Full Text for Homiletical Studies (Text)

CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY Volume 47, Number 2 The CTCR Report on ............................. "The Ministry" Samuel H. Nafzger 97 Timeless Treasure: Luther's Psalm Hymns ............... Oliver C. Rupprecht 13 1 ............... Original Sin and the Unborn Albert L. Garcia 147 Theological Observer ......................................................... 153 ............................................................ Homiletical Studies 1 63 Book Reviews .................................................................. 1 77 Homiletical Studies SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST Exodus 32:7-14 September 18, 1983 Moses was up on Mt. Sinai a long time, and Israel urged his brother Aaron: "Make us gods!" Aaron suggested: "Let me have your golden earrings!" (perhaps hoping the Israelites would refuse). The Israelites complied, and Aaron fashioned a "molten calf' (v4), perhaps the winged and human-headed bull which was the emblem of divine power from a very early date in Babylon. To Aaron this image seemed to be the smallest departure from pure monotheism for which the people would settle. Our text shifts back to Mt. Sinai to the conversation between the Lord and Moses. Introduction: "Why am I here?" Some, no doubt, never become serious enough to ask this question. Many settle for inadequate answers: "Make a fortune. Leave a name. Have fun." Are we offered a loftier challenge? This brief conversation in the midst of an Old Testament incident offers suggestions on Really Making an Impact I. The sad situation (vs7-lOa). A. People have left God (v7). Indeed, Jesus pictures sin as "awayness" (cf. Lk 15: away from the fold, away from the purse, away from the father's house). B. People have transgressed God's laws (v8a; Is 53:6). C. People credit their blessings to other gods (v8b). Today they credit luck. "whom you know," ingenuity, "living right." D. A just God must punish sin (vs9-10). E. Most people pray only for the "good life" for themselves and their families: God bless me and my wife, Our John and his wife, Us four and no more! 11. The glorious outcome. A. God has made us His people by means of events occurring in Bethlehem, Nazareth, Gethsemane, and Calvary (vs 1 1- 14). B. Someone was the instrument of the Spirit in bringingyou God's love. the forgiveness of sins, and the assurance of salvation (cf. the prayer of Moses for Israel, vs11-14). C. We must consider what friends, relatives, and neighbors are missing: Ciod loves them, but they do not know it. God wants to bless them through the work of His Son Jesus Christ. Let us, therefore. I. Pray for someone. 2. Bring someone into contact with God's Word. 3. Expose someone to God's love. Conclusion: What more significant impact can one make upon a person than to bring him the news of God's love and eternal life. George H. Beiderwieder, J r. Decatur. Illinois 164 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL, QUARTERLY ErGH'TEEN'I'H Sl'?r:l>Ak' AFTER PENTECOST Amos 8:4-7 September 25. 1983 htr3du~ti0~?.' In our text the prophet Amos sternly rebukes many of his con- temporaries in Israel for their wicked business practices. It is rather shocking to read about such corrupt dealings, sir.cc these occurred within a nation whose people were supposed to be the peoplr: of God. Lying at the root of this behavior was the cvii :)f coveiousness. This is something regarding which we need be concerned and on our gua~d as t!le people of God today. Amos' words have a practical significance for us (Ro 15:4). Let us direct omattention to the warning of the prophet and the theme it suggests: The Fearful Sin of Covetousness I. It represents a tragic repudiatior, of a just and loving Lord. A. Amos had a cail to preach repeniailce chiefly to the Northern Kingdom of Israe! about the rnidale ijl' the eighth century B.C. Israel was characteri~ed by great political power. material prosperity, apostasy from the Lord. oppression of' !he poorer classes. and manifest sins. B. In our text Amos inveighs against the merchants who could hardly wait for religious holidays tc pass so as to start selling their produce again -- chiefly by crookcd mzans which impoverished the lower classes (vs4-6). C. Actuating the rich in these vicious prac!ices was the sin of covetousness -- the inurainate and incessant desire of the heart for more money and more ot the matcrial tnirlgs money can buy. This is a fearful, soul- destroying sin. The ccvetcus marl is an idolator (Eph 53). Covetousness involves the repudiation elf the Lord Himself and His love. It leads to other grievous transgressions. as Goci punishes sin with sin. D. Amos communic;ttes ro Israel God's response to these evils. I. The Lord swears by Hin~self ("the excellency [or, pride] of Jacob," v7) that He will rnetc oui punishment to the evildoers. 