The Glory Has Departed

Books are being donated to those studying
Justification by Faith and fighting UOJ.

Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

Audio Gutenberg - Travis and Lauren Cartee

Audio Gutenberg Blog

Bethany Lutheran Worship on Ustream

Sunday, 10 AM
Central Daylight Time.
Lenten Services Wednesdays - 7 PM, Central Daylight Time. Greek starts after the Ash Wednesday service.

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com.

    Essential Lutheran Books
Lutheran Resources and Chemnitz Press Books

Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

Pastor Jackson's Amazon Author's Page

Lutheran Librarian Author's Page - Print Books

All Bethany Lutheran Media Ministries

Dropbox links to free public domain books, Lenski Commentaries, Keil-Delitzsch, Luther's Sermons,
plus free books edited and written by Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Navigation for Luther's Sermons, Lenker Edition

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:10-13 KJV

Alec Satin, Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry - Ebooks

How to Send Money to the Bethany Philippine Mission

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

If Only It Would Rain After the Roses Are Planted

Hosta is loved by Prince Charles, but I grow it anyway. Hummingbirds enjoy sipping from the flowers. My neighbor got me started in growing hordes of them. Slugs eat holes in them in rainy weather.

Our weather reports are consistent - always wrong. Hardly any rain was predicted after the sunny Sunday planting date. However, the rain began and continued, a long slow rain - two inches deep in the wheelbarrow. The greening of older roses was consoling.

Some easy plants are also good for pollinators - bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. The same also like nectar, and some plants (like sunflowers) are prolific nectar producers and rich in fragrance.

Hostas do not have the best flowers, but they tolerate shade and attract hummingbirds. They multiply and can be separated to increase their coverage.

Shasta daisies are so reliable and productive that we take them for granted.

Likewise, the humble daisy produces flowers for beneficial insects and grow their roots for easy division and greater numbers of flowers. Many new varieties of Shasta daisies can be found.

Sunflowers are effortless to grow, unless the gardens are overpopulated with squirrels who eat the flowers and bunnies who eat the sprouts.

 Falling in Love is pink and white, fragrant, and extremely thorny. We removed all the English Ivy behind, which was trying to engulf the house and invade the window frames.

The Kindle Version of Understanding the Pilgrim's Progress Is Available for 99 cents

The Kindle version of Understanding the Pilgrim's Progress is here.

The print version of Understanding the Pilgrim's Progress is here.

The free PDF of Understanding the Pilgrim's Progress is here.



Monday, March 30, 2020

Diamond Mark Zarling, WELS, Has the Corona Virus

Zarling and Frosty Bivens teach that Objective Justification is the Chief Article of Christianity. 





I think Zarling was on the choir tour too, which they didn’t cancel... so all those students and congregations were exposed

Zarling is Brown County’s first case.... (New Ulm).

---

February 27 – March 8, 2020

College Choir Spring Tour

The MLC College Choir looks forward to sharing God’s Word in song in the Southeast as part of this year’s spring tour. Concerts are planned for the states of Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. Please plan to attend a concert near you, or follow the choir on Facebook with videos from the concerts and stories from the students.
DMLC transformed their college name, 25 years ago, and they transformed the school from a teacher's college into the WELS College of Ministry. Top that, ELCA!

Higher Things - Everyone Is Saved! Everyone! Everyone! -
The Sins You Will Do Are Forgiven

LCMS Pastor George Borghardt, President of Higher Things



"EVERYONE IS SAVED! EVERYONE! EVERYONE!" 

Turn down the volume, for the sake of your hearing and sanity.

I heard there was a brief dust-up over George's hysterical Universalism on YouTube and its clear statement on their doctrinal statement. They did what every crooked business does - they hid the statement. The video continues, with fewer views than Hillary's latest wisdom.

Higher Things is big business and a more refined version of HerChurch, not quite so far Left but paving the way for the future.

Higher Things has a periodical called Reflections. I received a scan from, oh I forget. Remember, Objective Justification fanatics have a short fuse and a long memory.

Here is George Borghardt's latest nugget, in the Lent issue of Reflections, March 1, 2020.

"The devil doesn't care if you give up this sin or that sin. What he doesn't want, what will finish Him (divine pronoun?) off, is for you to trust that the sins you have done, will do, and are repenting of are forgiven because of the Cross of Jesus. The devil doesn't want you to confess your sins to Jesus and trust that because of Calvary, you will be saved."
Rev. George Borghardt III

I cannot unravel the mixed up, poorly edited meditation on Satan's mental process, which clearly favors the WELS slogan - Everyone Knows, Anything Goes.

