The Rich Man and Lazarus

“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: and there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: for I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Luke 16:19-31

We should note first of all that Jesus’ illustration of the rich man and Lazarus may be much more than a parable, for it is told by Jesus as if it is a true and factual account. Whether an actual historical event or a parable, we can still learn much from Jesus’ telling of it.

The rich man is not identified by name; but the poor beggar’s name was Lazarus, which means “God is help.” Even though Lazarus was poor and full of sores, we know that he was a true believer in God, as his name indicates, because he was taken to heaven when he died. Even though the rich man was greatly blessed by God in material things, he did not believe or listen to the Word of God (Moses and the Prophets). This can be seen by the fact that there were no fruits of faith in his life in regard to poor Lazarus, who was laid at his gate, and by the fact that his soul went to hell when he died.

In addition to teaching that one’s soul goes either to heaven or to hell when he dies, Jesus warns against living life solely for the enjoyment of the good things of this world. One’s first concern should be to heed the Word of God and repent, turning away from sin and the selfish use of this world’s goods to faith in Christ, who died to redeem us from sin and death. As a fruit of true repentance, we will then put to death our selfish and sinful desires and use the goods of this world to help those in need. We will not close our hearts to the poor and needy but will do all we can to help them.

One more important truth should also be learned. If one does not heed the Word of God during his lifetime, there is no other hope for repentance; for the Holy Ghost works through the Law to convince us of our sin and the punishment we deserve, and through the Gospel to reveal our Savior and to assure us of eternal salvation through faith in Him. If one, during his lifetime, refuses to turn from his sins to Christ Jesus, his Savior, there will be no more opportunity for repentance. His torment in hell will be forever! But when one, by the grace of God, heeds the Word and repents, trusting in Christ for forgiveness and life, his soul, at the time of death, will be transported by angels to the bosom of Abraham.

O Jesus, who my debt didst pay and for my sin wast smitten, within the Book of Life, oh, may my name be also written! I will not doubt; I trust in Thee, from Satan Thou hast made me free and from all condemnation. Amen. (The Lutheran Hymnal, Hymn 611, Verse 5)

[Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.]

Put on the Whole Armor of God

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:10-13 (Read 10-20)

Though we so often don’t even realize it, there is a battle raging around us and within us for our very souls.

As the apostle says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

The devil and his evil cohorts seek to take us from Christ’s kingdom and rob us of the blessings Christ won for us upon the cross by attacking our faith and our life. He seeks to deceive us and lead us away from the true doctrine set forth in the Holy Scriptures, and he seeks to allure us back into the entanglements of sin so that we we do not trust in Christ and despair of His mercy and forgiveness (cf. 1 Peter 5:8-9; Psalm 2; Genesis 3:1).

Since the battle is spiritual, against powerful fallen angels rather than against human flesh and blood, our weapons and defenses need to be spiritual and powerful enough to withstand the constant assaults of our old evil foe (cf. Rev. 12:7ff.). Flesh and blood, human strength and will and earthly weapons are insufficient in this battle. Left to ourselves, we would be overrun and fall.

That is why the Scriptures admonish us: “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”

Only with these weapons of the Lord can we stand against the wiles of the devil. The Lord Himself preserves us!

O Lord, grant that we put on the armor of God, girded with the truth, wearing the breastplate of righteousness, having our feet shod with the Gospel of peace, bearing the shield of faith, wearing the helmet of salvation, wielding the sword of the Spirit and praying in the Spirit always. Amen.

Scripture from the King James Version of the Bible

Brief Summary – Word of God

WORD OF GOD

Each and every word, as well as the entirety and whole, of the Holy Scriptures was given by inspiration of God and is therefore the true and unerring Word of God.

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:21

All scripture is given by inspiration of God.” 2 Timothy 3:16

Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” 1 Corinthians 2:13

The scripture cannot be broken.” John 10:35

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” John 17:17

Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.” 2 Samuel 23:1-2

The Word of God has not been lost or corrupted, but has been faithfully preserved by God down through the centuries as a witness to all the nations.

For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.” Psalm 119:89

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” Isaiah 40:8

But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” 1 Peter 1:25

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Matthew 24:14

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Matthew 24:35

The Word of God is still accurately recorded in the Hebrew Masoretic and Greek Majority (Received) Texts and can be read and studied in faithful Bible translations such as Luther’s German Bible, the King James Version and the New King James Version of the Bible. To be rejected are texts and translations of the Bible which are unfaithful and corrupt the Word of God.

Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.” Deuteronomy 4:2

The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? Saith the LORD.” Jeremiah 23:28

For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:18-19

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Revelation 22:18-19.

Since all of Holy Scripture is God’s true and unerring Word, the Bible is to be the source and judge of all Christian doctrine. What is not in accord with God’s Word is not to be taught as Christian doctrine.

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20

The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD. Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour. Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.” Jeremiah 23:28-32

Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.” Psalm 119:128

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

These [the Bereans] were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17:11

The Bible is also its own interpreter; thus, passage interpretations which are not in agreement with other clear passages of Holy Scripture are to be rejected.

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:20-21

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20

The Bible is to be diligently studied and heard; for it reveals to mankind the only way of salvation, which is through faith in Christ Jesus, and it guides the Christian in living according to God’s Holy will.

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” John 5:39

But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” John 20:31

But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:14-17

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105

Do you hear His voice?

“But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.” John 10:26-30 (cf. John 10:1-39)

Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He gave His life for the sheep when He suffered and died on the cross for the sins of the world and rose again in victory (v. 11,17-18). But not all believe on Him as their Savior. Many do not hear His voice calling them to repent and look to Him for pardon, forgiveness and life eternal. They do not hear and recognize His voice and follow Him as do His sheep (v. 3-5). Do you hear Jesus calling, recognize His voice and follow Him? Are you one of Jesus’ sheep? (cf. v.14).

What Has Jesus accomplished for all His sheep – even for the whole world? He gave His life for the sheep! “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). Jesus, as our sacrifice, made full atonement for our sins and the sins of the whole world (cf. 1 John 2:1-2).

And Jesus, our crucified and risen Savior, calls to us and offers to us forgiveness and life in His name. He seeks us out as a good shepherd does his lost and wondering sheep. Through the word of His Law, He shows us our sinful and erring ways and the end result – eternal death and everlasting punishment (cf. 2 Thess. 1:7-9). And, through the word of His Gospel, He calls to us and offers to us pardon and life, green pastures, still waters and the protection of His rod and staff (cf. Psalm 23; John 10:1ff.; 10:9-10; Isaiah 40:11).

But not all recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd. Those intent on going their own ways, following their own paths and choosing their own pastures and filthy watering holes do not listen to His voice or recognize Him as the Son of God, their anointed Savior. They reject Jesus and the life He offers and gives, even accusing Him of blasphemy (cf. v 25ff.).

Jesus’ sheep – those graciously predestined and chosen of God – hear Jesus calling in His Word, the Bible (v. 27-28). By the Holy Spirit’s working, they come to recognize Jesus’ voice as the voice of God calling them to repent of their wandering ways and look to Jesus, the Good Shepherd who gave His life for the sheep and redeemed them. They hear His voice and follow Him, knowing that He will keep them in the true and saving faith unto life everlasting. No one is able to snatch them from Jesus’ hand; for the Father, who is greater than all (and Jesus and the Father are one), will keep them and preserve them in the faith unto the everlasting joys of heaven (cf. v. 28-30; Rev. 7:1-19; Phil. 1:6; Rom. 8:28ff.; 2 Tim. 4:18).

Dear Lord Jesus, grant that we hear Your voice calling to us and recognize and follow You as our Good Shepherd and Savior. Amen.

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

Tradition or Commandment of God?

He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men — the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.” Mark 7:6-8 (Read 1-13)

Do religious traditions ever stand in the way of obedience to the Word of God? Indeed, that’s an important question to consider because, so often, it happens.

Consider the scribes and Pharisees in Mark 7. They found fault with Jesus and His disciples because Jesus’ disciples ate without doing the ceremonial washing prescribed by the tradition of the elders. And, as a result, the scribes and Pharisees were unwilling to hear the message of the Gospel proclaimed by Christ Jesus or look to Him for salvation. They even carried their following of tradition so far as to negate God’s command to honor father and mother by saying the money or resources they had were devoted to God upon their death so they could not be used to care for their aging parents.

This prompted Jesus’ words: “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men — the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”

But we must also ask ourselves if our traditions, perhaps also passed down to us from our fathers, ever get in the way of obedience to God’s Word. Does our zealousness for tradition keep us (or others) from hearing the Gospel of forgiveness and life in Christ Jesus?

