Lutheran Worship and Resources

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Quasimodogeniti - The First Sunday after Easter. 1 John 5:4-10

This is My Beloved Son,
by Norma Boeckler.

Quasimodogeniti, The First Sunday after Easter, 2013

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

The Hymn # 199                 Jesus Christ is Risen  1:83
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 #200                I Know that My Redeemer            1:80

Christ Revealed To All

The Communion Hymn #187            Christ Is Arisen                     1:45
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 # 195 (Luther)            Christ Jesus             1:46

Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead,
by Norma Boeckler.

First Sunday After Easter

Lord God, heavenly Father, we thank Thee, that of Thine ineffable grace, for the sake of Thy Son, Thou hast given us the holy gospel, and hast instituted the holy sacraments, that through the same we may have comfort and forgiveness of sin: We beseech Thee, grant us Thy Holy Spirit, that we may heartily believe Thy word; and through the holy sacraments day by day establish our faith, until we at last obtain salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

KJV 1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. 10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

KJV John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. 21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. 26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. 30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Lenski’s Introduction to 1 John:
The First Epistle of St. John
The fact that the First Epistle of John was written by the Apostle John and by no one else is beyond serious question. This letter is an encyclical that is intended for the congregations that were under John’s special care; it was occasioned by the antichristian teachings of Cerinthus and of his following. It is usually supposed that this letter was written only to the congregations in the province of Asia; but when Peter wrote in the year 64 he addressed all those in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, and we think that now, about twenty-five or thirty years later, John would address even a greater number in this extensive territory.
The same pen that wrote this letter wrote the Fourth Gospel. Before the year 66 John and other apostles were forced to leave Jerusalem because of the war that ended with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish nation. John made Ephesus his headquarters and worked from this as a center until he died at an advanced age about the year 100. He was buried at Ephesus. He writes as an old man. He does not indicate that he is the founder of the congregations addressed in his letter but that he has been known to them for many years and that a tender bond of affection exists between him and all his many readers. Seven times he calls them τεκνία, “little children,” twice he addresses them as παιδία, six times as “beloved.” This is the voice of a father.
Cerinthus was active in Ephesus during this time. He taught that Jesus was the physical son of Joseph; that the “eon Christ” was united with Jesus at his baptism but left Jesus before his passion and his death. He rejected all the Gospels, all of Paul’s letters, and accepted only parts of Matthew and of Mark. He was a former Jew from Egypt and combined Jewish ideas with what we may call the beginnings of Gnosticism and sought to produce a spiritualized Mosaism, which was to be a universal religion. He retained circumcision and the Sabbath. The Jewish conception of the millennium was attributed to him by the Alogi; hence those church fathers who opposed chiliasm and thought that Revelation taught this doctrine ascribed Revelation to Cerinthus and thus rejected this writing. This heretic left no writings, but Irenæus (Adv. Haer. 1, 26; 3, 3, 4; etc.) and others supply a reliable account of him and of his teaching.
According to Eusebius, Irenæus quotes Polycarp, his teacher and a pupil of the Apostle John: “That John, the disciple of the Lord, having gone to take a bath in Ephesus and having seen Cerinthus inside, left the baths, refusing to bathe, and said: ‘Let us flee lest also the baths fall in since Cerinthus is inside, the enemy of the truth.”
It is safe to date the composition of John’s letter at Ephesus some time after the year 80. It should not be called “catholic,” for it is not addressed to all churches that were then in existence but only to all those whom John can call “my little children.”
This letter is plainly polemical. Dangerous heresy called it forth. In this letter the writer emphasizes the deity of Christ and pronounces a severe verdict on those who deny the deity. Three times John uses the frank word “liar.” He also refers to “the blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (1:7; 5:5, 6), which is directed at Cerinthus.
A second denunciation, resting on the first, deals with the hatred against those who are born of God as his sons and children, who are repeatedly urged to love God. This thought is likewise stressed throughout the letter and is directed at Cerinthus and his separatist following. Other points of a similar nature are mentioned, these two stand out as supreme.
