Full Text for Homiletical Studies (Text)

CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY Volume 42 Number 1 JANUARY 1978 An EvaIuation of the Australian Lutheran .... "Statement on Homosexuality" Robert W. Schaibley 1 Observations and Reflections on the .................... Giant Psalm Raymond F. Surburg 8 Highlghts of the Lutheran Refonnation .......................... in Slovakia David P. Daniel 21 .................................. Theological Observer 35 Books Received ....................................... 99 Homiletical Studies THE SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY: hlATTHEW 3:13-17 (JAN. 8, 1978) When we hear the word "Epiphany" what comes met readily to mind? The star; the magi. But originally when worshippers heard of the Epiphany they thought at once of the Baptiam of Jesus. This was the great event orieinally chosen to celebrate the fact that the Child born in Bethlehem was mad% manifest as the Son of God and the Saviour of the world. Textual Notes: 1) John'e baptism. At John's time there was a baptiem in Judaism for proselytes, those who came into Judaism from same 0th faith. But it was for "sinners," and no Jew ever thought that he, a descendant of Abraham, wuld ever need such a baptism. John makes no distinction; he calla also Jews to repentance. And they come. Jeaue later tells us that John'e baptism was "from heaven." Here was God acting in giving repentance and grace to all people who atand under His judgment. 2) "FulfiU all righteousnm": In His baptism Jesus identified Himeelf with the people He came to save. He came to live and die vicariously for sinners in need of mpentance. That is why He insisted on being in the water. 3) The deecending Dwe and heavenIy Voice are the supreme verfication and stamp of approval an all that Jesus is and all He came to do. 4) "This is My beloved Sari" - a quotation from Ps. 2, which is a description of the Meaeiah, the mighty Kine of God who was to come. 5) "In whom I am well pleased" - another OT quotation, this time from Is. 42, which is a description of the Suffkring Ser- vant. Introductory thought: When we see Jesus standing in the river with Job the Baptizer, there is one question that must come to mind: What Ie Jeeue Doing In The Water? I. Jesus did not belong in the water (at least John the Baptizer did not think He belonged there). A. John's baptism etands as a stark msninder that ell people are heas under the judgmeut of God. B. In John's baptiem God was acting in giving repentaace and cb- neLing Hie grace to people. C. But Jesus needed no repentance or forgiveness; why did He insi& on being in the water? 11. Jesue is in the water because that is where we belong. A. We are sinners under God's judgment. B. By Hia being baptized Jesus identified Himeelf with the peuple He came to save. C. The innocent Son of God assumed our guilt and bore the penalty of our ein. D. Jesue' finiehed work makAA the water of our baptism a place of righteownem and rebirth, it ie where we belong. 111. The Dove and Voice tell us God is gled that Jeeue is in the water for us. A. Jeeue M the bearer of the Holy Spirit who has the power to renew us. B. Jeaus is the Anointed King who goes His royal way, tbe way of the croa8. C. Jesue ie God's Suffering Servant who corn? to enthrone Him& in our hearts and livm. So now we know what Jeeus was doing in the water. He waa th- because of ue. He wae there to save us. at m Epipby that is! RH 40 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY THE TRANSFIGURATION OF OUR LORD: MATTHEW 17:l-9 (JAN. 15, 1978) We sing in one of .our hymns, "Jesus, Jesus, only Jesus" (TLH 348). That is putting all our egga in one basket. It eliminates other options and leaves us with the question: In a world gone to the devil, is Jesus all we need for our spiritual life and well-beii Are th resourcee we have in "Jesus only" enough for the problems and challenp we face? It is to this question that our periscope speaks with convincing cIarity. In particular we focus on verse 8: "And when they lifted up thdh eyes, they saw no om but Jesus only ." Textual Notes: The Transfiition follows Peter's great confession (it is like God's "Amen" to Peter's -tion-of Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God) and Jesus' prediction of His passion (16:13ff.). The conversation on the way down from the mountain discussed the martyrdom of John the Baptist and the impending death of Jesus. At the foot of the mountain we find the remaining nine apostles unable to cope with a demonic aspect of life because of the littleness of their faith (17:lM.). , "Moses"- the law-giver of Mt. Sinai. "Elijah"-the fiery prophet of Mt. Carmel wbo insisted on undivided loyalty to tbe Lord. Perhaps the two together symbolize the fullnesa of God's revelation (law and prophets) to Israel. "Booths"-remhkmt of the sojourn of Israel when they received the revelation of the Law through Mows. "Bright cloud"-indicative of God'e presence. "My beloved Sonw-a revelation of the divine omh hip of Jeaua as the victorious Messianic King spoken of in Ps. 2. "In whom I am well- pleased " - an echo of the Messianic Servant passage in Is. 42: 1 ; Jesus ia doing His Fathg's will when He &era and dim far the ah of the world; He is our Saviour. "Listen to Him"- the glory of thia moment will soon pass away, but this same Jesus will continue to address His Word to you. Introductory thought: Is not having Moses and Elijah and the bright cloud and the heavenly voice and a transfigured Jesus-gleaming and glowing- better than simply having "Jesus only"? Jce~ ady I. When the apostles saw "Jemm only" it meant the end of the mountain - top experience. A. Jesus had granted them a moment of spiritual Weration. 1. What an experience! Jesus transfigured. Moees and Elijah, the voice from the cloud. 2. Like Peter, we often crave to baek in the vicini of such beaveluy splendor, far removed from the sordid Wtiee o 7 daily life. But - B. Jesus brings His aptles back down into the "real world." 1. Here is where God's spokesmen rue under attack and the devil appears invincible. 2. Here is where oar feeble faith frequently fdteas and fails. 11. "Jesus only" is more than sufficient to meet our needs aa we face life at the base of the mountain. A. Tbe same Jems who wae tnmdipd ie with us day by day. 1. He is God's own Son wbo has conquer& the forces of tb devil. Faith in Him lays hold of the power needed to aonfront life's prob- lems. 2. He is the One who pled God when He came to be our Saviour. Faith in Him lays hold of heaven's glory prefigured in the Transfiguration. B. Amid life's many clamoring voices, we are still to listen to thia transfigured Jesus. 1. As God's Son He spenks a true and powerfd Word tbat strengthens our faltering faith in the faee of life's problems. Homiletical Studies 41 2. As our Saviour He speaks a forgiving Word that opens to ~8 heaven's glory. Jesus only: He is enough! RH SEPTUAGESIMA SUNDAY: MA'ITHEW 5:27-37 (JAN. 22, 1978) A house eaten by termites and be- to sag may appear better with a fresh coat of paint, but it is still a rotting house. The problem lies on the inside and must be dealt with there. In Iike manner, Christian morality is not simply doing things which appear good to other people; it has to do with God. Sin is, first of all, an "inside job." The heart of the matter is a holy heart ctnd that is what this pericope is all about. Textual Notes. Four preliminary observations: 1) Jesus speaks the words of Ws pericope to His disciples (Matt. 5:l-2). 2) Three times He declares, "But I say to you." We note the divine authority with which He addresses men, and aIso that it is Jesus who speaks, the One who came to live for us a life dedicated to His Father's will and to die in payment for our sine. 3) Jesus was speaking in the context of that rabbinic legalism which, through casuistry and compromise, had externalized God's Law, thereby evading ita full intent and excluding God's claim over every aspect of life. 4) This pericope is primarily a law text directed to a disciple's old Adam and setting forth a pattern for his life. Vv. 27-30. By giving prominence to the outward act the scribes tended to externalize the command forbidding adultery. Jesus directs the Law to the root of the sinful impluse, the heart. The 6th Commandment calls for a pure heart which keeps even the eyes pure. The strong words point to the strenuous effort necessary to master sexual passion; Jesus is not recommending succeesive amputations. Vv. 31-32. The scribes had so re-interpreted the prescription of Mm as to permit aU manner of divorce and thereby evade the intent and will of God. One rabbinical tradition at the time of Jesus permitted divorce for the love of another woman or for causes as trivial as inferior cooking. We cannot sub- stitute human regulations for the divine requirement. Every severance of marriage, apart from death, violates God's commandment. Vv. 33-37. Again, the scribes had a great deal to say about which oaths were binding and which were not, concluding that any oath which avoided using God's name was not (i.e., swearing by heaven, earth, Jerusalem, or one's own head). The logic was that if God's name was not used, He had nothing to do with the transaction. Jesus declares that w man can keep God out of any segment of life; you cannot exclude His demand for truth by substituting something less sacred for the divine name. For the disciple, whoee heart is pure and who always speaks the truth, there is no need for oaths. In civic life, however, because of the untruth in the world, the state, which has to deal with all men, must often require oaths. In the area of Christian morality The Heart of the Matter is a holy heart wholly intent on doing God's will in every aspect of living. I. The heart of the matter (Jesus had made us His disciples) A. Jesus came to seek and claim disciples. 1. Discipleship is a gift of His grace. 2. Discipleship places His claim of grace upon us. B. To this end: 1. He lived a life of whole-hearted commitment to God's will for us. 42 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY 2. He gave Hie perfect life in payment for our sine. 3. Through Hie Spirit He gives ~lis new hearts intent on doing God'e will. 11. Is a holy ho?art (Jeaus calla for a holy beart ae the erne of a He in keeping with our discipleship. ) A. Jeeue condemns the scriberr wbo externalized God's Law (example: 6th Co-t a matter only of the outward act rtnd--n&-&f the heart). B. Outward piety ia not enough, our hearts muat be pure. No matter how pime we appear to oh, God seer, and judges our hearts. C. We continually need to have the Holy Spirit at work in our hearts. 111. Wholly intent on doing God'e wiIl (Jewe calla for a heart wholly intent on doing God'e will.) A. Jesus amdapm the mibee who intmprehd the Law eo ae to evade its full intent (example: their ~~~~uistry with regard with divorce). B. We cannot substitute human rationalizing for the divine requirement. (examplea: eitaatlon ethics where "love" determines "right and wrong." Or again, "Do your beut" is not good enough, no matter how acceptable it may be to the world around us.) C. ARa all, it ie becawe Jesus was "wholly intent on doing God's will" that we are His disciples today. IV. In every aspect of liviag. (Jesus calla for a beart that doea God's will in wery aspect of living. J A. Jesus condemns the snibep who aouefit to exclude God' claim over every aspect of their lives (example: their camistry with regard to 08th~). B. We cannot compartmentalize our livea and exclude God from-any area our speaking and do'i. What we say and do on Saturday night (or Monday morning) is ae much undez the claim and judgment of God M what we say and do on Sunday morning. C. He died for us that we might live for Him (2 Cor. 6:16). "So, whether ym or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Cor. 10:31). "Unl- your righteowness exceeds that of the scribw and Pharieees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 6:ZO). We have that exceeding righteouaneas in Jema Chriet. Let's live it! RH SEXAGESIMA SUNDAY: MATTHEW 5%-48 (JAN. 29, 1978) When the lawyes asked Jesue "Wbo is my netighbour?" (Luke 10:29), he was hying to find out who were the guys he did not have to lwe. In a sense we can ~~ that. There are mma people we dcm't wen like; how can we love them? Others have treated us so badly they don't dW our lwe. Where can we draw the line? What are the limita on love? In this pericope we hear deeua tell Hie discipIes that for the dWmn of the heavenly Father there is no limit b he. Textual Notee: Vv. 38-42. "An eye for an eyew-thia ie a eound principle of civil law; ita original aim wan the limitatioa of vetngennce, in- dicating how a judge in the court must aesess punishment and penalty. In the Miahna a money payment in lieu of eye, tooth, eta., is taken for granted. Jesue doee not condemn the principle .tlytt legal j@ is a set of limited -. R.thes, He removm every impdm for ratdahn mid desire for ve~geancefromthebeartofHisdisciplee. HomileticaI Studies 43 The examples he gives are arranged in the form of an anticlimax: acts of legal proambygs, official demands, simple requests. "Strikeo you on the right cheekv-perhaps a backhanded blow which would be a deliberate and contemptuous insult. "Coat/cloak"-the tunic, or undergarment, and the blanket-like outer garment which doubled ae a blanket at night. Jewish law pnnitted a man's tunic to be taken as security, but not hie cloak; see Ex. 2226-27. "Forces you to go"-a Persian word which came to mean enforced gervice by an occupying power; example: Simon of Cyrene, Luke 23:26. "Begs/would borrow" -nuisance requeete. Vv. 43-48. The Law did not include the words "and hate your enemy," but this was the result when the scribe sought to find areas where a person wae not explicity required to show love. "Lwe your enemies"--Jeeus FB~O~~JS wery limitation from love. Such love (agape), which actively seeks the lugheat good ("pray for them") for those who tmt ue the very worst, involvea something of the will aa well as the heart. It is like the action of God's love in the world which is unwearied in its benevolence toward all people. It is love which has its aource in the adoptive love of the Father. "Father," as a nnme for God, occurs first in the Sermon on the Mount where we find it 17 times. "Perfect" ( teleios) often means "totality"; the disciples of Jesus should be "total" in their love, including their enemies within ita compase. Such per- fection is also functional, i.e., a disciple is "perfect" to the extent that he reproduce% in his life the forgiving, sacrificial love of God which made him a eon. The pattern and power of this lived sonship ia Jesus Himself. It is the Gospel which makes people the children of God and which enables them so to live. No Lid To Love I. Jesus won't let w limit our love. A. We want to limit it. 1. By nature we have an inclination for vengeance. 2. God restrains and regulates this impluse through civil courts. B. Jeew' words remove every limitation from love. I. ''Love your enemies" removes wery limit. 2. Rather than vengeance, we are to seek their highwt good ("Pray" for them). 