The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

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Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
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Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2015. Luke 17:11-19.
Jesus Heals the Ten Lepers

The Thankful Leper, by Norma Boeckler

The Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2015


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




The Hymn # 292                 Lord Jesus Christ                
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 # 192               Awake My Heart             

Walk in the Spirit Means Walk in the Word


The Communion Hymn # 480            Lord of the Worlds             
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 #341                             Crown Him with Many Crowns                


KJV Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

KJV Luke 17:11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. 14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. 15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. 17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. 19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Fourteenth Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father, who by Thy blessed word and Thy holy baptism hast mercifully cleansed all who believe from the fearful leprosy of sin, and daily dost grant us Thy gracious help in all our need: We beseech Thee so to enlighten our hearts by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may never forget these Thy blessings, but ever live in Thy fear, and, trusting fully in Thy grace, with thankful hearts continually praise and glorify Thee; through Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.



Walk in the Spirit Means Walk in the Word


KJV Luke 17:11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.

1. St. Luke excels the other Evangelists in that he not only describes Christ’s work and doctrine like they, but also observes the order of his journeys and circuits. His Gospel to the thirteenth chapter shows how Christ began at Capernaum to preach and do wonders, whither he moved from Nazareth and where he made his home, so that Capernaum is called his city in the Gospel. From there he went out everywhere, into cities and villages, preaching and working miracles. After he had accomplished all his work and had preached over the whole country, he prepared to go up to Jerusalem. This journey to Jerusalem he describes from the end of the ninth chapter to the close of his Gospel, how Christ during this journey preached and worked miracles. For this is Christ’s last journey, and was finished in his last year at the close of his life. This is what he means here when he says: “And it came to pass, as they were on the way to Jerusalem, that he was passing along the borders of Samaria and Galilee.” That is to say, this miracle he performed during his last journey to Jerusalem.

The Gospel for today is an illustration of the Epistle lesson. Sometimes they seem to go off in different directions, but in truth - the entire Word of God is one sermon, one truth, one revelation.

To walk in the Spirit, as Paul advises means to walk in the Word. Here are some falsehoods about the Biblical use of the Spirit -
  • It does not mean acting on impulse, which is the theme of this age. Any action is excused by "I was in the moment." The Word teaches us to govern our impulses and emotions.
  • It does not mean that our dreams are revelations from God, new verses or chapters to add to the Bible. This is quite manipulative, and it often works in the oddest way in groups. If everyone accepts the "dream revelation," it is from God. But often it is ignored. But saying it is "from God" lays a burden on everyone.
  • Human decisions are not necessarily directly from God. One pastor said, "I cannot argue with the circuit pastor, because the Holy Spirit appointed him. That would be arguing with God." A decision has to be measured by the Word, not by spiritual salesmanship.
  • It is not faithful to the Holy Spirit to separate His work from the Word. To say that a faithful sermon is not effective is the same as saying the Word of God can be dead and of no value. I even heard one false teacher say, "If the sermon is faithful and the ushers are not friendly, the worship service was a failure." Imagine the Holy Spirit dependent upon friendly ushers.
  • If a faithful pastor seems to get nowhere in 20 years, he is not a failure. Nor is the Word a failure. As Luther observed, the next man may experience the harvest from all the work. Paul said we cannot judge - we can only be faithful and let God judge.
12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. 14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. 

In this Gospel lesson we have the contrast between wanting what God provides and walking away without appreciation. The ten lepers are pitiful and in need of divine help. They have enough faith in Christ to call out to Him and ask for His help, and their prayer is granted. But only one is thankful.

Once again, the details are different and interesting. Jesus sends the lepers to show themselves to the priests, for cleansing. It is the Word of Christ that heals them, but not at that moment. Showing themselves to the priests for cleansing would mean that these known lepers would testify to the power of the Word by appearing whole and healthy again.

The priests did not heal them - that would be clear. Jesus healed them. As Luther says, faith receives the good things from God. Those good things are offered every day and with miraculous abundance. Without faith we fail to see them, and therefore we are blind to God's constant work and special benefits.

5. In the first place it is a characteristic of faith to presume to trust God’s grace, and it forms a bright vision and refuge in God, doubting nothing it thinks God will have regard for his faith, and not forsake it. For where there is no such vision and confidence, there is no true faith, and there is also no true prayer nor any seeking after God. But where it exists it makes man bold and anxious freely to bring his troubles unto God, and earnestly to pray for help.

