Meditations in St. John’s First Epistle
“And by this we know that we have known Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, I have known Him, and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly in this one the love of God is perfected. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk even as He walked.” 1 John 2:3-6 (MKJV)
Many claim to be Christians and followers of Jesus Christ but not all who make such claims know Jesus. Some are hypocrites and some deceive themselves into thinking they are Christian when, in fact, they are impenitent and do not trust in Jesus and His blood shed upon the cross for cleansing and everlasting life.
God’s Word teaches us that we can know we know and trust in Christ Jesus as our Savior by our attitude toward Jesus’ word and commandments.
“And by this we know that we have known Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, I have known Him, and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly in this one the love of God is perfected.”
The one who knows and trusts in Jesus for forgiveness of sins and life everlasting will gladly and willingly obey His commandments. This desire to obey God’s Word is evidence of the indwelling Holy Spirit and the new nature created in believers which loves God and desires to serve Him. Of course, as John wrote in the first chapter (1:5-10), believers are not without sin in this world and cannot claim to be sinless and holy of themselves, for they still have their old sinful nature inherited from Adam which balks at and resists living in accord with the Word of God.
Nevertheless, believers can see evidence of their regeneration in their new-found love for God and in their desire to keep the words and commandments of Jesus. Those who come to know the great love of God in sending His Son to suffer and die for our sins and the sins of the world are moved to love Him in return for providing salvation for lost sinners.
If we continue to trust in Jesus as our Savior – if we acknowledge our sinfulness and look to Jesus’ shed blood for pardon and life everlasting – we will, as a fruit of that faith seek to conform our lives to His. We will seek to live and conduct ourselves as Jesus did in this world – in obedience to God the Father, with utmost respect for God’s Word and with love toward lost sinners.
“He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk even as He walked.”
Jesus, our Savior, You have redeemed us and all mankind from sin by Your atoning sacrifice upon the cross, and You have graciously brought us to know Your great love and mercy toward us in shedding Your blood to cleanse us from all sin. Grant that we grow ever deeper in the knowledge of You and Your love for us and so move us in return to love You and gladly obey Your commandments Amen.
A Simple Explanation of Christian Doctrine
by Pastor Randy Moll
What did God do when He created the heavens and the earth?
Again, the Bible says: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth; and the earth being without form and empty, and darkness on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moving gently on the face of the waters, then God said, Let light be! And there was light….” (Genesis 1:1-3; Read all of Genesis 1 and 2).
The Hebrew word for “created” in verse one is ברא (bara) and indicates that God created all out of nothing. He called it into existence by saying, “Let … be,” and “There was.”
The Scriptures echo this truth throughout.
Psalm 33:6 says: “Through Jehovah’s word the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of His mouth.”
Hebrews 11:3 says: “By faith we understand the ages to have been framed by the word of God, so that the things seen should not come into being out of things that appear.”
These words teach us the truth that God created all things and sustains them by the power of His word.
The Bible says of the Son of God, in Hebrews 1:2-3: “Through whom He indeed made the ages; who being the shining splendor of His glory, and the express image of His essence, and upholding all things by the word of His power…”
So, what has God done? He created all things out of nothing. He created and called all into being by His all-powerful word. And, it is by that same creating word that all continues to exist.
It is as Nehemiah wrote in chapter nine, verse six: “You alone are He , O Jehovah; You have made the heavens, and heavens of the heavens, and all their host; the earth and all which is on it; the seas, and all that is in them; and You shall preserve them all alive. And the host of the heavens bows down to You.”
Next time, we shall consider when God created all things.
[Scripture quotations in this article from Green’s Literal Translation]
From the Lutheran Confessions
The Smalcald Articles
THE THIRD PART OF THE ARTICLES
Part III, Article XIV. Of Monastic Vows.
1] As monastic vows directly conflict with the first chief article, they must be absolutely abolished. For it is of them that Christ says, Matt. 24:5,23ff : I am Christ, etc. 2] For he who makes a vow to live as a monk believes that he will enter upon a mode of life holier than ordinary Christians lead, and wishes to earn heaven by his own works not only for himself, but also for others; this is to deny Christ. 3] And they boast from their St. Thomas that a monastic vow is equal to Baptism. This is blasphemy [against God].
Part III, Article XV. Of Human Traditions.
1] The declaration of the Papists that human traditions serve for the remission of sins, or merit salvation, is [altogether] unchristian and condemned, as Christ says Matt. 15:9: In vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 2] Again, Titus 1:14: That turn from the truth. Again, when they declare that it is a mortal sin if one breaks these ordinances [does not keep these statutes], this, too, is not right.
3] These are the articles on which I must stand, and, God willing, shall stand even to my death; and I do not know how to change or to yield anything in them. If any one wishes to yield anything, let him do it at the peril of his conscience.
