Full Text for CTM Outlines on the Standard Epistle Lessons and Outlines on the Nitzsch Gospel Selections 17-11 (Text)

sign of true gratefulness for the blessings of tl,.e past to!', lize thai also in the months to come we shall succeed only with. God's help. o,;£o1'e us, on the national and international scene, lies the chaos of peace: mass starvation, international suspicion, man's fear o:f himself, preparations for further bloodshed. In in- HOMILETICS 845 dividual lives there is the chaos of uncertainty and fear of things that may come to pass. B. Significantly the Psalmist prays: "Gather us from among the heathen" (v. 47). Christians today are tempted to look upon the future with the eyes of the heathen, i. e., hope- lessly, greedily, despairingly. Our prayer on this day that God would remove us from such heathen thinking about the future. Rather: "cast all your care upon Him." - "Commit thy way unto the Lord." H. O. A. KEINATH TWENTY-SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY 2 PET. 3:3-14 Another church year is drawing to its close, and yet the world stands. Christians recognize this time as a further period of grace, but scoffers mock. God tells us in our text what we should answer them when they blasphemously ask, "WHERE IS THE PRO:MISE OF HIS COMING?" 1. The delay of Christ's coming is not due to a lack of power. The claim that Christ is not coming to judgment originates wi.th scoffers. Cf. 2 Tim. 2: 17-18. The fact that He has not as yet come is no proof that He will not come. The ungodly are poor logicians. God has shown His almighty power: a) In Creation. The earth came forth "out of water" (Gen. 1: 2,9,10); by the almighty power of the Creator of heaven and earth (Ps. 24: 2; 33: 6; Heb. 11: 3) . The Creation is to be studied to gain a correct picture of God's power (Rom. 1: 20; Acts 17: 24-27) . He who made the world is also powerful enough to destroy it. b) In the preservation "in water." By the mere use of water God preserves the world and prevents it from becoming pul- verized and scattered as dust. Water also provides the world with life-giving moisture (Is. 55: 10) . c) In the Deluge (v. 6) . The Flood of Noah's time destroyed the world as it was, and a new world emerged. Results of the Flood are still visible - greatly reduced arable land, fossils. They remind us of G od's power through water. If God accomplished so much through water, how much more will He do through fire! (Vv. 7, 10, 12.) His W ord, 846 HOMILETICS wbich cannot be broken, assures us that on the Day of the Lord tbis world will be turned into a heap of ashes. There is no real delay in the promise of His coming. God merely uses a different calendar than we do (v. 8) . A thousand years in heaven seem as one day, and one day in hell as a thousand years. The Lord will come much too soon for all ungodly (v. 7 b, 10 a). We have every reason to look for the promise of His coming. II. The Lord has not yet corne that the time of grace might be extended. V. 9. Long-suffering means not merely a postponement of punishment, but above all the desire to save. It has the con- version and salvation of mankind in view. Scripture tells us with words, Christ with tears, the Triune God under oath, that He wants all men to be saved. Universal grace (1 Tim. 2: 4) . God's wish that all should reach repentance prompted Him to send Christ into the world to redeem all men. God not only loves, but is love. His desire to save holds off the day of His coming. God's grace is both serious and efficacious. It is offered us through the Gospel. Since God would save us, we are to continue in true faith (v. 14. Rom. 5: 1). Through Christ we are pure (1 John 1: 7). In this faith we are to be active. a) We are to use the time of grace to live a life of holiness (v. 11. Triglot, p. 941 ff. ; p.45, Art. 6; p. 57, Art. 20, par. 27). Every hour of prolonged life is another hour to do good works. Suggest specific works! Ciphers alone are of no value, but when preceded by a number, become very important. Similarly, "good works" do not save us, but when flowing out of faith hold a significant place in Christianity. (Cf. 1 Pet. 1: 13-25.) b) Wait for and "earnestly desire" His coming (v. 12) . We are to live so as to be ready at all times to receive the Lord. c) We are to prepare for a life in a new heaven and a new earth (v. 13). In tbis time of waiting we are ever to realize the im- minence of the Lord's coming (v. 14) . A needful warning! Soon the time of grace will be spent. History repeats itself. a) There still are mockers and lawless men. b) As God destroyed the world by water, He will destroy it again, through fire. c) As He desired to save all men in the days of Peter, He still does. VICTOR MENNICKE HOMILETICS 847 The