“The Catechism in Six Parts: The Sacrament of the Altar”

Holy Thursday
April 13, 2017

“The Catechism in Six Parts: The Sacrament of the Altar”

Tonight we conclude our series on “The Catechism in Six Parts.” So far in the Catechism we’ve looked at the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, and Confession. That brings us tonight to the Sacrament of the Altar–and fittingly enough, on Holy Thursday, the night in which this sacrament was instituted.

Everything we want to say about the Sacrament tonight we find in the words with which Christ institutes this holy meal. These words: “Take eat; this is my body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of me.” “Drink of it, all of you; this cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

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“The Catechism in Six Parts: Confession”

Midweek Lenten Service
Wednesday, April 5, 2017

“The Catechism in Six Parts: Confession”

Tonight we come to the part of the Catechism that is probably the least known to us today, and that is Confession. The practice of Confession may be unfamiliar to you. Confession is unfamiliar to most Lutherans these days, even though it has been around for as long as the church has been around. It is a church practice that the church doesn’t practice much anymore. It is infrequently used. Tonight I want to dispel some myths and some fears about Confession, so that we’ll feel more comfortable about it and maybe put it into practice. We just read questions and answers on Confession from the Small Catechism. Now we’ll go on from there and raise some other questions as well. I’ll start with what may be your first question:

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Published in: on April 6, 2017 at 11:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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“The Catechism in Six Parts: The Sacrament of Holy Baptism”

Midweek Lenten Service
March 29, 2017

“The Catechism in Six Parts: The Sacrament of Holy Baptism”

So far in our series on the catechism, we’ve covered the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer. Tonight we come to the sacraments. We begin, fittingly enough, with the sacrament with which we begin the Christian life, the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. What I want to say about Baptism I can summarize in two words: It works. It works! It is effective. It actually does something–quite a lot, really. Holy Baptism works, and it works in your life.

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Published in: on March 30, 2017 at 5:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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“The Catechism in Six Parts: The Lord’s Prayer”

Midweek Lenten Service
March 22, 2017

“The Catechism in Six Parts: The Lord’s Prayer”

So far in our series on the Catechism we’ve had the Ten Commandments and the Apostles’ Creed. The Commandments show us God’s good will for our lives, but the problem is, we don’t do it as we should, and so the Commandments show us our sin and our need for a righteousness we don’t have. Then the Creed comes along and shows us the answer to our problem, in the triune God who loves us and saves us and forgives our sins. Now that we are saved and are God’s children, the question then becomes how we find God’s help for our daily living. That’s where the next part of the Catechism comes in, namely, in the Lord’s Prayer.

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Published in: on March 23, 2017 at 10:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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“The Catechism in Six Parts: The Creed”

Midweek Lenten Service
Wednesday, March 8, 2017

“The Catechism in Six Parts: The Creed”

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, in a big national survey a few years ago–the Pew Survey found that 92% of Americans say they “believe in God or a universal spirit.” 92%! Well, whoop-de-do. Big deal. That doesn’t really say much. Who is this God you believe in? Allah, the false god of the Muslims? Sorry, I bear witness that there is no god called Allah, and Mohammed is his false prophet. Is this “god” you believe in some depersonalized “universal spirit” or “higher power”? That won’t do you any good, either. Is it “God” as you have created him in your own image? A god who winks at sin and suits your personal opinions and is impressed by your “spirituality” and essential goodness? Sorry, Oprah, that is not the God revealed in Holy Scripture.

Just the fact that you believe that one true God exists, that by itself will do you no good. On that point, you are no better than the demons. St. James says as much: “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe–and shudder!” You see, the devil and all the demons know who God is. They even know who Jesus is, “the Holy One of God.” They believe that God exists. But that is not the same as knowing and believing in God in the way that we have just confessed in the Creed.

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Published in: on March 8, 2017 at 10:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Catechism in Six Parts: The Ten Commandments”

Ash Wednesday
March 1, 2017

“The Catechism in Six Parts: The Ten Commandments”

Tonight we start a Lenten series on “The Catechism in Six Parts.” We’ll be following the six chief parts as Luther lays them out in the Small Catechism: The Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, Confession, and the Sacrament of the Altar.

We begin tonight with the Ten Commandments. It’s fitting that today, on Ash Wednesday, we hear the Ten Commandments. For on this solemn and somber day of repentance, the Ten Commandments, God’s Law, will show us our sins and our need for God’s forgiveness, which we will then find in the blessed Gospel that God gives us here in Word and Sacrament.

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Published in: on March 1, 2017 at 11:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Love God, Love Your Neighbor” (The Ten Commandments)

Midweek Lenten Service
Wednesday, March 9, 2016

“Love God, Love Your Neighbor” (The Ten Commandments)

“Love God, Love Your Neighbor”: Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? And it is. It is simple. And it is good and right and holy. This is how life is meant to work. This is how God created us to live. Love God and love your neighbor. If everybody operated like this, life would go along pretty swimmingly. If I operated like this–in every decision, in every situation, in every thought, word, and deed–being guided by these two principles, loving God and loving my neighbor–well, I suppose I’d have to get a whole new heart, wouldn’t I? Because I don’t do that all the time, as I should. And I suspect you would have to say the same thing about yourself, about your heart and soul and mind. Because that’s where it starts, doesn’t it? In our heart, in our soul, in our mind. And then those thoughts and desires migrate out into our words and our deeds. In the things we say and don’t say. In the actions we take and fail to take.

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Published in: on March 9, 2016 at 7:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Loving God with Our Mouth and Ears” (The Ten Commandments)

Midweek Lenten Service
Wednesday, March 2, 2016

“Loving God with Our Mouth and Ears” (The Ten Commandments)

We started off this series on the Ten Commandments with, obviously, the First Commandment: “You shall have no other gods.” There is but one God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, namely, the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There is no other. We should fear, love, and trust in this God above all things. So this is the First–and foremost–Commandment, the one that encompasses all the commandments and runs through them all. “You shall have no other gods.” That’s what we should not do. But Moses also summarizes this commandment positively when he says, in Deuteronomy, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” And Jesus himself says this is the first and greatest commandment. Love God with everything that is in you, with all your heart.

But we can even take it further. Not only with your heart, which is the seat of your mind and will and emotions, but also with the various parts of your body, such as–as we’re going to look at today–with your mouth and your ears. That is the message of the Second and Third Commandments: “Loving God with Our Mouth and Ears.”

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“The First Commandment: Have No Other Gods” (The Ten Commandments)

Midweek Lenten Service
Wednesday, February 17, 2016

“The First Commandment: Have No Other Gods” (The Ten Commandments)

“You shall have no other gods.” OK, that sounds pretty simple. “Have No Other Gods”? Yeah, I can do that. After all, I don’t bow down to any idols of wood or stone. I don’t worship the Buddha or that crazy god of the Muslims, Allah. No, I’m a good American! You won’t catch me worshiping any other gods than the good old-fashioned American God, you know, the Big Guy upstairs. So I guess I’m good to go. If the rest of these Ten Commandments are as easy as the First, then I’m in pretty good shape.

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Published in: on February 17, 2016 at 9:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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