Monday, March 31, 2014

Kilcrease, 2013. Chapter 9, “The Mystery of the Person of Christ, Part 5”

Chapter 9, “The Mystery of the Person of Christ, Part 5”

The Communication of Attribues: The Genus Majestaticum and Its Defense

The genus majestaticum is the most controversial aspect of the communication of attributes. Kilcrease largely follows Chemnitz’ description of the doctrine in this chapter. The genus majestaticum is that view which syas Christ, considered in the abstract, has received the fullness of divine attributes by communication. This does not imply a change of humanity into divinity. It oes indicate a communication of divinity into humanity. Neither is this a mixture, but a communication. Chemnitz describes this communication in terms of fire in contact with metal. Eventually the metal takes on the heat and even the glowing color of the fire. It does not become fire, but remains metal even with the character of the fire imparted to it.

Calvin and his followers have tended to reject the genus majestaticum. The classic argument assumes that Lutherans think the human nature is communicated to the divine. This is not so. Only the divine is communicated to the human. It is a sign of God’s giving of himself to reeem fallen humanity.

Kilcrease discusses the Reformed objections to the doctrine at some length. he points out especially that the complaint finitum non capax infiniti is answered by God’s sovereign ability to dwell where he wishes. This is the grace of God at work.

Sermon for 3/29/14 - funeral

This sermon seems to be floating around in my mind with a couple of titles. It was prepared for a funeral I conducted on 3/29/14.  I didn't preach in church on 3/30 and didn't get a good recording of my guest.

Just a little book – devotional book – a reading for each day, tells you a Bible passage to read, gives you a couple of chapters in the Bible that it suggests you also read, just a little thing.

Little kindnesses sometmes make great introductions.

brought me into contact with someone who loved the Lord and His Word.

not an easy life, not an easy history
lost relatives, health, appearance
didn’t lose Jesus, the bread of life

In our readings today from Isaiah 25 and 1 Corinthians 15 we saw that when God looks at life he sees it differently than we do.
real life that doesn’t end
no turmoil in the end
supernatural food that doesn’t perish

That means something when you have lost family members, friends, even when you look at yourself in pictures and then look at yourself in a mirror and wonder if you’ve lost yourself.

Confronted by our own mortality, we pause and look to the immortal God.
Jesus, came to live and die for our sakes.
Jesus, true God and true man, able to do the God thing of taking our sin and giving us his righteousness.
Jesus, the one who suffered in every way as we do.
Jesus, the one who rose from the dead victorious.

One friend, a close friend, when confronted with death, said it was going to be a big trip. I wondered at first if he was going to Tahiti. No, a much bigger trip.

Don’t enter the trip without the big God, who has loved you and given himself for you.

Even as we lay our sister in Christ, Enid Winslow, to rest, we look to the one she trusted, the Lord who is able to keep her forever. It’s a big trip. The Lord is good. He knows her destination.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Pieper, 1968. Chapter B8, “A Brief Critique of Modern Theology in so far as It Denies the Inspiration of Scripture”

Chapter B8, “A Brief Critique of Modern Theology in so far as It Denies the Inspiration of Scripture”

Pieper distinguishes between “old” theology and “modern” theology in that the “old” theologians commit to be governed by the Scripture while the “modern” ones place themselves as judges of the Scripture. Pieper’s assessment of the reasoning says that the modern theologians (he cites several) want to examine the Bible to see what is true. From John chapter 8 he suggests that those scholars are not God’s people at all. Underlying this, he says, is a rejection of Christ’s vicarious satisfaction. To defend themselves, the modern theologians introduce a number of problematic arguments.

1) It was later generations of dogmaticians who invented the idea of Scripture as God’s infallible Word.

2) Luther may not have considered the Bible as God’s Word.

3) Dogmaticians view Scripture as mechanically dictated.

4) Inspirationists think the Bible fell from heaven as it stands today.

Pieper contradicts these assertions in brief. He views God’s Word as reliable, in agreement with the historic Church.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bonhoeffer, 1937, Chapter 1, “Costly Grace”

Chapter 1, “Costly Grace”

Bonhoeffer begins with a discussion of what has since become an iconic idea in Christianity, the idea of grace which is “cheap” or “costly.” In his view, true grace is costly. It cost God the life of Jesus. It costs us our lives as well. Yet it is grace, because it delivers the riches of God to us. Cheap grace, as Bonhoeffer defines it, is limited to doctrine. The intellectual assent is sufficient. It does not demand changed actions.

After detailing cheap grace and explaining some of the costs of costly grace, Bonhoeffer speaks of the decline of costly grace as Christianity spread. He views the monastic movement as a failed attempt to recover costly grace. Because only a few could enter monastic orders, this costly grace was available only to a small portion of the body of Christ.