2. Yci the Lord's very sending of the prophet to denounce and warn the people is evidence c!f His iove ier the fallen and His desire for their repentance and return to His blessing(cf. An1 5:4,6,8,14,15; Is 55:6-7; Ps i31):4,7; 86:5,15). l'hsrc is forgiveness with God because of the saci-ifice which the Messiah wil! bring (Is 53). E. J'ragicallj.. ihe Ihraclites did not heed .4mos' warning to repent. In 722 B.C. the terrible divine judgment strrick the deportation of the ten northern tribes. The grcater tragedy is t hat most of those taken away also perished in damning unbelief. II. It must be persistently resisted in the power of the Lord. A. The devil, the world, and the flesh tempt us to be covetous and to commit sins to which coiletcusness leads. If we are not guilty of those sins which Amis menriol-IS in the text. our covetousness manifests itself in other w-ays. Examp!cs are defrauuing fellowmen in any manner; cheating in income ta.c payments; working incessantly, even to the neglect of the family: worrying: compronisicg spiritual principles for the sake of a raise or ad\:ancen;ents: q~larreling over the division of a family inheritance; spending to "keep 11p with the Joneses": gambling; and refusing to gvz generously to ihi' l..or-d (cf. I Tm 6:lO). B. How shall we resist covetousness'l 1. Hg acknowledging our covetousness as rhe sir! that it is. 2. By believing t.hat God f~rsives 11s because of C'hrist's redemption (Mt 20:28; Is 1:18: 1 Jn 1:7-9). 3. By drawing on the power of Christ ro overcome this sin (1x0 6: 11-14) in all its aspects. 4. By faithfully using the means of grace so th~~t we are strcngthcncd to live the stewardship !ife, giving liberally ana joyfr111y to the Lord (2 Cor 957; 1 Tm 6: 17-19: Ac Z0:35) and relieving the needs of others (Is 58:7,10). Conclusion: Fight the fearful sin of covetousness wlrh all \our might in Christ! Llrnlrer I\. hlaier NINETEENTH SC'XDAl :tl'Tt.;lC I'ENTEC'OS? Amos 6:1-7 October 2. 198.3 Each of us has beer. born ir.ito ihe wc>r!J. a?; rhe i:.oi\n i;f <;QI~'s c~.c;~tion. in order to become His child a!ld to serve itnti giorii:; f-liln in t?eing and bcha\!ior. The latter we do when we live in loiiz. Our text shews 11'; t!l;it God Is Serious about Oiir king in I,ovt. I. Living in love toward our neighbors. especiaiiy the b:cti-~ren. A. The prophet Amos addresses pcrzor?s in Jadah as v:cii a.; Israei (note "Zion," Jerusa!em, as we]! as '\S:lrx!ria." the capi:at oi Israel. \.I\. B. The specific social sins for which An:os ha\; to esci:r.~ate especiaiiy :he affluent leaders of both nilrions a!.? i'neir t<,leiiiiior~ i?f \'inleri~:~ and reclining in luxury ;it cxpens~vt- icas;s. in tr;t:il ir,difirrzricr. i:! ihe nccdy about them (vv3h-6a). T'heir great ;in of c;niissinri i~ I hii; "ttic!; arc riot grieved for the affliction [ruin] si' Joeph" (~6:t;h) ri~c gross dis- obedience to God on the part 01 al! the peoplc ci' Is]-ael. over \\:hich the leadership manifested total unto:-lccrn. .4 rnos arino:!r;ced im punding divine judgment because of' I hese sins. C. In other words, there was nc> !ow So:- o!ie's neighbor as !:,r o!~c's seii -- and here the reference is to io\.cit.smcss kziwcen brrihi-cl!; in the Old Testament church. 1. The love they shorrld Ilavc demonstfiiied is what the Yew Testament refers to as agupe, a love marked by concern ior others and theii- needs. coupled with the bcnevclicnt parpose ofdoifig \vh:t~ is n:cessar\: to supply these needs -even a! rht; cxpensr of personal sac!-if!ce when necessary. It is the love cammanded bj* God in t!ic sumn?3rics of the first and second tables of the 1;jw isee Mt 2277: Dt 6.5; hl( 22:39; 1-.v 19:18b). 2. Agape is perfectly cxen~piificd in the love Cod had f-or r he world IJn 3:16). God was concerned far our sin-cl.:rsed race and ga>:e His San into sin-atoning, sacrificial death for. the sins uf at! men. D. It would seem that those touched by this iove of God and ~aved by faith in Jesus would be filled alwaywwlth love ('or God and ~eiln~.vrneu. Yet this is not the case. We think of our own sins against orhcrc. especially the brethren --- if not those of the text. thi.:~. for rsarnple. indifcrencl: to tile spiritual plight of the unbziieving about us. r:nconcern for :hi. spll.irual well-being of the brethren. offensive conduc! I uu.ard and outright sinning against the latter. 166 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY E. God visited lovelessness and its sinful manifestations in Israel with punishments - spiritual death, the destruction of the nation (v7), and damnation. Let us detest our sins of lovelessness and flee for pardon to the wounds of Jesus. 