Lutheran Worship and Resources

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Trinity 11

 


The Eleventh Sunday after Trinity, 2021


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson



The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16

Introit
God is in His holy habitation: 
He is God who setteth the solitary in families.
The God of Israel is He that giveth strength: 
and power unto His people.
Psalm. Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered: 
let them also that hate Him flee before Him.

The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
Collect
Almighty and everlasting God, who art always more ready to hear than we to pray and art wont to give more than either we desire or deserve, pour down upon us the abundance of Thy mercy, forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth, etc.

The Epistle and Gradual       
Gradual
My heart trusteth in God, and I am helped: 
therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; 
and with my song will I praise Him.
V. Unto Thee will I cry, O Lord, my Rock: 
be not silent to me; hear the voice at my supplications. 
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
V. Lord, Thou hast been our Dwelling Place in all generations. 
Hallelujah!

The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed             p. 22


The Righteousness of Faith

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 # 514             God Moves in a Mysterious Way     

In Our Prayers

  • Happy Birthday and God's Blessings - Brett Meyer, last Sunday.
  • Happy Joyful Birthday - early September.
  • Medical treatment - Randy Anderson, Pastor Jim Shrader and Chris, Kermit and Maria Way.
  • Looking into shipping some books overseas.


Norma A. Boeckler


KJV 1 Corinthians 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

KJV Luke 18:9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Eleventh Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father, we beseech Thee so to guide and direct us by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not forget our sins and be filled with pride, but continue in daily repentance and renewal, seeking our comfort only in the blessed knowledge that Thou wilt be merciful unto us, forgive us our sins, and grant us eternal life; through Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.


The Righteousness of Faith




Background

The Age of Rationalism slowly strangled the concept of faith in the Holy Trinity, and that motivated the professors to change the meaning of the Scriptures, from the plainly worded revelation of God to very complicated and obscure theories that denied what God revealed. This is the current state of the denominations and the Church of Rome.

When Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, they were promised the Savior who would be wounded by Satan and yet would crush the head of Satan.

When Eve gave birth to a boy, she said literally in Hebrew - I have conceived a man, the Lord, Genesis 4:1. The Hebrew script clearly states this but the translators have always been wary. This clearly shows that Eve heard the Promise of salvation through Christ and believed her son fulfilled that Word.

Much later, God promised the impossible with Abraham, which is assumed to be a son and a great nation. As I have written before, no nation or empire has continued forever and had uncountable numbers, like the stars in the sky. This was repeated promised by God and was fulfilled in the line of Abraham and David, leading to the Son of David, Jesus Christ. This the one-sided Testament, with God offering Promises beyond the imagination of any person.

The Rationalists are offended by this Testament and want to replace it with their concept of covenant - two-sided. Therefore, if you want God to do something for you, you have to do something for God. Otherwise, He will not bless you - so their dogma teaches. 

Lutheran rationalists do not like the term Testament, because they place human reason over and above the Word itself. That naturally turns the concept of revelation and faith upside-down. However, I was in the lawyer's office the other day and created a will or testament, made up of one-sided promises. This is the very language Paul used and we use too - the New Testament. 

God gave the greatest Promise ever given to man, when He stated that Abraham would be a father of nations because of his faith in that Promise. Israel is very tiny and hardly an empire. Instead, we have the result of that Promise, millions of believers who trace their line through Jesus back to David and to Abraham's faith.

Abraham believed in the Promise of a Savior, and it was counted as righteousness (forgiveness of sin).

Most people miss the connection between the Smurfs and their boss - Father Abraham.



KJV Luke 18:9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 

Notice that the parable before this has another perspective, and they go together.

KJV Luke 18 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: 3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
Our ideas and attitudes are not the same as God's, so humility is the correct response to needs and problems. The parable for today is not about a given class of people in those days, but examples of two extremes. The Pharisees were expected to be perfect in every way, so they had a concept of righteousness based upon their works. Paul's writing and personality reflected that, though he also corrected himself - "not I, but Christ within me."

I encounter this works-righteousness all the time in dealing with those students who are raised that way.

One wrote, "God is not going to give me anything if I do not give to Him." 

