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 Central.


Thanksgiving Eve - 7 PM Central Time.

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, September 4, 2011

The Eleventh Sunday after Trinity, 2011



The Eleventh Sunday after Trinity, 2011


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




The Hymn # 361     O Jesus King                 4:1
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 # 388            Just As I Am                       4.91

By Works or By Faith

The Communion Hymn #305            Soul, Adorn Thyself             4:23 
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn # 657            Beautiful Savior                    4:24


KJV 1 Corinthians 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

KJV Luke 18:9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Eleventh Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father, we beseech Thee so to guide and direct us by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not forget our sins and be filled with pride, but continue in daily repentance and renewal, seeking our comfort only in the blessed knowledge that Thou wilt be merciful unto us, forgive us our sins, and grant us eternal life; 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.

By Works or By Faith

Luke 18:9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

This is a comparison so brief and clear that everyone should take great comfort in it, unless he identifies with those “who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others.”

Two people are chosen in this parable. One is a Pharisee. That was a party or denomination among the Jews rather than a title. For example, Paul was a Pharisee. They observed Mosaic Law with great strictness. Some say their name is derived from the sense of being separated or better than the rest.

In Christianity, there have always been those groups where observance of the law identifies them, and they consider themselves separate and different from the rest. That can happen within a congregation. I remember a conference where the lay leader mentioned the people who belonged to cell groups. They were the ones who showed up for clean-up day. They made the congregation work. The rest of the members were not equal to them. I thought as I heard this presentation, “who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others.” The disdain was not subtle but obvious. “This congregation was nothing before the cell groups began meeting.” I wondered, since it had about 100 years of history before cell groups and became one of the largest Lutheran churches in North America – about 5,000 members at the time, in Davenport, Iowa.

We should always remember that these comparisons from Jesus are both literal and symbolic. They are literal in describing actual conditions at the time of Jesus. They are symbolic in showing us how we fit into the same picture. There is a little Pharisee in each one of us.

The other person in this parable is a publican. The modern translators would like to water down our language and get rid of older words. Once people no longer know what a publican is, all references to the publican in literature and politics will become obscure and difficult to decipher. The less people know, the easier they are to fool.

Is publican short for Republican? There is a connection, because the Roman Republic was literally – Res (things) Public, merged to become Republic. The publican was the Jew who served as tax collector for the Roman occupation force. He was allowed to use force and extortion, as long as he met his quota. This led to unethical behavior, which can be seen today in “giving counselors” who receive a percentage of the gift as a commission.

The Pharisee
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

This man is so virtuous that he cannot keep from praising himself. He is someone admired by the world for all his outward righteousness.

Jesus made an important distinction, which is taught throughout the Scriptures. There are two types of people – unbelievers and believers. The parallel distinction is between a bad tree and a good tree.

Or, we could say – there is righteousness through the Law or righteousness through the Gospel.

The first part of Romans removes the possibility of righteousness through the Law, whether it is the Mosaic Law for Jews or civic righteousness among the Gentiles. Nevertheless, law-righteousness is popular and constantly promoted, especially now among the Emergent Church types, who tell people they will “transform lives.” The only way to do this, they claim, is to submit to cell groups and dictatorial control over what these groups study.

Being caught up in the Law is a terrible trap, because those who oppress the others with the law are not subject to the law themselves. If anyone questions their hypocrisy, they say, “Touch not the Lord’s anointed” and “God put me in this position, so you cannot question anything I do.”

Because righteousness through the Law is so popular, these people will always attract large numbers, no matter what religion they are. All world religions teach righteousness through the law and have rigid codes for obeying that law. They will insist, in one folk religion, that visitors burn paper money (fake) for the afterlife. If the money is not burnt, there will be no cash in the afterlife. When a Christian believer says no to this pagan, magical nonsense, the hosts are deeply offended. Because, they say, “You have to.”

The “have to” is the most obvious sign of law religion, whatever religious symbols are used. When Christians are told they have to be in a cell group (small, care, share, koinonia, Bible study, affinity group), the law is at work. Naturally, people will say, “I never miss my small group meetings.” And – “The small group changed my life.” On the surface this is exactly what the Pharisee said, but if that is pointed out, rage follows. How could you possibly know? You have never been in one? Missing from the claims is justification by faith, sound doctrine, and the importance of avoiding toxic doctrine and teachers.

The evil tree can only bear corrupt fruit. I pointed that out to one Shrinker, and he flew into a permanent rage, because he took that as a personal affront. He was so well trained that he could separate the good from the bad – so he claimed.

The terrible price of law religion is that the law never stops accusing. No matter what is done, it is never enough. So the law-salesman must convince himself or others, with works, that it is enough or he will despair.

I believe the downward path, from Church Growth to indifference and atheism, comes directly from law-righteousness. If something “works,” as they claim, eventually the technique will reveal itself as shallow and meaningless, like the fake miracle cures, and the results will manifest themselves in self-loathing and unbelief. (Fake healings are done by giving people wheelchairs, putting them up front, and making them “walk.” They walked in, not too steady, but they walked. To get out of the wheelchair and dance a little jig is fairly easy, for someone who tottered in. Likewise, the ear-popping done will make people hear better if they have waxen obstructions. Magic is misdirection of the eyes – and brain.)

The church executives who lined up to attend Fuller Seminary were saying already, “We no longer trust the Word.” The mission executives and their toadies all received the same type of  training – being told it was doctrine-neutral. (No raucous laughter?) They were already apostate, so the bigger frauds told the lesser frauds that these methods would “work” because they had been tested:
  1. They must have cell groups.
  2. Women must be spiritual leaders over the men.
  3. Worship must be contempo, either pop music or rock. No liturgy or creeds.
  4. No more sermons – the people want coaching, self-help sessions.
  5. True Law preaching must be eliminated in favor of “God loves you” messages.

