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 CDT.


Midweek Lenten - 7 PM Central Daylight.

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

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mid-Week Lenten Service


The third temptation of Christ, by Norma Boeckler.
"Bow down and worship me, and all this will be Yours."



Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/bethany-lutheran-worship

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 6 PM Phoenix Time

The Hymn #            558                 All Praise             4:44     
The Order of Vespers                                             p. 41
The Psalmody                  
The Lection                            The Passion History

The Sermon Hymn # 657            Beautiful Savior                    4:24   

The Sermon –  Access to Grace
 
The Prayers
The Lord’s Prayer
The Collect for Grace                                            p. 45

The Hymn #538   Now the Shades                4:53


Access to Grace


KJV Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

In the last 50 years, the word used most has been peace. Many times it referred to world peace, to the point of becoming a joke in movies. But the other emphasis has been upon inner peace. From the hippies of the 1960s to the Indian gurus of the present, inner peace has been a goal.

This passage teaches us about inner peace, something far more important than outward peace, since many people feel anguish and turmoil while everything seems to be going well for them. Celebrities are good examples. The moment they become famous and rich they start worrying about when they will lose it.

Davy Jones just died of a heart attack. He went from fame to obscurity to a bit of fame again. He was most famous in a group, but the group could not operate together in peace, so peace is quite important, by any definition.
The ultimate meaning of peace is peace with God. The Bible uses peace in relation to forgiveness of sin and salvation.

The other dominating word in the last 50 years has been grace. Everyone is in favor of grace, and Amazing Grace is a popular (if vague) hymn, appropriate for almost any occasion, including the burial of a Vulcan in a science fiction film.

Apart from the superficial use of grace, there is a real longing. The Biblical meaning of grace is complicated, because it means so much at the same time. Grace means God’s favor and love, but it also means a divine favor and love that is given away free rather than earned.

In these two verses we have the entire Gospel message summarized, but summarized so that we want to know more. That is how the Gospel works. When God teaches us the Good News, we want to hear even more, know more, and pursue even more knowledge about it.

When we follow Luther’s method of reading the Bible, we see the unity of the Biblical message, because the Holy Spirit is the unity. Every Word of the Bible comes from human authors speaking through the Holy Spirit. As one pope said so eloquently, the Bible has a human nature and a divine nature, like Christ. The human nature we can see in Paul’s personality. This is an ordinary human being, with flaws and faults and sins, but the Holy Spirit speaks through him in this apostolic letter. Because it comes from the Holy Spirit, the harmony of the Scriptures is evident. The Bible is like Jesus in having a divine and a human nature, yet free from error, as Jesus was free from sin.

Paul, as a perfectionist  and follower of the Law, had no peace. He was restless and sought peace by persecuting the Gospel.

So this opening to Romans 5, which is also the conclusion of Romans 4, is deeply person as well as being apostolic and Spirit-inspired.

Let’s start with grace. How do we enjoy the grace, favor, love, and forgiveness of God? That can come only through the Spirit/Word. I use the slash to express this because one cannot be separated from the other, as Isaiah 55:8-10 reveals (supported by many other passages).

God’s grace can only come through God’s Word, specifically the Gospel Word – Scriptural passages of forgiveness, blessing, comfort, and hope.

For that reason the Word is called a Means of Grace. Sometimes an Instrument of Grace. I like the second term, because Instrument is even more concrete.

God’s grace comes to us only through the Means of Grace, because the Holy Spirit is bound to the Word at all times and never works apart from the Word.

That is the origin of so much confusion and false doctrine, separating the Holy Spirit from the Word.

The Word can be invisible in teaching and preaching, visible in the Sacraments. Non-Lutherans get their chasubles in a bunch, saying, “Why so many means? Isn’t one enough?”

Why so many Gospels? Isn’t one enough?

Who so many Epistles? Isn’t one enough?

Why so many Gospel Promises and blessings and comforting passages? Why not one, good, easy to memorize passage? People are always grabbing God by the shoulders and telling Him to do things differently, better, their way.

Luther subordinated himself to the Word, the Word that belongs to God alone and not to us.

Therefore, the peace that people long to have is there is the Means of Grace. It comes to us through the forgiveness that is objectively true because Christ died for our sins.

Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

We could say – Having been justified by faith… That is important, because believing is forgiveness.

That is saying – We have peace with God the moment we believe in Christ as our Savior and Redeemer.

2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Faith in Him gives us access to this grace, favor, love and forgiveness – so we stand upon this Truth and rejoice in all future glory accomplished by God.

3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

The “dear holy cross” (as Luther expresses it) is placed in the midst of this great Gospel passage.

We glory in tribulations because they produce patience.

4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

The cross, attached to the faithful adherence to the Gospel, produces good effects in our lives.

Many do not want the cross or to teach the cross, so the divorce the Gospel from the cross. In avoiding the cross they also lose the Gospel.

5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Paul was able to see the Gospel spread throughout the Roman Empire in the midst of persecution and all the other bad experiences of Paul, including imprisonment, which served to glorify God and serve His purpose.

This passage should bring the greatest comfort to anyone, because Romans 5:1-5 teaches us the truth of the Gospel, the grace of forgiveness, and the blessings of the cross.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Invocavit - The First Sunday in Lent.
Matthew 4:1ff



Invocavit Sunday, The First Sunday in Lent, 2012


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn #148   Lord Jesus Christ               3:61
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 # 146               Lamb of God                        3:62


the Two Kingdoms

The Hymn # 153                 Stricken Smitten                  3:63
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 # 154     Alas and Did My Savior             3:14

KJV 2 Corinthians 6:1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. 2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) 3 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: 4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, 5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; 6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, 7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; 9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; 10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

KJV Matthew 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. 5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

First Sunday In Lent

Lord God, heavenly Father, inasmuch as the adversary doth continually afflict us, and as a roaring lion doth walk about, seeking to devour us: We beseech Thee for the sake of the suffering and death of Thy Son, Jesus Christ, to help us by the grace of the Holy Spirit, and to strengthen our hearts by Thy word, that our enemy may not prevail over us, but that we may evermore abide in Thy grace, and be preserved unto everlasting life; 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 Two Kingdoms – Of Christ and Satan


KJV Matthew 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

This verse illustrates what Luther said about the Two Kingdoms. One is the Kingdom of God; the other is the Kingdom of Satan. They are perpetually at war with each other, one striving against the other.

Some people confuse this with the Two Regiments, another issue. That is Luther’s distinction between the spiritual regiment (the Church) and the material regiment (government, armies, the police). One has the Gospel, the other has the power of the sword. Luther saw the problems with the Church trying to be the government, which was a foundational problem for the Roman Catholic Church. Vatican controlled lands in Italy were the most corrupt and held back the progress of the country.

To show the original parallelism in the first verse, it is good to say, Jesus was led by the Spirit and tempted by Satan.

Lenski:
In view of 3:16, 17, “by the Spirit,” cannot mean “by Jesus’ own spirit” but must mean by the Holy Spirit who had come upon Jesus and remained upon him permanently for his ministry. This passive verb, however, in no way expresses a reluctance on the part of Jesus to meet the tempter. It intends to bring out the very opposite: the willingness of Jesus to do the divine will. It does even more: it wards off the idea that Jesus entered into this temptation of his own accord when at this very beginning of his ministry it might have been wise to avoid such a decisive test. We often rashly subject ourselves to temptation. Jesus was led into his ordeal by his Father’s own Spirit. And this means that the temptation had to occur, and at this very time. It was God’s own will that this mighty battle should be fought now.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 138.

When we have a balanced view of the Scriptures and see the Bible as a whole, we can understand how one passage keeps us from going to extremes about one particular emphasis.

