Arise, shine, for thy light is come, cries the prophet 800 long years before the birth of the Christ-child. And though wave upon wave of darkness engulfed the world during those 800 years, still at long last He arises in the temple at Jerusalem and proclaims: I am the light of the world, even as the prophet had foretold it. The people that sat in darkness have seen a great light, cried the same prophet. And though the darkness of unbelief and gross superstition had fallen like a great pall over the very people of God, it is nevertheless fulfilled by the irresistible power of the immeasurable love of God: I am the light of the world. Though all the darkness of all the ages gather together to destroy all life and being, it shall never again be that gross darkness covers the people, for the light of life is come. And though all the darkness of death be called about us in one vast fearful gloom, it shall never prevail and never pour out despair over all men. For see, the light is truly come; it shines in the midst of night and makes us the sons of light. Yes, thus we sang at the manger at Bethlehem, and with the loud gladness of that rejoicing still in our hearts, we shall be most ready to hear the Christ grown to full manhood repeat it for us with abundant assurance. Strong and sure it rings out, this
Testimony of Jesus Christ of Himself
It reads: I am the light of the world.
It claims: The record is true.
Then Jesus spoke again unto them, St. John records for us. Ah what a wealth of patience and love lies in that little word “again.” At length had He spoken to them, in the face of opposition, in the face of doubt, in the face of bitter enmity and scorn. Undeterred and unafraid, His patient love stays not its hand to bring His people light and life. Indeed in the very hour when the hatred of many of His hearers was ready to rend Him asunder, in that hour does He speak this word of immeasurable grace: I am the light of the world.
Is it not simply told, so that a little child as well as the feeblest dying one can quickly understand? He is the light, the bright warm shining light. It dispels all the gloom, for it is for all the world and all the possible darkness within it, a light so great, so resplendent, that it can and does encompass the whole wide universe at all times and ages, from the very beginning to the day of doom. All doubtful asking, Whither shall we go and what path shall we choose, is removed. The light shines clearly and sharply, so that the way is known, every way, everyone’s way, for rich and poor, great and small, in all the walks of life. All fear for the future and all its grim possibilities is engulfed in this vast light. It penetrates the farthest recesses of the years ahead, leaving no dark corner unlighted, no fearful abyss unilluminated. To the very gates of death it shines and falls upon the dark portals of that end of life. But see, it shines straightway through the gates of death and all the darkness disappears. For thus He testifies: I am the light of the world. Even more it does, this light. Oh it has a strange power: It even reaches eternity and the everlasting throne of God and shines into the very judgment chamber itself. For it is the light, the very essence of light itself, before which all uncertainty, even that of eternity must vanish. For He is the light of the world.
Oh tis a warm light, warm in His heavenly love. It is not just one of those pleasant or beautiful words, but rather a word filled with the very warmth of heaven itself. For Jesus adds: He that follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life. Clearly, freely, fully, He pours out the blessings of this light over us, so that we shall have all its benefits. For it is the light of life, and oh that makes it plain and clear, how it is the light that covers all the world. Where the sin of man had set death, He sets the light of life. He is so strong and great, that He dispels all the gloom of sin and fills the sin-ridden world with life. Instead of wondering why we are living anyway, and what is it all about, His brightness brings the answer: You live to live forever, and death can never hold you. Your whole future is wrapped up in the light of life and all the dark corners of sickness and poverty, of wretchedness and woe, are filled with this peaceful life. Indeed, so much is He the light of life that the grave is of the brightness of life, bearing in itself the very seed of life. But best of all, this light of life continues at our side before the throne of judgment, and there dispels all the gloom of sin so that no one shall condemn us.
Yes, it shines in the midst of night and makes us the sons of light. For oh hear it well, this all belongs to us without price and without condition. The rays of this powerful light are shining in His Word in rich and fulsome promise on every page, and Jesus calls in loving invitation: Just follow the light, put all your hope and trust in this and every other word of promise and lo, you have this light of life. Set all your troubles and all your doubts and all your fears straightway into this light, and lo, the gloom of it shall vanish, so that even the greatest sorrow shall be made to glow in the warmth of His love. This is the testimony of Jesus Christ.
This record is true, this testimony is sure and correct, all human wisdom and knowledge, all human doubt and human scorn to the contrary. It would seem impossible that anyone should have an interest in doubting this testimony, of course. But there it is: The Jews immediately assail His record, and claim it to be false, because He has no witnesses to bear Him out, because He is only talking for Himself and in His own favor. It would but be a waste of time to speak of the long, long list of men following after the example of the Jews and doubting the testimony of the Master. For it is but a mournful reminder of our own continuous doubts and uncertain waverings concerning the Master.
The blessedness of our text is the definite assurance that all doubts concerning the security in the light of life should never hold our hearts. For Jesus knows. Ah yes, He knows, not only all our weaknesses and our sins and many, many iniquities. Much more does He know all those things of which we are so hopelessly ignorant. And so He knows that He is the light of the world, that every one may follow after Him, and that surely the light of life is then ours. For see, He knows whence He came. Far, far back does His knowledge go. In this hour He remembers the time when in the eternities before the world ever was made, He was with the Father. There they planned to make a light in the world when it shall have been plunged into darkness. The whole plan was worked out into the last detail. But more, much more: They saw every one of us and recorded us by name and determined that we should see this light of life and be saved. There in the heavens, where all is light and lasting life, the plan was made to reveal to us here in this land, how the Savior was born and how He would remove all sin and all the curse of death and make us heirs of heaven. Knowing this, how should He not so surely declare: I am the light of the world.
But also does He know whither He goes. Oh how much certainty is there. He knows so definitely. A few words after our text John says that they wanted to kill Him then, but they could not, for His hour was not yet come. He definitely knew whither He was going: to Gethsemane and to Golgotha to triumph over all the woes of man and make the light shine in the world; to the grave and back to life, that He might plant eternal life in the world; to the heavenly throne and the right hand of God, whence He would send His light and His life back to us as our sure heritage and possession. Ah yes, He has all knowledge in a world of uncertainty and doubt. His record is true and we may rest our souls content in His assurance: He is our light.
Yes, His judgment is true, for He is not alone, never alone in that loving plan to save the children of men. He and the Father are together, the Father who had sent Him and the Son who had come to save them which were lost. All the immeasurable powers of the heavens in mighty array stand together in this one thing: For all men shall we make light that all darkness and fear and sadness and gloom shall be broken. We shall bind the evil foe in chains and break His awful power, so that it may become true in all the world among all nations and all races of people: The light has come and shines in the darkness.
