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Johann Heermann – Outline for Lent 2

by Matthew Carver ~ February 29th, 2012

Outline of Johann Heermann’s Sermon for Reminiscere Sunday
Translated and abbreviated by Matthew Carver, 2012.

The Lord His little dogs adores,
And from His table crumbs He pours;
Wait but on Christ, who satisfies,
With bounteous grace—’tis sure advice.

PREPARATION.

In the Name of the faithful Friend of our Salvation, Christ Jesus, who wills to distribute the crumbs of His consolation, the bones of His alleviation of their cross, and at last the full abundance of His help, to all his afflicted cross-bearers, who wait for him at his table of grace with a believing, humble, and incessant petition: most Blessed forever and ever, and in every grief sincerely Adored! Amen.

This Sunday has from antiquity been referred to as “Remember – Sunday.” What is it, then, O children of the living God, that I can and ought to present to you in order that you may remember Him in both good times and bad? The Christian Church has appointed a Gospel in which hardly one word does not have some profit in respect to remembrance and thanksgiving. At this time, however, I will treat no more than the matter respecting dogs. Then, whenever you happen to see a dog, you will (I hope) be reminded of and remember today’s sermon .

Yet in order that this may support my good intention and designs to the glory of the Most High and for your salvation, lift up your hearts to heaven and pray for the assistance of the Holy Spirit with the prayer which Christ taught us. But first let us sing, “From Depths of Woe I Cry to Thee…”

Now hear the memorable Gospel recorded in Matthew 15: “And Jesus went forth…”

INTRODUCTION.

I. Dogs, generally; esp. bad dogs (about which I will not speak).
A. The Bible talks about dogs as dirty, despised animals. Elisha and Hazael. “Is thy servant a dog…?”
B. Other examples
1. In Prester John’s land, dogs were barred from entering church.
2. Emperor Augustus, on the habits of the rich to amuse themselves with exotic animals.
3. A bishop remembers Sabellicus’ keeping herds of dogs.
4. Myth: Diana turned Actaeon into a stag, and he was eaten by his own dogs.
5. Euripides was bitten by Archelaus’ dog.
6. King Colomannus sent a courtier to kill Benedict, but he fell his horse and was completely devoured by his dogs
C. I will rather discuss the good, faithful domesticated dog.
1. for profitable instruction.
2. for heart-strengthening consolation,
3. for important exhortation.
D. Prayer: O my most beloved Lord Jesus, at whose table of grace I wait even now: cause, I beseech You, a mere crumb of Your help and assistance to fall to me, and I and my hearers will be satisfied with instruction, comfort, and exhortation.

BODY

I. IN WHAT WAY TO WAIT AND BEG (PRAY) AT GOD’S TABLE:
A. Confidently.
1. God’s table is always laden with comfort and help, omnipotence and mercy.
a. The Canaanite woman.
b. King David: “I lift my eyes up…”; “In the time of my distress I seek the Lord…”
c. Jonah: “When my soul despaired in me, I remembered the Lord…”
d. Hezekiah, who in his sickness prayed meekly to God.
2. As a dog that tries to eat a stranger’s food is turned away with beatings, so it is with those who desert their Lord in times of cross and tribulation and seek some other way.
a. David: “Those who seek another will have heartache”
b. Ahaziah went to Beelzebub of Ekron.
c. Judas went to Christ’s foes, the high priests, and lost life and salvation.
B. Humbly.
1. Dogs are devoted to their master, and when beaten, seek his favor: likewise, confess you unworthiness, repent, pray for unmerited grace.
a. King Manasseh in Babylon: “I pray, Lord, for grace…”
b. Daniel: “We have sinned…”
c. Judith in Bethulia.
d. The captain of Capernaum: “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come…”
e. Canaanite woman accepts that she is a dog but believes He will still help.
C. Steadfastly.
1. Luther: See how the dog jumps, leaps, and scratches at the table, and does not give up until you give it a bit of bread or a piece of meat. Even if you chase it off, it comes back. Would to God we poor men might be more like them…
2. If you are not answered at first, do not give up.
a. Hymn: “And though it tarry till the night, and till the morning waken…”
3 As a master plays with his dog by holding a bone or some food a while before giving it to the dog, so God shows His help and deliverance in His Word, but often holds them long before throwing them to you.
a. Augustine: God usually does not answer right when you ask, not out of despite but to get you to seek Him and cling to Him more.
b. Jacob: “Lord, I will not let You go unless You bless me.”
c. “Arise, O Lord, why do You sleep? Awake…”
d. The Canaanite woman was undeterred until she received help.
e. Blind Bartimaeus was not driven away, but cried all the more…
f. “Will God not deliver His elect who cry to Him day and night?…”
D. Collect: Oh my Lord Jesus, help me also in my cross fearlessly and confidently, humbly and repentantly, constantly and without ceasing to wait for You with my prayer, until I am delivered. Amen.

