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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Judica Sunday. Hebrews 9






Judica Sunday, The Fifth Sunday in Lent, 2012


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn #462       I Love Thy Kingdom                                    4:21  
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 #40      The God of Abram Praise               4:94 

Our Great High Priest

The Communion Hymn #245       God Loved the World          4:6
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #657       Beautiful Savior                   4:24

KJV Hebrews 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

KJV John 8:46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. 48 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? 49 Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. 50 And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. 51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. 52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. 53 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? 54 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: 55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. 59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

Prayer
O Lord Jesus Christ, we thank Thee, that of Thine infinite mercy Thou hast instituted this Thy sacrament, in which we eat Thy body and drink Thy blood: Grant us, we beseech Thee, by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not receive this gift unworthily, but that we may confess our sins, remember Thine agony and death, believe the forgiveness of sin, and day by day grow in faith and love, until we obtain eternal salvation through Thee, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.


Our Great High Priest

KJV Hebrews 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;

In the Gospel lesson for today, Jesus declared His authority in clear, plain words. Although Matthew, Mark, and Luke are clear enough about these matters, the Fourth Gospel takes up this issue and expands upon it for our benefit.

The purpose of the Gospel of John is to create faith by the working of the Holy Spirit in the Word, to convict us of not trusting completely in Christ, to show us God’s love in Christ, so that in believing we would have forgiveness of sin and eternal life.

The Gospel and the Epistle are revelations of the mysteries of God. They are declarations rather than arguments. For the unbeliever these passages can be irritating and absurd. For example, many are taught that Jesus was a great teacher, a good rabbi, and a compassionate man. But when they read or hear these claims of divinity and sonship, they ask, “Where is the proof?”

There is no proof (in the sense of a scientific laboratory) because the Word of God is the authority. Science and technology are useful tools that provide many benefits for us, but they do not explain purpose because they cannot. The moon creates tides, which create tidal pools, providing vast amounts of food for animals and humans. But no one can explain the purpose of the moon or its remarkable relationship with earth.

The purpose of life is explained and taught by the Christian faith. The Holy Spirit is the professor and the Word of God is the authority. Many human authorities have come and gone, but the Word of God remains forever. Heaven and earth will pass away, but the Word will never pass away.



Old Testament and New
The Gospel and Epistle unite the Old Testament with the New, a remarkable sweep of history.

Old Testament references show us that both parts of the Bible are united in teaching the same lesson. They hold Christ the way a cradle holds a baby, as Luther explained. Because Jesus is the great High Priest, all the Old Testament passages about the priesthood are part of the Gospel.

The priesthood, the animal sacrifices, and the Temple prepared Israel for the coming of the great High Priest, Jesus.

Lenski:
The main point is the predication: “as High Priest of the good things about to come.” As such he arrived, was at hand, and entered in. The writer tells us of the High-priestly act of Christ and at once names him as the High Priest.
It goes without saying that “High Priest of the good things about to come” aims to exalt Christ above all the common Jewish high priests, none of whom could be so designated.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews and of the Epistle of James. Columbus, O. : Lutheran book concern, 1938, S. 289.

In English we are taught not to mix metaphors. A metaphor is when A = B. “The argument was a tangled web of contradictions.”

But Hebrews mixes the metaphor of Jesus as the great High Priest and the innocent Lamb of God. How can He be both the Priest and the Victim? That is another indication of the Bible being the Word of God. What man says is wrong, the Bible illustrates with clarity and beauty.

No priest in the Old Testament could offer himself as the atoning sacrifice, but Christ did that. Wherever we look in God’s Word, we find confirmation of this truth, and it deepens our faith in the unified truth of the Scriptures.

In fact, this is the central message of the Bible – that Christ has paid for the sins of the world. The objective truth of the atonement is the Gospel message itself.

All human forms of forgiveness are based upon paying a price or performing a work to pay for sins, to make up for wrongs. In fact, civil law often refers to “making someone whole.” If someone is cheated out of $100, he has to be given that $100 back.

But divine will is different and gracious. Christ is the great High Priest who offered Himself as the sacrifice, to pay for the sins of mankind. That atoning sacrifice is valid and true, even if no one ever believed in it.

The argument from popularity is a logical fallacy – it is true because a majority believe in it. The number who believe in a given statement is not connected to its truth. All the kids are getting a tattoo and a nose ring, so it must be a good idea!

Hebrews 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;

Luther said about this passage that priest is a better term for Jesus than any other title. It is the ultimate title because priest describes His office in giving Himself for our sins.

Jesus became our Savior, Messiah, Savior, and Brother by being our priest.

If He were just a man, then His death had no ultimate value. That is exactly what all the Christian apostates say. The one thing they want to take away is the priesthood of Christ. They will allow miracles, but not the atonement. They teach that this gives God a bad reputation for judicial acts. Looking closer, we can see that they also teach against the resurrection of Christ, against His divinity. One prime example is the Braaten-Jenson Dogmatics text used in all ELCA seminaries.

