Ante-Nicene Father Quote of the Day

“For the Holy Spirit sometimes brought about that something, which was the type of the future, should be done clearly; sometimes He uttered words about what was to take place, as if it was then taking place, or had taken place. And unless those who read perceive this art, they will not be able to follow the words of the prophets as they ought. For example’s sake, I shall repeat some prophetic passages, that you may understand what I say. When He speaks by Isaiah, ‘He was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and like a lamb before the shearer,’ He speaks as if the suffering had already taken place. And when He says again, ‘I have stretched out my hands to a disobedient and gainsaying people;’ and when He says, ‘Lord, who hath believed our report?’ For I have shown that Christ is oftentimes called a Stone in parable, and in figurative speech Jacob and Israel. And again, when He says, ‘I shall behold the heavens, the works of Thy fingers,’ unless I understand His method of using words, I shall not understand intelligently, but just as your teachers suppose, fancying that the Father of all, the unbegotten God, has hands and feet, and fingers, and a soul, like a composite being; and they for this reason teach that it was the Father Himself who appeared to Abraham and to Jacob. Blessed therefore are we who have been circumcised the second time with knives of stone. For your first circumcision was and is performed by iron instruments, for you remain hard-hearted; but our circumcision, which is the second, having been instituted after yours, circumcises us from idolatry and from absolutely every kind of wickedness by sharp stones, i.e., by the words [preached] by the apostles of the corner-stone cut out without hands. And our hearts are thus circumcised from evil, so that we are happy to die for the name of the good Rock, which causes living water to burst forth for the hearts of those who by Him have loved the Father of all, and which gives those who are willing to drink of the water of life. But you do not comprehend me when I speak these things; for you have not understood what it has been prophesied that Christ would do, and you do not believe us who draw your attention to what has been written. For Jeremiah thus cries: ‘Woe unto you! because you have forsaken the living fountain, and have digged for yourselves broken cisterns that can hold no water. Shall there be a wilderness where Mount Zion is, because I gave Jerusalem a bill of divorce in your sight?’

Justin Martyr: Dialogue of Justin, Philosopher and Martyr, with Trypho, a Jew part 10

ch. cxiv

Walther Quote of the Day

Let us not deceive ourselves by thinking it is enough when the Gospel is merely heard with the ears. We must hear it as the Word that opens heaven for us. If it now kindles only a spark of faith, may we preserve so our faith is not easily extinguished but rather grows strong until we have reached the goal of faith: the salvation of our soul.

God Grant It: Daily Devotions from C. F. W. Walther p 426

Luther Quote of the Day

Therefore this is an outstanding example of proper conduct. It confirms the injunction of St. Paul and teaches that servants should serve gladly because they are sure that, when they serve their masters faithfully either in their absence or in their presence, they are serving the Divine Majesty. And if we were not so blind and insane, we would thank God for the certain knowledge that we are serving God, not men, and that He so richly overwhelms us with good works and with His services. For whatever household tasks a servant performs in the house, even if he sweeps the house, he should be sure that he is performing this service for God.

But such is our foolishness that we think: “If I were able to serve the Lord God in heaven, then I would be willing to boast. These tasks are trivial and ordinary.” It is then that our flesh betrays itself; it does not believe it to be true that a servant who obeys his master is serving God—likewise a son, a daughter, a maid, or a pupil who obeys his teacher. For if we believe this, then all our works would be done with pride, joy, and gratitude. But because we do not have the Holy Spirit and do not believe that master, mistress, pastor, teacher, and the like are a divine ordinance, our obedience flags completely. Otherwise we would submit with joy.

If God were to order you with a new and unusual command to go for the purpose of bringing greetings to some friend or prince, you would do so with the utmost eagerness and without any delay. Why do you not do the same thing when your master or your parents give you an order? For God is giving you the same command and order through your master or parents, as Paul attests (Col. 3:24): “You are serving the Lord Christ.”

