Third-Last Sunday of the Church Year (Trinity 25)
St. Peter Lutheran Church
St. Matthew 24: 14-28
November 11, 2012
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The time is short. The end is near.
What should we do?
Last year the man on 91.9 FM predicted the return of Jesus on May 21st. Since then he reportedly has admitted that it was sinful to try to predict a certain day for Jesus’ return, since Jesus said, “No man knows the day or the hour.” Thanks be to God for his repentance.
This year some people claim the end will come because the ancient Mayan calendar predicts it.
Probably most people don’t believe that. But look at the world. Things everywhere are telling us that the world is hanging by a thread. The weather and the oceans—chaotic because of “global warming,” as we’re told. Economic crisis looming over the world. Moral crisis shaking formerly Christian nations.
Or is it that our conscience whispers to us that it can’t be long before the sins of the world are punished? And then we look at the world and see the signs?
It’s both. Our consciences speak to us about sin and God’s wrath. But the signs of the end are also present. Jesus rebuked the people to whom He preached: “You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the weather, but not the signs of the times.” We should not ignore the signs by which God warns us of the judgment that is right at the door.
As long as death seems not to be near, and as long as Jesus’ return seems like it will wait for at least a few more years, repentance can also wait. We figure we can enjoy ourselves now and leave serious soul-searching and sorrow for our sins until we are closer to the end.
That is the way unbelievers deal with the last judgment. 2 Peter 3 says: Scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation…” But the Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise…but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance…The day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. (2 Peter 3:3-4, 9-10)
Jesus warned the disciples to pay attention to the signs that would mark the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. When you see the abomination of desolation, then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. The abomination of desolation meant the defiling of the Holy Place—the temple. When this happened, Jesus warned that the Christians in Judea should flee without looking back. And the Christians did flee when the Roman armies gathered to attack Jerusalem. As a result they were saved from the great slaughter that came upon the Jews and the city of Jerusalem.
When the temple was torn down, that was the end of Israel as God’s chosen political kingdom on earth. The stones of the temple were replaced with the living stones of the new temple, Christ’s church.
But just as the Judean Christians were to watch for the signs of the destruction of the temple and be ready to flee into the mountains without turning back, so Christians are to be ready for the coming destruction of the world, ready to leave it without looking back.
So what are the signs that the world’s end is upon us? Jesus names one thing in particular: Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.
False Christs and false prophets performing great signs and wonders are the signals that the end of the world is at hand. The signs of brokenness in nature and the economy point to the fact that the world is coming to an end. But false prophets and false Christs—that is, people who put forth man’s word as the word of God, and people who proclaim a false salvation—this is far worse than a hurricane knocking out power in New York. False teaching and false saviors are a worse plague than nuclear war would be. Wars and earthquakes and terrorist attacks can only disrupt earthly life, make it unpleasant or take it away. But false doctrine and false saviors bring eternal misery.
And yet, as bad as the consequences of false teaching is, there is nothing that people seem to hate hearing more than calling out false teachers and false teaching by name. If a preacher slips a little bit of false doctrine into his teaching—that is, a little poison, a little bit of the lies of the devil, the world, the flesh—that shouldn’t be criticized, because no one is perfect. Okay. Try saying that the next time the government makes a mistake that results in the loss of life! “No one’s perfect” is true, but we don’t tolerate it if leaders slip up and accidentally kill people. But if a preacher by his false teaching endangers the souls of those who hear him—that shouldn’t be criticized.
How do you tell false Christs and false prophets? And how do you prepare for the destruction of the world when false Christs and false prophets appear?
False Christs and false prophets direct you away from the true Christ. Sometimes they do that in an obvious way; sometimes in a subtle way. Sometimes false prophets come from outside of the church and sometimes from within.
Then there are Christians and preachers whose teaching is infected by false doctrine, but who do it in weakness. Though their false teaching is evil and destructive, it happens through weakness.
Very early on in the history of the church this spirit of false prophecy and false Christs began to appear. There were some Christians in the days of the apostles who taught that unless the Gentiles began to keep the whole law of Moses—being circumcised, observing the Sabbath day, not eating pork—they could not be saved.
St. Paul opposed this false teaching fiercely and insisted, “A man is justified by faith in Christ alone apart from the works of law.” Of any law! But believing that when the waters are up to your neck is not so easy.
