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Pentecost, 1999

 

"For neither you nor I could ever know anything of Christ, or believe on Him, and obtain Him for our Lord, unless it were offered to us and granted to our hearts by the Holy Ghost through the preaching of the Gospel. The work is done and accomplished; for Christ has acquired and gained the treasure for us by His suffering, death, resurrection, etc. But if the work remained concealed so that no one knew of it, then it would be in vain and lost. That this treasure, therefore, might not lie buried, but be appropriated and enjoyed, God has caused the Word to go forth and be proclaimed, in which He gives the Holy Ghost to bring this treasure home and appropriate it to us. Therefore sanctifying is nothing else than bringing us to Christ to receive this good, to which could not attain ourselves."

The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #38, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 689.    

 

"For now we are only half pure and holy, so that the Holy Ghost has ever [some reason why] to continue His work in us through the Word, and daily to dispense forgiveness, until we attain to that life where there will be no more forgiveness, but only perfectly pure and holy people, full of godliness and righteousness, removed and free from sin, death, and all evil, in a new, immortal, and glorified body."

The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #58, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 693.         

 

"But outside of this Christian Church, where the Gospel is not, there is no forgiveness, as also there can be no holiness [sanctification]. Therefore all who seek and wish to merit holiness [sanctification], not through the Gospel and forgiveness of sin, but by their works, have expelled and severed themselves [from this Church]."

The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #56, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 693.

 

"Everything, therefore, in the Christian Church is offered to the end that we shall daily obtain there nothing but the forgiveness of sin through the Word and signs, to comfort and encourage our consciences as long as we live here. Thus, although we have sins, the [grace of the] Holy Ghost does not allow them to injure us, because we are in the Christian Church, where there is nothing but [continuous, uninterupted] forgiveness of sin, both in that God forgives us, and in that we forgive, bear with, and help each other."

The Large Catechism, The Creed, Article III, #55, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 693.        

 

"Therefore, before the conversion of man there are only two efficient causes, namely, the Holy Ghost and the Word of God, as the instrument of the Holy Ghost, by which He works conversion. This Word man is [indeed] to hear; however, it is not by his own powers, but only through the grace and working of the Holy Ghost that he can yield faith to it and accept it."

Formula of Concord, Epitome, II, Of the Free Will, #19, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 791.

 

"But as the Confutation condemns us for having assigned these two parts to repentance, we must show that [not we, but] Scripture expresses these as the chief parts in repentance and conversion. For Christ says, Matthew 11:28: Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Here there are two members. The labor and the burden signify the contrition, anxiety, and terrors of sin and of death. To come to Christ is to believe that sins are remitted for Christ's sake; when we believe, our hearts are quickened by the Holy Ghost through the Word of Christ. Here, therefore, there are these two chief parts, contrition and faith."

Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XII (V), #44, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 263. Matthew 11:28.     

 

"But if ordination be understood as applying to the ministry of the Word, we are not unwilling to call ordination a sacrament. For the ministry of the Word has God's command and glorious promises. Romans 1:16 The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. Likewise, Isaiah 55:11: So shall My Word be that goeth forth out of My mouth; it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please...And it is of advantage, so far as can be done, to adorn the ministry of the Word with every kind of praise against fanatical men, who dream that the Holy Ghost is given not through the Word, but because of certain preparations of their own...."

Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XIII (VII), #11, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 311. Romans 1:16; Isaiah 55:11.     

 

"But Christ was given for this purpose, namely, that for His sake there might be bestowed on us the remission of sins, and the Holy Ghost to bring forth in us new and eternal life, and eternal righteousness [to manifest Christ in our hearts, as it is written John 16:15: He shall take of the things of Mine, and show them unto you. Likewise, He works also other gifts, love, thanksgiving, charity, patience, etc.]. Wherefore the Law cannot be truly kept unless the Holy Ghost is received through faith...Then we learn to know how flesh, in security and indifference, does not fear God, and is not fully certain that we are regarded by God, but imagines that men are born and die by chance. Then we experience that we do not believe that God forgives and hears us. But when, on hearing the Gospel and the remission of sins, we are consoled by faith, we receive the Holy Ghost, so that now we are able to think aright."

Augsburg Confession, Article III, #11, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 159.   

 

"The Holy Spirit works through the Word and the Sacraments, which only, in the proper sense, are means of grace. Both the Word and the Sacraments bring a positive grace, which is offered to all who receive them outwardly, and which is actually imparted to all who have faith to embrace it."

Charles P. Krauth, The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology, Philadelphia: The United Lutheran Publication House, 1871, p. 127. 

 

"The Holy Spirit teaches man better than all the books; He teaches him to understand the Scriptures better than he can understand them from the teaching of any other; and of his own accord he does everything God wills he should, so the Law dare make no demands upon him."  

Sermons of Martin Luther,  III, p. 280. 

 

"The Holy Spirit is given to none except to those who are in sorrow and fear; in them it produces good fruit. This gift is so precious and worthy that God does not cast it before dogs. Though the unrepentant discover it themselves, hearing it preached, they devour it and know not what they devour."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 281f. 

         

 

"He allows the affliction to remain and to oppress; yet He employs different tactics to bestow peace; He changes the heart, removing it from the affliction, not the affliction from the heart. This is the way it is done: When you are sunk in affliction He so turns your mind from it and gives you such consolation that you imagine you are dwelling in a garden of roses."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 285. John 14:23-31.        

 

"Thus true spiritual leaders fight. They strike Satan dead and rescue souls from him; for to pierce Satan to death is nothing else than to rescue from him a human being whom he has taken captive by deceitful teachings. And that is the right kind of spiritual tactics."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 289. John 14:23-31.         

