Friday, September 30, 2011

Funny Fridays #5!

It's Funny Friday #5! We'll be having postings of a humorous nature. What a better place to start than with the folks at Lutheran Satire.

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Historical Church Writings #9: C.F.W. Walther on Righteousness

Today is Historical Church Writing Thursday. Each Thursday will feature the writings of the church fathers, reformation fathers or other church writings. Today's Historical Church Writing is from C.F.W. Walther:

File:Walther cfw young.png    A person becomes righteous in the sight of God solely by faith.... Faith is demanded of us, not in order that there might be at least some little work that we are to do, as otherwise there would be no difference between those who go to hell and those go to heaven. No; righteousness is of faith in order that it may be of grace. Both statements are identical. When I say: "A person becomes righteous in the sight of God by faith," I mean to say: "He becomes righteous gratuitously, by grace, by God's making righteousness a gift to him." Nothing is demanded of the person; he is told: "Stretch out your hand, and you have it." Just tat is what faith is -- reaching out the hand. Suppose a person had never heard a word concerning faith and, on being told the Gospel, would rejoice, accept it, put his confidence in it, and draw comfort from it, that person would have the true, genuine faith, although he may not have heard a word concerning faith.
     -- C.F.W. Walther
Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

LLC Wednesdays #2: Short Preface

Today is Luther's Large Catechism Wednesdays! Each Wednesday we will be going through a section of Luther's Large Catechism.

LLC Wednesdays #2
Short Preface of Dr. Martin Luther

1 This sermon is designed and undertaken to be an instruction for children and the simple folk. Therefore, in ancient times it was called in Greek catechism (i.e., instruction for children). 2 It teaches what every Christian must know. So a person who does not know this catechism could not be counted as a Christian or be admitted to any Sacrament, just as a mechanic who does not understand the rules and customs of his trade is expelled and considered incapable. 3 Therefore, we must have the young learn well and fluently the parts of the catechism or instruction for children, diligently exercise themselves in them, and keep them busy with these parts.

4 Therefore, it is the duty of every father of a family to question and examine his children and servants at least once a week and see what they know or are learning from the catechism. And if they do not know the catechism, he should keep them learning it faithfully. 5 For I well remember the time—indeed, even now it happens daily—that one finds rude, old persons who knew nothing and still know nothing about these things. Yet they go to Baptism and the Lord’s Supper and use everything belonging to Christians, even though people who come to the Lord’s Supper ought to know more and have a fuller understanding of all Christian doctrine than children and new scholars. 6 However, for the common people we are satisfied if they know the three “parts.” These have remained in Christendom from of old, though little of them has been taught and used correctly until both young and old (who are called Christians and wish to be so) are well trained in them and familiar with them. These parts are the following:


1. You shall have no other gods.
2. You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain.
3. You shall sanctify the holy day.
4. You shall honor your father and mother ‹that it may be well with you and you may live long upon the earth›.
5. You shall not murder.
6. You shall not commit adultery.
7. You shall not steal.
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his cattle, or anything that is his.


11 1. I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
12 2. And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
13 3. 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.

Our Father who art in heaven.
1. Hallowed be Thy name.
2. Thy kingdom come.
3. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
4. Give us this day our daily bread.
5. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
6. And lead us not into temptation.
7. But deliver us from evil. [For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever.] Amen.

15 These are the most necessary parts of Christian teaching that one should first learn to repeat word for word. 16 And our children should be used to reciting them daily when they rise in the morning, when they sit down to their meals, and when they go to bed at night. And until they repeat them, they should not be given food or drink. 17 Likewise, every head of a household is bound to do the same with his household, manservants, and maidservants. He should not keep them in his house if they do not know these things or are unwilling to learn them. 18 A person who is so rude and unruly as to be unwilling to learn these things is not to be tolerated. For in these three parts, everything that we have in the Scriptures is included in short, plain, and simple terms. 19 For the holy fathers or apostles (whoever first taught these things) have summarized the doctrine, life, wisdom, and art of Christians this way. These parts speak, teach, and are focused on them.

20 Now, when these three parts are understood, a person must also know what to say about our Sacraments, which Christ Himself instituted: Baptism and the holy body and blood of Christ. They should know the texts that Matthew [28:19–20] and Mark [16:15–16] record at the close of their Gospels, when Christ said farewell to His disciples and sent them forth.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. [Matthew 28:19]

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. [Mark 16:16]

22 This is enough for a simple person to know from the Scriptures about Baptism. In like manner, in short, simple words, they should also know the text of St. Paul [1 Corinthians 11:23–26] about the other Sacrament.

23 Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said: “Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me.”

In the same way also, He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying: “Drink of it, all of you; this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

24 Then we would have all together five whole parts of Christian doctrine. These should be taught constantly and be required learning for children. You should hear them recited word for word. For you must not rely on the idea that the young people will learn and retain these things from the sermon alone. 25 When these parts have been well learned, you may supplement and strengthen them by also setting before them some psalms or hymns, which have been composed on these parts of the catechism. Lead the young into the Scriptures this way, and make progress in them daily.

26 However, it is not enough for them to understand and recite these parts according to the words alone. The young people should also be made to attend the preaching, especially during the time that is devoted to the catechism. Then they may hear it explained and may learn to understand what every part contains, so that they can recite it the way they have heard it. Then, when asked, they may give a correct answer, so that preaching may not be useless and fruitless. 27 For the reason we exercise such diligence in preaching the catechism often is so that it may be taught to our youth, not in a high and clever way, but briefly and with the greatest simplicity. In this way it will enter the mind easily and be fixed in the memory.

28 Therefore, we shall now take up the above-mentioned articles one by one, and in the plainest manner possible say as much as is necessary about them.

Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 355
Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

CFW Walther on the Atonement and the Temptation of Christ

File:Walther cfw old.jpg     If Christ had not wanted it, Satan would not have appeared before Him, tempted Him, and attacked Him. But Christ here did not fight for Himself. Instead, He fought as surety, as a third party, as a substitute for the entire human race.
     By sin, all people sold themselves to Satan, becoming servants and subjects of his kingdom. Therefore, when Christ wanted to redeem men and save them, He came, as the true owner of all people's souls, to conquer Satan, to destroy his kingdom, to remove his plunder from him, to free us from his dark power, and to lead us through the kingdom of grace into the kingdom of eternal glory. Christ did this mainly by His bloody death of atonement on the cross for all the sins of the world. By this, the head of the snake was totally crushed and all people were completely redeemed. The battle with Satan described in our text (Matthew 4:1-11) was the beginning. It was the first engagement that had to be fought by the Prince of our salvation to trample Satan under His feet and to deal the first deadly wounds to him. It was the first defeat the hellish army had to experience to show them that the Stronger One had now come.
Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Monday, September 26, 2011

Hymn Monday - "O Worship the King"

Today's hymn, "O Worship the King" (#804), is from the "Lutheran Service Book" (c) 2006 Concordia Publishing House.

O worship the King, all glorious above
O gratefully sing His pow'r and His love;
Our shild and defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise.

O tell of His might, O sing of His grace,
Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space;
His chariots of wrath the depp thunder clouds form,
And dark is His path on the wings of the storm.

This earth, with its store of wonders untold,
Almighty, Thy pow'r hath founded of old,
Established it fast by a changeless decree,
And round it hath cast, like a mantle, the sea

Thy bountiful care what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light,
It streams from thehills, it descends to the plain,
And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.

Frail children of dust and feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail.
Thy mercies, how tender, how firm to the end,
Our maker, defender, redeemer, and friend!

O measureless Might, ineffable Love,
While angels delight to hymn Thee above,
Thy humbler creation, though feeble their lays,
With true adoration shall sing to Thy praise.

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Trinity 14 Readings

Proverbs 4:10-23
English Standard Version (ESV)

10 Hear, my son, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many. 11 I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness. 12 When you walk, your step will not be hampered, and if you run, you will not stumble. 13 Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life. 14  Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil. 15 Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on. 16 For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong; they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble. 17 For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence. 18But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. 19 The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.

20 My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. 21 Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. 22 For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. 23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

Galatians 5:16-22
English Standard Version (ESV)

Walk by the Spirit
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

Luke 17:11-19
English Standard Version (ESV)

Jesus Cleanses Ten Lepers
11 On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us." 14 When he saw them he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered, "Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" 19 And he said to him, "Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well."

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Confessional Saturday #3: Preface to The Augsburg Confession

Title page from 1580 Book of ConcordBook of Concord:
The Augsburg Confession


To Emperor Charles V

1 Most invincible Emperor, Caesar Augustus, most clement Lord: Your Imperial Majesty has summoned a meeting of the Empire here at Augsburg to consider taking action against the Turk, discussing how best to stand effectively against his fury and attacks by means of military force. The Turk is the most atrocious and ancient hereditary enemy of the Christian name and religion. 2 This meeting is also to consider disagreements in our holy religion, the Christian faith, by hearing everyone’s opinions and judgments in each other’s presence. They are to be considered and evaluated among ourselves in mutual charity, mercy, and kindness. 3 After the removal and correction of things that either side has understood differently, these matters may be settled and brought back to one simple truth and Christian concord. 4 Then we may embrace and maintain the future of one pure and true religion under one Christ, doing battle under Him [Psalm 24:8], living in unity and concord in the one Christian Church.

5 We, the undersigned elector and princes, have been called to this gathering along with other electors, princes, and estates in obedient compliance with the Imperial mandate. Therefore, we have promptly come to Augsburg. We do not mean to boast when we say this, but we were among the first to be here.

6 At the very beginning of the meeting in Augsburg, Your Imperial Majesty made a proposal to the electors, princes, and other estates of the Empire. Among other things, you asked that the several estates of the Empire—on the strength of the Imperial edictsubmit their explanations, opinions, and judgments in German and Latin. 7 On the following Wednesday, we informed Your Imperial Majesty that after due deliberation we would present the articles of our Confession in one week. 8 Therefore, concerning this religious matter, we offer this Confession. It is ours and our preachers’. It shows, from the Holy Scriptures and God’s pure Word, what has been up to this time presented in our lands, dukedoms, dominions, and cities, and taught in our churches.

9 In keeping with your edict, the other electors, princes, and estates of the Empire may present similar writings, in Latin and German, giving their opinions in this religious matter. 10 We, and those princes previously mentioned, are prepared to discuss, in a friendly manner, all possible ways and means by which we may come together. We will do this in the presence of your Imperial Majesty, our most clement Lord. In this way, dissensions may be put away without offensive conflict. This can be done honorably, with God’s help, so that we may be brought back to agreement and concord. 11 As your edict shows, we are all under one Christ and do battle under Him [Exodus 15:3]. We ought to confess the one Christ and do everything according to God’s truth. With the most fervent prayers, this is what we ask of God.

12 However, regarding the rest of the electors, princes, and estates, who form the other side: no progress may be made, nor any result achieved by this treatment of religious matters, as Your Imperial Majesty has wisely determined that it should be dealt with and treated, by mutual presentation of writings and calm conferring together among ourselves. 13 We will at least leave with you a clear testimony. We are not holding back from anything that could bring about Christian concord, such as could be effected with God and a good conscience. 14 Your Imperial Majesty—and the other electors and estates of the Empire, and all moved by sincere love and zeal for religion, who will give an impartial hearing to this matter—please graciously offer to take notice of this and to understand this from our Confession.

