Sunday, May 8, 2011
Jubilate, The Third Sunday of Easter, 2011
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson
Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time
The Hymn # 536 Awake My Soul 3.28
The Confession of Sins
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
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 36 Now Thank We 3.40
No Man Takes Your Joy Away
The Communion Hymn # 354 In the Cross 3.84
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 #231 We Now Implore 3.38
THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER
Lord God, heavenly Father, who of Thy fatherly goodness dost suffer Thy children to come under Thy chastening rod here on earth, that we may be like unto Thine only-begotten Son in suffering and hereafter in glory: We beseech Thee, comfort us in temptations and afflictions by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not fall into despair, but that we may continually trust in Thy Son's promise, that our trials will endure but a little while, and will then be followed by eternal joy; that we thus, in patient hope, may overcome all evil, and at last obtain eternal salvation, through the same, Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.
KJV 1 Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. 13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. 17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. 18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
KJV John 16:16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father. 17 Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father? 18 They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith. 19 Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? 20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. 21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. 22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. 23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
No Man Takes Your Joy Away
In this Gospel, we can see the process of building up the disciples’ faith. It should be familiar to parents and pastors. We train children in adult concepts long before they have a chance to use them. When they mature and face challenges, they draw upon those lessons.
Mothers use a combination of assurance and love with admonitions about what can happen. The warnings come from love, not from spite. Children naturally react against parental wisdom. They are slow to be thankful, yet they deeply appreciate the guidance in their mature years. Mothers especially have to be patient to wait for the return in their investment of love and labor.
Jesus did many things to build up His disciples before the crucifixion. When they proved to be timid and afraid, which were natural reactions to the reality of arrest and torture, He built them up with His appearances and His grace-filled Word. He did not refrain from admonishing them, but He did so in a gentle way, so they were not crushed with condemnation.
This particular lesson is unusual in the way the same phrase is used four times in a row. Even Luther registered a certain amount of frustration with the repetition.
"Here in this Gospel we see how the Lord comforts and imparts courage to His children whom He is about to leave behind Him, when they would come in fear and distress on account of His death or of their backsliding. We also notice what induced the evangelist John to use so many words that he indeed repeats one expression four times,which according to our thinking he might have expressed in fewer words."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 73f. Third Sunday after Easter John 16:16-23
But that also shows us how important it was to remember:
A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.
This can be seen as His death, followed by His resurrection, or looking further into the future, the return of Christ.
I think both apply. They were grief-stricken and afraid after His death on the cross, then encouraged and strengthened by His resurrection appearances and teaching. After the Ascension, they were without His visible presence, yet encouraged by His promise of coming again.
"Therefore we must also feel within us this 'a little while' as the dear disciples felt it, for this is written for our example and instruction, so that we may thereby be comforted and be made better. And we should use this as a familiar adage among ourselves; yes, we should feel and experience it, so that we might at all times say, God is at times near and at times He has vanished out of sight. At times I remember how the Word seems neither to move me nor to apply to me. It passes by; I give no heed to it. But to this 'a little while' we must give heed and pay attention, so that we may remain strong and steadfast. We will experience the same as the disciples."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 75f. Third Sunday after Easter John 16:16-23
People often want the Bible in journalist-time, with a steady progression of dates and events. However, God does not work that way. When Adam and Eve were driven from Paradise, they were promised the Savior, an event which would not be fulfilled for 4,000 years. Likewise, the prophetic promises were not fulfilled for many centuries.
Older people have a better sense of time. When we see a grandchild we also see the parent at that age. The two events seem to exist together at the same time, even though they do not. Likewise, for the young, everything takes too long. Looking back, the same things (like school) are collapsed in time.
As Luther points out in his sermon on this text, God allows us to go through sorrow and difficult times, but we are to be steadfast and rely on His comfort when nothing seems to offer hope.
As he said so astutely, Satan works on our emotions, where we are weakest. We can have everything going well and yet our emotions can cry out in panic. My wife and I laugh about our three dogs reacting to everything on our little street. They bark in a frenzy when the UPS driver arrives, when anyone drives onto our circle, when a deer runs through our ravine. If I go outside to take out the garbage, all three carry on at once, even bumping into each other as they sound the alarm.
For that reason, the Word is our foundation and the assurance of God’s promises.
It is ironic that this Gospel lesson has fallen on Mother’s Day, because Jesus comparison to labor and childbirth is used in John 16. I remember that comparison from childhood, although I had no idea what labor was.
Our cousin in German described it well. Her child is 8 years old now. She started labor by saying, “This is not so bad.” Soon, she said, “All the drugs in the world were not enough for the pain.”
Jesus said about labor in His day, that the mother was full of sorrow and pain during that time. But all that went away with the joy of having a baby.
