The Glory Has Departed

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Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:10-13 KJV

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Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Luke 12 Verses for Lutherans

 "We are Confessional Lutherans!"

 Look at the dates and the verbatim quotation - WELS has never embraced the Church Growth Movement from Fuller Seminary?



Luke 12 In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.
Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.


Another win for Fuller - a cheerleader helming the WELS seminary, teaching safe sects - but no one is laughing.


GJ - For decades, the "conservative" synods - in concert with ELCA/ALC/LCA - have sent their dumbest and most pliable to Fuller Seminary, Trinity Divinity, and Willow Creek.

During that time, only the Church Growthers have advanced in the WELS-LCMS-ELS.

Studying at those institutions of Calvinist-Zwinglian learning has been a requirement for world missions and American missions, academic posts, and whatever else is coveted.

For laughs, WELS had their foaming-at-the-mouth-for-Fuller professor, David Valleskey "study" the Church Growth Movement,  a movement which he dearly loved and practiced for years in the seminary classroom. For his published act of apostasy, Valleskey was promoted to seminary president.

Are we surprised that WELS-ELS-LCMS are happy to sell the New NIV? They already sold their heritage for a cold bowl of lentil soup. Making some money on the side is simply a bonus.


And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

GJ - For decades, the "conservative" synods have been building bigger barns for their loot, following the ELCA/ALC/LCA practice of looting estates and robbing heirs. WELS faced one widow in court - and lost! (Milcraft fiasco)

I remember one utterly corrupt official who had a big retirement party for himself and promptly died. His specialty was money, but greenbacks did not buy anything where he went.

 This is from Jay Webber's online ELCA seminary.
Do they mean this?


Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?
But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:
But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.
10 And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.




GJ - The Bible has only one message - teaching faith in the Savior Jesus Christ - for salvation, for the forgiveness of sin. Those who are too wily to mouth the platitudes of Church Growth are busy telling the sheep they are forgiven and saved without faith, without Christ, enjoying universal grace without the Means of Grace, like the rest of the world. 

The unbelieving clergy fashion themselves as great intellects, guardians of the sacred tombs of Walther and Pieper, but really fellow-travelers with Bishop Stephan and his young, female groupies.

But challenge their false doctrine and they fly into a rage, leaving behind a foul scent as they run away, as Chemnitz wryly noted.


 "All you have to do is make a decision for universal forgiveness without faith. If you decide you were already forgiven, you are already forgiven. But if you reject my precious message, my disciples will ruin your income, drag your name through the mud, and interfere with anything you do - in Christian love, of course."

Travels with Sassy - Welcome to Dystopia. Ranger Bob's Shabbes Goy



Is anything better than Costa Rican coffee, freshly made? Mrs. Ichabod loves a coffee named after a famous whale. I am saving that for a little later today.

Sassy gets up with me for early coffee. Her German Shepherd side enjoys brats, so she gets some slices of New Orleans Johnsonville brats. She lets me eat some too, but later in the day.

Yesterday she heard a discussion about plans, and she carefully pays attention to words and actions. No matter how we avoid the topic of her travels with me, Sassy quickly goes on alert and looks at my eyes. "Are you taking me?" I would gladly say so, but she starts barking and celebrating her upcoming trip.

I had to pick up prescriptions in Fayetteville, so I figured on stopping at the post office and Lowe's and the credit union. I prepared a package - good news for her. I got keys and wallet together - even better. "Want to ride with me?" That ended all conversation - yelping, barking, jumping around. Mrs. I laughs at the antics but we have to shout over her cheerleading.



The post office had some customers, but also three clerks moving things along. The service area was enclosed in plastic sheeting, protecting me or them? That was strange.

Lowe's was engaged in total spring fever. Flatbeds were clogging up the lanes and customers were loading bags garden amendments. A plastic wall full of scratches separated me from the cashier. I said, "This is not helping my cataracts. I can't see what the debit card machine is saying." We drove around back to get backs of Stinky Peat, Peat Humus in the gardening community. I told them Peat Compost, which caused confusion. No one in gardening knows anything about gardening - definitely a way to qualify for a position at Lowe's or Walmart's departments.

So Lowe's was wide open and bustling, but the credit union was drive-through only, which impedes doing business other than making a deposit.

The oncology group was strictest of all. I was asked various questions at the door and subjected to a required decontamination of my hands, with a smiley face sticker subsequently applied to my shirt. A temple recommend? I told one staffer it was like being in an Edgar Allen Poe story. That center is the only place where all the Dr. Kildare stuff made sense. The few patients who were inside were all high risk and obviously fragile.

Peat Humus - Stinky Peat
A British gardener suggested peat humus on plants, a way to concentrate the best soil over prized roses. I hope to do that today, with Sassy's supervision.

Ranger Bob came over for some coffee and Sassy time. She had a great time getting her treats, waving her paw like Bob would never give her another one.

Mrs. I came out and wondered why Bob had me do all his Internet work. I told him about the Jewish custom of hiring a Gentile to carry out tasks that would be considered doing work on the Sabbath - the Shabbos Goy (Sabbath Gentile).

I said, "Bob, I am your Shabbos Goy." He laughed harder than any time before. He doubled over laughing.

