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Sțckhardt on Trinity 16 РLuke 7:11-17

by pastorjuhl ~ September 14th, 2010

The only way to describe George Stöckhardt’s sermon for Trinity 16 is “magisterial”. If you can lay your hands on “Grace Upon Grace” from the Ft. Wayne seminary print shop, please do. His Trinity 16 sermon is worth the price of the whole book. Here are some quotes:

It is indeed distressing and unnatural when a living person is torn out of the land of the living and is enclosed in a casket and buried in a grave. It is distressing, shocking, and unnatural when body and soul, which God has so closely joined together, are forcefully separated. It is heart-breaking and unnatural when father, mother, husband, wife, parents, children, whom God has joined together into such a close unit, are suddenly separated from one another. All other ailments that cause a human being to groan point to this final ailment, to the principal ailment, death.

Illness is a forerunner of death. When one is suddenly impoverished, he is reminded of this little saying: Naked I too shall be stretched out when I like a shadow must flee this earth. When one loses honor and reputation and influence, we are reminded of future destiny: The flower falls off and returns to dust and the place thereof shall know it no more. The dead are quickly forgotten. The dark haze that finally covers up the eyes and face of every living creature, even of the courageous and the vivacious, is already gathering over a depressed, melancholic, dejected human being.
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Yes, Jesus is the Comforter in the vale of tears and is night those with broken hearts. He is with us, he meets us when we roam the valley of darkness. He is the Omniscient One, the Son of the Most High. As he was aware of that dead man in Nain and directed his attention to the crying widow, so he sees and counts all the tears of those who are crying within the kingdom and concerns himself with everything that bothers his children. Inasmuch as he assumed our flesh and blood and has the same flesh we have, he still has sincere compassion for us when we are assailed. He still today has flesh and blood and a truly human heart that is filled with sympathetic concern. And he has said and promised: I am with you alway even unto the end of the world. Yes, Jesus, the Son of God and Son of man, the Lord of heaven and born Citizen of this vale of tears, Comforter and Companion in our tribulation, is with us, draws near when before us and around us things get gloomy, and accompanies us along the entire somber way. At the very moment tribulation enters our home Jesus stands at the door and enters our home. He is present and hears and sees when you and your family eat the bread of tears and grief and sigh and cry. He accompanies you along the way of sorrow, walks ahead of you behind the casket of your loved ones. He stands next to your sickbed. The godly in their illness may rest assured that Jesus watches at their bedside day and night. He will not leave you when you are at the point of death. When we enter the valley of death, he will lead us by the hand.
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Through his Word, through preaching, through the Gospel, Jesus still comforts all who are sorrowful. And this voice resounds also from the Gospel: Weep not! When you come to think of it, you have no cause for grief and tears.

This is the way a doctor consoles his sick patient when a painful course of treatment has been successful, but the pain still persists. He says: Don’t cry; look, the root of the ailment has been removed; the nerve has been cut through; the cause of suffering has been eliminated; patiently bear the innocuous pain now; you’re passed the crisis; you are almost as good as cured.

Thus Jesus, the Physician, the Comforter, speaks to suffering Christians: Ah, why cry, why so sorrowful! The root and nerve of the ailment have been removed; the main crisis has passed. Internally, as far as the soul is concerned, you are healed. Externally, you still have a little while longer to suffer. But all your suffering, including the awful pain, is now harmless.
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Yes, sin is the root and cause of all misery and distress, a fountain-head of poison and evil. But, suffering and distressed Christians, before you now stands Jesus, and he speaks to you through the Gospel, saying: Weep not! This bitter root is removed, this poisonous fountain-head has been exhausted. Sin and transgression are forgiven. I am the Savior who has redeemed Israel from all its sins. Weep not; you can now be cleansed and justified through my blood, comforted go to God through death. Weep not; this bitter root has been removed from every cross and suffering; sin has become a sweet, blessed cross. Weep not; illness and pain touch but the bare surface of life; internally you are healed, cleansed, and restored to health through my suffering, blood, and death. Through me you now have a good conscience and are able to suffer joyfully. Yes, weep not, thus says Jesus, the Comforter in our tribulation. Think of it, the wound is not merely healed. No, you’ve obtained more than what you lost. Earthly baubles lost, heavenly blessings won! Yes, your loss was and is gain for the soul. Look to me, hear my voice; here am I, your Brother and Savior, your God and Shepherd, your best, eternal Portion. Why continue to shed tears over men, over those brittle props! Behold, I am your Father, Mother, Husband, Son, Daughter, Friend, your All.
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With the words: Weep not! – the Lord, as it were, guaranteed also to heal the wound that caused the widow to weep, the grief at the loss of her son. If he really were the Redeemer of Israel, who saved his people from their sins, he could also easily remedy the bodily ailment that distressed the widow.

All of you who are weeping and mourning, regardless of the reason, lift up your hearts and eyes to this Comforter who stands before you; listen to his voice, to his Gospel. He gives you the assurance that there’s no need to weep about a thing, that he will turn about and heal the hurts and wounds which are making you ill. He who redeems and delivers from sin will also find a remedy for all the bodily consequences of sin. What has been taken from us, he can and will give back to us thousandfold. He has the power and authority also over the dead. Thus the dead are not lost. When we die, the soul flees to his bosom, and the body is preserved in his hand.
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By raising the dead Jesus has held before us all a picture, a reflection of our own future. He who called back to life a man who had really died is able just as easily by means of a word of his mouth to awaken millions of the dead. After Jesus Christ had given himself as an offering for our sins and had again raised  himself from the dead and conquered him who had the power of death, the devil, all that is necessary is a wave of the hand and all the dead will arise and come forth from their graves. The shackles that join the dead to death are already burst asunder. That the Lord defers for so long the hour he has reserved for his power is determined by his grace alone. he desires that first many of those still living should come to God through death, that on that day should arise to life. He permits us to walk the dark valley so long on earth so that we rightly come to know him, take comfort in him, believe and learn to follow his voice, so that one day we experience a blessed death and become partakers of the resurrection to life.

When the Lord awakens us and all the dead and together with all the believers gives us eternal life, then are all suffering and misery at an end. Then instead of ashes and dust the oil of gladness will be poured out over our heads. Then comes the Paradise of God to take the place of the vale of tears. Then the tears of God’s children will glisten like pearls on the gates of the new Jerusalem. Then for us shines the eternal light, and Jesus himself is the Sun that illuminates us and makes glad eye and heart.

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