The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream


NT Greek Lessons - Thursdays, 7 PM.

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

They Call Each Other Brethren






28. When you carefully distinguish the works of the flesh from the works of the Spirit, you will not find in all the works of the false prophets a single spark of the Spirit. In the first place, you will certainly not find any true fruits of faith or works of love among them. But you will find, that they are very friendly among themselves and call each other brethren; but this is nothing but poison and the devil within them. For whatever does not belong to their faction, they have no mercy, no patience or friendliness; but if they could, they would destroy them body and soul in an hour or a moment. Flesh and blood do not see the fruits, hence in the meantime they of course wear their gray frocks, are a quiet order and observe the same customs and principles.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker, Volume IV

The Eighth Sunday after Trinity, Third Sermon


Monday, September 18, 2017

Ski - A Jeske Protege - WELS. Net Loss - 57


Click image for a clearer view of the downward Ski slope.


 Andy Stanley's Drive Conference -
one of many money-wasting
conferences trying to make up for what
seems to be lacking among the WELS Church Growth lackeys.

Anglican Bishop - On Justification by Faith

John C. Ryle
A link to his work.


Many people will put up with anything in religion, if they may only have a quiet life. They have a morbid dread of what they call “controversy.” They are filled with a morbid fear of what the style, in a vague way, “party spirit,” though they never define clearly what party spirit is. They are possessed with a morbid desire to keep the peace and make all things smooth and pleasant, even though it be at the expense of truth. So long as they have outward calm, smoothness, stillness, and order, they seem content to give up everything else. 
~The Fallibility of Ministers             J.C. Ryle


Whenever we hear teaching which obscures or contradicts justification by faith, we may be sure there is a screw loose somewhere. We should watch against such teaching, and be upon our guard. Once let a man get wrong about justification, and he will bid a long farewell to comfort, to peace, to a lively hope, to anything like assurance in his Christianity. An error here is like a worm at the root.

~The Fallibility of Ministers             J.C. Ryle


Lutheran, Episcopal and United Church of Christ Clergy: “We Stand With Planned Parenthood” Abortion Biz | LifeNews.com
Thrivent Is Pro-Abortion, Too



Lutheran, Episcopal and United Church of Christ Clergy: 

“We Stand With Planned Parenthood” Abortion Biz | LifeNews.com:



"A group of female clergy from Iowa wrote a letter this week to publicly state their support of the abortion chain Planned Parenthood.

The letter, published in the Des Moines Register on Wednesday, included signatures from seven women pastors from the United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Episcopal Church, Unitarian Universalist Association, Christian Church (Disciple of Christ) and Unity Church. A note included with the letter said the pastors were not speaking on behalf of their denominations or congregations.

The pastors praised Planned Parenthood’s work and blasted a state bill that would defund the abortion group and redirect tax dollars to community health centers that don’t provide abortions."



'via Blog this'



 The Wolf of Wall Street - Jordan Belfort...

speaking at the Thrivent convention. 

Mrs. Ichabod - "Another No Name Church." (WELS)
About - The Vine Church

 He's WELS. He's missional.
He's a Fulleroid. Six year-old photo.





One person observed - 

Regarding "The Vine", a couple comments.

The language of "pre-view services" and "Launch Service"  are co-opted from the world of entertainment and business.  That's obvious.

So, then, is one is going to a movie theater (or bar!) or the latest software roll-out event?


It does nothing more than to confirm to the consumer-savvy how far and low the church is willing to sell out itself.   People can see through the shamelessness of it all.





About - The Vine Church:



"OUR PURPOSE:  At The Vine, people matter to God and therefore they also matter to us.  When we say PEOPLE, we mean all people regardless of age or race, occupation or social status.  Our purpose is “Connecting people to Jesus and growing together in his Word.”  We want to see every person (singular antecedent for the subsequent plurals) in a right relationship with God and growing in their (sic) faith so that their (sic) lives (sic) and eternity are changed forever.  We work hard at The Vine to make sure everything we do exists to create an environment where that can happen."

GJ - This is typical of the Enthusiasts, as Luther observed. They talk about Jesus all the time but tear down the bridge to Him. The Word conveys Jesus to people, but this mess of quotation marks and bad grammar give no hint of it. They work very hard at The Vine - that must be how it happens.