Everyone is already saved, according to George's hyper-caffeinated eructations in the video above.

This garbage is being fed to the youth of the LCMS. Apparently George cannot speak of faith in Christ, because he has no faith.

Prove me wrong.




Springing Up - The Creation Garden

 Veterans Honor - the scientists change the menu, but the ingredients were there at Creation. John 1:3

Early spring makes the experienced gardener become gloomy about many failed efforts. The weeds always come up first, plus some cheerful daffodils and grape hyacinths. The late blooming plants look dead. Rose canes are not yet green.

Veterans Honor next to Pope John Paul - on a Lincoln Town Car hood. The roses look surreal.


Some days of warmth change that at once. Roses green up and sprouted leaves. Veterans Honor bare root roses arrive and get soaked in rain water.

In memory of Peter Ellenberger, decorated veteran.


Digging holes in a clay soil garden is work and fun at the same time. Years of adding organic matter as mulch increase the microbe and worm population: leaves, wood mulch, peat compost, pine needles. When the new roses sprout green leaves immediately, it looks like a good year.

The four veterans on our walk appreciate the flower honoring their service. Ranger Bob (veteran) joined in the garden renovation by borrowing our garden crew. He asked later, because he was sleeping while they worked and I paid them, "How much?"

I said, "I will put it this way, Bob. I now own your Isuzu truck." He burst out laughing with the crew.

A friend came by to join us in having pour-over coffee. Bob talked about living and working in Phoenix. He said, "I got a rich tan from the Phoenix sun." I said, "I got skin cancer." They laughed. In fact, all of us Jackson brothers caught that trait from our mother, who passed it on.

 I have a lot of bee balm now.


Monarda or Bee Balm is bursting out of the soil now. That was one sale I bought with many advantages later. The plant bloomed all over the garden last year, feeding bees and hummingbirds alike.

The annual weather patterns change a lot, but each aspect of Creation has its own preferences. The last few years have been hard on roses, killer years, but Easy Does It soldiers on, producing sunset-colored roses (variations in color) like a factory.

Self-portrait of a gardener - Easy Does It roses for the wedding.

Stay at Home Will Finish Off the Mainline Denominations -
Including WELS-LCMS-ELS

 By Norma A. Boeckler - Jesus Cleansing the Temple

Schools Online
Seminaries caught onto the reality of people not wanting to end their employment while living in overpriced campus tenements. They called the answer "distributed education;" I called it "going online."

The LCMS-WELS-ELS colleges and seminaries were far-sighted. They spent millions on their glorious buildings and chapels, just in time for students to stay home and learn online.

Coming from a small business family, I always think of overhead. Even a donated (think Schwan) building is overhead. There is more to heat, clean, insure, and finally - repair. ELCA began dissolving and titling their seminaries first. They exist in name as small parts of colleges and are selling off assets to stay alive. Merged seminaries are just liked merged congregations - a polite way to say one is closing and moving its meager assets.

The Chinese Corona virus has kept everyone at home, including all the public colleges and schools. That will accelerate Lutheran colleges in crisis. They are not as bad as the Tisch College of Art, where room, board, and tuition are $82,000 a year! Tisch will not refund the students because going online cost them millions of dollars. The synodical schools operate on an annual basis, but the established private schools have endowments to cover shortages.

A wealthy Moliner was involved in his denomination's college. He told me about a dorm serving as a cash machine. Once the dorm is paid off, by a gift or by rental fees, the charges are almost 100% profit. Colleges demanded that students rent their tenements from the school, so the Lutheran schools made money on tuition, books, fees of all kinds, tenement rental, and cheap food.

Let's say Schwan donated a few buildings. The cost to maintain them is included in tuition. Do the students need spacious buildings with AC to study and learn? Not at all, as everyone has concluded online. I would have paid to see the Roman Catholic bishop in the academic procession at

Students already have broadband and good computers. They howled when one online school skipped printing books and charged a fee for the online version. Now all are happy (faculty included) that the textbook is available with a click and not under a pile of more interesting reading.

 John 1:14 και ο λογος σαρξ εγενετο και εσκηνωσεν εν ημιν; και εθεασαμεθα την δοξαν αυτου δοξαν ως μονογενους παρα πατρος πληρης χαριτος και αληθειας



Congregations Online
I have never advocated congregations being exclusively online. I have been urging pastors to add online broadcasts to reach people (sick, shut-in, far away) who otherwise would have no access to the Means of Grace. One ELDONA pastor and the foundation owner asked me about details.



Suddenly, when stay-at-home became law or at least cautionary, most congregations were left abandoned. (Greek students would make it a middle - they made themselves abandoned.) Unprepared, they are not broadcasting their own services with the liturgy, creed, hymns and sermon. But they are asking for donations!

