The Fourth Sunday after Trinity, 2011
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson
Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time
The Hymn # 452 The Son of God 1:10
The Confession of Sins
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #531 Come Ye Disconsolate 1:15
Faith in God, Mercy for Man
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 # 413 I Walk in Danger 1:67
KJV Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
KJV Luke 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. 39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? 40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. 41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.
Fourth Sunday After Trinity
Lord God, heavenly Father, who art merciful, and through Christ didst promise us, that Thou wilt neither judge nor condemn us, but graciously forgive us all our sins, and abundantly provide for all our wants of body and soul: We pray Thee, that by Thy Holy Spirit Thou wilt establish in our hearts a confident faith in Thy mercy, and teach us also to be merciful to our neighbor, that we may not judge or condemn others, but willingly forgive all men, and, Judging only ourselves, lead blessed lives in Thy fear, through Thy dear Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.
Faith in God, Mercy for Man
Luther often described the Christian faith as having two parts – faith in God, good works for man.
This Gospel lesson is a perfect example of that summary. The text is aimed at believers who already know God’s mercy and forgiveness. Jesus is not teaching that good works earn the favor of God, that they are necessary for forgiveness.
The Word of God conveys Christ to us, and therefore all His benefits. Those benefits are the Gospel, Christ crucified for our sins, plus all His promises and blessings as well. The power of the Gospel is revealed in the faith created by the Holy Spirit. This faith receives the forgiveness promised. No one needs to ask, “Am I forgiven?” Believing in Christ is forgiveness, complete and free. That is the justification by faith taught in Romans and throughout the Bible.
Inuitu Fidei !!!
One of the intellectuals in Glende’s circle began condemning Inuitu Fidei, which sounds like the faith of the Inuit tribe in Eskimo land. I imagine he meant Intuitu Fidei. That is the problem with getting things wrong all the time – there is a difference.
If a man tries to show off his meager Latin and makes everyone laugh at him, should he be trusted with the Gospel? I think not. The UOJ fanatics are having another round of self-serving posturing.
They are condemning Intuitu Fidei when they do not even understand it. They are using the two words in Latin (which they obviously do not comprehend) to slug people about faith again. Oh, they hate faith and cannot wait to rant about it. What else can the ignorant do when they teach, as UOJ and Universalism do, that the entire world is forgiven and saved, without faith? Period, end of story - to paraphrase WELS DP Buchholz!
KJV Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
On Romans 8:28 – Lenski –
“All things are working together for good,” all of them without exception operate together to produce “good” in the sense of what is beneficial for God’s lovers. This includes every kind of painful experience in Christian lives, all those that press groans from our lips and make us groan inwardly in unuttered and unutterable distress. Some of the things that Paul has in mind he states in v. 38, 39. The Old Testament story of Joseph is a striking example of the mysterious and the wonderful way in which God makes the evil done to us eventuate for our good. Another instance is the story of the persecution precipitated by Saul. It scattered the great congregation at Jerusalem to distant parts, it seemed to be a calamity but served only for the good of the church by planting it in a hundred new places to flourish more than ever.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Paul's Espistle to the Romans. Columbus, Ohio : Lutheran Book Concern, 1936, S. 551
Romans is supposed to be a profound doctrinal letter, and it is, but the letter is also plain and clear in its meaning. We know we are predestined, because we believe.
“Whom He elected, them he also invited to believe in the Gospel; and whom He invited to believe, them He also justified by faith; and whom He justified by faith, He also glorified.” (Jackson Living Bible)
The pretenders like to pile up their old Latin dogmaticians, whom they have never read, and fake people into feeling condemned for believing the Gospel. The only person I have met with a vast knowledge of the old dogmaticians is Robert Preus, and he wrote about justification by faith alone in his final book.
This is an important point, because justification by faith emphasizes the grace of God. We do not need to twist ourselves into intellectual contortions to figure out where we stand with God. God plants faith and nurtures faith through the Gospel. Those who abide in Christ, the True Vine, who remain with the Means of Grace, are loved by God for loving Him. “We love Him because He first loved us.”
Therefore, the Bible teaches faith in God, and we know God only through His Word. God comes to us and works in us only through His Word.
The Bible teaches us to trust utterly in God’s Word.
Our dogs have an interesting take on this concept of trust. I send them outdoors, through their doggy door, by lightly snapping my fingers. Their hearing is so keen that I do not even snap them. The Shelties jump up from a sleep and go outdoors on the deck. Somehow they can run full speed to the door and through it. Sassy Sue, the cattle dog/German shepherd, stops, as if to say, “Everyone but me, right?” I snap another time, so she heads out again, but stops. “There is a mistake. You cannot possibly mean me too. I love it inside.” I have to snap three times to get her out completely. Sassy Sue trusts my word, but still wants to debate my wisdom.
So man is, as well. We hear God’s Word and believe in His overwhelming love. But we stop and debate it, too. You send us as sheep among wolves? Not us? Just the apostles. No? Perhaps the saints as well, but not us. When we finally realize that we are included in “as sheep among wolves,” we trust the Gospel.
The Holy Spirit, working through the Word, teaches us that it is a terrible sin to lack trust in Christ.
