First Rogation Day.
Account the longsuffering of our Lord Jesus Christ for your salvation. 2 Peter 3:15.
In this place Apostle Peter writes to the Christians that they should account the longsuffering of our Lord Jesus Christ for their salvation, when He has been so longsuffering that He has not punished them according to their merit. Not only at the time when they were still heathen has Christ been so longsuffering that He has waited for their repentance, but also after they became Christians and children of God. It is a gracious Saviour who is so longsuffering that He allows them to live, although they are fickle in so many ways. This longsuffering the Christians should account as salvation, when they see and feel how longsuffering Jesus Christ is, that He does not punish them according to their merit. If namely the Lord would judge the Christians according to merit, not one soul would become saved. All Christians who are watching feel this. They feel how much sin and how much evil they have. They feel that if Christ would not have been so gracious and longsuffering they would have been eternally lost long ago, but because of the longsuffering of our Lord Jesus Christ they have been able to enjoy that great grace that they have come to know what grace is, if they would be able to so watch and strive in their most precious faith so that the world, the devil and their own flesh would not rob them of their faith and would not press them away from Christ, as some have already fallen into unbelief and doubt, whom the enemy has gotten to turn back to the world and through the world into destruction. Self-righteousness has tired many and pressed them away from Christ, although now it can be seen that all who flee into the world sink into hell because of the sorrow of the world and must in the end condemn themselves, that there is no hope for a better life.
Account now the longsuftering of our Lord Jesus Christ to be your salvation who has allowed you to live until that day that this light has come into the world, through which many have come to know their wretched and unfortunate condition; and many have through this enlightenment realized where the road leads to heaven, and ore forced to begin to cry with such a loud voice that the voice is heard in heaven; and many repentant ones have received the answer just like the repentant thief on the cross. And through death many have departed from this life with joy and great freedom of faith. It has happened to them who have accounted the longsuffering of our Lord Jesus to be salvation, since He has been so gracious and longsuffering, that He has kept us wretches until that day that the light has dawned from above, and has not allowed all to die in their blindness, but has allowed some souls to realize where they were. This has truly been the longsuffering of our Lord Jesus Christ which Peter has commanded the Christians to account as salvation. If now former drunkards thought how unfortunate they would have been if God would have allowed them to run headlong to destruction; if former whores and thieves thought where they would have gone if God would not have awakened them from the sleep of sin and taken a hold of them in the race of sin, so there would already have been reason to account God's longsuffering to be salvation, as He has been so longsuffering and so patient with them that He has not thrown them into hell in their blindness. If they would see how longsuffering God has been, who has saved them until that time that the blind wretches' eyes are opened, and even to that day that they could see where the road leads to heaven, so there would certainly be reason to account the longsuffering of God to be salvation. It is understood in this way, that as God has saved the ungodly to that day that He has caused them to stop in the race of sin, and to return from the road of destruction,so the longsuffering has happened for their salvation, namely to those who have received that grace; and to these God's longsuffering has come to be destruction, who have despised the richness of God's longsuffering. Since therefore Saint Peter writes to the Christians: "Account the longsuffering of our Lord Jesus Christ to be salvation", it is without doubt His intention that Christians should remember how longsuffering and patient God is, who has waited for their penitence, if they know what a great grace this is, that God has not allowed them to go to eternity in blindness. Account now this longsuffering of our Lord Jesus Christ to be salvation, and remember how unfortunately it would have gone if God would have thrown you into hell as you have merited when you were yet His enemies. But do not draw God's grace into fornication or lightmindedness, and do not allow sorrow of the world to burden your heart, and war with all your strength against the devil.
Be equipped with war weapons of righteousness, with the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, because now is such a time that if it were possible, even the elect would be lost. There are not many souls any more who are able to believe that the Son of God will come soon to take His own away from this valley of sorrow. Account now the longsufrering of our Lord Jesus Christ to be salvation, and pray that the great Crossbearer who has not spared even one drop of blood which He has not given to flow for the redemption of repentant and believing ones, would fight yet in behalf of those who the world hates and persecutes for Christ's name's sake, that they would be able to carry His cross to Golgotha's hill and follow His bloody footsteps from the Garden to Golgotha, and finally be able to see that great Crossbearer on Mount Zion, and be able to enjoy beholding Him forever. Hear, Thou King of repentant and believing ones, the sighs of the sorrowful and downpressed! Our Father, which art in the heavens.
Gospel: 2 Peter 3:9.
