Examination Sermon


"Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing."  2 Cor. 7:9


Saint Paul writes in his second epistle, seventh chapter, to the Christians in Corinth, that he made them sorry when he, in the first epistle, had preached a severe judgement and reproached them.  For among them were dissentions and strife, they went to court for temporal gain, and among them was a harlot and other iniquity, for which Paul in his first epistle speaks to them.  And for this reason the Corinthians had become sorrowful; but that this sorrow had led to repentance, he therefore writes that he repents not that he through severe speech had made them sorrowful. But he became more joyous over this, that this sorrow had led them to repentance and that they in no way had been harmed by the former severe speech. As Paul, after this severe speaking became joyful when he heard that it had effected a sorrow and grief which is after the mind of God, so even I am glad over this, that many hard hearts have been broken through the preaching of the Gospel which has been preached according to the severe law, and that many poor and wretched souls have come to feel the power of grace and had a foretaste of the kingdom of Heaven.  I am also convinced of this, that the former severe speaking and law sermons have not in any way been injurious to you, but for repentance and edification.  And you shall finally thank such a teacher who has spoken, reproached and barked at you, when you have in your own heart experienced what this barking has effected. Even as Paul became joyous when he heard that his reproaches and severe speaking had made the Corinthians sorrowful, so have I also gotten joy from this, that the former severe speech and law sermons have effected the sorrow and grief which is after the mind of God, and this sorrow has brought about repentance unto salvation, to many, of which no man repents.  If there yet would be some unfortunate souls whose heart has not broken, if there should be some poor blind one, whose eyes have not yet opened, if there should yet be some deaf and dumb one who cannot speak or hear, then he should know that God has through the teacher's mouth spoken to such hard of hearing ones, but they themselves have opposed it.  Or does a single one in this congregation dare to says "For your sake I have hardened, for your sake I have sunk into doubt, you have condemned us to hell, you must answer for our souls," If such a person is found who hardens through the teacher, he can blame himself that he has not taken heed of the teacher's severe exhortations and warnings for repentance and upbuilding.  May he who has become hardened with the Jews blame himself.  The Jews surely hardened in John the Baptist's time and hardened also in the Saviour's time, when Jesus himself proclaimed to them God's severe righteousness, and old Simeon had already then seen, that Christ has been set for the fall and rising again of many in Isreal, and for a sign which shall be spoken against.  Is it the Saviour's fault that some fall into hardening when He proclaims God's severe righteousness? Is it the teacher's fault that some become hardened when the teacher proclaims God's severe righteousness to the sorrowless?  It is their own fault that some harden because of chastisement and because of the judgement.  But if the teacher does not warn the sorrowless of the terrible judgement and destruction when he sees the sinners living in ungodliness, then the Lord intends to demand the sinners' souls at the teacher's hand, as it has been written by the Prophet Ezekiel,  And through such a teacher's sermon, the sorrowless have occasion to accuse him saying:  "You saw our life; you knew our blindness and wickedness, but have not warned us. You saw us living in open ungodliness, but you have not rebuked us.  Answer now, dumb dog, for our souls," Those few souls who through the dog's barking, have awakened when their house was burning, must testify that it was a faithful dog who barked so that people awakened and escaped with their lives out of the fire and fled from the anguish of flames. But the dog's barking is at times heard the distance of even six miles. If even the people who are further away would awaken, it would be good!  And those people who live in the house do not become angry at the dog although he barks so loud that they awaken; but thieves hate dogs, for thieves do not dare to steal as long as a dog barks, because they guess that the people of the house will awaken by the dog's barking. But if the dog does not bark then the thieves have occasion to steal,  I know that grace thieves become very angry, not only at me, but even at other dogs who bark so loud that the people awaken.  But I also know that the people who through the barking of the dog have awakened, consider it good that the dog barks.

