The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

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Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
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Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Third Sunday after Trinity, 2016.
The Lost Sheep and Lost Coin

This sermon quotation is one of the most touching of all
Luther's sayings.


The Third Sunday after Trinity, 2016


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


                       

The Hymn # 652                   I Lay My Sins on Jesus    
          
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 #436            The Lord’s My Shepherd               

The Lost Sheep and Coin


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 # 649                        Jesus Savior Pilot Me   

KJV 1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

KJV Luke 15:1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. 

3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. 

8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? 9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

Third Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father, we all like sheep have gone astray, having suffered ourselves to be led away from the right path by Satan and our own sinful flesh: We beseech Thee graciously to forgive us all our sins for the sake of Thy Son, Jesus Christ; and quicken our hearts by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may abide in Thy word, and in true repentance and a steadfast faith continue in Thy Church unto the end, and obtain eternal salvation, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end Amen.


The Lost Sheep and Coin


KJV Luke 15:1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. 

The publicans are tax collectors for the Roman Empire, so the Jews resented giving money to be watched over by Roman soldiers and treated like slaves. Rome was invited as "peacekeepers" and never left, ultimately ending in their leveling of the Temple when the Zealots revolted about 70 AD.

The sinners are open, carnal sinners. No one had any doubt that these were the low-lifes, in fact the foundation of the Christian Church. The slaves and repentant criminals were the first to form congregations. No one else wanted to be associated with the Jewish sect (as they saw it) where the leader was crucified by Rome and reviled by His own leaders.

Notice that the opening verses identify the performance piety of he Pharisees. Jesus welcomed* (received) open sinners - and even worse - ate with them. Jesus did not practice shunning, which is at the heart of Pharisaical works-righteousness, Mennonite shunning, and modern Pietism's "fellowship rules." As ELDONA dares to claim, one is a false teacher de facto for not being a member of ELDONA.

*Notice Paul's admonition in Romans - "Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you."

3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying,

So the two parables - and the Good Samaritan Parable - are reactions to the murmuring of the works-righteous Pharisees. And these parables are not only aimed at the Pharisees of that time but also the spirit of the Pharisees that lives on to this day.

One council member said, "Don't invite her back again. She has too many problems." That description certainly fit him.

One council member at another church condemned me for visiting a member, living without wedlock with a man and their three children. The man I visited admitted his sin of despising the Word (after some thinking about what I said), asked to be married, and asked for instruction in the Christian faith. That was reason enough to get rid of me although the council member was the pot calling the kettle black. Or - he was only charcoal grey, not quite black. Black was too much.

The Lutherans of today came through Pietism, which was heavily influenced by the spirit of shunning. The only true church for Pietists were those who participated in cell groups or Bible study groups.

Pentecostals have taught that only tongue-speakers are true Christians. They wig out at the mention of infant baptism, stalking out of the room to avoid being tainted.

The Roman Catholics are not so much concerned with doctrine itself, but with membership in Holy Mother Church. 

The so-called conservative Lutherans of today owe far more to Halle Pietism (where they were trained - ELCA, WELS, LCMS) than to Luther himself. Their concept of orthodoxy is not being closer to Luther and the Book of Concord, but being closer to Halle and practicing the shun with demonic zeal. They are quick to extend the Left Foot of Fellowship for all the wrong reasons.  

Among the Mennonites and their Radical Reformation cousins, the shun is no longer speaker or even acknowledging the person shunned. No conversation. No business dealings. No friendship. It often means the end of the marriage too.

I gathered these examples because the Chief Article is ignored with such energy - or is it just blindness? The Chief Article - for those misled by the Synodical Conference - is Justification by Faith. The Scriptures do not recognize a visible Holy Mother Church, though all the sects and Rome teach it. The true Church is made up of those who trust in Christ alone for their forgiveness and salvation.

Another reason to study these passages and consider this topic is this - The Pharisees talk and preen and admire their robes, but they do not seek the lost. They shun the lost. They look down on the lost. They make matters worse for the lost, which is the opposite of the Parable of the Lost Sheep.

Abortion rules this country and the world because everyone looked down on early pregnancy, snickered, and shunned the couple. Those couples who wanted to protect the life of their unborn were ridiculed and made to suffer. Those who eliminated the pregnancy were given financial and moral support. Yes, Pietistic America created Planned Parenthood.

4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?

This parable reaches all of us at once. If we have one animal or many, we drop everything when it is lost. Home is where it receives protection, food, and water. Lost, anything can happen. So there is no hemming and hawing involved. I often find animal owners driving the streets or walking around, looking for that lost pet. Normally I would just get a friendly nod, but when they have lost a pet, they immediately begin speaking to me as a friend and telling me all about the animal and how it got lost.

Jesus is showing us that the Pharisees in their presumed holiness were not helping the lost, whom they despised. In contrast, Jesus was showing them friendship and attracting them through His gracious presence. Instead of laying a burden of the Law on them, He was showing the spirit of forgiveness. Luther often expressed this as covering the neighbor's sins with righteousness.

5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 

The question here is not repentance, because the lost animal is sorry, is weak, but cannot find the way back. That is true of the alcoholic, the drug addict, and those locked into poverty and the welfare rackets. Just saying something like, "Well, stop drinking!" is not going to help someone who has tried and failed many times.

Decades of experience shows that many want to continue until the end, and all efforts seem wasted, but there are also those who experience grace, comfort, and help and rejoice in a new life of faith.

The fact remains, we all continue to sin and cannot claim to have conquered a single one of the Ten Commandments. However, sin does not dominate and enslave the believer, who receives comfort and guidance from Jesus and the Spirit through the Word. One can hardly ask for better companions.

