Sunday, July 3, 2011
The Second Sunday after Trinity, 2011
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson
Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time
The Hymn # 361 O Jesus King 4.1
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 #471 Jesus Thy Blood 4.6
The Communion Hymn # 462 I Love Thy Kingdom 4.21
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 1 John 3:13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. 14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
KJV Luke 14:16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: 17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. 18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. 19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. 20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. 21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. 22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. 23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.
Second Sunday After Trinity
Lord God, heavenly Father, we give thanks unto Thee, that through Thy holy word Thou hast called us to Thy great supper, and we beseech Thee: Quicken our hearts by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not hear Thy word without fruit, but that we may prepare ourselves rightly for Thy kingdom, and not suffer ourselves to be hindered by any worldly care, through Thy beloved Son. Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.
KJV Luke 14:16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: 17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. 18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse.
The parable is thus seen to be historical, the “many” who were invited thus early were the Jews. They had this invitation in the old covenant and in the Old Testament; we might say that God sent them a written invitation. But we should here again abide by the parable which has in mind the Jews who were then living and their treatment of the invitation and does not intend to cover the previous generations of the Jews. While it is thus plainly historical, the parable is at the same time prophetic and reaches out to all future generations, whether of Jews or Gentiles. This appears in what follows.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Luke's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 777
Through the Word, the Gospel brings Jesus and all His benefits to us.
The Gospel is a graceful invitation from the Holy Trinity to receive the benefits of God’s mercy. This is not a two-way contract, as some imagine, where God does something – offering Christ – and we do something in return - to complete the transaction, as they like to say. God proclaims His mercy to sinners, to the ungodly, in the Promises.
The First Promise (a synonym for Gospel in the Book of Concord) was Genesis 3:15. Although man was undeserving, God promised the Savior who would crush the head of Satan. This is called the First Gospel, which continued to be proclaimed throughout the Old Testament.
Abraham believed, and it was counted as righteousness.
KJV Genesis 15:6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
This parable is quite vivid, because it reminds us of the many who rejected the Word in the Old Testament, and how the Gospel moved on to new groups, and to future Jews as well.
I hear from a conservative Jewish Lutheran every single day. One would expect that his synod would say, “Here is a remarkable story, and someone with a unique perspective on the Gospel.” He is highly respected among orthodox Lutherans but the organization was not kind to him or his son, who became a pastor. Everyone must bear the cross, which often means enduring the ingratitude of others.
Likewise, I imagined that Lutherans would think it valuable to have someone in the parish with many years of extra academic work in church history and Biblical studies. Instead, it makes the MDivs angry, dismissive, and scornful. What could someone possibly learn from 8 extra years of study, plus the years of research that goes into writing books?
I have heard in two “conservative” Lutheran synods – “You quote Luther too much.”
And from various Lutheran sects that call themselves orthodox – “You are obsessed with justification.”
Some of the same people call justification by faith the chief article of Christianity, so they must think we should not wear it thin by studying it, researching it, and writing about it. My mistake.
This parable concentrates on justification by faith, how people ignore, reject, and make excuses about the Gospel.
Luke 14:16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:
The word “certain” means this is a parable, and the man is God. The great supper reminds us that this is like a sought-after dinner invitation. Who would reject an invitation (not a command) to attend and enjoy a great feast?
There have been times when we were invited to great celebrations. When Marvin Schwan was giving away $800,000 a year to revise the Beck Bible, the chief con artist sponsored dinners where the choicest food was offered for free. After attending one, we were eager to attend the next, but the money was gone.
Likewise, one university sponsored a big Christmas feast, which was packed with choice foods – no limit. It was not a sit-down meal, but a luxury buffet. We looked forward to the next.
Also, people covet invitations to events where famous people will appear. So one would expect an invitation from God would trump anything, even a dinner or snack with the President. But the results are not the same.
17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. 18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse.
“He sent his servant” to invite them – that refers to Jesus Himself, called the slave (or servant) in Philippians 2. In other places we see the Old Testament prophets treated as servants, but this is one servant. As we see in John’s Gospel, the idea of Jesus being sent from God is a common theme. Just as He was sent from God, so He sent His disciples.
All things are now ready. The Kingdom of Grace is ready, and people are invited by the Gospel to enjoy what God has prepared for them at a great price, the sacrifice of His Son.
