His Gracious Voice
Monday of Pentecost 18
9 October 2017
Why did God have His Word written down? To provide a permanent record of the divine revelation to us poor sinners. Would it be right for us to be left only with rumors about the life, death, resurrection of Christ, and the meaning of those things? No, God graciously saw to it that the Word was written down that we would not be bereft of its message. Without the written Word we would be at the mercy of every religious charlatan who comes along to offer some word from God that he claimed to have received. Yet, many people are enslaved to these false teachers who claim to have some kind of direct contact with God. God does not want His people to be slaves of those whom He sends to shepherd them, but He wants them to know what His good and gracious will is toward us in His Son Jesus Christ.
 
This is why we insist that our pastors be but students of the prophets and the apostles, that they preach nothing new, but preach the same faithful word of God to the people of God. Every charlatan has his own vision of what the people ought to be doing, but the people are perishing because of the lack of knowledge ( Hos 4:6). They do not know the gospel of Christ but are tied up by the charlatans whose knowledge is purely legalistic. They can always tell you how to live your life. But they can't tell you about the life of Christ, which He grants through the life-giving gift of baptism. They can't tell you about God's forgiveness, because they don't know about the blood atonement of the sinless Son of God for the sins of the world. They can tell you about the donations they need to support their ministry, but they have trouble preaching the donation of the life of God's Son into death that we might be freed from death.
 
Jesus does not leave us to the mercy of these merciless preachers. He has seen fit to place into our hands His written Word, that we might know the mystery of the gospel. We are freed from the tyranny of false doctrine because the gracious Word of a gracious God has been conveyed to us by the pens of the apostolic authorities. There are many compelling reasons for God to have written the Word of God, but none more compelling than that we are never deprived of the gospel if we have the Word. God never stops speaking because we need to hear His gracious voice in Scripture.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Martin Chemnitz

"The apostles committed their doctrine to writing from these considerations, for these reasons, and for this use: (1) that they might repeat in writing what they had personally delivered orally, and recall it to memory; (2) that they might explain by means of epistles those things which were to be built on the first elements of faith which they had transmitted; (3) that the churches were being disturbed and the doctrine adulterated under the pretext and title of traditions supposedly received from the disciples; (4) that the doctrine received from the apostles by word of mouth was not being faithfully preserved by tradition; (5) that other teachers that were not apostles might have the written testimony from which they could prove to the churches that the doctrine which they brought was apostolic; (6) that the church which could not hear the living voice of the apostles might be certain which doctrine they were to receive and venerate as truly apostolic; (7) that the apostles afterward laid down in writings the same things which they had delivered orally while they were present; (8) that in the writings of the apostles there is present not merely a bare catalog of the chief points of apostolic doctrine but also adequate explanations; (9) that the rule of the Christian faith should be in the Scripture; (10) that it might be possible to know from the writings of the apostles what knowledge they had concerning the mystery of Christ; (11) that the apostles wrote in this way that the believers might be able, in the infirmity of this life, to grasp the mysteries of the gospel; (12) that after having committed to writing the same things they had previously transmitted, they might preserve the purity of the doctrine against corruptions; (13) that the apostles comprehended in their writings both the first elements of faith and the fuller and more complete teaching which followed later; (14) that all Scripture given by inspiration of God is profitable so that the minister of the gospel may be complete, equipped for every good work of the ministry; (15)  that the apostles wrote to this purpose, that the church, after it was deprived of the voice of the apostles through their death, might have the means by which it could retain and preserve the memory of the apostolic doctrine, especially because in the last times many errors would be foisted upon the church by means of words which would parade under the name of apostolic traditions; (16) that there would be a model, showing how a minister must conduct himself in the church, in order that the church may be and remain a pillar and bulwark of the truth; (17) that the apostles afterward wrote the same things which they delivered from the beginning, and this for confident use by people of every age, in every church, and for all time to come; (18) that they wrote both for those who believed already and for such as were yet to come to faith; (19) that they received the command to write from the Son of God Himself; (20) that the origin, cause, and use of the Scripture in the New Testament is the same as the Old Testament, so that nothing would be added, nothing taken away, and nothing be departed from either to the right or to the left." 

Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent
Revelation
22:10-21
 
"Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy."
 
"Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."
 
Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
 
"I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star."
 
The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
 
He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.  
(ESV)
Prayer
Lord, keep us steadfast in Your word. Curb those who by deceit or sword would wrest the kingdom from Your Son, and set at naught all He has done. Amen.
 
For the Lutheran Malaria Initiative, that we might serve our neighbor by providing to him the means to ward off sickness and death
 
For Preceptor Joel Humann, and the faculty and staff of Westfield House, Cambridge, that the Lord would continue to bless their proclamation of the gospel in that place
 
For all those who have been deprived of the gospel through the deception of false teachers, that the Word of God would enlighten and free them from tyranny to legalism and error
Art: Albrecht DURER, The Adoration of the Trinity (1511)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
©  Scott Murray 2017