11. Living in love toward God Himself. loving Him supremely. A. The basic problem in Israel was, of course, the people's lack of love for God Himself. Note in the case of the leaders their thanklessness to God, who had made Israel a great nation (v2); sacrilege in drinking wine from bowls consecrated for use in worship (v6a); the use of God's gifts to satisfy fleshly appetites; refusal to heed prophets like Amos and to receive God's promise of mercy. B. We grow in our love for God as we contemplate His great love which He showed us in sending Christ to die for us. I. The love which God first showed us. God's love alone. moves us to love Him. 2. As we love God for who He is and what He did and does, we live in love. Conclusion: We are the children of Joseph, the New Testament people whom God loves. May the love of God for us move us daily to live in love toward our fellow Christians and toward God. Walter A. Maier TWENTIETH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST Habakkuk 1:2-3, 2:2-4 October 9, 1983 /ntrodtrction: After his policeman-son had been senselessly shot in a delicatessen hold-up, a distraught father sobbed: "Where will all this violence end?" The dead man's companion added bitterly: "Somebody's going to pay for this." We live in an age of violence and lawlessness. In recent yearseven the most ardent and optimistic supporters of the inherent goodness of man have been reluctant to predict, as they once did, a coming utopia when men will live together in peace and harmony. To us Christians, too, it often seems as if some alien force is in control, as if some murderous spirit has been unleashed through- out the entire land to maim and kill seemingly at will. And we cry out: "Why doesn't God do something?" It was this same kind of "mad scene" that distressed the prophet Habakkuk in his day and which caused him to call out to God for a judgment which would put an end to it all and bring salvation (Hab 1 :2). But God seemed indifferent to the cry and even held in front of the prophet'seyes the whole range of human wickedness before Habakkuk was finally shown God's answer to man's violence. The Prophet Cries, Cod Answers 1. The prophet's cry concerned man's violence and degei~eracy (vs2-3) and God's silence. A. Violence involves sins against both the first and second tables. I. It is a sin against God, who alone gives to man life and health (Gn 2:7). 2. It is a sin against man, doing wrong toour neighbors, whom weare to love as we do ourselves (Gn 48; 37:23-28; 1 Kgs 21: 1-14; Mt 27: 1). B. Degeneracy ("iniquity," v3) involves disregard for law and order, the order and organization God intended when He created the world and man (Gn 6:5: 2 Tm 3:l-4). Homiletical Studies 167 C. God's silence has meaning. 1. Silence does not necessarily mean indifference or unconcern (consider the case of the Syro-phoenician woman. Mt 1523). 2. Silence may be God's signal that He has a better way (Eph 3:20; Ex 14:13-16). 11. God's answer concerned a coming vision. A. The vision was to be written boldiy so that it could be read easily and proclaimed broadly. (This is the meafiing in v2 of "that he may run that readeth it.") B. The vision would be fulfilled later at a time fixed by God (v3; Ga 4:4-5). C. The vision was a vision of the truth. "It shall speak and not lie" (v3b). D. The fulfilment of the vision is certain, though delayed (v3c). It is a vision of the atonement, of justification through the Messiah (cf. Hab. 1:5 and Ac 13:38-41). The great sin offering is God's answer to man's violence and degeneracy (Is 53:6); the cross is the altar on which the offering for all sin (violence, contention, strife, etc.) was made. E. The just shall live by faith in the vision. 1. Faith is not self-confidence - our sinful pride being our own god (v4a). 2. Faith is trust in the fulfilment of the vision, i.e.. the Messiah and the atonement. Conclusion: Now we know where to look for an answer to iniquity, strife, contention in our own lives. Calvary is where "all of it ends." "Somebody has paid for it." Through Christ we are victorious and will be victorious overall our enemies. John Saleska TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST Ruth 1:l-19a October 16, 1983 Introduction: Remaining steadfast in the face of losing everything (leaving everything behind) is a constantly recurring theme in the Scriptures. Abraham remained faithful even though leaving behind his homeland, kinsmen, and his father's house (Gn 12: 1-5). Joseph remained firm in his trust in God despite the severest of trials (Gn 37,39). A great number of the Jews in exile in Babylon, having suffered the loss of everything, remained firm in their conviction that God could be counted on to take care of everything. Job suffered every imaginable kind of loss and yet said about God: "Though He slay me, yet will 1 trust in Him" (Job 13: 15). Finally our Lord Himself left behind all the treasures of the universe, suffered the loss of everything, even life itself, and was forsaken by God. Nevertheless He clung tenaciously to His heavenly Father through it all. Remaining Steadfast in the Face of Loss 1. Remaining steadfast despite the loss of material things (vl). A. Loss of food(v1). So called "natural disasters" often lead us to conclude that God has forsaken us. God can be trusted to provide for His people (Ps 37:25). 