Sunday, September 1, 2013

Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity. Ten Lepers Healed.

The Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2013

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time

The Hymn # 292                 Lord Jesus Christ               1:2
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 # 192               Awake My Heart            1:22 

Descriptions of Faith

The Communion Hymn # 480            Lord of the Worlds            1:62
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 # 511     Jesus Shall Reign                1:80

KJV Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

KJV Luke 17:11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. 14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. 15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. 17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. 19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Fourteenth Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father, who by Thy blessed word and Thy holy baptism hast mercifully cleansed all who believe from the fearful leprosy of sin, and daily dost grant us Thy gracious help in all our need: We beseech Thee so to enlighten our hearts by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may never forget these Thy blessings, but ever live in Thy fear, and, trusting fully in Thy grace, with thankful hearts continually praise and glorify Thee; through Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Descriptions of Faith

KJV Luke 17:11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.

5. In the first place it is a characteristic of faith to presume to trust God’s grace, and it forms a bright vision and refuge in God, doubting nothing it thinks God will have regard for his faith, and not forsake it. For where there is no such vision and confidence, there is no true faith, and there is also no true prayer nor any seeking after God. But where it exists it makes man bold and anxious freely to bring his troubles unto God, and earnestly to pray for help.

This is a miraculous healing where we learn so much about faith and also about thankfulness. Ten lepers heard about the miraculous power of Christ. This report  or sermon or confession of faith by others moved them to ask Jesus for healing.

KJV Romans 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? [the sermon that was heard) 17 So then faith cometh by hearing [the sermon], and hearing [the sermon] by the Word of God.

In this passage from the Means of Grace chapter in Romans, Paul described the three-fold impact of the Gospel Report. One word is used in a three-fold way, very concisely showing the relationship between the revealed Word of God, the sermon based on the Word of God, and faith created by the Word of God. It is not simply the act of hearing, but hearing the powerful Gospel Word, such as the Healing of the Ten Lepers.

This healing presumes the lepers heard the report and were so filled with trust in Jesus that they faced the mockery and rejection of the crowd to beg him for healing. Nothing is quite so bad as a disfiguring disorder. For some reason we really have trouble looking past the unusual face or skin or features of someone.

Besides this, the lepers were unclean and therefore unwelcome among their own family friends, not to mention strangers.

The lepers bodies are weak, so their voices are small and difficult to hear. So they put together all their weak voices and begged Jesus in faith, as a group.

But true faith does not doubt the good and gracious will of God.

Wherefore its prayer is strong and firm like faith itself. St. Luke does not relate three things of them in vain; first, that they went to meet him; second, they stood; third, they lifted up their voices. By these three things their strong faith is commended and presented to us as an example.

We have laughed over the long-time friends we have met at the oddest times. Chris expects to, so she is on the lookout. She was sure she saw someone on I-80 and so we persisted until the professor stopped the car along the interstate, we greeted each other, and got together at the next rest stop. We saw the same couple at the Mayo Clinic, purely by accident.

We were a bit miffed that we were forced into a new place in downtown Chicago, on a trip. We parked and walked on the sidewalk, only to have Chris say she saw another long-time friend ahead. There was no way to tell in a polite way, so I shouted, “Lenny!” and the Lenny we sought turned around.

The funniest was when I explained carefully that appearing at a seminary in downtown Chicago, without plans, could hardly get us to see another long-lost friend, who had no regular business at that location. Just as I was done with an excellent, reasoned explanation, that same person came walking down the hall toward us.

The best was similar, where Chris wanted to see the doctor who delivered our son. She was the daughter of our friends’ friend in Davenport. Her father was a famous conductor in Chicago. We were at the Kline Biology Tower, a large Yale building for many science doctorates. How could we even look for Hester? or remember what she looked like? And there she was – name tag and all. Chris explained her excitement and Hester hoisted our toddler up in the air. “We didn’t do so badly with this one,” she said.

In each case, not having faith for a good outcome would mean not even trying. Why look for the impossible? Many people do that today. They have no expectation of a good outcome because they trust in human reason alone and not in God.

People explain why they have to remain slaves of their synod and go to their expensive synod schools – “because there is no other choice.” America has been populated by people who risked everything in creaky ships because they trust God would give them a better place to worship in freedom without oppressive bullies.