Thus all UOJists emphasize their works because they have no faith.

'via Blog this'


 John 15 - The True Vine chapter - teaches all about the
Means of Grace, which seems absent on the WELS Grapevine page above. Fuller loathes the Means of Grace,
but so does WELS - so it is a match.


WELS wants to be loved by the world and funded by those who are of the world. Unfaithful to their wives, these bigshots are clouds without rain.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2017. Galatians 5:16-24.
The Fruit of the Spirit


The Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2017


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




The Hymn # 292                 Lord Jesus Christ                
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 # 277            I Heard the Voice      
   

The Gospel Is Fruitful


The Communion Hymn # 480            Lord of the Worlds             
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                


KJV Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

KJV Luke 17:11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. 14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. 15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. 17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. 19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Fourteenth Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father, who by Thy blessed word and Thy holy baptism hast mercifully cleansed all who believe from the fearful leprosy of sin, and daily dost grant us Thy gracious help in all our need: We beseech Thee so to enlighten our hearts by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may never forget these Thy blessings, but ever live in Thy fear, and, trusting fully in Thy grace, with thankful hearts continually praise and glorify Thee; through Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.



The Gospel Is Fruitful


KJV Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 

As my neighbor often says, "I hate to tell you this, but..." St. Paul and Luther have two categories - Justification by Faith and Justification by Works. Those who deny Justification by Faith are welded to works, no matter what they say. Paul wrote Galatians in his own hand, quickly, to stop them from falling into Justification by Works, by the Law.

The Law is good and spiritual (from the Spirit) as Paul taught by the Spirit, but the Law is limited in its effect. The Law does not bear fruit and does not forgive or save. Those who repudiate faith are left with a law religion, because that is the only thing left.

For instance, if God is the Only True God, then all others are false gods. If there is only Justification by Faith, then anything else is the righteousness of works.

When Paul says "Walk by the Spirit," he is saying, living according to the Scriptures. Because the Spirit works only through the Word, there is no other explanation. He is not saying "Be Pentecostal," although genuine Lutherans are the true Pentecostals (identifying the Spirit's work with the work of the Word, and vice versa). The apostles argued the Gospel based on the Old Testament, which clearly teach Justification by Faith. Many nominal Christian denominations do not see that and do not teach it, including those that consider themselves fine, Evangelical groups. That is why I ask graduate students about Genesis 15 and Justification by Faith. He believed in the coming Messiah, who would arise from his true son, and therefore was counted as righteous by faith, not by works.

As Luther says, Abraham was a great man and highly respected, but that did not count toward righteousness. His faith received the righteousness of God. Therefore all the righteous in the Old Testament are believers in the coming Christ.

The lust of the flesh is an interesting term, that makes people think only of wasting money on slow horses and fast women. But our modern equivalent is "natural." The natural man in Paul's writing is one who neither knows nor fears God. If someone is of the world, the individual's entire being desires whatever is material - honors, money, the esteem of other unbelievers, and carnal sin as well. The promotion of degraded activities and the forced quotes for the same are sure signs of our materialistic and degenerate society.

17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 

The Galatians who wanted to return to the Law were at war against the Spirit. Today we have people who would gladly do what is right and speak what is right, except it would hurt them in the eyes of others. They would be punished one way or another. So they silence and calm themselves even before being told to be still. They observe what has happened to others. There are all kinds of explanations for going along with what is wrong or doing and saying nothing, which is similar. 

And yet an outcry means something. When a traitor was given a great honor at Harvard, one man resigned his position there amid a general outcry. Harvard backed down for once. But that was because the objections carried so much weight and were backed by someone sacrificing an honor. 

Lutherans are largely living in apostasy because everyone has been so quiet about it for the last 30-50 years, though it started earlier. Now the situation is so obvious that people write and say, "Why are things so bad?" and I send them the doctrinal reasons for it. 

To put it simply, referring to Luther - when the Means of Grace are denied, all kinds of foul errors enter in. There are other ways to express this, but our current age is best at denying the Gospel by replacing it with a subtle Universalism and the indifference that goes with it. 

Our flesh, the natural man, always resists  the Spirit, the Gospel, but we have this confidence - that the Word is always at war against our worst attitudes, desires, errors, and sins. The indwelling Spirit is like a gyroscope that continually points us in the right direction and makes us pleased to hear the Gospel. 