KJV John 16:6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;
If sin is not believing in Christ, then justification can only be – by faith. Justification cannot be – without faith.
The positive message of this verse is clear – faith in Christ is the foundation of conquering sin. First we are forgiven, fully and freely each day, through the power of the Gospel. Secondly, the Gospel gives us the power to resist sin and temptation.
Faith in God, Not the Synod, Not in Men
As Luther pointed out, this passage is turned around by man to mean the opposite of what it says.
We should have faith in God, but mercy toward man.
What has God done for us? He has covered our sin and shame with His love and mercy. He wipes out sin, blotting it out with the blood of the Savior, the spotless Lamb of God.
This mercy comes through grace and cannot be earned, but we are to show this same mercy toward man.
If we have faith in our complete forgiveness, because of God’s work in Christ, we can only show thankfulness to our neighbor.
But what happens? People express their faith in churches, in institutions, in denominations. We cannot have faith in both. If the institution can do nothing wrong, then infallibility is taken from God and His Word and bequeathed to man instead.
The Bible judges all books, all leaders, all denominations, all our thoughts and deeds.
Evil Law Sermon
We have a situation today where someone publishes a sermon for the entire world to hear, but he is above criticism. All the world can read it or listen to it, 24/7. The Internet is a marvel. But once published, people can only talk to the preacher individually. They better be members too (so he can discipline them?).
A man who gives an obvious works-sermon, which is not a sermon at all, should be grateful that people care for his soul and those of his world-wide audience.
One pastor published his horrible offerings, which were deep in the red zone. Next he condemned anyone for doing what he already had done – reveal his offerings to everyone. Tacky. Yes indeed. His effort to induce guilt and shame among his members came back at him, revealing him to be less than adequate, since numbers are everything among the Shrinkers.
Attacking the Clarity of the Word
1. “That is a grey area of Scripture.” Any Protestant who says that should be transferred to the Roman Catholic Church, because that is their argument. Moreover, the Roman Catholics use that argument to rely on the Pope, who alone knows what the Word of God really teaches. So the alleged Lutherans who say that line are really turning their sect into another papacy, giving infallibility to a Bored of Doctrine, filled with ignorant alcoholics, while taking infallibility away from the Scriptures.
2. “You do not know Greek; I do.” Those who claim that are all hat and no cattle, proud that they remember part of the Greek alphabet. The Word of God speaks clearly, when translated properly, in all languages. That may be why false teachers want bad translations, to add confusion. This particular argument is just a variation on #1 – the grey area of Scripture. The pastor is a little pope who will decide what it means, so be quiet and scrub the floors.
Infallibility of the Sect, DP, District, Board
Denominations rot quickly when they cannot address their own doctrinal errors but engage in dishonest PR efforts to make everyone seem happy and content. Church leaders have an obligation to report crime among their workers and to support the police in their investigations.
A much greater responsibility is detecting and addressing false doctrine. The leaders should rejoice in having Bereans who search the Scriptures for themselves and ask questions. But they are not. They do not want members and pastors to think too hard about anything. In fact, they condemn those who do, ensuring that the sect will plunge into darkness over time.
Notice how Luther’s directions about this passage are turned around by synods. We are to cover our neighbor’s sin, show every mercy, restore our neighbor however we can, and offer forgiveness rather than ridicule. (Ridicule is the reason why we have abortion on demand, because people would rather end a baby’s life than be shamed. When we hear of an early baby from a married couple, we should say “Good, they took responsibility, saved a life, and provided a home for the little one.” When a girl chooses to have a baby, in spite of all the pressures, we should not condemn her lack of self-control. After all, where is the baby’s father? Missing in Action? We should help that baby have the best possible start and provide for the needs of the mother and the child. So many adults have said, “I am glad my mother preserved my life and worked to raise me.” God gives those people a special blessing.
But this is what people do – for synods rather than individuals. They excuse the doctrinal errors of their synods and their synod leaders. They either fear retribution or they want to be rewarded for being loyal. Worst of all, they identify with the institution. If their founders or current leaders are wrong about anything, then their synod is not perfect. And they are not better than anyone else.
I asked SP Harrison on FB last night, since he was gushing about Walther, “Did Walther ever repent of the kidnappings or mob actions? Missouri is the only American Lutheran group started and continued as a cult.” I could not find the comment today. The “owner” can erase them. Perhaps I overlooked it. I am sure of this – no one responded so far.
False doctrine is always an attack on the majesty of God. “No synod is perfect” does not excuse false doctrine. That is a mis-application of this passage, as is “No translation is perfect.” Both statements are slick ways to excuse error. One step leads to the next.
For example, once the Little Three accepted the NIV and adopted their publications - to use it and pay Mr. Murdoch for quoting the NIV, the published got into the position of blackmailing everyone who used it in church publications. They all had to cease quoting the old NIV, which was bad enough, stop the current publications with the old NIV, etc etc. They made it favorable to force the use of the worst “translation” of all time, with invented words, inserted extra words, and completely wrong words employed.
