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EXCERPT: SELECTED SERMONS of E. Schaller (See book review in issue of May 2001)

Festival of Christ’s Ascension; Sermon text: Hebrews 4:14-16

” . . . But in the hour that His feet left the ground on which He last stood, when He departed from His loved ones, from the church of disciples, He had spoken the last words. With His going, the Gospel and all of its truths, the entire wisdom of God, had been given to men. From then on it was complete and it was unchangeable. Nothing could be added, nothing taken away. Everything that God wanted mankind to know for their salvation was then in the hands of men. God chose a few of them, inspired them with the Holy Spirit, and they wrote down in books the full Gospel message as we now have it in our Bible.

“Let us remember that upon this complete Gospel Jesus received His strength to ascend into heaven. The Father would not have taken Him back into glory unless and until He had fulfilled all things and taught all things necessary for our salvation. Furthermore, everything that Jesus Christ is now doing in heaven is based on this complete Gospel. He can pray for us at the throne of God because He knows that we believe in Him and all that God sent Him to teach us. He promised us that He would get a place ready for us in heaven; this He is doing, building our eternal habitation on the basis of the truth that He revealed to our hearts.

“No wonder, then, that we are urged to ‘hold fast our profession.’ Just as Jesus is building our salvation upon the complete truth that He imparted to us, so our salvation depends upon our holding fast to this truth. We have learned what to profess. It is not guesswork to find what we ought to believe. Nor does the truth change. It is foolishly held by some people that truth changes constantly. They say that what was truth 100 years ago is perhaps not true today, and what is true today may not be true 100 years from now. They want us to think that God adds to His gospel or takes away from it; that as mankind gets older it learns to know God better. Others also maintain that truth depends upon how you look at it.

“If this were true, would it not be a great mistake to ‘hold fast our profession’? Such advice would be bad advice indeed. If the Gospel changes, we would have to change our profession accordingly. To refuse to do that would be narrow-minded indeed. But while earthly knowledge and wisdom do indeed change, the divine truth has been fixed since our Lord left for heaven. Jesus refused to admit that time would change His teachings. ‘Heaven and earth shall pass away,’ He said, ‘but My words shall not pass away.’ And again ‘The Word that I have spoken, it shall judge you at the last day.'” (pp. 143-144)