Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Second Sunday after Trinity

Cover art by Norma Boeckler

The Second Sunday after Trinity

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 8 AM Phoenix Time

The Hymn #377 Salvation unto Us 2.1
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 John 3:13-18
The Gospel Luke 14:16-24
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #264 Preserve thy Word 2.55

Father’s Day

The Hymn #313 O Lord we praise Thee 2.36
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 #45 Now the Hour 2.95

Lord God, heavenly Father, we give thanks unto Thee, that through Thy holy word Thou hast called us to Thy great supper, and we beseech Thee: Quicken our hearts by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not hear Thy word without fruit, but that we may prepare ourselves rightly for Thy kingdom, and not suffer ourselves to be hindered by any worldly care, 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.

"Those, however, who set the time, place and measure, tempt God, and believe not that they are heard or that they have obtained what they asked; therefore, they also receive nothing." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 172. John 16:23-30.

"In like manner, St. Paul says that God's ability is thus proved, in that He does exceeding abundantly above and better than we ask or think. Ephesians 3:20. Therefore, we should know we are too finite to be able to name, picture or designate the time, place, way, measure and other circumstances for that which we ask of God. Let us leave that entirely to Him, and immovably and steadfastly believe that He will hear us." Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 179f. Fifth Sunday after Easter. Ephesians 3:20.

"If the world were willing to take advice from a simple, plain man--that is, our Lord God (who, after all, has some experience too and knows how to rule)--the best advice would be that in his office and sphere of jurisdiction everybody simply direct his thoughts and plans to carrying out honestly and doing in good faith what has been commanded him and that, whatever he does, he depend not on his own plans and thoughts but commit the care to God. Such a man would certainly find out in the end who does and accomplishes more, he who trusts God or he who would bring success to his cause through his own wisdom and thoughts or his own power and strength." What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, III, p. 1151. Luke 5:1-11.

KJV 1 John 3:13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. 14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

KJV Luke 14:16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: 17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. 18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. 19 And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. 20 And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. 21 So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. 22 And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. 23 And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

Father’s Day

The skeptics like to tell us that man has painted a portrait of God the Father based on our own fathers. On every subject they get the facts right, but upside down.

Fathers should model themselves after our gracious heavenly Father.

Today we have many fathers but not many men. One of my students missed class because he said, “My girlfriend had our first baby last week.” I asked him in front of the class, “Are you going to marry her?” He said, “No!” Then he added, “I already feel married.” He was not a minority member or an impoverished illegal alien. He was being a typical American male, a boy who never grows into being a man.

God the Father takes care of us, even those who do not acknowledge him as Father. If one little aspect of His care is lessened (in our way of thinking), disaster strikes.

In Grand Rapids, Michigan, about 9 inches of rain fell in one brief but memorable storm. Roads are washed out. Culvert pipes have washed downstream. Homes and businesses are flooded. I remember a worse flood in Midland. A future DP was in the car with me. One road was blocked with a warning sign, so we went down that way slowly. One block away, the roadbed ahead of the highway barrier was washed away and replaced with a new version of the Grand Canyon.

One bad storm and our lives are in turmoil. Yet people are not grateful to God for the sunshine and rain that regulate our lives and keep us nourished and healthy.
Bad weather is a reminder of how much good weather we enjoy. In fact, there is no other nation blessed with the weather and resources of America.

Many fathers seem to think they have no reason to provide for others as God has provided for them. And this is considered a normal attitude. Being married and providing for a wife and children is considered exception. I know that from having so many young adults in the classroom. The single mother situation, for whatever cause, is normal.

I do not know why, but the percentage of men in higher education has switched. In the past, men were the majority in college and they dominated academics in earning high grades. Now women are 60 to 80% of the student population. The women are normally the achievers while the men just get by. The women agree that the men do not want to grow up, but stay little boys who want to party and play video games, or work on their music careers while their girlfriends provide for them.

