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 Central.


Thanksgiving Eve - 7 PM Central Time.

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 22, 2015

Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Trinity, 2015




The Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Trinity, 2015
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson
Today is our 46th anniversary.




The Hymn #514               God Moves in a Mysterious Way                   
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    
   




Johann Hermann lost all his possessions, many times, when Catholic forces repeatedly sacked his city during the Thirty Years War, one of the worst times for faithful Lutherans. He also wrote "Ah Holy Jesus, What Law Hast Thou Broken," #143, and "O God Thou Faithful God" #395.


Comfort about the End -  from Paul

The Communion Hymn #246              Holy, Holy, Holy 
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 #649           Jesus Savior Pilot Me             



KJV 1 Thessalonians 4:13 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 [precede] 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.



KJV Matthew 24:15 

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.



Comfort about the End -  from Paul

KJV 1 Thessalonians 4:13 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. 


The Apostolic Age was full of anxiety among the congregations, because the world was coming to an end, from their perspective. The greatest emperors had rule over Rome, and the empire was beginning to fade, but the complete dissolution took until 400 AD in the West and 1453 in the Christian Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire).

The Fall of Constantinople, still mourned today in Eastern Orthodoxy, meant that the Muslim armies were free to attack Europe, and they did. They were at the gate of Vienna in 1530 and continued to attack at various times. until 1683, when the Polish king and general Jan Sobieski, scattered the Muslim army - and discovered coffee for Vienna in the spoils of war.

At various times the world has appeared to be falling apart completely. Strangely, almost no one knows the history of the Byzantine Empire,  whose fate was so closely tied to Islam trying to engulf it and finally succeeding. 

The Apostolic Age was similar in the way the grandeur of Rome was decidedly fading. And many of the same players are involved today. Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians about the Man of Iniquity who is worshiped as a god - and sets himself up in the temple of God.

This feeling of everything coming to an end created problems. Why work? - the world is ending. Paul said, "If you do not work, you do not eat," good words for today.

The other anxiety is about death and the end of all time. So many key phrases are in this one verse.

They are brothers in Christ, through faith, which means they belong to the same family. He writes to them with a great feeling of closeness and sincerity.

He does not want them to be anxious but to know the truth - "not be ignorant..."

About those who are asleep. This changed the language of believers, because cemetery means a place of sleep, referring to this passage. In contrast, some made up a dogma of "soul sleep" to deny the immortality of the soul. How could they take so much discussion of the individual soul and decide that was not true? Like justification, every sound or healthy doctrine can be changed into the opposite, if the false teachers desire this change. I even had a supposed Lutheran ask, "You don't believe in the immortality of the soul, do you?" He was offended that I affirmed it was the teaching of the Bible.

Do not sorrow, as those who have no hope. Here is a distinctive difference that one can experience with many different people. Grief is not bad, but healing. for the Christian. For those without knowledge and faith in the resurrection of Christ, death is a grievous pain and burden. 

Believers still grieve, but not "as those who have no hope." It is a sign of our shallow society that friends and relatives do not allow grief to be expressed, as if it is a disease than one can catch. 


14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also, which sleep in Jesus, will God bring with him. 


Once again we can find some, or perhaps many, who argue for a Rapture event instead of reading the plain words about the end of time. 

First there is a conditional clause - if we believe. That is the condition which the apostates and mainline Leftists warn against. "No, do not allow an if - because that robs God of His glory." Then why does Paul use "if" here and in Romans 4:24?

So the sorrow is - what happens when some in our Christian family have died already and Jesus comes in His glory? The fear or anxiety expressed is - how can those asleep in Christ experience the final expression of God's grace? 

Paul answers - those who have fallen asleep in Christ will also share in the return of Christ.

John 5 is very clear about that.


John 5:25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
When Christ returns in judgment, everyone is raised from the dead. Those who died in Christ are raised to everlasting life.
Details about all this are sparse, which is good, because people would embroider even more tales if they had more material to work with. Notice how the Rapture salesmen work just like the Objective Justification mongers.
First, they start with a non-Biblical name for their dogma - Rapture. Next, every passage they can use is enlisted in their Rapture booklet. This 1 Thessalonians passage is one of them, although it is clearly about the Final Judgment, the end of all history.
But now the issue is - what is your position on the Rapture? Do you believe it will happen before during or after the Tribulation? Add to this the millenial reign of all Christians, ruling from Jerusalem. You are against the Millenium? Oh no.
Soon they are fine-tuning arguments about a new dogma that a tiny sect spread throughout America (Darby-ites). This came from Calvinism and was promoted by the notorious Scofield Bible. The Left Behind industry is connected with it.
Now, now far are we away from justification by faith in Christ, just by turning off on this road?

