The Glory Has Departed

Lutheran book boxes sent to three African seminaries -
a third one has been sent now.

Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream - Sunday, 10 AM Central Daylight Time.
Wednesdays Romans 1-5 in Greek

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

which works as too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson's Author's Page

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Garden Centers Love Early Buyers of Tomato Plants.
Sunshine Plants

Pumpkin sprouting.

Soil Temperatures Matter To Plants
Long ago I bought tomato plants and installed them in two places, the sunny garden and the vegetable garden. The tomato plants, like their cousins the potatoes, simply sat there and did nothing for weeks. No growth and the tomatoes were close to freezing. The cold, cloudy, rainy weather is not what the nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, egg plants) want.

One reader says the garden centers love those customers who buy their tomato plants early. They come back again to replace the dead frozen ones.

We had one truly warm day of sunshine, and the first tomato plant bloomed. That is always a good sign. Wild strawberries have been blooming but not producing strawberries so far.

The potatoes in the straw garden burst into growth once the sun came out last week. Before the sunshine, I looked at them squatting in the straw, turning green (potato tan?) and not growing. Grass grew well on the bales. I have at least one pumpkin vine sprouting on the side of the bales. Some other seeds sown on top were growing, but not the potatoes.

If we watch carefully, the timing of plants can be determined. The roses were doing well long before the crepe myrtle began to leaf out. The roses from last year are all budding, but the crepe myrtle is far behind them.

Edible pod peas are flowering. They love cold weather. Sunflowers were tentative in the cold rainy weather, and are not hitting a growth spurt. Like corn, sunflowers love heat, sun, water, and rich soil.

The pole bean tepee is fun to grow.

Time To Plant Sweet Corn - Three Sisters Garden
I wait until the soil is reflecting back some genuine warmth before planting sweet corn.

I kept singing "One Day More" from Le Miz as I stepped out into the morning weather, day after day, waiting for sweet corn weather, daily wearing a coat for Sassy's morning walk.

Every website has different directions for planting corn. I will plant the seeds about 12 inches apart. The key to corn is bunching them tight for wind pollination.  I also want to get the maximum production from the Three Sisters Garden, because friends increase when the silk turns brown.

Later I will plant Blue Lake pole beans and pumpkins. The pole beans help fix nitrogen in the soil, and the pumpkins provide shade along the soil, which reduces weeds (though I have mulch) and inhibits predators human and squirreline.

Am I able to plant corn in the same place next year? I will leave the garden remains there, the greenery creating compost on top and the roots decomposing  in the soil. That would be the best place to spread the finished compost from the leaves decomposing in the chicken wire cage. Putting comost on top of the Three Sisters Garden will increase soil activity over the winter.

There is no need for rototilling compost or mulch into the soil. Those who want a rich, smooth, brown surface should stick to cake mixes. Nothing is worse for microbe activity than modern garden practices:

  • Herbicides
  • Pesticides
  • Rototilling
  • Inorganic fertilizers. Walk through that aisle if you think manure smells bad.

Weeds Are Mulch and Fertilizer Rolled into One
Lots of spring weeds are bursting through the soil - green, leafy, and loaded with moisture. I follow Ruth Stout in using weeds as mulch. I may pull some and leave them on top, or I trim them and let the plant material serve as mulch.

Greens are more like candy for the soil - instant energy. 
They are easily broken down and offer nitrogen to plants. Some escapes but nitrogen compounds form in layers of green plant material. A thick layer will warm up. Dug up sod will shrink and turn into perfect soil when turn upside-down. The same effect can be achieved by covered lawn grass with newspapers or cardboard and mulched on top to keep the lower layer in place. Green equals nitrogen.

Tree products are long-term investments in soil quality.
Wood mulch, cardboard, and newspapers are fungus foods, loved by fungi and adored by earthworms. Wood products absorb nitrogen to some extent, but they release it later as they decompose. This adsorption is good in Jackson Mulch, because the newspaper layer puts an instant kibosh on the weeds and grass. If you want to turn a patch of crabgrass (or lawn) into great soil, cover it with newspapers and weigh the papers down with shredded wood mulch.

I asked for six bags of cyprus mulch at Lowe's and the Hispanic clerk sold me sixteen. I ended up loading them, too. Cyprus smells and looks great.

Cellulose is far more complex than plant greens, so it needs the powerful decomposing mechanism of fungi. Queen Elizabeth's private gardens promote as much fungus growth as possible and toxins are banned. Plant and animal life flourishes.

Roses for Mother's Day
The KnockOut roses will be blooming this Sunday, but the hybrid teas from last year may also bloom for Mother's Day.

The new roses should be blooming by the end of May. Yes, I will be photographing them for the blog and future gardening book.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Church Mouse Names the City Where I Vicared

Kitchener won fame in 1898 for winning the Battle of Omdurman and securing control of the Sudan, after which he was given the title "Lord Kitchener of Khartoum" - Wikipedia
Churchill took part in that battle, the very last cavalry charge.

Towns that have changed name — and one that hasn’t - more at the link.

– Kitchener, Ontario, was called Berlin until the Great War. As the war generated much understandable anti-German sentiment, the townspeople were able to vote on a selection of new names. In 1916, the town was renamed after Lord Kitchener, the British Secretary of State for War.


Canadian parks are especially well maintained.
The Royal Rose Garden in Hamilton is worth a trip.
I took notes.

GJ - I think the main park had a statue of Kaiser Wilhelm, replaced by one of Queen Victoria - now Queen Victoria Park. No one wanted to buy goods stamped Made in Berlin during WWI.

The Golds of Spring

Daffodil - Ceylon

The daffodils bloom first among the popular fall bulbs, but before that golden crocus come up, if people dare to plant them. I used to, but squirrels dug them up and replanted them, making it look like I installed them in my sleep.

Forsythia - Lynwood Gold

Forsythia bushes turn gold next. I think of them as being rather fan-like, but one neighbor had the ultimate forsythia bush, about 20 feet in circumference, more like an ancient nature token that beckons pagans once a year for moonlight celebrations.

But the best gold of all the is the sudden change of the drab male goldfinch, when he puts on new livery to mate. Today we had two males enjoying their finch food at the window. The window was open so we could hear them and see them. When I changed over to hulled sunflower seeds and thistle (nyjer), the finches came often and the starlings ate the suet hanging below.

Why spend time and money feeding birds? When they sit in the swing and feed inches from the window. there is no wondering why. As the sun sets in the West, the light casts shadows on them, so I see moving silhouettes on the wall near my computer screen.

I have to grade a lot today, but tomorrow it should be perfect to start the corn and a few other items.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

UOJ Fanaticism from the Newly Minted WELS Pastors

LCMS DP Herbert Mueller, WELS DP Jon Buchholz, ELS Pastor Jay Webber

They may come in different sizes, but the UOJ Stormtroopers
are otherwise exactly alike.

