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, August 13, 2017

The Ninth Sunday after Trinity, 2017. Luke 16:1-9.
The Unrighteous Steward



The Ninth Sunday after Trinity, 2017

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson



The melodies are linked in the hymn title. 
The lyrics are linked in the hymn number.
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
        
Practical Wisdom

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 # 54              Guide Me Thou, O Great Jehovah                    

KJV 1 Corinthians 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

KJV Luke 16:1 And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. 2 And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward. 3 Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed. 4 I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. 5 So he called every one of his lord's debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord? 6 And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty. 7 Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore. 8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. 9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.



Ninth Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father, who hast bountifully given us Thy blessing and our daily bread: We beseech Thee, preserve us from covetousness, and so quicken our hearts that we willingly share Thy blessed gifts with our needy brethren; that we may be found faithful stewards of Thy gifts, and abide in Thy grace when we shall be removed from our stewardship, and shall come before Thy judgment, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

The Sower - by Norma Boeckler


Practical Wisdom

KJV Luke 16:1 And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods.

Mankind thinks in terms of the law and works, so even the most Christ-centered parable - the Good Samaritan - is almost universally taught as a do-gooder lesson. Many parts of the Scriptures are so clear that no one can get past their lessons without completely ignoring them - which the false teachers do, with a vengeance. But still, people remember what those passages teach and should not let them go. 

I heard of a comical situation where a WELS pastor tried to lead a layman into confessing forgiveness without faith. No matter how much manipulation was used, the layman still replied according to justification by faith. 

In the case of this parable, Luther complains that the Church of Rome uses it to prove the necessity of good works and that good works take us to eternal life. And if we stick to human reason, which always eviscerates the Word, then that is truly so. The unjust steward is an example, but of what?


4. The foundation must be maintained without wavering, that faith without any works, without any merit, reconciles man to God and makes him good, as Paul says to the Romans 3:21-22: “But now apart from the law a righteousness of God hath been manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ unto all them that believe.” Paul at another place, Romans 4:9, says: “To Abraham, his faith was reckoned for righteousness;” so also with us.

Again, 5: “Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Again, 10:10: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” These, and many more similar passages, we must firmly hold and trust in them immovably, so that to faith alone without any assistance of works, is attributed the forgiveness of sins and our justification.

5. Take for an illustration the parable of Christ in Matthew 7:17: “Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but the corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.” Here you see that the fruit does not make the tree good, but without any fruit and before any fruit the tree must be first good, or made good, before it can bear good fruit. As he also says, Matthew 12:33-34: “Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree corrupt, and its fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by its fruit. Ye offspring of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things?”

To deny these truths - stated by Luther - is no different from the person who says, "But the Bible never uses the term Trinity," or even - "See here, only the Father and Son are mentioned, so this is the Brotherhood of Man and the Fatherhood of God." (BOMFOG - mainline liberal apostasy). 

The parable is easily condensed. The proud but wasteful estate manager was called before the owner and told to get out. 

 2 And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward. 3 Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed. 4 I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. 

There is no repentance, only a plan to get hired as a manager of another estate. That is how this parable earned the name - The Unjust Steward, which is what Jesus called him.

This is even more disgusting. Now that he is being kicked out, he is making friends with the peers of his master, so he can be hired by them. After all, he is too weak to dig and too proud to beg. (Is this not a humorous statement. We can picture an accountant with soft hands and muscles, well known for his specialized work. Digging is impossible and he does not want to be the accountant shaking a tin cup.

8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. 9 And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.

This seems to present an even greater puzzle, because the master of the estate should be even more furious, not eager to commend the manager. 

I see two things emphasized here - for this generation. One is that many Enthusiasts are led to believe that foolish behavior is "spiritual" and good, like the woman who gave away all her possessions to a church's Junk for Jesus sale, to help the youth. 

Or the Assemblies of God pastor who would not let the workmen shore up a wall just before a windstorm, because it meant working on the Sabbath. Many bragged that this cost them $100,000 to fix. So noble! But he was unfaithful with the Word and with his marriage, which became known even better.

And we can see many foolish efforts made by denominations and congregations, which are power plays to show how powerful the leaders are. And they will say, "That's the way we are."

One pastor had to have a much larger building because his fellow pastor had an expansion. Later that much larger building, useless, was shut down 66% for heating in the winter. So a new pastor turned on all the heat so he could have a completely warm, empty building. 

A lot foolishness empties congregations and scandalizes them so that they identify the worst excesses with the cross and Christianity.

The second emphasis is Jesus teaching the connection between faith and good works, that the works are the fruit of faith. This is quite important from several sides of the issue. Many of my graduate students only think of the Law and never talk of any other issue except the Law and punishment. "If we don't help others, we lose justification by faith." I try to point out the good tree and good fruit example taught by Jesus.

Therefore, riches are unrighteous, because the people misuse and abuse them. For we know that wherever riches are the saying holds good: money rules the world, men creep for it, they lie for it, they act the hypocrite for it, and do all manner of wickedness against their neighbor to obtain it, to keep it, and increase it to possess the friendship of the rich.

When people simply accumulate riches and do nothing worthwhile with it, except to show off their excess, it is mammon of unrighteousness.

The opposite is taking pleasure in helping others and doing good with the Gospel, which varies in many different ways. I just wrote about wasted efforts with one person, and addict, but this addict called me to tell me how he was doing. I urged him to prove to his shattered  family that he was becoming a different person. 

Jesus is teaching us that these people will welcome us into heaven when we pass into eternal life. Thus the Christian Faith has been a blessing for so many people.