Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Third Sunday after Trinity. Luke 15:1-10.
Parables of the Lost Sheep and Lost Coin


The Third Sunday after Trinity, 2013


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

                       

The Hymn # 652     I Lay My Sins on Jesus              1.24
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 #436            The Lord’s My Shepherd                   1.33

You Are the Lost Sheep

The Communion Hymn # 190            Christ Is Arisen            1:52
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 # 350     Jesus the Very Thought of Thee   1:53

KJV 1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

KJV Luke 15:1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. 3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. 8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? 9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

Third Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father, we all like sheep have gone astray, having suffered ourselves to be led away from the right path by Satan and our own sinful flesh: We beseech Thee graciously to forgive us all our sins for the sake of Thy Son, Jesus Christ; and quicken our hearts by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may abide in Thy word, and in true repentance and a steadfast faith continue in Thy Church unto the end, and obtain eternal salvation, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end Amen.




You Are the Lost Sheep

KJV Luke 15:1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.

This brief setting shows us how Jesus taught and why. And it is good to remember that these parables are introductions to the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the most elaborate of the three.

KJV Luke 15:11 And he said, A certain man had two sons:

These three parables deal with our unspiritual tendency to welcome those who are outwardly righteous while shunning those who do not belong for one reason or another.

The scribes and Pharisees faulted Jesus for not being like them. He received or welcomed sinners and ate with them, showing to everyone His gracious attitude toward them.

I used to shop at a Lutheran bookstore in Cleveland, long ago, where the two factions of the LCMS ran into each other. They belonged to the same synod and went to the same schools. An owner said to me, “They won’t even speak to each other. I see that all the time.”

This modern version extends to those who failed to shun those who should be shunned. Punishment is applied to those who do not participate and welcome sinners (those who question the synod or have a slightly wrong version of certain things).

There are very few who will admit to being friends of someone on the shun list. And they are frightened that someone will accuse them of that crime.

Jesus addressed this problem with the lesson for today.

3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

Jesus portrays His own attitude toward sinners by making he audience think about their own feelings in the role of shepherd. This not only unites all the Biblical passages about sheep and shepherds, but also emphasizes Jesus as the Good Shepherd.

The first group are those who are in a good and secure position. The Shepherd does not abandon them to the wolves but leaves them in the care of others. Thus the faithful members of the Kingdom of God are fed and watered through the Means of Grace, through worship and spiritual fellowship. In hundreds of ways, believers are guarded and protected by the Word.

The Savior is so anxious for anyone who strays that He looks for and finds the one who has wandered away. When we see one of those lost ones in our own lives, we are not so keen about this approach. However, Jesus is the example of seeking and finding.

Probably each one of us has had the experience of wandering lost. Those who value Lutheran orthodoxy today have had many bad experiences. At our college, Chris and I could look back at recent history and see faithful people at work, honoring the Word of God. I worked in the college library and saw those histories and examples of faculty and students at Augustana College, where my mother also went and received her degree. No one said, “But we changed all that and took the opposite position, pushing out all the conservatives.”

The Augustana Synod segment of the LCA merger did not change rapidly. Only the indications were there. The LCMS battles that developed showed that they were just as mixed up. That meant 95% of the Lutherans were in a state of free-fall in the 1960s and 1970s. All the movement has been downward, among the Lutheran synods, since that time.

When we visited a Pentecostal church for a wedding, we saw all the characteristics that the “conservative” Lutherans are aping, including a big coffee bar just outside the worship area, where they had a stage rather than an altar and chancel area. I lost track of the giant movie screens – at least six in the worship area.

No one even admits that this has happened to the Lutherans. The wolves took over and now scatter and slaughter the flocks. They butcher anyone who dares to oppose them. Thus there will be many sent wandering.

But God has provided for all, since the Word gathers and unites people in receiving His grace. This parable is acted out in our time as well. The Shepherd goes into the wilderness to find the lost.