This parable of the woman is a strong and stubborn argument against free will, that it is entirely powerless and without strength in the things pertaining to the salvation of our souls. The Gospel shows very plainly that divine strength and grace are needed. Man's free will is entirely too weak and insignificant to accomplish anything here. But we have established our own orders and regulations instead of the Gospel and through these we want to free ourselves from sin, from death, from hell, and from all misfortune and finally be saved thereby. A great mistake."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 81. Third Sunday after Easter John 16:16-23
..."but wait thou patiently and permit God to do with you according to His will. He shall accomplish it; permit Him to work. We shall accomplish nothing ourselves, but at times we shall feel death and hell. This the ungodly shall also feel, but they do not believe that God is present in it and wants to help them. Just as the woman here accomplishes nothing, she only feels pain, distress and misery; but she cannot help herself out of this state."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 82. Third Sunday after Easter John 16:16-23
John 16:22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.
The sorrow in the disciples was natural, because they were being warned that Jesus would be away from them. He told them in advance what they would experience, both the pain and the joy.
Here Luther distinguishes between worldly joy and Christian joy. The unbelievers rejoice in any pain or bad news that comes to the believer. I recently posted an excellent quotation on this concept. Unbelievers only see fanaticism and folly in believers. Therefore, they rejoice when anything bad happens to Christians or the Christian Church.
I hear people complaining about Hollywood and TV. I find their negative portrayals to be perfectly natural for their culture. The writers hate patriotism, the family, and Christian faith. So every conservative is a bigot. Every family is a cesspool of pathology, and all Christians are evil, blundering fools.
Unbelievers love to join forces with apostate denominations in promoting their causes. They like “good Christians” who endorse their radical and destructive policies. And the apostates love them in return.
"The nice, envious person who is sad when another prospers, and would gladly have one eye less if thereby his neighbor had none, is the product of Satan."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 102. Third Sunday after Easter John 16:16-23.
The apostate Lutherans go to court to keep Creation from being taught in schools. They use World Hunger Appeal money to lobby the US and Canada (and the states) for all left-wing causes. All over America, people give up this and that to put money in envelopes that having starving children on them. The posters in the church hallways have starving children on them. They should have a photo of a fat lobbyist drinking a toast with the paid Lutheran lobbyist in DC (and other places).
Also, within the so-called conservative synods are people who rejoice in overthrowing the Gospel. They love the apostates from all denominations, because they share a common hatred which unites them. As my father used to say, “There is no love like that of one drunk for another.”
Those who hate the Word and the Confessions make sure they have the best positions and the most money. They crow about their great success. Even worse, when they tumble (as they must), their friends cover up for them. One man has promoted himself as a great Church Growth expert and founder of Church and Change in WELS. His congregation is half the size it was when he took over and the school is gone. So that is the person WELS paid to write a series on the Ten Commandments. If anyone objects, that person is cut out of any opportunities.
Two WELS pastors were supposedly fighting Church Growth years ago. They told an elderly lady that they would no longer say anything because they were looking for better calls in the denomination. And they went silent, leaving her hanging, alone. They did get their calls. Bribery works. I have seen many give into such blandishments, not only to be silent, but to turn on former friends. And they rejoice in their evil turn-arounds.
These experiences make us think that God rewards the evil while punishing the faithful. God does indeed lay a cross on us, whenever we faithfully confess His Word. Some might think, “I can take any remarks from an opposing denomination or from an atheist and Marxist. But these are my classmates, my friends, my own relatives from the same church.”
Unfortunately it takes great upheavals to make us appreciate the spiritual wisdom of the Word. We take for granted what is inexpensive and free. God has given us an ocean of air and seven oceans of water for our existence, but we only miss them when we need oxygen and cannot get it, or live through a drought and realize what water means to life and ordinary comfort.
Every single Creed has come from a period of fiery trial. The Reformation was not a time of calm. The Peasants’ War alone threatened all of society. So did the Zwickau prophets. Worst of all, the Muslim armies from the Ottoman Empire were at the gates of Vienna, Austria in 1530 and several times after that. The Lutherans no longer agreed with one another, after Luther died. It took them 34 years to create harmony from a common confession, the Book of Concord, in 1580.
Times of trial never feel good at the moment, but they yield Christian joy, which no one can take away, whether we are in a hospital bed or a prison.
"We should take to heart and firmly hold fast to these words and keep them in mind when in sorrow and distress, that it will not last long, then we would also have more constant joy, for as Christ and His elect had their 'a little while,' so you and I and everyone will have his 'a little while.' Pilate and Herod will not crucify you, but in the same manner as the devil used them so he will also use your persecutors. Therefore when your trials come, you must not immediately think how you are to be delivered out of them. God will help you in due time. Only wait. It is only for a little while, He will not delay long."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 77. Third Sunday after Easter John 16:16-23.
