The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
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email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Oculi, The Third Sunday in Lent, 2017. Luke 11:14-28.
Jesus Is the Stronger Man.

Oculi Sunday, The Third Sunday in Lent, 2017

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




The Hymn #175      When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
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             Ephesians 5:1-9
The Gospel                                 Luke 11:14-28
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #172:1-5        O Sacred Head

The Stronger Man

The Hymn #172:6-10                      O Sacred Head
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 #151                    Christ the Life                   

KJV Ephesians 5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

KJV Luke 11:14 And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered. 15 But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils. 16 And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven. 17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth. 18 If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub. 19 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges. 20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

21 When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: 22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.

23 He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. 24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. 25 And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. 26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

27 And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. 28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.



Third Sunday in Lent

Lord God, heavenly Father, who hast sent Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to take upon Himself our flesh, that He might overcome the devil, and defend us poor sinners against the adversary: We give thanks unto Thee for Thy merciful help, and we beseech Thee to attend us with Thy grace in all temptations, to preserve us from carnal security, and by Thy Holy Spirit to keep us in Thy word and Thy fear, that unto the end we may be delivered from the enemy, and 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.


Jesus Is the Stronger Man 

KJV Luke 11:14 And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered. 15 But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils.

Jesus performed many miracles. Many were so public and remarkable - on their own - that His divinity should not be disputed now, nor should that have been true then. But God's Work and work always provoke opposition, which comes in the form of rationalism, where such things are explained away.

Thus today - why do so many animal mothers show great love and concern for their newborns, even when it is their first litter? Answer - instinct. In fact, instinct answers all animal questions. Evolution explains all plant questions. Why do desert plants have hard, waxy leaves? Answer - they evolved to survive. And why do desert animals serve the desert plants so well, since both are unique in the Sonora Desert? Answer - they co-evolved.

In Moline our Siamese cat had beautiful white little kittens, so we brought them upstairs for the company to hold. Mother cat entered the room and with fire in her eyes jumped up and took every kitten back downstairs. We decided to leave them along when we had the living room full of company again. That night the mother cat brought up each kitten, put it down in the center of the room, and sat proudly next to her entire litter. Everyone loved the show and she knew it.

So the anxious crowd, in the face of God's own Son, says, as rationalists would -  He casts out devils through Beelzebub, the lord of all the devils. Those would be the religious opponents who cannot bear God but want to be praised for being outwardly religious.

Others marveled at the miracles and began to believe because they heard the Word and saw the power of Jesus in His work and Words. 

16 And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven. 
As Luther noted, the curious always wanted one more miracle, one more feeding. That would be another group, always watching and curious but wanting more. Some come along to church and remain neutral for a long time and finally believe because the Word penetrates their indifference, sometimes with the help of a crisis.

17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth. 18 If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub. 19 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges. 20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

Abraham Lincoln used this comparison to argue for the Union. A house divided cannot stand. Wealthy families are rare because their discord ends up in court and the riches are divided and spent poorly. Their fights make an empire fail.

A modest start with harmony ends up with great accumulations. Few realize that Walmart was just a small mom and pop store - The Five and Dime - always with an eye to low costs. Two brothers ran the company, sharing the work. All the children did the manual labor, such as carrying freight into the upstairs storeroom and popping the popcorn. The grandson-in-law, born into incredible wealth, still works for the company.

Jesus pointed out that if Satan cast out devils, his kingdom would quickly fail. And he added, how do your people cast out demons, by Beelzebub?

He is an example of answering the hardened and the blinded. At some point the Word of God can penetrate the defenses, but obstinate rejection makes them blinder and more hardened. In these latter days we can expect more hardening through the Word than conversion, but that is no reason to stop. To be quiet means we do not trust the efficacy of the Word, which is the foundation of the Scriptures. The most basic doctrine of traditional Judaism and Christianity is barely noticed today. The Talmud took Jews away from the Word, and rationalism took Christians away from the Scriptures.

The Two Kingdoms
The fancy-pants theologians like to speak of the Two Kingdoms in Luther, but they get mixed up. The Two Kingdoms are not church and state as they imagine. Luther called them the Two Regiments.

The Two Kingdoms are the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan. Everyone belongs to the Kingdom of Satan by default, until converted by the Word. Those with loving parents are converted by Holy Baptism as babies and nurtured in the Gospel.

No one can please God apart from faith in His Son. Then we belong to the Kingdom of God and enjoy its benefits, including the daily forgiveness of sins through the Holy Spirit in the Gospel.

The rest belong to the Kingdom of Satan, no matter what religion they may profess. All the world religions teach against the Kingdom of God, which is why they are promoted as replacements for Christianity in America.

Christ  showed by his expulsion of demons that the Kingdom of God was among them, through the Word, with Him as the living Word, the Creating Word.

But demon is not driven out by demon, much less by men or the power of men, but alone by the Spirit and power of God.

