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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Fouth Sunday after Trinity. Luke 6:36-42



The Fourth Sunday after Trinity, 2013


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




The Hymn # 452     The Son of God                1:10
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 #531            Come Ye Disconsolate            1:15

How To Deal with Enemies

The Communion Hymn # 308            Invited Lord                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 # 413     I Walk in Danger                   1:67

KJV Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

KJV Luke 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. 39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? 40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. 41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.

Fourth Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father, who art merciful, and through Christ didst promise us, that Thou wilt neither judge nor condemn us, but graciously forgive us all our sins, and abundantly provide for all our wants of body and soul: We pray Thee, that by Thy Holy Spirit Thou wilt establish in our hearts a confident faith in Thy mercy, and teach us also to be merciful to our neighbor, that we may not judge or condemn others, but willingly forgive all men, and, Judging only ourselves, lead blessed lives in Thy fear, through Thy dear Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.




How We Deal with Enemies


KJV Luke 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

This is an interesting sermon by Jesus, because it is often turned upside-down. For example, there are many public broadcasts of victims going to violent criminals and forgiving the unrepentant. Some Christian leaders have insisted on this as some kind of healing. In fact, the criminals should be confessing and begging for forgiveness.

This quasi-Christian sentimentality omits the concept of the keys. Jesus clearly taught the binding and the loosing key. But it is in the spirit of Pietism that everyone is forgiven, especially those without faith, a Gospel so universalistic that we should not be surprised it is followed by law nagging. Everyone today is forgiven, except those who recycle. Everyone is absolved from all sin, except those who confine marriage to one man marrying one woman. (Polyamory is the new fad, now, so definitions must be more precise.)

The worst thing to do is to offer forgiveness to the unrepentant, because it hardens that person in worse sin. For instance, when a synod president publicly absolved his unrepentant felonious staffer, the staffer went back to his behavior just as a dog returns to its vomit.

Luther called the distinction between Law and Gospel so difficult that no one is ever a master of it. Still, we should not stop our study of it because of its difficulty.

9. Now this has been said of faith and works as an introduction to our Gospel lesson, namely, that the motion of faith is inward and upward, of works outward and downward. For thus are we righteous before God and men, in that we honor God and look direct to him and believe according to his Word, and in love do sufficient for our neighbor. Let us now consider the words of today’s Gospel in their order. “Be ye merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”

37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:

No passage has been more abused than this one, and the cancer comes from Carl Rogers, a liberal minister turned psychologist, who warned everyone, “Do not judge.” If someone confessed to murdering a sibling, the right response was not, “Oh no!” but “You were angry, weren’t you?” Be understanding – do not judge.

Now we have millions trained in responding to any discussion of right and wrong with “You are being judgmental.” The spirit of the Left is always to condemn, and this statement is constantly being used to clobber traditionalists.

So, jumping on someone is not exactly in the spirit of this passage. It is just the opposite.

Luther’s counsel was clear. In private matters we should cover the sins of others, just as Christ covers ours. However, with public matters, there should not be cover-ups, because public exposure warns others not to follow the same course of action.
In synodical politics today, the leaders follow the opposite track. They use whispering campaigns to undermine pastors and get rid of those who question them. However, when a church worker commits a felony (if he or she is a pal), the structure denies knowledge, makes up cover stories, and attacks the person who knows the truth. No mercy is shown the faithful pastors and laity, who are hated out of the synod.

One liberal LCA bishop candidate got the votes he needed with a whispering campaign. The other candidate would not make a good bishop because that man’s wife was in a wheelchair. So the back-stabber won the election and continued to refer to his opponent using a girl’s name (not the man’s nicknamed) in a condescending way. And yet the winner worked hard on his own image as a compassionate, caring man.

In our everyday relationships, we should not assume motives and attribute evil intentions for our neighbors. College instructors have a lot of power and it is often abused. I have found that when students post diatribes in the message folders, there are two possible reasons. One is personal turmoil. The other is misunderstanding.

Where this verse needs to be applied the most is in the family. One can easily add up a list of irritations and wrongs, things forgotten and left undone, promises broken and so forth. If everyone condemns everyone else, no one is made better. But if we show the same kind of forgiveness we need, everyone is improved.

The quality of mercy is such, as Shakespeare (Oxford) said, “It is twice blessed. It blesses the giver and the receiver.” We know the author was a Christian, because Oxford’s Bible has been found with the same notations where those Biblical insights are used in the plays.

38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

I have heard this used for stewardship, but the context is clearly giving forgiveness, showing mercy. Those who show mercy will have mercy given to them. Abundant mercy given means abundant blessings from this.

This grace can only come from the Means of Grace, not from our own imaginations. And yet it is not just a matter of going through the motions and saying words without meaning them. The Gospel is meant for humble, contrite hearts, not for cagey, wily scoundrels who use the Word of God to feed their carnal desires. I still find people lying for Bishop Martin Stephan and his clergy, who saw the women in their cult as their slaves to be used accordingly. The break came when venereal disease broke out among the young women and it could not longer be denied or covered-up with clever lies.