I told him about my Stinky Peat haul. He proceeded to tell me about putting sugar on rose plants. I doubt whether sugar is available right now, considering the flour aisle was empty at Walmart. He also suggested filtering the rain water I save - through coffee filters. I asked, "Are the new roses looking lively?" He had to concede they were extra healthy looking from pre-planting rain water soaks and subsequent rains.

PS - When everyone discovers that human trafficking took a big hit this week, remind yourselves that it was predicted here.



Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Worship Is All About the Benjies - LCMS Profiteering.
WELS Cancels District Conventions!

Buy some LCMS Church Growth eyes.


"At the end of the year Concordia Technology Solutions will be increasing their price for their Church360 membership management solution. If you subscribe before the end of the year you will lock in the current WELS rate of $37.50/month or $450/year regardless of church size. This is a special rate worked out exclusively for WELS churches. Effective 2019 the price increases to $40/month or $475/year. Here is a link to the WELS Discount page for Church."



Matt the Fatt demonstrated Church Growth methods in
"Honey I Shrunk the Synod."



 No district conventions! We will appoint!

Decision on district conventions - Smuggled First Draft


After thorough discussion and with great joy, the Conference of Presidents (COP) has concluded that the district conventions, scheduled for early June, will be canceled, an excuse caused by the COVID-19 virus. Even though it might seem somewhat early to cancel the conventions, a decision needed to be reached now to enable districts to cancel their contracts with convention facilities with no penalty. They are out of money.
The COP did consider whether the conventions could be postponed until later in the summer or early fall. However, several districts would not be able to hold district conventions at a later date due to unavailability of meeting facilities and accommodations for delegates, and the cost. The COP also discussed whether virtual conventions could be held, but several districts concluded that a virtual convention would be virtually useless. The COP agreed that if some districts could not hold conventions, none should. They may sound like - If some could, all should. But it is all about the benjies. You know that.
On the positive side, a benefit of canceling district conventions will be a significant cost savings. This is in keeping with synodwise efforts already undertaken to reduce expenses in the coming year - because the Church Shrinkage Movement has been so effective.
Even though we cannot hold “regular” district conventions as the bylaws state, we will continue to walk together in our irregular confession of unfaith and shared emissions. It is our commitment to the truths of Scripture (by opposing them) and our commitment to carry out God’s work (while trusting in gimmicks) that will guide us in times such as these—times that constitutions and bylaws and Fuller programs could not have foreseen. Even without specific guidance from bylaws, we are committed to moving forward in a united way, striving to do all things in good order.
With no district conventions, normal elections will not be able to be held. Instead, we will plan to have elections for the district officers conducted electronically. The details of how this will be done are still unknown, but we have been assured that called worker delegates and congregational delegates will be able to participate, or at least feel they participated.
Once the district officers are elected, we will follow the bylaw that gives responsibility to the district presidents, with input from the other district officers, to appoint people to serve in offices in which elections would have been held at the conventions. The district presidents will appoint those currently serving to continue in their positions until the next district conventions if they are willing to serve and if they have not reached the time limit for serving. For vacant offices in which there is no incumbent, the district presidents will make appointments using the information that the district nominating committees have assembled.
The decision regarding the proposed changes to the synod’s retirement program will likely be deferred to the 2021 synod convention. The planned discussion of the document “Male and Female in God’s World” also will not happen at the district conventions this summer; rather, discussions and study will continue in pastor and teacher conferences.

 How about some input from Sammy, Church and Change exemplar?

A digital version of the Report to the Twelve Districts as well as other important materials will be made available to each congregation and to district convention delegates.
We pray for the day when lives return to something like normal, and another Marvin Schwan of blessed memory opens his capacious wallet.
Serving with you in Christ,
WELS President Mark Schroeder

 "We are here for you."


"We had to wait until the New NIV to get a Bible that agreed with us on Justification. There is it - ALL, ALL are justified."


Start your own ministry in WELS.


 This is the proper attitude for Mequon students.

Rainwater, Vines, and Roses

 Trumpet Vines are the model for hummingbird feeders.

The first vines I ordered were Trumpet Vines, also called Cow Itch, a nickname never mentioned in the catalogs. They are known for their showy flowers which appeal to hummingbirds. Mine arrived separated from the pots, dry soil scattered in the box. I could ask for a refund, but I soaked them in rainwater instead.

All three vine starts filled out and sprouted at the roots, so I planted them. The first flower was so large and showy that it looked like a plastic one from the clearance aisle at Hobby Lobby.

The remaining vines did well and should be quite productive this year.

 If someone plants Honeysuckle vines, be sure to say, "Be careful, they can take over the yard." That seems to be a requirement, a rite of passage, a secret code phrase, the wisdom of the ages. My first honeysuckle got absorbed by the weeds the birds planted around it.

The two newest vines are a version of Honeysuckle. They were packed like heirloom china and arrived in great shape. However, I gave them an all day soak in rainwater, with sun shining on the tiny leaves. Digging them into rain-softened soil was no problem. I marked their places so they would not be trodden or weed-whacked. Each one will use a bush to climb, one in the backyard, another near the mailbox.

