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The Benefits of Persecution–Luther

January 30, 2014 1 comment

barnes14. Hence, people have here an example where they are to seek their comfort and help, not in the world; they are not to guard the wisdom and power of men, but Christ himself and him alone; they are to cleave to him and depend on him in every need with all faithfulness and confidence as the disciples do in our text. For had they not believed that he would help them, they would not have awakened him and called upon him. True their faith was weak and was mingled with much unbelief, so that they did not perfectly and freely surrender themselves to Christ and risk their life with him, nor did they believe he could rescue them in the midst of the sea and save them from death. Thus it is ordained that the Word of God has no master nor judge, no protector or patron can be given it besides God himself. It is his Word. Therefore, as he left it go forth without any merit or counsel of men, so will he himself without any human help and strength administer and defend it. And whoever seeks protection and comfort in these things among men, will both fall and fail, and be forsaken by both God and man.

 

15. That Jesus slept indicates the condition of their hearts, namely, that they had a weak, sleepy faith, but especially that at the time of persecution Christ withdraws and acts as though he were asleep, and gives neither strength nor power, neither peace nor rest, but lets us worry and labor in our weakness, and permits us to experience that we are nothing at all and that all depends upon his grace and power, as Paul confesses in 2 Cor 1, 9, that he had to suffer great affliction, so as to learn to trust not in himself but in God, who raised the dead. Such a sleeping on the part of God David often experienced and refers to it in many places, as when he says in Ps 44,23: ”Awake, why sleepest thou, 0 Lord? Arise, cast us not off forever.”

 

16. The summary of this Gospel is this, it gives us two comforting, defying proverbs, that when persecution for the sake of God’s Word arises, we may say: I indeed thought Christ was in the ship, therefore the sea and wind rage, and the waves dash over us and threaten to sink us; but let them rage, it is ordained that the wind and sea obey his will. The persecutions will not continue longer than is his pleasure; and although they overwhelm us, yet they must be subject to him; he is Lord over all, therefore nothing will harm us. May he only give us his help that we may not despair in unbelief. Amen.

 

17. That the people marveled and praised the Lord that the wind and sea were subject to him, signifies that the Gospel, God’s Word, spreads farther through persecution, it thus becomes stronger and faith increases; and this is also a paradoxical characteristic of the Gospel compared with all worldly things which decrease through every misfortune and opposition, and increase through prosperity and peace. Christ’s kingdom grows through tribulations and declines in times of peace, ease and luxury, as St. Paul says in 2 Cor 12, 9: ”My power is made perfect in weakness, etc.” To this end help us God! Amen.

from the Church Postil (Sermon on the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany)

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Consolation in Persecution–Luther

January 30, 2014 Leave a comment

martin-luther-152613. Now it is the consolation of Christians, and especially of preachers, to be sure and ponder well that when they present and preach Christ, that they must suffer persecution, and nothing can prevent it; and that it is a very good sign of the preaching being truly Christian, when they are thus persecuted, especially by the great, the saintly, the learned and the wise. And on the other hand that their preaching is not right, when it is praised and honored, as Christ says in Lk 6,22-26: ”Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you; for in the same manner did their fathers to the false prophets. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake; in the same manner did their fathers to the prophets.” Behold our preachers, how their teachings are esteemed; the wealth, honor and power of the world have them fully under their control, and still they wish to be Christian teachers, and whosoever praises and preaches their ideas, lives in honor and luxury.

From the Church Postil (Sermon for the 4th Sunday after Epiphany)

Distress Because of Christ: Luther’s Sermon on Epiphany 4

January 30, 2014 Leave a comment

Christ_in_the_StormFourth Sunday after Epiphany;

Matthew 8:23-27

And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!

 

III. THE SPIRITUAL MEANING OF THIS NARRATIVE.

10. Christ pictured to us in this narrative the Christian life, especially the office of the ministry. The ship, signifies Christendom; the sea, the world; the wind, Satan; his disciples are the preachers and pious Christians; Christ is the truth, the Gospel, and faith.