And so the testimony is true and sure, so that we may walk in the light of it with security. Through the years we may carry all our sins and unbeliefs into the blessed light and have His seal of forgiveness. Through the years we carry our tears and sadness into His bright presence and have them hallowed and all the curse surrounding them dispelled. Through the years we take our griefs over our departed ones into the light of life, and ever live in the sure knowledge of an eternal resurrection and the life. And at the end of years we shall take our own death as it creeps upon us with its awful darkness and drag it with feeble hands into the light of life and lo, our death shall become a warm and kindly friend, with whom we shall walk on into the light of eternal life.
Oh Zion, arise and shine: Let thy light shine among men, that all remotest nations shall come to His light and all people to the brightness of His rising: For He, He is the light of the world. Amen.
Jesus Christ, the true high priest and king of His vast invisible kingdom, that kingdom without end, reaches into the heaven to the throne of the eternal Father, that He might take from the Father’s hand the blessed gift of unity for His kingdom. Elect from every nation, scattered over all the face of the earth, spread out across the endless centuries, separated by language and customs and space and time, lo, they are to be one, as He and the Father are one, firmly knit and welded together, fused into one inseparable whole, in a unity which shall culminate in the glorious one fold and one shepherd in the eternal kingdom of the blessed. His cry rises to heaven and the eternal throne, and as ever, it is heard. The beloved Son never cries in vain, the gift is taken from the heavens, and His kingdom has it, an unshakable, unalterable unity to the end of time, to all the long eternities. Elect from every nation, yet one o’er all the earth.
Oh blessed be His name, that He has thus assured us. For sorely does it irk us and often fiercely oppress us, that His kingdom should be so invisible to human ken, that it comes not at all with observation, that it should be in the world, but not at all of the world. With earthbound minds men love to drag His vast kingdom also onto the earth to make it an earthly power, to make it something to be reckoned with by all the men outside of the fold, to make it known as a visibly great thing and earthly active thing, and therefore to bind it together into one vast visible whole, to which men look with awe and admiration. We even like to dream that then this kingdom would grow and prosper more, that men would flock to it, and that the world would finally learn to think the Gospel great if only the kingdom were visibly large.
Alas, by this earthly and faithless thinking, men of great sincerity and high ideals have ever dragged down the visible church of Jesus into the dust of the earth and soon lost all the true unity which Christ has given to His church invisible. And so we bless His name and praise His love and mercy which so much assure us in our text, that His kingdom is truly knit together in one, a unity that is a gift of heaven which no man or power can break or shatter. We need not even pray that this unity remain, for it has been established long ago by the king of His people. But we do pray Him to help us keep in mind that His kingdom comes not with observation, that all visible pomp and display is not at all of His true kingdom nor a part of it, that the unity of His kingdom is invisible and a gift of heaven, so that we might thus prayerfully endeavor to cling to this unity and hold it as a treasure of trusting faith. And we do pray that He might help us to pattern with all faithfulness our visible church organization, whether it be a congregation or a conference or a large synod, that it may conform in the highest measure to the description of His true invisible kingdom, to the glory of His name and of His Word. That we might more diligently do this and in the true spirit of Christ, we shall try with the help of His Spirit to see the vast foundation of that true unity of His kingdom, to see the immensity of the power that binds together, to see the glory and the beauty of the congregation of saints in all the world. Oh see the Savior’s gift:
The unity of the Spirit
It is bound up in His name.
It is sanctified by His Word.
It is exalted by His glory.
Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one. Lo, the impossible is to come to pass: The entirely scattered elect over all the earth, hopelessly separated and with no visible tie to bind them together, are to be one, bound together in an inseparable unity that shall have no end. No organization, no regulations, no possible meetings, no agreements, no force of control of any kind there can possibly be, for they are so widely separated by time and space. They do not even know each other, much less have any sure and physical contact with each other. Tis a widely divided throng of uncounted and unnumbered ones, who cover the face of the universe and the long corridors of time. And to this Jesus sets His hand to join with the Father in making a unity of them.
And lo, the impossible comes to pass. The king finds a way, the high priest in His immeasurable love finds the one tie that shall firmly knit and hold them all together: Keep them, He cries, keep them through Thy name, that they may be one. The name of the eternal God is to be the binding tie holding the kingdom joined together forever. Ah, here is a new thing, an entirely unheard-of and unthought-of thing: a vast congregation bound not by law and statute, nor by mutual agreement, nor by force of any kind of control, but simply by and through the name of their God. And it has been so fulfilled, in a full trust and confidence we know it and rejoicing also know full well why it indeed had to come about. For the name of God, the eternal name of the Father, Son, and Spirit, ah, that is something to conjure with, something to work miracles by, something of still unmeasured strength and immensity.
For see, in that name are poured out all the blessings of heaven. Not only does the name give authority to give the blessings, but the very name itself contains it and passes it on as a stream of life-blood to His elect. The very name Jesus pronounces the cancellation of all sins and makes an holy people, without blemish and without spot. The very name Father pours out all daily bread and shelter and protection without end and bound. The name Spirit causes to pour forth all the spiritual gifts of the eternal home, all love and joy and hope and peace past understanding. The name Jehovah is as a sure foundation, making the agreement of God to save them eternally an absolute surety to all His own. Like a vast tower of strength and security here and forever are the names Mighty God, King of Kings, Lord of Hosts. With chains of love and lovingkindness as an unheard-of binding force are the names Good Shepherd, the Bread of Life, the Prince of Peace. We will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever, cry His elect, in the sure guidance of the names Counselor, the Way and the Truth, the Comforter. Into the chamber of death and up to the awful throne in sure confidence we walk in the sure companionship of the Resurrection and the Life, the judge of the quick and the dead. Holy Father, keep them through Thy name that they may be one.
Oh see the unity of the Spirit. Tis nothing vague, nothing unclear, nothing uncertain. Ten thousand times ten thousand are bound together and firmly united in trusting faith and confidence in the name of our God. Daily and hourly all the elect of God are blessed with abundant blessing in His name. Year in, year out, more are added to the union in the name of the Tri-une God at the baptismal waters. Month after month the name of Jesus is written upon them in His blood of the holy sacrament. Morning and evening, day and night, the invisible host kneels in the fellowship of prayer crying in unison of faith and voice: Abba, Father. Oh, an unbreakable union and unity it is; for see, the name remains, it remains unchanged forever, subject neither to the vagaries of the human heart nor to the justice and wrath of the eternal God. Once established, it stands forever and through it the kingdom is held in close unity without fail.
