The Fourth Sunday after Trinity, 2015
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson
Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Daylight Time
The Hymn # 452 The Son of God
The Confession of Sins
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
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #531 Come Ye Disconsolate
Patience in Suffering
The Communion Hymn # 308 Invited Lord
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 # 413 I Walk in Danger
KJV Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
KJV Luke 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. 39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? 40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. 41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye.
Fourth Sunday After Trinity
Lord God, heavenly Father, who art merciful, and through Christ didst promise us, that Thou wilt neither judge nor condemn us, but graciously forgive us all our sins, and abundantly provide for all our wants of body and soul: We pray Thee, that by Thy Holy Spirit Thou wilt establish in our hearts a confident faith in Thy mercy, and teach us also to be merciful to our neighbor, that we may not judge or condemn others, but willingly forgive all men, and, Judging only ourselves, lead blessed lives in Thy fear, through Thy dear Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.
Patience in Suffering
KJV Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Christianity grew up in opposition. The Roman Empire saw the Christian Faith as a troublesome version of the very difficult Jewish sect. Not long after the death and resurrection of Christ, the Jewish revolt began because they first defeated a small contingent of Roman soldiers. An entire Roman Army, with all the slaves made their way to Judea and began its conquest. The Roman Army never lost a war, except when they went up against Herman the German, who knew Roman tactics.
Homosexuality was common in the Roman Empire. Many of the first Christians were former homosexuals who converted to the faith and left that life behind. The first fifteen emperors of Rome were either homosexual or bi-sexual. Julius Caesar was called "every woman's husband and every husband's wife." He spent so much time with the King of Bithynia that he was dubbed the Queen of Bithynia.
Paganism was so dominant in the Roman Empire that Constantine the Great gave up on the City of Rome and created his own capital in the town that became known as Constantinople (Istanbul in Turkey). He bribed noble families with land to move to his new capital, to create a Christian capital.
It was not until the Edict of Milin, 313 AD, that the active persecution of Christians was stopped.
Therefore, we have references to persecution already in the New Testament, in Romans, Hebrews, and 1 Peter. Revelation is another source.
Moreover, the value of newborn life was small in those times, just like ours. If they did not want a child, they left it out to be exposed to the wild animals. If that did not do the job, slave traders grabbed the babies to be raised for prostitution. In fact, all slaves were considered property to be used in any way whatsoever desired by the owners. If one slave killed someone, all the slaves were killed, to keep the institution intact.
All the parallels are exact. Nations covet the grandeur of Rome, and each nation descends into the degradation of Rome. I grew up hearing about "we are turning into the Roman Empire." That was said often by many people, but Latin and Roman history are no longer taught, so that comparison is lost on 99% of all students.
Paul never said, "This is not the time or place to grow a church." Instead, he taught through the Holy Spirit to spread the Word of the Gospel to the Jews first and then to the Gentiles, which gave them miraculous growth. That is no longer seen in the West because no one trusts the Word of God for that growth. In the name of growth, based on business, they teach business principles instead of the Gospel.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
The great temptation for Christians is to despair and give up, - or to join the spirit of this age, the spirit of Satan and the Antichrist, to adopt the new thinking and fit in, be rewarded, and find promotions and benefits from that surrender.
It is a great suffering that is being felt now as people realize how much has been lost in America in the last 50 years. The greatest turn, the most tragic, was the rejection of unborn life in favor of human convenience. When the Supreme Court re-wrote biology and the Constitution in Roe Vs. Wade, and they were not impeached, the road was paved for all the other attacks on natural law.
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. Declaration of Independence
"The laws of nature and of nature's God..." That is a much bigger issue than independence from Britain. Natural law means right and wrong, even the concept of freedom, are all derived from Creation.
Creation is understood many ways, but this group of leaders did not dispute Creation or Creation's God. They taught and practiced the concept of all justice coming from God Himself.
Many Christians doubted Jefferson as a president, so he promised "the separation of church and state" in politics, meaning that the federal government would not interfere in the states' application of religious principles, such as requiring active church membership in order to vote, prayer in schools and public places, and so forth.
Notice how deception works. This phrase has been turned upside-down, just as justification (by faith) in Reformation and all Christian documents, has been turned into justification without faith. The question is,as Humpty Dumpty said, "Who is the master of the language."