Confidential - online services are not the place to pass the plate.

Our congregation does well because of tent-making. There is a precedent for that. See NT History 101 - The Apostle Paul. We have very low overhead, broadcasting from - "A spare room in a rented house," as Paul McCain spat out in his plagiarized blog (without citing Bethlehem). Our monthly streaming cost is $100, though it may increase from so many using the service.

I think many clergy have resisted broadcasting because that would allow people to compare and contrast, wondering why so many pastors give exactly the same sermon, without giving any credit to the original writer - or the denomination.

Online broadcasting has allowed us to teach:

  1. The entire Gospel of John in Greek.
  2. A new course on the Gospel of John in Greek.
  3. Romans 1-5 in Greek.
  4. Pilgrim's Progress


Sunday, March 29, 2020

Judica Sunday - "Before Abraham Was, I AM"


Judica Sunday, The Fifth Sunday in Lent, 2020


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




The Hymn #12     This Day at Thy Creating Word
                                     
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 #40     The God of Abram Praise

                          
I AM - The Divinity of Christ

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 #410     Jesus Lead Thou On           
Prayers and Announcements

  • Treatment and recovery - Rush Limbaugh, Kermit Way, Christina Jackson. Recovery - John Hicks.
  • In the last stage of cancer and heart disease - Tom Fulcher, Diane Popp's brother-in-law.
  • Diagnosis and surgery - Randy Anderson, Andrea's father.
  • Someone's brother has health issues.
  • Pray for our country as the major trials begin.
  • Wednesdays are Vespers at 7 PM, followed by The Gospel of John in Greek, translating slowly for newcomers.
  • Pastor and Mrs. Palangyos - their daughter Jeshra.
       

KJV Hebrews 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

KJV John 8:46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. 48 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? 49 Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. 50 And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. 51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. 52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. 53 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? 54 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: 55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM. 59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

 Norma A. Boeckler


Exodus 3:2 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?
14 And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

Genesis 15:6 And he [Abraham] believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

Prayer
O Lord Jesus Christ, we thank Thee, that of Thine infinite mercy Thou hast instituted this Thy sacrament, in which we eat Thy body and drink Thy blood: Grant us, we beseech Thee, by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not receive this gift unworthily, but that we may confess our sins, remember Thine agony and death, believe the forgiveness of sin, and day by day grow in faith and love, until we obtain eternal salvation through Thee, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.


Background for the Gospel Sermon - John 8: 46ff
This passage is the key Scripture for teaching us the meaning of I AM. The Gospel lesson also reminds us of the ancient way of reading the Scriptures, not as isolated talking points. Instead, the bright passages shine light on the more obscure ones. If we cannot see what I AM means in the Gospel of John, the clearest one will teach us what the rest are teaching. 

When we speak of pagan gods, we usually say something like "the god of the ocean, the god of the underworld, the god of hunting, the god of destruction." However, in this passage and related ones, I AM is the true name of God, as we know from Exodus 3.

In a paraphrase, we might say "I AM the only True God," but the name is simpler and more majestic - "I AM." Therefore, the descriptions in the I AM passages are a set of phrases that define I AM and teach us what I AM means. So we have I Am as the Living Bread from Heaven, I AM as the Resurrection and the Life, I AM in His mission as the Good Shepherd.

Most important, this passage focuses on the religious hatred of Jesus, because He identified with the I AM of the Burning Bush. That explains more than ever the opposition.

The rationalistic theologians have very little use for the theo (God) in their names. They do not like the Gospel of John at all. They want to make it Greek philosophy written centuries after Christ. But Jesus is not another Socrates but the great I AM. The rationalists dismiss John but everyone agrees the public ministry of Jesus was three years long. The source? - the Gospel of John. They place John in Ephesus, which was the mother church of early Christianity. Why was it such a powerful influence? Because of the Apostle John and his witness as "the disciple Jesus loved." Also, our earliest written fragment of any Gospel in that age is a scrap from the Fourth Gospel. Its date puts the authorship in the first century. 



I AM - The Divinity of Christ

KJV John 8:46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

1. This Gospel teaches how hardened persons become the more furious, the more one teaches them and lovingly stirs them to do their duty. For Christ asks them here in a very loving way for a reason why they still disbelieve, since they can find fault neither with his life nor with his teaching. His life is blameless; for he defies them and says: “Which of you convicteth me of sin?” His teaching also is blameless; for he adds: “If I say truth, why do ye not believe me?” Thus Christ lives, as he teaches.

