The Glory Has Departed


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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Thursday Edition - The Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity


The Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity, 2016

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson







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 # 261         Lord Keep Us Steadfast  - by Luther

Faith

The Communion Hymn #321         O Faithful God  - by the Concordist Selnecker 
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 #259                   Flung to the Heedless Winds - by Luther  

KJV Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

KJV John 4:46 So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. 48 Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. 49 The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. 50 Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. 51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. 52 Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. 53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house. 54 This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee.




Twenty-First Sunday After Trinity

Almighty and everlasting God, who by Thy Son hast promised us the forgiveness of sins, righteousness, and everlasting life: We beseech Thee, do Thou by Thy Holy Spirit so quicken our hearts that we in daily prayer may seek our help in Christ against all temptations, and, constantly believing His promise, obtain that for which we pray, and at last be saved, through Thy Son Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.


Faith

KJV John 4:46 So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum.

The beginning of this miracle is a clue about what this miracle means. The Apostle John does not offer details unless they are essential to the story being told. The Fourth Gospel assumes that people know most of the details from Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

"Where He made water into wine" is an aside to the reader, which means quite a bit. That detail is not a geographical note, but a doctrinal one. All the descriptions of John, brief summaries, pale in comparison with one layman's - "It is a doctrinal Gospel." Or - "It the THE doctrinal Gospel," which addresses future heresies in advance, such as making the Virgin Mary into a divinity."

The Miracle of Cana was a public event where all the disciples were present. The wedding may not have been a grand event, but it was full of people who were eye-witnesses. They saw something that no rationalist could explain. The miracle was carried out so that no one could reduce it by saying that a trick was played on the audience. A magician will say, "This is what I will do." Then he directs the attention of the audience one way while he makes something happen, often with special tools or gimmicks he obtained. They can be bought anywhere today, and they are deviously clever. Jesus announced nothing, touched nothing, and asked that everything be done without hinting about what He was doing through the power of the Word.

Therefore, this first miracle performed in His ministry had a profound and lasting effect on the town. The the divine nature of the Messiah was beyond doubt, which naturally led to enormous conflict and tension. But that certainly, proved through Jesus, also planted faith in the heart of people in the area.

That is why we need to study the text word for word and also in connection with other passages. That makes all the difference.

1. A beautiful example of faith is presented in this Gospel, exhibiting, as it does, the nature and character of faith, namely, that it is to increase and become perfect; and it portrays faith in a way as to show that it is not a quiet and idle, but a living, restless thing, that either retrogrades or advances, lives and moves; and where this does not occur, faith does not exist, but only a lifeless notion of the heart concerning God. For true, living faith, which the Holy Spirit pours into the heart, cannot be inactive. This I say for the purpose that no one may be sure, even if he has attained faith, that he now has everything; with this it shall not stop, for it is not sufficient to begin, but one must constantly grow and increase, and continue learning to know God better.

The Apostle John is showing us that the nobleman already had faith, because of this miracle, and now had a sick son. Without faith, he only had a sick son and would be beyond himself with worry. However, through faith, he knew a solution, because the Man who changed water into wine could heal his son.

As Luther observed, wherever faith is planted by the Word of God, Satan is aroused to stamp it out and have his way again. Satan will always be prepared to trap the Christian in his snare, to consume him. As Peter warned, he is like a roaring lion, seeking believers to devour. Anyone who believes the trite saying (nowhere in the Bible) - once saved, always saved - is fooling himself and lying himself into perdition. Many sincere believers become fodder for eternal damnation by their laxity and failure to be careful.

We would hear crime reports all the time in Phoenix - big crimes. They usually started out, "At an after hours bar, at 3 am, in the downtown..." the rest of the story could be guessed, because four foolish conditions were stated: an illegal bar, the wee hours of the morning, alcohol, and the crime district.

The miracles differ in details, because each one teaches a different lesson besides the divine power of the Savior.

47 When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death.

Human reason would tell him to rush to a famous healer or even to give up in despair. But the nobleman (John's audience would know him) had faith in Jesus from the miracle of Cana. The nobleman begged Jesus to heal his son. 

Faith moves parents to pray for their children, and God does not disappoint. He offers His wisdom through the Word and the Spirit. One parent, without faith, will be bitter than his son went to divinity school instead of medical school. (That happened to our friend at Yale.) When the son died from a hit and run accident, the paternal bitterness was a sour aftermath forever. The complications of the grief are easy to imagine. I knew the widow from riding on the bus to Yale Medical School in the morning. The accident happened later.

So the son, at the point of death, entirely occupied the father's mind, and he knew what to do. Faith is not passive, but always active, applying trust in God to whatever is happening.

6. We have similar examples in the New Testament. Peter was strong and confident in faith. When he saw Jesus walking on the water, he said, impelled by his strong faith, Matthew 14:28: “Lord, bid me come unto thee,” and stepped out of the ship into the water. He was confident that the water would bear him. Peter had a remarkable faith and a bold spirit, so that he ventured upon the water and danger, yea, even death, making the venture boldly and daringly by reason of his faith in Christ. But when he thought he was most secure, the wind and storm arose and he forgot the Word and lost faith; he fell, sank into the water and permitted satan to tear faith out of his heart. Where was then his great faith? Faith is a tender, subtle thing, and we so easily make a mistake and are liable to stumble; but the devil is watchful, and unless men exercise watchfulness, he quickly gains his point.

