Lutheran Worship and Resources

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity



Symbol by Norma Boeckler


The Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 8 AM Phoenix Time

The Hymn #246 – Nicea
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 Galatians 5:25 - 6:10
The Gospel Matthew 6:24-34
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 479 Fahre Fort

The Spirit Effective in the Word

The Hymn #305:6-9 Schmueke dich
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 # 265 Erhalt Uns Herr

Happy Birthday – Diane Popp, September 4th.

The hymn texts and a melody link are at the end of the sermon.

Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For every man shall bear his own burden. 6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. 7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

KJV Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Fifteenth Sunday After Trinity, from the Collects of Veit Dietrich
Lord God, heavenly Father, we thank Thee for all Thy benefits: that Thou hast given us life and graciously sustained us unto this day: We beseech Thee, take not Thy blessing from us; preserve us from covetousness, that we may serve Thee only, love and abide in Thee, and not defile ourselves by idolatrous love of mammon, but hope and trust only in Thy grace, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Galatians 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.





This Epistle directly follows one of the most beautiful passages in the Bible, the contrast between the endless works of the flesh and the nine-fold fruits of the Spirit. Law and Gospel are clearly taught in a few verses.

Galatians 6:8 has a clear Law Gospel distinction in one verse. The first part condemns with God’s wrath – whoever sows to benefit his flesh will reap corruption. The second part promises the blessings of the Gospel – whoever sows to the Spirit will reap everlasting life.

The Pentecostals will grab this verse for themselves if we do not explain it properly.

Every passage about the Word is also about the Spirit. Every passage about the Spirit is also about the Word. They are never separated in the Scriptures and cannot be separated in the work of Christianity. Those who separate Word and Spirit are Enthusiasts, false teachers. All false doctrine is based upon Enthusiasm, whether that error comes from the Pope, the Muslim Prophet, or the tongue-speaker. Adam and Eve were the first Enthusiasts. (See the quotations below.)

Isaiah has the greatest passage about Word and Spirit. Note the Promises made.

KJV Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

The Promises are:
1. God’s Word will always have an effect, just like rain and snow upon all the plants of the earth, something especially noticeable in a desert region. (Verse 10)
2. God’s Word will not return void. This double-negative or litotes is the strongest possible expression, just like “No one comes to the Father except through Me.” No exceptions are allowed with a double-negative. (Verse 11)
3. God’s Word will accomplish what God pleases. (Verse 11)
4. God’s Word will prosper in God’s cause. (Verse 11)

The Scriptures are utterly consistent about the Word always having the power of the Spirit of God:

KJV Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
KJV 1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

St. Paul admonished Titus to teach sound (literally – healthy) doctrine, which is God’s Word, and not another’s word:

KJV Titus 2:1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: 2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. 3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. 6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. 7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, 8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.

Healthy doctrine creates spiritual health because the preaching and teaching of the Word is the work of the Holy Spirit. Appointed pastors are called to preach through the Holy Spirit in the Word. Believers could not have faith without the Spirit converting them and keeping them in the Faith through the power of the Gospel.

Flesh versus the Word

Paul is teaching us to invest ourselves in the Word rather than the flesh. One advantage of being older is seeing how many have devoted themselves to the flesh and reaped its reward over time. And yet, how fleeting were the rewards they sought for themselves.

The best way to advance in life is to use others before they use you (an LCA pastors’ motto), to lie without shame and backtrack only when caught (church bureaucracy), to pursue money, prestige, and power.

We are all tainted, thanks to Original Sin. However, the Word is given to us so that Original Sin does not take hold of our lives. That is why Paul urges us to sow to the Spirit, to invest in the Word, to trust in God’s Promises.

Deception and bribes have great power, but God’s Word has even more power. Recently, one pastor told me it was difficult to unmask the crypto-Calvinists who promote Church Growth doctrine and then retreat into Lutheran doctrine when confronted.

I disagree. People will answer truthfully when asked the right questions. I believe it is the power of the Word (Hebrews 4), which cannot be resisted.

I unmasked one fraud with a single question: “If an evangelism program fails to bring about any visible results, is it because the wrong method was used?” The Church Growth expert, Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, immediately said “Yes!” He was the expert. He knew all the right methods. District Pacifier Mueller began to rebuke him. VP Kuske jumped in to defend the false doctrine. Before Kuske could make a complete fool of himself, Mueller shut him down, with Floyd sputtering. A little later, the praesidium began lying about what happened. “It isn’t in my notes,” said VP Schroer, using the innocent look kids try on their parents when something is broken, smashed, or missing. “Never happened.” And of course, “He’s lying” or “He’s exaggerating about it.” God’s Word unmasks false teachers and makes powerful enemies.

J-683.1
"While only the Word is efficacious, the methods we use to minister to people with that Word may vary in their effectiveness."
Lawrence Otto Olson, D. Min., Fuller Seminary, "See How It Grows: Perspectives on Growth and the Church," EVANGELISM, February, 1991, p. 2.

J-684.1
"We cannot add anything to the Word, but we may be able to remove the human barriers which might be in the way of the Word."
Lawrence Otto Olson, D. Min., Fuller Seminary, "See How It Grows: Perspectives on Growth and the Church," EVANGELISM, February, 1991, p. 3.

J-685.1
"Faithfulness is the standard by which God judges those he calls into the public ministry. That faithfulness may or may not be 'effective' in terms of visible results; results are up to God, not us. But part of faithfulness ought to include striving to be as 'effective' as we can be in the methods that we use to take the Means of Grace to people."
Lawrence Otto Olson, D. Min., Fuller Seminary, "A Response to Gregory L. Jackson, Ph.D.," Christian News, 3-28-94, p. 23.

J-689.1
"Our decision not to use the name Lutheran in the name of the congregation seems to have caused some concern. We point you to the Lutheran confessions which clearly state that a name is an adiaphoron. So only when not using the name is a denial of what the name stands for is there a problem. We reject the inferences that have been drawn that have been drawn [sic] that it is our intention to deny the biblical teach [sic] (ibid. conservative Lutheran teaching). Put in very practical terms our question is: Can we reach more of the unchurched if we can begin with sin and grace, guilt and forgiveness, rather than having to deal with lodge, scouts, the vagaries of ELCA, etc. at the beginning."
WELS Michigan District Vice-president Paul Kuske, Letter to the Ohio Conference, Pilgrim Community Church, sponsored from Grove City by Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church Fall Conference, Gibsonia, 1989. [44] [emphasis in original]

J-690.1
"We have discovered that the Early Church was an institution that unknowingly saw its world through Church Growth eyes. We have some benefits they did not have in that we can look back today and analyze their successes and failures."
Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, "Church Growth - the Acts of the Apostles," Taught at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Columbus, Ohio.



I would ask any of the gurus of today – “Is God’s Word always effective?” And, “If so, how do you show this trust in God’s Word.” A doctrinal error is exposed by doctrine. Otherwise, people defend themselves by saying, “My grandfather was a DP” or “This is what I learned at the sem.” Luther learned Medieval error in is training. The issue is not the school but the doctrine, not the DNA but the teaching.

KJV Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

One WELS pastor said to Valleskey, the man who became president of the Wisconsin Seminary by promoting Church Growth false doctrine, “You are dealing with principalities and powers.” The pastor was forced out of the ministry, without cause.

Another pastor in the same town said, “God’s Word is always effective.” He was forced out of the ministry, without cause. He asked me once how he could get the synod to support him. I said, “Murder your wife. That always works.” He laughed because it was true.

A third pastor in the same town criticized the Church Growth methods promoted by WELS. He was a circuit pastor, but forced out of the ministry after being undermined by his fellow pastors.

Short-term sufferings are guaranteed in teaching the Word. The cross always accompanies the Word and reminds us of our Old Adam protesting against what the Scriptures teach as a necessity:

KJV Matthew 10:33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. 34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. 37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. 40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

Long-term blessings also accompany the Word. Many people give up the long-term blessings for the short-term rewards of the flesh. The time of greatest temptation is when it seems to be too much. That is almost certainly a sign that the time of trial will be over. As Luther said, Satan tempts us by making any trial seem just too long, too stretched out to bear any longer. That is why endurance or steadfastness under trial is so important.

Investing our time in the Word reaps those rewards. No one is spared. Jesus was not exempted, and He was perfect. The saints of the early Church were men and women who remained steadfast when the Roman Empire tortured and murdered them. That persecution continues today throughout the world. Christians are killed in many countries just for their beliefs. So, we have no difficulties in comparison. Nevertheless, emotional stress can be or seem overwhelming.