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 [precede] them which are asleep.



Here we see clearly that no one is "left behind" even though that is a fear promoted by certain groups. "You will be in a bus and the driver will be raptured." Cartoons show planes going down, vehicles crashing.

This verse repudiates the whole scheme of the Rapture business - and it is a business - and yet they never notice the repudiation. Final Judgment includes the living and the dead. Those who are asleep in Christ are at peace, their souls with Christ, and yet the final act is not completed. Paul is addressing the end of all time, which is in complete harmony with Jesus in John 5.

There are many examples of this, where one writer in the Bible addresses the same issue with different words. This shows the unity and the harmony of the Word of God. The more we study, the more evident this is.

When people feel obligated to support a certain tradition of man, they get confused because the Scriptures clearly do not teach this fad. Rather than get upset by making the Word of God first, they follow human traditions and become fanatically loyal to that fad or fallacy. There is even a saying from Orwell about this.


I would not go back and reverse the conflicts caused by the Word of God, not to mention the punishment administered by various clergy creatures, because that is what taught me the real meaning of the Book of Concord and Luther.

Look at the irony today. So many people and clergy run after this new translation or commentary. The best one volume commentary on the Bible is the Book of Concord, where we can find concise, brilliant summaries of the Scriptures from some of the great Biblical scholars of all time. Their one qualification to teach in the Reformation was this - be a Biblical scholar: Luther, Melanchthon, Chemnitz, and Chytraeus are the Big Four. I add Gerhard as the fifth, because he worked in publishing with Chemnitz.

What is justification? Should I study the Apology of the Augsburg Confession on this topic? or an essay by Uncle Fritz Gesetzmacher? One is the confession of faith of Luther, who greatly admired Melanchthon's work. The other? - a political appointment.

About the desire for longer commentaries - Luther's sermons are this - commentaries on Biblical passages. I publish one almost every single week on Facebook and here on the blog. Someone who reads and understands one essay will know more about the Bible than the "conservative" seminary professors all put together. Luther is easy to follow and becomes even more powerful in time as he teaches us the Word of God.



Luther did not coach the congregation about time management and being happy. He did not promise to slowly boil them like frogs in a kettle. He taught the Word as it was then and remains true for all time. For that reason, everyone has access to Luther's sermons today, which remain the most read of that era.

His basic approaches to the Scriptures are:
  • The entire Bible is a sermon about Jesus, and it teaches faith in Him.
  • Justification by faith is the point of the Bible.
  • The Word of God is always effective, so the only way to accomplish God's will is to teach His Word.
  • The books of the Bible are in harmony with each other, so one will often explain the other passage we are trying to understand more thoroughly.
  • All of Christian doctrine is contained in the Bible, which judges all other books

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.


We know from many passages that this time is not revealed, and yet the signs of His Return are mentioned in various verses.

The efficacious Word of God will raise the dead first, which will show all the living that the time has come. That will be a moment of start terror for unbelievers, but a great joy for believers who trust in Christ alone for their salvation. The living will join the resurrected in the final consummation with Christ, and the unbelievers will be tormented by the knowledge of God but without His peace and comfort, which is Hell itself.



Obviously the Thessalonians were being upset by doubts, rumors, and stories, which will always arise among believers. Someone will say, "I heard that..." and that vague story becomes a new dogma. Those who are converted and learning are more likely to be disturbed and derailed, as all of us have been at one time or another. 

Luther wrote about being struck with doubts when writing about the Real Presence in Holy Communion. It would have been easier to give that up to appeal to our human reason. And yet the magisterial use of reason (a good insight from Sig Becker) places the Word above all human reason. So if the Word is the master, then we have our human abilities to study and see why this or that article of faith is true.

I am certain of this - the more we are challenged about doctrine, by events and by those who oppose the Word, the more we will appreciate and understand what is revealed. That makes the treasure of the Gospel more valuable to us and impossible to take away.

All the signs say we are in the end times, but we do not know how long they will last. We are certainly closer than ever before. Why would God delay the coming of His Son? More are converted by the Gospel, and the Father's timing is His alone - not ours. Jesus was clear in saying, "No one knows, not the Son, only the Father." Mark 13

Given the utter transformation of the world - heaven and earth will pass away - and the permanence of the Word, we should rest our hopes and our peace in the Word of God, not in anything else.