When the people of Israel were out by the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s armies were bearing down on them, they started to be afraid. When it seems like God’s wrath is coming down on the earth—or simply that death is approaching us as individuals—then saying “I am justified by faith in Jesus Christ apart from the deeds of the law” seems to be not so powerful.
But Moses said to the Israelites: “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord…The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
That is Jesus’ word to us as the end approaches. “Fear not, stand firm.” That is not the same as the fearlessness people have who are ignoring danger. It is the fearlessness of faith in Christ that sees the danger but sees also the victory of Christ and the firmness of His promise.
A while back there was a movie called “Downfall” which pictured the last days of Hitler’s regime as the allies approached Berlin from both sides. In the film, as the shells were shaking the city, Hitler’s mistress Eva Braun and her entourage were holding a drunken soiree and pretending it wasn’t happening, until finally a shell hit the building they were in and knocked the power out.
That’s oftentimes how we are. Our flesh wants to pretend the party will never end.
But then when death and judgment are on the horizon, then the unbelieving start to run around everywhere looking for help. They run here, and then quickly run there. They go to one church, and then another. They read one book, and then another. Someone says, “The savior is in the desert” and they run there. Someone else says, “The savior is in the inner rooms,” and they run there.
That panic of the unbeliever who fears judgment has been found in the church. In fact it has taken over the church at various periods of history; false prophets have lured people away with miracles and signs into false religions, and they have set up in the church and taught a different Gospel.
Any teaching that says you must run here or there for salvation comes from the spirit of false prophecy or antichrist. Some promise salvation if we run to a monastery or out in the desert to live a holier life than everyone else. Other teachers promise salvation only if we ally ourselves with the right church or religious organization.
But really, you have only to be silent—as Moses said. There is only one salvation. And that is the Lord Himself, who fights for you.
The Lord Himself fought for you when He suffered God’s wrath against all your transgressions on the cross. You didn’t do that. You didn’t earn that. You didn’t receive it by running to this location or that. It was given to you in the Gospel. It was proclaimed to you. Jesus, the Lord, found you and forgave your sins.
When you were a baby, most of you were saved by Jesus. You were baptized into His death and resurrection. You didn’t do anything for that. It was simply given to you. And then you didn’t do any holy works; you were just a baby. And when you got older you had to be taught the faith. Yet you were saved. And that baptism still saves us. We have only to be still, as Zachary W. by God’s grace will be saved today. He will not do anything. He will simply be brought in our prayers and with our hands, and Jesus, according to His promise, will bestow salvation.
How can salvation be that simple? Surely we should run here or there, or do something?
No. Salvation is given. Today Jesus gives it to us in His body and blood. It is His promise alone that saves. “For you for the forgiveness of sins.”
On the last day it will be the same. We will not be heirs of God because we ran here or there. We have Christ’s promise that we are heirs. And so He promises that we do not have to run anywhere. He will appear in great glory, and those who are His own He will rescue and raise from the dead to live with Him in His glory.
Amen. Come Lord Jesus.
Soli Deo Gloria.
- Sermon – All Saints’ Sunday Revelation 7:9-17 (deprofundisclamaviadtedomine.wordpress.com)
St. Peter Lutheran Church
St. Luke 19:41-48 (Jer. 8:4-12)
August 12, 2012
“The Peace of Jerusalem”
Dear Congregation, called together by Jesus Christ to be God’s dwelling place forever:
Grace and peace to your from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let us pray:
Almighty, Eternal God! You have revealed and made known Your Word to us through Your Holy Spirit, concerning Your Son, Christ Jesus. We pray, awaken our hearts, that we receive Your Word with seriousness and not beat the air or listen casually or indifferently, as did Your people, the unbelieving Jews. Grant us, in true fear and faith towards You, to live in Your grace and to daily increase in it, and finally to come to eternal blessedness, through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen. Johannes Eichorn (1511-1564)
- 1. Intro: Letting wayward children have their way.
I can remember my grandfather taking me into his office and having a talk with me when I was a teenager. I’m pretty sure my mother asked him to do it. I was probably about 14 or 16.
It was strange because I couldn’t remember my grandpa ever talking to me about anything personal. He was strict. He had spent his whole life as the headmaster of a primary school for the children of missionaries out in central Africa. He came from an exceedingly strict church—not just strict in doctrine but in life, in the pursuit of holiness. So my grandpa would talk with my dad or mom about theology or politics or Africa in a very intellectual way, but also a very—seemingly—unemotional way.
