Message for Good Friday Evening

April 24, 2017 Leave a comment

This message was give at the evening service on Good Friday.

The message can be heard by clicking here.

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

John gives us details that some of the other Gospel writers don’t tell us.  John is the only one who tells us about the spear and the soldiers’ reason for using it.  John is the one who tells us, no, more specifically, testifies like a court witness, about the blood and water coming from the spear wound in Jesus side.  And all of it, the details, the specifics, the whole of the account told so that we too might believe.  That we might believe, a.) that it really happened just as they report it and, b.) that we might believe Jesus did these things for us and for our salvation.

It was the day of preparation, says John.  This was a Jewish vocabulary for the day before sunset of Sabbath.  The Jews would have been prepping not only for the Sabbath but a special Sabbath because of the Passover celebrations.  And so it is today, Friday.  And because it was about to be a special Sabbath, the Jews had asked that the bodies of the executed not be left on the crosses.  There is a command from God in Deuteronomy that says those executed of capital offense should not be left overnight on the hanging tree.  The Romans however, were somewhat famous for leaving the bodies of their executed in place as a instrument of terror as scavengers did what they do.  It was a concession to the Jewish people they ruled as occupiers that they allowed them in this case and in others to remove the bodies and bury them.

From about the middle of the 1800s, some Bible scholars suggested that the Gospel writers were overly dramatic in describing Roman crucifixion practices.  After all, it’s hard to conceive such inhumanity.  The 20th century’s evidence of man’s inhumanity toward fellow man, notwithstanding, recently found archeological evidence corroborates the accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion.  This leg breaking was itself a brutal form of punishment that would have caused incredible pain and would have hastened death.[1]  With broken legs, the victim would not be able to hold himself upright to take a breath and would have hastened the asphyxiation which was the usual cause of death by crucifixion.

They broke the legs of the first and then of the other who hung on the crosses beside Jesus.  Why they avoided Jesus, John doesn’t say.  Maybe they were afraid.  Matthew reports the centurion in charge of the detail was terrified.  When they approached Jesus, they found He was already dead.  But these are Roman soldiers.  There must not be any doubt.  And so they pushed a spear into Jesus’ side and out flowed a rush of blood and water.  Jesus had died.  The blood that flowed was not in the body but from his ruptured heart that mixed with the water that had collected in His lungs from asphyxiation.  Jesus was truly dead.  Roman soldiers know how to carry out orders for execution.  There is no doubt about that.

But John seems to go much further than simply reporting the fact that Jesus had died.  He makes a special point of testifying to the blood and the water flowing from Jesus’ side.  He links this event to two prophesies from the Old Testament, one is a link to the instructions about the Passover lamb in Exodus 12 and Numbers 9, and the other from the prophet Zechariah, chapter 12.

Every year we hear this account and no doubt after so many years of attending Good Friday services you’ve heard the facts I’ve mentioned tonight as a way of opening up the account of Jesus’ death on the cross.  We’ve gone a little further than John does to explain what was happening so that we understand.  All four Gospel writers do not really focus on the excruciating pain Jesus endured.  We’ve highlighted that just for information’s sake because we are so far removed from the brutality of that world.  And because these are some of the facts that are questioned by critics today, whether they are Muslims who deny Jesus really died or Bible scholars who deny the authenticity of what are clearly eye-witness reports.  It’s not a new challenge to the faith but it is a revived one.

The fact that Jesus died and was buried is a cornerstone of our faith.  We confess it every week in the creeds.  Its why we use the creeds the way we do.  That fact is born out by the testimony of eyewitnesses, among them, John who saw the blood and water with his own eyes.  He needed to be there to see it all even if he didn’t understand what it was he was seeing.  In fact, even over the next two days he continued to see things and still not quite understand, even when he saw the spot where the grave clothes laid but the body of Jesus was not there.  And it’s not really John’s or even Peter’s or the women’s fault.  Nobody, in no society, or culture, or religion, up that point could understand someone being thoroughly dead on a Friday afternoon, hastily prepared for burial and laid in a tomb, and then alive again by Sunday morning with a life so thoroughly vibrant death can’t touch it.  Some would say that Jesus hadn’t really died.  That’s been the case even since the days of Peter and John.  Some said, and still say, Easter morning they saw a ghost, or a spirit, or experienced a mass hallucination and continued to do so for 40 days until they all mass hallucinated as they saw Jesus ascend into heaven.  That starts falling apart pretty quickly doesn’t it?