Click to purchase a copy

15 Your Imperial Majesty, has—not once but often—graciously pointed something out to the electors, princes, and estates of the Empire. At the meeting of Speyer (1526), according to the form of Your Imperial instruction and commission, this point was given and prescribed. Your Imperial Majesty caused it to be stated and publicly proclaimed that Your Majesty—16 in dealing with this religious matter, for certain reasons that were alleged in Your Majesty’s name—was not willing to decide and could not determine anything. But that Your Majesty would diligently use Your Majesty’s office with the Roman Pontiff for the convening of a General Council. 17 The same matter was publicly set forth at greater length a year ago at the last meeting of the Empire, at Speyer. 18 There Your Imperial Majesty (through His Highness Ferdinand, King of Bohemia and Hungary, our friend and clement Lord, as well as through the Orator and Imperial Commissioners) caused the following to be submitted among other things: concerning the calling of a council, Your Imperial Majesty had taken notice of and has pondered, the resolution of (a) Your Majesty’s Representative in the Empire, and of (b) the President and Imperial Counselors, and (c) the Legates from other Estates convened at Ratisbon. 19 Your Imperial Majesty also judged that it was helpful to convene a Council. Your Imperial Majesty did not doubt that the Roman pontiff could be persuaded to hold a General Council. For the matters between Your Imperial Majesty and the Roman pontiff were nearing agreement and Christian reconciliation. 20 Your Imperial Majesty himself pointed out that he would work to secure the said chief pontiff’s consent for convening a General Council, together with your Imperial Majesty, to be announced as soon as possible by letters that were to be sent out.

21 Therefore, if the outcome should be that the differences between us and the other parties in this religious matter should not be settled with friendliness and charity, then here, before Your Imperial Majesty, we obediently offer, in addition to what we have already done, to appear and defend our cause in such a general, free Christian Council. There has always been harmonious action and agreement among the electors, princes, and other estates to hold a Council, in all the Imperial Meetings held during Your Majesty’s reign. 22 Even before this time, we have appealed this great and grave matter, to the assembly of this General Council, and to your Imperial Majesty, in an appropriate manner. 23 We still stand by this appeal, both to your Imperial Majesty and to a Council. We have no intention to abandon our appeal, with this or any other document. This would not be possible, unless the matter between us and the other side is settled with friendliness and charity, resolved and brought to Christian harmony, according to the latest Imperial Citation. 24 In regard to this appeal we solemnly and publicly testify here.

Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 27
Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Friday, September 23, 2011

Funny Fridays #4

It's Funny Friday #4! We'll be having postings of a humorous nature. What a better place to start than with the folks at Lutheran Satire.

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Historical Church Writings #8: Gregory the Great

Today is Historical Church Writing Thursday. Each Thursday will feature the writings of the church fathers, reformation fathers or other church writings. Today's Historical Church Writing is from Gregory the Great:
     Now, as often happens, those who covet preeminence, seeking support for their own cupidity, take advantage of the Apostle's statement when he says: "If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work." Yet, while praising the desire, the Apostle forthwith qualifies his praise by adding a reason for fear, promptly adding, as he does: "But it behoveth a bishop to be blameless." When he proceeds with an enumeration of the necessary virtues, he explains what this blamelessness is. He, therefore, approves the desire, but warns these people by his precept, as though he plainly said: "I praise what you seek, but acquaint yourselves first with what you are seeking, lest by neglecting to take the measure of your own fitness, you become the more blameworthy and detestable, in that you hasten to be seen by all on the pinnacle of honour." The great master in the art of ruling urges subjects on by approving of their desire, but deters them by fear, in order that he may restrain his hearers from pride, and by praising the office sought, may dispose them for the kind of life required....
     Wherefore, that man gives testimony against himself that he is not desiring the office of a bishop, if he seeks the glory of that honour, but not the ministry of a good work. For a man not only fails completely to love the office, but he is ignorant of it, if, yearning for supreme rule, he feasts on the subjection of others in the hidden reveries of his thought, is glad to hear his own praises, feels his heart surge with honour, and rejoices in the abundance of his affluence. It is, therefore, worldly gain that he seeks under the guise of that kind of honour, whereby worldly gain should have been destroyed, and when the mind thinks to grasp the highest state of humility in order to cherish its own pride, it changes the intrinsic nature of what was exteriorly desired.
     -- Gregory the Great

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

LLC Wednesdays #1: Introduction

This is the start of Luther's Large Catechism Wednesdays! Each Wednesday we will be going through a section of Luther's Large Catechism.

1 A Christian, profitable, and necessary preface, and faithful, serious encouragement from Dr. Martin Luther to all Christians, but especially to all pastors and preachers. They should daily exercise themselves in the catechism, which is a short summary and epitome of the entire Holy Scriptures. They should always teach the catechism.

We have no small reasons for constantly preaching the catechism and for both desiring and begging others to teach it. For sadly we see that many pastors and preachers are very negligent in this matter and slight both their office and this teaching. Some neglect the catechism because of great and high art ‹giving their mind, as they imagine, to much “higher” matters›. But others neglect it from sheer laziness and care for their bellies. They take no other stand in this business than to act as pastors and preachers for their bellies’ sake. They have nothing to do but to ‹spend and› consume their wages as long as they live, just as they used to do under the papacy.

2 They now have everything they are to preach and teach placed before them abundantly, clearly, and easily, in so many helpful books. These truly are “Sermons That Preach Themselves,” “Sleep Soundly,” “Be Prepared,” and “Thesaurus,” as they used to be called. Yet these preachers are not even godly and honest enough to buy these books or, even when they have them, to look at them or read them. Oh, they are completely shameful gluttons and servants of their own bellies. They are more fit to be swineherds and dog tenders than caretakers of souls and pastors.

3 These pastors are now released from the useless and burdensome babbling of the seven canonical hours of prayer. I wish that, instead of these, they would read each morning, noon, and evening only a page or two in the catechism, the prayer book, the New Testament, or something else in the Bible. They should pray the Lord’s Prayer for themselves and their parishioners. Then they might respond with honor and thanks to the Gospel, by which they have been delivered from obvious burdens and troubles, and might feel a little shame. For like pigs and dogs, they take nothing more from the Gospel than this lazy, deadly, shameful, worldly freedom! 4 The common people also respect the Gospel altogether too lightly, and we accomplish nothing special, even though we work diligently. What, then, would be achieved if we were as negligent and lazy as we were under the papacy?

5 To this laziness such preachers add the shameful vice and secret infection of security and contentment. In other words, many see the catechism as a poor, common teaching, which they can read through once and immediately understand. They can throw the book into a corner and be ashamed to read it again.

6 Yes, even among the nobility one may find some clowns and penny pinchers, who say (a) there is no longer any need for either pastors or preachers, (b) we have everything in books, and (c) everyone can easily learn it by himself. So they are happy to let the parishes rot and become empty. They let pastors and preachers worry and go hungry, just as crazy Germans are accustomed to do. For we Germans have such disgraceful people and must put up with them.

