The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

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Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
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Sunday, November 29, 2015

The First Sunday in Advent, 2015. Matthew 21:1-9

El Greco's portrait of St. Matthew


The First Sunday in Advent, 2015


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/bethany-lutheran-worship

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn # 245                           God Loved the World  
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 # 290                We Have A Sure  

 The Village Against You

The Hymn #306                         Lord Jesus Christ
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 #463                                  For All the Saints  

KJV Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

KJV Matthew 21:1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, 2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. 3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. 4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. 6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. 8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.


First Sunday in Advent - From the Collects of Veit Dietrich
Lord God, heavenly Father, we thank Thee, we bless and praise Thee forever, that Thou didst send Thy Son to rule over us poor sinners, who for our transgressions did justly deserve to remain in the bondage of sin and Satan, and didst give us in Him a meek and righteous King, who by His death became our Savior from sin and eternal death: We beseech Thee so to enlighten, govern and direct us by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may ever remain faithful to this righteous King and Savior, and not, after the manner of the world, be offended with His humble form and despised word, but, firmly believing in Him, obtain eternal salvation; through the same, Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.




The Village Against You
KJV Matthew 21:1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, 2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.

2. This Gospel encourages and demands faith, for it prefigures Christ coming with grace, whom none may receive or accept save he who believes him to be the man, and has the mind, as this Gospel portrays in Christ. Nothing but the mercy, tenderness and kindness of Christ are here shown, and he who so receives and believes on him is saved. He sits not upon a proud steed, an animal of war, nor does he come in great pomp and power, but sitting upon an ass, an animal of peace fit only for burdens and labor and a help to man. He indicates by this that he comes not to frighten man, nor to drive or crush him, but to help him and to carry his burden for him. And although it was the custom of the country to ride on asses and to use horses for war, as the Scriptures often tell us, yet here the object is to show that the entrance of this king shall be meek and lowly.

Luther made the point in his preaching that the "village against you" represents opposition to the Gospel. One Mequon graduate was offended since that is not the literal meaning the prepositional phrase. But Luther's wholistic approach to the Bible - as one united Truth - is definitely on that side. Jesus preached and lived the way of the cross. In going toward Jerusalem when Doubting Thomas was sure of dying there (Gospel of John) Jesus demonstrated that mission - to go to the opposition. That is how He came to redeem the world from sin, and He converted many to the Gospel in the midst of Passion Week.

Many hero stories tell of great leaders who sought a safe haven when their lives were threatened. David did that in the Old Testament and pretended to be insane, to appear non-threatening. The king there said, "I have enough crazy people here already." Bonnie Prince Charles is another historic figure who hid out - and he used an assumed name.

But Jesus came in His own name, into the capital where the opposition would be the strongest. He was clear in His intentions, entering as the Messiah, but also meek and humble, not as a warrior in battle gear, riding on a charger.

Two themes are apparent from our modern culture. One is the desire to be a pastor where there is no opposition at all. Lutheran pastors like suburban parishes in areas where everyone is some kind of Lutheran. Therefore it is easy to use that name as a magnet and to pick up active and inactive members, with no conversion needed, no opposition.

The other is the religious leader as the angry, vindictive, powerful warlord. These are the men and women who destroy congregations to get even, who toss ministers under the bus for questioning them, and steal property while gloating about it. If they cannot steal property for Holy Mother Sect, they whine about losing and accuse those with property rights of taking it away. How dare they! These warlords are given great devotion by those who aspire to the same luxurious way of life. The warlords do not study the Word or the confessions of their own denominations. They are too busy murdering souls and robbing the poor. 

When the religious warlords enter an area, they often take their stooges to protect them from any opposition. The stooges speak up to interrupt any opposition, which is usually scant and scattered. This is why all the established denominations are withering away and independent efforts growing - though with little property or money. Everything against the Gospel will fail bitterly and painfully. When faith in Jesus is taught, death is defeated, sin is forgiven, and Gospel blessings follow.

3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. 

The rationalists cannot deal with this, because it is clearly miraculous. In the wild West, taking animals was a capital crime and not to be met with cooperation. But how does one explain this counter-intuitive response? God's Word is "The Lord needs them" and God's Word is never divorced from God's will. Just as the Creating Word established light before the sun and stars began, so He has His Supper arranged.

