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Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2011


The Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2011


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn # 292                 Lord Jesus Christ               1:2
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 # 192               Awake My Heart            1:22 

Faith to God, Love to Neighbor

The Communion Hymn #  480            Lord of the Worlds            1:62
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 #  511     Jesus Shall Reign                1:80

KJV Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

KJV Luke 17:11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. 14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. 15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. 17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. 19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Fourteenth Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father, who by Thy blessed word and Thy holy baptism hast mercifully cleansed all who believe from the fearful leprosy of sin, and daily dost grant us Thy gracious help in all our need: We beseech Thee so to enlighten our hearts by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may never forget these Thy blessings, but ever live in Thy fear, and, trusting fully in Thy grace, with thankful hearts continually praise and glorify Thee; through Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Faith to God, Love to Neighbor

Many times the Epistle is on a different theme than the Gospel, but this one ends with a perfect summation of the miracle.

Galatians 5: 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

Because the Holy Spirit works only through the Word of God, and never apart from the Word, the opening phrase can just as well be –

But the fruit of the Word is…

The Gospel bears fruit, so this means…

Galatians 5: 22 But the fruit of the Gospel is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

The first fruit of the Gospel of forgiveness is love. This is a miracle about Jesus’ gracious love and its results.

Luke 17:11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.

Luther:
Now this was not the direct road from Capernaum to Jerusalem. For Galilee is north of Jerusalem, and Samaria is south of Galilee, and Capernaum is in Galilee. The Evangelist with special pains desires to show that he did not journey on the usual road, as he mentions Samaria and Galilee, and adds that he went through between them, and not across their borders the nearest way. Christ journeyed from Capernaum eastward to the Jordan and southward from Galilee to Jerusalem, which was a tiresome, far and circuitous route, in doing which he took his own leisure and time. For he did not journey thus for his own sake, but in order to preach as much as possible and be of service to many. Therefore he journeyed on the borders of these lands to appear publicly, that people might come to him from all sides to hear him and obtain his help. For he was sent to offer his services to every one, that all might freely enjoy his favor and grace.

We see this graciousness throughout the Scriptures. God seeks out the lost through His Word. He allows all of us to share in that work, although the efficacy belongs to Him alone.

When people ask why only some are saved, they should really marvel instead at all the ways Jesus placed Himself in the face of opposition and violence, indifference and scorn, just so He might bring to Gospel to more people.

Lepers were unclean so Jesus had every right as a rabbi to avoid them. Now we know how to cure this dread disease. (On Riordan Road, our main artery in Bella Vista, an armadillo is slowly rotting. They can carry leprosy, or Hanson’s Disease. The carrion birds will soon consume the hapless wanderer.)

Today leper is still used as description of a person to be avoided. Many people know the feeling. Someone is a leper for insisting on sound doctrine, for refusing to sit in the seat of the scornful (Psalm 1). Or a religious fanatic. If someone takes the revealed Word of God seriously, he is a fanatic. But if he repeats the worldly wisdom of a marketing expert, he is head of evangelism.

12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.

The group of lepers evidently decided on making a display of their need. They could not mingle with the crowd or be near the others as Jesus passed through. The disorder made them weak. They stood far off, but not a mile away, as Luther impishly noted.

The lepers are examples of faith. They heard the reputation of Jesus, which spread throughout the country. He healed people wherever He went. No one who asked was ever turned down.

Faith is blind to experience and human wisdom, because it is faith in God’s power and mercy. That is the reason why faith is constantly extolled in the Scriptures. When we first have a pet, we use a leash more often. A young puppy will run off at the sight of a squirrel or any other distraction. Our tripod raced after deer in the woods, with no chance of catching them. When a relationship of love and trust is established, the leash is used less often. The owner’s voice is comforting and attractive. A slight word and the ears perk up. Why not come back immediately when the response will be, “Good dog, you are so eager to please”?