The roses came in good weather, so I plunked them into the rainbarrel. I fashioned a kiddie pool umbrella over them so they would not be submerged. If they had been arrived dry, I would have been an immersionist, if only for a few hours. The roots took up the rainwater overnight and the roses went into the soil just before a series of long, soaking rain.

With a little foresight, Creation will do the work a gardener cannot.

The new roses sprouted leaves, which start out red and green up in the sun. If all goes well, I will place 1/2 bag of peat compost (Stinky Peat) on the base of each rose bush. That is close to the advice a British gardener suggested - but he used his own compost.

 No creature is too abased to have its day in serving Creation, glorifying the Creator.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Ranger Bob Got His New Shoes - Optimism Soars.
Human Trafficking Raids Underway - Confirmed


Human Trafficking Raids Underway - Confirmed

Ranger Bob wanted custom shoes but does not have the Internet - or want it. So I got them ordered and we waited. He really wanted them right away, but it took some time. Finally, they arrived today, and Bob's look with the new shoes reminded me of this classic photo.

As I expected for Holy Week, the national situation is already getting better.

I expect the economy to expand quickly, because there will be a rush to get things going again. Special bills will speed that recovery; I resist the concept of legislating prosperity.

The biggest bonus will be a removal of vast numbers of criminals who parasitize our country's wealth to enhance their luxuries, power, and degradation. The evil is too disgusting to name, but it is widely practiced and well known in Hollywood and "elite" circles. Talent agents and photographic studios are anything but they suggest by their names.

On the other hand, marginal businesses, congregations, colleges, and denominations will be broken by the hardships. Relatively few congregations cared to go online years ago. Likewise, many could have been using free medial to broadcast the Word. They could start today.

 Irrelevant, but funny because so much is hidden - like the synod finances.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Palm Sunday, 2020.



Palm Sunday, The Sixth Sunday in Lent, 2020


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




The Hymn #160         All Glory, Laud             
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 # 162                 Ride On                 

The Name Above All Names


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 #341              Crown Him with Many Crowns                          


Prayers and Announcements


  • Treatment and recovery - Rush Limbaugh, Kermit Way, Christina Jackson. Recovery - John Hicks.
  • In the last stage of cancer and heart disease - Tom Fulcher, Diane Popp's brother-in-law.
  • Diagnosis and treatment - Randy Anderson, Andrea's father.
  • Someone's brother has health issues.
  • Pray for our country as the major trials begin.
  • Maundy Thursday Holy Communion, 7 PM Central Daylight
  • Good Friday Vespers, 7 PM
  • Easter Sunday Holy Communion

KJV Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

KJV Matthew 21:1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, 2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. 3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. 4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. 6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. 8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

Palm Sunday

Almighty and everlasting God, who hast caused Thy beloved Son to take our nature upon Himself, that He might give all mankind the example of humility and suffer death upon the cross for our sins: Mercifully grant us a believing knowledge of this, and that, following the example of His patience, we may be made partakers of the benefits of His sacred passion and death, 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.

Background for Today's Sermon, Philippians 2
The "mind of Christ" has been used as a convenient escape hatch to evade the meaning of the Scriptures and replace that revelation with the philosophy of man.

I used to wonder why that phrase came up so often in journals and  was used in such vague terms. Later, from reading a lot of books based on The Quest for the Historical Jesus, I realized that the various authors were denying most of what the New Testament teaches. That began at Halle University, home of the Easter Absolution (without faith) of the entire world.

Here is the basic (deceptive) rubric - the only way we can understand Jesus is by seeing Him as an ordinary human, but very special, who made a big impact on His followers. That is what they called "the mind of Christ." He did not claim to be the Messiah or God, but His disciples thought so and made Him to be that, with extra help from the Apostle Paul.

Of course, that rubric is completely wrong and doubly deceptive, because that one phrase from Paul is used to deny what Paul taught once he was converted by the risen Christ and trained by the Lord.

That is why our era could easily be called The Age of Unbelief. Many experience a majestic glory in denying God in every possible way - and the jokers - or journalists - demand it. The President has no right to mention the Scriptures or God. It makes them feel...uncomfortable.

The clergy have caught onto this, trained by their rationalistic professors. A modern PhD in theology does not allow for the revelation of God in the Scriptures. Everyone is taught to talk around this, in various subtle ways. We must have "the mind of Christ" but that phrase is emptied of its meaning if the divinity of Christ, His atoning death, and resurrection are omitted. 

Holy Week is the time in which the Scriptures are read to remind us of all Christ endured to establish and renew our faith in Him. 

The Name Above All Names




KJV Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Today we are taught to base the truth on emotions, which is like basing our happiness on the ever-changing weather. This is a passage where Paul implored the Christians to think rather than emote, and to think the way Jesus did and still does.

The preceding verse should alert us to the meaning of this famous passage - do not be mindful of your own things, but have the mind of Christ. Everything He did, He did for us. 

It is endlessly amusing to hear apostates and atheists jabber about passages of the Bible offending them. They are actively confessing their blindness to the truth. They willingly accept the meekness of Christ but they miss the irony. We are not divine but still our nature is to be arrogant, aggressive, and dominant. Paul is speaking of the Son of God, whose attitude was meekness, in spite of His unlimited power.

