Lutheran Worship and Resources

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Eighth Sunday after Trinity. Matthew 7:15-23

The Eighth Sunday after Trinity  2013

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

The Hymn # 39                    Praise to the Lord                              3:1  
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 #260                O Lord Look Down                1.4  

Metaphor Ignored

The Communion Hymn # 307            Draw Nigh                3:72
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 # 309     O Jesus Blessed Lord             3:70  

KJV Romans 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
KJV Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Eighth Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father, we most heartily thank Thee that Thou hast caused us to come to the knowledge of Thy word. We pray Thee: graciously keep us steadfast in this knowledge unto death, that we may obtain eternal life; send us now and ever pious pastors, who faithfully preach Thy word, without offense or false doctrine, and grant them long life. Defend us from all false teachings, and frustrate Thou the counsels of all such as pervert Thy word, who come to us in sheep's clothing, but are inwardly ravening wolves, that Thy true Church may evermore be established among us, and be defended and preserved from such false teachers, through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Metaphor Ignored

KJV Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Why are Luther’s sermons ignored so ferociously, especially among the “conservative” Lutherans? There are plenty of excuses for the non-Lutherans and the openly apostate Lutherans, but why is this so among those who claim to be “confessional” and even “orthodox”?

Lenker in print is my favorite reading material while waiting in doctor’s offices, so I am increasingly familiar with the scope and depth of his sermons. Recently I noticed how insightful he was about the norms of society now, even though he was writing about Medieval man.
One idea, still true today, is that people get better at their jobs as they progress through life and tend to earn more money. That is natural from having a well worked farm, additional skills and experience, or a business that has grown by gaining the trust of others.

Luther compared that to the ministry, where it often impoverishes someone, especially for doing a good job – that is, being faithful to the Word of God. We can see that with Luther’s wife, who managed several farms to support the family household. Chemnitz was the greatest genius of the age, after Luther died, but Chemnitz was driven from his position as bishop for questioning the ruler’s appeasement of the Romanists. Gerhardt the hymn-writer, likewise, wrote the greatest hymns of his age, but he barely managed. Teaching the Word invites a special scorn and hatred that others never experience or even imagine.

The corollary, so true today, is that many ministers avoid being faithful to the Word because the money is in false doctrine. They look at the fortunes of people in secular occupations and truly worship the golden calf, hoping to appease these men of business so they can have their share of the money and luxuries they covet.

If we look at “conservative” Lutherans today with a gimlet eye, we can see the synods and the congregations measuring everything with money and nothing with fidelity to the Word (except to execrate such an odd and dangerous position).

The wealthy clergy have only a portion of the rich man’s table, but they enjoy being a part of it, being associated with wealth, and giving pious sermons that offer homage to business philosophy. They nod with approval when their local guru says, “Every church should be run like a business,” although few argue that every business should be run like a church.

KJV Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

During the Reformation, the money was on the pope, and the selling of indulgences was a fantastic business for everyone. It was religious tourism and garnered a lot of money. A fake handkerchief from St. Peter was worth a fortune, simply because pilgrims would come to that town and parish to bow before it and earn credits against their time in Purgatory.

1. Christ warns us of the teachings of Satan, who will come speaking lies in hypocrisy, 1 Timothy 4:2; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof, 2 Timothy 3:5, who profess that they know God; but in works (which they ascribe to righteousness) they deny him. These St. Peter in 2 Peter 2:1 calls false teachers, who privily bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master that bought them: but there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, Matthew 10:26. Therefore the folly of these misleading teachers shall be manifest unto all men, 2 Timothy 3:9.

2. Therefore one should not apply this here in the Gospel to coarse public sins, whose fruits we see today clearly, when God opens our eyes; but the Lord is speaking of those who come in sheep’s clothing, and say: Lord, Lord, have we not cast out devils in thy name? Have we not in thy name done many wonderful works? These are the ones of whom Christ warns us, to whom he will say in the last day in terrible judgment: I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Why? Because they sought such works and through them they thought they were pleasing to God. and trusted in them to be saved.

The key to this lesson is Jesus’ warning against the greatest danger, the false teaching from wolves who appear as sheep. They dress themselves up as harmless and docile. They only want to help. But they take on this pose only to get close to the flock, to murder those they can and scatter the rest.

When animals are warned in advance of predators, they often drive them away by ganging up on them. Some surprisingly weak animals on their own are quite formidable when they team up against a lion or another predator. Satan roams about like a lion, seeking whomever he can – to devour. 1 Peter.

Simply by going on alert, a group of animals will warn the unwary. The doctrinal predator does not want that. He wants fat, docile sheep who do not fight back or warn others. That is why the “conservative” Lutherans spend so much time silencing anyone who questions the purity of their motives and the blessedness of their results.