These things really happened.  And not only did they really happen, they happened just as they were prophesied to happen.  “Not one of his bones shall be broken,” and they shall look on him whom they have pierced.  Jesus was the Passover Lamb.  That’s clear.  The second prophecy from Zechariah is a little more complex.  The prophet foretold a coming time of great suffering for Jerusalem out of which God would deliver them.  And on the day of that deliverance, says the Lord through His prophet, “there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.”  (Zec 13:1)

What the Romans did in cruelty, God has delivered to you in His mercy.  Behold Him whom they pierced.  John saw it with his own two eyes that you may believe.  Jesus hung dead on the cross is the fountain of cleansing and forgiveness; it literally has gushed forth from His side, water and blood poured out for you.  Amen.

[1] http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/crucifixion/a-tomb-in-jerusalem-reveals-the-history-of-crucifixion-and-roman-crucifixion-methods/

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Message for Palm Sunday

April 24, 2017 Leave a comment

This is the version of the sermon that was preached at the late service when we had a baptism and confirmation.

The message can be heard by clicking this link.

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Jesus is king.

That’s what today is all about.  Palm Sunday is the evidence that Jesus is king.  The people proclaim Jesus king with shouts of Hosanna.  “Hosanna” means, Lord, save us.  They also call Jesus the King of Israel.  He’s riding on a donkey like a true servant king of Israel.  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.  Hosanna.  There’s no doubt Jesus is king.

But if Jesus is king what does that make you?

If Jesus is king, what does that make you, Alyssa, Samantha, and Blase, as you mark this milestone on the journey of your understanding of the faith?  If Jesus is king, what does that make you, little Michaelangelo, as the Lord begins in you, baptismal life in the death and resurrection of Jesus?

If Jesus is king, what does that make you dear listener?  Whether you are young or old, whether you remember your baptism or your confirmation or not?  I would suggest that if Jesus is king, that makes us his subjects, and in so many very ways we are not loyal subjects to the crown.

The past several years, we have observed the Sunday of the Passion with the long reading of the account of our Lord’s trials and crucifixion on this day.  The people who put together the new Lutheran Service Book, actually recommend this because so few people attend Holy Week services.  When I got confirmed, I was confirmed on Palm Sunday and I remember that my first communion after I was confirmed was on Maundy Thursday.  That has remained special to me all these years.  What will be special about today for you?  What will stay in your memory?

Today is not just a very important day in the lives of our confirmations or even in the life of little Michelangelo, it’s an important day in the life of the Christian Church and for the life of our congregation. Today, as the people of God in this place, we are participating in what God is doing among us in the Divine Service today. Yes, it started unconventionally, outside, with foliage, but we are hearing again, witnessing the mighty acts of our God to save us.  Jesus entered Jerusalem for us, to be our king, to re-establish God’s active reign again in this world, the kingdom of His grace and mercy, the kingdom of the forgiveness of sins.  It is not like any earthly kingdom.  Jesus is unlike any earthly king.

In earthly kingdoms, you’re supposed to ask not what your king can do for you, but what you can do for your king.  Alyssa, Samantha, Blase, Michelangelo, it’s the other way around in Jesus’ kingdom.  Ask what Jesus has done for you.  That’s what you learned over the past 3 years in catechesis.  You learned what it all means.  You learned to hear it, over and over.  Rejoice in it.  Tell others.  We all just saw what God did for Michelangelo.  We about to you hear you three confess that baptismal faith as your own.  And we all participate and witness what God is doing today and everyday in our lives.  In our rejoicing is the beginning of our responding to such a word and growing in faith and faithfulness.

There are two ways you can look at things like attending church services and your confirmation instruction and all the services this week.  You can see them as requirements or you can see them as places of pure joy.  A boy once asked his father, “How much longer are you going to make me go to church?”  He wisely said, until you stop asking that question.  You can treat the them as obligation or you can treat them as opportunities to hear once again your sins are forgiven and be in the presence of your king who serves you.