Another one said, "We go over the covenant every Sunday. We have to do our part. That is central to every worship service."

This is clearly dealing with trusting in our own righteousness, not the righteousness of God. The Bible teaches:
  1. God
  2. Righteousness
  3. Faith
  4. Grace

The righteousness of God means faith in Jesus Christ, our Savior, and faith in our Good Shepherd gives us access to God's grace.

10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

This approach to God is certainly vivid enough to make anyone smile at the fake religion, which is the religion of the world, not God. He says "I" four times and has a long list of what he is not.

When I laughed about the religion of recycling, I was scolded by a younger in-law. I said, "I was making compost before you knew what it was." Her compost was just a trash-heap. My mother said the same thing to me when I discovered composting, as if she never heard the word. I was given detailed descriptions of where it was and how I was so blissfully unaware of it.

The point of this Pharisee's speech is the Pharisee himself. The other people are all evil and he is pure. That comes from a world-wide attitude of our own perfection and the sinfulness of everyone else.

As Luther said, the point of the Pharisee's prayer is that he is truly a good person, but also that he gives himself credit for this righteousness.

America the Pietist Cult 

Our country was mostly settled by Pietists, who had a code they followed in various ways. Obeying that code was called sanctification and distinguished them from the others. 

One pastor told me and a group how pure he was, because every one of his 105 family members belonged to the same Lutheran sect. I was going to add, "And they are all Pharisees like you" but it seemed to be a waste of breath. His numbers proved his status. 

This topic is good for hours of talk and many books to read.

13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

The tax collector was hated for two reasons. One was the method of tax farming which continued into the modern era - collecting taxes and a bonus for the collectors extracted on top of that. The other reason for hatred was the fact of this money going to the Roman Empire to keep soldiers there and their country "at peace." The tax collectors were symbols of oppression and pagan Roman religion.

The tax collector was not proud of his lofty high-paying position, but humble before God. He asked for mercy from God because he was a sinner. 

Jesus specified that this meant the tax collector was justified by faith - unlike the Pharisee who relied on his works. So this one episode encapsulates the essential teaching of the Bible - Old and New Testaments. 
  1. God
  2. Righteousness
  3. Faith
  4. Grace
That is distilled by those four words above. God is all-powerful and all-merciful. His power is chiefly known through His mercy and forgiveness toward all who believe in Him.

We have no righteousness on our own because we are inherently sinful. Instead of praying to ourselves and about our great qualities, we pray to God to help us in all our troubles, fears, and sins. 

There is no true prayer apart from prayer in the Name of Jesus Christ. That requires humility and faith in Him, our Good Shepherd.

I was thinking about people being awed by technological advances, and medical miracles. But many stop at one miracle or another, because the Rationalists have told them an alternative and doubt has crept in.

We have to believe as children instead of doubting as professors. That too requires humility, because the Word judges us - we cannot and should not judge the Word.

As I escaped the rationalism of college and seminary, I found clergy being embarrassed by hearing the Bible taken as it is, without compromise and doubt. That often led to name-calling and the peak of Pietism - total shunning. Because Pietists emphasized their works instead of faith in Christ, they quickly turned "no dancing" of the past into 37 genders (Walmart School System).

The President of a small, Christian college painted me as a liberal while he attended church at First Methodist! - which is the very foundation of America's switch to hedonism and denying the Scriptures.

This parable is short and powerful, a constant reminder of Jesus' own commendation. Many times, Jesus singled out the exceptional one who trusted in Him and undercut the proud and mighty who wanted to get rid of Him.

A humble faith helps us see what marvels God has provided for us, starting with salvation through His Son and all the blessings that come with that. 


Sunday, August 21, 2022

Trinity 10, 2022

 


The Tenth Sunday after Trinity, 2022


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Vimeo Player for the Live Service: 


Vimeo Link, After the Live Service


The Hymn # 376                                Rock of Ages
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
Introit
As for me, I will call upon God; 
and He shall hear my voice: 
He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me.
God shall hear and afflict them, even He that abideth of old: 
Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee.
Psalm. Give ear to my prayer, O God: and hide not Thyself from my supplication.


