Lutheran Worship and Resources



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

Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream - Sunday, 10 AM CDT.


Midweek Lenten - 7 PM Central Daylight.

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

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

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson's Author's Page

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Trinity


The Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Trinity, 2013
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn # 4     God Himself                    4:93
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 # 268           Zion Mourns      4:98 
Abomination of Desolation
The Communion Hymn #305            Soul, Adorn Thyself             4:23 
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 # 657            Beautiful Savior            4:24  



1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

King James Version (KJV)
13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.


Matthew 24:15-28

King James Version (KJV)
15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
25 Behold, I have told you before.
26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

Abomination of Desolation
15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

Few resist the temptation to predict the end of the world. One part of my family become Adventists, a group that grew from two failed prophecies about the end of the world. Since Miller was the teacher, the Adventists were called Millerites. Many of them were in Battle Creek, Michigan, and they influenced Kellogg and cereal manufacturing.

Some of the Noel clan moved to Iowa and began making a living with hog farming, so they could no longer be Adventists. They became Evangelical Protestants, a name that once meant inerrancy of the Scriptures, Creation, and the articles of faith found in the Apostles Creed.
Living in the South is a time shift, reminding me that we have many Americas. In one week I talked to two college students about the Bible Bowls, where children compete in memorizing entire books of the Bible. That sort of activity was once known among Pietists, who have advanced to rationalism and social activism.

This passage in Matthew is a two-fold warning. One part consists of signs that the end is coming, so that every believer will be aware and fore-warned. This is the global version of what happened in Jesus’ ministry, when He warned the disciples to “watch and pray” (literally stay awake and pray) while they fell into deep slumber. Jesus was facing His torture and death, praying to the Father, but they were too tired to do the same.

The other part of this lesson warns against following false Messiahs, who will definitely spring up.

23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.

Rationalists dismiss Jesus predicting the future, making up various excuses, but they have to admit. This is exactly what happened. The first Jewish rebellion against Rome began about 70 AD, and that meant:
1.    The population of Jerusalem was starved and enslaved.
2.    The Temple was utterly destroyed.
3.    Rome celebrated the victory with a special coin.
Only a few decades later, another rebellion began, a Jewish Messiah leading his forces into another debacle, which was equally devastating to the Jews.

24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
25 Behold, I have told you before.

Messiah means king, so the ideal was always to be a powerful political, religious, and military leader like David. Son of David is another term for the Messiah, since Messiah means the anointed king. Christ is the Greek version of Messiah.
But God did not give Israel a Messiah like David, but one beyond their hopes and imagination. Military and political heroes fail. Their reign is limited. Their power is often taken away in an instant.
But the real Messiah – His reign has extended ever since public ministry took a heavenward turn and the Spirit began Gospel work through the Word, through the Gospels.
The false messiah warnings were even more important in subsequent centuries, since Christianity took over the Eastern Roman Empire (a fact we forget) and then the Western European part of the Roman Empire.  Many deceptive trends and frauds enticed people who no longer studied the Word of God.

26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.

Luther’s sermon reminded me of an important development, which is still with us. The monastic tradition grew out of the practice of going out alone in the desert. Qumran was one of those communities.
St. Jerome wasted away in the desert, and Augustine almost worshiped this tradition. The idea was to have people abandon a normal family life and save the world by prayer, meditation, and fasting.
The Greeks have an independent little area reserved for this today.
In a few words, this prophecy is seen so revealed in the action of the works-saints. They will find Jesus in the desert! Most of the tales of monasteries involve someone trying to save his soul by joining. That is what happened to Luther, whose time in Augustinian monastic life gave him the authority and experience to expose it as a fraud.
Luther’s essays on monastic life, on marriage, empties the convents and monasteries. Former bachelors became husbands and fathers, leaders of the Lutheran Reformation. Luther reluctantly joined, joking about marriage to his father, and hearing his father ask why not.
“Not in the secret chambers” – There are so many ways that false versions of Christianity displace the Gospel of the Scriptures. They always involve leaving the world God has given us and creating a new secret world for the elite. Some do that with excessive prayer, others with devotion to a secret agenda. Nothing is so exciting as a secretive group. As Dickens observed, a secret group will enroll 200 people while an open volunteer group can barely gain two or three members.
So it is – everyone wants to know the real origins of the Masonic Lodge, but the clear text of the Bible – they take that for granted. The Bible is so easily accessed now that hardly anyone knows it or understands it.
Contemporary worship – that great hunk of bait to snag the unwary – has songs where the content could just as easily be Buddhist as Christian. There is no confession of truth at all.
Or an entire hymn is sung to the Holy Spirit without an indication that the Spirit is always united with the Word. And because of this confusion and ignorance, the Spirit hymn is a  hope for some ecstatic experience, as if we will this upon ourselves instead of hearing/reading the Word as the normal part of the Spirit’s work.
For example, many college students have said, “No one taught us how to write a good essay.” I am sympathetic because no one gave me the formula. I learned on my own and found out that everyone had the same answer.
There is a same answer for every Christian question, because the true Church has always existed and will always remain until the end. But to separate the good from the bad, we have to be discerning and wise rather than blindly naïve.

