Full Text for Homiletical Studies (Text)

CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY Volume 50, Number I JANUARY 1986 Announcement ........................................ 1 The Suffering Church: A Study of Luther's Theologia Crucis.. ....... Robert A. Kelly 3 Assimilation of the Elde~ly into the Parish ................ Douglas E. Fountain 19 Theological Observer. ................................ .25 Homiletical Studies .................................. .3 1 Indices to Volume 49 (1985) Author Index .................................... 71 Title Index ...................................... 75 Subject Index. .................................. .77 Scripture Index ................................... 79 Homiletical Studies The "therefore" of verse 1 logically roots the justification of Paul's readers in that work of Christ which was appmprhkd by Abraham (chapter 14) through the same faith underscored here (w. 1-2). The pivotal emphasis on the peace which we even now (present tense) enjoy with God (v. 1) provides for Paul's development of the thought that even sufferings serve the Christian's larger pilgrimage (w. 2-5). The rich and multifaceted shalom of the Old Testament is undoubtedly in view with its broad implications of a right relationship with God and with the cosmos. An effellent article which surveys the scope of Biblical ''peacd' is that of H. Be& and C. Brown in the Dictionary ofthe New Testa- ment Theology, 2 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976), pp. 776-83. This context converts Pauline hope (v. 2) into a confident longing for that public display of God's glory which has already been manifest in the person and work of Christ. The hrture aeon had already sounded the end of the present futile age by the invasion of the kingdom of God. Whatever this epoch can serve up in suffering (v. 3). the one who has been justified perceives the partial and passing nature of its power. That new state of affairs which has been inaugurated in Christ will irrevocably and ineluctably exert its power on behalf of those whose hope has been sustained by the gift of the Holy Spirit (v. 5). The advent of the eschatological reality win not disappoint, but will confirm the enduring benefits of that grace in which Paul and his readers "now stand" (v. 2). GOD'S WORK IN CHRlST BAS BROUGHT ABOUT A NEW !TIM33 OF AFFAIRS I. Juvenal, the Roman satirist, stated: "The wise man, in peace, prepared for wad' A. The history of mankind-ancient, medieval, and modern-demonstrates Juvenal's point. 1. Caia's slaying of Abel has provided the paradigm for humankind. 2. Our techwlogical advances, far from aiding our quest for peace, have augmented our kiIling abZities and aggravated the threat of even wider destruction and death (eg., laser and nuclear technology). SL The hope of mankind-ancient, medieval, and modern-has been disappointed. 1. No political system has successfully engineered a penzianent peace (socialism, communism, capitalism). 2. No psychological program has diverted the destructive disposition of its subjects (Fromm, Freud. Rodgers). 3. No penon has presented a pattern of enduring peace, be he statesman, diplomat, or guru. 11. Paul the apostle to the Romans, announced an already achieved peas 32 CONCORDIA THEOUXiICAL QUAKTERLY A. This peace was accomplished in the person and work of Jesus Christ 1. The change in the cosmos is the direct consequence of its movemen1 from an unjust state to a state of justification before God. 2. This justified status bestows peace 3. This peace is freely given to that faith which is focused on Christ R This peace permits us to live as those liberated from the futility of falst hopes. 1. Christ's peace endures through the rise and fall of earthly kingdoms 2. Christ's peace abides through the ups and dawns of ow psychologica states 3. Christ's peace dispells the destructive force of our own HOL against God. 111. Christ's peace is that new alternative which St. Paul announced. A Every other option is worn out and has been found wanting. R As we live this new alternative of God's peace, the warring and dying world is declared "defeated" and called to a new hope. Dean bth€ SECOND SUNDAY AFi'ER PENTECOST Paul opens this famous epistle with an ex@tordinary effort to define his own apostolic identity and mission. He has been "sent not from men nor 'by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Fisther, who raised him from dead" (v. 1) Several current commentaries (eg., 0. Betz, GU*) have rightly focused 01 the clear conflict which is evident between Paul's claims and those at Galati; who we^ contesting his credentials and credibility. These studies also show tha Paul viewed such cfiallenges not on the personal level of trying to stake out hi own turf-he was only too happy to suffer hllmiliation if that would furthe the work (2 Corinthians 10-13)dut rather on the theological level of the Chqx itself. The effrontery that Paul faced was not a slap in his own face, but a direc assault on the Gospel of Christ which had been entrusted to him. Therefort whether it be Paul or ewm an angel who expounded another "'&' that alia -on is to fall under God's condemnation (v. 8). As the contours o ihis contest in the primitive church em- it is clear that segment of the corn munity was championing a return to such laws as circumcision in a manne which rendered "Christ of no value to you at all" (Cia 92). The rhetoric of Paul's opening admonition (% 6-10) is more than literar flourish! It is the appropriate language for a community on the we of aban doning its birthright The jmtaposition of Paul's gospel with the counterrlair (w. &7), the immediate appeal to eschatological condemnation of those wh propound it (w. &9), and the plea of Paul for a hear& (v. 10) all point t the watershed nature of the question for the apostle. Only by articulating tb God kemeck of am human tni can Paul remain a "servant of Christ (v. io)!; An hnkhg monograph on this very point is John H. Schutz's Paul and the Anatomy of Apostolic Authority (Cambridge. 1975). Homiletical Studies 33 THE DLSTINCTIVE NATURE OF THE G05PEL OF CRRIST I. Mankind, by nature, makes religious decisions. A. The choice to be a "good person" entails a larger set of assumptions about the meaning of our life R The decision to be a "hedonist:' "humanist:' "agnostiC:' or even "W' whetha consciously or unconsciously made, brings with it undemanding and perception of the world round about. I. Man is here today and gone tomorrow. (Eat, drink and be merry, for tomormw you die) ZManisthemeasureofallthings 3. None of us can Imow life's meaning. 4. There is such wil that God cannot &. 11. The religiosity of mankind is worn out. A. AU the ahnatives have been tried and found wanting (cf. Ecclesiastes 1-11). R The purportedly "new" options turn out to be the same old choices in new attire. 111. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is quab&wly different from mankind's digiosity. A. The Gospel is a gift. I. It is bestowed freely by God in its proclamation in Word and Sacrament. 2. It remaim a gift and aloof from any claim that it is merited. R The Gcrspel communicates the person and work of Christ. I. The Gospel frees us from the seif-decqhon that we can add to the work of Christ. 2. The Gospel bestrnws the benefits of forgiveness and faith apart from any quality inherent in us C, The mission of Paul his wry *ty, was hdisdubly intermbed with the characta of the Gospet D. As "sewants of Christ" with Paul we have beawe new creatures and forsaken the false gospels of our worn out religiosity. Dean Wenthe The goal of the sermon is that the hearer recognize the Gospel as divinely authoritatk The problem is that we prefer to listen to comfortable messages fromsouroeswithwhichweruecomfixtable Themeamtothegoalis that Gad )Fimseff reveals the message of salvation so we may derive- our comfort from it, and thus, from Him. 34 CY)NCORDIA THEOWGICAL QUAKERLY SbalockHdmcs~rrsJudekI~Zca,burcaumanagnofCh~Lnc, smzuned "Hypoaite!" at Paul d'rlpostfc Zn had hid Holm to hmdgatc d'Apostk on in-house charges of fraudnlart dabs Chansinshistont.Znwmton."Iwan.dofusatsometimehavenot lived consistently with tbe high stPedlprds of tbe firm. That's aprime caacm~ of miw. ttrhaps you'w gotten carried rway with this 'grace"' Paul rrspwded, "l'mnota'wcak~'insidtthe~ thqb Iusedto be a ficnx oppcwcnt outs* I openly eied to destroy it Yim trrachay siflens me because it's a pmtied-up vnion of what I was doing!' "What?", Zn mgal again. "Thc By prf own artrmsslMZ *. yw ilavm't been with the fum fnw its bqimkg! Whet mves a scum like you>' "Thc FoM' d'Apostlc said cwnly. ''Su~t, I was a scum, sod still am in manyways ~IwouIdn't havepdmittedtbat. Butnow I& beceusetbe Foundapasonallyldmeinon things. Ikarnedwhat agrcathesmemHe madetostarttbisfiTm.stillmore,HeahoaredmcthatHis~paidoff, -my-Thathit- AnditturasoutthatHe'dhdHis~ onmcdalone.NotontyWHendmchontbeaction,fieeofcharge; He wanted me to represent Him and offir the same dcal to sbangad' "This is m' ik told Holm '*Ask any member of my stafT. . !' "It doesn't amtter how many flmkks you am&' d'llpostk insistfd. "I've got tbe word straight from the top" "And you did not consul! anyone else. Mr. d'Apostk?" Holmes wondexd. "N4' d'Apostk said, "I spent the ncxt three ycers in a plact where nary a soul hd heard of the fm Only after that did I visit members of the boar#' "Ahyes.tbc~'intajededZa "My ~o~andIhavelong-srandin& affectionate ties with its members And what do you be?" "VirtuaUy nothing!' responded d'Apostk. "That's my point. I stoppod by the home offia for brief personal visit, but I only saw two board membed' "And you didn't try to get them to vouch for your activities?" asked ik. "The subject naw wen came up Ask m' &Apostle continued. "Then I travelled far from the homt of& and spent fourtea working in a new place. Would I have done that if I'd been using the board as a front? By tlk way,peopIereceivedme~adltherr.mnthoughtby~my~~' Homiletical Studies 35 Holmes concluded the intemo@on. The next day he announced his fM&p to zer, with d'Apostie present: "d'Apostie is telling the truth!' Za strunmged, "But my colkstgues and 1-a~ po- long- standing pasonaldo- good hskss szme-and it's our cok- tive word against his! How could you codudt against us?" "More elementary than most, this is a simple case of tlimination:' Holmes expIained. "I've checked &Apostle's story, and it holds up He consulted no one. Either what he says is sheer -, skx he himself has a stah in the venturc-01 he really has had an audiemx with the Founder. No ~m,motin;agqm,crimeWd,kILZa.IomonlysayI~t wanttobeinyoursboesifywcvawctthef;oumk2' Holmes tinned to d'Apostle. "Now, don't think I approve of this I too am a businessman. Giving your product away does show poor business Paul #Apostle said, "Holrnes, your argument is with the Founder, not me. Ywr conclusion that my message comes from Him will deligfit many people with whom I've dealt. But I'd hate to be m your shoes when you meet the . "Yes" Holmes mustged, "quite!' I Thewbrdfromthetopisamtbr&& - - Vt. A. In spite of imgm&e -- (aperiatg education, status). B Bccawitcomafromthe~~tyofall. 