This requires discernment, and that is often lacking today. People overlook false doctrine but want a pound of flesh for every slight they feel or imagine. Just the opposite is true.

There is no forgiveness for public false doctrine. That is especially true of those who continue to spread their errors with arrogance and ignorance.

It is certainly good and worthwhile to address doctrinal matters privately at first, Matthew 18, but now this consideration is being used as an excuse for the superior to get even, the pastor with the layman, the circuit pastor with the parish pastor, the DP with the circuit pastors. “You had to come to me first, so now I get to punish you for being a terrible sinner.”

Matthew 18 addresses private sins, but also provides for “telling it to the church.”

Given the way this is abused today, anyone in the right position can do whatever he or she wants.

Also, identifying false doctrine is not slander. However, it is slander to claim that, falsely and maliciously.

Notice that nothing is hated more than someone publishing, “This is what he spoke or write in public, and it is wrong, for these reasons.” The immediate drama queen response is to scream “Slander!” and seek revenged.

Luther addressed many of these remarks to the Catholic persecution of Lutherans in his day, which included horrible imprisonment, burning at the stake, confiscation of property, and more subtle forms of punishment.

Now we see the denominations practicing this on their own faithful pastors and congregations. They go to court to grab property and endowments (WELS, Episcopal, LCMS, ELCA, etc). They drive pastors out and complain loudly that those ministers left. They use church loans and pensions to manipulate people.

The ELS, LCMS, and WELS leaders will drop by a parish and “fire” a pastor when they have no legal right and no moral right – certainly no Scriptural right – to do that. And yet, these same white knights of DPdom will protect and promote the worst false teachers, the known adulterers, and the confessed sexual criminals.

This is interesting – these DPs and SPs will say to a congregation, “If you do not do as I command, I will kick the parish out of the synod, and you will never get another teacher or pastor again.”
An ELCA pastor in my hometown addressed this well. They wrote to the synod staff, “If any one of you shows up on our property, the Moline Police will arrest you.”

I hear from many pastors and laity, but I cannot give details that will identify them. I know how brutal and criminal these synodical leaders are today. Yes, people elect the people who persecute them and give them millions for them to use to feather their own nests.

I tell people, “Consider it an honor that they treat you so poorly, because that proves you are being faithful to the Word. Your cross to bear is your own synodical leadership, your own circuit pastors and DPs. And the conservative savior you elect as SP is just as much a fraud as the rest.”

Luther issued the Roman clergy a warning – they would pay for their terrible crimes against the faithful. So it will be for the ELCA, WELS, LCMS, ELS, and micro-minis. Nothing is easier for a clergyman to betray a trust or break the law. Society assumes the best until the VD break out, until molested mothers of molested children take their DP to court and to prison. Even then the Jodie Arias of WELS can serve a few years in prison and get out, showing up as a youth leader for his synod. Why not? Everyone is forgiven and saved, period, end of sentence, quoth DP Buchholz.

The more they wrap their false doctrine around the fetid stink of their deeds, the more they will suffer God’s judgment.

Therefore see to it that you lead a better life and conversation than your enemies, who will practice upon you all kinds of unmerciful deeds by judging and condemning you. Moreover they will not only not forgive you any sin, but will proclaim your best works and deeds of mercy as the greatest sins. Again, they will not only not give you anything, but they will also hunt down that which is your own, and will take and keep it by violence. Thus they will treat you. But beware, that you be not like them; on the other hand where they judge, judge not; where they condemn, bless; where they take revenge, forgive; when they take, give. For immediately before, the Lord teaches the very same when he says: Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you.

4. In this manner St. Paul also admonishes the Christians at Rome ( Romans 12:18-19): “If it be possible, as much as in you lieth, be at peace with all men. Avenge not yourselves, beloved, but give place unto the wrath of God.” Christ here teaches the very same when he says: Be merciful, judge not, condemn not, avenge not yourselves, give unto and assist everyone, in order that you may not become equally as bad as your enemies; but rather that they may be prevailed upon by your kind and friendly conversation, to give you a good testimony, and finally be compelled to say conscientiously: Behold, we judge and condemn these people, and carry out all our maliciousness against them; against this they neither defend or avenge themselves, but suffer it all patiently, and besides, they overcome evil with good, Surely, they cannot be bad people, because they have so much patience, and reward evil with good; I myself, will also hold to them, because they do no one any harm, although they have good reasons for so doing.

39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? 40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. 41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.

This section is addressed to the hard of heart, and also to us, so we do not participate in the same sins. Some clergy think, “I have not engaged in persecution,” but they are silent when they see their fellow pastors kicked out. They even reverse themselves when they think there is a price to be paid. The Reformation clergy who faced prison and burning at the stake, would have loved the relative protection we have today.