II. WHAT TO EXPECT: From His table God drops:
A. Crumbs of His comforting Word
1. To strengthen your heart to bear every cross with patience.
a. David: “I had much sorrow in my heart, but Your comforts gladdened my soul…”
b. Paul: “The God of all comfort…”; “I know that this suffering attains…” (Phil. 1:19)
c. Sarah: “He that serves God, after tribulation, will be comforted…” (Tob. 3:22-24).
d. “I will punish their sin with the rod…” (Ps. 89:32).
e. Solomon: “The just shall be chastised a little, but…” (Wisd. 3:5-9).
f. He wounds and He binds up… (Job 5:18-19)
B. Bones of alleviation.
1. He alleviates your distress or gives you strength to bear it.
a. Paul: “God is faithful…”
b. Jacob and Esau; Laban.
c. Joseph in servitude; Potiphar.
d. David and Saul.
e. Moses on Mt. Nebo.
f. Mephibosheth
2. God chastises us with moderation.
a. “As a father…” (Ps. 103:13-14).
C. Large, fat morsels of complete redemption.
1. God brings a miraculous deliverance from distress, like the Canaanite woman.
a. “Many are the afflictions…” (Ps. 34:19).
b. “Light is ever sown…” (Ps. 97:11).
c. “He will not always chide…” (Ps. 103:9)
d. “Praise the Lord, who has not forsaken…” (Judith 13:14)
e. David: “Lord, we went through fire and through water…” (Ps. 66:12)
f. “You changed my complaint…” (Ps. 33:11?).
g. The three young men in the furnace.
h. Daniel in the lion’s den.
i. Jeremiah in the pit.
j. Jonah in the sea.
k. Esther: “I have no other helper, Lord, but You…”
2. As a master sometimes shows affection to his dog, so God sometimes gives His believers times of joy even in this world.
a. Job travailed seven years, prospered 140 years.
b. Joseph suffered thirteen years, ruled in Egypt for
3. Yet do not despair if your cross lasts until your death.
a. He will give you a blessed last hour like Simeon.
b. There He will not leave them any more to beg like a poor dog, but seat them at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
c. “Blessed are you who weep, for you shall laugh. You shall weep and wail, but your sorrow shall be turned to joy.”
D. Collect. O my faithful Lord Jesus: comfort me also in my misery, alleviate my heavy burden of the cross, and deliver me at the proper time, in whatever manner glorifies You and blesses me. Amen.

