Pastor Gregory L. Jackson
Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Daylight Time
The Hymn # 292 - Selnecker, Concordist Lord Jesus Christ 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 #657 Beautiful Savior
God Creates the New Man, Therefore...
The Communion Hymn #249 Luther - Isaiah Mighty Seer
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 #261 Luther - Lord Keep Us Steadfast
Nineteenth Sunday After Trinity
O mighty and everlasting God, who by Thy Son Jesus Christ didst mercifully help the palsied man both in body and soul: We beseech Thee, for the sake of Thy great mercy: Be gracious also unto us; forgive us all our sins, and so govern us by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not ourselves be the cause of sickness and other afflictions; keep us in Thy fear, and strengthen us by Thy grace that we may escape temporal and eternal wrath and punishment, through Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.
KJV Ephesians 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil. 28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
KJV Matthew 9:1 And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. 2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. 3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? 5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? 6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. 7 And he arose, and departed to his house. 8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.
God Creates the New Man, Therefore...
KJV Ephesians 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
This is Paul's lesson on sanctification, the Christian life, which immediately follows justification by faith. As Luther observed, the Old Adam is so powerful in us that we can scarcely remain in the Faith with faithful worship and use of the Means of Grace. If we neglected this for a year, we would fall into unbelief and apostasy and become opponents of the Gospel.
The former conversation is conduct in life. This language of putting on and putting off is based on wrapping oneself in a robe. Putting on Christ is a reminder of Holy Baptism, when adult converts wrapped in a robe and were baptized (not by immersion) and welcomed into Holy Communion. Wearing the righteousness of Christ harkens back to the Parable of the Wedding Feast where one is not properly dressed - not in the robe of righteousness by the faith of Christ, but in his own robes of righteousness through works.
The Old Adam likes the robe of righteousness by works, which is really no different in quality from the what we associate with carnal sins - the obvious sins. When soomeone is caught up and dragged down by carnal sins, he will justify himself in a haughty way and be offended that anyone might think he was wrong. I always found plagiarists adopting that tone in class - how dare you accuse me of copying this? Answer - I googled it and here is the website. Their answer - "I changed some words. I am reporting you to the dean and filing a grievance against you."
Once we took an alcoholic to an alcohol treatment center. When we found him on the street and told him where he was going - bench warrant from a judge, etc - he said, "I am not a drunk. I am just nervous." He was outraged at the indignity.
Deceitful lusts is the key phrase, because Satan operates always through deceit. Here is an example with doctrine. I was asked what the Gospel was, so I wrote, "We are counted righteous if we believe in Him who raised Jesus from the dead." That offended the Lutheran pastor and I as accused again - in a long thread. I said, "Pardon me for quoting Romans 4:24." Clearly that verse is so little known that it struck the LCMS pastor as a horrible doctrinal error. Recovering, he phrased it himself as ""Christ died for the sins of the world and the whole world is counted righteous even before anyone personally believes in Him who raised Him from the dead."
This is a perversion of the Atonement, the objective truth that Christ died for the sins of the world. He did not absolve the world on Good Friday or Easter Sunday, contrary to the rumors started by Martin Stephan and CFW Walther.
The addition in red is from Pietism and really owes its life to Calvinism, as Dr. Lito Cruz has said. Those who fall into Calvinism in its various forms separate grace from the Means of Grace, so it is all quite capricious. Some hear - this comes from the Holy Spirit, but Calvin warns, the Holy Spirit may or may not be there on a given day. One Dutch Reformed student said this, "We were taught the Holy Spirit enters the back door to open the front door." It is Biblical to say "The Word creates faith, and the Spirit only works through the Word."
If someone is uncertain about the furtive entrance of the Holy Spirit, he may be directed to his own thoughts, dreams, and feelings, as many often are. Since this is entirely subjectively experienced, it is also subjectively lost. "I once felt this rush of joy, but no longer, so I must not be saved anymore."
This is how Satan deceives, the master of a thousand arts, and we counter this with the Word, which is the master of 100,000 arts.
When people resort to deception, they are engaging in Satan's work, no matter how holy and noble their motives might be. I have often seen this in synod officials covering up crimes, because they are certain the foundations and the easily shocked grandmothers would stop giving if they knew the awful truth.
Lusts are not simply the carnal lusts we associate with sermons on sin, but also the ones more difficult to detect, such as pride, arrogance, envy, and a thirst for power. I have often wondered about all those people who will do anything and say anything so they can get into a position to change things (church, politics, business, professions). Once they get there, they are so compromised that they are worse than what they sought to overturn, what they promised to overturn.
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
This is an import urging or exhortation to understand. When Paul says "Be renewed" this is through the power of the Gospel. Likewise, "Be reconciled" means he is speaking to believers and not offering a conversion sermon to pagan. Be reconciled means - rest on the truth that Christ became sin that you might have His righteousness through faith.
The New Testament places a great deal of emphasis upon the mind. Our emotions deceive and trick us, but emotions are good, of course. We were watching our son speak at a national conference on computers, and he spoke of things so complicated that many computer-generation adults can barely follow the concepts. It prompted a memory, "Dad, would you help me hook up the Atari?" And I did, and now I said, "Would you help me with the computer?"
And people have a rush of joy when they are surprised by the flowers blooming in their gardens or given to them. I like cutting fragrant ones, which I call stinky, because some are quite powerful in that department.