The temptation of Jesus emphasizes His human nature. The modernists today like this a lot. They turn it into a psycho-drama where Jesus is engaged in a battle within Himself, imagining all these things while starving in the desert. Of course, they have to ignore the whole point of the Bible to say this, but the modernists today are no different from the false teachers of the past. Each generation picks an approach to use, often exclaiming that it is a brand-new discovery when it is actually a rehash of past mistakes.

Clearly both natures of Christ are taught in the Temptation, but the human nature of Jesus is what we see most clearly. That is an important corrective to the tendency to make Him only divine, with only one nature, and not the unique person of Christ, human and divine.

The Gospel ceases to be the Good News when Jesus is either just a man or purely divine. The human nature of Christ means that He sees and understands our temptations, which were His as well.

The Hebrews passage fits this Gospel lesson so well, because it urges us to continue on the path to eternal life. The divine efficacy of the Word of God is followed by the compassion and understanding of Christ, who was tempted every way we are tempted (human nature), and yet was without sin (divine nature).

KJV Hebrews 4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

The First Temptation
KJV Matthew 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

These temptations are a prelude to the final temptations, as Jesus faced His death and said, “Let this cup pass from Me.” Therefore, we understand His human nature better during the crucifixion if we compare the time of temptation.
Jesus never lost His divine nature, but most of the time it was not in the forefront. He allowed Himself to be treated as an ordinary human because that was the Father’s will – and His.

Thus Satan truly tempted Jesus, who was in the tempter’s power. Some people get wound up and say, “Jesus was incapable of sinning.” If that is so, then there was no temptation. (Our friend from years ago said he was never tempted before he became a Christian because he did whatever he wanted. That is the other side of this issue. We used to call children like that “godless,” which is a good description.)

The temptation of Jesus is best understood in realizing that Jesus felt the power of Satan’s trials but maintained the divine will to resist and to defeat Satan. This also became apparent during the crucifixion, when Jesus was under the power of Pilate and the religious opponents, under the power of Satan, and yet reigned victorious over them. He could have destroyed them with legions of angels but yielded to the divine will to die for our sins.

This first temptation is easy to understand, even though we have an abundance of food. When we have not eaten for a long period of time, whether through illness or other causes, the idea of food can become a sudden obsession. It is all we can think about. When crowds of people are starving, they are driven mad with rage over the prospect of getting some of it. The famous Indian war in Southern Minnesota began when the Indians were denied their food allotment. The original Dr. Mayo took part in the battle and might have canceled the future Mayo Clinic by dying – over food allotments.

If you are the Son of God…
We can identify with this temptation, because it comes in another form. If you are a Christian, if God really loves you, then prove it.

This can eat away at us, when problems come our way, especially when they come because of the Word. It is easy to say, “I would be happy without this trouble.” God does not take away the trouble, as Luther said more than once, but God changes the heart rather than the affliction. That is how the martyrs and apostles faced persecution and death. That is how believers face the ultimate enemy, death.

The temptation is that we should prove that God is God by bending Him to our will, when He uses the cross and other troubles to show us His gracious will. 

4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Jesus answered Satan and defeated him at this point with the Word of God. Man does not live by bread. The believer can say, because of Jesus, “You can starve me to death, but life comes from the Word, which never fails and unites me with Christ in eternity.”

This is the constant battle we face, because it is material versus spiritual, Satan versus God. The dark forces say, “Look at our money and prestige.” Believers admit, “We are poor and scattered, despised and scorned, especially by apostates within the visible church.”

But God’s Word says throughout, Better a short time of turmoil and eternal peace than a short time of peace and eternal turmoil. Knowing that gives us peace in the midst of anxieties, temptations, turmoil, afflictions, and the cross. Although Paul is accused of patting himself on the back, we can be glad that the Spirit moved him to say those things we find in 2 Corinthians. We get some feeling for what he suffered gladly for the sake of the Gospel.

The man who played Superman, Christopher Reeve, said suffering had no meaning. But the believer says, “The cross sanctifies suffering.”

Today, if a Lutheran clearly teaches justification by faith, his friends desert and rebuke him. They give him the silent treatment, which can be very painful. Sometimes it takes months to sink in – so and so won’t speak to me or write to me and won’t even say why. So-called friends will betray, cajole, ridicule, and scold. They will drive away a faithful person, clergy or laity, and then complain, “He deserted us – so he deserves even more scorn.”

I know from reading on the Net that many people face the same treatment, based on the battle being fought at the moment. The traditional Christians, who have about 1950 years behind them, are suddenly the outsiders, the mad dogs to be driven away and sued with animosity and spite. Their spiritual supervisors say, “We will take away your beautiful church, which you own and you kept up, and lock you out of it. Maybe we will give it away to someone else. Maybe we will just lock it up forever and let it stand empty.”

That is a bitter pill for those who think happiness is a church building. Many have found their faith renewed by these episodes. What they took for granted was wrenched from them so they had to re-evaluate what mattered.

Chemnitz wrote, “These are the last days of an insane, old world.”

Knowing that, Chemnitz labored to present the Gospel in its purest form. No one has equaled him since.

The Second Temptation
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

In this temptation Satan immediately takes the weapon used against him and employs it against Christ. He took Jesus to the pinnacle of the Temple, which was so high that it made people dizzy to look down. I think it was Josephus who said one could hardly see to the ground, it was so high. What better place?

Satan expertly quoted from the Scriptures, to challenge Jesus to throw Himself down and let the angels rescue Him and set Him down gently in safety, because the Word promised as much.

This is the temptation Christians face when the false teachers use the Word of God to defeat the meaning of the Scriptures. The best example lately is quoting Romans 4:25 to contradict Romans 4:24. The answer is not to be awed by anyone or any authority - except the Word.

The plain meaning of the Word trumps all the fancy footwork of false teaches, who have dozens of citations that fit their claims. I saw that done better times 100. When I used the Vatican owned library in Columbus, Ohio, they had centuries of tradition to back up every claim. On the topic of Mary alone they had an entire range of library shelves. One recent work had 3 thick volumes. As Eduard Preuss said, after he went from UOJ to Roman Catholicism, “Give me the sources and I can prove anything.” And he was a brilliant expert in doing that – just not a student of the Word.

Bad Biblical interpretation is especially toxic, because it imposes a poisonous meaning upon the Word when God’s grace is being questioned and examined.

Jesus answered with the appropriate verse, rebuking Satan:

7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

The believer needs to know the basic passages of the Bible that teach fundamental Christian truths. John 3:16 is a good example. If the “expert” has claims that contradict John 3:16, then the appropriate question is, “Should we expel the Little Gospel from its place in Christian theology? You are so angry about faith and against believing, so why are you fighting against the obvious meaning of John 3:16 and Romans 4:24-25?”

Invariably there is a bonus for the person who embraces false doctrine. They are getting something from it. Taking that away is dangerous and it can be scary, because the rage that follows is truly Satanic.

God promises:

KJV Isaiah 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.

Third Temptation
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

Lenski:
Luther says that he who in the first temptation showed himself as a black devil, and in the second as a light, white devil, using even God’s own Word, now displays himself as a divine, majestic devil, who comes right out as though he were God himself. Satan drops his mask and appears as the prince and ruler of this world. He no longer operates with the appeal, “if thou art a son of God,” suggesting some ungodly way by which Jesus is to prove that he is such a son. Cunningly he accepts the fact that Jesus is a son, even the one chosen to be the Messiah, and on this Satan rests the final temptation.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 153.

Satan truly is the Prince of This World. We see that in slaughter, corruption, false doctrine, paganism, and especially in all the evils of the world rewarded beyond comprehension.

