Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church

Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church
9 E Homestead Ave. Palisades Park, NJ 07650 201-944-2107 Sundays 9:30 a.m. We preach Christ crucified (1. Corinthians 1,23)

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Philippians 2,1-4. 7. Sunday after Trinity

One Message: Christ crucified and risen for you
The Word of the Lord Endures Forever
Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum

Philippians 2,1-4       3718
7. Sonntag nach Trinitatis  052  
Stilla, Virgin, of Abenberg, Bavaria 1158 
The Division of the Holy Apostles 
Gumbert, Abbot of Ansbach, Bavaria 790 
15. Juli 2018 

1. О Lord, our Divine Providence, help us to bear our trials and tribulations, so that we bear them with patience and strength.  Amen. (Starck 194) 
2. »So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, then complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.«  
3. The Apostle Paul’s words in Philippians 2 are a balm for those wounded by the selfish pride of the world. In school, at the workplace and in sports many people strive to surpass others up the ladder of success. Our interests often take precedent over the interests of others. We are tempted to sabotage others success and puffed up our own importance. I have a friend who used to work at Amazon, who once told me: in our staff meetings we were encouraged to tear down fellow coworkers. Other friends who worked at a major American manufacturing company told me that in their meetings it was the norm to blame another group for some mistake or failure instead of taking accountability and seeking to solve the issue at hand. 
4. These attitudes showcase how depraved our fallen human nature truly is. The Apostle Paul knew this, and he regularly saw such sinfulness in Jewish, Greek and Roman cultures. Paul’s advice to us is: »Look not to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the nature of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be held onto, but deprived Himself of power, taking on the nature of a slave; and being found in the likeness of men, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Jesus and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven, upon the earth and under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father« (Philippians 2,4-11).  
5. Such apostolic advice strikes against our fallen nature. Thus, one reason Christ humbled Himself for us is because He knew we struggle to humble ourselves for others. He humbled Himself for us, and in our place, in order to redeem us back to God our Father. Jesus does what He says: He puts His Father’s will first and foremost; He performs what we and our sinful nature cannot and will not do. He walked to Jerusalem, to the cross, into death, was buried in a tomb, descended into hell and rose again as our Triumphant Savior. Jesus willingly and lovingly did all this for the world, for us all. He sends the Holy Spirit with this gospel and the gospel creates faith that yields love, unity and humility that Paul exhorts in this epistle. 
6. Many examples of this sanctified life are showcased for us in the Holy Scriptures and the history of the Church. For this reason, the Lutheran Church follows the Church tradition of highlighting the lives of Christians as paragons of sanctification. Tomorrow, 16. July, is set aside for Ruth. She was the great-grandmother of King David; she was also a Moabite, which means she was not Jewish, but she was related to the Jews for the Moabites trace their lineage back to Lot, the nephew of Abraham, and Abraham is the father of the Jews. So Ruth, like us, is a Gentile. She was married to 2 Jewish men: her first husband was Mahlon, and after he died she married Boaz, the kinsman of Mahlon.
7. When Mahlon died, his mother, Naomi, decided to return to Bethlehem and she told Ruth to stay in Moab and find a husband among her people. Ruth responded: »Mother Naomi, where you go I will go, and where are you lodge I will lodge; your people will be my people, and your God will be my God« (Ruth 1,16). Ruth confesses her faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; she confesses the Jewish people are her people; their promises are her promises. Her faith and holiness are examples to us even today, 3000 years later. Her great-grandson was David, who became the king of Israel and through him the Messiah descends. St. Matthew lists Ruth in his genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1, 5). 
8. Ruth and David trusted in the Lord’s promises; they believed that He would send the Messiah. The Lord had chosen them to be the fore-bearers of His Only Son. Their faith produced the good works they did throughout their lives. They lived such sanctified lives solely on account of the gospel. They are examples for us, and the gospel also produces such faith and works in our lives. 
9. The reign of heaven is at hand (Matthew 4,17). Jesus humbled Himself unto death on the cross (Philippians 2,8). God the Father has highly exalted Jesus (Philippians 2,9). »I thank God for your partnership in the gospel, and I am certain that God who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the last day of Jesus Christ. May your love abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness which is through Jesus Christ. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit« (Philippians 1,5-6.9-11; 4,23).  Amen. 
10. Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ , from the rising of the sun to it setting, Your Holy Name is to be praised! You provide all our earthly needs, so also remind us that You daily give us all our spiritual needs as well, so that we never forget that You are both our Creator and Redeemer.  Amen. 