6. Therefore it is not enough for you to believe there is a God, and pray many words as the wretched custom now is. But observe here in the leper how faith is constituted, how without any teacher at all it teaches us how our prayers may be truly fruitful. You here observe how they had a good opinion of and a comforting assurance in Christ, and firmly thought he would be gracious to them. This thought made them bold and anxious to bring their troubles to him, and to cry for help with great earnestness and a loud voice. For if they had not previously possessed this fancy and expectation, they would undoubtedly have remained at home, or would not have gone forth to meet him, nor would they with raised voices have cried to him, but their doubt would have advised them thus: What shall we do?

15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. 17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. 19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Whenever I study justification by faith, the relationship with the fruits of faith arise, as they are detailed in Galatians 5.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

The Epistle of James confuses people who do not stop to think what his point is, and Roman Catholics center their works-righteousness on that small epistle. Another way of expressing James is to say that genuine faith always has works that follow. St. Paul and Luther taught the same.

The one leper is an example of the relative few that appreciate God's miraculous interventions and daily abundance. Certainly America is a good example of God's abundance and the increase of that because of Christian influence, sharing, and appreciation.



Fireweed versus corn provided a good example in my garden. One plant began to grow as tall as sweet corn and eventually reached 8 feet in height. It drew from the rich soil. It gained from the mulch, sunlight, and extra watering.  The stalk was so strong that I had to cut it with rose clippers. But this weed did not bear useful fruit. Instead, it provided for its own future by creating hundreds of seeds to spread around the yard and neighborhood.

In contrast, the sweet corn produced ears packed with oil, sugar-turning-to-starch, and nutrition. They were good enough for the squirrels to harvest and they all disappeared in the brief time we were gone. Fireweed did not feed any higher creatures, but the corn did. We even had some corn and shared it with our helper's family.
 
10. The second characteristic of faith is that it does not desire to know, nor first to be assured whether it is worthy of grace and will be heard, like the doubters, who grasp after God and tempt him. Just as a blind man runs against a wall, so they also plunge against God, and would first gladly feel and be assured that he can not escape out of their hands. The Epistle to the Hebrews says, <581101> 11:1: “Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen.” This clearly means faith holds fast to what it does not see, feel or experience, either in body or soul, but as it has firm trust in God it commits itself to and relies upon it without any doubt but its hope will be realized. Thus it will also certainly be realized, and the feeling and experience will come to it unsought and unsolicited, even in and through such hope or faith...

12. The third characteristic of faith is, that it allows of no merit, will not purchase the grace of God with works, like the doubters and hypocrites do, but brings with it pure unworthiness, clings to and depends wholly on the mere unmerited favor of God, for faith will not tolerate works and merit in its company, so entirely does it surrender, venture and raise itself into the goodness for which it hopes, that for its sake it cannot consider either good works or merit. Yea, it sees that this goodness is so great, that all good works compared with it are nothing but sin. Therefore it finds only unworthiness in self, that it is more worthy of wrath than of grace; and it does this without any dissimulation, for he sees how in reality and in truth it cannot be otherwise 13. These lepers here prove this clearly, who hope for the grace of Christ without the least merit. What good had they ever done to him before? They had never seen him, how then could they have served him? Besides they were lepers, whom he could justly have avoided according to the law, Leviticus 13:1, and kept himself free from them as was just and right.

17. Behold, so powerful is faith, to obtain all it wants of God, that God considers it done before the asking. Of this Isaiah says, 65:24: “And it shall come to pass that, before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” Not as though faith or we were worthy of it, but in order that he might show his unspeakable goodness and willing grace, thereby to stir us to believe in him, and comfortingly look to him for every good thing, with joyful and unwavering consciences, which do not stumble after him nor tempt him. So now you also see that Christ hears these lepers before they call, and before they cry out he is prepared to do all their hearts desire. “Go,” he says, I will not add a word, for it has succeeded in your case farther, no promise or consent is necessary; take what you ask and go.

So in the Scriptures we find what Luther explains so well - faith trusts in God and acknowledges what God has done and is doing for us all the time. It is not just the expected but what would never be imagined. That is how we recognize that it comes from God and not from our work.