Sunday, September 29, 2013

Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity. Printed Sermon by Martin Luther


The Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2013


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time

 The Hymn # 292                 Lord Jesus Christ               1:2
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 # 192               Awake My Heart            1:22 

Printed sermon – Luther – Lenker edition.

The Communion Hymn # 480            Lord of the Worlds            1:62
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 # 511     Jesus Shall Reign                1:80

KJV 1 Corinthians 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; 6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

KJV Matthew 22:34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. 35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. 41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. 43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? 45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? 46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

Eighteenth Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father: We are poor, miserable sinners; we know Thy will, but cannot fulfill it because of the weakness of our flesh and blood, and because our enemy, the devil, will not leave us in peace. Therefore we beseech Thee, shed Thy Holy Spirit in our hearts, that, in steadfast faith, we may cling to Thy Son Jesus Christ, find comfort in His passion and death, believe the forgiveness of sin through Him, and in willing obedience to Thy will lead holy lives on earth, until by Thy grace, through a blessed death, we depart from this world of sorrow, and obtain eternal life, through Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.



Guest Preacher – Martin Luther

MATTHEW 22:34-46.


KJV Matthew 22:34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. 35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and

saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great
commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. 41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. 43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? 45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? 46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

CONTENTS:

THE DOCTRINE CONCERNING THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL; OR THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT AND CHRIST.
I. IN GENERAL.

1. How and why the doctrine of the law and the Gospel should not be separated from one another. 1-2.

2. How and why God ordained these doctrines from the beginning that they should remain together. 2.

II. IN DETAIL.

A. The Doctrine of the Law.

1. Why God gave this doctrine. 2-3.

2. What one is to think of persons who wish to abolish this doctrine. 4- 5.

B. The Doctrine of the Gospel.

1. Its necessity. 6f.

2. This doctrine will continue to the day of judgment. 7-8.

3. The comforting contents of this doctrine. 9f.

4. Whether this doctrine of the law is abolished by the preaching of the Gospel. 10-12.

* Of the beginning and completion of the sanctification of believers. 12-13.

III. IN GENERAL THERE WILL BE ANEW TREATMENT OF THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL.

1. How and why the doctrine of the law and the Gospel must always go together. 14-15.

2. How and why the doctrine of the law and Gospel must be faithfully enforced in Christendom. 16f.

3. This doctrine both of the law and of the Gospel have become entirely extinct in the Papacy. 17-18.

4. In what way these doctrines are to be united with one another. 19f.

* The two parts of help, which Christ gives us. 20-21.

5. The doctrine of the law Is not sufficient for salvation, the doctrine of the Gospel must come to its help. 22-25.

* Christ alone aids to salvation.

1. In this Gospel Christ answers the question the Pharisees put to him:

Which is the greatest commandment in the Law ? and in turn asks them the question: What think ye of the Christ, whose son is he ? Thus this Gospel presents to us that which we continually hear and should hear, so that these two sermons must continue to be preached in Christendom, namely: the first, the teaching of the Law or of the ten commandments, and the second, the doctrine concerning the grace of Christ. For if either of these fall it pulls the other with it; while on the other hand, wherever the one remains steadfast and is faithfully put into practice, it brings the other with it.

2. And God has ordained that these two themes shall be preached forever in the Christian Church, yea, they have always since the beginning of the world accompanied one another; they were given to our father Adam, while he was still in Paradise, and were later confirmed through Abraham, Moses and the Prophets.

For they are required by the needs of humanity, fallen as it is under the power of satan, so that we live and move in sin and are worthy of eternal death. Adam felt and lamented sin and its injuries; but later the sense of sin soon weakened and was disregarded, so that the heathen did not consider it sin although they indeed felt evil lust and desire in their bodies; but they imagined all that belonged to the character and nature of man. Yet they taught man should restrain such lust and desires and not allow them to go too far; but this nature in itself they did not condemn.

3. Therefore God gave this one simple teaching that reveals what man is, what he has been, and what he should again become. This is the doctrine of the Law, which Christ here cites: “Thou shalt love God with all thy heart, etc.” As if to say: Thus thou hast been, and thus thou shalt still be and become. In Paradise you were in possession of the treasure, and were thus created that you loved God with all your heart; this you have lost; but now you must again become as you were, or you will never enter the Kingdom of God. In like manner he speaks clearly and plainly in other places, Matthew 19:17: “If thou wouldst enter into life, keep the commandments.” Likewise, Luke 10:28: “This do and thou shalt live, etc.” This must in short be kept; and that we wish to dispute so much about it amounts to nothing, as if one might be saved without it, namely, without that which is called loving God with the whole heart and your neighbor as yourself. This divine law must be fulfilled by you as purely and completely as the angels in heaven fulfill it.

4. Therefore it is wrong and not to be allowed, as some in ancient times said and as some stupid spirits now say: Although you do not keep the commandment, and do not love God and your neighbor, yea, although you are even an adulterer, that makes no difference, if you only believe, then you will be saved. No, dear mortal, that amounts to nothing; you will never thus gain heaven; it must come to the point that you keep the commandments, and abide in love toward God and your neighbor. For there it stands briefly determined; “If thou wouldst enter into life, keep the commandments.” Again, to the Galatians, 5:19-21: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that those who practice such things, shall not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, etc.”

5. And Christ wishes this doctrine to be observed by the Christians so that they may know what they have been, what they are still lacking and what they should again become, that they continue not in the misery and filth in which they find themselves now; for if they do, they must be lost.

Christ speaks right out plainly in Matthew 5:17-18: “Think not that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, the Law must be so taught and observed that not the smallest letter or one tittle of it shall in any wise pass away, till all things be accomplished.” Again, Christ says further in Matthew 12:36: “And I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof on the day of judgment.” And St. Paul in Romans 8:4: “God sent his Son in the flesh that the righteousness, required by the Law, might be fulfilled in us.” And in Romans 3:31: “Do we then make the Law of none effect if we teach man is justified through faith, and not through works. That is far from us; nay, we establish the Law.” That is, for this very reason we teach faith, by which the law is fulfilled.

6. For this is indeed a glorious doctrine that teaches what we are to become; but that it may also be realized and not continue to be preached in vain, the other doctrine must be added, namely, how and through what means we may again return to our former state. We return when we hear what we lost in Paradise; when Adam lived in full love to God, and in pure love to his neighbor, and in perfect obedience without evil lust, and that had he remained thus we would still be so; but now, since through sin he fell from this command, we also lie in the same misery, full of sin and disobedience, under God’s wrath and curse, and fall from one sin to another, and the Law stands there, holds us guilty, urges and requires us to be pious and obedient to God.

7. What shall we then do here, since the Law continually commands and drives us, and we are powerless? For here my own conscience argues ever against me: Since I am to love God with my whole heart and my neighbor as myself, and I do not do it, I must therefore be condemned and God approves and confirms the sentence of condemnation. Who will counsel me in this instance? I do not know what to counsel you, says the Law; but it decrees and demands plainly that you be obedient.

Here the Prophets come now, and preach Christ, and say: One is coming who will give counsel how man may regain what he lost and again enter the state from which he fell, to which the Law points him. This is the other sermon that should and must be preached until the day of judgment, namely, the help from sin, death and satan, and restoration of our bodies and souls, so that we may come into the state that we love God and our neighbor from our hearts. This is to be done fully and perfectly in the future life, but here in this life it should be commenced.

8. For in the life beyond there will be no longer any faith, but perfect love, and all the Law demands we will do with our whole heart. Therefore we must now preach what we should become and should forever continue to be, namely, that we are to love God and our neighbor with our whole heart. This I will commence, says Christ, and complete, not alone as to my own person, but I will aid you to make a beginning, and to continue ever in it, until you come where you will also fulfill it perfectly.

9. Now this will come to pass thus. Since we are unable to keep the Law and it is impossible for the natural man to do so, Christ came and stepped between the Father and us, and prays for us: Beloved Father, be gracious unto them and forgive them their sins. I will take upon me their transgressions and bear them; I love thee with my whole heart, and in addition the entire human race, and this I will prove by shedding my blood for mankind. Moreover, I have fulfilled the Law and I did it for their welfare in order that they may partake of my fulfilling the Law and thereby come to grace.

10. Thus there is first given us through Christ the sense that we do not fulfill the Law and that sin is fully and completely forgiven: however, this is not bestowed in a way or to the end, that we in the future need not keep the Law, and may forever continue to sin, or that we should teach, if we have faith then we need no longer to love God and our neighbor. But there is bestowed upon us the sense that the fulfilling of the Law may now for the first time be successfully attempted and perfectly realized, and this is the eternal, fixed and unchangeable will of God. To this end it is necessary to preach grace, that man may find counsel and help to come to a perfect life.

11. But the help offered us is, that Christ prays the Father to forgive us our sins against this Law, and not to impute what we are still indebted. Then he promises also to give the Holy Spirit, by whose aid the heart begins to love God and to keep his commandments. For God is not gracious and merciful to sinners to the end that they might not keep his Law, nor that they should remain as they were before they received grace and mercy; but he condones and forgives both sin and death for the sake of Christ, who has fulfilled the whole Law in order thereby to make the heart sweet and through the Holy Spirit to kindle and move the heart to begin again to love from day to day more and more.

12. Thus begins in us not only love, but also truth, that is, a true character, as the Law requires; like St. John says in 1:17, that Christ is full of grace and truth, and through him grace and truth grow in us, which neither Moses nor the law can give us. For the Law is not abolished thus by grace, that the truth is to be overlooked, and that we should not love God; but through him we experience that we do not as perfectly keep the Law as we ought in the kingdom of forgiveness or of grace. But besides the Holy Spirit is given us, who kindles a new flame or fire in us, namely, love and desire to do God’s commandments. In the kingdom of grace this should begin and ever grow until the day of judgment, when it shall no longer be called grace or forgiveness, but pure truth and perfect obedience. In the meantime he continues to give, forgive, to bear and forbear, until we are laid in our graves.

13. Now if we thus continue in faith, that is, in what the Holy Spirit gives and forgives, in what he begins and ends, then the fire on the judgment day, by which the whole world is to be consumed, will cleanse and purify us, so that we will no longer need this giving and forgiving, as if there were something unclean and sinful in us, as there really is at present; we will certainly be as the brightness of the dear sun, without spot and defect, full of love, as Adam was at the beginning in Paradise.

Thus will it then be truly said, the Law is established and fulfilled, Romans 3:31. For it will then no longer blame and rebuke us; but the Law shall be considered satisfied, and the debt paid, even by ourselves; since all is now fulfilled, not through us, and yet by it we are freed and saved, so that we creep under Christ’s mantle and wings, that he makes satisfaction for us until we lie under the earth and then come again out of the grave with a beautiful, glorified body that will be nothing but holiness and purity, with a cleansed soul full of the love of God. Then we will no longer be in need of his mantle and of his prayers, but we will all be there perfect and complete, as we should be. Now, since I believe in him, my sins are forgiven and I am called a child of grace. And moreover, the truth also should arise in me, that is, a new righteous character, that shall continue until it perfects me; since Christ, the truth, has come, not to destroy the Law, but to establish it, not only in himself, which was done long ago. but in me and in all Christians.



