Lutheran Worship and Resources



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

Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
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Thanksgiving Eve - 7 PM Central Time.

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

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

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
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Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson's Author's Page

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Second Sunday in Lent - Matthew 15:21-28.
The Canaanite Woman

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Reminiscere Sunday, The Second Sunday in Lent, 2013


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn #652   I Lay My Sins on Jesus              1:24
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual       
The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 454            Prayer Is the Soul's Sincere Desire     1:41


Feeling the Frown

The Hymn # 281                 The Savior Calls               1:29
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 # 374                 Grace Tis a Charming Sound 1:91

KJV 1 Thessalonians 4:1 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. 2 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: 4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; 5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: 6 That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. 7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.

KJV Matthew 15:21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. 23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. 24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. 26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. 27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. 28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Second Sunday In Lent

Lord God, heavenly Father, grant us, we beseech Thee, by Thy Holy Spirit, that He may strengthen our hearts and confirm our faith and hope in Thy grace and mercy, so that, although we have reason to fear because of our conscience, our sin, and our unworthiness, we may nevertheless, with the woman of Canaan, hold fast to Thy grace, and in every trial and temptation find Thee a very present help and refuge, 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.


Feeling the Frown

KJV Matthew 15:21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.

Lessons like this one make me wonder if the Lutheran leaders have ever cracked open a Bible. I had a church member who used to say, “What translation are they using?” He was always mystified about how the synod officials could turn a passage upside-down to excuse their horrid behavior and worse doctrine.

This lesson focuses on faith and the characteristics of faith, and yet it is communicated in such a dark and bitter setting that many wonder about its meaning and shy away from it.

First, we have to consider – does the Bible ever wander from its one message of presenting Christ to us? Did Matthew and the Evangelists stumble upon some dark and forbidding story that served as an exception?
Not at all. Those who pick apart the Bible for their own agenda will try to say that, but they give themselves away in a few words.

The energy center for justification without faith is Halle University, a school created to promote Pietism. This movement called Pietism began when Spener used Arndt (an orthodox Lutheran writer) to promote a new agenda, just as Luther is used today to advance justification without faith (UOJ).

Spener was anti-confessional, justly called “the first union theologian,” because he blended Lutheran doctrine with Calvinism. This anti-confessional amalgamation created the Historical-Critical Method at Halle University (or fostered HCM). And what is the genius of HCM? – Picking apart each verse and assigning a meaning to it that is contrary to the Gospel.

WELS-LCMS-ELCA historical note: The WELS professor who adored UOJ, Richard Jungkuntz, was also the chairman of the board of the first gay Lutheran seminary, Seminex. He moved from WELS to LCMS to ELCA. His rationalistic approach to the Bible kept tripping him up and giving him away.

So I am getting back to the main theme. The purpose of the entire Bible, and each part, is to convey Christ to us and to bring us to faith through the power of the Holy Spirit in the Gospel Word. Be it ever so weak, that faith grasps Christ and all His benefits. And that Gospel continues to build and deepen our faith, which is God’s creation and handiwork.

Since faith in Christ is always good in the Bible, and Christ is always gracious, why does this lesson seem so harsh?

Luther says it well – this is a portrait of a person of faith, to show us the trials that lie before us, and how we should behave as believers. Christ seems to be distant, cold, and uncaring, because we often experience that in difficult times. So this lesson puts us in this woman’s place, so we say, “Yes I have been there” or “Now I can anticipate this” and we learn from God how to believe and think.

If we hear this lesson as children and teens, we may not realize the depth of feeling expressed. But it is good to know the lesson first, to know its real meaning, and apply it later as events unfold.

22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

This woman was an outsider, which is good. We often experience that. You were not born here. You were not born in this denomination. You are not related to one of the founders. You are not a charter member of the congregation.

There is another parable for the insiders – The Pharisee and the Publican.

The Canaanite woman was not a Jew, and that is crucial to this miracle, but she was a believer. She gave a correct confession of her faith, “O Lord, Son of David” and trusted in Him to heal her daughter, who was possessed.


Mark says, she heard some news about Jesus, Mark 7:25. What kind of news? Without doubt good news, and the good report that Christ was a pious man and cheerfully helped everybody. Such news about God is a true Gospel and a word of grace, out of which sprang the faith of this woman; for had she not believed, she would not have thus run after Christ etc. In like manner we have often heard how St. Paul in Romans 10:17 says that faith cometh by hearing, that the Word must go in advance and be the beginning of our salvation.