Ah, in the present striving after unions and combining of forces of the church visible, O Zion see to it that you follow the pattern of the church invisible. Remember and see that the Lord our God and Father alone can make and give the unity of the Spirit. It is a miracle from His hand, to which man can add nothing, which man can only greatly hinder or spoil. We can but see with adoring eyes when the miracle has been wrought before our eyes in the church visible and give all glory to Him. For His alone is the name and all its blessings, and He alone does give it to men, women, and children to have and to hold in confident faith unto death. Where’er we find some fellowmen who thus are bound and held by the name of the only God, do we proclaim a union and a unity of the Spirit in praise and thanks to God, who alone does wondrous things.
But knowing well the weakness of the flesh, the waywardness of the human heart, the pride and arrogance of mind and heart dwelling within sinful men, the Master prays for absolute security for the unity of His kingdom. For had He not seen how the church visible of His day had misused the name of their God, how they had filled it with heathen thought and fancy, how they had removed from it the grace and the blessing? Had He not seen how dead had become their faith, how self-righteous their heart? And so the church of His saints must be made safe, that theirs shall be a sure unity of the Spirit, with sure foundation to stand upon, a foundation that shall not be moved. Therefore the love of the high priest prompts Him to cry to the Father: Sanctify them in Thy truth; Thy Word is truth.
Yes, they are indeed the communion of saints, this kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Lord. Sanctified, that is, set aside from all the world, it is a peculiar people, all alone of its kind. They are in the world, yet not of the world, for they are sanctified in the truth. Their purpose in life, their purpose in death, their plans and hopes for eternity, all are different from anyone and anything else in the world, for they are sanctified. Wherever they are, whoever they may be, whenever and under whatever circumstances they may live, they are all unified and one in this sanctification in the truth. Not in self-service nor in self-righteousness nor in earthly-mindedness, not in service of sin and vice, but as the free men of God, they have one steadfast purpose: serve the Lord with gladness, come into His presence with singing; know ye that the Lord, He is God; He hath made us and we are His, we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. [Ps. 100:3]
And the foundation of the saints of the Lord is the Word. Oh the sure Word, the clear Word, the Word full of strength and power. In absolute clarity it proclaims the truth, the truth of salvation, the truth of life and death, of sin and grace. In absolute firmness it establishes the truth of the justification of sinners, the salvation through conversion, the security in the eternal election of grace, the sanctification of the Spirit, the sure hope of everlasting life. In unswerving truthfulness it gives information on the foes that threaten, concerning the heresies that endanger the truth, concerning false doctrines that pervert the soul. With gentle patience it leads on the road that carries us from this world into the eternal bliss. Of all things in all the world it never changes, never grows old, is always just right for all possible conditions, never requiring interpretation, never an argument. Thy Word is truth, the whole communion of saints sings rejoicing in the firm foundation of the Lord’s elect.
There, there is the sure ground also for the unity of the Spirit. Grouped about the Word, resting on the Word, trusting in the sure Word, believing and hoping in all the promises of this Word, the church is one. It is very jealous of this Word, that no one touch or change or alter it, so that Paul even cries if an angel from heaven would dare to alter it, he would be accursed. For it is the complete revelation and source of information on which the church’s entire hope rests. It is in every word and every syllable the very word of God itself, and in one sure unity of thought and spirit the elect rest their hopes upon it unto death.
For safety and security it has been given, this Word, not only for the sure knowledge of eternal life for each individual Christian, but also for a sure foundation of Christian fellowship. As the invisible church is united in one on the sure basis of the inspired Word, so the church visible of the true faith bases all Christian fellowship after this pattern. As we can not look into the hearts of all who claim to be our fellow Christians, the Word has become the judge of Christian fellowship and union and ever must remain the only guide. Very jealous is the church of this Word. It will not do to speak in pious generalities on this vital matter, nor can compromise ever satisfy the saints of God. It is not deterred by accusations of lack of brotherly love and sins against the Eighth Commandment, knowing well that the Word brooks no careless wording of doctrine, knowing that the Word is truth and all human words patterned in doctrinal form must agree in every syllable and conform to the Word. For the Word alone is truth and in that truth the salvation of man doth rest. If but one small fraction of the Word is perverted, the whole structure will finally fall.
Full well do we know that under this standard the church of the true Word will always be small and fighting under stress and strain. Full well do we understand that it is hardly possible or to be expected that large visible bodies will be clearly united and under such stern ruling of the Word. But we also know full well that such large unions are not essential to the well-being of the true church invisible. Calmly and serenely does the Master carry on in His invisible kingdom and with sure hand set aside those who shall be saved. Sanctified in Thy truth, O Lord, set aside and separated from even the smallest slight upon Thy Word, we shall in Thy strength and on the strong basis of Thy Word endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, the peace that passes understanding.
The glory which Thou gavest Me, I have given them, that they may be one, as we are one. Ah, yes, that unity of the Spirit has a splendor which transcends all human and worldly splendor, past computation and past all understanding of the human mind. In this glorious splendor does the church invisible rest completely satisfied and seeks no other, despising all human forms of glory and greatness, lest they lose the heavenly and divine, which Christ their Lord called down from the heavens upon them. United they stand in the glory of Jesus Christ and the Father.
