THE WEEK OF PENTECOST – FRIDAY

LESSON: EPHESIANS 4:25-32

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Galatians 5:25

There must always be a mixture or blending in us: we must feel both the Holy Spirit and our sin and imperfection. If there is to be improvement in us, we must resemble a sick person in the hands of a physician. Therefore, let no one conclude as follows: this person has the Holy Spirit; therefore, he or she must be quite strong; bring forth the most precious works and never show any signs of weakness. Not so! The Gospel is not a proclamation for everyone.

It is beyond measure a sweet proclamation, but if it encounters raw and acid hearts, it does not achieve its purpose. In this case, men become only more insolent and frivolous in the belief that there is really no need for them to struggle against sin. They have no real knowledge of sin or misfortune. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is given to no one but to those who are truly sorrowful because of their sins and who are afraid of the consequences. Among such people, the Gospel can go to work usefully and fruitfully.

The gift of the Gospel is such an exalted and noble gift that God does not throw it to dogs. Even if the latter come by chance upon the Gospel and hear it preached, they simply devour it without knowing what they are devouring. For successful work, the Holy Spirit must encounter hearts which feel and realize their sinful lusts, and which know that by nature they are in a hopeless situation. There must be a struggle in the heart if the Spirit is to come with His help. No one should imagine that things can take another course here.

SL 11:1027 (23)

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, You have implanted desires in our hearts so great that only You can bring them to pass. Strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit that we may successfully complete all that we have begun in Your name and in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

Editor’s note: No American Edition (AE) equivalent for today’s sermon excerpt exists at the time of this publication. For an alternate English translation of this sermon, see Lenker, Church Postil—Gospels, 3:272-287.