Sunday, December 9, 2012

Second Sunday in Advent. Romans 15:4-13.
Written for Our Learning

By Norma Boeckler


The Second Sunday in Advent, 2012

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




The Hymn # 58 – Gerhardt              O Lord    4:49
The Confession of Sins
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      Romans 15:4-13
The Gospel            Luke 21:25-36 
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #71            Watchman     4.9 

 Watchfulness in the Word

The Hymn # 304 An Awesome Mystery            4.6
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 # 647 O Little Town   4.13



Second Sunday In Advent

Lord God, heavenly Father, who by Thy Son hast revealed to us that heaven and earth shall pass away, that our bodies shall rise again, and that we all shall appear before the judgment seat: We beseech Thee, keep us by Thy Holy Spirit in Thy word; establish us in the true faith, graciously defend us from sin and preserve us in all temptations, that our hearts may not be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and cares of this life, but that we may ever watch and pray and, trusting fully in Thy grace, await with joy the glorious coming of Thy Son, and at last obtain eternal salvation, 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.

KJV Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. 5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: 6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. 8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: 9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. 10 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. 11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. 12 And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust. 13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

KJV Luke 21:25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 26 Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. 27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. 29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; 30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. 31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. 32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. 33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. 34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. 35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.



Watchfulness in the Word


KJV Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

Because we write so much, one more written document has less value today, especially since there are so many copies of the Bible available. In contrast, when written documents were rare and scribes were highly valued, whatever was put in writing was bound to be important.

This verse, as Lenski observed, has a great emphasis on writing, the verb used twice in the verse. Scripture itself means – the writing.

This cannot be over-emphasized, because there is only one book written by God – the Bible.

We also tend to water down the meaning of inspiration, because the original meaning is this – that the Scriptures are the revealed, the inspired, the God-breathed Word of God. What God says and what He wills – that is all written down.

In the ancient gatherings, long before American-style voting, church leaders gathered to discuss doctrinal issues. That was allowed because it is good for everyone to discuss what they believe and teach. Now it is no longer allowed. If an issue is dangerous to the synodical officials, because of its false foundations, the topic cannot be discussed at all. This censorship favors false doctrine.

So, in those ancient gatherings, as Chemnitz observed, they brought out the Scriptures themselves to remind everyone that the Scriptures alone judged those matters. That is not an anti-credal position, because Chemnitz was constantly involved in teaching, discussing, writing, and eventually in editing the Book of Concord.

He was saying, as we should today, that the written Word of God is the one and only canon. It is the ruling norm.

A confession (Augsburg, Formula of Concord) is a public witness about the Word of God. Man’s tendency is to take a recent writing and make that judge the accepted confessions of faith and even worse, the Word of God itself.

I remember the shock when the National Council of Churches’ RSV dropped the Virgin Birth from Isaiah 7:14. They had a lot of excuses, but the fact remains – they did not believe in it so they removed it. They were forced to back-track.

The Methodists took their own hymn, Deck the Halls, and removed the Virgin Birth, too. “Offspring of the Virgin’s womb” became “Offspring of the Chosen One.” The new words were not wrong, except they were meant to say, we no longer believe in the Virgin Birth of Christ. Of course, this was done quietly, secretly, deviously. You will still find sheet music today with the new words.

Likewise, the New NIV has added a word “all” to Romans 3 to make God say that the entire world was absolved of sin, without faith, without the Word, without the Means of Grace. This is completely harmonious with the Universalism of the Left, but definitely not harmonious with Lutheran doctrine, traditional Protestant doctrine, or the Bible itself.

For Lutherans to adopt the New NIV is to say, “This is what God would have said, if He knew doctrine as well as we do.” It is truly shameful and shows how low and degraded seminary and synodical leadership has become. They only follow the Word of God when it comes to tithing and they get that wrong, too.



were written aforetime were written for our learning

That means all things written, not just what we like, were written for our benefit and education in the faith. By writing them down and protecting them (divinely) from destruction, God gave us a universal measuring stick (canon) to judge all matters of faith, doctrine, and practice.

When I was asked by some Evangelicals about the Scriptures, since there are many approaches (99% of them wrong), I quoted what Nils Dahl said at Yale. He said, “There is one thing we know for certain – the text of the Bible.”

Dahl said that to bypass fascination with theories and the many speculations spun out of the dreams of various professors and doctoral students. I used to look at one journal, which was devoted to summarizing the theories of all the famous writers on any given topic (Theologische Rundschau). One article might be 100 pages in print, simply noting what each author said about something like “who wrote the Gospel of Mark?”

We live in an age where people are protective about what Uncle Fritz wrote in a paper, but not about what God wrote for us in the Bible.

Another statement should be the opinion of every Christian. I quoted that to these Evangelicals too. Luther – “If someone does not believe in the inerrancy of the Scriptures, there is nothing to discuss.”

Luther clearly taught the inerrancy and authority of the Scriptures, and his statement says more than many would admit today. The person who rejects inerrancy has already given up the real meaning of the inspiration, authority, and efficacy of the Word of God.

So, when people were discussing the purchase or study of the Apocrypha, I said, “If they do not know Galatians, why study the books not included in the canon.”
we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

Because the Word of God is effective, studying and hearing the Word gives us patience (endurance in trials) and comfort.

What God wills is our good, and yet people run away from what is good and beneficial. They substitute all kinds of false religion and philosophies to fill up the void left by non-study and non-worship. One study will displace the other.

David Becker, a Lutheran layman, has recently observed that Mark Jeske’s so-called Time of Grace does not even confess the most basic truths of the Christian faith. That did not shock me, because I heard Jeske mouth the occult philosophy of Asians in one TV show. Someone devoted to Asian success philosophy (Paul Y. Cho) will find the Scriptures distasteful. Those who read a faithful Bible translation will find Cho disgusting and ridiculous. As one wit said, “I find Peale appalling and Paul appealing.” Norman Vincent Peale plagiarized his Power of Positive Thinking from an occult writer. Shocked? No.

Knowing God’s truth gives us hope. As I mentioned before on the Beatitudes, the last one struck me as all messed up when I was a child. Everything sounded bad, but the message stuck. When I finally realized what it meant, I could grasp what Luther meant about the “blessed holy cross” that we bear as Christians. If it is not taught, it is not understood. If people experience the cross without understanding it, they will be afraid and despairing, running back to their old, pagan ways. But when we understand the Word, patience and comfort are ours.

That does not require foreign languages or graduate study, but it does entail such things as setting aside time to worship, to listen, and to study during the week. The slight effort has great rewards, because the wisdom is God’s wisdom, not man’s.

5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: 6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

Someone described our ecumenical age as a time when people gather because of a common set of unbeliefs – what they reject from the Scriptures.

The opposite is also true. Believing what the Word says makes us likeminded. We work together and enjoy those benefits. Grandchildren are a grandparent’s delight. People glorify God with one voice. It is a great experience, and it is God’s will that we enjoy that experience in this life and the life to come.

Graphic by Norma Boeckler
 "Again, both Jews and gentiles, in consequence of this same disordered idea, could not venture to eat of bread and meat offered to idols by unbelievers, though sold in the public market. They imagined that to eat thereof was to honor the idols and deny Christ, when in fact the act had no significance. For all kinds of food are clean, and good creatures of God, whether in the hands of heathen or Christians, whether offered to God or to the devil."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 29. Second Sunday in Advent, Romans 15:4-13.

"The first difficulty was this: Some Jewish converts feared that deviating from former customs would be committing sin. Notwithstanding they had been taught the New Testament freedom regarding meats, days, clothing, vessels, persons, conditions, customs; that only faith renders us righteous in God's sight; and that the restrictions of the Law concerning the eating of flesh and fish, concerning holidays, places, vessels, were entirely abolished....
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 29. Second Sunday in Advent, Romans 15:4-13.

