The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
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May 31, Ascension Day Holy Communion,
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email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Cantate, The Fourth Sunday after Easter, 2016. John 16:5-15.
The Holy Spirit Convicts the World of Unbelief



Cantate, The Fourth Sunday after Easter, 2016



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               

To Convict the World of Unbelief in Christ, Which Is Sin


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.



To Convict the World of Sin, Which Is Unbelief in Christ


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.

This is one of the most important Gospel passages of all. No wonder the mainline denominations, including WELS and LCMS, follow the three-year Roman Catholic cycle and avoid this passage.

In the old days, the Lutherans preached on this passage every year, for Cantate Sunday. Far more of them understood this passage, no matter what denomination used the historic cycle. 

What better way to displace the Gospel than to "improve and clarify." The liberal leaders said, "The people will be exposed to many more lessons this way, and the ministers won't get bored with the same passages every year." Given that many congregations have 25-30% attendance, that is a horrible argument, since people no longer have reliable lessons they know well and grasp readily. And the ministers have to scramble for more sermons to copy from the Net - a needless burden.

Luther made this Gospel pivotal, and we must also understand John 16:8ff, if we consider ourselves Lutheran - and we think Luther is a theologian we need to celebrate with a 500th year anniversary.

Setting
The setting is Jesus telling the disciples about what they will soon be facing. So much is predicted that they cannot comprehend everything, and they are sorrowful. The greatest joy in life is going to be gone? We know how much some bad news will excite our imaginations about even worse events, and those fears supplant everything for a time.

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.

The Holy Spirit will be sent and yet cannot be sent until the Ascension of Jesus. Their Advocate will have a new role as the Gospel becomes global in only a few years. Next is the central meaning of this Promise, the definition of the  Holy Spirit's work.

This is doubly and triply important. 
  • First of all, this is Jesus teaching the disciples in His farewell sermon, not the interpretation of what Jesus taught.
  • Secondly, the reporter is the beloved disciple John, the one entrusted to watch over Jesus' mother Mary, taking her home.
  • Thirdly, the passage is so powerful that the meaning is largely ignored and fought against, with the excuse of teaching about the upcoming Pentecost.
Three stages mark the importance of an opinion, teaching, or trend.
  1. Agreement - that means everyone takes this for granted and it did not need to be said.
  2. Anger - the statement has aroused the wrath of people who realize what it means.
  3. Silence and "not knowing" - The truth is so revolutionary that the matter cannot be faced or even debated. When nominal Christians say, "We are not even going to discuss this, then they have sensed the danger and reacted accordingly.

Stage 3 is not the Christian approach to false doctrine, because there must be heresies and divisions to prove what is acceptable, to separate the wormy flour from the good flour, or the good flour will be completely infested. There is a type of moth that loves grain and flour. Most food at a grocery store will be marked, "Rotate to keep fresh." The grains, like rice, are marked, "Rotate to prevent infestation." If the pantry moths are present in the supply for a time, the laying of 300 eggs at a time will quickly infest everything and potentially all the food in the store.

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.

Often the term "convict" is used, and that seems to fit best in our contemporary language. Here Jesus defines sin and righteousness in a few words, and no one seems to notice.

Many people define sin as obvious, carnal sin. A higher definition is "breaking God's commandments," where the solution is "obey God's command - and He will reward you." I hear the second version all the time, so it is apparent in Baptist country that they continue in a law cycle.

The secular definition is similar. People offer great confessions of sin, based on what they have done or not done, and they are "absolved" in their minds by making it up to everyone, one way or another.

As Luther wrote in his sermon on this text, there is no knowledge of sin or righteousness, but both are clearly taught here by Jesus.

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.

The blindness of this world is so great that masses of Christian ministers, of all types, can speak about this text and related ones, and yet remain in the dark about what it means, still applying their improvements upon the stark truth of this revelation.

Why is the sin against the Holy Spirit unforgivable? No wonder it remains a mystery to so many. 


28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:
29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.
Mark 3:28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:
29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.
9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 
But the Word is consistent and always in harmony. The sin against the Holy Spirit is dying without faith, because faith in Christ brings all the benefits and blessings of His Kingdom. Sinning against the Holy Spirit is sinning against Christ - refusing Him, refusing His grace, doubting and rejecting all He has done.