So he took me into his office, sat me down, and started talking to me man to man, and it was very unusual. He said something like, “I understand you’ve been getting into some trouble with the friends you’ve been hanging around with.” Then he asked me about where my interests in school were and what kind of plans I had for what I would do with my life. And he told me about his teenage years, before he felt that God was calling him into the mission field, how he was getting into trouble for skipping school to play handball and I’m not sure what else. And then he said, essentially, “If your friends are causing you to stumble, keeping you from doing God’s will, you just have to let them go.”
Did I listen? I heard him, but I didn’t obey. It wasn’t really about my friends then, though. It was really about the way my mind was set. I did not at all have a heart that was fixed on Christ and wanted to do His will. What 14 or 16 year old does, many ask. Wise 14 or 16 year olds. Blessed ones. In fact, what 34 year old has a heart fixed on Christ that wants to do His will? Only those whom the Holy Spirit has given repentance and faith in Jesus alone.
But my grandpa was trying to turn me from the error of my way. He knew that to set up your own life apart from the Word of God is to choose pain and destruction and grief. And if one won’t listen to God’s Word, eventually eternal punishment is the result. When God’s Word is persistently rejected, when the Holy Spirit is resisted again and again, the time comes—we don’t know when—when God allows the rebellious person, or nation, or congregation, or denomination—to have its way.
Sometimes parents have this experience. They fight with their kids and do not allow their kids to do what everyone else is doing. The fashion now is to let kids decide everything for themselves. But when your kid is in your house and under your authority, it is your responsibility to set rules for them—to make sure they hear God’s Word and learn it, to discipline them when they do wrong but also to proclaim the forgiveness of sins to them—because it is the Gospel that changes sinners so that they begin to do God’s will gladly and willingly instead of to avoid punishment. Still, parents can’t refuse to punish their children, unless they want their children to learn that forgiveness is just a license to do evil.
But there comes a time when there is no more you can do for your children. Sometimes—frequently—people have their hearts set on foolishness and evil. The worst case of this is not when a person wants to break the law or choose a career path that won’t result in a good job. The worst case is when your child refuses to listen to God’s Word and rejects repentance and faith in Christ. Sometimes kids do this right out in the open: “I just really don’t believe what the church teaches anymore. Christianity has been the source of so much oppression—of women, of non-european people…” Other times kids still profess to believe in Jesus, but they have no desire for His Word and Sacraments. Or they still attend church, but their lives testify to rebellion against God’s Word.
Sometimes you have spoken the word to your children, warned them, prayed for them, spoken gently to them—done everything you know how to do—but they won’t listen. And sometimes then you are faced with the painful reality that your kids are going to reject God’s Word and there is nothing you can do besides pray for them. That is a painful experience.
God also meets with rejection from His children. And though God is able to force us to do His will He does not do so. It is a mystery we cannot comprehend, but when a person trusts Christ alone it is the work of the Holy Spirit, not their own.
Yet unbelief is our own rebelliousness. It comes from rejecting the word. God permits himself to be rejected.
Today we see Jesus’ reaction to the rejection of the children that the Lord had carried so long. He weeps. Then he begins to show his anger and the way he will drive out of His house those who will not hear His word and who wish to set up their own worship in His house.
2. The people of Israel, false Christians, and our sinful flesh insist on a false peace and security based on some goodness or deserving in us, and so reject Christ when He comes (and finally will be cut off).
Jeremiah: “They have rejected the word of the Lord.”
God’s presence would destroy us if it was naked; so He veils it. He hid His glory behind the curtain in the temple.
Because God’s holy presence leaves us “undone” (Isaiah), we cover it up and invent our own ways to enter His presence;
The house of God was not a house of prayer, but became a religious spectacle where you paid your fee, did your religious work and went home.
Like the Hajj to Mecca for Muslims.
Like the indulgence, mass, and relic trade in the Catholicism of Luther’s day (and also today in a less crass form.)
Instead God wanted that people enter His presence—which is dangerous and deadly to sinners—with a good conscience through faith in the sacrifice which God would provide and which were pointed to by the temple sacrifices.
They were to come with nothing of their own but trust in God alone to be propitious—to be satisfied with them on account of the sacrifice which He would provide.