So, we ask ourselves the question: Tradition or Command of God? If it is the command of God, we must cling to it and seek to follow it; but if it is tradition, it is not sin to discard it. And, if it is tradition, it cannot be elevated to the level of commandment of God.

And, do our traditions stand in the way of hearing the Gospel of life? Do they keep us or others from coming to Jesus and trusting in Him for forgiveness and life? If so, are our traditions worth the cost?

O dearest Jesus, grant us the wisdom to judge ourselves and our traditions that we might never let traditions keep us from following Your Word and that we might never let our traditions keep us or others from hearing the Gospel of forgiveness and life for the sake of Your holy and precious blood shed for all upon the cross. Amen.

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

Trouble and affliction can be for our good

“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word … It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.” Psalm 119:67,71 (Read Psalm 119:65-72)

Have you ever looked at your troubles as good for you? If you are sick, if you are suffering financial hardship, if your life has fallen apart, could this be for your good? The psalmist tells us of the benefits of affliction: “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word … It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.”

Sometimes we need to be afflicted with sickness, disease or trouble before we will wake up and see that we have been going the wrong way in our lives. Sometimes we need to feel the consequences of our own sin and indiscretion before we come to our senses and turn back to the LORD God and His ways.

But not all affliction and suffering are the direct result of some particular sin in our lives. Yet God still deals with us for our good. Though our outward body may be withering away from disease; yet, through this affliction, we may be drawn deeper into God’s Word and be growing stronger in the inner man (that new spiritual life created in us by the Holy Spirit through the promises of God’s Word). We may lose everything we have in this world and yet gain and possess, through faith in Jesus Christ, forgiveness for all our sins and the everlasting riches of heaven.

In my own life, I have often seen that it is the troubles and hardships of life that drive me back into the Scriptures for comfort and guidance. It is through the things I have suffered that I have come to love and appreciate the truthfulness and consolation of my Bible. And when death itself stares us in the face, where else can we go for answers but to the very Word of our Creator and Redeemer!

O almighty and everlasting God, thank You for the afflictions in my life, for bringing me to see the error of my ways and the goodness of You and Your Word, for drawing me into the Scriptures and assuring me of forgiveness for all my sins and of the everlasting joys of heaven for the sake of the innocent sufferings and death of Your beloved Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ. In His name we pray. Amen.

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

Planting the Word

And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” Mark 4:26-29

This parable of Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a man who sows his seed and waits until the seed of itself springs up and grows, maturing until the harvest. Then the farmer puts in the sickle for the harvest. The farmer can only sow good seed, cultivate the crops, and wait for the fruit to mature. He cannot himself make the seed grow and produce fruit. The kingdom of God is like this in that all we as Christians can do is sow the pure Word of God. We cannot make it grow or produce fruit.

The power to create spiritual life and produce fruit lies in God’s Word and not in us as the sowers (cf. Rom. 10:17; Heb. 4:12; 2 Pet. 1:19-21). It is our task to sow the Word of God; but the results must be left up to the Holy Spirit, who brings people to saving faith in Jesus Christ and also sanctifies them through God’s Word. Cf. John 3:5-8.

We cannot see how faith is created in the heart, nor should we expect to harvest immediately after the seed is sown. Our Lord has given us the simple task of sowing the good seed of God’s Word. The rest is up to Him!
Let us then diligently sow the Word! By means of God’s Law, the Holy Spirit will convict men of their sins and show them their guilt before the Almighty God. By means of the Gospel, He will comfort them with the assurance that their sins are forgiven for the sake of Jesus Christ’s holy life and innocent sufferings and death in their stead.

If we only sow the Word, we need not worry about the results. They remain in God’s hands, and He has promised that His Word will not return unto Him void (cf. Isaiah 55:10-11). Let us sow the Word and await the harvest!

On what has now been sown Thy blessing, Lord, bestow; the pow’r is Thine alone to make it spring and grow. Do Thou in grace the harvest raise, and Thou alone shalt have the praise. Amen. (The Lutheran Hymnal, Hymn #46, Verse 1)

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

Why do we believe in Jesus?

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty … We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts….” 2 Peter 1:16,19 (read v. 16-21)

Why do we place our faith and trust in Jesus? Why do we believe that Jesus is God the Son in human flesh and our Savior from sin and eternal damnation? Is it a matter of blind faith, based on myths and fables, or is it historical truth witnessed by the disciples of the Lord Jesus and testified to by God Himself?

