Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tell Me What You Think?

I came across this from a sermon. Let me know what you think of the theology in it and maybe what tradition it might be from. I am having a hard time telling. I am only doing segments, without trying to cut out anything important or change the meaning, because it is so LONG.

Therefore, when we have received the Lord's Supper, we must not allow ourselves toi become indolent, but must be diligent and attentive to increase in love, aid our neighbor in distress, and lend him a helping hand when he suffers affliction and requires assistance. When you fail to do this you are not a Christian, or only a weak Christian, though you boast of having received the Lord and all that he is, in the Lord's Supper.

If, however, you would be sure of partaking profitably of the Lord's Supper, there is no better way than to observe your conduct toward y our neighbor. You need not reflect on the great devoutness you experienced, or on the sweetness of the words in your heart. These indeed are good thoughts, but they will not give you assurance, they may deceive you. However, you will be sure as to whether the sacrament is efficacious in your heart, if you watch your conduct toward your neighbor. If you discover that the words and the symbol soften and move you to be friendly to your enemy, to take na interst in your neighbor's welfare, and to help him bear his suffering and affliction, then it is well.

On the other hand, if you do not find it so, you continue uncertain even if you were to commune a hundred times a day with devotions so great as to move you to tears for very joy; for wonderful devotions like this, very sweet to experience, yet as dangerous as sweet, amount to nothing before God. Therefore, we must above all be certain for ourselves, as Peter writes in 2 Pet. I, 10, "Give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure." The Word and the sacrament are indeed certain in themselves; for God himself, together with all the angels and saints, testify to this; the question is in regard to yourself whether you furnish the same testimony. Therefore, even if all the angels and the whole world were to testify that you had received the Lord's Supper profitably, it would be weaker testimony than that furnished by yourself. This you cannot reach unless you consider your conduct, whether it shines forth, works in you, and bears fruit.....

then there is a part about how if we do not find this in ourselves, we should go to God and confess that though we know it is in the Lord's Supper, it has not been realized in our own hearts and pray for it to be so.... I'm going to move ahead to the last two paragraphs.

Let me say now in conclusion in regard to the Lord's Supper that when we have received it we ought to give heed to love, and in this way assure ourselves that we have received the sacrament profitably, and at the same time furnish evidence to others; so that we may not always come and still continue unchanged. Therefore, as I said, we must turn from our devotions and thoughts to our conduct toward our neighbor, and examine ourselves in this mirror with all seriousness. The sacreament is to act upon us so that we may be transformed and become different people. For God's owrd and work do not intend to be idle, but are bound to produce great things, to wit, set us free from sin, death, and the devil, and every kind of fear, and make us servants even of the least men on earth, and this without the slightest complaing on our part, rejoicing rather to find someone in need of our help, and fearing only lest after receiving so much, we may not apply it all.

Whenever the Lord's Supper fails to produce this result there is reason to fear it has wrought injury. Nevertheless, even if the result is not great, we are not to reject those that are imperfect and weak, but those athat are indolent and insolent, who imagine they have done enough when they have partaken of the sacrament. A change must take place in you, and there must be evidence of it, then you will be able to perceive through the symbol that God is with you, and your faith will grow sure and strong. For you can easily feel whether you have grown more joyous and bold than you were before. Formerly the world seemed to narrow for us when we heard of death and thought of sin. If now we feel different it is not because of our own strength, for in the past we could not get so far, althorugh we put forth greater exertions and endeavored to help ouselves by means of works. Likewise, you can feel whether you are kind to him who injured you, and whether you are merciful to him who is sick. Thus you can discover, whether the Lord's Supper is producing any fruit through your own life. If you experience nothing, go to God and tell him of your shortcomings and troubles; we mall must do the same thing as long as we live, for as we have said, not one of us is perfect. For the present let this suffice on this subject.


flacius1551 said...

The whole style sounds like Martin Luther.

Rebecca said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rebecca said...

I'm thinking if not Lutheran (but very old Lutheran, before Walther)then Mormon.