Perhaps people think Jesus could not be tempted by such things, but Jesus knew what was ahead of Him – the cross. Here He is truly the Hero, the Example for us all. He scorned the easy path and bore the cross for us.

He was destined to say this again, when Peter tempted Him in a similar way, rebuking Jesus for predicting the cross and suffering –

10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

KJV Matthew 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ. 21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. 22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. 24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

So many walk the tightrope today. They do not want to give up the esteem of the visible church while claiming to be faithful to the Word. I have witnessed people doing mental gymnastics to defend the worst false teachers. Why? Because a break away from the rulers of the denomination will mean punishment and retribution, for them and their families. Their fears about reprisals should tell them all they need to know about defending such thugs, but that seldom happens. They walk the tightrope and praise themselves for being faithful, even while supporting the worst kind of falsehood.

As Luther said, fear is the opposite of faith. Those who think the Word is weak and the synod is all-powerful will shrink from the Word of God. After all, the Word brings the cross. They do not see that their hatred of the cross is also a loathing of the Gospel. They may think themselves shepherds of the sheep, but they are only fattening the sheep for a later slaughter.

Every rebuking of false doctrine is a rebuking of Satan. Every compromise with false doctrine is a compromise with Satan.



INVOCAVIT

Temptation


"He shows, moreover, that it is customary in Scripture to call temptation and tribulation in this life a fire. As the furnace tests the vessels of the potter, so also tribulation tests unjust people."
Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, trans., Fred Kramer, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1986, III, p. 254. 1 Corinthians 3:15.

Sins Against the Third Commandment

"The sins which militate against the Third Commandment are the profanation of the Sabbath through neglect and contempt of the ministry, through Judaic and superstitious observance of the Sabbath, or through a shifting of the ministry into the kingdom of this world. The faithfulness of those who teach is the virtue by which the ministers of the Church, aware of their modest skill in Christian doctrine, carefully and zealousy discharge and steadfastly protect all the duties of the faithful dispenser of the mysteries of God in teaching, debating, comforting and setting their hearers an example of true devotion and of all the virtues. The other extreme are faithlessness, heedless teaching or negligence in office, or deserting the ministry because of excessive anxiety or concern over one's own weakness."
David Chytraeus, A Summary of the Christian Faith, (1568), trans., Richard Dinda, Decatur: Repristination Press, 1994. p. 71f.      

"Those, however, who set the time, place and measure, tempt God, and believe not that they are heard or that they have obtained what they asked; therefore, they also receive nothing."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 172.  
"So it is with all Christian; where faith is not continually kept in motion and exercised, it weakens and decreases, so that it must indeed vanish; and yet we do not see nor feel this weakness ourselves, except in times of need and temptation, when unbelief rages too strongly; and yet for that very reason faith must have temptations in which it may battle and grow."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 254.                 

"That temptation occurs before God's Word is heard; this after we hear the Word, namely thus: when we know that God has promised help in the time of any trouble, but are not content with it, go forward and will not abide His promise, but prescribe time, place, and manner for His help; and then if He does not come as we expect and desire, faith vanishes."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, I, p. 366.  

Faith Is Trust

"He who holds fast to the Word alone, trusts and abides in it, does not doubt that what the Word says will come to pass; he who does not dictate aim or time or means and ways, but resigns all freely to God's will and pleasure as to when, how, where, and by whom He will fulfill His Word; he, I say, has a true living faith which does not nor cannot tempt God."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, I, p. 367.  

Nature of Faith

"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."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 66.                 


Power of Faith

"Behold, so powerful is faith, to obtain all it wants of God, that God considers it done before the asking. Of this Isaiah says, 65:24: 'And it shall come to pass that, before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.' Not as though faith or we were worthy of it, but in order that he might show His unspeakable goodness and willing grace, thereby to stir us to believe in Him, and comfortingly look to Him for every good thing, with joyful and unwavering consciences, which do not stumble after Him nor tempt Him."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 69.  

[ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy] "This is spoken to all Christians, for every Christian must have temptations, trails, anxieties, adversities, sorrows, come what may. Therefore He mentions here no sorrow nor trial, He simply says they shall weep, lament, and be sorrowful, for the Christian has many persecutions. Some are suffering loss of goods; others there are whose character is suffering ignominy and scorn; some are drowned, others are burned; some are beheaded; one perishes in this manner, and another in that; it is therefore the lot of the Christian constantly to suffer misfor- tune, persecution, trials and adversity. This is the rod or fox tail with which they are punished. They dare not look for anything better as long as they are here. This is the court color by which the Christian is recognized,and if anyone wants to be a Christian, he dare not be ashamed of his court color or livery."   
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 79.  

Temptation Tests People
"When the Gospel begins to assert its influence, everybody wants to become a Christian. All seems well, and everybody is pleased. But when a wind or rainstorm of temptation comes on, people fall away in droves. Then sectaries arrive, as worms and bugs, gnawing and polluting the fruits of the Gospel, and so much false doctrine arises that few stay with the Gospel."   
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 37. John 4:46-54.              

Contempt for the Means of Grace

"Observe, then, the depreciative, contemptuous, and scorning ring in the words of the Reformed when they speak of the sacred Means of Grace, the Word and the Sacraments, and the grand majestic ring in the words of the Lord and the apostles when they speak of these matters...The true reason for the Reformed view is this: They do not know how a person is to come into possession of the divine grace, the forgiveness of sin, righteousness in the sight of God, and eternal salvation. Spurning the way which God has appointed, they are pointing another way, in accordance with new devices which they have invented."
C. F. W. Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, trans., W. H. T. Dau, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1928, p. 152f.            

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wedensday, 2012.

By Norma Boeckler

KJV Luke 10:40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 41 And Jesus
answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 But one
thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.



Ash Wednesday, 2012

  
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson



The Hymn #552                Abide with Me            2.11
The Order of Vespers                                                p. 41
The Psalmody               Psalm 1                        p. 123
The Lection                              Joel 2:12-19
Matthew 6:16-2

The Sermon Hymn # 17            O Worship the King     2.44

The Sermon – Rend Your Heart, Not Your Garments

The Prayers
The Lord’s Prayer
The Collect for Grace                                       p. 45

The Hymn # 429      Lord, Thee I Love                  2.54


KJV Joel 2:12 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: 13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. 14 Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God? 15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: 16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. 17 Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? 18 Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people. 19 Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen:

KJV Matthew 6:16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Collect
Lord God, heavenly Father, who didst manifest Thyself, with the Holy Ghost, in the fullness of grace at the baptism of Thy dear Son, and with Thy voice didst direct us to Him who hath borne our sins, that we might receive grace and the remission of sins: Keep us, we beseech Thee, in the true faith; and inasmuch as we have been baptized in accordance with Thy command, and the example of Thy dear Son, we pray Thee to strengthen our faith by Thy Holy Spirit, and lead us to everlasting life and salvation, 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.

Rend Your Heart, Not Your Garments

The commonly accepted form of repentance is often portrayed in the media, and it always happens after someone is caught.

The outward gestures are always advertised. Lately that means checking in at the Betty Ford Center and blaming parents (who are not there to defend themselves).

This continues to be the normal perception of repentance, and everything is associated with what is visible, outward, and easily condemned.

There are many outward signs of contrition today, and some services use ashes for that. According to one tradition, the ashes of burnt palm leaves are used from the year before. That serves to remind people that hailed Jesus on Palm Sunday, but He was crucified anyway.

Whether someone uses ashes or not, the truest form of contrition is inward rather than outward. In the last few years people have used Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy as the standards for correct worship, but both deny justification by faith, because they add works. They also associate many errors with their worship, such as a concentration upon Mary that goes far beyond the Biblical portrait.

