Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Fifth Sunday after Trinity. Luke 5:1-11. The Miraculous Catch of Fish



The Fifth Sunday after Trinity, 2013

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/bethany-lutheran-worship

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn #  375 If Thy Beloved Son 3.41
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  
The Gospel            
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 132 O God of God, 3.55
God Cares for Us
The Communion Hymn #307 Draw Nigh 3.72
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 #  50 Lord Dismiss Us (Reuter) 3.34

KJV 1 Peter 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: 9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. 10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: 11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. 13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? 14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

KJV Luke 5:1 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. 3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. 4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. 6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. 7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: 10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. 11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.

Fifth Sunday After Trinity
O Jesus Christ, Thou Son of the living God, who hast given us Thy holy word, and hast bountifully provided for all our temporal wants, we confess that we are unworthy of all these mercies, and that we have rather deserved punishment: But we beseech Thee, forgive us our sins, and prosper and bless us in our several callings, that by Thy strength we may be sustained and defended, now and forever, and so praise and glorify Thee eternally, Thou who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.



God Cares for Us
KJV Luke 5:1 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the Word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,

We should always recognize, when we feel glum about the progress of the Gospel, that there are those who hunger to hear the Word of God. This probably developed in several ways in this region. One was the effect of John the Baptist, who urged his followers to repent and believe in the Kingdom of God. Moreover, he predicted the coming of the Messiah and baptized Him.

In addition, the fame of Jesus spread quickly as people heard Him, traveled along the roadways, and exchanged news. There was no one like Him in teaching and performing miracles.  One impacted the ears and the heart. The other impressed the eyes. People felt His power as He spoke and they saw His power in the miracles.

So many wanted to hear Jesus that He took advantage of the surroundings that He created through the Word. The rising land around the lake meant He had natural bleachers, and the water helped reflect His voice to the large group.

2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. 3 And He entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And He sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.

Here we see that Jesus’ first activity was to preach the Word to the people who hungered for it.  Rabbis sat down to teach, and this is also reflected in the Medieval tradition of the cathedral. The word cathedral means the bishop has his seat at that church, and the bishop traditionally taught from that seat. Now we think in terms of standing to speak, but it was the opposite in the New Testament.

4 Now when He had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.

From the Word of God comes faith. That is the work of the Holy Spirit through the Word. We can see how powerful that was, because Peter was convinced of the power of Jesus from the power of the Word He taught. There are many profound differences between believers and those without faith. One is that trust in God leads to many different approaches to life. Next, Peter first speaks as a rationalist, then as a believer overcoming his rationalism.

5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at Thy Word I will let down the net.

An experienced fisherman is going to be exasperated by the thought of fishing where none were to be found. Peter expressed this, but corrected himself by saying,

At Your Word I will let down the net.

There is all the difference between knowing that no fish are there to be found and going out in trust to catch them. The answer of human reason and experience allows for no work of God to take place. The answer of faith says, “You have commanded, so that is why I trust in the results.”

Acting upon faith in God means doing what the world scorns and ridicules. The strange situation we have today is people expressing some faith but allowing the unbelievers to determine their actions. This comes from fear, and fear is the opposite of faith.

As Luther preached, this lesson teaches us that God will take care of our earthly needs.

Luther:
1. This Gospel brings before us two parts, in which it exhorts to faith and strengthens faith. In the first part it shows that Christ cares for those who believe in him, so that they are abundantly supplied against temporal and bodily needs. In the second part it shows that he will help them still more against spiritual needs, thus in reality proving the truth of what St. Paul says in 1 Timothy 4:8: “Godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come.” The Scriptures are everywhere full of these two kinds of promises.

The temporal needs are the minor part, which we make the major. We always reverse the importance of needs, or at least God has reversed their importance. The first is our spiritual needs, which He supplies in great abundance through the Means of Grace. Secondarily, He provides for us, and even for unbelievers, but unbelievers have a hard time with their lack of thankfulness and other outcomes of unfaith.

6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. 7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.

This picture is quite dramatic, because those boats were designed especially for stability in the water in handling large catches of fish. But in this case, the boats were swamped and sinking, the nets starting to break.

We can imagine the fishermen and their partners rejoicing at the enormous catch, perhaps rehearsing how they would tell their families. Most of the earth has lived near the ocean or lakes – and they still do. Transportation and food are great benefits from the water. God even designed the oceans so the greatest amount of food would be along the coasts, so men could fish in relative safety for healthy food.
What is the cure-all today?  - “The only supplement that works”? Fish oil.

