Posted

“Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith — to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” Romans 16:25-27

Who brings us to faith in Jesus Christ that we might have pardon and forgiveness through faith in His name? Who establishes us in the true and saving faith that we might continue to trust in Christ and receive eternal salvation? It is not our doing but solely the working of God through the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. To God belongs all the glory. He sent His Son to redeem us; and His Holy Spirit, working through the Scriptures, creates and preserves us in the true faith unto life everlasting. To God be the glory through our Lord Jesus Christ!

In the beginning of his epistle to the believers in Rome, the apostle Paul wrote (Romans 1:16-17): “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’”

He closes his letter, saying that God is the one who establishes us in the faith according to his gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, a mystery kept secret since the world began but now revealed and made known to all the nations by the prophetic Scriptures, according to God’s command, that people might believe the Gospel and place their faith in Christ Jesus.

And, of course, God receives the glory, for He provided salvation in His Son and He brought us to trust in Christ and establishes and keeps us in the saving faith by the gracious working of God’s Spirit through the Gospel.

We as individuals and as a church can bring no one to trust in Christ or establish anyone in saving faith. That is God’s work, and He does it through the hearing of the Scriptures – through the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (cf. Romans 10:17; John 6:44,63).

The Gospel of Christ “is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’” In the Gospel, the imputed righteousness which is of faith is revealed to and received by those who have faith in Christ Jesus.

We praise and glorify Your name, O God, for our salvation in Jesus Christ. Establish and keep us in the true and saving faith unto life everlasting. Amen.

[Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

Author
Categories Devotions

Posted

Following the sermon, and usually just before or after the offering, we sing the Offertory, psalm verses in which we offer up to God thanks and praise for the salvation He has provided for us in Christ Jesus, His Son, and we devote ourselves to God and seek His help to live for Him. (Note: the Offertory was once connected to the offering of the bread and wine used in the Roman Mass but is not used that way in Lutheran Churches.)

The Bible tells us that Christ “died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:15). And, the apostle Paul writes: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

Therefore, in thanksgiving for our salvation in Jesus Christ, we not only give to God offerings of money; we give and devote to Him our bodies and souls – our very lives – for His service!

We sing and pray the words of Psalm 51: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.”

Or, we sing the words of Psalm 116: “What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me? I will take up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord now in the presence of all His people … I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord now in the presence of all His people, in the courts of the Lord’s house, in the midst of you, O Jerusalem.”

[Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

Author
Categories Children

Posted

For those who were unable to attend today’s worship service, the video link is below. The sermon text was Matthew 18:21ff. The sermon answered the question of how often we should forgive those who sin against us.

Worship Video

In Bible Class, since we just completed a study of the Gospel of John, we began watching the first part of a movie based on the Gospel of John. It can be watched at the link below.

Gospel of John

Author
Categories Worship Video

Posted

Credo

“I Believe”

What is a Creed? Why do we say a creed in our worship services every Sunday?

A creed is a statement of what we believe. The word “creed” is an English word which comes from the Latin word “credo” and means “I believe….”

There are simple creeds in the Bible, such as: “Jesus is Lord” (1 Corinthians 12:3). And Peter confessed his faith in Jesus when he said: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).

There are creeds which were used to teach the Bible’s doctrine, such as the Apostles’ Creed. We say the Creed each Sunday because it reminds us of the teaching of the Apostles of Jesus, which is written down for us in the Bible.

The Bible tells us that our faith is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20).

There are also creeds which were written to defend the true teaching of God’s Word against false teaching. The Nicene and Athanasian Creeds are examples of such creeds, as well as the Augsburg Confession and its Apology.

In the Apostles’ Creed, we confess our faith in the Triune God and in the work of the true God to create, redeem and sanctify us and give us a place with Him in heaven.

The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit; born of the Virgin Mary; suffered and under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven and is seated on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; From where he shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit; the Holy Christian Church, the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Author
Categories Children

Posted

Then 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.” Matthew 18:21-22 (Read v. 21-35)

How often should we forgive a brother who sins against us? This is the question Peter asked of Jesus. Note Jesus’ answer: “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”

Jesus did not mean only 490 times but all the time! Like our Lord, we are always to be “abundant in mercy” and “ready to forgive” (Psalm 86:5).

The parable of the unforgiving servant illustrates Jesus’ point to Peter.

A certain servant owed the king such a great amount that he would never be able to work off and repay his debt. When the king justly would have sold him and all that he had to recover at least a part of this debt, the servant pleaded for mercy. The king was moved to compassion and forgave the entire debt.

But then this servant went out and found a fellow servant who owed him only a small and insignificant amount in comparison with the huge debt which had been forgiven him. Rather than showing mercy to this servant as he had been shown mercy by his lord, he refused to forgive this small debt and “threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.”

When the king saw that his compassion and forgiveness had no effect on this unforgiving servant, he was angry and “delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.”

We, like the first servant in this parable, owe to God a greater debt than we can ever repay. Our sins against the Lord God are so great that we deserve only to be cast into the eternal fires of hell. All we can do is fall down before the Lord God and plead for Him to show us mercy!

And God did have mercy upon us! When we looked to Him in faith, He forgave our great debt of sin. Because Jesus Christ took our burden of sins upon Himself and bore on the cross the just punishment for them, God canceled out our debt of sin and has given to us complete pardon and forgiveness!

In our earthly lives, others sin against us many times; but this debt of sin, though it may seem great to us, is small and insignificant in comparison with the great debt of sin that the Lord God has forgiven to us. As a fruit of our faith in Christ Jesus, and as a result of God’s great mercy to us in Christ, we ought also forgive those who sin against us, even “up to seventy times seven.”

If we refuse to forgive, from our hearts, those who sin against us, neither will our heavenly Father forgive us; instead, He will cast us into the fires of hell! Cf. Matthew 6:12,14-15.

Forgive our sins, Lord, we implore, remove from us their burden sore, as we their trespasses forgive who by offenses us do grieve. Thus let us dwell in charity and serve our brother willingly. Amen. (The Lutheran Hymnal, Page 458, Verse 6)

[Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

Author
Categories Devotions