Sunday, August 23, 2015

Twelfth Sunday after Trinity 2015

Dahlia from Norma Boeckler's garden

The Twelfth Sunday after Trinity. 2015


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




The Hymn #
 376                                Rock of Ages              
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 #123                             Our God Our Help             

False Assumptions from False Teachers and Our Old Adam


The Communion Hymn #304                    An Awful Mystery             
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 #315                                I Come O Savior To Thy Table                                 

KJV 2 Corinthians 3:4 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; 6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: 8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? 9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. 10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. 11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.

KJV Mark 7:31 And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. 32 And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. 33 And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; 34 And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. 35 And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. 36 And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it; 37 And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.

Twelfth Sunday After Trinity

Almighty and everlasting God, who hast created all things: We thank Thee that Thou hast given us sound bodies, and hast graciously preserved our tongues and other members from the power of the adversary: We beseech Thee, grant us Thy grace, that we may rightly use our ears and tongues; help us to hear Thy word diligently and devoutly, and with our tongues so to praise and magnify Thy grace, that no one shall be offended by our words, but that all may be edified thereby, 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.



Norma Boeckler's front garden is a mass of color and happy insects at work.

False Assumptions from False Teachers and Our Old Adam

KJV 2 Corinthians 3:4 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: 

People like to knock the KJV, because they have never read it with appreciation - or never read it at all. This opening statement is so concise and beautiful in its expression. Our trust rests in God through Christ, but this phrasing is even better. When compound words are looked at separately, they make more sense - trust toward God, God-ward. The mediating influence is Christ, because the Gospel is Jesus the Son of God dying for our sins. The cross creates and encourages trust in the loving mercy of God the Father.

Whenever we read 2 Corinthians, we should keep in mind Paul's reaction to the false teachers who invaded after Paul established the Christian Faith there. This always happens, as soon as the Gospel takes root. The false teachers see this and look for opportunities to scandalize the new believers and take them away. Scandalize is a good word to use, because it comes from the trigger in the trap in the Greek language. When the animal - or man - touches the skandalon, the trap closes.

So everything in 2 Corinthians is either addressing false teachers or providing God's doctrine against them. We can see this in the lesson for today.

False teachers preach themselves and not God, but genuine teachers preach God and Christ crucified. False teachers are alike in many ways, throughout the ages. The librarians of doctrine like to have 187 categories to use, so they can argue about which category fits best, but the same errors keep repeating themselves and they come from the same type of people.

They attack:
  1. The humanity of Christ.
  2. The divinity of Christ.
  3. Justification by faith.
5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; 

This is Paul's clear statement about the efficacy of the Word. Lacking that doctrine, a teacher is always going to argue for his own personality or perhaps the visible institution. On the Protestant side, there is that game played with flirting with the audience, playing up to their base instincts, and making them dependent on the thrill fixes they get from watching the motivational speaker. On the Roman Catholic side - "The Church of Rome is the oldest, the biggest, the best..."

The false teachers plaguing the Corinthians were praising themselves and attacking Paul, but Paul did not defend himself. He defended God's work in the Word - our sufficiency is of God. Literally - our sufficiency of God - the verb is dropped for emphasis. That is like saying - The trouble with Notre Dame football? - defense.

For those used to the concept of Creation, sufficiency from God is giving honor where it is due, but that is alien to our culture. The efficacy of the Word has hardly been taught since the growth of the evolution concept. Man determines his destiny and all things are designed and managed by man.

I went outside to photograph Norma Boeckler's flowers in her front yard. I bent over to look at the insects flitting about. The bees were obvious from a distance, but close up with ichneumon wasps and hover flies, both designed by God to get rid of pests by answering the the call of alarm from damaged flowers and laying their eggs in or near the pest.  Where these plants in distress? Perhaps not, but they provide  nectar and pollen between those times of egg laying. Some - like ladybugs - eat pests in the adult and larva stages. Others only attack pests when growing up.
A constant display of flowers, wildflowers, herbs, and weeds will keep all the beneficial insects happy between rescue missions. 

If I could grasp how many beneficial insects work at once, I would have an inkling of God's design. This is like saying "there are fish in the ocean" but it is an improvement over not knowing what the tiny ones are are doing - and why. That is only one tiny slice of Creation on display in every garden. If not, we would all starve.

6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 

God makes us able - not the institution, not the personality. One might say - God has made us able servants of the Testament He gave us - that He would make us His own by providing His Son as our Savior. He gave us the Gospel we did not look for, which Paul knew so well. In the Old Testament, God made Israel His people and revealed Himself to them, laying the groundwork for the open era of Christianity. All the Gospel Promises of the Old Testament are also Gospel and many believed in the Savior through them.

