The Glory Has Departed

Lutheran book boxes sent to two African seminaries -
a third one is being ordered now.

Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream - Sunday, 10 AM Central.

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
Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson's Author's Page

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Pope Francis Honors Dutch Abortion Activist with Pontifical Medal of Knighthood.
Ploumen Lobbied for the Honor
The UniSynod Loves This Pope - ELCA-WELS-ELS-LCMS-CLC (sic)



Pope Francis Honors Dutch Abortion Activist with Pontifical Medal of Knighthood:



"Pope Francis has conferred the title of “Commander of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great” on Lilianne Ploumen, a Dutch politician and vocal agitator for abortion rights.
Last year, Ploumen founded a pro-abortion organization called She Decides, which offers funding and support for international NGOs that provide, facilitate or campaign for abortion.

In an email to the Catholic Herald, Ms. Ploumen said that she was “very honoured” by the pontifical medal, which was sent via the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs last month.

In an interview with Dutch radio, Ploumen said she views the honor as a sign of the pope’s progressivism, as well as acknowledgement for her work in supporting abortion rights.

Ms. Ploumen said that the award came after much personal investment in contacts with the Vatican, which she defined as “lobbying.”

“Yes, because you know, the Vatican, especially under prior popes, had a rather rigid attitude when it came to the rights of girls and women,” she said.

The Order of St Gregory the Great was founded by Pope Gregory XVI in 1831, under the patronage of Pope St Gregory I. It is bestowed on those who have distinguished themselves in public service or given support to the Church."

 This pedophile Archbishop - Weakland - was the honored speaker at Wisconsin Lutheran College - WELS: Rembert Weakland. WLC tried to lie their way out of this, but it was a public lecture promoted all over Milwaukee - not that this particular detail mattered that much.


'via Blog this'

Luther's Concluding Statement for St. Stephen's Day

 Rembrandt - The Stoning of St. Stephen, 1625
Luther opened his sermon saying - "Faith alone renders us godly; faith alone builds the temple of God — the believing hearts." #1

48. Who can number the virtues illustrated in Stephen’s example? There loom up all the fruits of the Spirit. We find love, faith, patience, benevolence, peace, meekness, wisdom, truth, simplicity, strength, consolation, philanthropy. We see there also hatred and censure for all forms of evil. We note a disposition not to value worldly advantage nor to dread the terrors of death. Liberty, tranquility and all the noble virtues and graces are in evidence. There is no virtue but is illustrated in this example; no vice it does not rebuke. Well may the evangelist say Stephen was full of faith and power. Power here implies activity. Luke would says, “His faith was great; hence his many and mighty works.” For when faith truly exists, its fruits must follow. The greater the faith, the more abundant its fruits.

49. True faith is a strong, active and efficacious principle. Nothing is impossible to it. It rests not nor hesitates. Stephen, because of the superior activity of his faith, performed not merely ordinary works, but wrought wonders and signs publicly — great wonders and signs, as Luke says. This is written for a sign that the inactive individual lacks in faith, and has no right to boast of having it. Not undesignedly is the word “faith” placed before the word “power.” The intention was to show that works are evidence of faith, and that without faith nothing good can be accomplished. Faith must be primary in every act. To this end may God assist us. Amen.

Volume 6, Epistles, St. Stephen's Day

Friday, January 19, 2018

The LCMS, ELS, WELS - and ELCA! - Agree on Objective Justification




Last but certainly not least, there was special joy to understand that we all hold to objective justification—that God declared the world righteous through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and that we all recognize it to be the urgent mission of the church to take this gospel to the entire world.



My experiences in the mission field of South Dakota during the years 1892-1897 by Frank Albert Kiess, (1867-1942) - Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry




My experiences in the mission field of South Dakota during the years 1892-1897 by Frank Albert Kiess, (1867-1942) - Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry:



"“Cyclones are very common in Dakota. I witnessed a cyclone when I was about 15 miles from shelter of any kind – out in the open prairie. When the first hail began to come down I hurriedly unhitched the ponies and let them go wherever their instinct directed them. I took down the top of the buggy and piled stones in the buggy to weight it down, then I wrapped myself from head to foot in a blanket."



'via Blog this'

Gems from Volume VI of Luther's Sermon, Lenker Edition.
This Volume on Epistle Sermons Is Going into Production

 Graphic by Norma A. Boeckler

Gems from Volume VI

Epistle Sermons, Starting with Advent

“The night is far spent, and the day is at hand.”

15. This is equivalent to saying “salvation is near to us.” By the word “day” Paul means the Gospel; the Gospel is like day in that it enlightens the heart or soul. Now, day having broken, salvation is near to us. In other words, Christ and his grace, promised to Abraham, are now revealed; they are preached in all the world, enlightening mankind, awakening us from sleep and making manifest the true, eternal blessings, that we may occupy ourselves with the Gospel of Christ and walk honorably in the day. By the word “night” we are to understand all doctrines apart from the Gospel. For there is no other saving doctrine; all else is night and darkness.

