“Twenty Questions, One Answer: Go to the Sacrament Frequently”

Midweek Lenten Service
Wednesday, March 24, 2010

“Twenty Questions, One Answer: Go to the Sacrament Frequently”

Tonight we conclude our five-part series on the Sacrament of the Altar. So far we have followed the outline Luther uses for the Sacrament of the Altar in the Small Catechism: the Nature of the Sacrament, what it is; the Benefit of the Sacrament, what it gives; the Power of the Sacrament, how it can do such great things; and the Reception of the Sacrament, how to receive it worthily. But remember what I said right at the outset of this series, about the purpose of this teaching: Our purpose here in this series is not just to give you a bunch of information about the Sacrament. No, our purpose is to prepare you to receive the Sacrament. The goal is that you would go to the Sacrament–go willingly and full of faith, and go often, frequently, to receive this great blessing that Christ has given his church.

So the goal of the teaching on the Sacrament of the Altar is your taking of the Sacrament, at the altar–that you would desire it and partake of it often. That is the note we will end on, then, as we conclude this series. To help us do that, tonight we are using another section of the Small Catechism, the “Christian Questions with Their Answers, for Those Who Intend to Go to the Sacrament.” The twenty questions provided there are designed to lead you in one direction–up to the altar. They are designed to encourage you to want to go to the Sacrament, to hunger and thirst for the Sacrament. And so our theme tonight, “Twenty Questions, One Answer: Go to the Sacrament Frequently.”

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Published in: on March 24, 2010 at 10:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“How Do We Receive It Worthily? The Reception of the Sacrament of the Altar”

Midweek Lenten Service
Wednesday, March 17, 2010

“How Do We Receive It Worthily? The Reception of the Sacrament of the Altar”

During this series on the Sacrament of the Altar, we’ve been following the outline Luther uses in his treatment of this part of the Small Catechism. And so we began by asking, “What is the Sacrament of the Altar?” And we said that the nature of the Sacrament is that it is “the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ himself for us Christians to eat and to drink.” Then in week two we asked, “What is the benefit of this eating and drinking?” And we said that it gives the forgiveness of sins and that which comes with forgiveness, namely, life and salvation. But that raises the question, “How can bodily eating and drinking do such great things?” And so last week we said that the power to do these things comes from the words Christ attaches to the bread and wine that is his body and blood.

Now, given all that–that the Sacrament is the body and blood of Christ, for the forgiveness of sins, made so by the powerful words of Christ, and that Christ gives us this meal for us Christians to eat and to drink–that brings us to tonight’s topic: “How Do We Receive It Worthily? The Reception of the Sacrament of the Altar.”

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Published in: on March 17, 2010 at 1:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“How Can It Do Such Great Things? The Power of the Sacrament of the Altar”

Midweek Lenten Service
Wednesday, March 10, 2010

“How Can It Do Such Great Things? The Power of the Sacrament of the Altar”

Two weeks ago we began this series by establishing “The Nature of the Sacrament of the Altar,” asking the question “What Is It?” and hearing Christ’s answer, “This is my body, this is my blood.” Last week we followed that up by asking “What Does It Give?” and Jesus told us, “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” We said that this is “The Benefit of the Sacrament” and that “where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.”

But now stop and think about that for a moment. Are you saying, you Lutherans, that when we eat and drink this bread and wine, we are actually receiving Christ’s true body and blood, and that this actually gives us such enormous, eternal, heavenly treasures as forgiveness, life, and salvation? Are you serious? You’ve got to be kidding! You’re really saying that taking a little bit of bread and wine can do all that? But, but . . . “How Can It Do Such Great Things?”

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Published in: on March 10, 2010 at 2:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“What Does It Give? The Benefit of the Sacrament of the Altar”

Midweek Lenten Service
Wednesday, March 3, 2010

“What Does It Give? The Benefit of the Sacrament of the Altar”

In this midweek Lenten series, we’re looking at the Sacrament of the Altar–Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper, are other names by which we know this sacrament instituted by Christ. Last week we began by focusing on “The Nature of the Sacrament.” We asked the foundational question, “What Is It?” And the answer came, “It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ himself for us Christians to eat and to drink.” Our answer was based on what Jesus himself said about this meal, namely, “This is my body, this is my blood.” Indeed, everything we want to say about the Lord’s Supper is found in, and based on, the words Christ spoke when he instituted this sacrament. That will be the case again tonight, in part two, as we focus on “The Benefit of the Sacrament of the Altar” and ask the question, “What Does It Give?”

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Published in: on March 3, 2010 at 3:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“What Is It? The Nature of the Sacrament of the Altar”

Midweek Lenten Service
Wednesday, February 24, 2010

“What Is It? The Nature of the Sacrament of the Altar”

When the Lord God brought the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt and led them up to the Promised Land, he provided for them along the way. He gave them food and drink for their journey, to sustain them as they traveled. He gave them bread from heaven. It came in the form of a fine, flake-like thing that fell on the ground in the morning, for them to gather up. The first time the Israelites saw it–they had never seen such a thing before–they were amazed, and they asked one another, “What is it?” “What is it?” Now the way you would say that in Hebrew is “manna.” And so that is what this bread from heaven became known as: “Manna,” “What is it?”

Dear friends, that is the first question we want to ask tonight, as we begin a five-part series on the Sacrament of the Altar. Our first question is, “What Is It?” “The Nature of the Sacrament of the Altar” is our topic tonight. Then in the weeks to come, we will take up other questions that follow on this. So next week, part two, “What Does It Give? The Benefit of the Sacrament.” Third, “How Can It Do Such Great Things? The Power of the Sacrament.” Fourth, “How Do We Receive It Worthily? The Reception of the Sacrament.” And then finally, to wrap up this series, “Christian Questions with Their Answers: For Those Who Intend to Go to the Sacrament.”

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Published in: on February 24, 2010 at 11:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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