Luther did not arouse opposition by teaching the Gospel for the first time ever – a common misunderstanding. He sparked the kindling of the Reformation by saying, “If this is the Gospel, then the pope’s teaching is wrong. Here is why…”

Pure Christian, Biblical teaching is marked first by the truth and then by a clear rejection of false teaching that obscures or opposes this truth. Jesus and St. Paul taught this way. So did Luther. The Book of Concord always has the truth of the Bible taught plus those positions that oppose it.

But false teachers only offer their own ideas as the truth and condemn the people (as horrible sinners) who question them. They do not say anything like this –

“They believe in justification by faith, but we teach justification without faith.”
That makes their false teaching all too clear. People who acquire a basic knowledge of the faith from the Word of God will go on the alert when they hear something so clear.

2. We must boldly consider the two kinds of doctrine, the true and good, and the false and erroneous, and that they will always accompany each other, for thus it has been from the beginning, and thus it will continue to the end of the world. Hence it will not do for us to creep along in silence, and resort to a safe and secure manner of life. The evil teachings of men and the doctrines of devils, and all our enemies oppose us without ceasing, and hence we dare not think that the issue is settled. We are not yet across the river. Therefore the Lord diligently warns us and says: “Beware of false, prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

This is one of many Creation comparisons, so clear that no one can dispute it. Last night Chris plucked a sand burr (thistle) from Sassy’s face. No one would mistake it for a grape, and grape vines do not look like thistles.

As Luther teaches so clearly, this teaching is directed at every single individual, because faith is individual. So many want to claim, “I am loyal to the infallible pope,” or “I belong to a faithful synod,” but no one is justified by a pope or a synod. When we face the Day of Judgment, we will have no Advocate but the Holy Spirit and no Savior except Christ. What good will a plaster saint, marble altar, or the praise of a synod do at that time?

The CEO of IBM said yesterday, “We produce more information in one day than all the information produced since the beginning until 2003. That happens every single day.  The winners will be those who manage that information.”

In the Middle Ages, the great discovery was the Bible, the printed Bible and printed religious literature that everyone could enjoy. The Protestants said, “The Word of God is our truth – not the pope, not the organization.”

The pope still argues against that by saying, “You need Me for clarity.” Yes, they capitalize the personal pronouns of the pope, since He is Christ-on-earth, they imagine.

The papists rage against the Protestants for not accepting the pope, but they have taken great strides in changing that by encouraging church entities to sit down with them in talks. If the Protestant church popes sit down with the real pope, everyone will accept the notion of a pope deciding on the truth and legislating it.

All this information is available for free but ignored. The pope makes up dogma, and the Lutherans make up dogma just as shamelessly. UOU is true because an MDiv with no business teaching claims that truth on his own authority.

So the minder sheep, in cahoots with the wolves-as-sheep, tell the others, “At ease. You have nothing to fear. This is a good sheep, a wise sheep, one heaped with honors from Holy Mother Synod. Come very close and listen to him. Ah, we see you are warm in this weather. This good sheep will fleece you first, so you are more comfortable and lend your best wool for his comfort.”

All this is done and said so there are no comparisons between truth and falsehood, the Word of God and displacing falsehood of their Father Below.

8. Then they began to say: Yes, but how can we know what is God’s Word, and what is right or wrong? This we must learn from the Pope and the councils. Very well then, let them conclude and say what they please, yet I will reply, you cannot put your confidence in that nor thus satisfy your conscience, for you must determine this matter yourself, for your very life depends upon it. Therefore God must speak to your heart: This is God’s Word; otherwise you are undecided.

9. But our bishops, Caiaphas, Pilate and Herod insist upon it and rage so terribly, that a person must think them insane. They bring forth St.
Augustine’s declaration: I would not believe the Gospel, if the honor of the church did not move me; and think they have already won. Then you answer: What does it concern us whether St. Augustine or Jerome, St.
Peter or St. Paul, or even the archangel Gabriel from heaven, who is still greater, said it; yet it will profit me nothing, for I must have God’s Word, I will only hear what God says.

I know that has been done many times recently. District President Jon Buchholz quoted Martin Luther in favor of UOJ, calling him “Uncle Marty” in front of a congregation. By their fruits – what kind of a smart aleck would show so much disrespect toward the Reformer respected by all Protestants and hated by all true Romanists?

I have collected all the Big Name claims for UOJ – they are few and far between, until the Age of Pietism and Ecumenism. Even if one were true, and even if the entire pile is huge (when adding Bishop Stephan, STD, Walther the kidnapper, and a host of synod stooges) – so what?