16. Notice carefully Paul’s words. He designates the most beautiful and vivifying time of the day - the delightful, joyous dawn, the hour of sunrise.
First Sunday in Advent

Put on the Lord – strengthens us

35. It is a very beautiful feature in this passage that it presents the very highest example, the Lord himself, when it says, “Put ye on the Lord.” Here is a strong incentive. For the individual who can see his master fasting, laboring, watching, enduring hunger and fatigue, while he himself feasts, idles, sleeps, and lives in luxury, must be a scoundrel.
First Sunday in Advent

The Author of Papal Doctrine

9. To this situation Paul’s teaching appropriately applies. The doctrine of the devil and his Papists is wholly destitute of compassion. In violent rage it compels immediate retraction from our doctrine of liberty. It excommunicates and curses the offender, casting him down four thousand miles below hell, if he does not recant in the twinkling of an eye and renounce every letter and tittle of his belief. From the fact of the rage manifested, as well as from the fruit of papistical doctrine, we perceive who is its author.
Second Sunday in Advent

The Christian Discriminates

15. Now, the Christian hatred of sin discriminates between the vices and the individual. It endeavors to exterminate only the former and to preserve the latter. It does not flee from, evade, reject nor despise anyone: rather it receives every man, takes a warm interest in him and accords him treatment calculated to relieve him of his vices. It admonishes, instructs and prays for him. It patiently bears with him. It does only as the doer would be done by in circumstances of like infirmities.
Second Sunday in Advent

Like the Self-Help Books Today

35. But how shall I express the situation? The calamity is beyond the power of words, even inconceivable. The evil spirit has accomplished his design; he has suppressed the Book and introduced in its stead so many books of human doctrine that we may well say we are deluged with them. Yet these contain only error, falsehood, darkness, venom, death, destruction, hell and the devil. This condition of things our abominable ingratitude has merited.
Second Sunday in Advent

Dealing with the Weak

51. When one is weak in faith and defective in conduct, the spirit of Christian unity, though deploring his condition, does not forsake him, much less disparage, reject or condemn him. His Christian fellow is interested in his welfare and conducts himself toward the weak one as he would himself be treated, and as Christ has indeed treated him in similar and more important matters.
Second Sunday in Advent

Praise the Father for the Son

63. Now, while Christ is our common blessing, as before said, we should at the same time ascribe all to the Father; for Christ is the Father’s gracious manifestation whereby our hearts are drawn to himself. So we should confidently love and praise the Father for his lavish blessings.
Second Sunday in Advent

Divine Leadership Cannot Be Shared

9. Where divine leadership is shared with any other than God or Christ, there must also be doctrine and commandments differing from the doctrine and command of Christ. Service of Christ must immediately fail; Christ must be rejected for the establishment of a new sovereignty. Plainly enough, no one can be servant of Christ and at the same time teacher of his own message. The two conditions cannot exist at the same time. How can one be a servant of Christ if he does not teach Christ’s message?
Third Sunday in Advent

The Mysteries

16. What, then, constitutes the mysteries of God? Simply Christ himself; that is, faith and the Gospel concerning Christ. The whole Gospel teaching is far beyond the grasp of our reason and our physical sense; it is hidden to the world. It can be apprehended only by faith; as Christ says in Matthew 11:25: “I thank thee, O father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these things from the wise and understanding, and didst reveal them unto babes.” And as Paul tells us (1 Corinthians 2:7-8): “We speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, which none of the rulers of this world hath known.”
Third Sunday in Advent

Steward of the Mysteries of God

23. Thus we arrive at the apostle’s meaning in the assertion that a minister of Christ is a steward in the mysteries of God. He should regard himself and insist that others regard him as one who administers to the household of God nothing but Christ and the things of Christ. In other words, he should preach the pure Gospel, the true faith, that Christ alone is our life, our way, our wisdom, power, glory, salvation; and that all we can accomplish of ourselves is but death, error, foolishness, weakness, shame and condemnation. Whosoever preaches otherwise should be regarded by none as a servant of Christ or a steward of the divine treasurer; he should be avoided as a messenger of the devil.
Third Sunday in Advent

Joy Is the Natural Fruit of Faith

2. Joy is the natural fruit of faith. The apostle says elsewhere (Galatians 5:22-23): “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control.” Until the heart believes in God, it is impossible for it to rejoice in him. When faith is lacking, man is filled with fear and gloom and is disposed to flee at the very mention, the mere thought, of God. Indeed, the unbelieving heart is filled with enmity and hatred against God. Conscious of its own guilt, it has no confidence in his gracious mercy; it knows God is an enemy to sin and will terribly punish the same.
Fourth Sunday in Advent

The Gospel Promise

5. But what does the Gospel promise other than that Christ is given for us; that he bears our sins; that he is our Bishop, Mediator, and Advocate before God, and that thus only through him and his work is God reconciled, are our sins forgiven and our consciences set free and made glad? When this sort of faith in the Gospel really exists in the heart, God is recognized as favorable and pleasing. The heart confidently
Fourth Sunday in Advent

Peace from God

38. Note the beautiful logic and order of Paul’s teaching. The Christian is first to rejoice in God through faith and then show forbearance or kindness, to men. Should he ask, “How can I?” Paul answers, “The Lord is at hand.” “But how if I be persecuted and robbed?” Paul’s reply is, “In nothing be anxious. Pray to God. Let him care.” “But meanwhile I shall become weary and desolate.” “Not so; the peace of God shall keep you.” Let us now consider the last thought.
Fourth Sunday in Advent