We are actually very fortunate people.  Many of our Christian brothers and sisters will hear messages today that tell them the services this week are days of obligation. Many will hear the message of Maundy Thursday as “do this” rather than “given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”  Many will hear on Good Friday their sins put Jesus on the cross as though it was a guilt trip instead of the love of the Father to send His Son to make it all right again.  Many will even arrive in churches next week and hear how terrible they are because they’re “Easter only Christians” and will wonder why they ever came.  They will hear this Law and search inside themselves and realize they don’t have it in them to fulfill the Law of God and they will despair and stop listening to the Word altogether.  I wonder how long it will be before they ever return.  That’s why we still need to tell others.  They don’t know Jesus did what He did for them.  They need to know.

So, listen again to what God has done for you, what your king does for you, how He will suffer and die as your servant king and be raised to life everlasting, and tell others this great news.  Jesus is king.

Ask not what you can do for your king, rejoice in and tell others what He has already done.  Hosanna!  Jesus is our good king.  Everything flows from that.  Amen.

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Sermon on March 26, Lent 4

March 29, 2017 Leave a comment
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The Salutary Gift

March 2, 2017 Leave a comment

The chief blessing of the Lord’s Supper is made clear by the words of Christ’s institution: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” The forgiveness of sins, won for us on Calvary and offered in the Sacrament of our Lord’s body and blood truly makes this blessed Supper a “salutary gift” (Post-Communion Collect). While the chief blessing and benefit of the Lord’s Supper is the forgiveness of sins, there are several different images and metaphors used by Holy Scripture to highlight the blessings of the Lord’s Supper, many of which are reflected in our hymns.

Consider the following examples: In Stephen Starke’s hymn “The Tree of Life,” the Lord’s crucified body and blood are depicted as a life-giving fruit that flows from the tree of the cross. “For all who trust and will believe, Salvation’s living fruit receive. And of this fruit so pure and sweet The Lord invites the world to eat, To find within this cross of wood The tree of life with ev’ry good” (LSB 561:4). This fruit is contrasted with the fruit that Adam and Eve ate in the Garden of Eden, bringing the world into sin and ruin. For the sacramentally minded Christian, it is not difficult to connect this “pure and sweet” fruit with what is received, eaten, and drunk in Holy Communion.

Another benefit of the Lord’s Supper is its nourishing power. Martin Luther in the Large Catechism calls the Lord’s Supper a “food of souls, which nourishes and strengthens the new man” (Part 5, par. 23). For this reason, several hymns appropriately refer to the Lord’s Supper as “bread from heaven” or “living bread.” Stanza 1 of LSB hymn 625 naturally reflects this: “Lord Jesus Christ, life-giving bread, May I in grace possess You. Let me with holy food be fed, In hunger I address You.” These words remind the communicant who hungers and thirsts for righteousness (cf. Matthew 5:6) that God has lovingly prepared for him in the Sacrament a nourishing meal to strengthen him in his lifelong journey towards the promised land of heaven.

Drawing upon the scriptural themes of healing, some of our hymns depict the Lord’s Supper as a healing balm or medicine. A classic example of this is David W. Rogner’s hymn “Jesus Comes Today With Healing” (LSB 620). Stanza one emphasizes the healing benefits of Christ’s body and blood: “Jesus comes today with healing, Knocking at my door, appealing, Off’ring pardon, grace, and peace. He Himself makes preparation, And I hear His invitation: “Come and taste the blessed feast.” Christians who are suffering from bodily ailments may take comfort in considering the Lord’s Supper as a healing medicine, seeing that the complete healing of their bodies in the resurrection begins now with the healing of the soul in the Sacrament of the Altar.

More examples will be developed throughout the course of this Lenten series. The goal of this series is to set before our eyes the many blessings and benefits of the Lord’s Supper, chief among which is the forgiveness of sins. Our hymns help us in this regard by making connections that we might not otherwise make. They draw upon the themes of Holy Scripture and teach us to appreciate the full range of blessings that are present when the faithful are gathered around the life-giving, nourishing, and salutary gift of our Lord’s holy body and precious blood.

From, The Salutary Gift, Resources for Lent-Easter Preaching and Worship, published by CPH, 2017.

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Message on Feb 19, Epiphany 7

February 23, 2017 Leave a comment
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Message on Feb 12, Epiphany 6

February 15, 2017 Leave a comment

Note:  this is more or less the text of the sermon I preached Sunday minus the ad libs.  The audio can be heard below.