Luther was confronted with the cost of discipleship both when he entered the monastic life and when he was driven back to the world. he saw that grace was all he could trust. Bonhoeffer asserts (Loc. 672) that in Luther’s view our secular callings are only justified as far as they are carried on in the process of following Jesus. This, he says, was a major thrust of the Reformation.

Bonhoeffer goes on to say that Luther’s followers, though they held pure doctrine, were weak on discipleship (Loc. 686). I question this assertion in light of the events of the 16th to 18th centuries, when we see a constant struggle for orthodoxy and orthopraxy.

Bonhoeffer continues by distinguishing between life-changing grace and grace which merely assures us of God’s forgiveness when we sin. In this context he brings up Luther’s famous statement, pecca fortiter, sed fortius fide et gaude in Christo. By casting it as a conclusion rather than a premise of an argument Bonhoeffer attempts to redeem the statement and generalize it to apply to our whole life, including the times we fail in our discipleship. I could wish he had taken the statement as Luther used it, rather than as a maxim. In context, Luther is urging action based on biblical conclusions rather than inaction based on custom.

Bonhoeffer repurposes the statement and applies it as a call to repentance for our sins. He then calls the church, particularly Lutherans in his part of the world, to follow Jesus, pursuing an active obedience, which he holds over against an assent to correct doctrine.

The Cost of Discipleship

Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The Cost of Discipleship (1937). tr. R.H. Fuller, 1948. London: SCM Press, 2001.

I read this in a Kindle version, so rather than any page numbers there are simply location numbers.

Sermon for 3/26/14 Be Filled with the Spirit

Sermon: Be Filled with theSpirit

The Lord is one
 no division
 no mixed opinion
 no confusion
 entirely on-message all the time
 doing his work - cleansing, redeeming, healing
On the other hand, we aren’t much like the Lord.
 straining out camels, swallowing gnats
 trying to good and often doing evil
 even look at our Lord’s good pleasure and call it evil
 We try to trust in our position, trust in our armor, trust in our riches
    it all falls apart
Sometimes when what we are trusting in falls apart it is the Lord at work
 breaking down our defenses
 establishing his authority
 showing us we need to depend on him rather than ourselves
What happens when we decide to be in charge of what the Lord can and can’t do?
 hinder the work of the Holy Spirit
 he cleanses us and we pull away from him
 evil spirits bring seven (number of completion) more evil and we are in deep trouble
What will we do instead?
 Be filled with the Spirit
 Recognize and worship the one true Lord
 rejoice in the work he does
 willingly pursue the goals we find in the Scripture and that our trusted leaders are laying out
 above all trust that Jesus is able to accomplish his work through us
He can make us one, unconfused, undivided, powerful, on-message, and dedicated to bringing healing and grace to our world

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Kilcrease, 2013. Chapter 8, “The Mystery of the Person of Christ, Part 4”

Chapter 8, “The Mystery of the Person of Christ, Part 4”

Genus Idiomaticum and Genus Apotelesmaticum

Note: In this chapter Kilcrease makes numerous reference to Latin words but his usage and spelling is not consistent.

Kilcrease continues to detail God’s gift in Christ as he deals with the way the two natures dwell together in God the Son. This interaction of the divine and human natures involves sharing various attributes, a doctrine called “communicatio idiomatum.” Much of the terminology used in these discussions was borrowed and modified from Greek philosophy. In the modification the terms took on significantly different implications. In the traditional view, the substance of “goodness” (my term) does not change. Neither does the substance of humanness. The two are united into one Christ. Both substances continue. Thus, in Christ, when Jesus does something, he remains fully God and fully man, even in his death and resurrection.

Kilcrease details a number of ways this has been misunderstood. Often there is a separation of the natures. Sometimes one is denied. Sometimes they are mixed, creating something which is neither God nor Man. The Lutheran Reformation tried to hold fast to this historical understanding of the two natures. This was important not only to guard doctrine but because the doctrines mattered in grasping the benefits of Christ’s work on our behalf.

As the chapter ends, Kilcrease gives a detailed example of this protection of doctrine by detailing a number of the arguments of Martin Chemnitz, showing how they applied to various objections current in modern theology.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Pieper, 1968. Chapter B7, “Luther and the Inspiration of Holy Scripture”

Chapter B7, “Luther and the Inspiration of Holy Scripture”

Modern theology has claimed the imprimatur of Luther as they deny inspiration and consider the Scripture as man’s word. Pieper traces this to a misunderstanding of the force of Luther’s arguments. He then traces Luther’s statement about Scripture as a whole, then some specifics. Luther speaks of all the Bible as inspired by the Holy Spirit, as having authority and reliability. The “human side” of Scripture extends to the fact that people wrote God’s Word in normal human language. He also holds that the Holy Spirit communicates with us about common and even unclean things for the purpose of doctrine, reproof, correction, and training. Luther considers the Scripture as that which is to be assumed as correct. As to chronological and other apparent discrepancies, Luther affirms the Scripture is right but that we may not interpret it rightly. He also allows for copyist errors, but not for fallibility. Modern theologians have pointed to Luther’s view of canonicity and comments about some books being more valuable than others. Yet Luther affirms that all the writings recognized as Scripture bear the authority of God. He would consider different portions useful to different ends, but all as inspired. Finally, Pieper observes that the modernist theologians tend to quote one another rather than forming a coherent opinion of Luther based on his work. This leads to a view of Luther which is unclear at best.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Kilcrease, 2013. Chapter 7, “The Mystery of the Person of Christ, Part 3”

