Study: Preparing for the Lord’s Supper

 

Based on Luther’s Small Catechism, “Christian Questions with their Answers”

Word-Baptism-Communion1

Christian Questions with their Answers-in prep for HC

 

If intending to use this study, please give credit where it is due.  Thank you.

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Announcements for March 16, 2014

Confess

“I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah” (Psalm 32:5)

14-03-16, Lent 2, BA-2014A

 

 

Announcements for the Week of December 22, 2013

 

The Apostles’ Creed
The Second Article: Redemption
(Explanation)

I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord. Who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent  suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.

The Creed-Luther’s Large Catechism

13-12-22, Nativity of Our Lord, BA-2013A

Announcements for the Week of October 13, 2013

 

13-10-13, Pentecost 21, BA-2013C

Apology of the Augsburg Confession

VI. Justification

Whenever merit is discussed, our opponents immediately apply it not to the other rewards but to justification, though the Gospel offers justification freely because of Christ’s merits, not ours, and Christ’s merits are communicated to us by faith. Works and afflictions merit not justification but other rewards, as in these passages a reward is offered for works. “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Cor. 9:6); here the degree of the reward is evidently commensurate with the degree of the work. “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land” (Ex. 20:12); here, too, the law offers a reward for a certain work.  Although keeping the law thus merits a reward, since a reward properly belongs to the law, still we must remember that the Gospel offers justification freely for Christ’s sake. We neither do nor can keep the law before we have been reconciled to God, justified, and reborn. This keeping of the law would not please God unless we had been accepted because of faith. Since men are accepted because of faith, this incipient keeping of the law pleases God and has its reward, both here and hereafter. (¶367-368)

 

Announcements for the week of June 2, 2013

13-06-02, Pentecost 2, BA-2013C

THE BOOK OF CONCORD
(Tappert Edition)

APOLOGY OF THE AUGSBURG CONFESSION

[ARTICLE IV. JUSTIFICATION]

269 Whenever good works are praised and the law preached, therefore, we must hold fast to these rules: that the law is not kept without Christ — as he himself has said, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5) — and that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6). The teaching of the law is certainly not intended to abolish the Gospel of Christ, the propitiator. Cursed be our opponents, those Pharisees, who interpret the law in such a way that they attribute Christ’s glory to works and make of them a propitiation that merits the forgiveness of sins. It follows, therefore, that works are praised for pleasing God on account of faith, since they do not please him without Christ, the propitiator. “Through him we haveobtained access” to the Father (Rom. 5:2), not by works without Christ, the mediator.

270 In the statement, “If you would enter life, keep the commandments” (Matt. 19:17), we must realize that no one can keep the commandments or please God without Christ. So the First Commandment of the Decalogue itself states, “Showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Ex. 20:6), setting forth the most ample promise of the law. But without Christ this law is not kept. It always accuses the conscience, which does not satisfy the law and therefore flees in terror before the judgment and punishment of the law, “for the law brings wrath” (Rom. 4:15). But a man keeps the law as soon as he hears that God is reconciled to us for Christ’s sake even though we cannot satisfy the law. When faith takes hold of Christ, the mediator, the heart is at peace and begins to love God and to keep the law. It knows that now it is pleasing to God for the sake of Christ, the mediator, even though its incipient keeping of the law is impure and far from perfect.  271 In this way we must view the preaching of penitence. Though the scholastics have said nothing at all about faith in their treatment of the doctrine of penitence, yet we think that none of our opponents is so mad as to deny that absolution is the spoken Gospel. Absolution should be received by faith, to cheer the terrified conscience. (¶269-271)

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.

We Confess Christ

19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” 24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” 26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” 30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.  (John 20:19-31, NKJ)

The confession of Christ is not self-derived.  It is not self-induced, self-revealed, or self-chosen.  Rather, the confession of Christ is God-given, God established, God revealed, God made known.

No one on this earth would know of Christ crucified and resurrected the third day unless had God had made it known to us.  And this, God, in His mercy, has done.  Through the Holy Scriptures, God makes known your salvation through faith in the crucified and risen Lord.  Therefore, does St. John write,  “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31).

Also, St. Paul writes, “Whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4).

Thus, God gives us His Word, the Bible (and the preaching of that Word), not so you can live a better life or “have a better life now.”  God also does not give you His Word that you might know how to live your life apart from faith in Him.

The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) are indeed commands about how God’s people are to live, but the Bible is not a “rule book” or a book of do’s and don’ts.  The Bible is the book of salvation, and speaks of that salvation which is alone by God’s grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

As such, the preaching of the apostles following Christ’s ascension was not, “live this way” or “do these things” to get right with God.   Christ’s preaching was not this way either.  Christ’s preaching, and the apostles’ preaching after Him, and the Church’s proclamation today, is Christ crucified and resurrected for the forgiveness of sins.

If the preaching of the church becomes anything else than this, her preaching is false and not to be heeded (i.e. Rick Warren and trying to find a purpose, Joel Osteen and self-help rhetoric) [See Galatians 1:6-10].  Should the church preach this way, she leads the hearers away from the Gospel and away from eternal life to eternal death and hell.

Because Holy Scripture testifies of Christ, so do Christ’s people confess and bear witness to Him who purchased them with His own blood (Acts 20:28).  This is their confession.  And this is the confession of Christ’s body, the Church.

Therefore, with Thomas who went from unbelief to faith by God’s gracious word and work, we too confess and say of and to Jesus, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).

Prayer:  Gracious God, look not upon our doubting hearts.  Turn us from disbelieving Thomas’ to confident believers in your Holy Word.  Amen.

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