The question is discussed as to whether this letter was written before or after John’s Gospel. It is immaterial what answer is given to this question. We think that the letter was written before the Gospel.
Since there were copies of this letter in so many churches late in the first century, the authorship and the authority of this letter were at the very beginning placed beyond question. Quotations and allusions to passages go back to the earliest times; tradition on this point is unanimously in favor of Johannine authorship. There is a direct line of evidence from John through his pupils Polycarp and Papias to Irenæus. Zahn, Introduction, III, 180, 184, 191. This letter was thus at once and without hesitation placed into the New Testament canon. Modern efforts to cast a doubt on its canonicity are unavailing.
A curious circumstance regarding the letter is the fact that it seems to have no divisions. Commentators divide it in one way or in another and state their reasons for such a division; but when one reads the letter, the proposed divisions do not satisfy. They are upset by the series of repetitions and reiterations that occur throughout the letter. That fact leads some interpreters to complain about the lack of logic; but this letter has no formal parts such as we commonly use and expect. It is constructed according to a different and a higher method.
Observe that “light” and “darkness” (1:5, 6) are repeated, also “truth” as light. Forgiveness of sin is mentioned several times. The truth that Jesus Christ is the Son of God is the golden thread of the entire pattern. Connected with him is his blood (1:7; 4:6), the propitiation for our sins and for the world’s sins (2:4). “Liar” is used three times. “His commandments” (plural and singular) is found in 2:3–8; 3:23; 4:2, 3. Pivotal is “love.” As the letter moves along, new threads are woven into it, some that disappear, others that reappear. Yet the whole is but one pattern. The heretics are introduced at 2:18 and reappear in 4:1, etc., and in 5:18, 19. Sons of God, children of God, being born of God begin at 2:29 and continue throughout the letter. Believing on the name of his Son Jesus Christ is introduced at 3:25 and is found also in 4:16; 5:1, 5, 13. Bearing witness appears toward the end (5:6–11). At the very end we have “idols,” which seems strange to many. This inventory is not exhaustive.
What do these data mean? John rises above formal divisions and parts. This letter is built like an inverted pyramid or cone. The basic apex is laid down in 1:1–4; then the upward broadening begins. Starting with 1:5–10, the base rises and expands and continues in ever-widening circles as one new pertinent thought joins the preceding thought. One block is not laid beside the other so that joints are made. There are really no joints, not even where the new thoughts are introduced. The line of thought simply spirals in rising, widening circles until all is complete. Keeping from idols (5:21) is only the brief, final touch.
This is an unusual structure in writing but for that very reason is superior to the common types of composition. There are others in Scripture that are equally unusual. One is Isa. 40 to 66 which is built of triads within greater triads, these again being within still greater triads, and each of the little triads is a block, a little individual poem by itself.
I have never found the like in all literature. No poetical composition approaches this in structure. Ecclesiastes and parts of Proverbs are also unique in structure. In the latter each little piece is a perfect verbal and thought gem by itself; it is like a diamond in which not one facet could be changed. Each gem, perfect in itself, can be admired by itself yet is set into a perfect pattern with a few others and with them forms a unit that is to be admired as such. Then these patterns are combined into still greater designs.
In the Biblical books there are grander buildings of thought than even our best secular writers have conceived. Inspiration has produced some marvelous, incomparable results. Let some competent student display them for us as they deserve to be displayed. John’s First Epistle is built like this: [drawing of inverted spiral]
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of the Epistles of St. Peter, St. John and St. Jude. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1966, S. 361.

Christ Revealed To All

KJV 1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

The Seventh Circle of Facts, Centering on Testimony, Faith, Life 5:4–17
4) In 4:14 “we are testifying” recalls the beginning of the epistle: “we are testifying and are declaring to you” (1:2). John now weaves in the facts regarding this testimony. He does so at this point where he has connected believing with love. We have these two together in 3:23, and believing continues in the development in 4:1; 4:16; 5:1. John now joins testimony and believing. All testimony wants to be believed, it is offered for that purpose only. All true testimony ought to be believed; not to believe it is to make him who testifies a liar. John adds what this means for the liar.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of the Epistles of St. Peter, St. John and St. Jude. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1966, S. 522.