11. Thewbrdfromthetopisgmcious A. As in Wul's case (see 1 Co 15:8-la; Fhp 3:4-11; Ro 10M Eph 39-13). R As the "very ddinite Mbd of God . . . that He is no longer angry" (Apdogy TV:262, q.v.; the formal pixiple undagirds the material ~PW. Synergismin~onisasdangaousassymrgisminsah9tion! Ken Schurb Columbus, Ohio ThedthoughtofthetextisthatChristiansshoald~cvay~- ~0fsahaticwby~Thegoal0fthe~isthatthe~~ sorrjoicCinGod'sgractinChristthattbcyanmtnoehingto it. The problem is that art, m our wcahws do not live as paople saved by God's gract ThemeanstothegoalisthefullimpactofGod's "notgu3ty"verdict on us becau of Jesus' work. 36 CONCORDIA THEOUXilCAL QUARTERLY Intmdu&omR "The question of justification is an elusive hi&* Lutfrer said, "notinitself.. .butsofarasweareco~'(LW26.63).~~~ that the great apostle Peter could send such deceptive signals about this all- important matter. In utter humility, then, we examine THE MOST EIUSIVE REALITY 1. As far as we are cmxemed, justification is most elusive A. Though we know better, we often make ChrManity out to be essen- tially a matter of good conduct. I. This seems to make our religion pmdical. 2. It seems not to ~lieve us of our msponsibility to wnd to God. R If Christianity is good conduct, ane can look to others for appmval But we fear not getting it (v. 12). C. When desire for approval motivates us, ane fall into hypogisy and core- promise the Gospel (see v. 13 and compare FCSD W16) D. If we compromise the Gospel, a~ cannot have its power (see v. 14a). 11. In itself firm and sure, the dty of justification takes hold of us A. The sinner is righteous on account of Christ. 1. W are rightems not by works (good conduct), but through faith in Christ (v. 16). 2. Our goodness fails as much as anyone's, yet in God's view our sins are came& else Christ would be a servant of sin (v. 17). In Him our justification (God's approval of us) is a. Complete (2 Sm 12:13b; Ps 85.2-3; 1 Jn 13; see Apology XV:l2). b. Constant (Ps 321-2; Is 4323 Ro 8:l; see Apology W317). 3. Effecriively speakin& only unbekf can harm us It Tejeds Christ and returns instead to the condemning law (v. 18). R The dead livz in Christ. 1. There is no reason to go back. In Christ we have died to the law (dia nomou, v. 19 ' Jesus' active and passive obedience) and live, with Him, to God. 2. He lives in us. V& receive our life from Him by faith (v. 20a). a. He "removes and absorbs all the evils that torment and afflict me*' (Luther). b. He empowers spiritual lie: "'Paul is dead! 'Who then is living?' 'The Christian'" (Luther). 3. The basis of His edmion-also in our hearts and lives-d His for us (v. 20b; see 1 Jn 410). C. The "Defeated One" is glorified: Christ Himself. 1. There is every reason to stay with Christ's grace. Its glory consists in His death, which cannot fail to provide us righteousness (v. 21; see Jn 1223). 2. The highest way to worship Christ is to avoid nullifying His or belittling His death (see Apology IV154, which comments on Lak 7:3&50). This is practical in the best sense. Co~SheepdfromaburningbamoftenmbacLiototheflameg We are the sheep of God's pasture (Ps 10133). Why run to the law? Instead, we "enter His gates with thanksgiving;' for "His steadfast love endures forever" (~s 1m4 ~r 5). Ken Schurb HomileticaI Studies 37 A~~wan~ by meonthetollro;sdflauntingapro~t rearbrnnperarhichsaid, "SpendiagourLids'~Boastingof ourtem- poral~pIeasuresill~whatSt~meaimbythelawoftheflesh. Sinceournra&riali9ticappetitescan~be~and~war~ our private and social bestinterests, theb of Mt. !&mi wasgivenus asa discipharim to restrain us from self&tmction. But neither the greedy pas- sions of our flesh nor the law given to restrain us can em provide for us the break-thmgh to eternal salvation. Only the God-given inheritance of Christ's ~grscecancreateofus PEOPLE wrm A I'lmMsE 1. Rehm as sons of God (v. 26). A. Ptoplewitha-saetheiroriginaset.Jeatedbythdr- ly -- B People with a promise see their relationship to God enhancing life. H. Clothed with Christ (v. 27). A. People with a pnwnise fmd identity in the fact that thq are in a saving relaticwshipwithGodthrwghChrist. B ~withapromisefindmoti~andassuriincethroughtherobe of Christ's grace I. They know that by grace through faith they are properly clothed for theweddingbanguctof God'sSon. 2. Theyaremotivatedtosbaretheirdotbeswiththosewhoareneedy, thus -their faith and k IIL BaptkedintheSpirit(~.n)~ A. People with a promise are washed clean of unrighteoumes I. Tbe water of baptism washes away sin and assures us of forgiveness. 2. Tbe word of baptism miraado& creates and sustains faith within ~wetrustinthesavingpromiseofthe~t. R Reople with a promist are born again into the kingdom of God. IV. JlMcified by iaith (v. 24). A. Ptople with a promise are given the justifying righteousness of Christ as a gift. I. Tbeymlongaenduretheshadowofthearstodian, thehw,towony tbanabouttkir~on. 2. Tbey have the glorious liberty of the children of God with an in- haitamz which is hmmptibk. R Wople with apmmise are given the gift of faith and are assured of the - hme V. Unified in freedom (v. 28). A. Ptople with a promise are feed from divisive and @uic pre- judices in order to move toward the inclusive unity in Christ's kingdom. CONCORDLA THEOLlXilCAL QUAKI'ERLY R bple with a promise are freed from oppressiw bondages for servant- hood among the friends of Jesus. C. Pbopkwithapromkamfreedfnanthestparatinginterpmationsof sexist sew for ommess as bmtkrs and sisters in the family of Christ. 1. Sexists mate. dkmmghg separations of men and women. Z Christians edify, law, and help om another in the family of Christ. Condusjo~~' Witbwt the savkrg grace of Christ prochimed to Abraham, we hrm w promist promis& inhaitana of salvation is not something we uun, mw is it something which om be taken away from us by a selfish genera- tionofpkarmro~peopkwhodonot~~withtkfuture (the~&aprrssedbythetravd~'s~bumpa).'Lbemostprecio~~ . . ~wfiich~becmmmnicatcdw~istbatwcarrs#rucasthedivimfy destined peopk with a pmmkc of satvation. Harold H. Zietiow caelbm4 kl, l3-2!! St. Paul E " ed the vast con- between the life of bondage to self- dcstructi'~~ fled& psshs on the om hand, and the wmtruaive fruits of the Spirit on the othg had God gave us the rigorous stnrcture of the law to con- strain the explosive passions of the fksh. Christ came to free us from bondage ~carnalviccsand~~usforthcpositivepurposeofbtaringthe wnstru&ve fruits of the Spirit. LIVE THE IdFE OF FaEEIWlM I. Which was won for us by the ObaikMX of Christ. A. He was put to death for our trespasses and rosc again for our justifica- tion (Ro 4-29 -u) R In his actbe obedimce, Jesus served as our model for a life of freedom in aadancc to the win of the Fatha. "For though I am free from all men, I hrm ma& myself a slaw to all, that I might win the more" (1 Co 919). (Cf. also htha's paradox on freedom and servanthood) 11. Which ddkrs.fmm thc destnrctin "passions of the flesh" (v. 24). k Deliwmncc from rtligious anas (sins taward God) such as idolatry, witcbcraft,andhae9ics, R Deli- from hnic physical vices such as fornication, licen- tiousucs,andtbmkmas c. Ddbmmxfrom-anti-dvices&ashatred,strif+and wousy. 111. Which puts us in line for the fruit of the Spirit (v. 25). A. Frrc to bear fruit especial& derived from the Gospel. He& Studies 39 I. kofGodkenactediaourlifeoffrtedom.~eImofGodfor usandourlove~GodandmanisPrplaimdin ICorinthiaos 13.) 2. Joy is clcprrssed as rejoicing baaue of God's grace has been good toward us, in spite of worldly ahmtws . . 3. Race is received fmm God as a fruit of the Spiit amidst worldly strifeand~ve~~~k.~~composuninthestress of a challenging vocation and the limits of earthly life. R Free to bear fruit in our social &onships. 1. E$tiemrcompsasafruitofthcSgirit,cxnmanagcof~ted ~dfiustrationanddoffnzffivtstrrss. Z Kin- has been shown to us in the saving mercy of Christ, which motivates us to bear fruit in kindnaJ to one another. 3. EaithNness and loyalty are shown by those who haw a saving rela- tio~toGob 4. GoodnessisthefmitofthcSpiritshownbythc~andcharacter ofthcsinnerchaogodbytherighteoumxsof Christ. 5. Metkwss is the fruit of the Spirit marked by modesty and humility, &nun by those who win intrait the earth. 6.Self-contrdisnadsedovathc~0ll~ofthefleshdirrctingrhis fruit of the Spirit tcrarard an edifying life-styk which gbrifm God. C~M&&OIL' St. Paul dcsaii what it means to be slavcs of the flesh or ser- vantsoftheSpirit~~ftheflcshare~~dbydestruaivcvices.Scr- vantsofChristare~byfiuitsofthc~~whith~positive,con- structive, and fulf!i The Chrktbu faith and ethic are not vague or imprac- tical, but urge us to launch out into action. to live the life of freedom. The~Panl'sgu~posesiawritinghis tocrpposcthefalsetcafhingsoftheJ- notfiecmenfromthe~butcameodytoconfirmitstegcttingandaccentu- atcthc~whichthelm~ thecklatkstothe Bospdwhichthyhrdfust~-the pel of justificatkm by the free grace of God-shply rhrough faith in Christ. Howwtr, as Martin Franzmann writes, "The f& given to the man in ~does~%bsolvehimof~~forhisaEtiom;~ithcightms that~~.Man~sllwwhaththaJrrcrpedGadarinholdhim~- able for what be has in his medom dooe with the gift of the Spirit" (The Word 0frkutiGrorrs;p 59) Intrrwttrctro . . * n.Aspeop%who arethersdpientsof God's free gift of sahrsr- tion, Chrrstlans have much for which they &odd be thaddd. Thy also havt 40 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY the mpomi to share this gift with ottters, both in word and in deed. In thismoroing~~theApostleraul~~us~saggcstionsforputting wrfaithintoadion. I. T%e child of God bears the bardens of a fakm b&k (w. 1-5). A. He does so in a spirit of (w. 1-2). 1. Thechildof GodwiUadmonishafaIlQltnothainammiuutcr (v. la) beoruse 2. The child of God knows that he, too, is swqti'bk to -on (v. lb). R He does so in a spirit of humility (w. 3-5). 1. The child of God mmgr&s his own faults (v. 3). 2. Thechildof Godmustbearhisornnhrdenof~i(w4-5). 11. The child of God provides support to a fellow-bmtb (w. 6-10). A. A Christian supports his kaders (v. 6). 1. He supports than with his gifts 2Hesupportsthemwithhistovedprayps. R A Christian's support will be sown to the Spirit and not to the. flesh (w- 7-8). 