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, April 26, 2015

Cantate, The Fourth Sunday after Easter, 2015.
The Spirit Will Convict the World of Unbelief
Because They Do Not Believe in Christ

Cantate, The Fourth Sunday after Easter, 2015

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

The Hymn #458                              Our Father – Luther                    
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 #462                I Love Thy Kingdom               

The Work of the Holy Spirit - To Convict the World of Unbelief

The Communion Hymn #305            Soul Adorn Thyself              
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 #657                           Beautiful Savior                      

Fourth Sunday After Easter

Lord God, heavenly Father, who didst through Thy Son promise us Thy Holy Spirit, that He should convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment: We beseech Thee, enlighten our hearts, that we may confess our sins, through faith in Christ obtain everlasting righteousness, and in all our trials and temptations retain this consolation, that Christ is Lord over the devil and death, and all things, and that He will graciously deliver us out of all our afflictions, and make us forever partakers of eternal salvation, through the same, Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

KJV James 1:16 Do not err, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 18 Of his own will begat he us with the Word of Truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. 19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. 21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted Word, which is able to save your souls.

KJV John 16:5 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? 6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.

7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

The Work of the Holy Spirit - To Convict the World of Unbelief

Today the Epistle and the Gospel go together perfectly well. They often have different themes, but today two of the great statements in the Bible are read to the congregations if they follow the historic lessons.

James - Receive with meekness the engrafted Word, which is able to save your souls.

Let's consider that by itself, since I deal with grafted plants every day. Most roses are grafted, because the growers want the weaker hybrid tea rose (or other variety, such as the grandiflora rose) to be fed by the stronger wild rose roots.

All planting instructions have to do with that graft, which gives the rose two different characteristics. The foundation is strong so the beauty above can last.

"Receive with meekness" is splendid way of saying believe with humilty... The engrafted Word is the Gospel which is planted in us through Holy Baptism or adult conversion. In either case, the living Gospel becomes a living part of us and remains with us, definitely the stronger part.

Able to save your souls - that shows us that the power comes from the Gospel Promises itself. Those Promises are purifying, because they contain the righteousness of Christ. As all the Concordists and Lutheran Reformers agree, following Paul, this means receiving the righteousness of Christ.

Although people like to criticize James or, more likely, simply ignore his message, it is in harmony with the Gospels and the Epistles of Paul. Luther said it is "strawy compared to Paul's" which is only a comparison to show how Paul's words simply radiate the Gospel even in the midst of his strongest Law passages. The blokes who claim this is an "Epistle of Straw" quoting Luther are like the rose buyers who buy a fragrant rose labeled - "the fragrance is strong, but only in your imagination." It is the same as our hyperbole, where someone would say, "The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were a weed patch compared to Brett and Amy Meyer's raised beds." 

This is our problem today - although James said "let not many be teachers," everyone with an opinion and a career to mind pretends to be a teacher and yet without any learning or grasp of the English language, let alone Biblical languages.

Jesus said, as recorded and remembered by the Apostle John - "16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you."

This is Jesus' encouraging Word about the Gospel no longer being local, limited in a sense to the walking and teaching tour in one area, but will be worldwide, because the Apostles will receive the Holy Spirit and multiply the preaching of the Word.

Although the initial work was limited to one region, it was also the building of a strong base, teaching and miracles, and a matter of fulfilling all prophecies. I told my urban ministry class, "We do not have to run around like dogs chasing squirrels. The Word does its work in worship, study, and prayer."

In fact, in the Apostolic Age, persecution made the Word a global ministry because the believers were driven to every corner of the Roman Empire, which was far more vast than people recall.

John 16:8 And when He (the Holy Spirit) is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on Me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see Me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 

The work of the Christian Church is the work of the Holy Spirit, because Christ ascended to heaven and gave ordinary mortals the license to preach His Word as His Word (not theirs).

Lutherans are the true Pentecostals, because we never separate the Spirit from the Word. The Calvinists imagine that a Gospel sermon has no impact if the Holy Spirit does not happen to be there that Sunday (expressed stated by Calvin). The modern Pentecostals think also that the Spirit is  loose, away from Word and writing new books of the Bible on a daily basis, often in dreams, making the modern Pentecostal Bible bigger than the Oxford English Dictionary and destined to grow forever.

He will reprove the world of sin and of righteousness, and of judgment: 

This should be the most exciting and thrilling message of the New Testament, because every Christian, every seminary student, every pastor dwells upon the preaching of sin and imagines a different answer. They think one will increase attendance by preaching the sin of missing the Sunday after Easter, although the minister is often on vacation then. But he can include that in his Easter sermon.

We attended one service where the sin was having the budget $20,000 short. That was so terrible the minister had his head on the Bible in sorrow. But the church was so big, it was probably little more than the loose change. So we heard no Gospel in that sermon, because there was none.

Or the condemnation of sin is one carnal sin after another. One pastor preached against the adult bookstore near his church and brought samples to condemn.

I have heard various synod officials preach on the sin of not agreeing with them or thinking they are the synod when in fact all of us are the synod. So that is the sin, not agreeing with their imagined view, even though it was not their view when anyone disagreed with them. They THEY were the synod. One DP said "If you don't like it, then leave."

I have to admit that the phrases left me a bit bewildered for years. They unlock the key to the entire Bible, so one must study them and experience all the griefs of the ministry to know what they mean.

9 Of sin, because they believe not on Me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see Me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 

The foundational sin is not believing on Christ. This section by Luther is so important. The only sin left (after the Atonement) is not believing in Christ, so that is the mission of the Christian Church, to teach faith in Him. 

8. Inasmuch as Christ has now come and commanded to preach that everything we may do, however great and beautiful it may appear, is sin, because we do nothing that is good with pleasure and willingly, and that for this reason he has stepped forward and has taken away all sin, in order that we may receive the Holy Spirit, through whom we obtain love and pleasure to do what God wants us to do, in order that we do not attempt to come before God through our own works, but through Christ and his merits, therefore it cannot be called any longer sin committed against the Law, for the Law did nothing to assist us in becoming pious, since we are not able to do anything good.

9. What sort of sin then remains upon earth? No other than that one does not receive this Savior and refuses to accept him who has taken away sin.

For if he were present, there would be no sin, since he, as I have said, brings the Holy Spirit with him, who kindles the heart and makes it willing to do good. Therefore, the world is no longer punished and condemned on account of other sins, because Christ blots them all out; only this remains sin in the New Testament, that one will not acknowledge nor receive him.

What is the key indicator of the Gospel of Christ? Hatred, contempt, bitterness, and strife in silencing it. Unbelief hates the entire matter of faith, because unbelief rests upon works.

Why does everyone want a program, an example to follow, a process - in the Church? They do not trust the Word at all. They trust what some criminal apostates did for a short time in California or Seattle or Chicago, but they have no trust the Word, which is sharper than any two-edged sword.

To say, believing is forgiveness is to take away all their human comforts, all their righteousness through works, casting them away as sinful garbage. Because they do not believe, it destroys the false comfort of their righteousness of works.

The weevils of works are always busy. Now that everyone seems to be asleep, they use various new translations to undermine the Word of God, using or abusing the Word of God. The NIV, the New NIV, and the Calvinist ESV all do this shamelessly. So people argue over which bad translation to use.

Faith in Christ goes begging when everyone is engaged in trivia.