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Sțckhardt on Trinity 21 РJohn 4:46-54

by pastorjuhl ~ October 19th, 2010

Stöckhardt’s sermon for Trinity 21 in “Grace Upon Grace” seems to preach toward a particular situation in the congregation rather than preaching the text. He notes that death has hit his congregation (Holy Cross, St. Louis) quite hard that particular year; harder than any year prior. So He brings concentrated comfort to his flock under the theme: “Christ the Lord Over Life and Death!” Here are two extended quotes:

When it is time for a Christian to die, he knows: It is the Lord who is calling me. That person has lived long enough whom the Lord bids to die. He has finished his work on earth. The Lord no longer needs him on earth but wants him in  heaven. There in heaven he should sing the praises of the Lord. This is the real comfort we give sorrowing widows and widowers and parents, from whom the spouse, the children have been torn away apparently before their time, prematurely. They are to know that the Lord has bidden them to die. We should firmly believe this. Christ rules in death. We are able somewhat to check the natural causes responsible for the death of our people, are able many times to assign time, place, occasion when they incurred the mortal illness. But all these natural causes, yes, even the folly and the skill of physicians are means in the Lord’s hand by which he accomplishes his will. And it is always a good and gracious will. When he bids his own to die, it is for the welfare of the living so that faith will be purified and strengthened through tribulation, and to the welfare of the dying so that their faith will be perfected and crowned.
Of course, we cannot avoid this one issue, avoid this one moment, death itself. We must die. And dying hurts. It is a great moment, this turning from time to eternity. Nevertheless, Christ governs and rules in death. Christ is the Lord of life and death. He is the Lord, and he makes of death what he wants. And death in the hand of Christ, the Son of God, is not just a means to life. Death must occur in order that we may be able to exchange this temporal life for eternal life. In this temporal life God’s face is still hidden from us. Here we still see through a glass darkly. We must first forsake this world, must be torn away and be completely divested of this world if we are to see God, God himself and the heavenly inheritance. And to this end death helps us to fade out of this world. This sinful, mortal body must first see corruption before our flesh and blood become glorified and altogether spiritual. And this occurs in death. Thus death helps to life; thus Christ rules in death. And so comforted we commend body and soul into the hand of Christ. He is the Lord, the Lord also of life and death, and he leads his own through life and death into life everlasting.

2 Responses to Sțckhardt on Trinity 21 РJohn 4:46-54

  1. Matt Thompson

    Wondering if the sermons and writings of George Stockhardt are in print?

  2. pastorjuhl

    The volume I have is \”Grace Upon Grace\” and is available through the print shop of Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, IN. There are a number of other Stöckhardt translations available there too. Erwin Koehlinger is the translator for most, if not all items.

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