To God alone be the Glory 
Soli Deo Gloria

All Scriptural quotations are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 4. Edition © 1990 by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, and the Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 28. Revised Edition © 2012 by Deutsch Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart. 
All quotations from the Book of Concord are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using Die Bekenntnisschriften der evangelisch-lutherischen Kirche, 12. Edition © 1998 by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.     
ELKB. Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Bayern. www.bayern-evangelisch.de/www/index.php. Copyright © 2013 Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Bayern. 

Starck, Johann Friedrich. Starck’s Prayer Book. Copyright © 2009 Concordia Publishing House. 

Monday, July 9, 2018

Acts 8,26-39. 6. Sunday after Trinity

One Message: Christ crucified and risen for you
The Word of the Lord Endures Forever 
se cwide þæs béaggiefan ábireþ ferhþ

Acts 8,26-39  3618
6. Trinitatis  051
Aquila and Priscilla, 52
Kilian, Bishop of Würzburg, Germany, Martyr 688/89
8. Juli 2018 

1. О Christ Jesus, our Union with the Heavenly Father, daily remind us that You have clothed us with the garments of salvation and the robe of righteousness, so that we take comfort that You are with us always even to the end of the age (Starck 304).  Amen.  
2. »Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip the Deacon: „Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.“ This is a desert place. And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians [ad 25-41], who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip: „Go over and join this chariot.“ So Philip ran to him and heard him reading the Prophet Isaiah and asked: „Do you understand what you are reading?“ And he said: „How can I, unless someone guides me?“ And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this: Like a sheep He was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so He opens not His mouth. In His humiliation justice was denied Him. Who can describe His generation? For His life is taken away from the earth (Isaiah 53,7-8). And the eunuch said to Philip: „About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this: about himself or about someone else?“ Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the gospel about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said: „Behold, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?“ And Philip said: „If you believe with all your heart, you may.“ And the eunuch answered and said: „I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.“ And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water: Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 
3. The account of Philip and the Ethiopian in Acts 8 is one of many instances why the Prophet Isaiah is often called the Fifth Evangelist and the Book of Isaiah the Fifth Gospel. It is also no coincidence that this Ethiopian royal minister is reading a Jewish Prophet. The Queen of Sheba had visited King Solomon, and a number of Jews fled to Ethiopia when the Babylonians captured Jerusalem in 587 bc. It is no surprise then that this Ethiopian has access to the Old Testament and had knowledge of Jewish customs and culture since there was already a 1000-year tradition with Judaism in Ethiopia.  
4. Additionally, Acts 8 occurs in the most unlikeliest of places: Philip is sent to a desert place. No one should be there, but nevertheless that is where the Holy Spirit sends Philip. In this desert place, Philip discovers another unlikely set of circumstances: an African royal minister is there reading the Prophet Isaiah. What are the chances of that happening? 
5. The Ethiopian was reading the 53. Chapter of the Prophet Isaiah: »Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of Yahweh been revealed? For He grew up before Him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; He had no form or majesty that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turnedevery oneto his own way; and Yahweh has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of My people? And they made His grave with the wicked and with a rich man in His death, although He had done no violence, and there was no deceit in His mouth. Yet it was the will of Yahweh to crush Him; He has put Him to grief; when His soul makes an offering for guilt, He sees His offspring; He prolongs His days; the will of the Lord prospers in His hand. Out of the anguish of His life He sees and is satisfied; by his knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, makes everyone to be accounted righteous, and He bears their iniquities. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with everyone, and He divides the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His life to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet He bore the sin of everyone, and makes intercession for the transgressors« (Isaiah 53,1-12). 
6. The Ethiopian wants to know who the Prophet Isaiah is talking about in Chapter 53: Is Isaiah referring to himself or someone else? The text of Isaiah is about Jesus, and Acts 8 notes that it is all about Jesus. It is not about five ways to a happier life. You want guides for moral living? Jesus made that pretty simple: love God and love your neighbor. If you need more directions in that, then there are 10 easy-to-remember commandments that explain what it means to love God and love your neighbor. 
7. Following the law and obeying the commandments, however, will never earn you everlasting life. Notice that the Ethiopian did not ask: „What must I do to be saved?“ Rather, he confessed: »Behold, here is water! I need to be baptized«. Through reading Isaiah the Prophet and hearing the teaching of Philip the Deacon, the Ethiopian had learned that all depends on what God has done and still does for us. Isaiah pointed to the Suffering Servant, and Philip taught that this Servant is the Christ, who is Jesus. Jesus had suffered and died for the sin of the world and in Holy Baptism the Ethiopian received the grace and gospel that Jesus alone gives. 
8. The text was about Jesus in Isaiah 53 and Acts 8. The text is still about Jesus 2000 years later. Jesus has not changed, and neither has the text. If it is about Jesus, then it is about the gospel; and if it is about the gospel, then it is about salvation freely given. Therefore, the Apostle Paul proclaims: You are dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6,11).Therefore, Jesus promises: Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28,20). Where Jesus is there is forgiveness, for you, in full, and free. God be praised!  Amen. 
9. Let us pray. O Christ Jesus, You proclaimed our names before our Heavenly Father; help us to proclaim Your Name to our neighbors so that, like the Ethiopian in Acts 8 they may rejoice in the gospel and praise You in the midst of the congregation.  Amen. 

