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

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Day Holy Communion. The Divinity of Christ


The Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord, 2016


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson





The Hymn #647                O Little Town of Bethlehem
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 #657     Beautiful Savior

Jesus Son of God

The Hymn # 646                       Silent Night 
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 #341                      Crown Him with Many Crowns

 Art by Norma Boeckler

CHRISTMAS
Lord God, heavenly Father, we give thanks unto Thee, that of Thy mercy and compassion Thou didst suffer Thy dear Son to become incarnate, and didst through Him redeem us from sin and everlasting death: We beseech Thee, enlighten our hearts by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may ever be thankful for such grace, and comfort ourselves with the same in all tribulation and temptation, and 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.

Readings
KJV Isaiah 9:2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. 3 Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. 4 For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian. 5 For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire. 6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

 By Norma Boeckler


KJV Luke 2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 

Jesus Son of God
Luke 2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

 Luther identified the three attacks on Christianity as:
  1. Against the humanity of Christ 
  2. Against the divinity of Christ
  3. Against Justification by Faith.
When the Two Natures in Christ are questioned, Justification by Faith is also warped. When cultists come to the door, I usually ask them about the Two Natures in Christ (the name of Martin Chemnitz famous book). The hackles rise up immediately. As James says, they believe but their hides bristle. They know the power of God but reject His Word, like the demons.

The divinity of Christ can hardly be denied from the Scriptures, so the Messianic passages are rejected outright by the liberals. This has been going on in the LCMS for almost 100 years. They love their almost-ELCA factions and the Lutheran ones know it is best to keep a low profile.

Ditto in WELS/ELS - When a professor denied a basic prophesy central to the entire Bible, taking Calvin's position, it was not a problem for the leaders.

The two Isaiah prophesies associated with Christmas clearly identify the Two Natures in Christ, with a stunning claim about the Messiah - He is God.

That makes more sense when we consider Jewish reverence for God, even the name God. I find Jewish writers using "G_d" in public because they are trained not to use God's Name. They often use the Hebrew term for The Name - Ha Shem. In Job, his wife does not say "curse God and die" because that is blasphemy. It is changed in Hebrew to "bless God and die" with the understanding that curse is meant.

Isaiah 7:14 should be read with in the context of this:

Isaiah 7:14King James Version (KJV)

14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

First of all, a child is born of a woman, but as the greatest possible miracle - born of a Virgin. He will be born, like all humans, but He will be called God - God with us.

Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Likewise, in Isaiah 9:6. the Messiah is a newly born child, who is not only called The Mighty God, but also The Everlasting Father. This always perplexes the cults, and some of them make the Father and Son identical. Others make the Holy Spirit (alone) the only true God. There is much talk about the Bible but little comprehension of it.

When we hear the Son of God speak in any part of the Bible, He is the voice of God the Father at the same time. There is no contradiction or difference between the two. 

This is very important in understanding the nature of God. For those who only imagine the wrath and power of God, the Almighty is angry, vengeful, and vindictive. The Bible scares them, or so they say, and they hate the Word of God. 

But John 1 clearly says that Jesus is the Interpreter of God. He is in the bosom of the Father and explains the Father's nature to us. When we consider the divine Son of God in the cradle, in the humblest surroundings, we can see that wants to draw all people to Him through Christ.

Jesus in the manger reveals God's compassion, which is expressed so many ways in the Old and New Testaments.
  • Jesus is the Good Shepherd in John 10, Isaiah 40, and Psalm 23.
  • The cross is proof of God's love for all of mankind - For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son...
  • This Atonement is foretold in the binding of Isaac, another only son, so we can grasp, as human parents, which giving the Son means.
  • The grass dies, the flowers fade, but the Word of God remains forever. When we see Jacob wresting the Angel of the Lord, that is like a moment's away from the ministry of Christ. For Jacob called the place Peniel - Gensis 32:30 
    And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. Israel - struggles with God. Peniel - the face of God. An angel, or the Son of God before His Incarnation?
So the birth of Jesus was the humblest possible, and yet it was announced in the most glorious way and accompanied by a special star, the Star of Bethlehem.

Where man might doubt, God supplies His great signs and wonders, unique to Him, so that faith might be planted and grow into each generation.

Look at how poetic the angelic message is:

Luke 2:10 And the angel said unto them, 
Fear not: for, behold, 
I bring you good tidings of great joy, 
which shall be to all people. 1
1 For unto you is born this day
 in the city of David a Saviour, 
which is Christ the Lord. 
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; 
Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, 
lying in a manger.

So much can be said about each phrase. God always banishes fear with the Words of faith. Do not be afraid - why? Because you are going to see the long-promised Messiah, a baby wrapping in cloths and lying in a feeding trough.

Loss of income creates fear, especially when it happens in the midst of economic turmoil. I know that feeling. Being a Boomer is like the guy in the movies - running across the bridge as it tumbles into the vast gorge beneath. 

There is also the fear of shunning and banishment for departing from the status quo in religion. As many have observed about this management society, the key is keeping everything running smoothly, and people are judged accordingly. Nevermind that we admire the Founders who faced hanging for wanting to be free - and many were executed. Ignore the outcome of the Reformation, where Christian martyrs were exiled, thrown into dungeons, and burned at the stake.

What seems to be God-pleasing also stirs up fear in our hearts, because we know from the loud voice of the Old Adam what will happen. If we are innocent about the reaction, we find out soon enough. I thought the Christian Church would like a well educated person who defended the Word of God. After all, only those backwoods Fundamentalists believed in Creation and loathed Barth, Tillich, and the other hot air merchants. But no, as Luther observed so well. nothing is God-pleasing unless it is persecuted, especially by the great and wise in the visible Church.


What harm could a baby born of paupers do? Herod did not seek to kill a baby, but to kill the threat to his bogus throne, which belonged to the Son of David. Like all unbelievers, Herod was obsessed with himself, his future, his comforts, and the power that gave him that false sense of security.  Therefore he struck out against all the suspect babies who were threats to his throne, using the Wise Men as his intelligent agents and the Hebrew scholars as his CIA/NSA.  For all his power, he was still nothing, and the Infant Messiah prevailed over him and the Roman Empire, eventually replacing the pagan Emperor with a Christian one, in Constantinople, which preserved Christianity and its treasures for 1100 years.

We are fortunate that we can see this vast scope of history and how the Word has prevailed against many empires. And this shows us how great the Messiah is, how compassionate He is toward us, always seeking to keep us in the flock, in His Kingdom.