This verse is a good lesson for us. When we worry about the future and how certain things can come about to help us along, the counter-intuitive event is a clue to God at work, answering our prayers even before we ask (Isaiah). And He gives us more than we can think or imagine (Ephesians). In faith we pray about those needs and in faith we await His answers. When those answers come, they clearly indicate that they are far better than we could have imagined.

Others will bull their way through to get what they want. I have seen that behavior often, when a pastor says "He is not going to... I am going to..." The results are poor and leave people disturbed and angry, less trusting in God's power and more trusting in their own.

As Luther has said in many ways, opposition to the Gospel is something good and not something to avoid. Chytraeus, the overlooked editor of the Book of Concord, said in his best-seller - opposition is one sign of orthodoxy. Whenever the pure Biblical teachings have been established, all kinds of clever men have worked hard to undermine Biblical doctrine in many dishonest and deceitful ways.

The crypto-Calvinists were those Lutherans who loved Calvin's dogma and hated Luther's teaching. They convinced the ruler to persecute sincere Lutherans and reward their pals the crypto-Calvinists. That is the dominant trend in Lutherans today, but the crypto-Calvinism is no longer secret. The dogma is open, taught in repeat-after-me sermons, and portrayed as Luther's own teaching. Ha.

But these opponents of the Gospel are not outside the power of God. He uses their evil to accomplish what is good. Although they seem to be winning, they are forcing others to look at the plain, clear truth of the Scriptures and judge them as false teachers, liars, crick-jumpers, and pig-stealers.

4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. 

Matthew especially teaches us that everything in the ministry of Jesus fulfilled Old Testament passages, one after another, but not in sequence. The second part of Isaiah, chapters 40-66, are filled with Gospel passages proclaiming. The miraculous sign of the Messiah is His coming to Jerusalem as the prophet promised. That happened before, when the Maccabees family took back Israel for a time, but that was a temporary reign and not what Isaiah promised in Isaiah 7 and 9. But obviously the same imagery provoked the shouts of joy that accompanied Jesus as He entered Jerusalem with the risen Lazareth (Gospel of John). Nothing explains the tumult more than the re-enactment of the Maccabeean entrance with a local celebrity (nearby Bethany) as proof of Jesus' divine power.

However, those who saw warfare with the Romans as the outcome of Jesus' entry found their joy turning to jeering. Thus Jesus lost the wrong followers by not being a warlord and converted unbelievers by dying in meekness and humility.

6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. 

This verse is not a small matter. The disciples did what they were told, which was pivotal for the entire week. Individuals and congregations should follow that example. We look for immediate effects but we should patiently do God's work according to the Word, in faith, and let God bring for the fruit of that work.

For a long time I had a brochure announcing a Church Growth seminary. A circus barker drawing had the man saying, "It's colossal! It's stupendous!" St. Paul in German Village, Ohio, had the clergy, vicar, and many laity there. Years later, they have almost no members at all, after following those steroidal programs and fads.
Fear is the opposite of faith. When we follow our own plans out of fear, faith goes out the window.

Can something good come from anything so poor, so lacking in glamor and power as being born in a rented room? The world has been re-shaped by that seeming rejection and poverty, where the Son of God took on our frail flesh. This humble beginning was completed with a humble entrance into Jerusalem and the completion of His mission with death and resurrection, that faith in Him might bring us forgiveness of sin, peace, grace, and eternal life.

8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

8. I have often said that there are two kinds of faith. First, a faith in which you indeed believe that Christ is such a man as he is described and proclaimed here and in all the Gospels, but do not believe that he is such a man for you, and are in doubt whether you have any part in him and think:

Yes, he is such a man to others, to Peter, Paul, and the blessed saints; but who knows that he is such to me and that I may expect the same from him and may confide in it, as these saints did?

9. Behold, this faith is nothing, it does not receive Christ nor enjoy him, neither can it feel any love and affection for him or from him. It is a faith about Christ and not in or of Christ, a faith which the devils also have as well as evil men. For who is it that does not believe that Christ is a gracious king to the saints? This vain and wicked faith is now taught by the pernicious synagogues of Satan. The universities (Paris and her sister schools), together with the monasteries and all Papists, say that this faith is sufficient to make Christians. In this way they virtually deny Christian faith, make heathen and Turks out of Christians, as St. Peter in 2 Peter 2:1 had foretold: “There shall be false teachers, who shall privily bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master that bought them.”