Another metaphor – Christ is not only the High Priest and victim. He is also the Tabernacle. He said, “Destroy this temple and I will rebuild it in three days.”

KJV John 2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

All three metaphors are connected with Old Testament forgiveness – the high priest sacrificed the spotless lamb in the Temple, so the sprinkling of blood would atone for the sins of the people.

12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

A common Biblical argument is from the lesser to the greater, and we find this often in Hebrews. (Luther thought that Apollos probably wrote the letter, but he also referred to the author as Paul. In other words, it can be from either man. They worked together.)

If the Jewish people sacrificed animals for their sin, then what can we say about the cross being the Holy of Holies, where Jesus earned eternal redemptions for us?

Lenski:
We discard the idea that at the time of his death Jesus took his blood into the heavenly Sanctuary before God. One is disturbed to read what Bengel, Stier, Delitzsch, and others say about Christ’s blood; such things as that the blood Christ shed was received back into his body, that it was received into heaven, or that the blood which was left in Christ’s dead body was increased and renewed. These distressing conceptions center particularly on the Lord’s Supper, in connection with which some speak of “the glorified blood” that is now given us to drink in the Sacrament. Where does Scripture speak of Christ’s “glorified blood”? The words that are used in connection with the Sacrament are: “my blood in the act of being shed for you” just as: “my body in the act of being given for you.” When Riggenbach regards “blood” as it is used in our epistle bildlich, “figurative,” signifying “death,” he surely does not fully understand the implication of his words. What Christ shed was “his own blood” and not something that pictures his death. Instead of saying that Christ’s blood = his death, the reverse is true: where the Scriptures speak of his death they refer to his bloody death, his expiatory, sacrificial blood.
                [1]Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews and of the Epistle of James. Columbus, O. : Lutheran book concern, 1938, S. 293.


13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:

This assures people of their forgiveness and also unites the Old Testament with the New Testament (the NT being written at that time). The argument works both ways. For the Jewish people, those centuries of animal sacrifice were preparation for Christ. For the non-Jews, the Temple sacrifices were a visual metaphor for what their Savior accomplished for them.

Lenski:
The blood is the lytron or ransom that was paid by Christ in order to effect release from sin and guilt. Expiation and ransoming are the same in substance and closely akin in connotation so that “blood” is said to be the means of ransoming. This word and the one used in v. 15 are treated more fully in connection with our exegesis of Rom. 3:24 to which the reader is referred.
                [1]Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews and of the Epistle of James. Columbus, O. : Lutheran book concern, 1938, S. 294.

The ransom money or eternal redemption was paid once for all. Therefore, no one needs to wonder whether faith in Christ delivers from one particular sin, an enormous debt of sin, or even from horrible unspeakable sins. The price has been paid. Believing in Christ is forgiveness of sin.

Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

Thus the Gospel is always true and remains powerful and effective for each one of us. We are in constant need of forgiveness, which is the beginning of all the fruits of the Christian faith.

About 99% of the world’s advice is based upon law and man, but 100% of the Gospel is God’s work for man, God’s grace for man, God’s forgiveness distributed by the Holy Spirit through the Means of Grace – for man.

When people oppose justification by faith, the true Gospel offends them, even when they used stained glass words.

When people trust in God’s declaration of forgiveness—another way of saying justification by faith—they receive forgiveness and the fruits of the Spirit that necessary follow sincere faith.

God has given us hundreds of ways to know, grasp, and remember these Gospel lessons. The Book of Hebrews is one of the most vivid. Everything is a picture, which made it easy to illustrate Hebrews 11 as the Chapter of Faith.

Trust in God’s Word, in His Gospel, is the most important lesson we can learn, the most important we can teach.







Note on Bengel
GJ - Bengel was very influential and I believe his concept of stored blood was one source of UOJ.

From TSW,

quoting Hoenecke - And Ph. D. Burk (Rechtfertigung und Versicherung, p. 41) rightly said:
‘The difference between general justification and the more common usage of the term justification can be expressed as follows. The latter takes place precisely upon the appropriation of the former.’
Hoenecke - An emphasis upon general justification is necessary in order to safeguard the material content of the Gospel. [GJ – This sounds very much like Knapp, who taught at Halle, where Hoenecke studied, and had a very influential textbook stating this.]

Hoenecke - We need furnish no extraordinary proof in regard to the justification of the individual sinner; let us suffice with the story of the publican. Justification takes place in the one who appeals to the grace of God, but it does not take place in the Pharisee. And the entirety of Scripture demonstrates that he who believes is always justified; this applies to every individual, the moment that faith is kindled in him.”

Hoenecke, like Joe Krohn, dabbles with the term OJ but defines justification exclusively through faith.

Marquart and others said Hoenecke was better than Pieper on justification.