1. He provided bread for Israel in the wilderness (Ex 16:4-2 1). 2. He provided food for Elijah during the drought ( l Kgs 17:6). 3. He provided ministeringangels to Christ after His fast and temptation in the wilderness (Mt 4: 1 I). 168 CONCORDIA THEOI.OGICAL QUARTERLY B. Loss of home (vs 1, 6-1 8). Familiar surroundings, with the comfort and security they offer, are often hardest to leave behind. Gcd can be trusted to provide a place for his people. I. He provided a home away frorn home for Daniel and his three friends (Dn 1:3-7). 2. He provided a home and family for Moses (Ex 2:15-22). 11. Remaining steadfast despite the loss of a loved one (vs3-5). The death of a loved one often leaves us bitter and angry with God (v13). But God can be trusted to provide for His people. "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up ior us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Ro 8:32). A. He can he trusted to provide a way of escape in this world so that we can bear it i 1 Cor 10: 13) - a "homeland" and "loved ones" for us to love and serve (ks 16- 19a; Ru 4: 13- 1 71. B. Ile can be trusted to provide an everlasting homeland and a reunion with beloved family members and friends forever (I '1-h 4:14-18). Conclusion: I? was the spirit of the Messiah that enabled Abraham, Joseph, .Job, Naom~, and Ruth to suffer the loss of everything and still remain steadfast. Christ enables people to endure the loss of al! things and still gain everything. Christ enabled Ruth to say: " . . . Whither thou pest, 1 will go" (v16). Through Christ we who were not (iod'~ people are caIled God's people (v16). Leaving everything behind. we will go whcre Iie has gone and lodge where He lodges; we will be Hls people and His God will be our God. John Saleska 'I'WENTY-SEC'OND SLY& DAY AFER PENTECOST Genesis 32:22-30 October 23, 1983 The New Testament invites us to take the name "Israel" or "New Israel" to ourselves, the church (KO ?:38f; 9:25!'f; Ga 4:26; 6: 16; Php 3:3; Re 3:9). We are not, however. to engage in allegorizing and thus to gnosticize away the historical character of God's revelations of the past. The theophany at Peniel has been the sub.ject of considerable criticisrrt. We take it as it stands. Another pitfall associated with this text is an unwillingness to admit that .Jacob (or any of the patriarchs) sinned. Jacob too had a sinful flesh which led him to connive and deceive, c.g., to gain the blessing (Gn 27:6ff). Jacob's wrestling match at Brook Jabbok uias a pivotal point of his life. Before this crisis he had sought by "grabbing." "supplanting," and deceit to gain the b!essings of God's grace. He drove a hard bargain for Esau's birthright (Gn 2529-34). and he deceivcd his faith to obtain the blessing (Gn 27629). Such devious dealings mav ha1.e seemed a reasonable match to the actions of his surly uncle. Laban (e.g.. Laban's substitution of I~,eah for Rachel, Gn 29:23ff), yet they displayed a lack of implicit trust in God and demonstrated Jacob's need for a transformed life. Cod now comr~landed .Jacob to return to the land of his fathersand promised to be with him ((in 3 1:3). This return posed a formidable crisis for Jacob inasmuch as Esau's hostilitv -- seemingly witnessed by the 400-man army had been unappeased. Deiitzsch rightly points out that Jacob's conscience was aroused by his previo~s treachery and even by fear of God Himself. This fear led to a prayer and n plan (Cr. 3219-21). Thc prayer is a confession of Jacob's Homiletical Studies 169 unworthiness (vv10-1 I) and his hope in the steadfast loveand !'aithf'ulness of the God who promised to make Jacob's descendants like the sand of !he sea (~12). Jacob's unnecessary plan was to appease Esau with various gifts. The "angels of God" (32: I) who formed "two camps" (one for each of Jacob's parties) recall the general ministry of the angels to believers. However, the "Angel of the Lord" who wrestled with Jacob is unique. He took the form of a "man" (ish, 32:24); but in Him Jacob saw "God face to face" (~30); and He is specifically called "God" in Hosea 1 2:3-4 (cf. Gn 48: 1 6). t+e was the pre-incar- nate Son of God. Jacob named the place "Penicl" ("the face of God. v30) because he l~ad "seen God and still lived tcf. Ex 33:20-23; Is 6:5; .In 1: 14; 14:9). "Israel" (v28) is more than an appellation: it describes the character and work of the individual, It means "wrestler with God." All spiriti~tll descendants of Israel are strugglers with God. You Can Have a Transforming Encounter I. It is an encounter with ourseives. .A. As we struggle against the flesh -- weakness. J. cunning nature like the earlier Jacob. B. As we struggle against fear - - when a burdened conscience accuses us as it did Jacob (cf. Ro 2: 15: Ps 5 1 ). 