Be renewed in the spirit of your mind means looking back on the Gospel Promises. The Christian life comes from the naturally occurring fruits of the Spirit (Spirit/Gospel Word). Where the Gospel is, so is the power of the Spirit in renewal. Yet our society is turning to self-help gurus who direct them to their own virtues, to walking through fire, and baking in sweat lodges.
4. So we must not permit the people to go on in their way, neglecting to urge and admonish them, through God’s Word, to lead a godly life.
Indeed, you dare not be negligent and backward in this duty; for, as it is, our flesh is all too sluggish to heed the Spirit and all too able to resist it.
Paul says ( Galatians 5:17): “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh … that ye may not do the things that ye would.”
The Gospel Promises war against our sluggish flesh - not our human will. Our human will is broken, bent, corrupted. Asking our human will to motivate us in spiritual renewal is like asking a sway-back mule to win the Kentucky Derby. The energy and the willpower come from the Word, because it is divine energy and divine will.
Why do people give to many charitable causes during Christmas? They are moved by the Nativity, the Son of God in the manger, the adoration of the angels, and the humble devotion of the shepherds and Wise Men.
24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Paul compares the Old Adam, our sinful nature, to the New Adam - Christ who brought us back to life. The Old Adam is weak and selfish, so that even our noble motives are tainted with Adam. "Why didn't anything thank me?" Luther observed that if we do something for thanks, that is not the Gospel. My mother made blueberry muffins every Sunday morning. Did we thank her? I cannot remember more than the annual Mothers Day bring her breakfast in bed. But I know she enjoyed making those treats on Sunday morning, even though she was over-worked on the farm in that department. The thankless jobs are often the most important and satisfying ones because they are significant in themselves and motivated by love rather than reward.
Creation is a key term here because every Christian is a New Creation (often New Creature), not a New Decision. God creates faith through the Holy Spirit distributing the Gospel. He creates faith in infants in Holy Baptism and seals that faith in the baptism of adults. Since faith is God's creation and not an intellectual act of man, faith is from God. Moreover, faith is not a quality or virtue of man but complete and utter trust in Christ.
True righteousness and holiness belong to Christ and therefore come to us through faith.
25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
I have seen many situations where someone was proud of his ability to get what he wanted by lying. One salesman told me how to lie by using the right words and avoiding those little, annoying things like the truth. As people say - misleading. As magicians say - misdirection of the eyes. If the magician can get people to look at the wand, no one can see him reaching into a gigantic pocket in his coat. We like good magicians and good liars.
"Look at what we can do with clever words," but they should say, "We can use Satan's tricks and get what we want." Dishonesty in all its forms is destructive and hardens people so they have no guilt at all in engaging in it.
Those who do will justify it - actually justify themselves, which is entirely wrong.
26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil.
This is a good example of emotions, which are like a thermometer. We have emotional reactions to things whether we like that or not - positive and negative ones. We worry about people who seem to be without emotion of any kind. That is not normal or healthy.
Sometimes it is a ridiculous response, such as hearing a strange noise, which is nothing more than a broom falling down or ice falling from the roof. Or it comes from a built-in response - "If I cannot find it, then someone moved it." When we find it, the moment of loss is remembered in stark detail, condemning detail.
Men are tempted and moved to anger. There are no clean records. Under sudden provocation the heart swells with ire, while the devil busily fans the flame; for he is ever alert to stamp upon us his seal and image and make us like unto him, either through error and false doctrine, or through wrath and murder in conflict with love and patience. These two forms of evil you will encounter, especially if you make an effort to be a godly Christian, to defend the truth and to live uprightly in the sight of all. You will meet with all manner of malice aforethought and deceit, and with faithlessness and malignity on the part of those you have benefited; again, with unmasked violence and injustice on the part of those who should protect you and see to your interests. This will hurt and move you to wrath. Yea, in your own house and among your dear Christian brethren you will often meet with that which vexes you; again, a word of yours may hurt their feelings. And it will not be otherwise. This life of ours is so constituted that such conditions must be. Flesh and blood cannot but be stirred at times by wrath and impatience, especially when it receives evil for good; and the devil is ever at hand kindling your anger and endeavoring to fan into a blaze the wrath and ill humor between yourself and your neighbor.
Luther has such great insights. Anger itself is not a sin, but what is done and said in anger is. When we hold onto anger, it also has a bad effect.
Everyone seems to be angry for the wrong reason. We should be angry about false doctrine, but that seems to get the easiest absolution even though it is the most dangerous.
Neither give place to the devil.
Where Satan finds an opening, he exploits it. Nothing is small about that first invitation for trouble. In doctrine Luther observed that one small error can bring down a country, which did not seem so obvious until lately. Looking back, large regions have turned from Christianity to paganism for various reasons.
In the lives of individuals, there are many reasons for a downfall, all very difficult to escape and all seeming so minor at first. Now they realize that addictions change the brain and make the previously unknown substance a demand of the body and its main source of pleasure.
28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
We lived in a city, Phoenix, where stealing was a daily past-time. The thief would object when the stolen goods were stolen back and he would threaten court action. More importantly, anything gained dishonestly or by craft is stolen and not something to gloat about. We are so made that we enjoy earning a living and fall into many bad habits from not working.