The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

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email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
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Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ash Wednesday, 2016. The Redeemer


Ash Wednesday, 2016

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson



The Hymn #552                Abide with Me 
            
The Order of Vespers                                                p. 41
The Psalmody               Psalm 1                        p. 123
The Lection                              Joel 2:12-19
Matthew 6:16-2


The Sermon –   Jesus the Redeemer
The Prayers
The Lord’s Prayer
The Collect for Grace                                       p. 45

The Hymn # 429      Lord, Thee I Love                  


KJV Joel 2:12 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: 13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. 14 Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God? 15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: 16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. 17 Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? 18 Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people. 19 Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen:



KJV Matthew 6:16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.



Collect
Lord God, heavenly Father, who didst manifest Thyself, with the Holy Ghost, in the fullness of grace at the baptism of Thy dear Son, and with Thy voice didst direct us to Him who hath borne our sins, that we might receive grace and the remission of sins: Keep us, we beseech Thee, in the true faith; and inasmuch as we have been baptized in accordance with Thy command, and the example of Thy dear Son, we pray Thee to strengthen our faith by Thy Holy Spirit, and lead us to everlasting life and salvation, through Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Jesus the Redeemer

Matthew 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.


The sermons for Lent will be based on titles of Jesus and how they relate to our faith. The process of unlearning what the Bible teaches plainly is both slow and painful. Many denominations are patient enough to spend decades and millions of dollars supplanting what was once taught so that clergy and later the laity accept the new teaching. This has been very successful, which is no different from giving someone bad directions and once the person is completely confused and lost, giving even worse directions.

What does this Gospel lesson mean by distinguishing treasure on earth from treasures in heaven?

The Reformation was quite clear and repetitive in calling the Gospel a treasure, and that Gospel is Jesus as the Redeemer. This was a great change from an accumulation of 1,000 years of teaching. Some was quite gradual, but now it firmly fixed. Jesus is the angry judge, and Mary is the one who appeals to Him to be merciful. According to the Church of Rome, sins are forgiven but not paid for. Thus a life of good works must pay for them, and even then incompletely. The rest of the payment is made by the individual in Purgatory, with help from his friends, relatives, and priests below.

Thus in the Church of Rome, Jesus was not quite the Redeemer, while the Reformation emphasized the redemption in the clearest possible language.

Our language is not subtle enough to include the two different terms used for redemption in the New Testament, so we tend to think of one rather than the other. Both are meant when we say Jesus is the Redeemer.

One is the price paid for all sins, and this word is the one used for buying something at the market. The Greek word remains in our language as agoraphobia, fear of public places, or for men - fear of the shopping mall.

The other term is based on releasing (loosing) slaves from their slavery. Slavery is not that far distant from American history. Some owners set their slaves free, or gave them their freedom. They were no longer owned by someone, property, but free, on their own. And yet Paul calls himself a slave, because he is a slave of God.

Both concepts about the Redeemer are part of the message of the treasure. While all our human frailties make us want to pay for our sins, that cannot be, because the Redeemer paid the price when He died on the cross, accepted the wrath of God falling upon Him, and the scorn and torture of man, plus rejection of almost every single person around Him.

Job 19:25-27King James Version (KJV)

25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
---

Isaiah 48:17King James Version (KJV)

17 Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.
---

Psalm 107:2-8King James Version (KJV)

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;
And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south.
---

Ephesians 1:7King James Version (KJV)

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
---
These passages, and many more, are important, because our temptation is to not accept the full and free forgiveness of our sins. In doubting this, we question te entire meaning of Redeemer. If He has paid the price, there is nothing more to be paid.
Joan of Arc asked that her village be set free from taxes, so the tax book said for the levy on her village, in French "Nothing. The Maid." Every knew what that meant (until Napoleon nixed that and imposed the levy again.)
So that is our Treasure, knowing and believing that Jesus as the Redeemer paid the price for our sins. That proclamation may come late in life, for various reasons, or it may be proclaimed at our baptism as infants. The Gospel proclamation is that Jesus has done this for us and that we receive the benefit in faith. Through His faith we are justified, not from anything we do or merit for this forgiveness.
Once we checked out of our hotel at a family gathering. I got out my card to pay for our stay. The clerk said, "Your bill is zero." I said, "No. I have not paid." He said. "You owe nothing." I said, "I know I have not paid." Then he said, "Your mother paid." She was in the background smiling. So those consumed with guilt about what they must do and suffer to be forgiven are missing the message of Redemption. The price has been paid by the Redeemer.
The other message of Redemption is just as important. We are set free from being slaves of sin.
Galatians 5:1 - Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
So one can be a slave while thinking a partial Christian concept is really the right one, such as blending Judaism and the faith, with the Law being predominant.
Our hedonistic society should pay attention to freedom from slavery because those who live for themselves are slaves to their urges and emotions.
The message of Redemption is clear in the price being being. That is not the same as everyone being forgiven and saved, as the Universalists and Unitarians teach (or used to teach). The UUA no longer has much about God in it, because a rationalistic ethical society inevitably will focus on man alone.
But in the days of classic Universalism, everyone was saved because of God's grace.
However, Luther said, "If you tell someone he is forgiven without knowing contrition. he will look at you the way a cow looks at a newly painted fence."
That can only go in the wrong direction. The Ten Commandments are pounded into rubble to pave the way for a life of rioting, something definitely not taught in Romans.
The games and licentiousness of Rome were and are common knowledge. No one said, "Stop. Everyone is already forgiven." Instead they were taught contrition and the message of forgiveness, redemption, which they longed for when they felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit, as Jesus promised. He will convict the world of sin, because they do not believe on Me.