Full Text for CTM Homiletics 21-10 (Text)

~ f.' '. .' . ~.~ "J. I '~.': • ; Concoll()ia Tbeological Monthly OCTOBER • 1950 HOMILETICS A Series of Sermon Studies for the Church Year TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY MATT. 18:21-22 The Text and the Day. -This text is closely related to the Gospel for the Day. It is the preceding context for this pericope and deals with the same topic. The Introit may be drawn into the sermon since it emphasizes the forgiveness of God. Also the first sentence of the Gradual. Notes on Meaning. -The text is shorr and the meaning clear. In verses 15-20 the Savior had told His disciples in detail how Christians are to deal with fellow Christians who have trespassed .::gainst them. Now t le question alOse in Peter's mind, "How of; shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?" V.20. To him it seemed that no Christian could be expected to continue to forgive if his brother persisted in sinning against him no matter how often and how sincerely he had been granted forgiveness. According to the Rabbinical Law a person was required to forgive three times. Peter goes far beyond that, "Till seven times," perhaps having in mind the Savior's instruction Luke 17: 3-4. By asking this question Peter revealed that he had not yet grasped the funda­mental principle of Christian life and conduct: Love, also to our fellow men, particularly to our fellow Christians. His conception of Christian forgiveness was legalistic rather than evangelical; a duty according to the law instead of a privilege bestowed upon God's children through the Gospel. As a result, he was not fully aware that the motivation of Christian forgiveness must always be love and not merely an earnest desire to fulfill an ethical obliga­tion. Neither did he seem to realize that the purpose of Christian forgiveness must always be the salvation of the erring brother rather than the putting at ease of one's own conscience. In short, Peter still had not learned that a Christian who forgives his brother actually conveys God's full and unlimited forgiveness to him.­The Savior's answer clears up the whole matter in a few words, v. 22. While Peter had set a definite figure (7), He stresses in the 749 750 HOMILETICS strongest possible terms that a Christian must forgive his brother as often as he sins against him and repents, no matter how often that may be, how close these sins may be to one another, or over how long a pe iod hey may ex end. The God of love for the sake of Jesus Christ our Savior forgives to the uttermost. He can never and under no circumstances refuse to forgive because "God is love," 1 John 4:16. Preaching PitfaUs. -It goes without saying that the preacher must work with the context, but in this case he should be careful not to preach on the context, for instance, the Gospel for the Day, but on the text itself. Moreover, the preacher must be on his guard lest he make the same mistake which Peter made. In that case his sermon would degenerate into mere moral instruction without any Gospel content. Care must also be exercised lest the presenta­tion become too abstract, merely a set of rules. It should be con­crete, down to earth, with examples and illustrations. Finally, don't be too hard on Peter. Preaching Emphases. -The chief emphasis should be placed on the fact that it is a privilege rather than a duty to forgive, so that the members of the congregation, as well as the preacher himself may experience that it is a joy to forgive and not a drudgery forced upon us by the law. Provo 19: 11 b. Problem and Goal. -As usual, the greatest problem lies in the stubbornness and the selfish pride of the human heart, vices of which even the Christian heart has not been fully cleansed. This should be freely acknowledged in the sermon. With this back­ground, the goal is not hard to find. The preacher must aim at persuading his hearers, with the help of God, to cultivate the sacred art of forgiving for Jesus' sake no matter how hard this may be or how often it may become necessary. Outline: "How OFT SHALL My BROTHER SIN AGAINST ME, AND I FORGIVE HIM?" I. What this question reveals. A. A false conception of Christian forgiveness; B. A false conception of its motivation; C. A false conception of its purpose. HOMILETICS 751 II. How this question is to be answered. A. Christian forgiveness is a God-given privilege, and not the mere discharge of an obligation. B. Christian forgiveness is always motivated by love which, patterned