The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
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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
Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson's Author's Page

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Laetare Sunday, The Fourth Sunday in Lent, 2015.



Laetare Sunday, The Fourth Sunday in Lent, 2015

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn # 151 Christ the Life 2:78
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 #429 Lord Thee I Love 2:54 

Do You Hear the Law?

The Communion Hymn #508 Thou Whose 2:72
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 # 45 Now the Hour 2:95

KJV Galatians 4:21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

KJV John 6:1 After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. 2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. 3 And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. 4 And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. 5 When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? 6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. 8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him, 9 There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? 10 And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. 12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. 13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. 14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. 15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.



Fourth Sunday In Lent
Lord God, heavenly Father, who by Thy Son didst feed five thousand men in the desert with five loaves and two fishes: We beseech Thee to abide graciously also with us in the fullness of Thy blessing. Preserve us from avarice and the cares of this life, that we may seek first Thy kingdom and Thy righteousness, and in all things perceive Thy fatherly goodness, through Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God world without end. Amen.


Do You Hear the Law?

KJV Galatians 4:21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 

The Epistles to the Galatians has one important message, so clear and distinct that Luther chose Galatians as his final statement on justification by faith. The Book of Concord, in making its confession about justification by faith, commended this work of Luther's for further study.

Paul is an expert at allegories. They are dangerous things. Unless a person has a thorough knowledge of Christian doctrine he had better leave allegories alone. The allegory which Paul is about to bring is taken from the Book of Genesis which he calls the Law. True, that book contains no mention of the Law. Paul simply follows the custom of the Jews who included the first book of Moses in the collective term, "Law." Jesus even included the

Martin Luther. Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians (Kindle Locations 2458-2462). 

This is a good warning, because people invent allegories and say, "This explains justification," but it is their allegory not the Holy Spirit's. One will say - "You think you are locked in prison but you are not. The cell was never locked. UOJ!" But where is this nonsense in the Bible? Nowhere. 

An allegory from man is still man's. If one claims to teach the Word, it must be God's Word and not man's word.

22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24 Which things are an allegory: 

This is Paul's allegory by the Holy Spirit, and it is based upon the Genesis account. Abraham is the central figure in justification by faith here and in Romans 4.

In Romans 4, the emphasis is upon Abraham's justification by faith, which applies to us also - if we believe in God who raised Him from the dead - the unquoted verse when they say "UOJ! Romans 4:25!" This proves that UOJ Stormtroopers are liars, because they have the verse in front of them and reverse its mean, saying that "raised for our justification" means justification without faith.

But in Galatians 4, the same doctrine is explained in a different context, since the Jewish people claimed the Kingdom because of their descent from Abraham. But there was a son born of the flesh, Ishmael, and and another born of the Promise, Isaac. 

In the ninth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans St. Paul advances the same argument which he amplifies into an allegory in writing to the Galatians. There he argues that all the children of Abraham are not the children of God. For Abraham had two kinds of children, children born of the promise , like Isaac , and other children born without the promise, as Ishmael. With this argument Paul squelched the proud Jews who gloried that they were the children of God because they were the seed and the children of Abraham . Paul makes it clear enough that it takes more than an Abrahamic pedigree to be a child of God. To be a child of God requires faith in God.

Martin Luther. Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians (Kindle Locations 2472-2476). 

Paul's entire argument is based upon the Scriptural doctrine of faith versus works, Gospel versus Law. One is either forgiven and save through faith or because of good works done to please God. Therefore, one is forgiven and saved through the Gospel or because of obedience to the Law.

Many praise grace, but they deny faith. The mainline denominations got this from Pietism as it turned into rancid rationalism. The initial Pietistic version of justification was ultimately named Objective Justification and Subjective Justification. Everyone in the world was justified and saved (like Calvinism) but only some were justified and saved (like Calvinism again) because they believed they were already forgiven and saved before they were born (Calvinism).

But at Halle University, the citadel of Pietism, this formula was shortened by the pivotal liberal theologian for the new age - Schleiermacher - who dropped the part about faith. Thus all mainline denominations teach universalism, which is from Halle University and Schleiermacher and UOJ. In fact, Hoenecke's mentor at Halle University was also a Universalism and bragged about it.