Worship proclaims doctrine, and doctrine directly affects worship. That is why those Lutherans who worship at Babtist conferences bring home that same Babtist theology. Those who gradually adopt Roman practices sinuflect (genuflect in a winding, snake-like way) toward Catholicism.

That does not settle whether one practice or another is correct. But the troubling fact is a focus on the outward act rather than the inward and invisible thought.

Across America there will be many confessions of sin tonight – confessing that we have hurt the environment, have not been sensitive, have failed to redeem society with an ever-changing agenda, and so forth.

The Old Pietists focus on the sins of the flesh, while the New Pietists rail against the sins of conservatism and traditional Christianity. Long ago, at one wedding, the congregational prayers included the exhortation that “American get out of Central America.” They had forgotten the concept of marriage as an institution created by God’s Word. For the modernly pious, a wedding was an opportunity to promote a political agenda.

The Central America prayer was so out of place that it reminded me of a scene in a book (also movie) about a Methodist minister. He fell asleep during the prayers, which were shared by many different people. He woke up with a start and said in a commanding voice, “God bless the pots.” His children never let him forget.

Pietism is a religion of Law, where the solution to sin is more Law. Old Pietists have to pledge they will never smoke, never take a drink, never go to the theater.
Methodists wrote out their liquor pledge once a year and turned it in.

New Pietism substitutes government Law. If something is wrong, such as bullying or hating, then a law must be passed against it, to make it a crime against society.

People go along with a Law approach because it anti-Biblical, and we live in an unbelieving age, where people do not say, “Where is my responsibility?”

We have endless displays of garments being torn, but very little rending of the heart.

Ask people – What is contrition or repentance, and they will repeat scenes from trials where the criminal says, “Words cannot express how sorry I am.” That is one of the oddities of this age, using words to say “Words cannot express…” That would be called irony – the theme of the blog today.

Contrition and repentance are defined as feelings. The worse the feeling, the greater the sorrow, the deeper the repentance, the more sincere the contrition.
Anyone who can cry on cue has a definite advantage, because we actually do like to see repentance, even when it is faked.

But Jesus has a completely different perspective to offer, and Luther emphasized this with great consistency.

The Holy Spirit’s role is to convict the world of sin. John 16:8f. If Jesus had not explained it more, everyone would have been left alone with their previous bad ideas. In fact, our ideas are so bad that we forget this passage and go back to wrong conceptions.

The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, but what is sin, according to Jesus Christ?

Sin is not trusting completely in Him.

KJV John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more. 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

This passage is just as central in justification by faith as any other, but it also contains an antidote against the wrong conception of contrition or repentance.

Self-justification is proclaiming one’s extreme emotional distress and announcing good works to make up for those sins.

Justification by faith is relying on the forgiveness and mercy of Christ. Simply put, believing in Christ is forgiveness.

As mentioned many times before, the Holy Spirit does not operate apart from the Word of God at any time. Therefore, this reference to the Holy Spirit could easily be replaced with the Word.

The Word of God will convict the world of sin, because they do not utterly trust in Christ.

The contrite person does not say, “I will stop all sins of the flesh,” a promise no one can keep, but “My sins are forgiven through God’s declaration of the Gospel Promises.” From that forgiveness comes the strength to resist temptation and to grow in the fruits of the Gospel.

The next phrase makes perfect sense in showing people how the Means of Grace assure people of their forgiveness. Christ will no longer be present with His disciples to teach them in person or to show them absolution. That day was coming soon.

The Holy Spirit, through the Word of God, will convict the believers of their righteousness, because the Word will bring the righteousness of Christ, the forgiveness of their sins, to them.

Lenski:
The world is far from freely and frankly admitting its sin. It, indeed, feels and knows its sin, especially the gross forms which are too evident to be denied. But always it seeks to cover up its sin, to excuse it in some way, to make it something less than real sin. The world everlastingly seeks “righteousness” in some form, either making itself the judge of its own case, or, when it thinks of God as the judge, conceiving him as a God who deals gently with sin. Thus men evolve their own schemes for appearing righteous. They may think that their good deeds outweigh or atone for their evil deeds; or they accept religions which teach work-righteousness as the true way to heaven. Always the world seeks to find and to secure righteousness for itself by efforts of its own. Often, in doing so, it makes the way hard for men (Matt. 23:4; Luke 11:46), whereas the divine way to righteousness for the sinner is light and easy (Matt. 11:30). Thus one great feature of the Spirit’s work in the world is to convict the world in regard to righteousness.
“Concerning righteousness, inasmuch as I go away to the Father, and you behold me no more,” means that all true righteousness for the world of sinners is connected with Jesus, with his return to the Father from his redemptive mission, with the completion of his earthly work and the withdrawal of his visible presence from his disciples. Righteousness is the state of the sinner whom God acquits; all other acquittals by men or by human organizations are useless, they do not stand in the court of heaven.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. John's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 1084.


ASH WEDNESDAY


"For the Word of God is the sanctuary above all sanctuaries, yea, the only one which we Christians know and have. For though we had the bones of all the saints or all holy and consecrated garments upon a heap, still that would help us nothing; for all that is a dead thing which can sanctify nobody. But God's Word is the treasure which sanctifies everything, and by which even all the saints themselves were sanctified. At whatever hour, then, God's Word is taught, preached, heard, read or meditated upon, there the person, day, and work are sanctified thereby, not because of the external work, but because of the Word, which makes saints of us all. Therefore I constantly say that all our life and work must be ordered according to God's Word, if it is to be God-pleasing or holy. Where this is done, this commandment is in force and being fulfilled."
            Large Catechism, Preface, #91, Third Commandment, Concordia Triglotta, 1921, p. 607. Tappert, p. 377. 

"For neither you nor I could ever know anything of Christ, or believe on Him, and obtain Him for our Lord, unless it were offered to us and granted to our hearts by the Holy Ghost through the preaching of the Gospel. The work is done and accomplished; for Christ has acquired and gained the treasure for us by His suffering, death, resurrection, etc. But if the work remained concealed so that no one knew of it, then it would be in vain and lost. That this treasure, therefore, might not lie buried, but be appropriated and enjoyed, God has caused the Word to go forth and be proclaimed, in which He gives the Holy Ghost to bring this treasure home and appropriate it to us. Therefore sanctifying is nothing else than bringing us to Christ to receive this good, to which could not attain ourselves."
            The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #38, Concordia Triglotta, 1921, p. 689. Tappert, p. 415.      

Luther: "True, the enthusiasts confess that Christ died on the cross and saved us; but they repudiate that by which we obtain Him; that is, the means, the way, the bridge, the approach to Him they destroy...They lock up the treasure which they should place before us and lead me a fool's chase; they refuse to admit me to it; they refuse to transmit it; they deny me its possession and use." (III, 1692)
            The. Engelder, et al., Popular Symbolics, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1934, p. 5.                    

"These treasures are offered us by the Holy Ghost in the promise of the holy Gospel; and faith alone is the only means by which we lay hold upon, accept, and apply, and appropriate them to ourselves. This faith is a gift of God, by which we truly learn to know Christ, our Redeemer, in the Word of the Gospel, and trust in Him, that for the sake of His obedience alone we have the forgiveness of sins by grace, are regarded as godly and righteous by God the Father, and are eternally saved."     Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, III 10 Righteousness, Concordia Triglotta, 1921, p. 919.                 