after the love of God, is inexhaustible and knows no limits; C. Christian forgiveness has as its objective the salvation of the offending brother. Conclusion: Luke 17: 5. E. J. FRIEDRICH TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY MARK 10:23-31 The Text and the Day. -"The theme of this day's teaching is our heavenly citizenship, whtch reqUlres standards of life and con­duct worthy of that high estate but which does not free us from meeting the normal obligations of our earthly citizenship." (Reed.) The present text may well make use of that setting. Notes on Meaning. -Vv.17-22 provide the setting and oc­casion of the text. However vv.13-16 with their emphasis on childlike humility and complete dependence on God cannot be ignored. -Note the tenderness and deep concern of Jesus as He must uncover the helplessness of mankind and the naive concepts of men: v. 23, "looked round" (cp. v. 21); v.24, "children"; v.27, "looking upon them." -V. 23: "how hardly" amplified in v.24: "them that trust in riches," and finally declared impossible in v.25. -V. 25: Not merely a figure of speech. The Jewish saying is used to express an impossibility. -V. 26: Disciples are dumbfounded because the salvation of the world appears to be in jeopardy. They knew that it was the part of human nature to trust in mammon. -V. 27: Jesus says it is impossible, but (blessed "but") it is pos­sible through the saving power of God. Only thus. Eph.2:8-9; 1 Cor. 12: 3. Cpo FormllJa of Concord, Article II. Man's way is closed. The door of grace is open to all. -V. 28: Peter's unfinished question. Let us not forget that Peter and the others had really broken away not merely from their trade but their service to the world. Peter's qu<:stion was not all bad and therefore Jesus answers 752 HOMILETICS with the good first. -Vv. 29-30: God wm bless those who have gone the "grace way." Peter is reminded that others will also leave all. The reward is not always sub specie aeternitatis, but there are rewards of grace which reach into eternity. "The common joys of life will be multiplied." Note even the persecutions are included among the rewards, though they will not extend into heaven. See Matt. 5:10; Phil. 1:29; 1 Pet. 3:14 and 4:12-16.-V. 31: But: there was something dangerous in Peter's question. The way is not finished. Those who have gone through the proper door may still be led astray by a false sense of satisfaction which may well border on smugness. Preaching Pitfalls. -The text should not be limited to the rich. Both they who have riches and they who aspire to them are in the same danger. 1 Tim. 6:9,17; Ps. 62:10. In fact the text must not be limited to monetary wealth although the immediate context points to it. There are riches of all kinds: economic, social, intel­lectual, physical, etc. To trust in the earthly and especially in the "ego" is man's first sin. Trust in these and it is impossible to enter the kingdom. Problem and Goal. -The text points out the impossibility of entering heaven when men trust in the earthly and that those who have entered the kingdom will share in the true blessings of God, though these may include persecutions. The text warns against the basic sin of self-trust and a reliance on the secular. It continues to warn even those who have put their trust in Him. Outline: THE DOOR INTO THE KINGDOM I. Barred by man's self-trust. A. The rutile trust in possessions. B. Barred for all comers. II. Opened by the power of God. A. The open sesame of grace. B. The promised blessings. C. The earnest warning. ARTHUR C. REPP HOMILETICS TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY MATI. 16:5-12 753 The Text and the Day. -The Propers for the Day describe the fashion in which the Christian worshiper belongs completely to God because of Christ. The text singles out one phase of the Christian's life in Christ which comprises all the rest-his faith in God as Sustainer both of the physical and spiritual life. Notes on Meaning. -Context: After the Feeding of the Four Thousand the Savior and the disciples set sail for a locality prob­ably southward of the Sea of Tiberias but outside of Jewish ter­ritory (d. Edersheim, II, p. 67 fI.). Here a delegation of Pharisees and Sadducees came and challenged Jesus' claims by asking for more miracles. This challenge revealed the basic unbelief and godlessness of these people; for they sought to negate the teaching of Christ that He was Savior; nOte the burden of the remainder of the chapter. This f