Peter plainly says our faith is not based on “cunningly devised fables” about the power and coming of Jesus Christ. They didn’t sit down and craft a story to deceive the world. Rather they were eyewitnesses of the power and majesty of the Lord Jesus. They not only heard His teaching; they saw His miracles. They saw the sick made whole, the lepers cleansed, the blind given sight, the lame walk and the dead raised back to life. And they were with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. They saw His glory and heard the voice of God the Father testify of Jesus: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Matt. 17:5). They witnessed His death on the cross and His glorious resurrection on the third day. They were so convinced of truthfulness of Jesus’ life and teaching, they suffered all, even death, for the faith they proclaimed.

And if that were not enough, we have the witness and testimony of God Himself concerning the person and work of Jesus. God testified of Jesus at His baptism and again on the holy mount (cf. Matt. 3:17; 17:5). And the Scriptures – written not by the will of man but of the Holy Spirit as He moved men to write and guided and directed them in the thoughts they expressed and in the words they wrote so that the Scriptures are the inspired Word of God, testify to us of Jesus, who He is and what He has done to redeem us and give us life instead of death.

“Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” and “whereunto [we would] do well [to] take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in [our] hearts….” The Scriptures, the Word of God, “are able to make [us] wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15).

Our faith is based solidly “upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets” (Eph. 2:20), and God Himself has given us His witness and testimony concerning Jesus, both in His Word of the Scriptures and from the holy mountain: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.”

O God, grant that we hear Your testimony concerning Jesus and the light of truth shine into our hearts. Grant us true and saving faith in Jesus our Savior. Amen.

[Scripture taken from the King James Version of the Bible.]

 

Words of Encouragement for Feb. 19, 2014

Meditations in Jude

 

“Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.” Jude 1-2

Note that Jude, the brother of James – either one of the apostles (Luke 6:16) or the brother of James and a half-brother to the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 13:55 ) – simply calls himself a servant of Jesus Christ, claiming no position of authority as an apostle or as a brother to Jesus. So also we, whether pastor, teacher or lay worker, are all servants of the Lord Jesus Christ who seek to carry out His will and mission in this world.

Jude writes to those sanctified and set apart by God the Father, preserved in Jesus Christ and called to faith in Him. He writes to those who have graciously been brought to faith in Christ Jesus and are preserved in that faith by God’s working. Therefore, it is not to those who are Christian in name only but to those whom God has called and sanctified through faith in Christ Jesus that Jude addresses this letter.

And though we hear these words often, the blessing of verse two which Jude uses to greet his readers is worthy of careful consideration. It is not only a well wish but the prayer and blessing that God’s mercy in Christ Jesus, the peace of sins forgiven won by Jesus’ innocent sufferings and death, and God’s love which comes to us in His Son be multiplied and increase.

Oh, that we might know and grasp in faith the richness of God’s mercy upon us for Jesus’ sake! Oh, that we might know that peace of God which passes all understanding, and that we might begin to grasp the greatness of His love for us in sending His only-begotten Son to be the propitiation for our sins and save us from the wrath and judgment to come!

We thank and praise You, O Father, for the mercy, peace and love You have shown to us in Christ Jesus, our Savior. Grant that we hold hast to Him unto life everlasting. Amen.

 

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jude 3-4

Jude’s original intent was to write of the common salvation won for all through the holy life and innocent sufferings and death of Christ Jesus, our Savior; but the fact that men had crept into the church or churches undetected and were turning the grace of God in Jesus Christ into a license to sin and indulge in the desires of the flesh, and were denying the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, prompted him to write a brief letter urging his hearers to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

We don’t know the specifics, though similar warnings can be found in 2 Peter, 1 John and in the letters to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation. Could it be Gnostics who thought that what one did in the body really doesn’t matter? Or, was it a form of carnal Christianity which used God’s grace as license to indulge in sin since salvation is by grace and Christ paid for all sin? Are the words more broad because they are to be applied to all sorts of perversions of the Gospel?

Thus, we ask ourselves if there are those within the pale of churches today who abuse the grace of God offered and given us in Christ Jesus in order to indulge in the sinful desires of their flesh? Do we even use God’s grace as a license to sin?

Did Christ die for all sin that we might continue on in our sinful ways without consequence? What does the Bible say? “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Rom. 6:1-2). “He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:15).