Stress and trial are not all bad. Only those who have suffered spiritual onslaughts can be counselors to others. That is also where we learn Biblical wisdom. The first stage of learning is important. We need to know the content and the unity of the Bible. But we do not hunger and thirst for righteousness until someone is trying to destroy the truths we take for granted.

The teaching of the Book of Concord is important because it is Biblical exposition. What does God’s Word say about each of these issues? The same false claims are repeated in each generation, so this is not delving in antiquities, Medieval history, or the development of the Lutheran brand. The Book of Concord was patiently edited to unify the Lutherans about Biblical truths. The early Church Fathers were also quoted extensively because the Church of Rome tried to defend false doctrine with Augustine, Jerome, and the others. (I have witnessed Lutherans doing the same thing.)

If someone does not first stir us up, we do not cling to those instruments of the Spirit. Once agitated, bewildered, angered, and confused, we look for the truths and shake out the falsehoods. So we learn them better and nothing can be shaken loose again.

"Oratio, Meditatio, Tentatio: A Right Way to Study Theology" – Martin Luther.

Quoted from Humann:

http://www.westfieldhouse.org.uk/staff/humann/golb/archives/2008/07/index.html
oratio, meditatio, tentatio
In his Preface to the Wittenberg edition of his German writings, Martin Luther presents a brief, utterly profound outline of a correct way of studying theology. Drawing attention to Psalm 119, Luther articulates three "rules," amply presented throughout the whole Psalm. They are, in Latin, Oratio, Meditatio, and Tentatio; prayer, meditation, and temptation.
Prayer begins the whole process of study:
Firstly, you should know that the Holy Scriptures constitute a book which turns the wisdom of all other books into foolishness, because not one teaches about eternal life except this one alone. Therefore you should straightway despair of your reason and understanding. With them you will not attain eternal life, but on the contrary, your presumptuousness will plunge you and others with you out of heaven (as happened to Lucifer) into the abyss of hell. But kneel down in your little room [Matt. 6:6] and pray to God with real humility and earnestness, that he through his dear Son may give you his Holy Spirit, who will enlighten you, lead you, and give you understanding.
The second step, Meditatio is not what we have come to understand as "meditation" in the modern sense, but rather careful rumination and reflection on the words of Holy Scripture:
Secondly, you should meditate, that is, not only in your heart, but also externally, by actually repeating and comparing oral speech and literal words of the book, reading and rereading them with diligent attention and reflection, so that you may see what the Holy Spirit means by them. And take care that you do not grow weary or think you have done enough when you have read, heard, and spoken them once or twice, and that you then have complete understanding. You will never be a particularly good theologian if you do that, for you will be like untimely fruit which falls to the ground before it is half ripe.
Thus you see in this same Psalm how David constantly boasts that he will talk, meditate, speak, sing, hear, read, by day and night and always, about nothing except God's Word and commandments. For God will not give you his Spirit without the external Word; so take your cue from that. His command to write, preach, read, hear, sing, speak, etc. outwardly was not given in vain.
Lastly, theology is practical. It comes into being not in some monastic isolation and retreat from the cares and worries of life, but rather in the very midst of such suffering and anxiety. And so:
Thirdly, there is "Tentatio." This is the touchstone which teaches you not only to know and understand, but also to experience how right, how true, how sweet, how lovely, how mighty, how comforting God's Word is, wisdom beyond all wisdom.
Thus you see how David, in the Psalm mentioned, complains so often about all kinds of enemies, arrogant princes or tyrants, false spirits and factions, whom he must tolerate because he meditates, that is, because he is occupied with God's Word (as has been said) in all manner of ways. For as soon as God's Word takes root and grows in you, the devil will harry you, and will make a real doctor of you, and by his assaults will teach you to seek and love God's Word.

There are many different types of leaders in the Christian faith. Some laymen distribute the Word various ways, through the Net, through giving away books, through support of those who teach the Word. Some pastors take a leading role in supporting sound doctrine and willingly pay the price. A few elected or appointed leaders give up the perks of high office by being faithful. In all these circumstances, the last stage of sowing to the Spirit is also the most rewarding. The comfort and power of God’s Promises are so powerful that they would rather have them than the treasures that rust and decay.

Quotations on Enthusiasm

"The Lutheran Confessions take a decisive stand against 'enthusiasts,' who teach that the Holy Spirit works in the hearts of men without the Word and Sacraments (SA-III VIII 3-13; LC II 34-62; FC Ep II 13)."
John T. Mueller, "Grace, Means of," Lutheran Cyclopedia, Erwin L. Lueker, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1975, p. 344.

"On the contrary, with the Anabaptists and the Reformed Church in general, the Mennonites are Enthusiasts, lay great stress on the immediate working of the Holy Ghost, who is said to 'guide the saints into all truth.' In his Geschichte der Mennonitengemeinden John Horsch, a prominent Mennonite, states that the Holy Spirit is the 'inner word,' who enables Christians to understand the Scriptures. Without the inner word, or the light, the Scripture is a dead letter and a dark lantern."
The. Engelder, W. Arndt, Th. Graebner, F. E. Mayer, Popular Symbolics, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1934, p. 260.

Luther: "True, the enthusiasts confess that Christ died on the cross and saved us; but they repudiate that by which we obtain Him; that is, the means, the way, the bridge, the approach to Him they destroy...They lock up the treasure which they should place before us and lead me a fool's chase; they refuse to admit me to it; they refuse to transmit it; they deny me its possession and use." (III, 1692)
The. Engelder, W. Arndt, Th. Graebner, F. E. Mayer, Popular Symbolics, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1934, p. 5.

"A denial of the efficacy and sufficiency of the means of grace is contained in the theological systems of all religious enthusiasts."
Edwin E. Pieplow, "The Means of Grace," The Abiding Word, ed., Theodore Laetsch, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1946, II, p. 343.

"And in those things which concern the spoken, outward Word, we must firmly hold that God grants His Spirit or grace to no one, except through or with the preceding outward Word, in order that we may [thus] be protected against the enthusiasts, i. e., spirits who boast that they have the Spirit without and before the Word, and accordingly judge Scripture or the spoken Word, and explain and stretch it at their pleasure, as Muenzer did, and many still do at the present day, who wish to be acute judges between the Spirit and the letter, and yet know not what they say or declare. For [indeed] the Papacy also is nothing but sheer enthusiasm, by which the Pope boasts that all rights exist in the shrine of his heart, and whatever he decides and commands with [in] his church is spirit and right, even though it is above and contrary to Scripture and the spoken Word."
Smalcald Articles, VIII., Confession, 3-5, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 495. Tappert, p. 312.

"The practical result of the separation of the divine power from the divine Word of Scripture is the rejection of the Bible as the only source and norm of faith (norma normans). This is proved by the very fact that the enthusiasts have invariably placed the 'inner word' (verbum internum), or the 'spirit,' above Holy Scripture (verbum externum), assigning to the latter an inferior place in the realm of divine revelation. To the enthusiasts the Bible is only a norma normata, or a rule of faith subject to the 'inner word,' that is, to their own notions and figments of reason."
John Theodore Mueller, Christian Dogmatics, A Handbook of Doctrinal Theology, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1934, p. 135.

"The Christian doctrine of the means of grace is abolished by all 'enthusiasts,' all who assume a revealing and effective operation of the Holy Spirit without and alongside the divinely ordained means of grace."
Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 127.

"To remain properly humble while firmly rejecting all erroneous teachings regarding the means of grace, we should remind ourselves how even Christians who teach and, as a rule, also believe, the correct doctrine of the means of grace, in their personal practice very often lose sight of the means of grace. This is done whenever they base the certainty of grace, or of the forgiveness of sin, on their feeling of grace or the gratia infusa, instead of on God's promise in the objective means of grace. All of us are by nature 'enthusiasts.'"
Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 131.

"Our opponents hold that saving faith must be founded on Christ Himself, not on the means of grace. This reasoning, common to the Reformed, the 'enthusiasts' of all shades, and modern 'experience' theologians, assumes that faith can and should be based on Christ to the exclusion of the means of grace."
Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans., Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 152.

"The Lutheran theologians, in general, had reason to illustrate very particularly the doctrine of the operation of the Word of God, in order to oppose the Enthusiasts and Mystics, who held that the Holy Spirit operated rather irrespectively of the Word than through it; and to oppose also the Calvinists, who, led by their doctrine of predestination, would not grant that the Word possessed this power per se, but only in such cases where God chose...."
Heinrich Schmid, The Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, trans., Charles A. Hay, Henry E. Jacobs, Philadelphia: Lutheran Publication Society, 1889, p. 511.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity




The Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 8 AM Phoenix Time

The Hymn #250 – Grosser Gott
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 Galatians 5:16-24
The Gospel Luke 17:11-19
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 297 M. Loy, Herr Jesu Christ, dich
Nine-fold Fruits of the Gospel

The Hymn #304 Kingo – St. Crispin
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn # 309 Kingo – Old Hundreth

The hymn texts and a melody link are at the end of the sermon.