14. These are the two doctrines that should accompany one another, since they belong together or the one is in the other, and they must always go together as long as we live here, by which the Law or God’s commandment may begin to work in Christians, so that the wicked, disobedient persons of the world may be restrained and punished. Since they will not fear and love God like Christians and believers, they are obliged to fear eternal fire, perdition and other punishments. Others, however, will be taught by it from what they have fallen and how sorely and fully they have inherited sin.

15. For when I compare my life with the Law I see and experience always the contrary of what the Law enjoins. I shall entrust to God my body and soul, and love him with my whole heart; yet, I would rather have a dollar in my chest than ten gods in my heart, and I am happier when I know how to make ten dollars, than when I hear the whole Gospel. Let a prince give a person a castle or several thousand dollars, what a jumping and rejoicing it creates! On the other hand, let a person be baptized or receive the communion which is a heavenly, eternal treasure, there is not one-tenth as much rejoicing. Thus we are by nature; there is none who so heartily rejoices over God’s gifts and grace as over money and earthly possessions; what does that mean but that we do not love God as we ought? For if we trusted and loved him, we would rejoice more that he gave us the sense of sight than if we possessed the whole world. And the word of consolation he speaks to me through the Gospel ought to give me higher joy than the favor, money, wealth and honor of the whole world. But that it is not so and ten thousand dollars can make people happier than all the grace and possessions of God, proves what kind of fruit we are, and what a distressing and horrible fall it is in which we lie. And yet we would not see nor realize it, if it were not revealed to us through the Law, and we would have to remain forever in it and be lost, if we were not again helped out of it through Christ. Therefore the Law and the Gospel are given to the end that we may learn to know both how guilty we are and to what we should again return.

16. This now is the Christian teaching and preaching, which, God be praised, we know and possess, and it is not necessary at present to develop it further, but only to offer the admonition that it be maintained in Christendom with all diligence. For satan has continually attacked it hard and strong from the beginning until the present, and gladly would he completely extinguish it and tread it under foot. For he cannot endure that the people continue in it and conduct themselves uprightly and he seeks a hundred thousand arts and wiles only to crush it. Therefore I so gladly preach it, as it is greatly needed; for until the present it has never been heard nor known in the Papacy.

17. For I myself was a learned doctor of theology and yet I never understood the ten commandments rightly. Yea, there were many highly celebrated doctors who did not know whether there were nine, ten or eleven commandments, and much less did we know the Gospel and Christ.

But the only thing that was taught and advocated was: Invoke the Virgin Mary and other saints as your mediators and intercessors; fast often and pray much; make pilgrimages, enter cloisters and become monks, or pay for the saying of many masses and like works. And thus we imagined when we did these things we had merited heaven.

18. That was the time of blindness when we knew nothing of God’s Word, but led ourselves and others into misery by our own idle talk and dreams.

And I was one of those who indeed bathed in this sweat or in this bath of anxiety. Therefore let us give heed that we may thoroughly grasp and retain this doctrine, if other fanatics and false spirits wish to attack it, so that we may be fore-armed and learn, while we have the time and the beloved sun again enlightens us, and buy while the market is at our door.

For it will come to this when once these lights, which God now gives, have departed, satan will not take a furlough until he raises up other fanatical spirits to do harm; as he has already commenced to do in many places during our generation. What will take place after we are gone?

19. Therefore learn, who can learn, and learn well, so that we may know, first the ten commandments, what we owe to God. For if we do not know this, then we know nothing and we will not inquire about Christ in the least. Just like we monks did who either held Christ to be an angry judge or despised him entirely in the face of our imaginary holiness. We fancied we were not in sin, which the ten commandments show and punish; but we had the natural light of reason and free will, and if we lived according to that, as much as we were able, then God would have to bestow upon us his grace, etc. But now, if we are to know Christ as our helper and Savior, then we must first know, out of what he can help us, not out of fire or water, or other bodily need and danger, but out of sin and the hatred of God. But whence do I know that I lie drowned in misery? From no other source than from the Law, that must show me what my loss and disease are, or I will never inquire for the physician and his help.

20. Thus we have both parts of the help of Christ: the one, that he must represent us over against God and be a cloak to cover our shame, as the one who takes upon himself our sins and disgrace; a cloak, I say, for us, as the one who takes our sins and shame upon himself, but before God a throne of grace in whom there is no sin or shame; but only virtue and honor. And like a hen he spreads out his wings against the buzzard, the devil with his sin and death, so that God for his sake forgives all, and to us he can do no harm. But on the condition that you only remain under these wings. For while you are under his mantle and protection and do not come out from under it, sin that is still in you must not be sin for the sake of him who covers you with his righteousness.



21. Then in the second place Christ does not only thus cover and protect us, but he will also nourish and feed us as the hen does her little chickens, that is, he gives us the Holy Spirit and strength, to begin to love God and to keep his commandments. And this shall continue to the last day when faith and this cloak of shame will cease, so that we will behold the Father without any medium or covering, and we ourselves stand before him, and there will be no longer any sin in us to be forgiven; but all will be again restored and brought back or perfected, as St. Paul says in Acts 3:21, purified and perfect, what satan from the beginning disturbed and ruined.

22. Now Christ wishes to teach this by his answer and the question, with which he in reply upbraided the Pharisees. As if he should say, you know nothing more than to speak of the Law, which teaches you that you should love God and your neighbor and yet you do not understand it; for you imagine you have fulfilled it, though you are still far from doing so. Just like the one in Matthew 19:20-21, who boasts he had kept all the commandments from his youth; but Christ says to him: “If thou wouldst be perfect, go sell that which thou hast, and give to the poor.” This is as much as to say: Whoever will love God aright and keep his commandments, must be able to sacrifice his possessions, body and life. Therefore another thing is necessary, Christ will say, for you to know, namely, that you know and possess the man called Christ, who helps us to the end that this doctrine of the Law may be established and perfected in you.

23. But what does it mean to know Christ aright? This the Pharisees and scribes do not know; for they do not consider him more than David’s son, that is, he who is to sit on David’s throne (as born from his flesh and blood) and is lord and king, also greater and mightier than David was, and yet only to be a temporal ruler to make his people the lords of the world and bring all heathen under his rule, etc. But that they should need him in their lost state, to help them out of sin and death, of that they knew nothing. Therefore the Holy Spirit must teach that he was not only David’s son, but also God’s Son, as was taught after his resurrection.

24. Now here Christ does not explain this, but he only broaches that David in <19B001> Psalm 110:1, called Christ his Lord: “How then,” he says, “doth David in the Spirit call him Lord?” It does not sound right and it is against nature for a father to call his son lord, and to be subject to him and serve him. Now David calls Christ his Lord, and a Lord, to whom Jehovah himself says: “Sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool,” that is, be like me, acknowledge and worshipped as the right and true God; for it becometh none other to sit at his right hand; he is indeed so jealous that he allows no one aside from himself to sit equal to him, as he says in the prophesy of Isaiah 48:11, “My glory will I not give to another.” Since Jehovah now places Christ equal with himself, he must be more than all creatures. Therefore he proposes to them a great question, but lets them thus stick; for they did not understand it and it was not yet the time to make this known public. But the meaning is as our articles of faith teach us to believe; that Christ was both David’s true natural son of his blood and flesh and also David’s Lord, whom David himself must worship and hold as God. However it was impossible to make these statements harmonize, as it is still impossible for human reason, where the Holy Spirit does not reveal it, how the two should be at the same time in the one Christ, both that he was truly David’s seed and God’s Son by nature.

25. Now Christ propounded this question to teach it is not enough to have the Law which is the only thing that shows from what state we have fallen; but whoever will return again to it and become renewed, that Christ must do through a knowledge of him, who is indeed born of David and is his flesh and blood, but not born in sin, as David and all men are born, but had to be born without man of a drop of the pure blood of a virgin, sanctified by the Holy Spirit, that he was born a real and true man without any sin.

26. He is the only man that has been able to keep and fulfill the Law; like all other men by nature, and yet not in the same guilt, but reared without sin and God’s wrath. This one had to intercede in our behalf before God and be our right hand and protection, be to us what the hen is to her little chickens, in whom we have forgiveness of sins and deliverance from God’s anger and hell. And not only this, but he also gives us the Holy Ghost to follow him, and here begins to extinguish and slay sin, until we come to him and be like him without any sin and in perfect righteousness; for he was raised from the dead to the right hand of the Father to totally abolish sin, death and hell and bring us to the new eternal righteousness and eternal life. Amen.


End of Martin Luther’s second sermon, Lenker edition.




The Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2013


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time

 The Hymn # 292                 Lord Jesus Christ               1:2
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 # 192               Awake My Heart            1:22 

Printed sermon – Luther – Lenker edition.

The Communion Hymn # 480            Lord of the Worlds            1:62
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 # 511     Jesus Shall Reign                1:80

KJV 1 Corinthians 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; 6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

KJV Matthew 22:34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. 35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. 41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. 43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? 45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? 46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

Eighteenth Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father: We are poor, miserable sinners; we know Thy will, but cannot fulfill it because of the weakness of our flesh and blood, and because our enemy, the devil, will not leave us in peace. Therefore we beseech Thee, shed Thy Holy Spirit in our hearts, that, in steadfast faith, we may cling to Thy Son Jesus Christ, find comfort in His passion and death, believe the forgiveness of sin through Him, and in willing obedience to Thy will lead holy lives on earth, until by Thy grace, through a blessed death, we depart from this world of sorrow, and obtain eternal life, through Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.



Guest Preacher – Martin Luther

MATTHEW 22:34-46.


KJV Matthew 22:34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. 35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and

saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great
commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. 41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. 43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? 45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? 46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

CONTENTS:

THE DOCTRINE CONCERNING THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL; OR THE GREATEST COMMANDMENT AND CHRIST.
I. IN GENERAL.

1. How and why the doctrine of the law and the Gospel should not be separated from one another. 1-2.

2. How and why God ordained these doctrines from the beginning that they should remain together. 2.

II. IN DETAIL.

A. The Doctrine of the Law.

1. Why God gave this doctrine. 2-3.

2. What one is to think of persons who wish to abolish this doctrine. 4- 5.

B. The Doctrine of the Gospel.

1. Its necessity. 6f.

2. This doctrine will continue to the day of judgment. 7-8.

3. The comforting contents of this doctrine. 9f.

4. Whether this doctrine of the law is abolished by the preaching of the Gospel. 10-12.

* Of the beginning and completion of the sanctification of believers. 12-13.

III. IN GENERAL THERE WILL BE ANEW TREATMENT OF THE LAW AND THE GOSPEL.

1. How and why the doctrine of the law and the Gospel must always go together. 14-15.

2. How and why the doctrine of the law and Gospel must be faithfully enforced in Christendom. 16f.

3. This doctrine both of the law and of the Gospel have become entirely extinct in the Papacy. 17-18.

4. In what way these doctrines are to be united with one another. 19f.

* The two parts of help, which Christ gives us. 20-21.

5. The doctrine of the law Is not sufficient for salvation, the doctrine of the Gospel must come to its help. 22-25.

* Christ alone aids to salvation.

