The Glory Has Departed

Lutheran book boxes sent to three African seminaries -
a third one has been sent now.

Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream - Sunday, 10 AM Central Daylight Time.
Wednesdays Romans 1-5 in Greek

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

which works as too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson's Author's Page

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, December 7, 2014

The Second Sunday in Advent, 2014.
Romans 15:4-13

The Second Sunday in Advent. Romans 15:4-13

Romans 4 establishes justification by faith,
with Abraham as the example,
repeated in Galatians.

The Second Sunday in Advent, 2014

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 

Patience and Comfort

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.

Patience and Comfort
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. 

We should realize now, more than ever before, that the ancient writings of the Old Testament were the first Gospel messages and prophecies. The work that brought that to my mind was Lord of the Rings, by Tolkien. By creating a pre-history of England, before the legends of King Arthur, Tolkien offered a model of the Old Testament - which is naturally altogether different in nature.

Long before the Incarnation of Christ, the Holy Spirit revealed the coming of the Messiah, revealing salvation to the Jewish people and to the world. The Hebrew scriptures were rather obscure for most people, since few read that kind of writing. 

But centuries before Christ, and long after King David, the Greek language became the language of commerce (Athens) and then the language favored by the world conqueror - Alexander. Because Alexander took his language and culture across the world, Greek became the international language and the language of culture and commerce.

The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Old Testment, created so the Jews and other people could read the Old Testament. You can observe the same trend today. Jews do not all read Hebrew. Many know very little Hebrew, so learning a little for the coming of age ceremony is a big deal. Some famous adults have enrolled in classes so they can also have their Bar Mitzvah.

So the conquering of Alexander created a universal language, and the New Testament was written in that language. I agree with those who think Jesus normally taught in Greek, because large crowds could all understand Greek, only a percentage Aramaic (a form of Hebrew).

Much has been made of an Aramaic version of this and that, including the Lord's Supper, but there are only the Greek versions - not the imaginary Aramaic ones used to deny the Real Presence.

Paul's one verse tells us why we should immerse ourselves in the Old Testament Gospel, since there is so much of it and since it is all true.

When we recognize the hundreds of prophecies fulfilled in the birth of Christ, it shows us how God plans for our future and provides for our forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life.

Whatever questions and doubts we have - they are answered by the Old Testament. The more we see that, the more we realize how much of a foundation for the New Testament is there in the Old Testament Scriptures.

For example - what did Jesus mean by the Scriptures? All His references are to the Old Testament because there was no New Testament until after His resurrection. Those dates are debated, but I believe they are confined to the First Century, making the New Testament the most historical and precise account of all world religion about its Founder. Nothing else compares. That is so often forgotten or hidden by those who love every religion except their own.

Also - what Scriptures did the apostles preach? They preached the Old Testament plus their eye-witness accounts. The Greek Old Testament was vital to every mission church, and it was a big expense. Mother churches like Ephesus provided them. That was their First Unit.

The apostles and their subordinates preached what the Old Testament taught and showed how that was fulfilled by Jesus in so many astonishing ways. Jews knew those passages but not necessarily their Christian application. They were like those on the Emmaus road. When their eyes were opened to the meaning of the Word, they were filled with joy.

The more learning we have, the more resistant we are to temptations to doubt the wisdom and compassion of God.

Human reason is funny. We can see that more clearly in children at times. I had a paper bag and said to a group of kids, "Inside is something with teeth. Anyone want to reach in?" No, they did not. It was a comb. As soon as they heard teeth, they thought of something biting them. They could not see it, so they were not going to reach in and find out.

Our brains can work overtime to see things the wrong way, to take counsel of our fears, as George Patton said. The wisdom and comfort of the Old Testament replaces our natural, weak tendencies with the Teaching (Torah) of God.

How many Old Testament passages say, "Do not be afraid, for I am your God"?

Isaiah 41:10King James Version (KJV)

10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
Fear is the opposite of faith, so one drives out the other. We cannot manufacture faith, but God's Word does in fact create and sustain faith. 
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. 

Man's universal temptation is to drive others with the law, to flog them into obedience. And it does work to a small extent. Instead, Paul moved people through the Gospel, reminding his congregations of God's mercy and love, urging them to keep that in mind in all that they did together. And that teaches us to govern ourselves the same way. Unity does not come from the lash, but from believing and teaching the same spiritual wisdom from the Word.

There are many people with various perspectives, but only one Word of God. That is why the Word must be the unifying force because it conveys Christ to us. No institution does unless it is faithful to the Word. No individual does that either, unless it is in harmony with the Word of God. Therefore, that is the only possible force for unity that will work in the long run.

We can see that at work in that all who believe in the Scriptures as having a unity of spirit that no one can generate. It is instantly felt. When I speak to strangers in a group, I can see who is in agreement in the congregation (such as at weddings) because of their expressions, no matter where they belong officially. And the same thing is true in conversation. And there can be disagreement about individual things to be worked out over time, if possible, but still a unity of spirit.

That was always used by ecumaniacs, to force an institutional unity in the name of division being a "scandal" in the church. And - we can do more together than apart. Yet the ecumenical dream is fulfilled. All the Lutheran sects are united, with their trotters in the Thrivent trough, and yet they are all falling apart - because they have abandoned the Word of God in favor of universal forgiveness without faith. What a hollow victory!