27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

This warning, based on weather patterns, is vivid and memorable. We look at “accuweather” and take the predictions as an eternal maybe. Sudden storms rise up, like the windstorm yesterday. The weather began cold, warmed up, then combined that warm weather with high winds and a tiny bit of rain.
At times the storms come to rest over the area and lightning bolts precede thunder by moments, while pets shiver in bed.
We will not know the end of time until the actual appearance of Christ. Then the evidence will be so abundant that no one will doubt He is the Son of God and Savior.






Monday, November 11, 2013

Pastor Paul Rydecki Shows Why 1 Timothy 3:16 Does NOT Support UOJ

"In no other way..."
would clinch the JFBA argument, too. 

http://www.intrepidlutherans.com/2013/11/johann-gerhard-on-1-timothy-316.html

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2013


Johann Gerhard on 1 Timothy 3:16



Those who teach that God has already absolved all people of their sins (e.g., Walther’s famous “Easter Absolution”) and declared all people righteous in Christ, whether they believe in Christ or not, have to take short phrases out of context in order to read their doctrine back into the Scriptures and the writings of the Lutheran Fathers.  As their proof passages for universal absolution apart from the Means of Grace and apart from faith fall one by one (e.g., Rom. 3:24Rom. 4:25Rom. 5:182 Cor. 5:19, all of which teach justification by faith, not apart from faith or before faith), they are left grasping at straws to fortify their teetering teaching of an Easter Absolution of all men.  So some have isolated one phrase from 1 Tim. 3:16 to prove what they claim is the very foundation of our faith.  Following F. Pieper blindly and uncritically, they isolate one phrase from Johann Gerhard (which was repeated by Abraham Calov) on this verse to “prove” that the Lutheran Church has always taught that all men were absolved by God—apart from the Means of Grace and apart from faith—in the resurrection of Christ.

As usual, a simple glance at the Scriptural context reveals no such universal absolution.  And as usual, a look at the context of the Lutheran Fathers reveals that they did not teach such a thing, either.

The following is a translation of the section from Johann Gerhard’s commentary on 1 Timothy dealing with the phrase “justified in the spirit” in 1 Tim. 3:16.  It is the entire section that deals with that phrase, plus a translation of Gerhard's concluding analysis of the verse.

———————————————

Adnotationes ad Priorem D. Pauli ad Timotheum Epistolam
Annotations on St. Paul’s First Epistle to Timothy
by Johann Gerhard (1582-1637)

Ἐδικαιώθη ἐν πνεύματι (“He was justified in spirit”). (1) Theodoret, Primasius, Sedulius, Anselm, Thomas, Lyranus, Cajetan, Gagnaeus, Justininanus, etc., understand “spirit” as “Holy Spirit,” so that the sense is: Just as ὁ θεάνθρωπος (the God-Man) Christ Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, so from the beginning of His conception by the Holy Spirit He was made righteous and holy in such a way that He never had nor did He commit any sin. But “to be justified” is never attributed anywhere to Christ in the sense of “to be made righteous.”  Nor would it denote anything special in Christ, since it is common to all righteous men that they have been justified in the Spirit. (2) It is more correctly understood as the Deity of Christ, since whatever is beyond human in Christ is called “spirit.” Therefore, it says, “The Son of God was manifested in the flesh, justified by means of the spirit,” that is, His Deity, by the strength of which He performed miracles and raised Himself from the dead. Therefore, by means of His miracles, performed by the power of a holy spirit, but especially by means of the resurrection, He demonstrated Himself to be the Son of God against the calumnies of His enemies. (Rom. 1:41 Pet. 3:18).

By means of the spirit He was shown to be righteous (Latin declaratus est justus et verax) and true in works and doctrine, and He was also set free (Latin absolutus - absolved) from all the calumnies of the Jews. This type of justification for God agrees with Ps. 51:6Matt. 11:18Luke 7:29.

“He was justified,” that is, He was shown to be righteous (Latin justus declaratus), since in and by means of the resurrection Christ was set free (Latin absolutus - absolved) from the sins of men that He took upon Himself as Guarantor in order to make satisfaction for them to the Father.

[commentary on the rest of the verse follows, concluding with the following:]

Observe the steps in the apostolic saying: (1) “God was manifested in flesh.”  This is the incarnation. (2) “Justified in spirit.” This is the policy (politia) or the conduct (conversatio) of Christ on this earth, in which, by means of various miracles, He demonstrated Himself to be the Son of God. (3) “Seen by angels.” This is the resurrection. (4) “Preached among the nations.” This is the preaching of the Gospel, which some received by faith.  (5) “Received in glory.” This is the ascension.

