Lutheran Worship and Resources

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Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

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Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
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Sunday, November 6, 2011

All Saints Sunday, 2011

Art by Norma Boeckler

All Saints Sunday, 2011

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

The Hymn # 656            Behold a Host                      2:39
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 # 463            For All the Saints                   4:31 

To Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

The Communion Hymn #  371             Jesus Thy Blood            4:6
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 Revelation 7:2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. 5 Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. 6 Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. 7 Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. 8 Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand. 9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. 13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

KJV Matthew 5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.


O almighty and everlasting God, who through Thine only-begotten and beloved Son, Jesus Christ, wilt sanctify all Thine elected and beloved: Give us grace to follow their faith, hope, and charity, that we together with them may 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.

To Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

The beatitudes are remembered by all of us as a very special set of verses. Many have tried to translate them better than the English Luther Bible (the KJV).

How happy… - awful.

Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness are blessed… - misses the main point.

Robert Schuller wrote a book called The Be-Happy Attitudes. That really sums up his entire ministry, now overshadowed by Joel Osteen, and other grinning wolves.

The beatitudes are peaceful and comforting, yet end with…

Matthew 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

The moderns do not like that verse, because they shun the cross and all teaching about the cross. But there it is plainly revealed – the Gospel is associated directly with persecution and slander “for My sake”, just as it was in Old Testament times – and it is a blessing.

We are inclined to say, “I am sorry your congregation kicked you out, said you had lost your faith, and refused to listen to you or even hear your questions.”

Jesus says, “Blessed are you…”

We have a very smart and independent dog named Sassy Sue. She barked at our earthquake and warned us, although we did not know what the commotion was. When I take her to the post office, and turn left, she looks at me. She knows the dog park is a right turn. Whenever I do something contrary to her expectations, she looks at me and questions me. If I send all the dogs out to the deck, she stops twice to look at me. She is saying, “Not me, just them. Right?”

So the entire Christian Church has always questioned this. We are moved and inspired by examples from the past, such as Luther kidnapped and locked up to keep him from being burnt at the stake. To this day falsehoods about him are published as the truth. So we say, “That is our hero, the Reformer.” And if we get punched in the mouth, as Luther said we must, for the sake of the Gospel, we say, “Not me, just them. Right? I am supposed to have smooth sailing.”

This is directly related to the key verse, Matthew 5:6

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

As Luther taught, there are only two kinds of righteous – righteousness from within (based on our works) or righteousness from the outside (based on Christ alone).

Jesus’ mission was to teach faith in Him, so he accepted the consequences of taking away the righteousness based on human works – the cross. They did revile and torture Him for healing the sick or raising the dead. They did not crucify Him for His kindness to widows and the poor. They raged against Him for saying, “Forgiveness comes from trusting only in Me. It is not your righteousness, but My righteousness that you need.”

The wrong righteousness always explodes in claims about works. When I questioned the conservative groups working with ELCA while criticizing ELCA, one ELS pastor phoned me and yelled, “Do you realize how hard I have worked to get congregations to join us?”

When the feminist editor of The Northwestern Lutheran came under scrutiny for her views, many responded, “Do you know how much her family has done for the synod?”

Pastors have said to me, “I did this!” I kidded one who oriented the entire worship area to face another direction, “Now you can say – I turned this church around!” He really liked that claim. It was superficially truthful and delightfully misleading.

Few are the leaders who say with Lenski (once a district president) – “Programs come and go, but the only thing that builds up the church is the Word.” How many leaders say that today? None. Not a single one.

This is strange to me, since my father was a baker and both parents grew up on a farm – Lutherans love to brag about their relatives, claiming an associated righteousness. They assume that I know who all the minor stars of their minor sects are, so they name them and wait for me to gasp in amazement. I should say, “You are his grandson!” Denominational history (all denominations) that the children of famous church workers are often the worst characters, like trust fund babies, living off the work of their ancestors.

The problem with works righteousness is that it kills the appetite for true righteousness. I always wondered as a child why appetizers filled people up and yet were called appetizers. I thought they were appetite-killers, except my appetite was hard to kill in those days. Besides, I found most offerings less than appetizing – salty fish eggs on a dry cracker. What did I do to deserve this?

Therefore, to take away the satisfaction of works-righteousness, Jesus said, “You are not righteous. You are white-washed tombs full of dead men’s bones.” (Not loving? Just the opposite.)

The works-salesmen had a lot of trouble with their foundation in life being yanked out from under them. The more trained they were in the religion of the time, the more they resisted Jesus. They hated His message and tried to trap Him. The first three Gospels show the hatred, and John 9 shows how comical it could be (truly one of the funny chapters of the Bible – the Keystone Kops chapter).

That is still true today – the clergy and the theologians are the ones who resist the Gospel the most. They want to interpose their philosophies and say, in effect, “I will follow the form that I have constructed in my mind. The plain words must be turned into complicated concepts that only a few of us can understand.”

Nevertheless, there is only one Gospel. The most terrible and effective use of the Law is to say, following John 16:8 – “You do not believe, and that is a sin. That is not only a sin, but the foundational sin upon which all others sins are based.”

Jesus taught, The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin – because they do not utterly trust in Me. (Jackson Living Bible Translation)

Sin is not believing. Faith in Jesus is forgiveness.

I go through Sam’s Club on tasting days. The best time is before lunch, when I am hungry. They usually have around 10 stations, where meat and bread and ice cream are offered. I tried some fresh mixed nuts one day and said, “Hmm. I am still deciding. I need another cup.” The woman laughed and gave me another one.

However, if I go after lunch, all those complicated chemicals in the body have taken over and removed the appetite for anything. The food which looks attractive is odious.

