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Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:10-13 KJV

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Monday, July 31, 2017

Banned - Let Me Count the Ways

 Did Tim Rossow call Luther a moron? Yes.


1. Steadfast Lutherans 
is an obedient group of puppies who chew shoelaces in half and remind everyone that they are not yet housetrained. They have one thing in common - their devotion to betraying the Reformation with Universal Objective Justification. To that end they ban links to this blog and refer to those who teach Justification by Faith as morons. Coming from a comically overweight cat-hugger, that remark goes far beyond self-satire.

Now Steadfast is an international confraternity devoted to preserving the dogma of Bishop Martin Stephan, STD. They must have a Canadian blogging with them, eh?



2. Christian News 
likes to dab Justification by Faith for brief moments, but the tabloid has always been a febrile platform for extolling the glories of Kokomo Justification without Faith.


3. Emmaus Conference - Toward Merger with ELCA -
was organized to promote UOJ, which will make the de facto merger with ELCA de jure as well. Although promoted as a "free conference" where all views can be shared, they banned Justification by Faith and the free books we provided for them. They did not want people upset by a different view than the Stephan/Walther rationalistic Pietism that has knit the Synodical Conference together and made relationships with ELCA work so well through Thrivent.

 "ELCA won, Brett. You have to give us that."

4. ELCA -
is a merger of many different Pietistic sects that came over to America, with leaders from Halle University (Muhlenberg and Stephan alike) or from the other centers of Pietism. ELCA dictates the conditions of their relationships with the Synodical Conference, and their group hugs are always funded by Thrivent Mediocre Insurance and a few foundations.

ELCA sounds forth the same trumpet blast as the Synodical Conference. Any mention of faith is a repudiation of grace - they all imagine. This same attitude is found in all the mainline apostate theologians, so it is firmly held across denominational lines - taught by the big (Pope Francis I) and the small (Pope Georgie One Note I).

The two justifications - Objective and Subjective - are conveniently merged into one. They bray, cackle, and decrepitate - "Everyone is saved. Everyone. Everyone."

In the olden days, the Evangelicals were known for emphasizing faith in Christ. That is hard to imagine in this current age of me-centered prosperity rants, but that did happen under Billy Graham and a few others. The LCA speaker sneered on a tape, his voice breaking with rage, "The trouble with these people is they have no concept of grace. There is no grace at all." Translation - they do not teach universal absolution and salvation, but think forgiveness and salvation come through faith, by God's grace conveyed in the Gospel.

As Luther said, take away the Means of Grace and all kinds of foul errors pour in as a substitute.


Flinging Dust in Our Face - An Old Cowboy Trick




Andy One Note Preus was on another rampage promoting Universalism when I noticed Quenstedt being mentioned. Those who cannot handle the simple truths of Justification by Faith should not try to fool the audience with discussions about Quenstedt.

Concordia Ft. Wayne graduates remind me of the villains in Old West cowboy movies. Just when the man in black is losing the fight with the hero, he reaches down, grabs some dirt, and flings dust into the eyes of of the star.

Ft. Wayne graduates love to flit all over the landscape of the theology, as if they know their topic, dropping mentions of this obscure person or another. We are supposed to stand back in awe and say, "He is mentioning someone I never heard of, so he must be a profound scholar. After all, he has a degree from the practical seminary of the LCMS!" Dust in our eyes. Walther did that with his preposterous notions about election - another BA with papal pretensions.

That endless debate about Quenstedt only reminded me of the brilliant refutation of OJ/SJ quoted in Grandfather Robert Preus' book - Justification and Rome. Rolf claims I am not supposed to quote his father, but that is part of publishing theology - debate. Every so often I quote Quenstedt, via Preus, because his statement unravels OJ/SJ completely.

The farther away the theologians got from the Book of Concord, the more Pietistic they became. My impression is that Quenstedt and Calov saw the rationalistic move of Pietism as it developed from Calvinism and poked holes in it. Here is Calov -

 This is a quotation from Robert Preus' Justification and Rome.
Quenstedt and Calov wrote simply that we are never justified apart from faith. But the OJ/SJ crew like to fly around like drones, zipping here and there, yet easily knocked out of the sky by an errant baseball pitch, a small bird, or an animal swinging at it from a tree branch. Down goes the drone, its tumbling captured by a wireless camera onboard.