8. From this follows that where the finger of God does not cast out the devil, there the devil’s kingdom still exists; where Satan’s kingdom still exists, there the kingdom of God cannot be. The unavoidable conclusion then is that, as long as the Holy Spirit does not enter our hearts, we are not only incapable of any good, but are of necessity in the kingdom of Satan.

21 When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: 22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.

The stronger man parable is difficult  to comprehend, until we see that Jesus is the stronger man. Everything was great until He came along. He took away Satan's armor and divided Satan's spoils among His followers. 

In church history, the Roman Empire was entirely pagan. The emperors were all abnormal, promiscuous, pan-sexual rock stars. The public displays of that time would put our rock stars to shame. In fact, they do not bear repeating. Christ took that kingdom away and made it Christian. The old pagan religions of that era are gone, and the Roman Empire East and West was Christianized.

The Christian Byzantine Empire lasted 1100 years, preserving  classical culture and the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament and Old Testament. When Rome refused to help Constantinople in the last battle (a Christian empire divided), Constantinople fell and became the center of Islam.

10. He answers them in the third place, by a comparison taken from life, namely that of a strong man overcome by one stronger, and robbed of all his armor and goods etc. By this he testifies also that no one but God can overcome the devil, so that again no man can boast of being able of himself to drive out either sin or the devil. Notice how he pictures the devil! He calls him a mighty giant who guards his court and home, that is, the devil not only possesses the world as his own domain, but he has garrisoned and fortified it, so that no one can take it from him. He rules it also with undisputed sway, so that it does whatever he commands. Just as little as a house or court may withstand or contend against the tyrant who is its master, can man’s free will and natural powers oppose sin and Satan, that is, not at all; but they are subject to them. And as that house must be conquered by a stronger man and thus wrested from the tyrant, so must man also be ransomed through Christ and wrested from Satan. We see again, therefore, that our works and righteousness contribute absolutely nothing toward our salvation; it is effected alone by the grace of God.

23 He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. 24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. 25 And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. 26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

The seven unclean spirits parable is very significant. It can easily apply to the person who is converted and falls back into his old ways and beliefs. We see that often in celebrity conversions that are celebrated too soon and not solidified with study and removal from temptations.

But it also applies to our civilization, as we can see from today's experiences. When the Church of Rome first opposed Luther, the leaders used the Scriptures and found themselved publicly thrashed by the Word of God.

Therefore, they invented new ways to argue, as Chemntiz stated in his Examination of the Council of Trent. The Romans said, "These are grey areas of Scriptures. They are hard to understand. We need Holy Mother Church to explain them for us and the pope to be the final judge. The Sciptures are too deep and confusing for the laity, even for most priests. Leave it to us and we will teach the truth."

So now, if you visit a Vatican owned seminary, as I often did, and study their dogmas, you will see that the most absurd declarations are supported by this claim - The Church (of Rome) has taught this from the beginning."

The books have nice notations in the front, signed off by a bishop and official authorities. So that same library has all the best Lutheran books in it, the most devastating ones against the Roman cause, but that does not matter, because Holy Mother has spoken.

Those arguments have entered Protestantism and the Lutheran synods as well. The Word is NOT clear, is NOT effective - they theach. The Word confusing and contradictory - they claim. The bigger the boaster, the more likely he will say that Paul contradicted himself teaching Justification by Faith in one verse and Justification without Faith in another verse...nearby. 

The seven evil spirits are all over the place disrupting the Gospel. They might be named:
  1. Lazy pastor loyal to the synod evil spirit.
  2. Indifferent layman who wants to be a delegate evil spirit.
  3. Business methods evil spirit.
  4. Numbers evil spirit.
  5. Coveting the big congregation evil spirit.
  6. Wanting to be a bigshot in Kiwanis evil spirit.
  7. Good place to sell insurance evil spirit.
The LCMS claimed they drove out the evil spirit during the Seminex crisis and have been celebrating ever since, like the football teams that are ahead until the fourth quarter starts.

WELS praised itself for breaking with Missouri and those bad old liberals, but stealthily joined ELCA in evangelism and worship, a strange way to practice fellowship.

But these lessons are not for us to say, "Look at how bad THEY are" but to serve as a warning to each one of us. The Two Kingdoms are at war with each other until the end. Why do the Lutherans hate polemics, when polemics are the grammar of religious war? When armed forces battle, the soldiers clash - unless one side waves the white flag of peace and surrender.

27 And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. 28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

Here is another warnng against veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mother. If you pay attention to the Hail Mary, it is a parody of this warning. 

Thus we should always apply these Words of Christ to ourselves, that we should listen to the Word and guard it.

Such also was the lot of the Jews after the destruction of Jerusalem, and of the Greeks under the Turks. And so all will fare, who at first hear the Word of God and afterwards become secure and weary of it. St. Matthew says, in Matthew 12:14, that Satan finds the house empty. And in Matthew 13:25, he sowed tares among the wheat, by night, while men slept. Therefore it is necessary for us to watch as the apostles always admonish us, especially St. Peter in 1 Peter 5:3: “Brethren, be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”; for wherever he overthrows faith, he easily restores again all former vices.

 By Norma Boeckler.