For that was no miserly hand which poured forth this last and greatest of all the unifying blessings. The central name and pillar established, the sure and lasting foundation laid in the Word, the Master opens the horn of plenty which is in heaven and pours forth the superlative majesty and power and glorification of all the eternities upon His people when He asks from the Father’s hand: The glory which Thou hast given Me, I have given them. Ah, human words will ever fail to completely describe this glory and splendor of the Son of God. We find in His Word how many dozens of times the Lord speaks of this glory, and yet we only dimly realize its immeasurable supremacy. It manifests itself in the superlative power of the Son of God when He calls a Lazarus from the grave, as the powerful Master of life and death. It appears upon the pages of history when He proves Himself the ruler of nations and kingdoms, causing them to rise and to fall, shifting about the countless millions of men at His good pleasure. We catch a glimpse of it upon the hill of transfiguration, and again after His resurrection, when neither time nor space counted for ought to Him, the utterly glorified One. A Stephen saw another view of His glory when heaven was opened to Him and He cries out in joyful wonder that he sees the judge of the quick and dead sitting at the right hand of the power of God. We dimly realize it in the word the only-begotten Son of the Father, one with the eternal one, the only heir of all the heavens and owner of all the world. But oh far above it all we see the glory and rejoice in it with heavenly joy when we see His arms stretched out upon the cross on Calvary, reaching out to all the ends of the earth and claiming all the souls of man through His innocent suffering and death: the Savior glory of the Son of God. In all His works is His glory, a glory of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
And all His glory and all His works which are His glory He has given unto His own, that they and He and the Father should be one in fulsome unity. In strong faith the members of the church invisible cling to this, for truly His kingdom comes not with observation. We see the weakness and the sinfulness, the lack of faith and trust, the worldliness and earthliness in all their ugliness. But hidden from the eyes of men and known only to the King of Kings is the glory that belongs to His church, His own glory, which He has given them. Theirs is the power with which they overcome the fears of death, the burdens of this life, the terrors of the judgment. With Him they are the kings who rule with Him in the strength of the faith that is in them, judging all things and being judged of no one. Within themselves they carry that new man, which is their earthly portion of the glorification which shall be made known fully hereafter. With Him they shall in heaven rule and judge, as they who have been chosen before the beginning of time. With Him they are the sons of God, crying freely to the Father, sharing in His possessions, heirs of His heavenly kingdom. And as they walk this world, they are His priests, who gather in His name the eternally saved ones to complete the flock, which shall be forever one. Hidden before all eyes, the glory of Jesus Christ is fully given to all the kingdom’s members, and by His glory and work they are one, with one hope, one faith, one work, which nothing will cause to cease.
Oh give us faith and trust, O Lord, to surely know that Thy kingdom comes not with observation, that Thy glory is there, and that we be filled with joy in this, not desiring any other. Outward greatness, greatness in numbers visible, greatness in much doing that is seen of men, are not a part of the glory. In the end all externals will only serve to disrupt the church of Christ visible. But that the glory of Christ is ours and that in true service to Him we conform as much as possible the visible church to the invisible – that must be our stern endeavor. Any outward union must base itself on such inner unity, must show itself in equal belief in the inner hidden glory of the church, must be based on a uniformity of practice, conforming to this inner kingdom. For how shall ever the futile and immature organizations of man and all their greatness compare with the glory which we have as the sons of God?
O Lord of Hosts, we pray for Thy Spirit, that we avoid all earthly-mindedness in Thy kingdom, all ill-begotten fellowship with others holding not Thy truth, and endeavor to keep the true unity of the Spirit, that there may still be for our children a church visible of the true faith. Abide with us until Thou hast made true the promise: Then, then there shall be one fold and one shepherd. Amen.
The law and the prophets were until John; from that time the Gospel of the kingdom of God is preached. Yes, the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven is at hand – that is the sum and substance, the keynote of the New Testament dispensation. Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Man, is king, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. His cry rings out into all the world: Repent ye, repent ye, turn away from all the foolish philosophies and the vain religious fancies of man: The kingdom of heaven is at hand. This rings out true and sure throughout His Word, and our text for today is no exception. As you read it or hear it, forget not that the king of His kingdom is speaking to His people with the voice of creative authority. He does not make demands on His people, as though He were a dispenser of a new system of laws and regulations; much rather does He with all His words, even when He calls upon His people to do something, work as the creative king who makes His demands come to pass. He is king indeed, the true king who gives to His people that which He asks of them. Oh see Him deal with the ugly foe of man, of sinful greedy man: the mammon of unrighteousness. Even this foe must bow to the King of Kings, even this ruler and god of the hearts of men must come to serve the Master. Let our text preach it to you in definite and heartening assurance:
Christ is the master of mammon.
He makes it work for Him.
He gives its efforts divine results.
Even as all the works of the king of His kingdom are glorious and delightful beyond compare and beyond human language to utter, thus all the doings of the steward in our text are loathsome and evil. He is indeed a true example of one who is utterly under control of the love of the mammon of unrighteousness, and the whole story is a sharp lesson in vivid contrasts. The most alarming part of the little parable is the fact that it is so very true to life that one can hardly imagine how mammon, the king of the world, can be overcome.
Because the steward is under the wretched control of the love of money, all the things he does as told in the story are utterly wrong and evil. If one sums his actions up, he finds that his is a service entirely for self, a selfish, sordid, greedy life from beginning to end. He receives the job of being a steward, a caretaker of a rich man’s estate and goods. Instead of rejoicing in his good fortune that he has work and a means of livelihood, he is taken into the powerful control of the master mind mammon, and he proceeds to produce the fruits of evil selfishness. The steward wastes the master’s goods, on the assumption of course that he has just as much right to riches as the other one. Diverting the funds to his own use, he leads a merry life while it lasts, in the short-sightedness of the selfish one. Then he is caught and the inevitable is about to happen: He is to pay for his evil deeds. An accounting is to be made and he sees that his position will be taken from him. But still the mammon god’s control holds true. Instead of attempting to make good for his evil ways, he only plans to save himself. He neither is able to nor wants to labor with his hands, nor does he want to lose his high social position by turning to begging, where his poor self might be touched. And so the evil plan is conceived and carried out: The rich man is to be defrauded once more, the debts of the debtors to be reduced by changing the accounts on their notes and in the books, so that a long list of friends may be the steward’s portion, through whom he hopes to live and thus continue to exist without working.
No, tis not a pretty picture, but then it is not intended to be; it is only a true picture of the kingdom of the evil god mammon, who controls so many human minds and hearts. Small wonder that the King of Kings warns so earnestly in His Word against the danger of riches and the love of them. But oh see, the Master turns in his turn to master the evil influence which is rampant in the world. In His kingdom this evil selfish, greedy master is not to have control; nay, he is to be bound in chains and enslaved and made to work for the Lord of all. The Lord does not even deign to wipe him out, for He will not let Himself be hindered from handing out even His earthly blessings, which consist in worldly treasures also. The evil influence is only bound and chained and made to serve the Master.
So the order has gone out to the kingdom: Make use of the foe who has been bound and chained. He does not and cannot control you, as he does the children of this world of darkness. Take the mammon of unrighteousness and make it to walk in the ways of light, so strange to it. For if the evil steward with his selfish plans could at least hope to make friends for himself and could even thus earn the commendation that he had a large amount of wisdom, how much more can you, the children of light, do it in the real sense of the word: Make yourselves friends with the use of the mammon that enters your life.