We gave our grandson a little toy gyroscope, and he was impressed with its powerful pointing ability. It resisted him moving it the wrong way.

18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 

This should not confuse us. The Scriptures teach us to act as led by the Shepherd, following Him out of love, not driven by the lash of the Law, the fear of punishment. One attitude is exactly opposite the other.

19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance *quarreling), emulations (rivalry), wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 

One of the methods of writing is to make a long list, almost endless, which says - I could go on and on about this. This clearly shows that much of what we dislike about life is a work of the law, the natural man. As I have said many times, I routinely get clobbered by the law for innocuous things, like firing up the BBQ on "Earth Day." But those same people are indifferent about religious truth, because they do not believe. Replacing that, they have the Law - or any kind of law.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

Love is the first fruit of the Spirit, because love and forgiveness go together. To be forgiven through Christ means being forgiven.

Joy is what the unbelieving world cannot see as they look for happiness, expecting it to come from Lord Mammon. Jesus said specifically that His work would fill the followers with joy. John 17.

Peace is not world-peace, but the peace that comes from forgiveness. In the midst of the worst troubles and afflictions, the believer can be at peace because the greatest desire of mankind - inner peace - has been won for us through Christ received in faith. This grace is not blocked by hospitals, nursing homes, poverty, disease, or confinement of any type.  

Longsuffering is not just being patient, but enduring difficulties and burdens for years, even for decades. If someone realizes that this glorifies God as much as anything else done in faith, it is not a burden but a joy. When Brenda Kiehler's father took her on her power wheelchair walks, he was just as proud of her as if he were presenting her at a debutante ball. 

Gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance - these characteristics are additional qualities that come from faith in Christ.

Creation Is Praised in This Comparison
For those who grow plants, fruits, and vegetables, the fruiting cycle is the obvious parallel presented here, the analogy that makes the lesson stick.

Where the plant is good, it will flower and bear fruit. Everyone likes roses because we keep them from fruiting - the hips being the fruit that contains Vitamin C and the seeds. 

Beans flower and bear their fruit, which contain the bean sees. Nothing is more intriguing to children than opening seed pods and keeping all the dried seeds inside.

Even lawn grass flowers and fruits, bearing seed. We do not notice the flowers but see the seeds afterwards. My mother used, "Mow that lawn. You let it go to seed again?" GJ - But isn't that good? "No, it looks trashy. Mow it now."

Therefore, we do not need to put on a show, since people bear fruit differently as believers, but we remain confident - from John 15 - that remaining on the True Vine through the Means of Grace, we will bear fruit that glorifies God.


Luther - on Galatians 5:16-24



From Study-Light.
Verse 16
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

"I have not forgotten what I told you about faith in the first part of my letter. Because I exhort you to mutual love you are not to think that I have gone back on my teaching of justification by faith alone. I am still of the same opinion. To remove every possibility for misunderstanding I have added this explanatory note: 'Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.'"

With this verse Paul explains how he wants this sentence to be understood: By love serve one another. When I bid you to love one another, this is what I mean and require, 'Walk in the Spirit.' I know very well you will not fulfill the Law, because you are sinners as long as you live. Nevertheless, you should endeavor to walk in the spirit, i.e., fight against the flesh and follow the leads of the Holy Ghost."

It is quite apparent that Paul had not forgotten the doctrine of justification, for in bidding the Galatians to walk in the Spirit he at the same time denies that good works can justify. "When I speak of the fulfilling of the Law I do not mean to say that you are justified by the Law. All I mean to say is that you should take the Spirit for your guide and resist the flesh. That is the most you shall ever be able to do. Obey the Spirit and fight against the flesh."

And ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
The lust of the flesh is not altogether extinct in us. It rises up again and again and wrestles with the Spirit. No flesh, not even that of the true believer, is so completely under the influence of the Spirit that it will not bite or devour, or at least neglect, the commandment of love. At the slightest provocation it flares up, demands to be revenged, and hates a neighbor like an enemy, or at least does not love him as much as he ought to be loved.

Therefore the Apostle establishes this rule of love for the believers. Serve one another in love. Bear the infirmities of your brother. Forgive one another. Without such bearing and forbearing, giving and forgiving, there can be no unity because to give and to take offense are unavoidably human.