Walther will not hold your hand on the Day of Judgment. The DP may likely be in another place, even if he wrote a precious synod essay on the topic.

Paul wrote to the Galatians – “even if I or an angel from heaven teaches another doctrine…”

Notice what is NOT omitted – the Holy Spirit. That is because the Holy Spirit always works with the Word and the Word never lacks the Holy Spirit. Or, we could say, the Savior comes to us only through the Word and bestows His grace on us through the Spirit.

We cannot put anything between the Word and us, as if the truth must be verified by some human agent. But that is exactly what the false teachers want everyone to believe. Do not believe the Word of God by itself, they say. Believe in us and what we teach about the Word of God.

I knew something was foul when I associated with the Synodical Conference and found almost no interest in Luther, the Reformation, or the Book of Concord. In fact,  I found a loathing of Luther especially and a self-serving use of Luther or the Confessions to excuse the worst kind of false doctrine and anti-Christian behavior.

“We are not good on sanctification” means – We do not have to obey the Ten Commandments. By their fruits you will know them.

18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

Sound teaching can be determined by asking a simple question – What makes a tree good?

The answer is – faith. Though faith the tree (the individual) is declared forgiven and saved. Good fruit comes from the power of the Gospel in that believer.

I see this with the enormous rose family of plants. Apple trees are more valuable when they produce the best fruit. Their apples sell for twice the normal price.

There are many types of roses but the best roses cost the most, and they produce exquisite flowers. Bad rose bushes produce bad roses, just as bad apple trees produce bad apples.

Every false teacher emphasizes the appearance not the source. They give themselves away by braying, “Look at our buildings, our parking lots, our endowments. We must be doing something right.”

False teachers direct people to the speakers themselves, first of all, and then to each individual – not to the Word.

26. However, by the fruits of the Spirit true prophets are known, which fruits St. Paul mentions to the Galatians 5:20: “Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” Yet these fruits no one can see or know without the Holy Spirit. For this reason the decision and judgment of spiritual things should not be based on external things, as on the work and person, but on the inner condition of the heart.

One knows another indeed by his fruits, but only in the Spirit. The fruits and good works do not make any one good or pious; but he must first be good and pious at heart. As the apples do not make the tree, for the tree must first be there before the fruit.

27. If I understand this, then I notice there is no work so bad that it will necessarily condemn a man, nor none so good that it will save him.
But faith alone saves us and unbelief alone condemns us. For one to commit adultery, the deed does not condemn him, for the adultery only shows that he has fallen from the faith, this condemns him, otherwise it could not be possible. Nor does anything make one good but faith, and nothing makes one wicked but unbelief. Therefore our Lord also says, that the tree shall be cut down. He does not say that the fruit shall be cut down. Thus the works of love do not make me good, but faith alone, in which I do these works and bear this fruit.

This lesson should frighten those who participate in false doctrine by making excuses for their organization or leaders.

But it also comforts us to realize how unbelievers and Satan rage against faith. It must be so. The opposition is automatic and even helps us to realize the priceless value of the Gospel itself.

Spiritual people – Christian believers – can discern the fruits of the Spirit, but others cannot. The opponents see everything good as evil while promoting their evil a good, useful, and God-pleasing.

Trinity Eight
Matthew 7:15-23

"Just as true doctrine is the greatest gift we can enjoy, so false doctrine is the most baneful evil that can beset us. False doctrine is sin, it is the invention of Satan, and it imperils and destroys salvation. False doctrine is every teaching contrary to the Word of God. Scripture enjoins upon us to proclaim only the truth."
            W. A. Baepler, "Doctrine, True and False," The Abiding Word, ed., Theodore Laetsch, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1946, II, p. 501.         

"No false dogma has ever been spread in the church which was not put forth with some plausible show, for sheep's clothing is the show of false religion (says Chrysostom). Indeed, the weaker and more ruinous the cause is, the more arguments it needs, sought everywhere and in every way possible, as though to cover it over with paint or to swathe it with medicine. For Pindar [famous Greek lyric poet, 518-438 B.C.] says, 'For a just cause three words are sufficient.' Therefore the papalists have gathered very many and varied arguements in order to establish purgatory."
            Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, trans., Fred Kramer, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1986, III, p. 325.      

"Paul calls all false spirits bold and proud. Yes, in their filth with their protectors they are proud and impudent, otherwise they are the most cowardly villains that can be found. When they are to appear and answer for their conduct, they produce a single answer. Among themselves they are bold, and venture to catch God in His own Word; but when it comes to the test, they simply despair."
             Sermons of Martin Luther, 1983, V, p. 204.      

