Third Sunday after Epiphany (1905

Matthew 8:1-13 A wonderful example of a humble and strong faith is shown to us in today's Gospel in particular in the centurion of Capernaum. What a great humility reveals itself in his answer: "Lord, I am not worthy" etc.1 How embarrassing this answer is for some so-called Christians, who imagine to render God a service when he goes to church, to Communion, prays, etc. Instead of having someone insist on it as a good work on his part, it should rather mean to him, "Lord I am now worthy that I" etc. But the faith of the centurion is strong faith, firm confidence in all humility. He only asks for a Word from the mouth of Christ, he also trusts everything in this word.2 Even the Lord is surprised over such faith.3 In this glorious example of faith of a man who by birth belonged not to the people of Israel, but was a Gentile, the Lord attaches a quite serious warning when He says, "While the children of the kingdom", etc.4 We have every reason to heed this warning. So let us, etc. The Word of Christ: "The sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." 1. Who is meant by "sons of the kingdom." a. The people of Israel, as the contrast in verses 11 and 12 shows. . it was God's chosen covenant people; . as such it had wonderful benefits5; b. All those to whom the Word is given purely and abundantly. Although there are now no known "sons of the kingdom" in quite the same sense as the Jewish "sons of the kingdom"6; whoever has been born of Christian parents, baptized, instructed from his youth up in the pure doctrine, he is justifiably called a "son of the kingdom." These benefits we enjoy; therefore we are "sons of the kingdom". 2. When and why many of them are thrown out. a. The fact that many of them are thrown out, that is, forfeit their glorious benefits, is shown in . the history of the Jews and many other people (c.f. Luther, Walch X:464); . the experience of every Christian congregation. Even some who enjoyed these glorious benefits from youth up is a prey of the world, sects, lodges or secret unbelief.

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Matthew 8:8a. Matthew 8:8b-9. 3 Matthew 8:10. 4 Matthew 8:12. 5 cf. Romans 3:1-2; 9:4-5. 6 Acts 10:34-35.

b. Why are many of them thrown out. . Not in consequence of a divine decree (Calvinism), . but by their own fault, in particular because of persistent contempt of the Word.7 3. What severe punishment awaits the outcasts. a. Eternal damnation. b. Particularly severe punishments of damnation: "outer" darkness.8 Conclusion: Warm exhortation to all the "sons of the kingdom" partly to return, partly to remain in the faith by diligent and grateful use of their glorious benefits. "Behold, I come quickly" etc.9 H. Spd.

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Matthew 23:37; Acts 7:51. Luke 12:47-48; Matthew 11:20ff. 9 Revelation 3:11.

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