The Text Summarized

44. Briefly, this text is a lesson in Christian living, in the attitude of the Christian toward God and man. It teaches us to let God be everything to us, and to treat all men alike, to conduct ourselves toward men as does God toward us, receiving from him and giving to them. It may be summed up in the words “faith” and “love.”
Fourth Sunday in Advent

Feeding and Defending, Bread and Weapon

1. It is written in the book of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 4) that the Jews, in rebuilding Jerusalem, wrought with one hand and with the other held the sword, because of the enemy who sought to hinder the building. Paul in Titus 1:9 carries out the thought of the symbol in this teaching that a bishop, a pastor, or a preacher, should be mighty in the Holy Scriptures to instruct and admonish as well as to resist the gainsayers. Accordingly, we are to make a twofold use of the Word of God: as both bread and weapon; for feeding and for resisting; in peace and in war. With one hand we must build, improve, teach and feed all Christendom; with the other, oppose the devil, the heretics, the world. For where the pasture is not defended, the devil will soon destroy it; he is bitterly opposed to God’s Word. Let us then, God granting us his grace, so handle the Gospel that not only shall the souls of men be fed, but men shall learn to put on that Gospel as armor and fight their enemies. Thus shall it furnish both pasture and weapons.
First Christmas Sermon

Godless Hypocrites in Sheep’s Clothing

13. In this expression is also condemned the conduct of godless hypocrites, who, though they may be clad in sheep’s clothing and sometimes refrain from an evil deed through cowardice or shame or through fear of heirs punishment, are nevertheless filled with evil desires for wealth, honor and power. No one loves life more dearly, fears death more terribly and desires more ardently to remain in this world than do they; yet they fail to recognize the worldly lusts wherein they are drowned, and their many works are vainly performed. It is not enough to put away wordly works and speech; worldly desires, or lusts, must be removed. We are not to place our affections upon the things of this life, but all our use of it should be with a view to the future life; as follows in the text: “Looking for the...appearing of the glory,” etc.
First Christmas Sermon

God Does Not Require Churches Built, But…

27. The way of God does not require us to build churches and cathedrals, to make pilgrimages, to hear mass, and so on. God requires a heart moved by his grace, a life mistrustful of all ways not emanating from grace. Nothing more can one render God than such loyalty. All else is rather his gift to us. He says (Psalm 50:14-15), in effect: “Think not, O Israel, I inquire after thy gifts and offerings; for everything in heaven and earth is mine. This is the service I require of thee: to offer unto me thanksgiving and pay thy vows. Call upon me in the day of trouble and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.”
First Christmas Sermon

Strong Unquestionable Security

45. Here is strong, unquestionable security. But our connection with it depends upon the steadfastness of our faith. Christ certainly will not waver. He is absolutely steadfast. We should, then, urge and enforce faith by our preaching and in our working and suffering, ever making it firm and constant. Works avail nothing here. The evil spirit will assail only our faith, well knowing that upon it depends all. How unfortunate our failure to perceive our advantage! for we ignore the Gospel with its saving grace.
First Christmas Sermon

Shaming All Hypocrites

59. Before the testimony of this text, all hypocrites, all ecclesiastics, must lie prostrate in defeat, no matter how much they may have fasted, prayed, watched and toiled. These exertions will avail naught; ungodliness and worldly lusts will still survive in them. Though shame may cause them to conceal evil expression, the heart is still impure. Could our works, apparel, cloisters, fasting and prayers render us godly, the apostle might more properly have said that a prayer or a fast, a pilgrimage or an order, or something else, had appeared teaching us to be godly. But emphatically it is none of these; it is the appearing of saving grace. This, this alone, nothing else, renders us godly.
First Christmas Sermon

What God Has Done for Us


These Two Words – Kindness and Love

8. These two words are to be accepted with their full and broad import. No distinction of person, as prevails among men, is to be made: for divine love and kindness is not secured by human merit; it is of God’s grace alone and given to all that bear the name of man, however insignificant. God loves not what is characteristic of one person, but of all. He is partial not to one, but kind to all. Therefore a man’s honor is perfectly maintained, and no one can boast of his worthiness, or need despair because of his unworthiness. All mankind may be equally comforted in the unmerited grace God kindly and humanely offers and applies. Had there ever been a meritorious individual or a work worthy of consideration, it surely would have been found among the doers of “works of righteousness.” But Paul rejects especially these, saying, “not by works of righteousness which we have done.” How much less reason have we to think the kindness and love of God has appeared in consequence of man’s wisdom, power, nobility, wealth and the color of his hair! The grace which cancels all our boasted honor, ascribing glory alone to God who freely bestows it upon the unworthy, is pure as well as great.
Second Christmas Sermon

Believing and Loving

9. This epistle instills the two further principles of believing and loving — receiving favors from God and granting favors to our neighbors. The entire Scriptures enforce these two precepts, and the practice of one requires the practice of the other. He who does not firmly believe in God’s grace assuredly will not extend kindness to his neighbor, but will be tardy and indifferent in aiding him. In proportion to the strength of his faith will be his willingness and industry in helping his neighbor. Thus faith incites love, and love increases faith.
Second Christmas Sermon

 

