I Cor. 16:9  ‘For a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.’

September 29, 2008

Parables (4th part)

A Pastor Stubenvoll wrote some modern examples of the parable and Jotham’s fable which we will look at. Consider also how you could use these methods in preaching and teaching.


How shall I describe mankind?  It is like a forest, a great and wide forest, in which all kinds of trees grow: large and small, strong and weak, thin and thick, rotten and decaying. When we look closely at a woods we find fallen trees and such as have been damaged by the raging storm.

Mankind resembles such a woods.  There are powerful giants, vigorous and healthy characters blooming in body and soul.  These are like the immovable weather-beaten oaks and beeches which had courageously and steadfastly bidden defiance to every danger.

There are faithful and Christ-loving disciples who, like the evergreen pines and fir trees, never change their apparel, never change their color.

There are children of men, bathed in tears, bowed down by cross and sin, almost succumbing in the storms of life.  They are like the weeping willow with head bowed to earth, deeply mourning and humbly bewailing their sin, distress, misery, and sorrow.  They do not have the courage to look up but, rather gaze sorrowfully at the earth.

There are arrogant and haughty demons of pride, and self-righteous persons, hypocrites, wise in their own conceits.  These resemble the tamarack which usually grow in wet, miry soil, and with overbearing pride look down upon the trees and shrubs growing in their vicinity.

But then there are also humble children of God who are satisfied under all conditions and do not exalt themselves over anyone.  These resemble the lowly alder and hazel-bushes which, looking for counsel and aid, seek shelter under the great giants of the forest.  Thankfully they look up and with quiet humility and seclusion ever resign themselves to their lots.

There are those who are sick in faith, who have suffered shipwreck on the sea of life.  They are pilgrims on earth, gnawed by the worm of sin, by the devil, the world, and their own flesh.  These resemble the trees already in a state of decay, bored into by the woodpecker,and eaten by worms, Their sap of life is drying up; their roots are dying; they are diseased.

There are the godless scoffers,unbelieving and unchurched people who have no feeling, no heart, no love either to God or to man.  These resemble the trees and bushes strewn around, fallen in earth and rotting away.

And so we see that there are many kinds of wood and trees which may be compared with mankind.  From what I have related, however, many of you, dear readers, will be able to form a picture and perhaps identify yourselves with those mentioned, and with those compared to the various trees.

In this world of human beings there are also beasts of prey, for example, the devil, who goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.

There are the world and sin, which, as hungry wolves, lie in wait for people and seek to destroy them

But there is also a good hunter who carries with him a sure gun, namely the Word of God.  The devil is afraid of that and can easily be driven away by it.

Also in this forest, there is a woodsman who is death.  He often seems to do great damage as he cuts down thousands of human lives.  When our turn comes, he will lay the ax to the tree of our life. May God then give us a blessed end.

Many are the Plans in the Mind of Man, but it is the Lord’s Purpose that Will Be Established. Prov. 19:21
One of our men from the ELCC(Congo) has now located in Johannesburg, South Africa and is trying to gather French speakers into a worship and congregation. Our man, Denis Mulumba, had been having up to 20 in a service, when the devil decided that was enough of that. Riots broke out by native South Africans against foreigners who they thought were taking their jobs. The people who had been coming were scattered as people fled for their lives from this area. Denis’ family was protected by Zulu friends who got them away. The family’s possessions were lost. Now Denis has relocated in a different area and will try to find the people who were scattered. Pray for his outreach efforts. He, like the apostle Paul, is doing ‘tentmaking’ work trying to work on computers and develop some contracts in this. Denis prays that in a year a group may be gathered such that they may register with the government. We put our trust in the Lord to bring forth the fruits of this work despite the devil’s raging.
In a visit to Johannesburg I was able to talk with Denis about the work. I also met his wife, Esther Nsamba, and baptized their baby, Eden Mbuyi.

While It Is Day (part 1)

In Jn. 9:4 it is recorded that our Lord said,” We must work the works of Him who sent Me, while it is day; night comes, when no one can work.” This is a good motto for us also in reaching out wherever we are. In 1926 a book was written by Pastor/Professor P. E. Kretzmann entitled “While It Is Day” (A Manual For Soul-Winners). Kretzmann was an orthodox teaching Lutheran. He has many Scripture references in this book and gives us clearly what should be the outward thrust of the church to the unbelieving.

While we don’t generally use the expression ‘soul winner’ among us, there is nothing wrong with it. In 1 Cor. 9:19-21 Paul repeatedly uses the term kerdaino in the Greek which can mean ‘win’ or ‘gain.’ And in v. 22 he uses the word sozo which means ‘save.’ It is such a thing that we are so personally and totally involved in, this outreach, that it is as if ‘we’ must win, save or gain for His kingdom. Of course we know it is by the power of the Spirit that this change occurs. That doesn’t diminish our total involvement. His Spirit works with our spirit.

There will be a series of excerpts from Kretzmann’s book to encourage us in this most blessed task of reaching out to win souls for Christ. The first follows from p. 17.

I. I Corinthians 9:19-21

“Go ye unto ev’ry nation!”

Is the Savior’s great command;

“Preach the Gospel of salvation

To all men in ev’ry land;

Teach them all the glorious message

That I died to end all strife

And that death might be the passage

To the blissful, endless life.”

‘Tis by Jesus’ love and merit

All men are at peace with God,

Reassured by His free Spirit,

Saved from all their guilty load,

He who trust in Christ, his Savior,

Who for all men did atone,

Will receive the Father’s favor,

Will be saved by grace alone.

To the nations most enlightened

With this world’s progressive lore,

And to those whose souls are frightened,

Bound by superstitious lore;

Those whose god is this world’s mammon

And those deep in poverty,

To the rich and the street gamin,

Comes the call to make them free.

Let us shout it full of gladness

Wheresoever men we find;

Let us drive away all sadness,

Grief of heart and care of mind;

Let us tell the wondrous story

Of the marvel of God’s love,

Let us magnify His glory

Till the hardest hearts we move;

Till all men of ev’ry station,

Rich and poor and young and old;

Till all men of ev’ry nation

May be brought into the fold;

Till the Savior’s robe of beauty

Covers ev’ry guilty stain;

Till they know their highest duty

Everlasting life to gain.

Would you know the motive which prompts such a response in the hearts of Christians everywhere?—You will find more on this point in the next chapters.

Pastor Koenig