The Ft. Wayne graduates can mention their heroes - really villains - in this discussion. Rambach and Quistorp are obscure Pietists and good for some good old new-fashioned UOJ. Bishop Martin Stephan introduced OJ to Walther, just as the Bohemian Pietist introduced syphilis to his wife, children, and female groupies. No one wants to identify OJ with Stephan, so they make Walther into Luther unawares, almost as good as a Xerox.

Although the Formula of Concord cautions us against speculating on the topic of election, the Ft. Wayne graduates are so imbued with theological expertise that they can flit from one person to another and describe how precise an individual was about election and all related subject matter. Coming from men who do not comprehend the Gospel, the Pauline epistles, Luther, or the efficacy of the Word in the Means of Grace - this is alarming.

They remind me of Georgie One Note, glancing at his cue cards and ranting in a loud voice, with a smirk on his face, as if a machine gun staccato is more convincing than the Scriptures. Even the somnolent LCMS is alarmed about their nest of vipers, so why should we take their Higher Things dogma seriously.

Georgie One Note agrees with Pope Francis I -
everyone is saved. Everyone. Everyone.
Playing his toxic video for everyone, everyone,
is considered quoting him out of context!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Preus Family Yippy-Yappy School of Enthusiasm.
Some Clarifications in Articulating Objective Justification | Steadfast Lutherans


The Rolf Preus Synod once met with and worshiped with
ELDONA, because Heiser cared more about having additional congregations 

than Justification by Faith, the Chief Article of Christianity.


Some Clarifications in Articulating Objective Justification | Steadfast Lutherans:



"Pastor Andrew Preus on May 21, 2015 at 9:59 am      

Reply
@Bill #111

Bill, you are either incapable of understanding the issue or you are being ungracious. The Synodical Conference (W/ElS (sic) , LCMS) does not teach universalism. OJ simply teaches that Jesus took the sin of the whole world away by his obedience and death, and his resurrection declares this through the Word, which offers this free gift to all. Why some rejected it or never even heard it while others believed it is something we leave to the hidden will and majesty of God. But what is revealed in the gospel is forgiveness for all sinners. This is objective justification. Those who do not believe this die in their sins and the wrath of God remains on them. This is what we teach. This is what we have always taught. The fact that some people have given crass and, at best, confusing articulations of this doctrine (like that Judas and all members of hell were given the status of saint) doesn’t change the fact that the teaching itself of OJ is biblical and confessional.

Also, the fact that you reject that the Atonement has made full satisfaction for the sins of all people of all time is very telling. And those who claim to be faithful to the historic Lutheran teaching on justification while rejecting OJ should read what you are writing. You are demonstrating that if you reject OJ then you are necessarily rejecting that Christ made satisfaction for the sins of all people."

'via Blog this'

***
 Although I quoted the encyclopedia as saying "Woods' translation," some missed the point that this is Woods' translation of the Halle Pietist. Germans and Walther adopted the OJ/SJ language that the Calvinist used to translate the Halle Pietist. Neither term is found in the Bible, Luther, Melanchthon, Chemnitz, or the Book of Concord.
Luther and the Book of Concord call separating the Holy Spirit from the Word "Enthusiasm," the basis for all false doctrine like that of the Preus Family, Inc.


GJ - This is one more example of a Preus family member merging the Atonement with Justification by Faith, dropping the Chief Article and using the label - Objective Justification - that the Calvinist translator of Knapp promoted.

Oh yes - OJ teaches this nonsense, but the Scriptures, Luther, and the Book of Concord do not. Yet young Andrew dares to borrow the language of Jesus from the Fourth Gospel - You will die in your sins - to condemn anyone who denies his dogma.

John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

Andy One-Note is so obsessed with this dogma that he uses a familiar logical fallacy to defend himself. His opponent is either 

  1. incapable of understanding, or
  2. ungracious.
That sounds like a false paradox, a fallacy older than dirt. Is there possibly a third alternative? Preus Family Enterprises could be completely wrong, obstinate in error, and blind to the Chief Article.


