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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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Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson's Author's Page

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Third Sunday after Trinity.
Luke 15:1-10





The Third Sunday after Trinity, 2012


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn # 652      I Lay My Sins on Jesus                   1.24
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 #436    The Lord’s My Shepherd                1.33

You Are the Silver Coin

The Communion Hymn # 190      Christ Is Arisen         1:52
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 # 350      Jesus the Very Thought of Thee  1:53

KJV 1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

KJV Luke 15:1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. 3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. 8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? 9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

Third Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father, we all like sheep have gone astray, having suffered ourselves to be led away from the right path by Satan and our own sinful flesh: We beseech Thee graciously to forgive us all our sins for the sake of Thy Son, Jesus Christ; and quicken our hearts by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may abide in Thy word, and in true repentance and a steadfast faith continue in Thy Church unto the end, and obtain eternal salvation, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end Amen.

First Luther Sermon on Luke 15:1ff

Second Luther Sermon on Luke 15:1ff.



You Are the Silver Coin

Lenski:
Luke again offers only enough information to indicate how Jesus was prompted to utter the following parables. The time, the place, and the other circumstances are immaterial. Once before, in 5:30, the same class of men raised the same objection. See 3:12 on the publicans [tax collectors]; the open transgressors were classed with them, being notorious sinners of various kinds in a society that was very different from ours, in which the Pharisaic, ostentatious type of holiness dominated the public and by contrast made men like these tax collectors, etc., practically outcasts.
One of the marked features of Jesus’ ministry was the attraction of these outcasts to him. The Pharisees and the scribes only scorned and damned them, but the holy Jesus had a way of salvation open for them, one that, indeed, condemned their sins in no uncertain terms but at the same time opened the divine way of remission for all sins. So they drew near to him in numbers (all) and did this continuously at the present time as the periphrastic imperfect states. They kept drinking in his words eagerly, therefore we have the durative present infinitive.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Luke's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 793.

This Gospel contains the teaching we hold and boast of as our chief doctrine, which is called the true Christian teaching, namely, the doctrine of grace and forgiveness of sins, and Christian liberty from the law. It is a very loving and friendly admonition to repentance and the knowledge of Christ. And it is ever a pity, that a godless, impudent person should be permitted to hear such an excellent, comforting and joyful sermon. And yet it is more sad, that every one graduates so soon in it and masters it so that he thinks he knows it so well that he can learn nothing more from it. Yet God, our Lord, does not permit himself to become vexed or weary in repeating it yearly, yea, every day, and enforces it as though he knew nothing else to preach, and as though he had no other skill or art. While we poor, wretched people immediately become so overlearned, so satisfied, tired of it and disgusted besides, that we have no longer a desire or love for it.

Jesus repeatedly told the crowds that He did not come to teach those who were already righteous or healthy in their own eyes, but those who were hungry for the medicine He had to offer.

We all know what that is like. When we are sick, with a burning throat, or another ailment, we do not ask about the weather for the trip to the doctor and pharmacy. We do not shop for a discount on the medicine. We want the treatment and the medicine as soon as possible, and we feel immediate relief.

One problem with antibiotics is that they work so fast that people forget to take the whole course of medicine and can end up worse off than before.

The religious are always separating themselves into two classes. They are the righteous ones, based on works, and cannot associate with the unclean. What was true of the Pharisees then is just as true of the Pietists now. The real issue is the same – how does one become forgiven, how to have the righteousness of God, the peace that passes all understanding?

KJV Luke 15:1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.

Verse 1 reveals the great crime of Jesus. The tax collectors and the open sinners clamored to hear Him. They were attracted to His gracious manner and His willingness to be with them. Looking around, they did not see the gratuitous sneer, the monkey face that told them they were the unclean beast in the midst of the holy ones. Everyone seemed to be in the same situation.

An open sinner was someone whose carnal sins were so obvious that no one questioned it. That might include a life of crime, drunkenness, immorality, and so forth. Those whose sins are on the inside like to look down on those who are open and obvious sinners.