———————————————

It is clear from his own exposition of 1 Tim. 3:16 that Johann Gerhard did not find in this verse a universal absolution of all men.  What he found was that, through the miracles He performed on earth and especially through His greatest miracle of raising Himself from the dead, Christ demonstrated His Deity.  Gerhard did not apply this “setting free” (“justification, vindication, absolution”) of Christ to all men.  He explicitly explains “this type of justification for God” in a different sense than the Book of Concord describes the justification of sinners.  In other words, Gerhard is not describing the article of justification in these words, nor is he referring at all to the “forensic (divine courtroom) justification,” either of Christ or of anyone else.

What Gerhard does say about Christ is the same thing we say about Christ who deny a universal absolution without faith.  Namely, that Christ “took upon Himself the sins of men as Guarantor in order to make satisfaction for them to the Father.” Indeed, Christ bore the sins of all and made satisfaction for the sins of all.  He served as Guarantor (or “Sponsor”) of all men.  And He was “shown to be righteous” in being “set free”(“absolved”) from sin's penalty, which is death.

But to make satisfaction for the sins of all does not result in the justification of all.  It is only through faith in Christ that His satisfaction is applied to sinners so that they are justified.  And to serve as Guarantor of all men does not result in the justification of all men.  It is only through faith in the Guarantor that His payment is applied to their account so that they are justified before God.  And Christ's being “set free” from sin's penalty, namely, death, is not a reference to any announcement by God that all sinners have been “set free” (absolved) from their sins, since all unbelievers are and remain dead and condemned.

However, those who believe in Christ do share in His resurrection and His life and have already escaped from death through faith in Him, and thus, as Calov/Gerhard point out, God “has absolved us in Him” (nos in ipso absolvit) not at the time of Christ's resurrection, but at the time when we were incorporated into Christ, namely, through Holy Baptism, which is consistent with all the Scriptures and the entire Book of Concord.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Trinity


The Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Trinity


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn #  281     The Savior Calls               1:29
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual       
The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed             p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 531            Come ye Disconsolate            1:15

 Two Examples of Faith

The Communion Hymn # 308            Invited Lord                1:63
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #  511     Jesus Shall Reign                1:80
           

KJV Colossians 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; 12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

KJV Matthew 9:18 While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. 19 And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples. 20 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: 21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. 22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. 23 And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, 24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. 25 But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. 26 And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.


Twenty-Fourth Sunday After Trinity

O almighty and everlasting God, who by Thy Son hast promised us forgiveness of our sins and deliverance from eternal death: We pray that by Thy Holy Spirit Thou wilt daily increase our faith in Thy grace through Christ, and establish us in the certain hope that we shall not die, but peacefully sleep, and be raised again on the last day to eternal life and salvation; through our Lord, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Two Examples of Faith


KJV Matthew 9:18 While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. 19 And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples.

We have a beautiful twin-miracle lesson, where one begins and then completes after the miracle in the middle. This has been called a literary device and it is also seen in paintings, with one main painting and two subordinate paintings on each side to frame and explain the central artwork.

This miracle set is found in all three Gospels, so we can see the importance of knowing and understanding both healings.

The first is the ruler’s daughter. We should not overlook the fact that this was the daughter of an important official, one known by many. In some cases the entire crowd witnessed the miracle. In this case, the immediate witnesses of the miracle were few, but the entire circle of friends and associates, plus many more, knew of the ruler’s plight and participated to some degree in the actual mourning ceremonies.

Those who laughed at Jesus were just as important as the trusting family, since they were rudely shaken in their assumptions. They were not laughing at a pretentious bumpkin but at the Son of God, who raised the girl from the dead.

The faith of this ruler is infinite, since he assumed in his trust, that Jesus could take his beloved daughter from death to life again. What weakens us more than death itself? What can be done but mourn? Most people would have hoped for healing but given up at this point.

But the ruler trusted Jesus so much that he said, “My daughter is already dead, but lay Your hand on her and she will live.” In some instances, Jesus did not travel to the sick or dying person. But He did this time, and that meant the rumor (sermon) of His power went with Him.

On the way woman came up behind Him and vowed she would touch the hem of His robe. Her condition was equally devastating. Because of the issue of blood, she was ritually unclean and could not be touched – for 12 years. The more she sought help from doctors, the worse she became.

She should have been leveled by the malady and by her inability to find any healing or solace. She is a good example of those who have less and less and yet their faith grows. She trusted in Jesus so much that she did not even think to ask him face-to-face. How could she? She was ritually unclean. She did not think to ask Him to touch her with His healing hands.

But she was certain that touching His garment would alone be enough to heal her. And she experienced immediate healing when she did. Likewise, Jesus knew what happened and said so.

Here is a great quotation (from memory) that picked up on this healing – “If touching the hem of the garment of Jesus healed the woman with the flow, how much more will receiving the Body and Blood of Christ heal us?”


22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

It is difficult to imagine faith being so bad, when Jesus said, “Your faith has healed you.” That came from Jesus, not Arminius.