KJV 1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world…

Although John’s vocabulary and grammar are very simple in Greek, his thoughts are so profound that his symbol is the eagle, who soars higher and higher. The more we read this simple phrases, the more we appreciated what is in them.
Just as God chose Greek to be the language of the Gospel, as Luther pointed out, so it seems that God designed our introduction to Greek to be the simplest writer with the most profound spiritual wisdom.

Most New Testament students start with John’s Gospel to learn the language today, so they have the benefit of working with phrases that will stick with them as they grasp the language of Jesus and the apostles.

This first phrase is important, especially in connection with the verse and the lesson.

The God-born overcome the world. [New Jackson Living Bible Translation] That is a statement of spiritual fact but also a message of comfort.

What does it mean to be God-born? The famous encounter with a leading Jewish leader, Nicodemus (John 3: Nick at Night) gives us the additional details. The Holy Spirit converts someone so he is born from above (pun on “again”), which makes him a brother with the One Sent From Above.

John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Or – A man must be converted by the Word/Spirit to enter the Kingdom of God.

This is a message of great comfort, because the apostle is saying, “All believers have conquered the world.”

It may seem as if the world and all unbelievers are constant winners. Christians often feel crushed and oppressed. The faithful in all Protestant groups experience shock and dismay at the worst apostates being rewarded and advanced, their offering money wasted on clowns and circuses.

In the public arena, Congress and the courts consider things that were not even debated a few decades ago.

Nevertheless, the God-born, the believers have already conquered the world. We are in the world, and suffering for a time, but not of the world, just as some are in their synods but not of their synods.

and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

What does “our faith” mean? Faith in Jesus Christ – all that He has done for us, all that He has taught us, all His miracles that undergird His teaching. By that I mean an emphasis upon “all.”

Faith does not pick and choose some verses, some phrases. Trusting the Word of the Gospel means reliance upon the Bible as a whole and those parts we are studying at the moment – all linked to the whole.

The victory means that we do not love that world that hates us as believers. That is the first shock as we leave the sheltered confines of a family. There is an instant hate that some have toward believers, and there is a general distrust of all believers, plus a mockery of their troubles, etc.

If we measure things the way the world does, we become part of that and we begin to look at our lives the way unbelievers do. I like to compare Lutheran experiences with those of other groups, to show how typical all this is.

For example, a Baptist seminary wanted to grow and become more prosperous. They dropped their denominational name to make it generic – Denver Seminary. That made it match the very successful (financially, that is) Fuller Seminary, where every denomination, Roman Catholics, and the occult are welcome. Their prized speaker Paul Y. Cho teaches occult spirit worship and was even kicked out of the Assemblies of God for his deviant doctrine.

The Baptist seminary was quite miffed at me for pointing this out and sent me an impertinent comment, implying I violated the Eighth Commandment. Obviously, they wanted to be prosperous, which meant abandoning their confession of faith. Once a group begins to love the things of the world, it loses it soul. Thereby it loses the victory.

5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

We can judge how bizarre and mixed-up this world is, because faith is often presented (within and outside of the church) as something bad.

“You believe in Creation? Ho. Ho.” (Typical secular view)

“You believe in your own faith, so you are making your faith the cause of your salvation.” (UOJ)

All our learning is retrospective when we read the Scriptures, but the Easter accounts show us how the initial faith of the followers was changed by the resurrection of Christ.

Before, they believed in Him but they had an impartial grasp of what that meant. When the risen Christ appeared before them and taught them, they began to see beyond the Old Testament title of Messiah – King.

John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
This is a transition, from hailing Jesus as the Son of David (entry into Jerusalem) to confessing Him as God, Savior, and Lord.

6 This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

The references to water and blood in John are not accidental. The repetition means they are especially important.

It is well remembered about the flow of blood and water from the soldier piercing Jesus during the crucifixion.