Unbelief means a rejection of this relationship to God. Whenever I read the words of scoffers, I hear a false description of God. They say, “I cannot believe in a god who…” Sometimes they fault the crucifixion, so they reject the Gospel directly. At other times they openly disparage the love and mercy of God. Where there is no trust in divine compassion, none is experienced, even when it is present in abundance.

I have heard pastors turn up their noses at their modest calls, as if they were called to a building rather than the preaching of the Word. We all go through those times of self-centeredness. I tell them, “Look at building again. Many ministers have little cardboard mission shacks. Besides, you can only improve that with some modifications.” When I was moaning about building debt, long ago, an older pastor said, “I used to wake up in the middle of the night worrying about the debt. Twenty years later, the building is still there.” I stopped worrying.

Anxiety, doubt, and unbelief take us away from the message of God’s Word. Those emotions plunge us into the foolishness of man’s wisdom and experience. Every conclusion may be perfectly correct except for one thing – God’s Word can change everything in a blink, beyond all expectation.

The lepers could have said, “We are unclean. We are hated. This man will never help us or get near to us.” Instead, in faith they said, “We will form a cluster and beg for His mercy from a distance. Together we can be heard.”

Faith is blind to the facts and dead to human wisdom. What can we imagine that God cannot do? In fact, we cannot even imagine what God continues to do, day after day.
Faith is humble. When good fortune falls upon someone, he says, “Look at how smart, talented, and hard-working I am!” The same person will say, “How can God let me have this disease?” That is the Old Adam in us. We take credit for God’s blessings while blaming him for the results of our sinful nature. The lepers prayed in humility, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

The occult has entered Christianity, providing a clever twist on prayer. The occultists have people demanded specific material blessings from God and insist God cannot deliver any other way. That thought is directly from Asian paganism.
It is true that we should name our troubles and trust in God to provide. However, bossing God around and making demands are both signs of unbelief rather than trust.

When I take Sassy Sue to the dog park, she is off her leash for the walk to the fenced area. She races ahead, comes back part way, and barks loudly at me to hurry up. Children see this display and say, “That is a bossy dog! What is her name?” When I tell them “Sassy,” they think that is pretty funny. We live in a world where the children boss their parents around and the parents tell God what to do.

Prayer is asking rather than issuing orders.

Luther:
In the first place it is a characteristic of faith to presume to trust God's grace, and it forms a bright vision and refuge in God, doubting nothing it thinks God will have regard for his faith, and not forsake it. For where there is no such vision and confidence, there is no true faith, and there is also no true prayer nor any seeking after God. But where it exists it makes man bold and anxious freely to bring his troubles unto God, and earnestly to pray for help.

The second characteristic of faith is that it does not desire to know, nor first to be assured whether it is worthy of grace and will be heard, like the doubters, who grasp after God and tempt him. Just as a blind man runs against a wall, so they also plunge against God, and would first gladly feel and be assured that he can not escape out of their hands. The Epistle to the Hebrews says, 11, 1: "Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen."

The third characteristic of faith is, that it allows of no merit, will not purchase the grace of God with works, like the doubters and hypocrites do, but brings with it pure unworthiness, clings to and depends wholly on the mere unmerited favor of God, for faith will not tolerate works and merit in its company, so entirely does it surrender, venture and raise itself into the goodness for which it hopes, that for its sake it cannot consider either good works or merit.

14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.

This is another example of a miracle showing the efficacy of the Word. As soon as Jesus commanded them to show themselves to the priest, their healing began. This is important for several reasons. Sending known lepers to the priest meant that their testimony would spread throughout the religious community, with a combination of absolute proof and God’s Word. In this way the Christian faith was being established before the death and resurrection of Christ. Everyone had the opportunity to see, hear, and believe. Although many remained scoffers, large numbers followed Christ and formed the basis for the Church at Pentecost.

Lepers were supposed to be purified by rituals, because they were unclean as lepers. The cleansing baths are found wherever Judaism was practiced.
These rituals prepared Jews for the cleansing of Holy Baptism, absolution, and Holy Communion.

15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 And fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.

