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Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

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email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Twelfth Sunday after Trinity. Mark 7:31ff.
Healing of the Deaf Mute

By Norma Boeckler



The Twelfth Sunday after Trinity. 2012


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn #462               I Love Thy Kingdom             4:21
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 #123                O God Our Help            4:3 

Hearing and Speaking Plainly

The Communion Hymn # 304 An Awful Mystery            4:6 
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 #  376     Rock of Ages                                   4:47

KJV 2 Corinthians 3:4 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; 6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: 8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? 9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. 10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. 11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.

KJV Mark 7:31 And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. 32 And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. 33 And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. 35 And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. 36 And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it; 37 And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.

Twelfth Sunday After Trinity

Almighty and everlasting God, who hast created all things: We thank Thee that Thou hast given us sound bodies, and hast graciously preserved our tongues and other members from the power of the adversary: We beseech Thee, grant us Thy grace, that we may rightly use our ears and tongues; help us to hear Thy word diligently and devoutly, and with our tongues so to praise and magnify Thy grace, that no one shall be offended by our words, but that all may be edified thereby, through Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.



Hearing and Speaking Plainly




Lenski:
“Again” means that Jesus started once more; this time “out from the borders of Tyre.” In v. 24 we see that the boundaries are referred to. Up to this time Jesus had not been on foreign soil, but now Mark states positively that “he went through Sidon,” which lies five miles north of Tyre. But Jesus is only on a journey, we hear of no teaching or miracles. It seems that he remained unknown, and that he himself sought to remain so, and that he devoted his time to the instruction of his disciples, which was the main occupation of Jesus during the last part of his ministry.
Mark alone tells about Jesus’ passing through Sidon. What other points Jesus touched we do not know. Matthew as well as Mark report as the destination the Sea of Galilee, its eastern side.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Mark's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 308


KJV Mark 7:31 And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis.

In this passage there is an emphasis upon Jesus keeping away from the opponents and giving time, we assume, to His disciples, to teach them. The Twelve were tutored for three years. The crowds were attracted to the gracious presence of Jesus and His powerful preaching. They also trusted in Him to heal their sick.

It is a testimony to His power that people sought Him out wherever He went, especially since Jesus was traveling away from those areas where He would be best known and recognized.

Luther often gave Scripture passages an allegorical and spiritual meaning, which seems to be a stretch at first. Upon reading Luther’s commentary, we can see where his grasp of the entire Bible informed him so well.

There is a vast gulf between this miracle as seen by the rationalists and the real lesson of the healing.

We can see how the rationalists can take our initial reaction and make hay with it. This miracle seems crude and magic-like at first. But the details teach all we need to know.

32 And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him.

First we see faith and love. The crowd brought a deaf-mute to Jesus to heal. They knew of His reputation and had compassion for their friend and relative. We often call him a mute, but his poor hearing probably gave him very poor speech, since he did not receive the immediate sounds we know and take for granted. We sold our New Ulm to a man with similar problems. His son had to interpret for him. The father heard us with difficulty and spoke so we barely understood a word. That is a difficult situation, where every common situation is fraught with communication problems.

In love, they begged Jesus to lay His divine hands upon their friend. This reminds us that Jesus answered every single request put before Him.

33 And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.
Lenski:
This preliminary action (hence expressed by a participle) is both wise and significant for the man. He is alone with Jesus, removed from the excitement and the distraction of the crowd. His eyes watch Jesus, and he understands that Jesus is about to do something for him, for taking him away must have been done for some special purpose. Thus the man’s attention is riveted upon Jesus alone.
In the same way the next actions of Jesus speak to the deaf-mute. Jesus uses sign language that is simple and plain so the deaf-mute cannot help but understand. He thrusts his fingers into the man’s ears. Here was the seat of one of his ailments—those ears were deaf. But why do those two fingers (why do some interpreters say thumbs?) draw attention to the deafness of the ears? The thought is conveyed to the man that Jesus intends to do something about this deafness. We now have a finite verb, this is one of the main actions. Let us note in connection with it that the eyes of Jesus undoubtedly spoke to the eyes of the man.
First the deaf ears, next the mute tongue. The sign language continues. First a minor action which is again expressed by a participle: Jesus “having spit.” Some commentators say that Jesus spit upon the man’s tongue, or, finding this too coarse, that he spit upon his fingers and conveyed the spittle to the man’s tongue; and then notes are appended about the supposed healing powers of human spittle. Where does Mark say or intimate any of these things? Jesus spit and then touched the man’s tongue, of course, with a finger. Both actions tell the man that Jesus wants him to centre his attention on his mouth and on his tongue. That mouth and that tongue are speechless, Jesus must be intending to do something about this ailment. The actions are symbolic. To talk about the spittle as a medium for conveying the power of Jesus is not justified by the text; nor is the laying on of his hand in other cases a medium. The miracles are wrought by the will of the Lord, sometimes by that will alone, often by that will expressed in an almighty word even as in this instance. Touching with the hand is only symbolical.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Mark's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 309.

This part strikes people as crude, so the skeptics jump on their reaction and say this was borrowed from old miracle stories. Step by step, the real story is quite different, as Lenski explained.

First, Jesus took the man away from the multitude. Nothing would be more confusing for the deaf man than to hear the din of the crowd and see their gestures. Perhaps no one is really 100% deaf. If so, that person can still feel the vibrations of noise generated by the crowed. So if the man had a little hearing, the crowd noise and movement would have been frightening.

Jesus put His fingers in the ears of the man, showing He would heal them. He spit and touched the man’s tongue, the other healing. Now that the healing and speech were being restored, Jesus sighed and said, “Be opened.”