Can Only Laugh for Joy

13. But if you possess faith, your heart cannot do otherwise than laugh for joy in God, and grow free, confident and courageous. For how can the heart remain sorrowful and dejected when it entertains no doubt of God’s kindness to it, and of his attitude as a good friend with whom it may unreservedly and freely enjoy all things? Such joy and pleasure must follow faith; if they are not ours, certainly something is wrong with our faith. This act of faith the apostle in Galatians terms “receiving the Holy Spirit” in and through the Gospel. The Gospel is a message concerning the love and mercy of God so gracious as to bring with it to preacher and hearer the presence of the Holy Spirit; just as the rays of the sun bear in themselves, and transmit, heat.
Second Christmas Sermon

Share the Grace, Bear the Cross, Be Called Heretic and Insane

16. Your first desire will be that all men may obtain the same knowledge of divine grace. Hence your love will not be restrained from serving all to the fullest extent, preaching and proclaiming the divine truth wherever possible, and rejecting all doctrine and life not in harmony with this teaching. But take note, the devil and the world, unwilling that their devices be rejected, cannot endure the knowledge of what you do. They will oppose you with everything great, learned, wealthy and powerful, and represent you as a heretic and insane. Mark you, you will be brought to the cross for the sake of the truth, as was Christ your Lord. You will have to endure the extremity of reproach. You must endanger all your property, friends and honor, your body and life, until thrust out of this life into eternity. In the midst of these trials, however, rejoice, cheerfully enduring all. Regard your enemies with the utmost charity. Act kindly, ever remembering you yourself were once as they are in the sight of God. Faith and love certainly can do it. Note this: the truly Christian life is that which does for others as God has done for itself.
Second Christmas Sermon

God’s Grace Causes All This

37. We see how all these sayings overthrow works and presumptuous human mandates, and make clear the nature of faith, how the individual instantaneously and fully receives grace and is saved, works not aiding him in the matter but following as a result. Salvation by grace would be perfectly illustrated were God to produce from a dry log a live, green tree, the tree then to bring forth natural fruit. God’s grace is powerful and effective. It does not, as visionary preachers presume to teach, lie dormant in the soul;. nor is it an accessory to works, as the paint is an accessory to the wood. No, not so; it carries, it leads, drives, draws, changes. It effects all in man, making itself felt. Though concealed, its works are manifest.
Words and works show where it is present, as the leaves and the fruit indicate the nature of the tree.
Second Christmas Sermon

So Bountiful the Measure of Grace

45. Were such the case, Paul here must have spoken inconsiderately and might justly be accused of falsehood. But so bountifully does he represent to us the measure of grace, clearly no one can rely too much upon the washing of regeneration; it is of unlimited importance. No one can place too much confidence in it; there is always occasion for more. For God has embraced, in the Word and in faith, blessings too great for mortal life to comprehend or to receive were they to manifest themselves. As revelation begins, the individual dies; he passes out of this life, swallowed up in the blessings he now by faith apprehends in very limited measure. Thus more than abundantly are we justified and saved without works if we only believe.
Second Christmas Sermon

Guard Against False Preachers

60. Let us learn from this epistle how precious is the Gospel that proclaims these benefits, and what injury and destruction of souls they effect who silently ignore the Gospel and preach the works of the Law, yes, their own human doctrines. Guard, then, against false preachers and also against false faith. Rely not upon yourself, nor upon your faith. Flee to Christ; keep under his wings; remain under his shelter. Let his righteousness and grace, not yours, be your refuge. You are to be made an heir of eternal life, not by the grace you have yourself received, but, as Paul says here, by Christ’s grace. Again, it is said in Psalm 91:4, “He will cover thee with his pinions, and under his wings shalt thou take refuge.” And in the Song of Solomon 2:14, “O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the covert of the steep place.” That is, in the wounds of Christ the soul is preserved. Observe, true Christian faith does not take refuge in itself, as the sophists dream, but flees to Christ and is preserved under him and in him.
Second Christmas Sermon

The Divinity of Christ in Hebrews

This is a strong, forcible, noble epistle, preeminently and emphatically teaching the great article of faith concerning the Godhead, or the divinity of Christ. The presumption that it was not written by Paul is somewhat plausible, because the style is unusually ornamental for him. Some are of the opinion it was written by Luke; others by Apollos, whom Luke represents as “mighty in the Scriptures,” opposing the Jews. Acts 18:24 and 28. Certain it is, no epistle enforces the Scriptures with greater power than does this. Hence it is evident the author was an eminent apostolic individual, whoever he was. Now, the object of the epistle is to establish and promote faith in the divinity of Christ, and, as already stated, scarce any portion of the Bible more strongly enforces this article of our creed. We must, therefore, confine ourselves to its words and treat it in regular order, item by item.
Third Christmas Sermon, #1

17. If these things are beyond the grasp of our reason, reason must surrender as a captive to these and like Scripture words, and believe. Could we comprehend this mystery by human reason, there would be no faith. Clearly enough, the words, “Through whom also he made the worlds,” make mentions of two Beings. And it is not less clear that the uncreated one through whom all things were made, also must be God. Just how this can be, the Scriptures do not teach. It must be received by faith. The Scriptures speak after this fashion: “The world is created through Christ, by the Father, in the Holy Spirit”; and though the meaning is not wholly clear, and easy of comprehension, there is good reason for the language. It is employed more by way of intimation than explanation — to imply that the Father derives not his substance from the Son, but the Son from the Father; and that the latter is the first original person in the Godhead.
Third Christmas Sermon