11. This is because God's Love, which made w Hie children, know8 no limit. A. God's love knows no Iimit 1. We can observe it in His unwearied benevolence in the world. 2. We see it in the sending of Hie Son. "While we were yet sinners Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8). B. This love has made us God's childma. 1. He has adopted us. 2. He wants us to be "perfect" children by demonstrating Hie kind of he in our liverr. 111. Therefore, aa our heavenly Fatba's "perfect" cbildmn we show love wifih- out limit when we- A. Bear insults and personal abuee without mm~tment and retaliation ("turn to him the other aleo"). B . Do not insist upon our righta ("let him have your cloak a~ well"). C. Put oursehree out for the other person ("go with him two milee"). D. Are willing to be put upon ("do not refuse him). RH 44 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY QUINQUAGESIMA: MATTHEW 6:24-34 (FEBRUARY 5, 1978) "You can't work for me and him too!" explodes an employer when he learns that one of his employees is also attempting to hold a full-time job with his &-competitor. It is Microus; it cannot be. That sart of things is what our Lad has in mind when He states that a disciple of His cannot "be a slave to two owners." He points out that wony is a test of our allegiance. If God amee first, we will trust Him completely (as we confess in to day's introit: "In Thee, 0 Lad, do I put my trwt. "). Worry indicates that someone or something else is in the top spot, namely. Mammon. Verse 24: "No person can be a slave to two awners." The disciple cannot have a divided loyalty; there is no room for competing masters. The alter- native to God, who has come to us in Jesus Christ and claimed us as His dis- ciples, is "Mammon." Mammon is wealth, material possessions, personified. It ' is a false god that demanrlcl exclusive loyalty as God demands it. The meaning is not, "You cannot serve God and have riches"; rather, "You cannot be faith- ful to God and make an idol of wealth." Veree 26: "Therefare"-the extent to which we "fear, love, and trust in God above all things" is evident by the amount of worrying that we do. Anxiety with ~spect to earthly goods ia evidence that we are seTving Mammon. Food and dothhg represent basic earthly needs. -Can we not trust Him who gave us the greater (body and life) also to give us the less (food and clothing)? Verse 26: The birds mrk, but thy do not wony. Verse 27: No amount of worry can add the shortest span to life. Verses 28-30: God, who is so lavish with the hrt-lived flowers, will not be forgetful of Hie discipb. Wony is evidence that uy do not trust God above aII things; it points to the littleness of our fatih. Verses 31-32: To make the provision of fwd and clothing an object of anxiety, is to live like the pagans whom primary allegiance is to the ac- cumulation of earthly goods-Mammon. Veree 33: If, however, our primary aUe@mce is to God, our primary concern wiH be for His rule in our lives. The aem ("ahdl be yaars as well'? of the &ed material goods implies that the main quest -God's kingdom and righteousness - will be secured. Verse 34: Trust Lives one day at a time. I. God rtrsnnnrlR our complete ~~ (v. 24). A. God is the Owner who- I. Claims us, not to benefit Himself, but us. (He became a slave to serve us; cp. PM. 2:6-8). 2. Demands our complete allegiance. (We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.) B. Marpmn ie a false god that ah demands our exclusive loyalty. 1. "Mammon" is wealth personified. The goods entrusted to us by God become the god in whom we trust. 2. When Mamnnn hob sway, our primary concern becomes the accumuletbn of earthly possessions. C. Divided allegiance is impossible: "No person can be slave to two owners. " 11. Wony giv- evidence of Mammon's sway (w. 25-30). A. Mammon says, "Get more!" 1. We wurry tbat we will not have enough. 2. How unlike the birds; thy work but never worry about ac- cumulating for the future. 3. How pahthas; worry caMot prolong our hea a moment. B. Mammon replaces the God who has already siven us "more-" Homiletical Studies 45 1. He has given us Life and body which i~ "more tbm" fad .nd clothing. 2. He has given us His Son that we might live with Him forever, body and soul. 3. Should we not trust Him for the food we need (we are of more value than the birch) and clothing (we are more important than flowers)? C. Worry, therefore, is evidence, that we do not trust God abwe dl things: points to the littleness of our faith. I1 I. When God holds sway in our lives (w. 31-34)- A. We live as children of a heavenly Father. 1. The primary concern with materid goods ia a pegan trait. 2. We trust a heavenly Father who provides far all our ds. B. We seek God's rule and righteousness. 1. Our primary concern is for these spiritual needs. 2. We trust God to provide them. C. We live one day at a time. 1. We experience God's help to meet today's problems. 2. We trust Him for tomorrow's needs. ASH WEDNESDAY: NIAlTHEW 6:l-6,1618 (FEB. 8, 1978) " Pietyw (v. 6) refers to gwd works in the life of a believer. Not mn but God should be uppermost in our minds when we practice our righteou~p8%8 or piety. In chapter 5:21-48 Jesus deals with the doctrine of the Pharisees; in the text He deals with their practice. ALms are mentioned first becanse the! d- righteous Jews attributed to them a speical merit. "Sound no trumpet" ie to be taken figuratively; hypocrites broadcast or blazon forth their works of charity (v. 2). They receive their reward in the encomium of their followmen, but nothing more remains, for from God they receive no reward. The aphorism in V. 3 means that we are not to carry good deeds aloft as bannere, not to make them known to our fellowmen, not even to our merest kin. We am to be ignorant, so to speak, of the good works we perform. On the laet day the righteous will ask with unfeigned surprise, "'Lord, when did we see Thee. . ."(Mt. 25:37)? No matter if others do not see aur charity; God sees and rewards (v. 4). The Pharisees made public prayer a spectacular part of their worship. Also they prayed three times each day in acco- with Ps. 55: 18 and Dn. 6:11) with all due ceremony wherever they happened to be (v. 5). Rut prayer is not a standard to be raised before human eyes, but an overture of the soul to its God (v. 6). Public prayer is not forbidden here. The stress is on a personal approach to God and the seclusion of the inner life. Tbe Pharisees in their private fasting simulated sorrow but had no concern about their sins in their hearts- pride in the garb of humility. They made their f ace8 inconspicuous in order to be conspicuous among men (v. 16). Fasting is not forbidden, but those who fast should come as they are. One ehould fast because it may be useful in his spiritual life, not to display sadness (vs. 17-18). This applies to any act of self-denial whereby sinful inclinatiws rue subdued and pure affections cultivated. The central thought of the text is that Christians are not to make a shaw of their piety. The goal of the sennon is that the hearers would be sinare and humble in their piety. The problem is that Christh sonretimes become h-vpocritical and self-righteous in their piety. The means to the god ie that God knows and rewards the god we do. Introductory thought: Orwell in his fantasy I984 warns that "Big Brother sees." He sees, and hears, all that might be inimical to his power; so d citizens beware. Similar fear may be aroused by the rewtion that God am 46 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY all, egpecially our sins. The text brings out that God sees, not only the evil, but also the good we do. Cud Knowe About the Good We Are Doi I. Others do not have to know about it. 11. We do not have to keep a record of it. I. A. Jesus warns against ostentatious religion. 1. Giving to help the needy and to support the church in order to gain a reputation for generosity (v.2). a. Insisting on public aknowledgement of one's charity. b. Giving less if the contribution is not made known. 2. Making sure others know about our worshipping (v. 5). a. Much attention to public worship with neglect of private devotion. b. Letting it be known that we pray much in private. 3. Displaying selfdenial (v. 16). a. Letting others know one has become a teetotaler, or that one hae given up a vacation to attend a ~ous retreat. b. Advertising one's sacrifices for children or parents. B . Such religion is wicked. 1. It pretends to be something it is not. 2. It cultivates the admiration of men with little or no thought of God. 3. It brings God's judgment (v. 6b). C. Such religion is u~eccessary. 1. Though the good we do is concealed from the world, it is not hidden from God ("eees in secret"). a. It does not follow that othera must not see the good we do or that only those deeds are truly good which no one hae ever Been. b. It does follow that this ie a matter over which we have no contad and that we must not advertise our wares. 2. Though no one praises us, we will have a better prize from Him who will not let wen a cup of water given in His name go unrequited (ve. 4, 6, 18; Mt. 10:42). 11. A. We are to be "igxxmnt" of the good worh we are doing ("alms may be in secret," "shut the door," "fasting may not be seen by men;" Mt. 2537). 1. Not constantly informing ourselves about our chaiay (v. 3). 2. Not using prayer as a badge of piety but ae a msans of communion with God in our innermost heart (v. 6). 3. No being conscious of sacrZice, denying ourmlves but no issue of it. B. To Eeep a record of our gom)nees is foolieh. 1. This goodness is so small-like a drop in the ooean compared to God's -88. 2. It is so tainted by impure motives. 3. We have Jewla and heaven ae our treasure by God's grace, and thus there is no need to try to earn heaven (Mt. 6:21). C. It is enough that God keeps a record. 1. God's record-keeping will be rwenled on the last day (Mt. 26:3536). 2. He looks beyad the outward deed to the source from which it springs. 3. He gives to those whoae piety flows from a heart transformmi by grace a rich md, though unearned and undemrved by them. Condudmg thought: Be on guard again& oatentath in religion. We need not let othere, not even aueehres, how about tbe good mm are tbbg. God Imons about it. That is good enough. GA Homiletical Studies 47 IWOCAVIT. THE FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT: MATTHEW 41-11 (FEB. 12, 1978) "Then" (v. 1) shows that Jeaus' temptation is clogely connected with His baptism. In baptism He was endowed with the Holy Spirit's power to resiat temptation. "Led up by the Spirit" indicates that bmptation was part of the calling Jesus had accepted. He had to enter the strong man's house and bind him (hlt. 12:19). This was the first onslaught; it was not accidental, but willed by Father and Son. The temptation was real and not eimply pretenm or simulation. It brought Jesus suffering (He. 2:18). From v. 2 and ah pamllel 8cmu11ts it is obvious that Jesus was tempted continually for forty &ye, the ordeal culminating in the three conflicts deacxii in the text. In the firet temptation the deviI tried to get Jesus to doubt and to misuse His divine power. In the second, Jesus was tempted to pride in His Megeianic office. He was tempted to giorify Himeelf before men. In tbe third, He waa tsmpted to anticipate a future dominion not ia eccord with His calling, which was tbs my of suffering. The sum total of aIl the temptatione is a carnal caricature of tbe . work 05 the Messiah. Jeeue does not argue with Satan but the battle agamst mth the written Word of God. Tmth may be oppressed, but not suppressed. The Word ia the sword of the Spirit, the wcspon of offease and defense in the Ckistids spiritual rtrmammt (Eph. 6). But Scripture muet be used properly, not misused. The central thought of the text is that Jecrua used God's Word to overcome Satan's temptations. The goal of the sermon ie that the bearers would over- come Satan's temptation. The problem is that they often fd unable to do so. The means to the goal is that Jews avercame Satan hr ue. Introductory thought: During the 1960's movements & which adopted the slogan, "We shall overcome." C)lristiens Wng to a -t which can well take the same slogan. Jesus, thE Founder of this movement, eaid so ( Mt . 16:18). So every Christian can say: we Sben 0Vcca)Ine I. Can we overcome? 11. How can we overcome? I. A. There would seem to be sufficient reason fa CO-. 1. Jesus was baptized and thue empowered with tbe Spirit, and eo rn we. 2. Jeeus was led all the while by the Spirit. and so are we. B. Yet it is not easy to be mnfidemt kuae temptations are often sevese. 1. It is hard LI& ta set phyaical needs above spiritual needs. 2. It is hard not to dy preeumptouely on God. 3. It is hard to stifle ambition and to avoid operating with tbe "end justifies mnnnn" principle. In the face of such temptation it is no wonder we begin to auk, "Can we overoome?" But we can. How? 11. A. Obey God. 1. Keep priortities straight. 2.RefusetoueeGod. 3. Worship God aEope. B. Do not argue with Satan. 1. Eve conM not rsason with Satan, and neither can we. 2. Our beat recourse is the perthnt and specific word of God to which Sataahasmcamgbaek. 48 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY C. Look to Jesus for help. I. He understands our temptations (He. 4:15). 2. He stands by us. 3. He conquered Satan once and for all (Col. 2:15). 4. He strengthens us through Word and Sacrament (He. 2:18). Concluding thought: In Him and through Him we shall overcome. GA REMINISCERE. THE SECOND SUNDAY IN LENT: JOHN 45-26 (FEB. 19, 1978) In asking for a drink (v. 7) Jesus placed Himself on a level with the woman. His request made her williag to listen further to what He had to say. She felt His true, unse1fish interest. Her interest was further aroused by the statement: "If you knew the gift of God. . . " (v. 9). She was moved to consider Christ's claims (v. 12). Next Christ gave a promise appealing to conscious need (v. 14). The woman had sought satisfaction all her life, unrestrained in her search by laws of God or man, but she thirsted still. In every heart there is a thirst, a sense of lack which Jewe promises to satisfy (vs. 13-15). Then came a com- mand appealing to conscience (v. 16). No matter how a person may admit Christ's claims, be will never find satisfaction until the thing that is wrong in his life is made right. Jesus had touched the sore spot in her life, Her answer (v. 17) was half true. Jesus proceeded to reveal her whole life (v. 18) with such divine insight that she called Him a prophet (v. 19). Jernur had appealed also to a religious instinct which, though dormant, was not dead. But the women tbought of only as form and emmmy and imagined that the mistake was in the location of the worship (v. 20). Jesus informed her (vs. 21-25) that the trouble was not the place of worship but the fact; she had never wor- shipped at all. Since God is a Spirit, true worship is not a question of place or of form and ceremony, but of apititual reality. Jerusalem has i~deed been the divinely appointed place of worship, because of the promise of salvation through the Jews, but the time haa come when there are to be no local restrictions to worship. True worshipers will not be cod with place and symbol. The woman in her reply suggested a need for a mediator to give fuller knowledge of God. Now she was ready to hear the supreme word (v. 26). Did she believe? She made no verbal response, but her actions (v. 28) were more eloquent than speech. The central thoughtof the text is that Jesus leads last ds to know the gift of salvation. The god of the sermon is that the hearers would reaffirm Jesus as the gift of God that satisfies. Introductory thought: AIthough Jews generally avoided Samana. Jesus did not. He sat down to rest, but forgot his weariness when the opportunity presented itself to led a lost soul to know God's gift. Jmm, who suffered wesriaess and thirst for US, has come to us and pleaded, "If you knew the gift of God. . . " He comes to us again today and offers tbe gift of God, His own seE, to know and to enjoy. desue Lerde Ue to Know The Gi of God I. He makes w aware of our need of it. 11. He shows us where to find it. 1. A. Jesus reminds us that earthly wells cannot quench spiritual thirst (v. 13). 