Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Tenth Sunday after Trintiy

Cover by Norma Boeckler

The Tenth Sunday after Trinity

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time

The Hymn # 652 I Lay My Sins on Jesus 1.24
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual
The Gospel
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #190 Christ Is Arisen 1:52

Jerusalem Surrounded

The Communion Hymn # 308 Invited Lord 1:63
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 # 350 Jesus the Very Thought of Thee 1:53

KJV 1 Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. 2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. 3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. 4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

KJV Luke 19:41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. 43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. 45 And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; 46 Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves. 47 And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him, 48 And could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.

Tenth Sunday After Trinity
Almighty and everlasting God, who by Thy Holy Ghost hast revealed unto us the gospel of Thy Son, Jesus Christ: We beseech Thee so to quicken our hearts that we may sincerely receive Thy word, and not make light of it, or hear it without fruit, as did Thy people, the unbelieving Jews, but that we may fear Thee and daily grow in faith in Thy mercy, and finally obtain eternal salvation, through Thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Jesus Weeping Over Jerusalem
This Gospel reminds us of Jesus’ foreknowledge of the destruction of Jerusalem. Thus we know what He said before it happened, and we know how true this is from the accounts of Josephus. This lesson is a warning to all believers, not to depart from the Word of Truth.

Luke 19:41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,
There are two passages where Jesus wept. One was at the sight of his friend’s tomb – Lazarus. The other occasion is here, where He considered the future destruction of Jerusalem and the suffering to come from that event, only 40 years after His death and resurrection.

Before this time, Jesus considered the future of Jerusalem and His ministry to that historic city.

KJV Luke 13:33 Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem. 34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!

Jerusalem had a long history of turning away from God’s prophets, with inevitable hardship to follow. We can see modern examples, such as Russia and Germany abandoning the Gospel – Russia to Marxism, Germany to Modernism and Unionism, only to create millions of deaths in their WWII struggles. Would either country have done the same things, if they had known the future?

Jesus continued:

Luke 19:42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.

Lenski wrote, “Resist the beginnings” in one commentary, and this could be the motto of many nations.

Israel was conquered many times over, becoming a Roman territory because of internal squabbling. They invited the Roman Empire to come in as peacemakers, and the Romans never left.

Jesus was born in Rome-occupied territory because Israel invited it. And that is why the Roman soldier and the Jewish tax collector for the Romans (the publican) were so hated. The tax collectors were their own people, extorting taxes to pay the soldiers who enabled them to extort tax money and keep them an occupied state. This naturally paved the way for the rebellion which destroyed Jerusalem – Hebrew for “a place of peace.”

Jerusalem did not see what was coming, yet Jesus’ foreknowledge allowed Him to see the implications of all that would come.

How many Americans knew they were voting for the wreckage of their country? They voted for moderation, hope, and change. They got the necessary consequences of placing a Saul Alinsky student in the White House, with another Saul Alinsky student as the Secretary of State:

Yesterday I read about cities closing down all their libraries and planning to destroy their book collection. States are tearing up concrete roads to replace them with gravel. California is simultaneously bankrupt, with the GOP governor urging homosexual marriage upon the very people who voted against it (Proposition 8).

Flint Michigan is already bulldozing areas of the city where houses are empty and proving to be hazards. Some houses in Detroit sell for $1000. The average value there is $10,000. State pensions were once considered completely secure, but now everything is in doubt. The best job now is a federal job, because the federal government gets the tax money directly to pay the tax collectors, a lot like Rome.

43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

Jesus spoke about a future time, about 40 years from that moment, when Israel would rise in open rebellion against Rome and suffer the consequences. As I learned on recently, the worst thing that happened was an early victory. The first rebels defeated a small Roman force, and that made them bold. No one seemed to figure that Rome never sued for peace, never gave up. The Empire always struck back. The 55,000 miles of paved roads allowed the military to move with great speed toward any destination. They could bring with them thousands of slaves to increase the amount of work done in attacking a city.

To keep Roman soldiers busy in England, the commanders had them build a wall. Hadrian’s wall stretched across the island, East to West, and remains impressive today.

Rome attack Jerusalem by building a wall around the entire city, which is one of the best defended sites in the world. Trapping the citizens in made it impossible to feed everyone. In time starvation led to horrible tragedies taking place. Some are too awful to publish in a sermon. Josephus, who was there, told about it.

The city was packed with religious pilgrims at the time.

It was said, in spite of all the problems, that the only way the city could have fallen was the will of God. Jerusalem was that difficult to capture. Once the city fell, the soldiers killed and took into slavery all they wanted. The leveled the Temple, looking for gold.

