The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
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Sunday, November 27, 2016

First Sunday in Advent, 2016. On Ustream.

St. Matthew, by El Greco

The First Sunday in Advent, 2016


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson






The Hymn # 245            God Loved the World  
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 # 290      We Have A Sure  

Blessed Is He

The Hymn #306                  Lord Jesus Christ
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 #68            The Advent of Our King 

KJV Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

KJV Matthew 21:1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, 2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. 3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. 4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. 6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. 8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.


First Sunday in Advent - From the Collects of Veit Dietrich
Lord God, heavenly Father, we thank Thee, we bless and praise Thee forever, that Thou didst send Thy Son to rule over us poor sinners, who for our transgressions did justly deserve to remain in the bondage of sin and Satan, and didst give us in Him a meek and righteous King, who by His death became our Savior from sin and eternal death: We beseech Thee so to enlighten, govern and direct us by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may ever remain faithful to this righteous King and Savior, and not, after the manner of the world, be offended with His humble form and despised word, but, firmly believing in Him, 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.



Blessed Is He

KJV Matthew 21:1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, 

If someone is to gain anything from the Scriptures, he must first ask the purpose of the Word of God. One fine way of distracting oneself - and others - is to promote a purpose which is alien to the Bible. I recall one book from long ago that was rather snooty about the Bible not being great literature. In fact, St. Augustine thought the common Greek of the New Testament - called Koine Greek, long before the rock band grabbed the name - was beneath him.

Another approach is history. The apostates have always picked away at the history in the Old Testament. Their bogus claims have included:

  • Ninevah - cannot find it, must be made up. They found Ninevah, oh never mind.
  • Old Testament towns - cannot find them. The names turned up on the Ebla tablets, oh never mind.
  • Luke's titles - never heard of ethnarch before, cannot find it. He must have invented it or he was a poor historian. Found at the right spot, that very title? Oh, never mind.
Here is a history lesson from C. S. Lewis - Imagine all the libraries in all the world have burned down. One library is left where all the books have burned. Only one part of one page can be party read. That is what we know about human history.

But the facts do not convert, which brings us to the main reason for the Bible - to create and sustain faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. That is why proving facts, which was easy to obtain, have no affect on doubters. They can always find something new to offend them. That is why scandal in the New Testament really means "death trigger," because something causes an individual to fall into complete doubt. 

That is why Justification by Faith offends the so-called Lutheran leaders. They do not believe in Christ and do not trust the Word. That is also why their words are hollow. They use terms associated with faith, but they constantly urge works without faith. They do not trust God to bless their denominations from the teaching of the Truth. They run around like rats with their fur on fire, going from one false teacher to another to find out how to have mega-churches. I would take them on a tour of dead mega-churches from this generation - Cathedral of Tomorrow. Crystal Cathedral, Church Without Walls, etc.

The Bible teaches faith by showing us the mighty acts of God and the public ministry of Christ.

2. This Gospel encourages and demands faith, for it prefigures Christ coming with grace, whom none may receive or accept save he who believes him to be the man, and has the mind, as this Gospel portrays in Christ. Nothing but the mercy, tenderness and kindness of Christ are here shown, and he who so receives and believes on him is saved. He sits not upon a proud steed, an animal of war, nor does he come in great pomp and power, but sitting upon an ass, an animal of peace fit only for burdens and labor and a help to man. He indicates by this that he comes not to frighten man, nor to drive or crush him, but to help him and to carry his burden for him. And although it was the custom of the country to ride on asses and to use horses for war, as the Scriptures often tell us, yet here the object is to show that the entrance of this king shall be meek and lowly.

Again it also shows the pomp and conduct of the disciples towards Christ who bring the colt to Christ, set him thereon, and spread their garments in the way; also that of the multitude who also spread their garments in the way and cut branches from the trees. They manifested no fear nor terror, but only blessed confidence in him as one for whom they dared to do such things and who would take it kindly and readily consent to it.

3. Again, he begins his journey and comes to the Mount of Olives to indicate that he comes out of pure mercy. For olive oil in the Scriptures signifies the grace of God that soothes and strengthens the soul as oil soothes and strengthens the body.

4. Thirdly, there is no armor present, no war-cry, but songs and praise, rejoicing and thanksgiving to the Lord.

5. Fourthly, Christ weeps, as Luke 19:41, writes, weeps over Jerusalem because she does not know nor receive such grace; yet he was so grieved at her loss that he did not deal harshly with her.

6. Fifthly, his goodness and mercy are best shown when he quotes the words of the prophets, Isaiah 62:11; Zechariah 9:9, and tenderly invites men to believe and accept Christ, for the fulfilling of which prophecies the events of this Gospel took place and the story was written, as the Evangelist himself testifies. Therefore we must look upon this verse as the chief part of this Gospel, for in it Christ is pictured to us and we are told what we are to believe, and to expect of him, what we are to seek in him, and how we may be benefited by him.

7. First he says: “Tell ye” the daughter of Zion. This is said to the ministry and a new sermon is given them to preach, namely, nothing but what the words following indicate, a right knowledge of Christ. Whoever preaches anything else is a wolf and deceiver. This is one of the verses in which the Gospel is promised of which Paul writes in Romans 1:2; for the Gospel is a sermon from Christ, as he is here placed before us, calling for faith in him.

