The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sexagesima Sunday, 2017. The Parable of the Sower. False Teachers. Thorn in the Flesh

 Norma Boeckler - The Sower


Sexagesima Sunday, 2017

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




The Hymn #190               Christ the Lord                       
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 # 339               All Hail the Power              

The Sower and the Seed

The Hymn # 308                    Invited Lord                          
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 #46              On What Has Now Been Sown               


2 Corinthians 11:19 For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.
20 For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face.  21 I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also.  22 Are they Hebrews? soam I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.  23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool ) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.  24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.  25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;  26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen,in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;  27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.  28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.  29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?  30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.  31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.  32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me:  33 And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands. 12:1 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.  2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.  3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)  4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.  5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.  6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.  7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.  9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

By Norma Boeckler

KJV Luke 8:4 And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: 

5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. 

6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. 

7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. 

8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. 9 And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? 

10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. 14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. 15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.




The Sower and the Seed

KJV Luke 8:4 And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: 

The parables were mostly mysterious to the casual audience. Jesus taught the disciples their meaning privately, as shown here. Only toward the end did Jesus offer messages that His opponents recognized and hated for their truth. That made them even angrier.

If this parable is so clear, why do so few understand it today?

The Fulleroids say, "We have to study the soil before we sow any seed," and the false teachers of WELS-LCMS still echo their foolishness and stupidity. This is the Parable of the Sower and the Seed, not the Parable of Fuller and the Soil Samples.

The parable says nothing about entertaining people - or making the seed (Word) real, relevant, and relational.

Farmers and gardeners grow alarmed when they have a steady decline in growth, but these modern "growth" yahoos keep making the same mistakes and leveraging them to make them worse - constant losses in membership. Therefore, the Parable is all the more significant for what it says today, since it comes verbatim from Jesus and remains so mysterious to the ignorant, the unbelieving, and the apostate.

5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. 

There are two main parts here - the sower and the seed. The sower is anyone who broadcasts the seed. Before radio, before TV, before the social media, people planted some seed by pulling it from the bag and scattering it. We planted an entire church lawn that way - hundreds of pounds of grass seed. And it rained for days afterward.

I used to sow lettuce seed the same way. If the ground was bare, I scattered lettuce seeds and had lettuce growing everywhere. Now I am more likely to sow borage the same way, since the rabbits are already over-fed. Jesus explained the parable to His disciples - and the purpose - 

10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

To this day we can see how so many open the Scriptures and know the basic content but remain blind to its meaning. I had a seminary professor who wrote an entire book on the Parables of Jesus and did not know what was in them or their intent.

This is about scattering the Word of God without worrying about where it falls. Why? This scattering is parallel to some forms of gardening, where the seed is so eager to germinate and take root (and so tiny at first) that the sower trusts simply in the power of the seed.

Experienced ministers will always say, "No one can tell what will happen, no matter what we think we know. The least likely person becomes a real leader, and the apparent leaders fade away." So there is no more temptation to make things happen. God's Word has His agenda, and not ours, as Isaiah 55 reminds us.

The seed is perfect as a metaphor for the Word of God, because both are imbued with a living power. Both are alive. Both are ready to take root. Both will take root when scattered around. Opposition and difficulties remain but the final result is an abundance of growth, as we can see everywhere the broadcast continues.

For instance, a lawyer asked to study New Testament Greek. Those I did not know asked to join the class where we study the Word of God as it was written down 20 centuries ago. 

Various companies give me bonus seeds or irresistible offers from time to time. If they remain into the season, I may toss the contents of a packet into an area. Some seed is almost like dust, it is so small. Later, someone says, "What's that?" Oh, I threw some seed there because it was leftover and I was out of regular space.

We can look at the miracles of Jesus that way. They always happened with faith. One person had such profound faith in the Savior that Jesus commended him or her for it. Were those not the first beginnings of the Christian Church, tended by the apostles after the Ascension of Jesus?  From such tiny, small, insignificant starts came the largest religion in the world, by outward measures.

As Jesus shows in His explanation - When seed falls on hardened paths, it cannot take root easily. Satan takes it away. One example of this is someone being in a heavily churched area and joining a large church with the hope of having a lot of clients who trust in him and suggest him to other members. He is thinking, "How smart I am to join the big church with more income potential." There may be nothing wrong with that congregation, but his heart is laying up treasures on earth and not in heaven.



6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. 

