The Eighth Sunday after Trinity
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson
Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time
The Hymn # 39 Praise to the Lord 3:1
The Confession of Sins
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
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #260 O Lord Look Down 3:41
Figs from Figs
The Communion Hymn # 307 Draw Nigh 3:72
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 O Jesus Blessed Lord 3:70
KJV Romans 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
KJV Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Eighth Sunday After Trinity
Lord God, heavenly Father, we most heartily thank Thee that Thou hast caused us to come to the knowledge of Thy word. We pray Thee: graciously keep us steadfast in this knowledge unto death, that we may obtain eternal life; send us now and ever pious pastors, who faithfully preach Thy word, without offense or false doctrine, and grant them long life. Defend us from all false teachings, and frustrate Thou the counsels of all such as pervert Thy word, who come to us in sheep's clothing, but are inwardly ravening wolves, that Thy true Church may evermore be established among us, and be defended and preserved from such false teachers, through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.
Figs from Figs
Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
This lesson condemns all false doctrine and those false teachers who destroy the flock with it. But it also encourages people to trust the Word of God and those who teach the Word in its purity and truth.
7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Spener, the leader of Pietism, was the first union theologian. He borrowed from the Reformed leader Labadie, who borrowed his cell group idea from the Roman Catholics. Spener had a tremendous negative impact on all Lutherans by making it seem sinful to question false doctrine. Love and cooperation were more important that sound doctrine. False doctrine, cooperation, and unionism go together.
In contrast, the Reformation started because Luther clearly identified and condemned false doctrine. He was not the first Medieval leader to teach the Gospel. He was almost unique in saying, “If this is the Gospel, then the pope is wrong.” Hus was burned at the stake for similar statements, which may explain why such teaching did not become popular.
So all the Pietists had to do was change the attitude of the people and the rot began. Now it is a terrible sin to upset people with the truth, especially by saying, “That is false doctrine.”
7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
We are often told that Jesus is all love and compassion, so these passages are avoided and not taught. He is love and compassion, so that is why He warned all believers to beware.
False doctrine bewitches people because the warning signs are exactly the opposite of what we expect. Jesus warned, “They arrive in the appearance and manner of sheep.”
What do we find today, across denominational lines? The church leaders are ovine, feminine, soft, spineless, brainless, confused, and plagued by memory loss. They seem gentle and friendly, doubtless the reason why they were voted into office, due to their popularity and unthreatening personality.
One bishop’s office did not like a Photoshop which arrived in an email by accident. I took the smiling, angelic face of the bishop and showed how Satanic he was, with horns and a tail, preaching the Eighth Commandment as the only one to obey (not that he did). I had nothing to do with the email itself, but I heard about the response.
The female presiding bishop of the Episcopalians is using their offering money to sue them and take away their property. I am no lawyer, but the law seems pretty clear that she had no authority to do this. The congregations own the property, but they must spend millions of their own money to defend themselves against lawsuits by their former leader, who has oceans of money to use against them. Nevertheless, they fight on.
The head of ELCA, Mark Hanson, looks like everyone’s wirey old uncle, the kind of guy who deliberately loses at checkers when playing with children. Nevertheless, he is absolutely ruthless in his rule, so that no one dares oppose him for long. The ELCA members are running for all the exists (true to Matthew 7 and John 10) but he continues – and is admired by all the apostate church leaders. The Missouri Synod is happy to work with him, overwhelming happy to continue cooperation.
“but inwardly are ravening wolves.” We should be afraid of the influence of them precisely because their substance is the opposite of their appearance. They are eager to bite, tear, devour, and scatter the flock.
It is well known that criminals repeat the same actions until they are caught. When someone is caught masking a crime, staging an incident, the police will look back and discover successful attempts in the past – fooled everyone, even if a few had doubts about what happened.
Church leaders do the same thing. They rise to power playing the harmless and gentle sheep. When challenged, they use their influence to destroy opponents while protecting fellow criminals. The greater the scandal, the more useful corrupt clergy are to these wolves. This has a multiplying effect, as faithful clergy are kicked out, pushed out, and silenced, while corrupt clergy are elevated, promoted, defended, and protected.
Nothing is more obvious that the vast number of cover-ups in all denominations, when clergy have abused their office. The Roman Catholics are not alone, by any means. Nor are the “conservative” synods innocent. In fact, the more “conservative” a Lutheran group pretends to be, the greater the lies and the scandal. Clergy die of AIDS in all denominations, including the “conservative” Lutheran ones. Cover-up a murder and destroy evidence? No problem. Everyone forgets. Life goes on. Who are you to question what was done?
Anyone can tell when apostasy rules a denomination. When the Ten Commandments are tossed out in favor of protecting Holy Mother Synod, the group is apostate and in a state of total decay.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Almost every plant will grow flowers, which turn into fruit. The fruit matures into seed. Even lawn grass flowers, although the flowers are so tiny no one notices.
Some think of “fruits” as apples and oranges, but fruits here are the production of all plants. Rose fruits are called hips, etc.
The distinction in this lesson is between good fruit and harmful fruit. In my gardening years I have learned that many weeds are not easily identified until they fruit. Every plant has a weed that looks like it. What looks pleasing and good at first can turn out to be one more pest to get rid of. I even grew a plot of nutgrass that I thought to be sweet corn. Doubtless the birds pulled up the corn after I planted it. Crows are good at that. The nutgrass looked like corn for a long time. Finally I had to put my back into it and yank out each plant, which was around six feet tall.
In New Ulm, I took out thistles that were 8 feet tall. They were very productive. I came inside covered with thistle. I found no grapes and no figs in that patch.
Grapes are never going to grow on thorns and figs will never grow on thistles. This is pretty funny for gardeners. No one would argue otherwise. However, in spiritual affairs, people argue for figs from thistles all the time.
The Missouri Synod will work with ELCA (overwhelming vote at the 2010 LCMS convention) even though:
1. ELCA pays for abortions with its health plan.
2. ELCA ordains homosexuals, lesbians, bi-sexuals, and sex-changed pastors.
3. ELCA has apologized to those kept off the clergy roster for Scriptural reasons.
4. ELCA advocates Marxist political views.
5. ELCA attacks every doctrine of the Bible.
6. ELCA is in fellowship with every Leftist denomination and the Church of Rome.
7. ELCA despises conservative Christians.
On the conservative Lutheran side, I have lost track of how many anti-Lutheran leaders WELS, Missouri, and the ELS have studied with, worshiped with, and bought books from. The seminaries love every doctrine except Luther’s – a true sign of unionism at its rock bottom. Pastors are promoted based on their animosity toward the doctrine taught in the Book of Concord.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit
This one clause is especially important, because people no longer trust its truthfulness and value. That is because, contrary to popular feelings, good fruit is not a popularity contest, a personality quiz, an attitude of being inoffensive.
Good fruit begins with teaching justification by faith as proclaimed in the Scriptures, Luther, and the Book of Concord. That itself can be easily measured. Some argue that their superior (sic) education allows them to understand the intricacies of Universal Objective Justification, but that itself is contrary to the Word. Anyone who can hear or read the Word can achieve a proper understanding of justification by faith. If anything, seminary trains people not to think, not to question, not to seek the plain and simple teaching of the Word.
The fruit of justification by faith is forgiveness of sin, first of all, and the fruits of the Spirit, secondly. Why are the denominations so corrupt and families so torn? Man-made law and manufactured Gospel. When man abandons the Word of God, God ultimately turns over or betrays man into being on his own.
KJV Romans 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
The fruit of a good tree is not necessarily numbers, not the way we measure them. God works in His own way. We are not His counselors. During the Reformation, hordes became Lutheran and fell away when trouble arose. Did that make Luther wrong?
Many follow Mormonism today, even though the religion is a conglomeration of fantasies, including filling distant planets with spirit babies. Does that mean they are doing God’s will?