1. In this Gospel Christ answers the question the Pharisees put to him:

Which is the greatest commandment in the Law ? and in turn asks them the question: What think ye of the Christ, whose son is he ? Thus this Gospel presents to us that which we continually hear and should hear, so that these two sermons must continue to be preached in Christendom, namely: the first, the teaching of the Law or of the ten commandments, and the second, the doctrine concerning the grace of Christ. For if either of these fall it pulls the other with it; while on the other hand, wherever the one remains steadfast and is faithfully put into practice, it brings the other with it.

2. And God has ordained that these two themes shall be preached forever in the Christian Church, yea, they have always since the beginning of the world accompanied one another; they were given to our father Adam, while he was still in Paradise, and were later confirmed through Abraham, Moses and the Prophets.

For they are required by the needs of humanity, fallen as it is under the power of satan, so that we live and move in sin and are worthy of eternal death. Adam felt and lamented sin and its injuries; but later the sense of sin soon weakened and was disregarded, so that the heathen did not consider it sin although they indeed felt evil lust and desire in their bodies; but they imagined all that belonged to the character and nature of man. Yet they taught man should restrain such lust and desires and not allow them to go too far; but this nature in itself they did not condemn.

3. Therefore God gave this one simple teaching that reveals what man is, what he has been, and what he should again become. This is the doctrine of the Law, which Christ here cites: “Thou shalt love God with all thy heart, etc.” As if to say: Thus thou hast been, and thus thou shalt still be and become. In Paradise you were in possession of the treasure, and were thus created that you loved God with all your heart; this you have lost; but now you must again become as you were, or you will never enter the Kingdom of God. In like manner he speaks clearly and plainly in other places, Matthew 19:17: “If thou wouldst enter into life, keep the commandments.” Likewise, Luke 10:28: “This do and thou shalt live, etc.” This must in short be kept; and that we wish to dispute so much about it amounts to nothing, as if one might be saved without it, namely, without that which is called loving God with the whole heart and your neighbor as yourself. This divine law must be fulfilled by you as purely and completely as the angels in heaven fulfill it.

4. Therefore it is wrong and not to be allowed, as some in ancient times said and as some stupid spirits now say: Although you do not keep the commandment, and do not love God and your neighbor, yea, although you are even an adulterer, that makes no difference, if you only believe, then you will be saved. No, dear mortal, that amounts to nothing; you will never thus gain heaven; it must come to the point that you keep the commandments, and abide in love toward God and your neighbor. For there it stands briefly determined; “If thou wouldst enter into life, keep the commandments.” Again, to the Galatians, 5:19-21: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that those who practice such things, shall not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, etc.”

5. And Christ wishes this doctrine to be observed by the Christians so that they may know what they have been, what they are still lacking and what they should again become, that they continue not in the misery and filth in which they find themselves now; for if they do, they must be lost.

Christ speaks right out plainly in Matthew 5:17-18: “Think not that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, the Law must be so taught and observed that not the smallest letter or one tittle of it shall in any wise pass away, till all things be accomplished.” Again, Christ says further in Matthew 12:36: “And I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof on the day of judgment.” And St. Paul in Romans 8:4: “God sent his Son in the flesh that the righteousness, required by the Law, might be fulfilled in us.” And in Romans 3:31: “Do we then make the Law of none effect if we teach man is justified through faith, and not through works. That is far from us; nay, we establish the Law.” That is, for this very reason we teach faith, by which the law is fulfilled.

6. For this is indeed a glorious doctrine that teaches what we are to become; but that it may also be realized and not continue to be preached in vain, the other doctrine must be added, namely, how and through what means we may again return to our former state. We return when we hear what we lost in Paradise; when Adam lived in full love to God, and in pure love to his neighbor, and in perfect obedience without evil lust, and that had he remained thus we would still be so; but now, since through sin he fell from this command, we also lie in the same misery, full of sin and disobedience, under God’s wrath and curse, and fall from one sin to another, and the Law stands there, holds us guilty, urges and requires us to be pious and obedient to God.

7. What shall we then do here, since the Law continually commands and drives us, and we are powerless? For here my own conscience argues ever against me: Since I am to love God with my whole heart and my neighbor as myself, and I do not do it, I must therefore be condemned and God approves and confirms the sentence of condemnation. Who will counsel me in this instance? I do not know what to counsel you, says the Law; but it decrees and demands plainly that you be obedient.

Here the Prophets come now, and preach Christ, and say: One is coming who will give counsel how man may regain what he lost and again enter the state from which he fell, to which the Law points him. This is the other sermon that should and must be preached until the day of judgment, namely, the help from sin, death and satan, and restoration of our bodies and souls, so that we may come into the state that we love God and our neighbor from our hearts. This is to be done fully and perfectly in the future life, but here in this life it should be commenced.

8. For in the life beyond there will be no longer any faith, but perfect love, and all the Law demands we will do with our whole heart. Therefore we must now preach what we should become and should forever continue to be, namely, that we are to love God and our neighbor with our whole heart. This I will commence, says Christ, and complete, not alone as to my own person, but I will aid you to make a beginning, and to continue ever in it, until you come where you will also fulfill it perfectly.

9. Now this will come to pass thus. Since we are unable to keep the Law and it is impossible for the natural man to do so, Christ came and stepped between the Father and us, and prays for us: Beloved Father, be gracious unto them and forgive them their sins. I will take upon me their transgressions and bear them; I love thee with my whole heart, and in addition the entire human race, and this I will prove by shedding my blood for mankind. Moreover, I have fulfilled the Law and I did it for their welfare in order that they may partake of my fulfilling the Law and thereby come to grace.

10. Thus there is first given us through Christ the sense that we do not fulfill the Law and that sin is fully and completely forgiven: however, this is not bestowed in a way or to the end, that we in the future need not keep the Law, and may forever continue to sin, or that we should teach, if we have faith then we need no longer to love God and our neighbor. But there is bestowed upon us the sense that the fulfilling of the Law may now for the first time be successfully attempted and perfectly realized, and this is the eternal, fixed and unchangeable will of God. To this end it is necessary to preach grace, that man may find counsel and help to come to a perfect life.

11. But the help offered us is, that Christ prays the Father to forgive us our sins against this Law, and not to impute what we are still indebted. Then he promises also to give the Holy Spirit, by whose aid the heart begins to love God and to keep his commandments. For God is not gracious and merciful to sinners to the end that they might not keep his Law, nor that they should remain as they were before they received grace and mercy; but he condones and forgives both sin and death for the sake of Christ, who has fulfilled the whole Law in order thereby to make the heart sweet and through the Holy Spirit to kindle and move the heart to begin again to love from day to day more and more.

12. Thus begins in us not only love, but also truth, that is, a true character, as the Law requires; like St. John says in 1:17, that Christ is full of grace and truth, and through him grace and truth grow in us, which neither Moses nor the law can give us. For the Law is not abolished thus by grace, that the truth is to be overlooked, and that we should not love God; but through him we experience that we do not as perfectly keep the Law as we ought in the kingdom of forgiveness or of grace. But besides the Holy Spirit is given us, who kindles a new flame or fire in us, namely, love and desire to do God’s commandments. In the kingdom of grace this should begin and ever grow until the day of judgment, when it shall no longer be called grace or forgiveness, but pure truth and perfect obedience. In the meantime he continues to give, forgive, to bear and forbear, until we are laid in our graves.

13. Now if we thus continue in faith, that is, in what the Holy Spirit gives and forgives, in what he begins and ends, then the fire on the judgment day, by which the whole world is to be consumed, will cleanse and purify us, so that we will no longer need this giving and forgiving, as if there were something unclean and sinful in us, as there really is at present; we will certainly be as the brightness of the dear sun, without spot and defect, full of love, as Adam was at the beginning in Paradise.

Thus will it then be truly said, the Law is established and fulfilled, Romans 3:31. For it will then no longer blame and rebuke us; but the Law shall be considered satisfied, and the debt paid, even by ourselves; since all is now fulfilled, not through us, and yet by it we are freed and saved, so that we creep under Christ’s mantle and wings, that he makes satisfaction for us until we lie under the earth and then come again out of the grave with a beautiful, glorified body that will be nothing but holiness and purity, with a cleansed soul full of the love of God. Then we will no longer be in need of his mantle and of his prayers, but we will all be there perfect and complete, as we should be. Now, since I believe in him, my sins are forgiven and I am called a child of grace. And moreover, the truth also should arise in me, that is, a new righteous character, that shall continue until it perfects me; since Christ, the truth, has come, not to destroy the Law, but to establish it, not only in himself, which was done long ago. but in me and in all Christians.



14. These are the two doctrines that should accompany one another, since they belong together or the one is in the other, and they must always go together as long as we live here, by which the Law or God’s commandment may begin to work in Christians, so that the wicked, disobedient persons of the world may be restrained and punished. Since they will not fear and love God like Christians and believers, they are obliged to fear eternal fire, perdition and other punishments. Others, however, will be taught by it from what they have fallen and how sorely and fully they have inherited sin.

15. For when I compare my life with the Law I see and experience always the contrary of what the Law enjoins. I shall entrust to God my body and soul, and love him with my whole heart; yet, I would rather have a dollar in my chest than ten gods in my heart, and I am happier when I know how to make ten dollars, than when I hear the whole Gospel. Let a prince give a person a castle or several thousand dollars, what a jumping and rejoicing it creates! On the other hand, let a person be baptized or receive the communion which is a heavenly, eternal treasure, there is not one-tenth as much rejoicing. Thus we are by nature; there is none who so heartily rejoices over God’s gifts and grace as over money and earthly possessions; what does that mean but that we do not love God as we ought? For if we trusted and loved him, we would rejoice more that he gave us the sense of sight than if we possessed the whole world. And the word of consolation he speaks to me through the Gospel ought to give me higher joy than the favor, money, wealth and honor of the whole world. But that it is not so and ten thousand dollars can make people happier than all the grace and possessions of God, proves what kind of fruit we are, and what a distressing and horrible fall it is in which we lie. And yet we would not see nor realize it, if it were not revealed to us through the Law, and we would have to remain forever in it and be lost, if we were not again helped out of it through Christ. Therefore the Law and the Gospel are given to the end that we may learn to know both how guilty we are and to what we should again return.

16. This now is the Christian teaching and preaching, which, God be praised, we know and possess, and it is not necessary at present to develop it further, but only to offer the admonition that it be maintained in Christendom with all diligence. For satan has continually attacked it hard and strong from the beginning until the present, and gladly would he completely extinguish it and tread it under foot. For he cannot endure that the people continue in it and conduct themselves uprightly and he seeks a hundred thousand arts and wiles only to crush it. Therefore I so gladly preach it, as it is greatly needed; for until the present it has never been heard nor known in the Papacy.

17. For I myself was a learned doctor of theology and yet I never understood the ten commandments rightly. Yea, there were many highly celebrated doctors who did not know whether there were nine, ten or eleven commandments, and much less did we know the Gospel and Christ.

