Announcements for the Week of November 27, 2016

liturgy2In our individualistic society, where everyone wants to do things his own way, one of the worst things we can do in our liturgies is cater to all these individual tastes. Variety does not solve problems but creates them. Such a view suggests that God is not really present, a view that we encourage with our vapid liturgies that seek to adapt the liturgy to the culture.” (Lutheran Worship: History and Practice, p39, ft.6 (Just))

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Announcements for the Week of October 30

THE APOLOGY OF THE AUGSBURG CONFESSION ARTICLE IV. JUSTIFICATION


“The service and worship of the Gospel is to receive good things from God, while the worship of the law is to offer and present our goods to God. We cannot offer anything to God unless we have first been reconciled and reborn. The greatest possible comfort comes from this doctrine that the highest worship in the Gospel is the desire to receive forgiveness of sins, grace, and righteousness. About this worship Christ speaks in Christ 6:40 , “ This is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life.And the Father says ( Matt. 17:5 ), “ This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”(¶310)

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Announcements for the week of April 26, 2015

APOLOGY

ARTICLE XV. HUMAN TRADITIONS IN THE CHURCH

With regard to the mortifying of the body and the discipline of the flesh we teach exactly what we said in the Confession,  that the cross and the troubles with which God disciplines us effect a genuine and not a counterfeit mortification. When this comes, we must obey God’s will, as Paul says (Rom. 12:1), “Present your bodies as a sacrifice.”

This is the spiritual exercise of fear and faith. Besides this mortification brought on by the cross, a voluntary kind of exercise is also necessary. Of this Christ says (Luke 21:34), “Take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation,” and Paul says (1 Cor. 9:27), “I pommel my body and subdue it.”

We should undertake these exercises not as services that justify but as restraints on our flesh, lest we be overcome by satiety and become complacent and idle with the result that we indulge and pamper the desires of our flesh. In this we must be diligent at all times because God commands it at all times. (45-47)

15-04-26, Easter 4, BA-2015B

Announcements for the week of March 1, 2015

 

APOLOGY OF  THE  AUGSBURG CONFESSION

ARTICLE XV. HUMAN TRADITIONS IN THE CHURCH

SavedByGraceWhat need is there of a long discussion? The holy Fathers did not institute any traditions for the purpose of meriting the forgiveness of sins or righteousness. They instituted them for the sake of good order and tranquility in the church.

If somebody wants to institute certain works to merit the forgiveness of sins or righteousness, how will he know that these works please God since they do not have support in God’s Word? How will he inform men of God’s will without the command and Word of God? Does not God throughout the prophets forbid the establishment of additional ceremonies without his command? In Ezek. 20:18, 19, it is written, “Do not walk in the statutes of your fathers, nor observe their ordinances, nor defile yourselves with their idols. I the Lord am your God; walk in my statutes, and be careful to observe my ordinances.”

If men are allowed to establish new rites and if by such rites they merit grace, we shall have to approve the religious rites of all the heathen, as well as the rites established by Jeroboam and others over and above the law. Where is the difference? If we are permitted to establish rites that serve to merit grace or righteousness, why did not the heathen and Israelites have the same privilege? Yet the rites of the heathen and the Israelites were condemned precisely because, in their ignorance of the righteousness of faith, they believed that by these they merited the forgiveness of sins and righteousness.

Finally, what  assurance do we have that religious rites established by men without God’s command can justify since we can affirm nothing about the will of God without the Word of God? What if God does not approve these acts of worship? How, then, can our opponents maintain that they justify? They cannot maintain this without the Word and testimony of God, and Paul says (Rom. 14:23), “Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” Since these rites have no testimony in the Word of God, the conscience must doubt whether they please God. (¶13-17, Tappert Edition)

15-03-01, Lent 2, BA-2015B

 

Announcements for the Week of February 9, 2014

 

Freedom of  a Christian

“One little point of doctrine is of more value than heaven and earth; and therefore we cannot abide to have the least jot thereof corrupted.” (Luther, quoted in F. Pieper,  Christian Dogmatics, Vol I, 222)

14-02-09, Epiphany 5, BA-2014A

 

 

 

 

We Confess the Trinity

Augsburg Confession

Article I: Of God.