From a WELS member:
Recent WLS graduates have been taught that it is up to them to tell people that they are saved (UOJ), and that nobody else will, so if they don't, they're condemning them to hell.

According to the myth UOJ, it's all about what Christ did for us. Finished. Done. Forgiven. SAVED. All you've got to do is point people to Christ so that they can see that they have already been made righteous and forgiven "in Christ." There is no need to bring Christ and his forgiveness, life, and salvation to us now in Word and Sacrament because it's already been done then at the cross and/or tomb.

For the WELS cultists, forgiveness is not here and now in Word and Sacrament, it's there and then "in Christ" on the cross.


GJ - That is an excellent summary from someone who knows. Of course, the WELS approach is full of lies, apart from the false doctrine. They--and the LCMS, ELS, and various shards and splinters of the Synodical Conference--agree with ELCA, give or take a little language variation.

I recall an LCA tape where they said angrily that the Evangelicals "did not teach grace." The man's voice cracked with emotion. He meant, "They do not teach universal salvation." That is grace to the mainlines, and WELS/ELS/LCMS are modern, rationalistic mainline groups.

Here is an official verson of WELS dogma, from their little periodical, The Popes Speak, aka WELS Meditations -

March-May 2014, for Monday, 17 March 2014.  The howler is in the second column which reads:  

"No matter what you did yesterday -- or failed to do -- and no matter what you will do tomorrow, God has forgiven you."

Monday, April 27, 2015

Fun with Compost and Straw Bales.
Flowers and Vines Sprout from Compost and Straw Bales

Let me guess -
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Above is one of those ideal compost piles, with layers of soil, grass or greens, and straw or dried leaves. Why is it in the bright sunlight? Compost belongs in the shadiest spot, but this one may have been posed for a gardening article.

All those ingredients are fine to use. Various manures are good in for introducing moisture, organic matter, and bacteria. However,  dog and cat manure are avoided because they may carry pathogens that hop into the human system. Raise some rabbits and you will never lack for Rabbit-Gro.

The fertilizer salesmen and their puppets warn that the NPK rating is low for manure and compost, but NPK is misleading. Dow Chemists used to laugh at how little the ingredients cost and how much they could get for them in the right packages. Besides, inorganic fertilizers are not good for the very creatures that make soil productive and healthy.

To show that the layer cake is not required, some of us plant on damp straw bales. The are Lego blocks for gardeners. Now that the potatoes are growing, I am fond of the homely lumps.

Flowers and Vines Sprout from Compost and Straw Bales
Last year I planted a pumpkin vine, rather late, in the compost. The vine grew slowly at first and really took off after establishing its roots.

This year I have already planted strawberries on top. My contributors (Mr. Gardener and our helper) know I do this, so they add their contributions around the newest plant.

When it warms up I will plant pumpkin or gourd vines in the compost, since little will be added on top for a period of time.

I have already planted flowers in the straw bale sides. Some things are sprouting already.

The fun comes from seeing how well the plants do in compost and straw. That can only happen because the soil creatures - fungi, bacteria, nematodes, protozoa, earthworms, slugs, springtails, and many more - work together to decompose the material and swap soluble elements.

The plant roots do far more than grow and absorb moisture. They attract this Vanity Fair of microbes with stuff they exude from the root hairs. In return for the carbon and materials offered by the roots, fungi draws the needed compounds from its decomposing mechanism. Fungi do not tear and chew and rasp, the way earthworms and slugs and springtails do. Instead, fungi dissolve into the food and take what they want. They can trap nematodes and pull out the high nitrogen insides. Bacteria help in all this, but fungi are the giant digesters needed to make it happen.

Earthworms mix and tunnel and sweeten the last stage of decomposition.

A gardener can get seeds to sprout in wet paper towels, but it takes a growing medium for the plant to be established and productive. Compost and the straw bale are two ways to create that medium.

Apart from getting straw wet and starting to decompose for a few weeks, I truly doubt the bales need any more "conditioning" - as various people suggest. They sit on soil and get the creatures they need from the soil. They do not need soil added on top. Nor is a nitrogen product needed. Soil can be put on the top, but why? Adding inorganic fertilizers? That is really crazy. "Let's get all the creatures going in this ideal growing medium and then stun and kill them with inorganic salts."

Rove beetles eat the creatures living on decay.

This family has the honor of being one of the largest families of beetles in North America. A distinctive feature of most rove beetles is the short wing covers that leave their segmented abdomens exposed. When threatened, many species of rove beetles curl their abdomens upward in scorpion fashion. No need to worry, though, as these beetles have no stinger. They are generally brown to black and measure 0.08–0.78 inch (2–20 mm) in length (though some species can reach much larger). 

Rove beetles are predators of insects that feed on decaying organic matter (a handful of parasitic species exist as well). They commonly consume bark beetles, slugs, snails, ants, termites, root maggots, and many others and are found in plant debris, in manure and compost piles, under stones, and in woodlands. Their fast-moving larvae feed on the same prey species by capturing them with sickle-shaped jaws. A few species can produce skin-blistering chemicals or defensive odors when attacked.

Walliser, Jessica (2014-02-26). Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control (Kindle Locations 1035-1043). Timber Press. Kindle Edition. 

I suggest using straw alone to grasp the concept
of decomposition as designed by the Creating Word, the Son of God.

Birds Eye View

"I am not black," says the grackle.
"I have metallic colors. If you feed me often,
you might catch the display. Don't be lazy."

Our Perspective
"Birds are really smart and easily trained."
"True. I give them food whenever I go outside. Now they clamor and chirp for me."
"Our hummingbirds are so smart. One went to where the feeder was last year and hovered there, looking for his food."
"I have learned to put a lot of different foods out there. I am seeing many more species than I did before. Some like nuts, some like fruits. They like various seeds, too. Some leave corn and eat the rest. Then grackles come and eat the corn."

"If you are this beautiful, don't give it away.
Make your human fill the feeders and plant your favorite flowers and vines."

Birds' Perspective
"Humans are fairly smart. They can be trained."
"How so?"
"All my pals wait for ours to come out. We cheer, flutter, chirp, and tweet. He looks up at the trees, smiles, and feeds us."
Hummingbird - "All I had to do was hover around the place where the feeder was last summer. My human ran inside, filled the feeder, and put it where was before. Naturally, I waited. I want that full each day."
"I am tired of black oil sunflower seeds. They are good, but pluck my tailfeathers, I can only eat so many."
"Bring a new friend every so often, especially if something new is out, like some strawberries. Eventually he will learn that we want a lot of variety."
"Good call."
"We will sing Matins every morning for fresh food, and Vespers at night, so it is all refilled."

"Don't just bathe. Splash and fuss with your friends.
Make a lot of noise and we will get fresh water each day."