The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
Collect
O God, who declarest Thine almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity, mercifully grant unto us such a measure of Thy grace that we, running the way of Thy commandments, may obtain Thy gracious promises and be made partakers of Thy heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth, etc.

The Epistle and Gradual       
Gradual
Keep me, O Lord, as the apple of the eye: 
hide me under the shadow of Thy wings.
V. Let my sentence come forth from Thy presence: 
let Thine eyes behold the things that are equal. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
V. O Lord God of my salvation, 
I have cried day and night before Thee. Hallelujah!



The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed             p. 22



The Work of the Spirit


The Communion Hymn # 246     Holy, Holy, Holy                   
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 #447                    Fight the Good Fight

In Memory
Carl Roper

  • Two years ago, Carl Roper passed into eternal life at the age of 76, mourned by his wife Lynda. "I AM - the Resurrection and the Life." Their son Roy has been diagnosed with cancer.
  • Last year, at this time, Christina Elizabeth Jackson, passed into eternal life.
  • In therapy and treatment, Randy Anderson; Pastor Jim Shrader. Medical issues - Kermit and Marie Way, Chris Shrader.  

 Christina Ellenberger Jackson, 1948 - 2021




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.

The Work of the Spirit


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.

Pagan religions have many expressions of divine worship and ecstatic behavior. They are too numerous to describe, and many are quite appalling. Anything religious and popular is attractive to the uninformed, so there are always waves of new religion, which are not so new after all. World religion classes - which I no longer teach - would yield an outspoken pagan priestess every so often. There were not that many; they seemed more interested in promoting their cause than learning religions of the world.

The Apostolic Age was a time when the Christians were a tiny minority surrounded by every possible pagan religion, given Rome's Empire and connections via their roads and small ships. Augustine was amused by people who would throw ropes and chains around their idols, so their gods did not leave them defenseless. 

Paul's reference to Gentiles means pagans who did follow dumb (silent) idols. In contract, God speaks to us directly and consistently through the Scriptures.

The converts from Judaism were not involved in paganism, but there was a mix and the outside influence was bound to attract the interest of some who were not as educated in the Old Testament. We should not be surprised. I joined a new website for traditional Catholics, because the Jesuit Pope is so predictable. The priest writing today said he was trained this way by his grandmother - If he could not get through the gates when he died, he could go around to the back entrance, where Mary would let him in. 

When Paul writes "concerning" something, he is answering a letter from the congregations asking for some doctrinal or behavioral guidance.

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.

Our country has been conquered by clever clergy who despise the Scriptures and offer their own paganism as a solution to life's problems. Just like the Bible paraphrases (supposed translations) they erase those words that do not please them. They find it so easy to corrupt the faithn (Bible) by omissions rather than confessing their own unbelief:

  • The Virgin Birth of Jesus - "not an important issue."
  • Paul Tillich published a Christmas article where he sashayed into Christmas is all about babies. The Lutheran magazine, LCA. It is now called The Living Lutheran, a magazine for a dying denomination.
  • The Resurrection of Christ - "the Easter faith of the disciples," code for the disciples imaging an empty tomb meant Jesus actually rose from the dead.
  • The Ascension - those people had no concept of the stratosphere. They lived in a flat world.
This one verse has a lot to say in a few words. No one in a state of ecstasy, like Pentecostalism today, can call Jesus accursed and claim that comes from the Holy Spirit. 

Note that this is a key, toxic factor in our society, especially because of the use of recreational drugs. It is claimed to be true if something is "true for you." We had an ancient history teacher in college who did not know the topic and used her professor's note cards. She confused one definition and made it the opposite of what the textbook said. When I pointed that out, she said, "In my class, this is the right definition." I was just trying to help!

The counter to the error, in Paul's words were that no one can say "Jesus is Lord", except by the Holy Spirit. This emphasizes that confessing the divinity of Christ is the act of the Spirit through the Word of God. It is not based on logic and experience and philosophical proofs, but only on the revelation of God the Holy Spirit. 

We have so much confusion today because any "truth" - except the revealed truth of the Bible! - is true and something to be defended.

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 [Greek - efficacy], but it is the same God which worketh [Greek efficacy] all in all.