Referring to communion as "the Lord's Supper" and as "sacrament" but also a "symbol" strikes me as Mormon.

Where did you get this?

Marsha said...

Catholics refer to communion as a sacrement too and some Reformed congregations also. I've also heard referred to as a symbol and the Lord's Supper in Baptist & Reformed congregations as well. So I don't think it can be pinned on the Mormons.
As to the theology of it, it almost seems Catholic to me because it talks of recieving the Lord in the taking of the sacrement. I can't remember the exact wording so I am paraphrasing. Too bad the post isn't on this comments page so I can easily refer to it. But that was the jist of what I thought it was saying in one of the first couple paragraphs.
From my reading on LDS (Mormon) belief...the sacrement is supposed to a time for baptized members to renew their covenants that they made when they joined the church and were baptized.
Catholics believe they are accepting Christ each time they eat the wafer.
My church believes communion is a time to remember and reflect on the death, burial and ressurection of Christ and to examine one's heart and life in light of what God commands us to do in the Bible.

Jeff said...

I have no idea where it's from- but it's pretty awful.

The Lord's Supper working what it promises ceases to be dependant upon Jesus- and instead becomes dependent on what we do after it.

It certainly conveys forgiveness of sins through Christ's very body and blood.

God's love to us does produce love toward our neighbor- but looking to our own acts of love cheapens God's word and testimony.

God will do what he has promised to do through the sacrament. Whether we see him working is irrelevant- and often we won't. When one actually does a good work, one shouldn't even realize one is doing it.

"A change must take place in you, and there must be evidence of it, then you will be able to perceive through the symbol that God is with you, and your faith will grow sure and strong. For you can easily feel whether you have grown more joyous and bold than you were before."

I suppose I've never received the Lord's Supper profitably then. Bummer.

Jeff said...

PS: And yeah- I know who wrote it. ::shrugs::

Doesn't change my view on it though.

Cheryl said...

Hi, RPW--this comment is not on this post itself but on the format of it. Hope you don't mind my mentioning this, but my old aging eyes are having trouble reading the print in blue. In fact, I honestly can't make it out at all. Maybe it's because of the color of the background it's on? Now I'm not expecting you to change anything on my account--I do have reading glasses around here somewhere, and when I find them I will come back and read the rest of this post--but just thought you might like the feedback from one of your visually (ocularly?) challenged readers.

The Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

No Cheryl, I absolutely understand and I welcome the feedback! I am still learning what works best with this template, and am hoping to branch out beyond white and pink. One of the reasons why I picked it is that the majority of the templates that I wanted would've made most of my posts (where I manually picked blue) completely disappear into the background, and I'd have to go back and change a multitude of posts (who knew I'd have so much hot air to channel through my fingertips????)

Beth said...

I liked it. It was food for thought. Don't know if I agree with it but it made some good points. So, Jeff, who wrote it?

Jeff said...

Luther- in a sermon about 1524-ish.

Reading the whole thing gives you more context- but Mrs. Horn has correctly posted the ending, which really destroys the sermon up to that point.

Of course one needs to consider the situation- and who Luther was preaching too... but eugh, that makes something as absolutely certain as the sacrament way too subjective.

The Sacraments works whether we see its 'fruits' in our life or not. And the sacrament works 'best' in sinners.

To quote Luther (where he says it better)

What is the benefit of such eating and drinking?

That is shown us in these words: Given, and shed for you, for the remission of sins; namely, that in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are given us through these words. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.

The sacrament promises forgiveness of sins through Christ's very body. The bible doesn't promise anything else in connection with it. That's not to say other things can't arise from it- but it's completely effective and profitable whether we feel it working or love our neighbor more after it.

Beth said...

Thanks, Jeff. I do prefer that other quote. I liked the sermon posted, but could see your point about the ending.

Cheryl said...

Thanks for the color change, my friend! I can see it now (even without my glasses)! Who knows, maybe the change of computer is making a difference, too (I'm reading on a different one today).