Sexagesima (1882) | Last Judgment | Faith

Sexagesima (1882

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Luke 8:4-15 "Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves."1 This challenge of the Apostle to the Corinthians is of the highest importance for all Christians at all times. For a serious and sincere self-examination, whether we are in the true faith, has a doubly great benefit. First of all, it protects them from self-deception and deception in His Christianity. Second, it awakens and drives the righteous to new earnestness and zeal and to greater fidelity in it, or even to a more righteous conversion, if he recognizes in his self-examination that he may not even be a Christian. But if self-examination should have this benefit, then it is necessary to prove itself in the right way and to apply the right standard. One should be directed in this occasion not according to the judgment of his reason, still less according to the world, not even according to the judgment of his fellow Christians, although this is not indifferent, but above all according to God's Word. And because faith comes from preaching, there is no doubt the most important issue for self-examination is this: How do I hear God's Word? For this purpose the Lord has also presented the parable of today's Gospel; for He says warningly a few verses afterward: "Take care then how you hear." How have we heard God's Word up to now? Have we heard it 1. as irreverent and inattentive hearers, or 2. as fickle and unstable hearers, or finally 3. as hearers eager for salvation? Introductory remarks: The seed is the Word of God.2 As a seed carries in itself a vitality, from which emerge new seeds, so the word of Holy Scripture has a divine power within to awaken in dead by sin men new spiritual life, spiritual strength. For it is God's Word, the same Word that once called the world into being out of nothing, that made in Christ's mouth the sick healthy, the blind see, the dead alive.3 The Word of God wants receptive hearts. As the seed can only bring new fruit if it is sown in well-prepared soil, so also the Word of God; while the heart of the same prepares itself to receive it, and man can do nothing about it, but man can prevent the working of the Word in his heart. Therefore Christ says: "Take care then how you hear."4

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2 Corinthians 13:5. Luke 8:5, 11. 3 James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23. 4 Luke 8:18.

1. irreverent and inattentive hearers, a. the hearers themselves.5 In what way a hearer is like a hard-trodden path? by natural apathy and indifference, prejudice, sins against conscience, suppressing of the better stirring of the heart that the Word sometimes works6; b. the result of such futile hearing7, the devil either himself or through his apprentices, evil knaves, seductive company. - Are you such a hearer? 2. fickle and unstable hearers,8 a. those on the rock9 fall away at the time of temptation; should they suffer for the sake of the Word all kinds of ridicule, derision, persecution, or sickness, cross, comes, they say, "How should this happen to me as a Christian? Previously everything went as desired, now everything is wrong. There may be a Christian who wants this, not me!" b. those among thorns10 fall away either apparently back into the world, as Demas, or remain externally in the fellowship of Christians, but concern for earthly things slowly suffocates concern for heavenly things and surprised from death they are thrown as twicedead, barren trees into the fire of hell.11 Are you perhaps such a hearer? 3. hearers eager for salvation,12 a. they hear rightly, i.e., to learn diligently, devoutly, with supplication and heartfelt 13 desire , b. they keep the Word and ponder it in the heart as Mary14, they live in it15 so that divine power and divine wisdom is in them more and more, c. they bring fruit in patience, i.e., they more and more die away to sin and world, are more and more heavenly minded, caring for their souls more and more, earthly things always trivial, they live more and more according to Philippians 4:8; have more and more patience in afflictions, always more certain hope of salvation and thus proclaim more and more that God has called them out of darkness, etc. Are you by God's grace such a hearer? O.H.

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Luke 8:5, 12. Felix in Acts 24:25; Agrippa in Acts 26:29. 7 Luke 8:12. 8 Luke 8:6-7, Cf. 13-14. 9 Luke 8:6, 13. 10 Luke 8:7, 14. 11 Judas Iscariot, the rich man, the unjust servant. 12 Luke 8:8, 15. 13 1 Samuel 3:9; Acts 10:33, 16:14; Proverbs 4:17. 14 Luke 2:19, 51. 15 Deuteronomy 6:6-7; Colossians 3:16.

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