A Reading from the Book of Concord 3 year series May 10, 2009 - 5th S. of Easter
Standard LSB B Readings: First: Acts 8:26-40 Epistle: 1 John 4:1-11(12-21) Gospel: John 15:1-8 Psalm: Psalm 150:1ff 6
The following reading from the CONCORDIA edition of the Book of Concord is for the LSB Gospel, John 15:1-8 for the 5th S. of Easter, May 10, 2009.
It is from Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article V, paragraphs 250-253, pages 138, 140.
When Jesus refers to His disciples as branches He was emphasizing several points. First, that they are joined to Him, grafted into the tree of life. Second, they are to bear fruit for Him. Third, that they receive their desire and strength to produce fruit from Him alone.
In all passages in which works are praised in the Scriptures, it is necessary to understand not only outward works, but also the faith of the heart. Scripture does not speak of hypocrisy, but of the righteousness of the heart with its fruit. Furthermore, whenever the Law and works are mentioned, we must know that Christ cannot be excluded as Mediator. He Himself says, "Apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). All passages about works can be judged according to this rule. When eternal life is granted to works, it is granted to those who have been justified. Only justified people, who are led by the Spirit of Christ, can do good works. Without faith and Christ as Mediator, good works do not please, according to Hebrews 11:6: "Without faith it is impossible to please [God]." When Paul says, "He will render to each one according to his works," not only the outward work ought to be understood, but all righteousness or unrighteousness. So, "Glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good," namely, to the righteous. "You gave Me food" (Matthew 25:35) is cited as the fruit and witness of the righteousness of the heart and of faith and, therefore, eternal life is given to righteousness. In this way Scripture, at the same time with the fruit, embraces the righteousness of the heart. Scripture often names the fruit, so that the inexperienced understand better. (pars. 250-253)
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.