Archive for the ‘Preaching’ Category

“There Must Always Be Rebuking.”

First Sunday After Trinity.  1 John 4 [:16-21] June 7, 1545

…If [a preacher] does rebuke sins, they undertake to have him removed…When you are scolded as a usurer, adulterer, or whatever kind of swine you are, or [it is said] that a peasant, a townsman, or a nobleman is godless, no one will suffer that… Are you really righteous because I [do not] rebuke your vices?  Then let the devil be [your] preacher…

…Whoever is timid and despairing should not be a preacher, because he must take his stand against the devil and the world, [saying,] “You are wicked, etc.” and thus take everyone’s hatred and enmity upon me…

…That I reprove the Papists comes from pure love.  I have received nothing from such reproof but enmity, hatred, and persecution by the devil and men…

…I am not a preacher so that I may be your blockheaded fool and slackjawed ape and not chastise your knavery.  “But he is a pious lord, prince, judge.”  Yes?  Then let him go to the devil along with you…It is better for you to have one or two subjects who pray and give thanks for your love than to have all the others praise you for your laxity, etc.  If you do not want to rebuke, do not become a husband.  And yet you should show your love by rebuking…

….Thus there must always be rebuking; indeed, not a single daily sin should be accepted by way of compromise.

AE 58:


A Remedy for Lutheran Antinomianism: from Heshusius’ Sermon for Trinity 3

June 20, 2012 1 comment

The First Point

What godly Christian Repentance or Conversion (bekehrung) is, and what parts it is comprised of.


True/real, Christian, blessed [saving/salutary?] repentance is made up of two parts.  The first is remorse (Reu) and sorrow (Leid) because of the sins a person has committed; and also that a person is alarmed in his heart and fears God’s judgment and wrath against him.  The second part is [the] faith in Jesus Christ, through which the sinner must again raise himself up and conclude that his sins are forgiven him for Christ’s sake, and God receives him in his grace.  Then from this follows comfort and peace of conscience.

The Lord Christ Himself witnesses that Christian repentance consists of these two points in Mark Chapter 1.  There He says, “Do penance [Repent] and believe in the Gospel.”  In the same way, Paul in Acts 20 said, “I have proclaimed to you the whole counsel of God, and both to the Jews and Greeks testified of repentance toward God and faith in Christ.”

The beginning of true repentance is the knowledge of sins, that we humble ourselves before the Divine Majesty and recognize ourselves to be guilty, and also letting ourselves be sorry from the heart that we have provoked [erzuernet] the holy, righteous [fromm] God, fearing His serious judgment and wrath against us.  Because that is God’s will: that one knows that He has no pleasure in sin, but instead is sin’s foe, and He also wants us to be the enemies of sin.  He also wants us to recognize what kind of wretchedness we have come into through sin, and what kind of punishment we have earned.  Thus we might also be assured of the great mercy which He has shown to us, and the great deliverance of the Son of God, who has made satisfaction for our sins.  A sick or wounded person who does not recognize the extent of his injuries, if he does not greatly respect the doctor, will not be serious about taking the medicine he prescribes.  So it is also with sinners.

For this reason, God still strongly preaches the law on earth, so that all the world would learn what sin is, how severely God is angry against our sins, how they have earned eternal punishment, and that no man on earth lives without sins.  For that reason, everyone should fear God’s wrath.  But besides the Law-preaching he also lets all manner of terrifying punishments and plagues go out over the world, such as war, pestilence…[? Something zeit]…sickness, poverty, hunger, misery, fire, flood, bad weather [?], …Because the world still doesn’t want to believe that God is so violently angry against sin, Satan also blinds mankind and makes sin seem light and insignificant.

But one only has to look at how God punished the first world with the sin-flood, how he turned Sodom and Gomorrah inside out, how He let Jerusalem and the whole Kingdom be ravaged, how He often loads little children with grave sickness, and that sin could not have been put away unless God’s Son Himself had suffered, because God is a serious and [?] God who hates sins to such an extent that He not only wants to punish them in the parents but also the children until the third and fourth generation.  Because of that whoever from his heart wants to be converted, he must not remain in sins, and must not still have joy or pleasure in them, but instead must stop [living in conscious, willful sin] and be heartily sorry that he has angered God with his sins.  About this St. Bernard says excellently: Fides solatium est, non eget ille solatio, qui laetatur cum malefecerit.  “Faith is a comfort, but he needs no comfort who still rejoices and has pleasure when he has done evil.”

