Full Text for The Lord's Prayer, the Pastor's Prayer, part 4 (Text)

396 The Lord's Prayer, the Pastor's Prayer A final remark. Kliefoth tells us that not all will be converted in Hades (see P. Althaus, Die letzten Dinge, p.lS1). And that may be the case, because, as others tell us, conversion in Hades is more difficult than here. What, then, becomes of those who are not converted in Hades? According to the principles of love and justice, as applied by the Hades theologians, would God not be obliged to provide a second Hades with still more effective preach­ing and then a third 13) and then finally employ the conditions in hell to bring about the eternal salvation of all? Universalism, using this same twenty-first argument, argues that God's love cannot permit any man to be lost eternally. And if the Hades theologians were true to the principle of "God's love and justice," they .vauld have to exchange the Hades gosve1 for the apoka (as­tasis gospel. Are we willing to preach, on the basis of these twenty-one arguments, assertions, and guesses, the Hades gospel? ----..... Thl... ____ -.: Pl"ayer, _ Jstor's P __ '" _ '''''~1'' 3.,,,.)nd Petititm The Kingdom is the kingdom of the Father, for the Father is addressed. And since Jesus teaches ---to pray ,--oming of the Father's kingdom, the Father must have a kingdom. This argument is sustained by the conclusion of the prayer: Thine is the Kingdom. Since the Father has a kingdom, He is a King. Though He is the King, we are to approach Him as our Father. Jesus teaches us to believe with a rejoicing heart that we are children of a king and encourages us to seek better acquaintance with, and greater knowledge of, the King and the Kingdom. For the past century theologians and philosophers have lec­tured and written extensively and with undiminished zeal on the subject of the Kingdom of God, and not without influence. A re­view of the material produced is beyond the purpose of today's program. Yet we would say that countless human notions have been attached to the Kingdom of God. The many concepts ad­vanced do not confuse the Lutheran pastor who faithfully searches 13) We have lately read that in an article published in the Chris­tian Advocate, "The World to Come," Edwin Lewis, after stating that Scripture does not teach "that every man's eternal destiny is fixed at the moment of his death," says: "What we surmise is that between t.~is world a.lld t.~e next-and the next-and the next-is moral con­tinuity" (see the Christian Beacon, Aug. 19, 1943). What was it that the Swedenborgians say about the spirits being led from one society to _:-lother? The Lord's Prayer, the Pastor's Prayer 397 the principium cognoscendi. This he applies to all concepts pre­sented to him; and when he has mentally classified them, he will file each repetition on the shelf for trends. We speak of mere trends, because the clear-cut, scholarly, and above all, the simple Scriptural definition of the Kingdom is impossible and must end hopelessly in hazy paradoxes when the divine revelation is brushed aside or misapplied. Let us at this time ascertain for what we pray in the Second Petition. No man has seen the Father-King at any time; the only­begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, has declared Him. And the Holy Spirit has revealed the Father's person, His face, appearance, attributes, His throne of light, His works, His glory. Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face. Now we know in part; but then shall we know even as also we are known. The revelation pertaining to the kingdom of the Father requires faith. The doctrine of the Father's kingdom is an article of faith. Thy Kingdom Come: "Father, teach me to believe what­ever Thou hast revealed of Thyself as King and of Thy Kingdom, and strengthen in me that faith." This is the pastor's prayer. The Bible teaches a threefold kingdom of the Father: the kingdom of power, the kingdom of grace, and the kingdom of glory. Where should we begin in our meditation on the Kingdom? We must begin where the revelation of the Father and the revelation of His kingdom begins. It begins in a person, namely, in the only-begotten Son of the Father, who has declared Him. He is the Beginning and the End. We begin at Jesus Christ. He has told us so much about the Father and His kingdom. He says: "All things are delivered unto Me of My Father; and no man knoweth the Son but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him." This remarkable statement is found in a context which has particular value for our meditation. Matt.n: 25-30. Jesus addresses the Father and calls Him the Lord of heaven and earth. Accordingly, heaven and earth are the Father's kingdom. The Father's peculiar government is hidden by the Father to the wise and prudent, yet revealed by Him to babes who are then designated as they that labor and are heavy laden. The Father has revealed "these things," His government and divine aims and purposes, through the Son, to whom He has delivered all things. The Son reveals