Rome calls itself the biggest and oldest church and clearly overwhelms the others in numbers. Should we all become Catholic and enjoy the triumphalism. I know a number of clergy who have done that.
Instead, we must trust the Word and accept the results of the Word which follow. The cross will always accompany the Word, so we should not and cannot reject the Word which brings the cross. If so, we have rejected the Gospel itself, because Jesus truly bore the cross. What we receive is only a hint of His suffering, torture, and rejection.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
I recently mentioned to a pastor friend that God punishes far better than we can imagine.
One funny Jewish curse is, “May you marry a pious woman and lose your faith.” That happened to one Shrinker who was especially active in Columbus, Ohio. The whole idea of God torments him now, so he rants against God and refuses to go to church. The normal person does not care either way, but the apostate minister has all that training, all those memories, and they burn the heart instead of warming it. So it is with everyone who gets away with adulterating the Word of God.
True, some people will break into an electrical station and endure the consequences of getting near power lines. There is far more power in God’s Word and it will have its effect, sooner or later. Satan does his share too, by blinding someone throughout life and taking away the blinders in time for a long, tortured death. That is when the rich man wants to exchange places with poor Lazareth, or at least warn his apostate brothers.
John Bunyan’s immediate reward for being faithful was a long prison sentence, release, and another prison sentence. However, his production in prison was the fruit of the Gospel. Using Luther as his guide, along with the Scriptures, he crafted the Pilgrim’s Progress, which still inspires people today, giving vivid word pictures to the doctrines of the Bible. His favorite book, besides the Bible? Luther’s Commentary on Galatians.
The false teacher will be cut down, like the evil tree. We had junk trees and bushes in our yard in Phoenix. They were cut down. We replaced them with good trees and bushes. God is the faithful gardener who does the same. John 15.
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
There are so many who claim to be doing God’s work. Those who claim the most are also the same ones who tell so many lies. I have always wondered how someone does God’s will by deceiving others. That is a confusion of the corporate, business model with the Biblical. In fact, many corporations have found that a basic lack of integrity is costly in the long run. The latest news on British Petroleum shows that they violated about 15 different safety procedures in the name of getting money faster from their oil well. Now the company faces insolvency from the claims of those cost-saving short-cuts.
The same is true of the visible church today. They are as wise as doves and as innocent as serpents. People are running away from them, yet they continue the same deceptive policies, in the name of having more money and keeping everyone happy.
No message to me is more common than, “You have no right to discuss our doctrine. You are hurting my feelings. You are wounding my heart. You are hurting our church body.”
Outreach (with false doctrine) is good, they say. Acting the fool and entertaining people is God-pleasing, they say, because it is the thing to do. Studying under the anti-Lutherans is good, because they have so many deep, deep insights. Our seminary president said it is like the Israelites “spoiling the Egyptians.” He cannot be wrong because the Holy Spirit put him in that position.
A seminary professor, LCMS, even said, “I don’t know why God is blessing the Mormons.” That statement alone should remove someone from the ordained list, but alas it is just an anecdote.
Works done without faith in God are sinful. These works paraded in front of our eyes are simply glittering sins.
Anything done in faith glorifies God. A friend and I laughed about that when he wiped the green mucus from his toddler’s nose. He said, “Excuse me.” I said, “Not at all. He is glorifying God.” The friend knew Luther’s saying that a baptized baby glorifies God, even when he is crying and soiling his diapers, because everything done in faith glorifies God.
KJV Romans 14:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
The bragging of the verses before this show that the speakers are not godly. They are not giving God credit but telling God what they have done for Him. God understands our hearts better than we do ourselves. He dismisses those people with a few words.
This is a powerful lesson of warning and hope, but it is ignored today. Few want to hear about the efficacy of the Word today. They want to be praised instead for what they do. They want to glorify themselves and no one can stop them.
Nevertheless, we have Christ’s teaching and example. The good seed will produce more than we can imagine, because the work of God’s Word belongs to Him alone.