The Tongue Should Be Silent

25. You will notice the verse is even now clearer than the explanation. “The image of his substance,” “the effulgence of his glory” — these Paul’s sayings are clear enough. The tongue should be silent here to allow the heart to reflect.
Third Christmas Sermon

He dwells within us because of, and by, our faith, daily continuing to cleanse us by his own operation…

32. The apostle says “our,” “our sins;” not his own sin, not the sins of unbelievers. Purification is not for, and cannot profit, him who does not believe. Nor did Christ effect the cleansing by our free will, our reason or power, our works, our contrition or repentance, these all being worthless in the sight of God’, he effects it by himself. And how? By taking our sins upon himself on the holy cross, as Isaiah 53:6 tells us.

33. But even this answer does not sufficiently explain how he cleanses us “by himself.” To go further: When we accept him, when we believe he has purified us, he dwells within us because of, and by, our faith, daily continuing to cleanse us by his own operation; and nothing apart from Christ in any way contributes to the purification of our sins. Note, he does not dwell in us, nor work our cleansing through himself, by any other way than in and through our faith.
Third Christmas Sermon

Sin So Great that the Exalted One Must Intervene

35. Having once possessed faith, and purification being effected in us by Christ, we are then to perform good works, hating our sins and repenting of them. Under these conditions our works are really good. Before faith is present, they avail naught; rather they induce false confidence and trust. So heinous an evil are our sins, and so enormous is the cost of their purification, it was necessary that one exalted as we here read Christ was, must intervene to purge them by himself. What could the poor, vain attempts of us who are creatures, and besides sinful, feeble, corrupt creatures, accomplish where the demand was of such magnitude? One might as reasonably presume to burn heaven and earth with an extinguished brand. Our sins can be expiated only by a price commensurate with the God they offend. “Sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; having become by so much better than the angels, as he hath inherited a more excellent name than they.”
Third Christmas Sermon

Christ Opens Our Understanding

68. So we see this whole epistle lesson is simply armor to clearly maintain the article of faith that Christ is God, and Lord over all things even in his humanity. We note with amazement the perfect clearness of the Scripture teaching and that the defect is in ourselves, unperceived. Well does Luke speak (Luke 24:32) of Christ’s opening the understanding of the disciples to comprehend the Scriptures. It was not the Scriptures he opened, but their understanding; the former is plain, but our eyes are not fully open.
Third Christmas Sermon

The Brothel Keeper Is Better Than a False Preacher

16. The keeper of a public brothel is less a sinner than the preacher who does not deliver the true Gospel, and the brothel is not so bad as the false preacher’s Church. Even were the proprietor of the brothel daily to prostitute virgins, godly wives and nuns, awful and abominable as such action would be, he would not be any worse nor would he work more harm than those papistical preachers.
17. Does this astonish you? Remember, the false preacher’s doctrine effects nothing but daily to lead astray and to violate souls newly born in baptism — young Christians, tender souls, the pure, consecrated virgin brides of Christ. Since the evil is wrought spiritually, not bodily, no one observes it; but God is beyond measure displeased. In his wrath he cries, through the prophets, in unmistakable terms, Thou harlot who invitest every passerby! So little can God tolerate false preaching. Jeremiah in his prayer (Lamentations 5:11) makes this complaint, “They ravished the women in Zion, the virgins in the cities of Judah.” Now, spiritual virginity, the Christian faith, is immeasurably superior to bodily purity; for it alone can obtain heaven.
St. Stephen’s Day

Love of God Requires Rebuking the Opposers of God

27. But who today would the world tolerate were he to attempt such censure of the Papists? Stephen’s love for God constrained him to his act. No one who possesses the same degree of love can be silent and calmly permit the rejection of God’s commandments. He cannot dissemble. He must censure and rebuke every opposer of God. Such conduct he cannot permit even if he risks his life to rebuke it. Love of this kind the Scriptures term “zelum Dei,” a holy indignation. For rejection of God’s commands is a slight upon his love and intolerably disparages the honor and obedience due him, honor and obedience which the zealous individual ardently seeks to promote. We have an instance of such a one in the prophet Elijah, who was remarkable for his holy indignation against the false prophets.
St. Stephen’s Day

Stephen an Example – Laymen Can Preach

34. The precedent of Stephen holds good. His example gives all men authority to preach wherever they can find hearers, whether it be in a building or at the market-place. He does not confine the preaching of God’s Word to bald pates and long gowns. At the same time he does not interfere with the preaching of the apostles. He attends to the duties of his own office and is readily silent where it is the place of the apostles to preach.
St. Stephen’s Day

Knelt To Pray for His Murderers

36. In the second place, Stephen’s conduct is a beautiful example of love for fellowmen in that he entertains no ill will toward even his murderers.
However severely he rebukes them in his zeal for the honor of God, such is the kindly feeling he has for them that in the very agonies of death, having made provision for himself by commending his Spirit to God, he has no further thought about himself but is all concern for them. Under the influence of that love he yields up his spirit. Not undesignedly does Luke place Stephen’s prayer for his murderers at the close of the narrative. Note also, when praying for himself and commending his spirit to God he stood, but he knelt to pray for his murderers. Further, he cried with a loud voice as he prayed for them, which he did not do for himself.
St. Stephen’s Day

