The Third Sunday in Advent
(17 December 2017)
Isaiah 61:1–4, 8–11; Ps. 126:1-6; 1 Thessalonians 5:16–24; John 1:6–8, 19–28
Entrance: LSB 349 Hark the Glad Sound
Of the Day: LSB 345 Hark! A Thrilling Voice Is Sounding
Offertory: LSB 511 Herald, Sound the Note of Judgment
Distribution: LSB 347 Comfort, Comfort, Ye My People;
The Coming of the Christ Brings True Rejoicing in His Forgiveness
When he preaches repentance, John the Baptist points us to Christ Jesus. John was sent by God “as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him” (John 1:7). He baptizes with water in order to “make straight the way of the Lord,” who shall redeem His people from their sins (John 1:23). That Lord Jesus “who comes after” John now stands among us and makes Himself known to us (John 1:26–27). He has been anointed by the Holy Spirit “to bring good news to the poor” and “to bind up the brokenhearted” (Is. 61:1). By the washing of the water with His Word and Spirit, He clothes His Church with “the garments of salvation” and adorns her with His own righteousness “as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Is. 61:10). Therefore, we “rejoice always” in the Lord, “pray without ceasing” and “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:16–18). For “the God of peace,” who has called you by the Gospel, will surely “sanctify you completely,” so that “your whole spirit and soul and body” will “be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:23–24).
Worldview Everlasting – Shouting in the Wasteland (John 1:6-8, 19-28)
John 1:6-8 and 19-28 is our text for this Greek Tuesday. We’re on to the third Sunday in Advent now, and today’s topic is John the Baptizer doing what he does - baptizing people in the wilderness. The Pharisees are confused as to who John and is what exactly he is doing, so they send some representatives out to meet him and get the low down.
Lectionary Podcast - Third Sunday in Advent - Dr. Charles Gieschen
Dr. Charles Gieschen, Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, Ind., discusses the Gospel Lesson from the Greek text. (22:59)
6 Ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ θεοῦ, ὄνομα αὐτῷ Ἰωάννης·
7 οὗτος ἦλθεν εἰς μαρτυρίαν, ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτός, ἵνα πάντες πιστεύσωσιν διʼ αὐτοῦ.
8 οὐκ ἦν ἐκεῖνος τὸ φῶς, ἀλλʼ ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτός.
19 Καὶ αὕτη ἐστὶν ἡ μαρτυρία τοῦ Ἰωάννου ὅτε ⸀ἀπέστειλαν οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι ἐξ Ἱεροσολύμων ἱερεῖς καὶ Λευίτας ἵνα ἐρωτήσωσιν αὐτόν· Σὺ τίς εἶ;
20 καὶ ὡμολόγησεν καὶ οὐκ ἠρνήσατο, καὶ ὡμολόγησεν ὅτι ⸂Ἐγὼ οὐκ εἰμὶ⸃ ὁ χριστός.
21 καὶ ἠρώτησαν αὐτόν· Τί οὖν; ⸂σὺ Ἠλίας εἶ⸃; καὶ λέγει· Οὐκ εἰμί. Ὁ προφήτης εἶ σύ; καὶ ἀπεκρίθη· Οὔ.
22 εἶπαν οὖν αὐτῷ· Τίς εἶ; ἵνα ἀπόκρισιν δῶμεν τοῖς πέμψασιν ἡμᾶς· τί λέγεις περὶ σεαυτοῦ;
23 ἔφη· Ἐγὼ φωνὴ βοῶντος ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ· Εὐθύνατε τὴν ὁδὸν κυρίου, καθὼς εἶπεν Ἠσαΐας ὁ προφήτης.
24 ⸀Καὶ ἀπεσταλμένοι ἦσαν ἐκ τῶν Φαρισαίων.
25 καὶ ἠρώτησαν αὐτὸν καὶ εἶπαν αὐτῷ· Τί οὖν βαπτίζεις εἰ σὺ οὐκ εἶ ὁ χριστὸς ⸂οὐδὲ Ἠλίας οὐδὲ⸃ ὁ προφήτης;
26 ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰωάννης λέγων· Ἐγὼ βαπτίζω ἐν ὕδατι· ⸀μέσος ὑμῶν ⸀ἕστηκεν ὃν ὑμεῖς οὐκ οἴδατε,
27 ⸀ὁ ὀπίσω μου ⸀ἐρχόμενος, οὗ ⸂οὐκ εἰμὶ⸃ ἄξιος ἵνα λύσω αὐτοῦ τὸν ἱμάντα τοῦ ὑποδήματος.
28 ταῦτα ἐν Βηθανίᾳ ἐγένετο πέραν τοῦ Ἰορδάνου, ὅπου ἦν ⸀ὁ Ἰωάννης βαπτίζων.
(6) There was a man sent from God; his name was John.
(7) He came for a witness, that he might witness concerning the Light, that all might believe through Him.
(8) He was not that Light, but that he might witness concerning the Light.
(19) And this is the witness of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites that they might ask him, Who are you?
(20) And he acknowledged and did not deny; yea, he acknowledged, I am not the Christ.