The great marvel of Christianity is the variety of gifts given by the One Spirit.  God parcels them out (Lenski's term) so that everyone has a gift or gifts, and they vary in each person. That means the work of Jesus Christ the Lord is performed in many different ways and is blessed by being faithful to Him and His Word.

People like to glorify themselves and they identify with glorious structures and decorations that fill others with awe (especially plaques with their names). They get carried away with the outward trappings while ignoring fidelity to the truth. God blesses people with artistic skills so they can honor His Name with their talents. Others are gifted with musical skills. 

I keep running into clergy who are smitten by someone's corporate plans, which are promised to be "effective," showing numerical growth. They end up telling God what to do and when to do it. When God does not bow to their orders, they are crushed and despairing. Those who are full of themselves rush around until the bubble pops and their follies are exposed. 

Virtually all the denominations have reached that point through using the same business-oriented guidelines, so they are failing together. As one Church Growth expert said, defending his own sect, "The Masonic Lodge is losing members too!" - an ironic statement, using the Lodge as metric. "As the Lodge goes, so do we."

Most clergy have been caught up in that, because it is taught so thoroughly. Luther was a certified member of the world's largest and richest corporation. But he saw it was the opposite of what is portrayed in the Scriptures. 

If the gifts are discerned and used as God directs, then God's will becomes fulfilled over time and the blessings follow, sooner and later. There is no telling what God can do, because, as the children say, "God can do anything."

7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

The elderly veteran in the neighborhood, distributing food and Bibles, suffers from various illnesses and troubles. He gave me boxes to give to someone else and gave away Bibles so he could give more away.

Today, even rarer, is to give the gift of time spent with someone. 

When people look for something positive to offer, and God motivates them, then the results will be favorable for everyone.

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 (Greek efficacy] of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

Those who wanted to dominate in Corinth with the Spirit, as they saw it, thought tongues were the only sign and they were the prize-winners. That is one reason why Pentecostalism became a fad in America. When the American Pentecostals identified speaking in tongues as the Chief mark of the Christian Faith, they made it the ONLY mark and everyone had to follow their rules. Paul - in 1 Corinthians 11, 12, 13 - is tamping down this fad and pointing the members toward a Scripture-based set of gifts.

Missouri and WELS became increasingly rationalistic, due to their reliance on dead dogmatics books and seminary lectures, ideal for those who loved to march in order and rank, right off the cliff. The dead dogmatics led to thirst for Pentecostalism and they formed little cells all over. One "conservative" magazine editor defended this and praised it, eying me with genuine animosity.

Believers do not need to buy copies of How To Grow Churches by Dancing on the Pews. They can remain faithful to the Word and pray for God's guidance rather than the latest, greatest, most praised materials.

11 But all these worketh [Greek - efficacy] that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

When people focus on themselves and what they favor, division follows. When they begin with the One-ness of the Triune God, they work in the same direction with different gifts. 


Monday, August 15, 2022

Preface to the King James Version of the Bible


Trinitarian Bible Society


 Preface: 
The Original King James Version

• 22 It is not only an armour, but also a whole armoury of weapons, both offensive and defensive; whereby we may save ourselves and put the enemy to flight.
• 23 It is not an herb, but a tree, or rather a whole paradise of trees of life, which bring forth fruit every month, and the fruit thereof is for meat, and the leaves for medicine.
• 24 It is not a pot of Manna, or a cruse of oil, which were for memory only, or for a meal's meat or two, but as it were a shower of heavenly bread sufficient for a whole host, be it never so great; and as it were a whole cellar full of oil vessels; whereby all our necessities may be provided for and our debts discharged.
• 25 In a word, it is a panary ((bread Pantry)) of wholesome food, against fenowed [mouldy.] traditions; a physician's shop [κοινον ιατρειον. S.Basil. in Psal.primum.] (Saint Basil calleth it) of preservatives against poisoned heresies; a pandect ((a complete body)) of profitable laws against rebellious spirits; a treasury of most costly jewels against beggarly rudiments; finally, a fountain of most pure water springing up unto everlasting life.
• 26 And what marvel? the original thereof being from heaven, not from earth; the author being God, not man; the inditer, the Holy Spirit, not the wit of the Apostles or Prophets; the penmen, such as were sanctified from the womb, and endued with a principal portion of God's Spirit; the matter, verity, piety, purity, uprightness; the form, God's word, God's testimony, God's oracles, the word of truth, the word of salvation, etc.; the effects, light of understanding, stableness of persuasion, repentance from dead works, newness of life, holiness, peace, joy in the Holy Ghost; lastly, the end and reward of the study thereof, fellowship with the Saints, participation of the heavenly nature, fruition of an inheritance immortal, undefiled, and that never shall fade away.
• 27 Happy is the man that delighteth in the Scripture, and thrice happy that meditateth in it day and night.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Trinity 9 2022