And, does it ever happen that people become associated with churches who, whether by their teaching or lifestyle, advance such errors among believers and cause others to fall with them?

What was the faith once delivered unto the saints? Where can we find and learn its teaching? Remember that we “are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Eph. 2:20). Remember that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Thus, for what faith are we to be earnestly contending? Are we to stand by when people within the pale of the church teach contrary to the Bible or attempt to change its meaning to accommodate their own sinful views or lifestyles? Notice also that those who abuse and pervert the true doctrine end up denying “the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Through the Scriptures, O God, You have revealed to me the faith once delivered to the saints. Give me the strength and the willingness to contend for that faith against those who would depart from the teaching of Your Word and turn Your grace into a license for sin and deny You and the Lord Jesus Christ. In His name, I pray. Amen.

 

“I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” Jude 5-6

Can one have true and genuine faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as one’s savior from sin and yet continue in willful disobedience and rebellion against His Word? The apostle John writes: “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4). He adds: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him” (1 John 3:4-6).

Thus, Jude adds the examples of the children of Israel who sinned in the wilderness and of the angels who “kept not their first estate” but sinned against the LORD God who had created them to be His servants and to do His will.

So also, we should not be deceived into thinking that God will not judge and punish those who abuse His grace and turn away from Him and the salvation He provided for us in His Son. The writer of Book of Hebrews says (in Hebrews 10:29-30) of those who willfully turn back into sin: “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.”

Keep me, O God, from the presumptuous sin of abusing Your grace and turning back to the sin from which You redeemed me. Grant unto me true repentance and faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus. In His name, I pray. Amen.

 

“Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.” Jude 7-10

Sad to say, even within the outward pale of churches, there are those who would imagine that there is nothing wrong with the sexual perversion of our day. They say the prohibitions of Scripture were culturally influenced and are not true reflections of God’s character or will.

But how do they answer the fact of God’s judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah and surrounding cities (Gen. 18-19)? How do they answer God’s judgment upon Canaan (cf. Lev. 18)? And, indeed, we might add other judgments upon cities and nations to the mix.

Yet, in spite of the Biblical records of God’s judgments upon cities and nations for their abominations, people today – even within the outward pale of churches – condone such sin and ridicule those who warn of God’s wrath and impending judgment. As Jude writes, they speak evil of those who oppose such abominations and they rail against them – something the angels of God would not even do when contending with the devil. What these people don’t know they ridicule; and what they know naturally as unthinking animals, in those things they corrupt themselves (cf. Rom. 1:18ff.).

How sad the conditions in the world today! And, even more sad, that such forms of thinking and lifestyles have come to be accepted among many who count themselves Christian!

God’s judgment is near. Now is the time to repent and look to the Lord God for mercy in Christ Jesus before it is too late!

O God, have mercy upon our nation and the churches and religious leaders of our land. Grant that we would heed Your Word and repent of our evil ways, looking to You for mercy in Christ Jesus. Give us boldness to contend for the true Christian faith in the face of such opposition to the truth. Amen.

 

“Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.” Jude 11-13

Will God judge those who pervert the true doctrine and use the grace of God as a license for sin? Jude describes them to have fallen into the sin of Cain, who turned from the faith and even killed his brother Abel who was counted righteous through faith (cf. Gen. 4). Like Balaam (Num. 22-25) who, for the sake of earthly gain, found a way around God’s word and commandment and caused the children of Israel to fall into sin and be cursed, so these hypocrites were quick to follow in such erring ways for their own gain. Along with Korah and those who spoke against God’s called servants (Num. 16), these are likewise condemned to perish.

Jude describes them as “spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.”

These claimed to be believers and Christians but had no evidence of faith in their lives. Their lives and teaching were a denial of their Savior and of His doctrine.

Do we have those today who only go through the outward motions of the Christian faith while their hearts are far from the Lord? Are there those who seek to explain away and get around the teaching of the Bible on subjects which are in conflict with current cultural views?

And, what about us? Are we guilty of the same things?

Grant that we hold fast to Your Word, O Lord, and not compromise for the sake of peace or worldly gain. Have mercy upon us and forgive us for our sins and failures. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

 

“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” Jude 14-15

We know from Genesis 5 that Enoch walked with God by faith and that God translated him into heaven so that he did not die (cf. Heb. 11:5). From Jude’s letter we learn that Enoch, like Noah, also warned the people of his day of God’s coming judgment upon all who remained impenitent and lived in opposition to God and His ways.