11. It is an encounter with our fellowmen. A. Strive to live at peace with ail men by mans of God's way of reconciliation. B. Be a peacemaker that is our mission (Mt 5:9: C'ol 1:20). 111. It is an encounter with God. A. God often appears as our adversary, in a crisis. ir! oriicr to "test" us and help us mature (cf. Ho 122-4). We wrestle with "tcars." B. God promises us His blessings, especiallv a ".faii h t flat overcomes the world" (I .In 5:4-5). C. God blesses us in .lesus Christ so that ivz bcornce "princes of God." TWENTY-THIRD StINDAY AFTER PEX'rEC'OST 1)euteronomy 10: 12-22 October 30, 1983 Two thoughts pervade the Christian exposition of'ttlis lest. First, (iod does promise "rewards" for keeping His commandn~ents. Luthcr put it thus in explaining the conclusion of the command mcnts: "Rut He promises grace and every blessing to all that keep these Commandments" (cf. KO 2:6-8). Accordingly, we do not annul the law by our faith, "but we put the law on its feet" (Ro 3:3 I). The second thought that must occupy one's consideration is that not we. but Christ. came "to fulfill the law and the prophets" (Mt 5: 17). ihose who are in Christ now have Christ as their wisdom. righteousness. sanctification, and reaemption. Our works do not count in attai~ing salvation; it is Christ's fuifilling of the law in perfect obedience that counts (1 Cor 1:30). Every obligation that we have toward Cod has been fulfilled by .Jesus; we are free! Moses leads the people of Israel to reflect on the past providence of God for the purpose of instilling obedience and grat~tude. Thus the context (8: 1- 10: 1 I )is a rehersal of God's goodness in providing bread, shoes. clothing. and discipline during the past forty years (8: 1-5). -~hc goodness of God is to lead man to repentance (Ro 241, to obedience (8:6), and to a remembrance that it is God 170 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY "who is giving you power to make wealth" (8: 18). The blessing of a good and fruitful land are r.ot due to "our righ:cousness" or to our being better than those wicked nations who are drivien out (94-6). Israel. in fact, had "been rebellious against the Lord from the day" that God chose her i9:24; cf. Ps 78). Therefore, how odd of God to choose the Jews! Only because of His steadfast love did God redeem lsrael as His inheritance and not destroy her for her unfaithfulness (9:26; 10: 10). The text itself opens with the rhetorical question (~12) which we shall take in abbre\~iated form for the theme. The reply to the question is obvious. There are no intricate or burdensornc rules requirzd, but only a regenerated heart which recognizes the right relationship to~bard God 1 Mt 11:28-30; 22:37). What Does God Require of You? I. lie requires us to fulfill our du~!. A. Toward God (vs 12. 20) -- far ( I>t 6: 13; cf. 1 Pe 1: 17); awe (Re 14:6.7); love (Mt 2237); walking in Iiis ways (Dt 8:6): service (vs 12-20); keeping His commands (~13): honoring His name (v20); cleaving to Him (v20). 13. Toward our neighbors (v 19). I. God is good to all. evil and good (Mt 5:44-48). orphans and widows (vf8). strangers (v19: Ps 146:9). afilicted (lsrael in Egypt) and broken- hearted people ( Ps 34: 1 8 ). 2. God asks us to love the strangcr (~19) as well as those of the household of the faith (<;a 6: 10). 11. Hc provides 11s with motivation hr the reqilircments. A. He is a grest and awesome God (~17). I. He is Ciod of gads, t.ord of' iords. mighty, terrible, showing no partialit). and taking no bribes (cf. Ps 136:2-3; Dn 2:47; Ex 203). 2. He is the owner of' hcavel~ rind earth lv14; cf. 1 Kgs 8:27). U. His goodness and grace is ccntl-a1 tot he mystery of !he Gospel (vs 15,18). I. HIS affection f'o: Israel w,as completely undeserved (vs15, 21, 22). 2. His goodness to orphans and widows illustrates His love (v18). 3. He is our God by ~irtuc of His choice (v21). G. Waldemar Degner THIRI>-I.AST SI'NDAY IN THE CHbRCH YEAR Exodus 32:lS-20 November 6, 1983 lnrroducrion: We "law-abiding" citizens are often annoyed when we get the book thrown at us for speeding or jaywalking. We say, "Why aren't the police out there chasing real criminalsl- At least, we think. we ought to receive a light penalty. But law-breaking is law-breaking. Our text shatters our excuses as it tells us about Throwing the Book at Sin I. Mosesthrew it. A. The book is God's. 1. His words of authority - a reflection of His holy will. 2. His words of loving concern. a. "God Himself with His own t'ingers made a beginning of writing in order that . . . the purity of doctrine be preserved to posterity. . ." Homiletical Studies 17 1 (M. Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of TrL>nt. I: 54-cf. vs 15-16. b. These words derived from the God who rescued Israel from Egypt (Ex 20:2). c. These words were meant for the good of God's people (Ex 24: 12; cf. LC,1:333). B. But the people rejected it - and Him. 1. They tried to defend or excuse themselves (see vs 2 1-24). We do the same. 2. Sin. however, is not to be taken so lightly. It is not the transgression of an impersonal absolute. nor is it merely a matter of selfishness. It is a direct affront to God, His holiness, and His loving communication. 