"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering toward us not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
The evening sermon text for the first rogation day is also written in the third chapter of the second epistle of Peter, ninth verse and the words sound thus. The Lord "is longsuffering toward us not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
By the guidance of the above mentioned read holy text we must, at this holy moment, consider why the Lord is so patient toward us. Saint Peter has revealed in the words of today's text why the Lord is so patient toward us, namely: He waits for repentance from all. But not many take heed of the richness or God's longsufiering, because some postpone their repentance from day to day and year to year until that time that death begins to squeeze their hearts excessively. Then they would hasten to repentance if they could. But as Peter now writes such words to the Christians that God is patient toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should turn and come to repentance, so it sounds from these words like Peter was demanding that the Christians repent, although it is not written or what place they should repent. Certainly Christians do have reason to repent, but not like the sorrowless demand, because the sorrowless also demand repentance of the Christians, but not such a repentance as God demands. But the sorrowless demand that the Christians repent in such a way that they should consent to the deeds and goings on of the sorrowless; namely, begin to drink and whore with them and live after the fashion of the world. But Peter demands such a repentance of the Christians where they truly are faulty, for example the love of the world, which already in Peter's time began to appear among the Christians, as we see from the epistle of James.
Apostle James severely rebukes the Christians of hardness of heart and mercilessness when he writes in the second chapter: "For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there comes in also a poor man in vile raiment; and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, stand thou there, or sit under my footstool, are ye not then partial in yourselves, and become judges of evil thoughts?
"If a brother or a sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, depart in peace, be ye wanned and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?"
In this place you Christians can hear reproach. First in that, that they cake a bad separation between the poor and the rich, and secondly, they do not help the needy but leave them helpless in behalf of body. This is one fault of which the Christians should repent. Love of the world is such that it will exclude love and make the heart so hard that there is no compassion. Love of the world and greed make the conscience so blind that the conscience does not even demand that one helps the needy. From this place Apostle James has reproved the Christians, and Peter writes in today's text that God is patient with us and does not will that some would be lost, but that every one would turn to repentance. Here is heard that Peter also demands repentance of the Christians, but not such a repentance which the sorrowless demand but that kind of repentance which God demands, for that repentance which the sorrowless demand of the Christians is wrong. The sorrowless demand that the Christians should become angels. But Christians have never become angels, not in the Saviour's time nor in Peter's time, for Christians are always faulty. But the devil's angels do not gain anything thereby, that they accuse the Christians, but the accounting of the sorrowless only becomes greater on judgement day, since the sorrowless have not made penitence and repentance but have hardened their consciences.
And when James writes of these who go about in flashy clothes, so assuredly has he preached against finery, although we do not know if they have been Christians who have gone about in flashy clothes. Truly there are also those kind here who go around in flashy clothes and bear the name of a Christian. Some Christians also love these clothes that glitter before the world. But we believe that those who truly are Christians stop wearing flashy garments. We do not know for sure whether the Christians in the time of Apostle James wore finery, but Paul also speaks to the women folk about finery and preaches against it. There are many other occasions in a Christian's home life where, no doubt, repentance is needed, if Christians would feel what a great grace it is that God is so patient with them that He still waits for repentance, for impatience is so great in the Christians that they sometimes have to give their mortal members into the service of sin; when they are not watchful, so also old Adam is allowed out, and this old Adam wants to rob many of their faith, that they sometimes have to confess afterwards: "I am not able to believe; my old Adam arose in me." Because of this old Adam, selfrighteousness rises as an accuser and a judge so that they therefore become powerless. Oh, if they would very hastily repent and would be reconciled with their brother in strife, they would certainly be able to immediately arise. But they give themselves under the judgement of selfrighteousness and lower themselves to the bottom, and finally go entirely into the world. Nor do they then remember how patient God is, and that He does not will that some would be lost, but that every one would turn to repentance. There is still one place of which the Christians should repent, namely of muteness and lack of speaking, which is beginning to trouble the Christians, In the beginning of this awakening all cried out: "Make repentance!" But now there are not many taking heed, and it appears that the Christians are silent and for that reason that their word does not effect anything. But this fruit of unbelief should be removed from God's vineyard, because he who is not able to believe that his speech will effect, how is he able to believe that the Holy Ghost is yet within him? The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed seeds in the ground, and went away and ate and slept, and the seed grows of itself, first sprouts and then produces a head, and finally in the head produces a kernel. So remember, you few souls who are placed as sowers, that the seed grows of itself, and remember also how patient the Lord is with us, that He wills not that even one would be lost, but that every one would turn to repentance! Now the Lord has been patient with us, who first has awaited for the sorrowless to repent, although not many have made repentance, but the Lord is still longsuffering and patient, who yet waits for the Christians to repent of those places which they truly need to repent of. And our hope is that Christians make repentance, that they from now on begin to remember better how patient the Lord is who yet waits for us. Truly we need to make repentance in many places! Remember, you few souls who yet are watching and striving in your most precious faith, that soon will come the cry: "Behold, the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him." Soon the Son of God will come to take away His poor bride. Soon the guests of heaven will come to behold how beautiful the Redeemer's bride is. Soon God's children can rejoice and be glad on Mount Zion, where all who account the longsuffering of God to be salvation give thanks to their Creator and Redeemer in the Holy Ghost now and forever. Amen.