III. HOW TO SHOW YOUR GRATITUDE (Exhortation):
A. With love and faithfulness.
1. A good dog knows its master, wants to be with him, and does not let anyone separate it from him.
a. Tobias’ dog named “The Angel’s Travel Companion” by Ambrose.
b. Pyrrhus found a dog that avenged its slain master.
c. A canon from Gotha had a dog that wished to be buried with him and had to be held back by great force.
d. Lysimachus’ dog joined its master in the flames of judment.
e. Blondus writes about how a dog of a man killed by another in France followed the murderer and indicated his guilt so that he confessed.
2. You should be thus faithful to God even unto death.
a. Job in his worst distress: “The name of the Lord be praised.”
b. The Apostles fearlessly faced the council and suffered scorn for His name.
3. Do not waver under persecution, but defend the truth to the death.
a. Image of a reed bent by the wind (false doctrines, villainy, deception)
b. David: I believe, therefore I speak.
c. Athanasius: Those who believe in Christ would rather die a thousand deaths than deny Christ, because they know that they will not perish but be raised again to immortality.
d. Jesus: “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, the same loves me.” (John 14:21)
e. Sirach “Those who fear the Lord will seek what pleases Him…” (Sirach 2:17)
B. With willingness to learn and be instructed.
1. Examples of trained dogs
a. A large English is known to have gone to market with a basket of money and bring back his master’s meat.
b. A dog carried a letter from Leyden to Brussels and brought back the reply.
c. In 1543, a blind Italian dog performed tricks of cunning that betrayed a keen recognition of its master and of others.
2. Learn to know your Lord according to his nature and will.
a. “For this is eternal life, that they know Thee…”
b. Your redeemer is gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your soul.
3. Oppose those who hate your master, as a dog is wary of strangers.
a. David: “Lord, I hate them that hate You…”
b. “I hate the assembly of the wicked…”
c. “I hate those which hold to worthless teachings.”
d. “I hate the transgressor…”
4. Love those who are good and faithful, as God’s housemates.
a. “Put on as the elect of God…” (Col. 3:12-14)
5. Be thankful to God for all his benefits, as a dog knows those who are good to it.
a. Who can count all God’s benefits?
b. “Bless the Lord, O my Soul…”
6. Revere God, and fear His wrath, just as a dog that has done wrong and is beaten by its master, remembers the punishment.
7. Store up in your heart verses of comfort and nourishment, just as a dog collects and stores bones to satisfy him in time to come.
8. Run your race constantly to avoid the devil’s seductions to sin, just as in Egypt, dogs are trained to drink while running to avoid being eaten by crocodiles.
a. “He who loves the world, in him is not the love of the Father.”
b. The world is passing away. “We have here no lasting city…”
C. With ready obedience.
1. Having run from God, obey His call to return, just as when a dog runs away and is called by its master, it recognizes his voice and rushes back in obedience.
2. Examples of disobedience (loosely based on the Decalog)
a. Idolatry / mistrust
b. cursing, swearing, witchcraft, lying, deception.
c. despising God’s Word and the holy Sacraments.
d. Dishonoring parents, authorities, and those appointed to that station.
e. domestic or public theft, usury, swindling
f. Fornication, adultery
g. Attacking fellow Christians in every way and making it so that vice and wickedness separate him from God.
3. God calls you in His Word to repent.
a. “Return to me, and I will turn to you…”
b. “Seek the Lord, while he may be found; call on him while He is near…”
c. “Let the ungodly leave his ways, and the evildoer his thoughts, and turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him…”
d. Peter
e. Mary Magdalene
f. The Publican, etc.
4. You will obtain grace, and all your trespasses will be *remembered* no more. [cf. Reminiscere]
a. The grace of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on them that fear Him, and His righteousness unto the children’s children.
b. He is gracious to those who return to Him.
D. Collect. O most beloved Lord Jesus! Grant us constantly to love You and Your heavenly Father together with the Holy Spirit, to remain faithful to You unto death, and with all diligence to be instructed in our salvation; and because we so often go astray in a multitude of sins, therefore grant us also to hear Your voice of grace, to return to You in true repentance, and by Your grace to be supported and sustained unto salvation. Amen, Lord Jesus. Amen.

2 Responses to Johann Heermann – Outline for Lent 2

  1. The Faith of a Dog (Reminiscere, Lent II – 2012) - Lutheran Logomaniac

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