Christ did die for the sins of the world but only the Enthusiasts - among them the Universalists - declare that God pronounced the world to be righteous, free of sin, and saved. Many of us realize that Walther taught this and the Waltherites canonized the same in 1932. But that does not make this OJ/SJ rubbish Scriptural, Confessional, or Lutheran. As Luther taught, the Holy Spirit distributes this treasure - the Atonement - through the Word and Sacraments. Through faith we receive the Promises of God.

Worst of all, in my opinion, the OJ One-Noters make "faith" into faith in this universal forgiveness and salvation. The poor slobs who deny Universal Forgiveness and Salvation will die in their sins because they do not agree they were justified before birth, as Grampa Preus once wrote, but later rejected in Justification and Rome.



The LCMS Higher Things business and Pope Francis jabber the same Enthusiasm.



"God has given salvation to all. And all means all."

"Everyone is saved. Everyone!"

Extra Nos: I do not believe in empirical science, I only believe in apriori truth





Extra Nos: I do not believe in empirical science, I only believe in apriori truth:



"The above was a quote from Kurt Godel, my favourite mathematical logician. Many people do not know about this man but his discovery of profound mathematical truth is more earth shattering than what was attributed to Einstein in the realm of physics. Besides, his life was not dogged by allegations of plagiarism unlike that of Einstein's special and general theory of relativity, in which some alleged he copied this without attribution from several physicists.

Gödel is known for his 1st and 2nd Incompleteness Theorem which has application to philosophy and theology.

Anyway, my point is the quote and why I too agree with Gödel.

Science relies on empirical and physical observations for its facts. In this regard, like other mathematicians, I do not believe mathematics is part of science. If at all I view it as part of philosophy. The second part of the quote, on apriori truth, is what is lacking in science. Here Gödel meant axioms. What are axioms? These are statements that are accepted to be obviously true. Its truth is established in the inherent nature of what language suggest. An example of an axiom is this - A or NOT A. Either A is true or NOT A is true. It cannot be both. This is obviously true."



'via Blog this'

 Paul the Plagiarizer never learned to give credit to the work of others,like The Catholic Encyclopedia. That is why he is an editor at
Concordia Publishing House, where they imagine that Luther taught against Justification by Faith.

 Honor the Reformation and Luther with a doggy t-shirt.

The Seventh Sunday after Trinity, 2017.

 From Norma A. Boeckler


The Seventh Sunday after Trinity, 2017
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson



The melodies are linked in the hymn title. 
The lyrics are linked in the hymn number.

The Hymn #11                     Safely Through another Week                                     
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual       
The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed             p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #427                    How Firm a Foundation                  

Compassion and Faith


The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn # 199                    Jesus Christ Is Risen Today                 


KJV Romans 6:19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. 20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

KJV Mark 8:1 In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them, 2 I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: 3 And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far. 4 And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness? 5 And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven. 6 And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people. 7 And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them. 8 So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets. 9 And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.

SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY

Lord God, heavenly Father, who in the wilderness didst by Thy Son abundantly feed four thousand men besides women and children with seven loaves and a few small fishes: We beseech Thee, graciously abide among us with Thy blessing, and keep us from covetousness and the cares of this life, that we may seek first Thy kingdom and Thy righteousness, and in all things needful for body and soul, experience Thine ever-present help; through Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.


Compassion and Faith


1. Beloved friends, I hope you thoroughly understand this Gospel; for you are now sufficiently established in the truth to know what we should expect in the Gospel and what is presented to us there, namely, the true nature and life of faith. Because of this Christ is pictured and represented so lovingly in all the Gospel lessons. Although his history and works are ever changing, yet the plain, simple faith remains ever the same. To-day’s Gospel paints to us the Lord in a way that we may fully know how we should esteem him, namely, that he is merciful, meek and loving; that he gladly helps everybody and freely associates and deals with all people. And such a picture as this faith really craves.