"Early in the morning it rises, sits upon a twig and sings a song it has learned, while it knows not where to obtain its food, and yet it is not worried as to where to get its breakfast. Later, when it is hungry, it flies away and seeks a grain of corn, where God stored one away for it, of which it never thought while singing, when it had cause enough to be anxious about its food. Ay, shame on you now, that the little birds are more pious and believing than you; they are happy and sing with joy and know not whether they have anything to eat."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 114. 

 "These means are the true treasure of the church through which salvation in Christ is offered. They are the objective proclamation of faith which alone makes man's subjective faith possible (Augsburg Confession, Article V). The Formula of Concord (Solid Declaration, Article XI, 76) states expressly that God alone draws man to Christ and that he does this only through the means of grace."
Walter G. Tillmanns, "Means of Grace: Use of," The Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church, 3 vols., Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1965, II, p. 1505.                


"It is a faithful saying that Christ has accomplished everything, has removed sin and overcome every enemy, so that through Him we are lords over all things. But the treasure lies yet in one pile; it is not yet distributed nor invested. Consequently, if we are to possess it, the Holy Spirit must come and teach our hearts to believe and say: I, too, am one of those who are to have this treasure. When we feel that God has thus helped us and given the treasure to us, everything goes well, and it cannot be otherwise than that man's heart rejoices in God and lifts itself up, saying: Dear Father, if it is Thy will to show toward me such great love and faithfulness, which I cannot fully fathom, then will I also love Thee with all my heart and be joyful, and cheerfully do what pleases Thee. Thus, the heart does not now look at God with evil eyes, does not imagine He will cast us into hell, as it did before the HS came...."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 279.

"Thus we see what a very splendid thing Baptism is. It snatches us from the jaws of the devil, makes us God's own, restrains and removes sin, and then daily strengthens the new man within us. It is and remains ever efficacious until we pass from this state of misery to eternal glory. For this reason everyone should consider his Baptism as his daily dress, to be worn constantly. Every day he should be found in the faith and its fruits, suppressing the old man, and growing up in the new; for if we want to be Christians, we must practice the work whereby we are Christians. But if anyone falls from baptismal grace, let him return to it. For as Christ, the Mercy Seat, does not withdraw from us or forbid us to come to Him again even though we sin, so all His treasures and gifts also remain with us."  
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 61.      

"(3) Hollazius (ib.): 'The Word of God, as such, cannot be conceived of without the divine virtue, or the Holy Spirit, who is inseparable from His Word. For if the Holy Spirit could be separated from the Word of God, it would not be the Word of God or of the Spirit, but a word of man. Nor is there any other Word of God, which is in God, or with which the men of God have been inspired, than that which is given in the Scriptures or is preached or is treasured up in the human mind. But, as it cannot be denied that that is the divine will, counsel, mind, and the wisdom of God, so it cannot be destitute of the divine virtue or efficacy.'"
Heinrich Schmid, Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, trans., Charles A. Hay and Henry E. Jacobs, Philadelphia: United Lutheran Publication House, 1899, p. 505.

Roman Catholic Indulgences
"Indulgences are, in the Church, a true spiritual treasure laid open to all the faithful; all are permitted to draw therefrom, to pay their own debts and those of others."
            Rev. F. X. Schouppe, S.J., Purgatory, Illustrated by the Lives and Legends of the Saints, Rockford: Tan Books and Publishers, 1973 (1893), p. 195.




Sunday, February 19, 2012

20% Off on Books - Feb. 23rd Deadline


I just ordered some books on the current free shipping sale.

This new one appeared in email, so I ordered more at 20% off.

The banner ads do not cut into my revenue. Lulu offers the reductions to encourage new customers. Like many, I wait for the next offer to come along.

Free Martin Chemnitz Press PDFs are here, so you can look over each title first.

Quinquagesima Sunday - Matthew 6.
Treasures




Quinquagesima Sunday, 2012

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn #657               Beautiful Savior                    4:24
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 # 364               How Sweet the Name  4:18

Treasures

The Hymn # 304                             An Awful Mystery             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 # 462                 I Love Thy Kingdom                         4:21               


KJV Joel 2:12 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: 13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. 14 Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God? 15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: 16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. 17 Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? 18 Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people. 19 Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen:

KJV Matthew 6:16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Quinquagesima Sunday

Lord God, heavenly Father, who didst manifest Thyself, with the Holy Ghost, in the fullness of grace at the baptism of Thy dear Son, and with Thy voice didst direct us to Him who hath borne our sins, that we might receive grace and the remission of sins: Keep us, we beseech Thee, in the true faith; and inasmuch as we have been baptized in accordance with Thy command, and the example of Thy dear Son, we pray Thee to strengthen our faith by Thy Holy Spirit, and lead us to everlasting life and salvation, 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.

Treasures


Matthew 6:16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

This Gospel lesson is especially appropriate, just before Lent. I laughed to read that the Roman Catholic Church got rid of the “gesima” names, because the Lutherans have followed the Church of Rome in this regard. But Rome has retained the names for the traditional Latin mass.

In other words, it is a matter of marketing for Rome. The Lutherans are like the businesses that build near a McDonad’s hamburger stand – the marketing has already been done for them.

The seasons of the church year developed through tradition, but they reflect the liturgy of true Judaism. Genuine Judaism is not another religion but the foundation and first proclamation of the Christian faith. All those who worshiped before the Incarnation had a chance to see the Christ in the Scriptures, from Genesis to the Psalms. Those who hear Judaism today also hear about Christ.

This lesson contrasts the works of man with the gifts of God. The first sentence is a humorous commentary on human behavior –

Matthew 6:16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

Rare are those princely gifts which are donated in secret these days. Every clever university has categories of gifts, so someone can give in the measly category, the so-so category, and the Awesome category. Board members come from the Awesome list. It is a good way to network with others too, and to gain the respect of others.

17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

Jesus points out that people engaged in real fasting would hide the fact from others, since it should not be done to gain the admiration of the public. Those who gain their rewards from man will not get them from the Father in heaven.

That teaches the concept of good works based on the Gospel rather than the Law. The Scriptures urge good works, but not to earn God’s favor, not to placate Him. Good works are the fruit of the Gospel; they flow from faith. Many people do good works without thinking of it, since everything done in faith glorifies God. The baby who nurses or soils his diaper is glorifying God, since he has faith through Holy Baptism.

This should not be downplayed or disdained, since this lesson wants us to focus on God’s wisdom rather than man’s vanity. There is a constant struggle to avoid worldly wisdom and instead listen to the teaching of Holy Spirit in the Word.

Some signs of that struggle are the clergy’s insistence that they  - and only they – can interpret the Word of God, because they have a degree in the field (only a learner’s permit) and have actually studied Greek. That would make every person in Athens a New Testament professor, since they are fluent in Greek. No?

And many play the role of clever politician – clergy and laymen alike – seeking the favor of man by rejecting the revealed wisdom of God.

But what the world loves, God despises. What God loves, the world despises. The ignored, forgotten minister in Mustard Flats, Kansas, faithfully teaching the Word, is far more important than the glorious hero of the media who is introducing his flock to various toxins, a little at a time.

19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

The Moliners were comparing notes about our last reunion. Two of the ladies got out their class rings, after 45 years, and lost them in the festivities. They marveled about how they kept them all that time and managed to lose them in such a short time.

I pointed out what someone recently said, “Everything we own will belong to someone else in the future.”

So I added that other things have far more value.

These words of Jesus should bear down upon us each day, as Law to show us the temporary nature of material things, but as Gospel to remind us of what lasts.

Every single thing we own – owns us. If we really love one particular object, that object has a grip on us. There is nothing wrong with loving art, or clothes, or books, or any other delight God gives us. Jesus is not saying, “Give it all away, wear a long face, and be a monk.”

