✠ One Message: Christ crucified and risen for you ✠
The Word of the Lord Endures Forever
Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum
Philippians 2,1-4 3718
7. Sonntag nach Trinitatis 052
Stilla, Virgin, of Abenberg, Bavaria ✠ 1158
The Division of the Holy Apostles
Gumbert, Abbot of Ansbach, Bavaria ✠ 790
15. Juli 2018
1. О Lord, our Divine Providence, help us to bear our trials and tribulations, so that we bear them with patience and strength. Amen. (Starck 194)
2. »So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, then complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.«
3. The Apostle Paul’s words in Philippians 2 are a balm for those wounded by the selfish pride of the world. In school, at the workplace and in sports many people strive to surpass others up the ladder of success. Our interests often take precedent over the interests of others. We are tempted to sabotage others success and puffed up our own importance. I have a friend who used to work at Amazon, who once told me: in our staff meetings we were encouraged to tear down fellow coworkers. Other friends who worked at a major American manufacturing company told me that in their meetings it was the norm to blame another group for some mistake or failure instead of taking accountability and seeking to solve the issue at hand.
4. These attitudes showcase how depraved our fallen human nature truly is. The Apostle Paul knew this, and he regularly saw such sinfulness in Jewish, Greek and Roman cultures. Paul’s advice to us is: »Look not to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the nature of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be held onto, but deprived Himself of power, taking on the nature of a slave; and being found in the likeness of men, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Jesus and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven, upon the earth and under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father« (Philippians 2,4-11).
5. Such apostolic advice strikes against our fallen nature. Thus, one reason Christ humbled Himself for us is because He knew we struggle to humble ourselves for others. He humbled Himself for us, and in our place, in order to redeem us back to God our Father. Jesus does what He says: He puts His Father’s will first and foremost; He performs what we and our sinful nature cannot and will not do. He walked to Jerusalem, to the cross, into death, was buried in a tomb, descended into hell and rose again as our Triumphant Savior. Jesus willingly and lovingly did all this for the world, for us all. He sends the Holy Spirit with this gospel and the gospel creates faith that yields love, unity and humility that Paul exhorts in this epistle.
6. Many examples of this sanctified life are showcased for us in the Holy Scriptures and the history of the Church. For this reason, the Lutheran Church follows the Church tradition of highlighting the lives of Christians as paragons of sanctification. Tomorrow, 16. July, is set aside for Ruth. She was the great-grandmother of King David; she was also a Moabite, which means she was not Jewish, but she was related to the Jews for the Moabites trace their lineage back to Lot, the nephew of Abraham, and Abraham is the father of the Jews. So Ruth, like us, is a Gentile. She was married to 2 Jewish men: her first husband was Mahlon, and after he died she married Boaz, the kinsman of Mahlon.
7. When Mahlon died, his mother, Naomi, decided to return to Bethlehem and she told Ruth to stay in Moab and find a husband among her people. Ruth responded: »Mother Naomi, where you go I will go, and where are you lodge I will lodge; your people will be my people, and your God will be my God« (Ruth 1,16). Ruth confesses her faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; she confesses the Jewish people are her people; their promises are her promises. Her faith and holiness are examples to us even today, 3000 years later. Her great-grandson was David, who became the king of Israel and through him the Messiah descends. St. Matthew lists Ruth in his genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1, 5).
8. Ruth and David trusted in the Lord’s promises; they believed that He would send the Messiah. The Lord had chosen them to be the fore-bearers of His Only Son. Their faith produced the good works they did throughout their lives. They lived such sanctified lives solely on account of the gospel. They are examples for us, and the gospel also produces such faith and works in our lives.
9. The reign of heaven is at hand (Matthew 4,17). Jesus humbled Himself unto death on the cross (Philippians 2,8). God the Father has highly exalted Jesus (Philippians 2,9). »I thank God for your partnership in the gospel, and I am certain that God who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the last day of Jesus Christ. May your love abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness which is through Jesus Christ. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit« (Philippians 1,5-6.9-11; 4,23). Amen.
10. Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ , from the rising of the sun to it setting, Your Holy Name is to be praised! You provide all our earthly needs, so also remind us that You daily give us all our spiritual needs as well, so that we never forget that You are both our Creator and Redeemer. Amen.
To God alone be the Glory
Soli Deo Gloria
All Scriptural quotations are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 4. Edition © 1990 by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, and the Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 28. Revised Edition © 2012 by Deutsch Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart.
All quotations from the Book of Concord are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using Die Bekenntnisschriften der evangelisch-lutherischen Kirche, 12. Edition © 1998 by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
ELKB. Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Bayern. www.bayern-evangelisch.de/www/index.php. Copyright © 2013 Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Bayern.
Starck, Johann Friedrich. Starck’s Prayer Book. Copyright © 2009 Concordia Publishing House.