The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream

New Year's Eve Hymn service - 7 PM Central
NT Greek Lessons - January, 2017

Saved worship files 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

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Feast of the Holy Trinity, 2016. John 3:1-15.




The Feast of the Holy Trinity, 2016




The melodies are linked in the hymn name. 
The lyrics are linked in the hymn number.

The Hymn # 246                              Holy, Holy, Holy               
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 Athanasian Creed             p. 53
The Sermon Hymn #251     We All Believe in One True God      


The Unity of the Three Persons, 

The Three-ness of the One God


The Communion Hymn # 308            Invited Lord     
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              

Luther’s Trinity Sermons Linked Here

   

KJV Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? 35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? 36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

KJV John 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. 9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? 11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? 13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Pentecost Monday Gospel:

KJV John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.



Trinity Prayer

O Lord God, heavenly Father: We poor sinners confess that in our flesh dwelleth no good thing, and that, left to ourselves, we die and perish in sin, since that which is born of the flesh is flesh and cannot see the kingdom of God. But we beseech Thee: Grant us Thy grace and mercy, and for the sake of Thy Son, Jesus Christ, send Thy Holy Spirit into our hearts, that being regenerate, we may firmly believe the forgiveness of sins, according to Thy promise in baptism; and that we may daily increase in brotherly love, and in other good works, until we at last 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.

http://ichabodthegloryhasdeparted.blogspot.com/2013/04/norma-boecklers-new-book-treasury-of.html

 



The Unity of the Three Persons, 

The Three-ness of the One God


KJV John 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 

The doctrine of the Holy Trinity, which is stressed in today's worship, is a mystery. That means it is revealed through the Holy Spirit, not through man's reason. We cannot prove the Holy Trinity and cannot subject it to man's reason.

We believe the Holy Trinity through the power of the Word, whose divine energy comes from the Holy Spirit. As the Scriptures often teach, we not only know this to be true, but we have experienced it through the efficacious Word.

This doctrine is very important since the Age of Reason, which grew out of Pietism, attacked the Trinity. Georg Christian Knapp (UOJ professor), known ironically as the last of the old Pietists at Halle University, did not believe the Trinity was a Biblical doctrine.

Still later, Tholuck, who was Adolph Hoeneck's mentor, self-identified as a Universalist. That is not to knock Hoenecke, but to point out another stage in Pietism at Halle. What is left - the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man, the foundation of Unitarianism in America.

Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 

Those who cry about the conversion of the Jews seem unaware of the many successful efforts at converting them during the public ministry of Jesus and the work of St. Paul. To have a ruler among the Jews become a follower to the point of risking his life (see the death and resurrection of Christ in John) - that is a hint of the powerful witness of one man.

2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

Nicodemus came to Jesus as a believer, but one who needed more training. Likewise, the disciples were converted but they had years of training and experience before becoming and being anointed as Apostles. Just as Jesus was sent by the Father, so were they sent (the verb being the basic for Apostle). They are the sent ones, just as Jesus was and is The Sent One. John's Gospel often emphasizes this.

The danger of the Trinity is that one Person is emphasized over another. That is not the problem with the Word but with man. The Unitarians selected the Father and made Him the One God, but lapsed into social activist Atheism. The quest for the historical Jesus people focused on Jesus, but made Him human, one nature, and very much like each one of them (the biographers).

Near us we have a church that has one god, the Holy Spirit. Each erroneous cult has its own particular branch it rests upon and thinks its branch is the only one in the world. I think it was Krauth who said the sects were like insects this way. The UOJ cult is another example. 

As John's Gospel said in so many ways, the miracles Jesus performed confirmed His Word as divine. He constantly taught - that everything He did and said came from the Father. This Father-Son relationship is taught in all four Gospels, but especially emphasized in the Fourth Gospel.

3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 

This verse has been lassoed into the Baptist denomination and largely made a decision, although many Baptists are Calvinists and others are as liberal and confused as ELCA.

The key error is "again" because the word literally means "from above." Jesus is portrayed in John and James as "from above." Jesus the one from above who will return to heaven above, as He did in the Ascension.

The word translated as "again" has that secondary meaning. We did not invent puns. The Bible is full of word-plays, in the Old and New Testaments. Spirit is a good example, meaning "wind" in Hebrew and also in Greek. To this day - a pneumatic drill is air-driven and pneumonia is a serious problems with breathing.
This comes up later in the same lesson.