 

"Neither is he [Satan] truthful; he is the spirit of lies, who, by means of false fear and false comfort having the appearance of truth, both deceives and destroys. He possesses the art of filling his own victims with sweet comfort ; that is, he gives them unbelieving, arrogant, secure, impious hearts...He can even make them joyful; furthermore, he renders them haughty and proud in their opinions, in their wisdom and self-made personal holiness; then no threat nor terror of God's wrath and of eternal damnation moves them, but their hearts grow harder than steel or adamant."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 302. John 14:23-31.     

 

"Again, with truly pious hearts, which in many respects are timid and tender, his [Satan's] practice is just the opposite. He tortures them with everything terrible that can be imagined, martyring and piercing them as with fiery darts, until they may find no good thing nor comfort before God. His object in both cases is to ruin souls by means of his lies and to lead them to eternal death."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John N. Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 302. John 14:23-31       

 

"Therefore, let God's Word be of more authority to you than your own feelings and the judgment of the whole world; do not give God the lie and rob yourself of the Spirit of truth."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 304. John 14:23-31.

 

"In the eyes of the world, and even in her own estimation, she has not the appearance of a prosperous and well ordered organization; rather she is a scattered group of poor, miserable orphans, without leader, protection or help upon earth. All the world laughs at her and ridicules her as a great fool in thinking that she is the Church and comprises the people of God. Furthermore, each individual is so burdened and oppressed in his need and suffering as to feel that no one else lies so low or is so far from help as he."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 304f. John 14:23-31.      

 

"It will not do for individuals to formulate their own ideas of conduct, act accordingly and then say that the Church is led by the Holy Spirit."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 320. John 14:23-31. 

 

"Secondly, it is shown here that this Word precedes, or must be spoken beforehand, and that afterwards the Holy Spirit works through the Word. One must not reverse the order and dream of a Holy Spirit who works without the Word and before the Word, but one who comes with and through the Word and goes no farther than the Word goes."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 329. John 14:23-31.        

 

"We hear God's Word, which is in fact the preaching of the Holy Spirit, who is at all times present with it, but it does not always at once reach the heart and be accepted by faith; yea, in the case of those who are moved by the Holy Spirit and gladly receive the Word, it does not at once bear fruit."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 330. John 14:23-31.         

 

"Likewise, in the matter of preaching, we must make selection that order may be preserved. But since all who are Christians have authority to preach, what will be the outcome? for women will also want to preach. No so. St. Paul forbids women to put themselves forward as preachers in a congregation of men and says: They should be subject to their husbands."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 375. 1 Timothy 2:11-12.        

 

"Paul does not speak of opposing or antagonistic doctrines, but of those placed beside the true doctrine; they are additions, making divisions. Paul calls it a rival doctrine, an addition, an occasion of stumbling, an offense and a byway, when on establishes the conscience upon his own goodness or deeds. Now the Gospel is sensitive, complete and pre-eminent: it must be intolerant of additions and rival teachings."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 376. Romans 16:16-17.       

 

"The world desires such wolf preaching, and is not worthy of anything better since it will not hear nor respect Christ. Hence it is that there are so few true Christians and faithful preachers, always outnumbered by the members of the false church."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 385. Deuteronomy 29:19.         

 

"For you do not find Him; He finds you. For the preachers come from Him, not from you. Your faith comes from Him, not from you. And everything that works faith within you comes from Him, not from you."

What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 345. Matthew 21:1-9.

 

"(3) Hollazius (ib.): 'The Word of God, as such, cannot be conceived of without the divine virtue, or the Holy Spirit, who is inseparable from His Word. For if the Holy Spirit could be separated from the Word of God, it would not be the Word of God or of the Spirit, but a word of man. Nor is there any other Word of God, which is in God, or with which the men of God have been inspired, than that which is given in the Scriptures or is preached or is treasured up in the human mind. But, as it cannot be denied that that is the divine will, counsel, mind, and the wisdom of God, so it cannot be destitute of the divine virtue or efficacy.'"

Heinrich Schmid, Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, trans., Charles A. Hay and Henry E. Jacobs, Philadelphia: United Lutheran Publication House, 1899, p. 505.     

 

"The Lutheran theologians, in general, had reason to illustrate very particularly the doctrine of the operation of the Word of God, in order to oppose the Enthusiasts and Mystics, who held that the Holy Spirit operated rather irrespectively of the Word than through it; and to oppose also the Calvinists, who, led by their doctrine of predestination, would not grant that the Word possessed this power per se, but only in such cases where God chose...."

Heinrich Schmid, The Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, trans., Charles A. Hay, Henry E. Jacobs, Philadelphia: Lutheran Publication Society, 1889, p. 511.       

 

"Mrs. Barnhill looked at me and said, with such a loving look in her gray eyes, 'Oh, Grace, Christ said, 'No man cometh unto the Father but by Me,' and, my dear, you have no way of approach to a holy God unless you come through Christ, His Son, as your Saviour.' "The Scripture which she quoted," Mrs. Fuller continues, "was the Sword of the Spirit, and at that moment Unitarianism was killed forever in my heart. I saw the light like a flash and believed at that moment, though I said nothing. She had quoted God's Word, the Spirit had used it, and, believing, I instantly became a new creation in Christ Jesus. She might have talked and even argued with me about it, but instead she just used the Word."  [conversion of Mrs. Grace Fuller, wife of Charles Fuller, Old Fashioned Revival Hour broadcast, founder of Fuller Seminary]

J. Elwin Wright, The Old Fashioned Revival Hour and the Broadcasters, Boston: The Fellowship Press, 1940, p. 54.