Hosting the Beneficial Army.
Sobering Thoughts about Plants Requesting Airborne Support

The ichneumon wasp lays eggs on destructive pests.
The wasplings feed on the pest to get their growth spurt.

Many pest-infested plants emit semiochemicals known as herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPV) or green leaf volatiles into the air to lure in the particular species of natural enemy most likely to prey upon the specific pest present on the plant. These scents, which travel anywhere from a few inches to hundreds of yards from their source, are detected by the predator and/or parasitoid and used to locate its prey. Several studies have found that female parasitic wasps are not attracted to aphids alone but rather to the semiochemicals produced by the infested plants. The plant, in essence, is sending out an SOS...

Walliser, Jessica (2014-02-26). Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control (Kindle Locations 511-516). Timber Press. Kindle Edition. 

I often return to my Kindle book collection to support the information I provide. Each time I learn a little more.

The quotation above only enhances what I wrote about the complexity of plants. They ask for the nutrition they need from fungi, and they send out chemical distress signals to draw in the ichneumon wasps.

That is why Jessical Walliser says the pest infestations should be given time to attract the good guys who will clean it up. Reach for the Raid bug bomb and you rip food away from the beneficials while slaughtering the spider population. The pests and pest-eaters will reach a balance, because every creature is food for another. That is the design of the Creator.

One fetish on the Internet is the fear of spiders. Finding a large spider and trying to kill it is a favorite video. No wonder people think nothing of spraying down their flowers and wiping them out with the insects. Of course, the pests will happily return to a safer, more toxic garden, minus thousands of spiders.

One reader wondered why she had so few butterflies. I asked about spraying Malathion for mosquitoes. Yes, the city sprayed as a matter of policy, every year, and the truck went by her garden.
That wipes out the ladybug and butterfly population. Mosquitoes are annoying, but they are also food for many animals, including bats. (Pause for several readers to freak out over bats. "Oh, I hate bats. They scare me.") One can hardly find a  more fascinating creature than the bat, the twilight bug remover.

"Scale insect" by Vijay Cavale .
Wikipedia article on scale insects.

California banned Malathion because it kills off the ladbybug population, and ladybugs are death on cottony citrus scale, an insect that sucks the life out of citrus groves. I had maple scale on my maple tree (fancy that) and the ladybugs flew in by the thousands to devour it.

"Oh, why not use non-toxic oil?" It is also called miscible or edible oil, which suffocates the pests. But it also suffocates the pest eaters. This oil is not toxic but it is still lethal to spiders and beneficial insects.

Some like systemic toxins, which kill anything living on the plant that absorbed the toxins. That is not as extreme as burning the garden to remove the pests, but the logic is similar.

Man-made devices look worse as they are magnified by scanning electron microscopes. Everything in nature looks better, more beautiful, more skillfully designed and produced under the same magnifications.

Bee head.
Bee wise and bee friendly to this magnificent pollinator.

Hosting the Beneficial Army
Good Creation gardening practices are the opposite of human tendencies. We want to clean up. clip, spray, burn, and Brady Bunch the yard. The Brady Bunch had astro-turf for a lawn, and people do install that in their yards.

Many of these practices attract beneficial birds, insects, spiders, and creatures at the same time.

  • Leave part of the yard with long grass, weeds, and herbs.
  • Stop hating on dandelions. They are herbs.
  • Place logs or firewood on the ground, to serve as soil, insect, and bird feeders.
  • Use many birdbaths at various levels.
  • Create Jackson Mulch for garden areas: newspapers or cardboard topped with wood mulch.
  • Save bush trimmings cut in small pieces for mulch (but not with roses).
  • Feed birds daily at various levels. The more varied the food, the more varied the birds attracted.
  • Buy suet and bags (or large metal cages) for the insect eating birds. Meat markets are the best source for suet by the pound.
  • Leave cut grass, leaves, and dryer lint where birds can re-purpose them for nests.
  • Grow insect friendly plants, such as sunflowers.
  • Select butterfly and bee plants when planning the garden.
  • Save broken clay pots for toad homes.
  • Never spray for insects. Never use fungicide. Avoid tilling. Never use herbicides (RoundUp) or inorganic fertilizers.

Bee balm is also an herb.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Intensive Creation Unit - Jackson Rose Gardens

Everyone is having odd weather. We are getting cool weather, threats of  bad storms, yielding little or no rain. We finally had a long sunny day yesterday,so the tomatoes began to bloom and the potatoes started growing leaves. Our first red KnockOut Rose bloomed (one flower), but hundreds of buds are ready to open up

This afternoon the cool winds are blowing again, and we may get rain. I have learned a lot about evaporation from watching the newspapers get soaked by the hose then dry out with a steady breeze.

Although the mulch holds down the soil, holds water, and helps prevent evaporation from the wind. the same wind dries up the rose canes.The newly planted roses do not have good foundation yet, so they gain the water slowly and lose it easily.

Standard or tree roses

Intensive Creation Unit
I walked around with the mop bucket full of rainwater today, pouring water on the lagging bushes and pruning a few examples of deadwood. I run the soaker hose for the roots, but I spray the canes to keep them hydrated. The front and back are set up for two soaker hoses and one garden hose each, so I move switches like a real hydraulic engineer and water the roots.

Roses have simple, easily defined needs, so people do the opposite and wonder why their blooms are not showing up.

The fun part is doing the work early, letting God's Creation take over, and seeing the results. As I have often said and written, people resist the basics of Creation instead of studying them. Darwin's Black Box argues that many theories were easily foisted on the public, as long as we knew little about life at the microscopic level. Each plant cell is not just a chemical factory, but a collection of chemical factories.

If we could stop at the plants alone, arguing for evolution might make a little sense, but that would be like saying water runs uphill and birds fly with thought waves. Each plant is incredibly complex as the cells grow, differentiate, and create the needed structures for its own kind. This all happens without any thought or effort on our part and has continued since Creation.

Many things became evident in the last few years. One is the essential work of fungi, bacteria, protozoa, and nematodes. That increases the level of complexity in the plant cells, because they make the demands upon the fungi for the nutrition needed, swapping carbon for those needs. No one even suggests that plants are thinking beings, but they were organizing their own needs long before we realized how infinitely complex those steps were, and all linked with many other organisms at the same time.

We have trouble talking people out of junk food and cola, but the plant says to the fungi, "If you want my carbon, I need moisture, nitrogen, and phosphorus." Getting the carbon it needs to grow, the microscopic fungi stretch out incredible lengths for their size and even network with several plants at once. That is only part of the arrangement.

Here in the rhizosphere [root zone of the soil], the increase of carbon, together with the carbon in mucilage and dead root tip cells, attracts bacteria and fungi and helps sustain populations near the root surfaces. For example, Rhizobia and Frankia are nitrogen-fixing bacteria that form relationships with legumes. 