KJV Mark 8:1 In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them, 2 I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat:

This is a miracle for those who are wondering about how they will survive. I know there are ministers and teachers who are faithful who were recently fired for being faithful to the Word and their professions of faith. Their superiors said, in a sense, "We didn't really mean that." And these people wonder why the reward for doing the right thing in the Christian Church is unemployment.

Others are displaced for a variety of reasons. Or their livelihood is now being threatened by conditions beyond their control. There is nothing quite like having that threat, because it looms over everything for a long time. Society changes rapidly and often in the wrong direction. We are powerless to change that.

As Luther says, this miracle presents Jesus as He is, friendly and compassionate, not merely offering help for His own flock but for others as well. That may be why the great and wise get confused about forgiveness and salvation. Jesus provided for the needs of the entire multitude, not just for those who would remain faithful. He died for the sins of the entire world, with no limitations. The worst reprobate, when he believes in Christ, receives the same forgiveness and salvation as anyone else.

The rationalists are so clever that they make up facts that are not in the text and ignore what any junior detective could figure out. They want to present this as everyone sharing his lunch. But they were following, that is, on the move for three days, and a multitude would be well out of food by that time. We have all seen a conference break up for lunch - not after three days - and pounce on the food provided like a wolf on the fold. These details magnify the truth of the miracle - people were at the point of starvation and unable to get home safely without food.

I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat:

This shows that Jesus cared deeply for the material needs of the multitude, not just for a few. He taught the multitude first for days, and they showed their interest in following and listening. Naturally, the larger group weeds itself out as some only want to see one miracle and then another. The fake miracle workers today always get thousands to come and see them, until fraud is proved. Then no one comes at all and the tents are folded up. What did they come for? - entertainment, a spectacle, a rush in participating in a big show.

That is why the disciples had so much preparation. They saw the most and still they had difficulties with the entire message, as we do today. That is why so many want everything except the cross. But if Jesus called the cross blessed, as He did in the Beatitudes (not the Be Happy Attitudes), then we do not agree with the Savior until we also call the cross blessed. 

The cross is that pain inflicted on us on behalf of Jesus and the Gospel. Here is a Romans commentary passage that cites the cross. It is worth reading and remembering.


So Jesus' mission was not primarily to give people food, but He did that after they listened to His Word. Sometimes we have to listen to His Word to understand why such things are happening and what we should think about them.

What appears to be God's neglect and indifference is actually building us up spiritually for future challenges. 

3 And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far. 4 And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness? 

Jesus fully understands the plight of the entire multitude and there is no human solution for it. We have seen busloads of people pour off into a plaza, as if the food is already running out. We were at the end of a line renting cars once. Every single person said, startled, "You need my driver's license?!" and fished around for the license, causing more delays. We had everything ready when it was our turn. The agent said. "You did not say one word of complaint or make demands. You get a free upgrade." I said "We were busy chuckling as each young person said - You need my license?"

The disciples did not confess, "You are God. You can perform a miracle." They said, "This is impossible in the desert!" Compassion is nice, but be realistic.

I am quite sure, based on experience, that church council members are picked for their rationalism. Nothing is ever possible, even when the facts are in front of them.

One Christian visionary had a messed up life, but he had one thing straight. He said, "Give God room." That was a simple way of saying we should pour out our troubles to God, in the Name of Jesus, and let Him manage things for us.

Many will say they have faith, and they do have faith in the basics. But isn't it a lack of faith shown when troubles are not handed over to Christ in prayer and we figure things out for ourselves? Prayer requires trust both in the power and mercy and wisdom of God. We should not reject any part of that triad.

Does He have the power? Answer - He can solve problems overnight while we are sleeping.

Does He have mercy? Answer - We have many examples of that, even from Christ answering before someone begins to ask, as this miracle shows.

Does He have wisdom? Answer - His wisdom is so far beyond ours that we cannot hope to fathom His thoughts. And yet we know He has managed things well for thousands of years and will continue to do so until the end of time.

6. Now let us observe in this example, what the life and nature of faith are.

The apostle in the Epistle to the Hebrews 11:1, writes thus: “Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen.” That is as much as to say, faith is the means by which one trusts in possessions he does not see, namely, that I should expect temporal things which I can neither see nor hear, but I must only hope for them; as is the case in today’s Gospel. There were many people together, about four thousand, who with their wives and children had had nothing to eat for the space of three days (I judge that can be called fasting), but were extremely hungry, far from home, without any provisions on which the body lives. Now the apostle says, faith is that through which I hope for things I cannot see.