Jesus displayed His power by walking on water, stilling the storm, multiplying the food, changing water into wine, and raising the dead. That was no longer debatable when He raised Lazarus from the dead and so many from the region and Jerusalem were at his funeral and saw his dead body. No one held a debate, to wit, "Lazarus was dead for days and Jesus commanded him back to life, through the power of the Word. True or false." They voted "true" by hailing Him as Messiah on one hand and by arresting Him on the other hand. 

With all of this power known and revealed, Paul urged his followers to acknowledge this and still have the same meek attitude as Christ.

6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

Jesus, the Word of God in the flesh (incarnate), never lost His divine nature: He was and is always equal in majesty. The spectacle which should terrify all rulers is that He chose not to express this divine glory and chose instead to play the role of a humble servant. 

We should have the same mind ourselves, and decide not to impress with power and authority but to serve with humility. If we truly trust in Christ, we already have heaven and earth, and His gracious will is a protective barrier around us, turning troubles into blessings and helping us see the spiritual treasures of the Gospel.

Through faith we are united with Him as our Brother, so our blessings increase as we share His attitudes, His mind.

7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

Jesus rode into Jerusalem as the Messiah, but He knew the price He would pay  in fulfilling His role. It had been recorded in Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22. On the one hand, Lazarus was there as proof of the divinity of Christ, and yet that proof caused the leaders to plot His arrest, torture, and death.
John 12:9 Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; 11 Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.

The response to Jesus was one of fear and also a malignant hope. If they could catch Him the right way, they could quench His power and be victorious. For this to work, Jesus had to empty the signs of His divinity though the Two Natures in Him were never separated and remain today, the union of human and divine in One Person, Christ Jesus.

Emptied Himself, kenosis, made Himself of no reputation

This is where the rationalists say, "Aha. Jesus only had a human nature, because He emptied himself." The star of the Social Gospel Movement, Walter Rauschenbusch, a liberal Baptist, treated this as Jesus being "transparent," in that people could see God through Him. He died, according to Rauschenbusch, to show His solidarity with the poor. Rauschenbusch and his disciples began the social justice warrior work (absent faith) that is decimating the mainline denominations today - including the LCMS-WELS-ELS. Ashamed of the Gospel, they teach how virtuous they are today by embracing the fads of today. So Kenosis is a Biblical term, but one much abused by unbelieving activists.


Luther:
6. “Form of God,” then, means the assumption of a divine attitude and bearing, or the manifestation of divinity in port and presence; and this not privately, but before others, who witness such form and bearing. To speak in the clearest possible manner: Divine bearing and attitude are in evidence when one manifests in word and deed that which pertains peculiarly to God and suggests divinity. Accordingly, “the form of a servant” implies the assumption of the attitude and bearing of a servant in relation to others. It might be better to render “Morphe duluμορφην δουλου” by “the bearing of a servant,” that means, manners of such character that whoever sees the person must take him for a servant. This should make it clear that the passage in question does not refer to the manifestation of divinity or servility as such, but to the characteristics and the expression of the same. For, as previously stated, the essence is concealed, but its manifestation is public. The essence implies a condition, while its expression implies action.

7. As regards these forms, or manifestations, a threefold aspect is suggested by the words of Paul. The essence may exist without the manifestation; there may be a manifestation without the corresponding essence; and finally, we may find the essence together with its proper manifestation. For instance, when God conceals himself and gives no indication of his presence, there is divinity, albeit not manifest. This is the case when he is grieved and withdraws his grace. On the other hand, when he discloses his grace, there is both the essence and its manifestation. But the third aspect is inconceivable for God, namely, a manifestation of divinity without the essence. This is rather a trick of the devil and his servants, who usurp the place of God and act as God, though they are anything but divine. An illustration of this we find in Ezekiel 28:2, where the king of Tyre is recorded as re
presenting his heart, which was certainly decidedly human, as that of a god.

8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 

In the beginning of His public ministry, John the Baptist said, "This man is the Messiah and exalted Jesus as the Christ." By continuing to teach the Word of God, John earned for himself an execution, 

The high priest's security team went out to arrest Jesus at night, with their swords as weapons. Jesus did not resist. He knew what was coming and prayed to God to take that cup from Him, "but not My will but Yours." He continued to play the role of an ordinary man and was treated as worse than that, a blasphemer to the Jews and a traitor to the Romans.

But when He identified Himself as the I AM from the Burning Bush, Exodus 3, the soldiers fell down.


John 18:4 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I AM. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I AM, they went backward, and fell to the ground.
απεκριθησαν αυτω ιησουν τον ναζωραιον λεγει αυτοις ο ιησους εγω ειμι ειστηκει δε και ιουδας ο παραδιδους αυτον μετ αυτων ως ουν ειπεν αυτοις οτι εγω ειμι απηλθον εις τα οπισω και επεσον χαμαι
Jesus was arrested as an ordinary man, but when He confessed His divine Name, the soldiers fell backwards to the ground.  Jesus is our example of ultimate faith in the Father and confessing that truth. He did not hide His divinity before Pilate (My Kingdom is not of this world) or the priests (I could call upon legions of angels), but He maintained His form as a servant.