(21) And they asked him, What, then? Are you Elijah? And he said, I am not. Are you the Prophet? And he answered, No.
(22) Then they said to him, Who are you, that we may give an answer to those sending us? What do you say about yourself?
(23) He said, "I am a voice crying in the wilderness:" "Make straight" "the way of the Lord," as Isaiah the prophet said.
(24) And those who had been sent were of the Pharisees.
(25) And they asked him and said to him, Why then do you baptize, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?
(26) John answered them, saying, I baptize in water, but One stands in your midst whom you do not know;
(27) This One it is who has come after me, who has been before me, of whom I am not worthy that I should loose the thong of His sandal.
(28) These things took place in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
Scripture quotations marked SBLGNT are from the SBL Greek New Testament. Copyright © 2010 Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software. Holmes, M. W. (2011–2013). The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Lexham Press; Society of Biblical Literature.
Wednesday Dec. 6 – 7:00 pm
Wednesday Dec. 13 – 7:00 pm
Wednesday Dec. 20 – 7:00 pm (Children’s Service)
Sunday Dec. 24 – 9:30 am (Divine Service)
Sunday Dec. 24 – 5:00 pm (Candlelight)
Monday Dec. 25 – 9:30 am (Divine Service)
New Year’s Eve
Sunday Dec. 31 – 9:30 am (Divine Service)
No evening service
New Year’s Day
Monday Jan. 1, 2018 – No service
Saturday Jan. 6, 2018 – No service
Today’s conversation covers where authority lies in the church, whether the conscience is still relevant, prattling, raving, crying, and gabbling, and starting with the text and ending with the text. Pr. Jonathan Fisk is the host. Guests Pr. Adam DeGroot, LCMS Domestic Missionary Pastor currently building network support for his call to St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Albequerque, New Mexico, and Pr. Andrew Preus from Trinity Lutheran Church in Guttenberg and St. Paul Lutheran Church in McGregor, Iowa, discuss Francis Pieper’s Christliche Dogmatik, or Christian Dogmatics, so that you know why you believe what you believe so that you will be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks for the hope that you have in the totality of who Jesus is, what Jesus has done, and what Jesus is coming again to do. Find your copy of Pieper’s Dogmatics at cph.org.
Dr. Paul Schilf leads a Midweek Family Bible Study on various topics. The study is held Wednesdays at 6:30 pm. The schedule of topics is:
01-Nov: The Reformation - Historical, Geographical and Theological Perspectives
08-Nov: People with disabilities - Worship and LCMS Church Life
15-Nov: NO CLASS
22-Nov: No Class - Thanksgiving
29-Nov: People with disabilities - Worship and LCMS Church Life
06-Dec: No Class - Advent
13-Dec: No Class - Advent
20-Dec: No Class - Advent
27-Dec: No Class - Christmas
03-Jan: The Office of the Keys - Catechism Review
10-Jan: No Class
17-Jan: The Office of the Keys - Catechism Review
24-Jan: Baptism - Catechism Review
31-Jan: Baptism - Catechism Review
07-Feb: Lent - Nothing to give up
14-Feb: No Class - Lent
21-Feb: No Class - Lent
28-Feb: No Class - Lent
07-Mar: No Class - Lent
14-Mar: No Class - Lent
21-Mar: No Class - Lent
28-Mar: Same Gender Marriage
04-Apr: Same Gender Marriage
11-Apr: Same Gender Marriage
18-Apr: Same Gender Marriage
25-Apr: 3 Powerful Hymns
02-May: Stress & Sin
09-May: Highlights of the Divine Service
16-May: Highlights of the Divine Service
23-May: Luther on Prayer
4801 E. 6th St
Christ Lutheran Church is a member of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.
9:30 am Divine Service with Lord's Supper (The Lord's Supper is celebrated every Lord's Day and Festival Service)
10:45 am Sunday School and Bible Classes (except August)
Advent and Lenten services: Wednesday, 7:00 pm
Note: Services on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day are held at 9:30 am.
Recorded sermons can be heard here.
UPDATE: The Voters Assembly, at its meeting of Jan 22, 2017, adopted its 2017 budget, and voted to continue as a member of the Issues, Etc. 300, for the 7th year.
The Voters Assembly at its regular meeting of January 9, 2011, adopted its 2011 budget. As part of its Missions budget is a line item for Issues, Etc. (via Lutheran Public Radio) and has become a member of the Issues, Etc. 300.
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Issues, Etc. Journal, Summer 2017
More than a decade ago I wrote “A Listeners Guide to the Pulpit.” At the time, my goal was simple: I wanted to help the average Christian sitting in the pew to tell the difference between good preaching and bad preaching. I dealt with the most egregious forms of bad preaching I could think of, and I thought I had covered it all. I hadn’t. Since then I have become aware of other kinds of bad preaching, some of which I had engaged in myself. To ﬁll in the gaps and confess to my own bad preaching, I offer this update of the original essay.
Most of the preachers were dynamic, engaging, interesting and even entertaining...
Most of their sermons were terrible.
How hard could it be? You go to church. The preacher preaches. You sit and listen. Easy, right?
