Announcements for the week of August 5, 2018

 

BookofConcordSmalcald Articles

Part III, Article II. Of the Law

1] Here we hold that the Law was given by God, first, to restrain sin by threats and the dread of punishment, and by the promise and offer of grace and benefit. But all this miscarried on account of the wickedness which sin has wrought in man. 2] For thereby a part [some] were rendered worse, those, namely, who are hostile to [hate] the Law, because it forbids what they like to do, and enjoins what they do not like to do. Therefore, wherever they can escape [if they were not restrained by] punishment, they [would] do more against the Law than before. These, then, are the rude and wicked [unbridled and secure] men, who do evil wherever they [notice that they] have the opportunity.

3] The rest become blind and arrogant [are smitten with arrogance and blindness], and [insolently] conceive the opinion that they observe and can observe the Law by their own powers, as has been said above concerning the scholastic theologians; thence come the hypocrites and [self-righteous or] false saints. (1-3)

 

18-08-05, Pentecost 11, BA-2018B

 

 

 

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If you abide in My Word…

31So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” 34Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:31–36

 

True freedom is only that which is in Christ, for only Christ Jesus gives true freedom.  This kind of freedom no man, no society, no organization, no movement-nothing-can take away  This kind of freedom in Christ cannot be taken away because it is the freedom won for us by Him who came to serve and give His own life as a ransom for us (Matthew 20:28).  It is a freedom which the world does not nor can itself give.

The freedoms of this life are many.  But they do not at all compare to the liberty of having sins forgiven and peace with God.  The freedoms of this life consist of what only is temporary, that which is terminable.  They have an end.  Presidents pass on their mantle.  Seasons change.  We reap what we sow.  But the truth—the truth declares salvation for all who believe.  The truth declares sin to be put do death.  The truth declares Jesus Christ to be God’s Son and our Savior.

This truth of our Lord we surely have in Scripture, for Scripture is truth.  It is God’s Word.  Therefore does Jesus say, “If you abide in My Word, you are truly My disciples.”

The disciples of the Lord are they who abide—remain—continue—in Christ’s Word.  They hear His voice, and His voice alone (John 10).  They do not listen to the voice of a stranger, but the voice of their Good Shepherd, who laid down His life for the sheep.  And they continue doing so, knowing that other voices, other words, do not make them disciples.  Only by remaining in the Lord’s Words does one remain a true, and not a make believe, disciple.

Certainly, many exist in Christendom today (as in all times) that only give lip service to the Lord, but whose hearts are from Him (Isaiah 29:13; Matthew 15:7-8).  But these are not the true disciples spoken of by Jesus.  These are rather they who claim to be of Christ, who claim to be Christian, who claim to be of the Church, but in reality, are not.  They glory in sin and despise the truth.  They forsake Christ and His Word and follow a false gospel and that which is not of God.

Only by abiding in the Word of Christ does one remain a disciple of the Lord.  And only by the Word does one and will one be sure and certain of the truth, and be set free by the truth—set free to rightly serve God in word and deed, having a confident faith before God through Jesus Christ, who does not count our sins against us, but calls us “beloved” and “well pleasing” to Him.

Divide yourself from Christ and His Word and you will be separated from He who calls you.  Remain with Christ and His Word, and your conscience will be free.

Jn08.31-36, Reformation, 2011A, Outline & Notes

Many are Called, Few Are Chosen

1Again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.’ 5But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.

      11“But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:1–14)

In Dr. Luther’s explanation to the Second Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, he writes, “God’s kingdom comes when our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and lead godly lives here in time and there in eternity.”

By means of God’s Word and Sacrament, God’s Kingdom comes among us as His blessed Word is received and believed.  It is here, where God creates faith via His means (not ours), that God’s people gather and are to be certain of His Kingdom coming.  It is also here where God’s people are certain that Christ is truly present.

God’s Kingdom, synonymous with Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven, does not only refer to the time when our Lord Jesus returns in all of His glory.  God’s Kingdom also refers to the here and the now, present tense; not only the Word which is to come, but the Word that comes now, as St. Paul says, “We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: ‘In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.’  Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:1-2)

 Now is not the time to delay, wait, or sluggishly ponder concerning the Lord’s Word and His Christ.  Nor is it the time to make excuses concerning the God’s Kingdom here on earth where Word and Sacrament are freely given for the sake of God’s people.

All too often, people stay away from where God would have them be for the most insignificant of reasons.  But there is no significant reason to keep away from God’s Holy Word, even that which condemns (The Law) and that which saves (The Gospel).

Some might not like the preacher or the preaching, but even this is no reason to abandon God’s Kingdom where God’s Word is rightly divided (2 Timothy 2:15).

The calling of repentance goes out to the many.  All is ready.  The meal is prepared.  Yet few do come, for they reject God’s Christ and His forgiveness, believing that they need it not.

Sadly, those who reject the preaching of God’s messengers (Called and ordained servants of the Word) also are rejecting Christ and His Word of forgiveness and eternal life (See Luke 10:16).  Because the Jews rejected Christ, they received their due punishment and the Gospel was taken away from them.

Beware, lest the Gospel be taken from you!  Do not give in to the popular notion that it does not matter from whom you hear the preached Word.  Nor follow the examples of the invitees in the text, who for the love of the world and their own life refused the invitation of the King himself, condemning themselves to the punishment to come.  Instead, heed the Word of the Lord.  Believe His promises.  Deny yourselves.  Wear what the Lord gives, even Christ’s robe of righteousness, in which you are clothed through faith, for only in that are you acceptable among the guests in the King’s court.  Amen.

Mt22.1-14, Pentecost 17, 2011A, Outline & Notes

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