 

Message for Epiphany 6 – Real Spiritual Maturity

Sermon on 1 Cor 3:1-9 

 

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

 

I’m sure it was sometime in seventh grade or so, when I was goofing off at the lunch table and just being a 12 year old boy, when a girl looked over at me and I heard her say, “Real mature.”  That was the ultimate put down from a mean girl to a boy like me.  We’ll ignore the fact that she sounded like a California valley girl and we were living in Kennesaw, Georgia.  In her book, it was apparently more mature to act like someone from another planet, than to act like oneself.  I thought of that comeback about two years later.  If that illustration was a little too 1980s for you, we can zoom out to a more universal, “Oh grow up,” disgusted look not just included but mandatory, or even, “Act your age, not your shoe size.”  Did I get everyone?  Good.

At first glance, it looks like Paul is doing something like this in his letter to the church in Corinth.  “I have to talk to you as babies… I have to feed you with babies milk not grownup food.”  It kind of sounds like Paul is saying, “Oh, grow up!”  “Real mature.”  But while, spiritual maturity is a significant theme for Paul, I don’t think we should hear him like the mean girl from my seventh grade.  There’s no contempt here.  And on top of that, he’s not trying to put himself up as more mature than the Corinthians.  As a good spiritual father, he simply desires a greater depth of understanding and growth in love toward others, a genuine Christian maturity.

The problem that showed such spiritual immaturity was the significant divisions in the church in Corinth.  Most scholars suggest that the church there wasn’t as many as a hundred people at the time Paul writes to them.  And yet, they are torn apart by significant division.  Some follow Peter, the apostle, some follow Apollos.  We know from the book of Acts, Apollos was a Jewish man from Alexandria, that’s in Egypt.  (Ac 18:24)  He was a good speaker and had a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures, what we would know as the Old Testament.  We’re not sure how, but Apollos was “instructed in the way of the Lord and he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus.” (Ac 18:25)  He meets Priscilla and Aquila in Ephesus and they instruct him further.  And from Ephesus, Apollos goes on to Corinth with letters of introduction from the Christian community in Ephesus and there “he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.”  This is all in chapter 18 of Acts.  Apollos doesn’t get a lot of mention, but he was a significant figure in the church in Corinth and he helped a lot of people to believe in Jesus.  Luther and others since him suggest that Apollos might even have been the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, but that’s speculation.1

So the little church in Corinth is marked by these factions.  Some follow Peter, some Paul, some Apollos, and some Jesus.  And Paul says, this is a mark of spiritual immaturity.  If the cross of Jesus is really central to what it means to be a Christian—and last week, I think we saw that Paul certainly thinks it is—then, these divisions in Corinth don’t merely threaten the unity of the people there in the bond of peace, but they violate and endanger the very Gospel on which their unity is based.  As long as they differed over people, mere men, they will have lost sight of the cross of Jesus, they will have lost the power of God in the Gospel.

We honor Peter, because, yes, he was an eye-witness to the Lord’s teaching and miracles, his death and resurrection.  But this is not the church of Peter.  We honor Paul because, yes, he was a brilliant and articulate preacher of the faith and the Lord called him to be His witness to the Gentiles.  But this is not the church of Paul.  We honor Apollos, even if we don’t really know much about him except what we just learned from a Bible dictionary a minute ago, because he was a faithful and even more articulate defender of the faith to all who would listen.  But this is not the church of Apollos.  Neither Peter, Paul, nor Apollos went to the cross.  None of them were raised.  Only Jesus went to the cross.  Only Jesus was raised.  Only Jesus do we follow.  This is the church of Jesus Christ.

Paul is calling the Corinthians spiritually immature but he’s not doing it with contempt.  He calls them brothers.  “But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.”  Pastor Paul is gentle and affectionate here.  This isn’t a rhetorical trick.  Paul considered the Corinthians his brothers in Christ.  After all, he had been their pastor before his journeys took him elsewhere and he writes them as their former pastor.  And he points not to himself but to Jesus, the way every good pastor should.  And this language Paul uses here about spiritual maturity is a significant theme throughout the letter to the Corinthians and elsewhere in the New Testament.  In Peter’s first letter, he encourages those reading to “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation…” (1Pet 2:2)  It’s such  a profound metaphor it works its way into our liturgical life in the Church, for centuries, the Introit for the first Sunday after Easter is this verse.  Those who are newly born through the observance of Easter are encouraged to grow up into salvation.  Paul’s concern is that there are many in Corinth who are still living and thinking from the perspective of the wisdom of the world and not on the basis of the God’s wisdom, the cross of Jesus Christ.