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23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

This shows us what it feels like to ask God and not seem to get an answer. Faith moves us to prayer based upon the Promises of God. But there can be long periods of apparent silence.

Not only that – the woman could feel or even hear the scorn of the disciples. They begged Jesus to send her away, because she was annoying them with her cries. Let’s say she did not understand their dialect or hear exactly what the disciples were saying. Their expressions gave them away, if nothing else.

Lenski:
Yet the disciples had never seen Jesus deny anyone pleading for help, although at times he had delayed a little while (John 4:47, etc.; Matt. 8:5, etc.), namely whenever some question had first to be settled. It is fair, therefore, to conclude that the disciples think of a dismissal by granting the woman’s prayer. They indicate, however, that they are not moved entirely by pity for her distress.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 595.

Luther was inclined to see this as “Give her what she wants and send her away.” But this cannot be understood as a positive and affirming response.


And Jesus did not even answer her, either with a yes or no.


3. But see in this example how Christ like a hunter exercises and chases faith in his followers in order that it may become strong and firm. First when the woman follows him upon hearing of his fame and cries with assured confidence that he would according to his reputation deal mercifully with her, Christ certainly acts differently, as if to let her faith and good confidence be in vain and turn his good reputation into a lie, so that she could have thought: Is this the gracious, friendly man? or: Are these the good words, that I have heard spoken about him, upon which I have depended? It must not be true; he is my enemy and will not receive me; nevertheless he might speak a word and tell me that he will have nothing to do with me. Now he is as silent as a stone. Behold, this is a very hard rebuff, when God appears so earnest and angry and conceals his grace so high and deep; as those know so well, who feel and experience it in their hearts. Therefore she imagines he will not fulfill what he has spoken, and will let his Word be false; as it happened to the children of Israel at the Red Sea and to many other saints.

This battle is often lost at this stage. It is easy to become a believer, but difficult to remain one in the face of many struggles. If we demand that God act in a certain way and in a certain amount of time, He is no longer God for us, or at least no longer gracious and tender-hearted, so we lose faith in the God of the Scriptures and strike out on our own.

Many have said, “I did not have my prayers answered, so I stopped believing.” This lesson is an antidote, to show us a different attitude on our part and the real nature of Christ.

Waiting is another part of faith in God. Little children trust, but they have trouble with impulse control. They want it now! I remember our granddaughter, now a young lady, saying to me, “You have to wait.” I thought at the time – she has heard that from parents…often. The little finger went in the air in a magisterial way “You have to wait.”

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24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

When Jesus finally spoke, the response seemed to be total rejection.

She was not a Jew. Jesus was not sent for her but for the lost sheep of Israel. She was outside that circle.

How many have felt this way? I am not good enough. I am not favored. Things have been so bad for so long, that only proves that I am rejected for being unworthy.

Many think that prayers are answered only for the previously perfect, misunderstanding that we are righteous and forgiven in Christ, perfect in the sight of God, through faith. If we are already perfect, forgiven, righteous, and saved without faith in Christ, then we have no need of Him.

As one man said, “I will join the church when I am good enough.”

This woman’s faith was created by the Word that Christ came to people, gracious, and kindly, powerful in answering prayers.

25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.

Do we worship God because He gives us what we want, when we want it? That is why people (especially denominational officials)) worship money, because the Money-God gives them what they want, when they want it.

The mother’s faith did not waver. She wanted her daughter healed.

26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.

Is Jesus calling her a dog? Lenski’s point is that the language is not derogatory. Here it means little dogs (pets) in the household rather than dogs as an insult.
In other words – this does not mean wild dogs in the street (bad) but the pets within the house (secondary to the children).  Who would take the children’s food and toss it in the street? That would invite all the mongrels to hang around the home for more.

Although this is not as harsh as it has been portrayed, the response is not exactly a Kodak moment in the Bible.

Many times clergy have been set aside and not given a chance at all. Loehe was stuck in a remote, rural village. But he was able to start foreign missions around the world and two seminaries in America (Wartburg and Ft. Wayne). The Loehe missionaries actually started the Missouri Synod and invited the Missouri people to join.

Likewise, two great pioneers of the Inner Mission were in bad situations. Necessity drove them develop some of the most remarkable charities, which influenced Europe and America. The idea of Lutheran hospitals, nursing homes, orphanages, soldier and sailor missions – came from those two men. Passavant, in America, took their ideas and did the work of several denominational headquarters. He was so sought after that he could have had the best and most secure parish call, but he chose to live for others and get by on his own. Passavant is the one who did not pay his assistant all summer long. The student wondered if he would ever get paid and really suffered like the Canaanite woman until the train was ready to leave. Passavant gave him his money then – enough for the entire year at school. That taught him not to worry about money but to trust in God’s providence.

