Saturday, January 21, 2017

Objective & Subjective Justification -- Pastors Todd Wilken & Rolf Preus

Have you heard the terms "objective justification" and "subjective justification"? Have you had questions about them? Have you been confounded by them?

Be of good cheer!

Pastor Todd Wilken interviews Pastor Rolf Preus on Issues, Etc., on "Objective & Subjective Justification." Listen to this clarifying and faith-strengthening broadcast on demand.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Who should judge a talent competition, or your whole life?

Television has many talent competitions. Big hit shows include Pop Idol, American Idol, Britain's Got Talent, America's Got Talent, The Voice, and The X Factor.

Sometimes the choice of judges is controversial. Highly accomplished vocal performer, Sir Tom Jones, took a swipe at The X Factor's Simon Cowell, saying he is not qualified to judge because he has never sung live on stage himself. Jones refused to become a judge until he knew his fellow judges were musicians too. He said, “I watched other talent shows [thinking] how can this person … give singers advice if they've never gone through it themselves?”

Jones is on to something. To judge, it helps to have “walked a mile in their shoes.”

This is more important in spiritual judgment. When Jesus said, “Judge not,” He went on to say, “That you be not judged, for with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Matthew 7:1b-2) He also said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with right judgment.”  (John 7:24)

So, Jesus is not against all judgment. He is against unfair, unqualified judgment. Jesus himself will judge. Based on many passages in Scripture, the Apostles Creed says, “He will come to judge the living and the dead.”

Can we say to Jesus, “Who are you to judge me” or “You don’t know what I am going through?” Has Jesus walked a mile in our shoes?

Before Jesus is exalted as judge, first He voluntarily humiliated himself to be tempted and suffer completely as we do. While Jesus gave the Law through Moses, He also was “born of a woman, born under the Law, to redeem those who were under the Law.” (Galatians 4:4-5) He “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin,” and thereby He can "sympathize with our weaknesses."  (Hebrews 4:15)  He is not what Jones objects to, a judge of singers who himself never sang.

Jesus is exalted to the place of judge because He is humble. “He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.” (Philippians 2:8-10)  “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power.” (Revelation 5:12)

Jesus has done everything He judges. He will judge by a standard of fair notice in the Word that He preached. “The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.” (John 12:48) By his sufferings, He earned for us the way out of judgment, which is the forgiveness of sins. “He who hears my word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Jesus Plays No Harp. He Swings a Hammer.

The website TV Tropes has an article about a figure often used in television, called “Fluffy Cloud Heaven.”  In this figure, heaven is heavenly blue. It is in the clouds. The clouds are solid enough to walk on. When we die, we get our wings, a white robe, and a halo.  We become angels, float in clouds, and play harps. Heaven seems like a place for dawdling.

In reality, we know of only one person who has ascended into heaven. That person is Jesus, Is Jesus just floating on clouds and playing a harp?

The apostles saw Jesus ascend into heaven. “While they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.’” (Acts 1:9-11)

What is Jesus doing in heaven? He said, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:2-3)

On earth, Jesus was not a slacker. He was a carpenter. He worked. He built houses. In his ascension, He is not loafing around in Fluffy Cloud Heaven. He is building mansions. He is not playing a harp. He is swinging a hammer.

God is industrious. During his earthly ministry, Jesus said, “My Father is still working, and I am working also.” (John 5:17)  Fluffy Cloud Heaven assumes we rise to the heavens that exist now, but the Apostle John said, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.” (Revelation 21:1) God says, “I will create a new heaven and a new earth.” (Isaiah 65:17)

Christ is working, building a new heaven and mansions in his Father’s house. Christ’s ascension teaches us to think often of heaven, and look forward with joy to our heavenly home. The Apostle Paul says, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossian 2:1-2)

Paul said, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” (Philippians 3:20-21)

Repent, believe the Gospel, and look forward with joy to your ascension into the real, new heaven.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Lutheran Sermons Online

Alphabetically by last name
Version 1.03
Updated 1-13-17

Pastor Randy Asburry

Pater Larry Beane

Pastor Scott Bruzek
Pastor David Buchs
Rev. Dr. Arthur Just
Rev. Dr. John Kleinig
Pastor Marcus Nelson

Pastor Matthew Dent

Pastor Martin W. Diers

Pastor Chad Eckels
Pastor Tich Luu
Pastor Matthew Schilling

Evangelical Lutheran Synod Page of Links to Sermons and Services

Pastor Garry V. Heintz

Pastor Charles Henrickson

Pastor Philip Hoppe

Pastor Jonathan Huehn

Pastor Christopher Hull

Pastor Jarrod Hylden

LCMS Sermons

Pastor Gaven Mize

Pastor Paul Monson

Pastor Johannes Nieminen

Pastor Carl Noble

Pastor Raymond D Parent II

Pastor Evan E. Parat

Pastor Eric Phillips

Pastor Rolf Preus

Christ for Us
Text and Audio.
Arranged by Biblical Text and Historic Lectionary

Pastor Matt Richard

Pastor Tony Sikora

Pastor Joshua Scheer

Pastor Jason Swan

Pastor Benjamin Tomczak

Video - Youtube
Video - Facebook Page
Audio - Livestream of Divine Service (8/10:30am Sunday, Sept-May; 7pm, Wed, 9am, Sun, Memorial Day-Labor Day. When it's not service time, sermons are streamed from an archive dating back to 2013.)
Audio - Bethel Evangelical

