The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream


NT Greek Lessons - Thursdays, 7 PM.

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

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

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Ascension Day Service. May 5th, 2016. 7 PM Central Daylight Time.


Ascension Day, 2016. Holy Communion.

7 PM Central Daylight Time


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Worship, 7 PM, Central Daylight Time

The melody is linked under the name of the hymn.
The lyrics are linked under the number of the hymn.
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    Acts 1:1-11
The Gospel                        Mark 16:14-20
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 216*            On Christ’s Ascension        
*Words copyrighted

And Ascended into Heaven

The Hymn #341                   Crown Him with Many Crowns       
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 #294                        O Word of God             

KJV Luke 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. 50 And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. 51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: 53 And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.

[The ending of Luke fits with the opening of Acts, which Luke also wrote.]

KJV Acts 1:1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: 4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. 6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

KJV Mark 16:14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. 15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. 19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

Ascension

O Jesus Christ, Thou almighty Son of God, who art no longer in humiliation here on earth, but sittest at the right hand of Thy Father, Lord over all things: We beseech Thee, send us Thy Holy Spirit; give Thy Church pious pastors, preserve Thy word, control and restrain the devil and all who would oppress us: mightily uphold Thy kingdom, until all Thine enemies shall have been put under Thy feet, that we may hold the victory over sin, death, and the devil, through Thee, who livest and reignest with God the Father and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

And Ascended into Heaven
KJV Acts 1:1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 

The opening of Acts is a remarkable statement, because the words connect the Actions of the Apostles with the Gospel of Luke. That is important for many reasons. We get a solid foundation and consistent narrative, from the Virgin Birth into the Apostolic Age.

These two works comprise 25% of the entire New Testament, more than any other writer. Another important feature of Luke is his care about historical details, down to the most minute ones. That was shown, as I wrote before, when "scholars" mocked Luke for using terms they knew did not exist - the leader of a particular city. Archaeology shoveled up an inscription giving the head of that city the same title - ethnarch - that was laughed at. Luke had that right. That is not a doctrinal matter and a minor historical matter, but it shows attention to detail. 

To borrow an illustration from the Mormons, God nailed down the Gospel with the historical precision of Luke and the first-hand witness of John the Apostle, the one closest to Jesus and the caretaker of Mary after the resurrection of Jesus. Besides that, physical evidence shows John's Gospel was very early, while archaeology shows he knew the geography of the region, more evidence of John's accuracy.

Although we do not need proofs beyond the power of the Word, which we have experienced, the refutation of the sceptics is delicious to dwell upon. That is why the apostate denominations have nothing to communicate with everyone. They doubt everything and flail about trying to make sense of a Gospel without faith or meaning.

The new edition of the Yale Divinity magazine is a perfect example. The dean is a Roman Catholic. They have a Jew teaching Hebrew, The faculty is loaded with feminists, including one who teaches "queer theology." Every article praises pluralism and diversity, but there is no diversity left on the faculty. They are are Left-wing and getting worse each year.

of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 Until the day in which he was taken up...

Jesus built up the faith of the Apostles and taught them their role in the future ministry they would undertake. This will be the work of the Holy Spirit, which is global, contrasted to the local ministry of Jesus. He kept the disciples together for three years to teach them carefully, preparing them for the horrible days of the Passion, but also for the resurrection. They experienced the utter abyss of despair and then the shock and "disbelieving for joy" of the resurrection. 

These days after the resurrection were very important for instruction and doubtless the gathering or ordering of the initial groups of Christians created by the preaching and miracles of Jesus.

Luther is not ambiguous about this - the Christian Church is built through preaching the Gospel, with an emphasis on the oral proclamation. One can only guess the thought process of those ministers who share a server so they can be spared the task of preaching, to spend more time planning the petting zoo for Easter, the Pentecostal carnival, all those things they imagine builds the congregation.

3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: 

Jesus strengthened the Early Church for 40 days, teaching them and showing them proof of His resurrection. This was the solid foundation of the Apostolic Church. While many marvel at its growth, the base of the growth consisted of the preaching, teaching, and miracles from Jesus. When people trust God, there is nothing to stop them because they are guided and helped by God Himself.

The emphasis upon the Spirit in the Apstolic Age in two-fold, the guidance of the Spirit, as promised, the ministry of the Word, which is never without the Spirit.

4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

3. But it is all in vain to hear the Gospel, if you do not believe it. Therefore all must be taught by God.

4. Unless you are constantly baptized with fire and the Holy Spirit until the end of your life, you will fall back again into unbelief.

This is the promise of Pentecost, given in such detail in the Gospel of John. Man often acts as if he is doing it all himself, but in using the Word man has the power of the Holy Spirit, which is always effective in the Word and prospers God's will.