Quotations
FREE WILL
Formula of Concord
December 26, 2000


1 Corinthians 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

2 Timothy 2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

"Of Free Will they teach that man's will has some liberty to choose civil righteousness, and to work things subject to reason.  But it has no power, without the Holy Ghost, to work the righteousness of God, that is, spiritual righteousness; since the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, 1 Corinthians 2:14; but this righteousness is wrought through the Word."
Augsburg Confession, Article XVIII, Freedom of the Will, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 51. Tappert, p. 39. 1 Corinthians 2:14.

"Now, although both, the planting and watering of the preacher, and the running and willing of the hearer, would be in vain, and no conversion would follow it if the power and efficacy of the Holy Ghost were not added thereto, who enlightens and converts the hearts through the Word preached and heard, so that men believe this Word and assent thereto, still, neither preacher nor hearer is to doubt this grace and efficacy of the Holy Ghost, but should be certain that when the Word of God is preached purely and truly, according to the command and will of God, and men listen attentively and earnestly and meditate upon it, God is certainly present with His grace, and grants, as has been said, what otherwise man can neither accept nor give from his own powers."
Solid Declaration, Article II, Free Will, 55-56, Formula of Concord, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 903. Tappert, p. 531f.

"Why is so much assumed about the ability of human nature?  It has been wounded, hurt, injured, ruined.  It has need of a true confession, not of a false defense." [Augustine, De natura et gratia, chap. 53; quoted with approval by Chemnitz]
Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, trans., Fred Kramer, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1971, I,  p. 411.

"Moreover [On the other side], both the ancient and modern enthusiasts have taught that God converts men, and leads them to the saving knowledge of Christ through His Spirit, without any created means and instrument, that is, without the external preaching and hearing of God's Word."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, II. 4. Free Will, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 881.

"Against both these parties the pure teachers of the Augsburg Confession have taught and contended that by the fall of our first parents man was so corrupted that in divine things pertaining to our conversion and the salvation of our souls he is by nature blind, that, when the Word of God is preached, he neither does nor can understand it, but regards it as foolishness; also, that he does not of himself draw nigh to God, but is and remains an enemy of God, until he is converted, becomes a believer [is endowed with faith], is regenerated and renewed, by the power of the Holy Ghost through the Word when preached and heard, out of pure grace, without any cooperation of his own."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, II. 5. Free Will, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 881.

"Hence the natural free will according to its perverted, disposition and nature is strong and active only with respect to what is displeasing and contrary to God."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, II. 7. Free Will, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 883. John 8:34; Ephesians 2:2; 2 Timothy 2: 26.

"For, first, although man's reason or natural intellect indeed has still a dim spark of the knowledge that there is a God, as also of the doctrine of the Law Romans 1:19ff., yet is is so ignorant, blind, and perverted that when even the most ingenious and learned men upon earth read or hear the Gospel of the Son of God and the promise of eternal salvation, they cannot from their own powers perceive apprehend, understand, or believe and regard it as true, but the more diligence and earnestness they employ, wishing to comprehend these spiritual things with their reason, the less they understand or believe, and before they become enlightened and are taught by the Holy Ghost, they regard all this only as foolishness or fictions. 1 Corinthians 2:14..."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, II. 9. Free Will, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 883. 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 4:17f.; 1 Corinthians 1:21

"And, in a word, it remains eternally true what the Son of God says, John 15:5: Without Me ye can do nothing. And Paul, Philippians 2:13: It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. To all godly Christians who feel and experience in their hearts a small spark or longing for divine grace and eternal salvation this precious passage is very comforting; for they know that God has kindled in their hearts this beginning of true godliness, and that He will further strengthen and help them in their great weakness to persevere in true faith unto the end."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, II. 14. Free Will, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 885. Philippians 2:13; John 15:5.

"Thirdly, in this manner, too, the Holy Scriptures ascribe conversion, faith in Christ, regeneration, renewal, and all that belongs to their efficacious beginning and completion, not to the human powers of the natural free will, neither entirely, nor half, nor in any, even the least or most inconsiderable part, but in solidum, that is, entirely, solely to the divine working and the Holy Ghost, as also the Apology teaches."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, II. 25. Free Will, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 891.

"Today's Gospel also teaches by this parable that our free will amounts to nothing, since the good seed is sowed only by Christ, and Satan sows nothing but evil seed; as we also see that the field of itself yields nothing but tares, which the cattle eat, although the field receives them and they make the field green as if they were wheat.  In the same way the false Christians among the true Christians are of no use but to feed the world and be food for Satan, and they are so beautifully green and hypocritical, as if they alone were the saints, and hold the place in Christendom as if they were lords there, and the government and highest places belonged to them; and for no other reason than that they glory that they are Christians and are among Christians in the church of Christ, although they see and confess that they live unchristian lives."
Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John N. Lenker, Grand Rapids:  Baker Book House, 1983, II,  p. 103. Matthew 13:24-30;



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