Luther explains it well. He often preached on this theme. The Gospel is not for the rich, powerful, and self-satisfied. They are like hogs looking at the sacrament. They devour it and do not know what they are consuming. But they have no use for its comfort, since their comfort comes from worldly peace – having power, honors, and an excess of wealth (mammon). They worship these worldly signs of peace and not God.

However, the Gospel is a great comfort to those who are suffering. They feel the weight of their sins – as prisoners do when they rejoice at hearing the simple Gospel being for them, also. They have bodily pain and disorders, so they value spiritual comfort that much more. And the great torment of all is emotional, which no one can see. Luther suffered terribly because of his great intelligence and his emotional acuity. Others like my friend at a Christian school in Midland, suffer from no temptation because they do whatever they want. (That was before the teacher’s conversion.) But Luther was chosen by God to separate the Gospel from the papal captivity of it, so Satan violently attacked Luther through his emotions. In seeking Gospel peace he wrote an enormous amount of material that still gives peace to people today.

Jesus did not scorn woman as unclean but praised her faith. His grace and love were so great that He drew large crowds toward Him wherever He went. His enemies saw that. They were jealous and plotted revenge – all for the glory of God, of course.

23 And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, 24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. 25 But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. 26 And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.


Jesus continued on His journey to Jairus’ daughter. The professional mourners were making a racket, so Jesus kicked them out, giving them a morsel of the miracle to come. “The maid is not dead but sleeping.” They mocked Him with their laughter.

That is always worth considering. The same type of person who would laugh at the Savior (who was about to save a life) will do far more than that to us who are frail, sinful humans.

When they laugh at us, they are laughing at Jesus and the Gospels.

Why did Jairus accomplish so much for his daughter? He trusted God could accomplish this great miracle, a miracle beyond consideration for most people. Certain the Gospel had already reached Jairus and had its effect on him.

Lenski:
Matthew at once takes us to the house where the Jewish mourning is in full blast. Judging from the indications of time in this chapter, it must have been toward dusk, and the child would be buried the next morning. Matthew alone mentions the hired “flute players”; beside them would be found the hired wailing women with hair streaming, beating their breasts and filling the air with loud moans and bursts of sobs. The prominence of the family would call for a goodly number of these hired mourners. Besides there would be present many friends of this important family. The whole house was thus full of noise. Paid mourners were professionals at the business, and the custom of having them in houses of mourning and at funerals dates far back, even beyond the times of Jeremiah (9:17), and is found among Jews and pagans alike. Naturally, Jesus would order these people out and hush them; a deed such as he was about to do called for the decency and the dignity of silence.
24) The word with which Jesus put out the noisy crowd has sometimes been misunderstood as though it implied that the girl had merely lapsed into a coma and appeared to be dead while still holding to life. “Did not die” is taken to deny the death, and “sleepeth” is understood to refer to sleep. But the people who were ordered out of the room knew better; from their loud wailing they turned to scornful laughter at this word of Jesus, sie lachten ihn aus. According to Mark 5:35 Jairus is informed: ἀπέθανεν, “she did die”; Luke 8:49 has τέθνηκεν, “she has died” and thus is dead, and adds the statement that the people “knew that she died.” The explanation that Jesus spoke as he did because he wanted to veil his miracle, is unacceptable; he does not equivocate or deceive. “Did not die but is sleeping” is spoken in view of the omnipotent power and will of him who can bring life back with a word. The word is true because of him who makes it true.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 375.

Jairus was the ruler of a synagogue, so he was extremely well known, highly respected, and well versed in the Scriptures predicting the coming of the Messiah.

This should be remembered as a source of the opposition against Jesus but also a reason for the apostolic church growing so fast and encountering persecution. The congregations were already started when the apostles went out. They had flocks to feed and pastors to teach.

The growth of the Gospel was explosive because of Jesus’ public ministry.

Luther:

27. This is the beautiful example of the woman. Now we turn to the daughter of the ruler of the Synagogue. But here, too, faith must contend and be strengthened; for although, as we have already heard, he had an excellent faith, yet it could scarcely have been maintained, had it not been strengthened. For, while Christ was still speaking with the woman, Mark 5:35-36 and Luke 8:49, say a message was brought, stating the man’s daughter had died, and requesting him not to trouble the Master.

This meant all would amount to nothing, since they had delayed too long; hence he should leave the matter and think only of how to bury his child.

28. This must have been a severe blow to the ruler’s faith. But the fact that the woman had just been healed, must have prevented his faith from failing, and indeed strengthened it to resist the doubts concerning his daughter.

And Christ himself is present to comfort and strengthen him against this stumbling-block, in order to show that he is unwilling that even such weak faith should be injured in any way, but be established and strengthened; and in view of this he admonishes and encourages all persons by saying: “Doubt not, only believe, etc.” This he said in order to see how highly he was pleased with the faith that clings to him, and that he was ready to guard against its being overcome; as he spoke to the Apostles, and especially to Peter, who fell so easily, “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.”

