The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
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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, February 12, 2017

Septuagesima Sunday, 2017.


Septuagesima Sunday, 2017

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




The Hymn #132                           O God of God                                     
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 #479                Zion Rise                        
Continuing the Race

The Hymn # 227                             Come Holy Ghost                              
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 #409                          Let Us Ever Walk                              


1 Corinthians 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.  25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.  26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:  27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;  2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;  4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.  5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

KJV Matthew 20:1 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. 2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. 5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? 7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. 8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. 9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. 10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. 11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, 12 Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. 13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? 14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? 16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

Septuagesima Sunday

Lord God, heavenly Father, who through Thy holy word hast called us into Thy vineyard: Send, we beseech Thee, Thy Holy Spirit into our hearts, that we may labor faithfully in Thy vineyard, shun sin and all offense, obediently keep Thy word and do Thy will, and put our whole and only trust in Thy grace, which Thou hast bestowed upon us so plenteously through Thy Son Jesus Christ, that we may obtain eternal salvation through Him, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Continuing the Race

1 Corinthians 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 

1. This lesson is a part of the long four-chapter instruction Paul gives the Corinthians. Therein he teaches them how to deal with those weak in the faith, and warns rash, presumptuous Christians to take heed lest they fall, however they may stand at the present. He presents a forcible simile in the running of the race, or the strife for the prize. Many run without obtaining the object of their pursuit. But we should not vainly run. To faithfully follow Christ does not mean simply to run. That will not suffice. We must run to the purpose. To believe, to be running in Christ’s course, is not sufficient; we must lay hold on eternal life. Christ says ( Matthew 24:13), “But he that endureth to the end, the same shall he saved.” And Paul ( 1 Corinthians 10:12), “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”

The Hellenistic world - after Alexander the Great - was influenced by the Greek and then the Roman fascination with sports competitions, especially since being fit was part of the enormous investment in the military. Alexander and his father had the first full-time professional military. The Roman Empire stayed together through its military roads and powerful legions.

In my capacity as a football expert, I explained to many people why Atlanta lost a game where they were shellacking the Patriots. Quite simply - as shown by many examples - they assumed a win before the game was over. Atlanta could say, right until the end, "If they fail the two-point effort, we are the champs."

Paul is using the same kind of illustration, where the runners think they have won the race and become slack in the assurance of their victory. And they lose the prize.

This is one of those great visuals found in the Bible, and we are cautioned not to invent our own and make them canonical (as so many do). Once the man-made illustration is accepted as the only way to see an issue, the Word is read but not seen as it is. The Word is heard but not comprehended.



25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

This is probably a pun on the name of the first martyr - Stephan (crown). St. Paul was unconverted at that time and helped out.

Stephan was faithful to the end, praying for those who stoned him to death.

An athlete has to train in steady and even-minded way, because extremes cause injuries and one can easily become completely discouraged by progress a given day, week, or month. St. Paul argues from the lesser to the greater. If an athlete can train so hard for a crown of laurel leaves, how much more important is an everlasting crown?

26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:  27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

St. Paul lived in a constant state of service, disappointment, persecution, joy, and difficulty. His perfectionistic tendency that served him so well as a Pharisee was also a possible reason for despair and worry.

As Luther wrote so accurately, the ministry is not a place to ache for popularity, because people are fickle. This desire to please leads many on both sides of the chancel (or stage) to look for physical manifestations of success. They want numbers, which are the new version of the visible Word. Instead of the Sacraments of Grace, they feel grace from big numbers. Jesus never said, "Look at these crowds!" but praised the faith of a few.

Instead of promising popularity and good fortune, Jesus offered his followers a cross like His.

That is why opposition and contradiction are always found with faithfulness to the Gospel. To repeat what Luther wrote, a great saying of his - "The Christian does not look for a cross. It is already on his back."

St. Paul could not get rid of that thorn in the flesh which he prayed so earnestly for God to take away. He was an apostle who cured others miraculously and risked his life many times - for the Gospel, but God left that thorn in place, to show divine strength in man's weakness, to prove that His grace is sufficient.

10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 

The history of the faith shows many departing from the Word - throughout the Scriptures. Ephesus was the mother church of Christianity but "they lost their first love" and the city became a Muslim stronghold instead.

The Exodus participants wearied of their trials and longed to go back to slavery in Egypt.

The Gospel rain moves on. When a cultures tires of the Faith and abandons it, the Word establishes the Christian ministry somewhere else. The great tragedies of Europe WW1 through WWII - and beyond - come from rationalism taking over the culture.

2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 

7. Paul cites a terrible example from Scripture to prove that not all obtain the prize who run. There were about six hundred thousand of them, all of whom walked in the way of God and enjoyed his word and his confidence so completely as to be protected under the cloud and miraculously to pass through the sea; yet among the vast number who ran at that time only two, Joshua and Caleb, obtained the prize. They alone of all that multitude reached the promised land.

Later on in the chapter (verses 11-12) Paul explains this fact, saying: “Now these things happened unto them by way of example; and they were written for our admonition... wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” The design of these dealings of God with Israel is to terrify the pride, false wisdom and self-will; to deter men from despising their fellows and from seeking to make the Word of God minister to their own honor or profit in preference to the honor and profit of others. The intent is to have each individual put himself on an equality with others, each to bear with his fellow, the weak enduring the strong, and so on, as enjoined in the four chapters.


Many famous ministers have enjoyed thousands of followers and great praise from the media. They get away with it, until... The tales are many. One had 10,000 and thought he could eliminate all the articles of faith and still have the same group. He lasted as long as a soap bubble after that.

Mars Hill had an entire denomination built around one man's ego. The entire circus collapsed.

One can list the honors, the DDs, the best-selling ghost-written books, the mansions, girlfriendsand everything else. They replay the great princes of Israel failing in the desert.

3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;  4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.  5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

The Israelites saw the great miracles given to them by God. They saw one wonder after another, to support their faith. But the vast majority of them failed the test.

The same is true today. We have the luxury of knowing centuries of history and the warning of the last few decades. The stories should terrify the indolent.