How strange to think that the Word of God could become incarnate by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary, teach and perform many miracles to show His divinity, die on the cross for our sins, rise from the dead, and ascend to His Father - and yet believing these great wonders have nothing to do with righteousness!

But that is what the mainline, liberal, established denominations teach, as well as the famous modernist theologians. The only dirty word in that crowd is "faith." To use the word "faith" in a personal way or express the need for faith will upset them and get them raving against all kinds of evil. Mockery is piled on mockery and the distinct impression is made - faith is bad.

So how are sins forgiven? The Holy Spirit brings Christ to us through the Word, so that Word dwells in us, and we dwell in Christ. All our sins are forgiven daily because no sin can remain on Jesus, who has swallowed up sin, death, and the power of Satan by His atoning death and glorious resurrection.

Luther:
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.

Our sinful condition remains. The remnants of sin continue, but they do not condemn the believer. In fact, a believer feels temptation and sin and avoids both. If anyone doubts this, read some material on the Net and see how grossly people live and how they boast about it.  Or ask - why do church officials fall in love with gross, anti-Christian dogma, rejoicing in the evil they do against anyone who has faith? They are unbelievers and every utterance proves how enthusiastically they reject faith while making a plush living by pretending to believe. 

When challenged, the apostates always brag about their works and even say, which seems like a satire based on John 8 - We have Abraham for a father. Yes, they can name various obscure Germans and Norwegians who had the misfortune of starting a line of boastful unbelievers - and that is their claim to righteousness. They are children of the flesh, while all true children of Abraham are children of faith.

Justification by faith leads directly into sanctification, which is the Christian life. Forgiveness of sin is the energy by which Jesus through the Spirit/Word moves us to live our lives for others and rejoice in sharing with them.

To grasp this one must see that this forgiveness is complete, received in faith, and not conditional upon works, merit, human will, or any other factor. The Gospel itself plants faith in us, and faith receives this forgiveness and this energy to work for others.

The Epistle lesson is simply another version of this truth -

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.

I plant hybrid tea roses from time to time, and they all have a graft, a bud union. The roots are a wild rose, much like us, hearty but not very productive. When a rose "goes wild," the plant no longer grows beautiful blooms but still exists. The upper part is the tea rose, which is itself a hybrid of the perpetual blooming rose and tea rose. They are no longer two plants, but one plant - the Peace, Veterans Honor, Double Delight, or Paradise rose. I pull out of the box one rose at a time, not two at a time. The two roses are engrafted, and the bulge shows the union of the two distinct plants, now become one.

Receive is the New Testament word which is parallel to the word believe.