Galatians 5: 16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

Luke 17:11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. 14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. 15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. 17And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. 19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Fourteenth Sunday After Trinity, Collect by Veit Dietrich
Lord God, heavenly Father, who by Thy blessed word and Thy holy baptism hast mercifully cleansed all who believe from the fearful leprosy of sin, and daily dost grant us Thy gracious help in all our need: We beseech Thee so to enlighten our hearts by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may never forget these Thy blessings, but ever live in Thy fear, and, trusting fully in Thy grace, with thankful hearts continually praise and glorify Thee; through Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

We should be happy that the Galatians were so mixed up about doctrine, Law and Gospel, flesh and Spirit. Paul’s tiny letter to them is full of wrath about their apostasy from the true Gospel but also full of divine wisdom about the Gospel’s blessings.

This letter inspired Luther’s finest Biblical commentary, which he thought keeping, along with the Small Catechism. I wonder how many Lutheran pastors have read the Galatians commentary. The book was also the favorite of John Bunyan, who wrote the allegorical classic, Pilgrim’s Progress.

The basic theme of Galatians is the desertion of the Gospel by those who wanted to impose Jewish ritual law on the Christians. The famous verse, Galatians 1:8, is aimed at all those who would take people away from the truth of God’s Word.
Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
9 As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

The Judaizers are called that because they wanted all Christians to obey Jewish ritual law, such as kosher food practices. The earliest Christians were raised in Judaism, so Jewish practices were second nature to them. Although we as Gentiles tend to think of Paul’s Gentile mission first, the first expansion of Christianity was among those who knew the Scriptures and awaited the Messiah. We can tell when Paul was preaching to Jews because his sermons (Acts) appealed to the Scriptures being fulfilled.

Many did not grasp the profound change that had taken placed when Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world. The previous sacrifices were preparation for the universal Atonement.

Jews thought in terms of obedience to the Law, performing acts of worship, fulfilling requirements. When Paul obeyed all the Jewish rituals in order to preach to Jews, he did so through the freedom of Gospel. He felt a special burden for his own people. He knew that appearing as a Gentile would have made his own people think of him as an apostate.

So if Paul could be a rabbi-apostle, and the original disciples were all Jews, as Jesus was, why not expect every Christian to fulfill Jewish ritual requirements, including circumcision?

There are Jews today (Messianic Jews) who believe in Christ and continue their Jewish ways. Their minister is called a rabbi and they observe Jewish holidays from the Old Testament.

I heard of a Lutheran congregation in New England that began following Jewish ritual. According to the story I was told, they eventually became a synagogue and abandoned Christianity. The difference is – one group is Christian by faith, the other is Jewish by faith.

This particular lesson from Galatians is aimed at those who believe righteousness is from obedience to the Law.

Galatians 5: 16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

Because of original sin, our flesh will always be at war against God’s Word (the Spirit). We can say the Word instead of the Spirit because the two are always together.

Walking in the Spirit means following the Good Shepherd from love. Helmut Thielicke created a good image when he lectured at my old school in Canada: The sheep follow the Shepherd willingly, based on their love. That is the Gospel. When they stray, the shepherd dog nips at their heels. Nipping at the heels is the Law. Then they scramble back toward the Shepherd, only because of the dog. That is based on fear.

Aristotle wrote in ancient Greece about honesty in literature. The Bible gives us an honest picture of ourselves. People rebel against that frank portrayal of human weakness. So some claim we can perfect ourselves. That mixes up people because it is not true.

A Christian group or quasi-Christian sect (like the Mormons) may pretend to be capable of perfection. The Bible says otherwise. When people pretend to be perfect or demand perfection, bad results follow. Anyone who hears only the Law will become very depressed or learn to pretend to be perfect. Luther said the second group is more in danger because they are outwardly obedient and good, but hate God’s Word and rage inwardly against it.

That is why all false religions are Law religions. The new (but old) religion of self-esteem and prosperity is another set of man-made law. One good indication of law thinking is the language:
You must…
You have to…
If you do this…
You cannot do that…
These are not God’s Ten Commandments, but man’s infinite number of commandments.

For those who thought righteousness could be derived from the Law, Paul had this to say about living through the Gospel or the Law:

18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

(NKJV - 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.)

The works of the flesh betray the power of original sin. So Paul is condemning the Law salesmen with their own teaching. If the Law is the solution, why are these besetting sins so prominent among them?

This is a question I have asked many church leaders. If this church is so important, why must people use outright lies to make it stronger and better? How can the Gospel be advanced through deceit? Even more important – how can the church grow through false doctrine? One cannot continue in these errors and remain within the Kingdom.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

The fruits of the Spirit are nine-fold, the triune nature of the list reminding us of the divine, Gospel origin of these fruits.

Love, joy, peace.
Longsuffering, gentleness, goodness.
Faith, meekness, temperance.

Love is so often named and so seldom experienced that this deserves special mention. Love is the result of Gospel preaching, not the cause of conversion. Love does not convert – God’s Word converts.

One of the recent frauds tried out on people is love-conversion: show people lots of love and they will want to become Christians. The law mongers confuse Law and Gospel this way by saying, “You have to (law red flag) be loving or people will not listen to the Word. A sermon will do no good if the ushers are not friendly.” That statement, which I heard at a pastors’ conference, is blasphemy against God. Ushers, not God, convert people or make the Word effective. Many live this way and look around in a congratulatory mood, saying, “Aren’t we great?” not even knowing they are in the Law and missing the Gospel.

Love is something we can reverse engineer. If love is lacking in our relationships, then the Gospel is not bearing fruit. If the Gospel is not bearing fruit, we are not showing real, Godly contrition. Godly contrition is sorrow for sin, not sorrow from being caught, but from knowing from the Commandments that we have rebelled against His will and Word. Depth of emotion has nothing to do with the sincerity of contrition. The only test is the realization of that rebellion, which we can see from looking into the perfect mirror of the Law.

From godly contrition come hunger and thirst for righteousness, which can only be found in the Gospel Promises. Justification by faith, God’s declaration of forgiveness earned by Christ, is received when we trust in the atoning death of Christ. Conversion to faith is instant, but falling away from the faith can take a long time, many years. A man may earn several theology degrees before he finally becomes a complete apostate.

When someone realizes the abundance of God’s mercy in his own life, he is necessarily forgiving toward others and loving toward them. Forgiveness among those closest to us is most important and the greatest blessing. We cannot help being hurt, resentful, angry, or irritated, but we can control how we respond to those emotions. The more we understand, the more patient and forgiving we are.

One extreme example has always stuck in my mind. One young woman came from a strict Evangelical household. Drinking was forbidden, so she went out of her way to overindulge. Her parents yelled, threatened, and lectured her. One night she came home and passed out, making a mess. Her parents cleaned her up and put her in bed without a word. Then she realized how much they loved her. That moment of realization, a Gospel moment for her, led her to sobriety. The power behind that change was Gospel forgiveness, not Law condemnation, which she certainly deserved.

The Gospel has unlimited benefits because its blessings grow infinitely. One person proclaiming the Gospel will lead to an abundance of spiritual fruits.

Some people, who never garden, think of apples and pears as the New Testament meaning of fruit. But the broader term makes more sense. A plant flowers in order to be pollinated. The flower shrivels up and turns into the fruit of that plant. Fruit is often seed alone, such as wheat or corn or rosehips. But those seeds are often encased in delicious cases of orange, lemon, apple, pear, and pumpkin. The entire process is fascinating because someone can start with a small package of seed and end up with a harvest shared among friends and neighbors.

When I overbought edible pod peas and planted them all over my yard in Midland, the harvest was so great that we got sick of them and pressed the pods on everyone we knew. The more we picked, the more the vines flowered and fruited.

The Gospel grows the same way. The Apostolic Church was established through preaching and teaching the crucified and risen Christ. When the efficacious Word created persecution, the believers scattered and started even more congregations. An early leader said, literally, “The more you mow us down, the faster we grow.” Instead of trying to be like the decadent, self-centered, self-indulgent Roman society, they went against the norms and converted the Roman Empire from the bottom up.