Lenski:
The man understood the sign language of Jesus. It is impossible to assume the contrary,
i. e., that Jesus had failed in his effort to have the deaf-mute understand these signs. We may say that this language of Jesus was intended to arouse faith in the man. But it would be unwarranted to make the miracle that now followed dependent on the man’s faith. It depended wholly on the will of Jesus. Jesus sometimes tries to instil faith before the miracle, he sometimes lets faith follow after the miracle. It all depends on the case. The deaf-mute may well have received a spark of faith before the almighty word was spoken; but it was not his faith that enabled Jesus to heal him, it was solely the power and the will of Jesus.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Mark's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 311.

Luther:
11. He addresses here particularly two organs of the body, the ear and the tongue; for you know the Kingdom of Christ is founded upon the Word, which cannot be apprehended or understood except by these two organs, the ear and the tongue, and he rules in the hearts of men alone by the Word and by faith. The ears apprehend the Word, the heart believes it; the tongue, however, speaks or confesses that which the heart believes. Hence, barring the tongue and ears, there is no perceptible difference between the Kingdom of Christ and that of the world.

12. For in regard to the outward life a Christian has duties like an unbeliever; he tills the ground, works his fields, and plows just like others, and he undertakes no peculiar work or deed, either in eating, drinking, working, sleeping, or anything else. But these two organs of the body make a difference between a Christian and an unbeliever; a Christian speaks and hears differently; he has a tongue which praises the grace of God and preaches Christ the Lord as being the only Savior, etc. This the world does not do; it speaks of avarice and other vices, preaches and praises its own glory.

35 And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.

The man understood the gestures, and the crowd saw the actions. Watching, they heard the Word of God – Be opened!

Immediately the deaf man heard and he spoke plainly. The binding of the tongue might have been physical or directly related to the hearing problem. Either way we look at it, the healing was complete and immediate, proven by the clear speaking of the former deaf-mute.

36 And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it; 37 And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.

This news was so great that the crowds could not stop talking about it. With some miracles, the healed person testified or followed along as proof (as Lazarus did). This response was more like the “whole world” testifying about Jesus. Of course, it was not the whole world, but when a small community is rocked by a great event, it does seem like that, whether the news is good or bad.



Lenski:
A multitude was present as Mark also reports in connection with the healing of the deaf-mute. The command not to report the latter miracle must thus be extended to include also the many others. Since Mark himself records no reason for this command of Jesus, we are left to figure this out ourselves. Various opinions are naturally held. The best, we judge, is that which takes into account the time in the ministry of Jesus. He has only a few months left, and he does not want the excitement to spread far and wide about his being the Messiah. The people generally connected earthly, political ideas with that title, the very ideas which Jesus combated. So he did what he could to keep his miracles quiet at this time. But, as in this instance, he did not succeed.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Mark's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 312.

Among the modern Biblical scholars, much is made of the “Messianic secret.” Why did Jesus tell so many people to stay quiet about what He did?

Some wise guys thought Jesus did that just to get them to talk more about Him. Others turn into various fantasies, which are great for filling in the void where faith is absent.

The best solution is the most obvious. The timetable was set and described in the Old Testament books. The normal reaction of the crowd was to rush the process and anoint Jesus as the King (Messiah, Son of David). To do that would have meant more hardship for the innocent, with Rome’s reprisals.

But the real message is – the Gospel could not be contained. The divine power of Jesus was so great that the population took over the task of being heralds of His coming.

The most powerful miracle of all, for the population, was coming – the raising of a prominent and wealthy leader – Lazarus. That is clearly the event that tipped the scale for the triumphant entry into Jerusalem.
Hearing and Speaking Plainly
Many people have said to me, “I never knew this to be true about Lutheran doctrine.”

They apologize for not knowing much more, long ago. But that feeling is true for most of us. Luther had a Medieval papal-centered education. He was shocked to his core by the corruption in Rome, by the selling of forgiveness. He also had years of study of the Scriptures, which informed him through the Holy Spirit instead of through the papacy.

As one secular motto said, “Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions.”

The world is run by deception and greed, deception aimed at hiding the greed. Luther said that, and it is still true. Honest speaking is rare. People learn to deceive and they often deceive with double-talk. They deliberately say things so the point can be one thing or the other, exactly the opposite.

There are the deliberate deceivers and those who do not know better. Combining the two messages, we can often get confused.

The deliberate deceivers do not believe in anything except their own good. Therefore, it is in their interest to let everyone “wander in error’s maze confounded” as Luther wrote in his great hymn – O Lord, Look Down from Heaven Behold.

I was pleased to see that one of the most popular blog posts has been Luther’s statement about being taught by the Holy Spirit.

"The Holy Spirit teaches man better than all the books; He teaches him to understand the Scriptures better than he can understand them from the teaching of any other; and of his own accord he does everything God wills he should, so the Law dare make no demands upon him."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 280. Pentecost Sunday John 14:23-31.     


When error and deception jolt us, we hunger for wisdom from the Holy Spirit. That comes directly from the Scriptures. That is the purest form of God’s Word, an unchanging standard.

Man may make mistakes and deceive, but the Bible never does, as Luther said in the Large Catechism.  

The Word of God is our measuring rod, and we share insights with each other.
After teaching about justification by faith for years, I received the best summary from Brett Meyer linking a sermon from Luther and quoting. Simply put – believing in Christ is forgiveness.

There are so many complications that only a PhD in Pietism could follow, but Luther’s words are simple and plain.

Likewise, another Lutheran did research on the connections with Pietism and Calvinism.

And another searches the Book of Concord for good quotations to share.

Hearing the truth plainly means we can speak the truth plainly. That means everything in a confused world of babbling.

Decades ago, we could count on a society where the basics of the Bible were known and understood, even if they were not followed.

Now there is great ignorance and indifference. The norms are not accepted from the past. The norms are the opposite of the recent past. That is why we need to speak the truth plainly.

