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

Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

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email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works asgregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
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Martin Chemnitz Press Books

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Pastor Gregory L. Jackson's Author's Page

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Exaudi, The Sunday after the Ascension




Exaudi, The Sunday after the Ascension, 2012


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




The Hymn # 9            O Day of Rest                        1:89
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 #195      Christ Jesus Lay       1:46

The Spirit of Truth

The Communion Hymn # 341          Crown Him     1:70
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 #261         Lord Keep Us Steadfast                  1:93

KJV 1 Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. 8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. 9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging. 10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.


John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:  27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. 16:1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.  2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.  3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.  4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.

Prayer
Lord God, heavenly Father, we give thanks unto Thee, that through Thy Holy Spirit Thou hast appointed us to bear witness of Thy dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: We beseech Thee, inasmuch as the world cannot endure such testimony, and persecutes us in every way, grant us courage and comfort, that we may not be offended because of the cross, but continue steadfastly in Thy testimony, and be found always among those who know Thee and Thy Son, until we obtain eternal salvation through the same, Thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Gaost, one true God, world without end. Amen.


The Spirit of Truth



This is a fine passage to consider in light of the ascension of Christ. Although the disciples were trying to grasp all this before the crucifixion, they knew and remembered it afterwards, especially when Jesus ascended into heaven before their eyes and sent the Holy Spirit to them, to bring to remembrance all they had seen and experienced.

In the same way we should consider this with Christ seated at the right hand of God, triumphant over sin, death, and Satan in His resurrection and ascension. All the powers marshaled against Him failed, and the rest of history is just a time of waiting until all authority and power is finally subdued under His feet.

There is a lot of evidence of that happening already, in history. No kingdom has lasted and grown forever. Each one has a rise and a decline. The Eastern Roman Empire is often dated from Constantine to the fall of Constantinople, 313 AD to 1453 AD, 11 centuries of Greek, Christian rule. And yet it ended. At one time the nobles ate from solid gold tables, and a serving dish of solid gold was so heavy that it had to be moved, suspended from a beam. Although we brag about the wealth of one area or another, the wealth of Constantinople was beyond belief, with plates of gold hanging from one gate, a treasury no one dared to rob. And yet it fell into decline and decay. The power that took the city (the Ottoman Empire) lasted for a limited time, even though it also spread across Europe.
Later the Ottoman Empire was called the “sick man of Europe” and collapsed into fragments.

But the Kingdom of Grace established by Christ has grown and spread throughout the ages. This was already predicted long before He was born – of the increase of His government there shall be no end…

KJV Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

So it is entirely correct to say that Christ rules over this world now and has all power, though many do not know it.

John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: 

The Holy Spirit always accompanies the Word. One of our American Lutheran teachers clarified this, since truth is often mixed with error. The purer the Word, the greater the power. There is a point where the message itself has no divine content, because it is designed to appeal to man alone. However, the Gospel is still taught by faithful liturgies and hymns.

In the Age of Rationalism, the sermons were about building roads and bridges and getting proper medical treatment. Rationalistic church bodies hate the Christian faith and persecute it, yet God continues to work. Those who hate the Christian faith the most will undermine the text of the Bible first, which undermines the authority of the Word. They get people used to accepting everything, then get rid of the historic liturgy and the great hymns of Christianity. Catechism fades away, and little is left. The last stage of an apostate congregation prepares them to close or to become honestly Unitarian. Sometimes the switch to honest Left-wing ideology wakes people up and they realize what they are abandoning.

Thus Paul said there must be sects and divisions (heresies) to prove what is faithful to God’s Word. The apostates yell “You are divisive!” over the  divisions they created while begging for tolerance. Once they are in control, there is no tolerance for the traditionalists of any group.

Bad money drives out good – in doctrine too. When a denomination goes downhill, they multiply their false teachers until falsehood looks like the only way.

The Spirit of Truth remains the teaching of the Word. No human agency can change that.

John 15:27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

The disciples and the witnesses of the resurrection were important in establishing the Christian Church, because they built it upon Christ. They were with Christ in His public ministry and during His resurrection appearances. Paul was an exception to the public ministry but not to the teaching of Christ after the resurrection. The eleven bore the brunt of the tension during the Passion but also had the extensive training from being with Christ.

We can conclude that many of the 500 were those named in the Gospels as being healed or witnessing the healing of Christ, or who carried the cross for Christ (Simon of Cyrene).