To God alone be the Glory 
Gode ealdore sy se cyneþrymm

All Scriptural quotations are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 4. Edition © 1990 by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, and the Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 28. Revised Edition © 2012 by Deutsch Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart. 
ELKB. Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Bayern. www.bayern-evangelisch.de/www/index.php. Copyright © 2013 Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Bayern. 
The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers, Vol. 4. © 1963 Henry Regnery Co. 

VELKD. Vereinigte Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Deutschlands. www.velkd.de. Copyright © 2013 Vereinigte Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Deutschlands. 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Genesis 12,1-4. 5. Sunday after Trinity

One Message: Christ crucified and risen for you
The Word of the Lord Endures Forever
Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum
Genesis 12,1-4     3518
5. Sonntag nach Trinitatis  050  
Theobald, hermit near Vicenza, Italy, 1066 
Henry Vos and John van den Esschen, Augustinians. Martyrs 1523 in Brussels, Belgium. 
First Lutheran martyrs 
Catherine Winkworth 1878 and John Mason Neale 1866, Hymn writers and Translators 
1. Juli 2018 

1. О Lord God, our Divine Providence, hold us ever in Your keeping, be with us throughout our life, give us greater love for You and renew our faith in You, so that we may serve You and our neighbors in our daily tasks.  Amen. (Starck 163) 
2. »Now the Lord said to Abram: Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was 75 years old when he departed from Haran.«  
3. The Holy Scriptures reveal to us that the Lord is a covenant-making God. He delights in making promises to mankind. He takes great joy in blessing His creation 
4. In Genesis 12 (2091 bc), the Lord made a covenant with Abraham: »I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.« The Lord fulfilled this covenant when He brought the people of Israel into Canaan 685 years later (1406 bc) under the leadership of Joshua, Moses’ successor 
5. Unfortunately, Israel kept breaking this covenant. They took the Lord’s wonderful covenant and try to make it better. Israel reasoned: If the Lord has blessed us in Canaan, then worshiping all the gods in the land will exponentially increase our blessings. Israel’s flawed reasoning led to unforeseen consequences. By worshiping the Canaanite gods, Israel began to accept the morals and values of the Canaanites, that lead to slandering their neighbors, bribing judges for favorable rulings, ignoring widows and abandoning orphans. 
6. The Lord sent Israel prophet after prophet calling the people to repent and return to Him. Israel ignored these pleas of the prophets. We are just like Israel. We take advantage of the Lord’s blessings. We seek to gain more from our greed. We hurt our neighbor if it will better our lives. We are sinners; we are condemned by God’s law. 
7. Since Israel broke His covenant, the Lord promised to make a new, unbreakable covenant. Since we break his commandments, the Lord promised to keep those commandments. The Prophet Jeremiah proclaimed: »The Lord declares: „Behold, the days are approaching when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant that they broke, though I was their husband. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days: I will put My law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God and they shall be My people. And no longer will each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying: „Know the Lord,“ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more“« (Jeremiah 31,31-34). 
8. Jesus Christ is this new covenant that the Lord promised through Jeremiah. The old testament flowed from Joshua; the new testament flows from the New Joshua, who’s name is Jesus. Matthew and Luke trace Jesus’ genealogy back to Abraham. The Patriarch Abraham’s name is great because of his descendant Jesus. Abraham is a blessing for all the families of the earth on account of Jesus. Thus the Apostle Paul explains Genesis 12: »Abraham’s faith was counted to him as righteousness. But the words it was counted to him were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in Him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification« (Romans 4,22-25). »In Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might be given to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, and you are thus heirs according to the promise« (Galatians 3,14.27.29). 
9. Christ Jesus Himself says at His institution of the Lord’s Supper: »The cup poured out is the new testament in My blood« (Luke 22,20). In Christ the Abrahamic covenant is properly fulfilled, and it is a covenant of everlasting salvation and forgiveness. This is a covenant of grace based on Christ’s shed blood and it is a testament of Christ’s steadfast love toward all the families of the earth. 
10. This new testament in Christ is an unbreakable testament, for it is not based on us or any action on our part. The new testament is completely grounded upon Christ and His merit. »And by that new testament we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all« (Hebrews 10,10). Christ institutes the Sacrament of the Altar to give out the blessings of His testament. This is the greatness of Christ: His testament is pure gift and pure grace. His testament is all His merit and none of ours. His testament is freely given to us out of love. Christ gives His Church the authority and the privilege to proclaim this testament as the herald of the gospel of full forgiveness and eternal salvation. He gives you, His disciples, the task of sharing this gospel to your neighbors so that they may also experience the blessing of redemption that Christ pours upon all the families of the earth.  Amen. 
11. Let us pray. O Holy Spirit, You have revealed Your righteousness in the sight of the nations; make known to us, through this church, the salvation merited only by Christ alone, so that our hearts are strengthened and our lives are blessed.  Amen. 