This is where Luther tosses the Law aside, as we should, and not make Moses our Savior or Jesus the New Lawgiver. "If only you did this, we could stop shunning you..."

That reminds me of those wonderful letters sent out by churches in their self-righteous wrath - "You have not attended or communed for the last two years. If you do not contribute or attend in the next month, we will removed you as a member." And oh the repentant would stream in from that expect use of the lash.

No? 

In fact, hardly anyone responded to the threats. Be wise as serpents, Jesus said. A shepherd would visit the spiritually inert and speak to them about their concerns and needs. A salesman, for pity's sake, would visit clients who seemed to be falling away, not saying "Buy in the next month or I will remove you from my files."

But the spirit of the Pharisees lives on and it comforts the lawless legalists. They praise each other for their righteousness and for showing at lease some tolerance for the transgressors.

he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 

The lost animal is often coaxed with food and gentle words. The owner is overjoyed at finding the weak, confused, and fragile creature. Our attitude toward the lost should be the same as the Lord's toward us. 

And it is true, that we speak more about and rejoice more when the lost animal is found. I still remember the children leading our Precious back to our home with a rope around here neck as a leash. They knew she was our dog and we did not know she was missing. I gave them a reward for their care and concern.

We remember and talk about each time we lost a pet - once in a motel. Another time was a brief escape attempt. I told Sassy, find Precious (a new vesion) and she found her little buddy in seconds, making it clear the game was up.

So there is joy when someone who was a slave of temptation is able to grow stronger against it. We should rejoice in that too.

7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. 

This is one of the great sayings of Jesus, ironic humor at its best. No doubt some would call it slander in these troubled times, when holding grudges is virtue and satire is sin. Today we would put just in quotations marks, to suggest so-called righteous people. Heaven does not rejoice over those who glory in their works and their holiness, but in those who felt the terror of sin, trusted in Christ for His forgiveness, and began a new life.

Jesus is saying, Heaven does not rejoice in you righteous people, because you are already celebrating your superiority. You have your own support group.

21. Therefore, when you feel your sins gnawing at you, and feel your heart trembling and agitated, place yourself beside the publicans where they are standing. These are the very ones who shall receive the Gospel. Do so joyously, and say: “Oh, God! it is thy word that says there shall be joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine righteous persons, who need no repentance, and that all the righteous and angels are to interpose and cover up sins. Now, Oh, God! I have come to this that I feel my sins. I am already judged. I need but the one Shepherd who seeketh me; and I will therefore freely venture on thy Gospel.”

22. It is thus that you come to God. You are already the sheep placed upon his shoulders. You have found the Shepherd. You are the piece of silver in the hand. You are the one over whom is joy in heaven in the presence of all the angels. We are not to worry, if we do not experience or feel this at once. Sin will daily decrease, and its sting will drive you to seek God. You must struggle against this feeling by faith, and say: “Oh, God! I know thou hast said this, and I lean upon thy Word. I am the sheep and the piece of silver; thou the shepherd and the woman.”

And this statement from Luther is one of his best - 

43. Thus too, if our confidence is to begin, and we become strengthened and comforted, we must well learn the voice of our Shepherd, and let all other voices go, who only lead us astray, and chase and drive us hither and thither. We must hear and grasp only that article which presents Christ to us in the most friendly and comforting manner possible. So that we can say with all confidence: My Lord ,Jesus Christ is truly the only Shepherd, and I, alas, the lost sheep, which has strayed into the wilderness, and I am anxious and fearful, and would gladly be good, and have a gracious God and peace of conscience, but here I am told that He is as anxious for me as I am for him. I am anxious and in pain about how I shall come to him to secure help, But he is in anxiety and worry and desires nothing else than to bring me again to himself.


8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? 9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

Here is something all too familiar to all of us - losing something valuable. I will never live down the time I left my wallet resting on a solar collector. Everyone was involved and no one was accused or under suspicion (except me). I only spotted it when I was looking at whether the ice damage on the car could be seen from a few few away. In the foreground was my wallet, somewhat rain-dampened, sitting in the best possible hiding place - in plain view.

15. Christ is both the shepherd and the woman; for he has lighted the lamp, that is, the Gospel, and he goes about in the desert, that is, the world. He sweeps the house, and seeks the lost sheep and lost piece of silver, when he comes with his Word and proclaims to us, first our sins, and then his grace and mercy. Christ’s declaration, that he is the shepherd and has laid our sins upon his back or shoulders, makes us trust in him fully, and makes publicans and other sinners run after him. These would not have come unto him thus, had they regarded him as a hard and wrathful judge; for they had previously acknowledged themselves to be sinners and in need of his grace.

And so they were drawn to him when they heard his loving doctrine. Here comes the sheep out of the wilderness, and here the lost piece of silver is found.

16. Learn from this, then, that our neighbor is to be sought as a lost sheep, that his shame is to be covered with our honor, that our piety is to be a cover for his sins. But nowadays, when men come together they backbite one another; and thus they would show how zealous they are against sin.

Therefore, ye men, whenever ye come together, do not backbite your neighbors. Make not one face at one person and another at some one else.

Do not cut off one man’s foot and another man’s hand; make no such traffic of living flesh. Likewise, ye women, when you come together, conceal the shame of others, and do not cause wounds which you cannot heal. Should you meet with anything like this in some one’s house, then throw your mantle over shame and wounds, and close the door. A very good reason for doing this is, that you would have others do the same to you. Then, if you have kept the matter secret, bring the parties before you afterwards, and read them a good lecture; and let it remain with you as a secret.

Pietism has left our country scarred with the effect of the lash, as if people could be improved by constantly telling them how evil they are.  So much more could be said. 

In Prodigal Son parable that follows, we find that too many church leaders are the older brother.