The Glory Has Departed


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Sunday, November 8, 2015

All Saints 2015. Matthew 5:1-10.
The Beatitudes



All Saints Sunday, 2015
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




The Hymn # 429                   Lord Thee I Love                 
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 # 463            For All the Saints                   

The Beatitudes - Nine-Fold Blessings


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            

KJV Revelation 7:2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundredand forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. 5 Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. 6 Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim weresealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. 7 Of the tribe of Simeonwere sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issacharwere sealed twelve thousand. 8 Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand. 9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. 13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

KJV Matthew 5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.


ALL SAINTS' DAY

O almighty and everlasting God, who through Thine only-begotten and beloved Son, Jesus Christ, wilt sanctify all Thine elected and beloved: Give us grace to follow their faith, hope, and charity, that we together with them may obtain eternal life: through Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

The Nine-Fold Blessings

KJV Matthew 5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

There are two ideal places for teaching a large crowd. One is on a lake with the ground rising up around it - the amphitheater effect. The other is on a high place with people seated around - the pulpit effect. I once preached in an old-fashioned pulpit where I was eye level with the balcony. Now the "ideal church" is a stage with enormous screens hanging here and there - the Pentecostal effect. The advent of enormous screens is not liturgical but anti-liturgical, an emphasis on entertainment rather than the Word of God. The same can be found at business conventions, where the mega-screen is the norm.

Rabbis taught sitting down, a practice carried over in cathedrals, literally where the bishop is seated. The Pope is allegedly infallible when he speaks ex cathedra, from the seat of his holy office of Antichrist.

Matthew is clearly the Gospel of the Church, always the basis for all of the Lives of Jesus. In Luke we have the Gospel with a gentile emphasis and crucial additions that are very much appreciated in the Christian Church. Mark is a combination of the two. In my opinion, Mark is a harmony or condensation of both, but that is just an opinion. The Gospel of John emphasizes the Father-Son relationship, faith, and also the sermons of Jesus about faith in Him. The extensive sermon passages in John assume knowledge of the basic narrative from Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

Modern Biblical scholars are almost always wrong because they work is an exercise in creative writing and overturning whatever has been taught before. They are very puffed up about their theories, which float above the earth, devoid of evidence. They even have a journal where all their theories are summarized in enormous essays, stupendously lacking in faith, as if ants gathered around a dead body and commented on how good it tasted, forgetting the purpose of that animal in the first place.

Jesus taught them - very important words. We have to assume God knows a lot about adult education, because the Scriptures show that in so many ways. The Beatitudes are nine separate blessings, reminding us of the three-fold work of the Holy Trinity. Unbelievers cannot find the Trinity in the Bible, but believers see it everywhere. They start with Genesis 1, continue throughout the Old Testament, and flourish in the New Testament. These reference protect believers against emphasizing one Person over another, which the cults manage to accomplish - the Father only (Unitarianism in the old days), the Son only (the moderns, but only His human nature), and the Spirit only (one or more of the Pentecostal sects).

When Jesus is teaching us directly, we are listening to Him in person. The Holy Spirit brings us to Him through the Word. People write about wanting to meet Jesus. That would surely change them, they say. We meet Jesus always through the Word and ignoring that is a despising of the Means of Grace. Therefore it is impossible to have this meeting with Jesus the Son of God without being changed by it. For some, it means irritation and increasing hardness and blindness.

These Beatitudes start with the word blessed, which is emphasis in the original text. No one has improved on the Luther-King James version of the Beatitudes. Lunky moderns write some like "The poor are happy because..." and lose the meaning entirely.