Whenever you are angry with your brother for any cause, repress your violent emotions through the Spirit. Bear with his weakness and love him. He does not cease to be your neighbor or brother because he offended you. On the contrary, he now more than ever before requires your loving attention.

The scholastics take the lust of the flesh to mean carnal lust. True, believers too are tempted with carnal lust. Even the married are not immune to carnal lusts. Men set little value upon that which they have and covet what they have not, as the poet says:

"The things most forbidden we always desire,
And things most denied we seek to acquire."

I do not deny that the lust of the flesh includes carnal lust. But it takes in more. It takes in all the corrupt desires with which the believers are more or less infected, as pride, hatred, covetousness, impatience. Later on Paul enumerates among the works of the flesh even idolatry and heresy. The apostle's meaning is clear. "I want you to love one another. But you do not do it. In fact you cannot do it, because of your flesh. Hence we cannot be justified by deeds of love. Do not for a moment think that I am reversing myself on my stand concerning faith. Faith and hope must continue. By faith we are justified, by hope we endure to the end. In addition we serve each other in love because true faith is not idle. Our love, however, is faulty. In bidding you to walk in the Spirit I indicate to you that our love is not sufficient to justify us. Neither do I demand that you should get rid of the flesh, but that you should control and subdue it."

Verse 17
For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh.
When Paul declares that "the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh," he means to say that we are not to think, speak or do the things to which the flesh incites us. "I know," he says, "that the flesh courts sin. The thing for you to do is to resist the flesh by the Spirit. But if you abandon the leadership of the Spirit for that of the flesh, you are going to fulfill the lust of the flesh and die in your sins."

And these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
These two leaders, the flesh and the Spirit, are bitter opponents. Of this opposition the Apostle writes in the seventh chapter of the Epistle to the Romans: "I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into the captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"

The scholastics are at a loss to understand this confession of Paul and feel obliged to save his honor. That the chosen vessel of Christ should have had the law of sin in his members seems to them incredible and absurd. They circumvent the plain-spoken statement of the Apostle by saying that he was speaking for the wicked. But the wicked never complain of inner conflicts, or of the captivity of sin. Sin has its unrestricted way with them. This is Paul's very own complaint and the identical complaint of all believers.

Paul never denied that he felt the lust of the flesh. It is likely that at times he felt even the stirrings of carnal lust, but there is no doubt that he quickly suppressed them. And if at any time he felt angry or impatient, he resisted these feelings by the Spirit. We are not going to stand by idly and see such a comforting statement as this explained away. The scholastics, monks, and others of their ilk fought only against carnal lust and were proud of a victory which they never obtained. In the meanwhile they harbored within their breasts pride, hatred, disdain, self-trust, contempt of the Word of God, disloyalty, blasphemy, and other lusts of the flesh. Against these sins they never fought because they never took them for sins.

Christ alone can supply us with perfect righteousness. Therefore we must always believe and always hope in Christ. "Whosoever believeth shall not be ashamed." (Romans 9:33.)
Do not despair if you feel the flesh battling against the Spirit or if you cannot make it behave. For you to follow the guidance of the Spirit in all things without interference on the part of the flesh is impossible. You are doing all you can if you resist the flesh and do not fulfill its demands.

When I was a monk I thought I was lost forever whenever I felt an evil emotion, carnal lust, wrath, hatred, or envy. I tried to quiet my conscience in many ways, but it did not work, because lust would always come back and give me no rest. I told myself: "You have permitted this and that sin, envy, impatience, and the like. Your joining this holy order has been in vain, and all your good works are good for nothing." If at that time I had understood this passage, "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh," I could have spared myself many a day of self- torment. I would have said to myself: "Martin, you will never be without sin, for you have flesh. Despair not, but resist the flesh."

I remember how Doctor Staupitz used to say to me: "I have promised God a thousand times that I would become a better man, but I never kept my promise. From now on I am not going to make any more vows. Experience has taught me that I cannot keep them. Unless God is merciful to me for Christ's sake and grants unto me a blessed departure, I shall not be able to stand before Him." His was a God-pleasing despair. No true believer trusts in his own righteousness, but says with David, "Enter not into judgment with thy servant; for in thy sight shall no man living be justified." (Psalm 143:2) Again, "If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?" (Psalm 130:3.)