Such a faith the great multitude of people here has; they see no food and yet they hope that God will nourish them.

7. Now, what does Christ do in this case? What attitude does he take to this transaction? He must not have had much tact, for he goes to the disciples and asks, how shall one feed all these? They reply, Oh, who will be able to feed such a great multitude of people with bread in the wilderness? But here you see how little human thoughts and faith harmonize; here you see, the wiser reason is, the less it accomplishes in the works of God. Therefore Christ asked his disciples that everyone might learn to know by experience what reason is, and acknowledge how reason and faith in no way agree. Here we learn to blindfold reason, when we begin to believe, and then give reason a permanent furlough.

The congregation in Midland did not want to give up their subsidized mortgage, so they could only build with cash to maintain that deal. They did not think that was possible, though they all worked in the best-paying industry in America. That is why I called their finance committee The Bad News Bears. When they were done with the report, everyone thought, "What's the use? We won't make it until Christmas."

5 And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven. 6 And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people. 

The details show us that there is only a tiny amount of food, perhaps only enough to feed the disciples a little. So the facts overwhelm us if we set aside faith. 

The miraculous abundance is shown when people easily and happily take part in the spiritual aspects of a congregation. Our little group publishes, and we get help from all over the nation for editing Luther. The Word of God is cast here and there, and it bears fruit. Gifts have made it possible to send free copies to people so they can easily give them away. CPH has trinkets and Gerhard for $40. We have no trinkets for Reformation and Luther for $5.

One rabbi said, "The best gift is one where the person does not know who is getting it and the recipient does not know who gave it." Paul wrote something similar to the Corinthians, when He said the poor in Jerusalem will thank God for the help provided.

One school hired me to teach among the poor in the area. I said, "I live there." I could see the gears grinding and overheating among the full-time staffers, who live a bit higher on the hog, as we used to say in Illinois. They could not imagine living there, and yet we have an ideal life in this little neighborhood. 

7 And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them. 8 So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets. 9 And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.

Even Jesus prayed before meals. The Eucharist - Holy Communion - means Thanksgiving. 

We should listen to those Words of Consecration in the Sacrament - He gave thanks.

Abundance follows thanksgiving. It is not for us to decide what that abundance will be. I met a very impressive missionary to China long ago. He told me his security guard was an executioner who carried his axe with him. (That was before Axe was a men's fragrance.)

I thought about being a foreign missionary. I wanted to go to Israel and do archeology work too. I discovered my missionary work was to teach the Word of God to atheists and rationalists who lead the Lutheran denominations. They are almost as dangerous as pagan head-hunters. They are coarse, brutish, and ignorant. But several of them have said, "I finally got what you have been trying to say to us." When one person said that, he lost his cushy position and was shipped off to a non-Lutheran position in another country. 

  From Norma A. Boeckler

Luther's Sermon on Faith and Love.
Trinity Seven. Mark 8:1-9




SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.


This sermon appeared in pamphlet form in seven separate editions during the year 1523; also in the collections of “Ten Useful Sermons” of 1523 and of twenty-seven sermons of 1523.

Text. Mark 8:1-9. In those days, when there was again a great multitude, and they had nothing to eat, he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and ,if I send them away fasting to their home, they will faint on the way; and some of them are come from far. And his disciples answered him, Whence shall one be able to fill these men with bread here in a desert place? And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven. And he commandeth the multitude to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he brake, and gave to his disciples, to set before them; and they set them before the multitude. And they had a few small fishes: and having blessed them, he commanded to set these also before them. And they ate, and were filled: and they took up, of broken pieces that remained over, seven baskets. And they were about four thousand: and he sent them away.

CONTENTS:

CONCERNING FAITH AND LOVE.
I. CONCERNING FAITH.

