The Glory Has Departed


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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Oculi - The Third Sunday in Lent, 2016. Luke 11:14-28.
The Stronger Man Is Jesus


Oculi, The Third Sunday in Lent, 2016

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Worship, 10 AM Central Standard Time

Mid-Week Lenten Services are Wednesdays at 7 PM.

The Hymn #175      When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
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             Ephesians 5:1-9
The Gospel                                 Luke 11:14-28
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #172:1-5        O Sacred Head

The Stronger Man Is Jesus

The Hymn #172:6-10                      O Sacred Head
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 #151                    Christ the Life                   

KJV Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

KJV Luke 11:14 And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered. 15 But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils. 16 And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven. 17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth. 18 If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub. 19 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges. 20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

21 When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: 22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.

23 He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. 24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. 25 And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. 26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

27 And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. 28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.



Third Sunday in Lent

Lord God, heavenly Father, who hast sent Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to take upon Himself our flesh, that He might overcome the devil, and defend us poor sinners against the adversary: We give thanks unto Thee for Thy merciful help, and we beseech Thee to attend us with Thy grace in all temptations, to preserve us from carnal security, and by Thy Holy Spirit to keep us in Thy word and Thy fear, that unto the end we may be delivered from the enemy, and 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 Stronger Man Is Jesus

KJV Luke 11:14 And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered. 15 But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils.

1. This is a beautiful Gospel from which we learn many different things, and in which nearly everything is set forth as to what Christ, his kingdom and his Gospel are: what they accomplish and how they fare in the world.

In the first place, like all the Gospels this one teaches us faith and love; for it presents Christ to us as a most loving Savior and Helper in every need and tells us that he who believes this is saved. For we see here that Christ had nothing to do with people who were healthy, but with a poor man who was greatly afflicted with many ills. He was blind, as Matthew says; also dumb and possessed with a demon, as Luke tells us here. Now all mutes are also deaf, so that in the Greek language deaf and dumb are one word.

One sign of Jesus' divine work was instant opposition, attributing only the worst to Him. Various objections were raised in the style of drama queens. "He is breaking the Sabbath!" In this case, Jesus  has power over devils through His master, the Prince of Demons, Beelzebub, they claim with their fakey emotions.

The sceptics jump on difficult miracles, like the Canaanite woman, but pass over the many miracles requested and performed or simply performed without many details. Some are simply grouped together and summarized. Likewise, we overlook the constant blessings coming our way and examine why one need or problem is not met at the moment it vexes and annoys us.

The crowd reaction shows tne way to hide the real issue is to react against the person. "You are a devil." Another is to run to the aid of the institution. "You are wrecking Holy Mother Church!" Of course, the language is different in the Gospels. They are afraid of Pharisaical Judaism being destroyed.  They key to opposition is taking away their inner righteousness, earned by works and by being children of Abraham by the flesh. Jesus teaches, "Only faith in My righteousness receives forgiveness."

16 And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven. 17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth. 18 If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub.

2. Secondly, it is here demonstrated how Christ and his Gospel fare in the world, namely, that there are three kinds of hearers. Some marvel at him; these are pious and true Christians, who consider this deed so great that they are amazed at it. Some blaspheme the Gospel; these are the Pharisees and scribes, who were vexed because they could not do the like, and were worried lest the people should hold Christ in higher esteem than themselves. Some tempt him, like Herod desired a sign after his own heart, that they may make sport of it. But he answers both parties; at first, the blasphemers in this Gospel, and later on the tempters, saying that no sign shall be given this wicked generation except the sign of the prophet Jonah, of which we read in the verses following. He answers the blasphemers in a friendly way and argues five points with them.

This happened often. Jesus performed a miracle and the crowd asked for another one as proof, perhaps something even more direct and dramatic. When people marvel at the exotic sights, animals, and plants from around the world, I ask myself, "Have you visited your own backyard? More is going on than you can study in a lifetime."

The crowd reaction, as outlined by Luther, shows how the Word is effective. For those who obstinately reject the Word and Him who bears it, there is nothing but blindness and scandal in their hardened hearts. The dabblers want just a little more, or much more, tempting Him to give proof when they already had a sign from heaven.

This happens with sound doctrine too. "Show us that this is correct doctrine" is followed by "I don't see it, show us more." Sometimes the claws and fangs come out much later as various oaths and curses are called upon the person they just questioned. "Prove to me you are correct, you cowardly liar!"

Addressing the Beezebub faction, Jesus asked, How can Satan drive out Satan?"
Exorcism was practiced by others, so their accusation was easily turned against them. But when the guilty are shown their guilt, and they are unrepentant, they grow in their anger, not in their contrition. 