No man is to despair of salvation just because he is aware of the lust of the flesh. Let him be aware of it so long as he does not yield to it. The passion of lust, wrath, and other vices may shake him, but they are not to get him down. Sin may assail him, but he is not to welcome it. Yes, the better Christian a man is, the more he will experience the heat of the conflict. This explains the many expressions of regret in the Psalms and in the entire Bible.
Everybody is to determine his peculiar weakness and guard against it. Watch and wrestle in spirit against your weakness. Even if you cannot completely overcome it, at least you ought to fight against it.

According to this description a saint is not one who is made of wood and never feels any lusts or desires of the flesh. A true saint confesses his righteousness and prays that his sins may be forgiven. The whole Church prays for the forgiveness of sins and confesses that it believes in the forgiveness of sins. If our antagonists would read the Scriptures they would soon discover that they cannot judge rightly of anything, either of sin or of holiness.

Verse 18
But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
Here someone may object: "How come we are not under the law? You yourself say, Paul, that we have the flesh which wars against the Spirit, and brings us into subjection."

But Paul says not to let it trouble us. As long as we are led by the Spirit, and are willing to obey the Spirit who resists the flesh, we are not under the Law. True believers are not under the Law. The Law cannot condemn them although they feel sin and confess it.
Great then is the power of the Spirit. Led by the Spirit, the Law cannot condemn the believer though he commits real sin. For Christ in whom we believe is our righteousness. He is without sin, and the Law cannot accuse Him. As long as we cling to Him we are led by the Spirit and are free from the Law. Even as he teaches good works, the Apostle does not lose sight of the doctrine of justification, but shows at every turn that it is impossible for us to be justified by works.

The words, "If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law," are replete with comfort. It happens at times that anger, hatred, impatience, carnal desire, fear, sorrow, or some other lust of the flesh so overwhelms a man that he cannot shake them off, though he try ever so hard. What should he do? Should he despair? God forbid. Let him say to himself: "My flesh seems to be on a warpath against the Spirit again. Go to it, flesh, and rage all you want to. But you are not going to have your way. I follow the leading of the Spirit."

When the flesh begins to cut up the only remedy is to take the sword of the Spirit, the word of salvation, and fight against the flesh. If you set the Word out of sight, you are helpless against the flesh. I know this to be a fact. I have been assailed by many violent passions, but as soon as I took hold of some Scripture passage, my temptations left me. Without the Word I could not have helped myself against the flesh.

Verse 18
But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
Here someone may object: "How come we are not under the law? You yourself say, Paul, that we have the flesh which wars against the Spirit, and brings us into subjection."

But Paul says not to let it trouble us. As long as we are led by the Spirit, and are willing to obey the Spirit who resists the flesh, we are not under the Law. True believers are not under the Law. The Law cannot condemn them although they feel sin and confess it.
Great then is the power of the Spirit. Led by the Spirit, the Law cannot condemn the believer though he commits real sin. For Christ in whom we believe is our righteousness. He is without sin, and the Law cannot accuse Him. As long as we cling to Him we are led by the Spirit and are free from the Law. Even as he teaches good works, the Apostle does not lose sight of the doctrine of justification, but shows at every turn that it is impossible for us to be justified by works.

The words, "If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law," are replete with comfort. It happens at times that anger, hatred, impatience, carnal desire, fear, sorrow, or some other lust of the flesh so overwhelms a man that he cannot shake them off, though he try ever so hard. What should he do? Should he despair? God forbid. Let him say to himself: "My flesh seems to be on a warpath against the Spirit again. Go to it, flesh, and rage all you want to. But you are not going to have your way. I follow the leading of the Spirit."

When the flesh begins to cut up the only remedy is to take the sword of the Spirit, the word of salvation, and fight against the flesh. If you set the Word out of sight, you are helpless against the flesh. I know this to be a fact. I have been assailed by many violent passions, but as soon as I took hold of some Scripture passage, my temptations left me. Without the Word I could not have helped myself against the flesh.

Verse 19-20
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornification, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft ...
Paul does not enumerate all the works of the flesh, but only certain ones. First, he mentions various kinds of carnal lusts, as adultery, fornication, wantonness, etc. But carnal lust is not the only work of the flesh, and so he counts among the works of the flesh also idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, and the like. These terms are so familiar that they do not require lengthy explanations.

IDOLATRY
The best religion, the most fervent devotion without Christ is plain idolatry. It has been considered a holy act when the monks in their cells meditate upon God and His works, and in a religious frenzy kneel down to pray and to weep for joy. Yet Paul calls it simply idolatry. Every religion which worships God in ignorance or neglect of His Word and will is idolatry.

They may think about God, Christ, and heavenly things, but they do it after their own fashion and not after the Word of God. They have an idea that their clothing, their mode of living, and their conduct are holy and pleasing to Christ. They not only expect to pacify Christ by the strictness of their life, but also expect to be rewarded by Him for their good deeds. Hence their best "spiritual" thoughts are wicked thoughts. Any worship of God, any religion without Christ is idolatry. In Christ alone is God well pleased.
I have said before that the works of the flesh are manifest. But idolatry puts on such a good front and acts so spiritual that the sham of it is recognized only by true believers.

WITCHCRAFT
This sin was very common before the light of the Gospel appeared. When I was a child there were many witches and sorcerers around who "bewitched" cattle, and people, particularly children, and did much harm. But now that the Gospel is here you do not hear so much about it because the Gospel drives the devil away. Now he bewitches people in a worse way with spiritual sorcery.
Witchcraft is a brand of idolatry. As witches used to bewitch cattle and men, so idolaters, i.e., all the self-righteous, go around to bewitch God and to make Him out as one who justifies men not by grace through faith in Christ but by the works of men's own choosing. They bewitch and deceive themselves. If they continue in their wicked thoughts of God they will die in their idolatry.

SECTS
Under sects Paul here understands heresies. Heresies have always been found in the church. What unity of faith can exist among all the different monks and the different orders? None whatever. There is no unity of spirit, no agreement of minds, but great dissension in the papacy. There is no conformity in doctrine, faith, and life. On the other hand, among evangelical Christians the Word, faith, religion, sacraments, service, Christ, God, heart, and mind are common to all. This unity is not disturbed by outward differences of station or of occupation.

DRUNKENESS, GLUTTONY
Paul does not say that eating and drinking are works of the flesh, but intemperance in eating and drinking, which is a common vice nowadays, is a work of the flesh. Those who are given to excess are to know that they are not spiritual but carnal. Sentence is pronounced upon them that they shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven. Paul desires that Christians avoid drunkenness and gluttony, that they live temperate and sober lives, in order that the body may not grow soft and sensual.

Verse 21
Of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in the past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
This is a hard saying, but very necessary for those false Christians and hypocrites who speak much about the Gospel, about faith, and the Spirit, yet live after the flesh. But this hard sentence is directed chiefly at the heretics who are large with their own self-importance, that they may be frightened into taking up the fight of the Spirit against the flesh.

Verse 21-22
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.
The Apostle does not speak of the works of the Spirit as he spoke of the works of the flesh, but he attaches to these Christian virtues a better name. He calls them the fruits of the Spirit.

LOVE
It would have been enough to mention only the single fruit of love, for love embraces all the fruits of the Spirit. In I Corinthians 13, Paul attributes to love all the fruits of the Spirit: "Charity suffereth long, and is kind," etc. Here he lets love stand by itself among other fruits of the Spirit to remind the Christians to love one another, "in honor preferring one another," to esteem others more than themselves because they have Christ and the Holy Ghost within them.

JOY
Joy means sweet thoughts of Christ, melodious hymns and psalms, praises and thanksgiving, with which Christians instruct, inspire, and refresh themselves. God does not like doubt and dejection. He hates dreary doctrine, gloomy and melancholy thought. God likes cheerful hearts. He did not send His Son to fill us with sadness, but to gladden our hearts. For this reason the prophets, apostles, and Christ Himself urge, yes, command us to rejoice and be glad. "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, thy king cometh unto thee." (Zechariah 9:9.) In the Psalms we are repeatedly told to be "joyful in the Lord." Paul says: "Rejoice in the Lord always." Christ says: "Rejoice, for your names are written in heaven."

PEACE
Peace towards God and men. Christians are to be peaceful and quiet. Not argumentative, not hateful, but thoughtful and patient. There can be no peace without longsuffering, and therefore Paul lists this virtue next.

LONGSUFFERING
Longsuffering is that quality which enables a person to bear adversity, injury, reproach, and makes them patient to wait for the improvement of those who have done him wrong. When the devil finds that he cannot overcome certain persons by force he tries to overcome them in the long run. He knows that we are weak and cannot stand anything long. Therefore he repeats his temptation time and again until he succeeds. To withstand his continued assaults we must be longsuffering and patiently wait for the devil to get tired of his game.

GENTLENESS
Gentleness in conduct and life. True followers of the Gospel must not be sharp and bitter, but gentle, mild, courteous, and soft-spoken, which should encourage others to seek their company. Gentleness can overlook other people's faults and cover them up. Gentleness is always glad to give in to others. Gentleness can get along with forward and difficult persons, according to the old pagan saying: "You must know the manners of your friends, but you must not hate them." Such a gentle person was our Savior Jesus Christ, as the Gospel portrays Him. Of Peter it is recorded that he wept whenever he remembered the sweet gentleness of Christ in His daily contact with people. Gentleness is an excellent virtue and very useful in every walk of life.

GOODNESS
A person is good when he is willing to help others in their need.

FAITH
In listing faith among the fruits of the Spirit, Paul obviously does not mean faith in Christ, but faith in men. Such faith is not suspicious of people but believes the best. Naturally the possessor of such faith will be deceived, but he lets it pass. He is ready to believe all men, but he will not trust all men. Where this virtue is lacking men are suspicious, forward, and wayward and will believe nothing nor yield to anybody. No matter how well a person says or does anything, they will find fault with it, and if you do not humor them you can never please them. It is quite impossible to get along with them. Such faith in people therefore, is quite necessary. What kind of life would this be if one person could not believe another person?

MEEKNESS
A person is meek when he is not quick to get angry. Many things occur in daily life to provoke a person's anger, but the Christian gets over his anger by meekness.

TEMPERANCE
Christians are to lead sober and chaste lives. They should not be adulterers, fornicators, or sensualists. They should not be quarrelers or drunkards. In the first and second chapters of the Epistle to Titus, the Apostle admonishes bishops, young women, and married folks to be chaste and pure.

Verse 23
Against such there is no law.
There is a law, of course, but it does not apply to those who bear these fruits of the Spirit. The Law is not given for the righteous man. A true Christian conducts himself in such a way that he does not need any law to warn or to restrain him. He obeys the Law without compulsion. The Law does not concern him. As far as he is concerned there would not have to be any Law.

Verse 24
And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
True believers are no hypocrites. They crucify the flesh with its evil desires and lusts. Inasmuch as they have not altogether put off the sinful flesh they are inclined to sin. They do not fear or love God as they should. They are likely to be provoked to anger, to envy, to impatience, to carnal lust, and other emotions. But they will not do the things to which the flesh incites them. They crucify the flesh with its evil desires and lusts by fasting and exercise and, above all, by a walk in the Spirit.

To resist the flesh in this manner is to nail it to the Cross. Although the flesh is still alive it cannot very well act upon its desires because it is bound and nailed to the Cross.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

John 17 - English Commentary on the High Priestly Prayer


John 17King James Version (KJV)

John 17 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

This chapter is called the High Priestly Prayer, because Jesus is praying to His Father. The wording is quite simple and easily memorized because of the meter and the repetition. Most of the effect is still clear in English, so this is both a prayer and an address to believers.

As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

The Father-Son relationship explains to us the complete harmony between Them, an antidote for today's Life of Jesus movement. People separate the Son from the Father, making the Savior gracious while the Father is condemning and harsh. They also pick apart the Fourth Gospel, which attacks their rationalism without mercy. This Gospel teaches faith and soars above the others - symbolized by the eagle for John.

The word for power is difficult to translate, because it really means divine power and authority in the New Testament, far beyond man's power or authority. Jesus taught with divine power, unlike the Scribes and Pharisees.

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Those who contrast the Father and the Son have not paid attention to this Gospel. Many want to adopt the popular notion that everyone is forgiven and saved, using the grace of God - but not the Word of God - as their argument.