But the only thing that was taught and advocated was: Invoke the Virgin Mary and other saints as your mediators and intercessors; fast often and pray much; make pilgrimages, enter cloisters and become monks, or pay for the saying of many masses and like works. And thus we imagined when we did these things we had merited heaven.

18. That was the time of blindness when we knew nothing of God’s Word, but led ourselves and others into misery by our own idle talk and dreams.

And I was one of those who indeed bathed in this sweat or in this bath of anxiety. Therefore let us give heed that we may thoroughly grasp and retain this doctrine, if other fanatics and false spirits wish to attack it, so that we may be fore-armed and learn, while we have the time and the beloved sun again enlightens us, and buy while the market is at our door.

For it will come to this when once these lights, which God now gives, have departed, satan will not take a furlough until he raises up other fanatical spirits to do harm; as he has already commenced to do in many places during our generation. What will take place after we are gone?

19. Therefore learn, who can learn, and learn well, so that we may know, first the ten commandments, what we owe to God. For if we do not know this, then we know nothing and we will not inquire about Christ in the least. Just like we monks did who either held Christ to be an angry judge or despised him entirely in the face of our imaginary holiness. We fancied we were not in sin, which the ten commandments show and punish; but we had the natural light of reason and free will, and if we lived according to that, as much as we were able, then God would have to bestow upon us his grace, etc. But now, if we are to know Christ as our helper and Savior, then we must first know, out of what he can help us, not out of fire or water, or other bodily need and danger, but out of sin and the hatred of God. But whence do I know that I lie drowned in misery? From no other source than from the Law, that must show me what my loss and disease are, or I will never inquire for the physician and his help.

20. Thus we have both parts of the help of Christ: the one, that he must represent us over against God and be a cloak to cover our shame, as the one who takes upon himself our sins and disgrace; a cloak, I say, for us, as the one who takes our sins and shame upon himself, but before God a throne of grace in whom there is no sin or shame; but only virtue and honor. And like a hen he spreads out his wings against the buzzard, the devil with his sin and death, so that God for his sake forgives all, and to us he can do no harm. But on the condition that you only remain under these wings. For while you are under his mantle and protection and do not come out from under it, sin that is still in you must not be sin for the sake of him who covers you with his righteousness.



21. Then in the second place Christ does not only thus cover and protect us, but he will also nourish and feed us as the hen does her little chickens, that is, he gives us the Holy Spirit and strength, to begin to love God and to keep his commandments. And this shall continue to the last day when faith and this cloak of shame will cease, so that we will behold the Father without any medium or covering, and we ourselves stand before him, and there will be no longer any sin in us to be forgiven; but all will be again restored and brought back or perfected, as St. Paul says in Acts 3:21, purified and perfect, what satan from the beginning disturbed and ruined.

22. Now Christ wishes to teach this by his answer and the question, with which he in reply upbraided the Pharisees. As if he should say, you know nothing more than to speak of the Law, which teaches you that you should love God and your neighbor and yet you do not understand it; for you imagine you have fulfilled it, though you are still far from doing so. Just like the one in Matthew 19:20-21, who boasts he had kept all the commandments from his youth; but Christ says to him: “If thou wouldst be perfect, go sell that which thou hast, and give to the poor.” This is as much as to say: Whoever will love God aright and keep his commandments, must be able to sacrifice his possessions, body and life. Therefore another thing is necessary, Christ will say, for you to know, namely, that you know and possess the man called Christ, who helps us to the end that this doctrine of the Law may be established and perfected in you.

23. But what does it mean to know Christ aright? This the Pharisees and scribes do not know; for they do not consider him more than David’s son, that is, he who is to sit on David’s throne (as born from his flesh and blood) and is lord and king, also greater and mightier than David was, and yet only to be a temporal ruler to make his people the lords of the world and bring all heathen under his rule, etc. But that they should need him in their lost state, to help them out of sin and death, of that they knew nothing. Therefore the Holy Spirit must teach that he was not only David’s son, but also God’s Son, as was taught after his resurrection.

24. Now here Christ does not explain this, but he only broaches that David in <19B001> Psalm 110:1, called Christ his Lord: “How then,” he says, “doth David in the Spirit call him Lord?” It does not sound right and it is against nature for a father to call his son lord, and to be subject to him and serve him. Now David calls Christ his Lord, and a Lord, to whom Jehovah himself says: “Sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool,” that is, be like me, acknowledge and worshipped as the right and true God; for it becometh none other to sit at his right hand; he is indeed so jealous that he allows no one aside from himself to sit equal to him, as he says in the prophesy of Isaiah 48:11, “My glory will I not give to another.” Since Jehovah now places Christ equal with himself, he must be more than all creatures. Therefore he proposes to them a great question, but lets them thus stick; for they did not understand it and it was not yet the time to make this known public. But the meaning is as our articles of faith teach us to believe; that Christ was both David’s true natural son of his blood and flesh and also David’s Lord, whom David himself must worship and hold as God. However it was impossible to make these statements harmonize, as it is still impossible for human reason, where the Holy Spirit does not reveal it, how the two should be at the same time in the one Christ, both that he was truly David’s seed and God’s Son by nature.

25. Now Christ propounded this question to teach it is not enough to have the Law which is the only thing that shows from what state we have fallen; but whoever will return again to it and become renewed, that Christ must do through a knowledge of him, who is indeed born of David and is his flesh and blood, but not born in sin, as David and all men are born, but had to be born without man of a drop of the pure blood of a virgin, sanctified by the Holy Spirit, that he was born a real and true man without any sin.

26. He is the only man that has been able to keep and fulfill the Law; like all other men by nature, and yet not in the same guilt, but reared without sin and God’s wrath. This one had to intercede in our behalf before God and be our right hand and protection, be to us what the hen is to her little chickens, in whom we have forgiveness of sins and deliverance from God’s anger and hell. And not only this, but he also gives us the Holy Ghost to follow him, and here begins to extinguish and slay sin, until we come to him and be like him without any sin and in perfect righteousness; for he was raised from the dead to the right hand of the Father to totally abolish sin, death and hell and bring us to the new eternal righteousness and eternal life. Amen.


End of Martin Luther’s second sermon, Lenker edition.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity



Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn #  44                    Ye Lands             2:41
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 #203            Morning Breaks            2:70     

Grace and Faith

The Communion Hymn # 315            I Come O Savior             2:66
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 # 467     Built on a Rock                   2:83

KJV Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

KJV Luke 14:1 And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him. 2 And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. 3 And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? 4 And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go; 5 And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day? 6 And they could not answer him again to these things. 7 And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, 8 When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; 9 And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. 10 But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. 11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Seventeenth Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father: We beseech Thee so to guide and direct us by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not exalt ourselves, but humbly fear Thee, with our whole hearts hear and keep Thy word, and hallow the Lord's day, that we also may be hallowed by Thy word; help us, first, to place our hope and confidence in Thy Son, Jesus Christ, who alone is our righteousness and Redeemer, and, then, so to amend and better our lives in accordance with Thy word, that we may avoid all offenses and finally obtain eternal salvation, through Thy grace in Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God. world without end. Amen.


Grace and Faith

This is a an interesting healing where the main lesson is not about the miracle itself but the reaction of the opposition. There is always an opponent in religion, whether the words are spoken or left unspoken.

Jesus knew, as the Son of God, that the lawyers and Pharisees objected in their hearts to Jesus healing on the Sabbath. They imagined that was work forbidden by God. Jesus responded to their unspoken words, and doubtless their faces communicated as much as their thoughts did.

One of the strangest Sabbath work stories involved the Assemblies of God church in Midland, Michigan. The newly built wall was going to blow down from a sudden windstorm. The crew naturally wanted to brace it, but the minister refused, saying he would not let them work on the Sabbath. The wall fell over in the wind and it cost the congregation $100,000 to repair. Meanwhile the minister was being followed by a private eye, because his wife knew he was violating the Sixth Commandment without the same sense of the Law.
The words of Jesus are well known – The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

But mankind is always involved in one legalism after another. As soon as anything good begins, someone wants to protect it with a wall of traditions, rules, and punishments (for those who break the invented rules).

The point of the Sabbath was to give the hard-working husband and wife a refuge against spending all day laboring at their duties, so they could relax, study the Word and worship, and not be slaves of work itself.

One farmer in Indiana said, “If I can’t get the work done in six, I won’t get the work done in seven, either.” He spent the Sabbath with his family and at church.

The new Pharisees say about faith, “That is work, so it is forbidden.” How do they know? They have a Talmud of instructions about that, and they appeal to this word – grace.

What is grace? God’s grace is not opposed to faith. Confusing the two and mangling their meanings are clever ways to take people away from the Word of God.

Salvation by grace means that God, out of His love, mercy, and compassion, chose to give us the full payment for our sins through His Son Jesus.

It is grace because we did not merit or deserve this atoning death. Nor did we ever think or imagine this could be done for us. Deserving something comes from the concept of work and the law. If we work, we deserve to be rewarded in some way.

Grace goes far beyond providing for the source of our forgiveness and salvation. God has also provided the Means of Grace and those who administer and train others.

Throughout history God has sent missionaries, pastors, and evangelists out to proclaim the Gospel to the world.

Therefore, we do not come to God – God comes to us. We do not find Jesus – the Savior is conveyed to us, by grace, through the Word.

We love God because He first loved us. But also – He loves us and watches over us because of our love of the Good Shepherd.

All this has been done from God’s good will and mercy. Merit and work have nothing to do with what God does for us.

http://ichabodthegloryhasdeparted.blogspot.com/2013/04/norma-boecklers-new-book-treasury-of.html


Faith – Result of God’s Grace
Faith in Christ is the result of God’s grace. Faith is created by the Means of Grace and is also sustained by the Means of Grace.

We have no faith until the Gospel is spoken to us – often via parents through Holy Baptism, but of course it begins even earlier. Anyone could say, “I can teach my baby about Christ without baptism.” However, Holy Baptism – for our benefit – marks the moment of an infant being drawn into the Kingdom of God by the Word of the Gospel. The Holy Spirit plants faith in the baby’s heart, and the parents have the opportunity and responsibility to nurture that faith.

Without infant baptism, people wonder when children are lost early. That was always a problem – infant mortality – and it still is today. Instead of leaving parents in doubt, God gives us all a sacrament of assurance – the visible Word of Holy Baptism.

We cannot look back to when we first believed and remember that baby-moment, but we can see the date on the baptismal certificate.

Adult Faith
Many adults are converted to faith – and sometimes brought back to the faith of their childhood. This does not happen through love, rock bands, a clever presentation (Lord, Liar, Lunatic) or any other scheme. The true church is built on the Word of God alone, through the work of the Holy Spirit through the Word.

Adult baptism is just as good for adults as it is for infants. The sacrament marks the official date when the Promises of God were read and the water was applied, a visible reminder of the washing and rebirth caused by the Gospel in Holy Baptism.

Other Instruments of Grace
Absolution is directly related to Holy Baptism, because this would not be practiced without faith. Believers seek absolution and grant absolution.

The consolation of the brothers is a term used for the forgiveness offered among brothers and sisters in the faith. Nothing is more fruitful in love than forgiveness of sin.