As Chytraeus explained in his excellent book, it is a sin to question the goodness of God. That means, in faith we see the wisdom and mercy of God – even in the difficult moments of life. After five straight years of decline in the education business, I expected to semi-retire with the help of Social Security. I suddenly found myself needed in a job I prepared to do before the Dark Times – teaching English.

9. Behold this good inclination or comforting trust, or free presumption toward God, or whatever you may call it, in the Scriptures is called Christian faith and a good conscience, which man must have if he desires to be saved. But it is not obtained by human works and precepts, as we shall see in this example, and without such a heart no work is good. Therefore be on your guard, there are many lecturers who want to teach faith and conscience, and know less about them than a common blockhead. [WELS plus the LCMS Seminaries, the ELS and ELCA!] They think it is a sleepy, lazy thing in the soul, that it is enough for the heart to believe that God is God. But here you observe what a thoroughly living and powerful thing faith is. It creates wholly a new heart, a new man, who expects all grace from God. Therefore it urges to walk, to stand, makes bold to cry and pray in every time of trouble.

10. The second characteristic of faith is that it does not desire to know, nor first to be assured whether it is worthy of grace and will be heard, like the doubters, who grasp after God and tempt him. Just as a blind man runs against a wall, so they also plunge against God, and would first gladly feel and be assured that he can not escape out of their hands. The Epistle to the Hebrews says, <581101> 11:1: “Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen.” This clearly means faith holds fast to what it does not see, feel or experience, either in body or soul, but as it has firm trust in God it commits itself to and relies upon it without any doubt but its hope will be realized. Thus it will also certainly be realized, and the feeling and experience will come to it unsought and unsolicited, even in and through such hope or faith.

We cannot call it faith if we imagine we have to qualify for forgiveness. The lepers were in a position to realize that truth. Nothing in their world told them they were deserving of anything, and yet they were filled with faith in the goodness of God and Jesus’ power to heal them.

12. The third characteristic of faith is, that it allows of no merit, will not purchase the grace of God with works, like the doubters and hypocrites do, but brings with it pure unworthiness, clings to and depends wholly on the mere unmerited favor of God, for faith will not tolerate works and merit in its company, so entirely does it surrender, venture and raise itself into the goodness for which it hopes, that for its sake it cannot consider either good works or merit. Yea, it sees that this goodness is so great, that all good works compared with it are nothing but sin. Therefore it finds only unworthiness in self, that it is more worthy of wrath than of grace; and it does this without any dissimulation, for he sees how in reality and in truth it cannot be otherwise 13. These lepers here prove this clearly, who hope for the grace of Christ without the least merit. What good had they ever done to him before? They had never seen him, how then could they have served him? Besides they were lepers, whom he could justly have avoided according to the law, Leviticus 13:1, and kept himself free from them as was just and right.

One of the bizarre characteristics of this age, no different from others, is people buying respect and forgiveness through the visible church. As long as they give princely sums, their store-bought clergy servants proclaim their great goodness, even though there is no evidence of faith or contrition.

Thus the business deal is made. The rich man will ignore Lazarus at the gate so the clergy will praise him. The clergy will ignore Lazarus so they will have more money to spend on themselves – all for the glory of God, of course.

15. Behold, here is a good, real, living and true example of Christian faith, that sufficiently teaches us how we must be disposed if we would find grace, piety and salvation. Now, in addition to this doctrine follows the incentive or inducement to faith, that we should gladly believe as we are at present taught to believe. This incentive, however, consists in that we observe how such faith never fails, that as it believes so it comes to pass, and that it is certainly heard and answered.

So the idea of a bargain or contract is lacking in the Word of God. The believer expects the best of God and will see that accomplished in time. Rather than thinking he is working toward forgiveness and eternal life, he sees God’s grace as additional motivation to trust in all that may happen in the present and future.

What else does this mean than to say: Through me in faith you now have everything that I am and have: I am your own, you are now rich and satisfied through me; for all I do and love I do and love not for my but only for your sake, and I only think how to be useful and helpful to you, and accomplish whatever you need and should have. Therefore consider this example, to do to each other as I have done to you, and only consider how to be useful to your neighbor, and do what is useful and necessary for him.