The nature of faith and God’s mercy is this – the miracle begins during the asking and even before the asking. God allows us those periods of discouragement and deflation so that we look back on them and say, “The answer was coming before I even thought to ask.” This is Biblical.

KJV Isaiah 65:24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

KJV Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

The Samaritan was a leper’s leper, because he was rejected for disease and for his ethnic origin. But he was the thankful one, giving God the glory for his healing.

17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. 19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

The text indicates that the nine received their healing and also went to the priests, but did not give credit to Jesus for the healing. Thus nine of them experienced the great miracle, saw it with their own eyes, saw it among their brothers, yet dismissed the direct cause.

People with vast musical talent will go around with their noses in the air, as if they are royalty for having this God-given talent, which no one can choose, buy, or even rent. They do not think that they might use this talent to glorify God, because they imagine they deserve it.

This can be applied in many different ways. But Luther calls this a faith and love miracle. Jesus went out to where the lepers lived and healed them in love, without regard to merit or race.

Faith means we ascribe all glory to God, who has done everything for us. Therefore we have nothing left to do except show this same love toward our neighbor.

People build cathedrals and say, “I did this for God,” as if God is homeless, when earth is His footstool, heaven His throne.

KJV Isaiah 66:1 Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?

They buy bronze plaques to glorify their own names and let their neighbors suffer. Unfortunately we have too many government programs that suggest everyone is taken care of, a maze of deceptions. Each person has multiple chances to help others, as the needs arise.

Trust in God’s love and mercy naturally channels itself to showing love and mercy toward others.

This miracle teaches us to be thankful for all the blessings we have received, especially for the Gospel which continually keeps us in God’s grace, providing us healing and forgiveness, salvation and peace.

Love

Trinity 14 Quotations for the Epistle,

Fruits of the Spirit


 "But the fact is, all Christian doctrines and works, all Christian living, is briefly, clearly and completely comprehended in these two principles, faith and love. They place man as a medium between God and his neighbor, to receive from above and distribute below."
            Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 145.          

"For if I love God I love also His will. Now, when God sends us sickness, poverty, shame and disgrace, that is His will. But what do we do under such circumstances? We thunder, scold and growl, and bear it with great impatience...But God does not want this. He wants us to accept His will with joy and love, and this we are too tardy in doing."
             Sermons of Martin Luther, V, p. 26.         

"The Word and the gifts of the Holy Spirit are materials with which He builds. Though the dwelling is not altogether completed, yet through His grace and love it is accepted of God."
             Sermons of Martin Luther,   III, p. 322. 

"To this end Christ is presented to us as an inexhaustible fountain, Who at all times overflows with pure goodness and grace. And for such goodness and kindness He accepts nothing, except that the good people, who acknowledge such kindness and grace, thank Him for it, praise and love Him, although others despise Him for it."
            Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther,   V, p. 329. 

"See, this is what James means when he says, 2:26: 'Faith apart from works is dead.' For as the body without the soul is dead, so is faith without works. Not that faith is in man and does not work, which is impossible. For faith is a living, active thing. But in order that men may not deceive themselves and think they have faith when they have not, they are to examine their works, whether they also love their neighbors and do good to them."
            Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther,  V, p. 71.        

"Thirdly, Christ shows love is still greater, in that He exercises it where it is lost and receives ingratitude from the majority; ten lepers were cleansed and only one thanks Him, on the nine His love is lost. If He would have made use of justice here instead of love, as men are accustomed to do and nature teaches, He would have made them all lepers again."
            Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther,  V, p. 75        

"This is a true definition of marriage: Marriage is the God-appointed and legitimate union of man and woman in the hope of having children or at least for the purpose of avoiding fornication and sin and living to the glory of God. The ultimate purpose is to obey God, to find aid and counsel against sin; to call upon God; to seek, love, and educate children for the glory of God; to live with one's wife in the fear of God and to bear the cross; but if there are no children, nevertheless to live with one's wife in contentment; and to avoid all lewdness with others."
            Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols. ed. Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 884. Genesis 24:1-4     

"Love toward their mother is not so great in children as the love of their mother toward them, as the proverb has it: Amor descendit, non ascendit, Love is a plant that grows downward rather than upward."
            Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 138. 