But how do you tell the difference between a good sermon and a bad sermon? What makes good preaching good, and bad preaching bad?
For several years Issues, Etc. has been doing on–air sermon reviews. We’ve reviewed the sermons of Joel Osteen, D. James Kennedy, T.D. Jakes, Robert Schuller, Joyce Meyer, and many less well–known preachers. We’ve reviewed the sermons of Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Eastern Orthodox, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, and others. Most of these preachers were speaking to packed auditoriums and to worldwide television audiences. Most of the preachers were dynamic, engaging, interesting, and even entertaining. Most of the preachers are considered the best of the best preachers in the world.
Most of their sermons were terrible.
I don’t make this judgment based on my own subjective tastes or my own personal standard. I make this judgment based on the objective difference between good preaching and bad preaching.
Is there an objective standard for good preaching? Yes. It is a standard every Christian should know and use every time they hear a sermon. Every Christian needs to know the difference between a good sermon and a bad sermon.
God’s Two Teachings
St. Paul writes to the young preacher Timothy, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). Paul says that God’s Word of truth must be handled with care. To rightly divide God’s Word is the preacher’s ﬁrst and most important task. Nineteenth–century theologian, C.F.W. Walther describes what Paul means in his famous treatise, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel:
The doctrinal contents of the entire Holy Scriptures, both of the Old and the New Testament, are made up of two doctrines differing fundamentally from each other; viz.[namely], the Law and the Gospel … Only he is an orthodox teacher who not only presents all the articles of faith in accordance with Scripture, but also rightly distinguished from each other the Law and the Gospel. (C.F.W. Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1928, pp. 6 http://www.lutherantheology.com/uploads/works/walther/LG/lecture-01.html, 30 http://www.lutherantheology.com/uploads/works/walther/LG/lecture-04.html.)
Walther was simply following the leader of the sixteenth-century reformer Martin Luther. Luther explained this critical distinction between God’s Law and God’s Gospel and the danger of ignoring it:
It is therefore a matter of utmost necessity that these two kinds of God’s Word be well and properly distinguished. Where this is not done, neither the Law nor the Gospel can be understood, and the consciences of men must perish with blindness and error. The Law has its goal fixed beyond which it cannot go or accomplish anything, namely, until the point is reached where Christ comes in. It must terrify the impenitent with threats of the wrath and displeasure of God. Likewise the Gospel has its peculiar function and task, viz. [namely], to proclaim forgiveness of sin to sorrowing souls. These two may not be commingled, nor the one substituted for the other, without a falsification of doctrine. For while the Law and the Gospel are indeed equally God’s Word, they are not the same doctrine. (Martin Luther, “Sermon on the Distinction Between the Law and the Gospel,” Luther’s Works, St. L. Ed. IX, p. 799.)
Through His Law, God shows us His will. Through His Law, God tells us what He requires and what He forbids. Through His Law, God demands perfect obedience in thought, word and deed. Through His Law, God shows us that we have not done what He requires and have done what He forbids. Through His Law, God says, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind... You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:37, 39). Through His Law, God calls anything short of perfect obedience sin.
Through His Gospel, God tells us what He has done in Jesus Christ to save those who have broken His Law. Through His Gospel, God shows us that Jesus has done everything He required of us by His Law. Through His Gospel, God shows us that Jesus has been punished under the Law in our place. Through His Gospel, God answers the perfect demands of His Law with the perfect, sinless death and resurrection of Jesus. The Gospel says, “What the Law could not do in that it was weak through the ﬂesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful ﬂesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the ﬂesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulﬁlled in us” (Rom. 8:3–4).Through His Gospel, God answers the requirements of His Law with the life, death and resurrection of Jesus for us. Through His Gospel, God makes no demands whatsoever. There is only the free gift of God’s grace in Jesus Christ.
What does this have to do with difference between a good sermon and a bad sermon? Everything. The essential difference between a good sermon and a bad sermon is whether or not the preacher rightly divides and applies God's Law and God’s Gospel. A good sermon must show sinners their sin and show sinners their Savior. Again Luther writes:
This difference between the Law and the Gospel is the height of knowledge in Christendom. Every person and all persons who assume or glory in the name of Christian should know and be able to state this difference. If this ability is lacking, one cannot tell a Christian from a heathen or a Jew; of such supreme importance is this differentiation. This is why St. Paul so strongly insists on a clean–cut and proper differentiating of these two doctrines. (Martin Luther, Sermon on Galatians, 1532.)
So these two, Law and Gospel, must always go together in every sermon. They must be carefully divided in every sermon. God's Law must show us our sin, and God's Gospel must silence the Law’s accusations against us with the perfect life, death and resurrection of Jesus for us.
This is not to say that a good sermon will ONLY do this. Good preaching, according to Paul, does many things: It rebukes, reproves, admonishes, corrects, comforts, encourages, trains and teaches (Rom. 15:14; 1 Cor. 10:11; Col. 1:28; 3:16; 2 Tim. 2:4; 3:16; Titus 1:9). But whatever else good preaching does, it must above all rightly condemn us on account of our sin and declare us innocent on account of Jesus.
That was a Good Sermon?