1. The Lord will know the difference between that which is sown to the Spirit and that which is sown to the flesh (v. 7a). 2 Sowing to the flesh will reap cormption (v. 8a). 3. Sowing to the produces its orwn harvest of eternal life (v. 8b). C. A Christian's support shouM be unselfishly gim (w. 9-10). 1. It does not gmw weary in well-doing (v.9). 2 It looks for mxy opportunity to be of senice (v. 10). 111. The child of God glories in the cross of Christ (w. 14-16). A. The cross of Cfirist is the sole mestns of salvation. 1. Neither cimmckion MW lmcinwncision brings man into EdVW with God (v. 1% cf. Ga 5:l-12). 2. Christ alone, through His e@atory suffering on the cross, pnxwes eternallife R The cross of C~L CL- in man a new attitude toward the world (v. 14b). l.The~~~Ldis~Cifiedtothe~i~,itlosesitS~on,itS powx, and its influenrz. 2. The belkver is crucified to the wor& ie, the world regards him as dead. C. The cross of Christ brings blessings to the believer (v. 16). 1. It brings the blessing of peace. 2. It brings the biasing of mercy. C~neIlcs~on' As people of God living in the freedom of the. Cospd let us gladly "bear another's burdens, and so Nfffl the law of Christl' Ronald I& Rochester, Michigan Homiletical Studies 41 Paul gives thanks for the Cokrssians' faith and love (w. 3-4) grounded in their hestvenly hope (v5). The Gofpd not a local perverrion of it, had pro- ducedthishope'inthan,andthissameGospelwas~~itspower wherever it was being peed in the world (v. 6). Having reminded them (v.7) thatthqrhadheardthe~ofthegraceofGodfromPaul'shelpaE~ from whom Paul had in turn heani of the Colossians' love (v. 8)' Paul informs the Colossians (v. 9) of his continuing prayer for them that they would grow in the knowkedge of this Gospel so that they would not be ensnared by false ~but~havtthe~toctisaiminatebel\aeenthefalseandtnre and to grasp the relations in which things stand to each other- Such spiritual wisdomandunderstandin& centeringin theChristwhom theGospelrweaIs. issue in right practice (v. 10). It is God FiIhseIf who supplies the power to lead a life pleasing to Him and to persist in so doii with patient joy. With God stren%thening them the Coiossbs would be able to lead lives of continual huksgiving to the Father for the great things He has accomprished through HisSon,forredemption,~d&~fromdarlness.andqualifica- don of a he;tveniy inhaitance (w. U-14). hibUdflEtiOA'Intrialsweapprec$teImowing~f*Christiansa~epraying for us Intemxory prayer supjmrts and sustains us. It is important to pray for each other and not only in times of trial The greater the number of Christians praying at other times to4 the greater the opportunity for the power of prayer to be sham. Implicit in Paul's prayer for the Colossians is an exhortation to us: I. That they dd grow in their knowledge of the Gospel. k As the message that amounces our deli-ce from the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of God's Son (v. 13). 1. Cfirist secured our I.edemption (v. 14). 2 Ctnist assures us of foq&mes (v. 14). 3. Through Christ God has qualified us for a heawn& hkitame (v. 12). B. Gmwing in the howledge of the GospeI is to be filled with the knowledge of God's gracious will (v. 9). I. This knowledge is not merely intellectual. 2 SpirituaI wisdom and un-ding are needed-the knowing of faith (v: 9). K ThatthqwouldexperiencethepoweroftheGospel. k As the message which enables us to walk in a manner worthy of the hd (v. 10). 1. The mom we live in the Gospel the more we are able to love one anotbx (w. 4, 8). 2 The more we live in the Gospel the mom we are able to bear fruit in every good work (v. 10). 42 CONCORDIA THE0U)GICAL QUARTERLY R As the message which strrngtbars us witb divine pwc. 1. 'Zbeodmc~~mbrisgswithpsttiavrandpy(v. 11). 2. 'lb give thanks always to the Fathr and for each other (v. 3). Corrdusion.LetusalwaysmforafdlcrwChristians RkbaKgmtthings for which to ask. Tbe~whkhimm6diatstypreaQthispaicope(Cd 135-20)antaupon Christ-Hispcrsorl,Hisposition,andHiswortInthe~bcT~~~USREUl sptakstohisreadersabouttheefktChrist's~andwsrlrsfiouldbnn ~pontbeifkRegarrtingtbacvasr~(Cd1A-18)Lcnskistatar: *NohW& arorthPt~~theWOTtoftheGod-mmoritscffedontheworldof natun om find lodgement whae the God-man and the mighty eff- of his blood and his cross arc known (v. 15-20). From object- aatfsmt Paul turns tosub~u~t0theeff~crqrcriewrdbyhisRedOrsl'~Tk I- of St. Ads Ep&h to the Cbbshs, to the 72- to Tiothx to Tim rmd to Philanon, p 68.) Inf?uduccfiorc. In taking upon Zfimedf fksh. Christ bezame our servant in &tosawus H~ourLorddidnotsavleustora~~finactivity~ Rather, webavebom SAWED I0 SERVE I. Christ bbcame a servant that we might be d (w. 21-23). A. At om time our awdition wrrs bopekss (v. 2l) 1.RkwcrcestrangcdfromGod. 2.RkwathogtiLtoarardGad. 3. Rk kmw only cvil deck R Through Christ we baK been rumncikd to God (v. 22). 1. This- . . Was~byChrist*~dcathontbt~ 2Thisr#rwcitiationbasmadtusholy*MamcfesqandirrrpnwchaMt in God's !si&L C. Inordato~our~wemust~ucsteadfastinthefaith (v. 23). 1.~0urheartsaIKlmindsontheGosptl 2. TheGospdisouronlyhopcforsalvationandtheonlynopeofaII QauurrsundallcavuL 11. Rk wat saved that wc might beawtt Christ's servants (w. 2428). A.Christmaksuswillingtoendunsuffging(v.24). 1. Rk Rjoicc m our suffering for Christ's satL 2. Mk parlidpate in Christ's suffering as a rrsult of the world's toward His follwrs. 3.Wksuffaforthe~ofChritt's~ R AsChrist's~~~itisour~dpriviltgctosbarrthe"~" of the Gospel (w. 25-28). 1. Thc Gospel bas been medal to us by faith. 2.ThcGadpiismeantforrcvd;ltirmtoollmantind 3.TheGospd~h~the~0fgbry- 4.The~ofChristwinleadnrcnintodtNahandrnesentthem before God My d MPmdns (cf. v. 22). Ckdusbc Thc uork of FavingGodis mvaaneasytask WrtasChrist.~ ~wedonot~~Wlivcmhopc,thehapeofglorywhichwiIlbe ours,beorust~[=hristwehaKkcnsavad ThcbaptismaltheologyertprasedbySt.Igulthroughouthiswri~pro- vides for tbe Christian a great source of strength and cllcouraggmnt, Luther ~"Thatisonearthm,grraterdortthen~*Thispaicopeof- fas the anexcdlmtopporhrnitytosbarcthemegningof as itern~thecontemporaryChristianforhifdailywalk. I~Aimksswandaas--thatiswbatmany~it~~eafto betodayinoursocietym,dircction,nopurpose,msolktbpsisfoflivingAt times~b~allofuse~naskthequestion,"Whcrrisfife~mc?"In themidstofthequ&oning~GoodNcws;mJesmChristarearr I. Manywandainlifeduetotheconfusingrrodcontradiaorydirrctions offered in our FlporZd A. Some seek direction for their Lives through a philosophy that is based on^^. 1.Moncyappearstooffasacurityand~rrot 2.Moneydoesaot~therealqucstionsoflife 3. Moneywry~tlyfaibr,aswes~inthedonofrrccnt Y-= R some haK no real direction in their lives because they live by a phirosoplly that says "satisfy tbe d' 1. Thc media's many voices constantly tempt us to satisfy our own desirrs first. 2 Suchamhy-othasdlcavlcsonc&mwithoutrrp ~ ~ provat or support. 3. On account of the fickle nature of humankind, "satisfadon" is a changing thing found hi new higk How much is enough? 44 CONCORDLA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY 11. Life that is rooted and united in Jesus Christ is life that has meaning and direction, today and for eternity. A. Humans will be nothing more than wanderers until their purpose and direaion are found in their God. 1. GodhasrevealedHimselfandHiscare fortheindi~intheper- son aod minisCry of Jesus Christ. 2. Knowing Jesus Christ is to know life and its fullest meaning. Jesus hasdemonstrated~tobethe90~~aoflifeinHisrenrrrection. B. The Christian is a partaker of Jesus' life, and all of its merits, as he or she is united into Jesus Christ through the waters of their baptism. 1. In baptism they are united into Christ, His death and remurection. They are partakers of His victory, partakers of His life, coheirs of His Father. Life has meaning because heaven is our destination. 2. 'IhmegninglesexistenwoftbeMuaiisputW.Anewbegin- ning is made by Ws creative grace. Thae is true satisfaction as God empowers us to give and to serve, replacing the anptiness of self-service. 3. A new life is created through bqtkn. A life that has meaning and direction because of its attachment to Jesus Christ. Christ's mis- sion becomes our mission. C. The baptized believa is more than a wanderer because in Jesus the way is laid and the life is secured. Com&&om "Where is life leading me?" The life that is found in union with our Savior is hdhg us throught the current struggles to the eternai arms of a loving and waiting Heavenly Father. Wm. G. Thompson Utica, Michigan ELEWDNH SUNDAY MTER Pm This text and the message it yields complements well the amtent of the ser- mon offered in this journal for the preceding week. One's life has meaning only as the person is united to Jesus Christ, His life and merit. The manner in which the individual actually exercises his union in Christ will be seen in his or her day-today conduct. The one to whom life's true meaning has been revealed in Jesus-that parson's spiritual vision should be set on the heavenly realm. The priorities of his life should reflect this new higher relationship. Znfrod&n: Last week we spoke together of the meaningful life-we are "more than wanderers." We have a direction for our lives. Today we con- tinue our consideration of the meaningful life confident that we can and are Homiletical Studies 45 LIYING IN TAE AWARENESS OF OUR DESTINATION I. Our new life in Christ permits us a new view of living. A. One's priorities for life and the resulting wnduct reflea a person's udmtanding of the direction his or her life should take 1. If life is found only in the current moment, then self-gratification is adequate to provide a fulfilling life 2. If life's fuIfiUment is to be reached by the acquisition of tangibles, then one should dedicate his energies toward building monuments that serve as milestones, measuring his progress. 3. If life's ultimate fidfihent is correctly understood, it is to be found in Jesus Christ alone Therefore, the individual who has such understanding in faith should dims his or her energies toward foster- ing his relationship with the Savior. R The conduct of those who have been granted new life in Christ should be a reflection of Him and His love active in them 1. New life in Jesus would suggest that the believer would strive to put away thoughts, words, and actions that were assmhxi with the former life, rodblochs to our destination. 