37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
This is completely warped in the modern understanding. We have to read the Word in its total context, not just as epigrams to support an ideology. This one was used by Carl Rogers, a former minister, who bragged he started a new religion. Saying that something was wrong was “judgmental.” The trained professions were quick to say “You are being judgmental,” which is really quite judgmental in itself.
This passage does not denounce judging between right and wrong. It means, as the parallel statement suggests, that we should not go around condemning people. We may fall into the same temptations and sins ourselves.
This is spiritual advice for believers. I had an experience with this, when a wife was struggling with her husband’s infidelity. It remained a private matter, ending up with a home visit and a long session about the meaning of forgiveness. The couple reconciled and became as loving as people who were newly engaged, laughing and smiling. They are still married.
When gossips run to the nearest neighbor to condemn someone, often without the facts, they ruin chances for reconciliation. They shame others and they make it easier to fall into the same sin.
The foundation for resisting sin and temptation is forgiveness, not condemnation.
However, that does not mean we excuse gross criminal action, and unrepentant sins. When murder is excused, for instance, it makes the next murder easier to bring about.
Church leaders spend the most time covering up the worst crimes. As one counselor said, “There are two causes. One is the desire to keep everything quiet. But also there is a sense of admiration that exists among these people. That makes it very difficult for abusers to face justice.”
Luther taught in the Large Catechism that such people should face judgment, to serve as a warning to others.
38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
I have no doubt that the best way to achieve a choice church position today is to go against this verse completely. The idea is to exact revenge for the tiniest slight, to disparage people behind their backs, to find fault with those who question falsehood, and to bow and scrape to those who can help one’s career – until it is time to pull the rug from under them.
That is why the church institutions are in such a mess today. If someone questions a huge fee for professional fund-raisers, that person is shunned and excluded. Everyone is supposed to go along with everything, until all the lemmings are drowning in the sea. The chief lemming always wears a life preserver – always.
But this verse is a Gospel promise – that a life of mercy and forgiveness will be rewarded with that much and more. Did someone slight us years ago? That should not matter among believers. People have a way of sorting this out for themselves. If they are unrepentant, they will continue their self-destructive ways.
Many are not, so they take steps to reconcile with others. That is God’s desire, because He has provided the remedy for all sin. Husbands and wives can build up resentment or they can be patient and forgiving. This is the ideal training ground for children. The best way they can learn about forgiveness is to experience it with their parents and their siblings. That alone will provide a lifetime of blessing.
39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? 40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. 41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.
Awareness of our sinful nature should always make us more forgiving. Otherwise we are no better than the Pharisees, who were kind to their own friends but not to others. Jesus did not pick out the Pharisees just to show what they were like in their time, but to keep us from being the same law-centered and works-righteous “saints.”
So mercy toward man begins with faith in God and the Gospel of Christ. People will persecute the pure Word of God and despise those who trust in it. But there is no better way to realize how valuable the Word and the Confessions are.
Five centuries later, the sermons of Luther (which are part of the Book of Concord) are just as true and insightful as they were in his day. He was excommunicated for his trouble, and he was hidden (as if dead) in the Wartburg Castle.
Third Sunday after Trinity
"If the question is put, 'Why did God ordain so many means of grace when one suffices to confer upon the sinner His grace and forgiveness?' we quote the reply of Luther who writes (Smalcald Articles, IV: 'The Gospel not merely in one way gives us counsel and aid against sin, for God is superabundantly rich in His grace. First through the spoken Word, by which the forgiveness of sins is preached in the whole world, which is the peculiar office of the Gospel. Secondly through Baptism. Thirdly through the holy Sacrament of the Altar. Fourthly through the power of the keys and also through the mutual conversation and consolation of brethren, Matthew 18:20.'"
John Theodore Mueller, Christian Dogmatics, A Handbook of Doctrinal Theology, 1934, p. 447. SA, IV, Concordia Triglotta, p. 491. Matthew 18:20.
"We further believe that in this Christian Church we have forgiveness of sin, which is wrought through the holy Sacraments and Absolution, moreover, through all manner of consolatory promises of the entire Gospel. Therefore, whatever is to be preached, concerning the Sacraments belongs here, and in short, the whole Gospel and all the offices of Christianity, which also must be preached and taught without ceasing. For although the grace of God is secured through Christ, and sanctification is wrought by the Holy Ghost through the Word of God in the unity of the Christian Church, yet on account of our flesh which we bear about with us we are never without sin."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #54, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 693. Tappert, p. 417.
"The second argument is that 'God desires all men to be saved' (1 Timothy 2:4), and He gave His Son for us men and created man for eternal life. Likewise: All things exist for man, and he himself exists for God that he may enjoy Him, etc. These points and others like them can be refuted as easily as the first one. For these verses must always be understood as pertaining to the elect only, as the apostle says in 2 Timothy 2:10 'everything for the sake of the elect.' For in an absolute sense Christ did not die for all, because He says: 'This is My blood which is poured out for you' and 'for many'He does not say: for all'for the forgiveness of sins.' (Mark 14:24; Matthew 26:28)
Martin Luther, Luther's Works, 25 p. 375.
"No more splendid work exists than receiving and hearing the Word of God."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 302. Luke 10:38.