Mark 14:62 - "Are you the Son of the Blessed?" Jesus - "I AM."

In John, the religious leaders added their charge, He considers Himself the Son of God. John 19:7.

To be the Messiah, Jesus had to be crucified, according to the prophets. He had to endure all the mockery, humiliation, and scorn, the fear-filled retreat of the disciples.

9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 

For this reason, Jesus is the most exalted Name in the Bible. His Name is used the most in prayer and worship, also in cursing. We could say, He is not exalted for being the Son of God, as such, but for setting aside all divine favors and protections willingly, to suffer for our sake and to lead the way to eternal life.

If we invoke His Name, for problems large and small, He will give us His protection, help, and comfort. The more we call upon that Name, the more we will see how powerful it is.

10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

This is the great paradox of human history. Those who have glorified and used their might to impose their will - they are largely forgotten. But Jesus allowed Himself to be taken to the executioner, to be like a sheep, mute, and yet serving as the Good Shepherd. He is the most famous in history, praised and honored for setting aside His divine glory to be the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53.

The Name of Jesus conveys both His divine glory and His self-sacrifice. They are united and cannot be separated. We cannot speak honestly about His human nature and ignore His divine nature. We cannot speak of His divine nature and ignore the suffering, humiliation, and death He accepted on our behalf.

The power of His Name is so great that even the demons must bow before Him. As James says, the demons believe, but their hides bristle. Their response is not love but fear, like the chihuahua who always takes a fighting position when near a stranger who could fling him away with a foot. I had two toy poodles "attack" me - escaped from their yard, yipping and making threatening moves toward me. I raised my walking stick above my head and said, "Go back, go back. Go back to Mordor where you belong!" They went limp and walked away sullenly.

Luther:
23. As Christ was cast to the lowest depths and subjected to all devils, in obeying God and serving us, so has God exalted him Lord over all angels and creatures, and over death and hell. Christ now has completely divested himself of the servant form — laid it aside. Henceforth he exists in the divine form, glorified, proclaimed, confessed, honored and recognized as God.

While it is not wholly apparent to us that “all things are put in subjection” to Christ, as Paul says (1 Corinthians 15:27), the trouble is merely with our perception of the fact. It is true that Christ is thus exalted in person and seated on high in the fullness of power and might, executing everywhere his will; though few believe the order of events is for the sake of Christ.

Freely the events order themselves, and the Lord sits enthroned free from all restrictions. But our eyes are as yet blinded. We do not perceive him there nor recognize that all things obey his will. The last day, however, will reveal it. Then we shall comprehend present mysteries; how Christ laid aside his divine form, was made man, and so on; how he also laid aside the form of a servant and resumed the divine likeness; how as God he appeared in glory; and how he is now Lord of life and death, and the King of Glory.




Saturday, April 4, 2020

Chesterton's Donkey Poem - Posted 10 Years Ago



The Donkey -
a poem by G.K. Chesterton

WHEN fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil's walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will,
Starve, scourge, deride me I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools, for I also had my hour,
One far fierce hour and sweet,
There was a shout about my ears
And palms before my feet.

Kelmed from Norman Teigen

Luther's Sermon for Palm Sunday. Christ an Example of Love.
Christ’s Humiliation and Exaltation. Philippians 2:5-11



PALM SUNDAY


TEXT:

PHILIPPIANS 2:5-11. 5 Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; 8 and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name; 10 that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

CHRIST AN EXAMPLE OF LOVE.

1. Here Paul again presents to us as a powerful example of the celestial and eternal fire, the love of Christ, for the purpose of persuading us to exercise a loving concern for one another. The apostle employs fine words and precious admonitions, having perceived the indolence and negligence displayed by Christians in this matter of loving. For this the flesh is responsible. The flesh continually resists the willing spirit, seeking its own interest and causing sects and factions. Although a sermon on this same text went forth in my name a few years ago, entitled “The Twofold Righteousness,” the text was not exhausted; therefore we will now examine it word by word. “Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”

2. You are Christians; you have Christ, and in him and through him all fullness of comfort for time and eternity: therefore nothing should appeal to your thought, your judgment, your pleasure, but that which was in the mind of Christ concerning you as the source of your welfare. For his motive throughout was not his own advantage; everything he did was done for your sake and in your interest. Let men therefore, in accord with his example, work every good thing for one another’s benefit. “Who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant.” [“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant.”] 3. If Christ, who was true God by nature, has humbled himself to become servant of all, how much more should such action befit us who are of no worth, and are by nature children of sin, death and the devil! Were we similarly to humble ourselves, and even to go beyond Christ in humility — a thing, however, impossible — we should do nothing extraordinary. Our humility would still reek of sin in comparison with his. Suppose Christ to humble himself in the least degree — but a hair’s breadth, so to speak — below the most exalted angels; and suppose we were to humble ourselves to a position a thousand times more abased than that of the devils in hell; yet our humility would not compare in the least with that of Christ. For he is an infinite blessing — God himself — and we are but miserable creatures whose existence and life are not for one moment secure.

4. What terrible judgment must come upon those who fail to imitate the ineffable example of Christ; who do not humble themselves below their neighbors and serve them, but rather exalt themselves above them! Indeed, the example of Christ may well terrify the exalted, and those high in authority; and still more the self-exalted. Who would not shrink from occupying the uppermost seat and from lording it over others when he sees the Son of God humble and eliminate himself?

