Prepare for the Festival of Reformation Day (10/26)

Prepare for the Festival of Reformation Day (10/26)

Each week the upcoming Sunday readings, prayers, Psalms, and hymns are posted to assist you in preparing for the liturgy.

The Son of God Has Set Us Free from Sin and Death by His Grace

“Wisdom is justified by her deeds” (Matt. 11:19), and the true Wisdom of God, Christ Jesus the incarnate Son, justifies us by His deeds. He prepares His way by the preaching of repentance, but He has suffered the violence of the Law and voluntarily handed Himself over to violent men, that we might eat and drink with Him in His Kingdom and “remain in the house forever” (John 8:35).  For He is “a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Matt. 11:19), and He has rescued us by His grace from the slavery of sin and death. By the proclamation of His eternal Gospel “to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people” (Rev. 14:6), “the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law” (Rom. 3:21), “that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26). And by hearing the Gospel of Christ Jesus, “whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith” (Rom. 3:25), “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31–32).

Propers:

First Reading: Revelation 14:6-7
Epistle: Romans 3:19-28
Gospel: John 8:31-36

Collect:

Almighty and gracious Lord, pour out Your Holy Spirit on Your faithful people. Keep us steadfast in Your grace and truth, protect and deliver us in times of temptation, defend us against all enemies, and grant to Your Church Your saving peace; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Introit

I will speak of your testimonies before kings, | [O Lord,]*
and shall not be | put to shame.
I will bless the LORD at | all times;*
his praise shall continually be | in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast | in the LORD;*
let the humble hear | and be glad.
Come, O children, lis- | ten to me;*
I will teach you the fear | of the LORD.
The LORD redeems the life of his | servants;*
none of those who take refuge in him will | be condemned.
Glory be to the Father and | to the Son*
and to the Holy | Spirit;
as it was in the be- | ginning,*
is now, and will be forever. | Amen.
I will speak of your testimonies before kings, | [O Lord,]*
and shall not be | put to shame. (Ps. 34:1–2, 11, 22; antiphon: Ps. 119:46)

Gradual

Great is the LORD and greatly | to be praised*
in the city | of our God!
Walk about Zion, go around her, number her | towers,*
consider well her ramparts, go through her | citadels,
that you may tell the next gener- | ation*
that this is God, our God forever and | ever. (Ps. 48:1a, 12–14a)

The liturgy for this week is Divine Service Setting Five (LSB):

The blessed Martin Luther suggested this week’s order of service, the Deutsche Messe,  for use in teaching the liturgy.  It was frequently used by the country churches of the Lutheran Reformation.  The service use hymn paraphrases for each part of the ordinary liturgy.  It is also noteworthy that the order of this service varies from our typical service in two places, both corresponding to the order used in Luther’s German Mass.  First, the Hymn of the Day is placed between the Epistle and Holy Gospel.  Following the Holy Gospel, the Creed is sung.  Second, the Sanctus is placed after The Words of Our Lord.  This reflects Luther’s understanding of the Sanctus as a confession of the true presence of Christ’s body and blood in the Sacrament.

The Festival of the Reformation – On October 31st, 1517, an Augustinian monk named Martin Luther nailed Ninety-Five Theses to the Schlosskirche door in Wittenberg, Germany. This was the beginning of the Protestant Reformation of the abuses of the medieval Roman Catholic Church. The goal of Luther was reform of abuses, not the schism that resulted. We mourn the denominationalism that ensued but rejoice in the restoration of a true Gospel proclamation among us.

The Ninety-Five Theses highlighted the abuse to the faith that Rome caused by imposing or suggesting acts of satisfaction. Christ is our one-for-all sacrifice. His blood is all atoning for the sin of the world. No acts done in repentance earn our Lord’s forgiveness. The good works of reconciliation and amends are fruits of the contrite heart and cannot be imposed by the pastor.

The reading of the Augsburg Confession before Holy Roman Emperor Charles V on June 25, 1520 marks the beginning of the church of the Gospel (evangelical). This document highlights the significant reforms sought by the German princes, Luther, Melanchthon, and the other Reformers. After years of bloodshed and infighting, the 16th century attempt to reconcile with Rome was ended in 1580 with collection of documents called the Book of Concord. As a church of the Lutheran confession, this codex is our confession of faith, which your pastor and this congregation have sworn to uphold because it is a truthful exposition of the Holy Scriptures.

Similarly, on October 16, 1960, the first service from Grace Lutheran Church was held. The Lutheran Confession was brought to Dyer, Indiana, thereby continually recovering the Gospel among us. The Reformation is nothing less than true repentance for teaching according to the doctrines of man and truly being forgiven to once again live according to God’s Word. We pray this reformation will continue among us today and until Christ returns.

