The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

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Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Oculi, The Third Sunday in Lent, 2015. Luke 11:14-28



Oculi, The Third Sunday in Lent, 2015

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson



Mid-Week Lenten Services are Wednesdays at 7 PM.

The Hymn #175 Hamburg                          2.43
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             Ephesians 5:1-9
The Gospel                                 Luke 11:14-28
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #172:1-5            Herzlich tut mir 2.55

Devils versus Believers

The Hymn #172:6-10            Herzlich tut mir 2.55
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 #151   Christ the Life                       2:78

KJV Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

KJV Luke 11:14 And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered. 15 But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils. 16 And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven. 17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth. 18 If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub. 19 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges. 20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

21 When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: 22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.

23 He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. 24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. 25 And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. 26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

27 And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. 28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.




Third Sunday in Lent

Lord God, heavenly Father, who hast sent Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to take upon Himself our flesh, that He might overcome the devil, and defend us poor sinners against the adversary: We give thanks unto Thee for Thy merciful help, and we beseech Thee to attend us with Thy grace in all temptations, to preserve us from carnal security, and by Thy Holy Spirit to keep us in Thy word and Thy fear, that unto the end we may be delivered from the enemy, and 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.



Devils versus Believers

KJV Luke 11:14 And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered. 15 But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils. 

Here are two opposing reactions to a miracle performed by Jesus. The believers marveled at what Jesus accomplished. But in contrast, the unbelievers were offended and offered an accusation to besmirch the miracle - His power comes from Satan, aka Beelzebub, the Lord of the Flies.

This reaction can be found in many different situations. When people react hatefully to sound doctrine and to good things happening through the Christian Faith, that is an obvious litmus test.

I used to wonder why people were so hateful about good things, but this text illustrates the two reactions. So - rather than be startled, we should be discerning, testing the spirits.

16 And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven. 

Tempting God is another form of mockery. For instance, there are many who smirk about Christians having serious diseases or other mishaps. The attitude is, "If God loved you, He would spare you." It is a way of testing God, to suggest how God should act. But if God ran the world the way man does, we would have nothing and be eating roots and berries among the flaming ruins. In fact, we seem to be aiming that way, judging from world events.

Those with a superficial faith, not a sincere faith, will demand signs and wonders. They demand that God do certain things on their own schedule - and pray with their demands - rather than praying for faithfulness and for spiritual wisdom. Needless to say, they are like the seed that fell on rocky ground, grew up fast, and withered with the first scorching rays of the sun.

17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth. 18 If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub. 

Jesus divinely knew what they were thinking, so he used their logic against them. A kingdom divided is desolated, and a house divided falls. When the Byzantine Empire was torn up by religious disputes with bloody riots, the unresolved turmoil led to its fall to the Ottoman Muslims. At the end, only one city was left - Constantinople. Now it is Istanbul, Turkey.

There are many famous estates where the family engaged in bitter warfare, even though they had vast fortunes among themselves. So an empire created by one man, the patriarch, was divided and sold off in parcels.

Jesus asked two questions to defeat the antagonists. Why then, would a devil drive away a devil and defeat the work of their Father Below? Secondly, if they really thought that, how did their own sons conduct exorcisms? Jewish rabbis were known for miracles, too, but nothing like the wonders of Jesus.

18 If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub. 19 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges. 20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

Another text Matthew 12:28 says - If I by the Spirit of God, so we can see that the term finger is used for the power of Christ, which is the Spirit at work in the Word.

23 He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. 

There is no middle ground, which is where so many want to land, with one foot in each side of an argument. One is either a believer in Christ and all He teachers or not. The compromiser scatters rather than builds. In fact, he is far more useful in destruction than the outright opponent. 

What we have today among 4,000+ Protestant denominations (and many forms of Catholicism) is a variant position on everything, in the name of purity or nostalgia. But what is left but a massive front marching into apostasy together. They defend their turf and their brand but they do not teach the Word of God. Many times the Gospel is replaced with man-made Law and people despair.


24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. 25 And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. 26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

There are many famous conversions where a celebrity found faith and rejected his (or her!) former ways. Hollywood stars come to mind. But later they are invaded by the same devils and fall even harder into the same addictions. As one study suggested, the delight caused by illegals drugs erases the effect of normal good feelings, so they easily return to the chemistry of happiness, worse than ever before.

Luther also saw this allegorically, because Christianity threw out many devils, but they came back in the form of the Roman Catholic Church, an invasion that was subtle over the centuries, but obvious during the Reformation. Roman Catholicism in the Reformation murdered Christians for being faithful Christians, exiled others, and put others into prison for teaching the truth. As 2 Thessalonians teaches so clearly - the spirit of deception took over so that people delighted in the evil.

27 And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. 28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

Errors in the future are confronted by Jesus. People find all manner of Mariology in the Scriptures, but the divine nature of Mary is actually refuted in the New Testament. She is honored above all women, but the temptation to make her a divine goddess is condemned.

Blessed instead are those faithful to the Word of God.