5. The phrase “form of God” does not receive the same interpretation from all. Some understand Paul to refer to the divine essence and nature in Christ; meaning that Christ, though true God, humbled himself. While Christ is indeed true God, Paul is not speaking here of his divine essence, which is concealed. The word he uses — “morphe,” or “forma” — he employs again where he tells of Christ taking upon himself the form of a servant. “Form of a servant” certainly cannot signify “essence of a real servant” — possessing by nature the qualities of a servant. For Christ is not our servant by nature; he has become our servant from good will and favor toward us. For the same reason “divine form” cannot properly mean “divine essence”; for divine essence is not visible, while the divine form was truly seen. Very well; then let us use the vernacular, and thus make the apostle’s meaning clear.

6. “Form of God,” then, means the assumption of a divine attitude and bearing, or the manifestation of divinity in port and presence; and this not privately, but before others, who witness such form and bearing. To speak in the clearest possible manner: Divine bearing and attitude are in evidence when one manifests in word and deed that which pertains peculiarly to God and suggests divinity. Accordingly, “the form of a servant” implies the assumption of the attitude and bearing of a servant in relation to others. It might be better to render “Morphe tu dulu,” by “the bearing of a servant,” that means, manners of such character that whoever sees the person must take him for a servant. This should make it clear that the passage in question does not refer to the manifestation of divinity or servility as such, but to the characteristics and the expression of the same. For, as previously stated, the essence is concealed, but its manifestation is public. The essence implies a condition, while its expression implies action.

7. As regards these forms, or manifestations, a threefold aspect is suggested by the words of Paul. The essence may exist without the manifestation; there may be a manifestation without the corresponding essence; and finally, we may find the essence together with its proper manifestation. For instance, when God conceals himself and gives no indication of his presence, there is divinity, albeit not manifest. This is the case when he is grieved and withdraws his grace. On the other hand, when he discloses his grace, there is both the essence and its manifestation. But the third aspect is inconceivable for God, namely, a manifestation of divinity without the essence. This is rather a trick of the devil and his servants, who usurp the place of God and act as God, though they are anything but divine. An illustration of this we find in Ezekiel 28:2, where the king of Tyre is recorded as representing his heart, which was certainly decidedly human, as that of a god.

8. Similarly, the form, or bearing, of a servant may be considered from a threefold aspect. One may be a servant and not deport himself as such, but as a lord, or as God; as in the instance just mentioned. Of such a one Solomon speaks (Proverbs 29:21), saying: “He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become a son at the last.” Such are all the children of Adam. We who are rightly God’s servants would be God himself. This is what the devil taught Eve when he said, “Ye shall be as God.” Genesis 3:5. Again, one may be a servant and conduct himself as one, as all just and faithful servants behave before the world; and as all true Christians conduct themselves in God’s sight, being subject to him and serving all men. Thirdly, one may be not a servant and yet behave as one.

For instance, a king might minister to his servants before the world. Before God, however, all men being servants, this situation is impossible with men: no one has so done but Christ. He says at the supper (John 13:13-14): “Ye call me, Teacher, and, Lord: and ye say well; for so I am,” and yet I am among you as a servant. And in another place (Matthew 20:28), “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.”

9. From these explanations Paul’s meaning must have become clear. His thought is: Christ was in the form of God; that is, both the essence and the bearing of Deity were his. He did not assume the divine form as he did that of a servant. He was, I repeat it; he was in the form of God. The little word “was” expresses that divinity was his both in essence and form. The meaning is: Many assume and display an appearance of divinity, but are not themselves actually divine; the devil, for instance, and Anti-christ and Adam’s children. This is sacrilege — the assumption of divinity by an act of robbery. See Romans 2:22. Though the offender does not look upon such conduct as robbery, it is none the less robbing divine honor, and is so regarded by God and angels and saints, and even by his own conscience.

But Christ, who had not come by divinity through arrogating it to himself, but was divine by nature according to his very essence, did not deem his divinity a thing he had grasped; nor could he, knowing divinity to be his very birthright, and holding it as his own natural possession from eternity.

10. So Paul’s words commend Christ’s essential divinity and his love toward us, and at the same time correct all who falsely assume a divine form. Such are we all so long as we are the devil’s members. The thought is: The devil’s members all would be God, would rob the divinity they do not possess; and they must admit their action to be robbery, for conscience testifies, indeed must testify, that they are not God. Though they may despise the testimony of conscience and fail to heed it, yet the testimony stands, steadfastly maintaining the act as not right — as a malicious robbery.

But the one man, Christ, who did not assume the divine form but was in it by right and had a claim upon it from eternity; who did not and could not hold it robbery to be equal with God; this man humbled himself, taking upon him the form of a servant — not his rightful form — that he by the power of his winning example, might induce them to assume the bearing of servants who possessed the form and character of servants, but who, refusing to own them, appropriated the appearance of divinity upon which they had no claim, since the essence of divinity was forever beyond them.