God seems to hold back for a time, often too long for us, then shows us such abundance that we know it could not have come from our own designs. But Jesus made Peter a believer through the Word and his new faith overcame his obvious doubts.

In casting his net he gave up his own ideas, even his honor in being a fisherman, in feeding his family.  He threw away self-esteem because of faith in God.

Sermons do that. I wonder that so little emphasis is placed upon the sermon today. Synods encourage plagiarism and copying from each other. They think the true measure of a minister is getting material results while cheating the congregation out of a sincere, faithful sermon derived from study of the Word.

Luther’s primary emphasis was preaching, so he referred to the ministry as predigtamt – the preaching service. Not sales, not marketing, but preaching the Gospel.

Herman Melville, the free-thinker, had a higher view of the sermon than all the Lutheran leaders of today.

“The pulpit is ever this earth’s foremost part; all the rest comes in its rear; the pulpit leads the world. From thence it is the storm of God’s quick wrath is first descried, and the bow must bear the earliest brunt. From thence it is the God of breezes fair or foul is first invoked for favorable winds. Yes, the world’s a ship on its passage out, and not a voyage complete; and the pulpit is its prow.”

Jesus must have agreed, because most of His work was preaching, and He never doubted the effectiveness of the Word, that Word, which stilled the storm, changed water into wine, healed the sick, and raised the dead.

The purpose of every sermon is to convict the listeners of unbelief, because our faith is like the heat of a branding iron. It glows but loses its energy without more being supplied by the Word itself.

People rush to energize their cell phones – it’s the main thing in storm recovery shelters – but many do not energize their faith in the Gospel. If someone is fraudulently passing off copied sermons as his own, he is cutting the energy supply by saying, “I do not trust that my own sermon will do any good, so I will rely on someone else to do this for me.”

This utter lack of faith is found at all levels.

If we do not lie down with ELCA on the bed of sodomy, abortion, and pagan worship, we cannot get our precious Thrivent insurance grants.

If we do not lie to everyone about “estate planning seminars” being sales meetings to sell Thrivent insurance and annuities, we will never have enough money.

If we deal with the abuse of our members and apologize, we will have to pay millions in damages.

If we trust in the liturgy, creed, hymns, and sermons, we will cease to exist in a few years.

If I give a good, faithful sermon, members will hate me and punish me, even drive me away – and I don’t mean with a chauffeur.

If we don’t have a handsome, charming salesman as a pastor, we will not do well as a church.

If we do not tell God what we want Him to do for our church, we will fail – or just get along.

If we do not get govern-mint funds for our church and school, we will not survive.

Part One – Godliness with Contentment

God’s Word teaches that godliness with contentment is the best

Luther:
1. This Gospel brings before us two parts, in which it exhorts to faith and strengthens faith. In the first part it shows that Christ cares for those who believe in him, so that they are abundantly supplied against temporal and bodily needs. In the second part it shows that he will help them still more against spiritual needs, thus in reality proving the truth of what St. Paul says in 1 Timothy 4:8: “Godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come.” The Scriptures are everywhere full of these two kinds of promises.

Believers are content with what they have, but unbelievers measure their individual worth by their material gain. Those who furiously gather their money together, in greed, deception, and fraud can become very rich. But what they grab from others is often grabbed back just as quickly.

Not being content leads to coveting what others have, and coveting is the root of all sin against others. People covet homes, spouses, money, honors, and even calls to another congregation. But coveting is never satisfied, so covetous person becomes even more restless. The Second Table is violated through coveting.

Even though someone is outwardly law-abiding, evil desires lead to all kinds of subtle sins that harden the heart.

For instance, there are unwritten rules for becoming a district or synod president. Or a seminary professor. If those jobs called for a loss  in pay and a dingy clapboard house to live in, no one would seek the office - and it would be forced upon the worthy. But covetous people campaign by what they do, what they say, and how they eliminate rivals.

The mortgage bubble was caused by criminal greed and deception. The mortgage brokers had “arts and crafts” days where they Photoshopped tax returns and income statements to make a mortgage go through the channels. Innocent people thought they were buying mortgage based, interest earning packages, when they were buying worthless securities that crashed with the worthless mortgages invented by crooked brokers. And everyone knew it was happening. Canada did not do that, and Canada did not have a bubble.

But this lesson teaches us that we can be without for a stretch of time, as if God has forgotten us, when we have labored in vain. And yet the miraculous draft takes place – and we know its origin is divine.

This is what congregations need to know and apply, encouraging their pastors and being encouraged in return. It does not matter if a man is in a forgotten place serving only a few people. For those people, he is the person who administers the Means of Grace. For that one individual who is especially blessed, that is everything.