The best meal we ever ate – we still talk about it. We were driving in our frozen van on a cold night, when everything was closed. We were shivering and hungry. We stopped at our favorite Chinese restaurant, but too late. They were closing. All they could do was give us a big tub rice and eggs and two plastic forks. We sat in the car, eating the food, which was quite good, but leveraged by the cold and our famished state. Every bite was delicious and satisfying.

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Someone recently asked, “What does justification mean?”

That word borrows a term from the legal system. When we believe in Christ, we are justified by faith in Him. God judges us free from all sin, because we receive in faith the righteousness of Christ.

We hunger and thirst for righteousness when we deal with the consequences of our sin and our need for forgiveness.

We hunger and thirst when we encounter many false claims about forgiveness and salvation. False teachers lead us through error’s maze.

People mock those who cherish justification by faith. They say, “Weren’t you Mormon, then Catholic, then Pentecostal, then one Lutheran and then another?”

In fact, those who have sought the truth in many places are the ones who value the plain words of the Gospel the most. They have been knocked around so much that they know where certainty lies. They hear the voice of the Shepherd, who knows them by name. And they follow.

On All Saints Sunday we remember those believers who have died before us – as saints in the Biblical sense. They became righteousness through faith in the Good Shepherd, who led them to green pastures.

KJV Psalm 23:1 {A Psalm of David.}
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.


"But when we are speaking of the subject itself, it is certain that the doctrine of gracious reconciliation, of the remission of sins, of righteousness, salvation, and eternal life through faith for the sake of the Mediator is one and the same in the Old and in the New Testament. This is a useful rule which we must retain at all costs: The doctrine, wherever we read it, in either the Old or New Testament, which deals with the gracious reconciliation and the remission of sins through faith for the sake of God's mercy in Christ, is the Gospel."
            Martin Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, 2 vols., trans. J. A. O. Preus, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1989, II, p. 459.     

"Therefore God, 'who is rich in mercy' [Ephesians 2:4], has had mercy upon us and has set forth a propitiation through faith in the blood of Christ, and those who flee as suppliants to this throne of grace He absolves from the comprehensive sentence of condemnation, and by the imputation of the righteousness of His Son, which they grasp in faith, He pronounces them righteous, receives them into grace, and adjudges them to be heirs of eternal life. This is certainly the judicial meaning of the word 'justification,' in almost the same way that a guilty man who has been sentenced before the bar of justice is acquitted."
            Martin Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, 2 vols., trans. J. A. O. Preus, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1989, II, p. 482. Ephesians 2:4  

"Yet these exercises of faith always presuppose, as their foundation, that God is reconciled by faith, and to this they are always led back, so that faith may be certain and the promise sure in regard to these other objects. This explanation is confirmed by the brilliant statement of Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:20: 'All the promises of God in Christ are yea and amen, to the glory of God through us,' that is, the promises concerning other objects of faith have only then been ratified for us when by faith in Christ we are reconciled with God. The promises have been made valid on the condition that they must give glory to God through us."
            Martin Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, 2 vols., trans. J. A. O. Preus, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1989, II, p. 495. 2 Corinthians 1:20  

"Therefore this apprehension or acceptance or application of the promise of grace is the formal cause or principle of justifying faith, according to the language of Scripture."
            Martin Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, 2 vols., trans. J. A. O. Preus, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1989, II, p. 502.         

"We must note the foundations. For we are justified by faith, not because it is so firm, robust, and perfect a vritue, but because of the object on which it lays hold, namely Christ, who is the Mediator in the promise of grace. Therefore when faith does not err in its object, but lays hold on that true object, although with a weak faith, or at least tries and wants to lay hold on Christ, then there is true faith, and it justifies. The reason for this is demonstrated in those lovely statements in Philippians 3:12: 'I apprehend, or rather I am apprehended by Christ' and Galatians 4:9: 'You have known God, or rather have been known by God.' Scripture shows a beautiful example of this in Mark 9:24: 'I believe; help my unbelief.'"
            Martin Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, 2 vols., trans. J. A. O. Preus, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1989, II, p. 503. Philippians 3:12; Galatians 4:9; Mark 9:24. 

"For we are not justified because of our faith (propter fidem), in the sense of faith being a virtue or good work on our part. Thuse we pray, as did the man in Mark 9:24: 'I believe, Lord; help my unbelief'; and with the apostles: 'Lord, increase our faith,' Luke 17:5."
            Martin Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, 2 vols., trans. J. A. O. Preus, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1989, II, p. 506 Mark 9:24; Luke 17:5.       

"But because not doubt but faith justifies, and not he who doubts but he who believes has eternal life, therefore faith teaches the free promise, which relies on the mercy of God for the sake of the sacrifice of the Son, the Mediator, and not on our works, as Paul says in Romans 4:16: 'Therefore it is of faith, that the promise might be sure according to grace.'"
Martin Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, 2 vols., trans. J. A. O. Preus, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1989, II, p. 507. Romans 4:16      

"Thus when we say that we are justified by faith, we are saying nothing else than that for the sake of the Son of God we receive remission of sins and are accounted as righteous. And because it is necessary that this benefit be taken hold of, this is said to be done 'by faith,' that is, by trust in the mercy promised us for the sake of Christ. Thus we must also understand the correlative expression, 'We are righteous by faith,' that is, through the mercy of God for the sake of His Son we are righteous or accepted."
Melanchthon, Loci Communes, “The Word Faith.” Cited in Martin Chemnitz, Loci Theologici, 2 vols., trans. J. A. O. Preus, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1989, II, p. p. 489.    

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