The Glory Has Departed

Lutheran book boxes sent to three African seminaries -
a third one has been sent now.

Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream - Sunday, 10 AM Central Daylight Time.
Wednesdays Romans 1-5 in Greek

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

which works as 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

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Exaudi, The Sunday after the Ascension, 2017.

 Graphic by Norma Boeckler

Exaudi, The Sunday after the Ascension, 2017
The melodies are linked in the hymn name. 
The lyrics are linked in the hymn number.
The Hymn # 9            O Day of Rest                       
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 #259       Flung to the Heedless Winds

Faith, Memory, and Opposition
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 #261                    Lord Keep Us Steadfast                   

 Graphic by Norma Boeckler

KJV 1 Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. 8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. 9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging. 10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:  27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. 16:1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.  2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.  3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.  4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.

Lord God, heavenly Father, we give thanks unto Thee, that through Thy Holy Spirit Thou hast appointed us to bear witness of Thy dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: We beseech Thee, inasmuch as the world cannot endure such testimony, and persecutes us in every way, grant us courage and comfort, that we may not be offended because of the cross, but continue steadfastly in Thy testimony, and be found always among those who know Thee and Thy Son, until we obtain eternal salvation through the same, Thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Faith, Memory, and Opposition

John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

For all of us, the the first thing to remember about all references to the Spirit is that this also applies to the Word of God. The two are so closely related that one of the two really stands for both together. A parallel is found in the Two Natures of Christ. When we speak of Jesus, we always mean Jesus in His human nature and Jesus in His divine nature, but both are united in the One Person. 

This is similar and yet often neglected. The Holy Spirit only works through the Word and never apart from the Word. Because the Word always has divine energy and efficacy, the Word does the will of the Spirit...always, always, always.

1. The Word never returns void.
2. The Word always accomplishes God's will.
3. The Word always prospers God's will.
Graphic by Norma Boeckler

So for example, we know from John 1 that the Creating Word is Jesus, so we have the Father commanding Creation in Genesis 1 and the Son of God carrying this action out - all things created by Him. So why does the Bible neglect the formal declaration of the Holy Spirit? Answer - because the Spirit hovers over Creation and witnesses to this Father-Son creation through the Word. Thus Genesis 1 as explained by John 1 reveals the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Whenever the Father-Son relationship is emphasized, the Spirit is teaching us, so once again, the Holy Trinity is taught hundreds of times without the formality of The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And besides that, many times all three are named together within two verses.

So we see that this lesson teaches us about God witnessing about Jesus through the Spirit, at first through preaching among the witnesses of the resurrection, later through the written, inspired, infallible witness of the New Testament. Rather than being left as orphans, the Apostles were to be sent the Holy Spirit to teach them, to bring to remembrance all Jesus taught, and to inspire their teaching and writing.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, so when people write in the Name of the Spirit, or speak in the Name of the Spirit, they can be tested by the witness of the Scripture. 

27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

The Spirit bears witness and the Apostles will also witness about Jesus. So Jesus knew the disciples would be flattened, frightened, and in despair over the crucifixion, but rise to serve Him in the future, with His help and comfort.

The Scriptures do not simply write about believing but also about witnessing or confessing. "If you believe with your heart and witness with your mouth... Romans 10.

God's will is to have the Gospel shared, because the Word is effective in speaking its truth. However, when someone witnesses to the truth, opposition sets in, and that is the meaning of bearing the cross.

The opposition is shocking to us at first, but we think nothing about polishing gold, silver, and jewels. Opposition tests and polishes our faith, because each aspect of trust in Jesus is tested. One couple objected strongly to a sermon about infant baptism when I baptized their baby. Their Baptist relatives, who were invited, were offended, so the council president landed on me about that. 

Ever since being in school, last century, I have been treated as the village idiot for defended the historical accuracy of the Bible, the divinity of Christ, and more recently Justification by Faith. This opposition comes from within the visible church, which is what Luther wrote about, first from the monks and  bishops of Rome, then among his own followers. He said his own group did more harm to the Gospel than the pope  and Turks put together. (That was a hyperbole, an exaggeration to make a point. But now that could well be true.)

Lenski, p 1067
That is why Jesus now says that the disciples will have the Spirit with them and that he and they will both testify. The hatred of the world against the disciples will go on because they will go on with the testimony of Jesus, now having the Spirit at their side. Nothing is said in this connection about the success of this testimony; how it will win many from the world to faith in Jesus. The fact that the testimony of the Spirit and of the disciples certainly will not be in vain but will bear ''much fruit" has already.

3. Now, by confession I must take upon myself the load of Satan, hell, death and the whole world — kings and princes, pope and bishops, priests and monks. By faith, everything falls that reason can or ever has devised for the salvation of the soul. It must chastise the apish tricks of the whole world, and its jewel alone must be praised. The world cannot endure this, therefore it rushes in, destroys, kills, and says: “It is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not,” as Caiaphas says in John 11:50. Thus, the confession must break forth, that God alone is the Savior; and the same confession brings us into danger of losing our lives. As the Lord says later to the disciples: “They shall put you out of the synagogues.”