1. We, like tbe Samarian woman, have earthly web of whose waters we boast (v. 12) - money, sumese, posaeasio119, ambitions. Homiletical Studies 49 2. There are times wben we yearn for something more than the water of theae miserable wells (v. 15). B. Jesus puts His fiqer on sin as the cause of our thirst (v. 16). 1. Jesus condemns as sin tkctb~ we may have d (vs. 17-18). 2. We can no longer hide or equivocate (v. 19). 3. Tbat which is wrong in our life must be made right if we are to have setisfaction. 4. Jesus stirnulatee in us a deeire for the gift of God (v. 14). Jesus leads us to know the gift of God by first bringing us to an awareness ofourneedfmtbatgift.ThenHeehuswbaRtofudit. II. A. In the tam2 church. 1. We rnay be perplexed ae to which church is right (v. 20). 2. The true church is there where God's Word is taught purely mi tlm Sacraments are nrfministerwf aamdhg to Christ'e cod. Thas wa find the gift of God - sahration (v. 22). B. Among true womhipers. 1. 'Who are not bound to any partimk place or ritual (v. 21). 2. Who woW-.th+ true God in spirit and in truth (v. 23). a. God ki not 60md to my ouW group or building. b. Church organizatione can cease to exist, but true worshipere, who make up tbe church, will wntinue. C. In the Savior Himself. 1. Jesus reveels Himself to us (v. 26) in Wod and Smnux?nts. 2. We can have Him now, as we are, in oar emptiness and thirst. 3. Heisthe%iftthntsa~(vs,28-29). k1- thought: Do you know the gift of God? Jesue says to you, "I who speak to you am He." OCULI, THE THIRD SUNDAY IN LENT: JOHN 9:26-41 (FEB. 26,1978) The heaIing of the blind man was a marvelous "sign" and would go far to persuade men to admit the claims of Jew. This Christ's edes feered and so they sought to prove that the miracle had not been wrought, but withaut success. Tbe Pharisees caddly mmsexemincd tbe man wbo had received his sight and also his pnrenta. Tbey eummoned him a second tixm and urged him to admit that the reputad miracle was only a deception (v. 24). The man's answer (v. 25) does not mean he had no opinion regarding the character of Jesus but that he was willing to Ieave the theological problems to their superior wisdom. He knows, however, what Jesus did for him. The Pharkes were indeed in a dilemma; there stood the man before them, his sight perfect who had been born blind. They bad either to deny the facts or to admit the divine nature of Jesus which the facta proved. They tried to =ape from their dilemma by asking the man to =peat his stary, hoping b ejltrrwls him in his report. But the man sees their dilemma and asks, with bold irony, whethg their eagerness for more information was due to a desire to become his disciples (v. 27) .Now they could only revile him (vs. 28-29), abuse taking place of argument. The man heaps upon their cowardice the contempt it derrerverr in the form of an unanswerable argument (vs. 30-33). The Phaxiaees dismiss the matter by excommunicating him (v. 34). Jesus knew the diffidtiea the man had encountered in his faith and came to strellgthen him (vs. 35-38). He who first regarded the Lord as a man called Jesus, and then as a prophet, now saw Him as the Son of God. Often th humble who have no wisdom of their own 50 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY are the first to admit the claims of Christ. But this is no excuse for the wise and learned. The Pharisees' greater privileges and knowledge of Scripture ebould have made them the first to believe. Their boasted ineight was their very ondemnation and aggravation of their guilt (v. 41). The central thought of the text is that the coming of Jesus brings both darkmas and light. The goal of the sermon is that the hearers would see Jesus more clearly. The problem is that opposition aometimea blurs their viaion of Christ. The means to the god is Jeaus bestowing and sharpening spiritual vision. Tntroductory thought: The actions of Jesus are paradoxical. the poor filled with good things and the rich sent empty away; the righteow declared to be sinners and sinners made righteous. To those who laugh He brings weeping and laughter to those who weep. The last He puts firat and the firet last. The wise He shows to be foolish and to the foolish He gives widom. He is tbe world's Savior, but in our text He declares, "For judgment I came into this world" (v. 39). The text preeeats: The Paradoxical Purpose Of The Mi Of Jesu Into The WorM I. That the seeing may become blind. 11. That the blind may see. I. A. The Jewish leaders thought they wuld see. 1. Yet they refused to believe that the man had been givem his sight f Mt. 9:17-26). 2. When they could no longer deny the fact, they treated the whole matter with contempt (vs. 28. 34). 3. Thy would not admit their blindess. Therefore their guilt remained Iv. 41). B. Many today think they can see. 1. Skeptics who substitute for the religious formula of the Pharisees (Mt. 9:16) the axiom that the mpernntud cannot exist and that miracles carrnot occur. a. They try to prove discrepancies in the Goepel sfmy and to accuse Jesus of deaption. b. Yet they are troubled by the facts. 2. Agnmtics who lack the mod courage to face the facts. 3. Thoee in Christendom who twist God's word, deceiving and being deceived (2 Tim. 13), and refuse to be instructed by tbe Woxd. Jesus' purpose in coming is to judge aU such. They eee Jesus, the light, but deny Him. Insisting that they see, they remain blind. To all such Jesus speaks as to the Pharisees (Mt. 23:16, 17, 19, 24). How paradorid! There is mother Bide to the paradox. 11. A. We are by &re "thaw who do not see" (v. 39a). 1. Cannot discern spiritunl things (1 Car. 2: 14). 2. Opposed to God (Ro. 8:7-8). B. Jesus alone can open our eyes. I. He works through the Gospel that proclaime Him as Savior (Ac. 26:18; 1 Tim. 1:15). 2. The GosepI is the eyesalve of the Spirit that opens our eyee m that we arn say, "I believe" (v. 38; Re. 3:1&). C. Jesas sharpen8 our vieion. I. Obstacles can blur it. a. Wnal and theological argumentis (v. 24). b. Reviling (v. 23). c. P8raecution (v. 34). Homelitical Studies 51 2. Jesus enables us to confess Him simply and boldly (vs. 26, 27, 30-33). 3. We see Jesus more clearly (vs. 35-38). We have seen Jesus and heard Him speak. No more ia needed. Concluding thought: The blessed aspect of Jesus* paradoxical purpoee ie fulfilled in us who can say "Mine eyes have have eeen thy salvation" (Lk. 2:30). GA LAETARE, THE FOURTH SUNDAY IN LENT: MA'ITHEW 20:17-28 (MARCH 6, 1978) Jesus took the twelve disciples "aside" from othere who were ah jour- neying toward Jemenlem (v. .17). His thoughts centered on the portentous events which lay ahead, and He sought ta prepare the dieciples by telling thean in detail what would happen to Him (vs. 18-19). According to Luke (18:34) they "und~tood none of these things," for their tbughte were not yet disengaged from a kingdom of eruthly gloriee. The request (v. 21) came from the sons of Zebedee, James and John, and although their mother wae tbir inhmedby Jesus directed His answer to them (v. 22). To be given a place at the right and at the left of the king seated upon his throne waa in the Orient a token of the higheat possible rank in the kingdom. Aa Jesus began to speak of Hh suffering, they recalled His words (Mt. 19:28) and supposed that in Lhe gloriaus final outcome they who had followed Him and who were also Hie first coueine should receive a mmd of highest distinction. Jesus remid them (v. 22) that His kingdom is not a kingdom of worldy glory but a kingdom of Lhe cross. desurr asks them if they a~e able to drink His cup of sufderine (Mt. 2699) and to endure a baptiam with blood, that is, a cruel death. Not fully understending the meaning of Christ's question, or then perhaps trustiug too much in themeelves, they nevertheless reveal a deaire to follow Jeene. Jesus does not reprimand them but predicts that their love would be put to a severe test (v. 23). Jeeus' worde were fulfilled (Ac. 12:2). Yet Jeeue, in Hie lowliness, cannot arbitndyassign to any individual a place of prominence in heaven, but must act according to the will of the Father to whom He now submits. In His humiliation He may do nothing of Himself (Jn. 5:19). The ten become incensed at the requeet of James and John, for they yield themselvee to no one (v. 24). Jesus teethes them that greatness in His kingdom will not be obtained by persona who covet an exaltad poaition but by those who forget thPmsehree in their desire for he welfare of others (vs. 26-27). Not egotism but mrvice ie tbb prerugative. Tyranny must be wrecked upon the solid rock of &bor&at&m. The supreme example is Jetma Himself (v. 281, who came to we, mnnifeated qechdly in Hia giving Himself as a ransom for many. The 8ymboliem ie that of prisoners or elavcs who are liberated upon the paymemt of a price. This ransom was paid to God, whose holiness and righteoosnese had been vbhted. "Many" are alI sinners (Ro. 5: 19), in whose behaif the raneom waa paid. The central thought of the text is that Jeaus came to serve ne that we mi& serve Him. The god of the sermon ia that the hearers would live the Me beeutiful, a life of faith in and service to Jeeus Ckbt. The problem is that Cbrietians soanetimea fair to see that eervice hhws faith. The mmna to Lhe goal is that Jesus ransod us. Introductory thought: Despite their beet intentions, people are often unable to live well. Life is full of diwmtisf~ction and The eecret of benuthl )iving eludee them. That secret is found whm we toaskmtwhatdbeas can do for us but what m can do for oh. The text erpsceeses it bettar in the wards, "Not to be served but to serve." Here we have 52 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY The~Of~~ I. Jesusservedtosave w. 11. We are saved to serve Jesus. I. A. Jesus waIked the way of the suffering SCSVSIX~ (VS. 17-18). 1. Even though He knew the anguish that lay ahead. 2. His love for us moved Him to go unflinchiugly. B. The result was our ransam (v. 28b). 1. We~ldn&rensc?m~frcmsin tPe. 4Pl-8). 2. The ransom reqnired wai nothing less than the perfect life and atoning death of Jesus Christ (1 Pe. 1: 1819; Ga. 3:15). C. Jesus still serves us. 1. He is patient with as. 2. He calls us by the Gospel. 3. He keeps us in the faith. The secret of beautiful living is to know how greatly Jesus eerved us by H& redemption. 11. A. Wearetoserveafter theemmphof Seeus (v. 204. 1. Unselfishly. a. Not exploiting &hem (v. 21). b. Not vying for a position we have not (v. 23b). 2. Sacri!icially. a Denying d. b. Suffering with Jems if need be (vs. 22-234. 3. Humbly. a. Not lording it over dbers (vs. 25-26). b. Not opesating with a "might b right" principla. B. We am serve in this way. 1. Because Jesus has ransomed w from sia'a power (Ro. 6:6, 18; 8:2). 2. Eleatuse we are already greet in Jesus Christ (Ge. 3:26; Mt. 12:49). 3. Because senrice is mt only our duty but our delight (Pa. N:8; Ro. 7:22). Concluding thought: The secret of beautiful living is to serve rather than be served, following the exemple and through the power of Jeeue Christ. GA JUDICA, THE FIFl'H SUNDAY IN LENT: JOHN 11:21-45 (MARCH 12. 1978) Martha laments but does mt upbraid Jeaus for umhhg no Ue Iv. 21). Her expressionof -(v. 22) idcatasthat at t&ia timeJesuswtmforheragreut prophet; nat until a little later wire He, far her, he God (v. 27). Jesae' prognise (v. 23) is interpreted by Martha as a referma to tbe remmdhn on the last day. There is redpation in in ham as d as aammmx baed on Old Testament Scripture such as Ps. 17:16; Dn. 12:2; Job 19:26ff. With Hie words in v. 25-26 Jesw stmngthm Martha's Eaith, dhctbg ber attention away from Lezarw to Himself, spe&dly to what He would do. He is the resumction, not "shall be." The dmth of a pe~on who beliavea, in Jesus opens the way to true life which is lived in a body-spirit entity, Indeed, the pemon who believes in Him lives alresdy (v. 26), and even though tbe Miever must die he will merge victorious fmm death. Wh Jesas dm Martha if she believes this, she expreils%s the slu~e cmviction as Peta in Jn. 6:69. Mary tukbws Jesus (v. 32) juet ae Martha did, but her pain seem to be more Homiletical Studies 53 poignant, for she is able to utter nothing more. Jesua also is silent. Now the Jews who came to offer their condolences stand before Jesus wailing with Mary (v. 33). Jesus is deeply troubled by the sight Iv. 33) and groans with emotion mingled with impatience and indignation. He is greatly agitated. No doubt Jeuus' displeasure waa the result of His contemplation of the power of death that had brought such dimity upon the human race. Jesus expmsses His emotion also in tears (v. 35), revealing His true hdty in His cum- peasion. His tears are not understood rightly by all (vs. 36-37). Those standing nearby are not left to be merely idle spectators but are made lowly aasistants (v. 391. As the stench hm the grave ma- Martha, she wevers in her faith, convinced that her brother will not be restored to life and that she and Jams shouId be spared the sight of the onuption which had set in. But Jerrw guides her back to the promise of His powa (v. 40). Jesus praye (v. 41) with assurance, making clear that this act is the work given Him by the Father. The awakening from the dead is effectd through Christ's word. This miracle, apart from His own resurrectian, most vividly portrays the glory of Hie Godhead. The central thought of the text is that Jesus strengthens faith in Him as the Lord of life. The goal of the sermon is that the hearers would cling to Jssas as the souxce of life in the midst of death. The problem is that Christians often lose sight of the life they have in Christ. The means to the goal is that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Introductory thought: People often say, "If I would see I would believe." Jesus says: "If you would believe you wouM see the glory of God." When a loved one dies He assures: "The dead one will ria? again." And He asks: "Do you beke this?" What is our answer? What we need is Faith In The Lad Of Life I. Faith hvolverr struggle. 11. Faith sees the &any of God. I. A. It is hard to believe when Christ delays (Jn. 11:s). 