29. Now when Christ came to the house, this man’s faith had to receive another blow; for there they saw and heard nothing but the tumult, weeping and wailing, and the blowing of trumpets (which they used at the death of their friends, as we do bells). All this cries in his heart that nothing was left but death, and his faith had nothing on which to lay hold against despair, except the word which Christ spoke against the tumult and lamentations: “The child is not dead, but sleepeth,” on account of which he was mocked and laughed at as a fool; for they all saw and knew that the maid was dead, and that there was no breath nor spark of life in her. They could not but think: See, our master or ruler must be mad or silly to bring this fool here, who tries to convince us that the maid is not dead, when every one can clearly see she lies stiff in death, a dead corpse, ready to be placed under ground.

30. They had come together at the synagogue, as at a common gathering place, as we do at our churches, where on the Sabbath the Word of God was taught, because throughout the whole country there was neither church nor temple, except at Jerusalem. And this ruler of the synagogue occupied the same position among them that our pastors occupy, and others occupied the place of assistants or readers, who read Moses or preached, circumcised the children and instructed the young, and visited the sick and sorrowing to comfort them. These had to be together in the synagogue and testified concerning this work of Christ, even with their mocking and scornful laughter, namely, that the maiden had certainly died and been raised from the dead. The ruler therefore, before he could experience the work of Christ, was compelled, in the face of this offense and mockery, to cling to the one word of Christ and with him be regarded as a fool and in his folly learn this spiritual wisdom that death is not death to Christ, but only a sleep.




Sunday, November 3, 2013

All Saints Sunday, 2013



All Saints Sunday, 2013
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn # 371     Jesus Thy Blood                   4:6
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 # 463            For All the Saints                   4:31 

The Beatitudes

The Communion Hymn #305            Soul, Adorn Thyself             4:23 
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 # 657            Beautiful Savior            4:24  

KJV Revelation 7:2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. 5 Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. 6 Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. 7 Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. 8 Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand. 9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. 13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

KJV Matthew 5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.


ALL SAINTS' DAY

O almighty and everlasting God, who through Thine only-begotten and beloved Son, Jesus Christ, wilt sanctify all Thine elected and beloved: Give us grace to follow their faith, hope, and charity, that we together with them may 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.

The Beatitudes


There are just eight Beatitudes. They are well named because each verse in the original begins with the word for blessed. Many have tried to improve on the KJV wording, but no one has succeeded so far.

One way to emphasize a concept is to begin the sentence with that word. This is what Jesus did in the Beatitudes, so it is odd to have someone improve on them by saying, “The poor in spirit are happy because…”

Naturally, happy is a poor word for blessed. People can say that bearing the cross is a blessing, but no one says that bearing a cross makes them happy. That would be a contradiction, because the cross is always vexing. Otherwise it would be dessert, a prize, a surprise, but not the cross of Christ.

Every year I get to say to one student, “Did you go to a Roman Catholic school?” Usually the student says no. I continue, “You are the type that makes Sister Maria Perpetua say – You are my cross to bear this year.”

Lenski:
The Beatitudes read like a Psalm; μακάριοι at once recalls the blessed of Ps. 1:1. “Blessed!” intoned again and again, sounds like bells of heaven, ringing down into this unblessed world from the cathedral spires of the kingdom inviting all men to enter. The word, like its opposite “woe,” is neither a wish regarding a coming condition, nor a description of a present condition, but a judgment pronounced upon the persons indicated, stating that they must be considered fortunate. The form is almost exclamatory: “O the blessedness of those who,” etc.! And it is Jesus who renders this judgment, which is, therefore, absolutely true although all the world may disagree. Each of the eight judgments is at once established by revealing in what the blessedness actually consists; and the eighth judgment is even doubled, and its blessedness is unveiled in two strong statements. All this blessedness is spiritual, each part of it coming from the great Messianic kingdom, true soul-blessedness, a rich possession now but with a glorious promise of still greater riches—the very opposite of the word’s happiness which is poisoned already in the bud and soon blasted forever. “Blessed” means joy for those concerned. But this is the heavenly way: the great gifts of the kingdom are ours, insuring a constant flow of joy, so that, even if for a moment we be sad and sorrowful, the joy will again well up in our hearts. John 15:11.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 183.


The Sermon on the Mount, beginning with the Beatitudes, should give us pause. How important are they? They are the front page of the Sermon, more like the Table of Contents. Each one is succinct and full of meaning.

Lenski:
“The multitudes,” with its Greek article, points back to 4:25, and thus strengthens the inference that the sermon was spoken at the height of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee. It was customary for teachers, and for preachers to sit cross-legged while speaking, the hearers assuming the same position. The writer saw a speaker sitting thus on a raised platform in a mosque in Damascus in 1925, another in the mosque of the dervishes in Constantinople, the hearers in each case sitting on the floor. The word disciples means more than pupils or learners, namely those who have learned, who have imbibed their master’s spirit. They may still learn, but what they have already learned is what makes them “disciples.”
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 182.