This lesson also shows that Jesus spoke in Greek and Nicodemus answered in Greek. That was the universal language. The "from above" misunderstanding would not happen in Aramaic (I assume). 

This confusion is also typical of Jesus talking to people who hunger for His Word but also do not see the entire picture. Several examples are the woman at the well and Peter wanting his head washed.

Of course, this should not be turned into Holy Spirit baptism (alone) as it might be, because Jesus combines water-Word grammatically, which also means water-Word-Spirit. The Spirit and the Word always work together.

1. This is another beautiful Gospel and treats of the foremost and chief doctrine in Christendom, namely, the article, How a person becomes holy and righteous in the sight of God. And there is here placed before us a beautiful allegory, showing how reason at its best and holiness in its highest state on earth run aground upon the genuine truth and spiritualness of this matter. For this person, Nicodemus, is highly praised by the Evangelist John, who states that he was great both as to the esteem with which he was regarded among his fellow men, and also as to his beautiful life in accordance with the Law. He was a ruler of the Jews, that is. a counselor in their governmental affairs; and in addition a Pharisee, that is, one of the most learned men, for they were regarded as the wisest. Moreover, he was one of the most pious men; for the members of this sect. were considered the greatest saints. Thus, no fault or blame can be laid on him, and he cannot be made greater: in the government he is a ruler, in knowledge the wisest, and in his life the saintliest.

2. Above these, there is in him another grace, namely, that he has a fondness for Christ, the Lord. This was a virtue far above the other three.

The other rulers and Pharisees, though they were the wisest and holiest men, persecuted Christ and allied him with the devil; and no one dared to grumble at their decision; for the grumbler was expelled from the council and unchurched. Still, Nicodemus is so holy as to love Christ and to approach him in secret in order to speak with him and show his love for him.

As soon as the works-saints are confronted with their error of no faith, all pomp and pretension, they lose their cool and become the crassest vulgarians, relishing their revenge.

4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Nicodemus' response was utterly ridiculous, because the sublime words of Jesus shot right past his head. He heard one word (again) when the actual meaning was "from above." This is a common human failing. The Scriptures have many places that trip us up, so we jump to the wrong conclusion. That is why see the Word as a whole is so important. And secondly, that is why Creeds are man's testimony to the truth and needed to keep that testimony consistent and true. The heretics always want the Creeds removed or sidelined or replaced with their own concoctions.

To say one must be born of the Spirit means converted by the Word of God. And born of water emphasized Holy Baptism. The adults were baptized after conversion as God's seal and Promise. At the same time, when entire households were baptized, the babies were baptized and then nurtured in the Word.

8. To state the matter briefly, he says: Your life and works, which you consider holy, and those of all Pharisees, yea, of all men, are void and avail nothing in the sight of God. A change must take place by which a person is born anew, that is, he must become an entirely different person; otherwise he cannot enter the kingdom of God. There, now, you hear what is my doctrine, about which you have inquired. I do not teach in opposition to the Law of God, to destroy it, but I only charge you with not having kept it, yea, with not understanding it, though you pretend to be its instructors and imagine that you are fulfilling it. You imagine that I ought to preach the Law, the same as you do, and that if the laws of Moses, which you claim to have kept, are not sufficient, I ought to bring to you a new and better law teaching good works, just as you set up many self-elected works in addition to God’s Law, as though you had already fulfilled it.

9. But I am not telling you of new articles, laws or works, for those the Law enjoins are already more than you can do and keep. But I teach that you must become altogether different persons. My teaching is not concerning what you must do or not do, but concerning what you must become. It aims not at the performance of new works, but first at being born anew; not at a different life, but at a different birth. It will not do to put the end before the beginning, or alongside of it; to expect fruit before or as soon as there is a root. The tree must first be made new and there must be a good and proper root, if the fruits and works are to be good. It is not the hand and foot or their actions that must be changed, but the person, that is, the entire man. If this has not taken place, works are of no value and of no avail whatever and a person cannot see the kingdom of God; in other words, he must remain under the condemnation of sin and everlasting death.

7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. 

Born from above (or again) clearly applies to the Spirit at work in the Word. And in baptism, it is also a rebirth, but not quite what Nicodemus imagined. Even small children hear this lesson and say "What?" about Nicodemus response. 

Wind storms always remind people of the power of Holy Spirit. In our area, a storm hit one town but not ours. The ever-popular trampoline of one house was pinned down on the ground but the wind threw it into a neighbor's fence and embedded it into that fence. 

When a tornado struck across the street from us in Sturgis, we saw similar effects, though no one was hurt. Planes were simply flipped upside down at the small airport.

So people may hear the Word for decades and seem unmoved, but one day, a combination of events, often dramatic and bad, will strike the hearer and suddenly everything is clear. This is not complete knowledge but the beginning of sincere faith. With large groups of people, no one can predict. The power of the Spirit in the Word can cause a riot or a 50% split. They may even say, "What?" and toss the minister out. 

The Word-Spirit born person feels the power of the Spirit and is energized by it. That may be felt in an urge to know the Word better. Or a desire to support the broadcast of the Word, or printing of the Word.

There are many examples of the Word being taught for decades and having little obvious effect, when suddenly everyone takes a great interest and shows great respect for the Scriptures. That must happen in order. The plant does not flower the moment it sends forth a leaf. I wanted Trumpet Vine flowers for hummingbirds, and also for nostalgic reasons. I planted several last year, and got leaves. I wanted more and read how they can take years.

I tell urban ministry MA students that they need to study and teach the Word, not demand fruits without patience, without labor. When they mention programs or methods, I point them back to the Word and wise sayings of Luther - or Isaiah 55:10-11. They see a lot of Norma Boeckler's Scriptural graphics.

9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? 11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? 13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

When we are stuck on man's way of thinking, we talk the way Nicodemus does. Many teachers of Israel (Lutherdom, even Christendom) know far less than Nicodemus. They are not even fond of Jesus, to use Luther's term.

Some are forever locked into this synod versus that one, as if that mattered to God. "You must be born in the ______  synod or you cannot see the Kingdom of God." 

Some have a long list of grievances against the visible church. My list is longer and proven by 15,000 posts and a few books. But that means nothing in comparison with the incomparable worth of knowing Jesus Christ as Savior. Those evil people, those fiends, should be thanked for promoting a study of the Word and Confessions that never would have happened in the peaceful serenity of tenured security and DNA fellowship.

Notice the emphasis on the Incarnation and Ascension, and citing Moses. At the beginning of the Gospel - The law came from Moses, grace and truth from Jesus Christ.

This strange episode of the snake on a stake, with Moses again, becomes the foreshadowing of the crucifixion, summarized in John 3:16.

64. Here he shows how we may also enter heaven; that is, he shows what he has done for us and how we are to receive and become partakers of his blessing. With these words he proclaims the grand work of redemption, which was decreed by God in his eternal counsel and which, therefore, had so to be accomplished out of the unutterable and fathomless love of God toward the human race, who would not that it should perish (as we have heard in the Gospel for Pentecost Monday, which follows soon after these words). Since there was not elsewhere any help or redress, any expedient for appeasing his eternal wrath against sin, any hope of redeeming men from everlasting death by the agency of any creature in heaven or earth, the only Son of God had to take our place and become a sacrifice for our sin, thereby to appease God’s wrath and make payment for us. This work now is our salvation and comfort and the power that is operative in baptism to the end that we may become new-born men and enter heaven.

65. This is the teaching: His ascending and descending and his being in heaven pertain to himself, and do not help us. They are his prerogatives and no one can do the same. However, he says: I have all things in my power and dwell in heaven above, yet I do not wish to ascend alone, but to draw men upward with me; they could not otherwise ascend, but if they cling to me it shall be accomplished. I shall suffer myself to be crucified and shall rise. Those who believe that I have died for them, I shall draw after me, although they cannot enter heaven by their own strength. Thus he places us on his shoulders and bears us up to the place to which he ascends. Hence, our salvation is not by our strength, but by that of another.

With these words all our works are rejected once more...

73. Now, Christ might have died upon the cross a thousand times and we would have been helped just as little as the Israelites would have been helped by raising a thousand serpents of their own accord, if this word of promise had not been issued, namely, as is written: “Whosoever believeth on him shall not perish” etc. This word appropriates and applies to us these blessings and makes us certain that we shall reach heaven; that is, certain that for the sake of this exalted and crucified Christ we shall obtain the grace of God and victory over the power of sin, death and hell, and shall receive eternal life, if we believe on him and are thus borne upward clinging to him.