The leading responses to the question, "Who would you like to speak to, if you could, on a park bench for one hour?"
  1. Jesus
  2. My sainted mother.
The second one cannot be arranged, but can be addressed in this life. Few have mothers that died young, but those who do - they carry a deep sense of loss and hurt. One of my classmates told me about hers. One of our great blessings was having my mother in our home at the end of her life. 

We can speak to and listen to Jesus at any time, and the Gospel of John is the one most focused on the key points of His teaching. Besides that, John's sermon passages are extensive compared to the first three Gospels, which establish the main points of His ministry and His basic teaching.

The opening statement is about faith. Those who believe in God see His Word and pay attention to His teaching. "Why do you not believe Me?" Faith means trusting in and being filled with the wisdom of Jesus. Unfaith means finding reasons to reject the Word Himself, finding fault at every point.

We see this in human behavior. If something is offered as truth, and the truth is disturbing, the response is often, "You are a bad person," (to put it mildly). The accusation has nothing to do with the fact itself, but continued personal attacks are used to make the statement seem to be wrong. In a logic class, I warned the class I would use logical fallacies. So one group said something and I asked where they were from. They said, "Mesa." I responded, "That explains everything!" in a patronizing way. They were instantly angry with me. I told them, "You were warned. If you had a good argument, you would say, What does that have to do with the facts? - putting me on the defensive."

48 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?

The topic is faith in Christ but it is turned into a personal attack. That is very weak, but people are weak. The truth is valued because it is so rare. On relatively minor issues we often have to be told many times because of our resistance. On the eternal issues of faith in God, rejection of the truth creates more hardness and blindness, because that is the divine effect of the divine Word.

The Pharisees were blameless outwardly, but they lacked faith in the true God. When rationalistic Christian pastors - trained for years in skepticism - hear the words of faith, they toss such insults as:
  • Redneck (a compliment in Arkansas, but not meant that way)
  • Fundamentalist (actually a term for Calvinists)
  • Ignorant (that is, not agreeing with them).

49 Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. 50 And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth.

This is one of many pivotal messages in the Gospel of John. As I have said many times, Jesus speaks the Words of His Father and acts in perfect harmony with Him. He is the human voice and will of God the Father. Do we approach someone who terrifies us? No. Do we ask anything? No. But perfect love casts out fear. When we receive and grasp and love the forgiving, compassionate voice of Jesus, that fear is thrown away.

Hymns are a great way to be reminded of these truths, because the hymns that last are Christ-centered and faithful to the Word. I highly recommend them with earphones for sound fidelity or a little sound board for about the same cost - $20. The soundboard plugs into the computer and the earphones plug into the soundboard. 

51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.

51 αμην αμην λεγω υμιν "εαν τις τον λογον τον εμον τηρηση, θανατον ου μη θεωρηση εις τον αιωνα"

This saying, by itself, is one of great comfort and encouragement. "Keep" is also translated and understood as "guard." That means remaining in the Word, studying it so the evil one does not snatch it away, being wary of false teachers who have dazzling new truths that are a rehash of old heresies.

There is a condition in this verse, but the "if" does not apply to works but to fidelity. Faith is the good tree that bears good fruit. Those who trust in Jesus as the Son of God, Savior, Redeemer - they will never, ever see death. The original words are first "not" and then "in eternity." That is as strong an emphasis as possible.

Verily, verily, I say unto you - In Greek class, 53 years ago, we grew weary of translating these words. They are used so many times. However, in the Greek manuscripts, with no punctuation, no verse numbers, no red ink for the sayings of Jesus, this is a way of saying - The following words are extremely important. Listen up.

52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. 53 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?

I hate to mention this, but that is exactly how the "old" synod Lutherans respond to Justification by Faith. They say they belong to the old order. They are the children of Walther. "How dare a carpet-bagger come in and tell them what Luther taught when Walther has already made it clear!" (The next book is Luther's Galatians, followed by CFW Walther: The American Calvin.)

The Jewish opponents placed their trust in their blood relationship with Abraham. The previous faith-in-Him statement makes them furious and in that fury claimed to be heirs with our father Abraham.

This passage is directly related to Romans 4, where Paul shows that people are children of Abraham by faith, because he believed the Promise of the Messianic kingdom and was counted righteous by God- Justified by Faith. (Christian News [sic] calls this teaching "Satanic.")

Art thou greater than our father Abraham

This is an important moment for Jesus and for all who believe in Him. The opponents (who come in many varieties) are asking for a testimony. Evading this testimony is the same and denying the truth. In fact, it is worse. Evasion leaves the issue murky and undecided. There is not gradient (as in gradual color change) between faith and unbelief.