So we can call the Beatitudes – a Psalm, an Introduction, a Table of Contents for the Gospel of Matthew and for all the Gospels.

It was an innocent mistake to divide the books of the Bible into chapter and verses. More people should denounce that instead of the Internet and computers. Versifying led people into looking at one verse at a time, one part of a verse, and constructing a new philosophy based on that verse alone.

Since the Bible is one unified Truth, versifying is a bad idea. If the cross is found in one part of the Bible, the concept will be found elsewhere too. Therefore, even the worst and densest skeptic  will stop and exclaim things like this, “Paul agrees with John!” or “These words are only found in John’s Gospel, except for one place, where the same wording is found in Matthew.” (No one knows the Father except the Son…)

So the Beatitudes, Jesus’ Psalm, should always be on our minds as that singular expression of His theme of Gospel and grace, the irony of God’s truth pitted against man’s so-called wisdom.

We should see the Beatitudes as our guide in the Christian life. And we also recognize and remember people on All Saints, all the believers who have gone before us.

In our little group, Walter Boeckler, my mother, and Brenda Kiehler were part of getting a congregation, to enjoy traditional Lutheran worship in an age where this was being abandoned.

There are many more in our circles who have passed into eternal life before Bethany Lutheran Church began.


3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

We can often discern the positive meaning by looking at the negation. The opposite ones are proud, arrogant, boastful, and easily angered. They are the ones who want to rule and oppress others by force. Their might status makes unreceptive to the Law and blind to the Gospel. The Law is something they wield against others. They shout, demand, threaten, and undermine. They know their rights and make sure they get their rights – and then some.

Who are beggarly in spirit? They are the ones who accept what comes to them in the Kingdom of God. Jesus told His disciples to leave everything behind and follow Him. That was a great challenge, to rely on a wandering teacher, but so great was the attraction of His grace that they counted that wealth and left home, family, friends, and self-esteem to wander with Him.

Now we know the sharpness and pain of being out of step with society, which is  no longer Billy Graham President Eisenhower middle of the road friendly to old-fashioned values and Christianity. The opposite is true. I have had many people afraid to say, in a public place, why they left ELCA. We had to draw a sign of a fish on the floor, in a sense, talking around the topic. They are wary, afraid of being attacked for being normal.

And many are freely available to ask to right questions, to pounce, as one religion teacher did when we were waiting for our classes to start. In three questions he knew I was a traditionalist and he was drilling down for more information, more like a prosecutor than someone who wanted to know more.

To be poor in spirit means to receive the Gospel in faith and to receive all that goes with it. As Luther said about the First Commandment, we all have faith. If we have faith in the wrong thing, we worship a false god. But if we fear, love, and trust God above all other things, there are natural blessings for that faithfulness.

4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Many famous people have mourned without comfort. Sigmund Freud (German for joy) never stopped mourning. A number of Jews have told us, “Christians are much better with grief than we are.”

One of blessings of life is the friendship we have with other believers, and love within our family, but with that comes a lot of loss. Central to the message of the Gospel is eternal life.
We have comfort in mourning, because our time on earth is short while eternity promises us fellowship with all the saints.

Of course, the term saint does not mean in the Bible what it does in common conversation. Saint does not mean a perfect person (dead or alive), although the Catholic mythologies and Synod Conference fables have tried to paint that picture.

In the Bible, the saints (aka the righteous) are those who believe in Christ and are without sin because of His grace received through faith. Everyone who believes in Christ is a saint, and the New Testament addresses them as such – holy – made holy by Christ.

All those who believe in Christ as their Savior are in Christ. They are saints. They are sinful on this earth and yet are forgiven their sins through God’s declaration: justified by faith, not by works.

Apart from Christ, without the Word, this is not true. Apart from Christ, all the greatest works are sinful. No one is forgiven without Christ. No one is declared forgiven without faith.