1. What is the true picture which faith must have of Christ.

1. The picture of fear and grace.

2. Faith In regard to temporal possessions. a. Where this faith is not, there can be no faith in regard to spiritual and eternal possessions. 3-4. It is rare that you find a true Christian. b. The true nature and manner of this faith. c. This faith harmonizes in no way with reason. 7f. d. How to distinguish this faith from unbelief. 8-10.

3. Concerning faith in its relation to eternal possessions. a. Its nature. b. How this faith is painted here in a visible living form. 12-13. The power and working of unbelief. 14.

II. CONCERNING LOVE.

1. How we can learn love from the example of Christ. 15-16.

2. This love Is not found among the priests, monks and nuns.

3. God insists upon this love throughout his Word. 17-18.

4. This love should be united with faith. 19.

SUMMARY OF THIS GOSPEL:

1. Here we have a clear, plain passage of Scripture against the temptation in securing our daily bread. To this the last part of the sixth chapter of Mathew refers.

2. When we read of the unbelief and distrust of the saints, it should minister strong consolation to us that we despair not, although we are also still weak in our faith.

3. God the Lord, nourishes us still today contrary to all comprehension of reason, if we only view it rightly. Ah, God will never forsake you, who perhaps have yet only a few days to live, for this God has so richly nourished you until the present through thirty, forty, or fifty years.

4. Every creature of God is good, if we receive and enjoy it with thanksgiving, for it is sanctified by the Word of God and by prayer, as St.

Paul writes in 1 Timothy 4:4.

JESUS FEEDS THE FOUR THOUSAND WITH SEVEN LOAVES AND A FEW SMALL FISHES.

PART. I. CONCERNING FAITH.

1. Beloved friends, I hope you thoroughly understand this Gospel; for you are now sufficiently established in the truth to know what we should expect in the Gospel and what is presented to us there, namely, the true nature and life of faith. Because of this Christ is pictured and represented so lovingly in all the Gospel lessons. Although his history and works are ever changing, yet the plain, simple faith remains ever the same. To-day’s Gospel paints to us the Lord in a way that we may fully know how we should esteem him, namely, that he is merciful, meek and loving; that he gladly helps everybody and freely associates and deals with all people. And such a picture as this faith really craves.

2. Therefore the Scriptures present to us a double picture; one is that of fear or the overpowering picture of the severe wrath of God, before which no one can stand; but must despair unless he has faith. In contrast with this the picture of grace is presented to us in order that faith may behold it and obtain for itself an agreeable and comforting refuge in God, with the hope that man cannot expect so much from God, that there is not still much more to be had from him.

3. You have often heard that there are also two kinds of possessions, spiritual and temporal. To-day’s Gospel treats of the temporal and bodily blessings, teaches us the faith of the child, and it is a picture for the weak, in that they should look to God for everything good, and that they might thus later learn to trust God and depend upon him for spiritual blessings.

For if we are instructed in the Gospel, how Christ feeds our stomachs, we can then conclude that he will also feed and clothe our souls. For if I cannot trust him to sustain my body, much less can I trust him to sustain my soul forever. For example, if I cannot trust a person that he will give me one dollar, how can I trust him that he will give me ten? If I cannot expect from a person that he will give me a piece of bread; much less could I have any hope, that he would give me a house and yard, and the whole earth.

4. Now, he who cannot, like the babe on its mother’s breast, have a child faith, will hardly hope that God will forgive him his sins and save his soul forever; for the soul is inexpressibly more than the stomach, for which also Christ has compassion as the Gospel to-day proves. Therefore St. Peter said correctly in 1 Peter 2:1-3: “Beloved brethren: Putting away therefore all wickedness, and all guile, anal hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, long for the spiritual milk which is without guile, that ye may grow thereby unto Salvation; if ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” For it is not enough that a babe should imbibe milk, but it must also grow large and strong, that it may learn later to eat bread and hard food.

5. But “to feed on milk” means, to taste the favor and the kind grace of God. “To taste the goodness of God” means, to experience it in one’s life.

For should I preach a hundred years of God, how kind, sweet and good he is, that he condescends to help man, and I have not yet myself tasted it through experience; thus all is still in vain and no one is in this way taught to trust God rightly. From this you can conclude what a rare person a true Christian is. For there are many who say they trust in God for their daily bread; but that floats only upon the tongue and hangs in the ears; it never enters the heart where it belongs.