"The first destroyers of their own children are those who neglect them and knowingly permit them to grow up without the training and admonition of the Lord. Even if they do not harm them by a bad example, they still destroy them by yielding to them. They love them too much according to the flesh and pamper them, saying: They are children, they do not understand what they are doing. And they are speaking the truth. But neither does a dog or a horse understand what it is doing. However, see how they learn to go, to come, to obey, to do and leave undone what they do not understand...These parents will, therefore, bear the sins of their children because they make these sins their own."
            Martin Luther, What Luther Says,   I, p. 139. 

"Therefore, do not speak to me of love or friendship when anything is to be detracted from the Word or the faith; for we are told that not love but the Word brings eternal life, God's grace, and all heavenly treasures."
             Martin Luther, What Luther Says,   III, p. 1411f.  

"You must always have the Word of God in your heart, on your lips, and in your ears. Where the heart is idle and the Word does not ring out, the devil breaks in and has done damage before we are aware of it. On the other hand, such is the power of the Word if it is seriously contemplated, heard, and used that it is never without fruit. It always awakens new understanding, pleasure, and devotion and purifies the heart and thoughts. For these are not inert or dead but active and living words.  Martin Luther, What Luther Says,  III, p. 1467. 

"Consequently, I say to my worst enemies: Where it is only my own person that is involved, there I am very willing to help you and to do everything good for you in spite of the fact that you are my enemy and that all you ever do for me is to harm me. But where it is the Word of God that is involved, there you must not expect any friendship or love that I may have for you to persuade me to do something against that, even if you were my nearest and dearest friend. But since you cannot endure the Word, I will speak this prayer over you: May God dash you to the ground! I shall willingly serve you, but not in order to help you overthrow the Word of God. For this purpose you will never be able to persuade me even to give you a drink of water."
            Martin Luther, What Luther Says,  St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, III, p. 1480.    

"The apostle does not mean to say that children are not to be rebuked or beaten, but that they are to be chastized in love; but parents are not to vent their furious temper on them, unconcerned about the way to correct the error of their children. For when the spirit has been cowed, one is of no use for anything and despairs of everything, is timid is doing and undertaking everything. And, what is worse, this timidity, implanted during the tender years, can almost never thereafter be eradicated. For since they have learned to be frightened at every word of their parents, they are subsequently afraid of even a rustling leaf or a tree."
            Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 412.     

"In matters concerning faith we must be invincible, unbending, and very stubborn; indeed, if possible, harder than adamant. But in matters concerning love we should be softer and more pliant than any reed and leaf and should gladly accommodate ourselves to everything."
            Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 412f. Galatians 2:8.         

"Doctrine is our only light. It alone enlightens and directs us and shows us the way to heaven. If it is shaken in one quarter (in une parte), it will necessarily be shaken in its entirety (in totum). Where that happens, love cannot help us at all."
            Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 414. Galatians 5:10.         

"But this tender mercy is to be exercised only toward Christians and among Christians, for toward those who reject and persecute the Gospel we must act differently; here I am not permitted to let my love be merciful so as to tolerate and endure false doctrine. When faith and doctrine are concerned and endangered, neither love nor patience are in order. Then it is my duty to contend in earnest and not to yield a hairbreadth."
            Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 637f.        

"But Christ was given for this purpose, namely, that for His sake there might be bestowed on us the remission of sins, and the Holy Ghost to bring forth in us new and eternal life, and eternal righteousness [to manifest Christ in our hearts, as it is written John 16:15: 'He shall take of the things of Mine, and show them unto you.' Likewise, He works also other gifts, love, thanksgiving, charity, patience, etc.]. Wherefore the Law cannot be truly kept unless the Holy Ghost is given."       Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article IV, Justification, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 159. Tappert, p. 125. Romans 3:31; John 16:15.      

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





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