But when the Messiah came whom God had long promised to this rebellious house of Israel—the one whom prophets like Jeremiah proclaimed when the people would be crushed after their rebellion had brought punishment on themselves—they rejected Him.
Even at this point many people would listen to Jesus. Jesus was impressive; like the Old Testament prophets, He dared boldly to rebuke the leaders, tell them they were wicked, demand repentance, clean the temple out, predict the destruction and desolation of the temple because of the rebellion of the people. People were willing to listen because it was impressive, and to see His miracles. But the majority of the crowds did not believe that He was the promised one who would take away the sins of the world. They didn’t believe in their need for such a Savior; they believed in their own goodness coupled with their obedience to the rules propounded by their leaders. They did not repent and believe.
Through most of the last 2000 years most of our ancestors were like the crowds…they heard from Jesus a lot, and everyone said they loved Him. But most did not really believe in Him. Now the crowds have turned against Jesus, but that doesn’t mean the church is any worse off than it was before.
When we refuse Christ when He comes to us in His Word, when He visits us in His Word, we put ourselves in danger of also being cast off, hardened, so that God will no longer wrestle with us.
Don’t put off following Christ until tomorrow.
We, like the Jews, would like to have a more comfortable way into the presence of God that can be achieved by the exercise of our will.
We forget to fear the Lord who is present with us in His House in Word and Sacrament.
We forget that Jerusalem was razed with “her children within her.” That we have deserved the same.
God’s wrath on those who will not have His word is severe.
When we insist that we are “good Christians,” His wrath terrifies us with the word of John the Baptist: “Repent, brood of vipers!” “Good Christians” can put in religious duties and then feel like they’ve done well.
Real Christians come into God’s presence knowing they ought to die; yet they boldly come before Him through the blood of His Son alone.
3. Jesus visits us to be our peace and builds us on Him alone, through faith, as God’s eternal house or dwelling or temple.
Peace with God—shalom—well-being, blessing, is a pure gift of God to sinners.
He gives us peace through His blood.
We do not need to invent cute ways of making it possible for us to enter His presence; to enter His presence is death, and yet we do not receive death. It’s not because we pretend that God’s presence does not destroy the sinful; but because we trust the blood of the lamb shed for us.
The temple worshippers were not to pay attention to their work, or to the big crowds, or the impressive temple, or the “temple-approved” sacrifices they were buying with their “temple grounds” money.
They were to pay attention only to the promise of the sacrifice that God would provide that would come and be a fulfillment of all the sacrifices the temple offered.
Jesus’ blood and righteousness—Jesus alone, God and man, and His suffering and death—He is the cornerstone on which God would build His eternal temple—the church, the assembly of believers in Christ.
A Christian looks in himself and sees nothing worthy of anything except God’s wrath; he looks at Jesus suffering on the cross and sees the absolute assurance of the forgiveness of sins and the ability for a damnable sinner to enter the presence of the Holy One.
He looks to the name of God in Baptism which was given to him—a covenant swearing that God receives us as His own sons, apart from works, through Christ.
Jesus visits us today just as He did Jerusalem.
He visits us to bring us peace. He did not desire the destruction of Jerusalem, but its salvation. Their rejection brought damnation.
Jesus comes to give us peace; His body under the bread and His blood under the wine—they are our peace with God. They were given and shed to make peace for us, and He gives them to us now so that, eating them with faith in the promise, we would be assured of peace with God.
Jesus will run out of His church every device of man, every sin in our flesh, every work of the spirit of Antichrist that now oppresses the church and keeps people from the true and living God.
The Jews because of their rejection of the Word were keeping people from God. The big animal market and spectacle made the temple worship an exaltation of human works and religiosity instead of a house of prayer—that is, communion with God through the Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts.
Jesus was filled with anger and drove all of them out.
Then by the shedding of His blood He inaugurated the true and lasting house of God—the church.
Even now He visits and casts out of His church those traditions of men that obscure the law of God and the Gospel of God; the law which hits blind and lying sinners like a hammer, saying, “Repent or be damned;”
The gospel which speaks to those crushed by the law, and does not instruct about works or ceremonies, but simply proclaims; “The Son of God suffered for your wickedness on the cross. You are washed in His blood; You are forgiven.”
That word attacks Satan’s lies and traditions even now;
In Luther’s day it greatly undermined the Antichrist’s kingdom of false worship; even today there are a great number of Christians who no longer fear the lying pope who claims to be the Lord of Christendom on earth and claims to have the final word on the doctrine and discipline of Christ’s Church.