1. A loved one dies despite our earnest prayer that he live (Jn. 11 :3). 2. We are then besieged by many "ifs" (vs. 21, 32), bfaming eir- cumstancee, others, and aurselves, and queshnhg God's love. B . It is hard to believe that all thinge am under God's dimtion. 1. That He hears our prayers (Jn. 11:b6). 2. That He does more than we can ask or think (Jn. 11:4, 16). C. Still we can believe. 1. Knowing that His tears mingle with ours at the time of death (Ps. 33:35). 2. Even when we cannot see Hb ways or understand His thoughts. 11. A. Faith sees the glory of the Lard now (v. 25a). 1. The Lord resurrects ua from spiritual death to spiritual life (Eph. 2:4- 6). 2. The Lord enables ue to live anew each day (v. 26 "whoever lives"; Ga. 2:19-20). B. Faith sees the glory of the Lord in death (vs. 25b, 26b). 1. Death is seen not only as the destroyer of pLans and the separator of loved om. 2. But as the dwrway to heavenly life. C. Flrith sees the glory of the Lord on the Last Day (v. 24). 1. Jesus will call w from the pve, as He called Lraarns, and our bodies, though decayed, will rise (v. 43; Jn. 5:28-29). 54 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY 2. Not in the wrappings of death but with glorified bodies (1 Cor. 16:49), 64-56). 3. To eqxrience glorious, endless life (Re. 7:16-17; Is. 36:6; 1 Pe. 1:3-6). Concluding thought: There ie no need to grieve over loved~ones who have died in the Lard, for we have faith in the Lord of life. We can cling to & precious promise (ve. 25-26), our comfort in life and in death. GA PALM SUNDAY: MATTHEW 26:6-13 (MARCH 19, 1978) According to Jn. 12:l it was six days before the Passover that Jeeue cams to Bethany. Tbe verses (vs. 3-5) immediately preceding the taxt express the hatred of Jesus' enemies, but the suppetr and the anointing described in the text are tokens of Love. The devotion of Jesus' friends and the exuberant love of Mary are in striking contrast to the sinister plans of the Jewish Leadera. The man in whose how the tmpper was given (v. 6) had been leprous and had been made well by Jesus. He wished to show his gratdhhas to the Master. According to John (Jn. 12:3), the womm (v. 7) was Mary, the sister of Martha and of Lezarus. Now she did not wish only to receive from Jeeus but to give a token of her esteem. The ointment she poured on Jesus was very expensive (v. 7). Her deed was inspired by her ardent love for Christ. The dieciples' diapleaeure was instigated by Judas (Jn. 12:4). "Why" (v. 8). a word of censure and cutting reproof. They considered Mary's act mmelese ex- hmgantz and m questionable taate. Mary remained silent and Jesue stepped into the breech in her defense (v. 10). The love of the Lod is beneficent. Even luxury d embellishment are permissible when done to the glory of God. We annot be sure whether Mary knew that Jesus would die in Jerusalem and that she was now anointing Him for His burial (v. 12).It is more like that Jesus construes her active devotion as much richer and greater than she had sup- posed. He thinks so highly of what Mery has done that He holds ha act up (v. 13) as a model for all good deeds fca all timee. The central thought of the text is that Mary performs an exemplary good deed. The goal of the gepmm is that the hearers would be active in good deeds. The problem is that Christians sometimes displvage good works became they are not saved by them. The meana to the goal is Jesue' acceptarwz and eonunmdatian of good deeds. Intductnry thought: We are entering Holy Week when so much evil wae done to Jm. But a week before His death He must have been bred by a vesy goad thing done to Him. He holde up what Mary did ae an example for us. Here is a model for all time of Dseds Tbat litmei Jame I. They ere the fruit of faith. A. Externally good deeds that spring from motivm other than faith do not honor Jeeue (He. 11:6). B. Mary's faith mwed her to act (v. 7; Jn. 11:3). 1. Her faith was creitted and cmtahd by Jesue' Word (LL. 10:39, 42). 2. Fait& in Jesus always pmduc88 good deeds (Mt . 7: 17; 12:36; 1 Jn. 3:3; Ga. 5:6). 3.Onlytbe~es~dutrulygoaddeeds. XI. 7th d8ct bve for Christ. A. Deeds done to refiect bve of self, to gain recognition and pabe, & notbonolJesus Homiletical Studies B. Deeds of agape are needed (1 Cor. 13:2, 13). 1. With them we show love for Him who died for our ealvation (v. 12). 2. With them we honor Christ's body, the church. 111. They repmaat do& on our part. A. Maty gave the best she had. 1. The ointment was "very erpensive" (v. 7). 2. She could have used the money for herself. 8. There is a wrrehition between goodness and sacrifice. 1. We must ertcrifice the claims of the self - squelch the flesh with its deaire for self-indulgence. 2. HOW much have we sacrificed (Mk. 12:44; 2 Cor. 8:2-311 3. Think of how the church wodd be blessed and Christ bored if we gave our best. IV. They receive the Lord's commendation. A. Some do not commend them. 1. Hypocritically some find fault (Judas, Jn. 12:4). 2. Otbers thoughtlessly join in (v. 8):"Why apend eo much for-me, the upkeep of the church and ministry, etc.?" B. Deeds that honor Christ have abiding value. 1. Fault-finders rPill pass away. 2. Good deeds are a perpetual memorial (v. 13; Re. 14:13). 3. Therefore we can leave our vindication to Jesua . Concluding thought: Are we engaged in ugly fault-finding or in doing beautiful things that honor Jesus? GA MAUNDY THURSDAY: JOHN 13:l-17 (MARCH 23, 1978) When Jesus sat down He waited in vain for one of the disciples to perform the customary foot-washing. But their minds were filled with a sense of their own greatness and dignity. So Jesus gave them a memorable object leeaan to remind them that greatness is measumd by 4ervice. John dee~li the in- cident hm the viewpoint of Christ's great love (v. 1). Even though Jeeue knew that the resolution to betray Him had already formed in the mind of Judas (ve. 2, 11). and even though He was fully conscious of His own dienity (v. 3). He performed the menial service of washing His disciplee' feet, ale0 of His betanyer. His act waa intempted by a dialogue with PW which me& the spiritual significance of the act. His sense of Jesus' dignity was tlw compellins motive in Pete's refusel (ve. 6, 8a). The hrd, the Son of tb living God, ahdl not wash the feet af a sinful man. But Peter did nd grasp the importanoe of thia act (v 7). If it were not done, Peter would have no part in tbe friendship of Jeaue and in dl Jaus would implvt that night to His disciples (v 8bl. Now Peter, typically, went impulsively to the other &mma (v. 9). Jesus' answer (V I0a)obviouely refers to a spiritual deeming. The foot- washing portrays spiritual purification from daily sins. Having been justified by faith, the believer is iaded dean4 from the impurity of sin. But ahw tbe bdkver'e sinful flesh atill leads Him into wil ways, he needs chmhg or forgiveness from the guilt and stain of sin each day. The footwashing is abo a token of mutual service and heIpfulneae. The disciples cue to imitate Jeuus in loving, lowly service (ve. 12-16). They need not literally wash each other's feet on every -ion, but rather they are to bear one amWs burdena in the epirit of love. Chriat & such sePvice biesered (v. 16) becaw it is done in a quite &ffmnt from the he of vain glory shown by the wples in t& atrife about who would be the grenteet. 56 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY The central thought of the text 21 that Jesus reveals His unfailing love by washing Hie disciples' feet. The goal of the sermon ie that the hearers would be renewed daily, both inwardly and outwardly, by the Love of Christ. The problem is their tendency merely to admire the love of Christ. The means to the goal is that Christ in His unfailing love daily clean- us from sin. Introductory thought: Jesus kept on loviag Hie disciples despite their self- eking (v. Ib). Even though He knew one would betray Him (v. 11) , and even though He was consciou9 of soon enteting the dory from which He bad came (v. 3). He performed for Hia disciple, for His betrayer, the menial service of foot-washing. In that act was shown in all the beauty of its perfection The Unfailing Love W deem Chriet I. A love that makes us clean. A. The foot-washing portrayed Christ's loving work of spiritual cleansing (v. 10). 1. Peter did not understand the real significance of the act (w. 6-8a, 9) - 2. Though justified by faith and thus purified from sin, we still sin w. a. Flesh and blood lead us into eviI. b. We need daily cleansing from daily defilement. 3. We are assured that Jesus is ready and able to give this cleansing when we see Him stoop to wash Hie diwiplas' feet. B. If our feet are mt washed, we have no part in Jeeus (v. 8b). 1. We confess we need to have our feet washed when we pray daily, "Forgive us our w." 2. He is faithful and just to forgive our aha and to &mse us (1 Jn 1:9). 3. We heve a part in all that Jeaus earned for us by His suffering and death. We are daily made clean all ovep. The love Jesus ahowed in washing His disciples' feet does not fail us either. IT. A Iove that makes us humble. A. The foot-washing provides us with a pattern for humble service (vs. 12-15). 1. Christ's ect is a picture of His vohmtary humiliation wMby He stooped to save (Php 2:6-8). 2. But litedly washing one another's feet will not bring us any mer to tbe mind of Christ. 3. We follow Christ's example when we bear one another's burdena 1Ga 6:2). a. Concerned tor their physicat wmfart. b. Aiming to secare their spiritual and mami Mi. B. The love of Jesus enablee us to "wash one mtber's feet. " 1. That love transforma our heerts so that we get rid of arm-, envy, anger. 2. That Love guides ue in a spmt of lowhcme and balpfulnees. Blessed are we when we kt the unfailing love of Jeeus move w to imitate Him (v. 17). Conduding thought: The Iove of Jesus will not fail. He who washed His disciples' feet will cleanse us daily and empower ae to humble service. GA Homiletical Studies 57 GOOD FRIDAY: JOHN 19:30b (MARCH 24, 1978) Jesus summons Hie waning strength, lowem Hie head, and criea with a loud voie the words from Pa. 31:6 lrecorded in Lk. 23:46), "Father, into-thy hands I commit my spirit!" Now He diee with Scripture, even ae He dies hc- cording to Scripture. With thia word He summons death. The power of death does not deprive Him of life who had life in Himself. He enten, death of Hia OWA free will, just as He willingly suffered Himself to be made a prieoner and to be bound. He came to death, as the Fathers have put it, and denth did not come to Him. Cabg out with a loud voice, He proclaims that truth to all. Here is an awemme mystery: The Son of God died. What John says in tb tert emphasizes Christ's ppillingnesa to die and His coneciausness of dying. As the Father's Wved Son, He gives His li6e into the Father's hands in order to ,' dve it again from Him on the morning of the resurrection. Thereby Jesus teaches us not only bow to live but how to die. Through His death He gives us strengthtodieasHeclid. The goal of the sermon is that the hearers would be confident that in the midst of death they poageee life. Tbe problem is that they are often fearful as they think abaut the death of othera as well aa their own. The means to the god is that Gdd through deeth desbyed death. Introductory tbaugbt: "God isn't dead" was a bumpe~ sticker response tu the death-af-God theology some years back. Of coum, God isn't dead; God cannot die. And yet today we are brought tace to face with an awesome fact: God died! What happened on the first Good Friday is Mile. Let us look at Tbe kraediMt hth Of Jmps Chriet 1.HisdesthasreaL A. We cannot fathom how the God-man could die, and yet His spirit left Hie body. B. His body hung lifeless, His lips no langer spoke, His eyes no low saw, Him ears no longer heard. 11. Hie deuth asrr voluntary. A. Death corn to us because of s~-~~, accideut, murder. B. But Jeeua cnme to d&h, giving up His spirit when He was rsady to, in full poseeesion of Hie faculth, in full control (Jn. 10:18). 1. died only when He had accomplished all things (Jn. 17:4). 2. Died dy when He had finished the atonement. 111. Hie dmth waa the death of death itself. A. beawe Christ tmk upon Himself the penalty for our sin which causea death (Em. 18:4; Ro. 8:3; 1 Pe. 2:24). B. Beatuae death could not hold Him who was sinlesa and who had made a perfect a~~ (Ro. 6:4,9). IV. His death means life for us. A. Death has now but the "shadow" (Pa. 23:4) of its her menacing power, for it is mt a etep into the unknown (Pa. 118:17; 2 Cot. 5:8). B. Death is, now tbe avenue to God's presence, which is eternal bliss (1 Cor. 15:54c, 57). Co~~ thought: What an incdiile death! Because Jesus died, "It is not death to die." The sting of death has been removed. We can live well, and die well. GA 58 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY EASTER SUNDAY: JOHN 20:l-9 (MARCH 26, 1978) Verse 1: Women nae the Inst at tbe croaa and the £in& at the. hnb. Mary may have rasadred the tomb befm tbe other women (Mt 28:l). Veree 2: Mary made her own deduction. Sbe ehoutd have fdbwed the Scriptauw. " We Laow" hpba tbat Mary came with the otheir women. Verse 5: John reepected rabbinic law aad did mt go into tbe eepulk. Peta did. Verae 7: The grave clothes rrra~ laid mide with appannt care. ThkP would not have been the case hd Jam' body been stalen. Verse 8: "He Wiewed," i.e., Mary's report or that Christ had not been taken sway by othera from the greve. Verse 9: What John saw broaght all tbe pmph#?inn of the Old Testament together, e-g., PB 16:fO; Ie 53:lO-11. Furtbmore, Jesw predktad His nmmction, Jn 2:19; Mt. 20:1%19. "Tbq knew mt the kipturd"' They were blinded by over- whelming emotion. Intmduchl: The resumdon of Chriet ie the mmne of oar faith, 1 Cor 16:17-20. I. Faith lake at the evidew. A. Mary had the evidmce but drew the mng oodusion. B. Peter and John hed tbe evidmce but we= blinded by overwhelming emotion (v. 9). C. We have mndusive widsace. 1. The OM Testament propbecb, Ps 16: 10; 1s 53:lO-11. 2. The pmdktions of Christ, Jn 2:19; Mt. 20:1&19. 3. The testimony of tbe si@ at the open grave. 4. Tbe testimony of Jeeaa' edts. 5. Tbe poet-resurrsctioa appearances of Jesus, Jn 20:11-18; Jn #t:19-31; Lk 24:13-36; 1 Car 15:l-8. The evict- of Chriet's resurrection is overwkdmhg, and faith rejoices in it. 11. Faith mjoioea in the amaequem. A. Jeees ia indeed tbe !3on of God, Jn 2:lS. B. Jerms ie with us as our living Lad. Mt 28:20. C. The Father hae ac~pted the slmifice of Chriet, Rom 4:26; Phil 2:&11. D. Christ's reeurreetion is the pledge of our reeunection, 1 Cor 16:20-23; Jn 11:s-26; Jn 14:l-3. Wb.t kersures there are fa w in the empty tow! "- be to God who @VBB w tbe victury through aur Lord Jsws Christ." HJE QUASLMODOGENITI, THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EASTER: JOHN m:u-31 OWRIL 2,1W8) Verse 24: Thomas is an of an anriotm akeptic. "Thomw WM rcot with thsm": This nre hts first miat&%. Veme 25: Tbonm'a second mistake nss that he dimmntad tIm uwhoua my of did~le rritaaslres. Verse 27: Nate tbe patiesce d Jwtm. Thomoa ie now MUM ad boldly declares Christ's divinit4.. Verse 29: Believiag is meting; that is fnith. Verse 31: Tbe mirades are a part of Cbaist's pzdmatbn of Himaelf M the Son of God; they are Chri&'s tignlaneorge htdedtobringmen tofaith. Tbegoalofthin am ma^ in to em peopb to walk by hith, not by sight. Homiletical Studies 59 "Jesas Lives To Strengthen The Faith Of Anxioue Doubters" I. Thomee doubted because he lived by the philosophy "eeeing is Weving. " A. His first mistake: He was not with the others when Jeeua appeared. B. Hie mcond mistake: He discrediM the report of the witnews. C. His third mistake: He demanded to see before bedieving. D. We doubt sometimss for the same reaeons. 