 

11. Now, before Christ entered the ship with his disciples the sea and the wind were calm; but when Christ with his disciples entered, then the storm began, as he himself says, Mt 10, 34: ”Think not that I came to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace but a sword.” So, if Christ had left the world in peace and never punished its works, then it would indeed have been quiet. But since he preaches that the wise are fools, the saints are sinners and the rich are lost, they become wild and raging; just as at present some critics think it would be fine if we merely preached the Gospel and allowed the office of the ministry to continue in its old way. This they would indeed tolerate; but that all their doings should be rebuked and avail nothing, that they call preaching discontent and revolution, and is not Christian teaching.

 

12. But what does this Gospel say? There was a violent tempest on the lake when Christ and his disciples were in the ship. The sea and the wind allowed the other ships to sail in calm weather; but this ship had to suffer distress because of Christ being in it. The world can indeed tolerate all kinds of preaching except the preaching of Christ. Hence whenever he comes and wherever he is, there he preaches that he only is right and reproves all others; as he says in Mt 12,30: ”He that is not with me is against me”, and again, Jn 16,8: ”The spirit will convict the world in respect of sin, and of righteousness and of judgment;” he says that he will not only preach, but that he will convict the whole world and what is in the world. But it is this convicting that causes such tempests and dangers to this ship. Should he preach that he would allow the world to go unpunished and to continue in its old ways, he would have kept quiet before and never have entered the world; for if the world is good and is not to be convicted then there would never have been any need of him coming into the world.

from Luther’s Church Postil

“Quran ‘forbids’ violence to spread Islam” ?

January 15, 2014 Leave a comment
9/11 mastermind says Qur’an “forbids” violence to spread Islam

KSM2012.jpg

AFP says: “In a major departure from his previous position, Mohammed said that ‘the Holy Quran forbids us to use force as a means of converting!'” This will no doubt be trumpeted everywhere as evidence that if “extremists” only read the Qur’an that they brandish in the air alongside rifles, they would become “moderates.”

In reality, it is nothing of the kind, and doesn’t represent a “major departure” from anything KSM has said before. Islamic law forbids forced conversion, in line with the Qur’anic dictum, “There is no compulsion in religion” (2:256). Jihad is waged not to force non-Muslims to convert to Islam, but to bring them under the rule of Islamic law, in which they must “pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” (Qur’an 9:29), denied basic rights that Muslims enjoy and forced to live in a state of subservience to the Muslims.

In line with that, KSM and the other 9/11 plotters didn’t commit mass murder on September 11, 2001 in order to force Americans to convert to Islam, but to weaken and ultimately destroy American society and government, so that eventually Islamic law can be imposed.

AFP doesn’t know any of this, for it partakes of the same willful ignorance that blankets the mainstream media: to examine how Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to incite and justify violence would be “Islamophobic.”

“Quran ‘forbids’ violence to spread Islam: 9/11 mastermind,” from AFP, January 15 (thanks to Block Ness):

WASHINGTON: The self-proclaimed mastermind of the September 11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, has released a manifesto claiming that the Quran forbids the use of violence to spread Islam. 

The document, published Tuesday by The Huffington Post and Britain’s Channel 4 News, marks Mohammed’s first public communication since 2009, when the US government officially accused him of terrorism.

Mohammed, the most high-profile of the five men accused over the 2001 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people on US soil, has been held at the US detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba since 2006.

In a major departure from his previous position, Mohammed said that “the Holy Quran forbids us to use force as a means of converting!”

He also tried in the 36-page document to convince his American captors, prosecutors, lawyers and members of his military tribunal to convert to Islam.

“It is my religious duty in dealing with any non-Muslims such as the people in the court (the judge, the prosecution, attorneys, etc.) to invite them to embrace Islam,” Mohammed wrote.

“I realize very well that you have heard about Islam and know much about it. But it is my own belief that Allah will ask me on the Day of Judgment why I did not invite these people to Islam?”

He is doing this in accord with Islamic teaching, but the “people in the court” should take note that if the “invitation” is refused, then comes jihad. According to a hadith, Muhammad said: “Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war…When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withhold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them….If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them.” (Sahih Muslim 4294)

Mohammed said he was “very happy” in his cell, adding: “My spirit is free even while my body is being held captive.” 

