The Glory Has Departed

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

Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

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which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
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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

Alec Satin, Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

Laissez les bons livres rouler!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

The First Sunday after Trinity, 2018. Luke 16:19-31. The Rich Man and Lazarus

Lord, let at last Thine angels come, To Abram's bosom bear me home, That I may die unfearing; And in its narrow chamber keep
My body safe in peaceful sleep Until Thy reappearing. And then from death awaken me That these mine eyes with joy may see,
O Son of God, Thy glorious face, My Savior and my Fount of grace, Lord Jesus Christ, My prayer attend, my prayer attend,
And I will praise Thee without end.


The First Sunday after Trinity, 2018



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


The Hymn # 427         How Firm a Foundation                 
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 #429           Lord, Thee I Love            

Moses and the Prophets - The Gospel


The Communion Hymn # 311           Jesus Christ               
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 #50              Lord Dismiss Us                    




KJV 1 John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love him, because he first loved us. 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

KJV Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

First Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father, we beseech Thee so to rule and govern our hearts by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not, like the rich man, hear Thy word in vain, and become so devoted to things temporal as to forget things eternal; but that we readily and according to our ability minister to such as are in need, and not defile ourselves with surfeiting and pride; in trial and misfortune keep us from despair, and grant us to put our trust wholly in Thy fatherly help and grace, so that in faith and Christian patience we may overcome all things, through Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.




Background -

No one can understand this parable without grasping the basics of Biblical doctrine.That is not an issue - or should not be - for any denomination or confession of faith. The Bible teaches this and only man can unteach, erase, and obscure what God clearly reveals.

The essence is in the last statement. The rich man begs to visit his brothers and teach them, so that they will not suffer the same way. No, that cannot be done. And he offers this ironic statement - If someone should come to them from the dead, they would definitely listen.

The answer is - They have Moses and the prophets. That means - they have enough to know the Gospel in the Scriptures. That Word is effective in teaching 
  • Justification by Faith (Genesis 15) and 
  • The God-Man Messiah (Isaiah 7 and 9) and 
  • The meaning of the Atonement of the Lamb (Isaiah 53).

Too often there is an invisible wall between the Testaments, as if there is no connection (as the apostates teach). But Moses and the Prophets have no meaning apart from Jesus, His Atonement, and His Resurrection. And those teachings are rooted in Moses and the Prophets. The relationships back and forth are as essential as the clover and the bumblebee, each one requiring the other, each one serving the other.

The efficacy or effectiveness of the Word is taught clearly in Isaiah 55, Hebrews 4, Romans 10, and many more places.

1 Thessalonians 2:13 (KJV)For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.



Moses and the Prophets - The Gospel


KJV Luke 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 

This is a masterful story on its own merit, which should not surprise us at all. But the elements are worth observing. Two characters are described, one without a name, one with a name. The rich man was clothed in the most expensive clothing. Linen is still an expensive fabric. Yesterday, our grandson talked about how expensive and limited purple was in those days. Trying to keep up with Alex, I mentioned that Lydia was a dealer in purple (Acts 16) and therefore weathy.

Acts 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.

 A third element of weath shows the rich man dined extravagantly every day. Of course, a wealthy man might host a feast for everyone, but he hosted his own feast for himself daily - certainly a way to show off his great wealth and earn the admiration of everyone. In those days, clothing and food were quite expensive relative to earnings, so the ordinary person was happy to have something to wear, some food to eat, and some shelter for living. Those who buy a 19th century home today will often find no closets or very small ones, because people did not have many clothes.

In contrast is a man with a name - Lazarus. He is a beggar with no income, filled with sores, laid at the gate of the mansion. He hoped to share some of that food from the rich man's table. The dogs, which were despised for being savengers, licked his wounds. In other words, Lazarus was lower than the scavengers in needing their care. No one else bothered.

22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 

This is a parable, so it is intended to give us a picture of what Jesus wants to reveal. Therefore, this portrait shows us that the rich man was not a believer, as we clearly see in the dialogue, and Lazarus is - because the poor beggar went to Abraham's bosom in death. One man has earthly peace and security, but eternal punishment for unbelief. The beggar has a brief life of sorrow and want, but an eternity of peace with God.

What man sees is entirely different from what God sees, and the values are exactly opposite. God does not judge the appearance but the heart. There is no condemnation for wealth, but wealth plus unbelief is meaningless.

While Lazarus had nothing on earth, he possessed heaven, which is a much greater treasure than what the rich man had. This is the great challenge we face, to see that everything God has given us, including great sorrows and challenges, are part of this spiritual wealth. Man's foolishness is such that he would gladly give up the eternal for the temporary, because the temporary is so appealing at the moment.

23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 

The rich man's sentence is to know that Lazarus is in heaven while he is tormented, so much that having his tongue cooled would be a great blessing, given by Abraham.

Is it a co-inky-dink that Abraham is the key figure in this parable? So many others could have been mentioned, such as Moses or David. But Abraham is the Old Testament star of the New Testament. Abraham believed the Promise of the Messiah coming from his line - "and it was counted as forgiveness, salvation." (Genesis 15, Jackson Revised Living Bible) Righteousness is forgiveness, and forgiveness is salvation. Abraham is that star in Luke 16, Romans 4, Galatians, Hebrews 11, and James.