1. Solitude ia the breeding ground for doubts and &ty, He 10:25. 2. We are tempted to doubt the promises of God; He 135; Petoa walking an the water. 3. We are tempted to look for some sign to bolstea our faith, M 12:s; 1 Cor 1:22; Mk 8:12. 11. Jeaus encourages us to walk by faith, for Wving is eeeing. A. Jesus cteals patiently with Thomas. 1. He shows him the evidence. 2. Thomas canfessea, "My Lord and My Goci. " B. Jesus encourages us to live by the philosophy, "believing is seeing." 1. We have a sure word to guide us. a. The word is given by inspidion, I1 Tm 3:16; I1 Pe 1:21. b. The word ia truthful, Jn 17: 17. 2. The Word has precioua promises. a. Of god'^ power, Mt 28:20. b. Of God's wisdom, Jn 21: 17. c. Of God's love in Christ, I1 Cor. 6:19-20. 3. Faith clings to the Word. a. Against circumataoces, Lk 55; cf. the wise men, the centurion, the sym-Plmenkh woman. b. Against feelings, Ps 42~5. 4. Faith is rewarded by sight, for God is faithhd to Hie Word. Emples: Abraham; the chiken of IsraeI at the Red sea and Jericho; Gideon again the Midianities . C.-The ultimate ti&@ is in heaven, I Jn 1:l-3. Let us walk by faith and not by sight, for "this is the victory that over- comes the world, even our faith." H JE MISERICORDIAS DOMINI, THE SECOND SUNDAY AFI'ER EASTER; LUKE 24:1336 (APRIL 9,1918) Verse 13: Emmaus, the modem KaIonich, was sir or seven mk from Jerudern. Thia appearance of Christ probably took place between four and six p.m. on EasteP Sunday. Verse 16: "Their eyes were mtmhd":Ov~~#)me with mmw, they did not mm&e Jesus. Jeeua wanted to give them a hn in behvbg the Word. Verees 17-23: Our faith aad hope are often subject to vnsciUatione and uncertainties. The discipleg had the fa&, but a WIL- faith. Jesua' coming changes things. Verse 18: Literally, the quwtion is, "Are you the on& er in Jerusalem who dm not know?" "His glory" fallowiag the-% 'a human nature shares always and fuliy in the at- eibutes of Hia divine nutam. Verse 27: Christ found Himself evar~~lhere in the Old T-ent, Jn. 6:@-40. Verse 30: Many feel tbia breaking of bread re5ers to the Lord's Suppea, but the idee ie debatable. Artas waa a general nam~ for faod, indudins drink. Verse 31: "He vanished"-an evidence of His state af edht.bn. Vme 34: The eppearance to Peter ie not readid in the Gosp&, but Pad ph this appmnce first, I Cor. 16:4-8. btroducth: East= prodaha the living Imrd ee promised, "Lo, I am with hay, even cmto the md of the world." 60 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY TBe~~nceOf~ I. As our Companion through life. A. The dtdy needed Chriet as their co~n. 1. Their spirits were low and their hopes shattered. 2. They had evidences of the reeurrection, but little faith to accept the evidencee. 3. Sometimes we become so ovemhehed by tragedy that it ia dif- ficult to believe God's promises, Mk. 4:a. B. Jesus joins the Emmaus disciples. 1. He knows about them, and he knows about us, Jn. 11:ll; Pe. 139:l- 4; Is. 49:15. 2. He joins them, but they do not recognize Him-how much like aurselves when tragedy strikes. 3. He wants them to tell Him aU, Mt. 7:7. 4. He points them to the Scripturerr. a. They testify to Him as Saviour and Lord, Gn. 3:15; 12:3; Is. 7:14; 96; 53:lff. b. Their hearts burn within them as the fire of faith is renevkd, Mt. 10:m. In our anxieties, let w remember that Christ is with us. Let os diligently seek Him in the Scriptures. 11. As Head of the Christian home. A. Jesua enters the home of the Ernmaus disciples. 1. They constrain Him to come in. 2. As Jesua respoads, they are bM. B. Jesus wants to bless om homes too with Hie presence. 1. Homes rue in trouble when Jesus is not there. 2. We need to cunstrain Him to be present. a. As we pray together at meals. b. As we read and share the Ekiphms, Jn. 8:31-32. c. As, prompted by ?Iia love, we &em our faults to one amtber and forgive one moth. Let us welcome Chriet into our homes by seeking Him in the Scripturecr and fohwing Him in Chrisitan living. HJE JUBILATE, THE THIRD SUNDAY AmR EASTER: JOHN 10:l-10 (APRIL 16, 1978) Verse 1: The text was spoken in the temple, immediately nfhw Jesue healed tbe nraa who had been blind, Jn. 9:l-41. The sheepfdd was a yard with a high stone wall to keep out wild mhds and otber intrudere. The gate was guarded by a porter. On the mntnst between tme and fie shephds, cf. JP~. 23:l-4; Ezk. 34; Zach, 11:4-17. Verse 2: A "pnmble" ia litedy any speech differing fmm the common way of eqremion. "They understood wt": In rejecting Christ, the Pharisees and Scni become thieves and robbere. Verse 3: The sheep know the voice of tbeir shepherd. He has names for each of them. Vtme 4: Overnight oevesal shepherds may use tbe same sbeep fold. In the morning the sheep heed the call only of their shepherd. "He goeth before them": this is still the custom in the Em. Vem 5: Sheep do not trust a sfmqpr as they do tbeir shepherd. The -fold is the Church of God. True pastom enter by tbe gate, Act. 2029. False tachem dimh over the wall, Rom. 16:17-18; Mt. 7:15. Luther says: "All who do not preach Ckht are thieves aad robbere." Verse 7: Jesus is still the door huse He is the only Savior, Jn. 14:6. V- 0: "All who come before us," i-e., making tbanselvea doors. Vaee 9: The thief wants to make the sheep his awn, not to give them pasture; to them to hia Homiletical Studies 61 purposes, not to deal @OU~~Y with them for theirs; to destroy, not to give life. The three great blessings they have are: 1) deliverance from all enemies; 2) liberty to go out and in, the liberty of the children of God; 3) mtenance. Verse 10: The thief comes to take away, to use the sheep for his selfish pur- poses. But Christ has come to give life-true, lasting, eternal life in its fullness. Introduction: There are various pictures of the intimate reletionship between Christ and the Christian: We are branches in Christ the Vine, members of is Body, His bride, stones in the spiritual temple. The most familiar picture of an, however, is that of the Shepherd and His sheep. ~bc Intimate RdatioBsbip Bet- The Shepherd And Hie Shap. I. The relationship of the Shepherd to His sheep. A. Christ is the door. 1, He came to give His life for the sheep, Jn. 10:ll. 2. He is the only door, Jn. 14:6. B. Christ gives rich bbsinga to His sheep. 1. Uniike thieves and robbers-false teachers, Ac. 2099. a. The thief wants to make the sheep his own, not to give them pasture, Rm. 16:18. b. He wants to srtcrifice them to his purposes, not to deal graciously with them for thei~~. c. He wanta to deatroy life, not to give it, Mt. 7:15. 2. In contrast Jesus is the Good Shepherd. a. He calls His sheep by name. b. He gives them safety in the sheep-fold. c. He sustains them by leading them out and goes before them, Ps. 23. d. He gives them life now and etemdly, Jn. 1028. 11. The relationship of the sheep to the Shepherd. A. They enter by the door through faith, Rm. 3:28; Rm. 45. 1. They are deaf to the voice of others. a. False teachers, Rm. 16:17-18; Mt. 7:15. b. The devil, the wd, and their own flesh. 2. They bear His voh. a. The warnings of the Law. b. The encouragement of the Gospel. 3. They follow Him. a. In faith. b. In Christ-like living. Let us diligently hear the voice of our Good Shepherd in His Word and seek to follow Him in our lives. HJE CANTATE, THE FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EASJXR: JOHN 14:l-12 (APRIL 23, 1978) John 14 is the beginning of Christ's farewell discourse, spoken, no doubt, partly in the Upper Room, part@ on the way to Gethsemane. Few passages are more replete with the love of Jesus. "Let not your heart be troubled": That night much would happen to agitate the Wples. The cure for agitation is faith. Verse 2: He promka & WpEes mansions when they will enjoy Hie presence forever. Verse 4: His going involved sufferhg. Verse 5: Thoo& was expressing doubts which othm may have had also. Verse 6: "I am the Way": Jesus prepared the way to heaven. He is the Truth: His every word may be trusted implicitly. The Truth directs the Way. Christ is the Life, the fountain, 62 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY the giver of life. There is no other Way, Truth, and Life. Verse 7: To know Jesus is to know the Father, Jn. 10:30; Col. 2:9. We know the Father by faith. Verse 8: Philip felt that if he saw the Father that would be enough to establish his faith. Verse 10: Christ's word and works are not performed separately from the Father. The essence of the Father and the Son is identical. Verse 11: He who refuses to believe Christ's word has the unquestionable testimony of His ~0rh. Jesus repeats what He told the unbelieving Jews, Jn 10:38. Verse 12: "Greater works": Converting si~ers through the preaching of the Gospel is greater than healing physical infirmities. The mason Christians can perform these -tux worka is that Jeaus is going to the Father, namely, thmugh the cross. The grertt works of converting men are worka of the exalted Christ. Rejoice That You Arc A Chrietian I. You have the maxrnxmz of heaven. A. Jesus promises us heaven. 1. He is going to prepare a place. 2. He will come again to receive us unto Himself. B. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I. He prepared & way by a substitutionary death. a. He paid the debt of sin. b. The way is now open to all. 2. He is the Truth. a. He speh the truth. b. He is faithful to His word. 3. HeistheLife. a. He is the true God and eternal life, Jn. 1:l. b. He gives Me in fellowship &th God now and etdy, Jn. 3: 16. C. By faith life is ours. I. No man comes to the Father without Christ, Ac. 4:12. 2. By faith heaven is ours, Jn. 3:17-18; Jn. 11:25. II. You know the Father. A. The request: "Sbow us tbe Father. " v.8. B. The response: "He that has seen me has seen the Father," Col. 2:9. I. Jeaus and the Father are me in essence, Jn. 10:30. 2. The Father shares in the w& and works of Jesus, v. 10. C. Faith sees the Father in Christ. 1. Faith knows from the words of Jecrus that God is gracious, Jn. 1:14-17. 2. Faith sees in the works of both that Jesus is the Son of God and that God is all-powerful, Mt. 28:18. 111. You can do greater works than Jesus. A. Jesus performed mighty works. 1. He Wed the sick and raised the dead. 2. ~ut all W wbom be heaied finaliy succumbed to pby- death. B. By faith we can perform greater works. 1. Saving men's souls. Mt. 28:18-20. 2. By telling them the good news that Jesus, our crucified and risen Lord, has gone tn the Father to pre- a plecz for us. HJE ROGATE, FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER: JOHN 14: 15-21 (APRIL 30, 1978) Verae 16: The fmit of the loving refinship between the disciples d their Lard ia that they keep His commandments. Where there is no faith there is no Homiletical Studies 63 love. Where there is no love, there is no real keep- of the co-nb. Verse 16: Jesus Himself had comforted His disciph now that He wae abmt to leave them visibly, He promised the Comforter. Verse 17: The Spirit of Truth never deceives or minlPRdn believers. The truth He teachee ia the Gospel. Unbelievers refuse to see and know the works of the Spirit, I Cor. 2:14. Only believers know Him. Note the reference to the Wty in this section: The Son prays to the Father, and the Father sends the Spirit. Verse 18: He will not leave the disciples orphans, without a guide. He will return in the meaw of grace. Verse 19: When He goes to the Father, the world will not see Him visibly; but the disciples will see Him spiritually, by faith. Verse 20: "I in you": The presence of Jesus in the believers asmw them of His grace and power for their sanctificetion. Verse 21: The love of tbe Father motivates and follows upon the works of the Christian. We show our faith by our he. We Are Not OIphure I. We have the Holy Spirit as our comfork. A. He regenerates. 1. The world cannot receive Him, I Cor. 2:14. 2. He comes in baptism, Jn. 3:l-15, and the Word, Rm. 1:16. 3. He dwells in us, I1 Cor. 6: 16. B. He abides with us forever. 1. He abides through the Word which He inspimi, I1 Pe. 1:21. 2. Through that Word He guidea us into ell truth, Jn. 16:13; Jn. 8:31-32; Rm. 8:16-17; Rm. 5:3-5. 3. Through the Word He impowers us to lwe, vs. 15-21; Php. 2:13. 11. Jesus Himself comes to us. A. Jesus is about to leave. 1. Before Him lies the cros of reconcilia-, I1 Cor. 5:19. 2. Beyond lies the victorious resurrection and asceneion, I. Cor. 15:55-57, Php. 2~911. B. He promises, "I wiU come to you. " 1. He promises to be with us always, Mt. 28:20. 2. He comes through the Word and the Secrament, Lk. 10:16. 3. By faith we see Him. C. He gives hope for the future. 1. "Because I live, ye shall live also," Jn. 11:25. 2. Then we shall know, I Cor. 13:12. 3. Then we will be forever with the Lad. HJE EXAUDI, THE SUNDAY AFTER THE ASCENSION: JOHN 17:l-11 (MAY 7,1978) The pericope divides into three sactions: vs. 1-5, CW pray8 for His own glorification; vs. 68, Christ prays for the dhiplea aa tbose who have kept tbe Word, vs. 9-11, the dietiaction between the disciples d this world. A gcd sermon should be followed by a good prayer; eo the seoerdd prayer folkma the farewell djqc~arse. Verse 1: "The haw" refers to the t@e of Chriet'e sufdering and subequent glori6dn. "That Thy Son may ghdy Thee": The work of Christ glorifies the Fatha's gnrce. Verae 2: "Power over'all fhh": By Hia suffering and death Christ gained ell men for Hhaself, since He redeemed all. As many as the Father has given the Son in the election of grace will have etanal life. Verse 3: To have eternal life is to know the Father of mercy and Jesus Christ, the Mediator of grace. Veree 4: The work ia tbe great work of atomment. Verse 5: Jewre pya far the day when, also accordiag to His human nature, He will be glorified, with full and unreetricted exercise of all the 64 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY divine attributes. Verse 6: "Thy name": He had told and showed the dbciph the feeling and intention of the Father towards sinful men. To keep God's Word in faith and obedience is discipleship. Veme 8: This verse teacheg eternal generation of the Son; d. John 1:l-14. V- 9: Jesus' prayer for Hie diaciph. Verse 10: '~ote Jesus' assertion of Hie unity of esseace with the Father. Luther notes that the phrrrse, "All that is thine ie mine," pemits nothing to be excluded. Verse 11: "Keep": The work of preeenation in faith ie the work of God the Holy Spirit through the means of m. "That tbey may be one": Unity in faith unites all true believenr in the erternal church; unity ie agoaltabeworkedtowsrd. Introduction: We are in the Holy of Holies as we eee Jernrs at prayer. Jesue At hya I. Jesus prays for His own glorificatw~. A. He glorified the Father. 