As Luther carefully observes, this entry to Jerusalem is not war-like, because a warrior king rides a charger, armed with weapons and protected with armor.


2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. 

Jesus did not assume the persona of a warrior king, a great departure from the past and future leaders. Jerusalem was destroyed twice - after Jesus - by warrior Messiahs. One Byzantine Emperor, much later, lost all credibility when he used a chariot instead of a charger. It was like coming to battle in a limo instead of a tank.

The Maccabean king did arrive in Jerusalem like Jesus, and people threw garments and branches on the road. But that messiah (anointed king) only brought a temporary vacation from foreign rule (Greek). Later the Romans were invited in to keep the peace - and they kept the Holy Land as a reward.

Jerusalem was a past and future powder-keg, looking back at the occupations and the future Zealot wars they lost. The tensions continue today.

But Jesus came as the true Messiah, as Luther observed, from Mt. Olive, to bring comfort, peace, and forgiveness. But he also said, "Go to the village against you," which Luther interprets in a lively and creative way. The literalists say, "That is just a location - against you," but Luther connects two words and shows how they fit the entire Biblical narrative.

The village is not named, so it represents the entire world (Great Commission - teach all nations) and that village is "against you" but you must enter and not go around it or avoid it.

Against you - that refers to bearing the cross. No one should deny that clergy look for easy positions and that they often consider deluxe congregations the best kind of call. They are called plum parishes, though in time they shrivel and become prune parishes. Nevertheless, at their prime, pastors want them - the salaries, benefits, easy work, plenty of helpers, no opposition.

In their own denominations, where everyone is supposedly a beloved brother pastor, they resist opposing anything wrong, lest someone be offended and give them setbacks or even get rid of them. The supposedly conservative groups say, "Rah. Rah. We always fight for the truth," but this longing for luxury really makes them fight the truth. Likewise, laity seek forgiveness without faith or forgiveness. One man abandoned his marriage, refused reconciliation with his wife, and expected Holy Communion. His pastor thought that was OK - CLC (sic).

Now the LCMS has joined WELS and the ELS in saying that discussing doctrine is grounds for removal from the ministerium - being thrown under the bus.

That is the situation among the "conservative" Lutherans today, so teaching the Truth means bearing the cross. The Europeans have a saying, "No cross, no crown," but that is replaced in happy-slappy Church Growth congregations with "Don't frown, be a clown."




3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. 4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 

Luther has an interesting comparison, the old animal being burdened in the past and now brought to Christ, the young one never ridden by anyone and now only subject to Christ.

Luther:
75. These are the two asses: The old one is the exterior man; he is bound like this one, with laws and fear of death, of hell, of shame, or with allurements of heaven, of life, of honor. He goes forward with the external appearance of good works and is a pious rogue, but he does it unwillingly and with a heavy heart and a heavy conscience.

Therefore the apostle calls her “subjugalem,” the yoked animal, who works under a burden and labors hard. It is a miserable, pitiable life that is under compulsion by fear of hell, of death and of shame. Hell, death and shame are his yoke and burden, heavy beyond measure, from which he has a burdened conscience and is secretly an enemy to law and to God. Such people were the Jews, who waited for Christ, and such are all who rely upon their own power to fulfill God’s commands, and merit heaven. They are tied by their consciences to the law, they must, but would rather not, do it. They are carriers of sacks, lazy beasts of burden and yoked rogues.

76. The colt, the young ass, of which Mark and Luke write, on which never man rode, is the inner man, the heart, the mind, the will, which can never be subject to law, even if he be tied by conscience and feels the law.

But he has no desire nor love for it until Christ comes and rides on him. As this colt was never ridden by anyone, so man’s heart has never been subject to the good; but, as Moses says, Genesis 6:5 and Genesis 8:21, is evil continually from his youth.


Everything is done to fulfill the prophets. Others tried in the past, to fulfill the Scriptures and failed to create a lasting kingdom. Two false messiahs tried after Jesus, and they also failed to establish anything except death and destruction. We should always stop and consider the wide variety of Promises fulfilled by the Savior in the course of His career. They build up faith in the truth of the Word and also in the power and direction of the Father's will.

Everything leading up to the death and resurrection of Christ was directed by the Father, including the Roman system of crucifixion and the various Jewish customs discussed in the Passion story.

5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. 6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.

The disciples did all these things for one purpose - to present Jesus to the crowds. In doing so, they brought faith to them, in presenting the Living Word.

Since the great monster Castro (or his body double) is dead, it is worth remembering how he murdered people. So many yelled "Christ is King" before they were shot that the executioners could not go on with their work.

That is how powerful faith is, and yet the faithless teach against faith and extoll unfaith.

 8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

There are two kinds of faith, as Luther spoke about in his sermon on this text. One is the meaningless faith that simply acknowledges Christ. This is represented well by the demons who confessed Christ when being exorcised, but not in a good way. Apostates are like that. As James says, "They believe, but their hides bristle" like that of a dog threatened.

This great triumph preceded the miraculous conversion of thousands in Jerusalem, after the Resurrection of Christ. The entire Passion narrative built a foundation for the Christian Church, showing Jesus as the true Messiah, the crucified Messiah, and finally as the Risen Lord and Ascending Savior.