What do you make yourself?

They demand Jesus identify Himself, to clarify His role, as He sees it.  This is building to the central point in the entire Gospel about His divinity as He revealed it to the opponents, with expected results.

54 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: 55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

This is really a clear, firm statement where Jesus refused to duck the question and answered it with divine majesty and authority. Take this away from John's Gospel and nothing makes sense, because all the sermons are based upon the divinity of Christ and His immediate access to God the Father.

Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.

The opponents played the "children of Abraham card," but Jesus was far ahead of them. Through God's Promises, Abraham saw into the future. He, very elderly, unlikely to have a son, and his wife, even less likely to give birth, would begin a line that leads to the Savior and an ever-growing, eternal Kingdom of God. Abraham is the Father of Faith in the Bible, one who believed in the future and rejoiced. Jesus is both commending faith in Him and condemning the rejection of God's Promises.

57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM

The opponents responded the way all unbelievers do. Their response is on the human plane. You a mere man have seen Abraham? - you are not even 50 years old.

Jesus answered from eternity - from the Holy Trinity - "Before Abraham ever existed - I AM."

They knew from the Greek Old Testament that Jesus was using the verse in Greek with the same wording. There is an eternity of difference between I AM (God), and "It's me." They certainly knew the Name of God from Exodus 3 and Jesus used it for Himself.  They could no more tolerate this than the modern, rationalists can stand to hear it today. ELCA plainly denies the divinity and Virgin Birth of Christ, not to mention His miracles and resurrection - all denied. 

Why would anyone want to do religious work with them, sponsor a religious broadcast with them, share in supporting abortion with them? Ask LCMS-WELS-ELS.


59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

The response was murderous. They would have killed Him, if they could, but that was not God's will. His divinity was shown again by His passing by them, His divinity not impeded by His human body, (the non-reciprocity of the second genus).

The timing belonged to the Father's Promises in the Old Testament. That is why someone who knows the Old Testament is struck by the parallels in the New Testament. Likewise, those who know the New Testament best are astounded by the passages which are so clearly Messianic.

This Lesson
The Fourth Gospel is the doctrinal Gospel, clarifying and emphasizing the teaching of Jesus. This lesson is not only clear about His divinity and relationship with the Father, but also about the connections with the Old Testament.

My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought—
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to His Cross, and I bear it no more;
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

Grace in the Bible means that God prepared a remedy for our weakness and sins, so that all sins are forgiven and removed as we daily live our lives in faith.


Luther's Sermon on "Before Abraham Was, I AM" - Judica Sunday




JUDICA. FIFTH SUNDAY IN LENT




TEXT: John 8:46-59. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. 48 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? 49 Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. 50 And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. 51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.

52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. 53 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? 54 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: 55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.
56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM. 59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.


1. This Gospel teaches how hardened persons become the more furious, the more one teaches them and lovingly stirs them to do their duty. For Christ asks them here in a very loving way for a reason why they still disbelieve, since they can find fault neither with his life nor with his teaching. His life is blameless; for he defies them and says: “Which of you convicteth me of sin?” His teaching also is blameless; for he adds: “If I say truth, why do ye not believe me?” Thus Christ lives, as he teaches.

2. And every preacher should prove that he possesses both: first a blameless life, by which he can defy his enemies and no one may have occasion to slander his teachings; secondly, that he possesses the pure doctrine, so that he may not mislead those who follow him. And thus he will be right and firm on both sides: with his good life against his enemies, who look much more at life than at his doctrine, and despise the doctrine for the sake of the life; with his doctrine then for the kind of life he leads and will bear with his life for the sake of his teaching.

3. For it is indeed true that no one lives so perfect a life as to be without sin before God. Therefore it is sufficient that he be blameless in the eyes of the people. But his doctrine must be so good and pure as to stand not only before man but also before God. Therefore every pious pastor may well ask: Who among you can find fault with my life? Among you, I say who are man; but before God I am a sinner. This Moses also boast in <041615 Numbers 16:15 that he took nothing from the people and he did them no injustice. Samuel did likewise in 1 Samuel 12:3 also Jeremiah and Hezekiah, who rightly boasted of their blameless life before the people, in order to stop the mouths of blasphemers. But Christ does not speak thus of his doctrine, he says not: “Who among you can find fault with my doctrine”; but “If I tell you the truth.” For one must be assured that his doctrine is right before God and that it is the truth, and accordingly care not how it is judged by the people.

4. Hence the Jews have no ground for their unbelief than that they are not the children of God; therefore he passes judgment upon them and says: “He that is of God heareth the words of God; for this cause ye hear them not, because ye are not of God,” that cannot mean anything else than that you are of the devil.