2 New life would also suggest the positive striving for those things that -force and better equip us for the life's journey we all must woe. T-- The journey to our final destination, God's eternal kingdom, may seem to be more tban we can aammplish. The life of the believer has often bem compared to walking the narmw path, while the path of the world seems to be wide and easy. However, we must never forget that the path our Lord sets before us, tfiough it be narrow, is clearly marked. He has promised us the energy to complete the journey and has Himselfjxecdai us on the trail to remove the barriers and open the gates that we might arrive at our destination safe and SOlllt& 11. Christ Jesus does all that is necessary so that we can complete the journey. A. The word shared with us through the prophets and apostles clearly def- the path God desires His people to walk. 1. Rk see in the life of Jesus the love, commitment to His heave& Eather, and perfect obedience to God's will that should be the goal of eacb of us, ahhough we recognize how irnwed our efforts win be 2. In the Law, God's statements of yes and no, guidelines are offered for our thoughts and actions, even as Paul records many in this periwpe. R Rk lk in the resurrection of Jg~s Our new He fd in His life granted tousthroughfaithistheenergysourceneededforustoprwailclver all~encounteredinourtravel. 1. JesusimprrrtstousHismeritsasweareunitedtoHiminour~ tism,grantingtoustherebythemasaryenergythroughHisSpirit to turn away from the easy path of destruction and choose the nar- rowpathoflize 2 Jesus forgives our sin and removes our guilt, He tifts fhn us the heavy burden of our wrongdoing that we may not be detained or destmyed along the way. 46 CONCORDIA THEO~ICAL, QUARTERLY 3. Jesus@wattheFatbg'sr@thand, Stinovasaeingandremain- inginvofvedmourstrussk,~usthatanenevcrtravrlalone ThcLurd~hasmaf.kthe~c%arbyHisowndeatband 1. JcgushasHimselr~thepath.Hehastorndowntbebarrier of sintbu&HispatectlikHehasopadtbelocL#lgateof death byHismzmm&m.Hehascaeandtheway. 1 Jesushasdonealltbatisneccssaryinordathat,whentheroUis ralled,ywandI willbetbactosay, "Bytbegraccof GodIarnhcrP' Wm. G Thompson utica, The faah tbam of Hebrews 11 really begins at 1036. whem it is shown that faSthinHcbrcwsisthesameasthehrithstressbdbyPaulinRomans1:17(Hab 24) and Rwrans 43 (Gn 15a Faith is trust in the God who pronouwed ma0 righ~forChrist'ssate.Thc~inHetnews11a~e~ts dwrdclsforustoIdfaithhovtits~in1lsHcbrews11isan~on of what is taught beginning in 1039 and continues in 121. Eaitb is Befioed as tbe "su~' or "co-' bthind our hopr, the "-' or "am- ~*'ofwhtt~bessrnwiththenairedyrHenct,~and~ suggest that "faith is the title-deed of tb@s hoped for" (pp 659660). J. Mof- fat cm Baday)givcsthisQfinito~~ it is (1) belief in God against tbe world (cf. Shadnrcfi, Mehch, and Abed-wok (2) belief in tbe spirit against the senscs;k,tbedthingsannotmaterialbutspiri~and(3)bdicfintbe future against the prscnt (cg., Ibsdick once said tbat Nero conkmed Paul todeathyleaniago;astimeppssed,hawcvcr,m+ndtheirsoosPaulandtheir dwF -1- Thchgoesgl~a~ethasewhorrfusedtbegrcatwssoftbew~~~for thetrue thy~thesafety0f~seauityandMthdr livsontbe~ofGod.~~themright.Therearee~~npks ~inanrentcvrentscataintyinourinunediateforefathers,who~ to America, built cha schooh and charities, and immediate& proce&ed tothe follodationof missions, Thcscdef old shawtbatmencanstill live m the sm&k of God's f!avor d can aammplish great deeds. Morwwer, thyshawthatourfaithcanbemldedbytbecxamplerofothersandthatthese otkswaltedinthestcpsof tbe Pioneerandkfecterof faith, JesusChrist (122). An~tal~butsignificant. istheepkk1~0logyin~3: By faah vw accqrt and "how" an ex Wo don, not because of scientific or empirical evidenc~ but because faith accepts the Wrd of God. Intmductiox Faith is the supreme characteristic of the Christian. Faith is not a passive thing nor a theoretical quantity, but it is a power that looks for- THE FAlTE OF ABRAHAM L In Abrabam me sec how faith begins. kGod*sgraccdmysprcceBsfrrith. 1.~issupportingthebiblicalQpicti0noftheidokuroas ~inwhichAbrahsmmraisedandfromwhichhe~ - (cf. Halleg, P 9.3. Z God*s~whichcanbdAbraturm"gom**isistbemmoreamaz- ins (v- 8)- B. God's call to sinnas is always aaxrmpitnicd by His grace 1. Jesus'arordsbadtheprrwatodfedwbatitasked(e.g., Jo 1:35ff; Mt 9-9; Lk 195). Z The call bas always been "to leave and to fotlow" (cf. Ps 45:lO). 3. Gad'sgraabascalbdandkep&usintbcfaith(cf. 'LhirdAmclsSC.). U In~meseetheaLdmanctoffaith. kOnlythedofgnrcgaidedAbhm. l.He"obcg#l ... andarentorrt,notUrphithahewcnt"~. 8)nithoutmaps,pidurrs,ianvcgsoftheplaathathewastoinhent. ZE~n~thesarrescaIlit~~isconfidmtintheWnd(v. 1). a 'LhrfeithtaLesthesemcsaprivtaodsepanrtes~sfranthc~. b ~fPahbearfnrrc~~I~tothc%uice"ofGod.Sud~trustgbrifics Go& R The"in-bamgltiws"arcanadvmhut 1. Lhgas and deprivations beset Abmham+~nly a portable tent, in hostiktaritory. 2The~arat~forAbrahamrHempomisad postgity,butbut~isis~faithdilaIIdkhandk~ tion (w. 11-12). 3. It is difficah to "WW* CSUI wbea it is waiting ou the Lord (Ps 27:14.; rn #3). 4.Sarahconceivedandhopesaacreelizcd. C. ~amliviagin"'in~times" today. I. In the ''saadf* of om amforts me d reminding that me are strangers and pilgrims in the diaspora (1 Pe 1:lf). 2 By4'notknow&"nhacmearcBOingandbyfollawingtheWbrd weranainopcntoGod's~ III. InAbrahammesecthedoffaith. A. Abrahamsawtbecomfartsoftbcebesider,thctwoflightstoEgypC andspecianythcconmtendtosaaificeofhisawnson"**hisfaith (Ps 73.2-3). B. TIE chastariag of the Lurd is a purifying force (He 123ff). c.Thegoal~alwaysclcartoAbmhamtheCityof God@. lO),the w coontry tV- 16). D. A11 the saints of old "received" the pmnise.. ." (v. 13). 48 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUAEERLY Conclusion: Like a ship or airplane captain. Christians soon d a "point of no return!' As Chrishans we look only forward and upward, never back to the land we left. By faith we dare, we ventme, and we finally win, by the grace that God supplies. "Therefore" (v. 1, NASB) connects the text dkdh to the immediately preceding chap&, the doud of witnessesw (v. 1) referring to the heroes of faith descri*Ld in cham 11. These witnesses arc adduced to encowme the Hebrew Christians in thkir Christian race In the GTeek the is a &on between "encumbrance" and "the sin which so easity eutangh us" The only way to run the race with endurance is to fu one's eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Jesus is the one who makes faith possible, for by our baptism into Him, into His death and resdon, we have been placed in the race which He has already pioneered ad won. He will dy lreep us to the glorious end. But Jesus is presented also as our example in the race; He endured dreadful hostility by sinners and ys, keeping the final outcome before Him, His glM~cation at God's right hand, He persevered in carrying out His saving task. The Hebrew Christians had not yet had to resist to the point of martyrdom m their Cfuistian race (v. 4). They uere faltering in the race, not only because they were failing to fu thdr eys on Jesus, but also became they had forgotten the exhortation which explained God's purpose m disciplining His own (w. 45). God is dealing with each of His childreo as a wise and loving FatherwhomustfrequentfyctisdptineHischikL Theauthor comparesourearth- ly fathers' discipline to that which God meets out. reminding us that as we mpectd our fathers, so must weresped our Heavenly Fattier (v. 9). Ikipline is newer joyful (v. 11). Only afterwards do we see how it yielded peaceful fruit of righteousness, righteousness manifested in fm reliance on the goodness of God who spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all and who thereforewillgive usall thingsthataregoodforus,alsointhewayof discipline Infroduetion. Scripture often compares the Chtistian life to an athletic con- test in the form of a race (Cia 55'; Php 3:14; 2 IItn 49). The text uses the race image to remind us I. When we remember the witnesses A. There are many witnesses 1. Both in the Old and the New Testament (He 11). 2. W are not alow in the race The number of Christian runners is large also today. Homiletical Studies 49 BTbeirwitnessisenco& 1. The witnesses of Hehem 11 experid some of the same encum- bran- and sins as we (v. 1). 2 E8y faith they were able to lay aside hindrances (v. 1; He 11). 3. We can lkwise lay aside hindrances by means of a faith which lets us dkthgukh between the pennawnt and the impermanent, the heavenly and e. 11. When we submit to the kther's dkipliw. A. It is diflicuh to submit to disdpline (v. lla). I. When sickness and troubles come we can begin to think like Job that Godhasbecomeanenemy. 2 We may m rebel against God B It is important to accqrt the Father's discipline I. Disdpl& testifies to the Father's deep love for His children (w. 5-9). 2ByHis~pliwGodhasmtemporalandeternalgoodinview. 3. Sobmission enables us to experience that good (w. 10-11). 111. When we fix our eyes on Jesus A. As the supreme example of endurance in the raoe 1. Christ endured much worse suffering than we will be requid to en- dure (w. 3-4). 2 kt He perserered for us by keepii the final jay in view (v. 2). B Abave all, as faith's enabler- 1. He authored our faith when in baptism He started us in the race 2 He wiIl perfect and finish what He has begun. Co~oti We can persevere in our Christian race when we remember the witnesses, submit to the Fatha's discipline, and fix our eyes on Jesus. Gerhard Aho m- SUNDAY AFl-ER PENTECC)GT This tart points to the awaome experiences once associated with the giving of the Law on Mount Sin& and then it reminds Christians of the more awesome privileges associated with the Gospel. A new equation comes out of this Letter to the Hebms, namely, the ~~ that arsue horn the Gaspel are greater than those which the law en& Henry Halley points to the summary thought of 1026-1= ''TIER has been ollt muiFke for sin. There will newr be another. Wh- will not avail himself of what Christ has done for him on the cross may as well make up his mind to say good-bye to God forever, and go his own way, and suffer for his own sin" (p. 654). bple tda~ need to be reminded of the thnrst of Hebrews, namely, tbat despising the Gospei is really more serious than despising the Law. h~m A slogan on Indiana's license plates "Wander Indiana!" It is aniwitationto tollriststoenjoy HoosmaHospitality. Ourtext ted HHebrews 12iwitesustowander 50 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUAKTERLY I. This journey haills both fear and faith. A. Ancientlsradf&greatfcaroftheb~Godwbnvealed~w Sinai (w. 18-21). R Modan pilgrims on this journey still fd great fear of the holy God whoreKalsM1FinthewarningsandRbukesoftheh.TbeLaw shoutsoursio,stirsupsinwithinus,and~slaysus(RoW-U). C. TbeGospelhealsaudnouristiesus(w. 2224). 11. ThisjourneywaspLanmdandpreparedbyJesus A. Moses led Id to Sinai in zrcoordaeoe with God's plan. R Jesus,theMediatoroftheNew~isthePioncerwhoprepaTed and compkted the jMlrny for us (He el-3). 