He is saying, “Do not pile up those things which are temporary anyway. The fact of corruption and theft is reason enough to look elsewhere.

20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

I had a favorite woolen shirt, which we stored in the apartment house’s storage room, a rather bizarre place full of antique furniture and boxes. When we got out our possessions, moths had eaten holes all through the wool, rendering it impossible to fix.

This metaphor is impossible to forget. Treasures in heaven do not share in three-way decay:
  1. Vermin cannot destroy them.
  2. Rust cannot consume them.
  3. Thieves cannot steal them.

These treasures are often mentioned in the Book of Concord. Later I will look up the treasure quotations and post them. Below are many of the best quotations about the efficacy of the Word, which is openly rejected by many so-called Lutherans today.

The treasures are the Promises of God – not only justification by faith, forgiveness through Christ, but also all those blessings and comforting messages through the Word.

All the assurances of God’s love are treasures. Every passage that begins with “do not be afraid” also includes those reasons why we should not fear.

The passages about the cross are treasures too, because they are the truth of God’s order, the truth our Old Adam loathes. However, the New Creation (faith sparked by the efficacy of the Gospel) blesses the cross. The ultimate expression of the cross is a believer accepting death as a blessing. Uncle Roy, who served n WWII, told his hospital staff, “I don’t want any more treatment. I will be with Jesus soon.” And he died in peace, not in fear or doubt (unlike media heroes Paul Tillich and Pope Pius XII).

The Gospel that comforts us also brings out the worst in apostates. Unbelievers seldom care. There is no more certain mark of the apostate than a loathing and persecution of the Gospel. Since that happens within the visible church, the immediate effect is especially difficult to bear. But that is why it is called “The Cross” rather than “The Bother.”

In time, we see the apostates reacting against the cross as their blessing upon the pure Word of God. What they cannot comprehend (although they say the words at times) they do not want others to have. They give themselves away, as our pets do. When there is a mess in the house, I look around and find a dog watching me. I have learned that a word is not even necessary. I simply point toward the evidence (which cannot be seen, given our home’s construction). The dog slinks down and creeps away. “The guilty runs when no one pursues.” Likewise, the apostate raves when someone teaches the Gospel. And no one does the holier-than-thou routine better than the apostate.

Chytraeus was one of the great genius theologians of the Lutheran Reformation, overlooked today. He said wisely that one proof of teaching the pure Word was “opposition.” So the cross is good.

Even family tensions are part of God’s plan, because questions make people study the Word, on both sides.




Quotations

"Is it not a limitation of God's sovreignty and power to affirm that these acts are accomplished only through means? Theology does not deal with divine possibilities, but with what God has revealed concerning Himself and His various forms of activity. Not only have we no promise of His intervention otherwise, but He constantly turns us away from any expectation of such aid to the simple means, in and through which He promises to be always found with His entire efficacy."
Henry Eyster Jacobs, A Summary of the Christian Faith, Philadelphia: General Council Publication House, 1913, p. 265.       

"But in extraordinary cases, does He not dispense with means? Even there, means are employed; but in an extraordinary way. At Pentecost the multitudes were converted through the Word, although this Word was given under extraordinary conditions and circumstances, just as the multitudes in the wilderness were sustained not without bread, but with bread furnished in an extraordinary manner."
Henry Eyster Jacobs, A Summary of the Christian Faith, Philadelphia: General Council Publication House, 1913, p. 266.        

"Spirit and Word, or Word and Spirit are never separated."
Henry Eyster Jacobs, A Summary of the Christian Faith, Philadelphia: General Council Publication House, 1913, p. 271.   

"Is it the office of the Word simply to afford directions that are to be followed in order to obtain salvation? It is more than a directory and guide to Christ. It does more than 'give directions how to live.' It brings and communicates the grace concerning which it instructs. It has an inherent and objective efficacy, derived from its divine institution and promise, and explained by the constant presence and activity of the Holy Spirit in and with it. Romans 1:16; John 6:63; 1 Peter 1:23; Matthew 4:4; Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12; Romans 10:5-10; Isaiah 55:10."
Henry Eyster Jacobs, A Summary of the Christian Faith, Philadelphia: General Council Publication House, 1913, p. 288.      Chapter Four.

"What testimony is given to the presence of the Holy Spirit in and with the Word? The words of Scripture are repeatedly cited as the words of the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:16, 28:25; Hebrew 3:7; Psalm 10:15."
Henry Eyster Jacobs, A Summary of the Christian Faith, Philadelphia: General Council Publication House, 1913, p. 288f.

"'When the Word is read at home it is not as fruitful or as forcible as in public preaching and through the mouth of the preacher whom God has called for this purpose.' (Luther, Erlangen edition, 3:401)."
Henry Eyster Jacobs, A Summary of the Christian Faith, Philadelphia: General Council Publication House, 1913, p. 290. 

"'The Word is in itself the living seed of regeneration; the hand which does the sowing can add to it no further efficacy.' (Philippi, V, 2:15)."
Henry Eyster Jacobs, A Summary of the Christian Faith, Philadelphia: General Council Publication House, 1913, p. 291.  

"Is the success of preaching as a means of grace conditioned by the observance of similar principles by the preacher? Undoubtedly. For it is not preaching itself, but the Word as preached which is a means of grace. This demands not only that nothing be preached but what comes directly or indirectly from Holy Scripture, but also that the contents of Holy Scripture be preached in due proportion and in the proper order."
Henry Eyster Jacobs, A Summary of the Christian Faith, Philadelphia: General Council Publication House, 1913, p. 293.       

"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, J-29 p. 3. Hebrews 1:1.       

"For it is not the sacramental action, but the Word that accompanies the action, which communicates saving grace; and this Word received, not by the body, but by the heart and mind, so as to awaken faith. Without faith, 'sine bono motu utentis,' no benefit is received from the Sacraments." Henry Eyster Jacobs, A Summary of the Christian Faith, Philadelphia: General Council Publication House, 1913, p. 319. "When the efficacy of Word and Sacraments encounters man's unbelief and persistent resistance, their efficacy is not destroyed; but it is transformed from an efficacy of grace to one of judgment (2 Corinthians 2:16; 1 Corinthians 11:29)."
Henry Eyster Jacobs, A Summary of the Christian Faith, Philadelphia: General Council Publication House, 1913, p. 320.

"'The more purely the Word of God is preached in a Church, and the nearer the preaching and doctrine comes to the norm of the Holy Scripture, the purer will be the Church; the further it recedes from the rule of the Word, the more impure and corrupt will be the Church.' (Gerhard)"
Henry Eyster Jacobs, A Summary of the Christian Faith, Philadelphia: General Council Publication House, 1913, p. 383f.

"Nor even does the efficacy of the Word depend upon man's faith. Faith is always necessary to the reception of the efficacy, but not to its presence. There is no lack of efficacy in the medicine which is not taken by the patient. If his symptoms grow worse, he could not tell his physician that there was no efficacy in the prescription."
Henry Eyster Jacobs, Elements of Religion, Philadelphia, Board of Publication, General Council 1919 p. 154. 1 Thessalonians 2:13        

"The efficacy of the Word, unlike that of the seed, always has a result. The man to whom the Word of God comes, and who repels it, is not as he was before. Where long and persistently refused, hardening at last comes, Exodus 8:15; 9:12; John 12:40; Hebrews 4:1, and the Word becomes a 'savor of death unto death,' 2 Corinthians 2:16. Every word heard or read, every privilege and opportunity enjoyed, leaves its impress either for good or for evil. It is not so properly the Word, as man's abuse of the Word; not so much the efficacy of the Word, as the sin taking occasion of the efficacy that produces this result, Romans 7:8."
Henry Eyster Jacobs, Elements of Religion, Philadelphia, Board of Publication, General Council 1919 J-220 p. 155. Exodus 8:15; 9:12; John 12:40; Hebrews 4:1; 2 Corinthians 2:16; Romans 7:8. Chapter Four.   

