August 9, 2022     3:44 pm
36. Week of Sunday after New Year - Sunday
John baptises
          Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!   Mathew 3:2
          When Jesus was thirty years old, John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" Jesus has come! Realise your sinful ruin, and believe in Him, your Saviour,- that was his meaning. There was a great commotion among the people. All flocked to see John. They confessed their sins and were baptised by John for the remission of their sins for Jesus' sake, who now had appeared. John then taught them how to serve God with the simple works of faith which their calling and station required of them. But when he saw many self-righteous Pharisees and wicked Sadducees come to his baptism, he said to them: "O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth, therefore, fruits suitable for repentance; and do not think to yourselves, We have Abraham as our father; for I say to you that God is able to raise up children of Abraham from these stones. And now the axe is cutting into the root of the trees; therefore, every tree which does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire. I indeed baptise you with water to repentance; but He that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; He shall baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire; whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor and gather His wheat into His granary; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." (Matt.3:1-12.)
          The kingdom of heaven is near, very near at hand, for us, too. We must repent and believe in the Saviour, and seek forgiveness of sins in the Word, in Baptism, and in the Lord's Supper. Then we must bring forth fruits suitable for repentance. But woe to the self-righteous and wicked who depend upon mere outward church-membership! Christ, who, through the means of grace, gives the fire of the Holy Spirit to true faith, will finally purge His congregation of such hypocrites, and judge them.
          PRAYER: - Lord God, Heavenly Father, I pray You, through Christ, Your dear Son, my Saviour, to at all times graciously bestow upon me Your Holy Spirit through Your Word and Sacrament, that in true repentance I may realise my sin, and take comfort, in true faith, in my Saviour, and bring forth fruits fit for repentance, and hereafter be saved, through the same, my Saviour, Your dear Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

First Part : Festival Season
August 9, 2022     3:44 pm