these things to the laboring and heavy laden by the invitation of the Gospel. His government is hidden under His grace as under a blanket. The unbeliever rejects the Son and His revelation of the Fa­ther and thus makes it impossible for himself to discern "these things," in particular the end and aim of God's government. Or has anyone yet found the Father without first seeing the Son? The 398 The Lord's Prayer, the Pastor's Prayer kingdom of power, which is also delivered to the Son by the Father, reveals God as the almighty, the all-wise, the benevolent God, but not God as our Father. The task of revealing God as the Father was placed upon Jesus when all things were delivered to Him, and henceforth we read the marvelous execution of the Father's act recorded in Ps. 8: "Thou madest Him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under His feet." The Child born unto us, the Son given unto us, upholds all things by the word of His power. He says: "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth." "The Father loveth the Son and hath given all things into His hand." "Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was come from God and went to God" . . . He washed the feet of His disciples. Jesus prays: "Glorify Thy Son that Thy Son also may glorify Thee: as Thou hast given Him power over all flesh that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him." And we read with great joy and adoration the grand and majestic proclama­tion at Col. 1: 12-22. The Son is co-Regent with the Father, and He reigns jointly with Him in full agreement and undisturbed harmony toward the purposes divinely decreed by the wisdom, and designed by the knowledge, of God. Therefore, if we would know for what we pray in the Second Petition, we must begin at Christ, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, and we must begin at the grace and truth of King Christ. The meaning of the Second Petition is: "Father, cause Thy Son to come to us as our King; not Thy kingdom merely without the King, but by the King Thy kingdom." That is the pastor's prayer. The King established His kingdom by His grace, founded it upon His grace, rules it by His grace, builds and extends it by His grace through the Word of grace. His grace sends the Spirit of Grace, who glorifies the Son as .the King of Grace, and the Kingdom as the kingdom of grace, and who gathers the subjects to become the recipients and beneficiaries of the King's grace. The sending of His Son is an act of the Father's grace; the coming of the Son is His act of grace; the invitation to come to the Son is the Holy Spirit's act of grace. See John 6:37-47. Therefore the Second Petition expresses the sincere desire: "0 Father, draw me to the Savior, that Thy dear Son may draw me unto Thee." And that is the pastor's prayer. And when we have been drawn to the King and with honest astonishment look and move about in the Kingdom, we note that the nature of the Kingdom is spiritual, though it is on earth. The coming of the Kingdom is spiritual, though in relation to time and space. The extent of the Kingdom is spiritual, but restricted to the boundaries of the earth. The purpose and aim of the Kingdom is The Lord's Prayer, the Pastor's Prayer 399 spiritual, and it includes eternity. Its citizenship is spiritual, though it is held by mortals. The benefits are spiritual, but embrace also the temporal. The protection and defense is spiritual, but it affects the entire world: all social, political, sCientific, economic conditions; for all things must serve the kingdom of grace. The kingdom of grace is the seat of the King's government for the duration, not the kingdom of glory; just as the courtroom, and not the home, is the king's official place. According to the King's own statement, Matt. 18: 15-20, John 20: 21-23, His seat of gracious operations is at St. John's Lutheran Church, at Grace Lutheran Church, at Trinity Lutheran Church, at Faith Lutheran Church, in fact, wherever the one holy Christian Church is to be found. Pastors, rejoice, rejoice! The Second Petition encourages us to pray: "Our Father, help us to know and to appreciate Thy kingdom and to display a sincere loyalty to it and to respect Thy local congregations and their ad­ministration of the Office of the Keys." And that is the pastor's prayer. The kingdom of grace is the Church on earth. The King calls it the kingdom of heaven in contrast to the kingdoms of the earth. By dogmatic teaching, by parable, by His work of redemption, the King has revealed everything pertaining to the Kingdom with the purpose of saving us. We cannot pray this petition without the sense of inexpressible gratitude. As the pastor prays, he praises. Elthato (imperative aorist): The coming is viewed as one act. But we may well say that the coming of the Father's kingdom is an uninterrupted series of completed acts. Our coming to the coruer­ence, for i.llstance, is a series of completed single steps and of com­pleted single turns of the automobile wheels. The concept of com­ing is