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
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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Judica Sunday, Fifth Sunday in Lent.
Daylight Savings Start



Judica Sunday, The Fifth Sunday in Lent, 2016


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Daylight Savings Time


The Hymn #12                 This Day at Thy Creating Word
                                     
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 #40            The God of Abram Praise                          
He Who Belongs to God Hears His Word

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 #410               Jesus Lead Thou On           

       

KJV Hebrews 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

KJV John 8:46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. 48 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? 49 Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. 50 And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. 51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. 52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. 53 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? 54 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: 55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I Am. 59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

Exodus 3:2 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?
14 And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.

Prayer
O Lord Jesus Christ, we thank Thee, that of Thine infinite mercy Thou hast instituted this Thy sacrament, in which we eat Thy body and drink Thy blood: Grant us, we beseech Thee, by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not receive this gift unworthily, but that we may confess our sins, remember Thine agony and death, believe the forgiveness of sin, and day by day grow in faith and love, until we obtain eternal salvation through Thee, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.



He Who Belongs to God Hears His Word

KJV John 8:46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. 

Unfortunately, our English language does not grasp the matter being discussed here. Some background is especially important here. Luke and Mark are Gospels for the Gentiles. Matthew and John are especially focused on Old Testament precedents.

John's Gospel could be called a commentary on Moses and the Exodus. Moses is introduced in the Logos Hymn of John 1. Moses and the Exodus are also featured in John 3. The unique Jesus I AM sermons in John are all references to this passage in Exodus 3. Using the pronoun I makes this emphatic in Greek, since the pronoun is already in the verb ending.

I AM:
  1. John 6: 35, 48 I am the bread of life 
  2. John 8: 12, 9:5 I am the light of the world 
  3. John 8: 58 Before Abraham was, I am 
  4. John 10:9 I am the door 
  5. John 10:11 I am the good shepherd 
  6. John 11:25 I am the resurrection and the life John 
  7. 14:6 I am the way, the truth, and the life 
  8. John 15:1 I am the true vine 
Also, when Jesus says concisely, "I AM," He is not saying, "It's me," as we say in slang English, but "I AM God." When He was arrested and said, "I AM" the soldiers fell down twice. The context shows His answer was divine, not "It's me."

We are starting at the ending of this Gospel lesson. Jesus is the I AM, God speaking to Moses from the Burning Bush. He has the Two Natures of the Burning Bush, which appeared to burn and yet remained whole. Reformation Lutherans considered Jesus to be the Angel of the Lord and the Burning Bush to be symbolic of the Two Natures in Him.

Therefore, these opening verses are spoken as God. The battle between faith and works is this in the simplest terms. One is either righteous through faith in Him or righteous through various kinds of works. Faith in Him enrages those who do not belong to God but carry on piously because of their works. The Pharisees of the Bible and today cannot bear the Word of Jesus because these opponents do not belong to God. The more Jesus speaks, the angrier they become.

1. This Gospel teaches how hardened persons become the more furious, the more one teaches them and lovingly stirs them to do their duty. For Christ asks them here in a very loving way for a reason why they still disbelieve, since they can find fault neither with his life nor with his teaching. His life is blameless; for he defies them and says: “Which of you convicteth me of sin?” His teaching also is blameless; for he adds: “If I say truth, why do ye not believe me?” Thus Christ lives, as he teaches.

48 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? 

When I quoted from Romans 4:24, a pastor-friend said, "Get away from me, devil." He was unable to accept Romans 4:24-25 as written. He had to recast it his way, which is the opposite of the sentence, the chapter, the book, and the Bible.

The opponents not only dismissed Jesus as an alien, a Samaritan, but also as a devil. This reference helps explain Jesus being the Good Samaritan - dismissed as the enemy in John, but clearly Jesus in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. (Of all parables, this Good Samaritan Parable is turned upside-down by the liberals, from one about the Means of Grace, into a tirade about salvation by good works.

49 Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. 50 And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. 51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. 52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.

The Father-Son relationship is taught throughout John's Gospel by Jesus Himself. The audience is listening to God directly, and their response is to dishonor God by dishonoring Jesus. Those who dishonor the Word of God are judged by Him. Although the Bible always reveals God as gracious and forgiving, that does not cancel His response to those rejecting, belittling, and dishonoring His Word, which conveys His beloved Son to us.

The Word says, "Here is My beloved Son. Believe in Him completely, and He will give peace, forgiveness, grace, and an abundant life." Rejecting the Word means rejecting Christ, not matter how many perfumed phrases are used to do that. Distorting the Word means distotring the message of grace and keeping people from hearing God's grace and mercy as they should.

52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.

9. And from this we may well understand what Christ meant by the word “keep;” it does not refer to such keeping as one keeps the law by good works; for this word of Christ must be kept in the heart by faith and not with the fist or by good works, as the Jews in this case understand it; they fearfully rage against Christ, that Abraham and the prophets are dead; they know nothing of what it is “to keep,” “to die” or “to live.” And it is not called “to keep” in vain; for there is a conflict and battle when sin bites, death presses and hell faces us; then we are to be in earnest in holding firmly to the Word and let nothing separate us from it. Thus see now how Christ answers the Jews and praises his own teachings. You say, my Word is of the devil and wish to sink it to the bottom of perdition; on the contrary I say to you that it has divine power in it, and I exalt it higher than the heaven of heavens, and above all creatures.