"Thus the Holy Spirit works only through the Word. But the Word of the Gospel comes to man in two different modes."
Henry Eyster Jacobs, Elements of Religion, Philadelphia, Board of Publication, General Council 1919 p. 161.  

"There is no efficacy or value in a sacrament, except as it is an organ for applying the Word...The Word outside of and the Word within the Sacrament, are equally precious and efficacious. Nor can any contrast be made concerning different forms of efficacy, as though the Word without an element had a different effect to accomplish within the economy of grace from the Word when joined with the element." [Note Apology - "The effect of the Word and of the rite is the same, as it has been well said by Augustine that a Sacrament is 'a visible Word.'" p. 276]
Henry Eyster Jacobs, Elements of Religion, Philadelphia, Board of Publication, General Council 1919 p. 162.

"The Law of God is good and wise And sets His will before our eyes, Shows us the way of righteousness, And dooms to death when we transgress. (2) Its light of holiness imparts The knowledge of our sinful hearts That we may see our lost estate And seek deliverance ere too late."
Matthias Loy, 1863, "The Law of God Is Good and Wise," The Lutheran Hymnal, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1941, J-136 Hymn #295. Psalm 19:8.        

"The Gospel shows the Father's grace, Who sent His Son to save our race, Proclaims how Jesus lived and died That man might thus be justified. (2) It sets the Lamb before our eyes, Who made the atoning sacrifice, And calls the souls with guilt opprest To come and find eternal rest. (3) It brings the Savior's righteousness Our souls to robe in royal dress; From all our guilt it brings release And gives the troubled conscience peace. (4) It is the power of God to save From sin and Satan and the grace; It works the faith, which firmly clings To all the treasures which it brings. (5) It bears to all the tidings glad And bids their hearts no more be sad; The heavy laden souls it cheers And banishes their guilty fears."
Matthias Loy, 1863, "The Gospel Shows the Father's Grace" The Lutheran Hymnal, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1941, Hymn #297. John 3:16.

(1)   "An aweful mystery is here To challenge faith and waken fear: The Savior comes as food divine, Concealed in earthly bread and wine. (2) This world is loveless--but above, What wondrous boundlessness of love! The King of Glory stoops to me My spirit's life and strength to be. (3) In consecrated wine and bread No eye perceives the mystery dread; But Jesus' words are strong and clear: 'My body and My blood are here.' (4) How dull are all the powers of sense Employed on proofs of love immense! The richest food remains unseen, And highest gifts appear--how mean! (5) But here we have no boon on earth, And faith alone discerns its worth. The Word, not sense, must be our guide, And faith assure since sight's denied."
Matthias Loy, 1880, "An Aweful Mystery Is Here" The Lutheran Hymnal, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1941, Hymn #304. 1 Corinthians 11:23. 

"So confident now should every preacher be, and not doubt, that possesses and preaches God's Word, that he could even die for it, since it is worth life to us. Now there is no man so holy that he needs to die for the doctrine he has taught concerning himself. Therefore one concludes from this that the apostles had assurance from God that their Gospel was God's Word. And here is is also proved that the Gospel is nothing else than the preaching of Christ."
Martin Luther, Commentary on Peter and Jude, ed. John N. Lenker, Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1990, p. 245. 2 Peter 1:16-18.      

"Besides, it is an exceedingly effectual help against the devil, the world, and the flesh and all evil thoughts to be occupied with the Word of God, and to speak of it, and meditate upon it, so that the First Psalm declares those blessed who meditate upon the Law of God day and night. Undoubtedly, you will not start a stronger incense or other fumigation against the devil than by being engaged upon God's commandments and words, and speaking, singing, or thinking of them. For this is indeed the true holy water and holy sign from which he flees, and by which he may be driven away."
The Large Catechism, Preface, #10, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, J-110 p. 570f.     

"Now, for this reason alone you ought gladly to read, speak, think and treat of these things, if you had no other profit and fruit from them than that by doing so you can drive away the devil and evil thoughts. For he cannot hear or endure God's Word; and God's Word is not like some other silly prattle, as that about Dietrich of Berne, etc., but as St. Paul says, Romans 1:16, the power of God which gives the devil burning pain, and strengthens, comforts, and helps us beyond measure."
The Large Catechism, Preface, #11, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, 002 p. 571 Romans 1:16.     

"And what need is there of many words? If I were to recount all the profit and fruit which God's Word produces, whence would I get enough paper and time? The devil is called the master of a thousand arts. But what shall we call God's Word, which drives away and brings to naught this master of a thousand arts with all his arts and power? It must indeed be the master of more than a hundred thousand arts. And shall we frivolously despise such power, profit, strength, and fruit--we, especially, who claim to be pastors and preachers? If so, we should not only have nothing given us to eat, but be driven out, being baited with dogs, and pelted with dung, because we not only need all this every day as we need our daily bread, but must also daily use it against the daily and unabated attacks and lurking of the devil, the master of a thousand arts."
The Large Catechism, Preface, #12, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, 003 p. 571. Chapter 4. 

"Since, therefore, so much depends upon God's Word that without it no holy day can be sanctified, we must know that God insists upon a strict observance of this commandment, and will punish all who despise His Word and are not willing to hear and learn it, especially at the time appointed for the purpose."
The Large Catechism, Preface, #95, The Third Commandment, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, 007 p. 607. Exodus 20:8-11.      

 "Note, therefore, that the force and power of this commandment lies not in the resting, but in the sanctifying, so that to this day belongs a special holy exercise. For other works and occupations are not properly called holy exercises, unless the man himself be first holy. But here a work is to be done by which man is himself made holy, which is done (as we have heard) alone through God's Word. For this, then, fixed places, times, persons, and the entire external order of worship have been created and appointed, so that it may be publicly in operation."
The Large Catechism, Preface, #94, The Third Commandment, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, 006 p. 607. Exodus 20:8-11.    

"On the contrary, any observance or work that is practised without God's Word is unholy before God, no matter how brilliantly it may shine, even though it be covered with relics, such as the fictitious spiritual orders, which know nothing of God's Word and seek holiness in their own works."
The Large Catechism, Preface, #93, The Third Commandment, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, 005 p. 607. Exodus 20:8-11.       

"For the Word of God is the sanctuary above all sanctuaries, yea, the only one which we Christians know and have. For though we had the bones of all the saints or all holy and consecrated garments upon a heap, still that would help us nothing; for all that is a dead thing which can sanctify nobody. But God's Word is the treasure which sanctifies everything, and by which even all the saints themselves were sanctified. At whatever hour, then, God's Word is taught, preached, heard, read or meditated upon, there the person, day, and work are sanctified thereby, not because of the external work, but because of the Word, which makes saints of us all. Therefore I constantly say that all our life and work must be ordered according to God's Word, if it is to be God-pleasing or holy. Where this is done, this commandment is in force and being fulfilled."
The Large Catechism, Preface, #91-2, The Third Commandment, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, 004 p. 607. Exodus 20:8-11.

"For these words are not inoperative or dead, but creative, living words. And even though no other interest or necessity impel us, yet this ought to urge every one thereunto, because thereby the devil is put to flight and driven away, and, besides, this commandment is fulfilled, and [this exercise in the Word] is more pleasing to God than any work of hypocrisy, however brilliant."
The Large Catechism, Preface, #102, The Third Commandment, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, 012 p. 609. Exodus 20:8-11.       

