The Glory Has Departed

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I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The First Sunday in Advent, 2014. Romans 13:11-14

The First Sunday in Advent, 2014

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time

The Hymn #657             Beautiful Savior                                 4:24
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 # 290       We Have A Sure                        4:89

The Night Is Far Spent

The Hymn # 305               Soul Adorn Thyself                           4.23
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 # 463            For All the Saints                                   4:31

KJV Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

KJV Matthew 21:1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, 2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. 3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. 4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. 6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. 8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

First Sunday in Advent - The Collects of Veit Dietrich
Lord God, heavenly Father, we thank Thee, we bless and praise Thee forever, that Thou didst send Thy Son to rule over us poor sinners, who for our transgressions did justly deserve to remain in the bondage of sin and Satan, and didst give us in Him a meek and righteous King, who by His death became our Savior from sin and eternal death: We beseech Thee so to enlighten, govern and direct us by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may ever remain faithful to this righteous King and Savior, and not, after the manner of the world, be offended with His humble form and despised word, but, firmly believing in Him, obtain eternal salvation; through the same, Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

The Night Is Far Spent

KJV Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

This week I thought about the Seminex crisis, how things have changed since that time. For those who do not recall, it was a time when Missouri Synod (and WELS) came to realize that a substantial number of teacher in their groups did not trust in the Word of God but judged and rejected the Scriptures.

No one really denied this was the case. The LCA/ALC leaders favored the liberals in the LCMS, because the LCMS liberals agreed with them that--as Karl Barth taught--the Bible contained God's Word but the Bible was not God's Word.

The LCMS/WELS liberals considered themselves the real Lutherans, but they were just another generation of rationalists, the usual outcome of Pietism from Halle University, modeling exactly what happened at Halle Univeristy, where a Biblical university became rationalistic in one generation.

WELS liberals like Richard Jungkuntz fled to Missouri, where liberals were petted, rewarded, and promoted. Since Jungkuntz (and Gehrke) were liberal teachers at Northwestern College in Watertown (WELS), they had quite a following in WELS, too. Soon they had a following in the LCMS, then in the ALC.

Jack Preus became LCMS president over this issue and he promoted a walk out of the liberals at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. This led to a new denomination forming (AELC) and new seminary (Seminex), with a library of stolen books from Concordia and an agreement to be a gay seminary for the Metropolitan Community (all gay) Church. Jungkuntz chaired the board of that new seminary.

Here is the difference today - the same opposition to the Scriptures and Confessions are still being broadcast at the same seminaries - St. Louis and Ft. Wayne (LCMS); Mequon (WELS); Mankato (ELS); Oh! Claire (CLC sic). But there is no debate, no national discussion, and few  posts or publications that rise above the level of synod worship.

In the 1970s we had years of discussions, national press stories, gigantic meetings in large congregations, firings, newly made liberal saints and martyrs. Seminex was the story of the year when it happened, and people followed the story in the years following. I recall an LCA ministers meeting where the three Seminex exiles were sitting together at a table. The brotherhood had tight bonds.

Conclusion - American Lutherans are so far along the road to apostasy that they do not even discuss the issues anymore, let alone act on them. My peers - the Baby Boomers - would rather ride the ship down into the deep than alarm anyone with the truth, even though they acknowledge it in private.

The night is far spent.  Night has always been symbolic of evil, darkness, and error. We can find it in ancient cultures as well as the New Testament, because darkness was really dark. Nothing much could be done, so those who were active in the night were objects of suspicion - demons, robbers, killers.

Paul's letters and John's Gospel emphasize light as the symbol of truth and life, darkness as the symbol of error and eternal death.

This verse uses night in a hopeful sense - the night is almost over. Dawn approaches. This is not the time to be sleepy and unaware but awake and hopeful. Salvation is near. People were impatient then, too. Jesus was supposed to come sooner, although He cautioned that no one knew the time.

A thousand years is like a day, and a day like a thousand years. We have no concept of God's time, and He is not limited by ours.

12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

Hedonism is the enemy of the Gospel, and we live in an age of hedonism. We are re-establishing all the errors of the Roman Empire in Paul's time. An accurate description of their public entertainments at that time is even more x-rated than our rock concerts of today.

We have rapidly became a culture of leisure and addiction. People dwell upon their favorite intoxicants, so what God intended for the good (such as alcohol) is being abused as an end in itself. With that comes the abuse of legal and illegal painkillers and many new concoctions aimed at only one thing - escape.

The armor of light is the truth of God's Word. That is the only truth, the truth that judges all others. The Word of God is sharper than the sharpest doubled-edges sword, discerning our thoughts and intents.

The contrast between the works of darkness and the armor of light is a clear distinction. One cannot have both. Darkness is the absence of light, and light ends darkness. That is why we say - enlightenment. "Enlighten me." And "I am still in the dark about this."

Even a tiny bit of light begins to dispel darkness, so those who cling to the works of darkness hate the light. They do not say, "I hate the truth and love error." They make up many excuses.

13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering (literally - bed-hopping) and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

These are three kinds of carnal sin, different types that lead to the same end. Those who pursue hedonism, who live for pleasure, develop a hatred for the Word. Or - they began with that hatred. Often their favorite teachers have given them that hatred, which is often cloaked in a false gospel, such as being born forgiven. It is difficult to find a more convenient excuse for doing anything and everything while being extremely sanctimonious about it.

14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

This putting on is related to getting dressed. I am quite sure, based on Galatians that this reference is based on putting on the baptismal gown for Holy Baptism. We also have references to the robe of righteousness and not having the right garment for the wedding feast, implying that one can only enter wearing the righteousness of Christ.

Galatians 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

Ephesians 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

This is an exhortation to wear the robe of Christian baptism, which represents the righteousness of Christ. Faith in Him means resisting and abhorring the works of darkness.