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email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works asgregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
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Sunday, November 27, 2011

The First Sunday in Advent.
Matthew 21:1FF




The First Sunday in Advent, 2011

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn # 245     God Loved the World  4:6
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 # 290            We Have A Sure            4:89

The Village Over Against You

The Hymn # 305:1-6           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 Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering [lewdness] and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

KJV Matthew 21:1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, 2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. 3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. 4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. 6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. 8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

First Sunday in Advent - The Collects of Veit Dietrich

Lord God, heavenly Father, we thank Thee, we bless and praise Thee forever, that Thou didst send Thy Son to rule over us poor sinners, who for our transgressions did justly deserve to remain in the bondage of sin and Satan, and didst give us in Him a meek and righteous King, who by His death became our Savior from sin and eternal death: We beseech Thee so to enlighten, govern and direct us by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may ever remain faithful to this righteous King and Savior, and not, after the manner of the world, be offended with His humble form and despised word, but, firmly believing in Him, obtain eternal salvation; through the same, Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

The Village Over Against You

KJV Matthew 21:1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, 2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.

Luther made a point about this verse, which another pastor promptly corrected for me. The pastor missed what Luther was saying.

Often one point in a Luther sermon is worth another sermon by itself.

Luther said –  go to the village over against you means this – The apostles and all Christians were to take the Gospel where the opposition was, the most difficult areas, not the easy ones.

The minister said, “The preposition does not mean that kind of opposition – it’s just directional.”

Luther’s sermons have several levels of interpretation, which are often noted in the Baker series. He used the Medieval system where the actual content was examined; next the spiritual and allegorical interpretations were added.

Luther read the Scriptures as a whole, which is the intention of the Holy Spirit. Every passage connects to every other one.

KJV Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

There the opposition is expressed quite clearly.

Paul said it too.

KJV Acts 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

We see the example in the ministry of Jesus and the apostles. Jesus traveled to Jerusalem, where the religious opposition was greatest and the Roman governor ruled. Pilate was so cruel that the Roman Empire replaced him later. And yet, in the midst of this opposition, where Jesus was executed as a blasphemer (Jewish opposition) and rebel (Roman opposition), the Gospel thrived. Thousands converted to the Faith shortly after. Likewise, the Gospel also prospered in pagan Rome, where they tolerated every god except the one true God – Jesus Christ.

The Gospel and the cross go together.

Ministers like to have it easy. LCA pastors called the Twin Cities paradise, because anyone could start a mission in the suburbs and have hundreds of members. Each part of the country has places where a denomination thrives without effort, but other areas where it seems almost impossible to get by.

God told Jonah to preach in Ninevah, so Jonah got in the ship that was traveling in the opposite direction, as far as he could.

KJV Jonah 1:1 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. 3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. 4 But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. 5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. 6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.

The preacher in Moby Dick made a point about Jonah paying the fare. It was like this. God told Jonah to preach in Paris, France. Jonah went to the airport and asked for a flight to Hong Kong. And he paid the fare! No questions asked. Get me out of here.

Opposition is good for the Gospel and the believer, but unpleasant and painful in many different ways.

Writers on the Net say that wolves are one of the few creatures that kill for sport. They enjoy ganging up on a victim, even when they have no need of the food. Wolf-huggers – please do not write. I am no expert on four-footed lupines.

Whether that is true in Creation or not, church wolves certainly travel in packs, hunt down victims, and kill for sport. There is nothing like the prospect of promoting evil to unify a pack of ecclesiastical wolves.

That brutality is what makes ministers and laity avoid opposition. There is always the smoother path to take. Wolves ask for just  a little compromise, a little tolerance. However, they are the best example of doctrinal discipline, because they never compromise and always excommunicate in a flash. Demanding grace and forgiveness, they offer none.

Only a fool would oppose them, they think.

I see that at work in blogging, where the opposition has nothing good to say. They frequently erupt in tantrums and name-calling. Does that hamper the Word of God? Not at all. The most frequently read post in the last month is not scandal, but a list of orthodox quotations. I suspect it is being linked and copied a lot.

Many people read the blog just to find fault with it. One ELCA pastor just demanded a link for a synodical statement that I provided. When I gave him a link to back up what I quoted, he got quite sarcastic because it was not an exact match. His daily opposition means he is always exposed to Luther’s sermons and quotations, plus many orthodox Lutheran quotations in the graphics.

Opposition makes people come back for more, if only to argue. The Holy Spirit works through the Word, so we should rejoice in the hatred, even thought we do not feel like rejoicing. The Old Adam wants to be clapped on the back for being orthodox, but that will never happen in this life. The heretics and blasphemers thrive – although the Gospel never thrives in their hands, simply because they offer their man-made law and call it Gospel.
The only way to understand this opposition is to start with Jesus. In His public ministry, He was perfect, sinless, gentle, meek, and immensely popular with all classes and groups. And yet the opposition was furious. Luther explained it well, and that should remain in our minds at all times.