Luther distinguished between believing in the Savior to come, and being justified, and believing in the Savior revealed to us - the New Testament.

False teachers always offer the Law, and salvation through works. Inevitably they must praise themselves or the source of their new law. Sometimes it is self-esteem law. At other times it is loyalty to an institution. Man never tires of law and likes it even more when it is called "new." Itching ears like something new, even if it is a retread of something very old and tiresome.

The Gospel gives life while the Law only offers condemnation and death.

7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: 

This is an argument from the lesser to the greater, which was common in Judaism and is still used today. Swedes coming to America thought Lindsborg (nicknamed Little Sweden) was a great city, since many were aiming for that little town. When they landed in New York City, they said, "If this is NYC, what must Lindsborg be like?"

So if the ministration of death was so glorious that the Israelites could not look at the face of Moses, how much greater is the ministration of eternal life?

The false teachers like to mock modest churches and rented rooms for chapel services. Jesus was born in a make-shift motel room, rented by Joseph, and the Last Supper took place in another rented room, arranged by Jesus. It is as if God was saying, the Gospel is first, not the furnishings.

Those ministers who say, "I only have a tiny congregation" or "I only work in a tiny town, far from the center of action" - they are demeaning the work of the Spirit in the Word. That may not appeal to the ego, but those receiving the Gospel of forgiveness and the comfort of God's love are not so sure that matters.

Glamour boys like to flaunt their celebrity, who gets to see them - except their staff - and who visits people in their homes - the staff, at best, most likely no one.

But people look around and say, "I want that big fancy church and all the pleasant associations with it." That appeals to the Old Adam in the minister and the congregation, and yet they always want more and seek more, often falling into death traps because of that.

Wherever the Gospel is preached, eternal life springs up. That is God's doing, only the teacher needs to be faithful to God's Word and not consumed with man's opinion.

8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? 9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.

Notice the ministration of righteousness. One of the desert fathers said, "We lay down the light yoke of justification by faith and  pick up a heavy yoke when we justify ourselves." How much of our conversation is self-justification?  That is teaching man-made law, and the letter kills. If someone is guilty of one infraction, all the claims mean nothing.

The ministration of righteousness is what God has done for us through Christ, so our trust through Christ is God-ward. The wrath of the Law is taken away and we know we are beloved children, brothers of Christ, in Him as believers, and knowing He is in us.

Holy Baptism is a great sacrament to witness, because it is God's seal and promise. Adults are baptized because they believe in the Gospel and desire the sacrament God has offered, just as they desire Holy Communion.

The skeptics demean the Sacraments as the visible Word, but believers appreciate the power of the Word to fulfill God's Promises.

If someone wants to know how to remain in God's little flock, the most direct instruments are - 
  • The Word of God - worship and study.
  • Holy Communion.
  • Being mindful of one's baptism and what that means.
10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. 11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.

51. There is also especial comfort to be derived from Paul’s assertion that the “ministration,” or doctrine, of the Law “passeth away”; for otherwise there would be naught but eternal condemnation. The doctrine of the Law “passes away” when the preaching of the Gospel of Christ finds place. To Christ, Moses shall yield, that he alone may hold sway. Moses shall not terrify the conscience of the believer. When, perceiving the glory of Moses, the conscience trembles and despairs before God’s wrath, then it is time for Christ’s glory to shine with its gracious, comforting light into the heart.

Then can the heart endure Moses and Elijah. For the glory of the Law, or the unveiled face of Moses, shall shine only until man is humbled and driven to desire the blessed countenance of Christ. If you come to Christ, you shall no longer hear Moses to your fright and terror; you shall hear him as one who remains servant to the Lord Christ, leaving the solace and the joy of his countenance unobscured. In conclusion: “For verily that which hath been made glorious hath not been made glorious in this respect, by reason of the glory that surpasseth.”

52. The meaning here is; When the glory and holiness of Christ, revealed through the preaching of the Gospel, is rightly perceived then the glory of the Law — which is but a feeble and transitory glory — is seen to be not really glorious. It is mere dark clouds in contrast to the light of Christ shining to lead us out of sin, death and hell unto God and eternal life.