The struggle continues. The reward for the truth is the cross. But the reward for the “dear, holy cross” as Luther called it is – is fruitfulness, a blessing in knowledge, and an eagerness to hear the truth.

Each week I look forward to looking up the lesson and copying Luther’s sermon onto the blog front page for people to read.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Lenski and Hebrews 11


In Rom. 1:17 and Gal. 3:11 this word of the prophet is quoted in the interest of justifying faith; our writer uses it as stating the necessity of faith for spiritual life. All three, Romans, Galatians, Hebrews, construe alike: “The righteous—from faith shall he live,” i.e., his spiritual life has gone if faith is gone. Woe to us if Christ finds us so at his coming! The future tense is not to be referred to a future life that is yet to be received but to the spiritual life that is now rooted in faith, that springs from faith and will continue throughout the future. Here, as always, ὁ δίκαιος has the forensic sense: “the righteous one” who has this quality by virtue of God’s forensic verdict, “the one declared righteous by God.”
“And if he shall shrink back, my soul takes no pleasure in him” is the negative side. The verb means to turn oneself back secretly or in cowardly fashion, i.e., to give up one’s faith, the very thing some of the readers are inclined to do. It is a mild expression to say “my soul has no pleasure in him,” yet it is the more ominous for that very reason. The renegade shall not carry off the promise and pay-gift.
39) As he did in 6:9 but only stronger the writer inspires his readers to join him in the declaration when he says: But to us on our part does not belong turning back to perdition; on the contrary, faith for soul preservation!

Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews and of the Epistle of James. Columbus, O. : Lutheran book concern, 1938, S. 370




This is one of the grand chapters of the Bible, a gallery of notable portraits of ancient great believers, each drawn with a master hand. They all believed the unseen, they all trusted a promise, things for which they had to wait and hope. One grand characteristic makes them all kin—faith. Things adverse, matters contradictory, painful, long, they refused to permit to quench their faith. Their names are here inscribed on an immortal scroll. So great is their number that all cannot be named, the full list is recorded in heaven.
This is a list the readers should contemplate. They are growing faint and cowardly, are thinking of shrinking back, of returning to Judaism. Let them consider that all these heroes of faith are named in the Old Testament. If they desert they do not desert to but from these men and these women and thereby place their names on that horrible list marked “Perdition” (10:39). Their names are still on the golden list; they surely aim to keep them there.
The opening statement defines what “faith” really is, this great term that was used by the writer in 10:38, 39 as well as by Habakkuk. Why quibble about the question as to whether this verse is a definition of faith or not? Why deny it even the character of a description (C.-K. 420)? We certainly agree with Delitzsch: “It seems to us that a more complete and accurate definition of faith and one that is more generally applicable could not be devised than that which is given here.” “At the commencement of such a historical summary a comprehensive and general definition of what faith is in itself … was the only definition suitable and possible.” If this is not a definition of faith, pray, what is it? Delitzsch calls it generic and not specific; it is more exact to say that we have the essence of true religious faith, the heart of what the Scriptures call saving faith. Because one can define faith in other ways (for instance as knowledge, assent, and confidence) is not a reason for saying that this is not a definition.

C.-K. Biblisch-theologisches Woerterbuch der Neutestamentlichen Graezitaet von D. D. Hermann Cremer, zehnte, etc., Auflage, herausgegeben von D. Dr. Julius Koegel.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews and of the Epistle of James. Columbus, O. : Lutheran book concern, 1938, S. 372





Faith! Faith! Faith - marches through the rest of this great chapter: “By means of faith—By means of faith—By means of faith.” These datives are like flying banners that are borne in a great parade. On one golden cord all these names are strung together with the deeds that proved the faith in which they lived and died, the faith that God approved, his testimony being immortalized in Scripture. Always, always it was “this” faith as defined by the writer.
At the head of the galaxy of believers, ushering in the series of statements that begin with πίστει, the writer places one that is drawn from the first page of the Bible: By means of faith we understand that the eons have been framed by means of God’s uttered word so that what is seen has come to be not (as derived) out of things that appear.
The criticism that, after mentioning “the ancients” in v. 2, the writer should continue with Abel in v. 4 and not insert this statement about what “by means of faith, we understand,” is not well taken. The reply that the writer naturally thinks of the first page of the Bible when he starts as far back as possible, is well enough; for he surely does this. But the reply should be made stronger. All that these heroes of faith are, and all that God’s Word reports concerning them, is intended for us so that we may see the essential thing in their faith (v. 1). It is thus that the writer starts with “we” and, when he introduces this long history of faith in all these other persons, notes, first of all, that the first page of the Bible is simply believed by us. “By means of faith,” the essence of which is confidence and assurance in regard to unseen things, by this means alone we understand how the world came to be.
We read that first page and believe it; we have nothing else to go by. The writer is, of course, addressing readers who join him in this faith regarding the creation of the world; he is not speaking to the pagans of his day, nor to the skeptics of our day. He says to his readers: “In this our faith about the creation of the world we ourselves illustrate what faith really is.” It is a telling thing for the writer to begin this way. To have at once continued with v. 4 would have been a loss.
Moreover, he is taking his readers into the pages of the Bible in order to review what the Bible says about all these historical characters. He and they believe what the Bible says about these men and these women and the testimony God gives them in the Bible (v. 2) although neither he nor his readers have seen one of these illustrious persons. It would be of no use to name a single one of them if the readers do not believe what God testifies regarding them. That is why faith in what God says about creation on the very first page of the Bible is so pertinent here. It constitutes a grand sample of confidence in things unseen, a sample in the very readers themselves who believe also all else that is now to be presented to them from the same Bible about all these other believers, none of whom they have ever seen.
“By means of faith (and in no other way) we understand that the eons have been framed by means of God’s uttered word.” We were not there to see even the least thing, i.e., to hear God speak and then to see what happened. We take it all on trust. All else is excluded. He who refuses to have faith is left at sea; he cannot “understand,” have in his νοῦς or mind, a single true thing about the whole matter. How can he know, when he is left to his own guessing in a matter so stupendous, that all guessing (hypotheses, theories, speculations) is utterly vain? He can fill his mind with rubbish, which is worse than nothing, and the mind is surely not intended for that. The mind simply has to have faith. Oh, no, not faith in what other men may please to say, who themselves were not there to see; but faith in him who was there, faith in what he is pleased to tell us about it, namely that he framed the whole world and set it on its course “by means of his ῥῆμα, his uttered word.” He called all things into being.

Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews and of the Epistle of James. Columbus, O. : Lutheran book concern, 1938, S. 378





But for his faith Enoch would not have been taken to heaven without dying. The verb means “to transfer”; by using it twice and by adding the noun the author emphasizes Enoch’s miraculous removal to heaven. As far as one is able to judge, this was instantaneous; Elijah was taken up visibly. Glorified in body and in soul like Elijah, Enoch is now in Paradise.
These two men did not undergo death; the infinitive with τοῦ denotes result, and “to see death” = to undergo or experience it (“to see” is similarly used in John 3:3). The transformation of Enoch resembles that promised in 1 Cor. 15:52 and in 1 Thess. 4:17. Delitzsch thinks that Enoch’s translation occurred in the year 987 after Adam’s creation. Adam had died, but Seth, Enos, Kenan, Mahalaleel, and Jared were still living, and Methuselah and Lamech were also living, but Noah had not yet been born. Being only sixty-five years old at the time of his translation, Enoch was young according to the ages which men reached at that time of the world’s history when God so signally distinguished his faith. “He was not being found (imperfect) because God translated him” repeats the LXX’s rendering of Gen. 5:24.

Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews and of the Epistle of James. Columbus, O. : Lutheran book concern, 1938, S. 385.




Let us not lose the force of what this means in the case of Noah. The idea that the world should perish in a flood that was mountain high seems preposterous, fantastic, impossible. When God told Noah that he would send such a flood, Noah believed God without question. He had absolutely nothing visible to go by yet trusted God’s word with full conviction. His is, indeed, a perfect example of faith as it is defined in v. 1. The great evidence of his faith is the fact that “he constructed an ark for saving his family” as God had told him (οἶκος is used in the sense of “family”).
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews and of the Epistle of James. Columbus, O. : Lutheran book concern, 1938, S. 388.



The first great evidence of Abraham’s faith is his obedience. Being called to do so, he went out to a place which he was eventually to receive as an inheritance, and this he did, not knowing where he was going. The two points that belong to the essence of faith (v. 1) are apparent: Abraham believed God’s promise about the land he was to have as his heritage (Gen. 12:1, etc.), which = “things hoped for”; Abraham did not know the land to which he was going, which = “things not seen.” He went wholly and completely on trust.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews and of the Epistle of James. Columbus, O. : Lutheran book concern, 1938, S. 390



The Patriarchs and the Heavenly City
13) In v. 10 the writer says that Abraham kept awaiting a city that has foundations, a city whose builder is God, and in v. 9 that Isaac and Jacob were in Abraham’s company, all of them being tent-dwellers. This statement about “a city” is not the language used in Genesis as the readers will most likely note. Thus the writer inserts the little paragraph (v. 13–16) in which he explains about the heavenly “fatherland” and the “city” and sets forth more fully the faith of these “ancients” (v. 2) as trusting in things hoped for and not seen (v. 1).

Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews and of the Epistle of James. Columbus, O. : Lutheran book concern, 1938, S. 395




The present tenses continue: “wherefore God is not ashamed of them to be called their God,” i.e., “the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob” (Gen. 28:13; Exod. 3:6, 15; cf., Gen. 32:9; also Matt. 22:32). What this means is explained: God “prepared for them a city.” These patriarchs God acknowledges as his children, and so he prepared a city for them, this heavenly city being their true, eternal fatherland. The final word “a city” takes us back to v. 10 where we are told that Abraham kept waiting for this wonderful city. It is now entirely clear from the explanation given in v. 13–16.
The writer could have placed all this into the simple historical past: “When they said such things they indicated, etc. And if they had remembered they would have had opportunity, etc. They, however, aspired, etc.” He places all of this into the present and ignores differences in time, which enables the readers to think of themselves in the most direct way as having these patriarchs, as it were, right in their midst to show them what to think, to say, to expect.
Yes, the readers have tasted a measure of persecution (10:32, 33), have seen the members of the old congregation in Rome and also Peter and Paul brought to martyrdom. What if such things should recur? As former Jews Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are their great examples of faith. See these patriarchs disregard everything in the way of an earthly fatherland, pass through life and die as nothing but aliens among men, aliens in fact, yea, aliens because they are ever aspiring to a better, a heavenly fatherland, the City of God, prepared for them by God. Will the readers do less?
These Old Testament men of faith are the models for all New Testament believers when it comes to what faith is and ever must be (v. 1).

Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews and of the Epistle of James. Columbus, O. : Lutheran book concern, 1938, S. 399.

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph
17) The examples continue after the digression (v. 13–16), but whereas those cited in v. 4–12 refer to faith in the blessed hereafter, which we all should share, this group of four are individual illustrations of a faith that is not to be duplicated in us but is intended to inspire us to show our faith in the individual situations that come to us.
By means of faith Abraham, when being tried, has offered Isaac. Even his only-begotten he was offering, he who had accepted the promises, to whom it was said: In connection with Isaac shall seed be called for thee—having drawn the conclusion that even from the dead God is able to raise up; hence he also brought him away in the way of a parable. This presents briefly the greatest act of Abraham’s faith, his trusting in the absolutely unseen, and that at a time when he was bidden to do what seemed to conflict directly with God’s own promise.

Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews and of the Epistle of James. Columbus, O. : Lutheran book concern, 1938, S. 400



From Genesis the writer proceeds to Exodus and dwells at length on Moses, not only because so much of faith appears in his life, but also because his readers esteem Moses so highly. They are thinking of forsaking Christ for Judaism because Judaism had Moses and all the ritual commandments given through Moses. Well, Moses himself is one of the greatest examples of faith in Christ. Let the readers, therefore, follow Moses, namely this faith of his. They will then cling to Christ as Moses did and have both Christ and Moses; otherwise they will lose both. John 5:45–47.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews and of the Epistle of James. Columbus, O. : Lutheran book concern, 1938, S. 407.





Jericho, Rahab
30) By means of faith the walls of Jericho fell, having been circled for seven days. Marching around and around Jericho seven days, seven times on the seventh day, then blowing the trumpets and making a great shout—how could such a procedure make massive fortifications fall? Who had ever heard of such a thing? How the soldiers and the commanders on those walls must have cast jibes and derision at the silent marchers as they were going around day after day! How safe they felt if the Israelite soldiers did no more than this! Yes, it took faith to carry out this mode of attack which seemed to be no attack at all; it took faith in things not seen as v. 1 describes faith. Then suddenly there came sight. Incredible sight—all the walls fell! Josh. 6:1, etc.
31) By means of faith Rahab, the harlot, did not perish with the disobedient ones, having received the spies with peace. Josh. 2:1, etc.; 6:22, etc. This pagan woman who had sunk to harlotry believed the report about the God of Israel that filled the city. She alone believed and in her still pagan way obeyed that faith and received the Israelite spies “with peace,” as friends to be protected and not as enemies of war to be delivered up. She believed that the city would fall; on that belief she acted. All the rest who lived in Jericho were disobedient; the aorist ἀπειθήσαντες states the historical fact. Unbelief is at times called disobedience because it is nothing less and is also the source of disobedient conduct. The people of Jericho laughed at the idea of surrendering their city, which was so mightily fortified, to soldiers who did not have even a ladder to scale the walls; they mocked at the very idea and perished. James 2:25 praises Rahab for her works, which were an evidence of her justification. See the exposition of James. Rahab became the wife of Booz, one of the ancestors of Jesus; see Matt. 1:5.

Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews and of the Epistle of James. Columbus, O. : Lutheran book concern, 1938, S. 413



32) And what shall I yet say? The time will fail me recounting about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, both David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, locked the mouths of lions, quenched power of fire, escaped sword’s mouths, were brought to power from weakness, became strong in war, turned to flight the battle lines of aliens.
The list is altogether too long for the writer to give an account of the great evidence of faith in the lives of all the great personages in the past history of Israel, all of whom would deserve to be considered, about whom all the readers know. The writer has kept down to great brevity what he has thus far said about “the ancients” (v. 2); he must now abbreviate still more. In doing so he records a few more notable names to which the readers may add more. Then he adds a list of achievements and a list of sufferings and lets his readers exercise their historical knowledge in placing these terse items.
In the rhetorical question of deliberation: “And what shall I yet say?” λέγω is the deliberative subjunctive. “The time will fail me recounting about Gideon,” etc. = it will take too much time to recount. The present participle is construed with με by a fine Greek idiom. The six names that are now added are not placed in chronological order with evident purpose. The reason for this does not seem to be an effort to list them in the order of importance. Samuel is placed last so as to be able to add “the prophets.” While the four judges precede the one king, Samuel, too, was a judge and preceded David. All six ruled Israel, but this cannot be said of the prophets. The best we are able to say is that these names are only suggestive. The readers will be struck by this or by that name in the great history of faith; the writer indicates that the sequence of time is immaterial, that faith is the main thing.
33) The relative clause lists the achievements which the writer has in mind when he pens his list of notable names. Because of their contents the nine items can be divided into three groups of three. R., W. P., calls the asyndeton “sledge-hammer style.” Each item is thrown on the screen by itself. As one succeeds the other, the effect increases. Chronology does not count, only the contents do. All the tenses are aorists to express historical facts. It is left to the readers to locate the terse references at the proper place in history. Each achievement was accomplished by means of faith, διά being now used and not the dative as was done before.

R. A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, by A. T. Robertson, 4th ed.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews and of the Epistle of James. Columbus, O. : Lutheran book concern, 1938, S. 414.

34) “Locked the mouths of lions” = Dan. 6:22 (scarcely Judges 14:6, or 1 Sam. 17:34, etc.). “Quenched power of fire” = Dan. 3:27 (cf. v. 19, 22). “Escaped sword’s mouths” may apply to any escape in battle but also to Elijah’s escape from the sword of Jezebel (1 Kings 19:1–3, 10), perhaps also to the escape of Elisha (2 Kings 6:14, etc., 31, etc.). “Were brought to power from weakness” refers, it seems, to Samson (Judges 16:28), perhaps also to the courage inspired by David’s victory over Goliath which enabled Israel to triumph (1 Sam. 17:26, etc.).
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews and of the Epistle of James. Columbus, O. : Lutheran book concern, 1938, S. 416