1. Tbe active and passiw obcdicnct of Jesus is outlined in the explana- tiwoftheSeoondArticlcofthe~intheSmaIlCatechism. 2. WhattheMedisltorof theNmvRstamtmhasprepadHegivest0 us (v. 24). 111. The journey involves both privileges and mponsibilities k Our pri- (w. 2223) are a present possesion already. 1. hare come to the City of the Living God (v. 22a), a spW fellowship. 2 You have come to the assembly of the fkt-bom who are enrolled in beawn (v. 231). the whok communion of saints and angels. 3. ~~comet0God,theJ~ofa~(v.Ub).'ThisGodwhojlEdges in Mt. Zion is macifol long-suffeiiog, and kind. 4. You haw come to the spirits of just am made perEd (v. 23c). Even thesahtsofthe0ld~twhowaited forthefullnessof time in Christ are all with God in the hemenly JQusalem (He 1&14; 11:40). 5. Youhavecometo JeslytheMediatorof aNmvlWament, andto the blood of sprhkkg that speaks more graciously than the blood of AbeI (v. 24). Jesus' work is completed for us The Gospel is His will and testamew It is not a contrect (-), in which the stipula- tions might change Tbe "blood of sprinkbg" is the application 0fHiswOrktoourk R Ow -i are also a wt possession already. 1. Continue in the W that warns of the dangers of growing weary and fainthtarttd, and men of mating to Mount Sinai. 2. Ra ~thatwearetheNewIsad.0urobligationstoGodhave allbeenfulfi&dbyJcsusChrist,theonce-fa-alIsadiceKeepyour eyes fixed on the King in Zion! Homiletical Studies 51 The text encourages the hearer to Mop a life style that is in direct opposi- tion to the cultural pattern of our modem society- "Independence" and "in- dividuality" are the haharks of America today. The Biblical and secular understanding of these two words have little in common. The world views "in- &pemhcef' as freedom from something. God views it as freedom for something. The world views "individuality" as life for oe, God views it as life for othm I-Heatthwareadimeadtmenm.Onalmostewystreet one sees joggers Health dubs are L every aty. Prime bodies in prime minds is a national business. Why? Its, health is a concern today, and God intends that our bodies be in shape; but there is anotha and dark skk to this na- tionaltrendTheancientGreekshaditintheirgamesd~--thebody~ and the philosophy of hamanism, the araltatron of the man hbdf and his reach for fulfillntent, to taste the limits of life How does the Christian faith adh the concerns for today's reach for INDEPENDENCE AND IND~~ I. Cuiture and FuEdbent A. Independence from all restraint is the world's view of freedom. 1. Nahual man seeks to be free from control by God or man. 2. Nahual man in his self-defmed, self-chosen imfependence believes heisintouchwith~(~.9).Ourcul~seeksfulfilmentin liceme~'if it feels good, do it!" Morality in the biblical sense is ar- chaic, outdated, irrrIwant. "I am 'god'; therefore I m& my own moralst;rmlard,myawn~ous~' R Indivibdity is the standard for 1.Secular-mcrvesmanintotheccnttrsof theuIlivase(Ih4)- Natural man's paception of fnlfillment Zinrrlly ccntcrs on the in- dividual's llmkmndinn of life 2. Individuality for modern man lmdermines re.lationships with God and man (v. 4). Marriage for the pagan is no pennarrent bond; the marriage bond is only one of many relationships that are not necessary. 'he* "I"sedLggratificaticminnewandexpanding& tionships 'Bust and mbility are useable only as they serve "me" (cfHeroddHerodias,Mt 14-3~lmtividuality*utGodunder- mines and distorts relationships C. God condemns the world's -ve of reality- 1. Cod's temporal judguient is often obscmd in the livles of these pea- ple The diseases of herpes and AIDS are two examples People are not fulfi by pmcfikmity. This is only one illustration relating to one area of lif" There are numb others Addiction to drugs, alcoholism, child abuse, and so on are a way of life for frustrated and unfulfilled people UMit is their Wit. 52 CONCoRDIA THEOLOGICAL QUAKFERCY 2. JudgmentDsyistbc~~of~God's~ur heaAIlmustfaajudgmcm.GodisthefinalArbitcrand Jdgc(Jd 14. U). W jwigmstt is nnrgom's "Mi 11. Aomise and ErAity k Jesus Christ is God's pawwal aaswg to man's quest, his need The ~andindividunliryisfound~inChrist,theGorknan (v. 8; Jn 1:14). B. Jesus Christ aacpted the guilt of our sfn and the degth that is our bpcrsonalfaith. whicbth8Rpart- ant sinna has in the cross of OUT Lor& III. Regenemion and Fulfiit A. Independemr and individuality find eqmskm in okdknce to God's will. Man is ErecinliVing~~~&Christ(Ja 8~31-32). God's Ubdm duces fulfillmeat (v. 7). R T& text urges a spedfic Me-style dcmonse the indepeodersce and indivim of the new man (w. 14). . . l.~&uein~lyloKHmis~ forlaviag others.Thisisnot~~ forserviceto straog.ersHaehospitalityistheoutward@onofhforthe llmpxmi and uniwited (v. 2). 3. Christians~thosein prisoa Hmis anindividua&ythat wnfusestheworklbecausethemanofGodktbetmkrvaMeIt mirrors Chrift's concern for the lost (v. 3). 4. Christianshold~mhonor.HerefulfillmentisAridgltmthe marriage bond. 'Zbt Christian mmiagc demomtmks the pedcct balance &ween -ce and hdbkhMy. 5. fXridm are amtent with their possesdons Our dath&ip to things in this world is important. It either fuMfntent or fiustraton (1 Sm 21). Christians need a exefree attitude &ward this world's goods (v. 5). 6. Christiansremembertbosewhorule<~athsn.H~~seethcp per order of things and people. Our faith is paramount and in lire (v- 6). Thcteadealswithpeoplewhorunawayfbmlife.SomcdotaCedifficutties, problems that seem insolvabk others are overwhelm& still others find escape in questionable ways lk tat speaks of Oneshius. a slave who has run away from his slavery. Paul's Eetta to the former owner, Philemon, sets escapism on center stage Hem is Christ's ansa7er to man's muhi- problem& In short, the tea deals with two coaoepts-freedom and *. Homiletical Studies 53 I&m&don- We hear much today about slavery of an kinds. It may be ad- diction to heroin or cocaine It may be a didatcrrship It may be poverty. Slslvery canbefoundinallsortsof humandtiom. OurepistkwouldhaveGod's PeapksutherealityofslaveryandGod'sanswertoit, GOD'S OWN rmummION L Fmnlslavay kOnrdstructureoRenre~afallen~ 1. Physical slavery is a result of sin. Slavery is not a "dead" issue; Ro- ple are held in slavery in many ways, not simply the ancient "ball and cbain" (abuse of women and children, drug addiction, disease, dictatorshin etch 2 Spiritual & the root cause of all shmy. Man placed himelf mbondstgetoeverything inlifebyhisrebdlionagainstGo& Man can no longer ch& freedom; he is a permanent slave of sin and death He also is under the judgment of God. Ananias and Sap- phira are examples of slavery to pcrssessions. R spiritual sbeq cannot be destroyed by man's efforts. 1. F?q&ology and psychiatry offer Mp for the symptoms, but cannot releasemanfromhisspilitualskvery. 2ManishopelessandhelpkHis~sinaknvsnoescapeSatan and the flesh will not release man; they control him to his grave 11. Throngh redemption A. Jesus Christ has broken the shaddes of sin and death and devil R Jesus Christ sets man free to be what God intends him to be m,I;or~thood k MarefnntoservePaulcaIlson~tobea~to~us inanewrelatiudip R Tbe obedhce of faith is obedience to love (w. 56). Luve is the mothating factor in the Christian's nmv life under Christ. C. God's new life is a blssing to others 1. The saving poraer of Christ is shared with othas (v. 19). The Gospel is the most important gift one can share with another (w. 7, 20). 2. The gezmk conam and aaive Icwe of the CMstbn for others is also a Messing to than (w. 10,11). Luve in adion does not look for acqe valves It leads us out of our petty self-concern and into a tibaty of &ce to God's people. This is our real "escape George Kraus Tbe mmgnhde of the macy for which Paul praises Christ is brought out in - 13 wheR hul describes Emsdfas f& a bksphaner, a persecutor, 54 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY and a violent aggnsor. These words describe both deeds and words of spitefulness, someone whose insolence and contempt reek forth in outrageous acts- Before his codon Paul ad in the ignorance of sinful unbelief. The hoti clause does not seek to lessen his guilt by means of an excuse but is an explanation; he was not acting against his better knowledge The same mercy Jesus asked for His murderers (John 162) Jesus shawed to Paul. Mme 16 makes clear that patience was in back of Christ's mercy. Paul's experience is a model of what Christ does in general. Because Christ's patience will not undergo a more severe test than in the case of Paul, no sinner ever needs to despair. Introduction- Paul could nerer get over what the mercy of Christ had done for him. His magnification of that mercy consitutes the theme of every Chris- tian's life I. Despite opposition. A. Paul's opposition was intense 1. He was injurious. 2. He was a wanton mr. R We are basicdy no different. 1. Although we have not engaged in the kind of persecution of Paul was guilty, we are no better than Paul because we are born with a sinful heart. 2. Wk fail to meet God's standard (Jas 210, Ec 720), and God has the right to punish us. C. But if mercy could be extended to Paul despite his sinfulness, nothing we have been or done or said can prevent Christ from extending that same mercy to us. But how is that possible? 11. Through Christ Jesus A.Christcametosaveus 1. By keeping God's law for us 2. By suffering on the cross the punishment for our sins. By His resur- rection He wed to the completion of redemption. God is mer- ciful through Christ, in whom alone is salvation (Acts 4:12). R Christ's mercy comes to us individually. 1. We received that mercy at our baptism. 2. Our faith in Christ's mercy is strengthened through contact with the Word of the Gospel and participation in Holy Communion. Tmmition. Before we reach the heaven which Christ's mercy has opened to us we have a life to live. Mercy affects the way we live. It gives us purpose 111. For service to Christ. A. Christ strengthened Paul for service 1. Paul's apostleship was tremendously rich in accomplishments. 2. The strength Paul received to do all this was evidence of God's mercy. R We have obtained mercy so that whatever we do might be for Christ. 