Sometimes faith must call up the wrath and opposition of Satan, but even that is bridled so that it accomplishes the purpose of God. Some students of mine wrote about how many places the Apostles built congregations. I added, "Persecution was a major factor in spreading them, too." There was no doubt a desire to obey the command of Jesus to preach and teach all nations, but scattering a congregation in an urban area on a major road and sea hub was also beneficial.

The fire baptism is the hatred, slander, and opposition of those who cannot bear to have the Word challenge them. The Apostles endured that and most died young, violently, as St. Paul did.

It is noteworthy that Paul traveled so much and wrote so much but we do not have much biographical knowledge about him. The apostles and Luke were interested in the Gospel rather than the person. Now we have the reverse.

6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

Oddly, this question, which was batted down, is used by Karl Barth and others to speak of a restoration of all things, Universalism. The logic is the same as the UOJ crowd - "If Christ has paid for the sins of the world, then the entire world is free of sin - a restoration of all things. So all we have to do is tell people that they are already forgiven and saved." 

Needless to say, this quickly degenerates into social activism, because the Universalist message does not comfort and help those suffering from the terrors of the conscience. In fact, it hardens the hearts of those who wish to continue in their sins while failing to provide comfort for those who need and desire it. Thus people devour the Gospel not knowing  what it is, like a dog wandering into church and eating the Holy Communion elements. Unlike the dog, the unbeliever who is given a false Gospel is made worse and finally despises anything associated with the Gospel.

The universal affliction is sin and death, so the medicine for that problem is the Gospel received in faith and purified by the cross (fire).

8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 

Jesus commanded but He also gave the Apostles the power to do this impossible mission, which they accomplished beyond anyone's hope or imagination. How could the Gospel go to the uttermost part of the earth, and yet that Message did, with a speed that defies description.

One Harvard graduate said to a group of ministers, "The Gospel spread through the sword." I said to him, "You have that all wrong." He was perplexed and said, "Where did I get the wrong idea?" I said, "You went to Harvard and were taught wrong." I pointed out how the Gospel spread across the known world in one generation or so, simply by preaching the Wrod.

He was an ordained minister, a PhD in New Testament, and he was spreading lies. This troubled him and he talked to me afterwards. That statement and his own experience with liberals troubled him deeply as he began to have the scales fall from his eyes.

The bad flour, infested with flies, must be separated from the good flour, or soon it is all infested. That is even a warning on various grains in grocery stories. One simply cannot let those parasites remain feeding on the good food or none is left. That is our situation today. Too many nice guys have said nothing and done nothing, even when they tended to agree about the dangers of apostasy.

Some profess to be scandalized that the first four centuries of the Church were filled with fights about doctrine. But that was exactly what Paul taught, following Jesus - there must be divisions. The result was the clear emphasis upon the Trinity and the Two Natures in Christ.

9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 

The Ascension of Jesus is the final miracle on earth that was performed with Him being visible. But it was not the last miracle. Holy Communion is a regular miracle effected the the Holy Spirit in the Word. Christ is not stuck in heaven but present in both natures.

God continues to perform miracles in caring for His children, and Jesus actively manages the Kingdom here on earth through the Holy Spirit. We take human management for granted. I used to watch it in the grocery store, as people talked to each other over their little radios in their ears. Clean-ups. Emergency supplies. The chatter seldom stopped. In a much greater measure God watches over and manages our lives so that His Name is glorified in what is accomplished.

10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

24. We must, therefore, conceive of his ascension and Lordship as something active, energetic and continuous, and must not imagine that he sits above while we hold the reins of government down here. Nay, he ascended up thither for the reason that there he can best do his work and exercise dominion. Had he remained upon earth in visible form, before the people, he could not have wrought so effectually, for all the people could not have been with him and heard him. Therefore, he inaugurated an expedient which made it possible for him to be in touch with all and reign in all, to preach to all and be heard by all, and to be with all. Therefore, beware lest you imagine within yourself that he has gone, and now is, far away from us. The very opposite is true: While he was on earth, he was far away from us; now he is very near.

25. Reason cannot comprehend how this can be. Therefore it is an article of faith. Here one must close his eyes and not follow his reason, but lay hold of all by faith. For how can reason grasp the thought that there should be a being like ourselves, who is all-seeing and knows all hearts and gives all men faith and the Spirit; or that he sits above in heaven, and yet is present with us and in us and rules over us? Therefore, strive not to comprehend, but say: This is Scripture and this is God’s Word, which is immeasurably higher than all understanding and reason. Cease your reasoning and lay hold of the Scriptures, which testify of this being — how he ascended to heaven and sits at the right hand of God and exercises dominion. Let us examine some Scripture bearing upon this matter.