And this prophecy of Enoch that “the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him” applied to the hypocrites among the churches to whom Jude wrote and to the hypocrites and unbelievers of our day.

Our Lord Jesus will soon return in the clouds of heaven with His holy angels to execute judgment upon all who have not turned from their sinful ways to Him in faith. Those who repent and trust in the redemption Christ accomplished by His life, death and resurrection will be received into the eternal joys of heaven. But those who continue in impenitence and unbelief will be found guilty and condemned to the eternal fires of hell (cf. 2 Thess. 1:7-10).

Thus, judgment awaited those of Jude’s day who turned the grace of God into a license for sin; and the same judgment is coming upon those of our day who turn from Christ and His doctrine and indulge in the pleasures of sin.

Your Word warns us, O God, of Christ’s return and His judgment upon all who have not believed in His name. Grant that we truly repent and look to Jesus and His cross for mercy and forgiveness. And grant that we, like Enoch, speak the truth in love and warn our generation of God’s coming judgment upon impenitent sinners. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

“These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.” Jude 16-19

Should we be surprised at the unbelief of our day? Should we be surprised that, even within the outward pale of the church, people pervert the truth to support their selfish and sinful ways?

The answer, of course, is no. The apostles of our Lord Jesus warned us. The Scriptures tell us that persecution can be expected and “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:12-13).

Though they often champion unity in the churches, they are the ones who “cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned” and they “serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Rom. 16:17,18). And it is for that reason that Christians who hold to the faith of the Bible are commanded to “mark” and “avoid” them.

In the days of drought following the prophecy of Elijah, Ahab said to Elijah, “Art thou he that troubleth Israel?”(1 Kings 18:17) Elijah answered (v. 18): “I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.” So also today, many would accuse those who contend for the faith once delivered to the saints of causing trouble in the churches and causing division. The real cause of trouble and division, however, rests on those who compromise the clear doctrine of God’s Word.

Thus, in Jude’s day, even if the churches must put out those who turned the grace of God into a license to sin, it was the unbelieving who separated themselves from the churches by their unbelief and sin.

It should be noted that those of whom Jude speaks use persuasive words and speeches and make use of personal and political connections to gain advantage, but they have not the Spirit of God. Instead of submitting to God’s Spirit and the God-breathed Scriptures, they walk after their own fleshly lusts and use carnal means to get their way.

Keep us from walking according to the flesh instead of yielding to the Spirit of God and to the truth revealed in His Word. Preserve us from their pernicious ways. Amen.

 

“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Jude 20-21

What did Jude direct his beloved hearers to do? Indeed, it is similar to what Paul commanded Timothy: “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:14-15). Jesus also said to the Jews who believed in Him: “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).

Since the Spirit sanctifies us through the Scriptures (John 17:17; Rom. 10:17), we build ourselves up in our most holy faith by continuing in the Scriptures and praying for the Holy Spirit to teach and guide and lead us into all truth. We keep ourselves in the love of God which moved Him to give His only-begotten Son to die for us and pay in full for all our sins (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9-10), and we look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ – His merciful gift of forgiveness and life everlasting.

In other words, we cling to Jesus and His Word. We hold fast to His promise of forgiveness and life everlasting for the sake of His innocent sufferings and death in our stead. We look forward to His glorious return and partaking of His mercy and pardon on that day. We continue to hope and live for the life eternal which Jesus will give to us when He comes again in glory to judge the living and the dead.

O gracious and merciful Savior, keep me in Your Word and grant that I cling to You by faith, trusting and looking forward to partaking of Your merciful gift of life everlasting in Your glorious kingdom. Amen.

 

And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” Jude 22-23

What are we to do while we await that day when Christ returns and, in mercy, receives us to Himself in heaven?

Like Enoch, we continue to warn the impenitent and unbelieving of God’s coming judgment upon all who continue in rebellion against Him. We warn those who use the grace of God as a license to indulge in their sinful longings and desires.

But we also show mercy. We have compassion on those misled and overcome by sin. We warn them of the consequences and offer to them the comfort of God’s pardon and forgiveness in Jesus Christ.

Patiently and compassionately, we reach out to the lost and erring that they too might come to repentance and be saved through faith in Christ Jesus and His cross.