1. Showing love and compassion to those around you, working at your job as well as you can, endeavoring to be faithful in whatever rapon- sibiity has been given to you-these are all ways of srpressing your faith and thereby serving Christ. Homiletical &dies 55 Co~~~'ThemacgofChristawnesmmein~~itwmesto mt~JesusChrist,itcomes~mesothatIcansemHim.IoWained macg! What a fitting theme song for the Christian's life! The church at Epbesus was a small, struggIing congreg&ion, and it could ~0ffasewalgoodhuman~fwbeiogso.Itw;rs~bgRcRnan officiahkwish-andpaeanrdigkrrrs- . - Itwasundermimd bGFsaphi1080phCZ5Wb4byatheewald,-anm 1"~sapparrntindedsivemsshadtarmdthe~congrcgationinto a timid group of souls Like the disobediau King Saul (1 Sm 15:17) the Ephe- sians~firtoolittleof~andthdrwo~became,asitwas in Isaiah's time (Is 58)' an outlet for wdbing in self-pity. Intrahrcti~ A church that looks only at itself will feel sorry for itself, but a church that looks to its graciws God and Mediator win lo& with love toward awMZdinneed. I. A chuxch that bob at itself k An in- church fcels sorry for itself. 1. It sees wty the sins ad &stam&s of fdlow membas. ZTbaeisanga,strift,adquarrding. 3. It only in mere WIe-sw taking an anemic and -mtohM- R An intmpcdivt church assumes a cowardly, defmsh posture taward thearorld. I. It can ody whine and complain about the 'Yroubks in the world todayl' 2 1t becomes ''apologetic'' (in the negative sense) and feels the need . - patodtcalIyto~itsGod 3. It-c~awiththtboundkss-of God, Iimitingthe scopcofGod'ssavingactivitytohownb~ 11. A church that ioob at its God kItrepicesinthe~God 1. It believes in God's age-old plan for the sahration of the world. 56 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY 2. ItmateSmapdogiesforGod'sunilateral~tolovethehuman race R It rejoices in the Mediator, senr by our saviorGod at the "proper fir&' who has recmlcw God to the world (God-tI3man aspad). C. It worships the God and Savior who W accepts our offerings of thanrs (nmWo-Gd aspest). Wnship forms a bridge bemeen what we kke and what me da 111. Achurchthatlooksattheworld k A church that hks outward feels sorry for the world. R It pnn:laims the uni-ty of God's grace C. It realizes that God's people are ambsdms of the King. 1. It ''goes on the offensive'' with the grace of God 2. Its prayers testify that the human race, from the least to the greatest, inevery -of itserristence, -lyneedstheGodwea&nt 3. itis mission-minded, acceptingthecmetorelay God'sloveto the world. Ccmdusion-Tfiroughthe~ofthelawwequite~admonish~ ple not to think too highly of themselves, and in this way we prepare them for the hearing of the GospeL how eve^ there is a propa rime for stressing that, throughthef~~ofsins,GodHimseifhaschosenustobenolesstban His representatives to a fallen world, and therefore, we must not think too little ofoudves ThemHllgdswhatwehanebeengivendwhatwehtooffa 1 Ti* -14 In the busy schedule of a pastor there is always the temptation to offer the hearers too little inteqmti&on of too much text, since such a sermon requires far less jxepadon time This taqtation could became a reality in the @cope before us The question explored here is this: what are the riches that are truly worth a fit? The fi half of the pericope dismisses the ever present wrong conclusion, that material wealth is the gmnd prize for those who believe (w. ale). TI- is (titerally, 66g~~d in godliness, but christ ~ucified and risen, as weil as the He lived m Him (v. ll), is what the real "good businefs" is. Tiday, as m apostolic times, there are some who say in effed that "the resur- rection is past already:' that is, that "two chickens in every pot" are the object of Christian hope (es, the "happiness theologhg'), but we move on to what the real fit is all about. Here is where the emphasis ought to be (w. 11-16). axAmmrC TEE VlClORY I. The losing battle. A. The sinful self is incapable of waging the battle Homiletical Studies 57 1.Ourgreatestenemyisourownflesh;itisthegroundinwhichaH manner of pavase seeds take mot (v. 10). 2Wscandasprisonersofwarinour~wearehelplessagainst the~dourown4~legi9"(thedd~ mindset). 3. W have no vision of the prize of war to be won; we long only for what the eyes can see (Ec 5:11), for what does not satisfy (Is 55-2). E Theprospectof defeat,death,isalwaysbcforeoureyes. II. ChristtheviaoL kChristhasfaadallonrewmiesalone 1. He is the amqpom warrior against Eh (Is 63). 2 Hekthefaitttfulwiteesswhomadethegoadconfessionforour~ (He 210-18, Re 1:s). E ~HisWand~mChristhasaronthe&viaory over sin and death. In. The good @glL k The victory has already been won. 1. Mk know that Christ has done the fighting for us. 2 Mk lay hold of a life which has already been given to us 3. Mkfightfoithefaithwhich the sirm40tal of our Lord's gracious wrk on our behalf. E Christ continues to do the fighting for us. 1. He giws us the armor of salvation (Ep 6:10-17). 2 He supplies the needed weapon, the Word of God. 3. The msoums of our mighty Lord are limitless (w. 15, 16). ~TheapostiePaulfolkrwedhisown~andwontheaawn of eternal life (2 Tkn 417). TRe "'even nom, not yet" aqrect of Christ's victory kseenbycomparingthetwoleeterstoTi~PaullovedChTist's~epiph&* (His first coming, 2 Tkn 1:10), and he longed for Christ's ''epiphany'' (His sec- ond 1 Tm 6c14). James BoUhagen 10 vase8theuseof theaoristsubjunctivesuggeststhathulisnot somuch ~Trmothyas~himn0ctobe~PaullebT.i hwwthathe~rmderstItndsthediffi~whichTunothyiSexperienCing. The"~onyofourLord"iSnot~nytheLordhasmadebut~ny we make about Him in our preaching and tea&@ and living. The sgace pkmed inetemitywasmanifested~when Jesusappeared(v. 10).ThesapPCar- ing"refast0everythingconnectedwithCfiristind~His~nDe;tth add not hold Christ, for His death exphed sin and deshuyd death. Wle have the Gospel barnuse Jesus abolished death, brought life, and made the Gospel a means of dispensing life to us. The Gospel into the world's dar- reveals Christ, the light of the wodd. CONCORDLA THEUUXilCAL QUmRLY Paul is wdkd on a capital criminal charge with the pIosped of being found ~and~ted.TheworldlooLsatthisma#nas~~butPaulis not~sinceheissuffcriogonacmuntof the-L DespitePaul'sim- ~andexpertPnm;ntyrdom,heLcnewtbat~WMlldbeaMetoguard the~andthatthekingdom'sworkwouldnotbe~It~~uldgo onuntilthefinalday. I~WhenIwasgmwinguptheboysonourstreetplayedfmtball almost every day after school in the autumn in a vacant lot two doors from our house. Adjacenttothelo0wasahouseinwWakdyHvedwhodidnot appnx&e young boys playing footbaa Occasionally a poor kick or defkkd passcadtheballtolandinheryard.Eachtimethathappewdshem~ quickly out or her house and got the ball before any of us could reach it. Then sbtLcptthtb~mnthoagha~wantedmorethananythingelsetotaLsethat ball and to run with it. That lady was k some Cfiristians who ksep the Christian message for themselves Timothy, Paul's helper, was tempted to do just that. He had shared Christ with peopk only to be rebuffed, mocked, perhaps threatewd. Maybe 1"mothywasafraidofendingupinprisonkPaul.Atanyrate.Timothywas tcmptedtohoMbacktobekthanboldinhisCfiristianwitwssPaultoM him: "Don't be ashamed of testifying to our Lord. nor of me, His prisoner!' In some ways our situation is no diffkrent than m~n~thy's Ftople today are no more enamored of the Christian message than they anerr in Timothy's day. Christians are a darindling minority in the world. And when # strive to remain faithfuI to God's Rbrd and to maintain doctrinal discipline people are going to regard us as intolerant and nai-cow-minded. So we will be tempted to hold back, to be less than bold. Paul is saying also to us: Don't be ashamed of testifying to our Lord. Don't keep the message to yourself. TAKE TKE BALL. AND RUN WITH IT I. The Lord has saved us A. He has saved us not by virtue of our works (v. 9). 1. We like to think putting up with bad situations gives us at least a few points with God 2. We sometimes compare ourselves with others and come out lookhg Pretty good. B. The Lord planned our dvation fmm eternity grace alone (v. 9). l.Godaax,untstousthegoodworksofJesus 2. God imputes to us the cross-secured righteousness of Jesus 3. God guarantees our life and immortality through the resurrection of Jesus (v. 10). C. The Lord has called us to salvarion with a holy calling. 1. Inourbaptism. 2. Continuously tbrou& the Wni, the same Bbd Timothy was taught by his mother and grandmother (v. 5). 3. Through Holy Communion. Tmnsition. There is no need to be ashamed of a Lord who saved us. %Ice the ball and run with it. Homiletical Studies 59 11. TheLordrenewsusbyHispowm- A God empowered Timothy to carry out His ministry (v. 7). 1. ~guardtbeGospel'ssoundwordswhichhadbeenentrustedtohim as weB as to Paul (w. 13-14). Z To sufk if necessary for the Gospel (v. 8). R Wk need God's raKwing power- 1. W do not like to sufkr and so we are sometimes more timid than we should be and accomm~ onrsehres to people's whims 2 It is diff~cuit at times to do what we knaw to be right. C. God's renew& power shows itself in our lives (v. 7). 1. Weareabletospeakthetruthinlove 2. We are able to maintain self-control in difficult chmsances. Corn- When, like thelady whokeptthefoottdl, weare tempted to keep the Chrkh messagt to oadxq to hold back, to be less than bold in ourwimess,thenthinkof thekindof Godwehave Hehassavcdus byHis grace and He renews us with His powet Let us not be ashamed of testifying to our Lord. Let us take the ball and run with it. Paul's reminder that the word of God is not imprisoned (NASB; RSV "fet- td') is a comment on the power of God's WOK& which others were mrrying totheworMeventhoughPaulwas~atthetimeofthiswriting,~ily facing his own imminent death (cf. 4:1&12, 17, where other workers are men- tioned, sotttezed for whatever reason to the far reaches of the Roman world). The passage beginning at 21 1 is perhaps a quote of an ancient hymn (so ~ra&- maun)wkhcontrastssinandits~with~andultimatehrGod's grace. Note that finally God's grace is the end of the matter, a good-reason indeed to remember Jesus Christ. The central thought of this text is that Jesus Christ, the bringer of salvation andeternalglory, is to bermmedew4 andinthat~wembmnceHeisto be serwd-~goalforthissamonisthatthehearerwillbemovedtoserveChrist inhiswesy-dayIifeasheremembnsthegloryandgraceof Christ. Themalady isthatweoftenforget~sgloryandgraceandthaeforealsof~toserve Him. I&mdmthn.- When a husband ranembers his loving wife artd children while away from hame, he will not waste money exkwagmtly on himself. He will be more faithful and he may even be warmed with a sense of love in the middle of a a& hdy night. Or when temgm take the time to remember their pamts who care so much for them, they win respect their curfew and be home on time Just such a remembering is what is urged for us in our text today- Rk who be&x in Jesus would not want to forget Him. And here we are encouraged to I. 'Igte time to remember a faithful and loving Savior. A. He is faithfut I. Though we have been faitbhs 2 He faithf'dy dreybd god fidly, going to the m for our sins. 3. He will be faithful in gkring 11s all He has pmid, lik and a eternal-on. R He is also gloriouh l.Hehasrisenfrorntbebead,agI~displayofpower. 