Nitzsch Gospel Selections This series of Gospel lessons, also known as the Rhenish Selections, was compiled in 1846 by Prof. Karl Immanuel Nitzsch (1787-1868), professor of Systematic and Practical Theology at the University of Bonn (1822-1874), who was commissioned by the Rheinische Provinzialsynode to draw up a lectionary comprising besides Gospel and Epistle lessons also selections from the Old Testament to be read in public service. This series has rarely been used in our circles and is highly recommended by Alt in his Christlicher Cultus, and we do not doubt that it will be welcomed by both pastor and congre- gation. We list the Gospel selections to be treated in the coming church year. 1st Sunday in Advent 3d Sunday after Epiphany Luke 1: 67 -69 John 3: 22-30 2d Sunday in Advent Septuagesima Luke 13: 18-27 Luke 6: 20-35 3d Sunday in Advent Sexagesima Luke 17:20-30 Luke 9:18-26 4th Sunday in Advent Quinquagesima Matt. 3: 1-12 Luke 10: 38-42 Christmas Invocavit Matt. 1:18-23 Mark 2:18-22 Second Christmas Day Reminiscere John 1:1-18 Luke 7: 36-50 Sunday after Christmas Oculi Luke 2: 25-32 Luke 10: 17-22 New Year's Day Laetare Luke 4: 16-21 John 8: 12-20 Sunday after New Year J udica Matt. 3:13-17 John 11: 41-53 Epiphany Palm Sunday John 12:1-19 Mark 1:14-22 1st Sunday after Epiphany John 1: 35-42 Maundy Thursday John 13: 1-15 2d Sunday after Epiphany Good Friday John 1:43-51 Luke 23: 44-49 848 HOMILETICS Easter Sunday 8th Sunday after Trinity John 20: 1-10 Acts 14: 8-18 Easter Monday 9th Sunday after Trinity John 20: 11-18 Acts 16: 16-34 1st Sunday after Easter 10th Sunday after TrL1Ility John 21: 15-19 Acts 17: 22-34 2d Sunday after Easter 11th Sunday after Trinity John 15: 9-16 Acts 20: 15-38 3d Sunday after Easter 12th Sunday after Trinity John 15:17-27 Acts 26: 24-32 4th Sunday after Easter 13th Sunday after Trinity John 17: 1-10 Luke 12:1-8 5th Sunday after Easter 14th Sunday after Trinity Luke 11: 1-13 Luke 15: 11-32 Ascension Day 15th Sunday aHer Trinity John 17:11-26 Luke 9:46-56 6th Sunday after Easter 16th Sunday after Trinity Acts 1: 15-26 Luke 9:57-62 Pentecost 17th Sunday after Trinity Acts 2: 1-13 John 9: 1-12 Pentecost Monday 18th Sunday after Trinity Acts 2:37-47 Mark 10:17-27 Trinity 19th Sunday after Trinity Matt. 28:16-20 ~rk 12:38-44 1st Sunday after Trinity 20th Sunday after Trinity Acts 3:1-11 Luke 12: 15-23 2d Sunday after Trinity 21st Sunday after Trinity Acts 4:1-12 Mark 12: 28-34 3d Sunday after Trinity 22d Sunday after Trinity Acts 4: 13-22 Luke 19: 1-10 4th Sunday after Trinity 23d Sunday after Trinity Acts 4: 23-37 Luke 19: 11-27 5th Suncl~y after Trinity 24th Sunday after Trinity Acts 5:1-11 Luke 16: 10-17 6th Sunday after Trinity 25th Sunday after Trinity Acts 8: 26-39 Luke 12: 35-48 7th Sunday after Trinity 26th Sunday after Trinity Acts 9: 1-19 Luke 12: 49-57 HOMILETICS 849 Outlines on the Nitzsch Gospel Selections FIRST SUNDAY IN ADVENT LUKE 1:67-79 There are certain similarities between a new church year and a new civil year. But the differences are far more pro- nounced. The one is spiritual, the other temporal. The Chris- tian's concern is with the spiritual. That is certain and a source of constant, unfailing joy. THE CHRISTIAN'S JOY AT THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW CHURCH YEAR He rejoices because he knows I. That God. keeps His promises II. That God gives him strength to serve Him III. That God guides his teet in the way of peace I A. The child promised to Zacharias and Elizabeth finally came. At the birth of that child, Zacharias' doubt was gone. Cpo v. 18. Moved by the Holy Spirit, he expressed his faith in a hymn of praise, because he realized that God had kept not only the promise concerning his own son, but was about to fulfill the many other promises concerning the salvation of Israel. In exalted words he briefly reviews the revelation the God of Israel had sent to His people through Abraham, David, and other holy Prophets. Lovingly he dwells on the oath God swore to Abraham, on the mercy and salvation which God had promised throughout the long centuries of the past. Why shouldn't Zacharias be full of joy at the beginning of a new era with the dawn of God's grace flooding his soul and mind? B. God has brought us to the beginning of another church year. It is natural for us to feel timid, but let us look to Zacharias and God's many promises. Sweep away all doubts and fears, and let your heart swell with joy because God who never changes will fulfill all His promises to you. Believe it. As none of His promises fell to the ground in the Old Testa- ment, so none will be ineffective now. God has promised to free you from sin, from an evil conscience, from the dominion 54 850 HOMILETICS of the devil, from