The order has gone out, and lo, for centuries it has been made to come about. In all the history of the church through all the centuries, the beautiful poetic justice has come to the mammon of unrighteousness: It had to serve the children of God in making true friends of countless children of men. Ah yes, true friends indeed: The dollars went out, not to be given away as gifts and to buy friendship, which can never be done anyway, as the steward later no doubt found out to his cost, but rather to make it possible for the message of the kingdom of heaven to reach men, who became thus true friends indeed, friends very like unto the givers, friends whose friendship could not be false at all.
Ah, there is the true wisdom that is from the heavens. See the mastery of Christ over mammon which He makes come true in His kingdom. The secret of that success for His people lies in the deep knowledge that they are the free-men of God, who are not servants, but the masters of the god of gold. Ever must he serve the kingdom of Christ to make more and more friends, an endless army of the children of the kingdom. And so, whenever the evil foe of greed and selfishness within the heart raises the ugly head, we turn on him and hurt him where he is the most vulnerable and weakest: We give him away and turn over the mammon of unrighteousness into the glorious kingdom of the King of Kings, blest forever.
The pressure upon the members of the true kingdom from all the evil examples all about, is, of course, tremendous, and alas, greed and selfishness so often win the victory that the church in all its work almost always appears on the verge of poverty, when it should indeed have a great plenty of the mammon of unrighteousness to serve the Master. But the Master does not so far make us feel inferior, though we deserve it, that He would show how the life of crime with this evil steward did not pay, so that we might not try to serve him. The steward apparently was quite successful with his crime; at least the story ends at that point, the result being of little importance in the case of the unhappy steward. We could just as well imagine though that he was badly deceived later on, for the friendship of such who were willing to steal and rob with him must surely have been a sorry thing.
But much more than this does the fact stand out that the miserable one was dependent on the bounty of others, and that he had to look to them for a habitation in the future. There again lies the sharp contrast in our text. Most pointedly does the Master refrain from making a comparison at this point, as if His children would possibly be in the position of lacking a habitation in the future, either here or in the eternities. Ah no, there we are in a different case: Our habitation is as sure as there is a heaven. The kingdom of heaven is at hand, and in His unfathomable love has He called us in to be eternal members of that kingdom. That which all the mammon in the world could never buy is our own possession even before we asked for it. It is sealed to us for good in baptism, is given over and over again in every promise of the Word, is ever made consciously personally our own in the sacrament, and is bequeathed to us in the testamental words: I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am, there you may be also. Oh certainly not do we ever compare with that poor wretch who had no home to look forward to. The mammon of unrighteousness can never have a part in buying our costly mansion in heaven, which was purchased with the blood of the Son of God.
No, our habitation shall not fail us, that is certainly true. But the god mammon, ah, that is a different thing. To his humiliation it is even taken for granted by the Master: He shall fail, and he shall fail us woefully. And so, where the steward and all the wise ones of this world put a great and firm reliance in him, the children of light find him a very much broken reed, upon whom it is not good to rest. In fact, he is nothing to depend on at all, because he has no independent existence anymore. That was all changed on Calvary’s hill, when all the power and dominion were taken over by the Son of God. He also took over the reins of government in all the world. Since then the god of gold is only an idol of the imagination of man and ever, ever fails them. Indeed at all points he is most to be despised, and only of value then, when the children of light in Jesus’ name set him to work.
But then, ah then he not only makes friends for them, but those are friends indeed, friends that remain true through death and even to all eternity. For the Master gives the unique promise, without a parallel in all the pages of the world: These friends shall receive you in their eternal habitations. For the mammon shall finally fail when the grim hour of death has come, and all the wealth in the world will not avail anymore. And see, among the natural dreads of death which follow us through life there is also that grim feeling of aloneness, when we are forced to go through the dark portals without human companionship. Death is so personal a matter that it happens to each one of us alone. But it shall be but a moment, and then lo, what a host is there to greet us: all the saints and all the blessed, from the beginning of time till now. All the relatives and family members who entered there ahead of us. But that is all taken for granted and never mentioned in the Word. But this remarkable thing is mentioned: When you and I shall arrive over there, the friends who were gained by means of the mammon of unrighteousness in the service of His mission work, these friends shall be there to receive us. We shall probably not have known any of them here on earth; for how shall we tell just who was reached through the efforts made possible by our personal mammon which we gave? But they shall be there, the Master declares, in full numbers, to invite us to visit their mansions in the skies, which we have helped to bring them. Ah, who can fully imagine the happy thronging in the heavens among the endless numbers of friends.
Yes indeed, that is a fitting way to treat the mammon of unrighteousness. The Lord is king indeed and makes heaven and earth serve His good pleasure, so that He shall be king indeed. Oh see, My brethren, when the desire to become rich and have much, the desire to hoard the riches of the world and rather let His kingdom go begging, come over us, let us break them with the strength of the king, and make it serve to gain a host of friends, with whom we shall, please God, enjoy all the wealth of heaven. Amen.
Jesus goes to Jericho to seek and to save the lost. So He walked endless weary miles, through heat and drought, through hatred and scorn, through ungratefulness and thoughtlessness, to seek and save the lost. So He has walked through the endless corridors of the centuries, over mountains and through valleys, through nations and kingdoms, over land and over sea, to seek and save the lost. An endless quest it is, taken up over and over again, as every new generation is born into the world, generations of lost and condemned sinners born lost and condemned; but with an infinite patience and a heavenly love it never ceases, never until the divine love shall have found the very last lost one and saved him unto eternal blessedness.
Ah, how small and puny, how ill-begotten and misspent do all the efforts of man appear beside this vast activity of the Son of God. All man’s vaunted strength, his wars and conquests, his seeking in science and invention, his industrial efforts, his ceaseless quest after riches and honor, how woebegone and useless it all appears. His efforts dot the pages of history for a brief moment, and then the wind passes over them and even their place is known no more. For it is small and ill-begotten in the lost and condemned brain of man. But the glory of the Lord fails never. His ceaseless toil is never vain; He seeks the lost and finds them to save them evermore. He found His lost one in Jericho and saved him. He has multiplied this success 10,000 times 10,000 until it finally came down to us, to find us and to save us. Ah, so nearly does this concern us, that we must needs spend the time today to speak about it. For life and happiness, security and eternal salvation depend up it that:
Jesus finds and saves the lost.
For He abides with him.
He makes good the promise for him.
