The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
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NT Greek Lessons - Thursdays, 7 PM.

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

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Judica Sunday, The Fifth Sunday in Lent, 2015.
John 8:46-59. Before Abraham Was, I AM



Judica Sunday, The Fifth Sunday in Lent, 2013


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn #12                 This Day                                         4:80  
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 #40            The God of Abram Praise                         4:94 

Before Abraham Was, I AM

The Communion Hymn #305:1-5            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 #410               Jesus Lead Thou On                   4:27

KJV Hebrews 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

KJV John 8:46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. 48 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? 49 Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. 50 And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. 51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. 52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. 53 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? 54 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: 55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. 59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

Prayer
O Lord Jesus Christ, we thank Thee, that of Thine infinite mercy Thou hast instituted this Thy sacrament, in which we eat Thy body and drink Thy blood: Grant us, we beseech Thee, by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not receive this gift unworthily, but that we may confess our sins, remember Thine agony and death, believe the forgiveness of sin, and day by day grow in faith and love, until we obtain eternal salvation through Thee, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.



Before Abraham Was, I AM
KJV John 8:46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

This is the Gospel lesson that unites the seven I AM sermons in John's Gospel.

  • John 6:48 I am that bread of life. KJV
  • John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. KJV
  • John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. KJV
  • John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. KJV
  • John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: KJV
  • John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. KJV
  • John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. KJV


Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.
And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.
Exodus 3 establishes that the Angel of the Lord is God, not just an angel. Lutherans have always stated that the Angel of the Lord is the Son of God before the Incarnation. Not only is Christ taught throughout the Old Testament, He is also there in the Old Testament. Who was the figure in the oven with Daniel? One like a son of man.
Moreover, the Burning Bush has two natures, like Christ. The bush had its natural form but also a fire that did not consume it. 
This is a Gospel lesson that deals with faith and how unbelievers respond to faith in Christ. There is no question about the theme of this passage, no subtle message or sub-text.
John 8:46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. 
When unbelievers hear the Gospel and obstinately refuse to believe the message, they respond by attacking the speaker. One couple was angry with me because I said "In the Name of Christ I forgive you your sins" in the liturgy. And they were Lutheran. They were responding from unbelief and not even listening to the language of the liturgy. They brought it up and they were offended. Who are you to say sins are forgiven? Instead of hearing God's grace in the Gospel, they found sin and error.
John's Gospel is clearer about the immediate opposition of the religious leaders. It is easy to see why. Matthew, Mark, and Luke give us preaching texts and a narrative about many events. John's Gospel shows the three-year ministry of Jesus and offers many additional sermons. Cleansing the Temple was early, and so was the polarization, because Jesus taught faith in Him, righteousness through Him. 
The religious leaders opposed Him because they did not belong to God. They belonged to the devil instead, as Luther wrote in his sermon on this text. This is easily transposed to our times, because many religious leaders are just the same. They reject the Scriptures and the clear truth of the Word of God because they belong to their Father Below and only wish to spend a life of ease with fat bellies and synodical perks.
Do they meet at a trailer park and give the surplus to the needy? No, they spend their winter vacation in a luxury resort in the Caribbean (LCMS and WELS), because after all, it is THEIR money.
If anyone questions them, they are far worse than the Pharisees in their hatred and vindictiveness. Victims should pray to be delivered to the Scribes and Pharisees rather than the synodical leaders. As one layman, "May God have mercy on you, because we won't."
Those are the works of unbelief.


48 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?
The religious leaders answered Jesus with name-calling. This one is a a double. Samaritan is the worst kind of insult. Added to that - you are demon-possessed. The speaker at the Emmaus Conference, Jay Webber, told a pastor not to listen to me because "Jackson has a demon." The pastor ignored the ad hominem attack, studied the Word of God, and saw justification by faith everywhere in it.
Ironically enough, we had a member there, who lives only a few minutes from the momentous Emmaus Conference location. He brought free books and that united or ignited some of the traditional Lutheran elements still around in WELS-LCMS-ELS. One never knows at the time.
An effort can seem to be a complete failure, like the peas and sunflower seeds I planted, but God's Word has a life of its own and carries out His will as He determines. The plants were growing - I did not know it.
Opposition and shunning make us feel that nothing is working, but that is the desired effect wished by unbelievers. But no weapon fashioned by man can harm the Word of God. In addition, as the NIV translates one prophesy in Isaiah, "The betrayers will be betrayed." Romans 1 says almost the same thing.
49 Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. 50 And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. 51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. 
Did Jesus teach everyone was already forgiven and saved (Jon Buchholz) or did He teach faith in Him?
Nothing is more gracious than God promising that forgiveness and salvation come through faith in Jesus.
  1. Faith can vary. A child has perfect faith -  but is unable to explain the non-reciprocity of the Two Natures. (Relax kids - I almost always turn it around. Simply put, the divine nature is not limited by the human nature of Christ. Thus a wall does not keep Him from being in a locked room.)
  2. A professor may explain the non-reciprocity of the two natures and not have faith. It is not book knowledge but trust in the Promises. 
  3. Everyone has doubts at times, as Luther expressed about the Real Presence, and yet we are not condemned for having doubts but directed to the Word.
  4. We cannot be perfect in all respects, yet we still receive perfect forgiveness.

Keep My saying - guard My saying. Trust His Word.
52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. 53 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?
This tirade climaxes with the example of Abraham, who is the exemplar for the Old Testament - that first patriarch. That is also why the entire Bible uses him for justification by faith - Genesis 15, Romans 4, Galatians.
If you want to teach the truth, be prepared to have all kinds of insults screamed at you. The really good ones are whispered in the background, so no one gets credit.
54 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: 55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM.
Jesus taught them clearly - "Long before Abraham ever existed, I AM (God)." If you think this confession is ambiguous, look at the reaction.
59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
The universally hated religion, by unbelievers, is the Christian Faith. Mild and innocuous versions are tolerated a bit. But doctrinal Christianity is condemned all over, within and without. Look at how often Christian sermons teach everything but faith in Christ, from activism of all types to condemnations of obvious sin or newly invented sin, to love of the denomination (or parish) and not love of God in Christ.
Man casts off the easy yoke of justification by faith and puts on the heavy yoke of justification by works. It is one or the other. Those who teach justification without faith are teaching justification by works, no matter how many layers of fleece they wear.