24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

As Paul teaches, believers do not bow to selfish desires, but crucify them to serve Christ, family, and neighbor.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity




The Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 8 AM Phoenix Time

The Hymn #9 – Ellacombe
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 Galatians 3:15-22
The Gospel Luke 10:23-37
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 295 M. Loy Erhalt uns Herr
Love Your Neighbor

The Hymn #207 Kingo – Werde munter
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 # 283 Grundwig – Reuter

Galatians 3:15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. 16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. 18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. 19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

Luke 10:23 And he turned him unto [his] disciples, and said privately, Blessed [are] the eyes which see the things that ye see: 24 For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen [them]; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard [them]. 25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. 28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. 29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? 30 And Jesus answering said, A certain [man] went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded [him], and departed, leaving [him] half dead. 31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked [on him], and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion [on him], 34 And went to [him], and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave [them] to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. 36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

Thirteenth Sunday After Trinity
Lord God, heavenly Father, we most heartily thank Thee that Thou hast granted us to live in this accepted time, when we may hear Thy holy gospel, know Thy fatherly will, and behold Thy Son, Jesus Christ! We pray Thee, most merciful Father: Let the light of Thy holy word remain with us, and so govern our hearts by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may never forsake Thy word, but remain steadfast in it, and finally obtain eternal salvation; 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.

Click here to find the melodies - http://www.lutheran-hymnal.com/online/tlh_online.html

"O Day of Rest and Gladness"
by Christopher Wordsworth, 1808-1885
1. O day of rest and gladness,
O day of joy and light,
O balm of care and sadness,
Most beautiful, most bright,
On thee the high and lowly
Before th' eternal throne
Sing, "Holy, holy, holy,"
To the great Three in One.
2. On thee at the Creation
The light first had its birth;
On thee for our salvation
Christ rose from depth of earth;
On thee our Lord victorious
The Spirit sent from heaven,
And thus on thee, most glorious,
A threefold light was given.
3. Thou art a cooling fountain
In life's dry, dreary sand;
From thee, like Nebo's mountain,
We view our Promised Land;
A day of sweet reflection,
A day of holy love,
A day of resurrection
From earth to things above.
4. Today on weary nations
The heavenly manna falls;
To holy convocations
The silver trumpet calls,
Where Gospel-light is glowing
With pure and radiant beams
And living water flowing
With soul-refreshing streams.
5. New graces ever gaining
From this our day of rest,
We reach the rest remaining
To spirits of the blest.
To Holy Ghost be praises,
To Father, and to Son;
The Church her voice upraises
To Thee, blest Three in One.
The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #9
Text: Ps. 118:24
Author: Christopher Wordsworth, 1862, cento, alt.
Tune: "Ellacombe"

"The Law of God Is Good and Wise"
by Matthias Loy, 1828-1915
1. The Law of God is good and wise
And sets His will before our eyes,
Shows us the way of righteousness,
And dooms to death when we transgress.
2. Its light of holiness imparts
The knowledge of our sinful hearts
That we may see our lost estate
And seek deliverance ere too late.
3. To those who help in Christ have found
And would in works of love abound
It shows what deeds are His delight
And should be done as good and right.
4. When men the offered help disdain
And wilfully in sin remain,
Its terror in their ear resounds
And keeps their wickedness in bounds.
5. The Law is good; but since the Fall
Its holiness condemns us all;
It dooms us for our sin to die
And has no power to justify.
6. To Jesus we for refuge flee,
Who from the curse has set us free,
And humbly worship at His throne,
Saved by His grace through faith alone.
Hymn #295
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Ps. 19: 8
Author: Matthias Loy, 1863
Tune: "Erhalt uns, Herr"

"Like the Golden Sun Ascending"
by Thomas Kingo, 1634-1703
Translated by George A.T. Rygh, 1860-1942
1. Like the golden sun ascending,
Breaking through the gloom of night,
On the earth his glory spending
So that darkness takes to flight,
Thus my Jesus from the grave
And Death's dismal, dreadful cave
Rose triumphant Easter morning
At the early purple dawning.
2. Thanks to Thee, O Christ victorious!
Thanks to Thee, O Lord of Life!
Death hath now no power o'er us,
Thou hast conquered in the strife.
Thanks because Thou didst arise
And hast opened Paradise!
None can fully sing the glory
Of the resurrection story.
3. Though I be by sin o'ertaken,
Though I lie in helplessness,
Though I be by friends forsaken
And must suffer sore distress,
Though I be despised, contemned,
And by all the world condemned,
Though the dark grave yawn before me,
Yet the light of hope shines o'er me.
4. Thou hast died for my transgression,
All my sins on Thee were laid;
Thou hast won for me salvation,
On the cross my debt was paid.
From the grave I shall arise
And shall meet Thee in the skies.
Death itself is transitory;
I shall lift my head in glory.
5. Grant me grace, O blessed Savior,
And Thy Holy Spirit send
That my walk and my behavior
May be pleasing to the end;
That I may not fall again
Into death's grim pit and pain,
Whence by grace Thou hast retrieved me
And from which Thou hast relieved me.
6. For the joy Thy advent gave me,
For Thy holy, precious Word;
For Thy Baptism, which doth save me,
For Thy blest Communion board;
For Thy death, the bitter scorn,
For Thy resurrection morn,
Lord, I thank Thee and extol Thee,
And in heaven I shall behold Thee.
The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #207 from
Text: Acts 2: 32
Author: Thomas Kingo, 1689, cento
Translated by: George A.T. Rygh, 1908
Titled: "Som den gyldne Sol frembryder"

"God's Word Is Our Great Heritage"
by Nikolai F. S. Grundtvig, 1783-1872
Translated by Ole G. Belsheim, 1861-1925
1. God's Word is our great heritage
And shall be ours forever;
To spread its light from age to age
Shall be our chief endeavor.
Through life it guides our way,
In death it is our stay.
Lord, grant, while worlds endure,
We keep its teachings pure.
Throughout all generations.
The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #283
Text: Ps. 16:6
Author: Nikolai F. S. Grundtvig, 1817


The Parable of the Good Samaritan has been interpreted many ways, but first we should see the introduction, which may not seem to fit. Still it should be emphasized.

Blessed [are] the eyes which see the things that ye see: 24 For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen [them]; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard [them].

Whenever we hear the Words of Jesus, we should think those words over. Powerful and wise men lived and died without knowing and seeing what we often take for granted – the Gospel of Christ.

The smallest phrase from the Bible carries Christ to us, and us to Christ, so we should value each Word.

A lawyer stood up to test Jesus with a question. This questioning is an old Jewish custom and is embedded in some of their practices, such as the Seder meal. The idea was to stump the rabbi, so it provided training for the questioner and for the rabbi. In contrast, when the president of the LCA answered questions at one convention, he had them written down so he could read them in advance and prepare and answer. He avoided the most pointed questions, which included one of mine. The same thing happened when merger approached. I had to write my question for another official, so I asked if the two Lutheran insurance companies would be made into an “integrated auxiliary of the new organization.” Some people gasped and the main point was avoided.

What must I do to inherit eternal life? That is a good question.

Jesus asked him a question. How do you read it? The lawyer gave a summary from the Old Testament – love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind, and your neighbor as yourself.

The lawyer asked the big question, trying to justify himself, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus responded with a parable.

The parable has many familiar details. The man was on the road to Jericho when he was beaten and robbed. For social activists, this means we should make the road to Jericho safe, not just bind up the wounds of victims. (For some reason, nothing of the sort is suggested by Jesus. As everyone knows by now, the apostates do not make the road safe for victims, but for thieves, and they definitely do not bind up the wounds of anyone. They do talk about it frequently.)

There are three responses to this man’s predicament. He was a Jew, traveling from Jerusalem, beaten, robbed, and left half-dead.

A priest came by and passed him on the other side of the road. So did a Levite, who also crossed over, although the parable said that he “looked at him.”

These are religious people who know the Torah, yet they do nothing to help one of their own.

Lastly comes the Samaritan, who is not called the Good Samaritan, but “a certain Samaritan.” The wording is a clue that this person symbolizes the Savior.

The irony of this story comes from the religious duties of the priest and Levite, the hatred of Samaritans toward all Jews. Samaritans and Jews had rival temples (John 4, Woman at the Well) and Scriptures very similar to each other. The Samaritan Old Testament is valued as a reference today so scholars can compare readings.

The people we assume will help pass by on the other side. The one with no obligation to help out, has compassion, stops to help, and his help goes far beyond the usual.

And went to [him], and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave [them] to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

Oil and wine were used for healing at that time, but Luther sees in those references the proclamation of the Law (wine) and Gospel (oil). Wine disinfected the wound and oil helped the healing. Many times Luther’s explanations seem far-fetched at first, but perfect upon reflection. That is how Christ comes to us today. The Law shows us our sins, killing the germs (causes) but the Gospel provides the healing with God’s forgiveness.