a movement, sometimes by descent, sometimes by ascent, sometimes by meeting, sometimes by overtaking, depending on the point from which the approach is being made or observed. The Father's ki'"lgdom moves as it comes. It moves to us from heaven, "without our prayer," by the operations of the Holy Spirit on earth through Christ and His Gospel. Mark 1: 14,15; John 3: 5,8. One by one each miraculous conversion is effected; one by one the kingdom of the Father grows. The Pharisee asked, "When cometh the kingdom of heaven?" It comes when and where Jesus ap­proaches the sinner with His Gospel. At conversion the devil is cast out, and Jesus says: "But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you," Matt. 12: 28. We pray in the Second Petition that Jesus may cast out the devil from us and others by the Spirit of God. This is personal. When the individual Christian among us was converted, the Kingdom of God had come to him; in his person another citizen was born into the Father's kingdom. We desire to remain loyal and steadfast. We are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. 400 The Lord's Prayer, the Pastor's Prayer Our ordination and call into the ministry is not a means of grace, nor a guarantee for our personal salvation. We pray in this peti­tion that the Father would graciously by ever-repeated action of His grace keep us in His kingdom and gather and confirm more citizens. And that is the pastor's prayer. To the question of His enemies Jesus replies: "The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation. Neither shall they say, La, here! or, La there! for, behold, the Kingdom of God is entos hymon." Luke 17: 20, 21. The Kingdom of God is here, in your midst. It exists among you. You are in its presence. He implies : You know it not. They expected pomp and splendor. But they saw only a person in the form of a servant, who humbled Himself and bee arne obedient unto the death o[,he Cl uss. 7hey saw Him only as a grain of wheat. They saw Him fonnlp little ('.hildren and infants. They saw Him eat and drink with the sinners. And they were offended. Jesus says to another enemy: My kingdom is not of this world. To all the enemies of the Kingdom the King issues the \~/arning: "The Kingdom ol C~od. 5;,1,a11 be: take::c, r(()m you and given to a nation bringing fOlth the fl uits " Matt. 21: 43. The or~~'"' tg, departing. Thy King' Y;Q" that is, suffer us",~ . to provoke Thee to depE cause Thy kingdom to abide among us and in us, and ""'"ant L eto us the power and grace to bring forth the fruits there( Help us always to believe Thy holy TN ord and to lead a gO( life ac-cording to it." And that is the pastor's prayer for himself and his congregation. Some mortals almost entered the Kingdom. To a scribe Jesus said: "Thou art not far from the Kingdom of God": Thou art in its proximity, but not in it, and therefore still outside of it. This man reminds us of the nominal Christian. Another man was about to look back because of earthly considerations, and he heard the King say: "No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God." And we are reminded of those who in their demand for social activities forget that the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but that it is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. Paul had occasion to reprimand those who are puffed up: The Kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. It is not in many wise men after the flesh, not in many mighty, not in many noble, but in the foolish and weak things, which is a comfort to the humble pastor. Thy King­dom Come: "Father, keep me foolish and weak; and keep my brethren foolish and weak; and make others foolish and weak; that we may not oppose or hinder the coming of Thy kingdom by any love of the world or the things that are in the world." And this is the pastor's prayer. The Father's kingdom has 011pmips would in violent dis-The Lord's Prayer, the Pastor's Prayer 401 agreement and brutal opposition arrest it in its course, prevent its growth and extension, and finally destroy it. These enemies are Satan, the world, and the flesh. Their method of warfare varies at times and places. And there are some who deny the existence of the Kingdom. They maintain that the Church is built on a fan­tasy, and that the Kingdom is a utopian dream, and that dreams are often more powerful than realities. They say that the King­dom exists only in the minds of the believers. Strange! What possesses their own minds that they should go to all their trouble and bitter toil to fight a fantasm, if the Kingdom of God is only a dream? Others argue on the strength of this petition, wrong­fully, that divine revelation is progressive, and thus they hope by and by to possess fully the Kingdom of God. They fail to rec­ognize the Savior-King. But on the basis of Scripture we believe in the Kingdom's existence, permanence, and duration. It teaches that there is never a time when the Kingdom of God will not come or when it does not exist or function or when