13. Such should be your bearing toward sinners; inwardly the heart in service, outwardly the tongue in earnest. God requires this of us; and this is what Christ, our Captain, has manifested in himself, as Paul says to the Philippians 2:4-9: “Not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others. Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, yea, the death of the cross.”

14. Christ was filled with all righteousness, and might justly have condemned us all as sinners. But he did not do so. What did he do, then?

He gave himself to be our Servant. His righteousness has served for our sins, his fullness for our feebleness, his life for our death. This we find illustrated, for our example, in the Gospel before us, where he bears himself with such friendliness toward sinners that the Pharisees murmur.

5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.

The Good Shepherd rejoices in finding the sheep and taking on the burden of bringing it back home. When we have been guided down the wrong paths, and fed with bad food and poisoned water, it seems as if God does not care what happens to His work on earth.

Yet these experiences help us realize how great it is to have the real comfort of the Gospel, to make us say, “I cannot wait to read the Galatians commentary of Luther again.”

Apart from those times of trial and pain, we would not have the hunger for God’s Word and the awe we experience in realizing that He is speaking to us directly in His Word.

And it gives us a portrait of us as the lost sheep. We are not dragged home. We are not led home. We are carried on the shoulders of the rejoicing Savior.



43. Thus too, if our confidence is to begin, and we become strengthened and comforted, we must well learn the voice of our Shepherd, and let all other voices go, who only lead us astray, and chase and drive us hither and thither. We must hear and grasp only that article which presents Christ to us in the most friendly and comforting manner possible. So that we can say with all confidence: My Lord ,Jesus Christ is truly the only Shepherd, and I, alas, the lost sheep, which has strayed into the wilderness, and I am anxious and fearful, and would gladly be good, and have a gracious God and peace of conscience, but here I am told that He is as anxious for me as I am for him. I am anxious and in pain about how I shall come to him to secure help, But he is in anxiety and worry and desires nothing else than to bring me again to himself.

Once our little Sheltie decided to run away after being groomed outside. I brought out Sassy and said, “Find Precious.” Sassy bolted in the right direction and found Precious, a fractious little dog, and made it clear – you are found, give up without a struggle. Even when a pet has been naughty or thoughtless, we have tender feelings when we find the animal. I doubt whether feral Shelties exist, since their main skills are affection and yipping at every strange sound.

22. It is thus that you come to God. You are already the sheep placed upon his shoulders. You have found the Shepherd. You are the piece of silver in the hand. You are the one over whom is joy in heaven in the presence of all the angels. We are not to worry, if we do not experience or feel this at once. Sin will daily decrease, and its sting will drive you to seek God. You must struggle against this feeling by faith, and say: “Oh, God! I know thou hast said this, and I lean upon thy Word. I am the sheep and the piece of silver; thou the shepherd and the woman.”

6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

The Pharisees mourn over the situation – He eats with sinners, but the believers rejoice in a lost sheep being brought home, carried on the shoulders of the Savior.
                
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8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?

The abundant grace of God is shown in this second parable of three, so we understand better how God seeks out individuals for His Kingdom.

There are many famous stories of lost objects. They often end, “I searched everywhere and never found it.” My uncle lost a unique plant that could have started a family fortune – no one was allowed to talk about it. One professor found a rare coin but lost it on the trip back home. The losing and the searching are always painfully recalled.

I had a panic loss like that once. They were tickets to Disneyland, and I needed to find them that morning before leaving. And I did clean and go through things and search all over. When I was completely exhausted from worry and looking, I sat down defeated, only to see the tickets sitting on the footstool, within sight of my desk. There was great rejoicing.

This helps us see – we are valuable to God. He moves heaven and earth, literally, to keep us within the fold, to claim us if we are unbelievers.

The works-saints and the holier-than-thou types do not see or feel this, but the open sinners do. They do not have the skills to deny carnal sin. The Gospel teaches them that God rejoices in finding them (or us) and shares that joy with others.

The law condemns but the Gospel gives peace, love, comfort and contentment.

9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

We have all joined in finding that contact lens or book or other object. Even if we do not find it, we share in the happiness of it being found.

