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Archive for July, 2012

Concordia and Koinonia

Appointed readings: Romans 6:1-5Mark 6:14-29

About this festival:
In contrast to the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (observed on June 24), this festival commemorates his beheading by the tetrarch, Herod Antipas. From the perspective of the world, it was an ignominious end to John the Baptist’s life. Yet it was in fact a noble participation in the cross of Christ, which was John’s greatest glory of all. Christ Himself said that there had arisen none greater than John the Baptist. He was the last of the Old Testament prophets and also the herald of the New Testament. As the forerunner of Christ, John fulfilled the prophecy that the great prophet Elijah would return before the great and terrible day of the Lord. By his preaching and Baptism of repentance, John turned “the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers.”…

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From Martin Luther’s Sermon (1534) on the Gospel, 3 year lectionary, 7/15/12:

“…(King Herod Antipas feigns) an interest in John’s preaching, readily admitting: This man really preaches well. For he was afraid of John, knowing that he was godly man and that the whole country stood in awe of him and considered him to be a holy man. But beware, lords are lords, and always seek their own interests above those of other people. As they say, It is not good to eat cherries with lords; they eat the cherries and shower you with the pits; and the favor of lords is as capricious as the weather in April. No lord takes kindly to rebukes, except those of an extraordinarily pious nature who could take it. David, Josiah, and Jehoshapat did suffer the reprimands of the prophets; but the other kings refused it, and had such prophets and preachers beheaded.”

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If Gandalf would not let the Balrog, monstrous evil,  get by him, then God will not let…

When Pr. Matthew Harrison was elected two years ago as President of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, he said the following which is Biblically spot-on:

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The quote below is from The Book of Concord:  The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.  Lutheran Pastors’ Ordination Vow is in part to teach and preach and administer the Sacraments according to the Confessions as the true exposition of the Word of God.   I hope this helps you to understand the meaning of God’s Word for you. In Christ, Pr. Schroeder, Concordia Lutheran Mission

Faith…is that thing which God declares to be righteousness, and Paul adds that it is imputed freely, and says that it could not be imputed freely, if it were due on account of works. Wherefore he excludes also the merit of moral works [not only Jewish ceremonies, but all other good works]. For if justification before God were due to these, faith would not be imputed for righteousness  without works. And afterwards, 

  • Rom. 4:9For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness.
  • Romans 5:1 says: Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ., i.e., we have consciences that are tranquil and joyful before God. 
  • Rom. 10:10: For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Here he declares that faith is the righteousness of the heart. 
  • Gal. 2:16: We have believed in Christ Jesus that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the Law. 
  • Eph. 2:8: For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast. 
  • John 1:12: To them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 
  • John 3:14,15: As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish.  
  • Likewise, 3:17: For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned. 
  • Acts 13:38-39: Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him all that believe are justified from all things from which ye could not be justified by the Law of Moses.

How could the office of Christ and justification be declared more clearly? The Law, he says, did not justify. Therefore Christ was given, that we may believe that for His sake we are justified. He plainly denies justification to the Law. Hence, for Christ’s sake we are accounted righteous when we believe that God, for His sake, has been reconciled to us.

No merits, ‘spiritualities’, works, decisions, good feelings, right actions can save, cure the soul and make whole a life, justify, that is make us right with God and each other, except faith in Jesus Christ in His atoning work. “How could the office of Christ and justification be declared more clearly?” 

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“Wherever there is still a weighing up and calculation of guilt, there the sterile morality of self-justification usurps the place of the confession of guilt which is made in the presence of the form of Christ. Not the individual misdeeds but that form of Christ is the origin of the confession of guilt, and for that reason the confession is not unconditional and entire; for Christ subdues us in no other way more utterly than by his having taken our guilt upon himself unconditionally and entirely, declaring himself guilty and freeing us form its burden.” (Ethics by Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

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Isaiah son of Amoz is considered to be the greatest of the writing prophets and is quoted in the New Testament more than any other Old Testament prophet. His name means “Yahweh [the Lord] saves.” Isaiah prophesied to the people of Jerusalem and Judah from about 740 B.C. to 700 B.C. and was a contemporary of the prophets Amos, Hosea, and Micah.

Isaiah was a fierce preacher of God’s Law, condemning the sin of idolatry. He was also a comforting proclaimer of the Gospel, repeatedly emphasizing the Lord’s grace and forgiveness. For this he is sometimes called the “Evangelist of the Old Testament.” No prophet more clearly prophesied about the coming Messiah and his saving kingdom. He foretold the Messiah’s miraculous birth (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6), his endless reign (2:1-5; 11:1-16), and his public ministry (61:1-3), but most notably his “Suffering Servant” role and atoning death (52:13-53:12).

The apostle John’s description of Isaiah, that Isaiah saw Jesus’ glory and spoke of Him (John 12:41), is an apt summary of Isaiah’s prophetic ministry.

Reflection:  The fact that Isaiah’s name means “The Lord saves”, Isaiah knew that Isaiah did not save but need His saving! Isaiah knew the day would come in which both Jew and Gentile would be saved in the perfect Son born of the Virgin. From Isaiah chapter 6:  The Narrative of Isaiah’s Call:

 1In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3And one called to another and said:

    “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”

 4And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 5And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”

 6Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

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My wife once asked me when the unpleasant topic of “church shopping” came up, “What would you look for in a congregation?”  I answered a church that would make uncomfortable…so we can cling all the more to Jesus Christ as forgiven sinners.  IN other words, where Law and Promise are clearly taught and preached.  This is why I like this C. S. Lewis Quote–Pr. Schroeder

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