Lenski:
The Beatitudes read like a Psalm; μακάριοι at once recalls the blessed of Ps. 1:1. “Blessed!” intoned again and again, sounds like bells of heaven, ringing down into this unblessed world from the cathedral spires of the kingdom inviting all men to enter. The word, like its opposite “woe,” is neither a wish regarding a coming condition, nor a description of a present condition, but a judgment pronounced upon the persons indicated, stating that they must be considered fortunate. The form is almost exclamatory: “O the blessedness of those who,” etc.! And it is Jesus who renders this judgment, which is, therefore, absolutely true although all the world may disagree. Each of the eight judgments is at once established by revealing in what the blessedness actually consists; and the eighth judgment is even doubled, and its blessedness is unveiled in two strong statements. All this blessedness is spiritual, each part of it coming from the great Messianic kingdom, true soul-blessedness, a rich possession now but with a glorious promise of still greater riches—the very opposite of the word’s happiness which is poisoned already in the bud and soon blasted forever. “Blessed” means joy for those concerned. But this is the heavenly way: the great gifts of the kingdom are ours, insuring a constant flow of joy, so that, even if for a moment we be sad and sorrowful, the joy will again well up in our hearts. John 15:11.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 183.

3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The Gospel is not for the powerful and mighty, the arrogant and proud. The Gospel is for the weak, the sick, the stricken, the poor in spirit. One can manage a kingdom of commerce or people and be poor in spirit - it is rare, but happens. The Earl of Oxford play (aka Shakespeare) Henry V emphasizes this. The king says, "Only God could have won this victory." I have known the very poor who were arrogant and blind. One old man was still bitter because his mother left the family for a time, even though she came back "And she was a Christian." Nothing could dissuade him from his hatred of the Faith and his excuse for that. And it affected his daughter and many others.

As Luther often said, the believer has heaven and earth, so he need not worry. Anxiety is our more common affliction. As I thought many times,  "Who wants and old guy with way too much education?" I had experiences like not even getting a reply before, from various entities. But recently I pressed the apply button and got hired within minutes (interview that day, clearly to tie me down at that store). 

4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

There is a overwhelming attitude against mourning in our nation, which made a book The Denial of Death a best-seller. We have a friend who was chastised by mutual friends for mourning the loss of her husband, which is not only natural but also beneficial and healing for a believer. 

One characteristic of Christian believers is being at peace with loss because of everlasting life promised through the Gospel, through grace, through faith in the Savior, not through our good works. The Master Mason admonition at funerals will say that the Mason has eternal life for being a good Mason. That is the way unbelievers think and the opposite of the Gospel.

Our comfort is not lacking in the pain of loss, but it is lessened, softened by the peace that comes only through justification by faith. Luther's Gospel emphasis can be seen in his comforting words about suicide - those victims are like those who die from being lost in the woods. We know parents who bought a new car for their son, not knowing it had a flaw. It locked up and flipped him, and he died. The same kind of tragedy causes anger and self-blame, but we know it should not.

Likewise, having a child with a rare disorder makes people blame. "You should not have lived in a town with a foundry." But no other child has that disorder. "You should not have had a second child with that problem." The doctors even say, "We will check the unborn baby and..." My wife Chris said, "Are you kidding me?" In refusing to allow sick, weak, different children, we weaken ourselves with denial. What happens when we are sick, weak, and handicapped by old age?

But Christ teaches that we have grace through faith in Him, and that gives us peace. The question is not "Did I do enough?" But - "Did Christ do enough?" And He did. Jesus died for great and terrible sins, for petty, minor, venial sins, so that those of us weak with sin have strength and comfort in Him.

