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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Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Fourth Sunday after Easter - Cantate, 2017. John 16:5-15.


Cantate, The Fourth Sunday after Easter, 2017



Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




The Hymn #458                    
Our Father – Luther                    
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 #462           I Love Thy Kingdom               

What Do Mothers Teach Their Children? - Faith


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 #657                           Beautiful Savior                      
   
        

Fourth Sunday After Easter

Lord God, heavenly Father, who didst through Thy Son promise us Thy Holy Spirit, that He should convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment: We beseech Thee, enlighten our hearts, that we may confess our sins, through faith in Christ obtain everlasting righteousness, and in all our trials and temptations retain this consolation, that Christ is Lord over the devil and death, and all things, and that He will graciously deliver us out of all our afflictions, and make us forever partakers of 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.

KJV James 1:16 Do not err, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 18 Of his own will begat he us with the Word of Truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. 19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. 21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted Word, which is able to save your souls.

KJV John 16:5 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? 6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.

7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.



What Do Mothers Teach Their Children? - Faith


KJV John 16:5 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? 6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.

Lenski Commentary, John:
The addition: "and none of you inquires of me. Where art thou going?" while it is joined with "and," is adversative, "and yet." Strange to say — and Jesus says it with a touch of gentle reproof and of pain in his own heart — not one of the eleven makes a request of him as to where he is going. "Where,"  is used, as in common English, for "whither," R. 298. The disciples seem to have no interest in this return of Jesus to his Sender. They make no request to learn more about the destination of Jesus and about what it means to him fo return to his Sender. Jesus is, indeed, not thinking of what his return means for himself personally, his glorification and the blessedness that awaits him with the Father. He has in mind the significance of his return for the disciples whom he is leaving behind.

This sermon by Jesus is all-important, for several reasons. 
  • First of all, it is part of His farewell, which in the Bible is the most important of all the addresses of leaders. 
  • Secondly, because this is directly from Jesus and reported by the disciple He loved, every phrase is significant and not to be overlooked.
  • Finally, since the Fourth Gospel has the role of teaching sound doctrine and anticipating false doctrine, to rebuke it, these verses deserve special and careful consideration.  

The setting is quite personal and easy to understand. The disciples know Jesus will no longer be with them. Sorrow has filled their hearts, so there is room for little else. When our feelings take over, they overwhelm reasonable thought, and even react against such thought. Therefore,  this is a sympathetic portrayal that helps us realize how they were already completely distressed when Jesus was arrested and taken away. Fear, panic, sorrow - all spread rapidly and take over. This battle is lost for the moment among the disciples, but served to strengthen them for the rest of the apostolic mission. Judas had faith in Jesus, but the wrong faith.

I told the Old Testament classes that we studied John 5:24-47 in the Greek class. Jesus, in addressing His opponents, makes three powerful arguments.

  1. You rejoiced in the light of John the Baptist, and he witnessed about Me.
  2. The Father Himself bears witness to Me.
  3. You profess to love the Scriptures of Moses, but he speaks of Me too, so you really despise Moses and the Torah.
The necessary conclusion is implied - Therefore, all righteousness comes from believing in Me. He speaks of this in light of the Final Judgment, when all the dead will be raised by His Word.

7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

This is God's plan, to transform a local ministry - they enjoyed so much - into a global mission which will be countered with violence and persecution. Since it is God's plant for Jesus to ascend to His throne, the Spirit will come to guide and lead them in all truth, and to bring to mind everything He has taught them.

Mother's Day
The high church people take pride in not mentioning Mother's Day. They consider that  to be a great sin. The liturgical calendar is a worthwhile and very edifying tradition of man, like Mother's Day.

This year Mother's Day lands on Cantate Sunday, where Jesus teaches the true meaning of the Spirit's work. It did not take me long to associate this lesson with Mother's Day.

What do mothers do with their young children? They teach them faith in Jesus. Naturally, the father is the spiritual leader of the home, but he is often busy with his work. Parents take their newborns to church to be baptized. Even the Babtists have their children dedicated and sanctified by the Word, misunderstanding baptism by water and the Word.

Mothers will pray with their children, have their children learn the Lord's Prayer and the 23rd Psalm.  



8 And when he is come, 
  • he will reprove the world of sin, 
  • and of righteousness,
  • and of judgment: 

  • 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 
  • 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 
  • 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

These verses seem mysterious at first, but they condense the Gospel message of Jesus into a few words. When I teach the Old Testament in the MA program, the students all define sin based on the second table of the Ten Commandments. They talk about the short-comings of others, and their own. These range from chasing women to someone who had, at one time, three life sentences imposed on him.

I ask them to consider sin as Jesus defined it - starting with not believing on Him, which could also be translated as not utterly trusting in Him for forgiveness and salvation. Luther has a wry comment - They think the their sinful works can be paid for with good works. So, it is very easy to be stuck in this mode, especially since America was largely settled by Pietists, Calvinists, and Roman Catholics. The burden of salvation through the Law is almost automatic, and the leaders of works-righteousness are untouchable, holy saints.

Unbelief is the foundational sin, so we see what a great benefit it is for parents to baptized their children, teach them basics of catechism, and to emphasize faith in Jesus as their Savior. This is so deeply embedded in children by believing parents that these lessons stick with them for life.

The cure for sin is not saying it embarrasses the family or tribe or sect. It is not saying that a virtuous life is good and beneficial. The cure for sin is faith in Christ, not that someone becomes sin-free, but rejoices in the daily forgiveness of sin through the Spirit at work in the Gospel.



My mother had us memorize Scripture - KJV. I memorized the 23rd Psalm. The last thing I said to her was "You taught me this," and I read it to her. She breathed a deep sigh and soon passed into eternal life.

This is the ideal - that we are given the Gospel at the beginning and hear the Gospel at the end of earthly life. Many things can happen in-between. As Luther says, believing does not make the Christian perfect, but sin does not dominate his life. Many fall from grace, sometimes in spectacular ways, but the early lessons are still there, and the Spirit dwells in those who are baptized.

Lacking faith, an individual cannot call upon God for comfort. Lacking faith, he does not pray. What do parents teach small children? Prayer, which requires faith. Therefore, the fruit of faith becomes a habit, and prayer bears fruit too. The power of prayer is so great that God works miracles according to His wisdom and timing. He does not acknowledge the mortal habit - or sin - of Management by Objectives, where people order Him to do certain things according to a timetable.

 MBO is Management by Objectives,
as defined by Peter Drucker.

This conviction of sin continues with the Christian believer because we falter and grow weary of the trials of life. Rather than taking comfort in the Gospel Promises, we grow impatient with God not delivering the blessings we would like to have.

Gerhardt is brilliant in his hymns in seeking comfort in the Gospel rather than in material solutions. For that reason he was blessed with unusual gifts and great influence, which continues today. The most appreciative are the non-Lutherans introduced to his work.

When the material solutions come through, this convicting work of the Spirit reminds us of our doubts. The wait for anything is terribly long, but not when good news arrives. Then it seems like a few seconds have passed.

  • 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 
Righteousness comes from receiving the Gospel in faith, so it does not depend on the visible presence of Christ. This also means that His very Ascension is additional evidence (now mostly ignored) of His divinity.

Christ on His throne reminds us of the vast gap between how He is taught by sceptics and unbelievers and apostates, and how He really is. 

53. In this sense Christ also uses it here, and he intends to indicate that when the Holy Spirit shall pursue the two themes of his preaching in the world and shall convict it in respect of sin and righteousness, the world will not receive it, nor be willing to be convicted of being in sin and without righteousness, nor be moved to allow the righteousness of Christ to be offered to it. But it will set itself against this teaching and convicting of the Holy Spirit, and condemn and persecute it. It will claim to be right in doing so and to be obliged not to suffer its wisdom and righteousness, which it considers divine gifts and service of God, to be reduced to nothing.

  • 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
If we know what sin is - unbelief in Christ, then we know and understand the "righteousness of faith," as described by Luther and the Book of Concord.

If those two are known, judgment is that Satan is condemned. We belong to Christ or Satan. There are no alternatives. Therefore, the judgment is clear and unequivocal.

James - and receive with meekness the engrafted Word, which is able to save your souls.

The most vivid description of our relationship with Christ is from James - the engrafted Word. Two plants are tied together to form a graft. They are plainly from two plants but they become one.

The Word grafts itself onto us. The Spirit dwells in us and delights in the Gospel. As I told one person, the illustration below is often on my mind and has been a prod to get my mind off of various difficulties.

Like the force of a gyro, it pulls us in the right direction when we pull away. We do not always like the tug we feel, but that is the guidance of the Holy Spirit.