7 But for myself I say this: I am also a doctor and preacher; yes, as learned and experienced as all the people who have such assumptions and contentment. Yet I act as a child who is being taught the catechism. Every morning—and whenever I have time—I read and say, word for word, the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Psalms, and such. I must still read and study them daily. Yet I cannot master the catechism as I wish. 8 But I must remain a child and pupil of the catechism, and am glad to remain so. Yet these delicate, refined fellows would in one reading promptly become doctors above all doctors, know everything, and need nothing. Well, this, too, is a sure sign that they despise both their office and the souls of the people. Indeed, they even despise God and His Word. They do not have to fall. They have already fallen all too horribly. They need to become children and begin to learn their alphabet, which they imagine they have long outgrown [Mark 10:15].

9 Therefore, for God’s sake I beg such lazy bellies or arrogant saints to be persuaded and believe that they are truly, truly not so learned or such great doctors as they imagine! They should never assume that they have finished learning the parts of the catechism or know it well enough in all points, even though they think that they know it ever so well. For even if they know and understand the catechism perfectly (which, however, is impossible in this life), there are still many benefits and fruits to be gained, if it is daily read and practiced in thought and speech. For example, the Holy Spirit is present in such reading, repetition, and meditation. He bestows ever new and more light and devoutness. In this way the catechism is daily loved and appreciated better, as Christ promises in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I among them.”

10 Besides, catechism study is a most effective help against the devil, the world, the flesh, and all evil thoughts. It helps to be occupied with God’s Word, to speak it, and meditate on it, just as the first Psalm declares people blessed who meditate on God’s Law day and night (Psalm 1:2). Certainly you will not release a stronger incense or other repellant against the devil than to be engaged by God’s commandments and words, and speak, sing, or think them [Colossians 3:16]. For this is indeed the true “holy water” and “holy sign” from which the devil runs and by which he may be driven away [James 4:7].

11 Now, for this reason alone you ought gladly to read, speak, think, and use these things, even if you had no other profit and fruit from them than driving away the devil and evil thoughts by doing so. For he cannot hear or endure God’s Word. God’s Word is not like some other silly babbling, like the story about Dietrich of Berne, for example. But as St. Paul says in Romans 1:16, it is “the power of God.” Yes indeed, it is the power of God that gives the devil burning pain and strengthens, comforts, and helps us beyond measure.

12 And what need is there for more words? If I were to list all the profit and fruit God’s Word produces, where would I get enough paper and time? The devil is called the master of a thousand arts. 13 But what shall we call God’s Word, which drives away and brings to nothing this master of a thousand arts with all his arts and power? The Word must indeed be the master of more than a hundred thousand arts. And shall we easily despise such power, profit, strength, and fruit—we, especially, who claim to be pastors and preachers? If so, not only should we have nothing given us to eat, but we should also be driven out, baited with dogs, and pelted with dung. We not only need all this every day just as we need our daily bread, but we must also daily use it against the daily and unending attacks and lurking of the devil [1 Peter 5:8], the master of a thousand arts.

14 If these reasons were not enough to move us to read the catechism daily, we should feel bound well enough by God’s command alone. He solemnly commands in Deuteronomy 6:6–8 that we should always meditate on His precepts, sitting, walking, standing, lying down, and rising. We should have them before our eyes and in our hands as a constant mark and sign. Clearly He did not solemnly require and command this without a purpose. For He knows our danger and need, as well as the constant and furious assaults and temptations of devils. He wants to warn, equip, and preserve us against them, as with a good armor against their fiery darts [Ephesians 6:10–17] and with good medicine against their evil infection and temptation.

15 Oh, what mad, senseless fools are we! While we must ever live and dwell among such mighty enemies as the devils, we still despise our weapons and defense [2 Corinthians 10:4], and we are too lazy to look at or think of them!

16 What else are such proud, arrogant saints doing who are unwilling to read and study the catechism daily? They think they are much more learned than God Himself with all His saints, angels, prophets, apostles, and all Christians. God Himself is not ashamed to teach these things daily. He knows nothing better to teach. He always keeps teaching the same thing and does not take up anything new or different. All the saints know nothing better or different to learn and cannot finish learning this. Are we not the finest of all fellows to imagine that if we have once read or heard the catechism, we know it all and have no further need to read and learn? Can we finish learning in one hour what God Himself cannot finish teaching? He is engaged in teaching this from the beginning to the end of the world. All prophets, together with all saints, have been busy learning it, have ever remained students, and must continue to be students.

17 It must be true that whoever knows the Ten Commandments perfectly must know all the Scriptures [Matthew 7:12]. So, in all matters and cases, he can advise, help, comfort, judge, and decide both spiritual and temporal matters. Such a person must be qualified to sit in judgment over all doctrines, estates, spirits, laws, and whatever else is in the world [1 Corinthians 6:2–3]. 18 And what, indeed, is the entire Book of Psalms but thoughts and exercises upon the First Commandment? Now I truly know that such lazy “bellies” and arrogant spirits do not understand a single psalm, much less the entire Holy Scriptures. Yet they pretend to know and despise the catechism, which is a short and brief summary of all the Holy Scriptures.

19 Therefore, I again beg all Christians—especially pastors and preachers—not to think of themselves as doctors too soon and imagine that they know everything. (For imagination, like unshrunk cloth, will fall far short of the measure.) Instead, they should daily exercise themselves well in these studies and constantly use them. Furthermore, they should guard with all care and diligence against the poisonous infection of contentment and vain imagination, but steadily keep on reading, teaching, learning, pondering, and meditating on the catechism. And they should not stop until they have tested and are sure that they have taught the devil to death, and have become more learned than God Himself and all His saints.

20 If they show such diligence, then I will promise them—and they shall also see—what fruit they will receive, and what excellent people God will make of them. So in due time they themselves will admit that the longer and the more they study the catechism, the less they know of it and the more they will find to learn. Only then, as hungry and thirsty men, will they truly relish what now they cannot stand because of great abundance and contentment. To this end may God grant His grace! Amen.

Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 352
Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

We're the pearl that Christ persued!

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it" -- Matthew 13:45-46, English Standard Version


Many times I've heard this parable explained like this: "We are that merchant and Christ is that pearl. We must be willing to lose everything to seek out and gain Christ."  Here's the problem, prior to faith, how do we pursue Christ? Can we pursue Christ? No, we can't. Fallen man would never pursue Christ. We are dead in our trespasses to sin. Here's another problem. If we interpret this parable this way we can only conclude that we must then do something, some feat of skill, some work of our own to attain Christ and his forgiveness. That's not Gospel. That's "works righteousness" and false teaching. What then can this parable mean?

God is the merchant and we are that pearl that he values so much. He sought after us, pursued us until he found us that He might have us as his own. (Luke 19:10) He then paid a costly price and purchased us with the blood of Christ. Our hope is not in our pursuing of God, trying to earn his favor, but rather in his pursual of us, purchasing us through Christ's blood and granting us faith through Word (Romans 10:17) and Sacrament. This is truly good news.

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hymn Monday - "Lord of Our Life"

Today's hymn, "Lord of Our Life" (#659), is from the "Lutheran Service Book" (c) 2006 Concordia Publishing House.

Lord of our life and God of our salvation, Star of our night and hope of ev'ry nation:
Hear and receive Your Church's supplication, Lord God Almighty.

See round Your ark the hungry billows curling; See how Your foes their banners are unfurling
And with great spite their fiery darts are hurling, O Lord, preserve us.

Lord, be our light when worldly darkness veils us; Lord, be our shield when earthly armor fails us;
And in the day when hell itself assails us, Grant us Your peace, Lord:

Peace in our hearts, where sinful thoughts are raging, Peace in Your Church, our troubled souls assuaging,
Peace when the world its endless war is waging, Peace in Your heaven.

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Trinity 13 Readings

2 Chronicles 28:8-15
English Standard Version (ESV)

8 The men of Israel took captive 200,000 oof their relatives, women, sons, and daughters. They also took much spoil from them and brought the spoil to Samaria. 9 But a prophet of the Lord was there, whose name was Oded, and he went out to meet the army that came to Samaria and said to them, “Behold, because the Lord, the God of your fathers, pwas angry with Judah, he gave them into your hand, but you have killed them in a rage qthat has reached up to heaven. 10 And now you intend to subjugate the people of Judah and Jerusalem, male and female, as your slaves. Have you not sins of your own against the Lord your God? 11 Now hear me, and send back the captives ofrom your relatives whom you have taken, for the fierce wrath of the Lord is upon you.”

12 Certain chiefs also of the men of Ephraim, Azariah the son of Johanan, Berechiah the son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah the son of Shallum, and Amasa the son of Hadlai, stood up against those who were coming from the war 13 and said to them, “You shall not bring the captives in here, for you propose to bring upon us guilt against the Lord in addition to our present sins and guilt. For our guilt is already great, and there is fierce wrath against Israel.” 14 So the armed men left the captives and the spoil before the princes and all the assembly. 15 And rthe men who have been mentioned by name rose and took the captives, and with the spoil they clothed all who were naked among them. They clothed them, gave them sandals, sprovided them with food and drink, and anointed them, and carrying all the feeble among them on donkeys, they brought them to their kinsfolk at Jericho, tthe city of palm trees. Then they returned to Samaria.

The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001, S. 2 Ch 28:8-15
Galations 3:15-22
English Standard Version (ESV)

15 To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. 16 Now athe promises were made bto Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as eto make the promise void. 18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but lGod is one.

21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For mif a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture nimprisoned everything under sin, so that othe promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given pto those who believe.

The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001, S. Ga 3:15-22
Luke 10:21-37
English Standard Version (ESV)
21 In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that hyou have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

23 Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a xpriest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on zoil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001, S. Lk 10:21-37

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Confessional Saturday #2: The Athanasian Creed

Each Saturday we'll be going through a small portion of the Book of Concord. We will not be covering Luther's Small Catechism or Luther's Large Catechism as they are covered on Wednesday series. Today's segment is the Athanasian Creed:

The Creed of Athanasius

Written against the Arians.

Whoever desires to be saved must, above all, hold the catholic faith.
Whoever does not keep it whole and undefiled will without doubt perish eternally.
And the catholic faith is this,that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in unity, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the substance.
For the Father is one person, the Son is another, and the Holy Spirit is another.
But the Godhead of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is one: the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.
Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit:
the Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, the Holy Spirit uncreated;
the Father infinite, the Son infinite, the Holy Spirit infinite;
the Father eternal, the Son eternal, the Holy Spirit eternal.
And yet there are not three Eternals, but one Eternal, just as there are not three Uncreated or three Infinites, but one Uncreated and one Infinite.
In the same way, the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, the Holy Spirit almighty;
and yet there are not three Almighties but one Almighty.
So the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God;
and yet there are not three Gods, but one God.
So the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, the Holy Spirit is Lord;
and yet there are not three Lords, but one Lord.
Just as we are compelled by the Christian truth to acknowledge each distinct person as God and Lord, so also are we prohibited by the catholic religion to say that there are three Gods or Lords.
The Father is not made nor created nor begotten by anyone. The Son is neither made nor created, but begotten of the Father alone.
The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son, neither made nor created nor begotten but proceeding.
Thus, there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.
And in this Trinity none is before or after another; none is greater or less than another;
but the whole three persons are coeternal with each other and coequal so that in all things, as has been stated above, the Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity is to be worshiped.
Therefore, whoever desires to be saved must think thus about the Trinity.
But it is also necessary for everlasting salvation that one faithfully believe the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, it is the right faith that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is at the same time both God and man.
He is God, begotten from the substance of the Father before all ages; and He is man, born from the substance of His mother in this age: perfect God and perfect man, composed of a rational soul and human flesh; equal to the Father with respect to His divinity, less than the Father with respect to His humanity.
Although He is God and man, He is not two, but one Christ:
one, however, not by the conversion of the divinity into flesh but by the assumption of the humanity into God;
one altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person.
For as the rational soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ,
who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again on the third day from the dead,
ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, from whence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
At His coming all people will rise again with their bodies and give an account concerning their own deeds.
And those who have done good will enter into eternal life, and those who have done evil into eternal fire.
This is the catholic faith; whoever does not believe it faithfully and firmly cannot be saved.

Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 17
Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Friday, September 16, 2011

Funny Fridays #3

It's Funny Friday #3! We'll be having postings of a humorous nature. What a better place to start than with the folks at Lutheran Satire.

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Historical Church Writings #6: Bonaventure

Today is Historical Church Writing Thursday. Each Thursday will feature the writings of the church fathers, reformation fathers or other church writings. Today's Historical Church Writing is from Bonaventure:

     "Be cognizant, for the kingdom of God is near" (Luke 21:32).
     These words can refer either to the kingdom of God that we call the "advent of the Son," for whose nativity we should be preparing just now, or to the kingdom of God we say is "paradise." Either interpretation is truly and strictly acceptable, for the kingdom of glory is near to the servants of God, and the kingdom of grace, the advent of Christ, is already among them (Luke 17:21) and day by day grows and multiplies in His own servants.
St. Bonaventure     Thus, whichever way we interpret "kingdom of God," we can say that this kingdom is a place or a reality of supreme majesty and therefore seeks out those of noble and reverential desires, for we read: "Surely His salvation is near those who fear Him, that His glory may dwell in our land" (Psalms 85:9). This kingdom has supreme clarity and therefore is among men of outstanding contemplation and meditation, inasmuch as "You are near, O Lord, and all Your ways are truth" (Psalm 119:151) This kingdom is incomparably charming and gentle, so that those who are near it, who have been created anew and anointed from heave, exclaim: "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let you gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near" (Philippians 4:4-5). The kingdom is, lastly, supremely holy and therefore encourages believers to be in regular conversation with God, for "the Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth" (Psalm 145:18).
     -- Bonaventure

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

LSC Wednesdays #8: Table of Duties

This is the conclusion of our short series of Wednesday postings taking us through Luther's Small Catechism. Next week will be the start of LLC Wednesdays. (Luther's Large Catechism)


Certain Passages of Scripture for Various Holy Orders and Positions, by Which These People Are to Be Admonished, as a Special Lesson, about Their Office and Service


Therefore, an overseer [pastor] must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive. He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. (1 Timothy 3:2–4, 6; Titus 1:9)


In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel. (1 Corinthians 9:14)

One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches. (Galatians 6:6)

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” (1 Timothy 5:17–18)

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. (Hebrews 13:17)


Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. (Romans 13:1–4)


Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. (Matthew 22:21)

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.… Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. (Romans 13:1, 5–7)

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. (1 Timothy 2:1–2)

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work. (Titus 3:1)

Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. (1 Peter 2:13–14)›


Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)

Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. (Colossians 3:19)


Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. (Ephesians 5:22; 1 Peter 3:5–6)


Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)


Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” (Ephesians 6:1–3)


Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. (Ephesians 6:5–8; see also Colossians 3:22)


Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with Him. (Ephesians 6:9; see also Colossians 4:1)


Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you. (1 Peter 5:5–6)


She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives. (1 Timothy 5:5–6)


The commandments … are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Romans 13:9) “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.” (1 Timothy 2:1)

Let each his lesson learn with care, and all the household well shall fare.

Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 346
Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Point of Reading the Bible

     "The point of Bible reading is not merely to learn about God, to see how we should behave, or to gain principles for successful living, though the Bible does communicate such things. To read the Bible as a spiritual venture is to be confronted, in the most personal terms, with God Himself. This confrontation is terrifying. An honest reading of God's absolute requirements, His furious judgment against the smallest infraction, can only fill the reader with guilt, panic, and despair. This confrontation can also be rejuvenating -- the reader comes to realize that this God of wrath is also the God of grace, that from the beginning He provided for sacrificial blood to cover His people's sins, that He came in Jesus, that His wrath is wallowed up in the cross. As we read the history and precepts, the poetry and the narratives and the apostolic letters, we encounter the Law and the Gospel, through which the Spirit works to change our hearts and bind us to Christ."
     -- Gene Edward Veith, "The Spirituality of the Cross"

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hymn Monday - "We All Believe in One True God"

Today's hymn, We All Believe in One True god" (#252) is from "The Lutheran Hymnal" (c) 1941 Concordia Publishing House.

We all believe in one true God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
Ever present Help in need, Praised by all the heav'nly host,
By whose mighty pow'r alone All is made and wroght and done.

We all believe in Jesus Christ, Son of God and Mary's Son,
Who descended from His throne And for us salvation won;
By whose cross and death are we Rescued from all misery.

We all confess the Holy Ghost, Who from both fore'er proceeds;
Who uphold and comforts us In all trials, fears, and needs.
Blest and Holy Trinity, Praise forever be to Thee!

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Trinity 12 Readings

Isaiah 29:17-24

English Standard Version (ESV)

17Is it not yet a very little while
until Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field,
and the fruitful field shall be regarded as a forest?
18In that day the deaf shall hear
the words of a book,
and out of their gloom and darkness
the eyes of the blind shall see.
19 The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD,
and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.
20For the ruthless shall come to nothing
and the scoffer cease,
and all who watch to do evil shall be cut off,
21who by a word make a man out to be an offender,
and lay a snare for him who reproves in the gate,
and with an empty plea turn aside him who is in the right.
22Therefore thus says the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob:

"Jacob shall no more be ashamed,
no more shall his face grow pale.
23For when he sees his children,
the work of my hands, in his midst,
they will sanctify my name;
they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob
and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
24And those who go astray in spirit will come to understanding,
and those who murmur will accept instruction."

2 Corinthians 3:4-11

English Standard Version (ESV)

4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6who has made us competent[a] to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

7Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, 8will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? 9For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. 10Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. 11For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.

Mark 7:31-37

English Standard Version (ESV)

Jesus Heals a Deaf Man

31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. 34And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, "Ephphatha," that is, "Be opened." 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36And Jesus[a] charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, "He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak."