“44) The city and her children or inhabitants were to be dashed to the ground, the latter to be slain; and this destruction was to be so radical as not to leave one stone on another—an absolute and utter ruin. Ἀνθʼ ὧν = “in return for that which” and is usually translated less precisely “because.” Jesus reverts to the guilt of Jerusalem in that she did not realize “the season of her visitation,” ἐπισκοπή, which is used regarding both a gracious and a punitive visit. The verb is used in 1:68, 78; 7:16, “to look in upon someone.” God’s looking in upon us with his grace continues until a certain time; then those that refuse that grace shall receive a far different visitation from him whom they have spurned.( Lenski, R. C. H. (1961). The Interpretation of St. Luke's Gospel (969). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House.)”

Israel rebelled and lost in 70 AD and repeated the error about 50 years later. This gave the Jews and Christians the worst possible reputation. Jerusalem was banned as a haven for Jews. Some say the area never recovered from the devastation of those campaigns.

Christians shared in the ignominy because they were considered a branch of the Jews, and they were. Many Jews believed in Jesus in the apostolic times.

The final result of this 70 AD rebellion was the killing and enslavement of Jews. As slaves they were scattered around the civilized world, because their numbers depressed the price slaves.

Because Christians were persecuted, they were driven from place to place, taking the Gospel with them.

We now have the time of visitation. America as a whole has abandoned the Word of God. There is no respect for our religious heritage. All the mainline churches are falling over each other to endorse what their own liberal members find repugnant – homosexual ordination and marriage. But that is only the symptom of the wholesale rejection of God’s Word by the same denominations.

When “The Last Temptation of Christ” came out as a movie, great consternation swept across sections of Christian groups considering themselves conservative in one way or another. Jesus was just a man. The Gospel was a fraud, etc. I did not watch the movie because I already knew about the book. My Unitarian friend loved it – he had been LCA. I wrote a movie review saying the plot was nothing new – it was exactly what ELCA and all the mainline churches had been teach for some time.

And yet, no one thought it was bad for conservative Lutherans to work with ELCA. They still do not.

In fact, one group leaving ELCA has already considered sending its future pastors to ELCA seminaries. I know – sounds ridiculous. Everything lately has been on the same level of moronic behavior: doing what is safe rather than what is right. The corporate mentality leads people to take the safe route each time.

There will be great volumes of nattering going on about the decline of our country. All the statements about the symptoms will be correct. However, just as we see in the country as a whole, complaining about the symptoms will not change them. The foundational causes must be addressed.

We are too few and too small to make much difference overall, but we can begin with the basic steps for turning away from the upcoming tragedy of America – both in the civil and religious spheres.

We can remain in the Word and trust in that Word, avoiding those who would turn us away from it in the name of a false peace.

Lutherans astonish me with their ability to talk up Luther without considering what he faced. The entire religious establishment was against him. The Emperor of Europe hated Germans in general and Luther in particular. Only the Muslim distraction kept the Lutheran Church protected during those fragile, early days.

Luther argued that the Word alone was more powerful than all the forces arrayed against it. At any given moment, our human wisdom and experience tells us why we should trust in ourselves instead of God. The Holy Spirit teaches us in the Word that He can turn the greatest evil into the greatest good.

Jesus was even more alone in His battle against Rome and the religious authorities. All someone had to do was be regal and Rome was threatened. Jesus was and is the Messiah, the King. That title and His power threatened Rome. We can say, “But His Kingdom was not of this world.” But politicians never think that way. They think about the threat to their own security.

Rome hated and feared Jesus and used its power against Him. The religious authorities were also filled with bitter hatred. Luther emphasized this strongly. Jesus taught an alien righteousness. All righteousness came from faith in Him. That destroyed the claims of anyone who thought man’s righteousness came from within. The civil and religious threat combined to make Jesus a victim of Roman justice and Jewish betrayal. While one man protected Luther (the elector Frederick), no one protected Jesus. He might have called upon legions of angels to destroy the Roman forces, but He allowed Rome to carry out its sentence in conjunction with the Jewish leaders.

Thus the Holy Spirit turned the crucifixion of Jesus into the atoning death of the Messiah. What looked like weakness and defeat was God’s victory over sin, death, and Satan. As one early writing said, “God baited the hook with Jesus, and Satan was captured.”

Greek Christians chant, “By death trampling on death.”

Justification by faith means believing in this Gospel message, the central message of the Bible. All portions of the Scriptures are built around this Promise.

One objection to justification by faith is comical – as if it focuses on man. I can only ask, “Who justifies, declares us innocent? Does man declare himself?”

God justifies, so justification by faith emphasizes the action of God upon man, who only receives in faith what God promises in grace.

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