Jesus said throughout His ministry, “Your righteousness does not come from within you, from your works, but from believing in Me as your righteousness.” That simply destroyed the religious pretensions of the religious opponents.

That same grace, conveyed by the Instruments of God’s grace (the Word and Sacraments) irritates the works salesmen of today. They alone are going to transform their communities. They have a whole series of works that will accomplish this. Once they promise something that they can never deliver on their own, they forget the promise and focus on those who sincerely resist their deceptions.

The Olde Synodical Conference refuses to take the Book of Concord seriously or to study it as they should. But what they need, they claim, is more cell groups, where people study the ickiest works of Enthusiasm. They actually breed opposition to the Means of Grace in cell groups, as one woman agreed. I made her furious earlier by saying that cell groups promote heresy. Later, she came back to me to say that her “Lutheran” cell group leader was against infant baptism and that she refused to listen to a Lutheran minister address the group.

I have pointed out to those who will listen (precious few) that cell groups destroy the doctrinal foundation of a Lutheran congregation, replacing the Means of Grace with the supposed holiness of individuals who perform certain works, as if ordering God around guaranteed their sainthood.

This is where opposition is good for us. The more people oppose the truth, the more we want to study it. For instance, someone may know there is a section of the Formula of Concord called The Righteousness of Faith.

Until justification by faith is attacked, that part of the Book of Concord will remain dormant in the mind. So will key passages in the Bible. But once the opposition begins, each relevant passage in the Book of Concord or the Bible will become very significant and comforting.

Even more so, when trying to offer these insights to others, we get ignored, ridiculed, and made the target of direct, public rebuke. Our Old Adam says, “I paying too high a price for this. I did not sign up for the cross.” But the believer should say, “Aha. They are going over the passages in their own minds and boiling over with rage. Maybe they are making themselves blinder. Maybe they are becoming convinced. The Word is at work and will not leave them alone.”

"But when our good work is followed by persecution, let us rejoice and firmly believe that it is pleasing to God; indeed, then let us be assured that it comes from God, for whatever is of God is bound to be crucified by the world. As long as it does not bring the cross, that is, as long as it does not bring shame and contempt as we patiently continue in it, it cannot be esteemed as a divine work since even the Son of God was not free from it--(suffering for the sake of the good He did) --but left us an example in this. He Himself tells us in Matthew 5:10, 12: 'Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake.. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven.'"
Commentary on Romans, trans. J. Theodore Mueller, Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1976, p. 55. Matthew 5: 10, 12.; Romans 2:6-10.

Each experience of opposition makes us more studious and more appreciative.
Who loves sound doctrine the most? Those who have gone through this in several denominations and more than one flavor of Lutheranism.

Who is most blasé about sound doctrine? Those who claim they were born Lutheran, born in the synod, raised in the parsonage, formed by parochial schools, trained only in synodical schools.

The Shrinkers love the word disciple, but not in this verse:

KJV Luke 14:27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

Bearing the cross is being a disciple, following Jesus who bore the cross, who faced the wrath of the Roman Empire and his fellow rabbis.

KJV John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.


Luther on the Cross


"If, here upon earth, the body is unwilling, not capable of grace and Christ's leading, it must bear the Spirit, upon which Christ rides, who trains it and leads it along by the power of grace, received through Christ. The colt, ridden by Christ, upon which no one ever rode, is the willing spirit, whom no one before could make willing, tame or ready, save Christ by His grace. However, the sack carrier, the burden-bearer, the old Adam, is the flesh, which goes riderless without Christ; it must for this reason bear the cross and remain a beast of burden."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, I, p. 53. First Sunday in Advent Matthew 21:1-9.

"But when our good work is followed by persecution, let us rejoice and firmly believe that it is pleasing to God; indeed, then let us be assured that it comes from God, for whatever is of God is bound to be crucified by the world. As long as it does not bring the cross, that is, as long as it does not bring shame and contempt as we patiently continue in it, it cannot be esteemed as a divine work since even the Son of God was not free from it--(suffering for the sake of the good He did) --but left us an example in this. He Himself tells us in Matthew 5:10, 12: 'Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake.. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven.'"
Commentary on Romans, trans. J. Theodore Mueller, Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1976, p. 55. Matthew 5: 10, 12.; Romans 2:6-10

"On the other hand, we are outwardly oppressed with the cross and sufferings, and with the persecution and torments of the world and the devil, as with the weight of heavy stone upon us, subduing our old sinful nature and checking us against antagonizing the Spirit and committing other sins."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 145. Sixth Sunday after Trinity, Romans 6:6 John 16:20 –

"Such people, however, do not understand divine things, they think they will suddenly enter death with Christ, whom they have never learned to know except in words. Thus was Peter also disposed, but he stood before Christ like a rabbit before one beating a drum. Notice, how the old Adam lacks courage when under the cross! The new man, however, can indeed persevere through grace."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 85. Third Sunday after Easter John 16:16-23

"But wine is sharp and signifies the holy cross that immediately follows. A Christian need not look for his cross, it is always on his back. For he thinks as St. Paul says, 2 Timothy 3:12: 'All that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.' This is the court-color in this kingdom. Whoever is ashamed of the color, does not belong to this king."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 30. Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity, Luke 10:23-37; 2 Timothy 3:12

"Observe, God and men proceed in contrary ways. Men set on first that which is best, afterward that which is worse. God first gives the cross and affliction, then honor and blessedness. This is because men seek to preserve the old man; on which account they instruct us to keep the Law by works, and offer promises great and sweet...But God first of all terrifies the conscience, sets on miserable wine, in fact nothing but water; then, however, He consoles us with the promises of the Gospel which endure forever."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 69. Second Sunday after Epiphany, John 2:1-11.