Poor Zachaeus wanted to see Jesus, for he wanted to know who this Jesus really was. But he was too small to see Him; the people all stood in his way and prevented him from even catching a glimpse of this man of whom people talked so much. He did not know, of course, that Jesus was going to Jericho that day just to look for him, and so he runs ahead to climb on the sycamore tree along the road so that he might see Jesus and thus know who He really might be. Poor Zachaeus, he was still too small, much too small. The sycamore tree was also too tiny to give him scope enough to see that vast and endless scene which is included when a poor mortal wants to know who Jesus is. What a disappointment would have been in store for him if Jesus had just walked by and Zachaeus would just have looked down upon Him. He would have been just as wise after as he was before, and still he would not have known Jesus. Alas, he was very much too small.
But oh see, the poor and small Zachaeus becomes suddenly one of whom all the ages speak down to our day. He is a blessed Zachaeus, oh very much blessed. For Jesus had set out to find him, and what He sets out to do, He does indeed. He finds Zachaeus and calls to him to come down from his ridiculous little tree from which he had hoped to gather knowledge of Jesus. Come down, Zachaeus, I have found you and now I shall let you find Me and truly know Me. Come with Me, for I must abide with you today.
And lo, onto the immense heights of that “Abide with Him” the Master takes Zachaeus to show him all the riches. No, not the riches of this world which come to nought. He shows him the riches of the vast and endless kingdom of the blessed. Sitting on high in the presence of the king beside Him on His throne, Zachaeus sees it unfold before him. Yes, there is the king, the King of Kings, robed in the splendor of the redeeming king. The robe is of the rich scarlet of His blood. For with it He has bought for Himself the priceless souls of men. Proudly the king bears the robe, for with it He has cloaked countless thousands so that curses and condemnation can not strike them. Zachaeus sees them come, the endless thousands, all covered with the same robe as the king, with holiness upon their brow and peace in their hearts. Ah, from the great height in the presence of the king the scene is endless, stretching back through the endless hundreds of years to the beginning; and in the long halls of time the subjects of the ruler are to be found, all chanting the hymn of honor and glory: Worthy is the Lamb that was slain and has redeemed us unto God. And oh see, as Zachaeus beholds, his eyes are opened and he knows the Christ: tis not the lowly Jesus of Nazareth at all, tis the Messiah, the long-awaited, the prophesied one, with all the promises come true. It is, it is the king of Israel.
Ah, behold, Jesus has found little Zachaeus and lifted him up beside Him upon His royal throne that he might see all the kingdom and the power and the glory, and seeing to know: It is all mine, mine together with the king, for He abides with me.
Oh it is so heartening and so encouraging for us small ones, my brethren. Yes alas, we are always again small and little of stature, so very small that we cannot see Him oh so often. The people are in the way, with their hates and their envies, their unbelief and their scorn, their vices and crimes. They trouble our souls and disturb our peace of heart, so that we lose sight of Him. And then we try to climb upon the puny heights of our own knowledge to find explanation and peace of heart, but the tears dim our eyes, and the sorrows cloud our vision so that we can not see. Until His voice comes to us again and calls: O ye of little faith. How often has He not taken us and gently led us back into His Word, speaking the while in accents of tender love: There, there I abide with you. He opened our eyes as we heard and lo, we knew Him again, as our Savior and our king in whom we have salvation through His blood and with it an eternal security. For next to Him and all His redeeming greatness, oh how small and trivial and of no account must all the seemingly great calamities and fearsome events in the world become. Of major and supreme importance it must always be: In love He has found us and has lifted us up to sit with Him upon His throne in calm security.
Into the quiet beauty and peaceful charm of the two abiding together tramp the clumsy feet of those who murmur and complain. It is as it always was and no doubt always shall be: They do not like it at all that He took this lowly one and abode with him. What a self-righteous crew, thinking themselves so much better than this publican. Ah, if Zachaeus was small, how insignificant do these become. While the people were in the way for Zachaeus, these in turn stood in their own path. Their self-righteousness passes all bounds, and their hypocrisy is astounding. For in reality they are so angry because this Zachaeus was a chief of the publicans, and the publicans hurt them where it hurt the most: They took their money from them and gave it to the hated Romans. Because the publican touched their god money, they called him a sinner. Alas, they have wrapped their soul about with so much iniquity that they do not even try to know Jesus.
But fortunately, oh so fortunately, Jesus knows them well and is entirely unperturbed by their murmuring, continuing steadfastly on His course. In fact, He not only shows himself in all His redeeming glory to Zachaeus but makes it oh so sure that he would have the promise, the old old promise assuredly for himself. The while these outside continue to call the publican evil names, the Master quietly turns to him, as if he would say: Never mind these poor blind ones outside. I will give you your true name, friend Zachaeus: You are also a son of Abraham, and thus this day has salvation come to this house.
Ah yes, there are no half-measures with the great king. He takes the glory of the heavens and of the promises of the eternal God and carries them into the dwelling of the publican. You are a son of Abraham, and now I make you heir of all the riches of your illustrious forefather. The Romans may have your land and your wealth; the land your fathers had before may all be gone and you may appear poor and outcast. But be not troubled, for what I have promised and have given your forefather Abraham, that heritage is still untouched and unspoiled and can never, never become exhausted. Oh listen, Zachaeus, it is the salvation which you saw, as I abode with you and showed you all the riches of My kingdom. How it is your own, you have it as a sure heritage of the promise of the eternal God. As it was given to Abraham, so it is yours, to have and hold forever.
Oh see, Zachaeus is not small of stature anymore. How proudly he bears himself: He has a place, a definite and sure place in the kingdom of the saints of heaven. The Master has given him the place and his very own it is, reserved to him. On his head he wears invisible a crown, the crown of the kings of God, who rule with Him forever. Upon his breast he wears invisible the breastplate of the royal priests of God, who bear in treasure chests the blood of the Lamb of God with forgiveness and life everlasting. Now, now Zachaeus is a great one, a free man, the chains of darkness taken from him, the freedom of heaven his own and cherished possession. For Jesus, the king, has made the promise come to pass again.
Yes, the crown and the high estate of Zachaeus are invisible, but we can see the miraculous effect. He has grown so tall, this Zachaeus, that he can even look beyond the great idol, gold, and think less and less of it. Ah, he is even so great now that he can see how sinful and vile his own heart and his own deeds were. Freed of the chains, he comes unasked to the Master and declares to Him what he shall now do: give away large sums of money to the many, many poor, and return all the wrongfully gotten gains fourfold to those whom he had robbed. No, Zachaeus is not trying to show how good he now is. He has only seen how great and vast is the kingdom of the Lord and of little account is wealth if not used to serve the Master.
