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 4, 2017

The Feast of Pentecost, 2017.
More Pentecostal than the Pentecostals



The Feast of Pentecost, 2017

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




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

The Hymn # 236                              Creator Spirit 
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 #237                               All Glory Be  

More Pentecostal Than the Pentecostals

The Communion Hymn # 234                        Holy Ghost with Light Divine 
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 #246                              Holy, Holy, Holy

KJV Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. 12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? 13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.



KJV John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. 25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. 26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. 30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. 31 But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.



Pentecost
O Lord Jesus Christ, Thou almighty Son of God: We beseech Thee, send Thy Holy Spirit into our hearts, through Thy word, that He may rule and govern us according to Thy will, comfort us in every temptation and misfortune, and defend us by Thy truth against every error, so that we may continue steadfast in the faith, increase in love and all good works, and firmly trusting in Thy grace, which through death Thou hast purchased for us, obtain eternal salvation, Thou who reignest, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen. 


More Pentecostal Than the Pentecostals

KJV John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. 

Luther offers many important insights in his third sermon on this Gospel text. This thought is behind the entire sermon - Jesus does not simply  talk about the Spirit and leave that topic alone. That would be an abstraction in the minds of the disciples, and they would forget the little that was told them.

The work of the Holy Spirit has become an empty abstraction for many Christians, simply because no one is teaching the close association between the Spirit and the Word. That is why I remind people that genuine Lutherans are more Pentecostal than the Pentecostal. That does not mean more ecstatic behavior, but a confidence in the Promises made in this Gospel and a rejection of Enthusiasm.

Simply put, the Spirit only works through the Word, and the Word always works with the divine energy of the Spirit. Separating these two is called Enthusiasm by Luther in the entirely forgotten Smalcald Articles, which is no surprise, because the Augsburg Confession and the Apology are both steadfastly ignored, especially by the misnamed Steadfast Lutherans and the timorous Intrepid Lutherans. 

Because the Bible is one Truth, all of this fits together perfectly. Luther says all false doctrine comes from Enthusiasm, separating the Spirit from the Word. Example, the Pope offers statements as coming from God, which are confirmed as coming from "the throne of the pope's heart." How precious. But is that any different from Jay Webber teaching the blind Emmaus Conference - that Luther taught Justification without Faith - never offering a single example to prove it?

We are supposed to have special awe for all world religions (except Christianity) because they teach about God, more or less, sometimes many gods - India - or no god - Confucius. That makes them all the same, and perhaps superior to Christianity, which is sometimes described as the source of all evil. Likewise, Lutherans are supposed to revere any previous leader because of his saintliness, which supposedly confirms the truth of his utterances.

When we cling to the Promises about the Holy Spirit, the Spirit protects us against falling for these errors and provides great comfort, peace, and confidence in the truths of Christianity. 

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

This formal beginning to a statement means we should pay close attention to it. Lacking quotation marks, the Gospels have red flags in the form of standard introductions to doctrinal statements by Jesus.

On our part, love is not an abstraction, but loving and keeping go together. I love two roses especially because they have nameplates on them - Bethany and Erin Joy. I watch over them, protect the soil around them, prune them, and give them extra rainwater. Whatever we love in this life we treat accordingly, so the same applies with Jesus. Love and the action of keeping His words is consistent with the implication - true love does this. Lip-service love is a mention, an empty promise and nothing more.

I like the phrase "guard My words" because it is more than the vague sense of knowing them. When I went into the technology center at Walmart, two guards eyed me thoroughly while asking questions. They even looked over my bottle of Dr. Pepper. They had me prepare a name tag. When I told our son how I was scanned by two guards, this way and that way, and questioned, he laughed. Soon after, when I passed one of many friendly guards on the way to the meeting, the tag was obscured by my sweater. Immediately - "Do you have a nametage, sir?" They were all guards in the active sense of the word.

Likewise, genuine Christians do not let false statements about Christ get by them. In fact, they will judge the person by the statements, not the statements by the sanctity of the person. That is why so many lazy-brained Christians let attacks against the Gospel take place. They have a show-love but not a real love for the Savior, so they do not protect what was given to them by objecting to falsehoods. 

Someone made a big deal about the anti-Jesus Last Temptation of Christ movie, which was based on the equally obnoxious  book, same name. Jesus is just a man in the book and movie. I said, "That is what they teach in all the mainline seminaries and in ELCA. Why do you tolerate working with ELCA through Thrivent?" What the "conservative" Lutherans did not tolerate was my mention of this fact.

Jesus promise that that sincere love of Him will mean that He and His Father will love that individual and dwell in him. That includes the Spirit as well. This is a stupendous Promise, that the Father loves Christians because they love His Son. The Word is not merely the Word of Jesus, but the Word and will of the Father. That needs to be understood more in the reverse. We see the Father through the Son. When we think of being short-changed by God, the gracious and generous help of the Son should be in our mind, not the false impressions given by others, our sinful flesh, and the ministrations of Satan, who attacks our emotions all the time.

25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. 26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

The disciples are dismayed that Jesus was with them only a short time, but He promises in advance that they will have the Holy Spirit with them always. The Spirit is the Comforter, an Advocate, who speaks to the believer through the Word.

The Spirit's work in the believer begins with a baby's baptism or an adult conversion, which is confirmed by baptism and sealed by baptism. The Spirit's indwelling is a guidance system that keeps on a bearing toward Christ, enjoying His Word, doing His will, and coming back when we are prone to wander. That is the difference between a believer and an unbeliever. The Gospel is a cheerful and peaceful message to the believer, who hungers and thirsts for righteousness. But to the unbeliever, the same Gospel brings sharp pain, anger, and disturbance. For example, those clergy trained in the fake Gospel of universal absolution without Faith will always rebuke someone who even hints at the importance of faith. "You are not making faith a good work, I hope." That is a good time to remember, "What shall we do?" and Jesus said, "This is your work, to believe in Me."