damnation, from eternal death. Calvary and the open grave of Jesus are God's guarantee that His promises to you are sure. Rejoice as you begin a new church year! II A. Zacharias, the priest, was a "righteous man before God," etc., v. 6. "Blameless" indicates that he had served God without fear in holiness and righteousness. Occasions, no doubt, had been numerous in the past when temptations were strong to deviate from the commandments and ordinances of God, but Zacharias had stood firm in his public and private life. Now that he knew that God had made him the father of the prophet of the Highest, who was to prepare the way of the Redeemer, his joy increased, grew stronger, and with renewed faith and energy he faced the enemies of his soul and fearlessly served his God. On the threshold of a new era he moved forward in greater service. B. You served God in the past in various ways according to your station in life. Often you succumbed to temptation. Many fears led you to forget God. Today you stand at the beginning of a new church year. The old enemies will again strive to make you forget God and depend on others and on yourself for help in life's struggle. But look! Your God says, "Serve Me without fear in holiness and righteousness all the days of your life!" Can you do it? Certainly. Since God's promises are true, you know that you can begin to fear, love, and trust in God above all things and to love your neighbor as yourself. Since God's promises are true, you know you can do all these things without fear, for God sup- plies all the necessary strength and forgives all shortcomings. Oh, rejoice a thousandfold! III A. For many years Zacharias, the priest, had offered sac- rifices in the Temple for worshipers who had come to find forgiveness and peace at God's altar. The devout found strength, comfort, and peace. The fulfillment of God's promise moved Zacharias to minister in his office with greater zeal because he saw through the Holy Spirit that the long-expected Messiah would appear in the flesh soon and minister per- sonally to hungry souls, personally proclaim forgiveness of sins and salvation, personally lead people into the way of peace. HOMILETICS 851 Joy? There was no end of joy for Zacharias as he in faith gazed upon the Dayspring who had visited him from on high. B. We too like to let our minds dwell on peace, especially at this time when all the world is in seemingly hopeless con- fusion. But the peace for which you and I crave is a peace which the world cannot give; it is a peace that passes all un- derstanding. It is a peace that rises above the world and reaches into eternity. That peace brings joy and is certain because the promises of God are true. Our joy over this peace at the beginning of this new church year rises to untold heights because our God wants this peace to "give light to those that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death." We rejoice because, being ambassadors of God and fellow laborers with Him, we want to make this new church year a year in which many others can believe in the promises and embrace the peace that is so dear to us. May the whole year find you on the path of peace! ALEX WM. C. GUEBERT SECOND SUNDAY IN ADVENT LUKE 17:20-30 We can well understand why men should ask when the Kingdom of God will come. Jacob, dying, sighs, "Lord, I have waited for Thy salvation!" Believers of Old Testament times cried, "Watchman, what of the night?" And we, when the future looks dark and lowering - and the times are rare when the outlook is bright for the Church - we reiterate the cry, When? - Not only for our information, but for our con- solation as well, the Lord in the text unfolds a grand panorama of history and says: THE KINGDOM OF GOD COMETH I The Pharisees no doubt meant to embarrass Jesus with their question; but they probably voiced a very common topic of conversation. The Prophets had foretold the coming of the Kingdom; John the Baptist cried: Matt. 3: 2; Jesus Him- self: Mark 1: 15. Excitement doubtless became great among the people -like children counting the days till Christmas. But it means only gifts and candy to them; so the common 852 HOMILETICS conception of the Kingdom was all wrong. They ask Christ: Despite all your promises, conditions in the land have not changed (Romans, Pilate, Luke 13: 1); when is the Kingdom finally coming? And Jesus says, It is here; it has come. Of course, you umst change your ideas of the Kingdom, vv. 20, 21. The best proof fOT this their very question; they ask, When is it com- ing? and Christ replies, Lo, it is here, has been here for some time. It was Christ's work to establish the Kingdom; and when He died, He said, "It is finished." He points to this in v.25. So it was foretold that the