Pastor James Uglum

Pastor David Jay Webber

Pastor Neil Wehmas

Pastor Mark Weis

Pastor Sam Wellumson

Pastor Clayton Wilfer

Pastor Guillaume Williams

Pastor Alan J. Wollenburg

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Truck Stop Jewel -- Gloria (Reprise), David German (Conductor), Calvary Chancel Choir and Gloria Cast with Symphony Orchestra (Performer)

I like truck stops, the real ones, for real truckers. They have stuff, different stuff, stuff you don't see everywhere.

During Advent, they have cheapo Christmas CDs. I have bought dozens and dozens of them for two dollars and less over the years. Many of them are junk, but some are junque (note spelling to indicate better junk), and some are jewels.

Here I feature the reprise of the overture from one of my truck stop jewels. David German conducts the Calvary Chancel Choir and Gloria Cast with Symphony Orchestra. This is track 17 from Mistletoe Music's CD, ASIN: B0002YFU0Y.

If you don't see the audio player below this line, your browser does not support it. Click here.

You can get this truck stop jewel from the comfort of your own home, via Amazon, here.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Conversion: New Series of Four Articles

Brothers of John the Steadfast has published a series of articles by me on conversion.
The first article surveys the ample fund of Scriptural content showing that prior to regeneration, man lacks the reason or strength to believe in Jesus Christ or come to him. It shows the work of the Holy Spirit through the means of grace to bring sinners to contrition and faith.

The second article simplifies the complicated history of ideas about conversion through church history. It summarizes all the possible positions into a two-by-two arrangement. It uses graphic illustrations to make the subject even easier.

The third article focuses on Reformation churches. It discusses the unrelenting dispute between Calvinists and Arminians over free will. It explains how that really is a myopic dispute, because both sides in it are oblivious to the third way of Lutheran teaching. It shows how the structure of thought in Calvinism and Arminianism is the same, and only Lutheran teaching uses a different structure that delivers on the motto, sola scriptura.

The fourth article addresses a problem with the way we tend to think about the effects of sin: that spiritual death does not really mean death, but some figurative condition. That figurative, not-really-dead condition seems to leave us something we can do, and therefore must do, to cause our conversion to Christ. This error is the source of the monster of uncertainty, or a nagging lack of assurance of salvation, where we are uncertain of what we did for our conversion. The defeat of the monster comes from the Word and faith. By the Word and faith we see death as death both bodily and spiritually, so that there is nothing we can do for our conversion. By the Word and faith we see Christ alone raising us to life by his Word alone. We see him doing this both in resurrection and regeneration. The case of resurrection is used to help clarify the case of regeneration.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Make Sure You Enjoy Being in the Field on Your Way to Resurrection

Sidney Herald religion column published November 27, 2016

One spring when I was a teenager, my Dad injured his back. He landed in the hospital in traction. That left seeding the crop to me. Could I get it done? I doubted and dreaded.

When I got to the farmyard, before I knew what I was doing, I had climbed the windmill tower and surveyed the fields, then looked down at the grain drill. It was 16 feet. How was I supposed to cover those fields with 16 feet? Wouldn’t that take an eternity? Would I make it to the end?

After filling the drill with seed and fertilizer, I started for the first round. One glimmer of hope appeared. It’s been done before. I tried to keep that thought in front of me.

That night I visited Dad in the hospital to give the daily report. I was surprised how unconcerned Dad seemed to be. He even commended me on the acres I’d seeded. As I was stepping from his room to head home, he called my name. When I turned around, he said. “A lot of acres there.” “Yahh,” I exhaled. “Well,” he said, “just make sure you enjoy being in the field, round by round, because before long, seedtime will be over, and you’ll miss it.”

That gave me a lot to chew on. He was giving me assurance. As he had gone before me and seeded the farm in the past, I could follow. I too could seed the farm. He wanted me to have an assurance so strong that I could work in hope and joy, not in doubt or dread.

The Lord’s Word is like that, giving us assurance not only about seeding this year’s crop, but about our whole life, and our resurrections after our bodies die.

What will happen when we die? How can we be resurrected to eternal life? Our eyes cannot see any more than my eyes could from the top of the windmill tower. Our eyes see hundreds and hundreds of acres. Our eyes see a 16 foot drill. But God’s Word shows us what our eyes cannot see.

Just like seeding the farm, resurrection has been done before. Jesus has gone ahead of us into the resurrection. We can follow.

Paul writes, “God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.” (1 Corinthians 5:14) He writes, “If we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”  (Romans 6:5)  “He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.” (2 Corinthians 4:14)  “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11)

Jesus himself said, “Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.” (John 14:19)

As I was to enjoy being in the field, round by round, we also are to live our lives toward our resurrections with joy. Peter writes, “Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:8-9)