11. That some fail to understand readily this great text, is due to the fact that they do not accept Paul’s words as spoken, but substitute their own ideas of what he should have said, namely: Christ was born true God and did not rob divinity, etc. The expression “who, existing in the form of God” sounds, in the Greek and Latin, almost as if Christ had merely borne himself as God, unless particular regard be given to the words “existing in,” which Paul contrasts with the phrase “took upon him.” Christ took upon himself the form of a servant, it is true, but in that form was no real servant. Just so, while dispensing with a divine appearance, behind the appearance chosen was God. And we likewise take upon ourselves the divine form, but in the form we are not divine; and we spurn the form of servants, though that is what we are irrespective of appearance. Christ disrobes himself of the divine form wherein he existed, to assume that of a servant, which did not express his essential character; but we lay aside the servant form of our real being and take upon ourselves, or arrogate to ourselves, the form of God to which we are not fitted by what we are in reality.

12. They are startled by this expression also: “Christ thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” Now, at first sight these words do not seem to refer solely to Christ, since even the devil and his own, who continually aspire to equality with God, do not think their action robbery in spite of the testimony of their conscience to the contrary. But with Paul the little word “think,” or “regard,” possesses a powerful significance, having the force of “perfect assurance.” Similarly he says (Romans 3:28), “We reckon therefore that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law”; and (1 Corinthians 7:40), “I think [deem] that I also have the spirit of God.” But the wicked cannot boast it no robbery when they dare take upon themselves the form of God; for they know, they are satisfied in themselves, that they are not God. Christ, however, did not, nor could he, think himself not equal to God; in other words, he was confident of his equality with God, and knew he had not stolen the honor.

Paul’s words are chosen, not as an apology for Christ, but as a severe rebuke for those who arrogate to themselves the form of God against the protest of conscience that it is not their own but stolen. The apostle would show how infinitely Christ differs from them, and that the divine form they would take by theft is Christ’s by right.

13. Paul does not use this expression, however, when he refers to Christ’s assumption of the servant form which is his, not by nature, but by assumption. The words produce the impression that Christ took by force something not his own. Paul should be expected to say: “He held it not robbery to assume the form of a servant.” Why should he rather have chosen that form of expression in the first instance, since Christ did not assume the divine form, but possessed it as his very own — yes, laid it aside and assumed a form foreign to his nature? The substance of the matter is that he who becomes a servant does not and cannot assume anything, but only gives, giving even himself. Hence there is no warrant here to speak of robbery or of a disposition to look upon the matter in this light.

On the other hand, assumption of the divine form necessarily involves taking, and altogether precludes giving. Hence there is warrant to speak of robbery in this connection, and of men who so view it. But this charge cannot be brought against Christ. He does not render himself guilty of robbery, nor does he so view his relation, as all others must do. Divinity is his by right, and so is its appropriate form a birthright.

14. Thus, it seems to me, this text very clearly teaches that to have divine form is simply to assume in regard to others, in word and deed, the bearing of God and Lord; and that Christ meets this test in the miraculous signs and life-giving words, as the Gospels contend. He does not rank with the saints who lack the divine essence; he has, in addition to divine form, the divine essence and nature. On the other hand, the servant, or servile, form implies acting toward others, in word and deed, like a servant. Thus Christ did when he served the disciples and gave himself for us. But he served not as the saints, who are servants by nature. Service was, with him, something assumed for our benefit and as an example for us to follow, teaching us to act in like manner toward others, to disrobe ourselves of the appearance of divinity as he did, as we shall see.

15. Unquestionably, then, Paul proclaims Christ true God. Had he been mere man, what would have been the occasion for saying that he became like a man and was found in the fashion of other men? and that he assumed the form of a servant though he was in form divine? Where would be the sense in my saying to you, “You are like a man, are made in the fashion of a man, and take upon yourself the form of a servant”? You would think I was mocking you, and might appropriately reply: “I am glad you regard me as a man; I was wondering if I were an ox or a wolf. Are you mad or foolish?” Would not that be the natural rejoinder to such a foolish statement? Now, Paul not being foolish, nor being guilty of foolish speech, there truly must have been something exalted and divine about Christ. For when the apostle declares that he was made like unto other men, though the fact of his being human is undisputed, he simply means that the man Christ was God, and could, even in his humanity, have borne himself as divine. But this is precisely what he did not do; he refrained: he disrobed himself of his divinity and bore himself as a mere man like others.

16. What follows concerning Christ, now that we understand the meaning or “form of God” and “form of a servant,” is surely plain. In fact, Paul himself tells us what he means by “form of a servant.” First: He makes the explanation that Christ disrobed, or divested himself; that is, appeared to lay aside his divinity in that he divested himself of its benefit and glory. Not that he did, or could, divest himself of his divine nature; but that he laid aside the form of divine majesty — did not act as the God he truly was.

Nor did he divest himself of the divine form to the extent of making it unfelt and invisible; in that case there would have been no divine form left.

He simply did not affect a divine appearance and dazzle us by its splendor; rather he served us with that divinity. He performed miracles. And during his suffering on the cross he, with divine power, gave to the murderer the promise of Paradise. Luke 23:43. And in the garden, similarly, he repelled the multitude by a word. John 18:6.