The tax collectors were easy to hate, because they extorted tax money to pay for the occupation forces from the despised Roman Empire. It was bad enough to have powerful soldiers enforcing the law, but to think that the citizens paid for the privilege – that was too much. Because of the system of tax farming, as it was called later in Europe, the tax collector did better if he forced more money out of the Jewish people. We no longer have that. Instead we have tax agents who get promotions for getting a better yield from those they audit.

Jesus knew what the Pharisees and scribes thought about this. The murmuring is not for His benefit but for ours. Doubtless the eager throngs felt the disapproval and saw the religious leaders muttering to one another. “He welcomes sinners! He sits down to eat dinner with them!”

Shunning is an effective way to control people who do not think for themselves. In academic life, the wrong thought expressed in the open can eliminate promotions and tenure. In politics, people refuse to be leaders, for fear of the organized campaign of hatred sure to follow.

Church leaders have harnessed the power of the Pharisee. Few dare to agree with the dissenter or to be seen with that person. I had lunch with a friend at a WELS convention years ago. He said later, “You made me the most popular person here.?” I asked how. He said, “Everyone is coming up to me, saying – how do you know him?” It was not meant to be a friendly question. I have had people make a point of not seeing me, making a face at me, even glaring across a large auditorium at me.

Anyone who thinks that forgiveness comes from conformity in this world is blind to Paul’s admonition – Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.

Jesus knew the mindset of the Pharisee, which is a natural outgrowth of seeing righteousness as based on works. That was not true Judaism, but it was the spirit of the times, which made others all the more hungry and thirsty for true righteousness.

If you think that was aimed at the Pharisees and the Jews alone, you must think they are sitting around reading the Gospel lessons. This parable is aimed at the Pharisee in all of us and also aimed at those who feel the grip and terror of their sins.

3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

These parables are so compelling that no one can disagree with their factual foundation. However, the problem remains in interpreting them. As Luther said, we grow tired of the Gospel and no longer pay attention to its wisdom. Worst of all, people recite this and then act as if the opposite were true. For instance, their definition of “open transgressor” is one who is known to disagree with the synod or the pastor. Excommunicate! – and they do. But they turn around and absolve the unrepentant abuser because it is good for public relations.

We enjoy having shepherding dogs, because their software tells them to protect us and care for us. All three gather at the front door and bark away the delivery man, who is there to harm us, according to their barks. When Precious, the Shetland Sheepdog, ran away from me and lost herself, I asked Sassy Sue to find her. I opened the back door, and said to Sassy, “Find Precious.” Sassy ran to the spot where Precious was and guided her to the front door.

When Precious was lost, I immediately wanted to find her. That was the only thing on my mind. We have all kinds of critters in the woods behind our house, and she is older and more fragile. When an animal is lost, we do not worry about the ones still safe, saying, “Most of them are fine.”  We go help the lost one.

Jesus question can only be answered one way, even among the most hardened. Any person, any Pharisee would go find the sheep – and not rest until it was found. Jesus is clearly saying, “This is God’s work, to rescue the lost, not to praise the secure and satisfied.”

5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

Here are several actions that identify God’s attitude toward the forgiven sinner. The lost animal wants to be found soon enough. It is helpless and more needy by the moment. Little Precious has the agility and speed to escape my grasp. When the three of us reached the front door, Precious looked around for an escape route, because she imagined she was in trouble with me. She sat down instead, content to trust me to take her inside.

The parable shows the basics of God’s actions. He pursues the lost, frightened, weak one. God comes to us with the Gospel. He makes sure that we hear the Word of God, that we have teachers and preachers. If we drive them out and starve them, that is our problem, one we have created for ourselves. That is the situation today, when few can find a traditional Lutheran worship service where the historic creeds, liturgy, hymns, and sermon emphasize the Means of Grace.

That loss was not God’s doing but man’s. I have watched it happen for 40 years while the clergy did nothing. In fact, the Lutherans have been far weaker in saying anything than the Calvinists, who are disgusted with this turn of events.

First of all, the shepherd rejoices at finding the lost sheep. The self-righteous walk by on the other side, sneering at the person who is lost in sin.

Secondly, he places the weakened sheep on His shoulders. This represents how God carries the weakened sinner back to a place of healing. Once again, this is God’s act. The sheep resting on the shoulders reminds us of faith.