While it is possible to reclaim America, it is also not likely at this stage. So much has been done to empower the worst, shower the non-working with free gifts and drugs galore, and to welcome criminal invaders to outnumber the citizens.
So we can only wait and do what we can, not expecting to overturn this new Roman Empire, but hoping for the final revelation of Christi's glory. In that time many souls will be claimed or reclaimed for the Gospel. Enormous and catastrophic events wake people up. So will years of total self-love and hedonism, in some cases. The Word has its effect in both cases - in converting and in hardening, in illuminating and blinding.
Those who deny the Word are going to increase in blindness and harshness. Those who only pretend to follow the Word from within the visible church will actively persecute the Word and be far more powerful and effective in murdering souls that the metal-clinking Satanists and tattooed pan-sexuals. The danger is far closer than most understand, so patience, diligence, and Bible study are all required. No one is too strong to fail, to lose faith, to surrender.
20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
Patience is required because Satan makes it more difficult by making suffering "endless." Bad times seem to be forever. Nothing works better than to make people impatient and despairing.
I easily remembered. three LCA clergy who did almost nothing until they retired and were safe. They wrote a few things and passed away. They had already retired and had no votes, no congregations. They betrayed their congregations by taking the comfortable way out. As one said, "I want to retire in peace."
The world's peace is not real peace. It is a temporary truce between the believer and Satan. He collects later.
Because of original sin, the world is broken, sinful, and hates the Gospel.
Luther on persecution:
By the words “if so be that we suffer with him” the writer means that we are to do more than exercise the sympathy that grieves over another’s misfortune, though such sympathy is binding upon Christians and is a superior Christian virtue, a work of mercy: we ourselves must suffer, non solum affectu, sed etiam effectu, that is, we are overwhelmed by like sufferings. As Christ our Lord was persecuted, we also must endure persecution. As the devil harassed him, we also must be harassed unceasingly. And so Satan does torment true Christians. Indeed, were it not for the restraining hand of the Lord our God, the devil would suffer us to have no peace. Paul has reference to a heartfelt sympathy intense enough to enter into actual suffering. He says to the Hebrews ( Hebrews 10:32-23): “Ye endured a great conflict of sufferings; partly, being made a gazing stock both by reproaches and afflictions.”
21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
As long as we live we are subject to this sinful nature and corruption. On the other hand, we also have the daily forgiveness of sins through the Holy Spirit's work in the Gospel. Thus we have the paradox of sinners justified by faith - simul iustus et peccator, as the theologians like to say, quoting Luther before they drop him in the ditch.
Those who realize their sin but wander in darkness are the most miserable. Police officers use this knowledge of psychology to offer a relief to this burden. "Just confess and you will feel better." One TV show features this, and it does work well.
The pain is so great for normal people that they crack from the suffering, the knowledge of the terrible evil they have done. But sociopaths have no sense of guilt and do not care at all. We seem to have more of those and more drug-induced sociopaths all the time.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
Luther on the Rewards:
12. Take the case of the adventurous officer. For a few dollars per month he defies spears and guns, exposing himself to almost certain death. The merchant hurries to and fro in the world in a frenzied effort to amass riches, hazarding life and limb, apparently careless of physical cost so long as God’s mercy preserves to him but the shattered hulk of a body. And what must not one endure at court before he realizes, if he ever does, the fulfillment of his ambition?
In temporal things man can do and suffer everything for the sake of honor, wealth and power, because these are manifest to earthly vision. But in the spiritual conflict, because the reward is not discernible to the senses it is very difficult for the old man in us to believe that God will finally grant us glorious bodies, pure souls and hearts of gladness, and make us superior to any earthly king. Indeed, the very reverse of this condition obtains now.
Here is one condemned as a heretic; there one is burned or in some other way put to death. Glory, wealth and honor are not in evidence now. So it seems hard for us to resign ourselves to suffering and wait for the redemption and glory yet unrevealed.
Again, no hardship is too great for the world to undergo for the sake of sordid gain; it willingly suffers whatever comes for that which moth and rust consume and thieves steal.
13. Paul means to say: “I am certain there is reserved for us exceeding glory, in comparison wherewith all earthly suffering is actually of no consideration; only it is not yet manifest.” If we have to face the slightest gale of adversity, or if a trifling misfortune befalls us, we begin to make outcry, filling the heavens with our false complaint of a terrible calamity.