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grace the Father approves of it also, yea, it is then spoken by the Triune God, nor can the world or the devil resist its power. The Word of Christ is not His own, but that of the Father, as He distinctly asserts : “The Word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me."
These words are so simple that the learned of this world deem them tame and imperfect. They think that such important matters as are implied in these words ought to be more forcibly described. But if we examine carefully these simple and apparently unsatisfactory words, we will find them full of life and consolation.
This we learn from the following words of Christ: “These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” It is not the great number of words that makes the teaching plain and intelligible; if the Holy Ghost is not at the same time present with us, all will be obscure.
The remainder of this Gospel contains the conclusion of those comfortable assurances which the Lord gave to His disciples in this entire chapter, namely, that they should rejoice and be glad, and not be offended on account of His shameful death, which would accrue to their great advantage. Of this we treat more fully on the festival of St. Philip and St. James.
Let us then heed the important lesson which Christ teaches us in our Gospel to-day; let us keep the Word of God, and not be turned away from it
by any danger. This we cannot do unless we love Christ; and if we love Him, God will also love us and will make His abode with us. This is the only way to be with God, and whosoever seeks another way besides that of love to Christ, will never see the Father, though he may suffer much and do many good works. They are all in vain.
Inasmuch as Christ tells us: “The Word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me,” it behooves every one to reject all words and doctrines which do not proceed from His lips. If we do this, we are sure to find God and to have His blessings, of which we would otherwise be entirely destitute. But, alas! it is now as it was in the Old Testament with the Jews. They had the mercy-seat in the tabernacle; there they were commandel to pray and to worship, and nowhere else; but instead of complying with this command they selected other places as they wished, and worshiped there. Thus it is to-day. Christ however says: If ye would find the Father and be beloved by Him, come first to me, love me, and accept my Word.
Do the Anabaptists, the Jews, the Turks and the Pope comply with this instruction ? No, verily! They deny Christ and His Word, and follow human traditions. The Pope trusts in the mass, in vows, in the assistance of dead saints. The Anabaptist trusts in outward observances and discipline, in the style of his coat and in his refusal to carry arms. The Jews and Mohammedans have likewise their nostrums. Let us, my beloved, avoid this great mistake; let us come to Christ alone and keep His Word, for the command is plain : “Him shall ye hear.” And Christ says in our text: “The words
which ye hear are my Father's words." It is therefore impossible that any one could come to God and be pleasing unto Him who does not first hear Christ and love Him.
May our Father in heaven grant us grace that we may love Christ and keep His Word through the Holy Ghost, so that we may obtain eternal salvation. Amen.
John 3, 16-21. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perishi, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeih on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
his Gospel is one of the most precious pas
sages in the whole New Testament, and fully deserves, if it could be done, to be written with golden letters into our hearts. Every Christian ought to learn this consoling text by heart, and should repeat it once at least each day, so that we would know these words well and could readily apply them for our consolation and the strengthening of our faith. They are words which have power to gladden us when we are sad and to bring us back to life when we are dead, it we but accept them earnestly in true faith. But inasmuch as it is impossible for us to comprehend fully and to express properly the contents of this glorious text, let us pray earnestly unto God to impress these words deeply upon our hearts through His Holy Spirit, so that they may become powerful in us, and may give us much joy and consolation, Amen.
The sum and substance of this glorious, comfortable and blessed passage is this, that God loved the
world so dearly that He gave His only begotten Son to save men from eternal death and to give them everlasting life. Christ our Lord speaks to us, as it were, in these words: Heed what I tell you of a peculiar, unheard-of occurrence; yea, I will point you to a great, precious and valuable treasure, which is totally unlike any earthly gifts, by which you can now be rich and blessed for evermore. All the circumstances connected with the bestowal and reception of this precious gift are so peculiar and overwhelmingly grand that human thoughts cannot compass them, and much less can our words express their great importance.
If we consider first the Giver of this blessing, we find that the text says nothing of emperors, kings, or other dignitaries of the world, but it speaks of God Himself, who is incomprehensible and omnipotent, who has created everything through His Word, who has all and preserves all and is over all, compared with whom all creation, heaven and earth, with all they contain, is but as an insignificant grain of sand. He, the Almighty, is the great Giver of all blessings, and Ilis gifts are so glorious that the most valued treasures of men, of emperors and kings, fade away into nothingness when compared with the mercies of God. Let us, therefore, rejoice greatly and sing for gladness in view of these blessings, and let us consider as mere trifles everything else that the world can bestow. What indeed can be greater or more glorious than the Almighty Himself!
This God, who is infinite and ineffable, manifests His loving kindness in a degree beyond all measure. What He gives He gives not as something merited,