Ordination is described as a sacrament in the Apology of the Augsburg Confession. Here it is important to remember that such terms as “Sacrament” and “Means of Grace” are shorthand inventions by man to describe what is found in the Word of God.

Like the Pharisees and lawyers of the Law in this lesson, Lutherans like to huddle together and work over definitions and punishments while ignoring the main message – God only works through the Word, and we receive His work on through faith in the Word. The Holy Spirit accomplishes this both in the giving (preaching, sacraments, mutual consolation) and in the receiving (faith being a creation of the Holy Spirit, who is powerful in the Word).

To debate whether something is a sacrament is to be a Pharisee who fails to discern that God only works through the Gospel.

I was asked to perform a traditional wedding for a friend, a believer. To do that,  I used the old TLH book, Occasional Services, shiny and black, where the wedding ceremony is packed with Scriptural references and divine advice. And I gave a short sermon as well. All partnerships fail with lack of forgiveness. A marriage can last and be an enjoyable and fulfilling experience only with the forgiveness provided by Christ.

The State of Arkansas had the power to let me perform the marriage, which is ultimately a civil affair (since a cruise ship captain can also do the same thing, with or without the Word of God). The county clerk had to give me a certificate first.

I would argue that a Christian marriage service is sacramental in nature, because the Gospel is brought to the couple and the audience in a visible form, with many symbols of Christian union. Lutherans do not usually apply that term, but it would be better if they did. It is not an occasion for entertaining people, for putting on a big show, for making everyone happy. It is an opportunity to provide the Gospel as the foundation of a marriage.

http://ichabodthegloryhasdeparted.blogspot.com/2013/04/norma-boecklers-new-book-treasury-of.html


Sustaining Faith
Since faith is trust in the Good Shepherd, God recognizes our need to have that trust strengthened and sustained in the face of our human weaknesses and Satanic opposition from unbelievers.

The Pharisees and canon lawyers were admonished by Jesus in this lesson because they were obsessed with their own honor rather than honoring God and His grace. They had the very large Old Testament, filled with God’s grace and promises, but they wanted to build a wall around it with traditions, rules, and punishments.

The better the Pharisee, the greater the honors, the harder the heart.

Our modern Pharisees and canon lawyers are the synod officials, their toadies, and the laity who want to feel important. They use the words of faith to protect their turf, but they have no use for the Gospel itself. Anyone can see that in the way they protect felons and thugs and punish believes. If these neo-Pharisees had faith, they would recognize faith. Instead, they trust in themselves and must maintain that by grabbing the seats of honor.


24. The Papists have commented on these verses in their own way and twisted this Gospel, saying: Yea, the Pope is to be the least or youngest, sitting at the foot and serving others; but that is to take place in the heart.

They pretended to sit at the foot and to serve others as the humblest; but withal they lorded it over all emperors, kings and princes, yea, trampled them in the dust; just as if emperors, kings, princes and rulers should not also possess in their hearts the humility of which the Lord here treats. They thus put on airs and make a show of their carnal interpretation. If they had any humility in their hearts their lives would bear testimony to it. Christ speaks here not of outward humility alone, for the inner is the source of the outer; if it is not in the heart it will hardly be manifest in the body.

25. Therefore the Gospel aims at making all of us humble, whatever and whoever we may be, that none may exalt himself, unless urged and elevated by regular authority. That is what the Lord wants to inculcate by this parable, directing it to all, be they high or low. In this spirit he reproves the Pharisees and others who desire high places and are ambitious to get ahead of others. They may accept honors when regularly elected and forced to accept high places. I make these remarks to contravene and discredit their false spiritual interpretations.

26. But now they go and mingle and confuse spiritual and worldly things, and claim it is enough if they be humble in heart when they strive for the chief seats. Nay, dear friends, heart-humility must manifest itself in outer conduct, or it is false. All should therefore he willing to take a lower seat, even to throw themselves at the feet of others, and not move up higher, until urged to do so. Anyone who regards this rule, will do well; but he who disregards it will come to grief by so doing. That is what our Lord desires to impress upon his hearers as he closes this parable. “For every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

Quotations

"Since, therefore, so much depends upon God's Word that without it no holy day can be sanctified, we must know that God insists upon a strict observance of this command-ment, and will punish all who despise His Word and are not willing to hear and learn it, especially at the time appointed for the purpose."
            The Large Catechism, Preface, #95, The Third Commandment, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 607. Tappert, p. 378. Exodus 20:8‑11.                

"Since it is God's gracious purpose to remove every hindrance to conversion by the means of grace, and it is still possible for a man at every point to continue in his opposition to God, a man is never without responsibility over towards the grace of God, although he may mock and say that, since God is the one who does everything for our salvation, then a man has no responsibility himself, as we see in Romans 9:19.  Cf. Theses 17 and 18."
            U. V. Koren, 1884, "An Accounting," Grace for Grace:  Brief History of the Norwegian Synod, ed., Sigurd C. Ylvisaker, Mankato:  Lutheran Synod Book Company, 1943, p. Romans 9:19.              

"It is God the Holy Ghost who must work this change in the soul.  This He does through His own life‑giving Word.  It is the office of that Word, as the organ of the Holy Spirit, to bring about a knowledge of sin, to awaken sorrow and contrition, and to make the sinner hate and turn from his sin.  That same Word then directs the sinner to Him who came to save him from sin.  It takes him to the cross, it enables him to believe that his sins were all atoned for there, and that, therefore, he is not condemned. In other words, the Word of God awakens and constantly deepens ture penitence.  It also begets and constantly increases true faith.  Or, in one word, it converts the sinner."
            G. H. Gerberding, The Way of Salvation in the Lutheran Church, Philadelphia:  Lutheran Publication Society, 1887, p. 145f. 

                        Law Causes Contrition          
"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, ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids:  Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 149.

                         Gospel Only for Humble Sinners
"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.


Pastors - memorize this.
It is true Pastoral Theology in one paragraph.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Luther's Sermon for the Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity. Luke 14:1-11

St. Luke, by El Greco



Luther's Sermon for the SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY. Luke 14:1-11


This sermon is found in all editions of the Church Postil. Erl. 14, 150; W. 11, 2233; St. L. 11, 1674.

Text: Luke 14:1-11. And it came to pass, when he went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees on a sabbath to eat bread, that they were watching him. And behold, there was before him a certain man that had the dropsy. And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath, or not? But they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him and let him go. And he said unto them, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a well, and will not straightway draw him up on a sabbath day? And they could not answer again unto these things.

And he spake a parable unto those that were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief seats; saying unto them, When thou art bidden of any man to a marriage feast, sit not down in the chief seat; lest haply a more honorable man than thou be bidden of him, and he that bade thee and him shall come and say to thee, Give this man place; and then thou shalt begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest place; that when he that hath bidden thee cometh, he may say to thee, Friend, go up higher; then shalt thou have glory in the presence of all that sit at meat with thee. For every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

CONTENTS:

CHRIST HEALS THE DROPSICAL MAN, OR FAITH AND LOVE, THE LAW AND THE RIGHT USE OF THE LAW, AND HUMILITY.
* Contents of this Gospel. 1.

I. OF FAITH AND LOVE.

1. Of faith. a. How the example of the dropsical man teaches us faith. 2f. b. Faith must be wrought in us by the preaching of the Gospel. 3-4.

2. Of love. 5.

II. OF THE LAW AND THE RIGHT USE OF THE LAW.

1. How and why one should proceed with the use of the law wisely and prudently. 6-7.

2. All laws bind no farther than love goes. 8f.

3. How and why all laws should be interpreted according to love and our need. 9-11.

4. Love and need abolish all laws. 12-15.

5. How the prophets of the Old Testament explained the law according to the spirit of love and had to suffer much on account of it.

6. Where the laws do not serve love, we should quickly abandon them. 17f.

* Where a vow conflicts with love, it should be abolished. 17-19.

7. A Christian has power to dispense with all laws. 20.

III. INSTRUCTION IN HUMILITY.

1. What moved Christ to give this instruction.

2. The way and means, by which Christ gave this instruction. 22f.

3. How to defend this instruction against the false interpretation of the Papists. 23-26.

4. An opinion of the interpretation Augustine gives on this instruction.

* Love and need conquer all laws. 28.

SUMMARY OF THIS GOSPEL:

1. Here you see faith and love together. The heart of the man with the dropsy was right toward Christ; that is faith. Christ had mercy upon him and healed him, that is love.
2. Good works are to serve one’s neighbor.

3. Love dispenses with and suspends the public command of God; but the Pharisees did not believe this.

4. The outward Sabbath denotes the inner Sabbath, when we are quiet before God, and let his will be pleasing to us, and he does with us as he pleases. Of this Isaiah and the Epistle to the Hebrews speak.

5. We are all invited to divine grace; but the Pharisees sit high in their pride; because of their pharisaical hypocritical holiness.

1. This Gospel offers us two leading thoughts; one is general and is found in all our Gospel lessons, the other is peculiar to this one. First, in its general character, it shows who the Lord Jesus is and what we may expect of him, and in this is exhibited both faith and love.

2. Faith is here set forth in that this man, sick with the dropsy, looks to Christ and firmly believes he will help him. This faith he had as the result of his previous acquaintance with Jesus. He knows him as a kind, friendly and sympathetic man who always helps everyone and lets none go away uncomforted. Had he not heard such reports about the Lord he would not have followed him, even into the house. He must indeed have had some gospel knowledge and believed the wonderful things spoken about him.

3. And this is the Gospel, as I said, that must be preached and heard before there can be faith. We must know that God is kindly disposed toward us and has sent his Son from heaven to help us. This the conscience must hear and believe; for if God were unfriendly and unmerciful toward us, it would avail little to know that all his creatures sympathize with us. If God is satisfied with us, no creature can do us any harm, as St. Paul says in Romans 8:31: “If God is for us, who is against us?” Let death, devil, hell and all creation rage; we are safe. Therefore it is the Gospel that must present to us the God-man as merciful. This is the fountain from which our heart can draw faith and a friendly confidence toward God that he will help both the dying and the living in every distress.

4. We notice this here in the man afflicted with dropsy. He had heard of the kindness of Jesus to others and now believes that he will show the same to him. Had he not believed, it would have been impossible to help him. The Gospel resounds in all the world, but it is not heard by everybody. The Pharisees also sat there; they saw these things with their own eyes and failed not to notice what a friendly man Jesus was, but they believed not; hence the Gospel could neither reform them nor give them help and comfort. Thus the Gospel is very universal, but the true laying hold of it is very rare. So much in regard to faith.

5. Later we have here pictured to us also the love in Christ that goes forth and bears fruit, not for itself but for others, as is the nature of true love to do. This is now said on the first part of to-day’s Gospel.

6. However, this Pericope especially teaches us in the second place a necessary doctrine we must possess, if we are to make use of the laws that order the outward and temporal matters and affairs, which the church is to observe. Here we must act wisely and gently, if we wish to do the right thing, especially when weak and timid consciences are concerned. For there is nothing more tender in heaven and on earth, and nothing can bear less trifling, than the conscience. The eye is spoken of as a sensitive member, but conscience is much more sensitive. Hence we notice how gently the Apostles dealt with conscience in divers matters, lest it be burdened with human ordinances.