2Hisgloryisetem&nererwavffingorfahering,alwayspresentand never ending. 11. TAke time to remember Him and serve Him. A. Paul's example. I. Paul served Jesus became he knew and constantly called to mind all of His faithfulness and glory. 2 hul served fully-though imprisonment, staning, shipwreck, and loneliness (w. 9, 10; cf. Ac B17ff.)- R Christ's encouragement. 1. Whatem we lose for Christ's sake we will gain, and even mum (w. 11-12; ~f. also Mt 1624-25). 2 Christ also gives us His Holy Spirit as we read and study His hearitexpolmded,and~veHisbodyandbloodintheLold's SupperPPer C. Our ciudhge 1. W dare not deny Him by word or adion. TZlis fact calls for a pane and Christ-like life There is graw danger to our souls if anc deny Christ (v. 12). 2. Rk must rememk f-, His grace and nd to fforgivt us and grant eternal salvation. Condusio~. Indeed, Christ is worth remembering! David L. Balm, Pine Bluff, Arkansas Having just finished a description of the lamentable spiritual decay to come in the last days, Paul's thoughts turn again to Timothy with a concern for him that he remain true to Christ, even in the face of deception d oppos&m . . to Christ's words and ways. The entire emphasis of Paul in meeting and mesum- ing this challenge is the use of the Mrd of God. The ''sac& writiags" of 3:15 am the Old Btament, as is indicated by Paul's use of the term "SQipturr' in the very next sentence in a parallel reference The Sgiptures arc, tlmdcm, said to be useful in two significant ways-to make one wise to salvation (3S) and to equip such an one to do "every good work" (3:17). Hcbmktid Studies 61 The~wayinwhichT~canbesuretoleadpoog%inthe~~ contirmcsPanl,isthrougbtheuseofSclipture--thevuywayinwhichTi wasledtosahrsttirrnintheZirstplaceThisisthecentraithaugMof thetad Thegoalof this samonis thatthehearer seek thetmthof Godrcveakdin SaipturrThemaladyisthatwetaooft+nwantto~ourearsticLkdby thektestdigiousgurusandthemostimentivptheo1ogians.TheSaiptuns akmeareinspiredandaMetobringussahrirtioninJesusChrist. I. This great book of God leads us to Jesus Christ and salvation. k ""~doesa~lead?"isavitalquestiontoponderaswese& *howthetruth. I. TZlae are so many different teachers and teachings avaihbk to the religious mind-many even claiming to be Christian. 2 DwsagiVglteacfiingleadusto Jesus? Thisquestioncanhelpus ascgtainwfrethaateachingistrueIfa-leadsustodoubt our~n~gracethrcrughfaithinChrist,~isfalse B God'sbookieadsustosdvationthfoughChri9t. 1. Heistheonewhois the focusof theOldandNew~ He livedanddiedfcasinfulman. Hermeagainfromthedead. Hearin come again to judge the living and the dead. 2.God'sbookleadsustotrustHim.UkleamofGod'slovqthe forgiveness of sins, and the splendor of heaven through the Word of God. U. ThisgreatbookequipsustoserveGcni. k If m are led to Christ, we are led to serve Him. 1. He came and served faIlen manlrin& 2 He calls us to serve Him. Here in this podon of the Bib4 for ewm- ple, Ta is reminded of his duties as a pastor-- the ~rd,arborting,instructingandtminin&anddoinga~thesethings with patience (3:16, 17; 42). R GodequipsustoserveHimthroughHis boot 1. Uk are given the Hdy Spirit and His fruits (om of these is patience) t the word of God 2S~iptudteafhing,~orp,correctserrms,guidesusin righteouiiving, arhorts us to liw for Christ, and always brings us back to Christ for forgivatess and strrngth. What a great bless& is our Bible Chehion- The Bi is more than a Iiterary dassic or a coffee table wm- ment.TbeBibleisGod's%rd. Itkadsusto~ IteqrdpsustosaveHim. David L. Bahn Pine Bluff, Arkansas 62 CONCORDZA THEOLIXiICAL QUARTERLY -SUNDAY AFmR PENTECOST Paul's letters to Timothy and are commonly referred to as the past4 episks. They provide a clear Wbrd of God for the church, although they were initially directed to an individual brother-pastor. The sound pastoral theology set forth in these epistles, which the Holy Spirit has entrusted to His church through the Apostle Paul, is dtserving of our constant study and application. Donald Guthrie appmprhteIy sets the stage for a study of this particular text when he writes that the pastoral epistles "pmvide an ihmhthg commentary on Paul's last days. This is particularly true of 2 Tiothy, where the apostle's noble example in the face of apprmcbhg martyrdom is vividly portrayed It has been the inspiration of inmumable Christians nearing the end of their course and it will undoubtedly continue to be so" (The mom[ Episttes, p. 53). Introduction. For General Douglas M-hur, distinguished American military leader during World War I1 and later in Korea, his last hurrah came in a speech delivered before the joint houses of Congress shortly after Presi- dent Tiuman had relieved him of his duties in Korea. Amidst a swirl of con- troversy, MacArthm spoke to the kgklative branch of gmmment in defense of his military actions. But now he had been forced to retire and to return to civhn life This would be his last hurrah. He concluded that speech with the now famous line: "Old sdditas never die, they just fade awayl' You can probably d other "last humah" occasions involving a public per- fonality, a sports celebrity or a figure of national prominence Such experiences can be moving, and yet they fade away. But in our tart the Holy Spirit shares with us a classic example of what tbe last hurrah of a Christian is really all about. In his second letter to his co-worker Timothy, St. Paul wrote his last hurrah in addition to megthing else which we can learn from the words before us, they can serve as model for I. Paul was prepared for his last hurrah (v. 6). A. He knew that his death was imminent. 1. He had already fought the fight (v. 7). 2. He had run the race 3. He had kept the faith. R Paul could look forward to the future which God had ordained for him (v. 8). 1. A crown of righteousness had been laid up for Paul and all believers. 2. There would be a rescue from mery Rril and a piace the Lord's heavm- ly kingdom (v. 18). 11. Paul's "last hunah" provides every Christian with a useful model of the whole Christian life A. The Christian should live with a sense of imminent death. But in the meantime Homiletical Studies 63 1. We must diligently fight the good fight. 2. We must patiently run the race. 3. We must persistently keep the faith. B. The Christian's last hurrah embraces the future which God has ordained. 1. A crown of righteousness awaits us. 2. And although we must struggle before that day arrives against many evils, the rescuing work of Christ has reserved us a place in His heavenly kingdom. Conclusion: May the Lord stir up within us a new sense of the importance of a Lifelong last hurrah, a last hurrah which will not fade away. Those who are faithful unto death wear the crown of Life. In the meantime, fight the good frpht, run the race, keep the faith-the last hurrah. Today, tomorrow, and always-the last hurrah. Live your last hurrah in Jesus' name. Randall W. Shields TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY AFrER PENTECOST Paul, writing from Corinth, sent an initial letter to the Thessalonians that was fded with deep concern and warm affection for this recently established congregation. But it soon became apparent, as reports fdtered back to the apos- tle, that a second letter was necessary. In this second epistle Paul would ex- press his gratitude for the spiritual growth which the believers in Thessalonica were experiencing in spite of perseation. This letter would go on to calm those who were becoming confused or excited with respect to Christ's second corn- ing. Finally, the apostle would exhort the congregation to keep clinging to the traditions which they had been taught, whether by the spoken or the written Word. We all like mmpliments. For purposes of an introduction the preacher muld begin by sketching a music recital, a school play, a staff meeting, or some related setting. In this setting an anthority @we (teacher, director, supervisor. foreman) compliments those who have demonstrated progress in their training or who have performed well on the job. This statement could provide a connecting link into the text before us. The words, "Permit Me to Compliment You," could provide a useful summary of this text. In effect, Paul was compliment- ing the Thdonian congdon. By way of application, the preach& could ask whether Paul's criteria for com~hemtinn the Thessalonians have been met by the congregation to which he is ~reachingrThe words, "Permit Me to Corn- plirnent You," capture the attention of the listeners. The impact of the words will hinge upon the identity of the on? who compliments and the substance of the compliment. Both of these combined should encourage the listeners lo accentuate those qualities that have elicited the compliment. CONCoRDIA THEOLOGICAL QUAKI'ERLY I. Paul was complimenting the Thessalonian cmgmgahn. A. The authority of Paul's apostolic office insured the sigdicance of the compliment.~~m,casual~fromao~~~.) I. The ntessalonians mx "in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (v. 1). 2. The Theshnians had been the recipients of Paul's Gospel pnading "Gmx to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Chist" (v. 2). R There was substance to Paul's compliment ("W are bound to give thanks. . .we 0urseIVes boast of you. . . w. 34. 1. The Thessalonians gave evidence of a gmwing faith. 2. The Thessalonians enp& a mutual love for one another. 3. The Thessalonians were a steadfast congregation in the midst of won and afBction. 11. Paul's oomp~ was a message of encouragement to the Thessabnians A. God had been-and im~lied is the truth that He would continue to be-at work in the Tkhonian congregation. I. So that the Tksabnians might "be cauTaed worthy of the khgdom of God" (v 5). 2. SotbattheThessaloIliansrnight'beoountedwxxthyof [Gcd's]caU" (v. 11)- 3. Sothatthe~ofthe~Jesus~begkwifiedinthe~ nians (K 12)- R God's grace in Christ Jesus was the source of this encouragement. 111. Paul's compliment is a message of encouragement to us today alsa A. ~hae is-&&dance deserving of compliment in this co- (or thelKeacherwUldtakeao~0naDDToacfi:Is~~~~ - - de&vhg of compliment?) 1. Our faith. 2. Our law for one another- 3. Our !&adfastness. R Such compliments should generate encouragement. 1. In Christ, we have been made worthy to take seriously living in His kingdom. 