The Lutherans denominations spent millions implementing this charade and began fading faster than a desert flower. The Syn Conference leaders were the worst. Herman Otten, whose heart aches for the Bronze Age of Missouri (when Pieper was alive), sells a Church Growth textbook as a “doctrinal book,” – Valleskey’s horrible manual, “We Believe (Ha!) Therefore We Speak.”

The Publician
Luke 18: 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

We know this man is a believer, because Jesus taught the publican was justified, the Pharisee not.

14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

“6. Hence the beginning of goodness or godliness is not in us, but in the Word of God. God must first let his Word sound in our hearts by which we learn to know and to believe him, and afterwards do good works. So we must believe from this that the publican had learned God's Word. If not, it would certainly have been impossible for him to acknowledge himself to be a poor sinner, as this Gospel reports. Indeed, it has a different appearance here, because St. Luke seems to insist more strongly on external works and appearances than on faith, and lays the emphasis more on the outward character and conduct than on the root and on the faith of the heart within. Nevertheless we must conclude that the publican had previously heard the Gospel. Otherwise his smiting his breast and his humble confession would not have occurred, had he not previously had faith in his heart.”


This is the great message of the Gospel, which alone has the power to transform our lives. The law offers the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, a treasure we can never obtain. The Gospel is the treasure, which comes to us daily through the Means of Grace.

The only method is preaching the Gospel, teaching the Gospel, and distributing the Gospel. Notice that those who teach universal justification—without faith—are scandalized by our worship services. What offends them? We are small. This little chapel is a room in our rented house. Participation is purely voluntary, but the UOJ leaders worry that this is wide-open communion (like theirs?). After all they teach everyone is absolved without faith, so why do they condemn those with faith? People have politely asked to affiliate with us because of doctrinal agreement. Denouncing our church on the Net has led many people to check out our services. And they comment on that as well. That illustrates how the Word converts or hardens, enlightens or blinds.

The blessings of the Gospel are endless. First of all, we are full of the Old Adam, inclined to sin. If we are not weak in one area, we are weak in another. The believer can see what the Pharisee (without faith) cannot. The comfort of the Gospel is forgiveness given through the instruments of grace. We know objectively that this forgiveness is fully and freely given.

The old law salesmen say, “You have to repent. You have to change your ways.” Contrition is the effect of the Law, including the most important rebuke of all – ye of little faith, not trusting the Gospel. Contrition is good, but the Gospel is forgiveness. Contrition prepares us for receiving the medicine we need.

We actually had a relative become extremely ill, after eating mushrooms from the wild. I said, “You must go to the hospital now and find out what is wrong.” I reasoned – poison mushrooms, allergy to mushrooms, or food poisoning. The relative had to admit the problem, but that was not the cure. She needed medicine, treatment. The Gospel is our medicine, our cure.

The trouble with “You have to change your ways” is two-fold. The actual Greek word  means “regret” in the original context. I love those Greek 101 students who say – meta means “change” and noia means “ways.” Both are wrong. Meta means “after” and noia means “understanding.” So at first it meant regret after sin. But in the Biblical context it means to have both contrition and faith. Sometimes the two verbs are used together, to show the full meaning – repent and believe.

KJV Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

As Luther often taught, reflecting John 16:8, the ultimate repentance is not sackcloth and ashes, a bed of nails and a hair shirt, but repentance from not utterly trusting in the grace, love, and mercy of Christ.

Change your ways means that  if we become perfect (say in one area), we are forgiven. If I could perfect myself in any single area I would not need forgiveness. That returns us to the attitude of the Pharisee.

That is not an excuse for sin, but the true Christian approach to our human nature. Instead of worrying about everyone’s mortal failings, which we share, we should emphasize the boundless grace of our Savior.

From the good tree, from the believer, will always come the fruit of the Spirit, because the Gospel will necessarily produce spiritual fruit.


Quotations

"Now, that faith signifies, not only a knowledge of the history, but such faith as assents to the promise, Paul plainly testifies when says, Romans 4:16: 'Therefore it is of faith, to the end the promise might be sure.'  For he judges that the promise cannot be received unless by faith.  Wherefore he puts them together as things that belong to one another, and connects promise and faith."
            Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article IV, Justification, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 135. Tappert, p. 114. Romans 4:16.                

"Also they teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ's sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ's sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins.  This faith God imputes for righteousness is His sight.  Romans 3 and 4."
            Augsburg Confession, Article IV, Justification, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 45. Tappert, p. 30. Romans 3 and 4.        

"Identisch mit der papistischen Lehre, dass der Glaube nicht als Mittel und nicht allein rechtfertige, ist die andere papistische Lehre, dass die Werke rechtfertigen."  "Identical with the papistic teaching, that faith alone is not a means and does not alone make righteous, is the other papistic teaching, that works make one righteous."]
            Adolf Hoenecke, Evangelisch‑Lutherische Dogmatik, 4 vols., ed., Walter and Otto Hoenecke, Milwaukee:  Northwestern Publishing House, 1912, III,  p. 386.  

"The article of justification is the master and prince, the lord, the ruler, and the judge over all kinds of doctrines; it preserves and governs all church doctrine and raises up our conscience before God.  Without this article the world is utter death and darkness.  No error is so mean, so clumsy, and so outworn as not to be supremely pleasing to human reason and to seduce us if we are without the knowledge and the contemplation of this article."  
            What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 703. June 1, 1537.   

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