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Trinity 3, 2015



The Third Sunday after Trinity, 2015


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


                       

The Hymn # 652                   I Lay My Sins on Jesus               
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 #436            The Lord’s My Shepherd                   

The Shepherd's View Should Be Our Own

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 # 649                        Jesus Savior Pilot Me   

KJV 1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

KJV Luke 15:1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. 3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. 8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? 9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

Third Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father, we all like sheep have gone astray, having suffered ourselves to be led away from the right path by Satan and our own sinful flesh: We beseech Thee graciously to forgive us all our sins for the sake of Thy Son, Jesus Christ; and quicken our hearts by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may abide in Thy word, and in true repentance and a steadfast faith continue in Thy Church unto the end, and obtain eternal 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.




The Shepherd's View Should Be Our Own


KJV Luke 15:1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.

These two parable introduce the Parable of the Prodigal Son, so we have multiple lessons in a row, each one unforgettable, about God's view of us as sinners. The introduction is not accidental. Jesus' kindly nature caused the obvious (open) sinners to draw near Him. They felt welcomed and comforted.

The publicans were the hated tax collectors, despised for being harsh and serving the Roman Empire with greed and profiting from it. The sinners are identified as open, obvious sinners by the term used. The Pharisees were sinners too, but outwardly they were great saints and scholars.

The tax collectors and sinners came to Jesus to hear Him - to hear His gracious and life-giving Word. To the world they were nothing and worthless, but Jesus showed them their worth while guiding them into a different life.

We should not be shocked that the original Christian Church was made up of former prostitutes, former homosexuals, former thieves and criminals of all sorts. The scum of the Roman Empire were drawn to the Christian Faith, and Christians were hated especially because of this association.

2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.

Receiving can be understood as welcoming. Not receiving is more like shunning or rejecting. That language was used in an early dispute.

3 John 1:9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. 10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.

Receiving and eating with these sinners meant Jesus showed them respect, kindness, and love, which made the Pharisees righteously angry, to borrow a term. This was bound to happen at that time, because Jesus taught the righteousness of faith in Him while the Pharisees exemplified the righteousness of their works.

Jesus, therefore, annihilated the self-worth of the Pharisees and ignited their hatred, simply by being the gracious, promised Savior.

This also applies to us, where we see the same kind of Pharisaical shunning among Christians, which serves their political purpose but does not serve God. Lutherans do this. Baptists practice it with great zeal. Pentecostals outdo the Baptists, leaving the room when the odious (to them) doctrine of infant baptism comes us. One might add the glaring, the seeing through people they know but no longer acknowledge, and other such tactics that we puzzle over when we hear about untouchables in India.

One Lutheran discussion page had people grandly announce they would not post if I did, but they had no such qualms about a trans-sexual posting.

3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

The parable was aimed at the Pharisees, who took great pride in their works and despised others. Thus it is also aimed at all those who take great pride in their outward righteousness, based on belonging somewhere, while ignoring the righteousness of faith in Christ.

Nothing seems more true of the visible church today. I was thinking of the gigantic ant colony that exists overseas. Here is one from Brazil.  For some reason one particular group got established and grew because their recognized their own and do not go to war against their own DNA. However, Lutherans are just the opposite. They delight in driving out and killing their own with words, slander, and various actions. That ant colony is enormous in size, through welcoming their own, while the Lutherans are in a death spiral from abusing their own.

Those who survive the abuse in Lutherdom are very proud of belonging, but many times they are also tossed under the bus, as mobsters find themselves in the lap of luxury but only for a short time.

In this parable, the 1% is that sheep that wanders away, not those who rule and grab the grants for themselves. When we think of gently, helpless animals, we do not question that we would leave the sheep being tended and look for the helpless one lost in the wilderness.
How often have we gone out in the rain or darkness to find a pet that slipped out? Once I found our Sheltie, sound asleep in a storm, using a pile of plastic sheets as her bed, but safely under the patio roof. 

For walks I take a big branch to use to warn off big dogs, who look at Sassy as vulnerable and easy to attack. In close quarters she had no defenses with her lack of balance. Inside, she reverses the role and watches over us, warns us about animals on TV, and alerts us to UPS drivers (who often leave her a Milkbone).

Looking for the lost sheep - until he finds it. This is the Good Shepherd who pursues the lost and provides so many ways to draw them into the Kingdom or return them to the fold. Thus the first Gospel, infant baptism, lays a claim on a soul, and the Savior does not forget. When the Gospel Word is heard later, the baptized soul responds.

The key word is - until. Not for a time, not for months and years, but until that shepherd finds the lost sheep.