Lenski:
This second pronouncement is as paradoxical as the first. The verb denotes loud mourning such as the lament for the dead or for a severe, painful loss. The sorrow for our sins in true contrition should not be excluded from this mourning. Do our sins inflict no loss upon us? Do they not rob us of what is dearer than relatives, money, or other goods? Instead of excluding sorrow for sin, this is the chief part of the lament. But, of course, we must include all other grief and sorrow due to the power of sin in the world as this inflicts blows, losses, and pain upon the godly. It includes every wrong done us, as well as every painful consequence of our own wrongdoing. It is almost self-evident that this mourning is not like that of the world which howls loud enough when its sins find it out: “but the sorrow of the world worketh death,” 2 Cor. 7:10.
Behind this sorrow of the godly lies the recognition of the merciless power of sin and of our helplessness to ward it off and to escape. Hence this mourning is a constant cry to God in their distress. The substantivized participle is the present tense and thus characterizes the godly as mourning constantly. As far as contrition is concerned, let us keep in mind the first of Luther’s famous 95 Theses, that our entire life must be a continuous contrition and repentance. As far as other sorrows are concerned, “we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God,” Acts 14:22; in fact, all the passages that speak of tribulation belong here. God’s people are, indeed, a mournful lot!
But how can they be called blessed, emphatic αὐτοί, “they, just they,” “they alone”? Because they are the only ones who “shall be consoled.” The passive implies that God is their consoler. And this is a future tense. Chiliasts interpret: “shall be consoled in the glorious earthly Messianic Millennium, when all the forces of evil are crushed, when all the Christians shall at last be triumphant.” Until that time these mourners must remain comfortless save for the prospect of that distant comfort. But Christ says, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you,” John 14:18; and when he came, we read, “Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord,” John 20:20. No; this chiliastic comfort kingdom is but a mirage. The future tense is future to the mourning: the comfort always at once follows the mourning. Remember the “little while” in John 16:16. The greatest of all comfort is the absolution pronounced upon every contrite mourning sinner. Without this all other comfort is vain. And in tribulation God’s Word, God’s deliverance and help, God’s support, cheer and uplift us as nothing else could so. Finally, God’s promises of future deliverance from all evil in the heavenly kingdom of glory fill us with abounding comfort. As our mourning rises unto God in this vale of sin and tears, so his constant comfort flows down to us. Thus we who mourn are of all men most blessed, for we, indeed, are comforted.
       Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 186.


5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Psalm 37

King James Version (KJV)
37 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon theLord, they shall inherit the earth.
10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.
11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
12 The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.
13 The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.
14 The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.
15 Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.
16 A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the Lordupholdeth the righteous.
18 The Lord knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.
19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
20 But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lordshall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.
21 The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.
22 For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.
23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.
24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for theLord upholdeth him with his hand.
25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
26 He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.
27 Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.
28 For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.
29 The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.
30 The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.
31 The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.
32 The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.
33 The Lord will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.
34 Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.
35 I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.
36 Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.
37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.
38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.
39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble.
40 And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

One advantage of experience is seeing these things come true. The spiritual tyrants have the greatest and most painful downfalls. I can name many who were princes of their church bodies – many who kicked out of the ministry, some who went to prison, others who were found out for what they were.
No matter what evil people do or try to accomplish, the Holy Spirit is more powerful. He can turn the greatest evil into the greatest good. Man cannot do that.

Having complete trust in God means allowing that this can and does happen all the time, but not according to our plans – only through God’s plans.

Therefore, the believers inherit the earth. Faith gives us heaven and earth and all the blessings of life that matter.

6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Our greatest longing is for the forgiveness of sin, because guilt eats away and weighs us down. The worst prescriptions for guilt make matters worse, which is why our world groans from all the false religions and fake version of the Christian faith.

The irony is that so many treat every brand as the enemy while dismissing the real theme of the Bible – to teach faith in Christ. I have more in common with those who teach justification by faith than those peacocks who teach against justification by faith and call their unbelief the Chief Article of the Christian Faith.

Jesus promises us that we will be satisfied with forgiveness because of the overabundance of grace distributed by the Holy Spirit in the Means of Grace, the Word and Sacraments.

7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Four Beatitudes look toward God.
Three look toward man.
The last one teaches the Cross.

Lenski:
The agent back of the passive “shall be treated mercifully” is again God, and again the future means at once as we show mercy. In this future tense we ought to see the impossibility of a reference to the hereafter. There will be no misery there and thus no possibility of merciful treatment on the part of God. God first makes us merciful and then even blesses us for being merciful. This beatitude has stimulated God’s people to do all manner of eleemosynary work. It is well known how absolutely bare of even the idea of mercy many heathen religions are. The mercy of unchristian men about us, such as it is, disjoined from Christ, relieving only physical distress, is one of the indirect results of Christianity, never an outgrowth of the natural heart as such. The fearful cruelty which slumbers in the unregenerate heart, when occasion brings it out, is often appalling, and its worst feature is “man’s cruelty to man.”
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 191.

The Gospel has been a powerful force in moving believers to care for their neighbors. That has been shown many times in generous outpourings of aid for disaster victims and even for our enemies. This is multiplied through individuals and families who do the same.

In regions of the country where the Gospel is not believed, helping the neighbor (by whatever definition) is not practiced. Where people believe in Christ, help is prompt and offered without being asked.