19 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges.

Those who shout down false doctrine are simply calling down even more examples of sound doctrine to condemn them. The primary role of the Holy Spirit is to convict the world of sin "because they do not utterly trust in Me." (John 16:8ff, Jackson Revised Living Cottonpatch Jerusalem Bible)

Therefore, by extension, the purpose of the Word is to plant faith and encourage faith. The Word conveys Jesus to the hearers, and Jesus makes faith in Him spring up whenever He speaks and acts.

20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

This is the proof - when Jesus through God's power casts out demons, the Kingdom of God is actively at work. 

Stronger Man Parable
21 When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: 22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.

Because the entire Bible is about Jesus, parables are either about Jesus Himself or His work.

When Jesus was born, some believed in the coming Messiah, and were justified by faith, but that was limited to a small group with access to the Old Testament in Hebrew or Greek. They lived in a tiny corner of the world, perhaps scattered about in that world (The Diaspora). 

God's plan was to make it global, so tree-worshiping pagans--like our ancestors--could hear the Gospel, receive forgiveness and salvation.

Until the ministry of Christ, almost the entire was in the grip of the strong man - Satan. When a strong man guards his palace (Planet Earth in this case) all this goods are in peace. So when Satan ruled over everything, he had a lot to show Jesus in the temptations.

And it did not matter which pagans won which wars, because the power simply shifted between pagan powers, who still kept Satan's good in peace. Many of those movements were changing history for Christianity, unknown to their Father Below. The Greek conquest of the world set up the entire West for Greek culture and the Greek language. Think Septuagint making the Old Testament Gospel known to more people, the New Testament able to reach everyone.

As strong as Satan was in guarding his palace, a Stronger Man came to defeat him. Jesus is the Stronger Man of the parable. He was the bait that Satan grabbed, defeating by death the Savior. But this death did not give Satan a win but a loss. The Stronger Man defeated sin, death, and Satan by His death and resurrection.

10. He answers them in the third place, by a comparison taken from life, namely that of a strong man overcome by one stronger, and robbed of all his armor and goods etc. By this he testifies also that no one but God can overcome the devil, so that again no man can boast of being able of himself to drive out either sin or the devil. Notice how he pictures the devil! He calls him a mighty giant who guards his court and home, that is, the devil not only possesses the world as his own domain, but he has garrisoned and fortified it, so that no one can take it from him. He rules it also with undisputed sway, so that it does whatever he commands. Just as little as a house or court may withstand or contend against the tyrant who is its master, can man’s free will and natural powers oppose sin and Satan, that is, not at all; but they are subject to them. And as that house must be conquered by a stronger man and thus wrested from the tyrant, so must man also be ransomed through Christ and wrested from Satan. We see again, therefore, that our works and righteousness contribute absolutely nothing toward our salvation; it is effected alone by the grace of God.

As Luther says, no one can defeat Satan but Christ Himself. But since God gives us the power and authority to use His Word, we can stand up against Satan, his crafts and assaults, and defeat him with the word.

Satan employs a thousand arts, chiefly aiming at our emotions, where we are weakest. But the Word has 100, 000 arts. Any false doctrine or mistaken notion can be met with the Word of God and struck down, usually in many places and in many different wordings. 

The unbelieving world says, "Place your trust in your feelings. They will always guide you." They often make the feelings divine in some way. But how many people wake in the morning with great feelings, only to be crushed by the events of the day? Or how many feel completely discouraged - not just the pastors, but the laity too - and yet find encouragement in the Word and in the words and deeds of other Christians?

Advantages
Many advantages come from this defeat of Satan, who still occupies vast territories and seeks to retake what he has lost.

The wealth of the world and the intelligence of man was turned to service in the Word of God. Men and women said, "How can we take this Gospel to the ends of the earth?"  They used every possible resource and technological advantage to do this, from the ice cream social for funding to the printing press and Internet for spreading the Word.

The Spirit through the Word moves people to share this Gospel. One of the delights of publishing is to have strangers write and say, "I want 10 copies of that book" or "I email your posts to all my friends."

That moved me to (after Making Disciples) to plan a future booklet on the Scriptures and the doctrine of the Word. The gardening book comes first, which will be a lesson in Christian faith.

So wherever the Gospel is, faith springs up because the presence of Jesus through the Word plants faith like a seed that is created to grow. And Satan loses more territory all the time. As I observed, a Christian couple can get married and love long enough to see 50 descendants or more who have heard the Gospel and believed, especially when the children are baptized, taught the Word, and brought to the Means of Grace.