This does not call for “a decision.” The Gospel invitation creates faith, trust in God’s mercy. That is compared to a seed in many places, a growing trust. Or a graft, where the Gospel is grafted onto us, so that we now have the living Word as part of our being. Christ becomes part of us when the Word brings him to us.
The response is humorous, in the ironic sense. They were “as one” or unanimous in making excuses. The excuses are not the fault of the Servant, Christ, but come from the hardness of people’s hearts.
What they value most is seen in their excuses.
The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.
This is funny, because the ground is not going to go away, and the invitation is now. God continues to pursue us with His grace and mercy, but rejecting the Gospel makes people more indifferent and cold toward it. People find it easier to find fault with the Gospel, to find fault with believers, and by hearing it with momentary faith distance themselves all the more from it.
America is saturated with Gospel messages, but people are joyful over the Gospel in parts of the world where churches and ministers are rare. Because we are saturated with every variety, sect, and heresy, people find it easy to ignore and find fault.
The lameness of the excuse is a mirror to the condition of that person’s soul, and it represents people who value their property or material goods more than the Gospel.
19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.
Test-driving the oxen is another funny point. Of course, when we obtain something of value, we want to see it and admire it. A box may arrive in the mail with something we wanted to purchase. That is opened right away. We love driving a new car.
The parable reminds us that the daily cares will wait for us, while the eternal Gospel moves on, just like the rain. This is a big excuse today – that people have so much to do. I recall a hard-working German telling me, “That is my only day of rest.” He seemed to think that having his sins forgiven was work, another day of labor.
The third person does not even ask for an excuse –
20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.
Why ruin a new marriage with this great banquet? This is a common thought today. Some want to trappings of a church wedding, but I frequently see this opinion – “I am spiritual but not religious.” That is another way of saying, “I have no confession of faith, just a vague sentimental idea of spirituality.”
Very few marriages start with the idea of a man and a woman pledging their love and then living together in the bonds of matrimony, an institution created by God. Instead, people wish to live together and then have cohabitation blessed by a minister or justice of the peace, sometimes after having several children out of wedlock first. They continue to dishonor God’s institution of marriage yet expect something good to come from it. This has multiplied to the point where these on-and-off parents (the father often absent or missing) do not know the basics about raising children or protecting them from harm. This has been played out in the current trial where a young girl was found wrapped in garbage bags in a waste area.
Our country once noted, in many official ways, that what we have is from God the Creator. He was acknowledged in the Declaration of Independence, implied in the Constitution, and thanked in the Thanksgiving Proclamation. Now we suffer the consequences of godlessness and paganism.
21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.
The Christian Church began in turmoil, with persecution and excommunications. And they have not stopped. Jesus warned in John that His disciples would be thrown out of the synagogues, where they would offer this banquet invitation and show how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament Promises. Even though the Gospel was persecuted, it moved on to create faith in new people. The very act of driving people away in persecution spread the message of Jesus.
People escaped along 55,000 miles of paved roads in the Roman Empire. If this had happened in an earlier day, the spread of the Gospel would have been regional at best.
They also used sea routes, even though they were treacherous. Paul was shipwrecked more than once, as he recorded.
The Gospel quickly spread from England to India. It began with the dregs of the Roman Empire and moved up slowly to the Emperor Constantine, who created a Christian capital city in the place called Constantinople. A Greek Christian Empire existed for 11 centuries, preserving the Gospel and Western culture. The foundation – slaves, beggars, prostitutes, homosexuals – converted by the Gospel, often tortured and sent to die in the stadiums, for sport.
22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. 23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.
God is so merciful that He will take anyone in through the Gospel. No one is selected by merit or outward righteousness.
A classmate from Moline confessed to me about his terrible sins in the past. He did not elaborate. He said my mother saved his life.
I pointed out that we are equally sinners. In fact, the outwardly righteous person may be a worse sinner than anyone else. Someone can do enormous damage from spiritual sins, such as false doctrine and ruining people through revenge. And that can be done without resorting to any outward, obvious carnal sin.
The carnal sinners have the advantage of knowing their sin. The spiritual sinners think they are really fine people but they trust in their own righteousness, not in the Gospel.
The Gospel pronounces all believers completely forgiven of all their sins. This is the power to battle against temptation. The Gospel strengthens us against temptation by restoring us in God’s eyes through the righteousness of Christ.