The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream - Sunday, 10 AM Central.


Advent Services - 7 PM Central Time in December.

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
Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson's Author's Page

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Ascension Holy Communion Service. 7 PM Central Daylight Time.



Ascension 2017. Holy Communion.

7 PM Central Daylight Time, May 31st


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Worship, 7 PM, Central Daylight Time

The melody is linked under the name of the hymn.
The lyrics are linked under the number of the hymn.
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    Acts 1:1-11
The Gospel                        Mark 16:14-20
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 216*            On Christ’s Ascension        
*Words copyrighted

Ascended into Heaven

The Hymn #341                   Crown Him with Many Crowns       
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 #294                        O Word of God             

KJV Luke 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. 50 And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. 51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: 53 And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.

[The ending of Luke fits with the opening of Acts, which Luke also wrote.]

KJV Acts 1:1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: 4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. 6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

KJV Mark 16:14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. 15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. 19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

Ascension

O Jesus Christ, Thou almighty Son of God, who art no longer in humiliation here on earth, but sittest at the right hand of Thy Father, Lord over all things: We beseech Thee, send us Thy Holy Spirit; give Thy Church pious pastors, preserve Thy word, control and restrain the devil and all who would oppress us: mightily uphold Thy kingdom, until all Thine enemies shall have been put under Thy feet, that we may hold the victory over sin, death, and the devil, through Thee, who livest and reignest with God the Father and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.



Ascended into Heaven

KJV Mark 16:14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

Luther passed over this verse in one sermon, but it serves a good purpose in reminding everyone about His mission to teach faith in Him. Some people chose to debate with me about this but never approached the real issue, which is not how horrible a person I am, but what Jesus taught. As John's Gospel says so completely and plainly, 

John 6:27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
30 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?
31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.

Someone can skip around in the Gospel of John and see this emphasis, which all the more important today with many teaching just the opposite. The disciples' problem was not fear, but what fed that fear - their little faith. The word is a compound word in the text - littlefaith.

The solution was trusting in Christ. Today the solution - trust in yourself. I imagine that many people feel the hollowness of that prescription. If they are searching for answers, it is not because they think they have done so well. It is like telling me to trust in my Town Car with 202,000 miles, smoking like a steam engine. (Don't worry. That has been solved already.)

Trusting the Creating Word is a far better prescription for our troubles. Our frailty makes us thank ourselves when things go well and blame God when things are not so good. But when we dwell on the gracious, forgiving nature of God, revealed in Christ, that trust grows.

15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

This sounds very much like the Great Commission in Matthew. There are longer and shorter versions of many episodes. 

3. We have often said ‘heretofore that the Gospel, properly speaking, is not something written in books, but an oral proclamation, which shall be heard in all the world and shall be cried out freely before all creatures, so that all would have to hear it if they had ears; that is to say, it shall be preached so publicly that to preach it more publicly would be impossible. For the Law, which was of old, and what the prophets preached, was not cried out in all the world before all creatures, but it was preached by the Jews in their synagogues. But the Gospel shall not be thus confined; it shall be preached freely unto all the world.

4. There is no need, therefore, of commenting on the text as some have done, and saying that omnis creatura (every creature) means a man. For there is no indication in these words that the Gospel shall be preached to men alone, but it shall be cried out before the whole creation, so that earth shall not have a nook or corner into which it shall not penetrate before the last day. Such is the counsel of God, wherein he has decreed that even they who cannot read and have not heard Moses and the prophets shall, nevertheless, hear the Gospel.

How true this is. The beginning Gospel of the Old Testament was confined to Jewish gatherings, which spread in the Diaspora, when Jews moved away or were sold into slavery after being conquered. Their translation of the Old Testament into Greek opening up the Promises to the entire educated world, because Alexander the Great made Greek the universal language.

Even before Jesus was born, the larger world was being prepared for the Incarnation. They read Isaiah 7 and 9 and 53 in Greek. We should never downplay the impact of the Word in those early days. The world was not only longing for the Savior and forgiveness of sin, they were prepared with the Promises of His coming.

And now the Gospel has been preached to every creature, in ways never imagined, with the Bible and sermons on people's phones, proclaimed from TV, radio, and the Internet.

Our congregation is far ahead of others in using the Net, while many have secret services (password protected!) or confine themselves to recordings. As Luther often said, the true Church is described as a mouth and ear church. The Gospel Word is proclaimed and heard.

This comes through in the original text very well, where the explanation of the origin of faith is this - Faith comes from hearing. But to be more precise, faith comes from hearing the preached Word.

Romans 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our [oral]report?
17 So then faith cometh by hearing [the report], and hearing by the word of God.

This reminds us that the way to increase the Kingdom of God and keep people within the Kingdom is through preaching the Gospel. As Luther said, he would fall away from God if he did not hear the Gospel for a year.

Congregations focus on membership and budgets and activities, when Jesus established the Church through preaching the Gospel and for preaching the Gospel. The Apostles preached the risen Christ, not some visible institution.

16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
This is so consistently taught throughout the Bible than anyone who teaches otherwise is blind, hardened, and ignorant. Jesus spoke about those who see without seeing and hear without perceiving. The key is their reaction to faith. If they are always reacting angrily to faith, especially faith in Jesus, with dire warnings, they are unbelievers who hate the Word. More likely, they are apostates, fallen away from the faith, even trained away from the faith by seminary professors they admire.
No one should be surprised, because students are easily impressed and taught to conform. The entire Protestant Church in America moved from the historic faith-- Creation, Adam and Eve as real people, the Flood, the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, miracles, and resurrection of Christ -- to a rationalistic philosophy that enshrines the spirit of this age. That took roughly 80 years to start (1850 to 1930) and another 50 years to complete. 
To test this, look at how many founders of a given denomination are simply forgotten, never mentioned, and never quoted. Missouri is different in deifying CFW Walther and lying about his history. They have turned the Reformation into a gimmick for selling trinkets.
People get tangled up with this verse. What if someone believes but is not baptized? The emphasis is upon faith, because faith receives forgiveness of sin and faith saves. One who believes in Christ naturally seeks baptism as an adult, provides baptism as a parent.
Simply put, for the UOJ crowd out there, unbelief damns. The entire Bible teaches this with great clarity. The purpose of the Bible is to plant faith in our hearts, the living seed of the Word, with guidance by the Holy Spirit, and to sustain that faith through the Means of Grace.
As a gardener I look for ways to help plants do well. I prune broken stems and branches, give my secret recipe (stored rainwater) to stress or weak plants, and pack organic matter like peat humus and coffee grounds around other plants. In the same way, God tends the members of His Kingdom while they abide on earth. He seeks the wandering and binds the wounds of the hurt. 
The Gospel is not for the great, the wise, and the powerful, as Luther often noted. It is for the broken, the despairing, the ones seeking a new life. If we grow so secure in our hearts that we do not need the Gospel, we can no longer hear it. Neglect turns into doubt and rejection.

17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. 
The sophisticated professors of the great universities look down on this and that helps them reject the actual ending of Mark.

Luther:
8. The signs here mentioned shall be performed also in a spiritual sense even unto the end of the world. For by means of the Gospel the prince of darkness with all his serpents will be crushed as is taught in Genesis 3:15. A new confession is heard from those who are converted. If unbelief at any time enter our hearts or spring up before us, we can soon banish it through the Gospel, so that we may learn not to trust in ourselves. Besides this believers will patiently bear with the infirmities of others, try to help them, heal them and do all for them they can. These signs the disciples did, could be done in a literal sense at the present day if it were necessary.
I would put it this way. Have you had an experience where you could easily have died? I can name a number of them, from driving, such as the day I saw a semi jack-kniving next to me, making a noise like garbage cans ground together. There are others I could name. In fact, God keeps many calamities from us and we tend to overlook this protection.
Anyone with children knows those guardian angels are a fact.
So there are literal and spiritual miracles that take place for Christians, and they are most obvious when we pass through the desert and enjoy the oasis that was already prepared.

19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

Here is another reason to eliminate or footnote the ending of Mark - it agrees with Luke and Acts!
Where apostasy breeds, the Ascension Service is dropped and mid-week services are forgotten. That is truly ironic, when "missions" say they do not have enough people to have Ascension, Advent, and Lent services. The purpose of the Church is...
And this ends with Jesus working with the Apostles and confirming their Word of the Gospel with miracles.