1. By His preaching and healing (v. 6) He demonstrata that God ie gracious, Mt. 11:25; Jn. 1:14. 2. By finisbg the work (v. 4). a. The work of atonement, Php. 25-8. b. To give eternal life to those who know God and Seaus in faith, VS. 2-3. B, He prays for His own glorification. 1. He prays that, also according to His human nature, He maybe glorified, v. 5. 2. This prayer was dmmaticaUy answered when Christ entered upon His state of exaltation, Php. 2:9-11; Eph. 1:m-23. 3. He is glorified in the believers becatme tbey are the fruit of His labor of love, Re. 7:14. 11. He prays for His disciples. A. Tbe disciples are those who have kept CbrWs Word, vs. 64. 1. They accepted Christ's Word in faith. 2. They are now God's and Christ's, vfl. 9-10. B. Jesus prays for His dkiples. 1. That they may be kept in the faith. a. They are beset by the devil, the world, and their own flesh, v. 11. b. Only the power of God can keep them, Jd. 6. 2. That they may be one. a. In the holy Christian church all Christians am one, Ep. 4:46; Ga. 398; I Cor. 12:13. b. H the visible church unity ie a goal to be worked toward, Ep. 4:3. HJE PENTECOST: JOHN 20: 19-23 (MAY 14, 1978) Verse 19: The scene is Easter Sunday evening. The feluf\tl dkipka w81e aware of the preceding events: the report of women, tbe appearance of Christ to Mary, the account of Peter and John, and tbe qmrt of'the Emmaw disciples. Luke implies that more than the aleven had ~tkd. "Jesus stood in the midst" of the diaeiples in His glor@d body, subject to the laws neither of time nor space. "Pence be unto you": This is the peace He won and He alone can give, Jn. 1427. Verse 20: "He eked tkim HM hendn ad His side": He is the living One who was dscd but ia now dive. "GM": hme dqection and fear are converted into the joyful conviction of tbe tnith. The disciples beard, saw, and handled the Word of Life, Jn. 1:l. Verse 21: The Homiletical Studies 65 hrst "peace" gave a new revelation; the second "peace" was a summom to dce. "As my Father hath sent me, " etc. : This is Christ's divine wmmkion to His Church. Verse 22: "Receive ye the Holy Ghost": The Holy Spirit is Christ's parting gift to His Church. Verse 23: "Whosoever sins yet remit," etc.: This is the office of the keys, the peculair church power to forgive the sins of penitent sinners and to retain the sins of the impenitent. Cf. Mt. 18:15- 19; Ac. 2:37-39. Jesus In The Midst Of The Church I. He gives the command to preach the Gosepl, v. 21. A. Jesus was sent to seek and to save the lost, Mt. 18:ll. B. He sends His disciples on a simil~r mission, Ac. 1:8; Mt. 20:18-20. 1. The world is still lost in sin and death. 2. Christians are to seek the lost. 11. He gives the message, vs. 21, 23. A. A message of peace, v. 21. 1. Christ won peace for all, I1 Cor. 5:19; Col. 2:14. 2. Christians are to proclaim this peace, Is. 40: 1. B. A message of pardon, v. 23. 1,. The sins of penitent sinners are to be forgiven them. 2. The sins of impenitent sinners are to be retained, Mt. 18:15-17; Mt. 23:37. 111. He gives the power, v. 22. A. His promise was Wed on Pentecost, Ac. 2. 1. The Holy Spirit worked in the apostles, giving them boldness. 2. He worked through the apostles, bringing three thousand to repentance and faith. B. The Holy Spirit is Christ's abiding gift to His Church. 1. He works in us, Jn. 16:13. 2. He works through us, Jn. 16:7-11. HJE THE FEAST OF THE HOLY TRINITY: MAWHEW 28:16-20 (MAY 21, 1978) The pericope from Matthew 28 represents the point of connection between the ministministry of our Lord during the days of His incamation and the continuing work of the Holy Trinity in the life of the Holy Christian Church. Just as the entire Godhead was active in the person end works of Christ in the days of His ministry, so the Holy Trinity is involved in the apostolic ministry. The person and works of Christ are joined to the ministry of the apostles (who proclaim the Word of God and administer the Sacraments of Christ in the name of Christ), eo that we may know the fruits and effects of Christ's saving work among us. Matthew c-ie uses the phrase hoi dodeka mathetcu' and, after the passion and resurrection, hoi hendeka mathetai in the same sense that the other evangelists use the term hoi apostoloi. In fact, Matthew us- the latter tenn only at 10:2 in the listing of the names of the Twelve. The Twehre are something more than simply mainner-groupVof close disciples; they have been particularly chosen by Christ to be His designated representatives to speak and minister in His name and on His behalf (10:5ff). They have f&lled that commission, and in the last hours of the passion, they have deserted Christ ltnd dispersed. Judas, one of the Twelve, has betrayed Him and taken his own life; Peter has denied Him before witnesses. Thus, the call of Christ, coming here after the record of the resurrection, tells the remaining eleven that they have now been forgiven and recon- to 66 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY ~od in the deeth of Christ. Lord ~~tma before them to -trbbh their apmtahte and give them a new r-po-ilit~: to go out in the of J- with a nerr.and glcnh~~ proclamatmn, make dieciple% of d nations, to baptize in the k of the Triune GodB and teach the whole munee1 of GO^. In tbis ministj, tbe tposth are to understand that the crucified and r- Christ goes with them. What tbey say and do in His name ia done on Hie authority (e~olcsiu). Chrbt ha8 Himeelf ~-eceived this authority from His Father and here i-tes to the eleven that it is the spiritual power which will lend to their words and t&h~. What thy have neceived of hope sad mercy aoff to be communicated to others through the apostolic rniniitry that CW givw thezn. As apaetdic me=qprs, they do not repmt their - parsons or offq their OWXI ~laessage. Thw qreaent the person of Christ & in *e, rn Hie sum. "When (pteechers) offee the Word of or the Sactmxxmts, they do 80 in Christ's place and atead" (Apology VIIMII, 28). This post--n 8P-m and Word of Christ to His at the foundation of the whole life and ministry of Chist's Church in thie word. InT&eNameOIf%&t I. This appawmce and Ward of Christ mean forgive-s for sinful apo&. A= The elevem were more than ordiaary followere: 1. Th?y werecelleddbdy by Chr* (1O:l-4). 2. They were chaw with a epeciel responsibility. a. In His nune they cPet at demons. b. In Hie name they bed the aick and infirm (10:Sff.) and anmum tbattheKh@mafGodisncm. B. At Hie betmyd, tky fled (26:66). C. Hee on the marntain they are re&ured and given a new apmtolic ministry. 1. The death of Christ reconciled them to God. 2. In the name of Christ tbey are aent forth into the worid. a. To make dbciph. b. To baptize. c. To tmch the whole munael of God. 11. The apoetleg receive aotboritg from Christ Himse~lf. A. They iue sant forth to minister in the name and stetad of Christ. What tbegdoisdorseinHienamesndplace. B. Christ is at work in their worda aad acte. 1. In #air work of mahg diecipIes, Chriat's gat- of a people for Godiacarriedm. 2. In their baptizing, the fmit of Christ's mdemptiw work is can- tinued. 3. In their taedhg, Thrist is bddiq up His Church. In. ~ood N- boru. A. Chtist providae the plan and foundation fm His Holy Minietry d aoOt -. B. The Chnrch is built upon the apoetle'e teaching and *try. (A& x:42). 1. OEM is an apostolic Paith and church. 2. The ministry of the chd does not chnq~. 8. To tbia qmtdk work Christ prombe Hie ~m and b-. Atmi#hty Ma Bvrrbrting lob bt gium unto us my servants grace, by cvnjbaion of a tnu, @th, to acknowledgs the @V of the ~~ m, ad in the pws of the Dih Mqiuy to wmkp the U~W: We hwd Thee tJwt Thou wouldeat keep US rteadfrst in this fdth and wmMY and brlyu ath.ttvrr11~.inTh~onedeterdgb~~ OFakr, with the San and the Hob Spirt ht and nilln, om GaS tb~h a uges. J. Evwn, Fort W~PY Homiletical Studies 67 THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY: MA'ITHEW 7:21-29 (MAY 28, 1977) The leesons find their center in the unfokling of th Will of the Fa* in the^ Law and Goepei. The text replregente the fueion of two separate pericopee. The tno are eertainiy neither antegonktk nor ~~. In fect, the mamd appears to fbw naturally from the first: hie "W' is solidly built who builde upon Christ the Rock. Having recognized this, we ought ah to mcopk tbat we wilI have to put our principal emphasis on either verses 21-23 or vemw 24-29; we mnnnt ixkpabdy bade both in the same sermon. The speaker of venree 21-23 ia our Lord, Himself primarily to tb fir& diaciph who have gathered around Him, but within the of tbe multble as well (5:Ifi). In the wider senae, His word ia addrwmd to evezy~lle rrbo heare it. ~IXL the meeeege of that word is that .to foh &m dma not meantoeeeapethej~ntwhichwilliesuehmHimmthe]aetday.~ doee nat avoid judgment in this life or the ead of days by chhhg to belong to Christ, teg#srdba of statements to thie effect in sane amtmnporuy AIl of us muat face the temptation to deny ehriet by denying the of a Christian life, a life of disupleship, sandification, and growth in grace. In our preaching we are to caU forth that confesaion which epealfe d at the smm time moves beyond speech to "do the Will of My Fa. who is in Heav811. " "He SuII Come Again To Judge Both Tbe Living Ad Thc Ikd" 1.Tbeaew~are~brrsasourweekty~0~0f~aithandhope. A. They are a confes&n of the complete Lordship of Christ Jesus. 1.Thia judgmentwaaseen~inHiecoaziagintothiswdd (3 ohn 9:39). 2. In tbe end of days, He is to come again as Judge of aU. a. He will judge the living and the dead (Acte lo:&). b. His authority to judge cornea from ths Father (R~BMS 2:6%.). B. They are a reminder that it is we wbo are to be judged. "We must 1111 appear befom the jradgment eeat at Chrht" (Ibmmm 14:lO). II. These words of Christ stand as a solemn warning, a strong pmdbg of thewrathofGodover&~of~inwrlives. A. What is condemned is our lack of attention to Him, for our ~~ is oRen d-intereeted and kinam. B.Wbatia~~~ldemIlediaoruindiff~toHieword. 1. In the stmngcmt language, He alle ue to repe~tancm md amad- ment of life. Our righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and Pharieeee (6:20). 2.He pIeedm wit& ua to turn awsy fman every farm of aedf- rightaou~ness, to d comf- md help from Him (11:18ff.). C.Whrtiacondeaaaediaoyr~tof~Himby~~ deepising our sine and trusting abne in Him. In. At the eune time, for those wbo trpat in Him, these nads nre 8 @weat rarareaceofHiemecy(md~emfarll0uraiaS. A.As8umace that in our mnfeesbnandintentionto gmrrthrtmghfh mrannofgzim, wehare~thtnill~~a. I. We have been baptized into death with Him, and I..ieed up to ne~~ rife in Him (Romsns 6:aff.). 2.OurCommnnion of His Bdy andBlood&mq@msuainW 4 wrtitiee our hqe in Him. 3.Otn~andWutionietbetnutofd3y~bbe faithful. B. Assurane that we are indeed buildiq upan the Rock that is strongar than we (Pe 613). 68 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY 0 Almighty Go& whom to know is evehting life, mt us perfectly to know Thy Son, Jesus Christ, to be the Way, the Tmth, and the Life, that, follouring His steps, we may steadf~~tly dk in the way that leodeth to etemal life; through the same Jesu Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who lives and rules with Thee in the communion of the Holy Spirit, one God, throughout aU ages. CJE THE SECOND SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY: MATTHEW 9:9- 13 (JUNE 4, 1978) In every age the Church has had to face the temptation to cut the Gospel hm its grounding in specifis and transform it into a kind* of general statement. We have all fallen victim to this temptation at one time or another, for example, when we speak of a sense of thankfuheas or having a forgiving lEetulre in rather unspecific terms. In thia pericope of the calling of Matthew Levi, we are confronted with the grace of God. What are we to make of it? When the scholastics separated thia grace from its scriptural foundations, they turned it into a substance to be spoken of in terms of quantities. Our own temptation is to turn it into a kind of abstract and benign greciou-s in which we may comfortably immerse ourselves. The Lutheran Reformation reminded CMm that the gram of God is His unmerited favour which He shows as in our Lord Jmus Christ. The power of this grace is always revealed and demonstraw in paxthh acts and situations. In both the Old and New Testaments, this mercy is neitbeP unspecified nar undefined "menc~." There is always a specific context, a defined situation in which mercy is given' and received. In Luke 18, Jesus teIIs the parable of the poor sinner who, unlike the proud Pharisee, prays in humility, "God, be merciful to me a sinner." The writer to, the Hebrews reminds us how Jesua became subject in all things on our behalf,' and was made perfect (complete) through sufferings, and tasted death for us, "so that He might be merciful and faithful as high priest before God, to ex- piate the sins of the people" (Hebrews 2:17). In Luke 6, Jesua turns to Hie disciples, and says. "Be therefore merciful, as your Father in Heaven is IlmCifd.'' The CaH Of Matthew Reveals The Mercy Of God For Us I. That Jesus should call Matthew into His discipleship is a statement of the n=cy of God. Mnttbew strtnds in netxi of mercy, but he does not deserve it. We know that he was a taxallemor. Tax-collectors were obvioue sinners; persona to be avoided by church-people. Matthew does not appear to have been an exception-at his table were "tax-collectors ad sinners." 11. That Jesus should eat with sinners is capable of Misinterpretation. A. It could be misunderstood by the so-dad righteous members of the communitp. And it was! 1. To such it appears as though this act of Christ stands aa a specific repudiation of their moral acamplishmenta and goals. a. In the most important sense, it is. Natural man. even at hie best, is inclined away from God and townrd evil. He labours under the &usion tbat he can justify his own existence. He ie eekigkteous, puffed-up, and always excuses himdf. b. In a lesser senae, it is not, for civil righkmswm ia important. Without it, He in this world is chaotic! 2. To such self-righteous pemns, the action of Jesue appears 88 veritable proof that He is not the Chriet. Homiletical Studies 69 a. This is the triumph of self-serving human opinion. b. This is the rejection of God's mercy. B. It could also be misunderstood by open sinners. To such it may appear as though nothing is .wired of them-no change, m repentance, no sorrow, no confession, no resolution. 1. In one sense, something is required. If one cannot enter heaven by moral achievement, neither can he enter by indifference and sloth. This is Pharisaism in reverse! No one enters the Kingdom of God, except by mercy. 2. In another sense, nothing is required. Whatever is accomplished for our justification is wholly the work of Christ. 111. That Jesus should eat with sinners is a proclamation of the mercy of God. A. His presence creates a hunger for righteousness and salvation. B. His presence reveals that God neither deserts us nor rejects us in our low estates. Christ became sin for us. We beseech Thee, 0 Lord, in Thy ckmency to show us Thine unspeabbk mercy that Thou mayest both set us free from our sins and mscue us from the punishments which for ow sins we deserve; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, ow Lord, who lives ad ru&s un'th Thee in the communion of the Holy Spirit, one God, throughout all ages. CJE THE THIRD SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY: MATTHEW 9:36- 10:7 (JUNE 11, 1978) The pericop for Trinity Sunday has impressed upon ,us the importance of the apastdiE office and the work of those who have been called and ordained by the Lord, in and through His Church, who minister in the name and stead of Christ. "They do not represent their own persons but the person of Christ, because of the church's call, as Christ testifies (Lk. 10: 16), 'He who he. you bears Me.' When they offer the Word of Christ or the Sacraments, they do so in Cbrist's place and stead" (Apol VII/VIII 28). This Sunday's text takes us back to the commissioniug of the Twelve as qxmtulic representatives of Christ, even though, as we have already men- tioned, Matthew does not use the designation "Apostles." This act represmts the begbhg of what, in the resurrection and the final words of our Lord, will be seen to be the most essential work of the Church of Christ. Tbe Calling Of The Twelve I. What precipitates this calling and sending forth? A. "He had compassion" (9:36). 1. For the sake of His compassion, He healed the sick t 14: 14). 2. For the sake of His compassion, He fed the multitude of five thousand with seven loaves and a few small fish ( 15:32). B. This compassion moves Christ to action. 1. He directs His church (disciples) to pray (37). 2._He sends the disciples forth in His name, with Hie authority (10:l-42). 11, This is only the beginning. The work of the apostles here given is cir- camscribed and limited, for the work of Christ has no yet been completed. A. Limited nationality. The apostles are restricted to the Jewbh race, for "salvation is of the Jews" (Jn. 4:22). They are not to go among the Gentiles or Samaritans. St. Peter reminds us (1 Pt. 4:17) that judgment begins wit. the household of God. B. Limited task. The apostles are called hem to cast out unclean upkits 70 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY and heal tbe sick, pm- that the Kingdam of hvem is-& 4c hand in the person and work of Chriet. III. This rJlll;nP and sending-forth is a foretaete of the Goepel. A. Limited though it is, hae is the d fnnn which, with tbe xemmction, the Gospel sp- farth. Tbs kingdm of hen- ap peers in this world in the perm and mrk of Christ. 1. He ttas compassion upon us (Nbm Crsed: He came for un mea and £or our salvation). 2. He has heaEed us with the healing of divine forgiv-s. 3.HehassuffefedaPdctiedonombehalf. B. Thie event is the little spring m the dwert fmn wbiEh the mighty flood of the Holy Gospel iasuea forth. It ia a bag joumey fkom thb moment to Good Friday, through suffaing and qjecthn, infamy srd death. But the goal is clear. It is the working out of tb CO~~ of Christ for us and all the world. Merciful God, we beseech Thee to cast the bright beoms of Thy &At zqwn Chmh that, being instructed by the doctntnne of the bbssai Apostles, it may so walk in the light of Thy truth thut it may at length attain to the right of everlasting life; thmugh Jesus Chist, Thy Son, ow Lad who tiws and nJ.r with Thee in the cornmwrian of the Holy Sphit, one God, thugbut dl sga CJE THE FOURTH SWAY AFlXR TRINm MATTHEW 10:34-42 (JUNE 18, 1978) The wds of our Lord are the (~1ntimakbn of the hs&u&m, -, and pro- gok ken to the Twelve previous to their firat going-- m the name of Jesus. They have been given Christ's own sutbaity to mW&r in His Name. Along with this authority will come open pearecation and htd. Tbs disciple must be fearless, remembering thet the Fatber m heevear bma wea the number of the hairs upon hie head. In this tituntion au Ld clgs Hb dieciples to bdd confesgian and recognition of the oonstant and eesy tanp- tation to denid. Canfeetion ~hontobgicr) L far more than an deckad how-t of the special status of Jesus among men; rather it is a molemn aad biding statement that He ia the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Such a statement Q at once (1) a mark of diecipkship (ae the pd passage idcatas), (2) an elementary form of murky* (1 John 1:2), (3) a public stakmmt (Joha 1:20), d (4) a besic element in Christian worship, mare eqwcWy baptirar Pnd ordinetion (I Timothy 6:12). The wda of Christ in Mattbw 7:21-29 (d. Trinity I) make it deer that such mnf& necesfsdy imqmratea rrcb which spring from right wads. TbtWacbOf~ I. Tbe wards of Christ remind His Church of tbe newedty of boki 00~ mtbefaceofcaastanttemptathatodsnial. A. Tbe true naftue af codamion (hmologia). 1. An essential mark of everg folh of Jerms (d. Lahi 12:8). 2.An~tinlmaPLofteetimonytotbepersonand~af~ {Acts 4:&12). 3. An act of obedient and faithful worship (I 'Kmothy 6:12). B.Tbedangerofdectialiehye~. 1. Even the TweIve &dl victim to this tePngt.tion. &Peter waavkthidby 6ear of persoPaI- (&Ubu 26: 69-76). b. Jndss Iscariat was vietimiced by pawpla) irrteresb (lt6:118[.), Homiletical Studies 71 2. The temptation still faces us May. a. Denial by weakness, iplmaturity, personal interests, etc. (a8 Peter and Jdas). 3. Deniel by sloth. selfishness, failure to bring forth the fruits of faith (7%; 25:12). 11. Tbe wards of Christ stand es both a warning and a promise. A. A warning that our confession must be bold, obedient, and faithful, even in the face of great dangers to body and spirit. a. It must be built upon the Word of God. b. It must be nurtured by the Sacraments of Christ. B. A promise that Chriet will be with His people to bless and strengthen them. Almighty God, who bt bdt Thy Chmh upon the foundation of the apostle^ and pmphets, Jesw Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone: Grunt us so to be joined together in unity of spa by their doctrine, that we may be made a holy temple acceptabk unto Thee: thtwgh the same, Thy Son, Jew Civirt our Lord, who lives and rules with Thee in the communion of the Holy Spirit, OM God, thrrghout d ages. CJE THE FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY: ROMANS 6:2-11 (JUNE 26, 1978) How clu~chlly we have interpreted the truth and conteat of tbe holy . . Chn&1.n faith. We live in the world of the understandrabk, a world which exdh hUMrh thought. At the same time we think deeply only with g!eat difhdty. We amrender to our emotions in every area. In mattes% of fai&, euch becomes his own mter without meditating on the myetmy of the fnith. The Apostle Paul speaks of a great mystery in Ba tism. Symphotoi (v. 6) mba to thin@ wkh gmw to-r and therefore b 3 ong together by nature. This is how dare ow Heavenly Father lpckons us to His Son-so that nothing in heaven or earth can separate us from Him, unless we break the connection. We haw been baptized into death together with Christ and buried with in the waters of Holy Baptism. This is a great mystery, which is not ehaped r- oordiug to our human terms and knowledge; rather it ia the life-long work of otu faith to believe it and seek to understand it. TbieIsAGrutMyetcry I. Baptism binds the death and resumction of Chriat to us. (Homoiomati (b) refers ta exact image, not mere similarity, v. 5). A. Wbs we are baptized, we are joined together with Chriet in tbe drvth which He hae died on our behalf. 1. By it we lrmnr that Christ died for us. 2. By it God the Father renchee out from heaven and takes hold of us, and pub ue alongside His only-begotten Son. 'Y will always conskier you together with Him. What you have been and done, this He has borne fir you on the Cross. What He is and does this you will alwys wear and ccury. " B. When we are baptized, we are joined together with Christ in His vktorious rwurrection, by the act of God. I. By thia means, the victory of Chriet ie our poseeesion. 2. It ia M though Christ came ta ue and said: "I am going ma&e an important journey, for your salvation. I will come down from humen; I w& on e0ftA; I will be hated cmd desw I wiU suffer cruelly, I will hang on the cross and die; I will descend into the 72 CONCORDlA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY depths of hell-and I will tde you along with Me. We aro bwnd together for all eternity. C. Today this happens in no other way than by Holy Baptism. 1. During His earthly *try, Christ Jesus did not baptize. He todr men, women, ~IJ.I~ children directly into the Kingdom of God by His Word and Blessing, e-g. ; the thief on the ems. 2. But before His Ascension, He left this commandment to His Church, to be observed through all the agea. He instituted thie Meuns of Grace; our total understanding of Baptism is based upon this foundation. 11. Holy hptiam is not ctn indifferent, unimportant, or empty ceremony. A. It is not a human action at all. It is God who works through Bap- tism. He uses human voices and human hands and earthly water. But He does it; for only God can accomplish such great things. B. He plants us together with His Son, washes and cleanses us, and causes us to be born again. He plants faith in out heerts and minds. Tbe Holy Spirit is in the water. - C. Thus, Baptism is rrecesgary for all, including children. 111. Baptism is a new life tsg--wjth Christ, beginring in time, and fulfilled in eternal Me. Luther: It is God's greatest sermou on the pure grace of of God. A. It ia the source of comfort when sins oppress ns. B. It is center of faith and trust when temptations and ains aesail ue. We are sinners in a sinful world, but we are forgiven. C: It is a call to turn away from sin and fobw Christ in every eenee of the word. ''To receive Baptism ie one thing; to live in Baptiem ie another." CJE THE SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY: MATI'HEW 11:26-30 (JULY 2, 1978) Agaiu two separate sayings of our Lord ere conjoined: tbe first, a public prayer, which takes the form of a declaration of the Son speaking to tbe xDller8. Fatk, and the second, the call and invitation of the Son to weary s' Some wmmentators have remarked that vermo 26-27 seem more charcrc- teristic of the Fourth Gospel than the Synopdcu. Tbie haa led some to posit that we are here wnfronted by a short liturgical slOrfne which has been grafted intn the Mattheam Gosep1. Such a theuia is nat nemmuy to explain the preeence of theae words, which are reminincemt af the Good Shepherd discourse in John. In fact, the Syaoptics include tmu typm of prayer by our Lad. On the one hand, we find prayers in wbich Cht rapmaemto sufferhg and sf8icted sinners before H~EI Father with Psdms and lrrmnntations (The p ' examples of this are the Gethsemane prayer, Mqk 14:34; and the cry of= 22, Mark 15:34). On the other hand, we find prayas in which Chriet atda ae the exalted Son of the Heavenly Father in perfect communion with the Father. The vases of the first pa. of our text repnment this latter type of prayer. (Further examples are found at Matthew 14:23, Mark 1:36 and Luke 5:16.) It is as the pafeet and ex- Son of the Father tbat our Lord urges the invitation of verses 28-30 upon thase who hear Him, whether in the first oentury with His own voice, or in the twentieth century through His Church. Thb call or invitation repments an event which comes about in the preaching of the Gospel. Yet the call is never simply a past or complete event; it ie always at work in the present moment. To those who are not yet Christians, ie a call out of the world and into the Church - a call to Holy Baptism. To those who are within the congregation. it is a call to ssnctikaticm and movement toward eternal life. Homiletical Studies '73 The Call Of Christ I. The Addressees. A. A call to those who labour. All labour and all the fruits of human labour perish. Only the fruit of Christ's labour endures. B. A call to the heavy-laden. The burden is the Law which Christ alone perfects and fulfils within Himself. C. A call to the weary. Christ endures great weariness in mockery, af- fliction, temptation, and prayer on our behalf. 11. The Roots of our Calling. A. To the stranger - a cd to Baptism into the death and resurrection of Christ. B. To the Christian - a call ta live in the power of Baptism. ' III. The Goal - To Bear the Yoke and Burden of Christ. A. The sign of His Cms - our insignia and confidence. B. The burden of the CXM 1. To mature in faith toward God. 2. To grow in lwe toward one another. 3. To be built together in our mutual hope in Christ. Conclusion: The call and invitation of Christ is extended to each of us. For those outside the Kingdom it is a gracefilled invitation to leave the world and enter. For those within it is, again, the invitation of the grace of God to grow towards eternal life. CJE THE SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY: MATTHEW 13: 1-9, 18:23 (JULY 9, 1978) It is interesting that Luke's account of the parable of the Sower, and that of Mark are missing from the three-year lectionary of the ILCW. The apparent reason is the predominance of what many modern critics claim to be inauthentic interpretive material. Thus, in most scholarly circles, verses 1-9 in the Matthean account represent the original parable 8s spoken by our Lord, and verses 18-23 constitute a later allegorical interpretation which recasts the Sitz-in-Leben of the parable for the missionary situation of the ~ly Christian community. The short parable of the Sower found in the recently discovered Coptic text of the Gospel of Thomas (9) is seen as a vindhkation of this position. It is, however, the text as it stands in the Gospels which is inspired and authoritative. We have no legitimate right to disregard the latter part of Matthew's text of the parable - and with it the texts of Luke and Mark - as though the interpretation of the parable represents an inauthentic addition to the parable or a curious example of the interpretative skills (or lack thereon of the early Christians. The Parable Of The Sower I. The Church Bears God's Truth to the World. A. In the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Great Sower of the Seed. B. In those who speak the Word of Christ in His name and by His command. II . The Truth of God is Variously Received. A. The Evil One is always ready to snatch it away. B. The tribulations and persecutions to which the Word gives rise harden hearts and close ears against it. C. Cm, prosperity, and delectations strangle and choke it. D. By some it is heard and understood, and brings forth great fruit. 74 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY 111. This Parable Stands as an Admonition, a Warning, and a Consolation. A. Admonition: Let the Word be sown! This is the essential work of the church in our own day. B. Warning: Recognize the obstacles raised within your own life and mind against the proper sowing and nurturing of the Word of Truth. 1. Remember the importance of the weekly gathering of the congregation around the Word and Sacraments. 