If the dog had not barked, then the people would have slept forever, For that reason I say as Paul writes to the Corinthians: I do not repent that 1 made you sorry, but I rejoice over this, that your sorrow led you to repentance, because you became sorrowful after the mind of God,  Therefore in no way has injury come to you through us.  Testify now, all you awakened souls in this congregation, if injury has come to your soul through this!  What kind of life was in this congregation a few years ago, when all the people slept in the sleep of sin? They were all grace thieves who imagined they they all would be saved, although their life was entirely a heathenish life.  Some kept a whiskey business some fought, some stole, some committed adultery, and in spite of this they had the faith that God would take them to heaven without penitence.  At that time no one doubted of his salvation, but all had a firm faith.  But how would it have gone with you if you had been allowed to sleep in peace?  You have afterwards perceived and felt that such a life leads directly to hell.  And now you have, a few anyway, awakened out of the sleep of sin.  You have perceived that such a life is acceptable to the devil but not to God.  Who awakened you?  A dog first began to bark and this barking awakened other dogs to bark, and the pups began to whine and the people, through this, began to awaken and the thieves began to fear that they would go to hell and did not dare to steal anymore. And this same barking was heard yet further away, and for which, the thieves became very angry at these dogs.  But all who through this barking have awakened from the sleep of sin, consider it a good thing that they have been barked at.  But many who have awakened in the night still want to become sleepy during the day. Some thieves steal even though they are barked at during the night, because dogs are not able to do more than bark.  If thieves nevertheless steal, although the dogs bark, then it is not the dogs´ fault.  But if the dog is so foolish that he barks at the people of the house and especially at the children, then the Master says:  "For shame! The dog of the house should soon know. the people of the house, especially the children, who live in the house." If the dog begins to bark at the children, then he will be whipped by the master of the house.

        Paul rejoiced over this, that because he had formerly barked at and reproached the Corinthians and this barking had effected the sorrow and grief which as after the mind of God.  So even I rejoice over this, that the former reproaches have effected a true sorrow and grief within you.  Many have through the former barking come to know their sins. Through the barking many have become awakened from the sleep of sin. Many have had to flee to the Saviour,  Many have experienced signs of grace and a foretaste of the kingdom of heaven.  All the awakened and graced souls must confess that no harm has come to their souls when the former barking has effected in them penitence unto salvation, which no man repents of. By no means has there been too much barking.  But now I have become tired of barking; as long as the sheep stay together, then the dog must also be silent. But if the sheep begin to run away or if the goats begin to steal the sheep's food, then the master sets his dog after those who escape to the woods and the dogs drive away the goats; but dumb dogs will be hung. And if the dogs begin to bite the sheep then all their teeth will be filed off. But you know also that the dog has to walk behind. If the dog goes in front of the sheep, then he does the master of the sheep more harm then he is a help to him.  For this reason the dog must go behind the sheep and only then when the flock has been driven home, can the dog come inside,  I have once seen, that a certain dog went in front and the sheep followed after, but it had as a pup been trained to go in front, and the sheep had been trained to follow after. In the morning the dog was put with the sheep to go to pasture and in the evening the dog brought the sheep home. But such a dog can not be found in many places,  I am not such a dog that I could go before the flock, but I have always had to go behind; and it is well if the master finally lets the dog in even at the end. But now I have tired of barking at those sheep who stay together; but I must bark at those who leave the flock to run into the woods and who knows if they will take others also with them.  And at them I must also bark who butt the weak or trample the pastures or foul the water with their feet, I must yet bark at those, too, who stay far away; but especially at those who come before the sheep to steal; at them I must bark,  And at grace thieves I must bark although thieves always curse those dogs who bark so loud that people awaken.

Testify now, you awakened souls who have awakened through the barking of the dog. Remember, and testify if the dog's barking has become injurious to you. Testify now, you sheep of Jesus, if the dog has bitten or wounded you. Testify now, all small lambs, have I driven you into the woods or have I, like an angry dog, bitten your hearts or ravaged your consciences so severely, that your Saviour could not heal your wounds of the conscience.  Testify, all thrushes and finches, have I so severely bitten through your hearts, that the teeth have gone through your hearts.  Testify now, all thrushes, finches, nightingales and titmice, have I caught your souls with a snare or bullet.  Testify now, all small fish who have been caught in the net of the Holy Ghost, testify now, have I and other fishermen caught you with seine and net with the intention that I could boil or roast you.

Have not I and others caught you for that reason that all small fish, thrushes, and finches might be freed from the talons of the hawk and that all Jesus´ sheep might be preserved from the wolf´s mouth and so that all trembling lambs might escape to the Shepherd,  For this reason I have barked, that all lost sheep, frightened by the barking of the dogs, might run to the Shepherd before the hawk comes to eat and ravage their souls. For this reason I have barked, that the young of all thrushes, nightingales, and finches would flee to their nest in the cracks of the Living Vine before the hawk comes to eat and to ravage the sheep of the Great Crossbearer Jesus. According to the Great Crossbearer's command, I have cast my net for the drought, and have caught a few small fishes and a few small gold fishes, who now swim in the waves of the Red Sea. And on the shore of the Red Sea all the nightingales and thrushes twitter on the branches of the Living Vine. On the shore of the Red Sea the sheep of Jesus also go to pasture And on the shore of the Red Sea the lambs of Jesus leap with Joy and rejoicing. And on the shore or the Red Sea all swallows, thrushes, nightingales and finches sing: Amen, Halleluja, Thanks and Honor and Power and Praise be to the Great Crossbearer now and forever. Amen.