Lenski:
This second pronouncement is as paradoxical as the first. The verb denotes loud mourning such as the lament for the dead or for a severe, painful loss. The sorrow for our sins in true contrition should not be excluded from this mourning. Do our sins inflict no loss upon us? Do they not rob us of what is dearer than relatives, money, or other goods? Instead of excluding sorrow for sin, this is the chief part of the lament. But, of course, we must include all other grief and sorrow due to the power of sin in the world as this inflicts blows, losses, and pain upon the godly. It includes every wrong done us, as well as every painful consequence of our own wrongdoing. It is almost self-evident that this mourning is not like that of the world which howls loud enough when its sins find it out: “but the sorrow of the world worketh death,” 2 Cor. 7:10.
Behind this sorrow of the godly lies the recognition of the merciless power of sin and of our helplessness to ward it off and to escape. Hence this mourning is a constant cry to God in their distress. The substantivized participle is the present tense and thus characterizes the godly as mourning constantly. As far as contrition is concerned, let us keep in mind the first of Luther’s famous 95 Theses, that our entire life must be a continuous contrition and repentance. As far as other sorrows are concerned, “we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God,” Acts 14:22; in fact, all the passages that speak of tribulation belong here. God’s people are, indeed, a mournful lot!
But how can they be called blessed, emphatic αὐτοί, “they, just they,” “they alone”? Because they are the only ones who “shall be consoled.” The passive implies that God is their consoler. And this is a future tense. Chiliasts interpret: “shall be consoled in the glorious earthly Messianic Millennium, when all the forces of evil are crushed, when all the Christians shall at last be triumphant.” Until that time these mourners must remain comfortless save for the prospect of that distant comfort. But Christ says, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you,” John 14:18; and when he came, we read, “Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord,” John 20:20. No; this chiliastic comfort kingdom is but a mirage. The future tense is future to the mourning: the comfort always at once follows the mourning. Remember the “little while” in John 16:16. The greatest of all comfort is the absolution pronounced upon every contrite mourning sinner. Without this all other comfort is vain. And in tribulation God’s Word, God’s deliverance and help, God’s support, cheer and uplift us as nothing else could so. Finally, God’s promises of future deliverance from all evil in the heavenly kingdom of glory fill us with abounding comfort. As our mourning rises unto God in this vale of sin and tears, so his constant comfort flows down to us. Thus we who mourn are of all men most blessed, for we, indeed, are comforted.
       Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 186.

5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Psalm 37

King James Version (KJV)
37 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon theLord, they shall inherit the earth.
10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.
11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
12 The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.
13 The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.
14 The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.
15 Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.
16 A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the Lordupholdeth the righteous.
18 The Lord knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.
19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
20 But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lordshall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.
21 The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.
22 For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.
23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.
24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for theLord upholdeth him with his hand.
25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
26 He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.
27 Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.
28 For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.
29 The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.
30 The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.
31 The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.
32 The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.
33 The Lord will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.
34 Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.
35 I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.
36 Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.
37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.
38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.
39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble.
40 And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Some are tormented or dissatisfied or longing for forgiveness of sin. That is the meaning of righteousness - not being perfect, but being perfected by Christ. The righteous in the Old Testament are those justified by faith in the promised Savior. The saints in the New Testament are those who are justified by faith in Jesus, the Savior who fulfilled all the Promises of the Old Testament.

Various denominations, cults, and sects can make us long for true peace which only comes through the grace of God and justification by faith. In that respect they are good, for agitating us, for disturbing us, and often for hating or kicking us out. Good for them. Some glory in always being "......." fill in the blanks. And yet nowhere does the Word promise that belonging somewhere is a work that pleases God. Only faith in the Savior is pleasing. God gives this willingly and abundantly but the pride and hardness of man distorts and removes this.

Now I do farmer-like work, but not as difficult or dusty. I am active 8 hours a day and that means I take care to have water to drink. One common question is "where is the water?" And hunger means eating a very good meal and feeling like it disappeared into my raging metabolism. Satisfied, yet. Not full and ready to sleep, but re-energized for more. That is a good feeling.

More importantly, feeling our sin through the Confession of Sins, we hunger and thirst for forgiveness through the Word and Holy Communion - and we are satisfied and energized for the Christian life (aka sanctification).

Here are three Beatitudes about the Christian life. Each one is a beautiful statement about how we should live as forgiven believers - 

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

God has shown us ultimate mercy, though we are still weak and sinful and need His grace constantly. How can we not show that mercy to others in their weakness and sinfulness? If you want to teach your children how not to forgive, then prove them you never forgive anything or anyone. That will be a lesson welded into their hearts.

But if they constantly hear and experience forgiveness and mercy, kindness to others, they will live accordingly. But that comes from the Word. With the Word comes a constant meeting with Christ Himself, the example of grace and mercy.

