Herrenhuter readings for Thursday, the 18th February 2016

Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.” (Psa 96:3 KJV) And when Paul and Barnabas were come to Antioch, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles. (Act 14:27 KJV)

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you always +

Dear friends of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ: From the very beginning it was always too little, narrow and exclusive for the only living God – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – to be worshipped by one or two individuals, people or nations of this world only. It was always good, right and salutary that his glory would be declared amongst all of humanity and right to the very ends of the world – including the furthest nations, tribes and families of even the most exotic religions and pagan fancies. For his miracles and wonders are just too awesome and wide ranging to be limited to but a single tribe or people. Rather it is his prerogative to be God of gods, King of kings and Lord of lords – ruling over the entire globe, cosmos and universe. There is none other – but he alone.

So when the prophets of old pointed to the Messiah to come it was always the Messiah of all nations and not just of Israel. It was to small and little for him to serve but the twelve tribes of Joseph’s sons, rather he wanted his mission to go out to all and everybody – including the Egyptians, Babylonians, Romans, Chinese and Aborigines of Australia. That is why when the true Messiah came – the son of David, Jesus of Nazareth, the true Christ, God’s only begotten Son born of the virgin Mary, he the godly anointed saviour of all the world and mankind – he let those Greeks know: “When I am raised up from the earth, I will draw all towards me!” And to his disciples he said: “Go to the ends of the world and make disciples of all nations!”

This they did. Starting off in Jerusalem, going to Judea and Samaria and to the very ends of the world. They even came to Africa and to the very South of that continent too. He is reaching out even today as we repeat those ancient words of the Psalmist: “Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.” (Psa 96:3 KJV) It is a standing invitation to the heathen to also acknowledge him as the only Lord and saviour, he who is the only creator, saviour and sanctifier of each and every one. There is none other. Nobody but he deserves this honour and glory. For his wonders in creation, salvation and sanctification are but his due. Therefore they need to be proclaimed, declared and preached, taught and laid out – just as all of Christianity teaches, confesses and professes in great unanimity and clarity to this very day the confession of the one holy Christian and apostolic faith and thus preparing the people of the world for that great day, when all knees will bow before him and every tongue will confess, that he is Lord and God alone +

The Word of the Lord continues to grow across the globe (cf. Martin Franzmann). St. Peter preached on Pentecost and 3k were baptized. Then a crowd of 5k. Then the numbers got out of hand. Even today statistics remain a challenge. Yet at the end when all will be gathered around the throne of the victorious lamb, then the number of the elect and chosen will be full and complete. Nobody will be missing, because nothing and nobody can pull God’s people from his very hand for he is more, better and greater than all and everything. On one of the first mission festivals of sorts St. Paul and Barnabas told what God had accomplished through them throughout the Mediterranean world and “how God had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles”. Well, that’s just how God works. He wants all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth. To attain this true and saving faith: “he has instituted the service/ministry of teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments. For through the Word and Sacraments, as through instruments, the Holy Ghost is given, who works the one and saving faith; where and when it pleases God, in them that hear the Gospel, to wit, that God, not for our own merits, but for Christ’s sake, justifies those who believe that they are received into grace for Christ’s sake.” (Augsburg Confession Article 5)

Even today pastors, missionaries, evangelists, teachers and bishops go about teaching, preaching and confessing the miracles and wonders of our Lord publicly and in the open sphere. Christians in the only holy Christian Church throughout the world confess this very same faith, sharing their saving conviction and the true testimonies of their Lord with those, that need it most – going out of their comfort zone, bridging the gap of unbelief and interacting with pagans, heathens, atheists and other convictions and faith with a faithful witness of our Lord’s glories and wonders in faith, love and hope. Praying that the Lord would open doors for the true confession and declaration of his gospel amongst all nations – especially amongst those still behind closed doors, electric fences and prison walls – like in the muslim world, Hindu subcontinent, communist fortresses of China and N.Korea. He has pulled down iron curtains, opened up previously shut continents and is still building his church across the world and amongst all people and nations. Thanks and praise be to him our God and savior, he our Lord and king, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit – one God now and forever. Amen.

The peace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you always + Amen.

1.  Preach you the Word and plant it home
        To men who like or like it not,
     The Word that shall endure and stand
        When flow’rs and men shall be forgot.
2.  We know how hard, O Lord, the task
        Your servant bade us undertake:
     To preach Your Word and never ask
        What prideful profit it may make.
3.  The sower sows his reckless love
         Scatters abroad the goodly seed,
     Intent alone that all may have
        The wholesome loaves that all men need.
4.  Though some be snatched and some be scorched
         And some be choked and matted flat,
     The sower sows; his heart cries out,
        “Oh, what of that, and what of that?”
5.  Of all his scattered plenteousness
        One-fourth waves ripe on hill and flat,
     And bears a harvest hundredfold:
        “Ah, what of that, Lord, what of that!”
6.  Preach you the Word and plant it home
        And never faint; the Harvest Lord
     Who gave the sower seed to sow
        Will watch and tend His planted Word.
Martin H. Franzmann 1907-1976



About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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