With this happy note the beautiful story comes to its end. We stand rather ashamed before it, do we not, to see how this Zachaeus, but so shortly blessed with that which you and I have possessed lo these many years, has become so tall of stature and so great in service. In our baptism He has secured the promise to us; our place is assured us, our place in the great kingdom of the Lord, which shall have no end. He has named us the true spiritual children of Abraham, and all the promise is our heritage to hold forever, to pass on to our children, to secure for us all the safety of the kings and priests of God. Ah dear Lord, raise us up to the heights of this glory which Thou hast given us and help us throw off the yoke of bondage with which we bind ourselves. In loving devotion to Thee help us forget ourselves and serve Thy kingdom, so that all the world might know and see: The Lord has found and saved us, whereof we are glad. Amen.
To lead us unto Bethlehem and to the manger there, the loving, kindly voice of Jehovah calls to us: My people. Oh what a wealth of strength and assurance, lovingkindness and tender mercy lies in the name. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. There shall no evil befall us and no harm draw nigh unto our dwelling. Come, My people, come again to the manger in the night and see the love of God; see it, and take comfort. Ah yes, it is delightful to have this invitation from the eternal God. It is filled so much with promises of great things when we come to Christmas and its blessings. Today, this week before Christmas, He would have us surely know:
You shall find comfort in the Christ-child.
This comfort shall be complete.
It shall be easy to find.
It shall be sure to us.
Indeed we shall find complete comfort at the manger of the Christ-child. He speaks so comfortably to us and with but a few words wipes out the gloom of this life brought onto us by the sins of the world, declares an end to the struggle in whose web man finds himself ensnared, and promises in their stead the gifts of heaven that they may dwell with us and be our portion. That should be enough for any sinful man, even for the most exacting and grasping.
Countless thousands before us have thus found peace in Bethlehem. For as the Jews of old were suffering and crying in the bondage of slavery ground under the heel of the cruel Babylonians, and dwelling in captivity in the strange land, until He came and rescued them and made their warfare to case, their time of service as slaves to end, setting them to be free men in the service of the eternal God who had saved and redeemed them; so does He with all who come to kneel before the holy child in the manger bed.
This gift of the eternal God is the loud and clear message to all sinful men: I have come to the rescue for men in the bondage of sin. The warfare is over and past, the time of slavery is ended. No more shall anyone tell us that we are under the curse of sin and the wrath of God; for the Christ is come and has ended it. No more shall any voice of conscience dare to hold us in the bond of fear and accusation; for the Christ is come to end the endless struggle, that the voice of troubled hearts be raised no more. No more shall the thought oppress that we are under the evil control of the old sin in our heart; for the Christ has come to break the evil power. The warfare is over and past.
Then this voice from the manger adds: The iniquity is pardoned. The punishment is complete and is accepted in payment. As the Lord of old had mercy on His people and after 70 years decided, It is enough, I shall count the atonement complete, though it was not in truth and never could be, so much more and in full truth does it cry on Christmas day: The iniquity is now truly pardoned, and full atonement is accepted. For this child in the manger is now the only one who bears the curse and wrath of God for all the iniquity of man from the beginning of time to the end of days. Oh He bears it well, this eternal Son from the havens. Not for nought was His name called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. If He has taken over the burden of the guilt and all its attending horrors, then all is well indeed. The iniquity shall never, never curse again.
Oh completely comforting is this comfort of our God: For He shall give double for all the sins. The eternal God is our refuge as of old; for as He then assured His people that they shall return home and shall be doubly blessed, outweighing far in blessing their many sins and unbelief; so does He year for year assure us through the voice on Christmas day: Ye shall receive double for all your sins. Oh see, the Christ-child Himself is your possession. He who owns the world and all its wealth, who controls the lives and destinies of all men, who holds the key of heaven and hell in His hands, He is our own, a gift of the heavenly Father. Ah He might well have said: Ye shall receive a million times for all your sins. For death He gives us life, for sins He gives us sanctity, for hell and all its torments he gives eternal blessedness.
Oh comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God. Though we have the comfort even today, please God it shall be even surer and clearer to us again on Christmas day.
So come to Bethlehem on Christmas day and brush the tears from your eyes that they may not darken your sight; push aside all false treasure and worthless delights, which may cause you to stumble, and come to see the glory of the Lord.
But no, why should I call on you to do this, when you can not do it, as little as I can for myself? For the valleys of the shadows are there, as they lay in the path of God’s people of old on their return to the homeland, the valleys of sorrow and fear and doubt, into which our feet forever are straying. They are terribly real and fearful to us. So are the rugged and jagged hills that lie suddenly in our path, the hills of evil and crime and vile things in this world, which block our vision and becloud our faith and trust as we go walking to the eternal home.
Uneven and devious are the paths before our feet, and ever there is the lure of gold and riches, the beckoning hand of transitory pleasures and delights of sinful men. Rough is the going between us and the comfort of Bethlehem, beset by all manner of stones of stumbling and rocks of oppression, by pricking thorns, and evil voices calling away from the comfort of the Christ-child. Why we are often foolish enough to think we need not the comforting voice of God. The world in its present turmoil of hate and slaughter and evil passions is like a veritable inferno of terrifying pitfalls for the children of God. Our tears, our doubts, our unrest and unbelief, our self-righteousness and evil desires, ah how should we ever be able to find to the manger again?
But see, He does not expect it from us either, this great one born in Bethlehem on Christmas day. Much rather is His voice calling us from over the hills and valleys, and lo, as He calls the miracle ever happens, as it did of old, when His people traveled back to the homeland. Next week and every week our home while we sojourn here is that Bethlehem where He dwelt, and lo, before our feet it shall come to pass: Every valley of despair shall be exalted and leveled into a highway for our feet to travel upon. Every mountain of fear and gruesome doubt shall be broken down and laid low, a highway built by the mighty hand of the Prince of Peace. With strong arm shall He make the uneven level, and the crooked shall be made plain. With the power of His calling us shall He do so, and lo, we shall come to the manger and all its many comforts, to see again the glory of the Lord revealed.
Ah yes, nothing in heaven and earth is high enough to hide that glory and no deepest pit is low enough to exclude its rays of heavenly light. Like a magnet it draws us and no crooked path or rough road shall be able to keep us from it. For oh see, it is the glory of His eternal love, which shines as a fiercely bright light in all the darkness of this world, through all gloom and sadness, through all despair and fear. The small voice of the babe of Bethlehem becomes a mighty message penetrating through all the vicissitudes of life: Fear not, fear not, for you shall always return and find Me and all the comfort of heaven, that it may be your strength in life and death.