These people, like the martyrs (witnesses) before them, put their trust in Christ alone and not in the wisdom of man.



Trials

"Therefore God must lead us to a recognition of the fact that it is He who puts faith in our heart and that we cannot produce it ourselves. Thus the fear of God and trust in Him must not be separated from one another, for we need them both, in order that we may not become presumptuous and overconfident, depending upon ourselves. This is one of the reasons why God leads His saints through such great trials."
            Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 21. Luke 2:41-52.     

"Therefore, such a trial of the saints is as necessary or even more necessary than food and drink, in order that they may remain in fear and humility, and learn to adhere alone to the grace of God."
            Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 40. Luke 2:41-52.        

"Secondly, God permits His saints to suffer these trials as an example for others, both to alarm the carnally secure and to comfort the timid and alarmed...But when we see and hear that God has in like manner dealt with His saints and did not spare even His own mother, we have the knowledge and comfort that we need not despair in our trials, but remain quiet and wait until He helps us, even as He has helped all His saints."
            Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 40f. Luke 2:41-52.     

"Nor does He send such trial upon you in order to cast you off, but that you may the better learn to know and the more closely cling to His Word, to punish your lack of understanding and that you may experience how earnestly and faithfully He cares for you."
            Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 44. Luke 2:41-52.       

"Not only is Christ hidden from the world, but a still harder thing is it that in such trials Christ conceals himself even from His church, and acts as if He had forgotten, aye, had entirely forsaken and rejected it, since He permits it to be oppressed under the cross and subjected to all the cruelty of the world, while its enemies boast, glory and rejoice over it, as we shall hear in the next Gospel."
            Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 67. John 10:11-16.     

"We should take to heart and firmly hold fast to these words and keep them in mind when in sorrow and distress, that it will not last long, then we would also have more constant joy, for as Christ and His elect had their 'a little while,' so you and I and everyone will have his 'a little while.' Pilate and Herod will not crucify you, but in the same manner as the devil used them so he will also use your persecutors. Therefore when your trials come, you must not immediately think how you are to be delivered out of them. God will help you in due time. Only wait. It is only for a little while, He will not delay long."
            Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 77. John 16:16-23   

Ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy "This is spoken to all Christians, for every Christian must have temptations, trails, anxieties, adversities, sorrows, come what may. Therefore He mentions here no sorrow nor trial, He simply says they shall weep, lament, and be sorrowful, for the Christian has many persecutions. Some are suffering loss of goods; others there are whose character is suffering ignominy and scorn; some are drowned, others are burned; some are beheaded; one perishes in this manner, and another in that; it is therefore the lot of the Christian constantly to suffer misfortune, persecution, trials and adversity. This is the rod or fox tail with which they are punished. They dare not look for anything better as long as they are here. This is the court color by which the Christian is recognized, and if anyone wants to be a Christian, he dare not be ashamed of his court color or livery."
            Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 79. John 16:16-23         

"O Lord, look down from heaven, behold And let Thy pity waken; How few are we within Thy fold, Thy saints by men forsaken! True faith seems quenched on every hand, Men suffer not Thy Word to stand; Dark times have us overtaken. (2) With fraud which they themselves invent Thy truth they have confounded; Their hearts are not with one consent On Thy pure doctrine grounded. While they parade with outward show, They lead the people to and fro, In error's maze astounded. (3) May God root out all heresy And of false teachers rid us Who proudly say: 'Now, where is he That shall our speech forbid us? By right or might we shall prevail; What we determine cannot fail; We own no lord and master. (5) As silver tried by fire is pure From all adulteration So through God's Word shall men endure Each trial and temptation. Its light beams brighter through the cross, And purified from human dross, It shines thru every nation."
            Martin Luther, 1523, "O Lord, Look Down from Heaven, Behold," The Lutheran Hymnal, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1941, Hymn #260. Psalm 12. 

Value of Trials
"One Christian who has been tried is worth a hundred who have not been tried for the blessing of God grows in trials. He who has experienced them can teach, comfort, and advise many in bodily and spiritual matters."
            Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, III, p. 1381. Genesis 27:28-29.        

Baptism
"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. 



The text: Psalm 4:2  How long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing?

"Hence, nothing more pestilential and destructive can be taught a Christian than moral philosophy and the decrees of men, if they be so set before him as to make him believe that he can walk in and by them so as to please God.  For by such instruction it will come to pass that, relying on this wisdom, he will judge, condemn, and persecute whatever he sees is against him, and will thereby reject the cross of Christ and utterly despise the way of God, which is in its best and most propitious state when we are following, as through a desert and wilderness, Christ in a pillar of fire.
 .....


"If the affections and thoughts of men are without faith in God, they are without the Word of God; if they are without the Word of God, they are without truth.  Thus all things which are without faith are vanities and lies; for faith is truth by the Word of truth in which it believes and to which it cleaves by believing."


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