suffering Messiah would establish the Kingdom; and like a golden thread this runs through the whole history of Christ's life. The Kingdom of God came despite all obstacles; the devil tempted Christ, the Jews re- jected and persecuted Christ, the Gentiles crucified Christ- and that very Cross was the foundation of His kingdom! II Pharisees are still scoffing, When is that Kingdom coming which you Christians are forever proclaiming? - A kingdom of the type of Jewish hopes will never come; Jesus' warning, v.23 (the papal kingdom, a union of all churches, a millen- nium). It is not a visible principality built and defended by earthly means; marked by pomp, riches, honor, influence, or by mere virtue or respectability; no external marks (emo- tions, visions, trappings of various kinds). The Kingdom is where Christ, the King, is; and it comes in His Word (Luther's explanation of the Second Petition). V.21. It is the communion of saints on earth; the mark of membership not a few good resolutions, but faith in the Savior, engendered by the Gospel. That Kingdom comes now, wherever and whenever the Gospel is preached. To recognize it, we too must at times unlearn certain presuppositions, v.20. No pomp and circum- stance at its founding (Bethlehem, Calvary, the first disciples, the early Christians); little thought of in the world today; yet a Kingdom that has conquered the world; no other king- dom in the world half as old; growing from age to age, while other kingdoms and empires fall. HOMILETICS 853 III The time is coming when the Kingdom will be revealed in glory. Now it does not only seem insignificant to the world, but it is a kingdom of the cross; surrounded by sin and wicked- ness, beset by false prophets, endangered by defections, so that Christians look forward with longing to that revela- tion, v. 22. But v. 24. Suddenly He will come; all will see Him, all will know Him; no need of saying, Lo, here, and, Lo, there. And they "Will know why He is coming - for judgment; though here He says no more about what will happen on that day; His disciples already knew that. Here His object is warning: Be prepared! Hence the two examples from Old Testament history, vv.26-30. V. 32: "Remember Lot's wifet" - Does it not seem as though we are living in "the days of the Son of Man"? that the hundred and twenty years of grace (Gen. 6: 3) are draw- ing to an end? that even now Hre and brimstone are ready to do their last work (Gen. 19: 24)? "The Kingdom of God cometh!" Luke 21:36. THEO. HoYER THIRD SUNDAY IN ADVENT LUKE 13: 18-27 'The preaching of John the Baptist and of Christ was Kingdom preaching, the former proclaiming that the Kingdom was coming, the Latter that it had arrived (Luke 16: 16; 17: 20), although He indicated that the final consummation was lying in the future (Luke 21: 31). The term was on the lips of friends and foes, cf. Mark 11: 10; Luke 23: 51; 17: 20. What is this Kingdom? (Define the Kingdom.) In his explanation of the Second Petition Luther tells us how this Kingdom comes to us. It is the gracious reign or rule of God in human hearts established when the Holy Spirit enters through the means of grace. The true believers are in the Kingdom. The text tells us various truths about THE GROWTH OF THE KINGDOM I. The Kingdom will spread far and wide. In the Orient the mustard plant coming from a small and insignificant seed will become as large as a tree. This is 854 HOMILETICS a good picture of the growth of the Kingdom of God, which at first is hardly perceptible, but gradually extends from one place and country to the other till it is like a tree of wide- spreading branches. Think of the growth of the Christian Church. From Judea it spread in all directions. In modern times the Church's mes- sage has been taken to practically all parts of the globe. It has come to us. God be praised, the Kingdom is repre- sented in our midst. II. This spreading takes place quietly. Like the ferment of leaven it progresses. In an unobserved way the work is done. The Holy Spirit does it, not with armies, machine guns, atomic bombs, but through the means of grace. It is a mysterious power that is exerted when the Kingdom is built. The Gospel, a very simple message, much despised among men, is the power of God. Has the Holy Spirit done His quiet work in us? What the world needs is not sociology, but the means of grace. III. Comparatively few people reach the final goal of the Kingdom - heaven. As if to counteract the view which might be entertained by some that ultimately the whole human race will be brought to the mansions above, St. Luke relates a dialog between Jesus and a questioner. The Kingdom of God is not men- tioned, but the question whether the establishment of the Kingdom means the