"Not only is Christ hidden from the world, but a still harder thing is it that in such trials Christ conceals himself even from His church, and acts as if he had forgotten, aye, had entirely forsaken and rejected it,since He permits it to be oppressed under the cross and subjected to all the cruelty of the world, while its enemies boast, glory and rejoice over it, as we shall hear in the next Gospel."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 67. Second Sunday after Easter John 10:11-16.

"Not only is Christ hidden from the world, but a still harder thing is it that in such trials Christ conceals himself even from His church, and acts as if He had forgotten, aye, had entirely forsaken and rejected it,since He permits it to be oppressed under the cross and subjected to all the cruelty of the world, while its enemies boast, glory and rejoice over it, as we shall hear in the next Gospel."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 67. Second Sunday after Easter John 10:11-16.

"If we would be Christians, we must surely expect and count on having the devil, together with all his angels and the world, as our enemies. They all will bring misfortune and sorrow on us For where the Word of God is preached, accepted, or believed, and where it produces fruit, the dear, holy cross cannot be wanting."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 357. Large Catechism

"O Lord, look down from heaven, behold And let Thy pity waken; How few are we within Thy fold, Thy saints by men forsaken! True faith seems quenched on every hand, Men suffer not Thy Word to stand; Dark times have us overtaken. (2) With fraud which they themselves invent Thy truth they have confounded; Their hearts are not with one consent On Thy pure doctrine grounded. While they parade with outward show, They lead the people to and fro, In error's maze astounded. (3) May God root out all heresy And of false teachers rid us Who proudly say: 'Now, where is he That shall our speech forbid us? By right or might we shall prevail; What we determine cannot fail; We own no lord and master. (5) As silver tried by fire is pure From all adulteration So through God's Word shall men endure Each trial and temptation. Its light beams brighter through the cross, And purified from human dross, It shines thru every nation."
The Lutheran Hymnal, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1941, Hymn #260. Psalm 12.


"But now, since the prince of this world and the Holy Spirit, the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of the devil, are directly opposed to one another, and the Holy Spirit is not willing that anyone should parade his own deeds and praise himself on account of them, the holy cross must soon follow. The world will not consent to be reprimanded for its blindness. Therefore one must willingly submit and suffer persecution. If we have the right kind of faith in our hearts, we must also open our mouths and confess righteousness and make known sin. Likewise we must condemn and punish the doings of this world and make it known that everything it undertakes, is damned."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 120. Fourth Sunday after Easter John 16:5-15.

"The deeper a person is sunk in sadness and emotional upheavals, the better he serves as an instrument of Satan. For our emotions are instruments through which he gets into us and works in us if we do not watch our step. It is easy to water where it is wet. Where the fence is dilapidated, it is easy to get across. So Satan has easy access where there is sadness. Therefore one must pray and associate with godly people."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, III, p. 1243. 1532

"This 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."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 884. Genesis 24:1-4.

"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."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols. ed. Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 884. Genesis 24:1-4

"Human works and doctrines at all times yield much revenue and carnal gain, while the doctrines of God and the work of Christ bring the cross, poverty, ignominy, and all kinds of calamity, which the holiness of Herod cannot endure. Thus it happens always, that they who have ensnared and oppressed the poor with an erring conscience and with human doctrines, do not like to hear that poor, miserable consciences receive instruction, attain a right understanding, and seek the simple pure Word of God and faith."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, I, p. 376. Epiphany Matthew 2:1-12.

"The apostle says 'our,' 'our sins;' not his own sin, not the sins of unbelievers. Purification is not for, and cannot profit, him who does not believe. Nor did Christ effect the cleansing by our free-will, our reason or power, our works, our contrition or repentance, these all being worthless in the sight of God; he effects it by himself. And how? By taking our sins upon himself on the holy cross, as Isaiah 53:6 tells us."
Sermons of Martin Luther, ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 180. Hebrews 1:1-12; Hebrews 1:3;

"This, mark you, is the peace of the cross, the peace of God, peace of conscience, Christian peace, which gives us even external calm, which makes us satisfied with all men and unwilling to disturb any. Reason cannot understand how there can be pleasure in crosses, and peace in disquietude; it cannot find these. Such peace is the work of God, and none can understand it until it has been experienced."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 111. Fourth Sunday in Advent, Philippians 4:7











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