When people conspire to commit fraud, their stories eventually unravel, sometimes quite quickly. They always work hard to make themselves look legitimate. Separated, they begin to contradict one another. In one crime drama, one rats out the other (faked) so the second one rats out the first. It is all staged so they can see how quickly the police will work to undermine their dicey story.

But the Bible has separate witnesses that agree with one another in substance while using different details, adding and subtracting, sometimes using completely different verbiage. The skeptics tie themselves in knots finding contradictions, then concede they cannot explain why their own theories fail.

Luther emphasizes the absolute authority of the Word in all his writings. The bible is the book that judges all books. No human authority is above it, because it is the Book of the Holy Spirit.

With that emphasis is complete confidence in the truth of the Word and the opposition of unbelievers when they hear that truth. Jesus comforts His disciples with the concept that they will have the Spirit from the Son and the Father, but they will face demonic opposition because of it.

Everything Jesus predicted came true.


6. This is the consolation which Christ gives the disciples to strengthen their faith. They would have need of it in their coming work for him. This promise is a promise to his whole Church that, after his resurrection and ascension, the word and teaching of the Holy Spirit shall at all times, so long as Christ sits at the right hand of the Father, testify through the apostles and their successors, and that this testimony shall remain in the world, no matter who hears it or hears it not. For the disciples were not to be concerned as to who did or did not hear and receive their testimony, but they should know, because it is the testimony of the Holy Spirit, that he would be present and working with them, to the end that some might believe. Nor should the world be able to hinder or prevent this, though it should rage against it with its hatred and persecution. Yea, even if no person on earth received their teaching, nevertheless the world should be reproved through the preaching of his Word. He says: The Holy Spirit will reprove the world, which will thus receive the judgment of its condemnation because it heard the preaching but nevertheless would not believe it and therefore has no excuse; as he said afterwards: “If I had not come and spoken unto them,” and “had not done among them the works which none other did, they had not had sin.”

The false teachers argue from their success, even though their success is laughable and temporary. They do not argue from the Word because they cannot. They often cite their glorious institutions, the physical manifestations of what they do. Do they have mansions? The worst false teachers have 20 mansions, all bought with cash? Does that make the worst of the lot better, for their real estate?

The Word is true whether anyone believes it or not. The scorn of unbelievers in the visible church comes from their trust in their endowment funds and real estate, their popularity at the moment. Jesus said that everything will pass away, “My Word will never pass away.”

If I wanted to stake my claim on anything, it would be the eternal Word rather than crumbling real estate.

16:1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.  2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. 

Not be offended – If the disciples had faced opposition without the warnings, they would have said, “This is a fine fix. We trusted in Him and we are now in a dank prison.” That would have been cause to blame the Gospel and Christ. But he warned them it would be bad but blessed by God – and it was. According to tradition, all the disciples died violently from persecution – except perhaps John. No one knows for sure, but there are stories recorded from the earliest days about them. As I said before, there was not much interest in biographies of the saints when they wanted to teach the Gospel instead.

Now we have the reverse – everything is about the human founders, even outright fables, but almost no Gospel, even teaching against faith in the Gospel of Christ.

The ultimate outrage within religion was realized when people executed the disciples and imagined they were doing a service to God. This horrible crime was repeated in the Reformation and afterwards in stories too numerous to list.  The first hymn by Luther was prompted by two young men being burned at the stake for being faithful to the Word – “Flung to the heedless winds.”

The persecution of the Church in Jerusalem did two things.
It drove the Christians into the Roman Empire to spread the Gospel.
It spared the Christians the horrible slaughter in the siege of Jerusalem, only a few years later.

3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. 

The rage is the result of the Holy Spirit convicting people of their unbelief. Some think, “This is not working. They are opposed and filled with a foolish hatred.” But that is working. Their hardness and blindness is worsened when they reject the Word. They feel the effect of condemning – the sin of unbelief – but they reject the Word. As James says, “The demons believe and their hides bristle.”

No matter what their lofty position might be, they do not know the Father and do not know the Son when they conduct themselves in a war against the Gospel.

4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.

This is clearly a farewell sermon. Jesus trained the disciples, step by step, not telling them all the challenging news until they were ready to hear it.

In the previous sermon Luther said “faith always grows,” which he illustrated with the examples of the disciples growing in faith and gladly bearing the cross.

He also said that faith does a person no good if that person does not endure to the end. This sermon was given so His disciples would endure and remain steadfast. And so we must also. 

Symbol by Norma Boeckler

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