Many examples from the Bible and our lives show us that faith is fragile and easily torn from us, if we let ourselves be pounced upon. Our dog Sassy simply takes no risks. She is always listening, sniffing the air, and watching, because her job is to protect me. She warned a man coming down a hill, almost a block away. She planted her feet and warned him in her loudest voice. Yesterday our veteran friend could not get her attention because a neighbor came out and worked on his car, across the street. Sassy was on full alert, watching ever move, and ignoring us. The Army Ranger smiled at her dedication.

But the same is far more appropriate in our own awareness about what destroys faith in God, if we are not careful. Most theology books are rubbish, either filled with false doctrine or simply against faith altogether. Few are worth reading. 

I love rainwater and save it for the roses. I have an entire plastic tub full of it in the front and many needy roses. I am going to toss it out because leaves from pruning are floating on top. I never guessed five inches would fall, and I am sure some tainted leaves are in those gallons of rainwater. Will I risk spreading disease? No. Two diseases are fatal, so it is not worth the gamble.

Yet people use the Gospel as a pillow to fall asleep on, and let themselves be carried away by the dreams and illusions of others. The mind is deliberately turned off when we sleep. We even have sleep paralysis. Waking up takes times. We laugh about what we do when waking. I make coffee without water, without the plug in, without turning the power on, without fresh grounds, etc. I could do on. We can get up and walk as in a stupor because the sleep paralysis is still being felt.

When people fall asleep in the faith, the results are similar. They forget vast areas of Biblical doctrine. The stumble around and do foolish things.

The nobleman had faith, but he thought Jesus had to be there to heal his son (contrasted with the centurion's attitude). 

 48 Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. 49 The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. 

This seems downright mean to those who are always looking for problems. But Jesus, knowing this man, realized that the nobleman's faith needed to be exercised.
So He challenged him, and the man stuck with the same faith in Jesus but limited by geography. 

Many have those limits today. "If Jesus were only here..." But He is, through the Word and Sacraments. Or they imagine, as in a dream, that He does not hear us and does not care. We are all challenged by such doubts and weakness. One effect of the tidal wave of doubt and mocking is that people are drowning in false notions and need to return to the plain Word.

They look for something to cling to, like water-logged flotsam, and those items are sinking in the same floodwaters.

The plain Word does not lie or deceive and always has the effect God intends. The word of man may have some divine content but it is not 100%. The closer the author is to the Word of God, the more powerful it is. So faith tends to look for more solid ground for faith, and doubt is easily misled.

The nobleman was not swayed, but had more to learn. and we learn with him.

50 Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. 

When Jesus spoke this Promise, the nobleman went his way. The Gospel dispels and defeats doubt. If you doubt the love of God, read the entire Gospel of John in one week. Give up the TV Guide and the daily newspaper. Read the Gospel of John. You will see and feel the effect. This is the most important Gospel and the one filled with Jesus' sermons and miracles - only because it is the supplement and the supplement from His most loved disciple.

The nobleman went away in faith and hope. 

21. He must have had a pure faith, or else he would not have asked the Lord to come to his son. What then did he lack? This: He believed if Christ came to his house, he could heal his son; but unless he were present, he could not effect the cure. His faith was not strong enough to realize that Christ could heal without being present. Hence, his faith had to attain a higher stage. His weak faith was gone, the little earthen vessel was shattered, and he thought his son had to die; but Christ approached, raised him up, placed him on a higher plane of faith, and said to him: “Go thy way; they son liveth.” Thus the man advanced from his first faith, when he believed that Christ could heal if he were present, to a higher stage of faith, by reason of which he now believed the mere word of Christ. For if he had not believed the Word, he would not have ceased until the Lord had accompanied him to his house; but he accepted the Word, believed Christ and clung to his word; for the son was at home, and Christ was with the father.

22. The father accepted the word of Christ and said in his heart: My son is ill; but I shall find him well. This was faith over against reason and experience. Reason would have led him to say: When I left my son, he was ill. As you left him, so you shall find him. But faith says the contrary, stands firmly on the Word and drowns itself in it, and does not at all doubt that it shall be as the Word declares: “Go thy way; thy son liveth.”

23. This is a pure and strong faith, that requires the individual to cast away all sense, understanding, reason, eyes and heart, and sink himself into one little word and be satisfied with and feel secure in it. Christ says, Thy son liveth, so he says to himself: It is certainly true, I shall find it so. Thus faith does not remain idle or quiet, but progresses and rises higher.

51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. 52 Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. 53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house. 54 This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee.

51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. 52 Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. 53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house. 54 This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee.

Here is a man who had faith in Christ and found himself confronted by a challenge. He did not give way but remained in that same foolish thought - Jesus had to be there.

So people imagine today. How can this bread and wine also be the Body and Blood of Christ? Or even more basic - how can Jesus hear and answer so many? The more they push away, the more distant the truth becomes. But if they ask in weakness and yet seek the truth in faith, the answers are all around.

People ask me how I can raise roses easily and without poisons. I tell them that I study the way Creation works. Everything has a purpose. It is not my job to poison everything in the garden and soil to knock out a few pests that have their own enemies (that will be killed by the toxins). Water, mulch, and prune. That is too easy.

But the more we see how this works, the more the miracles of God make sense. They are like the vines that promise something years in the future. When those years are fulfilled, the vines are abundant, even over-abundant. So are the miracles God gives us in abundance. We impatiently wait for certain things, and yet they do arrive over time, according to God's wisdom, in great abundance.

The trial of the moment is not fixed forever - it only seems forever. Sometimes God lays something on us for decades and later we realize the beauty and delights within that supposed burden.