65. And now consider, how could he preach still more friendly and comfortingly, or what more should he do to make.: the heart joyful, and awaken a strong confidence in him? Since we see such a Shepherd, we miserable sinners are painted forth by him, who so unwillingly loses his sheep and so anxiously seeks it, and when he has found it carries it with all joy, and spreads forth such joy that all the angels and saints in heaven, yea, and all creatures rejoice and smile over us so friendly, that even the sun must shine much more lovely. For as it is natural that when a man is sorrowful, the sun and everything looks dark to him; and again when the heart is happy, then man appears twice as joyful, and everything looks to him lighter and brighter.

66. Now he who can firmly believe this, shall also receive true consolation and joy in and through Christ the Lord, because he has here the certain promise, that if he cleave thus unto Christ, and permit himself to be carried on his shoulders, that he is a dear guest in the kingdom of heaven, and will be received with great joy.

67. But we have altogether a different feeling in the sorrow and melancholy of the conscience, when the heart cannot think otherwise than that every angel stands behind us with a drawn sword, so that we can have no good cheer either from God or angels, that even some cannot behold any creature with joy, and fear the friendly sun itself, yea, every leaf that stirs.

All which arises from tormenting and consuming themselves with their own thoughts, from which they would gladly disentangle themselves, and labor so much and feel so good that they need not fear; but by this “,-hey only make the evil worse.

68. But if you desire to possess true comfort and joy in your soul, then only learn to impress this lovely picture and word of this Gospel in your heart, that you may seek it where it is to be found, namely, in Christ, and nowhere else. For in this man you will find all things, if you only remain under his protection and lie still upon his shoulders. But whatever joy may be sought outside of him, never enters the heart, even if you took to your aid all creatures, and had in one place the joy and pleasure of the whole world.





         Third Sunday after Trinity Quotations
                                            
"If the question is put, 'Why did God ordain so many means of grace when one suffices to confer upon the sinner His grace and forgiveness?' we quote the reply of Luther who writes (Smalcald Articles, IV:  'The Gospel not merely in one way gives us counsel and aid against sin, for God is superabundantly rich in His grace.  First through the spoken Word, by which the forgiveness of sins is preached in the whole world, which is the peculiar office of the Gospel. Secondly through Baptism.  Thirdly through the holy Sacrament of the Altar. Fourthly through the power of the keys and also through the mutual conversation and consolation of brethren, Matthew 18:20.'"        
          John Theodore Mueller, Christian Dogmatics, A Handbook of Doctrinal Theology, 1934, p. 447. SA, IV, Concordia Triglotta, p. 491. Matthew 18:20.        

"We further believe that in this Christian Church we have forgiveness of sin, which is wrought through the holy Sacraments and Absolution, moreover, through all manner of consolatory promises of the entire Gospel.  Therefore, whatever is to be preached, concerning the Sacraments belongs here, and in short, the whole Gospel and all the offices of Christianity, which also must be preached and taught without ceasing.  For although the grace of God is secured through Christ, and sanctification is wrought by the Holy Ghost through the Word of God in the unity of the Christian Church, yet on account of our flesh which we bear about with us we are never without sin."
          The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #54, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 693. Tappert, p. 417.          

"The second argument is that 'God desires all men to be saved' (1 Timothy 2:4), and He gave His Son for us men and created man for eternal life. Likewise:  All things exist for man, and he himself exists for God that he may enjoy Him, etc.  These points and others like them can be refuted as easily as the first one.  For these verses must always be understood as pertaining to the elect only, as the apostle says in 2 Timothy 2:10 'everything for the sake of the elect.'  For in an absolute sense Christ did not die for all, because He says: 'This is My blood which is poured out for you' and 'for many'‑‑He does not say:  for all‑‑'for the forgiveness of sins.' (Mark 14:24; Matthew 26:28)
          Martin Luther, Luther's Works, 25  p. 375.  

"No more splendid work exists than receiving and hearing the Word of God." 
          What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I,  p. 302. Luke 10:38.  




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