5. The Jews could not stand this, for they wished to be God’s children and people; therefore they are now raging and slander both Christ’s life and his doctrine; his doctrine, in that they say: “Thou hast a devil,” that is, thou speakest moved by the devil and thy doctrine is his lie; and they slander his life, in that they say, “Thou art a Samaritan,” which sounds among the Jews worse than any other crime. In this way Christ teaches us here the fate that awaits us Christians and his Word; both our life and our doctrine must be condemned and reviled, and that by the foremost, wisest and greatest of earth. Thus one knows the corrupt tree by its fruits, as they, under the pretense of being good, are so bitter, angry, impatient, cruel and mad as to condemn and pass sentence, when one touches them at their tender spot and rejects their ideas and ways.

6. What does Christ do here? His life he abandons to shame and dishonor, is silent and suffers them to call him a Samaritan; while he takes pains to defend his doctrine. For the doctrine is not ours, but God’s, and God dare not suffer in the least, here patience is at an end; but I should stake all that I have and suffer, all that they do, in order that the honor of God and of his Word may not be injured. For if I perish, no great harm is done; but if I let God’s Word perish, and I remain silent, then I do harm to God and to the whole world. Although I can not now close their mouth nor prevent their wickedness, I shall nevertheless not keep silent, nor act as if they are right, as I do about my good life, so that they retain their right. Although they do me injustice at the time, yet it remains right before God. Further, Christ excuses himself, and says: “I have not a demon,” that is, my doctrine is not of the devil’s lies; “but I honor my father,” that is, I preach in my doctrine the grace of God, through which he is to be praised, loved and honored by believers. For the evangelical office of the ministry is nothing but glorifying God, Psalm 19:2: “The heavens declare the glory of God” etc. “But you dishonor me,” that is, you call me the devil’s liar, who reviles and dishonors God.

7. Why does he not say: I honor my father, and ye dishonor him; but says: “Ye dishonor me?” Impliedly he proves by this, that the father’s and his honor are alike and the same, as he and the Father are one God; yet along with this he also wishes to teach that if the office of the ministry, which God honors, is to be duly praised, then it must suffer disgrace. In like manner we will also do to our princes and priests; when they attack our manner of life, we should suffer it and show love for hatred, good for evil; but when they attack our doctrine, God’s honor is attacked, then love and patience should cease and we should not keep silent, but also say: I honor my Father, and you dishonor me; yet I do not inquire whether you dishonor me, for I do not seek my own honor. But nevertheless be on your guard, there is one who seeks it and judges, that is, the Father will require it of you, and judge you and never let you go unpunished. He seeks not only his honor, but also mine, because I seek his honor, as he says in 1 Samuel 2:30: “Them that honor me I will honor.” And it is our consolation that we are happy; although the whole world reviles and dishonors us, we are assured that God will advance our honor, and therefore will punish, judge and revenge. If one could only believe it and persevere, he will surely come. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man keep my word, he shall never see death.”

8. By these words he spoils it entirely, in that he does not only defend his doctrine as right and good, which they attribute to the devil; but also ascribes such virtue to his teaching that it becomes a powerful emperor over Satan, death and sin, to give and sustain eternal life. Behold here, how divine wisdom and human reason conflict with one another. How can a human being grasp the thought, that a corporeal, an oral word should redeem forever from death? But let blindness run its course; we shall consider this beautiful saying. Christ is speaking here not of the word of the law, but of the Gospel, which is a discourse about Christ, who died for our sins etc. For God did not wish to impart Christ to the world in any other way; he had to embody him in the Word and thus distribute him, and present him to everybody; otherwise Christ would have existed for himself alone and remained unknown to us; he would have thus died for himself.

But since the Word places before us Christ, it thus places us before him who has triumphed over death, sin and Satan. Therefore he who grasps and retains Christ, has thus also eternal deliverance from death. Consequently it is a Word of life, and it is true, that whoever keeps the Word shall never see death.

9. And from this we may well understand what Christ meant by the word “keep;” it does not refer to such keeping as one keeps the law by good works; for this word of Christ must be kept in the heart by faith and not with the fist or by good works, as the Jews in this case understand it; they fearfully rage against Christ, that Abraham and the prophets are dead; they know nothing of what it is “to keep,” “to die” or “to live.” And it is not called “to keep” in vain; for there is a conflict and battle when sin bites, death presses and hell faces us; then we are to be in earnest in holding firmly to the Word and let nothing separate us from it. Thus see now how Christ answers the Jews and praises his own teachings. You say, my Word is of the devil and wish to sink it to the bottom of perdition; on the contrary I say to you that it has divine power in it, and I exalt it higher than the heaven of heavens, and above all creatures.

