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Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity:
Matthew 22:34-46




The Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2011




Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn # 239     Come Thou Almighty King                        2:72
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 #269            O Lord Our Father                  2:56     

David’s Son, David’s Lord

The Communion Hymn # 315:11-15            I Come O Savior             2:66
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 #651               Be Still My Soul               2:17

KJV 1 Corinthians 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; 6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

KJV Matthew 22:34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. 35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. 41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. 43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? 45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? 46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

Eighteenth Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father: We are poor, miserable sinners; we know Thy will, but cannot fulfill it because of the weakness of our flesh and blood, and because our enemy, the devil, will not leave us in peace. Therefore we beseech Thee, shed Thy Holy Spirit in our hearts, that, in steadfast faith, we may cling to Thy Son Jesus Christ, find comfort in His passion and death, believe the forgiveness of sin through Him, and in willing obedience to Thy will lead holy lives on earth, until by Thy grace, through a blessed death, we depart from this world of sorrow, and obtain eternal life, through Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

David’s Son, David’s Lord


Matthew 22: 41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. 43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? 45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? 46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

The Passover tradition includes four questions being asked. The audience asks the rabbi or the head of the household three questions. The rabbi asks the fourth question. The idea is to test someone’s grasp of the Torah.

This happens in Matthew, with Jesus asking the fourth question.

The two parts of this Gospel lesson have this in common. Both show continuity with Judaism. This shows the union of the Old and New Testaments.

In the first part, Jesus was asked the greatest commandment. He answered –

Matthew 22: 37bThou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

As everyone knows, a similar summary was given by a lawyer in Luke, part of the introduction to the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

KJV Luke 10:25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

In fact, it is also known in rabbinical tradition that famous rabbis summarized the Old Testament exactly the same way. This leads the rationalists to say that Jesus was just a rabbi whose reputation was inflated by others, especially Paul.

Historical Sidebar – Pietism and Rationalism
Where does this rationalism come from? In Europe, the center of rationalism was Halle University. The school was established to promote Pietism, and its charitable institutions attracted a large, admiring audience across the world. Pietism emphasized Biblical studies but also avoided doctrinal debates. They promoted working with non-Lutherans in missions and charities.

It only took one generation for Pietism to become rationalistic. Georg Christian Knapp was considered the last of the Pietists, but he taught that the Trinity was not in harmony with the Scriptures. Tholuck, who was Adolph Hoenecke’s mentor at Halle, was a Universalist who imagined that everyone was saved.  American Lutheran leaders were taught at Halle (Muhlenberg, Bishop Stephan, Hoenecke) or profoundly influenced by Pietism.

In America, this shift from Pietism to rationalism took place in a generation or two. The WELS college designated for preparing men for seminary, Northwestern College in Watertown, Wisconsin, became the center of Seminex rationalism, producing the core leaders of the future ELCA.

Ralph Gerke and Richard Jungkuntz were considered LCMS martyrs for the Seminex cause. The OT prophet-like photos were often in Seminex publications. First they lost their jobs at Watertown, where they were admired as teachers, even though they taught against the Scriptures. College kids tend to idolize their professors.

Gerke and Jungkuntz moved to the LCMS where they were rewarded for being rationalists with doctorates. Jungkuntz was chairman of the board of the break-off seminary, which also served as the seminary for the Metropolitan Community Church, the exclusively homosexual/lesbian denomination.

That means Jungkuntz (who married a WELS professor’s daughter) arranged for and encouraged a joint partnership with a church body devoted to sharing the joys of Sodom. That influence carried over to ELCA, which made the lavender agenda the chief cause of the entire denomination. One reader of the blog, known only as 29A, wants people to remember, and I quote – “The radicalism of ELCA came from WELS, from its own college, from Jungkuntz, Gehrke, and their followers.”

Jungkuntz, while still in WELS, feared that UOJ would be lost or forgotten by his denomination. Unfortunately, it got even worse. UOJ became the springboard for the Church Growth Movement, a convenient way to hide rationalism and unionism. The Emergent Church toadies are more of the same.



The Bible Defeats Rationalism
The Bible defeats rationalism by opposing its foundations. As Luther taught, the Bible is the Book of the Holy Spirit, a book that judges all other books. Nothing shows the spirit of a teacher more than his attitude toward the Scriptures. When someone begins to rant against the inerrancy of the Bible, he is revealing himself as a rationalist.

But there is another way they give themselves away. That is where people must be far more careful, because their methods are so clever. They rave against the efficacy of the Word by saying, as the first VP of WELS has done in print, “Yes we know the Word is efficacious, but we make it effective with our methods.”

Or they say, “According to studies, a church will do better if…”

Or, “We have to market the Gospel.” They are so bold that they even expose their attitudes with such language. (Marketing is no longer a popular major at one business school. It was once the most popular major. Lutherans love to jump on abandoned band-wagons and yell about how clever they are.)

The Word never lacks the power and effectiveness of the Holy Spirit. When people listen attentively and humbly to the Word, this power is made known in God’s grace.

However, when people quote the Word to abuse it, the Holy Spirit’s power becomes one of condemnation, blinding, and hardening them. Thus their proud manipulation turns them into rationalists and eventually into atheists.