The other details of the parable are significant.
1. The Samaritan took the half-dead (but treated) man to an inn – on his own beast. Christ carries us – we do not meet Him halfway, as the synergists claim.
2. He took care of the man at the inn. Christ does not say, “Be of good cheer,” while leaving us to bleed to death. He stays with us and cares for us in the healing.
3. He gave money to the innkeeper for addition time and care. This shows how God provides a generous amount of care for us, in various ways, directly and indirectly.
4. The Samaritan says to the innkeeper, “Take good care of him. Whatever you spend I will repay when I return.” This shows Christ handing over care to another person but repaying whatever kindness shown.

Some Protestants object to the Means of Grace, because there are so many ways in which the individual receives the forgiveness of sin through the atoning death of Christ. And yet, isn’t that the very lesson of this parable – many different ways Christ helps us?

This is closely related to the strange passage – And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations (Luke 16:9). Now this makes perfect sense, putting it in the framework of this parable. “The Samaritan is an alien, not a friend of our people, but he stopped, took care of my wounds, carried me to an inn, stayed there to care for me, and paid the innkeeper (with unrighteous mammon) for additional care and promised even more when he came back to settle the bill.” And the next verse - He that is faithful in that which is least (money) is faithful also in much (money): and he that is unjust in the least (money) is unjust also in much (doctrine).

Good works necessarily follow faith in Christ. If someone does not show mercy to others, does not help others, then he should question his own faith.

Many people say, “I belong to…” or I am descended from these famous (within my synod) synodical officials, but the issue is, “Do you believe in the Word of God?” The Bible divides the world into two distinct groups, and two only – the believers and the unbelievers. There are no levels of quality within that group of believers.

If a group of people own gold, there is no difference between those who hold their gold in the sock drawer, in safe, or in a bank. It is the same gold. In the same way, the believer holds Christ in his heart, so it is the same Christ, whether He is held in a baby’s heart, a theologian’s heart, or a coal miner’s heart.

Genuine faith in Christ leads to good works.

Let’s return to the parable itself. Jesus asked the lawyer, “Which one of the three proved to be a neighbor to the one who fell among thieves?” That was the original question asked, “Who is my neighbor?”

The lawyer said, “The one who showed mercy.” Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.”

The main lesson, then, is that we should show mercy in the same way as the Samaritan. That is how the Bible teaches us.

The Word commands us to do good works (Parable of the Last Judgment), but also gives us the power and motivation to do good works. When we see how Jesus ministers to us through the Means of Grace, in so many different ways, even having other people take part (innkeepers) but repaying them, then our hearts are moved to show some of the same compassion He shows for us on a daily basis, freely and fully forgiving all our sins.

This love should not be telescopic in nature, freely shown to people in Borneo, but kept from those closest to us. Modern fads have us “saving the world” through meaningless gestures, such as having cloth grocery bags! The Word of God has us showing compassion to those closest to us, to our neighbors, family members, co-workers.

We are the innkeepers, not the Samaritan. Jesus is the Savior in charge of all ministry, but He lets us share in it and promises to pay us back when He returns. That is so true. Everything we do in His name is rewarded richly, so the least sacrifice is rewarded many times over, not as money paid back, but as satisfaction, enjoyment, pleasure in seeing the happiness of others. All the sacrifices of parents are stored up as a giant annuity which pays forever as the children grow and reflect the care, time and attention, and doctrinal teaching they receive.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Twelfth Sunday after Trinity




The Twelfth Sunday after Trinity
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 8 AM Phoenix Time

The Hymn #370 – Magdalen
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 2 Corinthians 3:4-11
The Gospel Mark 7:31-37
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 377:7-10 Speratus – Es ist das Heil
Able Ministers of the New Testament

The Hymn #413 Brorson – Der lieben Sonne Licht 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 # 503 by Pope – Old 124th

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.

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.

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.


Able Ministers of the New Testament

This passage makes me think of the thousands of unknown ministers to teach the Word patiently and without any recognition. Often their only earthly reward is occasional buffeting, but Paul speaks about glorious effects of this service. In his best passages he is often so sublime that he is almost incomprehensible. And yet, phrase by phrase, what he says in a few words is worth a dozen books by another.

This passage is a comparison of the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai to the proclamation of the Gospel. That divine, miraculous event was so glorious that people could not look at the face of Moses. His face had to be veiled. And yet, the Law was a passing event, to be overshadowed by the Gospel.

So, if the giving of the Law was glorious when it was only a ministration of death, then how much more glorious is the giving of the Gospel? The Law cannot save, cannot perfect, cannot even rescue someone from sin. Because the Law demands perfection and always condemns, the Law by itself is a ministry of death.

The best picture of the Law is from Pilgrim’s Progress by Bunyan. One person sweeps the room. The more the room is swept, the dustier and more choking the air gets. The Law can only stir up and show sin. The Law cannot remove sin or give power over sin. And yet the Holy Spirit works through the Law.

The second picture from Pilgrim’s Progress is a woman spreading oil over the room. That settles down the dust and the air clears again. This may not be good housekeeping advice for today, but it illustrates the greater glory of the Gospel.

Can anything compare to the person who hears the pure Word of God, receives forgiveness, and finds strength for the daily battle against sin?

When a pastor baptizes a baby, that is pure Gospel and the greatest possible ministry, the greatest vocation of all. How many people in that baby’s life can say, “I had the honor of administering God’s sacrament, giving this infant faith, the indwelling Holy Spirit, and forgiveness of sin, a lifelong pledge by God”? No one else has that pivotal role in providing a lifetime of divine influence.

The parents could baptize. Any layman can baptize in an emergency, but normally an ordained minister baptizes the child. And this goes on as if it were a mundane occurrence. The granting of God’s grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness is not mundane.

This ministry goes on without much notice, unlike the glamour stars of today. Very few ministers will travel first class to Vail, Colorado for a ski vacation. When Joel Osteen’s wife was sued for her bad behavior on a plane, newspapers pointed out that Joel Osteen could not say on Larry King that Jesus is the only way of salvation. He had a chance to say to a Jew, a former prisoner (King stole $50K), and millions of people, “Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” He did not, but fumbled around and dodged the pointed question.

There is that eager to please everyone attitude that goes so well with the media. And there is the ministry of the Word, which displeases to the point of persecution. When my wife substitute taught in Midland, Michigan, she heard teachers openly mocking the students who came from Christian schools. That happened in the teachers’ lounge. One can only wonder how that attitude translated in the classroom.

I hear from those pastors who have spent their lives being faithful. The unbelieving world says, “You did nothing,” and the synods add to the pain. The worst false teachers in all groups have the biggest churches. That only proves that the Pastoral Epistles are correct.

1 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

We will never know how much of a positive impact these ministers have had upon people, hence thousands of people yet to come (if God puts up with us a few more generations). My wife said, when the family was together, “Just think. We met in college and now there are seven.” As the Bible says, “He puts the solitary in families.” The minister and the parents get to do the most guiding and see the results from patient application of the Word. Those are also the two roles least admired today.

The Word conveys Christ, so the person teaching Christ or administering the Sacraments is giving Christ to people. Too often we denigrate the ministry by trying to compare it to management, sales, or entertainment. Categories like popularity and good bottom line are meaningless in terms of faithfulness to God’s Word.

"He [Paul] thus extols co-laborers that they [the Corinthians] may not despise the external Word as if they were not in need of it or knew it well enough. For although God might accomplish all things inwardly by the Spirit, without the external Word, He has no intention of doing so. He wants to employ preachers as assistants and co-laborers and to accomplish His purposes through their word when and where it pleases Him. Since, then, preachers have the office, name, and honor of being God's assistants, no man is so learned or holy that he may neglect or despise the poorest preaching; for he does not know when the hour will come in which God will perform His work in him through the preachers."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed. Ewald M. Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House 1959 III, p. 1118.

Giving Christ to people means solving the greatest problem of mankind – redemption from sin. The ancient Greeks had a cycle of plays about the problem of one sin moving from one generation to another. When people finally face their destructiveness, they want to make up for what they have done. They want to redeem themselves. The good news of the Gospel teaches us that Christ has redeemed us, which has two meanings in the New Testament.

Redemption (one verb) means our sins have been paid for, redeemed. That is why there are so many references in Lutheran material to the purchase made by Christ. Purchase is the basic word used in Greek for purchase – from the noun for marketplace. Now the apostate Protestant offer marketing the Gospel instead of the purchase made by Christ. The greatest appeal for the masses is one where they need not change their beliefs, philosophies, and attitudes.

If the complete purchase has been made, the atonement of our sins, then no other payment can be made. The Gospel does not place demands on people but sets them free, the other meaning of redemption in the New Testament.