5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

God view of finding and rescuing the lost sinner is not berating the sinner for being lost, but to increase the help for that person. And many times that individual has been found and reclaimed - or found and converted to the Gospel by the Gospel. 

Rejoicing - God condemns unbelief and convicts us of that weakness. The Spirit's primary work is to say to each and every person, "You may have some faith, but do you utterly trust in Jesus as your Savior? And if you have no faith, I will show you the true nature of God, because the Son of God teaches the grace, lovingkindness, and mercy of the Father."

We often tell stories about our lost pets and finding them. Our tiny Sheltie Precious liked to escape from time to time. Once she ran out the door. And I told Sassy, "Find her." Sassy ran out, tracked her, and cornered her in a minute. It has been a fun story every since. Because when that happened in a motel, I had to look in various rooms being cleaned until I found the delinquent hiding in an end table.

This parable helps us see how God is gracious in seeking us and delighted to find and help us. On our own we dash into destruction and are best served when we stop and realize our condition.

6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

We know this is our nature with animals that depend on us, so we can see this is God's nature. He is not the pagan god of wrath and appeasement, that we must pay and satisfy to reduce His rather. This is the true God who is revealed by the Holy Spirit and represented and taught by God Incarnate.

7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. 

The last verse is a humorous climax to the parable, because the Pharisees do not generate joy in heaven - happy as they are in their pen at home. "We have have been in this pen for five generations!"

21. Therefore, when you feel your sins gnawing at you, and feel your heart trembling and agitated, place yourself beside the publicans where they are standing. These are the very ones who shall receive the Gospel. Do so joyously, and say: “Oh, God! it is thy word that says there shall be joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine righteous persons, who need no repentance, and that all the righteous and angels are to interpose and cover up sins. Now, Oh, God! I have come to this that I feel my sins. I am already judged. I need but the one Shepherd who seeketh me; and I will therefore freely venture on thy Gospel.”

22. It is thus that you come to God. You are already the sheep placed upon his shoulders. You have found the Shepherd. You are the piece of silver in the hand. You are the one over whom is joy in heaven in the presence of all the angels. We are not to worry, if we do not experience or feel this at once. Sin will daily decrease, and its sting will drive you to seek God. You must struggle against this feeling by faith, and say: “Oh, God! I know thou hast said this, and I lean upon thy Word. I am the sheep and the piece of silver; thou the shepherd and the woman.”






Third Sunday after Trinity Quotations
                                            
"If the question is put, 'Why did God ordain so many means of grace when one suffices to confer upon the sinner His grace and forgiveness?' we quote the reply of Luther who writes (Smalcald Articles, IV:  'The Gospel not merely in one way gives us counsel and aid against sin, for God is superabundantly rich in His grace.  First through the spoken Word, by which the forgiveness of sins is preached in the whole world, which is the peculiar office of the Gospel. Secondly through Baptism.  Thirdly through the holy Sacrament of the Altar. Fourthly through the power of the keys and also through the mutual conversation and consolation of brethren, Matthew 18:20.'"        
          John Theodore Mueller, Christian Dogmatics, A Handbook of Doctrinal Theology, 1934, p. 447. SA, IV, Concordia Triglotta, p. 491. Matthew 18:20.        

"We further believe that in this Christian Church we have forgiveness of sin, which is wrought through the holy Sacraments and Absolution, moreover, through all manner of consolatory promises of the entire Gospel.  Therefore, whatever is to be preached, concerning the Sacraments belongs here, and in short, the whole Gospel and all the offices of Christianity, which also must be preached and taught without ceasing.  For although the grace of God is secured through Christ, and sanctification is wrought by the Holy Ghost through the Word of God in the unity of the Christian Church, yet on account of our flesh which we bear about with us we are never without sin."
          The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #54, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 693. Tappert, p. 417.          

"The second argument is that 'God desires all men to be saved' (1 Timothy 2:4), and He gave His Son for us men and created man for eternal life. Likewise:  All things exist for man, and he himself exists for God that he may enjoy Him, etc.  These points and others like them can be refuted as easily as the first one.  For these verses must always be understood as pertaining to the elect only, as the apostle says in 2 Timothy 2:10 'everything for the sake of the elect.'  For in an absolute sense Christ did not die for all, because He says: 'This is My blood which is poured out for you' and 'for many'‑‑He does not say:  for all‑‑'for the forgiveness of sins.' (Mark 14:24; Matthew 26:28)
          Martin Luther, Luther's Works, 25  p. 375.  

"No more splendid work exists than receiving and hearing the Word of God." 
          What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I,  p. 302. Luke 10:38.