Hymns for the Week:

Processional

768

To God the Holy Spirit, let us pray Nun bitten wir Video
Kyrie

942

Kyrie, God, Father in heav’n above Kyrie, Gott Vater Video
Gloria

948

All glory be to God alone All Ehr und Lob Video
Hymn of the Day

656

A mighty fortress is our God Ein feste Burg Video
Creed

954

We all believe in one true God Wir glauben all Video Hymn Study
Sanctus

960

Isaiah, mighty seer in days of old Jesaia, dem Propheten Video
Agnus Dei

434

Lamb of God, pure and holy O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig Video
Distribution

555

Salvation unto us has come Es ist das Heil Video
Post-Communion Hymn

617

O Lord, we praise Thee Gott sei gelobet und gebenedeiet Video Hymn Study
Recessional

865

Lord, help us ever to retain Herr Jesu Christ, meins Video

“Law and Love” Trinity 18 2014 – Matthew 22:34-46

"Law and Love" Trinity 18 2014 - Matthew 22:34-46

19. October 2014
Trinity 18
Matthew 22:34-46

In Name of the Father, + Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

We’ve always tried to catch Jesus in His Word. We’d like Him to soft-pedal His Holy Law to let us off the hook easier. We’d like Him to ramp up His condemnation and judgment so others will get what they deserve. We push Jesus around in hopes of remaking Him in our own image.

Did Jesus really say? On the one hand, we’re quick to accuse and condemn the same-sex marriage crowd, the abortionists and those who abort, Muslim extremists, or pick your “enemy” du jour. Make no mistake, all violence in the name of religion, murder of children in the womb, or against the ordinance of marriage is contrary to God’s holy will. Maybe you even pray that those who do such things receive not only death but eternal hell?

On the other hand, little is said by us about the violence we’ve done to the confession of marriage. We look the other way when there is gross and open infidelity. We nudge-nudge-wink-wink when couples young and old live together outside holy matrimony. We hesitate to speak strongly against divorce and its pervasiveness even in the Christian church. We’ll speak against those who abort their children or assist others to do the same. Yet we do nothing when our own children leave the only true confession of faith, a way that leads to death. We discourage Christian couples from conceiving children until the time is right, the finances are sure, the pieces all in place—pieces that God puts into place, not us. We have neglected the orphans here and abroad. And anyone who looks unlike us, especially the Arab who might be Muslim, we’ll walk on the other side.

We love our own sin and condemn the sin of others. We neither love ourselves or love our neighbor. If we loved ourselves, we’d repent and receive Christ’s forgiveness. If we loved our neighbor, we’d forgive them and lead them to faith and repentance in Christ.

Some things never change. It’s Tuesday of Holy Week. The week Jesus silenced everyone. Every mouth was stopped. Even the cries of “Crucify Him” ended. First up, the chief priests and elders of the people. After a barrage of parables of the kingdom and judgment, quiet. The multitudes “took Him for a prophet.” (Mt 21:46)

“Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk.” (Mt 22:15) The sent some amateur theologians and Herodians to slip up. He schooled them with the now famous “Render unto Caesar” dialogue. And again, “They marveled, and left Him and went their way.” (Mt. 22:22)

Next up? The Sadducees sought Jesus’ approval. Hypothetically, Jesus, if woman marries seven times in accord with Moses’s law, whose wife will she be in the resurrection? Jesus gave them no approval. First, earthly marriage is a shadow of the marriage in the resurrection. Second, you don’t even believe in the resurrection. Nice try, but really, idiots. And, “When the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.” (Mt. 22:33)

As the teachers say, “If at first you don’t succeed, Try, try, try again.” “When the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together.” (Mt 22:34) You can see them in their huddle, planning their next play. Not that they weren’t pleased that Jesus shut up the Sadducees, far from it. They always liked their ecclesiastical enemies to be put in their place. But they still sought to trap him. They still want him dead.

So, “One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’” (Mt. 22:35) That’s bound to work. Remember, these lawyers, these Pharisees, have 613 commandments to choose from. 365 negative. 248 positive. Imagine having to memorize all those “thou shalts” and “thou shalt nots!” So, pick Jesus. Pick one and we’ll argue you into a corner and hopefully to death.

A couple important points. First, “which is the greater” is asking for a quality, a prioritization. Pit one command of God against another. Consider how that would make God out to be a liar. If one word stands and another word doesn’t, then really neither word is trustworthy.