The whole sermon and postil in German can be found here:

Snippets from Wikipedia bio:

Heshusius came from an influential family in Wesel. He was a student of Philipp Melanchthon at the University of Wittenberg and was consequently close to him. During the time of the Augsburg Interim, he lived in Oxford and Paris. In 1550 he took his master’s degree and was received by the Senate of the philosophical faculty; he lectured on rhetoric and as well as theology. In 1553 he became Superintendent in Goslar and acquired his doctoral degree in Wittenberg on May 19 the same year at the expense of the city. However, he soon came into conflict with Goslar and left in 1556 to take a post at the University of Rostock.

There too he became involved in a dispute over Sunday weddings and the participation of Protestants in Roman Catholic celebrations. After attempting to excommunicate two leading city officials, he was expelled from the town. Melanchthon was able to arrange his appointment as general superintendent of the church of the Electoral Palatinate in Heidelberg. In 1559 a controversy broke out in Heidelberg over the Lord’s Supper between Heshusius and his deacon Wilhelm Klebitz…He became involved in another controversy over the Lord’s Supper in Bremen, which did not redound to his glory, opposing Albert Hardenberg and Jacob Probst. From Magdeburg, he composed responses to his opponents and endeavored to establish a strict form of Lutheranism. He likewise came into conflict in Magdeburg and was driven from the town…

An able theologian, but excessive in his self-righteousness, he was exemplar of the spirit of early Protestant Orthodoxy.

His excessive self-righteousness was an expensive hobby.  If only he was more moderate in his self-righteousness, and realized, like Lutherans do now, that it displeases God if we read the bible for any other reason than to find principles for living or think that we should be dogmatic about anything the bible says beyond, “Yes, Jesus loves me…”

The Good Shepherd is the Bloody Shepherd

This is an arresting image…and I think Pr. Rydecki manages to avoid the “in your face” attitude it would be so easy for me to lapse into if I wrote or preached this sermon.

Emmanuel Lutheran Church

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Sermon for Misericordias Domini – Easter 3

John 10:11-16  +  Ezekiel 34:11-16  +  1 Peter 2:21-25

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. There are so many shepherd images of God in the Bible.  The shepherd walking through green meadows with his sheep walking close behind him, leading them through green pastures, guiding them up to a gently flowing stream where they can drink and quench their thirst.  There’s the shepherd image of Jesus feeding his little lambs.  There’s the image of the shepherd comforting his sheep, carrying the little ones in his arms.  There’s the image of the shepherd leaving behind the ninety-nine to go out searching for the one that strayed, searching until he finds it and puts it up on his shoulders and brings it home.

But no shepherd image is as striking as the one before us…

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Categories: Preaching, Sermons

God is the Foe of Unafraid Spirits

March 7, 2012 3 comments

Why should [Jesus] die if there were no sin or law for which he must die?  It is apparent from this that the devil’s purpose in this fanaticism is not to remove the law but to remove Christ, the fulfiller of the law.

For he is well aware that Christ can quickly and readily be removed, but that the law is written in the depth of the heart and cannot be erased.  This is clearly seen in the psalms of lamentation.  For here the dear saints are unable to bear the wrath of God.  This is nothing but the law’s perceptible preaching in man’s conscience.  The devil knows very well too that it is impossible to remove the law from the heart.  In Romans 2 St. Paul testifies that the Gentiles who did not receive the law from Moses and thus have no law are nevertheless a law to themselves, being obliged to witness what the law requires is written in their hearts, etc.  But the devil devotes himself to making men secure, teaching them to heed neither law nor sin, so that if sometime they are suddenly overtaken by death or a bad conscience, they have grown so accustomed to nothing but sweet security that they sink helplessly into hell.  For they have learned to perceive nothing in Christ but sweet security.  Therefore such terror must be a sure sign that Christ (whom they understand as sheer sweetness) has rejected and forsaken them.  That is what the devil strives for, and what he would like to see.


It seems to me that these spirits think that all who are listening to the message are pure Christians, without sin—thou in reality they are dejected and downcast hearts who feel their sin and fear God and who therefore must be comforted.  To such, the dear Jesus can never be portrayed sweetly enough.  They need much more of this, as I discovered in many of them0—to say nothing of myself.  But these spirits themselves are not such Christians, for they are so secure and confident.  Neither are their listeners, who also are secure and happy.  In one passage a find, beautiful young woman, a splendid singer, sings thus: “He feeds the hungry so that they rejoice, and sends the rich empty away.  He humbles the mighty and exalts the lowly, and his grace is with those who fear him” [Luke 1:50-53].  If the Magnificat speaks the truth, then God must be the foe of the secure spirits who are unafraid, as such spirits who do away with law and sin are sure to be.


Therefore I ask you, dear Doctor, to keep to the pure doctrine as you have always done.  Preach that sinners must be roused to repentance not only by the sweet grace and suffering of Christ, by the message that he died for us, but also by the terrors of the law.

Luther, “Against the Antinomians”

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