Oh comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God. We shall most surely find Him, and please God more than ever before shall the glory of the Lord be revealed unto us, for the mouth of Jehovah has spoken it.
Then, then, as we stand in the light of His glorious love, shall all the uselessness and all the foolish smallness of all other things be revealed to us again, so that our hearts may have peace and comfort all our days. And eternally sure as the Rock of Ages shall His comfort be for us into the eternities.
For all flesh is grass, weak and helpless and but short-lived grass, subject to swift death and decay. The mighty warlord of the battlefields, the arrogant prince of wealth and all the treasures of this world, the proud ruler upon his throne, the violent and fierce criminal on murder bent, the athlete in his prime, the pride of youth and the lordliness of older age – as grass they are, infinitely weak and helpless, futile and defenseless. All their goodliness as the flower of the field. Their wisdom is foolishness, their deep thoughts are idle fancy, their shrewd plans as those of foolish children, their wishes and desires to power and might and dominion as the dreams of little children. They wither and fade and fall by the wayside to crumble into dust and ashes, as the Spirit of the Lord blows upon them. Ah, what are all the deeds, the passions, the thoughts and plans of men when set next to the infinite love of the eternal Father as shining in the manger in Bethlehem? As soon as man and all his doings comes near this brightness, it shrivels and decays, to be seen no more.
Finally, my brethren, finally in all the world, there is nothing left that has any lasting value but this babe of Bethlehem. While all things human have fallen and decayed and are no more throughout the centuries that have passed since the first Christmas day, the Christ is still there in all His glory and love. And He is sure to us and all His comfort is made eternally sure for our souls: For the Word of our God shall stand forever. Indeed we need not even travel those many miles to Bethlehem as did the wise men, as did the shepherds. Nor need we build a shrine or find a resting place for Him so that we might go and find Him there. No changes of time, no destruction of men, no curse of heaven, and no fires of eternity can ever remove for us the shrine of the eternal Son, who is our comfort. For oh see, He is cradled in the Word, the Word of our God. It, it shall stand secure, unaltered, unbroken, untouched either by the vile wisdom of man or the evil doubts of our hearts. It shall stand forever, where all else is grass and shall decay.
Oh comfort ye, comfort ye My people; speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem. Oh praise to Thee, O God, Lord of Hosts; Thou hast again spoken comfortably to us in Thy eternal Word. Make us become again as little children in simple faith and lead us again to Thy manger bed, that we may again fully know that Thou hast loved us. Amen.
(continued from p. 3)
summer of 1958.
The figure of 800 in the first sermon is a bit puzzling. Isaiah is believed to have prophesied from about 750-700 B.C.
The common misconception that Christ’s kingdom may be identified with the Church is evident at certain points, especially in the second sermon. We accordingly bring the reminder that Winfred Sr.’s father, John Schaller, had written as follows in his 1918 article on the kingdom of God: “And so we come back to the statement that the term ‘kingdom of God,’ when used in the Bible in its proper sense, occurs exclusively as a designation for the gracious creating, working, and ruling of God through the gospel and in behalf of the gospel.” “One might add that the ‘kingdom of heaven’ in the Bible (a favorite expression of Matthew) is never thought of in the sense of a group of people, clearly therefore not referring to the church.” (The Wauwatosa Theology, Vol. 3, pp. 22, 23)
Where the misconception is evident, one might simply replace the word “kingdom” with the word “realm,” and try always to keep in mind that the word “kingdom” is properly used only when regal activity is involved. RW
The Light of the World…………………………………………..….…p. 4 Jan. 16, 1939
That They May Be One ………………………………..……………..…p. 8
July 30, 1939
Masters of Mammon ………….…………………………..…………..p. 16
Aug. 6, 1939 The last of six times and places of the use of this
sermon, according to notations on the back, is “Redemption,
Seattle 8-14-60.” See p. 3 of the 2008-2 Always Abounding.
Finding and Saving the Lost…………………………………………p. 21
Oct. 15, 1939 Here the last of the notations is:
“Reading Service – Redemption Lutheran 10-14-59”
Comfort in the Christ-child……………………………………p. 25
Dec. 17, 1939 Allusions to World War II, which had
just begun, are readily detectable in this sermon.
In searching for sermons by Winfred Schaller Sr. to mark the 50th anniversary of his death on May 25, 1959 (the same day his son Hilbert had died in 1957), we found that the initial effort at organizing the many manuscripts (cf. 2008-2, p. 3) had resulted in five sermons being placed into a folder marked “1939.” Those five sermons of 70 years ago are now made available for your reading in this issue.
Winfred Sr., one of the sons of Prof. John Schaller, was born in 1892. He served pastorates in Frontenac, Minn. (1914-1920); Firth, Neb. (1920-1921); and South St. Paul, Minn. (1945-1948). He also taught at Michigan Lutheran Seminary in Saginaw (1921-1945), and then, at the end of his public ministry, at Winnebago Lutheran Academy in Fond du lac, Wis. (1948-1958). Beginning in 1945, he served as synodical secretary for a decade. He withdrew from the Wisconsin Synod in the (concluded on p. 30)
The current staff of this bimonthly publication of the RLC is R.E. Wehrwein (editor), Derek Wehrwein, and Shannon Steensma. Subscriptions are $10 per year. The editor’s addresses are 1121 S. Jefferson St., New Ulm, MN 56073; email@example.com
— www.reformationlutheranconference.org –
(continued from p. 3)
believed to have prophesied from about 750-700 B.C.
The common misconception that Christ’s kingdom is to be identified with the Church is evident in the second sermon. We accordingly bring the reminder that Winfred Sr.’s father, John Schaller, had written as follows in his 1918 article on the kingdom of God: “And so we come back to the statement that the term ‘kingdom of God,’ when used in the Bible in its proper sense, occurs exclusively as a designation for the gracious creating, working, and ruling of God through the gospel and in behalf of the gospel.” “One might add that the ‘kingdom of heaven’ in the Bible (a favorite expression of Matthew) is never thought of in the sense of a group of people, clearly therefore not referring to the church.” (The Wauwatosa Theology, Vol. 3, pp. 22 & 23)
The current staff of this bimonthly publication of the RLC is R.E. Wehrwein (editor), Derek Wehrwein, and Shannon Steensma. Subscriptions are $10 per year. The editor’s addresses are 1121 S. Jefferson St., New Ulm, MN 56073; firstname.lastname@example.org
— www.reformationlutheranconference.org –