Today the word attacks also the foolish lie that God has no wrath and we need not fear Him, but instead can make church safe and fun and appealing to the world, with latte stands and snack bars—thus turning the house of God into a mall instead of a house of prayer.
But on the last day the Word will finally drive out all oppressors from God’s church—whether false teachers, or the evil that still lives within the flesh of Christians—
The church will appear in the splendor of Christ which He gave to us in Baptism;
He will already have cast out the wickedness of our flesh;
And no false teachers or devils will ever again set up their trade within God’s holy dwelling;
That holy dwelling is you, Christ’s holy bride.
4. Conclusion: Though you have a rebellious nature still, Jesus still visits you today and builds you together as His eternal dwelling through His death for you.
“Several studies show that more than 89 percent of women who learn they will give birth to a child with Down syndrome choose to terminate their pregnancies.”
14 But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me;
my Lord has forgotten me.”
15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child,
that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? ”
Well, that depends. Does the baby have down’s syndrome? Is the woman an American?
Notice how feminists never trot this verse out as a proof of the Bible’s errancy. The obvious answer to Isaiah’s question is, in the United States, in 90 percent of down’s syndrome pregnancies, a resounding YES. Can a woman forget her child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Like so many debates in our society, everything hinges on the way one defines the word “compassion.”
Even these may forget,
yet I will not forget you.
Oh wait, I guess God did foresee the United States in 2012. Never mind.
- Is this what a feminist looks like? (ladylikeblog.com)
- The Argument from Biblical Defects (philosophiles.net)
- A Son with Down’s Syndrome (str.typepad.com)
- Less Perfect. Less Valuable? (krisparker.net)
- Mother of Down’s syndrome boy’s journey from devastation to inspiration (thesun.co.uk)
Wed. of Advent 2–vespers
St. Peter Lutheran Church
Ephesians 1:3, 7ff. ; 2 Sam. 7:1f; Psalm 110
Dec. 7, 2011
“The King of Power”
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus reigns over all things, even in the midst of His enemies, for the sake of the Church.
- I would imagine that it’s hard for you to relate with talk about kings and priests.
It’s kind of hard for me too.
We don’t have kings and priests in our experience today.
250 years ago this country got rid of its king.
Plus, aren’t kings a class above everyone else? We don’t want people to
act that way toward us, and we don’t want to act like we’re royalty.
At least, we don’t want people to say we act like we’re kings or queens, right?
So, you may have felt inclined to tune out every time you start hearing about “kings and priests”.
- But even though it’s not part of our experience, it’s still true that Jesus is the Christ—that is, the anointed King. The word of God says so. And having a king is not all bad.
A king who has great power who is also good, just, and wise is a great thing for a country. If he uses power for the good of his people they are blessed—far better off than a democracy in which the majority of voters are immoral, unjust, and foolish. The founders of the United States realized that our country wouldn’t work well if voters were not virtuous. They realized this was why other democracies and republics had failed.
The problem is that so few kings who are given a great deal of power can be trusted with it. Even good people are corrupted when too much power is given to them.
Jesus is the Christ—anointed as king not only of Israel but of all creation, with all power and rule and authority put under His feet.
He has absolute power. But where no one here today or anywhere in the world could be trusted with this kind of power, Jesus is the one man who can be trusted to reign in justice and righteousness.
He showed this by dying on the cross; He went to the depths of God’s wrath and in doing so showed us that we have nothing to fear from this king—nothing to fear except the end of our failed attempt to be the Messiah ourselves.
It’s good for Jesus to be the King. Because He is your Messiah and king, you will be saved. Because our reign is over, because all power is in Jesus’ hands, the Church will not be destroyed.
- Today we heard the promise of the Messiah to David.
God said, You will not build me a house, David. I will build you a house, just like I am the one who took you from running after sheep to be king.
And one of your sons I will establish as king to reign forever. And I will never take my love away from him like I did to Saul. I will punish him with the stripes from men when he does wrong, but I will not cast him off. And so one of your sons will reign forever before me.
That one is Jesus. Solomon had a glorious kingdom and built the temple, but Jesus built the everlasting temple in which God dwells forever. That temple is the church—you. His church is the Kingdom of Grace. There Jesus reigns not with force and wrath and majesty, but with His grace.
He reigns in the church by forgiving sins.