the gates of hell do prevail against it. The foul opposition of the enemies is a chal­lenge to us to implore the Triune God: Thy Kingdom Come. This petition is our battle cry. And the Kingdom of God comes with such crushing blows to the opposing kingdoms that finally they will all lie in a heap. Ps. 145: 10-14; 45: 6. "The Kingdom ours remaineth." Phil. 2: 10, 11. Vexilla Regis possunt fiuitare contra ventos. -The petition is directed to the Father against the enemies in behalf of the enemies. And that is the pastor's prayer. The King says: Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom. Luke 12:32. Again Jesus employs the aorist to describe the Father's act of giving member­ship in the Kingdom to individual persons, not to the masses as such. The masses hear the Gospel. Individuals reject it. In­dividuals are converted. Scripture does not condemn, but en­courages, every legitimate effort of the Kingdom's citizens to reach the masses and to snatch them from the tight grip of the enemies; yet they are to observe the principle of individual and personal acceptance of each new citizen. Though we cannot convert anyone into the Kingdom, but must wait for the Holy Spirit to perform that divine, gracious act, yet the Father has given each and every one of us the task to bear the means of conversion into the entire world, to every home, to every person. Jesus, praying this petition in His own way and version, prays not only for the Apostles, but for them also which shall believe on Him through their word, namely, through the Gospel, which they and all Christians should preach, as heralds of the King, to every creature individually rather than collectively, giving attention to each (pase te ktisei). By the Word, which is not bound, the Kingdom is extended. The rain 26 402 The Lord's Prayer, the Pastor's Prayer and snow is used by the King (Is. 55) to illustrate the coming and success of His Word. The Kingdom of God comes by means of His Word, as it 'ere, in single drops that collectively form the rain, in single flakes that collectively form the snowfall: Here a sermon, there a testimony, now a Bible verse, then a hymn, a tract, a Sunday school lesson, all based on the sound Gospel. This peti­tion is the missionary prayer. It should be in our hearts and on our lips from morning till evening. By it we affectionately embrace our own congregation, and compassionately press to our heart the entire world, and present them both, in dire need of spiritual refreshing, peace, and salvation, to the heavenly Father and King. And when we pastors pray this petition, let us build and promote the King­dom of God according to His eli"i.:..'E: pl~ll(;iplE:s. the kingdom of peace in peace, the kingdom of joy cheerfully, the spiritual king­dom free of the care of "these things" which shall be added unto us, the kingdom of righteousness in a God-pleasing, brotherly, right­eous manner, the kingdom of order with the observance of pas­toral ethics, the kingdom of grscc -,;;;ithout ai1 c:ife to reward, the kingdom of truth without the lie and despair of anti-Scriptural philosoJ; -it ask himself: Do I preach IC or do I live L ------.• "" -k that I come and prosper or that the Father's kingdom come an"', prosper? Let us remember that by this petition we nIle the world as co-regents -we say it with humble : ather, the Son, and the B ;pirit. We pray in this petition: "Suffer us not to be remiss iL .~."-'-duty and privilege to rule the world with Thee, but help us to perform the functions of our office as kings and priests and heralds." And this is the pastor's prayer. When others besides the pastors of the Missouri Synod pray this petition in its Scriptural setting and spirit, then it becomes the unifying petition. And if anyone prays against a God-pleasing Lutheran unity, he prays the Second Petition hypocritically. We circumscribe and paraphrase this petition with Johann Heermann: "Preserve Thy little flock in peace, nor let Thy boundless mercy cease; to all the world let it appear that Thy true Church indeed is here." And that is the pastor's prayer. In the meantime God's kingdom of power serves His kingdom of grace. Whether we live under a good or il"ltolerant national government, in prosperity or depression, in peace or war, in abundance or want: all things work together for the good of the Father's kingdom and its citizens. Paul is an example. To arrest the course of the Kingdom, the enemies cast the Apostle into prison, confhling him and the VI ord of the kingdom within dank walls. 