Permit God To Work and Believe in His Wonders

47. It matters not whether or no we fully comprehend how such a vision is effected. It is not intended that the wonders of God be brought within our grasp; they are manifested to induce in us belief and confidence. Explain to me, ye of boasted wisdom, how the comparatively large apple or pear or cherry can be grown through the tiny stem; or even explain less mysterious things. But permit God to work; believe in his wonders and do not presume to bring him within your comprehension.
St. Stephen’s Day

 

Where Faith Exists, Its Fruits Must Follow

Well may the evangelist say Stephen was full of faith and power. Power here implies activity. Luke would says, “His faith was great; hence his many and mighty works.” For when faith truly exists, its fruits must follow. The greater the faith, the more abundant its fruits.
St. Stephen’s Day, #48

Let Works Be Alike

9. All the world talks about doing good, but if you would know how, listen: Do not as the fools who consider various works with intent to choose such as are in their own conceptions good, and to reject such as they deem bad, thus making a distinction of the works themselves. Do not so. Let works be alike; regard one the same as another. Fear God and be just — as already advised — and then perform the duty that presents itself. Then all will be well done, it matters not if it be the duties of a hostler or a teamster.
St. John’s Day

The Nature of Faith Is Commended and Illustrated

34. This epistle lesson harmonizes beautifully with the Gospel selection.
Here Righteousness receives the individual as a virtuous mother receives her child, or the bride her bridegroom. Thus, too, Christ took John to his breast as the beloved disciple. In both selections the nature of faith is commended and illustrated.
St. John’s Day


How God Was Godly and Acceptable – Not by Works

3. Therefore, it is settled that no one is justified by works; he must first be justified by other means. Moses says (Genesis 4:4-5), “Jehovah had respect unto Abel and to his offering.” First, he had respect to Abel the person, and then to his offering. Abel being godly, just and acceptable in person, his offering was acceptable. The sacrifice was accepted because of the person, and not the person because of the sacrifice. “But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect.” In the first place, God had not respect unto Cain the person; hence later he respected not his offering. From this quotation we may conclude it is impossible for any work to be good in God’s sight unless the worker first be good and acceptable. Conversely, it is impossible for any work to be evil before God unless the worker first be evil and not acceptable.
The Sunday after Christmas

Madam Huldah Attributes All Merit to Works

7. In the second place, Madam Huldah, basing her position simply on works and attaching very little importance to the justified individual, proceeds still further and attributes all merit and supreme righteousness to the works following justification. She quotes James 2:26, “Faith apart from works is dead.” Not understanding this statement, she undervalues faith. Consequently she continues to hold to good works, presuming to require of God acceptance of the doer for the sake of the works. So the two continually strive against one another. God respects the individual, Cain the works. God rewards the works for the sake of the doer; Cain would have the doer crowned because of his works.
The Sunday after Christmas

Only Faith Can Make Us Children

23. The apostle’s design is to make plain the fact that, lacking faith, the Law, with all its works, constitutes us simply servants. Only faith can make us children. Not the Law, nor the works of the Law, nor human nature can create faith within us; the Gospel alone brings it. It is present when we give ear to the Gospel, the Word of grace, which Word is accompanied by the Holy Spirit when preached and heard in quiet sincerity. Witness the example of Cornelius and his family (Acts 10:44), who received the Holy Spirit simply upon hearing Peter preach.
The Sunday after Christmas

The Heart Resents the Tutor

12. Similarly, God’s Law impels us, through fear of death and hell, to forsake many evils. Like a tutor, it holds us to an honorable outward life. But by the Law no one becomes righteous before God. The heart remains an enemy to its tutor, hates his chastisements and would prefer freedom.
New Year’s Day

Not Without Faith in Christ

40. He who is under the Law, and works unwillingly, is a servant, as the preceding sermon declares. But whosoever has faith and cheerfully works, is a child; for he has received the Spirit of God, through Christ. Now, the apostle names Christ, referring to the faith that believes and abides in Jesus Christ. No other faith is effective, no other faith is the right faith, let one believe in God as he will.
New Year’s Day

Awful Wrath of God

49. Of olden time, many prophesied that in Antichrist’s day all heretics would unite in the extermination of the whole world. And today, under the rule of the Pope and the Turk, heresy has full sway. In the rejection and condemnation of Christ and the entire Scriptures, a rejection leaving nothing but the name, is easily proven that all heresies, errors and darkness existing from the beginning of the world, now reign. I often have fears for the condemnation of all men of the present age except those who die in their cradles. Yet no one sees and deplores the awful wrath of God overhanging us.
New Year’s Day

Putting on Christ

52. But what is meant by “putting on Christ?” The faithless will readily reply, “It means to follow Christ, imitating his example.” But in the same way I might put on Peter, or Paul, or any saint, and thus nothing special would be said of Christ. We will let faith speak here; it is faith which Paul so beautifully suggests in the words “put on.” Naturally, until baptism the individual has never followed Christ. In baptism he begins to follow. Therefore, Christ must be “put on” before he can be followed. And essentially there is a marked difference between putting on Christ and following his example. Reference is to a spiritual putting on - in the conscience. This is effected by the soul receiving as its own Christ and all his righteousness, and confidently relying on these as if it had itself earned them; just as one ordinarily receives his apparel. This spiritual reception is the putting on; such is the nature and character of true faith.
New Year’s Day