To God alone be the Glory 
Soli Deo Gloria

All Scriptural quotations are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 4. Edition © 1990 by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, and the Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 28. Revised Edition © 2012 by Deutsch Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart. 
All quotations from the Book of Concord are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using Die Bekenntnisschriften der evangelisch-lutherischen Kirche, 12. Edition © 1998 by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.     
ELKB. Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Bayern. www.bayern-evangelisch.de/www/index.php. Copyright © 2013 Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Bayern. 

Starck, Johann Friedrich. Starck’s Prayer Book. Copyright © 2009 Concordia Publishing House. 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

1. Peter 3,8-15. 4. Sunday after Trinity

One Message: Christ crucified and risen for you
The Word of the Lord Endures Forever 
se cwide þæs béaggiefan ábireþ ferhþ

1. Peter 3,8-15a  3418
4. Trinitatis  049
The Eve of the Nativity of John the Baptizer 
24. Juni 2018 

1. О Triune God, our Baptism covenant, bring to remembrance that You have washed us clean and given us the garment of Christ’s righteousness in this Sacrament, so that we rest in assurance that we are Your child (Starck 242).  Amen.  
2. »Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, so that you may obtain a blessing. For »Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil« [Psalm 34,12]. Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. 
  3. The Apostle Peter tells us a truth we may not want to hear: we Christians will suffer on account of our faith in Christ. He then urges us to give a respectful defense of the Christian faith. The English translation is „apology“ (απολογια). The meaning here is not to be sorry but to give a well reasoned reply and a well thought out response to address the issue at hand. 
4. We can understand the Gospels and Epistles of the New Testament to be a Christian apology for our faith in Christ. The first and foremost defense of our faith is Christ’s resurrection and the empty tomb. The Apostle Paul gives a succinct defense for the Corinthian Christians: »I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures and that He appeared to Peter, then to the Twelve, then to more than five hundred brothers at one time, then to James, then to all the apostles and last of all, He appeared also to me, Paul. Indeed, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep« (1. Corinthians 15,3-8.20). 
5. Saint Paul presents 2 historical facts: Jesus was crucified by the Romans and His tomb was empty 3 days later. The crucifixion was not an issue. The Jews and the Romans knew it had happened. Roman historians mention that Pontius Pilate had executed Jesus. What stirs up the hornets nest is the empty tomb. Again, this is an undisputed fact: the tomb was empty and the body of Jesus was missing. His corpse never turned up; no one found it. A few theories quickly arose to explain this. 1. The disciples must have gone to the wrong tomb. The Christians then argued: well then, take us to the right tomb and show us the corpse of Jesus. 2. Well you disciples must have stolen the body. The Christians then argued: well then, prove it. Present the corpse of Jesus. 3. Well then, you Christians just made this resurrection up; you are just deluded or crazy. The Christians then argued: Mary Magdalene saw the risen Jesus and talked to Him. The apostles saw Him and touched His body. He is a living, breathing Jesus. He ate and drank with us. Peter saw Him, James saw Him and Paul saw Him; furthermore, 500 disciples saw Jesus on the same occasion. The Apostle Paul rightly argues that there is overwhelming eyewitness testimony that: 1. The tomb was empty, 2. Jesus bodily rose from the dead and 3. Over 500 people testify to seeing the risen Jesus. The world cannot even produce His corpse to challenge our Christian proclamation. 
6. The resurrection of Jesus is the key piece of evidence in the Christian defense of the faith. Paul states that he is handing on to us what he had received from others: Jesus died and rose. The defense of the faith thus quickly goes to the New Testament as the written documents of those apostles who had witnessed the risen Jesus with their own eyes. We present and defend the Christian faith with and from the biblical texts: they are our primary source. We also use logic, grammar and semantics to present an orderly and reasonable defense of the faith. Thus we also take great care to avoid logical fallacies, to not using Biblical texts out of context and not forcing the Scriptures to say something they do not say. 
7. Go in peace, for Christ is your Apology. He justly defended you against the accusations brought forward by the prosecuting Satan. Jesus is your Confidence (Luise Henriette von Brandenburg). He is your Defense and the Right Man who fights for you (Luther). Jesus honors you and your name from the slanders of the world. He speaks well of you and declares you righteous before His Heavenly Father. Such is the love and respect that Jesus lavishes upon you this day and every day; may you do the same for your neighbors.  Amen.
8. Let us pray. It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to Your Name, O Most High. „O Holy Spirit, true Leader and Guide of all the elect…. Here we are upon wild and stormy waves, in an evil world; but help us through this all, so that we may finally attain to heaven and arrive at the Fatherland with joy after all these great tribulations“ (Löhe 343-44).  Amen. 

To God alone be the Glory 
Gode ealdore sy se cyneþrymm

All Scriptural quotations are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 4. Edition © 1990 by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, and the Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 28. Revised Edition © 2012 by Deutsch Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart. 
ELKB. Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Bayern. www.bayern-evangelisch.de/www/index.php. Copyright © 2013 Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Bayern. 
The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers, Vol. 4. © 1963 Henry Regnery Co. 
VELKD. Vereinigte Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Deutschlands. www.velkd.de. Copyright © 2013 Vereinigte Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Deutschlands. 

Löhe, Wilhelm. Seed-Grains of Prayer: A Manual for Evangelical Christians. Wartburg Publishing House, Chicago circa 1912. Concordia Publishing House; Concordia on Demand. 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

1. John 1,5-2,6. 3. Sunday after Trinity

One Message: Christ crucified and risen for you
The Word of the Lord Endures Forever
Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum

1. John 1,5-2,6         3318
3. Sonntag nach Trinitatis  048  
Mamuold, Abbot at Regensburg, 1001 
17. Juni 2018 

1. О Jesus, our Perfect Redeemer, keep us steadfast in the Christian faith, but if we err or become lost, we know that You will search for us and find us, so that we live and die in fellowship with You.  Amen. (Starck 326) 
2. »This is the message we have heard from Jesus Christ and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. Whoever says: „I know Him“ but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps His word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in Him: whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.«  
3. God hates sin; He punishes sin and threatens to pour out His wrath upon unrepentant sinners. The Bible contains numerous examples of God executing such justice and judgment. Holiness and wickedness cannot abide together, and so neither can God dwell eternally among sinners. Thus hell was created for the rebellious angels to be their new dwelling place; wicked sinners will dwell there too apart from God’s fellowship.
4. „But isn’t God a God of love? Indeed He is! God hates sin and in His holy justice He must punish sin and condemn sinners, but God’s will is that sinners be saved and spared eternal separation from Him. However, God cannot simply overlooked mankind’s sin, for sin must be atoned for and the sinner must be punished.  
5. The Apostle John uses two of the most important Biblical words in his 1. Epistle: propitiation (ἱλασμός), which means „to bring forgiveness or to have mercy“ and: advocate (παράκλητον). Saint John tells us that Jesus is our Advocate and our Propitiator. This is where we see the love of God, for God the Father sent His Only Son to atone for us. Jesus is our Advocate; He intercedes for us before His Father. He affirms the charge against us: we are sinners; we are guilty. Jesus then offers up His defense: these sinners cannot be found guilty, they must be pardoned,  for I have taken their place. Jesus, our Advocate, became our Propitiator who appeased His Father through a sacrifice; Jesus atoned for our sins by sacrificing Himself. Jesus became the Chief Sinner on the cross who bore the sin of the entire world, bore our just punishment and bore our condemnation. Jesus has atoned for sin, paid the ransom price and merited the forgiveness of sin. 
6. Nikolaus von Zinzendorf writes of Christ propitiation in his hymn Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness: „Jesus, be endless praise to Thee, Whose boundless mercy hath for me, For me, and all Thy hands have made, An everlasting ransom paid.“ (LSB 563,6). God’s wrath and punishment of sin is His alien work, for He must deal with wickedness and evil, while His love and mercy is His proper work, for He receives us into His fellowship through the merits of Christ His Son and our Lord. God had reconciled the world to Himself through Christ when mankind was still His enemy (Romans 5,8.10). This reconciliation occurred through Christ’s substitutionary death: He died in our place for us and thus has received the punishment we deserved. In exchange, Jesus gives us His righteousness (der frölicher Wechsel, the blessed exchange).
7. Christ shows us that God is love and He welcomes sinners. In this morning’s Gospel Reading, St. Luke the Evangelist tells us: »Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear Jesus. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying: „This man receives sinners and eats with them.“« (Luke 15,1-2). Indeed, He does, and at the end of His ministry He shared a final Passover meal with His Apostles and instituted that they celebrate it often in remembrance of Him. Today we partake of this Lord’s Supper, remembering that Jesus became our Advocate who shed His own blood and gave up His body to death to be our propitiation. This is God’s love to us revealed in the mercy of Christ Jesus our Lord.  Amen. 
8. Let us pray. O Merciful, Gracious Lord, You are slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness, instill in us the great joy of our salvation so that we are assured of that if we become lost, we are comforted that You seek us out, find us, and return us unto Your holy Church.  Amen. 

To God alone be the Glory 
Soli Deo Gloria

All Scriptural quotations are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 4. Edition © 1990 by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, and the Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 28. Revised Edition © 2012 by Deutsch Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart. 
All quotations from the Book of Concord are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using Die Bekenntnisschriften der evangelisch-lutherischen Kirche, 12. Edition © 1998 by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.     
ELKB. Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Bayern. www.bayern-evangelisch.de/www/index.php. Copyright © 2013 Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Bayern. 

Starck, Johann Friedrich. Starck’s Prayer Book. Copyright © 2009 Concordia Publishing House. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

1. Corinthians 14,1-3.20-25. 2. Trinity

One Message: Christ crucified and risen for you
The Word of the Lord Endures Forever 
se cwide þæs béaggiefan ábireþ ferhþ