Some we “save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” We use the utmost care that we too be not drawn into sin and error through the weakness of our own flesh. We recognize the danger and consequences of sin – death. But, through the right application of God’s Word, we pull them from the impending fires of hell, hating their sinful deeds, and show them the right way – a life lived by faith in the Son of God.

God, grant that we might bear witness to Your impending judgment upon sinners but also to Your mercy and forgiveness in Christ Jesus, our Savior. Preserve us from our own sinful longings and desires. Keep us from temptation and deliver us from evil. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” Jude 24-25

What a beautiful doxology! Jude closes in words of faith and praise to the LORD God who has brought us to to know and trust in Christ Jesus and the salvation He won for all.

It is the Lord God, by means of the gracious working of His Spirit through the Word, who is able to keep us from falling into sin and unbelief. He is the only one able to preserve us in the true faith and present us faultless before the throne of His glory. And He does so with exceeding joy!

And “to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”

The fact that we believe and are saved through faith in Jesus is entirely to the glory of God. We were dead in our sins, but God graciously raised us up to life through faith in Jesus and His blood, shed for us upon the cross (cf. Eph. 1:3ff.; 2:1ff.). And, “He which hath begun a good work in us will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).

All praise and glory be to You, O Lord Jesus, for redeeming me, bringing me to faith and preserving me in the faith once delivered unto the saints. Grant that I continue in your Word, hold fast to You and Your doctrine, and contend for that faith in this dark and sinful world. Amen.

 

1. Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness My beauty are, my glorious dress; midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed, with joy shall I lift up my head.

2. Bold shall I stand in that great Day, for who aught to my charge shall lay? Fully through these absolved I am from sin and fear, from guilt and shame.

3. The holy, meek, unspotted Lamb, who from the Father’s bosom came, who died for me, e’en me t’atone, now for my Lord and God I own.

4. Lord, I believe Thy precious blood, which at the mercy-seat of God forever doth for sinners plead, for me–e’en for my soul–was shed.

5. Lord, I believe were sinners more than sands upon the ocean shore, Thou hast for all a ransom paid, for all a full atonement made.

6. When from the dust of death I rise to claim my mansion in the skies, e’en then, this shall be all my plea: Jesus hath lived and died for me.

7. Jesus, be endless praise to Thee, whose boundless mercy hath for me, for me, and all Thy hands have made, an everlasting ransom paid. Amen.

Hymn #371, The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: 1 John 1:7 Author: Ludwig von Zinzendorf, 1739, cento
Translated by: John Wesley, 1740

 

Preparing for Sunday

Scripture Readings for Sunday are: Psalm 49; Leviticus 19:1-18; 1 Corinthians 3:10-23; Matthew 5:38-48. Please read them in their context as you prepare for worship.

Sunday Adult Bible Class will begin its study of the Book of Genesis with chapter one.

 

Verse to Remember

“But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me.” Psalm 49:15

 

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 – especially for Mel Boren – for our extended families and for believers who are alone and have no congregation. We remember the churches and pastors in the Philippines. We pray for those suffering and persecuted around the world. And we pray for our nation and its rulers, that our people would repent and look to God for mercy, forgiveness and direction.

 

Announcements

Our next Pot-luck Dinner will follow our worship service on Sunday, March 2.

Lenten Services will begin on Wednesday, March 5, at 7 p.m. The Wednesday services will be preceded by a soup and sandwich luncheon at 6:20 p.m.

Church Council will meet at 7 p.m. tonight, Feb. 19, at the church.

 

[Scripture taken from the King James Version of the Bible]

 

Words of Encouragement for Oct. 30, 2013

When you pray

“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites [are]: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do]: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” Matthew 6:5-8

Prayer is not to be a show of religious piety but the sincere communication of the heart and soul to God the Father. Jesus urges His followers to quietly and, in the privacy of their own homes, pour out their hearts before the LORD God, trusting in Him to mercifully hear and answer their prayers. Those who make a show of their prayers to be seen by men have their only reward, but those who pray to God in secret will be heard by God in secret and rewarded openly.

Nor are Christians to use vain or empty repetitions in their prayers, as the heathen do, thinking that God will hear and answer their prayers because of their many words. Jesus teaches us that God desires the prayers of our heart and not empty words uttered by our lips. Thus, the mere repetition of prayers will merit us nothing before God and are not really even prayer at all! Rather, Christians are invited by God to come before Him with their petitions and thanksgiving, trusting that He indeed will hear and answer us for the sake of Jesus and His atoning sacrifice upon the cross for the sins of the world (cf. 1 John 5:11-15).