It is very dramatic to make these μάρτυρες (martyrs, witnesses) spectators who are lining the ramparts of heaven, leaning over to watch us in the running of the race like the crowds in a great stadium who are watching the athletic events. The unsatisfactory feature about this idea is its spiritualistic touch: the spirits of the dead are still hovering over and around us. The souls of the saints are at rest, they are no longer concerned about the trials that occur on earth. The Scriptures teach that they behold the heavenly glories and say nothing about their beholding and watching earthly events. These saints are not “witnesses” that see our faith and testify about us; God does not ask them to testify about us. They are witnesses whose life, works, sufferings, death attest their own faith, testify to us through the pages of Holy Writ and in other history that they were true men of faith indeed (the faith defined in 11:1). Περικείμενον ἡμῖν, “lying around us,” or adverbially simply “all about us” does not refer to an earthly presence of this cloud of witnesses, which gazes down on us from every angle. Like Abel, though dead (11:2) and long ago gone to their heavenly rest (4:9), their past life and their death still speak to us about what faith really is (11:1). They have left their multitudinous testimony which speaks to us from all sides and in countless ways.
The second participle is an aorist middle that states what must first be done by us in order to run properly: “having put away from ourselves every weight or encumbrance” that would act as a handicap in our running. Καί is explicative: “in particular the easily hampering sin,” εὐπερίστατος; this word is found only here in Greek literature and is hence interpreted variously: C.-K. 1169, easy to avoid, easily surrounding or be-strickend = R. V.’s margin, “closely clinging to us,” and our versions’, “that doth so easily beset us.”

C.-K. Biblisch-theologisches Woerterbuch der Neutestamentlichen Graezitaet von D. D. Hermann Cremer, zehnte, etc., Auflage, herausgegeben von D. Dr. Julius Koegel.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews and of the Epistle of James. Columbus, O. : Lutheran book concern, 1938, S. 424

Eleventh Sunday after Trinity



The Eleventh Sunday after Trinity, 2012


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn # 361     O Jesus King                 4:1
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 # 388            Just As I Am                       4.91

Tax Collector Compared to the Saint

The Communion Hymn #305:1-5            Soul, Adorn Thyself             4:23 
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 # 657            Beautiful Savior                    4:24


KJV 1 Corinthians 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

KJV Luke 18:9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Eleventh Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father, we beseech Thee so to guide and direct us by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not forget our sins and be filled with pride, but continue in daily repentance and renewal, seeking our comfort only in the blessed knowledge that Thou wilt be merciful unto us, forgive us our sins, and grant us eternal life; through Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.


Tax Collector Compared to the Saint

KJV Luke 18:9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

This Gospel lesson is clearly a parable, because the words are introduced  - “He spake this parable.”

So we should also look at this little story, which only contains a few verses. And yet, this illustration is just as memorable as any other in the Bible. If someone has been in church regularly, this is quite familiar.

That is also an argument for the repetition of lessons, because each one is worth committing to memory (at least in summary) rather than trying to grasp the entire Bible at once. In other words, it is better to memorize the classic passages – or their content – than to attempt too much. Once we know the key passages well, the others easily relate to our established knowledge.

That is why Luther’s sermons are so clear today. He was a scholar of the Bible in the best sense. He spent many years studying and listening to the Word of God. He taught from clearly established Gospel principles that never change. Therefore, the teaching of Luther did not vary, although he felt himself modifying some of the deeply ingrained Medieval Roman dogmas that were slow to fade away – such as the over-emphasis upon Mary.

Without the faith of little children,
you cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
Baptists claim - Children have no faith.
Lutherans kneel at the feet of Baptists
Rick Warren, Ed Stetzer, and Andy Stanley.
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Those principles are well worth repeating:
  1. The Word is always efficacious, because God has bound His Holy Spirit to the Word. Those who dispute this are Enthusiasts, and their dogma is always full of contradiction and error.
  2. God has appointed Means to convey His grace to us. Grace, love, and forgiveness to not come to us except through the Means of Grace. Those who deny this (UOJ gurus) are Enthusiasts and false teachers.
  3. Scripture interprets Scriptures, so any difficult passage can be explained by one that is more obvious.
  4. Scripture never contradicts itself, so the Word can easily repudiate someone’s false interpretation of the Word. Example -  Since forgiveness comes to us only through faith (Romans 4 – 5), it is impossible to be forgiven in any sense of the term apart from faith.

Sound teachers consider the Biblical message as a whole rather than trying to prove a peculiar dogma from one sentence (John 1:29) or from part of a sentence (Romans 4:25).

Sick doctrine comes from a violation of these principles. Every system of Christian thought has hundreds of Biblical citations, but that does not make them correct. The Roman Catholic Church has adopted many more Biblical citations to make their old dogmas more appealing, but they are the same thing with a new, shiny coat. For instance, they argue that the Holy Spirit would not allow the pope to err in doctrine, so anything from the papacy has to be correct. Or, in the case of Calvinists, they will say, “I believe in a limited atonement, that Christ died only for believers.” Once that rationalistic thesis is accepted, the passages about Christ dying for the sins of the world are ignored.

Context – the previous parable concerns the woman pleading to the unrighteous judge. If  an evil man answer the prayer of this woman, how much more will God answer our longing prayers?

Lenski:
Neither the preceding parable nor the one that is now introduced deal with prayer as such; prayer is only the vehicle in both. So the connection is not from prayer to prayer. The first parable deals with the kind of faith Jesus wants the disciples to have, one that is constantly longing and asking for his return; the second parable adds the true humility of faith, of that faith which alone justifies.[1]
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Luke's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 898.

KJV Luke 18:9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

This parable is one of judgment – aimed against those who had two faults: they trusted in their own righteousness and they despised others. The word for righteousness is the one we use for justification, for forgiveness.

Sinful man is not righteous unless he is declared righteous through faith, by God. However, when people consider themselves righteous, they look down on others who do not have their saintliness, which others can see so plainly.

10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

To make his point, Jesus used a contrast between two men. In that day, the Pharisee was known for obeying the Jewish Law as it was practiced in that day. Paul was that kind of person, and he claimed he was best possible Pharisee.