 



The Ninth Sunday after Trinity, 2022


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Vimeo Player Here:

After the Service, Use This Link





The melodies are linked in the hymn title. 
The lyrics are linked in the hymn number.

The Hymn #613           Jerusalem the Golden       
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
Introit
Behold, God is mine Helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul.
He shall reward evil unto mine enemies: cut them off in Thy truth, O Lord.
Psalm. Save me, O God, by Thy name: and judge me by Thy strength.

The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19

Collect
Let Thy merciful ears, O Lord, be open to the prayers of Thy humble servants; and that they may obtain their petitions, make them to ask such things as shall please Thee; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth, etc.

The Epistle and Gradual       
Gradual
O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth: 
who hast set Thy glory above the heavens. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
V. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord: 
that delighteth greatly in His commandments. Hallelujah!

The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed             p. 22
        
Only the Crooks Are Working Hard

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 #46              On What Has Now Been Sown

Prayers and Announcements
  • Diane Popp's brother-in-law died after a long illness. Rest in Peace.
  • Randy Anderson is being treated for a new growth.
  • Pastor Jim Shrader and Chris Shrader; Kermit and Maria Way; Anita Engleman, Zach's mother.
  • The book on the I AM sermons in John's Gospel is near completion.
  • Funds have been donated for KJV Bibles of various types. Six more were shipped this week.

KJV 1 Corinthians 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

KJV Luke 16:1 And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. 2 And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward. 3 Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed. 4 I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. 5 So he called every one of his lord's debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord? 6 And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty. 7 Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore. 8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. 9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.

Ninth Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father, who hast bountifully given us Thy blessing and our daily bread: We beseech Thee, preserve us from covetousness, and so quicken our hearts that we willingly share Thy blessed gifts with our needy brethren; that we may be found faithful stewards of Thy gifts, and abide in Thy grace when we shall be removed from our stewardship, and shall come before Thy judgment, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.


Only the Crooks 

Are Working Hard

KJV Luke 16:1 And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. 2 And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.

Introduction -

This is a parable where we stop and wonder why everything seems upside-down. This bears repeating - the Words of Jesus are concise, so a very important lesson is conveyed in just a few sentences. If we resist the passage, and it seems especially difficult or contrary to what we want, a great lesson is there if we study it often enough. Sometimes we have to mature to understand its basic meaning. By mature, I mean having experiences and seeing that what seems mysterious and difficult is really quite obvious and clear.

Hard Sayings Need More Attention

One famous Protestant preacher wrote a book on the Hard Sayings of Jesus. What seems difficult at first is actually hard to forget once the lesson is learned. A good example is Jesus' apparent harness with the Canaanite woman, who only wanted healing for her daughter. Jesus ignored her. The disciples begged Him to give her a miracle and send her home. Jesus reminded her she was an outsider (not Jewish) and asked if He could take away the bread and give it to dogs. She answered "Even the little dogs eat the crumbs from the Master's table." Jesus praised her for her faith and healed her daughter. That is a miracle story about faith when everything seems bleak and one only seems to get rejection and insults from God when pleading for help. The Canaanite woman is a miracle about faith (note ELCA, WELS, LCMS, ELS)!

  1. God does not seem to care.
  2. God is silent in the midst of pleas for mercy.
  3. The crowd is insulting, saying, "You are not worthy." (Jesus is testing her.)
  4. Instead of giving up, the woman will do anything to help her daughter.
So the Canaanite woman's miracle is not a downer but a great boost to show that faith receives the grace and mercy of God.