The seeds that tolerate rocky soil are few, and most of them are weeds. I had one exception - peas. They liked the gravelly soil around the garage in Midland. The gravel made the soil sweet and the peas were shallow rooted.

Most seeds are like the sunflower seeds that fell on the flat roof of the parsonage in New Ulm. Enough dust and leaves accumulated to hold water and give bird seed a start. However, as soon as the sunflower began to grow, it could not gather enough soil and moisture to survive and withered away. But the rocky (roofy) background actually promoted germination with the heat provided. And then the same rockiness killed the plants.

These illustrations are all around us. Jesus explained

13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

A temptation does not mean simply slow horses and fast women, but also persecution, riches, indifference, anything that takes our heart away from the Gospel.

The false teachers have dumbed down the Word of God so that people have no defense against the dogmas of demons being foisted upon them. Notice that they worked their way into the top by criticizing hymnals, hymns, traditional worship, and the old fuddy-duddies who were leaders. But now that they are in power, no one is allowed to even suggest something contrary to their agenda. If anyone persists, he is kicked out. 

This part is especially ironic. The synod will tolerate 

  • a congregation running riot with false doctrine, 
  • a District President abusing members of his own congregation,
  • an alcoholic, because so many synod leaders are addicted,
  • another parish disintegrating from a leader's abuse,
  • an adulterous or sodomite pastor, 
  • an embezzler of the worst sort, 
  • even a man who abandoned his wife and children for his mistress. 

But if the congregation keeps a pastor - kicked out of the synod for the sake of the Word - the synod will expel the congregation faster than Flash on energy drinks. And the synod will rejoice in their evil and boast about it. The friends of the pastor and congregation will disappear faster than a July frost. For additional details, see the Jon Buchholz resume.

But this disruptions and contradictions are also good in that they can awaken the living Word and encourage people to study the Scriptures and Confessions. We all have a basic knowledge that covers the main topics. However, we have no idea how valuable this parable is until the parable is taught against. We see the Book of Concord as a nice old book until we ask "What did they teach about Justification by Faith, Holy Communion, and the Sacraments?"

I grew up with the KJV and learned more and more about the value of precise translations when bad ones were sold to the public by false teachers. Isn't it fun that WELS used a Babtist professor to sell the NIV to their unthinking disciples? Why didn't someone say, "Why is Moo the Babtist teaching Lutherans about the Scriptures?"

This part of the parable is also a warning to those who would harm the "little ones," not just the children, but those with beginning faith. When ministers work so hard to create scandals based on their conduct or fascination with false doctrine, they are guilty murdering the souls of those with shallow roots. And yet these destroyers rejoice in their ability to get away with their destructive behavior.

7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. 

14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. 

Those of us who garden have had plenty of experiences with this. Sometimes the roots are choked so that the plant grows without fruiting at all. Weeds are opportunistic, so they are happy to germinate and grow where a rose is planted and watered. Bermuda Grass is ideal for poor soil but really likes to dominate where roses are grown. Berry plants like to grow straight up into the sun or climb along vines. If they are shaded, the plants grow but seldom bring "their fruit to perfection."

Thus many are so absorbed in work, earning money, and hedonism that these concerns choke the Word. Nothing is lacking in the Word, but people allow these matters to diminish the importance of the Word, which we can see in so many church activities that focus on gaining approval rather than spiritual wisdom.

The congregation that thrives on clubs and attraction gimmicks will leave nothing behind, which has been shown in this generation - time after time.

8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. 9 And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? 



15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

Jesus' explanation means - There will be those who hear the Word and guard it. They value the Gospel for itself and identify God's will with God's Word, as I have taught.

This part of the sermon should be given pages and pages on what the congregation will do in broadcasting the Word, but that is seldom the case. As I told one reader, once I reached Luther's age, 63, when he died, I began to count every year as bonus time to do more in teaching the Word of God.

  1. Facebook, Blogger, and other social media are used to spread the Word more effectively.
  2. Printed and e-books are distributed free.
  3. Luther's sermons are published each week and soon will be printed as well.
  4. We have Internet Means of Grace services, Bible and Book of Concord classes, and Greek New Testament classes.
  5. In Springdale I give away books and roses, since the roses confirm the books about Creation.
  6. While others are celebrating their opposition to marriage, I blog and post to emphasize traditional, Christian marriage.
Most of this broadcasting is done at no extra cost. There is labor involved, but like the rose garden, the benefits far outweigh the work involved - and the work is so fulfillinjg.