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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity. The Good Samaritan.



The Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2012


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




The Hymn # 281     The Savior Calls               1:29
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 #259            Flung to the Heedless Winds 1:64 

The Good Samaritan Is Jesus

The Communion Hymn # 308 Invited, Lord, by Boundless Grace                    1:63
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 # 464     Blest Be the Tie That Binds            1:39 

KJV Galatians 3:15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. 16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. 18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. 19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

KJV Luke 10:23 And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: 24 For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. 25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. 28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. 29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? 30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. 36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

Thirteenth Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father, we most heartily thank Thee that Thou hast granted us to live in this accepted time, when we may hear Thy holy gospel, know Thy fatherly will, and behold Thy Son, Jesus Christ! We pray Thee, most merciful Father: Let the light of Thy holy word remain with us, and so govern our hearts by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may never forsake Thy word, but remain steadfast in it, and finally obtain eternal salvation; 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.

The Good Samaritan, by Norma Boeckler
http://www.normaboecklerart.com

The Good Samaritan Is Jesus

I remember the feeling, when this lesson came up in church – Now we are going to get it for not being good Samaritans.

There are so many law sermons on this lesson that one could build a complete set of books: The Good Samaritan Condemns You, Four Volumes.

This Gospel does not start with condemnation, but with blessing instead. And that blessing applies to us.

KJV Luke 10:23 And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: 24 For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

Every single person who hears the Word of God is blessed. In those days they were able to see and hear the Savior. Now we hear His words and see Him in the Sacraments.

It is always a blessing because God’s Word is always effective. Those who listen attentively and sincerely will receive divine wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit. Also, those who reject it will be hardened and blinded by it, just as those who mishandle electrical power will be harmed by their careless attitude toward something both life-giving and death-causing.

There are many occasions when someone has obstinately resisted the Word but is so disturbed that another visitation creates a moment of conversion, insight, and rebirth. We cannot judge when that will happen, so the Word is carelessly sown, knowing the results are always good.

Verse 24 should remind us that we are more privileged than many prophets and kings. Before the Savior’s public ministry, many leaders longed for the salvation of mankind. They desired forgiveness and peace. They looked for the truth. One could say that the entire history of philosophy has been a search for the truth. Most philosophers today (in academic life) are atheists, so they cannot grasp the basics of truth. They may dance around us in circles with their arcane knowledge, but Jesus said we need the faith of a little child, not the library of a learned philosopher  - to enter the Kingdom of God.

Analogy of Faith
When we grasp the Analogy of Faith, the Scriptures come alive with an endless supply of insights.

Someone asked me about the Analogy of Faith. I forgot the term since I never use the words themselves. But I often bring up that ancient truth of the Scriptures.

Here it is – Since the Word of God is infallible and inerrant, the Scriptures present a unified truth where no contradictions are present. The Bible is the Book of the Holy Spirit, with many human authors but only one divine author, God. Because of that, the unity and harmony we find is the quality given to it by the Holy Spirit. I have emphasized that in all the sermons and Bible lessons. Hebrews uses an exotic set of images and aims at a Jewish group persecuted and discouraged, but the author does not argue against Paul. He teaches justification by faith with different words and images at times, but the same doctrine revealed by God.

Therefore, every verse is connected to every other verse in the Bible. The simpler and more obvious passages can be used to explain the ones that seem more obscure to us. The fault is not with God’s Word but with our understanding of the moment. At times, for instance, people had no trouble with divinity of Jesus, but they could not accept His birth from a mere woman, a sinful woman. Many errors came from that attitude – not from the Scriptures but from man’s culture at the moment. Now people (in general) have no trouble with the humanity of Christ, but they seek to remove the divinity of Jesus. Thomas Jefferson did that with his heavily edited Bible, which reduced Jesus to a teacher of morality.

It is good to note that liberals always pixelate the Bible. They find one passage, one part of one sentence, and magnify that to be the entire message of the Word of God. They magnify it to such an extent that no one can recognize it in context. And they make their newest insight The Law, The Truth. One well known scholar made Jesus the leader of a sacred mushroom cult. I know – I missed that in the Bible, too. I laughed when I read that the mushroom starring in the book did not grow in that area. But the book sold well for a few weeks.