Mercy is the fruit of the Gospel, the result of forgiveness.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Lenski:
Ps. 24:4; compare 73:1; Gen. 20:5, 6; and then 1 Tim. 1:5; 2 Tim. 2:22; 1 Pet. 1:22, and Zahn’s conclusion is evident: “pure in heart” = sinceritas, singleness of heart, the honesty which has no hidden motive, no selfish interest, and is true and open in all things. Nothing is lost by thus specifying this virtue, for it is possible only in a heart that is justified and sanctified by God.
As the virtue, so the reward of grace: “just they shall see God.” Whatever may be said regarding seeing God in his Word by faith and regarding seeing him spiritually in communion with him in this life, “shall see God” must here be the visio Dei in the other world, promised to the glorified saints, 1 Cor. 13:12; 1 John 3:2, 3. Between God who is pure and the pure in heart (the dative as in v. 3) an affinity exists, the consummation of which is reached in heaven. The greatest joy of heaven will be the vision of God. We need not think of looking into the unfathomable essence of God; for as God’s presence delights the angel hosts and fills them with ineffable blessedness, so his presence will be made manifest to the pure in heart. Blessedness will flood them like light in the beatific vision of the All-pure.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 192.

Children exemplify purity of heart, and Jesus commends us to follow their example. Lenski calls it singleness of purpose, something that can only be accomplished by God in justification and sanctification – forgiveness and holiness.

Visio Dei – That is also called the beatific vision. When Stephen was being stoned to death, he looked into heaven and saw what awaited him. When we say the Creed together, we are doing the same, because the echoes of those saints’s voices are in the background of our confession of faith. I always see them in my mind’s eye as I say the Creed. They confessed the true Faith. They suffered and died for this truth.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Lenski:
Compare Eph. 4:3; Rom. 14:19; 1 Cor. 14:33; Heb. 12:14; etc. At peace with God and thus themselves filled with sweet peace, they live in peace, if possible, with all men and work to keep and to make peace wherever peace is threatened or lost. Theirs is the work of true Christians who follow in the footsteps of the Prince of Peace. Nor is this “peace at any price,” which ignores confessional principles and is unwilling to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3). These are not unionistic peacemakers who combine contrary doctrines by agreeing to disagree. Truth of God comes first, peace with men second. Friends are dear, the Word of our greatest Friend dearest. No “blessed” was spoken by Jesus upon the disrupters of the church who insist on their false views, nor upon those who regard the peace and the fellowship of their brother-confessors as being of slight value, so that they may run after other fellowships. The true peace of the church is a blessed possession, we cannot guard it too closely. Contentious, stubborn, obstreperous church members—this beatitude ought to make them impossible. Also in the world, wherever strife arises, the followers of Christ work for peace in the spirit of their Master.
The passive “shall be called” implies “by God,” for he alone can bestow the title “God’s sons” in truth and in reality. Here, too, the future tense means that God shall call them his sons now when they prove their relation to him by their peacemaking. Chiliasts again think of their future mirage kingdom, and others of the world to come. “God’s sons, shall they be called; the title is not “children.” The latter carries rather the connotation of tender affection, the former that of dignity and high standing. Hence also “they shall be called” God’s sons; this high distinction shall be accorded to them, and by God himself. God himself shall own them as sons of his. He who sent his Son to make peace between God and man will acknowledge as his sons those who in the spirit of his Son also make peace.
[1]Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 193.

One way to interpret this is through forgiveness. Peacemakers forgive, and that causes peace. That means overlooking one another’s faults and those conflicts that come from living and working together. “A soft answer turns away wrath.”

This is commonly misunderstood as covering up doctrinal differences, as Luther and Lenski observed. Instead people shun others for irritating them or not belonging to the right in-group. We should tolerate the faults of others, since we have so many ourselves, but there is no forgiveness for false doctrine. It must be identified and conquered before a minor point becomes the central dogma of the group.

10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

The capstone of the Beatitudes is this declaration of the cross. A similar expression can be seen in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, where the Christ figure uses both oil and wine on the wounds. The oil is the comfort of the Gospel and the wine is the sharpness of the cross that follows.

“No cross, no crown” is the motto found in many European churches. They also have a crown around the cross, which reminds us of the teaching of Christ and the example of the first Christian martyr – Stephen (crown in Greek).

The Word and the Cross

"Patient continuance is so altogether necessary that no work can be good in which patient continuance is lacking. The world is so utterly perverse and Satan is so heinously wicked that he cannot allow any good work to be done, but he must persecute it. However, in this very way God, in His wonderful wisdom, proves what work is good and pleasing to Him. Here the rule holds: As long as we do good and for our good do not encounter contradiction, hatred, and all manner of disagreeable and disadvantageous things, so we must fear that our good work as yet is not pleasing to God; for just so long it is not yet done with patient continuance. But when our good work is followed by persecution, let us rejoice and firmly believe that it is pleasing to God; indeed, then let us be assured that it comes from God, for whatever is of God is bound to be crucified by the world. As long as it does not bring the cross, that is, as long as it does not bring shame and contempt as we patiently continue in it, it cannot be esteemed as a divine work since even the Son of God was not free from it—(suffering for the sake of the good He did)—but left us an example in this. He Himself tells us in Matthew 5:10, 12: 'Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake... Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven.'"
Martin Luther, Commentary on Romans, Romans 2:6-10, trans. J. Theodore Mueller, Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1976, p. 55.