A cursory look at the headquarter cities of the denominations will show that those area ministers have the biggest congregations (or plums that turned into prunes) and the worst apostasy. Those ministers near the headquarters are most likely to move into the positions they desire, while the boondocks do not provide the same visibility.

Is it better to showcase apostasy and labor in vain, while gathering the honors and material benefits, or to bring grace to people through God’s Instruments of Grace, the Word and Sacraments? In the short time we have, the Word is a better measure of success than the dollar.

Many ministers are unbelievers. Some shout it from the rooftops. Others are winding their way toward atheism. Coveting means that the greatest honors are never quite enough.

Luther:

9. Hereby Christ would have Christians aroused and strengthened in faith, and protected against unbelief with its harmful fruits, such fruits, especially, as covetousness, and anxious cares for the body and the present life. These cling to man by nature like an inborn plague which, together with the lusts of unbelief, moves and rages against the Spirit, as St. Paul teaches in Galatians 5:17. Moreover, the devil seeks to hinder faith by his temptations and suggestions to mistrust and doubt God. This, too, the world does by its hatred, envy and persecution of the righteous, whose goods and honor and life it is after, and whom it would use as mats for its feet. On the other hand (I say), we here perceive both the power and advantage of the faith which holds fast to Christ’s Word and ventures thereon, as Peter does, saying: “Although we have toiled all night and taken nothing, yet at thy word I will let down the nets.” It is this faith that so enlarges the draught of fishes as to fill the two boats; for without this the nets would not have been let down, nor would any fish have been caught.

The covetous say to the ordinary pastor, “You are nothing. Look at your little church. No one pays attention to you.” But in faith the draft is increased, as only God knows. If the faithful minister or congregation says, “We have seen the benefits of the Word,” the scoffing only increases. “Look at my trips to the Holy Land. Look at my priceless collections. Look at my honorary D.D.”

That is the danger of handling the Word, for unbelievers become even more hardened against it and blinded by its power. One atheist used to get on local TV just to make fun of passages of the Bible and make faces about those verses he could not comprehend. He went to great trouble to make a fool of himself, and he thought he was being profound, wise, and timely. Doubtless his friends clapped him on the back at parties. We see many celebrities who do the same, rejoicing in their ability to insult conservatives, patriots, and believers.

8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: 10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. 11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.

Peter realized from the miracle that Jesus was not an ordinary teacher, not even the best teacher of all, but unique in His divine power. If that had been the end of it, even then a great miracle had taken place. But Jesus used that miracle to point Peter toward great miracles – becoming a fisher of men – and greater glory mixed with bearing the cross.


Luther:
49. Now, see how kindly Christ comforts the terrified heart and conscience. He says: “Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.” In tones so truly loving does the Savior speak to all who are in fear and terror by reason of their sins. He will not have them to remain any longer in fear and anguish. He takes away from them all the dread of the Law, and shows them that they should not, on account of their sins, flee from him but to him, so that they may learn to know him as the loving Savior who has come into this world, not to reject poor sinners, but to allure them to himself, and to enrich and bless them with his comfort and help. He therefore says, in Luke 19:10: “The Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.” And in 1 Timothy 1:15 St. Paul says: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”

The baby believer says, “I trust in Christ, so why do I get so much animosity and hurt from it.”

Luther was unusual in pointing out the cross as God’s plan for all believers. The cross is not bad but good.

The baby believer says, “God would have more friends if He treated them better.”

Peter and Paul had great clashes with the world, even with each other, but all those conflicts were part of moving the Gospel into the entire world. Their suffering was nothing compared to the glory awaiting them.

It seems so strange that Lutherans are most united in their rejection of justification by faith. In that reject, the leaders of ELCA, Missouri, WELS, the ELS, and the micro-mini sects agree. Their agreement is so powerful that they are one in diabolical spirit in landing on anyone who teaches justification by faith or who criticizes Universal Objective Justification (global forgiveness without faith).

Although they are gleeful in their hatred of justification by faith, this opposition and turmoil wakes up the spiritually inert and warns the apathetic that something terrible has happened to the teaching of the Gospel. So this apparent cross is an actual blessing to many who would never have known without the hatred, shunning, slander, and abuse.

Sometimes we have to work backwards. The founder of the Missouri Synod was a sex cult leader whose followers (like CFW Walther) ignored the constant adultery of Bishop Martin Stephan. From that, we can judge that these clergy were not believers. As Walther himself admitted in Law and Gospel – the unbelief precedes the adultery.