7. But as we cannot live without law and order, and as it is dangerous to deal with law since it is too apt to ensnare the conscience, we must say a little about human laws and ordinances and how far they are to be observed. The proverb says: “Everything depends upon having a good interpreter.” That is particularly true here where human ordinances are concerned. Where there is no one to interpret and explain the law rightly it is difficult and dangerous to have anything to do with it. Take, for example, a ruler who acts like a tyrant and abuses his authority. If he makes a law and urgently insists on the law being executed, he treats conscience as if he had a sword in his hand and were intent on killing. We have experienced this in the tyrannical laws of popery, how consciences were tormented and hurled into hell and damnation. Yea, there is great danger where one does not know how to temper and apply the laws.

8. Therefore we conclude that all law, divine and human, treating of outward conduct, should not bind any further than love goes. Love is to be the interpreter of law. Where there is no love, these things are meaningless, and law begins to do harm; as is also written in the Pope’s book: “If a law or ordinance runs counter to love, it will soon come to an end.” This is in brief spoken of divine and human laws. The reason for enacting all laws and ordinances is only to establish love, as Paul says, Romans 13:10: “Love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.” Likewise verse 8: “Owe no man anything, save to love one another.” For if I love my neighbor, I help him, protect him, hold him in honor, and do what I would have done to me.

9. Since then all law exists to promote love, law must soon cease where it is in conflict with love. Therefore, everything depends upon a good leader or ruler to direct and interpret the law in accordance with love.

Take the example of the priests and monks. They have drawn up laws that they will say mass and do their praying and juggle with God in other ways at given hours according to the clock. If now a poor man should call and ask for a service at an hour when they were to hold mass or repeat their prayers, they might say: “Go your way; I must now read mass, must attend to my prayers,” and thus they would fail to serve the poor man, even if he should die. In this manner the most sanctimonious monks and Carthusians act; they observe their rules and statutes so rigorously that, although they saw a poor man breathing his last breath and could help him so easily, yet they will not do it. But the good people, if they were Christians, ought to explain the laws and statutes in harmony with love, and say: Let the mass go, let the sacraments, prayers, and the ordinances all go; I will dispense with works, I will serve my neighbor; love put in practice in serving my neighbor is golden in comparison with such human works.

10. And thus we should apply every law, even as love suggests, that it be executed where it is helpful to a fellow-man, and dispensed with where it does harm. Take a common illustration: If there were a housekeeper who made the rule in his home to serve now fish, then meat, now wine, then beer, even as it suits him; but perchance some one of his household took sick and could not drink beer or wine, nor eat meat or fish, and the housekeeper would not give him anything else, but say: No, my rules and regulations prescribe thus; I cannot give you anything else: what kind of a housekeeper would such an one be? One ought to give him sneeze-wort to purge his brain. For if he were a sensible man he would say: It is indeed true that my rules and regulations prescribe meat or fish for the table today, yet since this diet does not agree with you, you may eat what you like.

See how a housekeeper may adjust his own rules and make them conform to the love he entertains for his household. Thus all law must be applied as love toward a fellow-man may dictate.

11. Therefore, since the Mosaic law was not understood nor modified by love in the Old Testament, God promised the people through Moses that he would raise up a prophet who should interpret the law to them. For thus Moses says in Deuteronomy 18:15: “Jehovah thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall harken.” God raised up prophets from time to time to explain the law and apply it, not in its rigor, but in love. Of this Moses himself is an example. He led the children of Israel out of Egypt for forty years hither and thither through the desert. Abraham had been commanded in Genesis 17:12, to circumcise every male on the eighth day. This commandment was plain enough that all had to observe it, yet Moses neglected it and circumcised no one the whole forty years.

12. Now, who authorized Moses to violate this commandment, given to Abraham by God himself? His authority was vested in his knowledge of the law’s spirit; he knew how to interpret and apply it in brotherly love, namely, that the law was to be serviceable to the people, and not the reverse. For, if during their journey they had to be ready day by day for warfare, circumcision would have hindered them, and he therefore omitted it, saying in effect: Although this law is given and should be observed, yet we will apply it in the spirit of love, and suspend its operation until we come to the end of our journey. Likewise should all laws be interpreted and applied as love and necessity may demand. Hence the importance of a good interpreter.

13. It was the same in the case of David when he partook of the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for anyone to eat, except the priest, Samuel 21:6; as Christ himself makes use of this example in Matthew 12:3. David was not consecrated, nor were his servants. When he was hungry he went to Ahimelech and asked for himself and men something to eat. Ahimelech answered: I have indeed nothing to give; the shew-bread of the tabernacle is for holy use. Then David and his men helped themselves and ate freely of it. Did David sin in the face of God’s ordinance? No. Why not? Because necessity compelled him, seeing there was nothing else to eat. It is in this way that necessity and love may override law.

14. That is what Christ also does in our Gospel, when he heals the suffering man on the Sabbath, although he well knew how strictly the Old Testament required the observance of the Sabbath. But see what the Pharisees do! They stand by watching the Lord. They would not have helped the sick man with a spoonful of wine, even if they could have done so. But Christ handles the law even at the risk of violating it, freely helps the poor man sick with the dropsy and gives the public a reason for his action, when he says, in effect: It is indeed commanded to keep the Sabbath day, yet where love requires it, there the law may be set aside.

This he follows up with an illustration from everyday life, then dismisses them in a way they must commend, and they answer him not a word. He says: “Which of you shall have an ox or an ass fallen into a well and will not straightway draw him up on the Sabbath day?”

15. As if to say: Ye fools, are ye not mad and stupid! If you act thus in the case of saving an ox or an ass which may perhaps be valued at a few dollars, how much rather should one do the same to a neighbor, helping him to his health, whether it be the Sabbath or not! For the Sabbath, as he says elsewhere, was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. So that the son of man is lord even of the Sabbath, Mark 2:27.

16. Among the Jews there was a rigorous enforcement of the law, even their kings insisted on its strict observance. When the prophets came and explained the law in the spirit of love, saying: This is what Moses means, thus the law is to be understood, then there were false prophets at hand to side with the kings, insisting on the literal text and saying: There, so it is written; it is God’s Word; one must not interpret it otherwise. Thereupon the kings proceeded to kill one prophet after another. In the same way the Papists, priests and monks act now. If anyone says: We need not observe their laws literally, but we should rather interpret them in love; then they immediately cry, Heretic! Heretic!! and if they could they would kill him; yea, they do so already quite lustily.

17. As Christ here treats of the law relating to the Sabbath and makes it subserve the needs of man, so we should treat laws of that kind and keep them only so far as they accord with love. If laws do not serve love, they may be annulled at once, be they God’s or man’s commands. Take an illustration from our former darkness and sorrow under the Papacy.

Suppose someone had vowed to visit St. Jacob, and he remembers the words: “Pay that which thou vowest,” Ecclesiastes 5:4. He may have a wife, children or household to care for. What should such an one do?

Should he proceed to St. Jacob, or remain at home and support his family?

There, decide for yourselves which would be most needful and what harmonizes best with the spirit of love. I regard it best for him to remain home at work and attend to the care of his family. For his pilgrimage to St.

Jacob, even if that were not idolatrous and wrong in itself, would be of little profit to him, yea, he would spend and lose more than he could gain.

18. Another example. A mother is about to bear a child, who vowed to eat no flesh on Wednesdays, as many foolish women do. And perhaps because of this vow the mother may injure her offspring and her own body. Then the foolish confessional fathers come and say: Dear daughter, it is written in the Scriptures, what one vows, that must be kept; it is God’s command and thou must at any peril keep thy vow. Thus the good woman is soon taken captive and chained by her conscience, goes and fulfills her vow, and does harm both to herself and her offspring. Hence both have sinned, those who taught her thus, and the woman in that she did not esteem her love more than her vow, by which she neither served nor pleased God; yea, more than this, she thus provoked God to anger by keeping her vow.

Therefore we should say to such a foolish mother: Behold, thou art about to bear a child, and thou must serve it and desist from this foolish thing, so that great harm may not spring from it; for all laws find their end in love.

19. We should act in like manner toward the false priests, monks and nuns.

When they say: Yea, we have vowed so and so, and it is written: “Vow, and pay unto Jehovah your God,” Psalm 76:11, then say to them: Look, there is also a command: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” But in your vocation it is impossible to serve your neighbor, nor can you continue in it without sin. Therefore, forsake it openly and enter a state in which you are not so apt to sin, but where you may serve your fellow-man, help and counsel him; and do not bother about a vow which you did not give to God your Lord, but to the devil; not for the salvation of souls and blessedness, but for damnation and ruin of both soul and body.

20. If you are a Christian you have power to dispense with all commandments so far as they hinder you in the practice of love, even as Christ here teaches. He goes right on, although it is the Sabbath day, helps this sick man and gives a satisfactory and clear reason for his Sabbath work.

21. There is yet another thought in this Gospel about taking a prominent seat at feasts, which we must consider. When the Lord noticed how the guests, the Pharisees, chose to sit in the first seats, he gave them the following parable to ponder: “When thou art bidden of any man to a marriage least, sit not down in the chief seat; lest haply a more honorable man than thou be bidden of him, and he that bade thee and him shall come and say to thee, Give this man place; and then thou shalt begin with shame to take the lower place. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest place; that when he that hath bidden thee cometh, he may say to thee, Friend, go up higher. Then shalt thou have glory in the presence of all that sit at meat with thee.”

22. This parable is aimed at the laws and precepts of the Pharisees and scribes which provide that honor should be paid to the great and powerful, giving them the preference and allowing them to sit at the head. Christ here reverses the order and says: “He that would be the greatest, let him take the lowest seat.” Not that a peasant should be placed above a prince; that is not what Christ means, nor would that be proper. But our Lord does not speak here of worldly, but of spiritual things, where humility is specially commended. Let rulers follow the custom of occupying the uppermost seats at festive boards, we have to do here with matters of the heart. Christ does not appoint burgomasters, judges, princes, lords; these stations in life he ignores as subject to civil order and the dictates of reason. There must be rulers and to them honors are due because of their position; but the spiritual government requires that its participants humble themselves, in order that they may be exalted.

23. Therefore the Lord said to his disciples when they disputed as to who should be the greatest among them: “The kings of the Gentiles have lordship over them, and they that have authority over them are called Benefactors. But ye shall not be so; but he that is the greater among you, let him become as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve,” Luke 22:25-27. He then speaks of himself as an illustration, asking: “For which is the greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat! But I am in the midst of you as he that serveth.”

And in another place, Matthew 20:26-28, he said: “Whosoever would become great among you shall be your minister; and whosoever would be first among you shall be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

24. The Papists have commented on these verses in their own way and twisted this Gospel, saying: Yea, the Pope is to be the least or youngest, sitting at the foot and serving others; but that is to take place in the heart.

They pretended to sit at the foot and to serve others as the humblest; but withal they lorded it over all emperors, kings and princes, yea, trampled them in the dust; just as if emperors, kings, princes and rulers should not also possess in their hearts the humility of which the Lord here treats. They thus put on airs and make a show of their carnal interpretation. If they had any humility in their hearts their lives would bear testimony to it. Christ speaks here not of outward humility alone, for the inner is the source of the outer; if it is not in the heart it will hardly be manifest in the body.