Hence Paul does not say that Christ was divested by some outside power; he says Christ “made himself” of no repute. Just so the wise man does not in a literal way lay aside wisdom and the appearance of wisdom, but discards them for the purpose of serving the simple-minded who might fittingly serve him. Such man makes himself of no reputation when he divests himself of his wisdom and the appearance of wisdom.

17. Second: Christ assumed the form of a servant, even while remaining God and having the form of God; he was God, and his divine words and works were spoken and wrought for our benefit. As a servant, he served us with these. He did not require us to serve him in compensation for them, as in the capacity of a Lord he had a just right to do. He sought not honor or profit thereby, but our benefit and salvation. It was a willing service and gratuitously performed, for the good of men. It was a service unspeakably great, because of the ineffable greatness of the minister and servant — God eternal, whom all angels and creatures serve. He who is not by this example heartily constrained to serve his fellows, is justly condemned. He is harder than stone, darker than hell and utterly without excuse.

18. Third: “Being made in the likeness of men.” Born of Mary, Christ’s nature became human. But even in that humanity he might have exalted himself above all men and served none. But he forbore and became as other men. And by “likeness of men” we must understand just ordinary humanity without special privilege whatever. Now, without special privilege there is no disparity among men. Understand, then, Paul says in effect: Christ was made as any other man who has neither riches, honor, power nor advantage above his fellows; for many inherit power, honor and property by birth. So lowly did Christ become, and with such humility did he conduct himself, that no mortal is too lowly to be his equal, even servants and the poor. At the same time, Christ was sound, without bodily infirmities, as man in his natural condition might be expected to be.

19. Fourth. “And being found in fashion as a man.” That is, he followed the customs and habits of men, eating and drinking, sleeping and waking, walking and standing, hungering and thirsting, enduring cold and heat, knowing labor and weariness, needing clothing and shelter, feeling the necessity of prayer, and having the same experience as any other man in his relation to God and the world. He had power to avoid these conditions; as God he might have demeaned and borne himself quite differently. But in becoming man, as above stated, he fared as a human being, and be accepted the necessities of ordinary mortals while all the time he manifested the divine form which expressed his true self.

20. Fifth: “He humbled himself,” or debased himself. In addition to manifesting his servant form in becoming man and faring as an ordinary human being, he went farther and made himself lower than any man. He abased himself to serve all men with the supreme service — the gift of his life in our behalf.

21. Sixth: He not only made himself subject to men, but also to sin, death and the devil, and bore it all for us. He accepted the most ignominious death, the death on the cross, dying not as a man but as a worm (Psalm 22:6); yes, as an arch-knave, a knave above all knaves, in that he lost even what favor, recognition and honor were due to the assumed servant form in which he had revealed himself, and perished altogether.

22. Seventh: All this Christ surely did not do because we were worthy of it.

Who could be worthy such service from such a one? Obedience to the Father moved him. Here Paul with one word unlocks heaven and permits us to look into the unfathomable abyss of divine majesty and to behold the ineffable love of the Fatherly heart toward us — his gracious will for us.

He shows us how from eternity it has been God’s pleasure that Christ, the glorious one who has wrought all this, should do it for us. What human heart would not melt at the joy-inspiring thought? Who would not love, praise and thank God and in return for his goodness, not only be ready to serve the world, but gladly to embrace the extremity of humility? Who would not so do when he is aware that God himself has such precious regard for him, and points to the obedience of his Son as the pouring out and evidence of his Fatherly will. Oh, the significance of the words Paul here uses! such words as he uses in no other place! He must certainly have burned with joy and cheer. To gain such a glimpse of God — surely this must be coming to the Father through Christ. Here is truly illustrated the truth that no one comes to Christ except the Father draw him; and with what power, what delicious sweetness, the Father allures! How many are the preachers of the faith who imagine they know it all, when they have received not even an odor or taste of these things! How soon are they become masters who have never been disciples! Not having tasted God’s love, they cannot impart it; hence they remain unprofitable babblers. “Wherefore also God highly exalted him.”

23. As Christ was cast to the lowest depths and subjected to all devils, in obeying God and serving us, so has God exalted him Lord over all angels and creatures, and over death and hell. Christ now has completely divested himself of the servant form — laid it aside. Henceforth he exists in the divine form, glorified, proclaimed, confessed, honored and recognized as God.

While it is not wholly apparent to us that “all things are put in subjection” to Christ, as Paul says (1 Corinthians 15:27), the trouble is merely with our perception of the fact. It is true that Christ is thus exalted in person and seated on high in the fullness of power and might, executing everywhere his will; though few believe the order of events is for the sake of Christ.

Freely the events order themselves, and the Lord sits enthroned free from all restrictions. But our eyes are as yet blinded. We do not perceive him there nor recognize that all things obey his will. The last day, however, will reveal it. Then we shall comprehend present mysteries; how Christ laid aside his divine form, was made man, and so on; how he also laid aside the form of a servant and resumed the divine likeness; how as God he appeared in glory; and how he is now Lord of life and death, and the King of Glory.

This must suffice on the text. For how we, too, should come down from our eminence and serve others has been sufficiently treated of in other postils. Remember, God desires us to serve one another with body, property, honor, spirit and soul, even as his Son served us.