3 Moses. by breaking the tablets (v19), signalled theend of the relation- ship between God and Israel. Either God and man are in a relation- ship on God's terms - according to His law - or they will not be related at all. C. God silences all voices that sing other than His praise. 1. The stark reality of separation from God stops every mouth (Ro 3: 19) - also ours. 2. God's judgment finally comes. stopping mouths in death (v20). Note that God gives man what he wants. If man acts as if there were no word, no law, from God. God withdraws His word and loving presence. When Moses broke the tablets. that did not destroy the law. any more than when the people "broke" the law. But, as a result of their breaking the law, they are cut off from the source of life. God Himself. I I. God threw it. A. So obedience could be upheld. I. God had brought the Israelites out of Egypt (32:I 1) so they could be His kingdom of priests and holy nation ( 195-6). Now they had failed. 2. God "threw the book" at His Son, who was "made under the law" (Ga 44) to obey in the place of lsrael and all other men. B. So His glory could be manifested. 1. Moses pleaded that God preserve the people for the sake of His own honor (32: 12). 2. God "threw the book" at His Son because He had passed over former sins. In Christ's propitiating work. God took sin seriously and saved man with the law intact. Thus, God showed Himself to be righteous, even though men fell short of His glory (cf. Ro 3:23-26). C. So the promise could be kept. 1. Moses reminded God of the promise of descendants and land which He made to the patriarchs (32: 13). 2. God's Son "throws the Book" to us sinners. In it we read not only of earthly blessings and divine commandments: we especially find in it the message of what great things He did to save us. By this Gospel the living God gives us life, in and with the forgiveness of our sins (the law's stranglehold on us is broken). By this Gospel Christ dwells with us and leads us, just as He guided lsrael (Ex 23:20: 32:34). Conclwion; Sin is serious. God stops self-righteous mouths by throwing the book at sin. But when we see how God threw the book at His Son -- and how 172 CONCORDlA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY Christ throws the Book to us - our mouths can only be opened in praise. K. Schurb Fort Wayne. Indiana SECOND-LAST SUNDAY IN THE CHURCH YEAR Jeremiah 8:4-7 November 13, 1983 Introduction: The "con" artist hustles people with offers "too good to be true." They know the truth, but their greed gets the better of them. They fall prey to such schemes and end up saying, "How could 1 have been so stupid'?" Stupidity is of the heart as well as the head. Our text serves as a warning: Stamp Out Spiritual Stupidity I. Not man's wicked way. A. Stupidity in Judah. I. The text is part of Jeremiah's "temple sermon" (chs. 7-10), a warning against iliusions of security based on the outward possession of the temple (cf. 7:4). 2. Wickedness -- a stupidity, too. a. nough people routinely correct their mistakes (v4) and birds routinely migrate on time (v7a,a), Judah did not heed God's voice (vs7c-9). This is not how God made things. It is ridiculous. b. This refusal to recognize the truth about God and self (v6a) brought about a pitifully false outlook (v5b), and a lasting desertion of the I- rd of reality (v5aj. Every man activeiy and eagerly pursued his own foolish way of death (v6c). Not only is this sin; it is stupid. B. We are no better. Not that we consciously decide to say "no" to God; we simply ignore Him in everyday life. I. For many, work becomes the great preoccupation and the source to which they look for sustenance and security. 2. For others, entertainment is the problem. Radio and television can have a stupefying effect. They can distort one's view of reality and drown out God's voice. 3. Modern people foolishly settle for shallow solutions -- as in Jeremiah's day (8: l I). C. Judgment shows our stupidity. I. Jeremiah had preached it in the verses just before the text (7:30-83). 2. We must be reminded of it, too (2 Cor 510). God will call us to account, and all fantasies must then collapse (cf. Lk 19: 15ff). Transition: In the text even God eyes the scene with incredulity. He asks why men are so stupid. so wicked, so unwilling to take His way of life (vs5-6). This concern shows His grace. 11. But God's wise way. A. God. the Judge. is not stupid. 1. God is utterly realistic. Men wili never find their way back to Him. So He comes to men. 2. Jesus came prudently and, by consistently acting on the basis of His knowledge, He succeeded in His mission (cf. the forms of sakolin IS 52: I3 and Jr 10;21). He Himself bore the judgment for ail wicked Homiletical Studies 173 human stupidity. For this reason God raised Him up and reversed His judgment against all men (cf. Is 53: 1 1- 12). B. He disabuses us of our stupidity. I. Not only is Jesus' work "impressive" to God; the rnessage that God gave Himself !eads us to trust Him for everything. 2. It is wise to believe the Gospel. because it is our true window on the reality of our relationship (shalom) with God (I Jn 3: 19-20). 3. God nurtures our wisdom and faith. in His lavish grace. by bringing us the reality of pardon continuotisly in the Gospel and sacraments (so we do not fall back into constanr deception and stupidity). 4. Hard as it is to say "no" to temptation. it is wonderful to be able to affirm something so true, so basic, and so vital for our very lives. We say "yes" in penitence (cf. the introit for the day). It becomes a "natural" thing for us. I: is a return to our baptism. Conclusion: Penitence looks forward. too. It is the best preparation for judgment. since it comes to grips with the great rea!iries - our wickedness and God's grace -- with which the judgment will be concerned. It is the wise t hinp to do (cf. Jr 3 1 :34). K. Schurb Fort Wayne, Indiana THE LAST SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST Jeremiah 23:2-6 November 20,1983 This pericope does not relate specifically to the eschatological emphasis which has traditionally dominated the last Sunday in the church year, being a prophecy of the first coming of Christ and the consequent nature of the Xew Testament church (already here on earth prior to its glorification). The main connection between the passage and the day's general theme is presumably located in the references to the perpetual security of the church (vs 4.6). By virtue of the first coming of Christ the church will endure to the end of time and beyond to all eternity - secure not only from the enmity of devils and men in this world, but also from the wrath of God which will be poured out in scalding torrents upon this world at the second coming of Christ. Another connection between the pericope and theday is that the righteousness and security of the church of which this passage speaks (vs 4,6), although now hidden from the eyes of men, will be made manifest to all on the last day. The eschatological orientation of verse Z,rnoreover, is noted below. The speaker being quoted in verses 2-4 (as already in verse 1) is the Second Person of the Trinity whom Jeremiah calls "the LORD (vs I b, 2a, 2f, 4e), applying to Him the Divine Name to which God alone is entitled (cf. my remarks on Numbers 6, CTQ, XLVI I, pp. 38-4-I), as well as denominating Him "the God of Israel" (v 2a). For it is clearly God the Son who, in accord with the general usage of both Old and New Testaments, figures here as the Shepherd par exceffence, or Good Shepherd, of thechurch (e.g..Eze 34:23; Zch 13:7; Mt 26:3l; Jn 10: 1 1, 14; He !3:20; 1 Pe 2:25; 54; Re 7: 17). from whom all ecclesiastical officials receive their authority (Jn 21:16; Ac 20:28) and to whom they are responsible (He 13: 17; Ja 3: 1). This accountability is stressed in verses 1-2 as God the Son charges the religious leaders of the Old Testament church with failingto "attend" (using the verb paqad) to its members (by teaching false doctrine, setting an evil example, neglecting pastoral duties, etc.), thereby causing many of them to fall away from saving faith in the Messiah. (The scattering and driving 174 CONCORDlA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY away and the gathering of which these verses speak ought to be taken f'igura- tively, like the "shepherds," the "flock," the "pasture," and the multiplication mentioned here.) In consequence, God the Son threatens to "attend" Himself to His insubordinate subordinates (again usingpaqad, but now investing the word with a negativeconnotation by way of an artful contrast with its prior use). Thus, those religious leaders of Israel who remained impenitent - like all men who have died in their sins - were consigned to eternal punishment at the time of their death and will hear this sentence confirmed by Christ on the last day (cf. Mt 25:3I-46; 2 Th 1:7-10). In verse 3 God the Son promises that He Himself will someday bring people from all nations of the world in increasing numbers ("they will be fruitful") into His church (cf. Jn 10: 16). It will always be a minority group in the world ("the remnant"), but it will include alI those whom God elected in eternity to salvation ("nor will any be missing," v 4d; cf. Jn 10: 14, 26-29). The Lord will accomplish this worldwide extension of His church by giving new spiritual leaders to the church (v 4a) to comfort terrified men with the good news that Christ has assuaged the wrath of God against mankind and has already decisively defeated the devil and all his allies (v4b-c; cf. my study of 1 John 1-2. CTQ, XLVI, pp. 44- 46). These spiritual Laders are the men whom we call the apostles and their successors as