February 8, 2023     12:41 pm
243. Week of Seventh Sunday after Trinity - Thursday
The visible Church.
          Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was cast into the sea and gathered of every kind.   Mathew 13:47
          Not only is the Gospel preached, but there are also those who profess the Christian faith, and come together to hear the Gospel. Of course, one can see these people, and count them, and draw up a list of their names. The whole number of those who profess the Christian faith and go to hear the Gospel is called the visible Church. The whole number of those who at one place and in an organised body profess the Christian faith and are gathered about the Gospel, is called a local Christian congregation. But in this visible Church, and within the local congregations, there are also hypocrites and ungodly people besides the true Christians. Only the Lord knows them that are His. If it becomes manifest that one who professes to be a Christian is a hypocrite and ungodly, then, according to Christ's precept and established order, he must be put away from among the Christian congregation and declared a heathen man and a publican. Such is God's will. But beyond this we cannot distinguish between believers and hypocrites, and consequently cannot excommunicate. It is because we do not know the state of any man's heart. The Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of God, the Church of Christ on earth, is like a net that was cast into the sea and gathered of every kind, both good and bad fish. And when the net is full, they draw it to shore, and sit down, and gather the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. This sorting in the Kingdom of God shall be done on the last day, not now. At the end of the world the angels shall come forth at God's behest, and separate the wicked from among the just. And then the wicked shall be cast where there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. He that has ears to hear, let him hear!
          PRAYER: - Lord Jesus, I thank You that through Your Word and Holy Spirit You have given me the true faith and have made me a true member of Your Church. Keep me, I beseech You, in true faith until my end, that at the great sorting on the last day I may not be cast into hell, but be received into heaven. Amen.

Second Part : Catechism Lessons
February 8, 2023     12:41 pm