4] Lastly, there still remains the Pope’s bag of impostures concerning foolish and childish articles, as, the dedication of churches, the baptism of bells, the baptism of the altarstone, and the inviting of sponsors to these rites, who would make donations towards them. Such baptizing is a reproach and mockery of Holy Baptism, hence should not be tolerated. 5] Furthermore, concerning the consecration of wax-tapers, palm-branches, cakes, oats, [herbs,] spices, etc., which indeed, cannot be called consecrations, but are sheer mockery and fraud. And such deceptions there are without number, which we commend for adoration to their god and to themselves, until they weary of it. We will [ought to] have nothing to do with them.
1] Dr. Martin Luther subscribed.
2] Dr. Justus Jonas, Rector, subscribed with his own hand.
3] Dr. John Bugenhagen, Pomeranus, subscribed.
4] Dr. Caspar Creutziger subscribed.
5] Niclas Ambsdorf of Magdeburg subscribed.
6] George Spalatin of Altenburg subscribed.
7] I, Philip Melanchthon, also regard [approve] the above articles as right and Christian. But regarding the Pope I hold that, if he would allow the Gospel, his superiority over the bishops which he has otherwise, is conceded to him by human right also by us, for the sake of peace and general unity of those Christians who are also under him, and may be under him hereafter.
8] John Agricola of Eisleben subscribed.
9] Gabriel Didymus subscribed.
10] I, Dr. Urban Rhegius, Superintendent of the churches in the Duchy of Lueneburg, subscribe in my own name and in the name of my brethren, and of the Church of Hannover.
11] I, Stephen Agricola, Minister at Hof, subscribe.
12] Also I, John Draconites, Professor and Minister at Marburg, subscribe.
13] I, Conrad Figenbotz, for the glory of God subscribe that I have thus believed, and am still preaching and firmly believing as above.
14] I, Andrew Osiander of Nuernberg, subscribe.
15] I, Magister Veit Dieterich, Minister at Nuernberg, subscribe.
16] I, Erhard Schnepf, Preacher at Stuttgart, subscribe.
17] Conrad Oetinger, Preacher of Duke Ulrich at Pforzheim.
18] Simon Schnevveis, Pastor of the Church at Crailsheim.
19] I, John Schlainhauffen, Pastor of the Church at Koethen, subscribe.
20] The Reverend Magister George Helt of Forchheim.
21] The Reverend Magister Adam of Fulda, Preacher in Hesse.
22] The Reverend Magister Anthony Corvinus, Preacher in Hesse.
23] I, Doctor John Bugenhagen, Pomeranus, again subscribe in the name of Magister John Brentz, as on departing from Smalcald he directed me orally and by a letter, which I have shown to those brethren who have subscribed.
24] I, Dionysius Melander, subscribe to the Confession, the Apology, and the Concordia on the subject of the Eucharist.
25] Paul Rhodius, Superintendent of Stettin.
26] Gerard Oeniken, Superintendent of the Church at Minden.
27] I, Brixius Northanus, Minister of the Church of Christ which is at Soest, subscribe to the Articles of the Reverend Father Martin Luther, and confess that hitherto I have thus believed and taught, and by the Spirit of Christ I shall continue thus to believe and teach.
28] Michael Coelius, Preacher at Mansfeld, subscribed.
29] The Reverend Magister Peter Geltner, Preacher at Frankfort, subscribed.
30] Wendal Faber, Pastor of Seeburg in Mansfeld.
31] I, John Aepinus, subscribe.
32] Likewise, I, John Amsterdam of Bremen.
33] I, Frederick Myconius, Pastor of the Church at Gotha in Thuringia, subscribe in my own name and in that of Justus Menius of Eisenach
34] I, Doctor John Lang, Preacher of the Church at Erfurt, subscribe with my own hand in my own name, and in that of my other coworkers in the Gospel, namely:
35] The Reverend Licentiate Ludwig Platz of Melsungen.
36] The Reverend Magister Sigismund Kirchner.
37] The Reverend Wolfgang Kismetter.
38] The Reverend Melchior Weitmann.
39] The Reverend John Tall.
40] The Reverend John Kilian.
41] The Reverend Nicholas Faber.
42] The Reverend Andrew Menser.
43] And I, Egidius Mechler, have subscribed with my own hand.
Bible Study in Preparation for Sunday
Scripture Readings for Sunday are: Psalm 98; Acts 10:34-48; 1 John 5:1-8; and John 15:9-17. Please read them in their context as you prepare for worship on Sunday.
The Sunday Adult Bible Class will continue its study of the book of Hebrews, in chapter 10, verse 29ff.
Remember to Pray
Remember to pray for our church and for all our members, that none be lost to Christ’s kingdom but that all continue in repentance and be strengthened and built up in the true and saving faith in Christ Jesus through the hearing and study of His Word. We continue to pray for all who have been sick or who are suffering among us, for Sam Rusch, who was hospitalized last week; for those who have been absent from us; for our extended families; and for believers who are alone and have no congregation. Continue to pray for Lutheran congregations and believers around the world who are persecuted or suffering for their faith in Christ Jesus.
Events and Announcements
Ascension Day worship will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 17. All are invited to join in worshiping our Savior for His sufferings, death, resurrection and glorious ascension.
Information for bulletins or newsletters may be sent to Pastor Moll by calling him at 479-233-0081 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.