But the reference is also made in Mark –

KJV Mark 10:38 But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?

The cup is wine, representing the atoning sacrifice, and baptism is connected with water.

The Scriptures teach us about the Word and the visible Word, the Sacraments.

The Holy Spirit was promised to the disciples, and this Spirit brought to remembrance everything that happened to them.

7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

The Father is the witness, because He spoke from heaven, saying “This is My Beloved Son, In Whom I am well pleased” and repeating the first part, said “Listen to Him.”

The Father-Son relationship and cooperative work and teaching do not exclude the Holy Spirit, because the revealed Word, taught and preached Word bear witness through the Spirit.

No faithful sermon is given without the Spirit, and no sermon is received by any individual without the Spirit.

The Trinitarian emphasis is impossible to miss, and yet many “great” theologians have denied the Trinity in the Bible, thanks to the unclean spirit of rationalism.

The foundational thinker for UOJ was Georg Knapp of Halle University. His lectures and his book (still in print) informed a vast number of Protestants about theology. He simply denied that the Trinity was taught in the Scriptures in the same way it was confessed in the Christian Church. So the man who taught Stephan, the founder of the LCMS, whether face-to-face or through the printed word, was an anti-Trinitarian rationalist. Given the nature of the revealed Word, what does that say about the foundations of UOJ? Is denying the Trinity just “talking past each other?”

Rationalism never finds satisfaction. If the Trinity must be denied, then the divinity of Christ must also be rejected. This is also connected with the Sacraments, because denying the divinity of Christ turns them into mere ordinances of man, and calling them that is also a way of denying the entire message of the Word.

Unity of the Word

Although no one can grasp the entire message of the Scriptures, and say, “I know it all now,” we can all study the Word and trust in the complete unity of the Word.

When one passage seems dark and mysterious to us, another one will shed light on it.

The rationalist has to stop and think, “Which part of this agrees with me?” But the believer says, “I am working on understanding how this is part of the entire Gospel.”


"Thus we have two parts, preaching and believing.  His coming to us is preaching; His standing in our hearts is faith.  For it is not sufficient that He stand before our eyes and ears; He must stand in the midst of us in our hearts, and offer and impart to us peace."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids:  Baker Book House, 1983, II,  p. 355.               

"This is going through closed doors, when He comes into the heart through the Word, not breaking nor displacing anything.  For when the Word of God comes, it neither injures the conscience, nor deranges the understanding of the heart and the external senses; as the false teachers do who break all the doors and windows, breaking through like thieves, leaving nothing whole and undamaged, and perverting, falsifying and injuring all life, conscience, reason, and the senses.  Christ does not do thus."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 355. 

"Hence I send you into the world as my Father hath sent me; namely, that every Christian should instruct and teach his neighbor, that he may also come to Christ.  By this, no power is delegated exclusively to popes and bishops, but all Christians are commanded to profess their faith publicly and also to lead others to believe."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 359.   
"The first and highest work of love a Christian ought to do when he has become a believer, is to bring others also to believe in the way he himself came to believe.  And here you notice Christ begins and institutes the office of the ministry of the external Word in every Christian; for He Himself came with this office and the external Word."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 359.

"Now God drives us to this by holding the law before us, in order that through the law we may come to a knowledge of ourselves.  For where there is not this knowledge, one can never be saved.  He that is well needs no physician; but if a man is sick and desires to become well, he must know that he is weak and sick, otherwise he cannot be helped."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 370. 

"For the devil will not allow a Christian to have peace; therefore Christ must bestow it in a manner different from that in which the world has and gives, in that he quiets the heart and removes from within fear and terror, although without there remain contention and misfortune."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 380.   
"Reformed theologians, in order to support their denial of the illocalis modus subsistendi of Christ's human nature, have sought, in their exposition of John 20, an opening in the closed doors, or a window, or an aperture in the roof or in the walls, in order to explain the possibility of Christ's appearance in the room where the disciples were assembled."
            Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1950, II, p. 127.

Jesus asleep in the storm,
by Norma Boeckler.

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