"One consists of those weak in the faith, of whom we have already spoken. It is to this class alone Paul here refers. They are good, pious, common people, willingly doing better when they have the knowledge or power. They are not tenacious of their opinions; the trouble lies altogether in weakness of conscience and lack of faith. They are unable to extricate themselves from prevailing doctrines and customs. The other class are obstinate. Not satisfied to enjoy liberty of conduct for themselves, they must enforce it upon others, constraining them to their own practices. They claim that because certain liberty is permissible, it must be enjoined. They will not listen to real truth in the matter of Christian liberty, but strive against it."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 30. Second Sunday in Advent, Romans 15:4-13.

"Suppose a wolf were to wound almost fatally a sheep, and you were to proceed with rage against the sheep, declaring it to be wrong in being wounded, that it should be sound, and you were violently to compel it to follow the other sheep to the pasture and to the fold, giving it no special care; would not all men declare you inconsiderate? The sheep might well say: 'Certainly it is wrong for me to be wounded, and unquestionably I ought to be sound; but direct your anger toward the inflicter of my wounds, and assist in my recovery.' So should these Romans have done and have faithfully repelled the wolf-life teachers."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 31. Second Sunday in Advent, Romans 15:4-13.

"No one will open his eyes to the fact that mere human devices and doctrines are ensnaring souls, weakening consciences, dissipating Christian liberty and faith, and replenishing hell. Wolves! Wolves! How abominably, awfully, murderous, how harassing and destructive, are these things the world over!"
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 32. Second Sunday in Advent, Romans 15:4-13.

"Recognizing the weak and wounded condition of the offender, Christ's doctrine comes in a friendly way, teaching the real truth about human laws--that of Christian liberty. It is patient, bearing with him who does not immediately abandon his erroneous ways, and giving him time to learn to forsake them. It allows him to do the best he can, according to what he has been used to, until he is made whole and clearly perceives the truth."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 33. Second Sunday in Advent, Romans 15:4-13.

"Now, where Paul's Christian doctrine does not obtain, naturally each individual forgets the beam in his own eye and perceives only the mote in his neighbor's. One will not bear with the faults of the other; each requires perfection of his fellow...These puff themselves up and put on airs. Whoever is not just like them is held in disgrace, in disparagement and contempt. Only themselves are worthy of admiration...They are not aware of the secret satanical pride in the inmost recesses of their hearts, which pride is the very reason they haughtily and meanly despise their neighbors for their imperfections."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 35. Second Sunday in Advent, Romans 15:4-13.

"Now, the Christian hatred of sin discriminates between the vices and the individual. It endeavors to exterminate only the former and to preserve the latter. It does not flee from, evade, reject nor despise anyone: rather it receives every man, takes a warm interest in him and accords him treatment calculated to relieve him of his vices. It admonishes, instructs and prays for him. It patiently bears with him."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 35f. Second Sunday in Advent, Romans 15:4-13.

"Observe, however, what the devil has accomplished through the Papists. It was not enough for them to throw the Bible under the table, to make it so rare that few doctors of the holy Scriptures possessed a copy, much less read it; but lest it be brought to public notice they have branded it with infamy. For they blasphemously say it is obscure; we must follow the interpretations of men and not the pure Scriptures. What else is their proceeding but giving Paul the lie here where he says the Bible is our manual of instruction? They say it is obscure and calculated to mislead."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 41 Second Sunday in Advent, Romans 15:4-13.

"Mark you, the real mission of the Scriptures is to comfort the suffering, distressed and dying. Then he who has had no experience of suffering or death cannot at all understand the comfort of the Bible...It is the province of the Word alone to comfort. It must therefore meet with patience first. It is jealous and will not permit human relief on a level with itself, which would be to frustrate the purpose of patience and suffering."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, VI, p. 44. Second Sunday in Advent, Romans 15:4-13.


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