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 Central.


Thanksgiving Eve - 7 PM Central Time.

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.


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