Lenski:
The agent back of the passive “shall be treated mercifully” is again God, and again the future means at once as we show mercy. In this future tense we ought to see the impossibility of a reference to the hereafter. There will be no misery there and thus no possibility of merciful treatment on the part of God. God first makes us merciful and then even blesses us for being merciful. This beatitude has stimulated God’s people to do all manner of eleemosynary work. It is well known how absolutely bare of even the idea of mercy many heathen religions are. The mercy of unchristian men about us, such as it is, disjoined from Christ, relieving only physical distress, is one of the indirect results of Christianity, never an outgrowth of the natural heart as such. The fearful cruelty which slumbers in the unregenerate heart, when occasion brings it out, is often appalling, and its worst feature is “man’s cruelty to man.”
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 191.

The Pure in Heart

Lenski:
Ps. 24:4; compare 73:1; Gen. 20:5, 6; and then 1 Tim. 1:5; 2 Tim. 2:22; 1 Pet. 1:22, and Zahn’s conclusion is evident: “pure in heart” = sinceritas, singleness of heart, the honesty which has no hidden motive, no selfish interest, and is true and open in all things. Nothing is lost by thus specifying this virtue, for it is possible only in a heart that is justified and sanctified by God.
As the virtue, so the reward of grace: “just they shall see God.” Whatever may be said regarding seeing God in his Word by faith and regarding seeing him spiritually in communion with him in this life, “shall see God” must here be the visio Dei in the other world, promised to the glorified saints, 1 Cor. 13:12; 1 John 3:2, 3. Between God who is pure and the pure in heart (the dative as in v. 3) an affinity exists, the consummation of which is reached in heaven. The greatest joy of heaven will be the vision of God. We need not think of looking into the unfathomable essence of God; for as God’s presence delights the angel hosts and fills them with ineffable blessedness, so his presence will be made manifest to the pure in heart. Blessedness will flood them like light in the beatific vision of the All-pure.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 192.

Children exemplify purity of heart. One little girl looked at the soup being put up above the normal shelves and asked, "How will people reach the soup?" She was worried about unknown strangers being denied the soup.

Peacemakers

Lenski:
Compare Eph. 4:3; Rom. 14:19; 1 Cor. 14:33; Heb. 12:14; etc. At peace with God and thus themselves filled with sweet peace, they live in peace, if possible, with all men and work to keep and to make peace wherever peace is threatened or lost. Theirs is the work of true Christians who follow in the footsteps of the Prince of Peace. Nor is this “peace at any price,” which ignores confessional principles and is unwilling to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3). These are not unionistic peacemakers who combine contrary doctrines by agreeing to disagree. Truth of God comes first, peace with men second. Friends are dear, the Word of our greatest Friend dearest. No “blessed” was spoken by Jesus upon the disrupters of the church who insist on their false views, nor upon those who regard the peace and the fellowship of their brother-confessors as being of slight value, so that they may run after other fellowships. The true peace of the church is a blessed possession, we cannot guard it too closely. Contentious, stubborn, obstreperous church members—this beatitude ought to make them impossible. Also in the world, wherever strife arises, the followers of Christ work for peace in the spirit of their Master.
The passive “shall be called” implies “by God,” for he alone can bestow the title “God’s sons” in truth and in reality. Here, too, the future tense means that God shall call them his sons now when they prove their relation to him by their peacemaking. Chiliasts again think of their future mirage kingdom, and others of the world to come. “God’s sons, shall they be called; the title is not “children.” The latter carries rather the connotation of tender affection, the former that of dignity and high standing. Hence also “they shall be called” God’s sons; this high distinction shall be accorded to them, and by God himself. God himself shall own them as sons of his. He who sent his Son to make peace between God and man will acknowledge as his sons those who in the spirit of his Son also make peace.
[1]Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 193.

The peacemakers are those who scatter the Gospel here and there. Where the Gospel springs up, so does forgiveness, peace, and everlasting life. Death is slain.
Therefore anyone who shares in this is a son of God and blessed.

10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

I often write about this but it welcome repetition. Many are feeling the horrible pain of suffering from abuse and rejection for standing for the Gospel. Long ago they never saw it coming and no one can prepare for the severity and extent of this experience, but it is a blessing to be driven from the slave camp into freedom, even if few want to go along. This  is a good passage to remember when this happens and the pain continues. This is the blessed, holy cross that is attached to the Word.


Please read the Luther quotation below - on this very topic.