Christ now further says:
“He shall bear witness of me.”
 That is, if he is in the heart he speaks through you, and assures and confirms you in the belief that the Gospel is true. Then, as a result, the confession of the Gospel springs forth. What, then, is the Gospel? It is a witness concerning Christ, that he is God’s Son, the Saviour, and beside him there is none other.
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
”…there is still one more thing here, that Christ says: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Here you might say: I perceive, then, that baptism is also required. To be sure it is, but baptism is not a work that we do. It is to be coupled, however, with faith, because God would not have faith to be hidden in the heart, but would have it burst forth and manifest itself to the world.
“If God permits us to be thus sorely tried, we should learn then not to follow our own opinion, or human counsel, which directs us hither and thither, nor to depend on ourselves and others, but we should consider that we must seek Christ in the things of his Father; that is, that we cling simply and alone to the Word of the Gospel, which directs us Christians in the right way and gives us correct knowledge.
One of the key teachings of the Bible – Old and New Testaments both – is the Fall, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. The penalty of that “original sin” was that death entered into the world. All the terrible things suffered by you and I and all the creation come as the result of that one act. “But God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
You’re not the only Christian who’s found himself or herself the recipient of hatred or scorn. “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you,” says the Apostle John (1 John 3:13). The servant is not above the Master. Yet it can still shock us when someone whom we thought was a lifelong friend separates from us out of their hatred for Christ.
Martin Luther - often discussed but too seldom read (the sermons are key) - has something to say on this topic.
Whatever other signs may appear before Christ’s coming, I know that, according to Christ’s words, surfeiting and drunkenness, building and planting, buying and selling, marrying and giving in marriage and other cares of this life will be in evidence.
From Devotional Readings From Luther’s Works For Every Day Of The Year compiled by Rev. John Sander. LutheranLibrary.org edition in preparation.
There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; mens hearts failing them for fear.
Some are found who know the gospel, but are offended at their own manner of life. They have a desire to walk in godliness, but they feel that they make no progress. They begin to despair…
Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. Rom. 14:1.
“Some are found who know the gospel, but are offended at their own manner of life.
Luther held up his Sword and said, “You can get forgiveness of sins alone through the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ..Then all Germany was aflame, and all France, and Spain, and Holland, and England, and that flame came across the seas to America in the Mayflower, and with the followers of Luther himself, until today we have in all the world living seventy million Lutherans, to say nothing of the other Protestants who are living and enjoying the liberty which that man of God, by the help of his Master and the holy angels, brought into existence three hundred and eighty-seven years ago.
The origin and the content of this hymn emphasize its meaning and value.
“Rome boasts that she never changes; the Turk has not improved, new and diverse enemies have risen round about us, so that there are numerous occasions when sincere Christians, realizing their environment, can enter with appreciation into the singing of this old Luther hymn, recognizing that though some conditions vary, the real dangers are the same, and the need of every influence and protection and guidance of the Triune God prayed for in this remarkable Luther hymn is needed today and every day that the Christian lives.
Many people have opinions about Martin Luther, but few have actually read his words. This small volume includes the Address to the Nobility of the German Nation, Concerning Christian Liberty and On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church. The famous 95 Theses are here too, as well as two helpful introductions, one theological, and the other historical.
These writings are punchy and gripping. Church scholar Henry Wace (who wrote the Theological Introduction) says,