10. How does it then come to pass that man does not see nor taste death, and yet Abraham and all the prophets are dead, who notwithstanding had the Word of God as the Jews say? Here we must give attention to the words of Christ, who makes the distinction that death is a different thing than to see or taste death. We all must face death and die; but a Christian neither tastes nor sees it, that is, he does not feel it, he is not terrified before it, and he enters death calmly and quietly, as though falling asleep, and yet he does not die. But a godless person feels and experiences death, and is terrified before it forever. Thus to taste death may well be called the power and reign or the bitterness of death, yea, it is the eternal death and hell. The Word of God makes this difference. A Christian has that Word and clings firmly to it in death; therefore he does not see death, but his eyes are filled with the life and the Christ in that Word; therefore he never feels death. But the godless possess not that Word, therefore they see no life, but only death; and they must also feel death; that is then the bitter and eternal death.

11. Now Christ means here that whoever clings to his Word will in the midst of death neither feel nor see death, as he also says in John 11:25: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me though he die, yet shall he live,” that is, he will not experience real death. Here we see now what a glorious estate it is to be a Christian, who is already released from death forever and can never die. For his death or dying seems outwardly indeed like the dying of the godless, but inwardly there is a difference as great as between heaven and earth. For the Christian sleeps in death and in that way enters into life, but the godless departs from life and experiences death forever; thus we may see how some tremble, doubt and despair, and become senseless and raging in the midst of the perils of death. Hence death is also called in the Scriptures a sleep. For just as he who falls asleep does not know how it happens, and he greets the morning when he awakes; so shall we suddenly arise on the last day, and never know how we entered and passed through death.

12. Let us take another example. When Israel marched out of Egypt and came to the Red Sea, they were free and experienced no death, but only life. However when King Pharaoh arrived behind them with all his forces, then they stood in the midst of death, then no life was in sight. For before them was the sea, through which they could not pass, behind them King Pharaoh, and on both sides of them high mountains; on all sides they were seized and enclosed by death, so that they said to Moses: “Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness?” Exodus 14:11, so completely and wholly did they despair of life. Just then Moses came and brought them God’s Word that comforted them in the midst of death and preserved them alive, when he said in verse 13: “Fear not, stand still, and see the salvation of Jehovah, which he will work for you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more for ever.” They clung to this Word and held out until victory came; through it life appeared in the presence of death, because they believed the Word, that it would come to pass, and relying upon it they marched into the midst of the Red Sea, which stood on both sides of them like two walls. Then it came to pass that nothing but life and safety were in the sea, where before there were only death and danger.

For they would have never become so bold as to go into the sea, had it divided a hundred times, if God’s Word had not been present, which comforted them and promised life. Thus man triumphs over death through the Word of Life, if he cleaves to it and believes, and marches into death with it.

13. Likewise Christ also says here in replying to the Jews, that Abraham and the prophets still live and they never died, but have life in the midst of death; they however only lie and sleep in death. For “Abraham,” he says, “rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad.” Thus, the prophets also saw it. Where and when did Abraham see it? Not with his bodily eyes, as the Jews interpret it, but with the sight of faith in the heart; that is, he recognized Christ when he was told in Genesis 22:18: “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” Then he saw and understood that Christ, born of his seed through a pure virgin, so as not to be cursed with Adam’s children but to remain blessed, should suffer for the whole world, cause this to be preached, and thus overwhelm the whole world with blessing etc. This is the day of Christ, the dispensation of the Gospel, that is the light of this day, which radiates from Christ as from the sun of righteousness, and shines and enlightens the whole world. This is a spiritual day, yet it arose at the time Christ was on the earth in the flesh, a day like Abraham saw. But the Jews understood nothing about such a day because of their carnal minds, and hence they reviled Christ as a liar.

14. Therefore Christ proceeds farther and gives the ground and reason why it is just his Word and not the word of anyone else, that giveth life, and says it is because he was before Abraham, or in other words, because he was the one true God. For if the person who offered himself as a sacrifice for us were not God, it would not help or avail anything, even if he were born of the Virgin Mary and suffered a thousand deaths. But the fact that the Seed of Abraham, who gave himself for us, is also true God, secures blessing and victory for all sinners. Therefore Christ speaks, not of his human nature that they saw and experienced; for they could easily see he was not yet fifty years of age, and did not live before Abraham. But with that nature by which he existed long before the time of Abraham, by which he existed also before all creatures and before the whole world. Just as he was man according to his spiritual nature before Abraham, that is. in his Word and in the knowledge of faith was he in the saints; for they all knew and believed that Christ, as God and man, should suffer for us, as is written in Hebrews 13:8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yea and for ever;” and in the Revelation of John, 13:8: “The Lamb of God that hath been slain from the foundation of the world.” Yet now he is speaking here especially of his divine nature.