The Corinthians are involved in a lot of behavior that’s un-Christian.  The thing is, when people convert to Christianity, they often carry with them a lot of baggage with them from the world they left and they need to learn to live this new life a step at a time.  It’s not that they don’t have the Spirit of God, they do.  But they keep living like they used to and as those without the Spirit still do.  Gordon Fee, a conservative evangelical scholar, in his commentary on First Corinthians says, “There is no question that Paul considers his Corinthian friends believers and that they are in fact acting otherwise. But Paul’s whole concern is to get them to change, not to allow that such behavior is permissible.”2   Our own Confessional documents pick up on this same concern.  In the Defense of the Augsburg Confession, “Of course, it is necessary to do good works. We say that, eternal life has been promised to the justified. But those who walk according to the flesh retain neither faith nor righteousness. We are for this very end justified, that, being righteous, we may begin to do good works and to obey God’s Law.”  (Ap III, 227)  I know Lutherans make a big deal out of works not being necessary for salvation, but you just heard that we still believe good works remain necessary for the Christian, just not for earning salvation.

I’m making this point because it highlights one of the chief criticisms against the Lutheran Reformation in Luther’s day.  By his advocating that a sinner’s rescue from hell and eternal life are won by Christ’s work on the cross alone, (Solus crucis, the cross alone, if you will) not by any additional merit a believer contributes, Luther was accused by his opponents of licentiousness, essentially lawlessness when it comes to the Word of God.  And as we see from our second reading today, that is not the teaching of the apostles, nor is it the teaching of the Lutherans for some 500 years now.  Our good works, while they are incapable of earning us even a percentage of eternal life, are still fundamental and indispensable to a life in the Spirit of God.

Life in the Spirit of God is a life that grows from the lifeblood of the cross.

Most of you know how a tree gets nutrients up from the ground.  It has a hydraulic mechanism just below the bark in the outer part of the tree that draws water up the length of the tree and up to the rest of the tree and out to the branches where leaves grow in season and the fruit of the tree grows.  The cross of Jesus is not unlike this.  A tree that draws up the lifeblood of Jesus shed and out to the branches in order to feed the growing fruit of the tree.  It’s a metaphor Jesus Himself used.  I am the vine, you are the branches.  And it’s a metaphor that works in at least two ways.

The first of course is that we are the branches and attached to the tree and we bear fruit, the fruit of faith and our neighbors benefit from this whether or not they are believers or not.  The stronger the branch grows, the more fruit it can bear but obviously not on its own.  The source is Christ.  The second and maybe just as profound way this metaphor works is that the cross is the tree from which we eat, a tree of eternal life.  The fruit is Jesus. The benefit of eating that fruit is eternal life for all who eat of the tree.  This view too implies a growth in understanding that true life, eternal life, a life of peace and forgiveness and love toward others, comes from regularly eating the fruit of this tree.  Eating this fruit, eating Jesus regularly changes us and makes us more like Him.

What’s more, neither of these views of this tree metaphor involve a whole lot of anxiety or worry.  A branch grows stronger by being fed from the source.  It doesn’t worry about it.  It just does it.  Those who eat regularly the fruit of the tree of the life, don’t worry about the nutrition facts on the label.  Growth happens.  This is the power of cross Paul was so keen to keep uppermost in his thoughts as he wrote to the Corinthians.

Paul writes specifically about their divisions.  Some say they are of Peter, or of Apollos, or of Paul, or presumably the really pious ones say they are of Christ.  But Paul doesn’t let them off the hook because they’re not saying it as though they’re right but just as partisan and fractious as those who say they are of Peter, Paul, or Apollos.  And I’ve already mentioned Luther and the Reformation and to outside observers we seem to be celebrating this year the fracturing, and we have to admit the disintegration of the Christian Church in the West.  If we are going to say, “I follow Luther,” we need to be ready to explain to people what that means and how it’s fundamentally different than what Paul chastises the Corinthians for doing.  There is story often repeated among well-meaning Lutherans that when he was asked about being called Lutherans, Luther himself was against the idea.  And we have a quote from Luther himself to this fact.

In the first place, I ask that men make no reference to my name; let them call themselves Christians, not Lutherans. What is Luther? After all, the teaching is not mine [John 7:16]. Neither was I crucified for anyone [I Cor. 1:13]. St. Paul, in I Corinthians 3,  would not allow the Christians to call themselves Pauline or Petrine, but Christian. How then should I—poor stinking maggot-fodder38 that I am—come to have men call the children of Christ by my wretched name? Not so, my dear friends; let us abolish all party names and call ourselves Christians, after him whose teaching we hold. The papists deservedly have a party name, because they are not content with the teaching and name of Christ, but want to be papist as well. Let them be papist then, since the pope is their master. I neither am nor want to be anyone’s master. I hold, together with the universal church, the one universal teaching of Christ, who is our only master [Matt. 23:8].3

That was from a writing Luther wrote in 1522, just five years into the Reformation.  So, first things first, Luther never said, “Hey everybody, let’s call ourselves Lutherans!  That’ll show the pope!”  No, in fact, Luther’s opponents gave the name as they saw him as every bit a heretic as those who had come before him like the Arians, the Pelagians,  the Hussites, and countless others.  Remember too that Lutherans never saw themselves as the new theology but the old orthodox Christianity.  The Lutherans claimed allegiance to the orthodox teaching of the ancient church fathers, Ireneaus and Athanasius and Augustine and they called those who had departed from the faith “papist” because they followed the errors of the pope.  As you can see, it’s the other guy who gets the name.  And it’s pretty clear how Luther feels about party names at this time.  But the Reformation continued for many years.  And new players entered the field.  Zwingli and Calvin and the more radical reformers that came after them like the Anabaptists.

Luther was subject to error.  I’m sure one of the highlights this year will be the terrible things Luther said against the Jews.  Out of context, they are horrible and provided intellectual fuel for hate.  In context his comments are mitigated somewhat but still show how his own hard had been hardened.  It is good to remember that Luther’s sins are as forgiven as our own in Christ.  And so we don’t follow Luther because he is without error like the Scriptures.  Nor is he the head of our church.  And we don’t call ourselves Lutheran because we believe in Luther but rather because Luther pointed us to the power of God and the wisdom of God in the cross of Jesus Christ.

I’ve got a great quote from our own Formula of Concord, a confessional document written in the generation after Luther that makes this point very clear.

  1. We believe, teach, and confess that the prophetic and apostolic writings of the Old and New Testaments are the only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be appraised and judged, as it is written in Ps. 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” And St. Paul says in Gal. 1:8, “Even if an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed.”

2. Other writings of ancient and modern teachers, whatever their names, should not be put on a par with Holy Scripture. Every single one of them should be subordinated to the Scriptures and should be received in no other way and no further than as witnesses to the fashion in which the doctrine of the prophets and apostles was preserved in post-apostolic times.  (FC Ep 1:1-2) Tappert, 464–465)

 

Using this name indicates nothing else than that we are Christens who believe that the doctrine which was again brought to light in these lasts times from God’s word through Luther, is the true doctrine. Whomever confesses this doctrine with his mouth we call a Lutheran. But we believe a true Lutheran is only he who believes this doctrine with his heart through the working of the Holy Spirit and who has the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. A true Lutheran and a true Christian, the Lutheran church and the Christian church, God’s word and Luther’s doctrine – these are all one and the same to us.  (This paragraph basically comes from Walther’s article in Der Lutheraner.)

1 R. E. Nixon, “Apollos,” ed. D. R. W. Wood et al., New Bible Dictionary (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 57.

2 Fee, Gordon. The First Epistle to the Corinthians, 128.

3 Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 45 : The Christian in Society II, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 45 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 70–71. I originally found a version of this quote in an old Der Lutheraner article written by CFW Walther, which can be found translated into English here: http://www.lutherquest.org/walther/articles/nameLuth.htm

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Message from Epiphany 4, Jan 29, 2017

February 2, 2017 2 comments

I didn’t really follow the manuscript for this sermon so I’m not going to bother posting it.  But the audio from the first service can be found below by clicking the link below.

So, a little technical stuff, too.  I use WordPress as a host for this site.  And that works as it’s normally free, especially with as few visits as I get.  For a number of years, ever since I started here actually, I paid for WordPress to host the audio files on their servers.  It was a small amount, like $20 or so annually.  But last year I started paying for a bigger Dropbox and with it, I had the ability to “self-host” my own media files, through my public folder there.  And that’s what I’ve done here.  It’s the first time.  I imagine that any old audio sermon links will go dead.  And that’s probably not a bad thing.  A sermon does a have limited life.

I have resolved to begin posting more regularly here as much for my sake as for yours, so enjoy.

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