But even those historical truths are met with hideous laughter or deadly silence.

As one reader has observed, “It is not for us to judge the results of what we do in the last days, but to do our part in teaching the truth, no matter what.”

"The Son of God Goes Forth to War"
by Reginald Heber, 1783-1826)

1. The Son of God goes forth to war
A kingly crown to gain.
His blood-red banner streams afar;
Who follows in His train?
Who best can drink His cup of woe,
Triumphant over pain,
Who patient bears his cross below--
He follows in His train.

2. The martyr first whose eagle eye
Could pierce beyond the grave,
Who saw His Master in the sky
And called on Him to save.
Like Him, with pardon on His tongue,
In midst of mortal pain,
He prayed for them that did the wrong--
Who follows in his train?

3. A glorious band, the chosen few,
On whom the Spirit came,
Twelve valiant saints; their hope they knew
And mocked the cross and flame.
They met the tyrant's brandished steel,
The lion's gory mane;
They bowed their necks the death to feel--
Who follows in their train?

4. A noble army, men and boys,
The matron and the maid,
Around the Savior's throne rejoice,
In robes of light arrayed.
They climbed the steep ascent of heav'n
Thro' peril, toil, and pain.
O God, to us may grace be giv'n
To follow in their train!

Hymn #452
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: 1 Timothy 6:12
Author: Reginald Heber, 1827
Composer: Henry S. Cutler, 1872
Tune: "All Saints New"



CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS

"There are eight sins which militate against faith: 1. Epicurean and Academic doubts about God, His providence and the certainty of the doctrine handed down through Christ and the Apostles. 2. A lack of faith toward God. 3. In regard to the forgiveness of sins, to entertain doubts as to whether we are in the grace of God or if we please God. 4. Despair. 5. Stubbornness of presumption. 6. Confidence in human aids. 7. Superstition. 8. Witchcraft."
            David Chytraeus, A Summary of the Christian Faith (1568),  Decatur:  Repristination Press, 1994. p. 65f.

"The sins which militate against the Third Commandment are the profanation of the Sabbath through neglect and contempt of the ministry, through Judaic and superstitious observance of the Sabbath, or through a shifting of the ministry into the kingdom of this world. The faithfulness of those who teach is the virtue by which the ministers of the Church, aware of their modest skill in Christian doctrine, carefully and zealousy discharge and steadfastly protect all the duties of the faithful dispenser of the mysteries of God in teaching, debating, comforting and setting their hearers an example of true devotion and of all the virtues. The other extreme are faithlessness, heedless teaching or negligence in office, or deserting the ministry because of excessive anxiety or concern over one's own weakness."
             Chytraeus, A Summary of the Christian Faith,    p. 71f. Chytraeus helped with the Formula and Book of Concord.

"The purest and best part of the human race, the special nursery and flower of God's Church, is tender youth. Youth retains the gift of the Holy Spirit which it received in Baptism; it learns eagerly the true doctrine about God and our Redeemer, Jesus Christ; it calls Him God with a chaste mind and with a simple, pure faith; it thanks Him with a quick and joyful heart for the blessings received from Him; in its studies and the other parts of life, it carries out the duties commanded it; and it obeys God and parents reverently. Particularly God-pleasing, therefore, are the studies of one's earliest age: prayer, obedience and praises which honor God, regardless of how weak and stammering its voice may be."
            Chytraeus, A Summary of the Christian Faith,    p. 9.

"In this Gospel we see how God distinguishes Christians from heathen. For the Lord does not deliver these teachings to the heathen, for they could not receive them, but to His Christians...Satan also hears the Gospel and the Word of God, yea, he knows it far better than we do, and he could preach it as well as we, if he only wanted to; but the Gospel is a doctrine that should become a living power and be put into practice; it should strengthen and comfort people, and make them courageous and aggressive."
            Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids:  Baker Book House, 1983, V,  p. 103f.

False Doctrine – Relying on Cleverness
"Thesis Seven:  Sound Apologetics Can Make Sound Doctrine Sound Good...Logic never converted anyone; but Christianity is logically defensible, once one makes reason ministerial to God and His Word...Read C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer and Josh McDowell for practical apologetic tools.  In fact, lend your copy to the prospect whose intelligence and education have become his curse. Once you've read Josh McDowell's 'Lord, Liar, or Lunatic' argument for the deity of Christ, you'll find yourself using it."
                        Rev. Paul Kelm, "How to Make Sound Doctrine Sound Good to Mission Prospects," p. 14.




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