2. In Christ, we have been made worthy to take seriously our call. 3. In Christ, we have been made worthy to bring glory to Hi name Conclusion- Let us focus then, on God's criteria of compliment. Let us be a congregation so enwuraged by His compliments that others may desire to be part of our fellowship It is the Lord's great pteamre to extend words of com- pliment to us. Randall W. Shields Homiletical Studies 65 THIRD LMl' SUNDAY OF THE CHURCH YEAR The Introit intones pure GospeL God is the subject for each of the five verses from Psalm 85. The Collect speaks of absolution and deliverance Though presently ded to empirical observation, Jesus is alive and active, accord- ing to the implication of opokaluptetui in Luke 17:30. The world exhorts the exhausted to draw upon their awn limited resouras. Cbrktianity looks to God, absolving and deliverin& alive aod active in the person of Jesus Christ. We wait for this revealing. . .and we "keep watch" according to the imperative of the AUeluia Vase (Mt 2442). "May the Lord direct your hearts"-your weary, burdened, burned-out hearts-into this blessed reality! IRtroduction. The experts in time management posit "wncentmtion of power" as a key to purposeful productive living. This "concentration of power" con- sists, simply stated, in direction. The Apostle Paul understands the even greater import of direction in our relationship with God. And so our text this day con- tains Paul's prayerN desire that our Lord give us I. Our Lord is the PathUpmer, the Obstacle-Rem (v. 5a; here a word study of "direct'?-kateuthumi-yields valuable results.) A. Obstacles do stand in the path! 1. Spiritual apathy and lack of discipline plagued the Thessalonian Christians (2 Th 3615). 2. "Wicked and evil men" dogged the missionary efforts of Paul (v. 2). 3. We can find "the Way" blocked by internal (Ro 7:23-24) and exter- nal (Eph 6:12) obstacles. R The Holy Spirit turns us to the Lord for direction (v. 5a). 1. He takes the initiative to seek the lost (Lk 1910). 2 He keeps safe those who have been found and gives them growth. Tmnsitio~ Christ calls us (Mt 41% Jn 21:19) and by His call enables us to follow. But where? 11. Our Lord leads us. k "Into (NASB) the love of God" (v. 5b, a subjective genitive, i~, "God's love"). 1. God's love moved Him to give us life at the cost of a great sacrifice (Jn 3:16). 2. The blood of that &~ce (Jesus Christ) opens the path and removes the obstacles (Eph 213-14) to God's love (Eph 219). 3. God's love, shared with us through His Word and His Son's precious Body and Blood, now ernpowers us to live lives with direction-His direction (see 2 Cor 5:lS). R ''Into (NASB) the. steadfastness of Christ" (v. 5b a subjective genitive, i.e, ''Christ's steadfastness"). 66 CONCORDIA THEOLQGICAL QUAKERLY 1. Christ's steadfastness took Him to Calvary (He 122). 2. Christ endured our problems and sufferings. giving us hope in their place. 3. Christ's steadfastness, communicated to us through the life-giving Gospel, sustains us in our weariness and restores our joy for life What an antidote for burdened, stressed hearts! ComIusioti If you have ever been lost (or had a child lost), you know the stress which besets a person, the gratitude which he feels toward someone who gives him direction, and the relief and joy which he wperiences when he reaches his destination. Our Lord wants to give us that same relief and joy. May the Lord direct our hearts into the love of God and steadfastness of Christ! Thomas R. Ahhmep Boca Raton. Florida SECOND LAST !WPiDAY OF THE CHURCH YEAR Who else but a "saint-and-sinner" can appreciate the disparity between ap- pearance and reality presented by the propers of the Second Last Sunday of the Church Year? The Introit's juxtaposition of Ralm lm4 ("With You there is forgiveness") with Psalm 143 ("Do not hide Your face from me*'), the Col- lect's acknowledgment of ''exceechgly great and precious promises" followed by a petition asking that the "beliem" "pertedly and without all doubt m' and the Gospel's paradox of "more from more? and "less from la" (Lk 19. speak to the tension existing between God's activity and our experience of His work. The preaching text transforms this don into vocation by training our eyes upon the God-given victory of Jesus Christ's death and resurrection. To a distressed world in need of "irnpd outlook skills'' (Donald A. Tubesing), God here gives reality, God gives victory, God gives His Son! htmduction- "Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (v. 57). For a nation of people obsesxd with victory, we must find the New Testament somewhat puzzling. The word "victory" appears only five times on its pages, with three of those references found in today's text. Perhaps the Holy Spirit seeks to divert our attention from transitory, tension- filled "victories'*+turing the good parking space, getting the much sought promotion, cheering a favorite athletic team as it pommels its rival, triumphing over the "opposition" in a family argument-and to rivet our gaze on the vic- tory, the reality of Jesus' resurrection (1 Cor IS). Every Lord's Day morning celebrates the victory of the first Easter. So we lift up our hearts and rejoice that GOD GIVES US THE VI-RY I. God's Easter victory through Jesus Christ turns enemies into allies, foes into friends. These "adversaries" include Homiletical Studies 67 A. C)meIws (Remember the famous quotation from the cartoon "Fbgo": "We have met the enemy, and he is us!"). 1. Rwutns 5.611 (the dly of reco~on, eqmxMy in w. 10-11, sems the main point of "enemies into allies"). 2 HereishPmmdouscomfortfortimeswhen~think, "Godornneve~ forgive &' or "God must be punishing mel' a Dtath (w. 55-%a). 1. Cemhdy som surmunds the open graw at a cemetery. 2 Sin gave death its sting (v. 56). Jesus has borne and removed all sin m~scross "Deathis~upin~'(v.54)means death beccwnes a part of the victory. 3. So our tears at the cemetery flow from &e aatural som of part- ing,notdefeat c. Law (v. st%). 1. The law gives sin its power, since sin as "rebellion" feeds upon im- possible staodards 2. Jesuspdectlyfulfithelaw. 3. The law (as God's will) now serves the Christian as a "lamp unto my feet and light unto my path" (Ps 119). Here we dixrwer, not a powerfd ewmy, but a godly guide to growth in Cfuist-like living. Cbd&on- "TEmefbd' (v. 5th) we nxeiw strength and victory on the basis of all Paul tbat shares in 1 Corinthians 15, the strength and victory of the resur- nction.Paulsharesthisresurrectionrealitywith"~~'us,whom the LmdloKswithan~, sacrificial, faithful lave. And Paulurges us to "W' (v. 58a) or, mom properly, to '"keep becmhg" in our ciuutmn -, living. Thomas R Ahlersmeyer Boca Rakon, Florida Our world is far moxe like the people quoted in Wce 23:35-39 than Like Paul in Cobsians 1:13-20. of the powdid, pounding, insistent words of theepistle, "He, He, He, He, inHim,inHim, inm'we hearthe taunting words, "If you.. ' That is the world in which the codon lives, filled mostly with taunts and only occasionally, mostly on Sunday mornings, with a few triumphs. The text, then, must confront the taunts with the triumph of Him~isConqueroraadSavior,~dandERother.~atpthepreafhingtask. In-n. The ending of the church year is so different hm the ending of the caIeedar Newspapers cany articles on the ten most important stories of the year. The last calendar page is tom off, and we have to remember to write 1987 on our cheelrs. The year may end with some rather meaningless par- ties, but that is no surprise, because the ending of a year really is no big deal at all. The ending of the church year, howem, is a big deal! It signals the end 68 CONCORDLA TREQLOGICAL QUARTERLY of the narration of the greatest story in all of history and the new beginning of the recitation of that story for people of faith. In majestic words our text tells us about Him who is the subject of the story and the object of our praise, Jesus Christ. "Here is your King!" the text declares boldly. But did you listen to the Gospel? Mod of &ox whom it quotes taunt Him and us with His humilk tion: "This is your King, nailed to a cross and dying?" Both tbe triumph and the taunt go together. The crown without the cross is selfaownhg The cross without the aown is defeat. A cross and a crown-that is salvation! So we look to King Jesus, for in Him we see both. TAUNT AND TlUWWH 1. The taunt and the triumph of Jesus Christ, the image of God (v. 15). A. The taunt 1. Herod's taunt and the slaughter of the innocents. 2. Satan's taunt: "If you are the Son of God.. ." 3. The taunt of those under the cross: "If he be Christ, the Chosen One. . I' 4. The ignorant taunt of the disciples: "Now, Lord? Now the kingdom of glory?" IAc la6). R The triumph: the obedience of the perfect one to the Father. I. Jesus' words: God is like a Shepherd seeking His sheep and laying down His life for them, like a father welcoming home a prodigal. 2. Scripture's word (1 Jn 1:l-3). C. Bunt and triumph for the Christian. 1. The taunt. a. "Grab the crown! You deserve it!" b. "Stay on your knees! You'll never be good enough!" 2. The triumph (w. 13, 14). a. The restoration of the divine image b. The manifestation of the divine image in us ("light:' "salt"). 11. The taunt and the triumph of Jesus Christ, the fmt-born of all creation (w. 16). A. The taunt: Where is the majesty? 1. Ewxy power on earth and in heaven was created through and for Him. 2. Yet Pilate struts Rome's power, soldiers offer mere vinegar, a crowd mocks, and even thieves cry, "Do something, then!" R The triumph. 1. Isaiah described the purpose of Christ's hdation (Is 535). 2. Christ achieved His triumph, no? as Judge, but as Substitute. 3. Christ became subject to created powers that they might no longer imprison us. C. 'hunt and triumph for the Christian. 1. Many created things beckon us to crown them as king. a. such things include one's work, famay, bank account, possessions, and insurance policy. b. Who is the king of the life of each of us here? Who wears the crown? 2. The triumph of King Jesus is grasped by believing in Him (Jn 1:1@13). a. The thief recekd the crown from the cross. Homiletical Studies 69 b. At end of the church year, the Christian should uncIutter Life to see his eternal appointment and the waiting crown. 111. The taunt and the triumph of Jesus Christ, the head of the church and all things (w* 19-20). A. The taunt: Look at the body hanging on the cross! EL The triumph. 1. His physical body rose from death. ZHisspiritualbody,thech~livesandmoresthegrows. C. Bunt and triumph for the Christian, 1. The weakness of the church and our weakness taunt us. 2. The power of Christ in us is our triumph. Conciwion- We Live daily with the taunts of the devil, the world, and our flesh. But the Christ of cross and crown is moving us toward that final Last Day of the Church Year when "every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is brd"! As we wait in anticipation for that day, our Lord of cross and crown says: "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of lifd' Richard G. Kapfer Fort Dodge, Iowa