But Jesus is not only Messiah of the Church. He is the king of the whole earth. He reigns also among His enemies—among the devil and those people who do not want Jesus as King and refuse to be part of the Kingdom of grace.
- God has revealed to the church the mystery—the secret of His will.
The world, in its wisdom, does not know how God created the earth. It also doesn’t know how the universe will end.
But you know, because the mystery has been revealed to you by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God. You know God created the earth by His Word. And you know what God’s plan is for the universe.
It is to unite everything under one head—Jesus the Messiah.
God wants all people to be saved and live in the light of His face forever. He wants us to live forever—at peace with Him, with one another, and with all creation.
- However, not everyone wants to be united in God’s Kingdom under the King that He has put in place.
People want to go on being their own head and king. By nature people want to rule themselves.
That’s scary when you think about it. Why do people fight? Ultimately isn’t it because we want our will to be done?
And when my will and yours clash, what happens then? We fight.
I think you’ve done me wrong, you think I’ve done you wrong. We try to get other people on our side to condemn the other. We begin to judge and to try to enforce our judgment.
This happens all the time. We try to take Jesus’ place as Messiah, Lord, King, Judge.
And this is rebellion against the King God has placed at His right hand.
Even Christians do this in the flesh, don’t we?
- So Jesus our King reveals this to us in His Word: he reigns as King even among those who do not want Him as their King.
He reigns over the whole universe now.
Everything is under His feet.
And He reigns as head for the good of His Church, which is His body.
We do not see Him reign, but His promise is that He is reigning now, and everything that happens all the time—though it may seem to be horrible—He says that He is working for the good of His body.
He is working that we may receive the riches of His glorious inheritance.
He makes even His enemies, with their evil deeds and will, serve His body the church. When people hate and fight against us, he uses it for our salvation.
He sits at God’s right hand for your good, with wisdom and goodness that we don’t have.
And he hasn’t hidden it from you. He has made known the mystery of His will to you, His bride, just as He has given you everything that is His.
- You have an inheritance in Christ. His power works for you.
So often we say, “I believe Jesus died for my sins. What I don’t know is how to live without being overcome by anxiety or depression or anger.”
Jesus is not the king who simply makes everything better when you die. He is the king who rules at God’s right hand for you now.
He rules in the midst of His enemies, and turns what the enemies of the church mean for evil into blessing for us. They cannot harm us.
Not even your flesh, with its enmity against God and other Christians, can harm you. Jesus makes even the destructive deeds of our flesh turn into blessing.
And because He has revealed to us the mystery of His will, He gives us peace in the storms of life. We know the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega. Our king reigns and unites us and all things with Him in His kingdom. He overcomes our flesh and teaches us faith in Him and love for one another—unity as members of one body. And all of His enemies He will judge with perfect righteousness, casting out every cause of sin from His kingdom.
- Paul prays that we may see the great strength of His power working for us.
The power that raised Jesus from the dead—think of what kind of power that is.
That is what Jesus exercises for us. The world’s one righteous king exercises omnipotent power to save His church.
He also works in us to sanctify and keep us in the true faith.
O let the harps break forth in sound!
Our joy be all with music crowned!
Our voices gladly blending!
For Christ goes with us all the way—
Today, tomorrow, every day—
His love is never-ending.
Sing out, ring out!
Tell the story!
Great is He, the King of glory!
The peace of God, which passes understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
We are working with and among a people whom eagles are circling, ringed in by a church that is ripe for judgment. Yes, divine judgment has already made its beginning in the house of God. Growing delusion and obduracy are the surest indications of the approaching end, at least the end and downfall of the Gospel in our country. . . . . The Church has the calling and capability of saving the lost, of curing corruption. It is not deterring judgment but is rather accelerating the same, for it glosses over, adorns, and promotes the sin that is sending people to ruin.
George Stoeckhardt, quoted in “Karl Georg Stoeckhardt: His Life and Labor to Preserve Walther’s Legacy”, by Dan Woodring*
*Yes, he became a papist, and yes, if he ever sees this he will gnash his teeth and slander Christ, the Gospel, and faithful teachers of the church. This should probably serve as a warning for Lutheran pastors with a high view of the liturgy and the sacrament of the altar.
But the point is the quote, which is true of the United States and the churches in it….and the Missouri Synod should rouse itself before its sclerosis becomes irreversible.