future possession of eternal life by every human being is answered. Membership in the Kingdom is like passing through a strait, narrow gate. To be a Christ~an one has to repent and believe in Christ, the only Redeemer, take the reason captive, deny one's self, take up the cross daily, and follow Jesus. A place in the Kingdom is a free gift of God, but living in the Kingdom involves devotion to the heavenly Master. Many people will realize what the blessings of the King- dom are when it is too late (v. 25) . It will become evident that the mere outward connection with Christ and His Word (v. 26) is not the key that opens the gate of heaven. HOMILETICS 855 This is a word of serious warning not to trifle, not to rely on outward church membership, but to be in the Kingdom of God through believing acceptance of Christ the Savior and to follow Him in daily repentance. W. ARNDT FOURTH SUNDAY IN ADVENT MATT. 3:1-12 Again the world is preparing for Christmas. No other birthday has been or will be celebrated so universally and ,'lith such elaborate preparations as the nativity of the Babe of Bethlehem. Yet mere outward preparation is displeasing to God and unworthy of that Babe. In our text God Himself exhorts us PREPARE YE THE WAY OF TI1E LORD! and tells us I. What this demands of us II. Why we should gladly obey this exhortation I John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness, tells the people, Repent ye! He did not preach in the Temple, in populous Jerusalem, in the market places, but in the wilder- ness. He was dressed not in fashionable clothes (v. 4; cpo Matt. 11: 8), garbed like ancient Elijah (2 Kings 1: 8); like him, satisfied with humble food (v. 4; cpo 1 Kings 17: 6,9-15); like him, a preacher of repentance. The people went out into the wilderness (v. 5). So let us forget the rush of business, rid our minds of the cares and worries of daily life and hear God's message: Repent ye! What does repentance signify? The word means to change one's mind, one's attitude, one's way of thinking. The Phari- sees coming to John were self-righteous, self-satisfied (Luke 15: 1-2; 18: 9-14; Matt. 23: 1-33) . They are told to repent. The Sadducees, cultured unbelievers (Acts 23: 8), though members of the Jewish Church, are told to repent. All people coming to John hear the same inexorable demand: Repent yeo Change your way of thinking concerning yourselves (vv. 7-10); and concerning the promised Messiah (vv. 11-12). Confess your sins (v. 6), and look for salvation to Him who taketh away the sin of the world (John 1: 29). 856 HOMILETICS Like those church people coming to John, we also are sinners. And there is a good deal of the Pharisee and Sad- ducee in everyone of us. To us also is addressed the call of the preacher in the wilderness: Repent yeo Let us not be satisfied with external membership in the Church of Christ, proudly pointing to our orthodoxy. Then to us also would apply vv.9-10. Confessing our own sinfulness (Ps. 51: 3-9; Luke 15: 21), casting aside the filthy garments of our own righteousness (Is. 64: 6), let Christ alone be unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption (1 Cor. 1: 30; Gal. 2: 20; Phil. 3: 7-14). That is true repentance, a com- plete change of mind, which alone brings forth fruits befitting a change of mind such as God demands (v. 8). II A. Prepare ye the way of the Lord. It is indeed the Lord Jehovah who comes to us in the manger (Is. 9: 6-7; Jer. 23: 6) . Look beyond the swaddling clothes and poverty and behold in this Child the Lord, your God, placed there as your Christmas Gift (Luke 2: 11). B. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand! Marvelous things had been spoken concerning this Kingdom (2 Sam. 7: 12-13; Ps.45; 72; 110; Is. 9: 7; Jer. 31: 33-34; Dan. 7: 13-14; Rev. 21: 22). A glorious Kingdom indeed! C. To see all this glory calls for eyes of faith. Faith is not of man's creating (Eph. 2: 1-3; 1 Cor. 1: 23; 2: 14). Yet God Himself works in us that very repentance and faith which He demands. He does that by His Word and Sacrament. His Word John preached, and his preaching was effective (vv.l, 5, 6). We still hear the Word of Him who said John 6: 63 b. (Cp. Rom. 1: 17; 10: 17; 1 Pet. 1: 23-25.) His Baptism (v. 6), granting forgiveness and having regenerative power (John 3:5; Gal. 3:26-27; Titus 3:4-7). D. These are the means whereby He baptizes us with His Holy Spirit (v. 11; Is. 11: 2; Acts 2: 37-41; 10: 44). E. There is finally a gathering into the heavenly garner (Matt. 13: 43; 25: 34-40; Rev. 7: 9-17). Therefore repent! Prepare ye the way of the Lord! Shall He purge you from the floor of His Church as chaff to be burnt (v. 12)? No? Then let your life be one of daily re- pentance and preparing His way. TH. LAETSCH