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Saturday, September 10, 2011

It's the start of Confessional Saturday! #1: The Nicene Creed

Today is the start of Confessional Saturday! Each Saturday we'll be going through a small portion of the Book of Concord. We will not be covering Luther's Small Catechism or Luther's Large Catechism as the Small Catchism series on LSC Wednesday is will be finished next week and will then start LLC (Luther's Large Catechism) Wednesdays. Today we'll start with the Nicene Creed:

The Nicene Creed
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried. And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures and ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. And He will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead, whose kingdom will have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And I believe in one holy Christian and apostolic Church, I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins, and I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 16
Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Friday, September 9, 2011

Funny Friday #2

It's Funny Friday #2! We'll be having postings of a humorous nature. What a better place to start than with the folks at Lutheran Satire.

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Historical Church Writings #5: John Chrysostom

Today is Historical Church Writing Thursday. Each Thursday will feature the writings of the church fathers, reformation fathers or other church writings. Today's Historical Church Writing is from John Chrysostom:
     "To me," said [Paul], "Who am less than the least of all saints, was this grace given." What grace? "To preach unto the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all men see the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things...."
     Paul himself was sent to the Gentiles, the other apostles to the circumcised. The more marvelous and astonishing commission was given, said Paul, "to me, who am less than the least." This, too, was of grace: that he who was least should have the greatest things entrusted to him; that he should be made the herald of these tidings....
     He calls it a mystery for this reason: neither did the angels know it nor was it manifest to anyone else....Angels knew only this, that "the Lord's portion was His people" (Deuteronomy 32:8-9)....For the Gospel says: "He will save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). Not a word about the Gentiles. But what concerns the Gentiles, the Spirit reveals. The angels knew that the Gentiles were called. But that they were called to the same privileges as Israel, yes, even to sit upon the throne of God, who would ever have expected this? Who would ever have believed?....
     It is evident from what the apostle himself has written that God has done "abundantly above all that we ask or think." For I indeed pray, said Paul, but He of Himself, even without any prayer of mine, will do works greater than all we ask, not simply "greater" nor "abundantly greater," but "exceeding abundantly." And this is evident from "the power that works in us," for neither did we ever ask these things nor did we expect them.
     "Unto Him be the glory," [Paul] concludes, "in the Church and in Christ Jesus, unto all generations forever and ever. Amen."
     -- John Chrysostom

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

LSC Wednesdays #7: Asking Blessings and Returning Thanks

This is a short series of Wednesday postings taking us through Luther's Small Catechism.


In the morning, when you rise, you shall bless yourself with the holy cross and say,

In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger. And I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and all evil, so that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, so that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen.
In the evening, when you go to bed, you shall bless yourself with the holy cross and say:
In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have graciously kept me this day. And I pray, forgive me all my sins, where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, so that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen.

The children and servants shall go to the table with folded hands, reverently, and say:
The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand; You satisfy the desire of every living thing. [Psalm 145:15–16]
Then say the Lord’s Prayer and the following prayer:
Lord God, Heavenly Father, bless us and these Your gifts, which we receive from Your bountiful goodness, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Likewise after the meal they shall reverently and with folded hands say:
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.
He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry. His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor His pleasure in the legs of a man, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His steadfast love. [Psalm 136:1; 147:9–11]
We thank You, Lord God, Father, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, for all Your benefits, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.
Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 344

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pentacost: It ain't about speaking in tongues...

O.T. was called “Feast of Harvest” (Exodus 23:16) or “Feast of Weeks” (Exodus 34:22)
N.T.  calls it “Pentecost” because it was 50 days after Passover.
“Das Boot/U Boot” VS. “Submarine” Speaking in Tongues with translation 1 Cor. 14 at its finest.
What would happen: In the temple courts, the farmers would present a “free will offering”, as they were blessed, of grain  and recite a liturgy that we see in Deuteronomy 26. Israelites in Egypt, became a great nation, harsh treatment from Egyptians, God heard their cries and delivered them to the land he had promised.  Towards the tail end: “I have not transgressed any of your commandments, nor have I forgotten them.” As a result of this covenant, The Lord would declare them his people, as he had promised, that they would KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS and he would set them high above all nations and that they would be a people holy to Him.  This was all said in Hebrew. Later Jewish tradition would make an oath to the covenant part of the Pentecost celebration.
In terms of Law and Gospel, this was an intense covenant of Law.
Acts 2:1-21
Acts 2:1. ESV “When the day of Pentecost arrived”  KJV “When the day of Pentecost was fully come”
Luke’s verbiage in the Greek R.C.H. Lenski:  It was here, time was filling up and up towards what was going to happen. Not merely Pentecost, but the fulfillment of what Christ had said to the disciples in Acts 1:5,8 “for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. “ 
Acts 2:2-4
Luke gives us descriptions: “sound like a mighty rushing wind” and “tongues as of fire”. These were supernatural occurrences. Here we see the fulfillment of what Christ and John the Baptizer had said. They had been baptized by the Holy Spirit and with fire and were now speaking in tongues, more appropriately, earthly languages that the Holy Spirit was giving them. They were doing this loudly and intelligibly, as they were given by the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:5 devout – they were here for Pentecost, the ones from outside of Israel were known as the Jews of the Diaspora, or the “dispersion.” And they were that because of wars and persecutions, their business activities, they had been spread out throughout the Roman Empire and beyond it. 

Acts 2:6-11They heard the “sound like a mighty rushing wind” and came to check to see what was going on and found the disciples speaking in the crowds native languages. During the observation of the Feast of Pentecost, the liturgy that they were reciting was going to be in Hebrew.  From the Galilee area common language would have been Aramaic and otherwise the universal language would have been Greek. But they weren’t hearing Hebrew or these other two universal languages, they were hearing the articulated, fluent, accurate languages of their native homes. They know that the disciples are from Galilee and that there is no way that they could know all these languages fluently. So they don’t understand how this is happening. Well, they probably didn’t know what Jesus had said to the disciples, that this very event was going to happen, but hopefully they would have know what the Prophet Joel had said, which Peter is going to remind them of shortly.
Then we get the running list of where all these people are from
Acts 2:9-11
These people are from literally all throughout their known world and they are hearing the disciples speaking fluently in the crowds native languages, declaring the mighty works of God. This wasn’t small talk, it wasn’t mere conversation in the crowds native languages. There was no (Como te llamas?/ Me llamo Leif Halvorson. Y tu? / Me llamo Pedro. Soy de aqui? / No soy de aqui. Soy de Sidney, Montana en Los Estatdos Unidos/ Ohh)
There was  no exchange of names, not talk about where they were from or other trivial things such as this.They were boldly, loudly, accurately, articulately declaring the mighty works of God

Acts 2:12 Obviously some Lutheran’s in the crowd. People who’ve gone through confirmation, remember the continual question from Luther’s small catechism? What does this mean? These people genuinely wanted to know what was going on. It’s possible at this moment that the Holy Spirit is starting to work in people who are in the crowd.
But then there was “the other people”
Acts 2:13
They hear the word of God and they try to dismiss it by making fun of the disciples. Often times, we’re like these people. At first glance, all that they are doing is making fun of the disciples. But what they are actually doing is much different than doing something that might be considered as innocent as poking jabs at the disciples.  And at this Peter throws down the hammer.

Acts 2:14
In other words cut the wisecracks and listen up
Acts 2:15: (analogue hand clock, opposite side) it was the 3rd hour of the day, which was the time of prayer and sacrifice. On this day they didn’t have their first meal until after the sacrifice, and for this meal they would only eat bread. They would only drink wine when they ate meat and they only had meat at evening meal or their main meal of the day.  The disciples and everyone else who was there for Pentecost would have adhered to this. So Peter is kind of saying to these wise cracks is “look you morons, you know what time it is, now one has had anything yet.”

Peter continues
Acts 2:16-21
You see, the wisecracks weren’t just mocking the disciples, they were mocking God’s word. And to mock God’s word is to mock God. Here we’re seeing the start of the fulfillment of what Joel had said, the rest of which would be completed later. Acts 2:17: Prophesy is not just the foretelling of future events. It also means to utter forth, declare, a thing which can only be known by divine revelation, to know and believe that Christ is Lord of all, to teach, refute, reprove, admonish and comfort others. This right now, because of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, this pouring out of the Holy Spirit on to the disciples, Peter and the disciples where prophesying. This could not have happened if it had not been the start of the last days mentioned, which could not have started had it not been that Christ was what and who he was. 
These guys thought they were merely mocking the disciples, but in mocking the disciples, because of what the disciples were doing, they were mocking the scriptures that were now beginning to be fulfilled, thereby mocking Christ. Their faith was in what they were doing. They actually thought that they were keeping their covenant, despite the fact that they weren’t and Christ had fulfilled it for them. This is far worse than what it seems. To put it into perspective, it’s a though if they were there at the crucifixion, looking up at Christ as He’s hanging on the cross and saying, “Naw, I’m good.” They thought it was about what they were doing.

How often are we like this? Every time we have disregard for God’s word. Naw, I’m good. Every time we treat baptism and communion flippantly. Naw, I’m good. Every time we hear a sermon and think “I sure hope Benny was listening to this because he could sure benefit from this” ignoring our guilt and the Holy Spirit who’s trying to convict us of our sin, to bring us to a point of contrition that we might come to confession and repentance. Naw, I’m good. I’m doing fine. I’m doing good stuff. Like these wisecracks, we daily deny the work of Christ.
This event was far more than what it appeared to be at first glance. This unfolding of events was not about the start of a doctrine concerning speaking foreign languages through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This was about the end of the old Pentecost Covenant, which was a Law covenant to the Jews, and the start of the new covenant. A Gospel covenant.

In comparing the two, Law and Gospel, What does the law do? It kills us, destroys us, it convicts us. It shows us how incapable and insignificant we are. It shows us that there is no way possible for us to keep it. When the Law  does its work, and it crushes us, it reveals to us where we really are. Lifeless and hopeless. It brings us to rock bottom. We have absolutely nothing left and have no hope as we face our reality. Suffering the wrath of our righteous, angry God.
Under this old covenant, the people were trying to satisfy the demands of the law but they were incapable of keeping it!  Remember towards the tail end of the liturgy that they would say when giving their offering at Pentecost?  “I have not transgressed any of your commandments, nor have I forgotten them.” Well shucks, you can’t go but 5 minutes, if not sooner, and they’d already broken it. The truth is, they were completely incapable of keeping them, despite the fact that they thought and hoped that they could, they were dead in their trespasses to sin.
But didn’t we say that this was the start of the new covenant?
Yes. Here, with the baptism of the disciples with the Holy Spirit, we see God making possible for the whole of humanity, not just the Jews, to know of Christ and Him crucified, that he had fulfilled the law for them because they couldn’t. That their sins were forgiven through the work of Christ alone. That they might believe and be saved.
Many of these people who were at Pentecost came from across the Roman Empire and beyond. They heard the disciples declare the mighty works of the Lord in their own native languages. So they listened. They would soon leave and disperse back all across the Roman Empire and beyond. And those who believed would take the message of Christ with them, thereby enabling the spreading if the Gospel across the whole world. The end of an impossible Law covenant and the start of this Gospel covenant. Pentecost is about God intervening that the world might know. It’s not about you and what you think you do. It’s about Christ FOR you. You and I are dead. So Christ came down to us to give us life. Christ accomplished this for the world. This is Christ for you. Believe it.
Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Hymn Monday - "How Precious Is the Book Divine"

Today's hymn, "How Precious Is the Book Divine" (#285) is from "The Lutheran Hymnal" (c) 1941 Concordia Publishing House.

How precious is the Book Divine, By inspiration giv'n!
Bright as a lamp its doctrines shine To guide our souls to heav'n.

Its light, descending from above Our gloomy world to cheer,
Displays a Savior's boundless love And brings His glories near.

It shows to man his wand'ring ways And where his feet have trod,
And brings to view the matchless grace Of a forgiving God.

O'er all the straight and narrow way Its radiant beams are cast;
A light whose never weary ray Grows brightest at the last.

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Start of Funny Fridays!

Here's the start of Funny Fridays where we'll be having postings of a humorous natures. What a better place to start than with the folks at Lutheran Satire.

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria