Lutheran Worship and Resources



Traditional Lutheran worship services, using The Lutheran Hymnal and the KJV.

Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

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Bethany Lutheran Worship on
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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
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Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Oculi. The Third Sunday in Lent


Norma Boeckler


Oculi, The Third Sunday in Lent, 2012

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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


Mid-Week Lenten Services are Wednesdays at 7 PM.

The Hymn #175 Hamburg 2.43
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    Ephesians 5:1-9
The Gospel          Luke 11:14-28
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #172:1-5         Herzlich tut mir 2.55

Jesus Is the Stronger Man

The Hymn #172:6-10          Herzlich tut mir 2.55
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 #457       Friend 2.24

KJV Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

KJV Luke 11:14 And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered. 15 But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils. 16 And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven. 17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth. 18 If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub. 19 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges. 20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

21 When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: 22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.

23 He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. 24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. 25 And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. 26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

27 And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. 28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

Third Sunday in Lent

Lord God, heavenly Father, who hast sent Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to take upon Himself our flesh, that He might overcome the devil, and defend us poor sinners against the adversary: We give thanks unto Thee for Thy merciful help, and we beseech Thee to attend us with Thy grace in all temptations, to preserve us from carnal security, and by Thy Holy Spirit to keep us in Thy word and Thy fear, that unto the end we may be delivered from the enemy, and obtain eternal salvation, 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.

Jesus Is the Stronger Man
Lenski:
From 9:51 onward only the Samaritan opposition contained a discordant note, and in 11:1–13 Jesus is in intimate converse with his many disciples (the Seventy, 10:1, 17, and others). All this is changed. We see that the opposition has become far more intense and vicious, which foreshadows the end. Luke intends to point out this contrast and thus proceeds with this significant narrative. He considers time and place matters of indifference. The miracle, too, and the astonishment of the multitudes furnish only the occasion and are thus stated with brevity. What follows in the way of vicious slander, together with the reply of Jesus, is the story in which Luke is interested.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Luke's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 631.


Luke 11:14 And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered. 15 But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils. 16 And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven. 17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth. 18 If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub. 19 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges. 20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

The first part of this Gospel lesson describes the battle between the two kingdoms – the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan. One way this reveals itself is Satanic opposition to any progress of the Gospel.

In this instance, Jesus cast out a demon from a person who could not speak, and the healed person began to speak. Some marveled but others immediately said that Jesus served Satan, called Beelzebub in this case.

Lenski:
It was originally the name of the Philistine god Baal to whom Ahaziah applied to heal his disease. In some manner, at which linguists thus far only guess, the Jews picked it up as a vile term for Satan. Some think that they corrupted it to “Beelzebub,” “Baal of flies” and thus “Baal of dung”; but this is not certain, being due perhaps only to pronunciation. “The ruler of the demons” explains exactly who is meant, the head of the hellish kingdom.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Luke's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 632.

When a Lutheran minister opposes the false teaching of the charismatics, he is accused of “quenching the Spirit” and being possessed by Satan. The people who say these things are always talking about Jesus, just as Jesus warned in Matthew 7:15.

There are many denominational officials who do the same thing. They are not necessarily charismatic (Pentecostal), but they use all the right words in the wrong way. This is common and is only growing worse. To give an Episcopalian example, some clergy in Grand Rapids are letting one parish with a $2 million endowment go bankrupt so the bishop can have the endowment money, etc. And this is common today, with denominational officials soaking up all the “mission money” and using their power of control to destroy congregations.

Jesus turned this accusation against His opponents by pointing out that Satan cannot drive out Satan. There is ironic humor in this, because His response is also a prediction. If Satan drives out Satan, his kingdom must fall. This is exactly what is happening, but not because Jesus serves the devil. Jesus has a more powerful kingdom that will use Satan’s power of opposition to destroy sin, death, and Satan.

Since the rabbis also healed people (a tradition in modern times, too), Jesus asked,

19 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges.

Jesus is saying, “You are calling your own healers Satan-driven. You will be judged for that.”

20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

The power of the Kingdom of God is shown in Jesus’ exorcisms healings. And that continues today. When babies are baptized, adults are converted, sins are absolved, and faith deepens, the Kingdom of God is reigning victorious over the Kingdom of Satan.

One Kingdom gives forgiveness and eternal life through the grace of God. The other Kingdom gives destruction and death, and makes people pay for the it. The works salesmen are the worst of all, because they make salvation something to be earned by the Law, so people purchase Hell when they could have heaven for free – as Luther wrote.

In the next 10 years we will all see some of the most prominent clergy move into complete anti-Christian teaching, open and obvious, because they have already crossed the line into works salvation (Rick Warren) life-coaching as the Gospel (Joel Osteen) and New Age occultism (Mark Jeske). Their hordes of followers are simply another indication of the Age of Apostasy.
KJV 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away (falling away – Apostasy in Greek) first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

KJV 2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

The Age of Apostasy will necessarily be one in which the battles between the Two Kingdoms (God’s and Satan’s) will be even more out in the open, more hostile, and more like a defeat of the True Faith. God will shorten the times, or no one would be left. See Mark 13.

The Stronger Man
21 When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: 22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.

The strong man in this brief parable is Satan. His kingdom was undisturbed and his power easily displayed – as it was during the temptation in the desert. “All these kingdoms will be yours if You only bow down and worship me.”

The history of this world has been a chronicle of violent conquest, something denied today in discussions about peace and easily won Nobel Peace Prizes.

Jesus is talking about the greatest battle of all, the one between Satan and the Savior, with Jesus Himself serving as the bait for Satan (as one early writer described it). Jesus on the cross was the bait that trapped Satan. He grabbed for the ultimate victory over man and the Messiah, only to be hooked and caught, Christ triumphant in His resurrection and Ascension.

The battle continues because God chose to allow the Gospel to grow into all the corners of the world. People say, “Why doesn’t God end this evil world?” But at the beginning, Jesus had 500 followers to form the foundation of the Christian Church. The entire world was pagan except for those 500. Should God have ended the world then and let paganism be the dominant religion?

At the height of the Middle Ages, after millions had been drawn into the Kingdom, the official teaching was based on works, not the Gospel, Purgatory (the early form of Estate Planning, with huge donations buying forgiveness) rather than heaven.

The work of Luther, the Concordists, and the post-Concordists released the power of the Gospel from Medieval and Enthusiast error. That meant billions more people were graciously drawn into the Kingdom of God by the Means of Grace.

The Savior, the Stronger Man, has taken the castle and spoils away from Satan. The Gospel was the basis for freedom and prosperity in Europe and later the world. The Protestant Faith has left countries free and full of opportunity while Catholicism has been content to remain Medieval and slavish wherever it dominates.

There is no reason for Satan to control the lives of anyone, but his power is felt at all times because he is still the Prince of This World. He rages against all believers and will until his final defeat.

Naturally, since we belong to the Whining Generation, this seems unfair. But it is ultimately fair.
Our sinful nature is a given. It cannot be talked away, although many try. “It’s all good.” And “Don’t be judgmental.” And “the power of positive thinking” are all disguises, to make people assume the opposite of the truth.

We are all weak and sinful, and Satan works that advantage to make us feel worthless in our sinfulness. That means distrust in forgiveness based on the Gospel.

Until recently we had great security and peace in America, because of the benefits of God’s gracious establishment of this country, with great leaders and an assumption of the Christian faith as our guiding light. Until recently our biggest battles were emotional, but that does not mean they are slight.

The emotional battle is the greatest one of all, because our emotions are volatile and tricky, able to turn the best things into bad and frightening omens of disaster. Fear takes over and panic sets in. Faith flies out the window, as Luther said.

This is the battle against faith in Christ, because Satan tells us we are worthless. False Christians will be only too happy to chime in and help their Father Below do his work.

But we have this advantage. In this parable and hundreds of other examples, the Word of God tells us Jesus is the Stronger Man. Satan may accuse of a thousand faults, of 10,000 faults, but our forgiveness comes from faith in Christ, not in ourselves. Man’s forgiveness is incomplete and faulty, but God’s forgiveness is complete and everlasting.

One complication now is the state of the world and our nation. That bears down on the vast majority. People who had good, secure jobs are thrown into confusion and dismay. When money is tight, it is convenient to bear down on employees, double their work load, reduce salary, and do many other things that strike at our confidence.

Results matter to people, and that eats away at us in various ways. It is very bad for ministers to look at visible results because only God can see the difference, and He may work slowly where it matters most.

But for anyone who feels despair or depression, the Gospel is the cure. And it does not mean someone is weak or foolish. Those who are most sensitive to spiritual matters feel the battle most of all.

Nothing attracts Satan’s attacks more than the Gospel and its influence on a believer. The battle is a good sign, and complacency is a bad sign.

That has been the great seduction of the church in the last 50 years. I have seen the Lutheran Church go from battling for the truth to suppressing the truth. Satan wins.

The Wisconsin Synod had big conferences on the downward trend of the LCMS. The LCMS had parish meetings where the pews were packed with people wanting to hear about the inroads of the liberal apostates.

Now all is peaceful. Everyone is happy and busy looking for additional feeding stations on the Thrivent sow. Doctrinal conflict is bad, the leaders say, so “Do not think too hard about this.” Ministers who object to false doctrine are not team players. They are trouble-makers who must be removed.

Laity who object find themselves removed from choice committees and whispered about.

Doctrinal battles in the visible church mean that people care about what the Bible teachers (as opposed to what life-coaches suggest).

Inward battles mean that Satan has found a danger zone where his conquest is wandering off the reservation. He knows that the person recaptured is seldom lost again. They do not want to re-visit the emotional turmoil.

24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. 25 And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. 26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

That can happen, and someone who has fallen down many times in a row can feel even more ashamed and despairing than ever before, which is what Satan wants. Nevertheless, although it is more difficult, it is not impossible with God.  No sin is too great for Christ’s forgiveness – except dying in unbelief.

Where Is the Key When Locked in the Doubting Castle?
27 And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. 28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

Christian, in Pilgrim’s Progress, found that all he needed to escape despair was a set of keys – the Promises of God.

We should look for blessings, promises, and passages of hope in the Bible. Here is one of many blessings found in the Bible.

27 And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. 28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

Quotations

"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.              

"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 thepreacher 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.                

"Hence, too, the lack of emphasis, even in the best of Reformed preaching, upon the divine Word as the vehicle of regenerating grace and on the Sacraments.  The office of the Word, then, is merely to point to the way of life, without communicating that of which it conveys the idea.  The Word and Sacraments are declared to be necessary; their office in the Church is a divine institution; but they are only symbols of what the Spirit does within; and the Spirit works immediately and irresistibly."
            "Grace, Means of," The Concordia Cyclopedia, L. Fuerbringer, Th. Engelder, P. E. Kretzmann, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1927, p. 298.              

"The doctrine of the means of grace is a peculiar glory of Lutheran theology.  To this central teaching it owes its sanity and strong appeal, its freedom from sectarian tendencies and morbid fanaticism, its coherence and practicalness, and its adaptation to men of every race and every degree of culture.  The Lutheran Confessions bring out with great clearness the thought of the Reformers upon this subject."
            "Grace, Means of," The Concordia Cyclopedia, L. Fuerbringer, Th. Engelder, P. E. Kretzmann, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1927, p. 299.                


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