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, March 7, 2012

Mid-Week Lenten Service


Norma Boeckler


Mid-Week Lenten Vespers, March 7, 2012


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 7 PM Central Time

The Hymn #656               Behold a Host            2:39
The Order of Vespers                                             p. 41
The Psalmody                   Psalm                          p. 128
The Lection                            The Passion History

The Sermon Hymn # 520   Commit  Whatever 2:55 

The Sermon –     Paul and the Means of Grace
 
The Prayers
The Lord’s Prayer
The Collect for Grace                                            p. 45

The Hymn # 558                 All Praise                         2:9

KJV Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. 5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.

6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) 7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)

8 But what saith it?  The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Paul and the Means of Grace


3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

If anyone needs to know about forgiveness and salvation, these few verses in Romans 10 sum up the teaching of the Bible.

There are two kinds of righteousness – God’s and man’s. Mostly we hear about man’s righteousness. That is so dominant – and always has been – that we have to listen to God’s righteousness, which is revealed only by the Holy Spirit and never by other religions or man’s wisdom.

I recall Jane Fonda being interviewed and telling the audience with great energy that her “life review” was the answer. Apparently that is a new fad. It was so tedious that the fawning interviewer got tired of it.

We hear all forms of the righteousness of man, and those forms change from day to day. They do not satisfy because they are false. They may for a time, but never for long.

The righteousness of God is something different. That is what Paul is driving at. Not even religious zeal can achieve the righteousness of God, because this comes to us only through faith.

4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

All of the Mosaic Law has a purpose, to show us the perfect will of God and our inability to keep it.

Three commandments, the First Table, concern God and worship. We cannot keep them. The best we can do is pretend we can, but in all honesty we are unable. Human sinfulness makes that impossible.

I asked a campus minister where he went to church on Sunday. He was stunned. He said, “I deal with the faith all week!” He imaged that he was serving God all week and no more obligations were left. He never thought of it as receiving from God, which is the teaching of the Means of Grace. He thought of Christianity as doing. And on the seventh day, he, the chaplain, rested from his labors. And it was very good indeed.

The end or purpose of the Law is faith in Christ. The Law itself does not teach that, but shows us that the Gospel alone can provide that righteousness.

These things can be grouped together – righteousness, forgiveness, faith, being called saints. Believers are saints or holy, because Christ is their righteousness. Jesus has accomplished everything in fulfilling the Law, dying for our sins, so we receive this grace in faith. That pronounces our forgiveness. The Holy Spirit works through the Gospel Word to stir our hearts to believe, and in that faith we receive.

The Christian faith is receiving from God, not working to please God.

Grace is a popular term, but that grace comes through an Instrument, a Means – the Word. Paul makes that clear in this chapter.

8 But what saith it?  The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Paul preached the Word of faith to troubled and heavy-laden sinners. Augustine said he read many fine, wise words from the philosophers, but not one of them said, “Come to me all who are weak and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”

KJV Matthew 11:27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. 28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

What does this passage from Matthew do? The verses speak of the Father/Son relationship, comfort and encourage us, and build our faith. Others would have us walk on coals, but Jesus says, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Faith is forgiveness, salvation, and holiness. Believers are saints. They are holy because Christ gives us His holiness and moves us to be like Him. I posted something on Facebook, and a friend quoted Hebrews 11:1 about faith. So I began posting graphics with verses from Hebrews 11. His response was faith. By citing Hebrews 11 he motivated me to do more with that chapter. I posted verses and they began spreading through the FB friends, and friends of friends. Where it stops, no one knows.

10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Luther made a sermon from this concept – believing is forgiveness. Or in this verse, believing is righteousness. As a child I thought of the righteousness passages as being Law and judgment. Who is righteous? No one. That does not mean we are perfect by ourselves. It means we are righteous through faith in Christ, justification by faith.

Whoever believes on Him shall not be ashamed.

Not whoever believes on Him and does this work…

12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

The ultimate trans-cultural statement is the Gospel. There is no difference. Those who call on the Name of the Lord will be saved. That requires faith, but God supplies the faith through the preaching of the Gospel.

Reverse Engineering – Inductive Exposition
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Most arguments begin with the argument and prove it with various kinds of citations and forms of evidence. That is the most common form of essay today.
Robert Preus taught me how to save time reading liberal books. He said, “Read the introduction, where the author gives his argument. You know what the rest of the book says.” That is deductive reasoning. The beginning says, “A is true because….” The rest of the book or the essay offers the becauses. At the end, “I have proven that A is true.”

Inductive reasoning turns that upside down. Since Paul has already emphasized again that forgiveness and salvation come from faith, the issue is – how do we and others obtain this faith? I will start at the end.

17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

Here I must part with the KJV and turn to my never-completed work – the Jackson Living Bible. If I translated the entire Bible that way, it would be awkward in reading. But sometimes it is good in small doses.

So then faith comes by hearing the sermon preached, and that preached sermon comes from the Word of God. (Jackson Living Bible)

The KJV and others seem to emphasize the act of hearing, but the word used is more like report or sermon, as cited in 10:16 – Who has heard our report? The report is from Isaiah 53 – the Suffering Servant passage so clearly about Christ.

KJV Matthew 4:24 And his fame [report – sermons preached about Him] went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.

In other words, when Jesus healed the grievously sick and raised the dead, did people just talk about the miracle? No they said, “This is the Savior, the Messiah, and people believed in Him. They came to Him in faith. Like the Canaanite woman, they worshiped Him. So this word means far more than report, far more than hearing. It is the proclamation of who Christ is and what He does.

To increase the number of believers, Paul says, preach the Gospel. To deepen our trust in Him, preach the Gospel. Luther said the church is a mouth church, in another place tongue and ears. Almost all the gracious work of the church comes from preaching the Gospel and hearing the Gospel.

That is why it is a horrible violation of the First Table to teach falsehoods (for profit and security) and to listen to false teachers (who tickle our ears). As our members from Mountain Home said, many TV preachers are just life-coaches, never addressing the Gospel. They are just cheerleaders talking about secular topics, and people love it! Is there any better sign of the End Times?



16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

The Gospel is not at fault because people hear it and turn away. Isaiah said as much. So did Jesus, teaching about false prophets and admonishing those of little faith.

15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

The preachers must be sent, and it is a great task to send them and to participate in the work of the Gospel. Many times I wish I could tell people more about how this works. But go to the Bethany site, which is only for sermons and quotations. See the lights all over the world. Those are people reading sermons in every county in the world, even in Israel.

This verse alone is one of those great Gospel gems.

14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

And where is the Law in this verse? The exhortation is saying – this is how to address the matter of forgiveness and salvation- faith, hearing the sermon preached, and having a man to give the sermon.

Quotations

"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, p. 607. Tappert, p. 378. 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, p. 607. Tappert, p. 378. 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, p. 607. Tappert, p. 377. 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, p. 607. Tappert, p. 377. 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, p. 609. Tappert, p. 379. 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, p. 609. Tappert, p. 378.                                . 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, p. 609. Tappert, p. 378.  Akedia: Aristotle's Ethics, IV. 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, p. 609. Tappert, p. 378. 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, p. 609. Tappert, p. 378. 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. J. T. Mueller, Christian Dog, p. 133.    


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