The 4th Commandment and the Famine of the Word

     Martin Luther's explanation of the Fourth Commandment in the Large Catechism sums up well the theme and title of this blog: God sends men to preach His Word.  Those who listen to that Word are blessed.  Those who continuously despise that Word will ultimately get what they want: that Word will be taken away from them; false teachers will bring them words that tickle their itching ears and entertain them.  If this continues long enough the famine of the Word will lead to spiritual starvation. 

161 Yet there is need that this truth about spiritual fatherhood also be taught to the people. For those who want to be Christians are obliged in God’s sight to think them worthy of double honor who minister to their souls [1 Timothy 5:17–18]. They are obligated to deal well with them and provide for them. For that reason, God is willing to bless you enough and will not let you run out. 162 But in this matter everyone refuses to be generous and resists. All are afraid that they will perish from bodily needs and cannot now support one respectable preacher, where formerly they filled ten potbellies. 163 Because of this, we also deserve for God to deprive us of His Word and blessing and to allow preachers of lies to arise again and lead us to the devil. In addition, they will drain our sweat and blood.
164 But those who keep God’s will and commandment in sight have this promise: everything they give to temporal and spiritual fathers, and whatever they do to honor them, shall be richly repaid to them. They will not have bread, clothing, and money for a year or two, but will have long life, support, and peace. They shall be eternally rich and blessed. 165 So just do what is your duty. Let God manage how He will support you and provide enough for you. Since He has promised it and has never lied yet, He will not be found lying to you [Titus 1:2].

Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 377

By nature, we are all despisers of God's Word.  We would not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ or come to Him.  But God, in His grace, has sent us His Son Jesus Christ to pay for that sin, along with all of our other sins by His death on the cross.  Through the Word and Sacraments, the Holy Spirit calls us by the Gospel, gathers us into the Church, enlightens us with His gifts, and sanctifies us in the one true faith.  May that Word of God continue to lead us to repentance and faith in our Savior Jesus Christ daily.


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