Second, the lawyer asks Jesus to choose from “the law.” Law can have a few meanings. Broadly, it is how we are governed in this world and life. It can mean all the religious laws governing the church, think Leviticus or those Pharisee’s exponential list. It can also mean the five book of Moses, the Torah. And narrowly, it can me the Decalogue, the Ten Words or Commandments.

It’s quite the setup. This is one sly lawyer. I’m sure he thought he had Jesus. But the lawyer neither understands God’s Word broadly speaking nor understands God’s Law narrowly. He’s merely trying to show himself and His Pharisee buddies to be superior. But such law talk is Iocane powder to Jesus. He has a built in immunity.

Law talk is self-justification talk. Which command is best? That’s right, Jesus, and I’ve kept it from my youth. And look here, those guys haven’t. They’re rotten Sadducees and Herodians. Second class. Amateurs. Look at us, look at me. Consider me according to my right-ness.

I’m always right. You’re always wrong. Look at me. Better than you. Right as rain. Superior. Elite. Nearly perfect. We seek this position before our neighbor. It’s really to shuffle up before God. I’m better than you is also I’m more pleasing to God. Rise to the top. Cream of the crop. Best of the best. But it’s self-loving. Self-justifying. Look at me, God! Ain’t I special?

For such as these, there is no other Word than Jesus word. It’s stops every tongue from its incessant righteousness flapping. Hardened hearts need an earth shattering blow.

Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Mt 22:37-40)

These words devastated the lawyer. He asked for quality and Jesus gave all of them. That is, everything written in the Law (the Torah of Moses) and the Prophets depends on those two commands. Love God and love neighbor. And they’re not lesser or greater. The second is like the first.

Why is this so terrifying? You cannot love God without loving your neighbor. You can’t love your neighbor without loving God. No one can know love apart from knowing God. God is love. Those who do not love their neighbor do not love God.

Love talk can be law talk. Husband and wife promise, legally, to love each other until death separates them. That’s a heavy burden. No different God’s Law. It’s heavy, too. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Love God so completely with every part of your being.

“In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.” (1 John 3:10) Cain’s hatred of God led to hatred and murder of his brother. Solomon’s taste in foreign women led to distaste for God.

This is a crushing blow to our thoughts of righteousness. We want to look good before God. Get on God’s good side. Puff him up with our man-made rites and rituals. Boast in our religious superiority. Look at me! Look at us!

It doesn’t work. It never has. The Law is instrumental, wielded by the Almighty to devastate our sham righteousness and humble us to death. And from our death to Christ’s death. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13) “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.” (1 John 3:16)

The bulletin art is absolutely correct. All the commandments hang on Christ’s crucifix. God threatens to punish all who break these commandments, but He punishes His Son in your stead and for your sake. He promises grace and every blessing to all who keep these commandments. All the grace and blessings He gives you because Jesus kept the commandments on your behalf.

Apart from Christ, there is no fulfilling of the Law. He kept the His Law perfectly and obediently to the Father. The Lawgiver keeps His own Law. The Judge takes the criminal’s place and you go home free.

It all hangs on Jesus. His love for neighbor is perfectly known in giving His life for His friends. This is love, true love unlike this world has ever known since before the Fall. Without Jesus, you cannot know love. With Jesus, you know and receive the fullness of the love of God. Without Jesus’ love, you can never love your neighbor. With Jesus’ love, you too will love fully and completely.

Despite your self-love, Jesus never stops loving the selfishness out of you. Despite all the self-justifying jockeying before the Lord, He condemns you by His commandments and justifies you freely by His blood-bought forgiveness. If there was any doubt, today He give you His love in the loveliest of meals, His Holy Supper. Body given and blood shed for your forgiveness. His life given that you have life. Love received freely as a gift, without merit or worthiness, that we would be changed to be like Him. Changed to be lovely as He is lovely towards us.

If there is any unloveliness in you—in your marriage and family, among your neighbors, or in this congregation—the only remedy is the love of God in Christ Jesus crucified for you. Forgive each other as Christ has forgiven you. Serve each other as Christ has served you. Die for each other as Christ has died for you. Love as Christ has loved you. Amen.

Rev. Christopher R. Gillespie
Grace Lutheran Church
Dyer, Indiana

St. Luke the Evangelist (Oct 18)

St. Luke the Evangelist (Oct 18)

Old Testament: Isaiah 35:5-8

Epistle: 2 Tim. 4:5-15

Holy Gospel: Luke 10:1-9

Collect: Almighty God, our Father,Your blessed Son called Luke the physician to be an evangelist and physician of the soul. Grant that the healing medicine of the Gospel and the Sacraments may put to flight the diseases of our souls that with willing hearts we may ever love and serve You; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.