1. Corinthians 14,1-3.20-25  3218
2. Trinitatis 047 
Landerich, Bishop of Paris 650 
10. Juni 2018 

1. О God and Father, our Bountiful Provider, accompany us in all our ways, preserve us from evil and bless our vocation, so that we always experience abundantly your Fatherly faithfulness and grace (Starck 118).  Amen.  
2. »Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a language speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands Him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. Brothers and sisters, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. In the law it is written: „By people of strange languages and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to Me, says the Lord“ [Isaiah 28,11]. Thus languages are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers. If, therefore, the whole Church gathers together and all speak in languages, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds? But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.«   
3. In his 1. Epistle to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul expounds upon 2 particular spiritual gifts: prophecy (προφητευητε) and languages (γλωσση). Prophecy is less about foretelling of future events and more about proclaiming a specific action or word of the Lord. The Holy Scriptures, all 66 Books, are prophetic books: they teach and proclaim Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who became man, suffered, died and rose again. Languages or dialects refer to the languages spoken and written by people. In Paul’s day there were 3 prominent languages spoken throughout the Roman empire: Latin, Greek and Aramaic. The Old Testament had been translated from Hebrew into Greek 200 years earlier, and all the New Testament was written in Greek. If the gospel was preached in any of these 3 languages, almost anyone living in the Roman Empire could have a basic understanding of the message. 
4. As the Roman Empire became a union of 2 halves, with the East using Greek and the West using Latin, so to did the Church. The Orthodox Christians in the Eastern Roman Empire used Greek, and the Catholic Christians in the Western Roman Empire used Latin. Jerome then translated the Bible from Greek into Latin and by Luther’s day this Vulgate became the official language for the Bible in the Western Church; to translate the Scriptures into the local language or dialect was frowned upon or considered a sacrilege. What had once been a spiritual gift had become a burdensome yolk. The average Christian in the West simply did not have a good grasp of Latin; since the hymns, liturgy and preaching were all in Latin, they became merely spectators of the Divine Service rather than participants in it. Thus prophecy, proclaiming Christ, ceased being effective as most people simply didn’t understand what was being preached. 
5. Throughout the Medieval Ages there were various calls for Bible translations into the languages of the local people; these were met with varying degrees of success or failure, but the Vulgate remained the king of the translations used and other local translations were rare. In 1297 the Bible was available in French. By 1395, John Wycliffe had translated the entire Bible into English. In the 1400s there were 13 German translations of the Bible. All of these English, French and German Bibles were translations from the Latin Vulgate, which itself was a translation of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. Luther’s translation (1522/34) of the Bible into German was different; he was able to translate from the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures; his translation help standardize German among the Germans, and Tyndale’s translation did the same for the English in 1535. As these Bibles were printed, first the sermons and hymns, then the entire liturgy, transitioned from Latin into the local language of the people. 