But who acknowledges or believes this? How much complaining there is in our day on the part of magistrates, masters, parents, and teachers! Men seem to be altogether frantic and to be driven by madness, yes, even filled with horrible murder. For children kill their parents—not with the sword; but through sadness of heart and sorrow they sap the strength of their parents, who are consumed by love and affection for their children, although they should be gladdened and refreshed by their children’s obedience. Domestics cause their masters to waste away solely because of the grief that is felt as the result of the insolence of the domestics. And thus all the lower classes grieve the Holy Spirit. This is worst, as is stated in the Epistle to the Hebrews (13:17): “Let them do this joyfully, and not sadly, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

Therefore examples of this kind should be carefully noted, in order that we may learn how important a matter it is faithfully to serve the masters who are set over us; for however contemptible and trivial our service or obedience may appear, they are nevertheless set over us by divine ordinance, whether in the household or in the government. But if you show the obedience you owe, you have a gracious God, a quiet heart, and a master who blesses you. If not, God is offended, and on account of your obstinate disobedience you cannot have a quiet conscience; you have lost the Lord God from your heart, a good conscience, and every blessing.

Luther’s works, vol. 4: Lectures on Genesis: Chapters 21-25 p 285-286

Sermon for Fourth Sunday of Easter

John 10:1-10

In the name of Jesus:

Another church has fallen to their knees to worship at the altar of the world. For those who have not heard, the PC (USA), are now allowing openly practicing lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders to be ministers. Late Tuesday night the Twin City Presbytery in MN casted the 83rd vote, out of 173 Presbyteries in the United States, to pass this new false doctrine, this heresy, in their church. A heresy that says ‘your sin is no big deal. You’ll be fine.’ Which ends up meaning that you don’t need Jesus to forgive you or to have died for you.

St. Paul says in Romans “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.” (Romans 16:17-18)

Another church has fallen and worships at the altar of the world instead of the creator of the world. Today is certainly a sad day.

The 2.1 million members of the PC (USA) join the 2.18 million members of the Episcopalian Church and the 2.25 million members of the ELCA as being sheep whose under-shepherds have become thieves who have come to ‘steal, kill and destroy’. The leadership of the PC (USA), the Episcopalian Church and the ELCA are all wearing “sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15).

The leadership of these church bodies has abandoned the Word of God. St Paul says in 1 Cor. 6:9-10 “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” and in Romans 1 “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. … Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” (26, 27, 32)

As St. Paul plainly states, and as the LCMS agrees, homosexuality is a sin. These other churches have gone from calling homosexuality a sin that needs to be repented of, just like theft, murder, and lying that we all do on a daily basis, to saying that it is no longer a sin and that one need not repent of it.   The church leaders who approved this ignoring of the Word of God need to repent. The ministers practicing the LGBT lifestyle need to repent. They need to seek forgiveness and turn from these false shepherds who have snuck in, to the true Shepherd Jesus Christ, The Shepherd who lays down His own life for His sheep, who knows them by name.

These shepherds of heresy, who enter the gate only to steal, kill and destroy, rule by fear. Just like the Pharisees in the days of Jesus Christ who cast the blind man in John 9 out of the Synagogue because he told them the truth about Jesus Christ who healed him from his blindness from birth.

False shepherds do not take care of their sheep. They will not lay their lives down when push comes to shove. Instead they lay down their sheeps’ lives to make theirs better. False shepherds make new ways to be inclusive at the cost of the souls of their sheep that they are given to protect. They ignore their sheep, all in order to bring forth social change, not only in their church, but in the world.

These false shepherds do not enter through the gate. Instead, they go around the gate. They find a place to climb over and get in any way that they can. For many church bodies that means making promises of church growth, or increased cultural impact. They well craft their lies and present them as perfectly as anyone can with tongues of silver, just like their father did in the Garden of Eden, for the Devil is the father of all lies.

Thank God that we have a shepherd who enters through the gate. Our shepherd is not just another shepherd, or an under-shepherd, someone hired to be an assistant. Instead He is the Good Shepherd. Our Shepherd, Jesus Christ, is the Shepherd that will leave the 99 to go find the 1 lost sheep. He knows all of His sheep by name, and they know Him by His voice.

His sheep know His voice. You know His voice, because you have heard Him speak to you. You have heard His voice in His Word that is proclaimed to you. His voice is the voice that tells you, ‘I forgive you all of your sins’ after you have confessed them at the beginning of this service.

His voice is the voice that says, ‘You are mine!’ His voice is the voice that you have heard in His Word, the Scriptures, telling people that He has healed, ‘Go! Your faith has made you well.’ His voice is heard in the Word that is read to you from the lectern. His voice is the Word that is preached to you and proclaimed from this pulpit.

When that proclaimed Word says ‘You are forgiven! You are mine!’ It is saying that all of your sins; the sins of anger that you feel towards your neighbor because that person almost hit your car because they weren’t paying attention while driving. The sins of lying to your spouse, even the small ones like saying that you’re going to do the dishes, but instead say ‘I forgot.’ I’m guilty of that one. To even your sins of arrogance and pride for accomplishing something that has nothing to do with you. You have also sinned in thought, word and deed, by things done and undone. You have fallen short of the Glory of God. You are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24).

The Good Shepherd lays down His life for His sheep. He knows you by name. He has formed your inward parts; He knitted you together in your mother’s womb, you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13-14).

That is why He, and He alone took your punishment, the punishment that you have deserved for a lifetime of sin. Christ redeemed you from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for you–for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree (Gal 3:13). For your sake God made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him you might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21).

Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, accomplishes this with His death and resurrection. This means that Jesus was, as we confess, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day He rose again from the dead.

It was in this death, life was bought for you. It is from hearing the voice of your Shepherd that you know and believe that out of the death of the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, comes your life. He was wounded for your transgressions; He was crushed for your iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought you peace, and with his stripes you are healed (Isaiah 53:5).

From those stripes water flowed. The same water that you were baptized in, making you one of the Good Shepherd’s sheep. The blood that flowed from that same stripe, as well as from this stripes on his back where He was beaten, from the holes in His hands and His feet, as well as where the crown of thorns sat, you drink for the forgiveness of sin at the Sacrament of the Altar. The Sacrament where Jesus, the Good Shepherd is, as Dr. Luther once wrote, “at one and the same time chief, cook, butler, host, and food.”

It is from His voice, the voice of the Good Shepherd, that you know Jesus is Lord. It is from the Good Shepherd’s body and blood, from His water that flowed from His pierced side, that you know that Jesus is the Lord, that your sins are forgiven. You know that this shepherd has laid down His life for His Sheep, so that you may have life and have it abundantly. Amen.

Ante-Nicene Father Quote of the Day

“And though all the men of your nation knew the incidents in the life of Jonah, and though Christ said amongst you that He would give the sign of Jonah, exhorting you to repent of your wicked deeds at least after He rose again from the dead, and to mourn before God as did the Ninevites, in order that your nation and city might not be taken and destroyed, as they have been destroyed; yet you not only have not repented, after you learned that He rose from the dead, but, as I said before you have sent chosen and ordained men throughout all the world to proclaim that a godless and lawless heresy had sprung from one Jesus, a Galilæan deceiver, whom we crucified, but his disciples stole him by night from the tomb, where he was laid when unfastened from the cross, and now deceive men by asserting that he has risen from the dead and ascended to heaven.Moreover, you accuse Him of having taught those godless, lawless, and unholy doctrines which you mention to the condemnation of those who confess Him to be Christ, and a Teacher from and Son of God. Besides this, even when your city is captured, and your land ravaged, you do not repent, but dare to utter imprecations on Him and all who believe in Him. Yet we do not hate you or those who, by your means, have conceived such prejudices against us; but we pray that even now all of you may repent and obtain mercy from God, the compassionate and long-suffering Father of all.

Justin Martyr: Dialogue of Justin, Philosopher and Martyr, with Trypho, a Jew part 9

ch. cviii

Walther Quote of the Day

Vain joy of the world is ungodly, but worldly sorrow is still more sinful and pernicious. Holy joy is the picture of God, while worldly sorrow is the picture of Satan and the exact opposite of faith. Although it often  takes on the appearance of Christian earnestness, it is a secret murmuring against God, the Ruler of our life, and the fruit of pride and self-righteousness. For whoever has truly recognized that he has earned hell with his sins cannot possibly be dissatisfied with his lot, however unfavorable it may seem. He must remember that no matter his circumstances, they are better than he merits. As the Book of Lamentations expresses it, “Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins?” (3:39).

God Grant It: Daily Devotions from C. F. W. Walther p 394