'w nat nappens ,lue Holy Spirit inspires him to vvTite, and now the inspired Word of the Kingdom pierces the walls and reaches through the ages the hearts beating today, God's power The Lord's Prayer, the Pastor's Prayer 403 is in the service of His grace. Our Imperial Valley is another ex­ample. In earlier centuries this valley was covered by the sea. God called the ocean back and laid bare the fertile land. While man now tills the soil there and builds cities, God builds His king­dom there. Our prayer is: "Father, rule Thy kingdom of power in behalf of Thy kingdom of grace." The Father's kingdom is a social community. Each citizen has his task to perform for the benefit of all and to the glory of the King: the pastor, the professor, the teacher, the elder, the man, the woman, and the child. I Cor.I2. And the Kingdom is a flock and a family. No member has a right selfishly to seek a better living where the Kingdom is not, and then expect the fellow Chris­tians at their expense of manpower, missiona..ry power, missionary funds, to supply his spiritual needs, which he deliberately neglected by seeking first "all these things." If the Father extends His king­dom to such a prodigal, He glorifies it again as the kingdom of grace. Well does Luther stress under this petition the importance of a godly life. We must not betray and deny by an ungodly life the King and His kingdom. Our preaching by example is observed by more people than our preaching by word of mouth. Thy King­dom Come: "Father, help us all to be good and faithful citizens, who loyally support by word, life, and deed, and never hinder by selfishness or fear, the course of Thy kingdom." And that is the pastor's prayer. The Father hears and answers our prayer. He leads us to, or sends to us, mission material. We see in anticipation and hope a larger membership, a growing congregation. We visit, plan, in­struct diligently, indoctrinate faithfully, we baptize, confirm -and then our sheaves shift to another location! How discouraging! No, not at all discouraging. For we must learn to serve for the building, for the coming, of the Kingdom as well as to labor for an increased local membership. Some smaller congregations are, proportionately, a greater power in the Kingdom than some larger ones. When members leave to join a sister congregation, they take the Kingdom with them. Nevertheless the Kingdom remains with us. The pastor prays: "Dear Father, do Thou build and extend Thy kingdom by blessing my efforts as Thy ambassador and co-worker, and my congregation's Christian endeavors, to be a power at home and abroad; help me to know and believe that my labor is not in vain in the Lord." That is the pastor's prayer. "Then cometh the end," I Cor.I5: 24-28. When the Kingdom shall have ceased coming, it will cease as that kingdom of grace which we knew here on earth. Its purposes accomplished, its glorious aims attained, its last business done, it will be dissolved. This act of the King completes the kingdom of glory, described in Revelation. The kingdom of grace, having been delivered to the 404 Outlines on Gospels Adopted by Synodical Conference Father, has no further need of a King. The citizens of the king­dom of glory are the sainted conquerors and overcomers. They will be subject to God, who is all in all. And inasmuch as the Son is and ever remains the Head of the Church, He will as such be subject to God without in the least disturbing the Trinitarian re­lation. Divine revelation says nothing about an earthly millennium. We shy away from the millennial dream as from the devil's snare. This petition is our eschatological prayer. It revives and strength­ens, not by our act of praying, but by its objective doctrine, our hope that the Lord shall deliver us from every evil work and shall preserve us unto His heavenly kingdom; to whom be glory for­ever and ever. Los Angeles, Calli. G. H. SMUK. ... L ~ ;0 ~ Outlines on Gospels Adopted by Synodical Conference Second Sunday after Trinity John 8:1-11 When David had been delivered from his enemies and, in par­ticular, from the hand of Saul, he wrote Psalm 18. The words of this day's Introit are taken from that Psalm, and they express our reaction whenever we consider God's goodness in delivering us from the hands of them that oppress us. In our text of today we have an example of such a deliverance, for herein we behold The Victorious Christ Dealing with Sinful Mankind 1. He gains the victory over His adversaries. A. The scribes and Pharisees, seeking His destruction, John 7: 1, 25, 32, 45 ff., tempt Him "that they might have to accuse Him," v. 6. Early in the morning Jesus, seated in the Temple, is teaching a large multitude, v. 2, when the scribes and Pharisees bring a woman into the midst "taken in adultery," v. 3, "in the very act," v. 4. Thus they place a problem before Him which evidently appears to them as offering Him an inescapable dilemma. Should He decide for the execution of the Law as demanded by Moses (Lev. 20: 10; Deut. 22: 22-24; Lev. 10: 9) and by Ezekiel (Ezek. 16: 38-40), He would place Himself in jeopardy with regard to the law of the Romans and could be accused of inciting rebellion. On the other hand, should He decide against carrying out the Mosaic statute, He could be charged with a disavowal of His own statements (Matt. 5: 17 -19) and with failure to re-establish the Law, to do what was expected of the Messiah. B. At first the Savior seems deliberately to ignore their ques­tion, v.6, but when they continue asking Him, v.7, He replies: