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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Tenth Sunday after Trinity




The Tenth Sunday after Trinity, 2012


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn # 202             Welcome Happy Morning                      4:28
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 #267            If God Had Not Been   4:61

Warning for Our Time

The Communion Hymn # 305.5-9                       Soul, Adorn              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 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. 2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. 3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. 4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

KJV Luke 19:41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. 43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. 45 And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; 46 Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves. 47 And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him, 48 And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.


Tenth Sunday After Trinity

Almighty and everlasting God, who by Thy Holy Ghost hast revealed unto us the gospel of Thy Son, Jesus Christ: We beseech Thee so to quicken our hearts that we may sincerely receive Thy word, and not make light of it, or hear it without fruit, as did Thy people, the unbelieving Jews, but that we may fear Thee and daily grow in faith in Thy mercy, and finally obtain eternal salvation, through Thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.


Warning for Our Time

KJV Luke 19:41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,

As Luther said, there are two ways of dealing with those who despise God’s Word. One way is to reveal the wrath that they are facing. Jesus did that many times, such as His long speech against scribes and Pharisees, calling them white-washed sepulchers full of dead men’s bones.

The other way is demonstrated in this Gospel lesson. Jesus wept over Jerusalem, knowing that His own people would face terrible destruction in a few decades, because they despised the Word of God and the promised Savior, their Messiah, the Son of David.

The Scripture readings for centuries had told of the Messianic promises. Isaiah 53 was so clear that it converts many Jews to Christianity today. One could add hundreds of other passages as well, from Genesis to the Psalms to the Minor Prophets.

We take for granted the constant efforts made to take the Gospel to them. John the Baptist prophesied and told of His coming. He was executed.

Jesus was presented in Temple and returned as a young boy. In both cases, something quite miraculous took place for the audience.

Jesus revealed Himself through powerful teaching and such great miracles that no one could ever reproduce them. The climactic miracle was raising a prominent leader from the dead, Lazarus, after everyone had mourned his loss for days. Lazarus accompanied Jesus to Jerusalem, followed by the witnesses from the funeral-no-longer and met by the celebrating crowds who knew the Messiah was present, fulfilling another prophesy. This is best portrayed by a poem, one of the most popular posts on the blog.

THE DONKEY
 G.K. Chesterton

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born;

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil's walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.



42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.

Wherever God’s Word is trusted, peace and prosperity follow. It is not too much to expect God to use national enemies to chasten the unbelieving and apostate nations.

The point here is that Israel had strayed so far from the Old Testament Gospel that the vast majority were blinded and hardened. That is the effect of rejecting the Word. It is so clear when dealing with former believers. The more they are shown the Scriptures, the more scornful and abusive they become. The effect is to agitate them and anger them against the Word and those who speak it. They hate the Word of God so much that they want to eliminate it in every form and be rid of anyone who still trusts in it.

Knowing all these things, past and future revelations, Jesus wept that the city would not keep cheering for long. He knew the Gospel would grow miraculously in the same city, but be driven out with persecution and death. That spared the disciples and earliest followers.

Soon after, the initial battle against the hated Romans went well. The Jewish rebels succeeded, which was fateful. The Empire struck back.

43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,

This is exactly how the Roman Empire attacked a fortified city, and that is what happened to Jerusalem. Imagine a powerfully built city high up a mountain, very difficult to approach or attack.

The Romans began by sealing in a city. They built a wall around the entire city and trenched it as well. Slave labor and tough soldiers made that possible. When they built their own camps, they started with a ten-foot wall and an equally deep trench. Any invaders had to reach up 20 feet to start an attack. That meant scaling ladders, which were less than welcome to the archers posted on top.
That is how many Roman camps became European cities. They began with first-rate construction and security. Why move back into the woods and open fields?

Jerusalem had its own underground water supply, created many years before with expert geometry. Two opposing tunnels met underground to channel the water. But the circumvallation (surrounding wall and trench) sealed in everyone and sealed out all food.

Jerusalem was choked with visitors there for the holy days. Being locked in sent everyone into a panic. The food supplies were burned. People hoarded food, then began stealing food, the strong from the weak. Eventually people were cooking leather shoe-laces to eat. And there was cannibalism.