6. Now let us observe in this example, what the life and nature of faith are.

The apostle in the Epistle to the Hebrews 11:1, writes thus: “Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen.” That is as much as to say, faith is the means by which one trusts in possessions he does not see, namely, that I should expect temporal things which I can neither see nor hear, but I must only hope for them; as is the case in today’s Gospel. There were many people together, about four thousand, who with their wives and children had had nothing to eat for the space of three days (I judge that can be called fasting), but were extremely hungry, far from home, without any provisions on which the body lives. Now the apostle says, faith is that through which I hope for things I cannot see.

Such a faith the great multitude of people here has; they see no food and yet they hope that God will nourish them.

7. Now, what does Christ do in this case? What attitude does he take to this transaction? He must not have had much tact, for he goes to the disciples and asks, how shall one feed all these? They reply, Oh, who will be able to feed such a great multitude of people with bread in the wilderness? But here you see how little human thoughts and faith harmonize; here you see, the wiser reason is, the less it accomplishes in the works of God. Therefore Christ asked his disciples that everyone might learn to know by experience what reason is, and acknowledge how reason and faith in no way agree. Here we learn to blindfold reason, when we begin to believe, and then give reason a permanent furlough.

8. Take an example: If I were a man who had a wife and children, and had nothing for them and no one gave me anything; then I should believe and hope that God would sustain me. But if I see that it amounts to nothing and I am not helped with food and clothing, what takes place? Then, as an unbelieving fool, I begin to doubt, and go and take whatever is at hand, steal, deceive, cheat the people and make my way the best I can and may.

See this is what shameless unbelief does. But if I am a believer then I close my eyes and say: O God, I am thy creature and thy handiwork and thou hast from the beginning created me. I will depend entirely upon you who cares more for me, how I shall be sustained, than I do myself; thou wilt indeed nourish me, feed, clothe and help me, where and when you know best.

9. Thus faith is a sure foundation, through which I expect that which I see not. Therefore faith must always have sufficient, for before it should fail the angels would have to come from heaven and dig bread out of the earth in order that believing persons should be fed. Yes, the heavens and the earth would have to pass away before God would let his believers lack clothing and the other necessaries of life. The comforting and powerful Word of the divine promise requires and demands this. David boasts of this in Psalm 37:25: “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” And in the verses just preceding in Psalm 37:18-19 he says: “Jehovah knoweth the days of the perfect; and their inheritance shall be forever. They shall not be put to shame in the time of evil; and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.”

10. But when one inquires of reason for counsel it soon says: It is not possible. Yes, you must wait a long time until roasted ducks fly into your mouth, for reason sees nothing, grasps nothing, and nothing is present. Just so the apostles do also here who thought: Yes, who will provide food for so many, no one is able to do that; but had they seen a great pile of money and in addition tables laden with bread and meat, they would soon have discovered good counsel and been able to give good consolation; that would. have gone according to their thinking very reasonably. However, since they saw nothing they could find no counsel, but held it to be impossible that one should thus feed so many people, and especially since no provisions were at hand.

11. We have said enough concerning faith through which we entrust the stomach to God for his care, and believe that he will not allow us to come to distress because of the lack of temporal things. Now concerning spiritual blessings, when we are about to die, I wish also to say: then we will find and see before our eyes very death, and yet we would gladly wish to live; then we will see before us very hell, and yet we would gladly wish to possess heaven; then we will see God’s judgment, and yet we would gladly see his grace. In brief, we will not see a single one of the things we would like to have. No created thing can help us in the presence of death, hell and the judgment of God; and if I believe, I will say: Yes, faith is the fundamental principle by which I secure what I do not see; hence, if I believe, nothing can harm me. Although I see nothing now but death, hell and the judgment of God before my eyes, yet I must not look at them; but fully trust that God, by virtue of the power of his promise, not because of my worthiness, will give me life, salvation and grace. That is cleaving to God by faith in the right way.