There are only conditions addressed in the Bible - belief in the Savior or unbelief, not wealth or poverty, not male or female, not Jew or Gentile, not noble/royal versus common. When we see examples of Roman soldiers with faith in Jesus, we should also consider how that meant the Gospel invading the Roman Empire, pagan and degenerate, from the bottom up.

Luther:
6. But where unbelief reigns man is absorbed by these vanities, he cleaves to them, seeks them and has no rest until he has acquired them, and after he possesses them, he feeds and fattens himself with them as the swine wallow in the mire, and finds at the same time his happiness and felicity there. He never inquires how his heart stands with his God and what he possesses in God and may expect from him; but his belly is his God; and if he cannot get what he wants, he imagines things are going wrong. And lo, these dreadful and wicked fruits of unbelief the rich man does not see, he covers them over, and blinds his own eyes by the good works of his pharisaical life, and hardens himself until no teaching, exhortation, threatening nor promise can help him. Behold, this is the secret sin which to-day’s Gospel punishes and condemns.

7. From this now follows the other sin, that he forgets to exercise love toward his neighbor; for there he lets poor Lazarus lie at his door, and offers him not the least assistance. And if he had not wished to help him personally, he should have commanded his servants to take him in and care for him. It may have been, he knew nothing of God and had never experienced his goodness. For whoever feels the goodness of God, feels also for the misfortune of his neighbor; but whoever is not conscious of the goodness of God, sympathizes not in the misfortune of his neighbor.


27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

This is the old canard, repeated in many ways, that the Word is not enough. The Word needs something added so people take it seriously or finally pay attention.

In this case, someone from the afterlife needs to visit the rich man's brothers, who are living in the same condition he was - unbelief. If they saw a beggar coming back from heaven, they would listen to him.

The boy featured in the best-selling book about going to heaven and coming back - he has filed a lawsuit. He never saw or claimed those things. His father made it up and made a fortune with it.

Also - the Roman Catholic Church teaches people that the souls in Purgatory will come back and help, warn, or protect the faithful. That is an added benefit of joining Holy Mother Rome. Clearly this parable teaches against that.

Certainly people do see apparitions, but they are not from God. This sort of nonsense - that markets holy sites like Fatima - also serves to make people take lightly the angelic protection God gives us. No business card is dropped. No bells ring, but His angels certainly protect us, our children, even our country in miraculous ways. If super-salesmen make a mockery of God's protection with Purgatory ghost stories, that ultimately destroys all faith. (I have heard those stores on free tapes sent to those who ask for them. The stories were read by a professional, very impressively narrated, but still like garbage in a silken bag.)

Two more variations need to be mentioned. One is that we Christians, especially ministers, have to make the Gospel relevant or reasonable or appealing to people. Naturally, that is a form of rationalism that will always dilute the Gospel into emotional and manipulative stories.

Even worse, which is to be expected, is the demand to combine entainment with the Word, even snacks and soft drinks. Does the Gospel need this? Is the Gospel so weak that it must be made strong by our clever marketing?

29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

This is one of the great thunderclaps of the New Testament, a warning so strong that everyone should heed it. The power of this message is proven this way - this Age of Apostasy ignores it, because the message is too painful to bear.

"The Word of God does not need anything else except clear teaching of its truth!"

It would be better to say - "The Word of God does not need anything else," but some clever jackals would say, "Oh I agree with you. That is so true. Only we have to provide something to attract them to the Word of God."

One of my favorite (and ignored) American Lutherans put it this way - the more pure the Word of God is, the more powerful and effective it is. And the more it is diluted with man's wisdom, the weaker it is. (Jacobs, I think)

That is a very good, concise statement. We should also see, as we can now observe all over America, that this dilution not only weakens the message but turns people against the Word of God, even while outwardly yakking about it. One example - a church got more children there by giving away kites, etc. One minister put cash under one seat, so the reveal would be like having a winning numbers card. Clever, so clever.

Positive
On the positive side, this lesson tells us that - all appearances aside - what God declares with His Word is unstoppable and beyond our judgment. 

"Your sins are forgiven." Man's tendency is to focus on regret, remorse, sorrow, but that is akin to thinking that we can pay for sins by suffering long enough, being sorry enough.

"Faith means possessing heaven and earth and all blessings." Lazarus has nothing but he has everything. We get dragged so far into merit that we can hardly escape those concepts. So we fail to see the afflictions as part of the blessings and even a path to blessings. Stage One of being disturbed by a truly horrible church experience is one of anger and confusion. But that is what launches us into discovering the spiritual wisdom of the Bible and the great spiritual insights of faithful writers like Luther and Chemnitz, Schmauk and Jacobs, Krauth and Chytraeus. That leads us into friendships with people who have experienced the same. 

Each day is very special and we should look at it as a chance to add something to another person's life. Germans say "divided joy is doubled joy." It is a great pun because we do not want to cut the piece of pie in half, but in doing so we have the joy in sharing and provide joy in showing we care. We cannot do enough enough of that in our family. We should also do that among colleagues and neighbors.


Our favorite rose is the Queen Elizabeth, which we grow in memory of our daughters. I had some beautiful blooms on Friday, and I hesitated to cut them. Finally I did. This morning I have all those blooms and more from Queen Elizabeth.

 Lammerts, PhD, Creationist.