The Most Erroneous Are the Most Rational

16. Here the prophet clearly implies that wherever Christ is not, there darkness exists, whatever the appearance of brilliance. Nor does he allow the medium devised by the high schools, which say that between darkness and Christ exists the light of nature and of human reason. They ascribe darkness only to the grossly wicked and the weak-minded. They highly value this mediatory light, claiming it is a sufficient preparation for the light of Christ, and that although it is darkness in comparison to the light of Christ, yet it is in itself light. They do not perceive how far they err in imagining themselves enlightened. Usually the most erroneous of the schools are the most rational. “The sons of this world are for their own generation wiser than the sons of the light,” as Christ says in Luke 16:8. Yet they of the schools are not nearer the true light than are others. Rather they are farther from it. This could not be if the light of reason were helpful in obtaining the true light. Devils are wiser, more artful and crafty, than men; yet they are not therefore better. No, that kind of light is always at enmity with the true light. As Paul tells us (Romans 8:7): “The mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be.”
The Day of Epiphany

Leaders Were Once Christian

34. This prophecy of Isaiah had strong fulfillment in former times. Many of the nobility and of high standing among the gentiles embraced Christianity. Today, however, so perverted are these nations by the Turks and the Pope, the prophecy seems to have little bearing. And it is a remarkable fact that even other heathen nations have been led astray by the converted gentiles. But it is revealed that Antichrist shall mislead the entire Christ-restored world.
The Day of Epiphany

Persecution Promotes the Gospel

41. To accomplish an object with eminent success through the instrumentality of an enemy is characteristic of the divine hand. By the very fact of their furious attempts to exterminate the Word and the people of God, men but destroy themselves and only further God’s Word and his people. Therefore, it is good and profitable, to have enemies and persecutors for the sake of the faith and the Word of God. Incalculable comfort and benefit result. Psalm 2:1 is in point here: “Why do the nations rage, and the peoples meditate a vain thing” against Christ? The thought is, they violently strive to exterminate Christ, and fail to see that in so doing they but strengthen him.
The Day of Epiphany

To Praise Ourselves Is Blindness

58. Finally, Isaiah says, “They shall proclaim the praises of Jehovah.” The true, the special, work of a Christian is to confess his sins and his shame, and to proclaim God’s grace and work in himself. No man who fails to behold God’s grace and this light of the Gospel, can show forth God’s honor and praise. No man who clings to his own light, his own human nature, who values his own works, his own efforts, can perceive the grace of God. He continues in his old, blind dead Adam nature. He does not rise to behold the light; he prefers to sound his own praises. Isaiah exalts the people of wealthy Arabia because they are true Christians who proclaim only the praises of Jehovah, taught to do so undoubtedly by the light of grace and the Gospel.

The Day of Epiphany

Thursday, January 18, 2018

A Word about the UOJ "Diamond" in the Large Catechism -
This Is a Good One

Zwingli's diamond was his verse in John 6:63 that the flesh  profits nothing. That was the way he saw it - typical of sectarians, who find a verse and build a systematic theology upon it, a house built on sand.

Book of Concord, Large Catechism, Lord's Prayer

88] Therefore there is here again great need to call upon God and to pray: Dear Father, forgive us our trespasses. Not as though He did not forgive sin without and even before our prayer (for He has given us the Gospel, in which is pure forgiveness before we prayed or ever thought about it). But this is to the intent that we may recognize and accept such forgiveness.

***

GJ - This is the point where the pinheads dance around, grinning like the cat who found the cream, and say, "Here is proof that Luther taught Objective Justification - forgiveness without faith. Here is the the Book of Concord teaching OJ. You are dastardly heretics for denying this great truth!"

But avast, one little thing is overlooked. This is Luther's explanation of prayer, and only those who believe in Christ pray the Lord's Prayer, The Perfect Prayer, as recently published by the Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry.

To see this in context, we also need to look at the Small Catechism, which Luther called one of his two books that needed to be kept - the rest could be thrown away. The Lutheran leaders have obeyed Luther too well and thrown them all away, keeping only this sentence in red. (The other book was his Galatians Lectures, but try to find a Lutheran pastor who has read it! The great team of Buchholz and Webber, the Laurel and Hardy of Justification, mentioned Luther' Galatians and ignored its content.)



I believe in the Holy Ghost; one holy Christian Church, the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.

What does this mean?--Answer.

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He forgives daily and richly all sins to me and all believers, and at the last day will raise up me and all the dead, and will give to me and to all believers in Christ everlasting life. This is most certainly true.

GJ - So WELS, for example, sells a gigantic meadow muffin against Justification by Faith and entombs a perfectly wonderful Small Catechism in exactly the opposite teaching. That is the Kuske Catechism, a book by a moron designed for zombies. And yet, this useless trash prepared the way for the New NIV with its invention of UOJ (in a feeble, conflicted way) in Romans 3.