"For every sect has always had one or more particular hobbies and articles which are manifestly wrong and can easily be discerned to be of the devil, who publicly teach, urge and defend them as right certain and necessary to believe or to keep For the spirit of lies cannot so conceal himself, but that he must at last put forth his claws, by which you can discern and observe the ravenous wolf."
               Sermons of Martin Luther IV, p. 282f.        
"For this reason one should not be too credulous when a preacher comes softly like an angel of God, recommends himself very highly, and swears that his sole aim is to save souls, and says: 'Pax vobis!' For those are the very fellows the devil employs to honey people's mouths. Through them he gains an entrance to preach and to teach, in order that he may afterward inflict his injuries, and that though he accomplish nothing more for the present, he may, at least, confound the people's consciences and finally lead them into misery and despair."
             Sermons of Martin Luther II, p. 322. 

"It is not enough that we preach correctly, which the hireling can also do; but we must watch over the sheep, that the wolves, false teachers, may not break in, and we must contend for the sheep against the wolves, with the Word of God, even to the sacrifice of our lives. Such are good shepherds, of whom few are found."
              Sermons of Martin Luthe,r  III, p. 34. 

"There are other wolves, however, who come to us in sheep's clothing. They are the false prophets, who under the form of pious and religious instruction feed pure poison to the sheep of Christ. Against these Christ warns us, that we may be constantly on our guard, lest with sugar-coated words and flattering religious expressions they mislead us, deceive us, by their cunning, and draw us to themselves, as He says in Matthew 7:15: 'Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves.'" 
            Sermons of Martin Luther III, p. 35.

"The world desires such wolf preaching, and is not worthy of anything better since it will not hear nor respect Christ. Hence it is that there are so few true Christians and faithful preachers, always outnumbered by the members of the false church."    
Sermons of Martin Luther, III, p. 385. 

"For nothing can feed or give life to the soul, which is not the doctrine of Christ. Although the hireling does not himself slay and destroy he does not restrain the wolf. Therefore, because you neither point out nor teach this shepherd, you shall not and ought not to be heard, but you shall be shunned as a wolf."                   
Sermons of Martin Luther, III, p. 58f.         

"Thus too, if our confidence is to begin, and we become strengthened and comforted, we must well learn the voice of our Shepherd, and let all other voices go, who only lead us astray, and chase and drive us hither and thither. We must hear and grasp only that article which presents Christ to us in the most friendly and comforting manner possible. So that we can say with all confidence: My Lord Jesus Christ is truly the only Shepherd, and I, alas, the lost sheep, which has strayed into the wilderness, and I am anxious and fearful, and would gladly be good, and have a gracious God and peace of conscience, but here I am told that He is as anxious for me as I am for Him."
Sermons of Martin Luther,   IV, p. 86. 
"No work is so evil that it can damn a man, and no work is so good that it can save a man; but faith alone saves us, and unbelief damns us. The fact that someone falls into adultery does not damn him. Rather the adultery indicates that he has fallen from faith. This damns him; otherwise adultery would be impossible for him. So, then, nothing makes a good tree except faith."  
What Luther Says, An Anthology, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 475. Matthew 7:15-23.        

"They [the false teachers] fared like a man who looks through a colored glass. Put before such a man whatever color you please, he sees no other color than that of the glass. The fault is not that the right color is not put before him but that his glass is colored differently, as the word of Is. 6:9 puts it: You will see, he says, and yet you will not see it."
Martin Luther, What Luther Says, 1959, II, p. 644.      


"You cannot of a truth be for true doctrine without being unalterably opposed to false doctrine. There can be no 'positive theology' where the God-given negatives have been eliminated from the Decalog."
Norman A. Madson, Preaching to Preachers, Mankato: Lutheran Synod Book Company, 1952 Preface.  

"Every departure from God's Word, every error, is dangerous to the soul. There is a fearful, diabolical power in error; for every error is the devil's work, and through fellowship with error a person puts himself under the influence of the devil. Here human reason is helpless."
Francis Pieper, The Difference between Orthodox and Heterodox Churches, and Supplement, Coos Bay, Oregon: St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 1981, p. 42.

"Even the history of the world shows how great is the power of the devil's kingdom. The world is full of blasphemies against God and of wicked opinions, and the devil keeps entangled in these bands those who are wise and righteous [many hypocrites who appear holy] in the sight of the world. In other persons grosser vices manifest themselves. But since Christ was given to us to remove both these sins and these punishments, and to destroy the kingdom of the devil, sin and death,it will not be possible to recognize the benefits of Christ unless we understand our evils. For this reason our preachers have diligently taught concerning these subjects, and have delivered nothing that is new, but have set forth Holy Scriptures and the judgments of the holy Fathers."
Apology Augsburg Confession, Article II: Of Original Sin, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 119.  


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