Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity

By Norma Boeckler

The Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time

The Hymn # 513 Art Thou Weary 4:37
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 #657:6-9 Beautiful Savior 4:24

Faith Is Forgiveness

The Communion Hymn #305 Soul, Adorn 4:23
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 #277 I Heard the Voice 4:57

Nineteenth Sunday After Trinity
O mighty and everlasting God, who by Thy Son Jesus Christ didst mercifully help the palsied man both in body and soul: We beseech Thee, for the sake of Thy great mercy: Be gracious also unto us; forgive us all our sins, and so govern us by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not ourselves be the cause of sickness and other afflictions; keep us in Thy fear, and strengthen us by Thy grace that we may escape temporal and eternal wrath and punishment, through Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

KJV Ephesians 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil. 28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

KJV Matthew 9:1 And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. 2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. 3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? 5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? 6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. 7 And he arose, and departed to his house. 8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.

Faith Is Forgiveness

Matthew 9:5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?

“There must be sins, and if we are conscious of them, we must confess them; when I have confessed them, forgiveness and grace are immediately present. Before forgiveness is present there is nothing but sin. This sin must be confessed that I may feel and know that all that is in me is blindness; otherwise forgiveness of sins could not exist where there is no sin. However, there is no lack of sins to confess, but the lack is in not feeling and knowing our sins to confess them; then only forgiveness of them follows.”

The faith that Jesus saw manifested itself plainly enough. It was more than the ordinary faith which sought help of Jesus; it was a faith strong, persistent, inventive enough to discover the most unusual way of placing the sick man before Jesus. Why “their faith” should exclude the faith of the paralytic, as some assert, is hard to see. Surely, his friends did not bring him against his will, and surely, he must have consented to be lowered through the roof. It is true that Jesus healed some who had no faith at the moment and waited for faith to follow the healing; but no man’s sins are forgiven without faith being present in his heart. Instead of ruling out the faith of the paralytic, we must credit him with stronger faith than that of his friends. They may have had faith only in the power of Jesus to heal miraculously. This paralytic felt that he suffered from a greater ailment than paralysis, and thus he came to Jesus with his burden.
Not a word is uttered by either the paralytic or his friends. More eloquent than words is the prostrate form lowered through the ceiling to the feet of Jesus, interrupting his teaching in the packed house. As a true heart-knower Jesus sees all that is involved in this sufferer’s case and also all that it will mean for the present assembly and for all future time. First the soul, then the body. With the greatest tenderness Jesus absolves this sufferer’s soul. Men saw only his bodily affliction, Jesus saw the guilt and the contrition in the man’s heart. “Cheer up,” the present imperative θάρσει, takes away the gloom and the discouragement from the man’s heart and puts courage and happiness in its place. The address “child,” is far more tender and gentle than “son”; it is like a mother’s loving embrace. Jesus actually enters into this man’s heart and condition with the master-touch of his love.
Now the mighty word of release, “dismissed are thy sins.” The readings vary between the passive present ἀφίενται (or ἀφίονται) and the Doric yet common passive perfect ἀφέωνται (R. 315), the latter having its strong present implication. For both forms imply that the sins are dismissed the instant Jesus speaks this word. This is the great ἄφεσις, “dismissal” or “remission,” of which the Scriptures speak so constantly. The sins are sent away from the sinner so completely that they shall never be found again, to the depth of the sea, and so far that no one “can possibly bring them back, as far as the east is from the west (Ps. 103). Only God is able to send our sins away in this manner.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 355. A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, by A. T. Robertson, fourth edition.

Each miracle story has a slightly different emphasis, so we not only have Jesus’ miracles confirming His Word, but also a significant lesson within that miracle.

Jesus’ teaching and His miracles created a major stir and a large following. As shown by the miraculous feedings, thousands followed Him at one time. Some followed because of their faith in Him. Others looked for miracles to please or satisfy themselves. Still others looked for ways to condemn Christ.

Jesus taught in a few words what others have struggled over and turned into confusion and doubt.

2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

Jesus saw the faith of the group and said to this man, “Cheer up, your sins are forgiven.”

Faith and forgiveness go together.