Thus Luther clearly taught forgiveness through faith in Christ, and never even suggested forgiveness or salvation without faith. The person praying "forgive us our sins" is acknowledging the Atonement, not OJ, UOJ, General Justification, or any other manufactured dogma of Calvinism and Pietism. The Atonement means Jesus has not only died for minor sins and those sins we think we can conquer, but also for great and terrible sins.

Laurel and Hardy,
or Abbott and Costello?

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Steps in Publishing The Sermons of Martin Luther.
Volume V Printing - Finishing My Part of Volume VI Today.


Today, God willing, I am finishing up Volume VI of The Sermons of Martin Luther. At the moment I am mining the gems of this volume, which is one of the most enjoyable of all writing efforts. I get to copy and paste the best from each volume. When Volume VIII is finished, I will gather all the gems for the final volume - Gems Mined from the Sermons of Martin Luther.

Here are the steps in getting one volume into production:

  1. I copied and pasted the 8 volumes of Lenker's edition into this blog, using an unlikely source, which used lots of open source material for promoting ads.
  2. When I realized the old Lenker sets were hard to find and expensive, I decided to recreate the set with illustrations. Norma A. Boeckler was happy to illustrate them.
  3. Various people volunteered to edit the blogged sermons, which I pasted into 8 Word files. Scanning errors were varied, strange, and tedious to locate. Laity and a pastor agreed to help.
  4. First I use control-f to find typical format errors. I look for other mistakes and send that to someone to edit.
  5. The edit suggestions come back on emails, spreadsheets, whatever works.
  6. I go over each suggestion and make the changes needed.
  7. I created a table of contents and collect the gems from suggestions made. Virginia Roberts and Mrs. Ichabod mine the gems.
  8. Norma A. Boeckler inserts her art into the sermon volume. We use DropBox to send these large files back and forth.
  9. I make "final" corrections and send them to Janie Sullivan.
  10. Janie does her work for Amazon and Kindle, and I approve the proofs.
  11. Amazon may raise issues with production, so I have to deal with those. 
  12. The first printings begin to go out, first in color, then in black and white. Each volume has a color version, a BW version, and a Kindle.
  13. Donations make it possible to send a box of Luther and Lutheran books to African seminaries. Two have been sent and a third is being prepared for sending. The box costs about $90 to print and send to our contact, $100 to mail to Africa, for a total of $190. 

When the Temps Are Down - The Birds Flock to us

More examples of Norma A. Boeckler's art can be found here.


Last night the wind chill was -7 or worse. The faucets were set to drip all night. Plumbing was exposed, with cupboard doors open. We counted ourselves blessed that the furnace conked earlier in the week, before the deep freeze arrived. We had two repair visits to make sure everything was working.

Yesterday, the birds ate all day at our feeders, where they can get kernel corn, cracked corn, sunflower seeds, Nyjer (thistle), and suet, with dried berries still available on Poke bushes and other plants.

This morning, the feeders were almost empty, so birds were clustered around to see what was left for them to eat. Sassy wanted her walk, so she went out with me for a quick walk. I have not been that cold since Minnesota. I looked at the rose cones packed with leaves - "That was a good year to do that."

When we returned, Sassy took up her post on the bed, and I fed the birds outside. They have many places to feed from, and all were nearly empty. Birds seldom wipe out the supply, even in weather like this. The flocking birds will arrive in an armada, eat a bit, then leave for a new location.

I added sunflower seeds and cracked corn in a total of seven places. Soon the backyard was Action Alley again. But lo, I saw for the first time - pigeons joining their cousins, the mourning doves, finding food on the ground.


Famine of the Word

10 And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day.
Amos 8:11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the Words of the Lord:12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the Word of the Lord, and shall not find it.
People are starting to realize that the Lutheran leaders have been replacing sound doctrine with false doctrine - for decades. That was not so clear in the heady days of the 1980s, when money was plentiful and men were attending seminary in large numbers. How great and glorious all sides felt. The Preus brothers had replaced the liberals. The biggest liars of Seminex had their own little seminary - and free to be, whatever that meant. The WELS pastors bragged about how they saw it coming decades before that, and the ELS declared they stood up to Missouri even before that.

But now alarm, insecurity, and fears are growing. Their money is all gone because the Lutheran leaders spent their Schwan indulgence loot like congressmen on a junket. And yet, the object of their UOJ doctrine remains where he belongs, because he thought he really could buy absolution from all three synds. Maybe he was not born forgiven, as they taught.

Sound doctrine is like investments in this sense. I can easily find people who have gambled everything on a particular sure-fire fund. One man borrowed $300,000 equity from his insurance to win big and ended up with about $1,100. He is unlikely to reverse that and turn the paltry remainder into a fortune.

The mainline seminaries are emptying out. They find creative ways to make their enrollments seem larger, such as calculating "full-time equivalents." Some of the FTEs are online students living far away. Some are graduate students. Bottom line - they are all shrinking faster than cheap socks in a hot drier. That not only includes the worst  - ELCA seminaries - but also the ELCA wannabees like LCMS, ELS, WELS. The ELDONUTs are in danger of losing 100% of their enrollment when Heimbigner's son-in-law graduates.

 Our Army Ranger neighbor loved seeing all the finches
feeding at the kitchen window.