|It is thought that the New Testament uses crown as a reference to the first martyr Stephan, because Stephanos means crown in Greek. This graphic is used in many churches to teach "No cross, no crown."|
Bethany Lutheran Church
Holy Communion Service, 10 AM Sunday
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson
The Introit p. 16
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #103 To Shepherds As They Watched
Faith Must Be Primary
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 #79 Rejoice, Rejoice
- Equipment is being set up to improve the Vimeos, including the sound.
- Thank you for the kindness expressed during Christmas and year-around. I hear from people I have never met and they appreciate our services, books, etc.
- Medical treatment - Pastor Jim Shrader and his wife Christ, Kermit Way, Pastor K, Dr. Lito Cruz, and anonymous.
- Yes, my cataract surgery is scheduled for January 10 and 17.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her! how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, ye ,hall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
KJV Acts 6:8 And Stephen, full of grace and power, wrought great wonders and signs among the people.
" CFW Walther answers every doctrinal question." (Ironically, LutherQuest sic). No, the Word answers all questions because the Scriptures are clear, efficacious, and infallibly linked together.
KJV 2 Timothy 15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 17 And their word will eat as doth a canker [cancer, gangrene]: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; 18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
The key is that faith is "access to grace" (Romans 5:2), a verse which demolishes all the efforts to teach justification without faith (Objective Justification) - the ruling dogma of the mainline denominations today, including 99% of the Lutherans.
When we are troubled by various problems, whether outside of our control or within us, faith in Jesus Christ moves us to pray for help, to spell out our needs, and to have patience in how God works. Faith also moves us to pray for others - illness, conflicts, economic turmoil, and so forth. The very act of praying for someone else makes us far more aware of that individual, even one far away we have not met.
Wonders, miracles, do arise from people trusting God, and He shows that He does more than we can even imagine.
Faith shows us the layers of truth revealed in the Scriptures, and this is chiefly the wisdom, patience, and kindness of God. The hymns of Gehrhardt are so touching because he began as a tutor of children and that taught him how to relate the Word to them. To summarize his best - he shows the essence of Jesus Christ - and - if that is so, how dearly He must love you. A professor's lecture for adults can leave children stunned or asleep. But Gerhardt's hymns reach children and adults.
11 Then they suborned men, who said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. 12 And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and seized him, and brought him into the council,
Suborning perjury is a legal term used today. It means using one's persuasion to get another person to lie. In this case they had their witnesses set up to agree to the falsehoods so they could claim - two or more witnesses. But while they witnessed to lies, Stephen witnessed to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
13 and set up false witnesses, who said, This man ceaseth not to speak words against this holy place, and the law: 14 for we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered unto us.
Stephen saw the heavens opened up and Jesus enthroned in glory.
KJV Acts 7:54 Now when they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56 and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
Faith in Jesus Christ made Stephen stronger and gave him the strength to tell the angry crowd the truth, even with them bearing down on him. They picked up stones to kill him with great cruelty.
57 But they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and rushed upon him with one accord; 58 and they cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon the Lord, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.
When I read this passage, I remembered Greek class from 1966-67. Both professors were from the seminary on Zion Hill, Augustana. One taught in faith, the other in grammar. There was no question that the older pastor took this as the Word of God. When Christina was in the hospital, the older pastor showed up to visit, though he was not our pastor. He came to our wedding later, a long drive.
Even today people are dying for the Faith, across the world. We are more polite here in America, but there are laity, pastors, and teachers who are treated with great cruelty and suppressed or exiled with threats of no pay, no benefits, no friendship except for the sacraments of the stink-eye and shunning.
Deacons like Stephen are known more for their pay stubs and golfing than faith in Jesus Christ. They love the institution, not the Word, and the institution loves that.