6. Preaching now reclaimed its role as the chief gift of the Holy Spirit. Hearing the gospel and reading the Scriptures in your own language opens up the treasures in the Word of God to everyone. Paul exhorts us to: »pursue love, and earnestly desire of the spiritual gifts, especially prophecy.« The Holy Spirit has richly blessed His Church with the Scriptures available in almost any language and dialect; He has blessed us with the preached Word of God. To love and honor God is to study His Word, hear it preached and live it in our lives. 20 pages (10,000 words single-spaced) of Holy Scripture can impart the core of the Biblical message to a person; a 5-word sermon of „God forgives you through Jesus.“ strengthens a person to be certain of salvation on account of Christ. 
7. The Apostle Paul proclaims: »All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness, so that the child of God may be complete and equipped for every good work« (2. Timothy 3,16-17). The Scriptures are inspired by God (SD IX,12); the Scriptures are clear, sufficient and effective (have the power) to produce faith in Jesus (Romans 1,16). The Scriptures are inerrant; they are not false and deceitful, but they are true and trustworthy (FC Epitome VII,13; LC IV,57; V,76). The Scriptures are the pure, infallible and unchangeable Word of God (Preface, Book of Concord, 10). 
8. Holy Scripture is the Word of God, and the word of God is the Holy Scriptures. This Bible tells us about our salvation through Jesus Christ, the Word of God made flash (John 3,14). We put our faith and hope in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus; we believe in Him because we have heard His gospel preached to us and read His gospel in the Bible. The Apostle John proclaims: »the Holy Scriptures, the Bible, are written so that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing we may have a life in His Name« (John 20,31). Thus Martin Luther exhorts us in his Small Catechism to: „not despise preaching and God’s Word, but hold it sacred and gladly here and learn it“ (SC 3. Commandment). Through the preaching of the Word and by reading the Bible we are shown Christ; He is the Theme and Cornerstone of the Holy Scriptures. Let us boast in Christ and gladly receive Him and the blessings He promises as written in His Word. Let us humbly confess that we are poor, miserable sinners who deserve only God’s wrath, and proudly affirm that Christ is our Savior who gives us forgiveness.  Amen.
9. Let us pray. O Lord, You are our Strength, our Rock, our Fortress and our Deliverer; help us to gratefully receive Your gifts, so that our faith is strengthened and our good works flourish.  Amen. 

To God alone be the Glory 
Gode ealdore sy se cyneþrymm

All Scriptural quotations are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 4. Edition © 1990 by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, and the Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 27. Edition © 1993 by Deutsch Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart. 
ELKB. Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Bayern. www.bayern-evangelisch.de/www/index.php. Copyright © 2013 Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Bayern. 
The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers, Vol. 4. © 1963 Henry Regnery Co. 
VELKD. Vereinigte Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Deutschlands. www.velkd.de. Copyright © 2013 Vereinigte Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Deutschlands. 

The Athanasian Creed. Lutheran Service Book. Copyright © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.