Your faith has enough in my love and grace; so your love shall also give enough to others.

Luther always emphasized that God provides for all human needs, but for our spiritual needs especially – and those are the most important. When we worry too much about daily needs we also forget about our neighbor. But God has given us enough and more than enough for that.

The churches that had very little on their own a century ago – they sent missionaries all over world, often with through the ladies missionary societies.
Now established congregations have great wealth and bring the missionaries back home.

23. See, this is what James means when he says, 2:26: “Faith apart from works is dead.” For as the body without the soul is dead, so is faith without works. Not that faith is in man and does not work, which is impossible. For faith is a living, active thing. But in order that men may not deceive themselves and think they have faith when they have not, they are to examine their works, whether they also love their neighbors and do good to them. If they do this, it is a sign that they have the true faith. If they do not do this, they only have the sound of faith, and it is with them as the one who sees himself in the glass and when he leaves it and sees himself no more, but sees other things, forgets the face in the glass, as James says in his first chapter, verses 23-24. [This passage in James deceivers and blind masters have spun out so far, that they have demolished faith and established only works, as though righteousness and salvation did not rest on faith, but on our works. To this great darkness they afterwards added still more, and taught only good works which are no benefit to your neighbor, as fasting, repeating many prayers, observing festival days; not to eat meat, butter, eggs and milk; to build churches, cloisters, chapels, altars; to institute masses, vigils, hours; to wear gray, white and black clothes; to be spiritual; and innumerable things of the same kind, from which no man has any benefit or enjoyment; all which God condemns, and that justly. But St. James means that a Christian life is nothing but faith and love. Love is only being kind and useful to all men, to friends and enemies. And where faith is right, it also certainly loves, and does to another in love as Christ did to him in faith.

Thus we say, too, that faith is everything and it saves us, that a man needs no more for his salvation. Yet he is on this account not idle, but labors much, all however for the benefit of his neighbor, and not for himself; for he does not need it, he has enough in Christ.

All those great professors (like David Scaer) and church leaders (like Jon Buchholz, Wayne Mueller, and Mark Schroeder) imagine that the entire world is saved without faith – that Luther and the Book of Concord teach this strange notion. They peer through their spectacles and find Paul teaching the same nonsense that they have invented, and naturally persecute anyone who openly challenges them.

The modernists are full of contradictions, because they read their notions into the Scriptures and Confessions, which look like a bowl of raspberries with insects swimming around in the juice. It’s difficult to ignore the insects, but the UOJ stylists say – no, this is the real truth of Christianity, the real teaching of Paul and Luther and it has always been so.

But every time I post a Luther sermon, I find just the opposite to be true. Luther is consistent in teaching justification by faith because that is the Chief Article of the Scriptures.

Once that is seen, people realize how much fraud has been promoted in the last century.

35. And this is the method God employs with us all to strengthen and prove our faith, and he treats us so that we know not what he will do with us. This he does for the reason, that man is to commend himself to him and rely on his mere goodness, and not doubt that he will give what we desire or something better. So also these lepers thought: Very well, we will go as he commands, and although he does not tell us whether he will cleanse us or not, this shall not influence us to esteem him any the less than before.

Yea, we will only esteem him so much the more and higher, and joyfully wait, if he will not cleanse us, he will do still better for us than if we were cleansed, and we will not on that account despair of mercy and favor.

Behold, this is the true increase of faith.

40. So these words of the text, “And it came to pass, as they went, they were cleansed,” would say: It is impossible for faith to fail, it must take place as it believes. For if these lepers had not believed and remained steadfast, of course they would not have gone. Therefore, not for the sake of their going, but on account of their faith they became cleansed, because of which they also went.

Not knowing means believing – for we walk by faith, not by sight.

82. How beautifully he divides the three principles, that faith goes forth in trusting, love in laboring, and hope in patience and suffering. As though he would say: Your faith is not a dream nor a fancy, but it is life and action; and your love is not passive nor is it idle, but it serves well for your neighbor. All this takes place in prosperous days. while your hope is exercised in suffering and patience, and all this in Christ; for there is no faith, nor love, nor hope outside of Christ, as I said above. Thus a Christian life goes through good and evil until the end, and yet it does not seek revenge, and only grows more and more in faith, love and hope.

No comments: