The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream


NT Greek Lessons - Thursdays, 7 PM.

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
Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Feast of the Holy Trinity, 2017. John 3:1-15.
Jesus and Nicodemus



The Feast of the Holy Trinity, 2017




The melodies are linked in the hymn name. 
The lyrics are linked in the hymn number.

The Hymn # 246                              Holy, Holy, Holy               
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 Athanasian Creed             p. 53
The Sermon Hymn #251     We All Believe in One True God      


Nicodemus Converted


The Communion Hymn # 308            Invited Lord     
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              

Luther’s Trinity Sermons Linked Here

   

KJV Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? 35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? 36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

KJV John 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. 9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? 11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? 13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Pentecost Monday Gospel:

KJV John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.



Trinity Prayer

O Lord God, heavenly Father: We poor sinners confess that in our flesh dwelleth no good thing, and that, left to ourselves, we die and perish in sin, since that which is born of the flesh is flesh and cannot see the kingdom of God. But we beseech Thee: Grant us Thy grace and mercy, and for the sake of Thy Son, Jesus Christ, send Thy Holy Spirit into our hearts, that being regenerate, we may firmly believe the forgiveness of sins, according to Thy promise in baptism; and that we may daily increase in brotherly love, and in other good works, until we at last 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.

http://ichabodthegloryhasdeparted.blogspot.com/2013/04/norma-boecklers-new-book-treasury-of.html

Nicodemus Converted

KJV John 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 

Lenski  - on John 3

The Conversation with Nicodemus, 3:1-21. — 
This conversation connects naturally with 2:23, 24, Nicodemus being one of the "many" there mentioned as believing because of the signs, to whom Jesus would not entrust himself. Yet the conversation with Jesus did not yet bring this man to faith. But the story of Nicodemus is not John's real concern. As far as that is concerned, the sequel appears in 7:15 and 19:39. Here John's interest is in the teaching of Jesus as the counterpart to the signs (2:23). Though it is conducted in private, this conversation was a part of Jesus' public ministry, just as was the conversation with the Samaritan woman. John records this conversation because it really constitutes a summary of Jesus' teaching, dealing, as it does, with the kingdom, regeneration, faith, the Son of man, God's love and the plan of salvation, judgment and unbelief. The observation is correct that, as in the forefront of Matthew's Gospel the Sermon on the Mount presents a grand summary of Christ's teaching on the law as related to the gospel, so here in the opening chapters of John's Gospel this conversation with Nicodemus presents a grand summary of the gospel itself.

The apostle John identifies Nicodemus in a few choice words, which need to be understood. He was a religious scholar as well as a leader among his people. Therefore, he would have been greatly admired by all the people and honored also by the Roman occupation force. Earlier, Nicodemus was intrigued by the miracles of Jesus. So he came to Jesus with mixed feelings, almost believing but coming at night when it was safe. He was clearly drawn to Jesus but did not yet believe Him. So he probably expected a hearty welcome from Jesus. What follows is really a rebuke for his blindness.

John presents the most immediate portrait of Jesus, the details we need to know. That is important to realize in an age when we are supposed to talk people into faith, as if it were the better choice between a cabin on the lake and a pew in the front row. Or to use a ridiculous form of logic, like the Lord, Liar, Lunatic model that I heard a WELS disciple repeat. (Jesus is either the Lord, or He was lying about it, or He was crazy. Which one do you pick?) Even children can figure that out. I said to our son, "Do you want your bath before or after supper? He said "Neither!")

The Gospel alone converts. If someone holds to something opposed to the Gospel. that must be removed, often by destruction. The conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus shows us how the righteousness of the Pharisee means nothing, and the esteem of others means even less. Many people spend their lives trying to achieve one or both. Their achievements should make everyone admire them, and their deeds should make God appreciate them, even to be thankful for them.

So the introductory verse shows the two attributes that make Nicodemus seem very large, so they must be removed. In effect, this is what Paul also teaches in the beginning of Romans. Righteousness of the Law is impossible. So is righteousness based on man-made traditions or civil righteousness. There is only one true righteousness - the righteousness of faith.

2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 

At this point, Jesus should congratulate Nicodemus and become friends. So why is this the beginning of a rebuke? That is explained throughout John's Gospel, but especially in John 16:8ff. The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin, because they do not believe on Me.

Every day, people are rebuked for carnal sin, or for invented sin, such as not pledging to the new building. Therefore, unbelief is the foundational sin, according to Jesus Himself. Moreover, that is constantly emphasize throughout the Gospel and the Bible. This emphasis on faith in Jesus is not a theme of the Bible - it is the foundational theme of the Bible, the purpose of the Scriptures. Therefore, teaching it will invite opposition. 

There are really two Gospels - the true Gospel and the false Gospel. There are many versions of the false Gospel, but only one true Gospel, which Jesus taught consistently. The most pointed parts of the Fourth Gospel are those which establish the true Gospel beyond any question.

3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 

Jesus response is not gratitude or some way of honoring Nicodemus in return but to offer a rebuke, to convict Nicodemus of the sin of unbelief.

The meaning is clearly "born from above" in the original. Nicodemus was clearly hearing Greek, because he took the second meaning to be what Jesus said. Misunderstanding is typical of these conversations, where Jesus is speaking of faith and they are listening at their normal level, as if this is about day to day work, like drawing well water.

To be born from above means to believe in Christ. Nicodemus' lack of faith in Christ is revealed by his stunned response. So, he does not know what Jesus is saying and cannot respond accordingly. He arrived full of his Pharisaical wisdom but now is reeling in confusion. 

This often happens when a Pharisaical system is met by Justification by Faith. Panic and anger will follow. The modern Pharisee says, "If what you say is true, then everything I think is wrong! Listen up. Here is what our great synod leaders have said."

That is why the next generation must be prepared to teach the Gospel from the Scriptures themselves and not from the textbooks. All books are worthwhile, even when they are filled with nonsense (so fun to quote) but there is only one book written by the Holy Spirit, and God's Word is clearly communicated.

Someone videotaped a bottle where a detergent or oil got into the label. The letters began floating in the ooze so the entire printed area seemed animated by Disney. That is what combining the Scriptures with man's wisdom does. The clear Word dances around and becomes whatever the wizard wants to make of them. So we have to get back to the Word alone and pay attention to the clear message, which is unified throughout the Scriptures.

5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. 

Even now, when storms roll in, people are more concerned about the winds than the rain. As powerful as flooding is, the wind is even more so. This is a perfect Creation parable, since wind and spirit are the same word in Hebrew and Greek. Pneumonia is the disease, but Pneumatology is the study of the Holy Spirit.

Nicodemus is thinking on the carnal level, as he gave away with his response. He cannot think clearly about spiritual matters unless he is converted to faith in Christ. No one knows where the Spirit will take him, only that the Spirit is powerful and effective.

That is how I respond to people who want to know what will develop if... Nobody can say. Applying carnal standards will achieve carnal results. One pastor's wife wanted the largest parsonage in the district, and she got it, in time. Being faithful to the Word means putting up the mainsails and letting the Word drive everything forward. It is scary, fun, and full of danger. But God promises that whatever is done in faith honors Him. Whatever is done without faith is a sin.

Nicodemus, so fearful at night, became a key person in caring for Jesus' body after the crucifixion. Many would say today, "I would have bought the tomb myself," but at the time, everyone was terrified of the Roman government and the Jewish leaders. Nicodemus was driven by faith in Him to do what was right, not what was safe.

9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? 11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? 

In essence, Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus and the Jewish leaders. It is good to remember that massive conversions took place after the resurrection of Christ - and later - so much that no one could preach Christ in a synagogue and Christians became the main group persecuted by the Roman Empire.

Opposition can build up over many years, the Gospel seems to be defeated - but it never is. The Gospel knocked the Roman Empire into the dustbin, and Jerusalem fell twice in a few decades, first because of the Zealots, then because of another revolt.

So Jesus is not beginning with the masters of Israel, but sweeping all that aside.

13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

As Luther wrote, the Five Books of Moses are the goldmine from which the Gospels draw the divinity of Christ. Is anything stranger than the serpent in the desert, raised up to cure the Israelites? 

That story is so messed up that no one can forget it. Like Abraham and Isaac. But looking back, we can see that this miracle foreshadowed the lifting up of Christ on the cross, a strange sign to unbelievers, but the Gospel of the Atonement for those who have been converted by the Spirit/Word.

The only righteousness that avails is the righteousness of faith, which we usually call Justification (forgiveness) by Faith. Justification is a good term, because it means the declaration of forgiveness. So the false teachers pervert this basic doctrine of Jesus into Justification without Faith - Objective Justification.

The true Gospel opens up the wisdom of the entire Bible, Book of Concord, and the post-Concord theologians.

But the false Gospel, which is taught in the "conservative" Lutheran seminaries, moves them to:
  1. Ignore Luther and the Reformation in the 500th Anniversary year.
  2. Repudiate the Book of Concord as "boring and irrelevant" - WELS.
  3. Promote the Church Growth Movement from Fuller Seminary.
  4. Advocate various insanities, such as bar ministries, secular music in church, and disgraceful music disguised as worship, praise, and crowd-pleasing. 

The false Gospel will hunt down, silence, mock, and try to defeat the true Gospel, but they cannot succeed.

Luther is often quoted as saying we are all the mummers of God. One editor asked me what that meant. The mummers were actors, rather clownish, who would dramatize different things. God works through us, so we think everything we do is on our own, but He carries out His will. He allows the opposition to punish people for accepting false teachers. He lets enemies chastize our country for our unbelief. But as many as are driven by the Spirit/Word, He carries out His will in a positive way, spreading the Gospel, defeating false doctrine, and receiving endless blessings.