Fourth Sunday after Trinity (1880

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Luke 6:36-42 Among the catchwords of our time perhaps we hear none more frequently than the word love. This love does not depend on faith, some say, but from love; but they have no idea that true love arises from true faith.1 It does not matter on what religion someone belongs, others claim, but only that one demonstrates love by assisting the poor and needy. But what the world calls love and bestowal of love is, in large part, the very opposite of love, namely whitewashed selfishness and self-love, such as, for example, among unbelieving, anti-Christian benevolent societies and benefit societies of our time. The less frequently the right, godly rendering of true Christian charity is now found and still, on the other hand, the more urgent the physical and spiritual need of our fellowmen calls on you to take care of them, the more necessary the multiple admonitions of God's Word for exhortation, and indeed from Christ's own mouth, that today's Gospel contains. Christ's exhortation for rendering more compassionate charity: 1. what people are exhorted to this. These are a. not unconverted people of the world; because they must first be children of God and good trees through a new birth, because they are still dead in sin2 and bad trees, before we can expect any truly good works as fruits from them3, b. only the faithful4 who α. have experienced God's mercy in Christ through forgiveness of sins, and who β. also truly love their neighbor, from love of God, their Father; 2. in what the bestowal of more compassionate charity consist. They chiefly consist of three things: a. in not judging and not condemning.5 This is not forbidding the judging and condemnation which secular authorities, parents, and preachers have to exercise at God's command and according to the Word of God, but the uncalled for and not happening on the basis of God's Word judging and condemnation, as that which is apparent from hatred, thoughtless contempt of the neighbor and the like and therefore contradicts compassionate charity;

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Galatians 5:6. Ephesians 2:1. 3 Matthew 7:17. 4 Luke 6:36. 5 Luke 6:37.

in particular the loveless splinter-judging with the beam in their own eye, as is so often with blind hypocrites and blind leaders and their disciples6 b. in forgiving.7 Pious children of God regard, when they are offended, mercifully more the spiritual misery of those who thus sin against them as the suffered humiliation itself that they happily forgive when the wrong is detected, mindful of the Words of Christ8, c. in giving9. Among the general physical distress of earthly life, there is hardly more opportunity to a charitable rendering of love than this; the righteous disciples of Jesus, where it is at all possible, do not let such an opportunity pass by unused and forgotten10; 3. what a glorious reward of grace is promised to those who practice compassionate charity; a. However, this is only a reward of grace, partly because believing Christians are not able to merit with their continual but only imperfect rendering of love to God11, partly they have indeed received everything already by grace, for Christ's sake, through faith: righteousness, life, and salvation, and therefore need not first merit something by good works, b. however, this reward of grace is a great and glorious thing; because α. while those who judge and condemn are again judged and condemned, those who by the grace of God do not judge and condemn have in it a sign that they will not be judged and condemned12, β. while those who do not forgive are not forgiven by God, those who by the grace of God forgive their neighbor have in it a sign that they have forgiveness of all their sins by God13, γ. while those who do not give also receive nothing, but will end up losing everything, those often here below in time, but certainly some day in eternity, a rich measure of retribution is poured into their lap.14 G[eorg] S[töckhardt]

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Luke 6:39-42. Luke 6:37. 8 Matthew 18:22. 9 Luke 6:38. 10 2 Corinthians 9:7. 11 Isaiah 64:6; Luke 17:10. 12 Luke 6:37. 13 ibid. 14 Luke 6:38.

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