Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Topics - Fletch1

Pages: [1]
Your Turn / Are the sheep to still judge the shepherd?
« on: January 25, 2023, 02:59:45 PM »
Are the sheep to still judge the shepherd?  It sometimes seems as if the sheep get silenced if they make statements about or ask pointed questions about a current or former shepherd. I’m wondering what you think about Walther’s sermon. Is it still applicable?  Has a desire to protect some shepherds or to appease the woke made the sermon irrelevant in today’s enlightened circles?

See link to read entire sermon.

The Sheep Judge Their Shepherds

A Sermon by

C. F. W. Walther

God give you all much grace and peace through the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus!

God's church upon earth has from the beginning been a militant church. It has ever been oppressed and persecuted by the mighty ones of the world. Also within the church at all times, men have arisen who have spread false teachings and made factions for themselves, thus disturbing the church and causing divisions and offenses. In Adam's church there was Cain, the self-righteous; in Noah's church, Ham, the despiser of his father; in Abraham's church, Ishmael, the mocker; in the church of the prophets, many false prophets preached though the Lord had not sent them and they gave the people false comfort and led them into the sin of idolatry.

Even in the apostolic church, in nearly all places where the gospel was preached and received, there arose heretics who caused divisions, yes, often disturbed entire flourishing congregations. Among these, St. Paul especially names Alexander the coppersmith, Hymenaeus, and Philetus; and St. John mentions the whole sect of the Nicolaitanes. And so also to this day. Wherever and whenever the pure doctrine has been heard, opponents have arisen. Satan has never been able to leave the church in peaceful possession of its heavenly treasures. The church therefore has ever had to use God's Word, not only as food for the soul, but also as a weapon in unceasing warfare against false teachers. If a church cease to strive, it cannot remain a church for long. Just as the sun in springtime calls forth not only the good seed, but also weeds from winter's sleep, so also, by the blessed preaching of God's Word, Satan is awakened, who seeks to get his tares planted among the wheat and thus choke it.

Now we ask, why does God permit His flock which is to be guarded by its shepherds, also to be attacked by wolves, who present themselves as shepherds that they may deceitfully capture the sheep and destroy them? God could prevent this. Why does He not do so? Two reasons especially are given by God's Word. God permits it partly to prove His children and partly to punish the unthankful hearers. St. Paul says to the Corinthians, "For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you." If no one ever assailed the pure doctrine, it would never truly be manifest who clung to it. But when false teachers and fanatics arise in the church, then also those who sincerely care for the pure word reveal themselves. Then the faith of the righteous is tested and certified. If pure doctrine were never attacked, the Christians would soon become indolent, lazy, and lukewarm. But the more clearly others depart from God's Word, the more a Christian is driven to search it diligently and to give painstaking attention to each word. The more falsifiers of the word crowd in upon the orthodox teacher, the more closely he must examine all, and the more he will therefore grow in divine knowledge and assurance. Heretics, therefore, are nothing else than the grindstone of the church, whereby it learns to use the Sword of the spirit ever more keenly. Thus by the hand of God can good come from evil.

God often carries out his heaviest judgments through false teachers. God often bestows upon the land or a church true teachers for a time. But then it often happens that they are despised and received ungratefully. Earthly treasures are esteemed more highly than the pure word and sacrament. Men become ashamed before the world because of the pure doctrine. Nothing is done to maintain the orthodox ministry. God's word is heard with a sleepy mind. Men learn to despise it. Finally God allows such unthankful disciples to lose the heavenly treasures, so that they who have despised the precious bread of the divine word, shall in retribution be fed with the worthless stones of man-made teaching. Thus St. Paul writes concerning the Christians in the last times, "Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie."

Therefore, my dear hearers, think it not a little thing, that you now can hear the pure word of God every Sunday. I know that I don't preach for you the thoughts of my heart, but God's counsel for our salvation, as it is revealed, expounded, and confessed in the confessional writing of the orthodox church. I know that when you take to heart, give heed to, and keep what I preach to you, you shall be saved.

Yet my friends, in accordance with my office, I am to be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. It behooves me not only to lead you upon the pastures of the gospel, but also to warn you against false teachers. Therefore let me now seize the occasion which our gospel for the day offers.

Matthew 7:15-23: "Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

Pages: [1]