pastors (the Latin word for "shepherds") of the New Testament church (cf. Jr 3: 14-17; Jn 21: 16; Ac 20:28), so long as these pastors remain faithful to the pure doctrine of the prophetsand apostles (cf. Eph 2, CTQ, XLVI, pp. 62-65). In verses 5-6 God the Father ("the LORD," v 5) seconds the testimony of His Son (cf. Jn 8: 14- 18), enunciating more distinctly the basis of the developments described already, namely, the saving person and work of the King par excellence. He was to be, on the one hand, true God, since the Father states in a uniquely emphatic way ("this is the name by which He is to be called," v 6c) that this King is entitled to be called by the Divine Name (v 6d). Yet He was also to be true man, a descendant (rzemach, "sproutn) of David. (The word rzemach refers not to one of many branches, but rather to a distinct new growth from a seed or, as in this case, a root. This word had become a technical term for the Messiah in Old Testament times [Is 42; Zch 3:B; 6: 123; even as "days are comingn [v 53 and "in His days" [v 63 were customarily used in prophecy to refer to the Messianic era of human history - that is, what we should call the present New Testament era.) Since He is true man, the Kingof Kings wasable to serveas our substitute in keeping the law of God perfectly ("a righteous sprout," v 5c; hiskil, "act wisely," v 5d) and in suffering the punishment deserved by the sins of men. Since He is true God, this substitutionary enterprise was sufficient to "establish justi- fication" (mishpat, v 5d) on a universal scope, a "righteousness in the earth" (v 5d), that is, a righteousness imputed to all the people of the world. In other words, because a man is also "the LORD," His work constitutes "our righteousness"(v 6d; cf. Is 61, CTQ, XLVI, pp. 307-309; Is 42, pp. 309-312). This imputed righteousness is the very basis of the salvation ("shall be saved,'"'shall dwell in safety," v 6a-b) of the church (the names "Judah" and "Israel" being applied by synechdwhe in both testaments to the church in general). Introduction: On a restaurant menu a "kingsize" steak is the amplest piece of meat available. A "kingsize" box of detergent is the largest on the shelf, and a "kingsize" mattress is the roomiest of beds. The term "kingsize" derives its signi- ficance. of course, from the traditional position of kings as the most important people in the world, who could afford and expect the biggest and best of everything. Not all kings, to be sure, were of equal importance. Philip I1 of Homiletical Studies 175 h4acedon was a sovereign of speciai significance, but his son, Alexander the Great, made his lustre seem pale by comparison. Pepin the Short was a monarch of moment in European history, but his son, Charlemagne, was of' much more consequence. The most important ruler by far, however, in all of human history, is the King of whom Jeremiah speaks in the text, Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jesus Christ is truly A Wingsize Wing 1. As to His Person. A. His lineage. 1. According to His human nature. a. He is descended from an illustrious monarch - David, second king of Israel (v 5). b. He is not unique among kings, hoivever, in this respect. 2. According to His divine nature (vs 2, 4e, 6c-d, 8). a. He is eternally begotten by God the Father. b. He is absolutely unique among kings in this respect. B. His character. 1. He is wise (v 5; cf. Pr 8, CTQ. XI,VII, pp. 49-51, especially point II.B.2. b). 2. He is righteous in a unique way (v 5). a. All other kings - iike us and all other human beingssince the fall - have been conceived in sin and sin constantly. b. He was conceived without sin (by virtue of His deity and virgin birth) and never sicned. 11. As to His Work. A. He condemns sinners. 1. Specifically pastors who mislead His church or neglect its care (vs I- 2). 2. Generally all sinners. even all Christians (with respect to the "old man" within us). a. We have ail strayed from the path laid out by God's word (cf. Is 535). b. We have thereby forfeited God's presence and His protection from spiritual predators (Satan and eternal death). 3. Ultimately, on the last day, ail those without faith in His saving work (cf. Mt 2531-46; 2 Th 1:i-10; 2 Pe 3:3-14). B. He saves sinners (v 6a-b). 1. By imputing to Himself ail the sins of all people and so suffering a. An ignominious death on the cross. b. The full measure of God's wrath (Mt 2746). 2. By imputing to all men His perfect righteousness (v 6d; Ro 5: 15- 19). C. He gathers and tends His people. 1. He gathers them (v 3). a. Through the proclamation of the Gospel. b. From all peoples of the world. 2. He tends them (v 4). a. Calling qualified men to the pastoral office of the New Testament church (v 4a). (1.) First directly in the case of the apostles. (2.) Now indirectly through the divine call of His church. b. Defending His people from all enemies (v 4b3, 6b). Douglas McC. Lindsay Judisch