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Gottesblog

A blog of the Evangelical Lutheran Liturgy

Good example of exhortation

Things are often clearer when we see examples. So here is an example of the last paragraphs of a sermon (not mine) that I think does a great job of ending a sermon with exhortation to faithful, godly living. These paragraphs come after some solid, direct, Fordesque Gospel: not talking about the Gospel but actually preaching the Gospel.

I don't think anyone could accuse this sermon of legalism, even though it would even be a great way to end a sermon if the elders are after you for "more stewardship talk"!

So have a look and comment below.

This is not the end of the restoration but the beginning. God wants more happiness for us than only that between us and Him, thought that is the number one happiness and runs through every happiness. We are happy indeed to know that God does not condemn and cast us off as we deserve. We are no longer bargaining with God, no longer scared of Him. He has given us to be His children who love now from the resources of His gifts.

When God can give, He is happy. When we are given to by God so unimaginably abundantly, we are happy. Being made happy with God's giving, we multiply our happiness when we also give. The opportunities are plentiful to spouse, family, friend, and others knocked about beside the road. Our enemies provide the opportunities of purest giving, for then it is not so easily mixed with getting. As God's happiness increases, as His giving increased, so does ours. For this purpose God gives us abundance of gifts so that we may have joy in giving them further.

God's gifts always grow; they grow by being given away. If they are not given, they wither and die. That is, above all, true of the Gospel. God, you see, is not greedy of His happiness. He did not insist on having all the joy of giving it away. God gave it into our hands. Just think of that! When you have given Christ away to somebody, then is Christ more richly and powerfully yours.

We are, perhaps, not so willing to agree when it comes to some of God's other gifts, our work and business and money, for here the emphasis is so strongly on getting. These things, however, we must see in the light of their purpose. If we work hard, strive to increase our wages or business to get for ourselves, then we are only breeding further restless wanting and getting and wanting. If we work and earn so we may have more to give for God, for friends, family, and others, then happy is our work. Our work is worship, for it is performed in God's way of doing things.

The increase of happiness' treasures is by giving, not by getting. As the loaves and fishes were multiplied by being given away, so all the gifts of God are multiplied by being given away. It is far happier to give than to receive. God knows that, and He wants us happily to know it too. Amen.
Pr. H. R.34 Comments