15. But here reason is terribly offended and becomes mad and furious because God should become man; this reason cannot harmonize and understand. And this is the article of faith to which the Jews still in our day can not reconcile themselves, hence they cannot cease their throwing stones and their blasphemy. But Christ also continues on the other hand to hide himself from them and to go out of their temple, so that they cannot see nor find him in the Scriptures, in which they search daily. Again, this narrative is not a little terror to all who are so foolhardy about the Scriptures and never approach them with a humble spirit. For even in our day it happens that many read and study in the Scriptures and yet they cannot find Christ, he is hid and has gone out of the temple. And how many there are who say with their mouth that God is become man, and yet they are without the Spirit in their hearts; who whenever tested, prove that they were never in real earnest. This is sufficient on this subject.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

A Reader Asked about Cooking Oils

I learned a lot about desserts - and oil - at Melo Cream.

One reader asked about oil and cooking, so I was ready with a few comments.

I do not like the make-up of hardened, heavily processed factory oil - but what genius. They try hard to replace natural oils with factory processed oil and make their product look like it was distilled from Mother Nature.

Crisco stands for crystallized cottonseed oil. Ominous things can be found on the Net. The hardening makes me wonder what it does inside us. Winter shortening is softer for the cold weather, so it is soup in the summer. Summer shortening stands up well in storage in the heat, but turns into a block of soap or marble in the winter. In fact, one of the early possible uses was for making soap.

Now with butter flavor from Dupont and Company.


One feature of manufactured oil is stability - not smoking up the house when cooking.

Coconut oil is the only one I use. It is stable in the heat, does not smoke, and has a wonderful flavor in cooking. The vegetable oil barons scared everyone away from using coconut oil in the movie theaters, so that unique delicious smell is gone - except at home. One cashier said, "Do you want butter on your popcorn?" I said, "That is not butter. That is 10W-30 from Shell." He laughed at the truth of my comment. Look at a package of it, if you a chance. I watched an audience observe it pouring into the reservoir. They said, "Ewwww."

Coconut oil is the only fat we can digest easily, apart from mother's milk. I do not buy the theory that cholesterol causes heart problems. Nevertheless, my cholesterol levels were perfect at the last doctor's visit. He did not say, "From now on pay cash in advance."

Not much coconut oil is needed for what we eat. For eggs I add some to the non-stick pan, and we love the flavor, enhanced by butter, salt, and pepper. Sassy adores scrambled eggs, especially when improved by slices of Johnsonville brats (New Orleans).

Coconut oil is also good for itchy scalps from using detergent shampoos and having dried, cracked skin from winter heat or old age. When I was the skin care expert at the Neighborhood Market*, I suggested that elderly people try a long-lasting, small, $4 container of coconut oil. Most skin creams are stearic acid plus glycerin, plus fragrance and alcohol. Any natural oil is far better than that stuff.

I had several people thank me over and over for the coconut oil skin cure, including my father-in-law in his 90s. It was only thing that worked, and he tried a lot of them.
*When I was working in the cleaning aisle, I told customers they were in luck, because I was the cleaning expert. I did the same in the cooking aisle. The fact is, a lot of people, especially the young couples, have no practical experience. I taught lots of people how to unclog toilets for almost nothing - a dollop of Dawn or generic Dawn, wait an hour or so, jiggle the bowl a bit, flush. They wanted to use $5 declogger, which was often sold out because of local demand from the nearby apartments.
Another fiendish result of marketing fad foods is lowering the fat content and replacing it with corn syrup. Fat is a normal part of our diets, so substituting with corn syrup is not wise. Many sugars in the same product are hidden with various names used in a row, each one a form of sugar.

The highly regarded "natural" food from Paul Newman, such as their orange drink, starts with corn syrup. So, if you want to feed your children or yourself orange-flavored syrup with water added, reach for his brand. Mmm-mmm.

Most juices should be replaced with the fruit itself, far more enjoyable and naturally a combination of fiber and fruit sugar. Fiber offsets carbohydrate values, so fiber is a good idea on its own. However, I did overcome my Coca-cola addiction in Phoenix with orange juice first and then with oranges squeezed into water, then water itself.

Our waiter told us, years ago, that he could use the cola fountain at the restaurant whenever he wanted. When he stopped doing that, he lost 40 pounds.