Walther Quote of the Day

Therefore, if you want to come to God and be saved, you must throw yourself down before Him with all your sins, lament your misery, and call upon Him for mercy. Then His Holy Spirit will comfort you and work true faith in your heart. Through the faith that dwells in you, He will pour out His love that you will taste and experience. But know this: If you do not remain in love, you also will not remain in faith. You must allow the heavenly plant of love to take root in you so it can grow and produce its fruit. If love ceases in you, God will withdraw from you, for God is love. Forsaking love means forsaking God, for ‘God is love, and whoever abides n love abides in God, and God abides in him.’

God Grant It: Daily Devotions from C. F. W. Walther p 495-496

Luther Quote of the Day

In Holy Scripture, however, there are real blessings. They are more than mere wishes. They state facts and are effective. They actually bestow and bring what the words say. We also have blessings of this kind in the New Testament through Christ’s priesthood, which is our blessing when I say: “Receive the absolution of your sins.”39 If I said: “Would that your sins were forgiven you; would that you were pious and in God’s grace!” or “I wish you grace, mercy, the eternal kingdom, and deliverance from your sins,” this could be called a blessing of love. But the blessing of a promise, of faith, and of a gift that is at hand is this: “I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; that is, I reconcile your soul to God, remove from you God’s wrath and displeasure, put you in His grace, and give you the inheritance of eternal life and the kingdom of heaven.” All these things have the power to grant you forgiveness immediately and truly if you believe, for they are not our works; they are God’s works through our ministry. Accordingly, they are not blessings that express wishes; they are blessings that have the power to bestow. When I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, it is just as if I were saying: “I am snatching you from the hands of the devil and bringing you to God, and I am doing this truly and in fact.”

Luther’s works, vol. 5: Lectures on Genesis: Chapters 26-30 p 140-141

Walther Quote of the Day

If we were to ask someone who believes in God whether he also loves God, surely he would not reply that he hates God. He would quickly answer, without thinking, “Indeed, who should not love God?” But how great is the deception that afflicts so many who think like this. For they fail to realize that the love of God is something much different, much higher, and much nobler than they think it is  

God Grant It: Daily Devotions from C. F. W. Walther p 492

Luther Quote of the Day

Thus Holy Scripture presents the accounts of the saints in such a way that it gives praise to the power of faith. Consequently, he who has the Word of God should consider himself blessed and should turn his eyes away from present things to those that lie in the future and are invisible. For the Word of God, especially the promise, does not speak of present things; it speaks of things that lie in the future and have been experienced by no one. Faith attaches itself to a thing that is still an utter nothing and waits until everything comes about. It is a knowledge and wisdom of darkness and nothingness,29 that is, of things which it has not experienced and are unseen and almost impossible. He who wants to be a Christian must meditate well on and fix this in his heart. For all other branches of knowledge are taught on the basis of syllogisms, inductions, and experiments. They do not have their basis or beginnings in what is nothing, and especially not on what is unseen, impossible, absurd, and foolish; but faith, which takes hold of the promise, fixes the heart on what is altogether absurd, impossible, and contained in the Word and God’s promise.

Luther’s works, vol. 5: Lectures on Genesis: Chapters 26-30 p 128

How to Preach a Terrible Funeral Sermon

I just returned from a funeral service for a friend of some members. It was at the Presbyterian church in town and before the service I thought that they, like, believed in Jesus and stuff. After, I have no idea. I have no idea if the man who died believed either, but I do know that the man loved cars and taught Auto Mechanics for several years at the university.

 

Leaving the service I was crying for my members internally. I was crying for the man’s family. I was upset. It took all of my strength to not leave, or walk up and take over the service so I could preach about Christ and His death and resurrection that gives life.

So, if you’re interested, here’s how you can preach just like the preacher I heard today did:

1. Don’t mention Jesus in the sermon or service. You don’t want to offend anyone. A vague reference to Him in a piece of Contemporary Christian Music at the end of the service is alright, so long as it’s very vague and the music cuts out soon after. 

2. Don’t mention Baptism because you might offend those who don’t believe in the power of Baptism to bring life in Christ. Feel free to ignore Romans 6:3-5.

3. Don’t mention the Cross or Jesus as the only way to salvation. That’s exclusive of the former Zoroastrian turned Buddhist sitting in one of the pews. In short ignore John 14:6

4. Have a 15 minute story time where you tell humorous stories from the family and include e-mails that the family got about the man’s life as long as they’re emotional and tell what a great guy he was. Ignore how St. Paul preached in 1 Corinthians

5. Make the sermon vague enough that it would work for anyone – a person who follows Scientology, Christianity, Earth-worship, etc., and all you’d have to do is change the stories and the name. 

 

6. Throw in some psycho-babble about how we should keep that person in our memories and how that will help the pain pass.

Simple right? Just forget everything that’s in the Bible and tell stories, just make sure that some are humorous, you don’t want people crying because, you know, someone they love has died. 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion of Augsburg Confession

1] These are the chief articles which seem to be in controversy. For although we might have spoken of more abuses, yet, to avoid undue length, we have set forth the chief points, from which the rest may be readily judged. 2] There have been great complaints concerning indulgences, pilgrimages, and the abuse of excommunications. The parishes have been vexed in many ways by the dealers in indulgences. There were endless contentions between the pastors and the monks concerning the parochial right, confessions, burials, sermons on extraordinary occasions, and 3] innumerable other things. Issues of this sort we have passed over so that the chief points in this matter, having been briefly set forth, might be the more readily understood. 4]Nor has anything been here said or adduced to the reproach of any one. 5] Only those things have been recounted whereof we thought that it was necessary to speak, in order that it might be understood that in doctrine and ceremonies nothing has been received on our part against Scripture or the Church Catholic. For it is manifest that we have taken most diligent care that no new and ungodly doctrine should creep into our churches.

6] The above articles we desire to present in accordance with the edict of Your Imperial Majesty, in order to exhibit our Confession and let men see a summary of the doctrine of our teachers. 7] If there is anything that any one might desire in this Confession, we are ready, God willing, to present ampler information according to the Scriptures.

The Commemoration of the Augsburg Confession

The Augsburg Confession, the principal doctrinal statement of the theology of Martin Luther and the Lutheran reformers, was written largely by Phillip Melanchthon. At its heart it confesses the justification of sinners by grace alone, through faith alone, for the sake of Christ alone. Signed by leaders of many German cities and regions, the confession was formally presented to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at Augsburg, Germany, on June 25, 1530. A few weeks later Roman Catholic authorities rejected the Confession, which Melanchthon defended in the Apology of the Augsburg Confession (1531). In 1580 the Unaltered Augsburg Confession was included in the Book of Concord.

We pray:

Lord God, heavenly Father, You preserved the teaching of the apostolic Church through the confession of the true faith at Augsburg. Continue to cast the bright beams of Your light upon Your Church that we, being instructed by the doctrine of the blessed apostles, may walk in the light of Your truth and finally attain to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Here is an interesting illustration of the articles of the Augsburg Confession. The much higher resolution, though much larger, version of the image may be found in the Wikipedia commons here.

 

HT: Paul McCain at cyberbrethren.com