That is how this woman turned the statement around – in faith.

27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.

She used the same word to express her faith in Him. She was content to apply that Word to herself, because the crumbs would be enough.

Pet dogs always expect the best from their owners. A dog will listen to a dozen “No’s” and still be cheerful, positive, and anxious to show love. I have had dogs check out my work as I started a grill, watch me through the windows when I open a bag of chicken, drop by when the meat was cooking, and sit under a glass table and stare up with big grins (the begging table).

This is an example of confidence in God’s goodness, which is the main teaching of the Scriptures. God commands what is good for us in the Ten Commandments. He gives us the Gospel for our sinful condition, and He pursues us with His teaching so that we remain in the fold of the Good Shepherd. In every case of providing, He provides many times more than what we need – especially about our spiritual wealth. In the meantime He also provides for our material needs.

This is another case of Jesus never refusing a plea from a believer. The Holy Spirit has preserved this miracle so we identify with the Canaanite woman and learn from her example.

28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Jesus commended the faith of this woman, this outsider. Patience is directly related to faith.

This woman did not have to prove her faith to Jesus. He already knew her thoughts and intentions. By waiting and challenging her, Jesus brought out the public example of her inner faith. Otherwise, it would have remained between the Savior and the woman. The disciples witnessed this and recorded it, as a great example for them in the future and for all believers.

The true Gospel has always been persecuted and the cross will continue until the end of time.

The biggest trial is the emotional one. The inner turmoil, the battle between faith and doubt, is often won by Satan wearing down the patience of the believer. These doubts or questions voiced by Jesus are all part of the believer’s battle.

Silence is one – I am getting no answer.

Waiting for an answer.

Hearing an apparent rejection – not for you, because you do not belong somehow.

“It must be because I do not count. I am one of the little pets, not a child of this household.”

But even the least receive generously from God. The pruning events make us more fruitful, while a life of ease makes us go to seed and do nothing for the Kingdom.

Struggles with health, business, and daily life cause anxiety and stress, yet God builds up great experiences out of apparent doom. It is not because believing is a virtue or a merit, but because God chooses to use believers to carry out His will in His way.



               A HARD SAYING

"But see in this example how Christ like a hunter exercises and chases faith in His followers in order that it may become strong and firm."
     Sermons of Martin Luther, ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids:  Baker Book House, 1983 II,  p. 149.  Matthew 15:21‑28.

"In like manner Moses must precede and teach people to feel their sins in order that grace may be sweet and welcome to them.  Therefore all is in vain, however friendly and lovely Christ may be pictured, if man is not first humbled by a knowledge of himself and he possesses no longing for Christ, as Mary's Song says, 'The hungry he hath filled with good things; and the rich he hath sent
empty away,' Luke 1:53."
     Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 149.
         
"All this is spoken and written for the comfort of the distressed, the poor, the needy, the sinful, the despised, so that they may know in all times of need to whom to flee and where to seek comfort and help."
     Sermons of Martin Luther, II,  p. 149.

"Now what does the poor woman do?  She turns her eyes from all this unfriendly treatment of Christ; all this does not lead her astray, neither does she take it to heart, but she continues immediately and firmly to cling in her confidence to the good news she had heard and embraced concerning Him, and never gives up.  We must also do the same and learn firmly to cling to the Word, even though God with all His creatures appears different than His Word teaches.  But, oh, how painful it is to nature and reason, that this woman should strip herself of self and forsake all that she experienced, and cling along to God's bare Word, until she experienced the contrary.  May God help us in time of need and of death to possess courage and faith!"
     Sermons of Martin Luther,  II,  p. 150. 
               WHAT WE LEARN

"As for example when we feel in our conscience that God rebukes us as sinners and judges us unworthy of the kingdom of heaven, then we experience hell, and we think we are lost forever.  Now whoever understands here the actions of this poor woman and catches God in His own judgment, and says, Lord, it is true, I am a sinner and not worthy of Thy grace; but still Thou hast promised sinners forgiveness, and Thou art come not to call the righteous, but, as St. Paul says in 1 Timothy 1:15, 'to save sinners.'  Behold, then must God according to His own judgment have mercy upon us."
     Sermons of Martin Luther, ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids:  Baker Book House, 1983 II,  p. 153. Matthew 15:21‑28; 1 Timothy 1:15 

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