Like sheep, we are both dumb and stubborn. We get ourselves into trouble that way. When we recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd we trust in His goodness and relax in His care.

Thirdly, he invites his friends and neighbors to rejoice with him, declaring my lost sheep has been found.

This shows the divine grace of our Savior, because we as humans are likely to denounce the sinner for being lost and scold him no end for getting himself into trouble. One girl from a Fundamentalist sect got drunk all the time, because it was one way to drive her parents crazy. They scolded her no end. One night she came home and passed out on the floor, in a pool of her own vomit. Her parents took care of her, cleaned her up, and did not say a word. She woke up clean in fresh clothes in her bed. She said, “That is when I realized my parents really loved me.” Of course they loved her when they scolded her, but she did not want to see the love. The last act opened her eyes.

People often look at God that way. They see every negative experience as God’s condemnation, perhaps because they only think in terms of the Law, even when rebelling against the Law. In questioning God’s goodness they fail to see the goodness, the grace freely offered and the constant help always there.

The last verse is a pointed barb against the self-righteous –
7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

The false concept is – God must be happy with me because I am so good, and I wish everyone could be just like me. Jesus corrects this by saying that the rejoicing over a lost sinner repenting  is greater than those 99 who need no repentance.

Left unsaid but clear to everyone is this – we all need repentance. If we think otherwise, we are righteous only in our own eyes.

Repentance does not mean – change your ways. In the New Testament it means sorrow for sin and faith in the Gospel. From forgiveness comes the power to fight against temptation. Man by himself is unable to do it. The Christian’s life is one of contrition for sin and faith in the Gospel promise of forgiveness.

The silver coin

8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?

One thing we have in common is losing something. And we search for it everywhere. I needed my birth certificate so I went through hundreds of photos and old documents looking for it.

This part of the lesson is so important that the person who knows it, remembers it, and applies it will have the Gospel in a few words. Why did Jesus switch genders and make the main person a woman? This is the art of the divine parable. Men identify with the shepherd, women with the lost coin.

There are three actions:
1.    Light a candle.
2.    Sweep the whole house.
3.    Seek diligently until the coin is found.

Have you crawled under the bed with a flashlight? Have you cleaned the entire house to find one thing? Have you kept looking until you found the lost object?

This shows the nature of God, to do everything possible to reclaim us. Luther – as always – put the lesson in a few word – You are the lost coin in His hand.

You are that unique soul so precious to God that He must grasp you again when you are slipping away. One college student said, “I took my lessons for granted until I was taught by people who hated God’s Word. Then I realized how easily faith was stolen away.”
I see all these remedies for self-esteem, but they do not include the Gospel. The Gospel says, “You are that silver coin in God’s hand.” Have you wandered away or run away. He has lit a candle to find you in the darkness, so you see His light again. He is sweeping the house in search of you. He may use your friends or families or co-workers to reclaim you. He may use the most obnoxious person you know to say the right thing at the right moment. If you are still distant, rebellious or indifferent, He will search until you are in His grasp again.

9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

And when you are found, God does not scold but rejoices. The angels of God do not scold but rejoice.


21. Therefore, when you feel your sins gnawing at you, and feel your heart trembling and agitated, place yourself beside the publicans where they are standing. These are the very ones who shall receive the Gospel. Do so joyously, and say: “Oh, God! it is thy word that says there shall be joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine righteous persons, who need no repentance, and that all the righteous and angels are to interpose and cover up sins. Now, Oh, God! I have come to this that I feel my sins. I am already judged. I need but the one Shepherd who seeketh me; and I will therefore freely venture on thy Gospel.”

22. It is thus that you come to God. You are already the sheep placed upon his shoulders. You have found the Shepherd. You are the piece of silver in the hand. You are the one over whom is joy in heaven in the presence of all the angels. We are not to worry, if we do not experience or feel this at once. Sin will daily decrease, and its sting will drive you to seek God. You must struggle against this feeling by faith, and say: “Oh, God! I know thou hast said this, and I lean upon thy Word. I am the sheep and the piece of silver; thou the shepherd and the woman.”


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