44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

About 3 million were there, according to Josephus. The Romans either killed them or enslaved them. So many were made slaves that they had to be shipped various places to be sold, to avoid driving the price down to almost nothing.

God used a pagan army to chasten the Jews for abandoning true Judaism and rejecting faith in Jesus as the Messiah.

It was a terrible defeat, far worse than previous ones, and the great Temple was destroyed in an effort to find hidden gold. Herod’s Temple, which should have been a glory of the nation for centuries, lay in ruins only a few years after completion. The Wailing Wall is just a hint of its magnificence.

Another rebellion wiped out Jerusalem one more time and got all Jews banned from the remnants of their own city. That was the Bar Kochba revolt, when they found their “Messiah” and followed him to destruction.

All this happened because they did not recognize the time when they were being warned.

Lenski:
Because these terse sentences describe so vividly just what happened in connection with the siege of Jerusalem, those who deny predictive prophecy even to Jesus ascribe these verses to Luke and declare that he wrote them ex eventu, after the fall of the city, and put into Jesus’ mouth what he never said and what it is claimed he could not have said. One must then suppose that Isaiah did the same thing when he foretold the same details regarding the fall of Jerusalem (under the name “Ariel”) in 29:1–4. Luke wrote 18:32, 33, and all the prophets and the evangelists the prophetic parts of their books in this way. The charax is a palisaded wall or rampart. The Greek says: “hem thee in from every side,” the action being viewed as coming from the enemy.
44) The city and her children or inhabitants were to be dashed to the ground, the latter to be slain; and this destruction was to be so radical as not to leave one stone on another—an absolute and utter ruin. “in return for that which” and is usually translated less precisely “because.” Jesus reverts to the guilt of Jerusalem in that she did not realize “the season of her visitation,” episkope, which is used regarding both a gracious and a punitive visit. The verb is used in 1:68, 78; 7:16, “to look in upon someone.” God’s looking in upon us with his grace continues until a certain time; then those that refuse that grace shall receive a far different visitation from him whom they have spurned.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Luke's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 968.

KJV Isaiah 29:1 Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt! add ye year to year; let them kill sacrifices. 2 Yet I will distress Ariel, and there shall be heaviness and sorrow: and it shall be unto me as Ariel. 3 And I will camp against thee round about, and will lay siege against thee with a mount, and I will raise forts against thee. 4 And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.

45 And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; 46 Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves. 47 And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him, 48 And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.

The cleansing of the Temple, in this account, quickly summarizes what Jesus was saying the apostasy of Israel. In His action of speaking against the money-changers Jesus is giving them a final warning for their own good.

Here a little detail with great meaning – He taught daily in the Temple. Jesus continued His Gospel ministry in the midst of opposition, giving God’s Word to His people, patiently giving them time to repent and believe.

This one verse answers and explains. Some object lamely, “Why doesn’t God save everyone?” The Scriptures show how often the Word was broadcast to the same people, the many opportunities given to believe in Him. The verse also explains why believers existed at the highest levels of Jewish leadership. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea saw and heard the Messiah. They believed in Him and risked everything to give Him an honorable burial, which fulfilled Isaiah 53. Jesus was crucified with criminals, yet buried with the rich (in an expensive, carved tomb never used before.)

KJV Isaiah 53:9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.



Sorrow for the Gospel Being Lost
One can easily substitute Lutherans for Jews in this passage and have the content unchanged for the entire Gospel lesson. That includes the money-changers in the Temple.

I can go back less than a century and find Lutherans reversing course on Biblical inerrancy. The entire Christian Church taught the Bible as God’s revealed Word until around 1920 or so. There were early attacks, in the Age of Rationalism (18th century) whose persecution of the Gospel in Europe promoted so many migrations to America for religious freedom in the 19th century.

Although few study philosophy for a career, there was a shift in philosophy that meant theology began to be filtered through that lens. Halle University began as a strictly Biblical university, but quickly converted, in one generation, into an anti-Biblical institution. Bishop Martin Stephan’s most famous supporter, Delitsch, changed during his own academic career, supporting the Two Isaiahs theory that lay behind the rejection of Old Testament prophecy.

Lutherans in America were far more united in Luther’s doctrine 100 years ago than they are today. Luther was read with respect and his Small Catechism was taught with biblical support rather than the new philosophies. I remember the excitement about Luther in the 1960s, which was replaced with a fascination with modern rationalistic theologians (Barth, Bonhoeffer, Tillich).

Now Luther is used as a springboard for the new rationalism, which is nothing more than the old rationalism. The WELS Kuske catechism is exactly the opposite of the original Gausewitz catechism, which was used by the entire Synodical Conference (not that every parish used the same one, but it was pan-Lutheran because he was president of the whole group). The Kuske was bloated to the point of hiding Luther’s simple teaching device under a mudslide of charts, NIV quotations, and blatant false doctrine.

They turned a tiny pamphlet into a fat textbook designed to ease the way into ecumenical theology. No one dare question a Mequon prof’s apostasy. As one official said, “The DPs already went through the split with Missouri. They do not want another conflict.” Their poor fat bellies and tender emotions could not take another round of debating the Word. They were one-battle soldiers of the cross.

Simply put, dominant portions of ELCA, Missouri, WELS, and the fragments teach against justification by faith. They are all crumbling together while working together (denying it, of course). They are united in their lazy attitude about Luther and the Book of Concord. And they are all confessional Lutherans. Ask ELCA. Ask Missouri. Ask WELS.

Laziness toward doctrine promotes even more of the same. Indolent leaders mean indolent members. But members’ indifference also means that the ordained will also be indifferent about the big things (doctrine) while fussing about the little things (money, and – is everyone happy?).

Since I have done a lot of research, I look at the citations of authorities. People claim to be “confessional” but they quote their professors and some recent leaders who agree with them. Not one of their authorities is an author or contributor to the Book of Concord.

Being elected to a political office in a church body does not make someone an expert in doctrine. “Let not many be teachers.” It places that person under a greater obligation - to supervise (episcope) and to teach sound doctrine. However, the imagined power has been used to force apostasy onto a larger group, rewarding the guilty and punishing the innocent, just as Pope Pius IX did with the infallibility issue.

“I am right because I am a DP or SP or professor” – that is a logical fallacy.
The reason behind an article of faith must be an acknowledged authority:
  • The Bible first.
  • The Confessions second.
  • Faithful theologians third.

“Accept my conclusions or I will punish you.” That is another logical fallacy, the appeal to force. A variation among the modern Pietists is – “We will shun you if you do not cave in.”



Faith Is Biblical
The SynConference war against faith continues because the leaders are unbelievers. Their actions and words prove it, but they rely on the heritage of past faithful leaders to fool everyone.  The leaders cannot imagine living without their business partner Thrivent. They will do anything to hang onto their Thrivent dollars, their luxury vacations, their extra side benefits, because they cannot think of the horrible alternative – relying on God’s Word and blessings. They are the money-changers in the Temple, selling insurance for a third-rate company. People use Thrivent napkins and Thrivent calendars, reading bulletins that thank Thrivent for giving them a token amount of money in return for gushing, monopolistic advertising. All the unionistic projects with ELCA, the Unitarians, and other pagans are funded by Thrivent, blessed by Thrivent, but also hidden by Thrivent – spare the tender feelings of SynConference members.

Justification – the forgiveness of sin – is either by the Law or by Faith. There is no middle ground, no alternative. Any blending or amalgamation is justification by the Law, which is easily detected by law demands (you must, you have to, you ought to).

Many give away their poor grasp of the Bible by saying something like this. “Here is the truth. Now you have to believe it.” They are presenting their opinions as something demanding an act of the will or intellect.

Faith is the product of the Word of God. The Holy Spirit produces faith, and faith swallows up the Law and all sin. Faith is more powerful than sin itself, overcoming fear, temptation, and Satan. Faith conquers death, because being declared forgiven through faith, we receive the righteousness of Christ and eternal life.
This Biblical faith is not trust in men or their opinions. It is not a decision to agree with some alien philosophy. Biblical faith is trust in the atoning death of Christ, paying for all sins so that no one is under obligation to the Law.

The Law came through Moses. Grace and truth came through Christ.

The Holy Spirit convicts of doubting justification by faith. As soon as we doubt the complete, full, free, daily forgiveness of sin, we are convicted. The Gospel says otherwise.

As soon as we say, “But there must be something I must do,” we are convicted by the Spirit, who says otherwise. No, because if there is something I must do, then Jesus Christ did not do enough. Moses is not my Savior. Jesus is.

