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Archive for June 3rd, 2014

“And we must say that the good things the apostles announce in this Gospel are simply Jesus…Those who feet are beautiful announce good tidings(Isaiah 52:7namely they announce Jesus.”-Origen (born 182 AD,died 254 AD)

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And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

The Word made flesh prays the Word to His Father as only His only begotten Son could.  John 17 is the Lord’s prayer based upon His last sermon in His earthly ministry. :

 In the Transfiguration hymn, “How Good Lord to be here”, we sing

How good, Lord, to be here!
Your glory fills the night;
Your face and garments, like the sun,
Shine with unborrowed light.

The Lord Jesus’ glory is unborrowed glory.  It is not on loan. It is not mortal. His glory is not reflected glory. He is not like the moon.  The Son is like the sun. He is the glory of the only-begotten Son in the love of His Father by whom He has so loved the world. He had this glory as He prayed, “…before the world existed”.   

 Many do not believe the Lord’s prayer that He was before the world existed.  These religions are:

Islam

Mormonism

Jehovah’s Witnesses

Strains of Liberal Protestantism

A heretic of the early Church, Bishop Arius, announced there was a time when Christ was not.  The upshot of all these heresies is that Jesus Christ did not accomplish our salvation once and for all, contrary to today’s Gospel and the entire witness of the Bible, God’s Word.  Note that Islam, Mormonism, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses then conveniently add new ‘scripture’.  The 10 Commandments show us exactly what is needed to do good and before that to be good.  It’s hard to get past the 1st Commandment most days:  No other gods before Me, when my heart is set on everything but the Lord. As St. Augustine forthrightly confessed:  “What am I to myself but a guide to my own self-destruction?”  Look at liberal Protestantism I do not mean numbers of congregants dwindling alone but the dwindling and even the destruction of the sound doctrine of justification by grace through faith..  I use to buy into the liberal lie that the Bible in it’s every Word  is not the Word of God, but it contains the Word of God.  Sounds so pious.  I can dismiss God’s Law as caution and warning, and so it finally means that the reason for our lives  to glory in the blood of Jesus is dismissed. Reformed theologian H. Richard Niebuhr, in the 50s, said it well:  “A God without wratch brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross”.  Liberal Protestantism talk and preach much about the grace of God, but as foretold in the Bible, in the book of Jude:  For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality andd eny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Grace becomes license and yet you have to do something so the programs of social activism, consciousness raising and the like.  A lot of this is what goes for government.   So the Old Adam cuts down God’s Law to fit its self, write new scriptures so that say, the 5 pillars of Islam, I just do it and I’m good to go.  Tailor made law. Even civil law is not tailor made!  But as we attempt to tailor civil law to fit immorality, then confusion reigns as does division.

Yes, this is legalism and as one pastor, Matt Richards,  put it well:   “Legalists do not dismiss Christ, they trust Him a lot; however, they don’t trust Him alone. They want a comma after Jesus, not a period.”  There is always a comma, an ellipse:  dot dot dot. True prayer ends with a period.  Jesus is putting a period in His prayer to the Father of His work in the lives of the disciples and Israel and the entire world.  The period will be His Cross and the period to sin in His Forgiveness continuing in His resurrection and ascension. The Cross is the Lord’s Amen for us and for our salvation.

 The disciples kept His Word as He kept them safe from the world, the flesh and the devil.  Jesus prayed for His disciples. He interceded, prayed for them all.  He still does. Romans 8: “Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”   Christ is ascended. He is ascended, indeed, allelulia!  The Lord sent His disciples into the world, but to be of the world. “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”  verses 16-17, as Jesus prays for His apostolic Church and the disciples.  The Lord assured the full witness of the Resurrection in the 12 Apostles as the beachhead of the Word of the Gospel into the world.  Jesus is now glorified in the presence of His Father.  It is the glory of love’s pure light.  He shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome nor understood it.  The world seeks it’s own glory to be powerful, Christ’s glory seeks us to find us and others.  Jesus began the prayer of John 17 today after He finished His farewell sermon, the last verse of chapter 16: “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  We will have tribulation but take heart in the absolutely pure heart who overcame the world. 

 The Apostle Peter’s encouragement is needed today as it was then:

 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

From the Ascension to Pentecost, the Apostles, Mary and women joined together in prayer, not a marathon church council meeting nor a Synod or district assembly.Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  It is not that in Christ Jesus we are NOT going have anxiety.  We will. It is what it is done with it:  according to God’s Word.  Note:  The Word first says we can cast all your anxieties on Him, for He cares FOR YOU.  Luther wrote that the words FOR YOU are the Gospel, the good news of Jesus. Casting is praying.   He can take it.  He has on the Cross.  All our anxieties take us away from the Lord and each other.  And the devil uses them as such .  The devil knows that anxieties are his segue way into something worse, that is temptation and sin. The devil wants you to always be looking inside and not outside for help, that is, to the Lord.  Anxieties are not the last word:  Jesus Christ and His forgiveness and grace in His Church is the first Word and the last Word.

Be sober-minded; be watchful.

Sober-minded in regards to what is happening in the world. As I read religion articles in the secular news, they are mostly anti-religion articles, especially, anti-Christian, even antichrist articles.  Watchful yes and sober-minded about it all because no one can respond to it all.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

The devil in false doctrine, remembers, does not want you to know that Jesus died and rose for you and your salvation:  period.  He will always be trying to turn that period into a comma and all the while sounding mighty pious and religious and spiritual about the whole thing, again see Islam and Mormonism.

 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

Temptation is common to the brotherhood through the world.  In the  wealthy city, of Wenzhou in China,  which has many Christians, the State has ordered all the crosses to be removed from church buildings because of “building codes”, all of a sudden.  In Sudan, a Muslim woman, Meriam Ibrahim,  married to a Christian, Daniel,  herself became a Christian.  She was condemned to death for conversion, accused of “apostasy”.  She was pregnant when arrested and recently she gave birth in prison while her legs were shackled. Even so, she gave birth to her daughter.   In our country too many want to remove all mention of the Cross of Christ from the public square or churches lifting up the cross and the preaching of the Crucified, right out of churches.  The devil devours, he does not take little bites. Steadfast in the faith is steadfast in the doctrine, the sound doctrine as Jesus intercedes, prays,  for us all.

 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

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