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 28, 2012

Mid-Week Lenten Service



Mid-Week Lenten Vespers


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 6 PM Phoenix Time

The Hymn #347       Jesus, Priceless Treasure  2:77     
The Order of Vespers                                              p. 41
The Psalmody                      Psalm                         p. 123
The Lection                           The Passion History

The Sermon Hymn #175    When I Survey         2:43   

The Sermon –   The True Vine
 
The Prayers
The Lord’s Prayer
The Collect for Grace                                              p. 45

The Hymn #558                   All Praise                   2:8


 KJV John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.



The True Vine

Spring is a good time to speak about Jesus as the True Vine.

The Bible is filled with Creation metaphors, which are impossible to forget. The Song of the Vineyard is from Isaiah.

KJV Isaiah 5:1 Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: 2 And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. 3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. 4 What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? 5 And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: 6 And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. 7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry. 8 Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth! 9 In mine ears said the LORD of hosts, Of a truth many houses shall be desolate, even great and fair, without inhabitant. 10 Yea, ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath, and the seed of an homer shall yield an ephah.

The Kingdom of God is compared to yeast growing in dough, a treasure buried in a field, the pearl of great price, and seed being sown.

The more we learn about Creation, the more we understand about these comparisons.

Many of us have grown roses, rather than grapes. A whole group of plants are just like grapes in the way they produce and grow. So I will use the rose bush as the example.

John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

Verse one shows Jesus as the True Vine, the eternal-life giving source for all those who believe. The Father-Son relationship is described with the Father as the vine-dresser (gardener or farmer).



The True Vine is similar to the Good Shepherd. While the Good Shepherd is compared to all shepherd, the Good Shepherd is the shepherd above all shepherds, Who does what no mere human would do – He lays down His life for the sheep and takes it up again.

The True Vine has characteristics of the rose, so we remember better. Since Jesus is the Lord of Creation, all the characteristics described are those He imbued in them at the beginning.

2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

This is the yes or no of the Christian faith. One is a believer or not. The unbeliever bears no fruit and is taken away. The believer bears fruit and is pruned to bear even more fruit.

Fruiting plants want to bear seed, and they begin with a flower. Even lawngrass grows a flower. The rose blooms so it can set seed in its fruit, the rose hip. The roses that have productive hips are used to produce Vitamin C and rose hip tea.

Rosarians are like vinedressers. They prune their plants to make them more fruitful. There are two reasons to prune roses. Deadwood is pruned away. Any deadwood on a rose plant will hamper it from growing. The moment it is pruned, the rose will grow better and faster. Pruning the right way is a skill, but amateurs do not prune at all and have non-bearing roses.

Here He says “every branch in Me” which means those who were with Him but have lost faith. Judas has just departed from Jesus at this point, so he is the unfruitful one who will be taken away.

The disciples are the fruitful branches that will be cleansed to become more fruitful.

This is the two-fold pruning of the rose (or grapevine). The deadwood is cut away, and the productive parts are also pruned to grow even more.

There is a way to prune a rose where the right cut will produce 4 roses (not the whiskey) the cut.  Even a bad cut will help, but a judicious cut will help, beautify, shape, and stimulate the bush.

That by itself should give us pause. Why is this good for the plant? The answer is – because the Creating Word designed it that way, in His wisdom.

John 15:3 Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you.

So the Vinedresser knows how to cleanse us through contrition and forgiveness, to make us more fruitful for the Kingdom.

God’s forgiveness, love, and compassion makes us eager to serve Him. Likewise, when this is part of our lives, everything is improved by the presence of this Gospel forgiveness and love and compassion in what we do.




John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

We have no eternal-life apart from Christ. The branch separated from the rose bush is dead and cannot bear anything. When we abide (remain, stay with) Christ through the Means of Grace, He abides in us.

This three-fold use of “abide” reminds us that this is the action of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

We are branches of the True Vine, so all our life comes from Him. Therefore, simply remaining in Him, believing in Him, studying the Gospel, receiving Holy Communion, dwelling on His Promises – these Instruments of His grace will make us very fruitful.
Apart from Him we can do nothing.

Without faith, everything is a sin. In faith, everything glorifies Him.

John 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

This is about apostasy, having faith and falling away from Him. If someone stops believing in Jesus, he is like the deadwood that is cut away, withers up, gathered up, thrown into the fire and burned.

Gardeners do not leave deadwood on the ground after pruning, because it promotes disease and harmful insects. When apostates are tolerated in the visible church, they are harmful. It is a sign of the Endtimes that apostates are rewarded and promoted while the faithful are punished by their own clergy – not by unbelievers of the outside world – by the unbelievers who remain in the visible church but no longer abide in the True Vine.




John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

After all these Gospel promises, this great promise is given us. The basic Gospel truths build up our faith. But the Son of God promises even more. Those who remain in Him are encouraged to ask whatever they want it will be done. That is a remarkable promise, one which is made many times over in the Bible.

John 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

This is another turn on this passage. Bearing fruit glorifies the Father, not us, and makes us His disciples. This is done in such a miraculous way that people can only say, “God accomplished this.” Thus we can describe Paul, Augustine, and Luther the same way. It was not human reason but the overwhelming power of the Word that converted them and made them fruitful.

John 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

For good reason the Gospel of John has been called the Gospel of love, for its emphasis upon God’s love.

John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

Keeping Jesus’ Word is abiding in His love and following His example.


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