John 112 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
The itch "to improve and clarify the Gospel" includes human reason and the emotions. But forgiveness is from the righteousness of Christ, not based on human reason or emotions. Forgiveness is an objective fact, not something verified by feeling peaceful. The peace comes from justification, not justification from peace. 
Romans 4:24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
People are tempted to cling to the guilt
Feeling regretful is not the same as being forgiven. The mis-translated word metanoia did originally mean "regret," literally the thought afterwards. It never meant "change your ways" in the Bible. That is so funny. Here is the answer to sinful man, who cannot keep from sinning, "Stop sinning." That would fix everything.
The simple teaching of the New Testament is "Repent and believe in the Christ." We should not miss the fact that conviction is being convicted of unbelief. I have published articles on the apostasy of mainline groups, and clergy have written, "You have convicted me." That means they realize the wrong of their continued fellowship with Christ-haters.
Do you believe that Christ died for all your sins or just some of them? Just for a few minor ones while the large, horrible ones still cling to Him? But He has swallowed up and defeated all sin, so that is not possible. If you believe He has not forgiven all your sins. you do not believe in Him as He is. He is not waiting to forgive once you are perfect, because that will be forever. Nor does He forgive everything except that one sin being reserved by you - once you qualify for forgiveness. 
The Reverse - the Gospel
Peace comes from trusting in the total forgiveness, the gracious forgiveness of Christ, as taught throughout the Bible. That forgiveness and that peace are healing. Adding on more law not only negates the grace of God, but rubs salt in the wound. It makes some look for a false peace because the real peace has been corrupted by false doctrine.
I got behind a truck yesterday that promised Scott's Lawn fertilizer sprayed from tanks and Ortho pesticides sprayed from tanks. That would knock out all the beneficial earthworms and bugs that keep a lawn free of pests. And weeds?
Weeds are opportunistic plants that grow when the soil is available but will not support the good plants.
Conviction of Righteousness
10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
As Luther preached, if you tell the world they are righteous because Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to the Father, they will say, "You are insane." They have their own definition of righteousness, based on various kinds of works and the law.
This is where "raised for our justification" comes into the picture. Because Jesus rose from the dead, sin has no claim upon Him. He bore the sins of the world and by dying in innocence, He defeated them. The empty grave and the ascension are proof of His righteousness. And since we have His righteousness by faith, we share this blessing and are daily reassured of its truth.
Otherwise the believer is tempted away from the righteousness of faith, thinking, "I am not righteous yet. I do not know if I can be." And "How can I know I am completely forgiven?" That is because Jesus is raised from the dead.
So conviction of righteousness comes from faith in Him, and our fragile nature means we need and have this repeated assurance of forgiveness, righeousness, and eternal life.
How sad it is that future ministers think they need to preach themselves and their success. I mentioned what Pastor X's sermon must have been like at their church - the wowsome success of Pastor X. I was right - because that was all he ever talked about, and he was Church Growth to the toenails. And - his congregation is no more.
Someone blamed an urban pastor for "not casting a vision, at the beginning of his ministry" and not doing this or that. I said, "The only good results come from the Word, and never from programs or fads. But they hear famous men saying, "I had this vision 20 years ago and it all happened. Here is proof." And no credit is given to God, except for some pointed Uriah Heep expressions of humility. So they convict people of their lack of works and take others down with them, more guilty, joyless, nervous and agitated about what they should or should have done.
Building and correcting is the devil's work.

11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
This lesson has always been troublesome because it is so concise. And yet these verses are so packed with truth that they unite the entire Bible with the Gospel message. My favorite phrase in this whole matter is "building and correcting," which took place soon after Luther died.
The Holy Spirit will convict the world, that it is judged, because their Prince is judged. Satan rules as Prince of this world. Everyone admires deviousness, getting away with felonies, and Satan's own means of grace - money. This money is sacred and worshiped. All those who touch vast amounts of it are also sacred and easily forgiven and revered. The synod presidents crawl on their hands and knees to beg a few million dollars from an insurance business that promotes abortion on demand. The synod presidents are afraid of irritating their big money men, lest those men suddenly become Episcopalian or Buddhist or Roman Catholic.
The pastors hang their Thrivent signs in the narthex and talk about how pro-life they are. But they attend conferences and schools with ELCA pastors.
Therefore, because the Prince of this world is judged, every believer is condemned for this conviction. 
Apart from all the social issues that bedevil the mainline denominations, what is the one kind of pressure brought to bear on the minister? Preaching a clear, Scripture-based sermon is condemned as evil, as driving people away, as angering the movers and shakers in the congregation. And through this a meek, mild, pan-religious message of works (not faith) is built. Everything goes on as before, but step by step the message of the Gospel is distorted until it becomes the political party (with religion) of the Left. The only thing that matters is the right doctrine about the political issues, and that is always changing. 
The Mainline Denominations Today - One man mentioned his opposition to women's ordination and was immediately kicked out of the ministry (Presbyterian). It was too dangerous to allow him to maintain such thoughts, even privately. Conference prayers are about the evil of America, and sharp rebukes are aimed at anyone who doubts the merits of pan-sexualism. Every speaker is cutting edge, which means gender-changed today or something equally repulsive and abnormal.
What Luther predicted and even experienced in his life has been accomplished across all the denominations. Whenever I pointed out the facts, I was condemned and silenced by church leaders.
When I saw the same thing being taught (with ELCA and loving partner) in Missouri and WELS, the same response came swiftly.
Because the Prince of this world is condemned, the faithful will bear the "holy and blessed cross." Those who are not taught about this cross will fall away in shock that the Gospel is persecuted by those who wear the finest church robes from C. M. Almy and celebrate communion from bejeweled chalices.