Mohammed said he has been “neither sad nor distressed” in his confinement “because I have been with the Only One True God.”…

Funeral Sermon. “You Know the Way to the Place I am going.”

January 15, 2014 Leave a comment

Jan_van_Eyck_-_Diptych_-_WGA07587In Memoriam + B L F (1923-2014)

St. Peter Lutheran Church

John 14:1-6 (Job 19:21-27, Romans 8:31-39)

January 15, 2014

INI

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

God’s Word for our comfort this morning comes from the Gospel of John:

Jesus said: And you know the way to where I am going.  (John 14:4)

 

Beloved in Christ:

B knew a lot of things that I don’t know.  She knew many things I’ll never know.  She knew things it was not common for women in her day to know too.  She knew how to work the earth, how to plant, how and when to harvest.  No doubt how to milk a cow and put a harness on a horse.  How to plow in a straight line.  A whole lot of things that I don’t even know how to describe.  I remember talking with her at Salem about the way—I think—corn was bundled and stacked in the field so that it would cure.  This was and is something I know so little about that I don’t even have words for it.  These are not things she learned in school or from a book, yet quite important things to know.  Things that life or death hangs upon for many people.

And of course that wasn’t all she knew.  She knew how to take care of aging relatives when she was young.  She knew how to sew and crochet; that was what she was working on when I came to see her.  She knew how to take care of herself and manage the finances long before feminism and without even thinking about it.

This knowledge didn’t earn her a degree.  But knowledge that matters, really matters, is not given as easily as degrees are.

Jesus speaks about a knowledge that His disciples had which is greater than all the knowledge that the wisest of men can attain.  His disciples had not had a lot of school.  But they knew something immeasurably great.

Many of them were fishermen before they became disciples of Jesus.  And that was true, worthy knowledge, unlike the education of the scribes and Pharisees.  That learning did no one any good, because as well-read as they were, they could only lead people away from God, to death, to damnation.  Nevertheless they were well-respected and much praised.  By contrast the disciples’ knowledge as fishermen was useful.  It put food on the table.

But Jesus gave them even greater knowledge.  You know the way to the place I am going, He told them.

They didn’t think they did, of course.  “We don’t know where you’re going,” Thomas said.  We feel like Thomas in our lives as Christians quite often.  “What is God doing,” we think.  Why am I suffering like this?

Today I want to remind you of what you do know because of Jesus.  It is not learned in school.  It is not knowledge that is regarded as being useful at all.  Yet it is eternal life, and you know it.

You know the way to the place where Jesus is going.

 

  1.  He is going to the Father, to prepare a place for us.

He did this by His suffering and His resurrection.

  1. He is the way, the truth, and the life;

He is our Redeemer who intercedes for us before the Father.

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has justified?

  1.  So you can see what the world cannot see—that in all our sufferings, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us—that in those very sufferings, we conquer.
  1.  So you know the place where B and all who are baptized and believe in Christ are going;

To the Father with Jesus.

To the cross,  (so I’ll cherish the old rugged cross)

To the resurrection,

To the many dwellings in the Father’s house.

Let not your hearts be troubled, but believe in Jesus, and hold fast this knowledge that Your Redeemer, Your advocate, lives.  And you will see Him.

Amen.

SDG

Peter’s Triolet

January 15, 2014 Leave a comment

HD-petersdenial   Peter’s Triolet

O Lord, You know that I love You
Though I was sleeping when You cried
And drank the water that I drew.
O Lord, You know that I love You,
As surely as the rooster crew,
As truly as You were denied.
O Lord, You know that I love You
Though I was sleeping when You cried.

Hell’s dam-gates burst

January 14, 2014 2 comments

baptismHoly Baptism (Psalm 29:10)

 Der Herr sitzet, eine Sündfluth anzurichten.*  Und der Herr bleibt ein König in Ewigkeit.

Hell’s dam-gates burst: a man, the LORD

Ascends to rule the nations,

And to the flood He gives His Word

To pour out in salvation

O’er ev’ry nation, ev’ry tongue

Which for hell’s bath were numbered;

That those who in these depths are flung

With millstone sins encumbered

This very death will rescue.

Categories: Baptism, Hymns Tags: , , , ,
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