This is a great Promise by itself - The Spirit will teach you all things and bring to mind whatever I have taught.

How were four Gospels written by mere men and yet they do not contradict each other. There is even a Four Gospel Harmony that shows how the passages parellel and fill in for each other.

But this Promise is not limited to the Apostles. We also are guided by the Spirit to remember the Gospels and speak them to others. The Spirit is effective through the Word:
In the Sacraments.
In teaching and preaching.
In remembering.
In discussions among Christians.

27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 

Everyone wants to sell us peace of mind, but they cannot provide that. True peace does not come from material security, but only from the forgiveness of sin. That is what the world has sought and failed to achieve through Buddha, Yoga, and bank vaults full of fungible assets. 

I am always dealing with students who are long on the Law, and short on the Gospel. I can assure believers that all their sins are forgiven daily, and while we remain faulty and weak in many ways, God does not let sin dominate our lives. 

Here is an example from the garden. I told one shopkeeper that my garden was doing well, even the weeds are growing fast. But I learned one thing for this year. I can scatter Buckwheat on all the bare places in the mulch, and let those bee plants push out the weeds. I still see weeds, but they cannot overwhelm the rich garden soil. which is armored against weeds by a network of shallow Buckwheat roots. 

The world gives peace and takes it away. I remember promises given by one school. Soon that person was gone and the promises were forgotten. When troubled by events of the day or in the past, the Spirit reminds us of the Promises made by Jesus.

It is good to be reminded of the perfect joy some have in the misery of Christians. The media are not alone in that, and clergy should be aware. Unbelievers' glee in our suffering should remind us of the necessity of opposition. Where the truth is taught, someone will rise up like a giant thistle in a garden and begin sharing bristles and barbs - over-generously. The same person who would not share in cleaning for one Saturday will move heaven and earth to topple a faithful minister, mouthing the words "Jesus" to everyone. Two people will work together to wreck a healthy congregation. As Luther wrote, as soon as the Gospel gains a foothold anywhere, Satan seeks to destroy it.

This is where the work of the Spirit through the Word is modeled so well in Creation by the Word. I looked up beneficial plants to get them going to remove pests by attracting beneficial insects. I did not their names or IDs at first. Shasta Daisies are really good. I bought two and saw Tachinid Flies on them immediately. Did I put in a request for them? No. I did one little thing, and God provided the pest destroyer at once. I grew Borage for my wife, bent over the blooms, and saw tiny Hover Flies hovering, no invitation. They do similar work. Ugly spots on the roses? Rage... wait. Look them up. Pirate Bugs. Aye. They eat aphids. 

So, wherever the Word is broadcast, the Spirit does the same kind of work, which I see in the fruit born from posting Luther's sermons, teaching Greek, blogging, publishing, etc. There is no way to predict the results of the Spirit in the Word, but the results are inevitable.

28 Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.

Luther:
91. Yes, if ye rightly loved me, as ye think, ye should be glad that I now go away from you, for it is in truth to your best interest, and from the heart ye should be pleased, both for your sake and mine, and should not want to see it otherwise. For my departure does not mean that ye will lose me, or that I or ye shall suffer any hurt; but it is alone for your sake that I should enter into my glory, in my Father’s kingdom, and, sitting at the right hand of the Father, should become a mighty Lord over everything in heaven and upon earth, where I can protect and help you against everything that seeks to injure you. This I cannot do now, upon earth, in my humility and littleness, where I have been sent to suffer and die.

92. For what he says — the Father is greater than I — is not said of the personal, divine essence of his own nature nor of his Father’s as the Arians have falsely interpreted this passage, not wishing to see why or whereof Christ so speaks here; but concerning the difference between the kingdom which he shall have with his Father and his service or servile state in which he was before his resurrection. Now I am small, he wishes to say, in my work and station as a servant; as he says in Matthew 20:28: “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” That is making one’s self little, and, as St. Paul says in Philippians 2:8, humbling one’s self, or casting one’s self beneath all things and letting sin, death, devil and world tread upon one. But this littleness shall not continue, he says, for that would be a complete undoing; it shall only be a passageway, the way and means by which I come to the Father, where I shall no longer be little, but great and powerful, as he is, and where I shall rule and reign with him forever.


Here we see Jesus planting additional seeds of faith. The disciples cannot comprehend everything at this point, because they are grieving about the departure of Jesus. But what He says will be confirmed in the future and that will provide additional strength for them, divine strength through the Spirit in the Word.

I was thinking about Peter's denial of Jesus, which the Savior predicted. The horror he felt afterwards would be unbearable, so he was all the more joyful and peaceful when Jesus gave him a three-fold absolution when testing him - "Do you love me?"
That fueled his apostolic work, because everything predicted came true, and he could witness not only to the Resurrection and Cross, but also to his experience of forgiveness and peace.

30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. 31 But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.

The Father is greater - this becomes more clear in the following verses. Jesus must live and die as a servant, judged and condemned as a mere human, though he was condemned for teaching He was the Son of God.

Therefore, when our senses only experience what is bad, faith teaches us the Word again. "I will not leave you without comfort." 

And who can forget "a little while" when John's Gospel used the expression seven times in a short passage. Everything is a little while, including the difficulties that seem to drag on.

Every mother knows the feeling, which changes from "When will they learn to dress themselves?" to "I miss them as babies. They grew up so fast."

Faith feels the joy and confidence before the proof arrives, that God was answering our prayers before we even thought to ask Him.

Isaiah 65:23 They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them.
24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.