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Seventh Sunday after Trinity

July 18, 1999


"In reconciling the world unto Himself by Christ's substitutionary satisfaction, God asked no one's advice concerning His singular method of reconciliation. In like manner, without asking any man's advice, He ordained the means by which He gives men the infallible assurance of His gracious will toward them; in other words, He both confers on men the remission of sins merited by Christ and works faith in the proffered remission or, where faith already exists, strengthens it. The Church has appropriately called these divine ordinances the means of grace, media gratiae, instrumenta gratiae; Formula of Concord: 'Instrumenta sive media Spiritus Sancti' (Triglotta, p. 903, Solid Declaration, II, 58). They are the Word of the Gospel, Baptism, and the Lord's Supper, as will be shown more fully on the following pages."

Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, 3 vols.,  St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1953, III, p. 103.


"As distinguished from the Gospel, Sacraments are acts, we apply water in Baptism, and we eat and drink in the Lord's Supper. They are sacred acts, and must, as such, be distinguished from ordinary washing, eating and drinking...A Sacrament which offers God's blessings cannot be instituted by man or the Church, but by God alone." Edward W. A. Koehler, A Short Explanation of Dr. Martin Luther's Small Catechism, Fort Wayne: Concordia Theological Seminary Press, 1946, p. 254. "Since God has connected His most gracious promise of forgiveness with Baptism and the Lord's Supper, these also are true and efficacious means of grace, namely, by virtue of the divine promises that are attached to them."

John Theodore Mueller, Christian Dogmatics, A Handbook of Doctrinal Theology, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1934, p. 444.  


"Both Baptism and the Lord's Supper qualify as Means of Grace because of the simple fact that they are visible forms of the essential Gospel message announcing the forgiveness of sins."

Martin W. Lutz, "God the HS Acts Through the Lord's Supper," God The Holy Spirit Acts, ed., Eugene P. Kaulfield, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1972, p. 117. 


"Today's Gospel paints to us the Lord in a way that we may fully know how we should esteem Him, namely, that He is merciful, meek and loving; that He gladly helps everybody and freely associates and deals with all people. And such a picture as this, faith really craves." 

 Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House 1983, IV, p. 203.           


"Therefore the Scriptures present to us a double picture; one is that of fear or the overpowering picture of the severe wrath of God, before which no one can stand; but must despair unless he has faith. In contrast with this the picture of grace is presented to us in order that faith may behold it and obtain for itself an agreeable and comforting refuge in God with the hope that man cannot expect so much from God, that there is not still much more to be had from Him."  

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House 1983, IV, p. 203.       


"Today's Gospel treats of the temporal and bodily blessings, teaches us the faith of the child, and it is a picture for the weak, in that they should look to God for everything good, and that they might thus later learn to trust God and depend on Him for spiritual blessings. For if we are instructed in the Gospel, how Christ feeds our stomachs, we can then conclude that He will also feed and clothe our souls. For if I cannot trust a person to sustain my body, much less can I trust him to sustain my soul forever."  

Sermons of Martin Luther,  , IV, p. 204.       


"Therefore Christ asked His disciples that everyone might learn to know by experience what reason is, and acknowledge how reason and faith in no way agree. Here we learn to blindfold reason, when we begin to believe, and then give reason a permanent furlough."  

Sermons of Martin Luther, IV, p. 205.          


"O God, I am Thy creature and Thy handiwork and Thou hast from the beginning created me. I will depend entirely on You who cares more for me, how I shall be sustained, then I do myself; Thou wilt indeed nourish me, feed, clothe and help me, where and when You know best."  

Sermons of Martin Luther,  IV, p. 206.          


"But when one inquires of reason for counsel it soon says: It is not possible. Yes, you must wait a long time until roasted ducks fly into your mouth, for reason sees nothing, grasps nothing, and nothing is present. Just so the apostles do also here who thought: Yes, who will provide food for so many, no one is able to do that; but had they seen a great pile of money and in addition tables laden with bread and meat, they would soon have discovered good counsel and been able to give good consolation; that would have gone to their thinking very reasonably."

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House 1983, IV, p. 206.      


"Therefore, beloved friends, let us once make a beginning to believe; for unbelief is the cause of all sin and vice, which now have taken the upper hand in all stations of life. How does it come to pass that everywhere there are so many foolish women and rogues, so many rank imposters, thieves, robbers, userers, murderers and sellers of indulgences? It all comes from unbelief."

  Sermons of Martin Luther, IV, p. 208.         


"Just so it is also at present: Where true pastors and preachers are so poorly supoorted that no one donates anything to them, and moreover what they have is snatched out of their mouths by a shameless and unthankful world, by princes, noblemen, townsmen and famers, so that they with their poor wives and children must suffer need, and when they die leave behind them pitiable, rejected widows and orphans. By this very many good-hearted and very clever people are more and more discouraged from becoming pastors and preachers."

             Sermons of Martin Luther,IV, p. 214.       


"How does it happen that although all of us are certainly Christians, or at least want to be such, we do not take this attitude of unconcern and neither comfort ourselves with abundance and surplus nor are frightened by want and by worrying about it? For if we faithfully and devotedly cling to God's Word, there shall be no want. Christ takes care of us, and from this it must follow that we shall have something to eat."

What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 436. Mark 8:1-9