It is not our many words or our religious piety which persuade God to hear and answer our prayers. Rather, it is His love and mercy toward us for Jesus’ sake that moves Him to reach out to us and invite us to come humbly before Him with our prayers and petitions, knowing and believing that He will hear us and grant what is best for us as His dear children through faith in Christ Jesus. And, as Jesus says, our Father knows the things we need before we even ask them of Him.

Dear Father in heaven, we thank You for Your grace and mercy toward us for Jesus’ sake, and we thank You for the privilege of coming before You in prayer. Move us to come before You in humility, trusting that You will hear and receive us for the sake of Jesus and His blood shed for us on Calvary. Amen.

 

Enoch Translated

“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Hebrews 11:5 (Read Genesis 5:21-24)

The Bible tells us of Enoch, the seventh generation from Adam, that he “walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (Genesis 5:24). At the relatively young age of 365, Enoch was taken directly, without seeing death, to be with the LORD God in heaven. Enoch was translated; that is, changed from a temporal, earthly existence to an eternal, heavenly one. His body and soul were taken from this earth into his eternal and heavenly home. Such a translation is hard for us to understand.

In all of human history, Elijah the prophet is the only other human being to escape death and be taken directly to his heavenly home (cf. 2 Kings 2:11). Even the Lord Jesus Christ first died for the sins of the world before He rose again on the third day and then 40 days later ascended into heaven.

Enoch walked with God by faith, trusting that God’s ways are right and that God would send the promised Seed of the woman to redeem him from sin and eternal death. In the book of Jude, we learn that Enoch also testified in his time of God’s coming judgment upon all who continued in their ungodly and rebellious ways (v. 14f.).

To walk with God by faith is no different today. Believers know and believe that God’s ways are true and right and trust in God’s mercy and forgiveness for the sake of His Son, Jesus Christ, who suffered and died for the sins of the whole world and rose again on the third day. Believers walk in fellowship with God the Father, agreeing with Him about their sinfulness but trusting in Him to graciously forgive their sins and accept them as His own dear children for the sake of Jesus Christ, who lived a righteous and holy life in mankind’s stead and made full atonement for the sins of the whole word when He suffered and died upon the cross (cf. 1 John 1:7 – 2:2).

Like Enoch, believers are pleasing to God and righteous in his eyes because all their sins have been washed away in Jesus’ blood. Their works too are pleasing in His eyes because they flow from faith in Him and are made pure through the shed blood of Jesus.

Believers have already been translated. The Bible says of believers in Jesus that the Father “hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:12-14). God has graciously translated His children from the kingdom and rule of darkness and sin into the kingdom of grace and forgiveness – the kingdom of His own dear Son.

And believers will be translated into God’s eternal and heavenly kingdom when Jesus returns. The Bible says to all who believe: “Our conversation [way of life] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Philippians 3:20-21).

Enoch walked with God by faith and was translated directly into heaven. All who today walk by faith in the Son of God, trusting in Him for mercy and forgiveness, have been translated from the kingdom of darkness and spiritual death into God’s kingdom of grace and life. On the last day, they too will be translated – their earthly body will be changed into a glorious and heavenly body like that of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus, let me ever walk with You by faith so that, as Enoch was translated from this world into your heavenly kingdom, so I may arise and live with You forever in Your eternal and glorious kingdom. Amen.

 

Preparing for Sunday

Scripture Readings for Sunday are: Psalm 36; Hebrews 13:1-25; Luke 12:13-59. Please read them in their context as you prepare for worship.

Sunday Adult Bible Class will continue its study of 1 John, in chapter three.

 

Verse to Remember

“And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Luke 12:29-31

 

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, Ray and Bonnie Hawes, Robert and Dawn Hiebert, Mel Boren, Freda Stueland – for our extended families and for believers who are alone and have no congregation. Remember also Lorene, who is in need of money to pay her rent and other bills.

 

Announcements

Choir will practice on Sunday, meeting in the choir room following the worship service.

A pot-luck dinner will be held on Sunday, Nov. 3, following our morning worship service.

Our next evening Bible study will be at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 13.

The Annual Voters’ Assembly is tentatively set for Sunday, Nov. 17.

 

[Scripture taken from the King James Version of the Bible]