The Introit p. 16
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 339 All Hail the Power
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 #46 On What Has Now Been Sown
- Medical care - Norma Boeckler, Randy Anderson, Pastor Jim Shrader, Chris Shrader, Lito Cruz and Pastor K - diabetes.
- Children - Callie, seizures; C. therapy.
- Pastor Jackson's eyes: 20/20; 20/25.
- RESI training will finish this week, starting early.
|Norma A. Boeckler
|By Norma Boeckler
| Norma A. Boeckler designed the Bethany altar
and created this photograph of it.
The Seed Is the Word of God
One of the most important lessons from Luther is the concise nature of the Spirit at work in the Word. That means that every phrase and nearly every Word has meaning, because God works efficaciously through His Word.
So people (or maybe pastors) grew bored with a one-year cycle of readings and followed the Vatican's example of a three- year cycle. No one thought Rome was an enemy of the Gospel - they have their people in all the top positions in Bible societies.
Repetition means we should examine these lessons closely, because that was intended, especially with the parables. One example is Luther's point that the seed is the Gospel alone - from Christ - because there are no weeds that grow in this parable. That has greater and greater meaning as we study this short parable.
I can say with great confidence that hardly anyone understands or teaches this parable as intended, because we see all kinds of salesmen running around selling Unstuck programs, or phone programs, or fun-and-games-and-popcorn instead of worship. It is good that fools spend all their money on foolishness and end up with nothing of value. They are precisely and remorselessly described in this parable.
KJV Luke 8:4 And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable:
Vast throngs came to Jesus because of His healing miracles. They might have heard of other miracles (the wedding at Cana) but healing was clearly an attraction for everyone. Jesus spoke through parables, as Matthew and Mark say, because His Word was not for superficial people looking for the fad of the moment.
It is so true today - "to see and not perceive, to hear and not understand,"
KJV Mark 4:10 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. 11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.13 And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?
The central point of this parable - the Seed is the Word of God. As Luther points out, this Seed is Gospel only because the parable only speaks of seed fruiting. Weeds do not grow useful fruit, only more of the same weed - ragweed, poke weed, hemlock, poison ivy, etc.
The Bible teaches us that the Seed is the Word of Christ, accompanied by the Holy Spirit. That means it is is good, useful, powerful, and effective all by itself. Man does not add to the Word or improve it. The purer the teaching, the more power it has. However, because the Word belongs to God alone, the Word is not our plaything, tool, or device needing ideas and false teachings from other religions and from destructive, false Christian teachers, who are more destructive than outsiders.
Why hide His truths in parables? Because we also keep power tools, motors, and high voltage lines under lock and key. More than one child has caused harm from playing with them. I found a way to engage the clutch in my mother's car when I was alone in the front seat. I watched as a man ran along the downhill slope to get inside and stop it.
Parables are so compelling because we can learn from them all the time. They are short enough to remember and mysterious enough that we have to be serious to understand them.
No one who gives away soft drinks, coffee, and popcorn before a worship service comprehends this parable. The very act of using food and entertainment is a repudiation of the Word. Why so ashamed of the Gospel and so enamored of food.
All those using sociology to explain the Church today are blind to this parable. They bemoan empty churches but fail to see their Internet writings never touch on faith in Christ. No, they love demographics (an aging population), sociology (who still likes to go to church?), history (blaming people of the past and getting rid of traditional books and the Apostolic Majority Text (KJV). Sometimes, when tempted by one forum, I want to post something and realize they cannot deal with the Gospel. One group of Ovaltine drinkers ran like scalded dogs - away from my endorsement of the KJV.
5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.
This is living seed. The Word is imbued with life, just as plant seeds are. Even more today, food seeds are valuable and expensive because they are practical and ready to burst into germination.
The seed of the parable is the Gospel Word.