Mycorrhizal fungi form a symbiotic relationship with plants and get carbon directly from roots, ensuring a supply by providing the plant with nutrients. These fungi literally go out from the plant root hairs and obtain nutrients the roots cannot, both because of the inability of the larger root to fit into tiny pore spaces and the inability of the root to grow the length required.

Lowenfels, Jeff (2013-05-07). Teaming with Nutrients: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to Optimizing Plant Nutrition (Kindle Locations 2159-2164). Timber Press. Kindle Edition. 

How important is one particular chemical? Here is just a little about the other two chemicals in the NPK rating found on inorganic fertilizer.

Phosphorus (P) ultimately comes from the weathering of apatite, a type of rock. It can enter soils in two forms: organic and inorganic. As you would expect, the former is from decaying dead plants, manures, and microbes that contain it. Like nitrogen, phosphorus also cycles through the environment in various forms. Inorganic phosphorus, from apatite, is adsorbed to the surfaces of clay particles and organic matter....

Because of the tight adsorption (clinging to) to soil particles, phosphate uptake requires that roots grow so they can maintain continuous and new contact with phosphorus. In addition, around 95 percent of all plants associate with mycorrhizal fungi, which provide the plant with phosphorus in return for the carbon in root exudates.

Lowenfels, Jeff; Lowenfels, Jeff (2013-05-07). Teaming with Nutrients: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to Optimizing Plant Nutrition (Kindle Locations 1618-1621). Timber Press. Kindle Edition. 

Potassium (K) is the only essential nutrient that is not a constituent of any organ, organelle, or structural part of plants. Its role is as a regulating chemical. As such, potassium is the key solute in the cell’s cytosol, where it can exist in high concentrations without causing damage. Potassium ions play a key role in the movement of water into and out of cells. Those all-important guard cells in leaves open and close as a result of different potassium concentrations. This is how the plant as a whole regulates carbon dioxide and water levels. A potassium ion (K+) is positively charged, making it a cation. Potassium’s positive electrical charge acts as a counter balance to other charged molecules in plants. Potassium also regulates more than sixty key enzymatic reactions, speeding up chemical reactions by thousands of times. Its presence is crucial for the formation of starch, which is used to store the sugar made during photosynthesis, and for the movement of sugars themselves.

Lowenfels, Jeff; Lowenfels, Jeff (2013-05-07). Teaming with Nutrients: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to Optimizing Plant Nutrition (Kindle Locations 1633-1641). Timber Press. Kindle Edition. 

The answer is not to buy inorganic fertilizer, which does a bad job of delivering these chemicals to the plant.

The answer is to promote microbial growth and leave the soil alone to do its work, providing food and water on top, trusting God the Creator to distribute the food as needed.


  • Sweet corn should be planted soon in the Three Sisters Garden.
  • Several vine plants will arrive, to grow up the trees.
  • Peas are abundant and growing like government programs.
  • Beans are sprouting. Tomatoes are blooming.
  • The old rose garden is packed with buds, the KnockOuts will lead the way with the slower forming hybrid teas following.
  • The new roses are all doing well, only two need ICU now.
  • Potatoes and strawberries are making progress now.
  • Bee balm is doing very well.

Cantate, The Fourth Sunday after Easter, 2015.
The Spirit Will Convict the World of Unbelief
Because They Do Not Believe in Christ

Cantate, The Fourth Sunday after Easter, 2015

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

The Hymn #458                              Our Father – Luther                    
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 #462                I Love Thy Kingdom               

The Work of the Holy Spirit - To Convict the World of Unbelief

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                      

Fourth Sunday After Easter

Lord God, heavenly Father, who didst through Thy Son promise us Thy Holy Spirit, that He should convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment: We beseech Thee, enlighten our hearts, that we may confess our sins, through faith in Christ obtain everlasting righteousness, and in all our trials and temptations retain this consolation, that Christ is Lord over the devil and death, and all things, and that He will graciously deliver us out of all our afflictions, and make us forever partakers of eternal salvation, through the same, Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

KJV James 1:16 Do not err, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 18 Of his own will begat he us with the Word of Truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. 19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. 21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted Word, which is able to save your souls.

KJV John 16:5 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? 6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.

7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

The Work of the Holy Spirit - To Convict the World of Unbelief

Today the Epistle and the Gospel go together perfectly well. They often have different themes, but today two of the great statements in the Bible are read to the congregations if they follow the historic lessons.

James - Receive with meekness the engrafted Word, which is able to save your souls.

Let's consider that by itself, since I deal with grafted plants every day. Most roses are grafted, because the growers want the weaker hybrid tea rose (or other variety, such as the grandiflora rose) to be fed by the stronger wild rose roots.

All planting instructions have to do with that graft, which gives the rose two different characteristics. The foundation is strong so the beauty above can last.

"Receive with meekness" is splendid way of saying believe with humilty... The engrafted Word is the Gospel which is planted in us through Holy Baptism or adult conversion. In either case, the living Gospel becomes a living part of us and remains with us, definitely the stronger part.

Able to save your souls - that shows us that the power comes from the Gospel Promises itself. Those Promises are purifying, because they contain the righteousness of Christ. As all the Concordists and Lutheran Reformers agree, following Paul, this means receiving the righteousness of Christ.

Although people like to criticize James or, more likely, simply ignore his message, it is in harmony with the Gospels and the Epistles of Paul. Luther said it is "strawy compared to Paul's" which is only a comparison to show how Paul's words simply radiate the Gospel even in the midst of his strongest Law passages. The blokes who claim this is an "Epistle of Straw" quoting Luther are like the rose buyers who buy a fragrant rose labeled - "the fragrance is strong, but only in your imagination." It is the same as our hyperbole, where someone would say, "The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were a weed patch compared to Brett and Amy Meyer's raised beds." 

This is our problem today - although James said "let not many be teachers," everyone with an opinion and a career to mind pretends to be a teacher and yet without any learning or grasp of the English language, let alone Biblical languages.

Jesus said, as recorded and remembered by the Apostle John - "16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you."

This is Jesus' encouraging Word about the Gospel no longer being local, limited in a sense to the walking and teaching tour in one area, but will be worldwide, because the Apostles will receive the Holy Spirit and multiply the preaching of the Word.

Although the initial work was limited to one region, it was also the building of a strong base, teaching and miracles, and a matter of fulfilling all prophecies. I told my urban ministry class, "We do not have to run around like dogs chasing squirrels. The Word does its work in worship, study, and prayer."

In fact, in the Apostolic Age, persecution made the Word a global ministry because the believers were driven to every corner of the Roman Empire, which was far more vast than people recall.

John 16:8 And when He (the Holy Spirit) is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on Me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see Me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 

The work of the Christian Church is the work of the Holy Spirit, because Christ ascended to heaven and gave ordinary mortals the license to preach His Word as His Word (not theirs).

Lutherans are the true Pentecostals, because we never separate the Spirit from the Word. The Calvinists imagine that a Gospel sermon has no impact if the Holy Spirit does not happen to be there that Sunday (expressed stated by Calvin). The modern Pentecostals think also that the Spirit is  loose, away from Word and writing new books of the Bible on a daily basis, often in dreams, making the modern Pentecostal Bible bigger than the Oxford English Dictionary and destined to grow forever.

He will reprove the world of sin and of righteousness, and of judgment: 

This should be the most exciting and thrilling message of the New Testament, because every Christian, every seminary student, every pastor dwells upon the preaching of sin and imagines a different answer. They think one will increase attendance by preaching the sin of missing the Sunday after Easter, although the minister is often on vacation then. But he can include that in his Easter sermon.

We attended one service where the sin was having the budget $20,000 short. That was so terrible the minister had his head on the Bible in sorrow. But the church was so big, it was probably little more than the loose change. So we heard no Gospel in that sermon, because there was none.

Or the condemnation of sin is one carnal sin after another. One pastor preached against the adult bookstore near his church and brought samples to condemn.

I have heard various synod officials preach on the sin of not agreeing with them or thinking they are the synod when in fact all of us are the synod. So that is the sin, not agreeing with their imagined view, even though it was not their view when anyone disagreed with them. They THEY were the synod. One DP said "If you don't like it, then leave."

I have to admit that the phrases left me a bit bewildered for years. They unlock the key to the entire Bible, so one must study them and experience all the griefs of the ministry to know what they mean.

9 Of sin, because they believe not on Me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see Me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 

The foundational sin is not believing on Christ. This section by Luther is so important. The only sin left (after the Atonement) is not believing in Christ, so that is the mission of the Christian Church, to teach faith in Him. 

8. Inasmuch as Christ has now come and commanded to preach that everything we may do, however great and beautiful it may appear, is sin, because we do nothing that is good with pleasure and willingly, and that for this reason he has stepped forward and has taken away all sin, in order that we may receive the Holy Spirit, through whom we obtain love and pleasure to do what God wants us to do, in order that we do not attempt to come before God through our own works, but through Christ and his merits, therefore it cannot be called any longer sin committed against the Law, for the Law did nothing to assist us in becoming pious, since we are not able to do anything good.

9. What sort of sin then remains upon earth? No other than that one does not receive this Savior and refuses to accept him who has taken away sin.

For if he were present, there would be no sin, since he, as I have said, brings the Holy Spirit with him, who kindles the heart and makes it willing to do good. Therefore, the world is no longer punished and condemned on account of other sins, because Christ blots them all out; only this remains sin in the New Testament, that one will not acknowledge nor receive him.

What is the key indicator of the Gospel of Christ? Hatred, contempt, bitterness, and strife in silencing it. Unbelief hates the entire matter of faith, because unbelief rests upon works.

Why does everyone want a program, an example to follow, a process - in the Church? They do not trust the Word at all. They trust what some criminal apostates did for a short time in California or Seattle or Chicago, but they have no trust the Word, which is sharper than any two-edged sword.

To say, believing is forgiveness is to take away all their human comforts, all their righteousness through works, casting them away as sinful garbage. Because they do not believe, it destroys the false comfort of their righteousness of works.

The weevils of works are always busy. Now that everyone seems to be asleep, they use various new translations to undermine the Word of God, using or abusing the Word of God. The NIV, the New NIV, and the Calvinist ESV all do this shamelessly. So people argue over which bad translation to use.

Faith in Christ goes begging when everyone is engaged in trivia. 

Luther's Cantate Sermon - To Convict the World of Sin

Jesus washes the disciples' feet,  by Norma Boeckler.


The following two sermons are not found in edition c. They first appeared in three pamphlet editions in 1523 under the title: “A sermon for the fourth Sunday after Easter, John 16, Martin Luther, Wittenberg, 1523.” It appeared in the collection of 13 sermons.

German text: Erlangen Edition 12:95; Walch Edition 2:1165; St. Louis Walch 11:865.

Text: John 16:5-15. But now I go unto him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have spoken these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.

Nevertheless I tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I go, I will send him unto you. And he, when he is come, will convict the world in respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to the Father, and ye behold me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world hath been judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, shall come, he shall guide you into all the truth; for he shall not speak from himself; but what things soever he shall hear, these shall he speak; and he shall declare unto you the things that are to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall take of mine, and shall declare it unto you. All things whatsoever the Father hath are mine; therefore said I, that he taketh of mine, and shall declare it unto you.


* An opinion, derived from this Gospel 1.


1. Of the first theme 2-3.

2. Of the second theme 4.

3. Of the third theme 5.

* That no man is by nature truly pious 6.


A. The First Theme.

1. The sense and understanding of this theme 7-10.

2. How this theme stands for the honor and praise of the grace of God in Christ Jesus 11-12.

3. The necessity of this theme 13.

4. How all the essence of the papacy is overthrown by this theme 14.

B. The Second Theme.

1. Its sense and import 15-16.

2. In what way accomplished 17-18.

C. The Third Theme.

1. Its sense and import 19ff.

2. The connection of this theme with the two preceding ones 20.

3. The necessity of this theme 21.

* Reason may accomplish something in worldly matters but not in spiritual and divine things 22.

4. How in this theme reason, with all its wisdom and power is overthrown 22-24.

5. How the world is disposed toward this theme 25.

* We should condemn everything that is without the Holy Spirit 26.


A. The First Part of This Passage.

1. Its nature

2. How to rescue it from its misuse 28-29.

B. The Second Part of This Passage 30-32.

C. The Third Part of This Passage 33.

* The conclusion of this exposition 34.


1. Christ’s Kingdom is a spiritual Kingdom and not an outward affair; consequently it excludes all confidence that one may have in the flesh, in order that it may reign through the Spirit in the hearts of believers.

2. The flesh always tries hard to come to honor without the cross and without any adversity.

3. The Holy Spirit will convict the world, that is, kills, condemns and overthrows all our doings, our sins, our righteousness, judgment and everything else that is, or appears to be, good in us.

4. Therefore without the Holy Spirit our doings can never displease us, and we remain thus in condemnation, and it matters not how holy and prudent we may be or appear to be in the eyes of the people.

5. The Holy Spirit teaches us everything we should know, and truly nothing except what Christ taught and preached. Christ has given us teachings, but without the Spirit the Word and its doctrine neither can nor do they wish to be understood. Therefore he said better to his disciples before in John 14:26: “The Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you.”

6. But the Holy Spirit, says Christ, “Will convict the world in respect of sin, because they believe not in me.” Therefore it follows that unbelief is the right and true sin; other sins flow out of unbelief and are even the fruit from this root.