The Bible reveals God the Father as forgiving, with His forgiveness based on His love and mercy, not our merit. The most memorable example is found in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, which could easily be called The Forgiving Father.

When the son demanded his inheritance, the Father gave it to him.

Next the prodigal son squandered all his money on fast women and slow horses. He was reduced to coveting the carob pods eaten by the pigs.

The son turned toward home, knowing he had sinned against God and his family. The parable is a good example of natural law. If someone throws over the traces, the order established by God’s Creation will eventually catch up with him. Poverty and disgrace are one way God provides as a foundation for genuine contrition.

But what does the Father in the parable do as the son heads home?

KJV Luke 15:20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

The Word reveals our heavenly Father as far more ready to forgives than we are to repent.

As we see in so many lessons from the Savior, God’s grace is prodigal even when we are prodigal sons. The Father runs to meet the son, but he also embraces him, kisses him, and hosts a feast for all his friends. Of course, this makes the elder brother angry. He is the little Pharisee in all of us.

The downtrodden, impoverished, wastrels, and criminals are usually the ones most thankful for the Gospel. As Luther often wrote, the broken and poor in spirit -- not the mighty and powerful--are the ones who rejoice in forgiveness. I was explaining Law and Gospel to a group of prisoners in jail when all of them burst into tears. That was how great the power of the Word was upon them. One gave up his drug addiction and went back to his drug connections to speak against his past life. That is just a small picture of what happened when the Gospel reached the Roman Empire. It is replayed in many ways today.

So earthly fathers should be as forgiving as our gracious Heavenly Father.

That is the purpose of the Gospel, not only to give us forgiveness of sins, justification by faith, but also to spread its blessings.

In a family where the Gospel dominates, there will still be sinfulness expressed in various ways. However, the Gospel provides forgiveness, heals the wounds caused by sin, and also gives us the power to overcome sin.

Our heavenly Father provided His Son for us, so we would have forgiveness of sin. This is a mystery far beyond our ability to comprehend. God has revealed it in His Word, so we would have the blessings of the Gospel in this life and eternal life, with the fruits of the Spirit abounding.

"But Christ was given for this purpose, namely, that for His sake there might be bestowed on us the remission of sins, and the Holy Ghost to bring forth in us new and eternal life, and eternal righteousness [to manifest Christ in our hearts, as it is written John 16:15: 'He shall take of the things of Mine, and show them unto you.' Likewise, He works also other gifts, love, thanksgiving, charity, patience, etc.]. Wherefore the Law cannot be truly kept unless the Holy Ghost is given." Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article IV, Justification, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 159. Tappert, p. 125. Romans 3:31; John 16:15.

"But as the Confutation condemns us for having assigned these two parts to repentance, we must show that [not we, but] Scripture expresses these as the chief parts in repentance and conversion. For Christ says, Matthew 11:28: Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Here there are two members. The labor and the burden signify the contrition, anxiety, and terrors of sin and of death. To come to Christ is to believe that sins are remitted for Christ's sake; when we believe, our hearts are quickened by the Holy Ghost through the Word of Christ. Here, therefore, there are these two chief parts, contrition and faith." Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XII (V), #44, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 263. Tappert, p. 187.

Need for Forgiveness
"For now we are only half pure and holy, so that the Holy Ghost has ever [some reason why] to continue His work in us through the Word, and daily to dispense forgiveness, until we attain to that life where there will be no more forgiveness, but only perfectly pure and holy people, full of godliness and righteousness, removed and free from sin, death, and all evil, in a new, immortal, and glorified body." The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #58, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 693.

Who Has the Word?
"The Church has no word of its own. Whatever is not taken from Scripture is not the 'Word of the Church,' but what Luther bluntly calls 'prattle.' Also other books can exert a divine power and efficacy, but always only inasmuch as they have absorbed God's Word. Of Scripture Luther says: 'No book teaches anything concerning eternal life except this one alone' (St. Louis edition XIV:434)." Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols., trans. Walter W. F. Albrecht, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1950, I, p. 315.

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