2. The first class of disciples are those who hear the Word but neither understand nor esteem it. And these are not the mean people in the world, but the greatest, wisest and the most saintly, in short they are the greatest part of mankind; for Christ does not speak here of those who persecute the Word nor of those who fail to give their ear to it, but of those who hear it and are students of it, who also wish to be called true Christians and to live in Christian fellowship with Christians and are partakers of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. But they are of a carnal heart, and remain so, failing to appropriate the Word of God to themselves, it goes in one ear and out the other. Just like the seed along the wayside did not fall into the earth, but remained lying on the ground in the wayside, because the road was tramped hard by the feet of man and beast and it could not take root.
When people were looking at the Church Growth numbers, and denouncing others for not making membership charts, they were playing the role of the outwardly Christian leaders who had no faith. They can have a vast knowledge of Christianity and not believe. In fact, that makes them more attractive and college and seminary teachers and especially world religion professors in state schools (all ardent atheists, but very knowledgeable).
When I emphasize the efficacy of the Word (last chapter of Liberalism: Its Cause and Cure) using the concepts of this parable, two leaders in missions stood up to denounce me with all their might. They were joined by a future missionary to the Ukraine, who swore and flung my paper across several pews. That is when I decided it would be the last chapter of the book. When Liberalism was published by WELS, a meeting was organized to get rid of me in a surprise attack meeting.
So the parable is a perfect example of those who have an outward expression of Christianity but really hate the Gospel and can never be productive of the Gospel. When birds come across seed on shallow or packed soil, they quickly snatch it up and devour.
Satan attacks the Word through these skirmishes, which are artfully designed to uphold the impression of the Faith while undermining it. The use of modern "translations" based upon fraudulent texts (Sinaiticus, Vaticanus) is a good example of something outwardly good to most people but loaded with falsehoods from the anti-Christian Christian leaders of the 19th century KJV "revision." Hort loved "Mary religion" in his own words and partner Bishop Westcott combined Hinduism with Christianity. One day the entire world would be Christ incarnate in every person (Westcott).
6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.
This emphasizes the superficiality of making people excited over the Gospel without any depth to their knowledge or any suggestion of bearing the cross. If they are exuberant on a special positive, inspiring day and run into terrible difficulties soon after, joy fades and they turn to other amusements.
People often give in because of opposition. Clergy get very discouraged because they try to do the right things and get hatred for it. In God's Creation, opposition is good for trees and plants. They even flourish because of storms and freezes.
We have to remember this is God's Gospel Word, so it is always good and powerful, but it will meet opposition and outright persecution.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.
I planted honeysuckle, which is loved in the South and often considered obnoxious in growth. I was warned. I said, "I hope so in the back yard." But another weed-like plant said, "This water is mine." and engulfed the supposedly fast growing honeysuckle and choked it with leaves surrounding and absorbing the sun's energy.
One could easily say (and be shouted down) that the pastor's job is only the Word, not serving the synod or organizing baseball or building a new, even larger chapel. All the seemingly worthwhile activities engulf the entire congregation so the least important area is the Means of Grace while imitations of secular fun take over.
8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
The nature of sowing means that the seeds, equal in life, take hold best in fertile soil and can even overwhelm other plants with their growth. (Buckwheat did that when I scattered them through the rose garden.)
So the briefest part of the descriptions is the plain truth. The Gospel Word will fall on good ground and increase beyond anyone's imagination. Although there are many ways in which the Word is opposed, hindered, and suffocated by bad alternatives, the power of the Gospel Word is shown in more than making up for the difficulties....
15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
Luther writes about hatred, opposition, and persecution. Wycliffe's body was burned after he died and his ashes thrown into the river in 1415.
Tyndale was murdered, then burned in 1536. Luther knew of many Christians killed by the papacy - and the Word only grew faster, especially because few had heard of Justification by Faith - just as few hear it today.
10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
The term mystery is used here (and with Paul) to describe those spiritual truths which are only given to us through the Spirit in the Word. That encourages all kind of mockery because those blind to the mysteries will make fun of them and wonder about the intelligence and understanding of the believer. The mysteries include:
Ministers are (1 Corinthians 4:1) "stewards [caretakers] of the mysteries of God" so they are obliged to teach the truth of the Scriptures, no matter what others may say, no matter how the supposed great men of the visible Church react against it.