The Analogy of Faith also means that we must teach the Word of God with all aspects in balance, in proper proportion. To emphasize the Sacraments at the expense of the Word (as the Romanists do) is bound to create problems. The Holy Spirit’s work should not be neglected, but it should not be the only element in all teaching, as if the Trinity has only one Member.

This digression helps explain how we need to read this famous but greatly abused Parable of the Good Samaritan –

25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

It was and continues to be a Jewish tradition to have the teacher answer questions after giving a lesson. One of the interesting parts about this is trying to stump the teacher. That is a great tradition, because it makes the hearers more eager to excel and it challenges the teacher. Just the opposite is the papal attitude – that the teacher is perfect and everyone must bow to his authority just because he has that title. Abusive cults thrive on that attitude.

So we have a valid question, which Jesus turned into a question.

26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?

The lawyer has to answer his own question, which is good. This is good diagnostic work. He may be right or wrong. One can build on either answer.

27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. 28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

It is no accident that the answer given is the famous summary of the Law, where there is widespread agreement. The rabbis taught this. Jesus taught this. Luther called it the Two Tables or the two relationships. The first relationship is faith, our relationship to God. The second is our relationship to our neighbor. The Law (better – the Doctrine of the Bible) is summed up in those two relationships.

For the Law salesmen, Jesus’ answer is a god-send. As one said to me, Jesus told us – Do this. It is in doing.

If they could stop there, they might make a Law fortress out of this lesson. But Jesus’ answer is ironic, something lost on those with no sense of humor. Is it possible to do this at all times, perfectly? Giving the fallen nature of man, no – it is not, so there must be another answer.

The lawyer revealed his attitude toward the Word when he said this –

29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

Or, we might say – eager to justify himself. He was waiting for an answer that he had done all he could do to inherit eternal life. His answer to the question came in the form of the great parable. Love your neighbor? Who is your neighbor? We can see at the end that the neighbor is Jesus, the Good Samaritan.

30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

“A certain man” means this is a parable, a short story, fiction, with a heavenly meaning.

This is a common occurrence in travel, a common fear. When cash is relatively scarce, clothing is quite valuable. In fact, there are scams today to collect clothing in the name of charity, because of its value. This man was robbed and beaten, left for dead on the road.

31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

Jesus gave two examples of men who avoided helping their neighbor. The priest and Levite crossed over to the opposite side of the road, to pretend they saw nothing. The roads were fairly narrow, certainly by our standards, so this was a pretense.

There are many priests and Levites today. They see a confessional pastor in trouble. They cross over to the other side of the road. They do not see it. Or they phone and say, “This is all your fault for causing trouble.” They do not help and they shun the fellow-pastor who is robbed, beaten, and left for dead on the road. The willfully blind do not see it.

33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

Notice that the word “good” is lacking in the text. That has become part of the title, leading us to think this is about good people (who perfect themselves in the Law) and bad people (who are the target of a given Law sermon).

The certain Samaritan is Jesus. His example shows that He alone is the Savior.

He saw the man and had compassion on him. The prime quality of God is compassion, mercy. We have great collects that say God’s power is shown chiefly in His mercy.

34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

When we are half-dead and unable to help ourselves, Jesus comes to us with the Gospel. We do not have the strength to come to Him. He comes to us in the Word and the Sacraments.

Look at the many steps taken for this this man:
  1. Went to him – God pursues us with His Word, He comes to us.
  2. Bound up his wounds – Forgiveness of sin, justification by faith
  3. Poured on oil and wine – Oil is Gospel forgiveness, wine is the Law.
  4. Set him on his beast – God provides continuing help.
  5. Brought him to an inn – He created the church for the Means of Grace.
  6. Took care of him – The care and compassion are continuous.

As Luther said about Galatians and Paul’s greeting – grace and peace are two great words. Grace comes from God – it is the forgiveness that takes away our sins. Peace is the result of this forgiveness, which we receive through faith.

Even better, this forgiveness is not for tiny sins but for great sins, not for conquered sins (because no one can conquer his own sins) but for nagging sins.
This forgiveness is for many, for all sins.

The wounded does not deserve healing. The wounded needs healing. As we know from many medical shows, the healing needs to start early.

We are not forgiven because we deserve forgiveness. The healing begins with the Gospel, because without forgiveness the wounds continue to fester and worsen. There are many stories of ancients who had one wound and died as a result. One man kicked a stone in frustration and died later from the infection that began from that injury.

Luther pointed out – the oil represents the healing of the Gospel, the wine the antiseptic qualities of the Law.

God’s care is continuous. It is not an instant of forgiveness and “never do this again” but a life-long relationship. Abiding on the True Vine – as Jesus explained in John 15. Note the Analogy of Faith.

Christ created the church by sending the Holy Spirit, the Means of Grace for our life as Christians. He also continues to care for each every one of us.

35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

This is perfect example of how God works through the Gospel, because the earlier steps were not only adequate but far beyond human efforts. On top of those previous ways to help the man, the Christ-figure speaks to the inn-keeper and says, “Here is money for the rest of his recovery. If you spend more, I will pay you back.”

We could see the inn-keeper as those of us within the church who care for others. Whatever we spend in time and money on others will be paid back, when “He comes again.” There are many examples in the teaching of Jesus to show that what is spent or taken away from us will be returned to us many times over (Analogy of Faith again).

Man looks at this as balancing accounts. Why help a stranger? I will be out some money, risk something, and never get paid back, never thanked even. The true Gospel message is to help without expect pay, rewards, or thanks. That is why the visible church is breaking down. Career-minded clergy put their own accounts first and will not risk anything for someone beaten, robbed, and left half-dead on the road.

36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

Love your neighbor, first of all, means love and trust in Christ. John 16:8ff teaches without any doubt – sin is not believing in Christ.

This is not a Law parable but a Gospel parable. The Law salesmen never realize that good works come from a good person. Faith in Christ makes us good, so forgiveness leads to good works as the fruit of faith.

Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity
Covenant and Grace

"The Old Testament dealt with the promises of God to the chosen people. Thereby God placed Himself in 'covenant' relation to Israel (berith). This relation, like the promises and the gifts of God to Israel, is always onesided. It is always God's covenant, not Israel's, and not a mutual agreement, not a suntheke. This promise and covenant indeed obligates Israel, and Israel assumes these obligations, but the covenant emanates entirely from God."
            R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews, Columbus: Lutheran Book Concern, 1938, p. 235. Hebrews 7:22;        

"To be sure, Baptism is so great that if you turn from sins and appeal to the covenant of Baptism, your sins are forgiven. Only see to it--if you sin in this wicked and wanton manner by presuming on God's grace--that the judgment does not lay hold of you and forestall your turning back. And even if you then wanted to believe and trust in your Baptism, your trial might by God's decree, be so great that faith could not stand the strain. If they scarcely remain in the faith who do no sin or who fall because of sheer weakness, where will your brazen wickedness remain, which has challenged and mocked God's grace? Let us, therefore, walk with care and fear that we may hold fast the riches of God's grace with a firm faith and joyfully give thanks to His mercy forever and ever. Amen."
            Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 57. Treatise on Baptism, 1519  

"And, in a word, it remains eternally true what the Son of God says, John 15:5: Without Me ye can do nothing. And Paul, Philippians 2:13: It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. To all godly Christians who feel and experience in their hearts a small spark or longing for divine grace and eternal salvation this precious passage is very comforting; for they know that God has kindled in their hearts this beginning of true godliness, and that He will further strengthen and help them in their great weakness to persevere in true faith unto the end."
            Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, II. 14. Free Will Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 885. Philippians 2:13; John 15:5      

"These treasures are offered us by the Holy Ghost in the promise of the holy Gospel; and faith alone is the only means by which we lay hold upon, accept, and apply, and appropriate them to ourselves. This faith is a gift of God, by which we truly learn to know Christ, our Redeemer, in the Word of the Gospel, and trust in Him, that for the sake of His obedience alone we have the forgiveness of sins by grace, are regarded as godly and righteous by God the Father, and are eternally saved."            Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, III 10 Righteousness Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 919.        

"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, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 925. 


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