This Universalism is taught as the ultimate example of God's grace. He is so kind that He does not care if you never believed in His Son, or if you worship 100 gods, or if you think your divine mission is to murder others. Thus ELCA celebrates pagan rituals with pagans in the midst of so-called Christian ordinations and installations. The mainline denominations cannot have a big celebration until they invite pagan priests to join them, perhaps hoping one of the world religions has it right.

for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

Ishmael was born so that Abraham would have an heir, but that was a human arrangement and not through marriage. Abraham was the natural father, and Ishmael his son. When God promised Abraham and Sarah a son of their own, that was a son of Promise, and God's Promises and Blessings are always called Gospel. 

All of God's promises are true, as are His blessings. Abraham believed God, and it was counted (reckoned) as righteousness, forgiveness of sin. This cannot be any clearer. 

True, Paul does call Sarah Jerusalem. But he has the spiritual and heavenly Jerusalem in mind, not the earthly Jerusalem. Sarah represents that spiritual Jerusalem where there is no Law but only the promise, and where the inhabitants are free. To show that the Law has been quite abolished, the earthly Jerusalem was completely destroyed with all her ornaments, temples, and ceremonies. 

Martin Luther. Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians (Kindle Locations 2494-2497). 

Paul's arguments and Luther's commentary are good for all time, and we can see them illustrated today. In the LCMS, some claim the true pastors are from St. Louis, while others claim Ft. Wayne. They do not emphasize faith but their mother seminaries (appropriate to mention on mothering day, a Sunday where English Anglicans go back to their home church and recognize that congregation as their mother). 

WELS pastors claim that the only real WELS pastors are from the State of Wisconsin. Of course they need a Mequon graduation certificate and they must have gone to Northwestern College and Northwestern Prep in the old days. Those who did not attend NW Prep were kept out of all teaching and DP positions - almost like a miracle. And they do not talk about faith in Christ but the glories of not believing in Christ. That is the topic for the upcoming Emmaus Conference.

In the LCA, which was shockeningly conservative compared to today's ELCA, I was condemned for emphasizing faith in Christ. The favorite term was "Fundamentalist" which is actually a movement from Calvinism. In WELS I was condemned by Valleskey (behind my back) as a "legalist" for rejecting his precious UOJ. Others joined him because I did not bow to all the unwritten laws of the coven of priests in WELS. Is any other sect so completely obsessed with obedience to man's laws and traditions as they are? That even includes who sits with whom during chapel services.

When ELCA went "Anything Goes" long before the Fox Valley WELS Circuit, they imposed a burden of law upon everyone. All must approve of gay ordination or be kicked out of the ministry and (laity) out of the congregation. All must approve of abortions or face the same penalties. All must honor the new language code and not offend the easily offended or the law will come down on them like the Great Pyramid landing from outer space.

In the name of the Gospel, Paul asked, do you really want to return to the Law? That return is often far more onerous than Mosaic law, because it becomes more abusive and volatile with time. 

27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 

Faith has many more children than the Law does. The Law cannot bear good fruit, but only corrupt and rotten fruit. How many wait for the thistle harvest? How many want to gather ragweed seed, calling it a grain (and it is, but a poor one)?

Although the Law has many children, they are not free. They are slaves. As servants they cannot have a share in the inheritance, but are driven from the house as Ishmael was cast out of the house of Abraham. In fact the servants of the Law are even now barred from the kingdom of light and liberty , for "he that believeth not, is condemned already." (John 3: 18 .) As the servants of the Law they remain under the curse of the Law, under sin and death, under the power of the devil, and under the wrath and judgment of God. 

On the other hand , Sarah, the free Church, seems barren. The Gospel of the Cross which the Church proclaims does not have the appeal that the Law has for men, and therefore it does not find many adherents. The Church does not look prosperous. Unbelievers have always predicted the death of the Church. The Jews were quite certain that the Church would not long endure. They said to Paul: "As concerning this sect, we know that everywhere it is spoken against." (Acts 28: 22.) No matter how barren and forsaken, how weak and desolate the Church may seem, she alone is really fruitful before God. By the Gospel she procreates an infinite number of children that are free heirs of everlasting life. 

The Law, "the old husband," is really dead. But not all people know it, or want to know it. They labor and bear the burden and the heat of the day , and bring forth many children, children that are bastards like themselves, children born to be put out of the house like Ishmael to perish forever. Accursed be that doctrine, life, and religion which endeavors to obtain righteousness before God by the Law and its creeds.

Martin Luther. Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians (Kindle Locations 2513-2521). 

Isaiah calls the Church barren because her children are born without effort by the Word of faith through the Spirit of God. It is a matter of birth, not of exertion. The believer too works, but not in an effort to become a son and an heir of God. He is that before he goes to work. He is born a son and an heir. He works for the glory of God and the welfare of his fellowmen.