The laity have the good fortune of not being exposed to professors who glorify their own theories, who become authorities just for having a position at a school. After a period of time, no one can question that person’s teaching because that threatens the idol.

Luther dealt with that, too, because most of the theologians of his age were opposed to the Gospel and brilliantly argued their case as experts.

Today we have the Gospel cited by the Emergent Church types (who dress like bums), the Roman Catholic Church, and the modernists – all to their own advantage, giving people what their itching ears want to hear.

The Bible Brings Jesus To Us
The Word of God has one purpose – to bring Jesus to us. The saving message of the Bible is “Trust only in Christ for salvation. Believing in Him is forgiveness of sin. Forgiveness is salvation and eternal life.”

Luther often thought about a phrase of Scripture all day long. Each lesson gives us a chance to think about the passage for the entire week. Repeating the lessons each year means we get to know the passage better each time, awakening us to new insights provided by the work of the Holy Spirit.

This statement of Jesus is a clear example of the Two Natures of Christ. The religious leaders saw a man, an honored rabbi, teaching about the Torah. But Jesus asked them a question that plainly taught them about His divinity.

Jesus asked them, 42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. 43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? 45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? 46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

How can the son of David call his own descendant “Lord”? That can only be from the Messiah being from the House of David (human nature) and the eternal Son of God (divine nature).

The statement itself draws from the history of human warfare. When one nation conquered another nation, the defeated king was used as a footstool for the victorious one.

One of the most ferocious warriors of all time, Bayezid, was reduced to spending his captivity in a large bird-cage.


This statement from the Psalms looks ahead to the end of time, when all things will be brought into subjection under Jesus as the king of kings, the lord of lords. There will be no opponents left, no enemies still raving against the Gospel. That is when every knee will bow, on earth, in heaven, and beneath the earth. Even the jibbering demons of Hell will have to acknowledge the truth, but without the saving benefits of faith.

When events seem overwhelming and defeating, this statement from 2,000 years ago, about the future, is still true.

We have the Messiah on, 24/7. Each time I get near the kitchen, a different part is playing. The Gospel is sung from every part of the Bible, using the actual words of the Bible. Each passage reminds me of Luther’s words – how can anyone be sad when these truths are known?

And that is why we need to hear the Gospel at all times. Our trust in the Word gets battered by events and by other people. Our Old Adam is inclined to say, “That may be true, but…” All “yes, but” statements are really “no” statements.

Sin, for most people, is dominated by images of carnal sin. Many churches have flailed away at carnal sin, with so much energy that they never get close to Jesus’ definition of sin.



KJV John 16:8 And when He (the Holy Spirit) is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on Me.

The purpose of the Holy Spirit in the Word, in all preaching and teaching, is to say, “Lack of complete faith in Jesus in a sin.”

This is the root, the foundation of all other sins.

In contrast, faith in Christ is the basis for the fruit of the Spirit. All the qualities of life that people desire are the God-generated, Word-fueled products of the Gospel.

KJV 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.

If you want more of these in your life, trust in the Gospel. Listen to and read the Gospel. Hear the Gospel sung in faithful hymns and music. Become a Bach expert. He scratched on his music – Jesus Help Me, and To God Alone Be Glory.

We know someone who uses art to portray the Gospel. There is nothing like handing a book like The Story of Jesus in Pictures and hearing someone gasp at the full-color art.

Quotations

"The New Testament is the inerrant record of the revelation of Jesus Christ in word and deed, and of the truths and principles proceeding, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, from that revelation.  The Old Testament is in like manner an inerrant record, having the express and often repeated testimony and authority of Christ, of the preparatory and partial revelations made concerning Him before His coming.  Hebrews 1:1."
            Henry Eyster Jacobs, A Summary of the Christian Faith, Philadelphia:  General Council Publication House, 1913, p. 3. Hebrews 1:1.              

"The Old Testament dealt with the promises of God to the chosen people. Thereby God placed Himself in 'covenant' relation to Israel (berith).  This relation, like the promises and the gifts of God to Israel, is always onesided. It is always God's covenant, not Israel's, and not a mutual agreement, not a suntheke.  This promise and covenant indeed obligates Israel, and Israel assumes these obligations, but the covenant emanates entirely from God."
            R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews, Columbus:  Lutheran Book Concern, 1938, p. 235. Hebrews 7:22;                 

"In view of their spiritual meaning the psalms are really lovely and sweet; for they are comforting to all depressed, wretched consciences, who are in fear of sin, the anguish and agony of death, and all sorts of trouble and misery.  To such hearts the Book of Psalms is a sweet, comforting, lovely song, because it sings and preaches the Messiah, although one merely reads or recites the words without notes.  Nevertheless, the use of notes or music, as a wonderful creation and gift of God, helps greatly to produce this effect, especially when the people sing along and do so with fine devoutness...Thus David, too, often dispelled, or at least checked or weakened, the evil spirit for Saul with his minstrelsy (1 Samuel 16:17ff.).  For the evil spirit is not at ease when one sings or preaches God's Word in true faith.  He is a spirit of sadness and cannot stay where a heart is spiritually joyful (joyful in God and His Word).
            What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed. Ewald M. Plass, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II,  p. 981. 1 Samuel 16:17ff.  




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