4. One cannot paint the cross differently than it is here painted; that is its true color. But the cross of illness — to lie in bed at home ill — is nothing compared with the cross of persecution. The first is indeed suffering: but the suffering is golden when we are persecuted and put to death with ignominy; when our persecutors have the praise; when right and honor apparently are on their side, while shame, disgrace and injustice are on our side, compared with the world that wishes them thereby to have God’s honor defended, so that all the world says we are served right and that God, the Scriptures and all the angels witness against us.

16:1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.

The word offended is easily misunderstood, because everyone is offended about everything, no matter how trivial. But the word comes from the trigger of a trap, the kind that grabs a person or animal, with death expected. 

Bad experiences can be a trigger that serve to kill faith because they were unexpected and unwelcome. Persecution is the best example. All those highly educated clergy will make fun of me and drive me away for believing the plain language of the Bible? That is the last straw.

Jesus built up His disciples in advance, to warn them about bearing the cross. They could absorb or understand all of His final messages but the Spirit brought them to remembrance afterwards and they were written down to strengthen us.

Those who persecute the true Gospel congratulate themselves and give each other high-fives and shiny awards for being brave confessors of the Word. But when questioned, they fly into a rage when flattery will not work. They give people a chance to repent of the Scriptures, then shun them, and rejoice in the evil done to them. Thus many clergy have been disposed of, shunned by fellow clergy. So have many laity, who give up on established church bodies.

2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.

That was true then and even more true now. Christians are being persecuted, tortured, imprisoned, and killed all over the world - because of their faith and their witness.

What makes this especially irksome is their delight in doing so. We see that in the terrorist killings, where they videotape their work and brag about it. 

One person was a member of the church we attended in St. Louis. I spoke to him often and went out to lunch with him. When I questioned forgiveness without faith, I became the enemy. He phoned to see if I had read the LCMS Theses on Justification without Faith (not the actual title). I said yes, and he slammed his old-fashioned phone down as hard as he could.

Likewise, that congregation told Herman Otten he would get no money if he ever printed anything else by me in the future. Otten obeyed St. Mammon and joined the boycott. The person who led this boycott was also a friend I talked to often and visited at his home.

This only led me to study computer science and how I could use website design to publish books, which led to blogging and almost 6 million views so far.

As Luther wrote in other places, opposition is good because it not only shows us what is good but helps us with a better understanding of the truth. Nothing makes an article of faith more interesting than the pious saints trying to destroy it for no Scriptural reason. 

Truly, the painful part of this is how they really think they are working for God in their antics, attitudes, and boycotts. Their histories are "____ Years of God's Grace", but they tear down the Means of Grace, which mean nothing to leaders who reject the efficacy of the Gospel in the Means of Grace.

Question - Was I born forgiven and saved?
Answer - Yes, isn't that great news?
Question -  But how do I know I am forgiven and saved?\
Answer - If you agree with Walther. Rambach, and us that the entire world was forgiven and saved at the cross, then you are forgiven and saved.
Question - But what about Luther?
Answer - We don't worship Luther. He didn't even want the name Lutheran to be used.
Question - Now I am confused.
Answer - Don't think too much about this. Trust me. (Synod President)

The above is a compend of ridiculous conversations others have had about Justification by Faith.

 Graphic by Norma Boeckler

3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.  

This takes a long time to grasp, but the Gospel is thinly sown. Many church leaders are de facto atheists who have found a comfortable living in mouthing the words without believing them.

I would be hard put to name any modern theologian (apart from Sasse) who believed or believes anything. They are philosophers who love to play with words and dazzle the audience with their vast knowledge of trivial facts.

Notice the Luther clergy conferences where the main issues are not taught with clarity, but fussy, prissy topics are dragged around, here and there, like wayward kittens. No one learns anything worthwhile, but they say, "Oh, that was such a good talk on the furtive patha in the Old Testament. I hope you discuss vowel pointing next time." Answer - "I am working on that right now."

Unbelief is the majority opinion, which is why Luther (following John, Paul, and the Spirit) always taught faith in Christ Jesus.

4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.

Our memories are a great blessing that God has given us. We can fill them and renew them with bad stuff, or we can follow the Bible's advice about recalling and using the Gospel, hymns, psalm, and spiritual songs. 

One idea displaces the other when we think, so the Gospel displaces Satan's temptations, which are great and energetic, as keen as a fresh knife blade. 

Here is a simple one to defeat Satan's efforts to drag people back into despair and self-destruction - "Believing is forgiveness of sin." That is Luther's basic condensation of the Gospel. How do I know everything is forgiven and forgotten by God? Believing is forgiveness. I cannot add anything to that, no crying, no suffering, no acts to make up for what I have. Good things come from forgiveness but they do not cause or complete the requirements. The only requirement is to trust the Gospel Word, that believing in the Savior means receiving the forgiveness of sins through Gods' gentle grace and great comfort.