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Luther's "Christian Guide for Each Day"

Sunday 05 May 2013 at 3:30 pm.
The Festival of Christ's Ascension 
 
 
You have ascended up on high and have taken captive captivity; You received gifts from men, also from the rebellious, so that the Lord God Himself will live there. - Psalm 68:18.   
This One can be called a King; He ascended up on high, and seated Himself above the clouds, at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven, and took captive captivity. He did not go around upon earth with child's play or filthy deeds; instead He took captive an eternal enemy and high prisoner. The sin and the devil, who had held captive the entire world, He again took captive; even though now already sin and devil are opposed to me, they nevertheless - as I cling to Christ - will not be able to hold anything against me. That of course does not mean that it should be proclaimed that people should be lazy and do nothing good; as the papists slander us and say we are his sweet preachers; However if they were stuck in this captivity, they would speak far differently. If they back then had come to do the dirty on someone with fear and trembling, they would indeed have felt it. Consequently this is not a sermon for flesh and blood, which would allow it to do whatever it desired to do; instead the Lord Christ's Ascension and Kingdom serves the purpose that sin be taken captive, that eternal death would not be able to bring us into its bonds and be able to keep us there. If however sin is to be taken captive, then I, who believe in Christ, must live in such a way that I'm not overcome by hatred and envy against the neighbor or by other sins; instead that I strive against sin and say: Do you hear me, Sin? You want to snatch me away, so that I should hate, envy, commit adultery, steal, be unfaithful, etc. No, never! Likewise, if sin grabs me from the left and wants to scare me, I will then say: No; for you sin are my slave, I am your master. Have you never heard the little song that David sang: "You have saved me from the deepest hell" [grave, Psalm 89:13],etc.? Up to now you have been my executioner and devil, you held me captive; however, now that I believe in Jesus, you shall no longer be my executioner. I will be free from your accusations; for you are my Lord and King's prisoner, He has put you into stocks and hurled you under my feet. One should understand this correctly.
I've been piece-meal translating on this one (found in the back pages of WEGWEISER) for over a month.  I hope your church is celebrating The Ascension of our Lord like we are at Faith Lutheran, Georgetown, TX this Thursday with worship services at 12:00 noon and at 7:00 p.m. Ascension Day is the 'capstone' festival of Christ's work of saving us. Mission accomplished! By our King of Kings and Lord of Lord's...cf. Rev. 1:12-16;5:6-14.  As we wait for His return in glory, let us live our lives for Him and heed His Great Commission in Mt. 28:19-20.
In Christ,
Elmer Hohle, Pr. em.

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