2. Support in wery spiritual end material way the sowing of the Word. C. Consolation: The Ward wiU bring forth fruit, whether or not that fruit is evident to us. CJE THE EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY: MATTHEW 13:24-30, 36-43 1 JULY 16, 1978) Again, we have a parable with interpretation conjoined - thie one concerning the Kingdom of Heaven. The Lord has in the parable of the Sower promised that there wiII be a rich and abundant harvest. The Church receives theae words as a promise, because no great harvest is yet evident and the field ie plagued with insects and weeds. What shall be done about them? Melanchthon speaks to the problem in Apology VIINIII. On the me hand, the field may be identified as the whole world (MIMII.19): "Therefore this passage is more against our opponents than for them since it shows that the true and spiritual people wiU be separated hm the physical people." But at the same time, it must be remembered that our Lord Himself identifies this parable as a word about the Kingdom, which in this world appears hidden within the visible church. Thia visible church is of necessity eccksicr mirta, containing within it both bad and good, hypocrite and faithful, weed and wheat. Christians are warned against the daqes of schisms which precipitously and prematurely divide this visible etmchus. Against such echisms we implore the Mp of our Lord (Litany, Third Intercession). Schism and dissensions among believers me to be avoided, as sins against love. "Christ has also warned us in His parables on the church that when we are offended by the personal conduct of priests or people, we should not incite sdthms, as the Donatists wickedly did" (VIINIII49). The PEPaMe 01 The Fidd I. The Field is the visible Christian Church. Hidden within it is the true Kingdom of believers, created, sustained, and sactified by the Meam of Grace. 11. A CaU to Patience and Endurance. A. The Kingdom is secure; the harveet will be reaped. B. All that is impure wi3l be burned &I the Last Day. C. Let no samW or dissension divide. discouraae. or deetray us. Satan ainnot destroy the Church; ahe shall shine like the eun in the Day of the Lord. CJE THE NINTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY: MAlTHXW 13:44-62 (JULY 23, 1978) The pericope marks the wnclusion of a string of parables d the Kingdom with three short parables: (1) The Treasure Hidden in the Field, (2) The Pearl of Great Price, (3) The Dragnet. The concluding words spmk of the scribe who is an erpert in Mosaic Law and who, by bee a dieciple of haus, Homiletical Studies 75 preserves the insights of the Law and adds to them the blessings of the Gospel. Tbe central theme is found in the first two parables. The Kingdom ie to be desired above all things; it is such that a man will dispose of all thine in order to acquire it. In the first parable, as in the parables of the unjust steward and the unjust judge, our Lord shows how "the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light" (Luke 16:8). In the second parable, the point is reinforced; dedicate yourself to God's Kingdom and know that no other claim upon you has its value. Tbe Kingdom Of God I. What is a basme? It is something of surpassing value. The man in the parable is willing to sell everything he owns to possess it. What is the treasure that we are to desire and possess? It is the Kingclom of God. For it we must be willing to make great sacrifices. 11. What is a pearl? It is an example of something precious. In Judaism, & wisdom was compared with pearls in value. Here the pearl stands M a simile for the saving blessing of the Kingdom of God (Mt. 7:6). 111. Both parables stand as an indictment of false values and m;nrmided human effort. But there is great promise. also attached: It is the purpose of cur Heavenly Father, in and through His beloved Son, to give us the Kingdom (Luke 1232). The Apostle Paul reminds us that this treasure (th-swros) of wisdom and knowledge is hidden in Christ (Co. 2:3). He give us a new life as a treasure (2 Cor. 43) which in this life we carry about in our own frail bodies. CJE THE TENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY: MATIWEW 14:13-21 (JULY 30,1978) This pericope has received little mercy at the bands of interpreters. Some have pictured this episode as a friendly picnic at which the crowds learn the great "miracle" of sharing by following the good example of Jesue and Hie disciples. They are inspired to open their lunch-basketa and share with iese bortunate friends and neighborn. At the other end of the spectrum, some have totally disregarded the historical circudances of this episode, and turned it into nothing more than cultic and ritual action, serving as a kind of proto-type to tbe Holy Eucharia t . With the ttnnouncement of the death of John the Baptiser, the minishy of our Lord enters a new period. As when the Pharisees took munsel to kill Him (12:9-15). this new phase begins with a period of withdrawal from the disciples and the multitude. The way of the cross is becoming more clear; it is the way to Jerusalem which Christ must follow. The end of the road is not yet in sight. Although the Messianic significance of the ministry of Christ is not evident to the rmrItitudes, Jesus is apenly showing Himself to be the Metmiah, the minister the compctsaion of God (v. 14). It is within the contaxt of this &ger ministry that we 6nd the special significance of this mirmdo~lll fwding. Tbe Fhe Of God'e Compmwbn I. Christ Jesus is Himself the measure of the compassion of God. A. The ministry of John the Baptiser bare witness to that compassion. He prepared the way for Chriet . 1. Zecharias pRdicted it in the words of the Benedictue (Lk. 1:78). 2. John him& spoke of it in pointing others to Christ (Jn. 1: 18). . B. It is compassion which ie at work in this great mtaculw fdhg. 1. He showed ampassion in Wing the sick (v. 14). 2. He waa moved by oompasaion to feed the fainting (w. 16-16). 76 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY 3. He showed the measure of compassion by supplying an abundance. 11. We have been provided with the abundance of God's compassion in Christ Jesus. A. We are clothed and covered by it (Co. 3: 12-17). B. We are inspired by it (Phil 2:l-2). C. To refuse to receive it and offer it means to deny the love of God. (1 John 3:17). CJE THE ELEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY: MATTHEW 14:22-33 (AUGUST 6, 1978) This pericope introduces a series of sayings and events recorded by Ma$- thew, Mark (6:45-52) and John (6:16-24), but not by Luke. The particular characteristics of the Matthean account of walking on the water are two in number: 1) The confession of Peter, "You are the Son of God in truth," presaging the great confession of Matthew 16:16. This represents a new element in the Matthean account, whereas in the Markan account, the term "Son of God" is used already in connection with the Baptism of Jesus. Matthew does use the term in reference to the temptation, which is directed specifically against the Sonship of Jesus (4:3,6). Further, Jesus says in the Sewon of the Mount that sonship belongs to the "bi&sedH (53, 16, 45, 18). 2) The sinking of Peter. Human faith, even when directed toward our Lord, is totally inadequate. In fact, it is not faith in its proper sense at all. What is important is the cry of Peter, "Lord, heIp me!" Juliua Schniewind remarks, "Here Peter calls our Lord by His 'last name': 'Helper, Solviour'." Lord Help Ue I. Jesus is Helper and Saviour. A. This is the meaning of His nrune (Jesus/Joshua). B. It was for a Helper and Saviour that God's people prayed. 1. David's Psalter, the Bible's 'Prayer Book' (Ps. 10: 14; 30:IO; 54:4), expresses this desire. 2. Isaiah pointed ahead to One who would save God's people (Isa 19:20). 11. Peter Calls Jesus by Name. A. In his cry for help (30). B. In his confession of faith (33). 111. Jesus extends His hand. A. To Peter, to rescue him from the deep (v. 30). B. To His faithful people, to rescue us from the depths of death and hell (Ps. 130: 'Out of the depths. . . '1. CJE THE TWELFI'H SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY: MA'ITHEW 15:21-28 (AUGUST 13, 1978) After healing many of the afflicted who have been brought to Him. Jesus now leaves the area of Genneseret. From there He travels towards the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea, to the regions of Tyre and Sidon. Centuries before Elijah the Tishbite had been sustained in this same region by the widow of Zarephath, and had raised her son from the dead (I Kings 1723-24). Now the Messiah to whom Elijah bare witk comes into the same region, and again a woman comes to Him and cries out to Him on behalf of her daughter, Homiletical Studies 77 "eleeson" (v. 22). This prayer is familiar in both the Old and New Testaments (cf. Ps. 4:l; 6:2, et d.). The original sense of eleos with reference to God is His own fairness and steadfastness (chesed, Ex. 34:6; Ps. 86:5, 15, et d). Here the specific reference is to the need for the goodness and mercy of God in specific situations of need. In the Pauline literature, the term will take on specific reference to the salvation which God offera us through His Son, onr Lard (Gal. 6:16). The roots of this understanding are found in the words of Christ, in that it is eleos that God requkes of men, and eleos that He shows to men (cf. Mt. 9:13}. The phrase "bread of the children" (v. 26) is a veiled reference to the manna by which God continued to show His favour to the children of Israel in the wilderness. Have Mercy, Lord I. "Lord declares His almighty pmer chiefly in showing mercy and pity." This ancient collect phrase serves to focus our understanding of this healing miracle. A. That our Lord heals and saves is an instance of the steadfast mercy of God. B. It is this steadfast mercy for which the woman asks. Herprayeris joined to that of God's ancient people, even though she herself is not of the family of God. 11. The mercy and pity of God are not always immediately evident. A. The Lord's response is not immediate and unconditional. B. The condition is a faith that does not shrink from continued prayer. 111. The cry of the woman is the cry of the church. A. Together with her we ask for the mercy and steadfast love of God in Christ to touch us. B. Together with her we confess the compassion of God, manifested in the person and work of His only -beg- Son. CJE THE THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY: MATITEW 16: 13-20 (AUGUST 20, 1978) A review of the sixth chief part of Luther's Small Catechism and the eec- tions relating to the Office of Keys exxi Confession in the Large Catechism and the Smaleald Artides is in order 8s a preparation for a sermon on this pericope. A comparison between the Lutheran emphasis on the Keys and the Reformed emphasis on "Church Discipline" (Heidelberg Catechism, qq. 83-85) shows that, in the Iatter case, it is discipline alone which is dm&&emj on the personal level, and no distinction is allowed between the Keys and preaching. In the Lutheran Church, however, the administration of the O££ice of the Keys is the individual and concrete application of the Word of God to the individuaL Edy Luthaans did not hesitate to n?gard the Offim of the Keys as a sacramental power given to the church by her Lord. Reference may be made here to the comments under Holy Trinity Sunday, regarding apostolic authority; for possession of the keys in biW and Jewish tradition represents authority to act. It is the myal sted who possesses the keys of the palaQ (Isa. 22:22). Further elucidation of the meaning of this power is found in Matthew 23:13, which shows that the disclosure of the will of God in the Scriptures is exercised by means cf preaching, teaching, and dividing. The power of the keys is a judicial per, indicating authority to judge the sinful and promise forgiveness to those who believe (G. Kittel, ed., 'IWNT, 111, p. 751). One may well ponder whether or to what extent the proper exercise of the 78 CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL QUARTERLY Office of Keys can be restored in the modem-day congmgation. Some paatom may feel that the meed for the sacramental exercise of the Keys 6ae been effedively off-set by pithy sermon applications and general pastod coun- seling. Luther's witness to the significance of sacramental absolution may be a Mpfu) reminder to us: "I know what comfort and etrength private confeeeian has given me. Nobody who has not fought often and long with the devil knows what it can do. I would long since have been strangled by the devil if I had not kept coafession" (WA IOiii, p. 61f.). 1. The great mesaage of the Christian Church is the proclamation of the forgiveness of sb. A. It is built upon the confession of the lordship of Christ (v. 16f.). B. It ia bestowed upon the church (v. 18f.) C. It is exercised through the Holy Ministry of Word and Sacr8ment. XI. The best appreciation and reception of this forgiven- ia bdt upon a good con6ession. A. We km to confess our sins sincerely. B. We receive the Word of Absolution as from Christ Himself. 111. Confe&on is a practice of great value. A. It ia a constant discipline. B. It is an invitation to enter fully into the Law and Gospel. I. To confess spedfic sins. 2. To receive Christ's specific word of forgiverteas for us. C. It is a call to repentant living. The gift of Absolution commends a near life aid empowers us in Christian growth. CJE THE FOURTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINIW: MATTHEW 16:21-26 (AUGUST 27, 1978) With the confession of the lordship of Cbriet and the delegation of the fruits of His redemptive work (16:13-20) are coupled the tuumncement of the spec& terms of that redemptive work in the Paesion which our Lord must endure on our behalf. The perkope may be divided inta three parts: (1) the aanowment af the coming Passion (this ia the seoond of five euch amummimente in the Gospel according to St. Matthew (vide 12:40; 17:9; 26:2); (2) the Petrim protest against the Pasaion and the rebuttal of Satan; and (3) the etatement of the conditions of diseigleship. Comting on this last division, two per~aagee stand out. The first, Matthew 10:38ff., reminds us of the ward of ow Lord upon the occaaion of tbe firat sending-fdh of the twelve apodb. To bur by the cod and under the authority of the Chriat rneann as well that me must be willing to cham Hie fate at the hande of the world and the for088 of Satan- "He wbo finda his life will h it, and he who ha his life ftx my 8th will find it." Tbe eeeond paasage, I Pster 2:21, dm%a the church, on the baeie of the tdb* of Cb&, to fohw His ezamph and enter His sufferings. "For to this you have been called. becaw Christ also suffered hr you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps." I. The tdqrbgs and atma of Christ atand at the very oentea of Hie evthly min;ntry.' A. "For this have I come. . . "(John 12:27-28). B. "And I, wh I am lifted up. . . " (John 12:31-32). Homiletical Studies 79 11. Sufferings and crows stand at the center of our Christian life. A. All mankind suffers; indeed, alI creation suffers because of sin (bm. 8:lW. B. Unjust sufferings point us to our Lord. C. In sufferings we are made to be Iike Him (Rom. 8: 29). 111. Christ's sufferings and cross stand at the center of our faith and hope. A. By them our salvation has been secured. B. By them our eyes are opened to see the secret blessing of our in- firmity and the joy of sacrifice. 1. He offered Himself for ui. 2. We offer ourselves to Him (Rom. 12).