“Brothers and sisters, we ought to think of Jesus Christ as we do of God, as judge of the living and the dead. And we ought not to belittle the one who is our salvation, for when we belittle him, we also hope to receive but little. And those who listen as though these are small matters do wrong, and we also do wrong, when we fail to acknowledge from where and by whom and to what place we were called, and how much suffering Jesus Christ endured for our sake.
What repayment, then shall we give to him, or what fruit worthy of what he has given to us? And how many holy acts do we owe him? For he has given us the light; as a father he has called us children; he saved us when we were perishing. What praise, then, shall we give to him, or what repayment in return for what we have received? Our minds were blinded, and we worshiped stones and wood and gold and silver and brass, things made by humans; indeed, our whole life was nothing but death.
So while we were thus wrapped in darkness and our vision was filled with this thick mist we recovered our sight, by his will laying aside the cloud wrapped around us. For he had mercy upon us and in his compassion he saved us when we had no hope of salvation except that which comes from him, even though he had seen in us much deception and destruction. For he called us when we did not exist, and out of nothing he willed us into being.”
The opening paragraphs of 2 Clement, perhaps the earliest post New Testament sermon in existence, written c.120-140 A.D. “Second Clement” in The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations 3rd. ed., edited and translated by Michael Holmes (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007), 139.