Back to the Crooks
The owner represents God - having extensive wealth but not bankrupted by the manager's cheating and lying. The steward or manager has wasted his master's wealth and admits it. The term steward means someone who has authority to carry out the owner's wishes but is not the owner and must answer to that person about his conduct.

In the olden days, steward kings were men who had the throne but only until the royal child was old enough to rule.

"Wasting his goods" is a phrase that makes us think of sure-fire ways to make a fortune - bitcoin, hemp oil, lottery tickets, gambling. 

The steward is not "about to be fired" - he is fired on the spot. He has to turn over the books, which will reveal the exact amount lost.

3 Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.

Since he was a hard-working thief, he did not know what to do, because his extra income came from wasting the estate, contrary to his job description. Two alternatives are unwelcome - he is too ashamed to beg (everyone would say "Weren't you the steward for the Jackson Creation Gardens? Besides, he was not strong enough to dig.

4 I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. 5 So he called every one of his lord's debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord? 6 And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty. 7 Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore.

The steward had two very good qualities - 
  1. hard-working and 
  2. shrewd.
Had he only been pilfering a little at a time, no one would have noticed or cared. Food emporiums always allow a certain amount of food and drink to be enjoyed. One of our friends stopped drinking colas as a waiter and lost 40 pounds. He could have as much as he wanted, so he was not dishonest - just foolish.

8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. 

The owner of the estate was no slouch. He knew what it took to keep a vast enterprise going. He was like the person who could buy goods at the bottom of the market and hold them for high profits. The emphasis here is on hard work and shrewdness.

This is a perfect case of ironic humor, which makes us think about this parable many times before getting the real picture. It is a way of saying, "Isn't it odd how hard the unbelievers work to take care of themselves?"

More than one gang has acquired the tools, made plans, and burrowed into the safety deposit boxes of a bank. They pick a weekend when the bank in closed, follow maps available for underground work, buy high-powered tools, and enter where the vault is weak. 

In many large church corporations, there are dozens of titles, jobs, plans, studies, and so forth. One person worked at a synod headquarters. They had a fund-raising campaign with no particular goals. People wrote in and asked for money for various things. Because the money was pouring in, they sent it away just as fast, to impress everyone. But what was accomplished?

Colleges and universities have become greedy endowments where they expect $72,000 a year for room, board, and tuition (with some kickbacks) while going back to donors to invest even more money to make money.

Of course, taxes have to be raised everywhere to "pay for the needy" but they end up with the greedy instead.

9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.

Mammon means having more than enough money. Some guard it like it might evaporate. Others see the value of caring for their neighbors. Many times some help will make an enormous difference for someone. 

I have always enjoyed being a volunteer para-legal, where someone with no power in society needed someone with some clout. Picking up the phone, dropping by the billing office, or sending a note can change matters instantly. The reaction may take a few days. I have seen large amounts of money erased from an individual's bill. Other times, I just asked, "You expect to be paid?" (Yes, I do.) "You expect that person to keep his word?" (I definitely do.) "Then shouldn't you keep your word?"

The idea in this parable is to use the surplus of what we have for others. We can work shrewdly to accomplish things for almost no cost, too.

Our Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry is #1, instead of "Lutheran Libraries" from multi-million dollar publication houses. Alec Satin has done that on his own.

I do not know of any parish that distributes Christian art at the volume Norma A. Boeckler publishes it for free. No one knows where that influence stops - it continues for generations.

In faith, we know that the good tree must produce fruit, so individuals and congregations will emphasize faith in Christ as the way to generate the most good.

The person who believes will enter eternal life welcomed by those who were helped, comforted, visited, fed, clothed, housed, and helped with illness.

One way to expand the benefits is to name the needs of individuals in daily prayers and ask God for help, healing, peace, comfort, and joy in their lives. We should always pray for the little ones in our congregation and circles. 

(Luke 18:1-8) Jesus has a parable about that - the woman who keeps asking the unrighteous judge for help.

Luke 18: 18 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:

3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.

4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;

5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.

7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?

8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?