcome all His and our enemies in His victorious resurrection, He can thereafter wish [us] peace...Through Him, Samson's riddle was fulfilled: From the eater came something to eat and sweetness from the strong one...He is the powerful Lion from the stem of Judah, Rev 5:5, which mightily fought and overcame so that ours souls find honey-sweet food in Him."

Johann Gerhard, Eleven Easter and Pentecostal Sermons, Malone: Repristination Press, 1996, p. 52. Judges 14:14,18.

"Furthermore, another reason for stating that the Lamb of God was slain from the beginning of the world is that God the Lord, soon after the Fall in the beginning, made the promise that He wanted to have the Seed of the woman step on and crush the head of the hellish snake; and, it would also occur that the snake would bite the woman's Seed in the heel. This stinging of the heel is none other than that Devil's inflicting himself on the woman's Seed and bringing Him to the cross."

Johann Gerhard, Eleven Easter and Pentecostal Sermons, Malone: Repristination Press, 1996, p. 60. 1 Corinthians 5:7-8; Genesis 3:15.

"He who follows his feelings will perish, but he who clings to the Word with his heart will be delivered."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 245. Mark 16:1-8.

"For when the heart clings to the Word, feelings and reasoning must fail."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 246. Mark 16:1-8.

"Therefore the Holy Spirit must come to our rescue, not only to preach the Word to us, but also to enlarge and impel us from within, yea, even to employ the devil, the world and all kinds of afflictions and persecutions to this end. Just as a pig's bladder must be rubbed with salt and thoroughly worked to distend it, so this old hide of ours must be well salted and plagued until we call for help and cry aloud, and so stretch and expand ourselves, both through internal and through external suffering, that we may finally succeed and attain this heart and cheer, joy and consolation, from Christ's resurrection."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 253. Mark 16:1-8.

"If I do not believe it, I will not receive its benefits; but that neither renders it false nor proves that anything is lacking in Christ."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 258. Mark 16:1-8.

"For this reason one should not be too credulous when a preacher comes softly like an angel of God, recommends himself very highly, and swears that his sole aim is to save souls, and says: 'Pax vobis!' For those are the very fellows the devil employs to honey people's mouths. Through them he gains an entrance to preach and to teach, in order that he may afterward inflict his injuries, and that though he accomplish nothing more for the present, he may, at least, confound the people's consciences and finally lead them into misery and despair."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 322. Luke 24:36-47.

"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., xd., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 355. John 20:19-31.

"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, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 359. John 20:19-31.

"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, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 370. John 20:19-31.

"Who are the people, therefore, to whom God makes known the resurrection of His Son? Women of little learning and poor fishermen."

Sermons of Martin Luther, The House Postils, 3 vols., ed., Eugene Klug, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1996, II, p. 22. Luke 24:13-35.