The other man was a tax collector, who was hated for many reasons. The tax collector worked for the Roman Empire, so the money extracted paid for the hated occupation of Israel. The collections were farmed out, so he made more money for being greedy and taking as much as he could. Since he was Jewish, this was a betrayal, taking money from fellow believers to pay for the pagan and foreign soldiers who made this possible.

This picture provides a contrast between the two justifications – justification by the Law, versus justification by faith. Justification by the law has obvious outward characteristics. Justification by faith  has one primary characteristic, that can only be truly understood and discerned by God.

Luther:

6. Hence the beginning of goodness or godliness is not in us, but in the Word of God. God must first let his Word sound in our hearts by which we learn to know and to believe him, and afterwards do good works. So we must believe from this that the publican had learned God's Word. If not, it would certainly have been impossible for him to acknowledge himself to be a poor sinner, as this Gospel reports. Indeed, it has a different appearance here, because St. Luke seems to insist more strongly on external works and appearances than on faith, and lays the emphasis more on the outward character and conduct than on the root and on the faith of the heart within. Nevertheless we must conclude that the publican had previously heard the Gospel. Otherwise his smiting his breast and his humble confession would not have occurred, had he not previously had faith in his heart.

This paragraph from Luther should be memorized, since it honors God as the source of goodness or godliness. Through the Holy Spirit, the Word of God plants faith in our hearts. Those who believe in the Gospel Promises are forgiven of all their sins. This constant forgiveness continues while we abide in Christ, through the Means of Grace.

From that faith comes the humility of the publican and his good works. Luther did not pit faith against good works, but taught both in their proper order and in perspective. The tree must be there – faith – before the fruits appear. Lacking fruit, there is no faith.

That includes those pastors and laity who scheme to do evil and break every commandment while saying glibly, “I know I am a sinner, so I know I am forgiven.”




Luke 18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

Luther:
17. Let us now consider the fool, the Pharisee. Here are most beautiful works. In the first place he thanks God, fasts twice in the week, and all this to honor God, not St. Nicholas or St. Barnabas, he gives the tenth of all his goods, nor has he at any time committed adultery, has never done any one violence or robbed him of his goods. Thus he has conducted himself in an exemplary manner. This is a beautiful honest life, and excites our wonder and surprise. Truly, after the fashion of the world no one could find fault with him, yea, one must praise him. Yes, to be sure he does this himself.


The Pharisee is honored and glorified everywhere. He knows that only the outward appearances matter, so he is sure to get good public relations for himself. Today he preaches himself and his organization.

13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Lenski:
The Pharisee thought of others as being sinners; the publican thinks of himself alone as being the sinner and not of others. This is a mark of true contrition. It finds no comfort at all in the fact that there are many other and even greater sinners; it sees only itself before God, only itself as “the” sinner who is unable to answer to God for his sins.[2]
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Luke's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 903.

We appreciate the Gospel that moment when we realize that the requirement of works is obliterated by the cross. There are many subtle ways we keep up the screen of the Law, which keeps us from seeing the Gospel as it is.

A. One way is to think, “Once I am good enough, then I will be forgiven.” That contradicts the Gospel.

B. Another way is to imagine, “People need to see me as a saint,” so I know it is true. All the believers in the New Testament are saints, because Christ has sanctified them, as He does all believers. He makes them and us and holy. We do not make ourselves holy.

All the righteous in the Bible are righteous through faith. They are not perfect on their own. The Old Testament passages on the righteous are Gospel passages of comfort.

KJV Psalm 34:15 The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.

KJV Psalm 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

The paradox of living in this world is that unbelievers only see bad things in the Christian life, so they make absurd demands that no one can satisfy, before the Christian faith is right for them. One man said, “Why are all the Christians depressed? Every single one I meet is sad. No one can give me an answer to that.” Finally, one believer said, “One look at your sour face would make anyone depressed.”

A believer will be despised by unbelievers, and many of them are the works-saints in the visible church.

C. Those who have Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, or Pietistic backgrounds (in other words – all of us) think that there must be something added after faith to qualify for forgiveness. Oh yes, saved by grace, and then fulfill this requirement. This is fueled by our natural Old Adam tendency to trust in works and urge works. A church council will send out letters saying, “You have to come to church in four weeks or we will kick you out.” No one even thinks how Pharisaical this is.

As Luther wrote, faith leads to humility, because we see how great the Gospel is and how little we have to claim for ourselves. That humility leads to thankfulness to God, for giving us this great blessing through His grace. Thankfulness energizes us to serve our neighbor however we can, because God has already done everything for us.

Energize is an important term, because it is literally what the Holy Spirit accomplishes through the Word. The word-group in the New Testament has a stained glass translation – efficacy. Breaking down the word in Greek used, it means at work.

The fruits of the Gospel are the Word at work in us, because the Holy Spirit and Word are always working together, always accomplishing something God-pleasing, for whatever is done in faith is done to the glory of God.



Fruits of the Spirit


 "But the fact is, all Christian doctrines and works, all Christian living, is briefly, clearly and completely comprehended in these two principles, faith and love. They place man as a medium between God and his neighbor, to receive from above and distribute below."
            Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 145.          

"For if I love God I love also His will. Now, when God sends us sickness, poverty, shame and disgrace, that is His will. But what do we do under such circumstances? We thunder, scold and growl, and bear it with great impatience...But God does not want this. He wants us to accept His will with joy and love, and this we are too tardy in doing."
             Sermons of Martin Luther, V, p. 26.         

"The Word and the gifts of the Holy Spirit are materials with which He builds. Though the dwelling is not altogether completed, yet through His grace and love it is accepted of God."
             Sermons of Martin Luther,   III, p. 322. 