1] Our Churches, with common consent, do teach that the decree of the Council of Nicaea concerning the Unity of the Divine Essence and concerning the Three Persons, is true and to be believed without any doubting; 2] that is to say, there is one Divine Essence which is called and which is God: eternal, without body, without parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, the Maker and Preserver of all things, visible and invisible; and 3] yet there are three Persons, of the same essence and power, who also are coeternal, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And the term “person” 4] they use as the Fathers have used it, to signify, not a part or quality in another, but that which subsists of itself.

5] They condemn all heresies which have sprung up against this article, as the Manichaeans, who assumed two principles, one Good and the other Evil: also the Valentinians, Arians, Eunomians, Mohammedans, and all such. 6] They condemn also the Samosatenes, old and new, who, contending that there is but one Person, sophistically and impiously argue that the Word and the Holy Ghost are not distinct Persons, but that “Word” signifies a spoken word, and “Spirit” signifies motion created in things.

What Did You Say?–By Rev. Timothy J. Scharr, District President

The concern is genuine; the apprehension palpable.  Worry gives way to fear that sounds the alarm.  Income lags behind expenses.  Fewer people are attending church on a regular basis.  The slide parallels that of the surrounding community.  How are we going to turn it around?  What will it take to get more people in church who then contribute money to meet the budget?  Sound familiar?  It is being voiced throughout the United States in communities large and small, urban and rural.

Scapegoats are sought.  It doesn’t take long before the target is acquired. Sharp barbs of accusation are launched.  “The pastor is driving people away.”  “His personality is not winsome and charming.”  “The sermons are lack luster and boring.”  “If only he was more like Pastor So and So.” “You know, the one nearby.” “He’s a great story teller and loves to crack jokes.”  “Ah, if only our pastor was not such a loser”  “We expected the perfect pastor for our situation but each one that comes is flawed in ways we refuse to overlook.”  “What’s wrong with our universities/seminaries/district/Synod?” The same thing that is wrong within you and me.

There is none that is righteous, no not one.  No one understands; no one seeks for God.  All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one (Rom. 3:10-12).  Stop and think about what people in your congregation say about your church, your workers and your people?  Is it positive?  Is it negative?  Does it glorify God’s name and His Word (Ps.138:2)?  Sinners excel at sin. Their throat is an open grave.  The venom of asps is on their lips.  Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness (Rom. 3:13-14).  What do your words sound like to God and others? James writes regarding the tongue.  It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.  With it we bless our Lord and Father and with it we curse people.  From the same mouth comes blessing and cursing.  My brothers, these things ought not be so (James 3:8-10).

What’s a sinner to do? Repent, repent and repent again as often as necessary.  The good news is that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.  It is not the healthy who need a doctor but those who are sick.  By nature everyone is born with the terminal disease called original sin.  This soon gives way to actual sin, even among the baptized.  Those who are baptized have the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38-39; Titus 3:5).  This is not a license to sin for hateful words grieve the Holy Spirit of God with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption (Eph. 4:30). Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Eph. 4:29, 31-32).

The questions raised at the beginning are genuine. No one person is to blame. Go back and read President Harrison’s column in the June/July Lutheran Witness. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  The first three commandments are routinely broken with hardly a blush of shame or even an apology.  The answer is surprisingly simple.  It follows the actions of those baptized on Pentecost.  They continued steadfast in the Apostles’ Teaching, in the fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42).  These are the reasons for the Divine Services and Bible classes.  When you are in Bible class it is like Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet.  When you attend worship you are knit closer in the fellowship as forgiven sinners receive the body and blood of Jesus.  The prayers are another way of saying the liturgy, the ordered service of the church back to the days of the synagogue rich in Scripture and the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ.  Miss any of them and you are spiritually starving yourself. Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it (Luke 11:28).  Why not say with the psalmist: I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” (Ps. 122:1).  I look forward to seeing you in worship AND Bible study.

(Found originally here)

 

 

 

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