Saturday, April 14, 2012
True faith is a strong, active and efficacious principle. Nothing is impossible to it. It rests not nor hesitates. Stephen, because of the superior activity of his faith, performed not merely ordinary works, but wrought wonders and signs publicly — great wonders and signs, as Luke says. This is written for a sign that the inactive individual lacks in faith, and has no right to boast of having it. Not undesignedly is the word “faith” placed before the word “power.” The intention was to show that works are evidence of faith, and that without faith nothing good can be accomplished.
Faith must be primary in every act. To this end may God assist us. Amen.
Conclusion - Luther's Sermon on St. Stephen's Day, Epistle Lesson.
KJV Acts 6:8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. 9
Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians,
and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. 10 And they were not able to
resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. 11 Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard
him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. 12 And they stirred up the people, and the
elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, 13 And set up
false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place,
and the law: 14 For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall
change the customs which Moses delivered us.
KJV Acts 7:54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with
their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of
God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the
Son of man standing on the right hand of God. 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their
ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses
laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen, calling
upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice,
Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.