The second meaning applies to slaves being set free or released. We are in bondage to sin until Christ releases us from that slavery. That is, there is no answer to sin without Christ. Setting us free from bondage to sin is the reason why alteration of the Gospel is so horrible. The best news of all, the turning point of history, is set aside to please the masses.

The antinomians (anti-Law) are mixed up about this redemption. They believe the Creation and the Law have been made obsolete. In more than one case, these people have become shipwrecks. (They give up one aspect of the Faith, then another. Soon they are more befuddled than someone who has never been a believer.) The Law is a tutor leading us to Christ, as Paul wrote, but that does not invalidate what the tutor has taught and still teaches. The difference is that children obey under constraint and conditions. Maturity means gladly and willingly following Christ in a spirit of thankfulness, knowing the Law commands what is good (natural law).

I have college students in two basic categories. One group asks, “What do I have to do? What do you want?” The other group asks, “What is the best way to do this? How can I make this even better?” Flogging the first group is possible, but not effective. The second group does more than expected, even with the top grade secure.

There are people who read about Biblical doctrine all the time. They appreciate what the great theologians of the past have taught them about the treasures of the Gospel. They want to read more, to hear more.
Luther taught the Two Kingdoms (not to be confused with the Two Regiments, the civil realm and the church’s realm). As the Bible teaches throughout, people either belong to one kingdom (God’s) or another (Satan’s). There is no middle ground.

The gracious ministry of the Word moves people from Satan’s kingdom to God’s kingdom and preserves them in God’s kingdom. God has arranged His Kingdom to provide this ministry to all people. The Word is persecuted, but this persecution spreads the Gospel even more. Entire nations neglect and despise the Word, but the Gospel moves to new areas, just as the rain sweeps across the countryside.

Some hymn lyrics. Click to find the melody.

"My Hope is Built on Nothing Less"
by Edward Mote, 1797-1874
1. My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
2. When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
3. His oath, His covenant, and blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When every earthly prop gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
4. When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found,
Clothed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne!
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
Hymn #370
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: 1 Timothy 1:1
Author: Edward Mote, c. 1834, cento
Composer: John Stainer, 1873, arr.
Tune: "Magdalen"


"I Walk in Danger All the Way" Click here to find the melody.
by Hans A. Brorson, 1694-1764
Translated by Ditlef G. Ristad, 1863-1938

1. I walk in danger all the way.
The thought shall never leave me
That Satan, who has marked his prey,
Is plotting to deceive me.
This foe with hidden snares
May seize me unawares
If e'er I fail to watch and pray.
I walk in danger all the way.
2. I pass through trials all the way,
With sin and ills contending;
In patience I must bear each day
The cross of God's own sending.
Oft in adversity
I know not where to flee;
When storms of woe my soul dismay,
I pass through trials all the way.
3. Death doth pursue me all the way,
Nowhere I rest securely;
He comes by night, he comes by day,
And takes his prey most surely.
A failing breath, and I
In death's strong grasp may lie
To face eternity for aye.
Death dost pursue me all the way.
4. I walk with angels all the way,
They shield me and befriend me;
All Satan's power is held at bay
When heavenly hosts attend me;
They are my sure defense,
All fear and sorrow, hence!
Unharmed by foes, do what they may,
I walk with angels all the way.
5. I walk with Jesus all the way,
His guidance never fails me;
Within His wounds I find a stay
When Satan's power assails me;
And by His footsteps led,
My path I safely tread.
In spite of ills that threaten may,
I walk with Jesus all the way.
6. My walk is heavenward all the way;
Await my soul, the morrow,
When thou shalt find release for aye
From all thy sin and sorrow.
All worldly pomp, begone!
To heaven I now press on.
For all the world I would not stay;
My walk is heavenward all the way.









J-1012
"But the Lord refutes this and says: Go ye there and preach what does it matter if it is against you? You will find there what I say. We should now do likewise. Although the masses storm against the Gospel and there is no hope that they will be better, yet we must preach, there will yet be found those who listen and become converted."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, I, p. 48.

The sermon is God’s chosen means to teach the Law and the Gospel to His flock. The congregation belongs to Christ, the Good Shepherd, not to the minister, members, or synod. Therefore, the sermon must be God’s Word and not the word of man.

KJV 1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

The listeners also need to realize that they must listen attentively and judge according to the work of the Holy Spirit. The congregation should not be ashamed of a sermon from someone who is less than an oratorical star. Many churches have pounded a minister because his voice was weak or his delivery was halting. Accustomed to the cocaine-fueled energy of TV, the congregations demand a star. Luther did not agree.



J-1013
"He who speaks poorly is speaking God's Word just as certainly as he who is able to speak well. A father speaks the Word just as certainly as God does, and your neighbor speaks God's Word just as certainly as the angel Gabriel. It is the same Word that the schoolboy and the angel Gabriel speak; one can merely express it better than another. Let the dishes be unequal. Some are of silver; others are of tin or of glazed clay, earthen vessels. But one and the same food is prepared in silver, tin, etc.; and venison, well seasoned and prepared, tastes as good from a wooden bowl as from one of silver. Think the same of Baptism and absolution. Let this be your comfort. But people do not recognize the person of God; they gape only at the person of the man as when one who is tired and hungry refuses to eat unless the food is set before him in a silver bowl. So people select many ministers nowadays."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed. Ewald M. Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House 1959 III, p. 1119. John 4:9-10.

Preaching belongs to God, so God’s work will be rejected, abused, and scorned by unbelievers.

J-1014
"Were I a preacher, what difference would it make to me if the world called me a devil, since I know that God calls me His angel? Let the world call me a deceiver as long as it pleases. God meanwhile calls me His faithful servant; the angels call me their companion; the saints call me their brother; the believers call me their father; distressed souls call me their savior; the ignorant call me their light. And God says: Yes, it is so. The angels and all creatures agree with Him."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 925.

J-1015
"I certainly hope you will have enough Christian understanding to know that the ministry of the Gospel is neither our property nor the property of any human being, not even of an angel. It belongs to God, our Lord, who has purchased it with His blood, has given and instituted it for our salvation. Therefore He severely condemns those who despise it. He says, 'He that despiseth you despiseth Me' (Luke 10:16)...You are not lords over preachers and the ministry; you have not established the office. God's Son alone has done so. Nor have you contributed anything to it...You should not lord it over the ministry or give it directions. Nor should you keep it from rebuking. For its rebuke is not of men but of God, who does not want the rebuke hindered. He has commanded it.”
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 926.


J-1016
"He [Paul] thus extols co-laborers that they [the Corinthians] may not despise the external Word as if they were not in need of it or knew it well enough. For although God might accomplish all things inwardly by the Spirit, without the external Word, He has no intention of doing so. He wants to employ preachers as assistants and co-laborers and to accomplish His purposes through their word when and where it pleases Him. Since, then, preachers have the office, name, and honor of being God's assistants, no man is so learned or holy that he may neglect or despise the poorest preaching; for he does not know when the hour will come in which God will perform His work in him through the preachers."
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed. Ewald M. Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House 1959 III, p. 1118.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Lutheran Hymnal




I am not impressed by the recent Lutheran hymnals, which seem to multiply as they decline in quality. How many new hymnals omit Luther's very first hymn - Flung to the heedless winds? The MDiv editors include their buddies' tone-deaf, atrocious hymns, but they cannot print Luther's first, written in memory of the first Lutheran martyrs, burned at the stake.

Flung to the Heedless Winds

1. Flung to the heedless winds
Or on the waters cast,
The martyrs' ashes, watched,
Shall gathered be at last.
And from that scattered dust,
Around us and abroad,
Shall spring a plenteous seed
Of witnesses for God.

2. The Father hath received
Their latest living breath,
And vain is Satan's boast
Of victory in their death.
Still, still, though dead, they speak,
And, trumpet-tongued, proclaim
To many a wakening land
The one availing Name.


Crucial doctrinal war verses are also missing from the new hymnals. Where is "false sons within the pale" in The Church's One Foundation? Are those words too painfully frank a description of the editors? The same omissions can be found in classic Lutheran hymns, where false doctrine is denounced.

I understand The Lutheran Hymnal can still be bought at Bethany Lutheran College. Many hymnals are still circulating, since they were used and then suddenly orphaned by the watered down and feminist editions.

Below are some resources I found with Google:

A collection of links to TLH resources, from Concordia, Ft. Wayne.

Lutheran Hymnal.

Wikipedia has some details.

TLH hymn texts.

Paul Speratus: Salvation Unto Us Has Come




I was going to feature some remarks about Paul Speratus for the service today, but Norm Teigen stole a march on me and posted first.

Speratus wrote this hymn in prison during the Reformation. The tune and words are beloved classics of hymnody. I wonder how many Lutheran clergy today would risk prison and death for the Faith.