Each person is just a speck in this world, but whatever we do in faith glories God and honors His Name. To do that we must take up the cross daily. God will honor whatever is done in faith. We only need to wait and see. Those who rejoice in the downfall of believers and confessors will find out what it means to mock the Word of God, to juggle with words, as if the Bible were a toy or Rubic’s Cube.
"When Christ arose, He brought with Him complete righteousness. For He arose for the sake of our righteousness, Romans 4:25. So then, when you, in a similar fashion, arise from sin through true repentance, you are justified from sins, for faith lays hold of this completed righteousness in Christ, by which we are enabled to stand before God."
Johann Gerhard Eleven Easter and Pentecostal Sermons, Malone: Repristination Press, 1996, p. 80. Romans 6:3-4; Romans 4:25. [Note: order the Gerhard sermons from Repristination Press, firstname.lastname@example.org
"That the Lord Christ, after His resurrection, wishes peace to the disciples and eats the broiled fish and honey comb in their presence, and thereby portrays the benefit and fruit of His resurrection. For through His death and resurrection He has reconciled us with God, His heavenly Father, so that we may from now on, through faith in Him, have peace with God, have peace in our hearts, and have peace against the accusations of the devil and our conscience. When a war lord victoriously overcomes the enemy, peace follows after. So also, since Christ has overcome all His and our enemies in His victorious resurrection, He can thereafter wish [us] peace...Through Him, Samson's riddle was fulfilled: From the eater came something to eat and sweetness from the strong one...He is the powerful Lion from the stem of Judah, Rev 5:5, which mightily fought and overcame so that ours souls find honey-sweet food in Him."
Johann Gerhard, Eleven Easter and Pentecostal Sermons, Malone: Repristination Press, 1996, p. 52. Judges 14:14,18.
"Furthermore, another reason for stating that the Lamb of God was slain from the beginning of the world is that God the Lord, soon after the Fall in the beginning, made the promise that He wanted to have the Seed of the woman step on and crush the head of the hellish snake; and, it would also occur that the snake would bite the woman's Seed in the heel. This stinging of the heel is none other than that Devil's inflicting himself on the woman's Seed and bringing Him to the cross."
Johann Gerhard, Eleven Easter and Pentecostal Sermons, Malone: Repristination Press, 1996, p. 60. 1 Corinthians 5:7-8; Genesis 3:15.
"He who follows his feelings will perish, but he who clings to the Word with his heart will be delivered."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 245. Mark 16:1-8.
"For when the heart clings to the Word, feelings and reasoning must fail."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 246. Mark 16:1-8.
"Therefore the Holy Spirit must come to our rescue, not only to preach the Word to us, but also to enlarge and impel us from within, yea, even to employ the devil, the world and all kinds of afflictions and persecutions to this end. Just as a pig's bladder must be rubbed with salt and thoroughly worked to distend it, so this old hide of ours must be well salted and plagued until we call for help and cry aloud, and so stretch and expand ourselves, both through internal and through external suffering, that we may finally succeed and attain this heart and cheer, joy and consolation, from Christ's resurrection."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 253. Mark 16:1-8.
"If I do not believe it, I will not receive its benefits; but that neither renders it false nor proves that anything is lacking in Christ."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 258. Mark 16:1-8.
"For this reason one should not be too credulous when a preacher comes softly like an angel of God, recommends himself very highly, and swears that his sole aim is to save souls, and says: 'Pax vobis!' For those are the very fellows the devil employs to honey people's mouths. Through them he gains an entrance to preach and to teach, in order that he may afterward inflict his injuries, and that though he accomplish nothing more for the present, he may, at least, confound the people's consciences and finally lead them into misery and despair."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 322. Luke 24:36-47.
"Thus we have two parts, preaching and believing. His coming to us is preaching; His standing in our hearts is faith. For it is not sufficient that He stand before our eyes and ears; He must stand in the midst of us in our hearts, and offer and impart to us peace."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., xd., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 355. John 20:19-31.
"The first and highest work of love a Christian ought to do when he has become a believer, is to bring others also to believe in the way he himself came to believe. And here you notice Christ begins and institutes the office of the ministry of the external Word in every Christian; for He Himself came with this office and the external Word."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 359. John 20:19-31.
"Now God drives us to this by holding the law before us, in order that through the law we may come to a knowledge of ourselves. For where there is not this knowledge, one can never be saved. He that is well needs no physician; but if a man is sick and desires to become well, he must know that he is weak and sick, otherwise he cannot be helped."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 370. John 20:19-31.
"Who are the people, therefore, to whom God makes known the resurrection of His Son? Women of little learning and poor fishermen."
Sermons of Martin Luther, The House Postils, 3 vols., ed., Eugene Klug, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1996, II, p. 22. Luke 24:13-35.