"For let me tell you this, even though you know it perfectly and be already master in all things, still you are daily in the dominion of the devil, who ceases neither day nor night to steal unawares upon you, to kindle in your heart unbelief and wicked thoughts against the foregoing and all the commandments. Therefore you must always have God's Word in your heart, upon your lips, and in your ears. But where the heart is idle, and the Word does not sound, he breaks in and has done the damage before we are aware.  On the other hand, such is the efficacy of the Word, whenever it is seriously contemplated, heard, and used, that it is bound never to be without fruit, but always awakens new understanding, pleasure, and devoutness, and produces a pure heart and pure thoughts."
The Large Catechism, Preface, #100-1, The Third Commandment, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, 011 p. 609. Exodus 20:8-11. 

"Likewise those fastidious spirits are to be reproved who, when they have heard a sermon or two, find it tedious and dull, thinking that they know all that well enough, and need no more instruction. For just that is the sin which has been hitherto reckoned among mortal sins, and is called akedia, i. e., torpor or satiety, a malignant, dangerous plague with which the devil bewitches and deceives the hearts of many, that he may surprise us and secretly withdraw God's Word from us."
The Large Catechism, Preface, #99, The Third Commandment, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, 010 p. 609. Exodus 20:8-11.      

"Know, therefore, that you must be concerned not only about hearing, but also about learning and retaining it in memory, and do not think that it is optional with you of no great importance, but that it is God's commandment, who will require of you how you have heard, learned, and honored His Word."
The Large Catechism, Preface, #98, The Third Commandment, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, 009 p. 609. Exodus 20:8-11.        

"Therefore not only those sin against this commandment who grossly misuse and desecrate the holy day, as those who on account of their greed or frivolity neglect to hear God's Word or lie in taverns and are dead drunk like swine; but also that other crowd, who listen to God's Word as to any other trifle, and only from custom come to preaching, and go away again, and at the end of the year know as little of it as at the beginning. For hitherto the opinion prevailed that you had properly hallowed Sunday when you had heard a mass or the Gospel read; but no one cared for God's Word, as also no one taught it. Now, while we have God's Word, we nevertheless do not correct the abuse; we suffer ourselves to be preached to and admonished, but we listen without seriousness and care."
The Large Catechism, Preface, #96-7, The Third Commandment, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, 008 p. 609. Exodus 20:8-11.  

"For let me tell you this, even though you know it perfectly and be already master in all things, still you are daily in the dominion of the devil, who ceases neither day nor night to steal unawares upon you, to kindle in your heart unbelief and wicked thoughts against the foregoing and all the commandments. Therefore you must always have God's Word in your heart, upon your lips, and in your ears. But where the heart is idle, and the Word does not sound, he breaks in and has done the damage before we are aware. On the other hand, such is the efficacy of the Word, whenever it is seriously contemplated, heard, and used, that it is bound never to be without fruit, but always awakens new understanding, pleasure, and devoutness, and produces a pure heart and pure thoughts. For these words are not inoperative or dead, but creative, living words."
The Large Catechism, #100, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 609.  

"Therefore it is not a Christian Church either; for where Christ is not preached, there is no Holy Ghost who creates, calls, and gathers the Christian Church, without which no one can come to Christ our Lord. Let this suffice concerning the sum of this article."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #45, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 689.

"For where He does not cause it to be preached and made alive in the heart, so that it is understood, it is lost, as was the case under the Papacy, where faith was entirely put under the bench, and no one recognized Christ as his Lord or the Holy Ghost as his Sanctifier, that is, no one believed that Christ is our Lord in the sense that He has acquired this treasure for us, without our works and merit, and made us acceptable to the Father. What, then, was lacking? This, that the Holy Ghost was not there to reveal it and cause it to be preached; but men and evil spirits were there, who taught us to obtain grace and be saved by our works."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #43-44, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 689.     

"For, in the first place, He [the Holy Ghost] has a peculiar congregation in the world, which is the mother that begets and bears every Christian through the Word of God, which He reveals and preaches, [and through which] He illumines and enkindles hearts, that they understand, accept it, cling to it, and persevere in it."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #42, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 689.        

 "For neither you nor I could ever know anything of Christ, or believe on Him, and obtain Him for our Lord, unless it were offered to us and granted to our hearts by the Holy Ghost through the preaching of the Gospel. The work is done and accomplished; for Christ has acquired and gained the treasure for us by His suffering, death, resurrection, etc. But if the work remained concealed so that no one knew of it, then it would be in vain and lost. That this treasure, therefore, might not lie buried, but be appropriated and enjoyed, God has caused the Word to go forth and be proclaimed, in which He gives the Holy Ghost to bring this treasure home and appropriate it to us. Therefore sanctifying is nothing else than bringing us to Christ to receive this good, to which could not attain ourselves."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #38, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 689.   

"For now we are only half pure and holy, so that the Holy Ghost has ever [some reason why] to continue His work in us through the Word, and daily to dispense forgiveness, until we attain to that life where there will be no more forgiveness, but only perfectly pure and holy people, full of godliness and righteousness, removed and free from sin, death, and all evil, in a new, immortal, and glorified body."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #58, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 693.        

"But outside of this Christian Church, where the Gospel is not, there is no forgiveness, as also there can be no holiness [sanctification]. Therefore all who seek and wish to merit holiness [sanctification], not through the Gospel and forgiveness of sin, but by their works, have expelled and severed themselves [from this Church]."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #56, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 693.         

"Everything, therefore, in the Christian Church is offered to the end that we shall daily obtain there nothing but the forgiveness of sin through the Word and signs, to comfort and encourage our consciences as long as we live here. Thus, although we have sins, the [grace of the] Holy Ghost does not allow them to injure us, because we are in the Christian Church, where there is nothing but [continuous, uninterrupted] forgiveness of sin, both in that God forgives us, and in that we forgive, bear with, and help each other."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #55, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 693.       

"We further believe that in this Christian Church we have forgiveness of sin, which is wrought through the holy Sacraments and Absolution, moreover, through all manner of consolatory promises of the entire Gospel. Therefore, whatever is to be preached, concerning the Sacraments belongs here, and in short, the whole Gospel and all the offices of Christianity, which also must be preached and taught without ceasing. For although the grace of God is secured through Christ, and sanctification is wrought by the Holy Ghost through the Word of God in the unity of the Christian Church, yet on account of our flesh which we bear about with us we are never without sin."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #54, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 693.     

"I am also a part and member of the same, a sharer and joint owner of all the goods it possesses, brought to it and incorporated into it by the Holy Ghost by having heard and continuing to hear the Word of God, which is the beginning of entering it. For formerly, before we had attained to this, we were altogether of the devil, knowing nothing of God and of Christ. Thus, until the last day, the Holy Ghost abides with the holy congregation or Christendom, by means of which He fetches us to Christ and which He employs to teach and preach to us the Word, whereby He works and promotes sanctification, causing it [this community] daily to grow and become strong in the faith and its fruits which He produces."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #53, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 693.    

"Behold, all this is to be the office and work of the Holy Ghost, that He begin and daily increase holiness upon earth by means of these two things, the Christian Church and the forgiveness of sin. But in our dissolution He will accomplish it altogether in an instant, and will forever preserve us therein by the last two parts."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #59, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 693f.          

"Therefore we believe in Him who through the Word daily brings us into the fellowship of this Christian Church, and through the same Word and the forgiveness of sins bestows, increases, and strengthens faith, in order that when He has accomplished it all, and we abide therein, and die to the world and to all evil, He may finally make us perfectly and forever holy; which now we expect in faith through the Word."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #62, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 695.