7. In the second place: “Of righteousness, because I go to the Father,” to another Kingdom, not to begin an outward one; “and ye behold me no more; for my kingdom is not of this world,” in order that the whole world may be put to shame by the Spirit; because it makes its righteousness to consist in outward things.

8. In the third place: “Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged”; which the world does not judge or condemn, but flatters and welcomes the devil, who is now already judged; that is, whose kingdom is already condemned, in that, error has come to the light of day through the Gospel, and becomes manifest.

1. The meaning of this Gospel lesson we have also often heard elsewhere; the only trouble is, the words have not generally been understood to have the meaning of things with which we are familiar. Therefore we will explain it a little, in order that one may see that the same teaching is contained in these words, that is found in all the other Gospel lessons. It is a fine Gospel, but it also requires fine students. We will omit the first part and consider what the Lord says, that the Holy Spirit is to convict the world in respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment, and will see what the meaning of all this is.

2. In the first place, we see here that the world is accused of blindness and ignorance. All those who are without the Holy Spirit, however wise they may be in matters pertaining to the things of this world, are, before God, fools and blind. They do not like to hear this; and when they are told that their doings are of no account before God, it displeases them and makes them angry, because they insist that they are in possession of reason and the natural light, which God created in them. But what does this matter to us? There are the Scriptures and the Word of God plain and clear, that the Holy Spirit is to come to ‘convict the world, because it does not know what sin, righteousness and judgment are. Thus it is determined, there it stands; let be angry who will, Christ does not care.

3. It is much to be deplored that the world is convicted, not only because of its sin and want of righteousness, not being able to judge rightly, but that it does not acknowledge nor see this, to say nothing of its endeavor to alter the matter. Oh, how completely the praise of all comes to naught, who, while they endeavor to make other people pious, know not themselves what sin is! Let us take, for example, at the present day, all the schools of learning and the learned men and see whether they can tell us what that one little word “sin” is? For who has ever heard that not to believe in Christ is sin? They say, it is sin if one speaks, desires or does something against God’s will and commandment. But how does that correspond with this saying of Christ: It is sin because they do not believe on me? Therefore, they are easily convicted of the fact that they know not what sin is; and if they be ever so learned, they will not be able to explain this text.

4. In like manner, they are not able to know what “righteousness” is. For who has ever heard that a man should become pious and just because Christ ascended to heaven or goes to the Father and we see him no ,more?

There we must say, a fool has thus spoken and not a wise man. For they say, righteousness is a virtue, which teaches man what he owes others.

This is true, but the trouble is, they do not understand their own words, such blind fools they are. Therefore, one needs not be surprised that they rage so much against the Gospel and persecute the Christians. How could they do otherwise? They know no better.

5. Neither do they know what “judgment” or right is, that is, a right judgment, a correct good opinion and sense, or whatever you may call it.

For they say: Right is that which is written in books, how one is to know and distinguish things, to quiet and end quarrels. But how does Christ define it? He says: “It is right, that the world is to be judged.” Who understands such speech, and where will it go in or out, and how does it correspond with reason? Let ut see whether we can explain it so that it may be understood.

6. In the first place one must know that the Word of God does not speak only of the outward existence and appearances, but it takes hold of the heart and the depths of the soul. Accordingly it does not judge man as to his outward appearance and action, but according to the depths of his conscience. Now, everyone will experience in himself, if he wishes to acknowledge it, however pious he may be (even though he were a Carthusian or as holy as any one on earth), that in his heart he would rather do the contrary, and otherwise than what he is outwardly compelled to do.

Thus, if I were left to myself, a monk, who walks about in poverty and chastity, as they pride themselves, but were made to confess how I feel in my heart, I must say: That which I do, I would rather not do. If there were no hell and I would not feel the disgrace, I would leave my office have the misfortune, and run off. For I have no desire from the heart to do it, but am compelled thereto, and must do it in spite of hell, punishment or disgrace.

It is not possible that I should do it from choice and gladly. Such everyone who is without grace finds in his own heart. The same you will find continually in other matters. I am never from my heart kind and friendly to my enemy, for this is impossible to nature; and though I act otherwise, in my heart I think thus: If it were not for the punishment, I would have my way and not remain without revenge. Thus, I still go about before the world, and do not as I would like and feel inclined to do, for fear of punishment or disgrace. Likewise if you go through all the commandments, from the first to the last, you will find that there is no one who keeps God’s commandments from the bottom of his heart.

7. Now, against this evil God found a remedy and determined to send Christ, his Son, into this world, that he should shed his blood and die, in order to make satisfaction for sin and take it away, and that the Holy Spirit then should enter the hearts of such people, who go about with the works of the Law, being unwilling and forced to it, and make them willing, in order that without force and with joyous heart they keep God’s commandments. Otherwise there might be no means of removing the misery; for neither human reason and power, nor even an angel could rescue us from it. Thus, God has done away with the sins of all men who believe on the Christ, so that henceforth it is impossible for one to remain in sin who has this Savior, who has taken all sins upon himself and blotted them out.

8. Inasmuch as Christ has now come and commanded to preach that everything we may do, however great and beautiful it may appear, is sin, because we do nothing that is good with pleasure and willingly, and that for this reason he has stepped forward and has taken away all sin, in order that we may receive the Holy Spirit, through whom we obtain love and pleasure to do what God wants us to do, in order that we do not attempt to come before God through our own works, but through Christ and his merits, therefore it cannot be called any longer sin committed against the Law, for the Law did nothing to assist us in becoming pious, since we are not able to do anything good.

9. What sort of sin then remains upon earth? No other than that one does not receive this Savior and refuses to accept him who has taken away sin.

For if he were present, there would be no sin, since he, as I have said, brings the Holy Spirit with him, who kindles the heart and makes it willing to do good. Therefore, the world is no longer punished and condemned on account of other sins, because Christ blots them all out; only this remains sin in the New Testament, that one will not acknowledge nor receive him.

Therefore he likewise says in this Gospel: “When the Holy Spirit is come, he will convict the world in respect of sin, because they believe not on me.”

10. As if he wished to say: Had they believed on me, everything would already have been forgiven them, whatever sin they might have committed, for I know that they by nature cannot do otherwise. But because they will not receive me, neither believe that I can help them, this it is that will condemn them. Therefore, God will at the final judgment pass a sentence like this on them: Behold, thou wast in sin and couldst not free thyself from it, still I did not on this account wish to condemn thee, for I sent my only begotten Son to thee and intended to give thee a Savior, in order that he might take the sin from thee. Him thou didst not receive. Therefore, on this account alone, thou wilt be condemned, because thou hast not Christ.

11. This sentence, then, is given for the honor and glory of the high grace, which God has given us in Christ the Lord. What reason would have ever been so wise as to discover that this was done for man’s sake? Reason is not able to rise higher in its thoughts than to say: I have sinned in deeds done. I must make good by doing other deeds. I must blot out and pay for the sin, in order that I may thus obtain a gracious God. If reason comes so far, it has reached its climax. Still it is nothing but foolishness and blindness.

12. But God speaks thus: If thou wilt be rid of sin, thou must do other works wherewith to pay the price. But with all the works which thou dost, thou canst do nothing but sin, even with the works wherewith thou thinkest to reconcile me and to do penance for thy sins. How wilt thou then, thou fool, blot out sin with sin? For even in the works which thou considerest the best and which thou canst do, thou sinnest if thou dost not do them willingly and from the heart. For if thou didst not fear punishment, thou wouldst rather not do them at all. Thus thou dost no more than that thou seekest to blot out little sins by doing greater ones; or else to commit such great ones that thou mayest lay aside others.

13. Wherefore, it is ever great blindness that a man does not see what sin is, nor know what good works are, but accepts sin for good works. When the Holy Spirit comes, he convicts the people and says: The works which thou hast done, as well as those which thou art still doing, are nothing but sin; therefore, it is all in vain that thou dost attempt to make satisfaction for thy sin according to thy ability. Then they feel compelled to say: Behold, this I did not know. Then says he: For this purpose I am here, in order to tell thee this. If thou hadst known it, it would not have been necessary for me to come and make it known. What wilt thou do now in order to be helped? This thou must do: Believe on the Savior, the Lord Christ, that he has taken away thy sin. If thou believest this, he is thine and thy sins will disappear; if not, then thou wilt never get rid of sin, but wilt always fall into it deeper and deeper.

14. Thus, with this passage everything has been completely overthrown that has hitherto been preached about penance and satisfaction for sin, and all else that has been practiced and urged. For this reason there have been founded many orders and masses, and on this account we have become priests and monks and have run to and fro in order best in the world, which the world considers pious and holy, to get rid of sin. Therefore, it also follows: Whatever is that is nothing but mere sin and a damnable thing.

Thus we have considered one part of this Gospel.

15. The second thought then follows: “The Holy Spirit will convict the world in respect to righteousness, because I go to the Father,” says Christ, “and ye behold me no more.” Rigtheousness means piety and a good and honorable life before God. What is this now? It is, says Christ, “because I go to the Father.” We have often said about the resurrection of Christ that it came to pass not for his sake, but for our sakes, in order that we may apply it to ourselves as a blessing which is our own. For this reason he is risen from the dead and has ascended to heaven, that he might begin a spiritual kingdom, in which he reigns in us through righteousness and truth.

Therefore, he sits above; he does not rest and sleep, does not play with himself, but, as Paul says, Ephesians 1:22, has his work here upon the earth, governing the consciences and the souls of men with the Gospel.

16. Wherever Christ is now preached and acknowledged, there he reigns in us, from the right hand of his Father, and is himself here below in the hearts of men. There he reigns with might, power and dominion over you and all your enemies, and guards you from sin, death, devil and hell. Thus is his resurrection and ascension our comfort, life, blessing, righteousness and everything in one. This is what the Lord means when he speaks of righteousness, that the people thereby should become pious and righteous, that he ascends to heaven to the Father and we see him no more. This the world does not know, therefore the Holy Spirit must come and convict the world of it.

17. How does this come to pass? Just as we have heard. Am I to become pious, it will not be enough for me to perform outwardly good works, but I must do them from the bottom of my heart, gladly and willingly, so that I may be free from the fear of sin, death and the devil; be joyous, and with a good conscience, and all confidence stand before him and know how I stand with him. This no work, no creature can give unto me, but Christ alone, who has ascended into heaven — there, where one cannot see him, but must believe that he sits yonder and wishes to help one. Such a faith makes me acceptable unto God; Christ gives me the Holy Spirit into my heart, who makes me willing and happy in the doing of every good work.

In this manner I become righteous, and in no other; for the works themselves make me more and more unwilling, the longer I occupy myself with them.

18. But the longer one is engaged in this work, the more willing it makes one’s heart; for wherever there is such knowledge, there the Holy Spirit cannot be wanting. When he comes, he makes the heart willing, joyful and happy, so that one may be free and willingly do what is pleasing to God, with joyous courage, and suffer whatever there is to suffer, yea, and even die willingly. And in proportion as this knowledge is clear and great, in that proportion the willingness and joy will also be great. Thus the commandment of God is fulfilled and everything done that one is to do, and thus thou art righteous. Who would ever have thought that this would be righteousness and that thus it should be. This question we have hitherto often heard about and considered, and although the words here be different, yet the sense and meaning are the same.

19. In the third place, the Holy Spirit is to convict the world in respect of judgment , that is that the world does not know what right is. For who has ever heard the definition of this right to be, because the prince of this world hath been judged? The prince of the world, to be sure is the devil, which one may readily see in his government.

20. If now I have learned to know what sin is and am free from it, and have obtained righteousness, so that now I stand in a new character and life and have become another man — have now the Lord Christ and know that something else than our works is required to get rid of sin — if these have come to pass in me, it then follows that I may have a correct judgment, having learned to judge differently before God. For, according to such understanding, I know how to discuss, conclude and judge of all things in heaven and upon earth, and to pass correct judgment; and when I have passed such a judgment, I can live accordingly. This no one else can do.

21. The world, in its holiness, maintains that righteousness means to perform good works wherewith to do penance for sin and reconcile God.

This has been taught in all the schools of learning. Such teachers think it is right and well done if only they can accomplish good works. But now comes the Holy Spirit and says: Not so. You err and are mistaken. Your judgment is wrong. Therefore there must be another judgment. You should judge thus: Everything that your reason concludes, is erroneous and false, and you are a fool and a simpleton.

22. Reason may do other things; for instance, know how to judge in worldly and human matters and affairs, how to build cities and houses, how to govern well, and the like. In such matters one may easily be able to judge and decide more wisely than another. Of this, however, we do not speak here, but of judgment in the significance of what is right or wrong before God. Here the Holy Spirit concludes thus: Every judgment of reason is false and worth nothing. Everything that is born of man and is not born from above, must be rooted out and crucified, so that no one may boast of it and depend upon it. Again, whatever the world considers as wisdom, that which it votes as wisely and intelligently devised and accomplished, is foolishness before God. In short, whatever the world does, is useless and cursed, unless it proceeds from Christ, the Lord, and is of his Word and Spirit, as he teaches us. If it does not proceed from him, it is surely mere blindness and there is no good in it.

23. Therefore everything that the world considers good is debased.

Everything is evil because it does not proceed from the Word and the Spirit, but from the old Adam, who is nothing more than a blind fool and sinner. And why? Should not your wisdom and reason be foolishness and count for nothing, since the most exalted one, who has all the power and wisdom of this world in the highest degree, is condemned? For, without doubt, there is no one in the world so wise, shrewd and rational as the devil, and no one is able to make a more pious appearance. And all wisdom and holiness that do not proceed from God, as well as the most beautiful things in the world, are found in their highest degree in the devil. Since he is a prince and the ruler of the world, the wisdom and righteousness of the world must proceed from him; here he reigns with all his power. Therefore, Christ says: Since the same prince of the world is condemned, with all that he has and can do, the world is ever blind because it considers that to be good which has been condemned already, namely his wisdom and piety.

24. We must, therefore, pass a correct judgment, such as Christ passes, if we are to guard against everything that the world considers and declares precious in order that it may appear before God prudent, wise and pious. If people who have not the Word and Spirit of Christ, desire to teach and govern, everything is already condemned; for in this way one accomplishes no more than to make the old Adam stronger and to establish him in his opinion that his works, his piety and prudence are to avail before God.

Thereby one must work himself deeper and deeper into the devil’s kingdom.

25. But now, since the prince of this world and the Holy Spirit, the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of the devil, are directly opposed to one another, and the Holy Spirit is not willing that anyone should parade his own deeds and praise himself on account of them, the holy cross must soon follow. The world will not consent to be reprimanded for its blindness. Therefore one must willingly submit and suffer persecution. If we have the right kind of faith in our hearts, we must also open our mouths and confess righteousness and make known sin. Likewise we must condemn and punish the doings of this world and make it known that everything it undertakes, is damned. For this we must be considered heretics, and must pass through the fire. They say: This is against the holy councils and the canon of the holy father, the pope. Then you are to answer: How can I help it? Here it stands — the text does not say the Holy Spirit is to convict them and say their doctrine is error, blindness and the government of the devil. This, of course, they will not endure, but would have us call them gracious noblemen. Therefore, one must here risk his neck.

26. These are the three parts we have in this Gospel lesson: Sin is unbelief; righteousness is faith; the judgment is the holy cross. Therefore give heed and learn to consider everything that is without the Spirit as nothing and as condemned, and afterwards be prepared for the holy cross that thou must suffer on account of it. Now follows in the Gospel further: “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth.”

27. These words ought to be understood in all their simplicity, as if the Lord were to say: “These three parts which I have now related, you cannot yet fully understand, even though I were to explain them unto you. I would have to say much about them in order to explain them more fully, to make plain how things shall be, and you still stick too deep in your coarse, carnal reason to be able to comprehend it. Therefore, I will forbear now. When the Holy Spirit comes, he will enlighten your hearts, so that you will understand it, and will call to your remembrance all things, I tell you of it now, in order that you may think about it. Thus, we give these words in their simple meaning. It is as if I conversed with some one and said: I would yet have many things to say, but they are too difficult for you. You cannot yet comprehend and grasp them.

28. But our doctors and highly learned men have made use of these words in a frivolous way and said that it was necessary to have something more than the Gospel and the Scriptures; therefore one ought also to hear what the councils and the popes decree. They endeavor to prove in this way that Christ says here: “I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now;” therefore, because he has not told them all things, it must follow that he told them to the councils, popes and bishops, who are now to teach them.

29. Now look at these fools, what they say. Christ says: “I have yet many things to say unto you.” What does “you” mean? To whom does he speak?

Without doubt, to the apostles. To these he says: “I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all truth.” Therefore, if Christ is not to lie, his Word must have been fulfilled at the time that the Holy Spirit came. The Holy Spirit must have said everything to them and accomplished everything that the Lord here refers to, and, of course, he led them into all the truth. How, then, do we get the idea that Christ should not have said everything, but should have kept much back, which the councils were to teach and to determine? With this idea his words do not at all harmonize. Christ gives to understand that soon the Holy Spirit would tell and explain to them all things, and that afterwards the apostles should carry out everything, and through them should be made known to the world what they have learned from the Holy Spirit. But, according to the councils and popes,’ it depends on what they say, teach and command, even to the end of the world.

30. Moreover, Christ says further: “He shall guide you into all the truth.”

Here we conclude: If what the councils teach be the truth, that one is to wear the tonsure and the cap and live a life of celibacy, then the apostles never came to the truth, since none of them ever entered a cloister, nor kept any of those foolish laws. Thus, Christ must indeed have betrayed us in this, that he said the Holy Spirit should guide us into all the truth, when in reality he wished to teach how we were to become priests ‘and monks and not to eat meat on certain days, and like foolish things.

31. Without doubt it is “truth” before God when one lives an upright and sincere life. But if we now look at our ecclesiasts, pope, bishops, priests and monks, we see nothing but carnival masks, who give themselves the outward appearance of being pious, but in their hearts they are villains.

What popes, bishops, and orders have ever led us into this truth, which should spring from within — out of the heart? In everything they are concerned about the outward appearance of things, in order that they may make a display before the eyes of the people.

32. Thus they have perverted this text masterfully in order to strengthen their lies; and yet we are to call them gracious lords! To hear such things is exasperating and it should grieve our hearts that we are to suffer such great outrage — should see how shamefully the people act against the precious Word of God and that they make the Holy Spirit a liar. Should not this single passage be powerful enough against the pope and the councils, even if we had no other in the Scriptures?

33. Thirdly, Christ says: “You cannot bear them now.” Here we ask: My dear, should it have been too hard for the apostles to understand or to obey such laws as abstaining from meat, and the like? They had been accustomed in the law of Moses to observe many such outward ceremonies, and had been educated therein all their life, so that it would have been child’s play for them. Moreover, they understood this better than we do. Is it such a difficult matter — that a monk must wear a black or gray cap, the pope three crowns, a bishop a pointed hat, or the manner of dedicating churches and altars and baptizing bells — are these so difficult as to make it necessary that the Holy Spirit should come from heaven to teach such things? If it is not acting the fool enough that one jests with these noble words, then I do not know how one may be a worse fool.

34. Therefore, beware of these liars and understand the words rightly, thus:

Christ wishes to speak of the inward, actual character, not of outward jugglery. He wishes to make the heart, before the eyes of God, pious and righteous in order that it, in the first place, acknowledge its sin, and in the second place, that it acknowledge him to be the one who forgives sin and suffers himself to be sacrificed upon the cross. This is that “truth” which the apostles were not yet able to hear and understand. But those outward things make no one righteous, lead no one to the truth. They make only hypocrites and a show, by which the people are deceived.

35. Thus, we have the true meaning of this passage, from which we see how fools who seek from it to bolster up their jugglery, place themselves in opposition to it and build upon the sand. There is scarcely a passage that is more strongly opposed to them than this one. We have briefly explained this Gospel lesson in order that we may see how it teaches just that which we have always preached.