Eternal life is faith in the Father and the One He Sent. Thus the apostles are the ones Jesus sent to teach this message. Believing is forgiveness and salvation. Unbelief is neither forgiveness nor salvation.

I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

We should not overlook "the work," which is everything the Son did up to this point. The Fourth Gospel teaches the work of Jesus clearly and uses work in the sense of our faith in Him. Our work is to trust in Him as the One Sent by God the Father.


John 6:28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

The UOJ fanatics want to discourage people from faith, because "you are making faith a good work!" - they say with alarm. This exchange is ironic, because Jesus has many mighty works and our work is to believe in Him Whom God Sent.

Because UOJ repudiates faith, its advocates are prime examples of the righteousness of works. They never stop talking about how superior they are and how much they do - and it is only talk.


And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

The Life of Jesus hippies want to make Jesus human, that is - only human. They deny the pre-existence of the Son, which is clearly taught here. The Son had glory beside the Father in eternity, before the universe existed.

I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.

For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.

Jesus teaches with great clarity that the Father gave Him this mission, this work, so everything we see and experience in the Savior is the work, the will, the actions of the Father.

I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.

The plight of Christians in an unbelieving world is to suffer because of the Word, from murder and persecutions to snubbing and the exalting of the gross and abnormal. The helpful clerics want to give us practical advice, but Jesus teaches faith in Him as the answer, a bitter pill for the gurus of the day.

11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

The apostates want us to think that Jesus was praying for the World Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches, and other abominations. This does not mean one in organization and funding, but unity in faith. That is clear to anyone who speaks to a mixed group about faith in Christ. The believers nod and smile. The unbelievers (clergy and council members) cross their arms in anger and shift nervously. 

12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

This is a wonderful play on the contrast between being in the world without being of the world. The world hates what God loves, and God hates what the world loves. The "successful" clergy are materialistic and spin their message for the rich and powerful, hoping to share the crumbs of wealth and power. Whether laity or clergy, the materialistic Sons of Mammon are unbelievers. The hurts felt by the rich are their hurts, and they translate that into real punishment for believers - financial excommunication and extending the Left Foot of Fellowship. The radical Left has nothing on the Sons of Mammon, because the faux-Christians do their work on the inside and capture the rewards for it.

Nevertheless, sincere believers share the joy of Christ, because they experience and see the fruits of the Gospel, no matter what the circumstances. The Father and Son watch over them and blunt the forces of evil.

17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Sanctify is a nice Latinate word, which really means "make them holy." All believers are saints, the word used in the New Testament for believers. Believing is forgiveness, and forgiveness makes us holy with the righteousness of Christ. Jesus constantly taught believing in Him and the Father because the beginning of sin is unbelief. The beginning of folly is unbelief. And the beginning of false doctrine is departing from the clear, plain utterances of the Savior.

Why are seminary enrollments in the basement - in all denominations? The lazy rationalistic professors teach unbelief, and that means spending a small fortune to learn the lessons of Mammon. The seminaries are giving brine to the thirsty and spoiled food to the hungry - no wonder the marbled halls sound so empty.


18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

Here Jesus prays for the mission of the apostles. They are sent by Him, just as He was sent by the Father. He is the Teacher and the Example. Unless one is utterly convinced of the Truth of His Word, the message will be blunted, if even muttered. Worst of all, it can be twisted inside-out and cleverly nuanced to nullify and destroy faith in the name of grace.

We are the ones Jesus is praying for - the ones converted by the Word passed down through the apostles and faithful teachers. That anyone still believes in Him today is a testimony to the power of the Word in midst of decay, apostasy, rationalism, and Thrivent-funded Reformation films.



21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

This is such a powerful message about the invisible One, Holy Christian Church. I have friends from many denominations, and there is a unity in Christian Faith that is not found in the organized, visible church. The Mammonites teach their organization while the believers teach faith in Christ. This unity through faith is a reflection of the unity in the Three Persons. Jesus is in us, and the Father is in Jesus. The Father loves those who believe in the Son.


Duerer - The Adoration of the Holy Trinity.


24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

Even the casual reader will notice the majesty of these words - You loved me before the foundation of the world. The unbelieving world rejects or corrupts the message of the Savior. His work and Word exceed the glories of the world, which He created.