A Reading from the Book of Concord 1 year series February 6, 2011 - Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany
The following reading from the CONCORDIA edition of the Book of Concord is for the Gospel, Matthew 13:24–30, 36–43 for the Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, February 6, 2011.
It is from Augsburg Confession, Article XXVIII.
Reflecting today's Gospel lesson, Martin Luther once said, "For where God built a church, there the Devil would also build a chapel." Yet, other than calling the unbelievers amongst us to repentance by His Word, and retaining their sin by withholding absolution and the Lord's Supper, we take no action but trust their conversion and our protection to the Lord.
4. . . our teachers, in order to comfort people's consciences, were constrained to show the difference between the authority of the Church and the authority of the State. They taught that both of them are to be held in reverence and honor, as God's chief blessings on earth, because they have God's command. 5 Our teachers' position is this: the authority of the Keys [Matthew 16:19], or the authority of the bishops—according to the Gospel—is a power or commandment of God, to preach the Gospel, to forgive and retain sins, and to administer Sacraments. 6 Christ sends out His apostles with this command, "As the Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you … Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld" (John 20:21-22). 7 And in Mark 16:15, Christ says, "Go … proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation." 8 This authority is exercised only by teaching or preaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments, either to many or to individuals, according to their calling. In this way are given not only bodily, but also eternal things: eternal righteousness, the Holy Spirit, and eternal life. 9 These things cannot reach us except by the ministry of the Word and the Sacraments, as Paul says, "The Gospel … is the power of God for salvation to everyone that believes" (Romans 1:16). 10 Therefore, the Church has the authority to grant eternal things and exercises this authority only by the ministry of the Word.
Condensed from CONCORDIA: THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS, copyright 2005,2006 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission. All rights reserved. To purchase a copy of CONCORDIA, call 800-325-3040.
Lord grant you faith in His grace alone for your salvation unto eternal life. Amen