Announcements for the week of December 2, 2018

The Smalcald Articles, Part III Of Repentance,

Of the False Repentance of the Papists

 

If certain sectarists would arise, some of whom are perhaps already extant, and in the time of the insurrection [of the peasants] came to my own view, holding that all those who had once received the Spirit or the forgiveness of sins, or had become believers, even though they should afterwards sin, would still remain in the faith, and such sin would not harm them, and [hence] crying thus: “Do whatever you please; if you believe, it all amounts to nothing; faith blots out all sins,” etc.—they say, besides, that if any one sins after he has received faith and the Spirit, he never truly had the Spirit and faith: I have had before me [seen and heard] many such insane men, and I fear that in some such a devil is still remaining [hiding and dwelling].

43] It is, accordingly, necessary to know and to teach that when holy men, still having and feeling original sin, also daily repenting of and striving with it, happen to fall into manifest sins, as David into adultery, murder, and blasphemy, that then faith and the Holy Ghost has departed from them [they cast out faith and the Holy Ghost]. For the Holy Ghost does not permit sin to have dominion, to gain the upper hand so as to be accomplished, but represses and restrains it so that it must not do what it wishes. But if it does what it wishes, the Holy Ghost and faith are [certainly] not present. For St. John says, 1 John 3:9: Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin, … and he cannot sin. And yet it is also the truth when the same St. John says, 1:8: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (para. 42-43)

 

18-12-02, Advent 1 , BA-2018C

 

Happy New Church Year!

 

 

 

 

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A Belated Thanksgiving Devotion

 

“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever.  Amen.”

Revelation 7:12

 

Jesus.EmptyTomb.John11So do God’s servants praise God in heaven.  “Salvation belongs to our God” cry out the great multitudes (Revelation 7:9-10).  The saints in heaven sing this glorious song.  But also do we, as saints on this side of heaven, have reason to sing such a hymn.

Salvation does belong to our God, who sits upon the throne!

We have reason to give thanks, not only for the Lord’s bountiful goodness for the needful things of body and life.  God also gives salvation through His beloved Son, Jesus Christ.

In His Word, God declares it.  In Christ’s Supper, God gives it.  In Baptism, God calls us His own special people.

Yes!  We do have reason to give thanks, knowing that God loves us.  We know this because of Jesus Christ!  To God be all the glory!  Amen.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, receive our thanks to you, not for our sake, but only for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ.  Forgive us for our selfishness and for taken for granted all which you freely give us.  Help us to use your gifts for the benefit of others.  Amen.

 

 

Announcements for the Week of April 1, 2018

 

He is Risen!  Alleluia!

The Second Article: Redemption

HappyEaster.LilyWhat does this mean? 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. (Luther’s Small Catechism)

 

18-04-01, Easter, BA-2018B

 

It’s good to be in church!

24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

 

From Luther’s Large Catechism, The 3rd Article

 

Concordia-TheLutheranConfessionsI believe…in the Holy Christian Church, the communion of saints… 51 This is the sum and substance of this phrase: I believe that there is on earth a little holy flock or community of pure saints under one head, Christ. It is called together by the Holy Spirit in one faith, mind, and understanding. It possesses a variety of gifts, yet is united in love without sect or schism. 52 Of this community I also am a part and member, a participant and co-partner2 in all the blessings it possesses. I was brought to it by the Holy Spirit and incorporated into it through the fact that I have heard and still hear God’s Word, which is the first step in entering it. Before we had advanced this far, we were entirely of the devil, knowing nothing of God and of Christ. 53 Until the last day the Holy Spirit remains with the holy community or Christian people. Through it he gathers us, using it to teach and preach the Word. By it he creates and increases sanctification, causing it daily to grow and become strong in the faith and in the fruits of the Spirit.

54 Further we believe that in this Christian church we have the forgiveness of sins, which is granted through the holy sacraments and absolution as well as through all the comforting words of the entire Gospel. Toward forgiveness is directed everything that is to be preached concerning the sacraments and, in short, the entire Gospel and all the duties of Christianity. Forgiveness is needed constantly, for although God’s grace has been won by Christ, and holiness has been wrought by the Holy Spirit through God’s Word in the unity of the Christian church, yet because we are encumbered with our flesh we are never without sin.

55 Therefore everything in the Christian church is so ordered that we may daily obtain full forgiveness of sins through the Word and through signs appointed to comfort and revive our consciences as long as we live. Although we have sin, the Holy Spirit sees to it that it does not harm us because we are in the Christian church, where there is full forgiveness of sin. God forgives us, and we forgive, bear with, and aid one another.

56 But outside the Christian church (that is, where the Gospel is not) there is no forgiveness, and hence no holiness. Therefore, all who seek to merit holiness through their works rather than through the Gospel and the forgiveness of sin have expelled and separated themselves from the church.

57 Meanwhile, since holiness has begun and is growing daily, we await the time when our flesh will be put to death, will be buried with all its uncleanness, and will come forth gloriously and arise to complete and perfect holiness in a new, eternal life. 58 Now we are only halfway pure and holy. The Holy Spirit must continue to work in us through the Word, daily granting forgiveness until we attain to that life where there will be no more forgiveness. In that life are only perfectly pure and holy people, full of goodness and righteousness, completely freed from sin, death, and all evil, living in new, immortal and glorified bodies.

all-saints-2

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 April 6, 2014

 

ForgivenessThen Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. “Therefore the kingdom of heaven is likea certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. “And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him tenthousand talents. “But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and thatpayment be made. “The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ “Then the master of that servantwas moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ “So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ “And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. “So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. “Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. ‘Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ “And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” (Matthew 18:21-35)

 

14-04-06, Lent 5, BA-2014A

 

 

Announcements for the week of June 23, 2013

13-06-23, Pentecost 5, BA-2013C

Apology, IV. Justification

Finally, we would remind our readers that our opponents counsel pious consciences very badly when they teach that works merit the forgiveness of sins, because a conscience that seeks forgiveness through works cannot be sure that its work will satisfy God. It is always tormented and constantly invents other works and services until it despairs utterly.  Describing this process in Rom. 4:5ff., Paul proves that the promise of righteousness does not depend upon our works because we could never be sure that we have a gracious God. The law always accuses. Thus the promise would be vain and unsure. He concludes that not works but faith accepts the promised forgiveness of sins and righteousness of faith. This is what Paul really and truly means. This offers the greatest consolation to faithful consciences and illumines the glory of Christ, who was surely given to us that through him we might have grace, righteousness, and peace. (Tappert, para. 285)

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