The Sermon Notes of Harold Buls

The Sermon Notes of Harold Buls

On the Gospel Lessons of the Ingrian Lutheran Church of Russia

Text from Matthew 16:24-27

Trinity I

1. Vs. 24 says "anyone." Vs. 25 says "whoever." Vs. 27 says "to each one." Jesus is talking about all people. "Anyone" and "whoever" imply the universal atonement. All have been saved and are eligible. Furthermore, all, without exception,will be judged.

2. "To come after Jesus" means to be a Christian, a believer in Christ. That requires three things: a. denying oneself; b. taking up one's cross; c. following Jesus. To deny oneself means to turn one's back on self as Peter denied Christ. The Christian says to his sinful self: "I want nothing to do with you." To take up one's cross means to bear patiently whatever Jesus lays on a person: sickness, loss of goods or name, affliction etc. To follow Jesus simply means to trust Him, keep on denying oneself and keep on bearing the cross. The cross of the Christian is not the same as Jesus' cross. He bore the sins of the world. Only He could do that. The Christian's cross means suffering simply because he is a Christian.

3. Vs. 25 means: "He who wants to preserve his natural life, in which he yields to his natural desires, will lose his soul. But whoever mortifies the sinful self for Jesus' sake will rescue his soul." This is a great paradox. The world saves its life but loses its soul. God's children lose their life but save their souls.

4. To deny oneself means to crucify the sinful flesh with its affections and lusts as Paul says at Gal. 5:24.

5. To come after Jesus means to believe that lie has done everything necessary for salvation forever. Self denial and cross bearirig lie in the area of sanctification, that which is required in the life of a believer.

6. On the last day Jesus will repay ever human being accordirig to his works. That is a principle of both Testaments. Cf. Ps. 62:13 and Prov. 24:12. That does not mean that people will be saved by what they have done. When people become Christians they become spiritually alive. They are dead to sin and alive to God. The new man in them follows the Lord. The new man denies itself, takes up its cross and follows the Lord. As Luther said: "Faith alone justifies but faith is never alone." Faith without works is dead. Jesus said at Jn. 15:6 "If anyone does not remain in me, he is thrown out like the branch and withered and men gather them and throw them into the fire and they are burned."

7. Vs. 26 denotes an utter impossibility. No man can gain the whole world. But even if he could, it would not be enough to gain his own soul. On the verbs "to gain" and "to lose" read Philippians 3:7-11. Paul considered all things a loss because he gained Jesus. He considered all worldly things dung, manure, when he found the righteousness of Christ by faith. When Job lost everything he said: "The Lord has given and the Lord has taken. Blessed be the name of the Lord." And later he said: "I know that my Redeemer lives."

8. Read the parable of the rich man, Lk. 12:16-21. He said to his soul: "Soul, you have many good things laid up for many years. Eat, drink, and have a good time." But, that night he died. He lost his soul. Read the parable at Lk. 16:19-3l. The rich man was not lost because he was rich. The poor man was saved not because he was poor. The rich man lived only for this life. The poor man was evidently a believer in Jesus. Abraham, Job and Joseph of Arimathea were wealthy but they were children of God. Jesus said: "Where your treasure is, there will also your heart be." Mt. 6:21.

9. To deny oneself does not mean that sex, money and other things of this life are sinful. Col. 3:2 says "Keep on thinking about things above, not about the things on the earth." A Christian thinks about things above by the proper use of things on this earth. He lives his life by his faith in the Son of God Who loved him and gave Himself for him." Gal. 2:20. There are two "I" in every Christian: the crucified, sinful "I" and the believing, redeemed "I".

The Sermon Outline of Harold Buls

On the Gospel Lessons of the Ingrian Lutheran Church of Russia

Text from Matthew 16:24-27

Trinity I

THEME: The Great Paradox: Gaining-Losing; Losing-Gaining


Is. 55:9 says: "'My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts." Paul says at I Cor. 2:13: "We speak not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches." Jesus says that unless we become as little children we cannot enter the kingdom of God. We must believe what His Word says and live by that. He explains the paradox of our text.



This text was converted to ascii format for Project Wittenberg by Cindy A. Beesley and is in the public domain. You may freely distribute, copy or print this text. Please direct any comments or suggestions to: Rev. Robert E. Smith of the Walther Library at Concordia Theological Seminary.


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