The truth of the Word proves to opponents that the speaker of the truth is the worst possible creature on earth. What Jesus is revealing to them should have them falling down to worship Him. Instead, they agree that His words condemn Him as demon possessed.

This is important to remember, because we are always dismayed by the hostile, vindictive assaults and revenge of religious leaders. The Pharisees were religious leaders, so they are no different than Lutherans attacking Lutherans in the name of "confessional Lutheranism," which they cannot articulate.

Some respond, "No, Pieper said..." Yes, Pieper said, but Pieper is not Luther.

Others respond, "But the synod has voted on this already." So has God, and His vote is final.

Still others, "This proves why we must censor you, silence you, and give you all the names you have earned for yourself by disagreeing."

They feel weak in the face of God's Word, so they stir up allies to help them in their cause, as if 100 chihuahuas together could defeat something "sharper than any two-edged sword."

When St. Stephan was being stoned to death, and he spoke first, in Acts, the religious covered their ears and screamed at the same time. The truth is that painful to those in error.

 53 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? 54 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: 55 Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. 

Those who want to strengthen their knowledge of justification by faith should study Father Abraham, a crucial figure in the Old Testament and New Testament. No one can divorce Abraham from justification by faith, because he is symbolic of this doctrine in Romans, Galatians, and here too.

As Paul taught, being literal children of Abraham has no value. Children by flesh are not true children of Abraham. The true children are those who believe in Christ and are counted righteous - forgiven.

These words from Jesus seem harsh, but they are really gracious warnings. They were effective. Many believed and others became even angrier.

As mentioned many times before, Luther did not discover the Gospel. He pointed out - if this is the Gospel from the Scriptures, then the papacy is entirely wrong. He was speaking about the entire visible church of his culture, his time. How could he do this? Only because the Word has more authority than all the popes combined.

56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I Am. 59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

13. Likewise Christ also says here in replying to the Jews, that Abraham and the prophets still live and they never died, but have life in the midst of death; they however only lie and sleep in death. For “Abraham,” he says, “rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad.” Thus, the prophets also saw it. Where and when did Abraham see it? Not with his bodily eyes, as the Jews interpret it, but with the sight of faith in the heart; that is, he recognized Christ when he was told in Genesis 22:18: “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” Then he saw and understood that Christ, born of his seed through a pure virgin, so as not to be cursed with Adam’s children but to remain blessed, should suffer for the whole world, cause this to be preached, and thus overwhelm the whole world with blessing etc. This is the day of Christ, the dispensation of the Gospel, that is the light of this day, which radiates from Christ as from the sun of righteousness, and shines and enlightens the whole world. This is a spiritual day, yet it arose at the time Christ was on the earth in the flesh, a day like Abraham saw. But the Jews understood nothing about such a day because of their carnal minds, and hence they reviled Christ as a liar.

Luther:

13. Likewise Christ also says here in replying to the Jews, that Abraham and the prophets still live and they never died, but have life in the midst of death; they however only lie and sleep in death. For “Abraham,” he says, “rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad.” Thus, the prophets also saw it. Where and when did Abraham see it? Not with his bodily eyes, as the Jews interpret it, but with the sight of faith in the heart; that is, he recognized Christ when he was told in Genesis 22:18: “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” Then he saw and understood that Christ, born of his seed through a pure virgin, so as not to be cursed with Adam’s children but to remain blessed, should suffer for the whole world, cause this to be preached, and thus overwhelm the whole world with blessing etc. This is the day of Christ, the dispensation of the Gospel, that is the light of this day, which radiates from Christ as from the sun of righteousness, and shines and enlightens the whole world. This is a spiritual day, yet it arose at the time Christ was on the earth in the flesh, a day like Abraham saw. But the Jews understood nothing about such a day because of their carnal minds, and hence they reviled Christ as a liar.
14. Therefore Christ proceeds farther and gives the ground and reason why it is just his Word and not the word of anyone else, that giveth life, and says it is because he was before Abraham, or in other words, because he was the one true God. For if the person who offered himself as a sacrifice for us were not God, it would not help or avail anything, even if he were born of the Virgin Mary and suffered a thousand deaths. But the fact that the Seed of Abraham, who gave himself for us, is also true God, secures blessing and victory for all sinners. Therefore Christ speaks, not of his human nature that they saw and experienced; for they could easily see he was not yet fifty years of age, and did not live before Abraham. But with that nature by which he existed long before the time of Abraham, by which he existed also before all creatures and before the whole world. Just as he was man according to his spiritual nature before Abraham, that is. in his Word and in the knowledge of faith was he in the saints; for they all knew and believed that Christ, as God and man, should suffer for us, as is written in Hebrews 13:8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yea and for ever;” and in the Revelation of John, 13:8: “The Lamb of God that hath been slain from the foundation of the world.” Yet now he is speaking here especially of his divine nature.

Only faith can comprehend these words - Before Abraham was, I AM. The Holy Spirit gives us this faith through the Word. God gives us all manner of ways to keep this Word and remain faithful.