25. Therefore the Gospel aims at making all of us humble, whatever and whoever we may be, that none may exalt himself, unless urged and elevated by regular authority. That is what the Lord wants to inculcate by this parable, directing it to all, be they high or low. In this spirit he reproves the Pharisees and others who desire high places and are ambitious to get ahead of others. They may accept honors when regularly elected and forced to accept high places. I make these remarks to contravene and discredit their false spiritual interpretations.

26. But now they go and mingle and confuse spiritual and worldly things, and claim it is enough if they be humble in heart when they strive for the chief seats. Nay, dear friends, heart-humility must manifest itself in outer conduct, or it is false. All should therefore he willing to take a lower seat, even to throw themselves at the feet of others, and not move up higher, until urged to do so. Anyone who regards this rule, will do well; but he who disregards it will come to grief by so doing. That is what our Lord desires to impress upon his hearers as he closes this parable. “For every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

27. St. Augustine adds a comment here which I wish he had not made, for it savors of vanity, when he says: “A ruler must not abase himself too much, lest his authority be weakened thereby.” This is heathenish and worldly, not Christian; but we can pardon it in such a man, for even the saints on earth are not yet entirely perfect.

28. The sum of this Gospel then is: Love and necessity control all law; and there should be no law that cannot be enforced and applied in love. If it cannot, then let it be done away with, even though an angel from heaven had promulgated it. All this is intended to help and strengthen our hearts and consciences. In this way our Lord himself teaches us how we should humble ourselves and be subject one to another. [However concerning this virtue, what true humility is, I have said enough in former Postils c.] Let this suffice on to-day’s Gospel.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity. Luke 7:11-17




The Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2013


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn #  191                 Christ the Lord                      2:97
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 #188                Hallelujah                   2:20     

The Widow's Son Raised

The Communion Hymn #  206            Jesus Christ, My Sure Defense  2:81
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 #   212     A Hymn of Glory                                    2:93

KJV Ephesians 3:13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. 14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

KJV Luke 7:11 And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. 12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. 14 And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. 15 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. 16 And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people. 17 And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about.

SIXTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY

Lord God, heavenly Father, who didst send Thy Son to be made flesh, that by His death He might atone for our sins and deliver us from eternal death: We pray Thee, confirm in our hearts the hope that our Lord Jesus Christ, who with but a word raised the widow's son, in like manner will raise us on the last day, and grant us eternal life: through Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

The Widow's Son Raised


KJV Luke 7:11 And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people.

There are three examples of raising the dead in the Gospels. One is the little girl – people laughed at Jesus.

Another is Lazarus. The crowd warned Jesus away from the tomb.

This is a third example. In each case, no one expected or demanded such a miracle.

Luther’s first point about this miracle is an attack on the Roman Catholic concept of grace – that people receive grace because they deserve it. Or – good people have it coming to them. The modern version is the Anonymous Christian of Rahner (the modern Catholic theologian). Rahner argued that people were already Christian before they received the Gospel from missionaries, because they were already good people.

Any system that rejects faith alone is going to end up with works.

But where are the works here? The widow was leaving with her son’s body, in sorrow because of her loss. She had no faith in Jesus. She did not ask him anything. The son was beyond the point of being good or not. Neither one merited grace. Neither one had faith.

Luther went on to say that his woman lost her son because she was not grateful for her blessings. That seems to be an exaggeration at first, but it is largely true of our blessings. America is a prime example. The norm of dignified liturgical Lutheran sermons has been replaced by a new norm – rock entertainment sessions where soft drinks and treats are served: no altar, no font, no pulpit, no sermon – just a coaching session.

People did not appreciate fine pipe organs or highly trained organists – so they are going away completely.

The blessings of liberty in a Christian country, a city set on a hill – those have been drained away by apathy, ingratitude, and hedonism.

Every single warning in the Scriptures is aimed at the individual, because faith is individual. Those who depend on institutions have fastened themselves to the mast of a sinking ship. Churches do not have faith. They have the responsibility of being true to the Gospel, but they do not save or forgive. The power of the Gospel does not. Strangely, people are grateful for recent man-made institutions, for brick and mortal, not for the immortal Word of God.

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Words will never pass away.”

12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.

This is a poignant verse, which describes the pain of this woman in a few words. When she had a husband, he provided for her. When he died, her son had a lifetime to live and work to support her. As Luther speculated, she said, “I will fine. He will outlive me and provide for my needs.” She took that for granted, as we do all our blessings.

Now she was left with no one to support her in any significant way. And society was especially cruel and hard in those days. She lost her comfort and protection in life – and she was bereft.

5. Therefore this woman had great sorrow, not only because she had been robbed of her husband and afterwards of her son and thereby the family destroyed before her eyes; but, what seemed far more serious, because she was forced to think: Now I see that God is unfavorable to me and I am cursed; for this punishment has been executed upon me because God in the Psalms and the Prophets has threatened the ungodly to destroy them root and branch. This has happened to me. Therefore the miracle the Lord Jesus wrought in her behalf seemed to her altogether impossible; and if some one had then said to her: Thy son shall live again before your eyes, she would undoubtedly have said: Alas! do not mock me in my deep sorrow. Grant me at least so much that I may bewail my great misery, and do not add to it by your mockery. This would undoubtedly have been her answer, for she was greatly distressed, both by reason of the loss she had sustained as well as on account of her scruples of conscience.

6. But all this is portrayed here in order that we might learn that with God nothing is impossible, whether it be misfortune, calamity, anger, or whatever it may be, and that he sometimes allows misfortune to come upon the good as well as upon the wicked. Yea, that he even permits the ungodly to sit at ease, as in a garden of roses, and meet with success in all their undertakings, while, on the other hand, he appears to the pious as if he were angry with them and unfavorable to them; as, for example, it happened to the godly Job, all whose children were sadly destroyed in one day, who was robbed of his cattle and land, and his body most terribly tormented. He was an innocent man and yet he was compelled to endure a punishment such as no ungodly person had suffered, so that at last even his friends said to him: “You must undoubtedly rest under a great and secret sin, since this has happened to you.” While attempting to comfort him, they added to his misery. But he answered, saying: “I have done nothing and hence am not an ungodly person, whom God often allows to live in rioting and to go unpunished.”

13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.
This shows us that God comes to those without faith and in His compassion creates faith through His Word and actions. He uses the faithful to accomplish this, so we have the satisfaction in participating in His work and yet knowing all the power comes from His Word, not from our charm, manners, salesmanship, or clever gimmicks.

The widow was consumed with grief, as she should have been, sobbing in her pain. That was her comfort because she had no other, no faith in such a miracle about to happen.

And the crowd no doubt felt her sorrow. There was a large group with Jesus and another group with the coffin, son, and mother.



13 And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. 14 And He came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And He said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.

This is the power of the Word. When the Word of God commands, it happens. The water turns into wine. The disciple walks on water. Lepers are healed. The blind receive their sight. The deaf hear. And people believe in Christ, and in believing have forgiveness of sin and everlasting life.

15 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And He delivered him to his mother.

There are tw great moments in this little verse. The dead son sat up and began to speak. This showed everyone that he was alive again.

Jesus delivered the son to his mother. Death took the son away, but the Messiah gave him back to his mother.

34. Thus you see on this side and in this crowd of the whole world and of the human race nothing but death. We bring this with us and with it drag ourselves from our mother’s womb, and all at the same time travel the same road with one another, only that one precedes or is carried before the others, and the rest follow after until the last one dies. Nor is there any deliverance or help for this from any creature, for death rules over them all, as St. Paul says, Romans 5:14, and drags all of them along, without the ability to resist. Yea, with such demonstration and pomp does death do this that when he overcomes one he defies all the rest who are alive and carries the dead to the grave, and shows them that he has them also in his clutches and under his power and may seize them whenever he will.

35. But on the other hand, you see here also a comforting counterpart of life, and a glorious and joyous procession of the Lord Jesus, who does not go out of the city with the dead, but meets death on his way into the city; not however as those who return home from the grave, only until they shall carry another one out. For the Lord does not come with such thoughts of death, as if he had to fear death and come under its power; but steps into his presence and opposes him as the one who has power and authority over death; first he comforts the poor widow, whose heart is filled only with death, and tells her to sorrow and weep no more, speaks other words which no one else can utter, steps up to the bier, lays his hands on it, requests the bearers to stand still, and immediately follows with a word and says: “Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.” These words are instantly followed by such power and efficacy that the dead man did not lie as before, but sat up, bound and covered as he was, began to speak and showed that he was no longer dead, but alive.

36. This was a wonderful and quick change from death to life, on the part of the young man. Where the spark of life had long been extinguished and there was truly no sign of life, there are instantly and fully restored breath, blood, sensibility, movement, thought, speech and everything else that belongs to life; and Christ, with one word, turned the sad and sorrowing procession, and the carrying of the dead from the gate of the city, into a joyous, lovely and beautiful procession of life, in which both the youth, who was being carried by four or more to be buried under ground, together with his sorrowing mother, joyously follow the Lord Jesus, accompanied by the whole crowd into the city, forgetting death, the bier and the grave, and speaking joyously and thankfully only of life.

16 And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people. 17 And this rumour [this Word] of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about.

The power of to give life to the dead – that could only come from God, so in various places, Jesus displayed His divine power over death. This was so great a miracle that it filled the people with awe, with fear.

They did not say  “a great prophet” but literally, as in a title – Great Prophet. There is no article suggesting one prophet among many, but The Great Prophet. This detail can be lost in translation.
The spread of faith in Christ can be seen in what happened. The Word (logos) went out. Everyone began speaking in faith about what they had seen and believed. They testified about God’s power in Christ.

This is also why fear and revenge built up in the religious opposition.

This Gospel miracle teaches us to cling to spiritual treasures rather than to those things admired so much by unbelievers.

The constant temptation of the church and the individual is to have it both ways, to be faithful to the Word and to be admired by unbelievers for having as much – or more – than they have.

Luther said that believing in Christ means being willing to get socked in the mouth because of the Word. That sounds extreme, but it happens often when faith encounters unbelief.

Many are searching or lost and grateful for the Gospel and the first stirrings of faith, but when someone has been carefully trained in apostasy, faith is an irritant that must be eliminated, battled, put down, and humiliated.

It is that opposition that tells us the battle continues.

In our own lives we can take comfort that we all move toward an end point in life, and yet we have the comfort of the Gospel and eternal life. We are not spared the sorrows of loss, but the Word of eternal life is no different from what happened to the widow.

In the midst of death, Jesus gave her son back to her.

In a Christian funeral, the Word of God says, “Do not be full of sorrow. The Gospel will give this person back to you in eternal life.”

And it is just as much true as if this miracle were re-enacted. The difference is the time that will elapse. It seems long at first but it is just a moment in God’s time.

Those experiences telescope back and forth. Every time we see the grandchildren we have flashbacks to their babyhood and to our daughters. There are so many reminders and reasons to laugh.

