Sunday, December 7, 2008

Second Sunday in Advent

The Second Sunday in Advent

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 8 AM Phoenix Time

The Hymn # 71 St. George IV.9
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 Romans 15:4-13
The Gospel Luke 21:25-36
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 376 Toplady IV.47

Written for Our Learning

The Hymn #304 St. Crispin IV.6
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #657 Schoenster Herr Jesus IV.24

KJV Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. 5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: 6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. 8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: 9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. 10 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. 11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. 12 And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust. 13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

KJV Luke 21:25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 26 Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. 27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. 29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; 30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. 31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. 32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. 33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. 34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. 35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Second Sunday In Advent
Lord God, heavenly Father, who by Thy Son hast revealed to us that heaven and earth shall pass away, that our bodies shall rise again, and that we all shall appear before the judgment seat: We beseech Thee, keep us by Thy Holy Spirit in Thy word; establish us in the true faith, graciously defend us from sin and preserve us in all temptations, that our hearts may not be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and cares of this life, but that we may ever watch and pray and, trusting fully in Thy grace, await with joy the glorious coming of Thy Son, and at last 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.

KJV Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. 5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: 6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

Written for Our Learning

The continuity of the Scriptures is one of the clearest signs of the Holy Spirit’s inspiration.

There is only one message in the Word of God, and we can see that plainly – from the Book of Genesis to the Book of Revelation. The Bible carries Christ the way a cradle holds a baby, as Luther said.

When someone goes to visit a newborn baby, the parents will say, “There he is,” and point to the cradle or crib. The visitor may see the bed and blankets, but the main focus is on the baby. The importance of the container is the baby.

Often the academics who get bored with the Word (by ignoring the Word) point to everything else except Christ in the Scriptures. Or they want to make a case – that only part of the Bible is valid for them.

I find it interesting that Fuller Seminary has always been passed off as a conservative Protestant seminary. Even in its earliest days the school had a compromised statement on the inerrancy of the Scriptures. They only confessed the Scriptures to be inerrant about doctrine, which meant they thought there were historical and geographical errors. (This is another symptom of rationalism, where current attitudes judge the Bible rather than allowing God’s Word to judge all books.) From that compromised view of inerrancy they degenerated into a polemical stand against inerrancy and all kinds of errors have followed that.

The so-called conservative Lutherans from Missouri, WELS, and the ELS have loved Fuller—not in spite of that—but because of that opposition to inerrancy. Apostates know each other and love each other. The intellectual trip from Fuller Seminary to Freedom From Religion is a short one, as I have seen in many cases.

The Word of God remains the anvil upon which many hammers have been worn out. We only need to let the Word speak to have its effect.

One way we do that is by learning the basic content of the Old Testament. The Old Testament is more like a library of books, and this library includes the Creation and continues until the time before Christ.

Genesis 1 begins with God commanding through the Word. Genesis 1 implies the Son of God creating, and John 1 makes this explicit. “All things came about through Him. Nothing was created without Him.”
The Genesis Flood gives us our modern world and the first sacramental sign – the rainbow – a common, physical element combined with God’s Promise.

The modern world has been shaped by the Genesis Flood. When I visit the Grand Canyon and see the Great Lakes, I see the evidence of the Flood. Oil, natural gas, and coal are all called fossil fuels, but how did all that organic material get compressed and gathered at once? I find it intriguing that oil is found near brine deposits. Michigan is known for its salty oil. In fact, Midland Michigan became a chemical town because Dow wanted to use the vast deposits of brine underneath the soil. Salt water is so common in Midland that they spray that on snowy streets to melt the ice. Dow donates brine from its many brine wells. Brine and oil are together where an inland sea covered the area. Rehwinkel argued in his book that oil came from vast shoals of fish killed in the cataclysm of the Flood.

I was reading recently that the first oil rigs used in Pennsylvania were borrowed from drilling for brine in the area. They knew what to do with brine. Oil had to find a market. A chemist at Yale investigated this rock oil (petroleum – rock oil) and discovered it could be fractioned into kerosene and other useful components.

Much more could be said about coal, where 10 feet of leafy matter is supposedly needed to form a coal seam 1 foot thick. And yet there are seams of coal 90 feet thick. Where did 900 feet of leafy matter come from? Or, why are dinosaurs found heaped up in one place, or a mountain of animal bones, with all the animals together, as if they gathered to escape rising waters?

When scientists and engineers deal with our elements and how to use them, it is clear that God provided for man’s future.

The divine purpose we see in Creation gives us hope and comfort as well. Every single aspect of Creation has a purpose, and so do we. I copied this portion of Psalms in all my classes at one school:

KJV Psalm 37:18 The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever. 19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. 20 But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away. 21 The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth. 22 For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off. 23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand. 25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. 26 He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed. 27 Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore. 28 For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.

The key verse is 25:

25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

Many in the class thanked me for posting this portion of Psalm 37. It is just one example of how the Scriptures provide hope and comfort.

In following the Old Testament, from Genesis through the Prophets and Writings, we can see how God’s plan has unfolded over the centuries, always with Christ at the center.

The Old Testament teaches us about the purpose and plan of God, but also about his mercy and forgiveness through Christ. I remember a member asking about the Old Testament patriarchs, as if they could not be in heaven because they lived before the time of Christ.

Paul makes this point in Romans, that Abraham believed in Christ, and it was counted (or reckoned) as righteousness. That is, Abraham was justified by faith. He received forgiveness through his faith in Christ, not because of works. All the Old Testament figures who believed in the Messiah were those who believed in the Messiah to come. The Scriptures all taught the coming of the Messiah, and many believed before the Incarnation.

Luther pointed out in a sermon that faith in Jesus was more difficult because people saw an ordinary looking man rather than an ideal figure. Nothing was lacking in Jesus, but his disciples and the crowds often expected something else, even demanded something else. Peter rebuked Jesus for declaring His future of death and resurrection (Matthew 16).

So we may begin with Jesus in the New Testament and look back into the Old Testament, or begin with the Old Testament and see how all the Promises were fulfilled in the New Testament.

From either perspective we see the continuity of God’s message, His clear and plain Word of salvation.


Preaching of the Gospel – Stone in a Pond

"The preaching of this message may be likened to a stone thrown into the water, producing ripples which circle outward from it, the waves rolling always on and on, one driving the other, till they come to the shore. Although the center becomes quiet, the waves do not rest, but move forward. So it is with the preaching of the Word. It was begun by the apostles, and it constantly goes forward, is pushed on farther and farther by the preachers, driven hither and thither into the world, yet always being made known to those who never heard it before, although it be arrested in the midst of its course and is condemned as heresy."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 202. Ascension Day Mark 16:14-20.

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