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ASCENSION DAY

 

"The efficacy of the Word, unlike that of the seed, always has a result. The man to whom the Word of God comes, and who repels it, is not as he was before. Where long and persistently refused, hardening at last comes, Exodus 8:15; 9:12; John 12:40; Hebrews 4:1, and the Word becomes a 'savor of death unto death,' 2 Corinthians 2:16. Every word heard or read, every privilege and opportunity enjoyed, leaves its impress either for good or for evil. It is not so properly the Word, as man's abuse of the Word; not so much the efficacy of the Word, as the sin taking occasion of the efficacy that produces this result, Romans 7:8."

            Henry Eyster Jacobs, Elements of Religion, p. 155.

 

 "Since the Word of God is this weapon [sword], it behooves us to make use of it at all times and to this end become acquainted with it both by means of public preaching and by earnest Bible study at home. Cursory reading must be supplemented by careful memorizing of proof-texts and strong passages. Only in this way sall we be able to make the proper use of the Word of God as a true

weapon of offense at all times."

            Paul E. Kretzmann, Popular Commentary of the New Testament, 2 vols., II, p. 292.

 

"Such is the nature of faith that it feels nothing at all, but merely follows the words which it hears, and clings to them."

            Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., III, p. 194.

 

 "Now, it is true, the preaching of faith is very lovely and winsome, but coupled also with subtle and potential risk, particularly for the fleshly heart. For preaching about faith is preaching about grace. Thus when in the first article of the Creed I preach that God created heaven and earth, or in the second article that God sent His only Son to earth, allowing Him to suffer and die, and so on, this is all the work of God, granted and bestowed on us by grace. When one now preaches about this goodness and grace of God, coarse and fleshly hearts object and willfully distort the grace of God, as St. Jude says, into lasciviousness.

            Sermons of Martin Luther, The House Postils, 3 vols., II, p. 113.

 

 "Now the Christian Creed indicates that the Lord's ascension is in no way our doing, but an article we are to believe. All festivals in the church are celebrated by Christians for the sake of faith, that it might be served by preaching. Just as it is not my work nor that of anyone else that God's Son is

conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, so also it is not my doing that Christ rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and has sent the Holy Spirit."

            Sermons of Martin Luther, The House Postils, 3 vols., II, p. 113.

 

"If one preaches about the comfort of faith, people become rude and malicious. But if one does not preach the comfort of faith, poor consciences are struck with fear and terror."

            Sermons of Martin Luther, The House Postils, 3 vols., II, p. 114.

 

"I would much rather have people say that I preach too sweetly and that it hinders people from doing good works (even though my preaching does not do that), than that I failed to preach faith in Christ, and there was no help or consolation for timid, fearful consciences."

            Sermons of Martin Luther, The House Postils, 3 vols., II, p. 115.