How is someone forgiven of his sins?
1. The Church of Rome says – It never really happens until one spends hundreds or thousands of years in Purgatory, paying for those sins. There may be a few exceptions, but not many.
2. The Enthusiasts all say – You know when you feel forgiven. That plunges people into sorrow when that feeling goes away, as it must, since our feelings are volatile and untrustworthy. I just talked to a man who was is despair even though they had a two-income household, plenty of benefits, and no threat to their income. Emotions are often back-stabbing demons at time. That is why Satan attacks chiefly through our emotions.
3. The Bible and the Confessions are clear – The Word conveys Christ to us and God justifies us through faith. Faith receives what God promises.

The Gospel Promises are only for poor, weak sinners. Proud, haughty Pharisees, who trust in their own righteousness, will never grasp what the Gospel is. Nor will they desire it.

The message of the Gospel is so simple and plain that people spend years being trained to make it confused and complicated. I am not going to list all their confusions but return to what the Word of God teaches.

Faith is justification. Emotions are just emotions. The mind is a tool to grasp what the Word teaches, but intellectualism does not make someone better or worse as a Christian.

We should use our minds to study what takes away from the Word and to become even more confident in God.

What we know best will always be on our minds. Simply knowing what the Bible says is not enough if we have let false teachers get in the way of its meaning. For example, Donald McGavran (father of Church Growth) admitted that his students in India asked themselves this question whenever they read the Bible – “What do we not believe in this passage.” The reason was that Leftist apostate missionaries taught them doubt. They saw the words but put that doubt between themselves and the Word.

Here is a simple solution to that problem. Isaiah 55 teaches clearly that the Holy Spirit is always at work in the Word. Every phrase in the Bible is divinely powered and effective. God is speaking directly in each passage.

This is so simple and plain that the Gospel message has been summarized in one verse:

KJV John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Faith is forgiveness. Faith is salvation. Faith is everlasting life.

Faith comes from hearing the Word of God, when the Word of God is taught (not when the word of man is offered in place of it.)

Let’s say I want a commentary, to explain what John 3:16 says.

It is right here. The best interpreter of the Word is the Word. Or, as they say, Scripture interprets Scripture.

KJV John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Here I see that God’s nature is one of love – that God sent His Son for salvation, not for condemnation. If someone thinks of Jesus as the condemning Judge, this passage corrects that and inspires faith in Jesus as He is.

Does faith matter? These verses also explain that. Believers are not condemned – they receive complete, free, full forgiveness through the Word. Unbelievers are condemned already.

All the religious congresses and all the theologians in the world could agree that faith does not matter, but the Word of God says otherwise.

Faith in the Name of Christ means everything. Another way to say that is to use trust. Do you trust in the righteousness of Christ or in your own self-righteousness? Does it matter that you are related to someone in your sect? Then you trust in your own righteousness. Do you trust in the opinion of the sect, because it claims to be correct? That is trust in an organization rather than Christ.

Jesus said that everything will pass away, “But My Word will last forever.”
Why did Jesus say to a sick man, “Cheer up. Your sins are forgiven”?

Clearly it was a witness to the Pharisees and the crowd – to show He has divine power to forgive sins. One might say that is the greatest power of all. He said at the end, Rise up and walk. The man could do that as soon as Jesus pronounced the Word to him.

I see an important distinction here. Some debate about whether the man’s sins were the cause of his illness and that is why he was healed. Still others will claim that he thought he was sick, then thought he was health, so he could walk again.

Many people are blamed for being sick. People do that to absolve themselves. Is it in your family? Did you live in a toxic waste area, like Love’s Canal? Did you have unhealthy habits? Illegal drugs? Job’s comforters must have had a lot of children, because their descendants are all over the planet.

The most important healing the man could receive was forgiveness. That was the message of comfort. We cannot all be healthy. Not every illness has a cure, no matter what the medical fiction shows indicate. Therefore, forgiveness of sin overshadows actual healing. That is the one thing needful.

God gives what He promises through the Word. If we feel troubled and insecure about forgiveness, we know where to look for assurance. As Luther wrote – We are to look to the Word, which conveys Christ to us. John’s Gospel is especially clear about God’s love, although the same message permeates the Bible, from beginning to end.

Confessing our sins makes us aware of our own failings and shortcomings, our sins against God and our neighbor. The only cure for that is the Gospel, which gives us power to resist temptation, return God’s love, and to show our thankfulness in works of faith.

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