12. This is here beautifully painted in the visible picture of the four thousand men who hang on God alone through the faith that says: yes, God will indeed feed us. Had they judged according to reason, they would have said’ Oh, we are so many, we are here in the desert, we have empty and hungry stomachs; nothing can help our condition. There was nothing of which they could speak; but they had a good refuge without any human disputing with God, they commended themselves to him and freely laid all their need upon him. Then Christ comes, before they have any care and before they ask him to come, and takes all more to heart than they do themselves, and says to his disciples: “I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days and have nothing to eat; and if I send them away fasting to their homes, they will faint on the way.”

13. Behold, what a sympathetic Christ we have, who even provides food for our poor stomachs. Here new hope is awakened and man is comforted through the words of Christ; as he says: They lie there and wait for me until the third day. I must give them also what they need. Here you see that all who thus faithfully cling to the Word of God will be fed by God himself; for that is the nature and the power of faith, which flows alone out of the Word of God.

14. Therefore, beloved friends, let us once make a beginning to believe; for unbelief is the cause of all sin and vice, which now have taken the upper hand in all stations of life. How does it come to pass that everywhere there are so many foolish women and rogues, so many rank imposters, thieves, robbers, usurers, murderers and sellers of indulgences? It all comes from unbelief. For such men judge alone according to human reason, and the reason judges only according to that which it sees; but what it does not see, it does not wish to lay hold of. Therefore, if it does not place its confidence in God through faith, then it must despair in itself and develop rogues and rascals. Observe, thus it comes to pass wherever men permit their reason to govern them, and are not ruled by faith.

PART 2. CONCERNING LOVE.

15. Now just as you have learned faith, so should we learn love; for Christ wishes to set before us a twofold picture, namely, a picture of faith, that we should not be over-anxious; also a picture of love, that, as he does to us, is anxious about our welfare, feeds us and gives us to drink and clothes us, only out of free love, not for the sake of his own advantage or because of our worthiness; so should we also do good unto our neighbor, freely and gratuitously, out of pure love, by which, as he is a Christ to you, you should thus also be a Christ to your neighbor.

16. Therefore you see that all the works of the priests, monks and nuns are vain and cursed; for they are not directed to the end to serve their neighbors; but only that they may merit much before God through their works. For true Christian works must be directed entirely and freely to the end that they be done for the good of our neighbor, only freely given and scattered broadcast among the masses; as Christ also did who cast his good deeds away freely for the people to scramble after, and gave his doctrine, word and life for the Church. Blessed are they who accept this giving with thanksgiving.

17. I say this only for the reason that you may see how all parts of the Gospel lessons tend in the direction and will have nothing more, and God also requires nothing more from us, than that we surrender ourselves to the service of our neighbor, and accordingly sustain him in the name of God and in the place of God, do him good and show him a service; for God does not need our good works, as Psalm 50:7-13 says: “Bear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify unto thee: I am God, even thy God. I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices; and thy burntofferings are continually before me. I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he-goats out of thy folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the mountains; and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee; for the world is mine, and the fullness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?”

18. Just so he says to us also; behold, Israel, that is thou believing one, I am thy God and thou art not my God; I will give to you and not you to me.

Hear, Israel, I will not be angry with thee that thou dost not offer me any sacrifices; for what thou hast in thy barn, house and yard, that was all mine before it was thine; for I have stored it away there, Here he spoke very pointedly to the Jews who prided themselves highly on their sacrifices.

Now, since he rejects our offering, what will he then have? The Psalmist in the verses immediately following says: “Offer unto God the sacrifice of thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the Most High; and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” That means, I wish to have thy heart, rest thou in me and believe me to be a kind and gracious God, that I am thy God: then you will have enough.

Therefore he says also in the following Psalm 51:14-19: “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation; and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall show forth thy praise. For thou delightest not in sacrifice; else would I give it: thou hast no pleasure in burnt-offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”

19. In this confidence and hope let thy faith run its course, to acknowledge God as thy friend, to cleave to him and in the greatest need to flee to him, and to one else. Believe it and expect it, then he will help thee, this thou shouldst not doubt; therefore in harmony with this, thou shouldst serve thy neighbor freely and gratuitously. These two thoughts are presented to us in this Gospel.

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