Announcements for the week of June 19, 2011

11-06-19, Trinity, Announcements.pdf

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‘I’ and ‘We’

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

Philippians 2:1-4

 

Increasingly today, we unashamedly pursue our own means for our own ends. It is a temptation for which everyone contends.  ‘We’ do not want to listen to others because ‘we’ are right and ‘they’ are not.  ‘We’ are reasonable, but ‘they’ are unreasonable.  ‘We’ know better than ‘they’ do.

Translate these into the singular and you will see yourself having done and doing the same.  It is the plight of American individualism, and shows its egotistical head at many a corner.

We are conceived into such a state that we define life to be all about ‘me’ and what ‘I’ want (Psalm 51:5).  What someone else says, independent of their position, does not matter.  What matters are ‘my’ wants, ‘my’ needs, ‘me, me, me.’

Yet in Christ, God demonstrates something other than individualism, self-centeredness, and self-absorption.  In Christ, God demonstrates love for another, love for the sinner, love for the selfish, love for the very people who think themselves to be the center of the universe—love for you.

 “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28)

In Christ, God demonstrates a love for you without condition, a love without partiality, a love unmerited and undeserved.

This is how God works, not thinking of Himself, but loving the unloved, the unlovable, and the unloving, because “God IS Love” (1 John 4:8, 16; John 3:16).

The one who believes that God is this way towards him does not remain selfish and self-absorbed, for such is not the way of Christ.  The way of Christ is to give, and to put others before oneself.  The way of Christ is not to ignore God’s Word because of personal needs and to put oneself above all others, but to “deny oneself,” bear the cross, and follow Christ (Matthew 16:24).  The way of Christ is to repent of selfish idolatry and to live in service of those in need. The way of Christ is to conform to the will of Christ, to cast aside “self-ambition and conceit,” to seek the “interests of others,” and to pursue my neighbor’s well-being.

 

Quote

“The New Testament has a great deal to say about ‘the people of Christ, the ‘we.’  But ‘we’ often overlook what Scripture says because we are thinking ‘I.’ Good old American individualism is alive and well in the Church, and it determines how we read the Bible.  American religiosity is all about ‘me.’”  (Harrison, Christ Have Mercy, 115)

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, forgive me for my selfishness, for neglecting the needs of others, and for putting myself first, even before You and Your Holy Word.  Change my heart that I deny my own wants and desires and seek to do what pleases You, for Jesus’ sake.  Amen.

Come, Holy Spirit

“We desperately need this Pentecost sermon of the Holy Spirit, so that he may give us a courageous heart, so that we, too, may persevere, regardless of who is offended, regardless of how much people may slander us. And even if cults and sects arise, we will also ignore that. That’s the kind of courage we need, a courage that remains undisturbed by any of these things and simply continues fearlessly to confess and publicly proclaim Christ, who was so grossly misjudged, condemned, and killed.” [Sermons of Martin
Luther, The House Postils
, Vol 2,
p163]

Acts02.1-21, Day of Pentecost, 2011A.pdf

Whoever Loves Jesus Keeps His Word

Novelty in the Christian faith is something to be wary of. The Christian faith is historic. Christians have gone before us and Christians will come after us. The one common thread is the faith of our Lord Christ, in Him who is the same yesterday, today, forever (Hebrews 13:8).

The objective Christian faith is this way. It does not change as the seasons. It does not change with the times. It stays the same and does not because its Author stays the same and never changes. This is great comfort! God the Lord does not change His love and mercy towards you. Independent of the sin and regardless of the trespass, God the Father, through His Son, gives you His entire and complete forgiveness. It doesn’t matter how big of sinner you are. Nor does it matter what you’ve done. God’s grace is sufficient to cover all of your sin, whether large or small…

Jn14.15-24, Easter 6, 2011A, Devotion.pdf

I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life

The Christian faith is one of particularity, distinctiveness, and exclusivity. Though we welcome all people, we also make clear distinction between truth and error. This is so because of her Lord, the Head of the Church. Jesus Christ is this Head, the only one. Neither the pope nor a bishop, neither a pastor or even a President, is the Head of Christ’s Bride. Only the very Son of God has this position, the same one who now sits at the right hand of God the Father (Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 10:12; 1 Peter 3:22).

This is He of whom Scripture says, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight — if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard (Colossians 1:14-23).

This Jesus Christ, the Church’s Head, is the Only Way to eternal life. None other has right to this claim. There is salvation in none other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). This has been the proclamation of the Christian Church throughout the ages, and it will continue to be so. Her message is Christ crucified and this is the content of her preaching. In both her speaking and in her doing, Christ receives all glory, honor, and praise…

Jn14.6, Devotions.pdf

The Ascension of Our Lord

On the day of His ascension, Jesus, the Lord of lords and King of kings, ascended on high. Of this day, St. Paul says in today’s epistle, That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory…seated Christ at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all (Ephesians 1:20-23).

This means that the name of the Lord is above every name, even yours and even mine. Jesus Christ is not just one Name among many. His Name is above all. Nor is He Savior to one, but not to another. He is the Savior of the entire world…

Acts01.1-11, TheAscensionOfOurLord, 2011A.pdf

John 10:1-10Notes

A member of a Lutheran congregation should be able to distinguish pure doctrine from false doctrines. Only spineless Lutherans can say: “What do I care about doctrinal controversies! They do not concern me in the least. I’ll let those who are more learned than I am bother their heads about such matters.” They may even be offended when they observe that religious leaders engage in doctrinal disputes. A genuine Lutheran will not forget that in the Epistle of Jude also lay Christians are admonished “earnestly to contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints.” [Jude 1:3] What is more, Christ warns all Christians: “Beware of false prophets.” And St. John writes in his first epistle: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God, because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” [1 John 4:1]

It is a settled fact that whoever is indifferent to false doctrine is indifferent also to pure doctrine and his soul’s salvation, and has no right to bear the name Lutheran and the name of Christ. (Walther’s Words of Welcome to New Members)…

Jn10.1-10,Notes.pdf

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