16 August 2015

The Wisdom Which Comes Down from Above

True wisdom and the way of real life are found in the fear of the Lord.  That is not to be terrified of the Lord, but to honor His divine authority as the Author and Giver of life; and, along with that, to fear the Lord rightly is to love and trust in Him above and beyond anything and everything else.

You know that wisdom and way of life in Christ Jesus, the incarnate Son of God.  For He alone has the knowledge of the Holy One.  He lives in, with, and from the Father eternally.  He lives in love for His Father and for His whole creation.  Therefore, He has come down from heaven, from the bosom of the Father, as the true and living Bread.  The Word has become Flesh, in order to give Himself in the flesh for the life of the world.  He has given His flesh as the sacrifice of atonement for all sins.  And now He also gives His flesh as the true Food, that you may eat of Him and live.

You know this wisdom and this way of life in Christ by the Word that He preaches to you, which is Spirit, Truth, and Life.  And you know it by your Baptism into His Cross and Resurrection, whereby you have been enlightened and clothed with His righteousness and holiness.

As a Christian, a disciple of Christ Jesus, a beloved child of God the Father, walk as a child of the Light.  Walk in the wisdom of Christ Jesus, which is the way of life and light and love.  Live and walk in faith toward God; fear, love and trust in Him above all things.  And live in fervent love for your neighbor, especially for your brothers and sisters in Christ.  That is the wisdom from above.

Sacrifice yourself in love for others.  Give yourself in love to your neighbor in his need.  Speak words that are good and right and true, by confessing the Word of Christ that has graciously been spoken to you.  Above all, forgive those who trespass against you, as Christ forgives you in mercy.

Do not harbor anger, resentment, or bitterness against anyone, no matter how they may hurt you.  And do not give yourself over to envy and jealousy.  Rather, let the melody of the Spirit ring forth in your heart and mind, and on your lips, and sing the song of peace in Christ Jesus to and for your neighbor.  In all things, in all situations and circumstances, give thanks and praise to God.

This is how you live as a Christian.  And, yes, it is difficult and hard, because it is the way of the Cross.  Indeed, it is impossible.  You cannot do it at all, except that Christ calls you by His Gospel.

Do not be scandalized by this Cross of Christ, which you are given to carry in the fear of the Lord.  It is not the way of death that it seems to be, but the way of real life and the true wisdom of God.

Be on your guard, therefore, against the temptations of the world, of the devil, and of your own sinful heart, devious mind, and fallen flesh.  Do not be deceived by false and empty words, which have the appearance of wisdom, but which are in fact deadly and damnable lies.

Be on your guard.  Be sober and watchful at all times.  Do not be complacent or naive, but fear the Lord and repent of your sins.  Heed the warning of this Gospel story that it is possible for a disciple of Christ Jesus to stumble and fall; to turn away from Him and leave; to follow Him no longer; to pursue death and damnation instead of life with God.  That is what happens when the Word of the Lord is rejected and refused, when other words and the wisdom of the world are heeded instead.

Do not harden your heart in this way.  Do not grumble and complain against Christ, but hold His Word sacred and gladly hear and learn it, even though it is hard to hear and difficult to understand.

It is so simple, really: To whom shall you go to hear the Word of Life?  It is to Christ Jesus, the incarnate Son of the Father.  He is the Holy One, whom to know is wisdom and life everlasting.

As the divine, eternal Son of God lives in and with and from His living Father in heaven, so has He come down from above to give His Life to you.  He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, flesh of her flesh and blood of her blood, in order to give His own flesh for you upon the Cross, to shed His precious blood for the forgiveness of all your sins, and to feed you with His flesh and blood, the fruits of His Sacrifice, which are your Meat and Drink indeed.  All of this He has done, so that you may live and abide in and with Him forever.

You’ll not find such wisdom and life in your own heart, nor in the world, nor at all apart from the Word of Christ.  But here and now in His Divine Service, in the Church and Ministry of the Gospel is where His Word of Life is heard.  And in this Word that is preached to you, the Holy Spirit and the Wisdom of God are given to you.  For this divine Word forgives you all your sins for Jesus’ sake.  It raises you up daily, as often as you fail, and restores you to life in Him.  It enlightens your heart and mind with His righteousness and peace, with His own perfect faith and holy love.

Listen to what the Lord says.  Hear and heed His Voice.  For the One who is the very Wisdom of God, Jesus Christ, He has built His House, His holy Christian Church on earth.  He has hewn out His seven pillars, which are the manifold gifts of His Holy Spirit.  He has prepared His Food for you by the slaughter of His Body, by the sacrifice of His own flesh; and He has mixed His Wine with the blood and water from His pierced side.  He has prepared His Table for you in the face of all your enemies, in the midst of sin and death; and He presides over you as your Good Shepherd.

For this reason, He has also sent His servants, His messengers, even to the ends of the earth, to cry out in the highways and byways, and to call you into His House and to His Table:

“Come, eat My Flesh, which is true Food; and drink My Blood, which is true Drink.”

You do not wish to go away, do you?  But, no, rather forsake your folly.  Be not unwise, but wise, and proceed in this way of understanding.  Eat, drink, and live by the Wisdom of God in Christ.

In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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