That is all the more reason to treasure every moment now. God blesses the ordinary moments in life with miracles no one can believe or explain. Just as He turned ordinary water into extraordinary wine, so He transforms every aspect of life for believers.


Teaching Office

"This is the province of the work, which the Holy Spirit is to begin in the kingdom of Christ. It is the teaching office of the apostles, which is to be of such a character that it must convict the world, as it finds it outside of Christ, and nobody is to be excepted, great, small, learned, wise, holy, of high or low condition, etc. This means in short, to bear the world's anger and to begin strife, and to be struck in the mouth for it. For the world, which rules on earth, will not and cannot endure its course to be disapproved; therefore persecution must arise, and one party must yield to the other, the weakest to the stronger. But, as the office of the apostles is to be only a teaching office, it cannot use worldly power and the world retains its external kingdom and power against the apostles. But, on the other hand, the apostles' office of conviction of the world shall likewise not be suppressed, because it is the office and work of the Holy Spirit, but shall overcome all and triumph; as Christ promised to them: 'I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to withstand.' Luke 21:15"
Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 136. Fourth Sunday after Easter, Third Sermon. John 16:5-15.

"Though God might convert men through angels, He desires to accomplish it by human beings--by us, so that faith might be established and completed in a more congenial way through a kindred agency. Were angels constantly to dwell with us, faith would cease here...If we were taken to heaven immediately after baptism, who would convert the others and bring them to God by means of the Word and a good example?"
Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 153. Early Christmas Morning Titus 3:4-8.

"It is a glory which every preacher may claim, to be able to say with full confidence of heart: 'This trust have I toward God in Christ, that what I teach and preach is truly the Word of God.' Likewise, when he performs other officials duties in the Church--baptizes a child, absolves and comforts a sinner--it must be done in the same firm conviction that such is the command of Christ. He who would teach and exercise authority in the Church without this glory, 'it is profitable for him,' as Christ says, (Matthew 18:6), 'that a great millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be sunk in the depths of the sea.' For the devil's lies he preaches, and death is what he effects."
Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, ed. John Nicolas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VIII, p. 227. Twelfth Sunday after Trinity 2 Corinthians 3:4-11; Matthew 18:6.     

Holy Communion

"And just as the Word has been given in order to excite this faith, so the Sacrament has been instituted in order that the outward appearance meeting the eyes might move the heart to believe [and strengthen faith]. For through these, namely, through Word and Sacrament, the Holy Ghost works."
Apology Augsburg Confession, XXIV (XII), #70. The Mass. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 409. Tappert, p. 262. Heiser, p. 123.         

"Our adversaries have no testimonies and no command from Scripture for defending the application of the ceremony for liberating the souls of the dead, although from this they derive infinite revenue. Nor, indeed, is it a light sin to establish such services in the Church without the command of God and without the example of Scripture, and to apply to the dead the Lord's Supper, which was instituted for commemoration and preaching among the living [for the purpose of strengthening the faith of those who use the ceremony]. This is to violate the Second Commandment, by abusing God's name."
Apology Augsburg Confession, XXIV. #89. The Mass. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 413f. Tappert, p. 265f. Heiser, p. 124.     

"Whoever denies the Real Presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Lord's Supper must pervert the words of Institution where Christ the Lord, speaking of that which He gives His Christians to eat, says: 'This is My body,' and, speaking of that which He gives them to drink, says: 'This is My blood.' [Also 1 Corinthians 10:16]
Francis Pieper, The Difference between Orthodox and Heterodox Churches, and Supplement, Coos Bay, Oregon: St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 1981, p. 40. 1 Corinthians 10:16.

"And all these are established by the words by which Christ has instituted it, and which every one who desires to be a Christian and go to the Sacrament should know. For it is not our intention to admit to it and to administer it to those who know not what they seek, or why they come."
Large Catechism, The Sacrament of the Altar. #2. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 753. Tappert, p. 447. Heiser, p. 210.         

"For it is not founded upon the holiness of men, but upon the Word of God. And as no saint upon earth, yea, no angel in heaven, can make bread and wine to be the body and blood of Christ, so also can no one change or alter it, even though it be misused. For the Word by which it became a Sacrament and was instituted does not become false because of the person or his unbelief. For He does not say: If you believe or are worthy you receive My body and blood, but: Take, eat and drink; this is My body and blood."
The Large Catechism, Sacrament of the Altar. #16-17. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 757. Tappert, p. 448. Heiser, p. 211.      

"On this account it is indeed called a food of souls, which nourishes and strengthens the new man. For by Baptism we are first born anew; but (as we said before) there still remains, besides, the old vicious nature of flesh and blood in man, and there are so many hindrances and temptations of the devil and of the world that we often become weary and faint, and sometimes also stumble."
The Large Catechism, Sacrament of the Altar. #23. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 757. Tappert, p. 449. Heiser, p. 211f.        

"Therefore it {communion}is given for a daily pasture and sustenance, that faith may refresh and strengthen itself so as not to fall back in such a battle, but become every stronger and stronger. For the new life must be so regulated that it continually increase and progress; but it must suffer much opposition. For the devil is such a furious enemy that when he sees that we oppose him and attack the old man, and that he cannot topple us over by force, he prowls and moves about on all sides, tries all devices, and does not desist, until he finally wearies us, so that we either renounce our faith or yield hands and feet and become listless or impatient. Now to this end the consolation is here given when the heart feels that the burden is becoming too heavy, that it may here obtain new power and refreshment."
The Large Catechism, Sacrament of the Altar. #24-27. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 759. Tappert, p. 449. Heiser, p. 211.  

"For here in the Sacrament you are to receive from the lips of Christ forgiveness of sin, which contains and brings with it the grace of God and the Spirit with all His gifts, protection, shelter, and power against death and the devil and all misfortune."
The Large Catechism, Sacrament of the Altar. #70. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 769. Tappert, p. 454. Heiser, p. 214.         

"Therefore, if you cannot feel it {the works of the flesh, Galatians 5:199ff. above}, at least believe the Scriptures; they will not lie to you, and they know your flesh better than you yourself...Yet, as we have said, if you are quite dead to all sensibility, still believe the Scriptures, which pronounce sentence upon you. And, in short, the less you feel your sins and infirmities, the more reason have you to go to the Sacrament to seek help and a remedy."
The Large Catechism, Sacrament of the Altar. #76-78. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 771. Tappert, p. 455. Heiser, p. 214.       

"Is the Lord's Supper the place to display my toleration, my Christian sympathy, or my fellowship with another Christian, when that is the very point in which most of all we differ; and in which the difference means for me everything--means for me, the reception of the Savior's atonement? Is this the point to be selected for the display of Christian union, when in fact it is the very point in which Christian union does not exist?"
Theodore E. Schmauk and C. Theodore Benze, The Confessional Principle and the Confessions, as Embodying the Evangelical Confession of the Christian Church, Philadelphia: 1911, p. 905f.        

"For in Confession as in the Lord's Supper you have the additional advantage, that the Word is applied to your person alone. For in preaching it flies out into the whole congregation, and although it strikes you also, yet you are not so sure of it; but here it does not apply to anyone except you. Ought it not to fill your heart with joy to know a place where God is ready to speak to you personally? Yea, if we had a chance to hear an angel speak we would surely run to the ends of the earth."
Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983 II, p. 199.     

"In addition there is this perversion, that whereas Christ instituted the use of His Supper for all who receive it, who take, eat, and drink, the papalist Mass transfers the use and benefit of the celebration of the Lord's Supper in our time to the onlookers, who do not communicate, yes, to those who are absent, and even to the dead."
Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, trans., Fred Kramer, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1986, II, p. 498.       

"However, you will be sure as to whether the sacrament is efficacious in your heart, if you watch your conduct toward your neighbor. If you discover that the words and he symbol soften and move you to be friendly to your enemy, to take an interest in your neighbor's welfare, and to help him bear his suffering and affliction, then all is well. On the other hand, if you do not find it so, you continue uncertain even if you were to commune a hundred times a day with devotions so great as to move you to tears for very joy; for wonderful devotions like this, very sweet to experience, yet as dangerous as sweet, amount to nothing before God. Therefore we must above all be certain for ourselves, as Peter writes in 2 Peter 1:10: 'Give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure.'"
Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983 II, p. 211. 2 Peter 1:10.

"Hence it is manifest how unjustly and maliciously the Sacramentarian fanatics (Theodore Beza) deride the Lord Christ, St. Paul, and the entire Church in calling this oral partaking, and that of the unworthy, duos pilos caudae equinae et commentum, cuius vel ipsum Satanam pudeat, as also the doctrine concerning the majesty of Christ, excrementum Satanae, quo diabolus sibi ipsi et hominibus illudat, that is, they speak so horribly of it that a godly Christian man should be ashamed to translate it. [two hairs of a horse's tail and an invention of which even Satan himself would be ashamed; Satan's excrement, by which the devil amuses himself and deceives men].
Formula of Concord, Epitome, Article VII, Lord's Supper, 67, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 997. Tappert, p. 581f. Heiser, p. 270.    

"Dr. Luther, who, above others, certainly understood the true and proper meaning of the Augsburg Confession, and who constantly remained steadfast thereto till his end, and defended it, shortly before his death repeated his faith concerning this article with great zeal in his last Confession, where he writes thus: 'I rate as one concoction, namely, as Sacramentarians and fanatics, which they also are, all who will not believe that the Lord's bread in the Supper is His true natural body, which the godless or Judas received with the mouth, as well as did St. Peter and all [other] saints; he who will not believe this (I say) should let me alone, and hope for no fellowship with me; this is not going to be altered [thus my opinion stands, which I am not going to change]."
Formula of Concord, Epitome, Article VII, Lord's Supper, 33, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 983. Tappert, p. 575. Heiser, p. 267.  

"Besides this, you will also have the devil about you, whom you will not entirely tread under foot, because our Lord Christ Himself could not entirely avoid him. Now, what is the devil? Nothing else than what the Scriptures call him, a liar and murderer. A liar, to lead the heart astray from the Word of God, and blind it, that you cannot feel your distress or come to Christ. A murderer, who cannot bear to see you live one single hour. If you could see how many knives, darts, and arrows are every moment aimed at you, you would be glad to come to the Sacrament as often as possible."
The Large Catechism, Sacrament of the Altar. #80-82. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 771f. Tappert, p. 456. Heiser, p. 214.     

"Therefore also it is vain talk when they say that the body and blood of Christ are not given and shed for us in the Lord's Supper, hence we could not have forgiveness of sins in the Sacrament. For although the work is accomplished and the forgiveness of sins acquired on the cross, yet it cannot come to us in any other way than through the Word. For what would we otherwise know about it, that such a thing was accomplished or was to be given us if it were not presented by preaching or the oral Word? Whence do they know of it, or how can they apprehend and appropriate to themselves the forgiveness, except they lay hold of and believe the Scriptures and the Gospel? But now the entire Gospel and the article of the Creed: I believe a holy Christian Church, the forgiveness of sin, etc., are by the Word embodied in this Sacrament and presented to us."
The Large Catechism, Sacrament of the Altar. #31-32. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 759. Tappert, p. 450. Heiser, p. 211.