Salvation unto Us Has Come

Salvation unto us has come
By God’s free grace and favor;
Good works cannot avert our doom,
They help and save us never.
Faith looks to Jesus Christ alone,
Who did for all the world atone;
He is our one Redeemer.

What God did in His law demand
And none to Him could render
Caused wrath and woe on every hand
For man, the vile offender.
Our flesh has not those pure desires
The spirit of the Law requires,
And lost is our condition.

It was a false, misleading dream
That God His Law had given
So sinners could themselves redeem
And by their works gain Heaven.
The Law is but a mirror bright
To bring the inbred sin to light
That lurks within our nature.

From sin our flesh could not abstain
Sin held its sway unceasing;
The task was useless and in vain,
Our guilt was e’er increasing.
None can remove sin’s poisoned dart
Or purify our guileful heart—
So deep is our corruption.

Yet as the Law must be fulfilled
Or we must die despairing,
Christ came and hath God’s anger stilled,
Our human nature sharing.
He hath for us the Law obeyed
And thus the Father’s vengeance stayed
Which over us impended.

Since Christ hath full atonement made
And brought us to salvation,
Each Christian therefore may be glad
And build on this foundation.
Thy grace alone, dear Lord, I plead,
Thy death is now my life indeed,
For Thou hast paid my ransom.

Let me not doubt, but trust in Thee,
Thy Word cannot be broken;
Thy call rings out, “Come unto Me!”
No falsehood hast Thou spoken.
Baptized into Thy precious Name,
My faith cannot be put to shame,
And I shall never perish.

The Law reveals the guilt of sin
And makes men conscience-stricken;
The Gospel then doth enter in
The sinful soul to quicken.
Come to the cross, trust Christ, and live;
The Law no peace can ever give,
No comfort and no blessing.

Faith clings to Jesus’ cross alone
And rests in Him unceasing;
And by its fruits true faith is known,
With love and hope increasing.
Yet faith alone doth justify,
Works serve thy neighbor and supply
The proof that faith is living.

All blessing, honor, thanks, and praise
To Father, Son, and Spirit,
The God that saved us by His grace—
All glory to His merit!
O Triune God in Heav’n above,
Who hast revealed Thy saving love,
Thy bless├Ęd Name be hallowed.

Justification by Faith - The Treasure
Book of Concord




From Thy Strong Word:

J-520
"It is a faithful saying that Christ has accomplished everything, has removed sin and overcome every enemy, so that through Him we are lords over all things. But the treasure lies yet in one pile; it is not yet distributed nor invested. Consequently, if we are to possess it, the Holy Spirit must come and teach our hearts to believe and say: I, too, am one of those who are to have this treasure. When we feel that God has thus helped us and given the treasure to us, everything goes well, and it cannot be otherwise than that man's heart rejoices in God and lifts itself up, saying: Dear Father, if it is Thy will to show toward me such great love and faithfulness, which I cannot fully fathom, then will I also love Thee with all my heart and be joyful, and cheerfully do what pleases Thee. Thus, the heart does not now look at God with evil eyes, does not imagine He will cast us into hell, as it did before the Holy Spirit came...."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 279. Pentecost Sunday. John 14:23-31.

J-528
"Faith is that my whole heart takes to itself this treasure. It is not my doing, not my presenting or giving, not my work or preparation, but that a heart comforts itself, and is perfectly confident with respect to this, namely, that God makes a present and gift to us, and not we to Him, that He sheds upon us every treasure of grace in Christ."
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, IV. #48. Of Justification. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 135. Heiser, p. 36.

J-545
"These treasures are offered us by the Holy Ghost in the promise of the holy Gospel; and faith alone is the only means by which we lay hold upon, accept, and apply, and appropriate them to ourselves. This faith is a gift of God, by which we truly learn to know Christ, our Redeemer, in the Word of the Gospel, and trust in Him, that for the sake of His obedience alone we have the forgiveness of sins by grace, are regarded as godly and righteous by God the Father, and are eternally saved."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, III. #10. Of the Righteousness of Faith before God. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 919. Tappert, p. 541. Heiser, p. 250.

J-590
"For neither you nor I could ever know anything of Christ, or believe on Him, and obtain Him for our Lord, unless it were offered to us and granted to our hearts by the Holy Ghost through the preaching of the Gospel. The work is done and accomplished; for Christ has acquired and gained the treasure for us by His suffering, death, resurrection, etc. But if the work remained concealed so that no one knew of it, then it would be in vain and lost. That this treasure, therefore, might not lie buried, but be appropriated and enjoyed, God has caused the Word to go forth and be proclaimed, in which He gives the Holy Ghost to bring this treasure home and appropriate it to us. Therefore sanctifying is nothing else than bringing us to Christ to receive this good, to which we could not attain ourselves."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #38, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 689. Tappert, p. 415. Heiser, p. 194.

The Eleventh Sunday after Trinity



Hummingbird, by Norma Boeckler


The Eleventh Sunday after Trinity

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 8 AM Phoenix Time

The Hymn #16 – Liebster 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 1 Corinthians 15:1-10
The Gospel Luke 18:9-14
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 377:1-6 Speratus – Es ist das Heil
Justification by Faith

The Hymn #313 by Luther – Gott sei gelobet
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 # 316 by Rist - Nun lob, mein seel


1 Corinthians 15:1-10 (King James Version) King James Version

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

Luke 18:9-14 (King James Version)
9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Lord God, heavenly Father, we beseech Thee so to guide and direct us by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not forget our sins and be filled with pride, but continue in daily repentance and renewal, seeking our comfort only in the blessed knowledge that Thou wilt be merciful unto us, forgive us our sins, and grant us eternal life; through Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

In six verses, Jesus teaches the difference between self-justification and justification, in a parable everyone seems to know and remember.

The two men represent polar opposites. A Pharisee was someone who was extremely rigorous in the observation of the Law. We quite a bit about the Pharisees from various sources, but also from Paul, who was one.

Acts 23:6, the Apostle Paul declares, "Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees..."

"Though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also... circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee..." (Phil. 3:4-6).

Paul’s observance included the active, violent persecution of the Christians. He truly believed he was doing God’s will. The Pharisee is someone who measures worth by his own efforts and good works. As Luther observed, the upright citizen is most in danger because he is conscious of his strict observance of all the rules. Luther knew the spirit of the early Paul, because the monks were also fastidious in their observance of all the rules. No one was more observant of the rules than Luther.

The modern equivalent of the Pharisee is the Pietist. There are many variations on the Pietistic themes. Among the tee-totalers, there is the claim, “I have never touched a drop of liquor my whole life.”

In various synods, the question is, “Do you know who father was?” Or, a minister will say, “I did this and that.” The spirit of Phariseeism--or Pietism--is ideal for the Church Growth Movement. “Do you know how big my congregation is?” I met one of the famous CG pastors by accident in St. Louis. We did not discuss the topic itself. The pastor obviously knew what I had written. He gloried in telling me how big his congregation was, how many seats he had in his auditorium.

However, we would miss the whole message of this parable if we thought this parable was about them rather than about us. We are all Pharisees by nature, unless converted by the Gospel and kept in the faith by the Means of Grace.

The interesting aspect of the Pharisee’s prayer in this lesson is how it relates to a common prayer of the time. Here is Jesus’ example, from the parable:

11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

The rabbis had a prayer that included many different expressions of thankfulness, including “that I was not born a woman.” When Judaism hardened after the resurrection of Christ and the conversion of so many Jews to the faith, the Talmud helped Jews focus on salvation through the Law, through works.

Jewish conversion is perhaps too strong a word, because Old Testament Judaism is the foundation of the Christian faith. The Christian faith is simply the fulfillment of everything taught in the Old Testament. Jewish Christians appreciate this far more than non-Jewish Christians.

I used to be blind to Jewish Christians. Now I realize how many there are. Some are openly Christian. Others keep the fact from their families. At one point I said, “I don’t think many Jews convert to Christianity today.” A communing adult member said, “I’m Jewish.”

The other example is the publican. A publican was a tax-collector, but more than that. He collected taxes for the hated Roman occupation. In many cultures, taxes were farmed out, which caused enormous oppression and hatred. The tax farmer had to collect his quota. Whatever he extorted beyond this was his to keep.

The publican’s prayer did not list his virtues and works, did not denounce the sins of his neighbors:

13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

His prayer, first of all, shows a humble and contrite heart. Genuine contrition is the effect of the Holy Spirit working through the Law. The simple prayer also shows faith, trust in God’s mercy.

