Richard C. H. Lenski (1864-1936) is best known for his insightful and still invaluable series of New Testament Commentaries. He served as Professor of Theology at Capital University and President of the Western District of Joint Synod of Ohio and Editor Die Lutherische Kirchenzeitung.
Hardback edition now available! “…all epistle texts are selections from letters directed to certain definite persons for a certain important spiritual purpose. What the preacher of today does is to place himself and his hearers in the light of some part of one of these imperishable letters, that now once more the original purpose of this part of the letter may be attained.
“The funeral sermon is one of the most difficult sermons to prepare and deliver. To begin with, there is an emotional strain which is felt by preacher and hearers alike. Jesus was ever and anon saying: “I have compassion.
“Lent stands for something specific. It tells the story of God’s grace and how it was specifically shown. It tells the story of redemption and how it was accomplished… Before Christ Jesus can be a guide and example He must be a Redeemer, a Savior.
“There are two general ways of looking at God; from the point of view of Sinai, or as He is revealed to us on Calvary. If we know God only, or chiefly, as He is revealed to us in the lights and shadows, the thunderings and threatenings, of Sinai, He will appear to us rather stern and austere, — a Lawgiver and Judge.
“These sermons were preached in the Church of the Holy Communion, Philadelphia, to a congregation consisting in part of University and college students. In preaching it was impossible to disassociate from my mind the struggles through which many of these young people were passing and the battles which I was asked to help them fight during the week.
“…there are many people today who are wandering in doctrinal fogland, and do not know what they believe; or, if they think they have any real convictions, they have pared them down to what they call ‘the irreducible minimum.
“We have certainly great reason to be wide awake and watchful, if we would preserve the inheritance of the Lutheran Church Reformation. Strong are the delusions and temptations of these latter days, and you children and youthful Christians will doubtless see still more perilous times for the Church of Jesus Christ before you have grown old.
This book of brief and simple sermons are the result of a lifetime of study, thought and experience by a faithful pastor and teacher.
“The title expresses the chief purpose of the book — to follow ‘In the Redeemer’s Footsteps.
“Salvation is the great end for which the Son of God came into the world. To restore fallen man to his original state of holiness and happiness, he must be delivered from the curse of sin that is upon him and the power of the devil that enslaves him.
“Christ our Savior and all his apostles preached justification by faith, even as did the prophets of the Old Testament. Justification is the central doctrine of all the Scriptures, the heart and soul of the entire Christian religion.
“We should again and again set the precious truth before our eyes, that Jesus receiveth sinners with an eager and earnest desire to save them.”
“When you feel your burden of sin weighing heavily upon you, only go to Him… Only those who will not acknowledge their sin and feel no need of a Savior — only these are rejected.
“I want you to understand that I have never preached opinions from this pulpit; it is not a question of opinion; I have absolutely no right to stand here and give you my opinion, for it is not worth any more than yours; we do not come to church to get opinions; I claim that I can back up every sermon I have preached, with the Word of God, and it is not my opinion nor yours, it is the eternal Word of God, and you will find it so on the Judgment day.
“…Every minister of the Gospel should so preach that he need never be ashamed of the words he has spoken. Do you suppose that if I were ashamed of my sermons I would have them put in cold print to speak long after I am dead?
“There is nothing more difficult, these times, than to keep the Church out of politics. And this difficulty is intensified where a Christian principle is at stake.
“The Church, in some of its branches, has been knocking at the door of State and clamoring for the name of God in the Constitution.
“Dr. Laird belonged to a group of stalwart preachers and leaders whose influence could not be confined to a congregation or a city or a synod. Among them were numbered such men as Krauth, Krotel, Mann, Spaeth, the Schaeffers, Schmucker, Seiss, Greenwald, Passavant.