"To this end Christ is presented to us as an inexhaustible fountain, Who at all times overflows with pure goodness and grace. And for such goodness and kindness He accepts nothing, except that the good people, who acknowledge such kindness and grace, thank Him for it, praise and love Him, although others despise Him for it."
            Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther,   V, p. 329. 

"See, this is what James means when he says, 2:26: 'Faith apart from works is dead.' For as the body without the soul is dead, so is faith without works. Not that faith is in man and does not work, which is impossible. For faith is a living, active thing. But in order that men may not deceive themselves and think they have faith when they have not, they are to examine their works, whether they also love their neighbors and do good to them."
            Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther,  V, p. 71.        

"Thirdly, Christ shows love is still greater, in that He exercises it where it is lost and receives ingratitude from the majority; ten lepers were cleansed and only one thanks Him, on the nine His love is lost. If He would have made use of justice here instead of love, as men are accustomed to do and nature teaches, He would have made them all lepers again."
            Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther,  V, p. 75        

"This is a true definition of marriage: Marriage is the God-appointed and legitimate union of man and woman in the hope of having children or at least for the purpose of avoiding fornication and sin and living to the glory of God. The ultimate purpose is to obey God, to find aid and counsel against sin; to call upon God; to seek, love, and educate children for the glory of God; to live with one's wife in the fear of God and to bear the cross; but if there are no children, nevertheless to live with one's wife in contentment; and to avoid all lewdness with others."
            Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols. ed. Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 884. Genesis 24:1-4     

"Love toward their mother is not so great in children as the love of their mother toward them, as the proverb has it: Amor descendit, non ascendit, Love is a plant that grows downward rather than upward."
            Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 138. 

"The first destroyers of their own children are those who neglect them and knowingly permit them to grow up without the training and admonition of the Lord. Even if they do not harm them by a bad example, they still destroy them by yielding to them. They love them too much according to the flesh and pamper them, saying: They are children, they do not understand what they are doing. And they are speaking the truth. But neither does a dog or a horse understand what it is doing. However, see how they learn to go, to come, to obey, to do and leave undone what they do not understand...These parents will, therefore, bear the sins of their children because they make these sins their own."
            Martin Luther, What Luther Says,   I, p. 139. 

"Therefore, do not speak to me of love or friendship when anything is to be detracted from the Word or the faith; for we are told that not love but the Word brings eternal life, God's grace, and all heavenly treasures."
             Martin Luther, What Luther Says,   III, p. 1411f.  

"You must always have the Word of God in your heart, on your lips, and in your ears. Where the heart is idle and the Word does not ring out, the devil breaks in and has done damage before we are aware of it. On the other hand, such is the power of the Word if it is seriously contemplated, heard, and used that it is never without fruit. It always awakens new understanding, pleasure, and devotion and purifies the heart and thoughts. For these are not inert or dead but active and living words.  Martin Luther, What Luther Says,  III, p. 1467. 

"Consequently, I say to my worst enemies: Where it is only my own person that is involved, there I am very willing to help you and to do everything good for you in spite of the fact that you are my enemy and that all you ever do for me is to harm me. But where it is the Word of God that is involved, there you must not expect any friendship or love that I may have for you to persuade me to do something against that, even if you were my nearest and dearest friend. But since you cannot endure the Word, I will speak this prayer over you: May God dash you to the ground! I shall willingly serve you, but not in order to help you overthrow the Word of God. For this purpose you will never be able to persuade me even to give you a drink of water."
            Martin Luther, What Luther Says,  St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, III, p. 1480.    

"The apostle does not mean to say that children are not to be rebuked or beaten, but that they are to be chastized in love; but parents are not to vent their furious temper on them, unconcerned about the way to correct the error of their children. For when the spirit has been cowed, one is of no use for anything and despairs of everything, is timid is doing and undertaking everything. And, what is worse, this timidity, implanted during the tender years, can almost never thereafter be eradicated. For since they have learned to be frightened at every word of their parents, they are subsequently afraid of even a rustling leaf or a tree."
            Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 412.     

"In matters concerning faith we must be invincible, unbending, and very stubborn; indeed, if possible, harder than adamant. But in matters concerning love we should be softer and more pliant than any reed and leaf and should gladly accommodate ourselves to everything."
            Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 412f. Galatians 2:8.         

"Doctrine is our only light. It alone enlightens and directs us and shows us the way to heaven. If it is shaken in one quarter (in une parte), it will necessarily be shaken in its entirety (in totum). Where that happens, love cannot help us at all."
            Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 414. Galatians 5:10.         

"But this tender mercy is to be exercised only toward Christians and among Christians, for toward those who reject and persecute the Gospel we must act differently; here I am not permitted to let my love be merciful so as to tolerate and endure false doctrine. When faith and doctrine are concerned and endangered, neither love nor patience are in order. Then it is my duty to contend in earnest and not to yield a hairbreadth."
            Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 637f.        

"But Christ was given for this purpose, namely, that for His sake there might be bestowed on us the remission of sins, and the Holy Ghost to bring forth in us new and eternal life, and eternal righteousness [to manifest Christ in our hearts, as it is written John 16:15: 'He shall take of the things of Mine, and show them unto you.' Likewise, He works also other gifts, love, thanksgiving, charity, patience, etc.]. Wherefore the Law cannot be truly kept unless the Holy Ghost is given."       
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article IV, Justification, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 159. Tappert, p. 125. Romans 3:31; John 16:15.      

"Moreover, neither contrition nor love or any other virtue, but faith alone is the sole means and instrument by which and through which we can receive and accept the grace of God, the merit of Christ, and the forgiveness of sins, which are offered to us in the promise of the Gospel."
            Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, III 31 Righteousness Concordia Triglotta,

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