Jesus clearly taught the difference between the two examples:

14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

I have known so many church leaders who were flying high and scornful of all other clergy. Then those high-flyers tumbled, thanks to their own arrogance and pride. The formula for success in this world rewards the worst attitudes, until one day, when everything falls apart. On the other hand, I have seen many clergy hounded out of the ministry, not by the wolves outside the flock, but by the wolves within the flock, their own fellow clergy. In the end, rich and poor, we end up in the same place. Titles, honors, and riches are meaningless.

My wife and I were talking about fame, since we were just in Branson, Missouri. The time before we saw the Roy Rogers museum. We both grew up on Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, and Trigger. Roy’s son sang and did a show in honor of his father. Very few were there. People have forgotten the star of TV and movies, the restaurant owner. I said, “No one remembers Tom Mix anymore either.” My wife said, “Who?” I said, “Tom Mix, the famous movie cowboy.” Then she laughed. She had me again.

Those who place their trust in earthly honors, prestige, power, and money will be more than disappointed. They will be crushed when they find it is all a deception.

The quotations I selected for this sermon all use the term treasure. It is no accident that the Book of Concord uses this term for the Gospel repeatedly. People use many different analogies for justification and salvation, but this comparison is the one used more than once by the Lutheran Symbols. (Symbol is another name for Confessions.)

The image is easy to remember. In New Testament times, a treasure was located in one place, and it consisted of precious metals and jewels. Sometimes certain art objects were extremely valuable as well. The Silk Route from China to the West was really a jade route, since so much was paid for so little (in weight and volume) for those carved objects.

The atonement of Christ is the treasure of the Gospel. That is the message of reconciliation. Jesus has paid for the sins of the world. The atonement is universal and objective. Jesus paid for the sins of the whole world (universal). This act of reconciliation is true whether anyone believes it or not (objective). We base our salvation on the truth of the Gospel message, not on our feelings or works or merits (objective).

A limited atonement is taught by the Calvinists, who hold that Christ died only for the elect. Someone who grew up Presbyterian said recently that Jesus holding the lamb is an example of the shepherd who broke the legs of lambs who ran away too much. The lambs had to be carried until their legs healed. Then they strayed no more. I thought, “What a way to scare kids to death and ruin the Gospel.” The Isaiah passage says, “He shall feed His flock like a shepherd. He shall carry the lambs in His arms, and gently lead those with young.” But, that is Calvinism for you – turning Gospel into Law, hellishly turning a portrait of comfort into an image of terror. So the Calvinists have determined in advance that the treasure is only for a few, the predestined elect. As Twain liked to joke (in Tom Sawyer), they whittle the number of the elect down so far that it hardly seems worth the trouble to try.

Luther’s use the same image, from Luke 15, is quite different. He said, “Christ is just as anxious for me as I am for Him.” What a touching description of the lost sheep parable.

A partial atonement is taught by Roman Catholics. They teach all the right things about Christ dying on the cross. But they say, “Your sins are forgiven, but not paid for. You must spend the rest of your life paying for your sins. And the afterlife in Purgatory paying even more for your sins.”

The atonement is objective and universal. Otherwise, something else would have to be added. That is where the UOJ fanatics fall off the cliff. In struggling to make their statement about Christ dying on the cross, they confuse the atonement with justification by faith.

The atonement is the treasure. But it lies in one pile and does no one any good until it is distributed by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit works exclusively through the Word, so we have no doubt that God is at work through the Means of Grace.

"For neither you nor I could ever know anything of Christ, or believe on Him, and obtain Him for our Lord, unless it were offered to us and granted to our hearts by the Holy Ghost through the preaching of the Gospel. The work is done and accomplished; for Christ has acquired and gained the treasure for us by His suffering, death, resurrection, etc. But if the work remained concealed so that no one knew of it, then it would be in vain and lost. That this treasure, therefore, might not lie buried, but be appropriated and enjoyed, God has caused the Word to go forth and be proclaimed, in which He gives the Holy Ghost to bring this treasure home and appropriate it to us. Therefore sanctifying is nothing else than bringing us to Christ to receive this good, to which we could not attain ourselves."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #38, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 689. Tappert, p. 415. Heiser, p. 194.

Notice the key phrase – God has caused the Word to go forth. The Bible teaches monergism, a fancy word for everything being done by God. God has made sure that the Gospel will be preached to the ends of the earth. (“God has no arms but ours, no legs but ours, no money but ours” – that is a sick, manipulative statement designed to extort money by demeaning God’s power.” Ask Jonah how limited God’s reach is, when a mission is determined by Him.)

God moves people to faith through the Gospel, so He provides the main solution to our sinful condition—the atoning death of His Son—and the means to obtain this forgiveness.

No one is justified apart from faith. The Bible is utterly consistent in giving all honor to the Word, which conveys Christ to us. We could also say, as Luther wrote, that the Means of Grace bring us before Christ. Just as Christ comes to us in the invisible and visible Word, so we come before Him. He knows us individually and gives to us His righteousness, His forgiveness, His salvation.

I recall some Lutherans (under the influence of Baptists at that point) saying, “If that is true, then what role do we have?” Believers who understand this aspect of Biblical teaching realize that God has already provided for them. They need to do nothing. The Word of God does not teach that “we must witness or God won’t let us grow as Christians,” as one person tried to say. The Gospel creates countless opportunities to freely share the message. Cult members come to our doors. Friends and relatives discuss their doubts and questions. Fellow clergy begin to fall away from the faith. The best and greatest opportunity is in our own families. If we baptize our children, teach them the Word, and worship with them, the blessings of the Gospel will influence them their whole lives.

How many clergy have handed their children over to cynicism and hatred of the Gospel by spending all their time building up a career? Their influence would be far greater if they had trained and loved their own children. America has more Christian clergy than all the nations of the world combined. Children have only one earthly father. But that depends on the definition of treasure.

Matthew 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Matthew 19:16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
Mark 10:17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.
20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
Luke 6:20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
Luke 6:24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.
Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
22 And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.
23 The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.
24 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?
25 And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?
26 If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?
27 Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
28 If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?
29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.
30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.
31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.
32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.
34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
Luke 18:18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.
20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.
21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.
22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
24 And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
26 And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?
27 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
28 Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee.
29 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake,
30 Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.
1 Timothy 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
James 5:1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.
3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.
4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.
5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.
Revelation 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.


Justification by Faith Quotations – The Treasure

J-520
"It is a faithful saying that Christ has accomplished everything, has removed sin and overcome every enemy, so that through Him we are lords over all things. But the treasure lies yet in one pile; it is not yet distributed nor invested. Consequently, if we are to possess it, the Holy Spirit must come and teach our hearts to believe and say: I, too, am one of those who are to have this treasure. When we feel that God has thus helped us and given the treasure to us, everything goes well, and it cannot be otherwise than that man's heart rejoices in God and lifts itself up, saying: Dear Father, if it is Thy will to show toward me such great love and faithfulness, which I cannot fully fathom, then will I also love Thee with all my heart and be joyful, and cheerfully do what pleases Thee. Thus, the heart does not now look at God with evil eyes, does not imagine He will cast us into hell, as it did before the Holy Spirit came...."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 279. Pentecost Sunday. John 14:23-31.

J-528
"Faith is that my whole heart takes to itself this treasure. It is not my doing, not my presenting or giving, not my work or preparation, but that a heart comforts itself, and is perfectly confident with respect to this, namely, that God makes a present and gift to us, and not we to Him, that He sheds upon us every treasure of grace in Christ."
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, IV. #48. Of Justification. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 135. Heiser, p. 36.

J-545
"These treasures are offered us by the Holy Ghost in the promise of the holy Gospel; and faith alone is the only means by which we lay hold upon, accept, and apply, and appropriate them to ourselves. This faith is a gift of God, by which we truly learn to know Christ, our Redeemer, in the Word of the Gospel, and trust in Him, that for the sake of His obedience alone we have the forgiveness of sins by grace, are regarded as godly and righteous by God the Father, and are eternally saved."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, III. #10. Of the Righteousness of Faith before God. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 919. Tappert, p. 541. Heiser, p. 250.

J-590
"For neither you nor I could ever know anything of Christ, or believe on Him, and obtain Him for our Lord, unless it were offered to us and granted to our hearts by the Holy Ghost through the preaching of the Gospel. The work is done and accomplished; for Christ has acquired and gained the treasure for us by His suffering, death, resurrection, etc. But if the work remained concealed so that no one knew of it, then it would be in vain and lost. That this treasure, therefore, might not lie buried, but be appropriated and enjoyed, God has caused the Word to go forth and be proclaimed, in which He gives the Holy Ghost to bring this treasure home and appropriate it to us. Therefore sanctifying is nothing else than bringing us to Christ to receive this good, to which we could not attain ourselves."
The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #38, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 689. Tappert, p. 415. Heiser, p. 194.