"Flesh and blood are too weak to obtain this glorious confidence; the Holy Spirit is essential. Reason and our own hearts cry out in protest: 'Alas, I am far too evil and unworthy! How could I be proud and presumptuous enough to boast myself the servant of the Lord Jesus Christ?"
            Sermons of Martin Luther, ed. John Nicolas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 210.

That does not give us license for sin, as UOJ does. The Gospel moves us to avoid temptation and rely on Christ as our gracious Mercy Seat. This produces Gospel fruit, just as the rain produces food and flowers and green grass. It is inevitable.





Tenth Sunday after Trinity
Sound Doctrine and Baptism

"This epistle selection treats of spiritual things, thing which chiefly pertain to the office of the ministry and concern the Church authorities. Paul instructs how those in office should employ their gifts for the benefit of one another and thus further the unity and advancement of the Churches."               
Sermons of Martin Luther, ed. John Nicolas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 197f.

"Whenever the Word of God has a foothold, there the devil will be. By the agency of his factions he will always build his taverns and kitchens beside God's house. So he did at first, in Paradise. In the family of Adam he entrenched himself, establishing there his church." Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, ed. John Nicolas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 198. "But dissensions, sects and divisions are sure signs that the true doctrine is either ignored or misunderstood, men thus being left in a condition to be 'tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine,' as Paul says (Ephesians 4:4); which is indisputably the case with these same schismatics who condemn the Church and her doctrines because of some discordant ones."             
             Sermons of Martin Luther, ed. John Nicolas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 204.         

"Thus Paul rejects the glorying and boasting of the sects over their offices and gifts--they who pretend to be filled with the Spirit and to teach the people correctly, and who make out that Paul and other teachers are of no consequence...MOre than that, they demand a higher attainment in the Spirit for Gospel ministers, deeming faith, the Sacrament, and the outward office not sufficient."            
Sermons of Martin Luther, ed. John Nicolas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 206.       

"You are either reproaching and cursing Jesus, or praising him and owning him your Lord. If your preaching and teaching fail to point to Christ, something else being offered, and you nevertheless boast of the Spirit, you are already judged: the spirit you boast is not the Holy Spirit, not the true Spirit, but a false one. To it we are not to listen. Rather we are condemn it to the abyss of hell, as Paul declares, (Galatians 1:8), saying: 'But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any Gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema [damned to Hell].'" 
            Sermons of Martin Luther, ed. John Nicolas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 206.      

"The same is true of other factions--the Anabaptists and similar sects. What else do they but slander baptism and the Lord's Supper when they pretend that the external [spoken] Word and outward sacraments do not benefit the soul, that the Spirit alone can do that?" Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, ed. John Nicolas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 208.

"Flesh and blood are too weak to obtain this glorious confidence; the Holy Spirit is essential. Reason and our own hearts cry out in protest: 'Alas, I am far too evil and unworthy! How could I be proud and presumptuous enough to boast myself the servant of the Lord Jesus Christ?"
            Sermons of Martin Luther, ed. John Nicolas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 210.

"The gift of prophecy is the ability to rightly interpret and explain the Scriptures, and powerfully to reveal therefrom the doctrine of faith and the overthrow of false doctrine. The gift of prophecy includes, further, the ability to employ the Scriptures for admonition and reproof, for imparting strength and comfort, by pointing out, on the one hand, the certainty of future indignation, vengeance and punishment for the unbelieving and disobedient, and on the other hand presenting divine aid and reward to godly believers. Thus did the prophets with the Word of God, both the Law and the promises."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, ed. John Nicolas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 213.      

"Christians, however, though obliged to live among swine and to be at times trampled under foot and rooted about, have nevertheless surpassing glory; for they can look up and intelligently behold their Lord and His gifts."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, ed. John Nicolas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 217. 

"But the discerning Christian can with satisfaction boast on this wise: 'My baptism or my absolution is not of my own devising or ordaining, nor of another man's. It is of Christ my Lord."     
Sermons of Martin Luther, ed. John Nicolas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 219. 

"His gifts and works in His Church must effect inexpressible results, taking souls from the jaws of the devil and translating them into eternal life and glory."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, ed. John Nicolas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 220. 

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