Martin Luther. Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians (Kindle Locations 2538-2540). 

Right now the Olde Synodical Conference wants to establish the Works as their basis for unity, because there are only two alternatives - Faith or Works. If they do not teach faith in Christ, they teach works. They offer Law and call it Gospel, but it is not.

Moses has a lot of children, this way, with the teaching of the Law. But that is nothing compared to the productivity of faith, which is God's will.

29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.

This is a cheering thought. We who are born of the Gospel, and live in Christ, and rejoice in our inheritance , have Ishmael for our enemy. The children of the Law will always persecute the children of the Gospel. This is our daily experience . Our opponents tell us that everything was at peace before the Gospel was revived by us . Since then the whole world has been upset. People blame us and the Gospel for everything, for the disobedience of subjects to their rulers, for wars, plagues, and famines, for revolutions, and every other evil that can be imagined. No wonder our opponents think they are doing God a favor by hating and persecuting us. Ishmael will persecute Isaac. 

We invite our opponents to tell us what good things attended the preaching of the Gospel by the apostles. Did not the destruction of Jerusalem follow on the heels of the Gospel? And how about the overthrow of the Roman Empire? Did not the whole world seethe with unrest as the Gospel was preached in the whole world? We do not say that the Gospel instigated these upheavals. The iniquity of man did it. 

Our opponents blame our doctrine for the present turmoil. But ours is a doctrine of grace and peace. It does not stir up trouble. Trouble starts when the people, the nations and their rulers of the earth rage and take counsel together against the Lord, and against His anointed. (Psalm 2.) But all their counsels shall be brought to naught. "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision." (Psalm 2: 4 .) Let them cry out against us as much as they like. We know that they are the cause of all their own troubles. 

As long as we preach Christ and confess Him to be our Savior, we must be content to be called vicious trouble makers. "These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar," so said the Jews of Paul and Silas. (Acts 17: 6, 7.) Of Paul they said: "We have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes." The Gentiles uttered similar complaints: "These men do exceedingly trouble our city." 

This man Luther is also accused of being a pestilent fellow who troubles the papacy and the Roman empire. If I would keep silent, all would be well, and the Pope would no more persecute me. The moment I open my mouth the Pope begins to fume and to rage. It seems we must choose between Christ and the Pope. Let the Pope perish. 

Christ foresaw the reaction of the world to the Gospel. He said: "I am come to send fire on the earth, and what will I, if it be already kindled? " (Luke 12: 49.) 

Do not take the statement of our opponents seriously, that no good can come of the preaching of the Gospel. What do they know? They would not recognize the fruits of the Gospel if they saw them. 

At any rate, our opponents cannot accuse us of adultery, murder, theft, and such crimes. The worst they can say about us is that we have the Gospel. What is wrong with the Gospel? We teach that Christ, the Son of God, has redeemed us from sin and everlasting death. This is not our doctrine. It belongs to Christ. If there is anything wrong with it, it is not our fault. If they want to condemn Christ for being our Savior and Redeemer, that is their lookout. We are mere onlookers, watching to see who will win the victory, Christ or His opponents. 

On one occasion Jesus remarked: "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own, but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." (John 15: 19.) In other words: "I am the cause of all your troubles. I am the one for whose sake you are killed. If you did not confess my name, the world would not hate you. The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you." 

Christ takes all the blame. He says: "You have not incurred the hatred and persecutions of the world. I have. But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."

Martin Luther. Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians (Kindle Locations 2552-2564). 

Some people are alarmed that the Synodical Conference leaders persecute the Gospel so viciously. Something must be wrong, because they are supposed to favor the Gospel and persecute false doctrine. But their fanaticism against faith is proof they are not Children of the Promise but Servants of Satan. They will travel anywhere, even to Seattle, to squash and silence the Gospel.

The more clownish their behavior and hatreds, the more they spread the true Gospel, because they awaken the believers to their error. The Spirit in the Word prunes the believers to make them more productive. It is known that the best hymns and confessions of faith come from doctrinal crises and persecutions - not from grants from the Salmonella Foundation.

The wealthy adulterers obtain spiritual fruit from their princely gifts. They sponsor the Torquemadas who want everyone to feel their axe, and they ends up separating the good from the bad, as all doctrinal controversies must.

This battle will go one, and no one dares take a compromising position. The end result of compromise is apathy and then apostasy.