“‘Fear God and Give Him the Glory!’: The Slogan of the Lutheran Church Reformation” (Revelation 14:6-7)

Reformation Day (Observed)
Sunday, October 30, 2011

“Fear God and Give Him the Glory!”: The Slogan of the Lutheran Church Reformation
Reformation Festival Sermon on Revelation 14:6-7 by C. F. W. Walther (1881)
Translated by Joel Baseley. Abridged by Charles Henrickson.

“Holy, holy, holy, Lord of Sabaoth, all the earth is full of your glory.” This we cry out today, O Lord our God, along with the cherubim and seraphim. For today we remember the glorious work of the Reformation of the church, which you began and gloriously brought to completion in the sixteenth century. Your glory had been taken from the very midst of your church, the glory that you alone are wise and just, and that you have given this glory to man. But behold! You then awakened your servant, Luther, revealed to him that he was by nature a poor, blind, dead, and lost sinner, and yet, at the same time, brought him to the living knowledge that your Word alone is the saving truth and your grace alone, the way to salvation. You restored your glory unto your church again through his faithful service. Oh, so lend us also your aid today that we render you solemn acknowledgment of this, so that by it we remain steadfast in your truth and finally be saved by your grace alone. Yes, do help us for the sake of Jesus Christ, your Son, our only Savior. Amen.

Our text is Revelation 14:6-7: “Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.’”


Published in: on October 29, 2011 at 9:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“A Faith Worth Imitating: C. F. W. Walther” (Hebrews 13:7)

Commemoration of C. F. W. Walther, Churchman and Theologian (October 25, 1811 – May 7, 1887)
Sunday, October 23, 2011

“A Faith Worth Imitating: C. F. W. Walther” (Hebrews 13:7)

Reading from Hebrews 13: 7: “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” This is our text.

Fifty years ago, “Walther” was a household name in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. After all, the synodical youth group was called the Walther League. Today, however, the league is long gone, and for many so is the man for whom it was named, Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther. In fact, there are probably some here today who are wondering why in the world we’re devoting a service to commemorating a man nobody knows!

Well, our text for this morning tells us why. “Remember,” it says, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God.” And nobody has spoken the Word of God more faithfully in the Missouri Synod than C. F. W. Walther. So today we are remembering him, as our church celebrates the 200th anniversary of Walther’s birth on October 25, 1811.


Published in: on October 23, 2011 at 12:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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“Witnesses Preach Law and Gospel” (Acts 2:14a, 36-41)

Third Sunday of Easter
May 8, 2011

“Witnesses Preach Law and Gospel” (Acts 2:14a, 36-41)

Maybe you noticed, maybe you didn’t: The hymn we just sang, “He’s Risen, He’s Risen,” was written by C. F. W. Walther. Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther was, of course, the first president of our Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and really the leading figure in our synod’s history. This year we are celebrating the 200th anniversary of Walther’s birth in October of 1811. Yesterday, May 7, was the commemoration of his death, and so it is very appropriate that we sing his Easter hymn today. “Oh, where is your sting, death? We fear you no more; Christ rose, and now open is fair Eden’s door. For all our transgressions His blood does atone; redeemed and forgiven, we now are His own.” Walther loved nothing better than to preach Christ’s victory over, sin, death, and the devil, so that troubled sinners could find comfort for their consciences and salvation for their souls.

One of Walther’s greatest contributions to the life of the church was his series of lectures on “The Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel.” Generations of Missouri Synod pastors have been taught Walther’s theses on this subject, and it continues to shape our preaching. Walther’s great concern was that the preachers of our church would understand and be able to apply both the Law and the Gospel without confusing the two. Law: God’s message that we all are sinners, guilty of breaking God’s commandments and unable to save ourselves. Gospel: God’s sweet word of forgiveness and everlasting life, freely given to us for the sake of Christ and received by faith apart from any contribution on our side. To properly distinguish the demanding, condemning word of the Law from the freeing, forgiving word of the Gospel, to preach the Law in its full severity and the Gospel in all its sweetness–this is the highest art of the preacher. Those who bear witness to Christ–“Witnesses Preach Law and Gospel.”


Published in: on May 7, 2011 at 11:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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