Chapter 7, “The Mystery of the Person of Christ, Part 3”

In this chapter Kilcrease discusses the name of Jesus, the virgin birth, and the gender of Christ. First, the name Jesus is given by God to Mary and Joseph. The term “Christ” is the Greek term parallel to the Hebrew “Messiah.” Jesus showed himself to be the deliverer who was anointed as prophet, priest, and king, commensurate with his name and title.

As to the virgin birth, there has been considerable agreement among historic Lutherans with the creedal statement of Jesus’ virgin birth. Kilcrease argues that the term used in Isaiah 7:14 is distinctively used there and elsewhere for a virgin, not merely a young female. This would have been a problematic doctrine to defend in early Christianity. The fact that two Gospels state it very clearly and other texts make no object suggests it was, in fact, the belief of the Church.

Kilcrease spends considerable time talking about the perpetual virginity of Mary, which he finds unlikely. He also discusses the Roman view which had grace infused into Mary, exalting her role. This he also finds not based on Scriptural exegesis.

Finally, Kilcrease discusses Jesus and gender roles. He emphasizes that there is a distinctive masculinity of Jesus and also of his pastors, again, consistent with historic faith.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

No water - town dies - nothing to support life
Around water we see life springing up
 water hole in the plains
 pond or creek in the forest
 oasis in the desert

Jesus promises water to a woman at a well. Did you ever think of this irony?
 no bucket
 no rope
 she has as much water as she can drink
Jesus promises the water of life - the Holy Spirit -
 remember from last week, man shall not live by bread alone
 What does Jesus have to give his people? All they could ever need.

What are his promises to us?
 care forever

How will we live then?
 gather around the oasis
 trust Jesus to give us the living water
 feed on his promises in Word and Sacrament
 hold to him

Friday, March 21, 2014

Pieper, 1968. Chapter B6, “On the History of the Doctrine of Inspiration”

Chapter B6, “On the History of the Doctrine of Inspiration”

Pieper gives a brief history of views on inspiration. Christ and the apostles considered the Scripture to be identical with God’s Word. This was also the uniform view of the Fathers. Luther, along with the symbolic books of the Lutheran Reformation, also equated the Scripture and God’s Word. There were some Lutheran scholars in the 1600s who were not as strong on inspiration, considering it to pertain only to holy things. This view, however, did not become widespread until the blossoming of the Enlightenment. Modern theology, following Schleiermacher, almost uniformly denies inspiration, preferring some form of self-consciousness. One way or another they assume some view of inspiration which is equated with self-consciousness on the part of the author. Many authors view multiple levels of inspiration and hence validity within the Bible.

Pieper then summarizes views of inspiration within different creeds. The Roman Catholic Church has normally held to inspiration but some theologians have departed. Arminians allow errors and base much theology on enthusiasm rather than Scripture. Calvinists tend to confess a high view of Scripture but subject it to reason. Thankfully, says Pieper, most Arminians and Calvinists will accept Scripture rather than the logical requirements of their doctrines, especially in times of trial.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tillich, 1948. Chapter 22, “Behold, I Am Doing a New Thing”

Chapter 22, “Behold, I Am Doing a New Thing” pp. 173-186

Isaiah 43:16, 1819; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 11:19; Isaiah 65:16-17; Ecclesiastes 1:2, 9-10; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Matthew 9:16-17; Revelation 21:1-5

Tillich here considers “old” and “new.” There is an old which has always been old because it is eternal. But usually we consider the old as something which passes away. In all of life, when we grow and change, bringing in something new means something old passes away, or at least that one new thing is chosen over against another.

We have pursued reason above tradition and superstition. This requires the old to pass away. We have chosen to live as individual nations, removing unity of all mankind. We develop a secular world which tends to exclude religion. But that cannot happen. We need a religious foundation or nothing new can be born from God.

Tillich reminds us that when something truly new comes to be, the power and even memory of the old is broken. Otherwise, the new is not really new. In all our pursuit of newness we must seek the new from that which is eternal, love. This is how we can find the new.

Sermon for 3/19/14 - Commemoration of St. Joseph

Sermon: No Place Like Home - no audio this time

There’s nothing like a good cup of coffee at . . .
There’s no place like home
 sometimes a place of conflict and tension
 A man’s home is his castle, his wife is his queen
How do we react when the going gets rough?
 all in it together
 keep accounts short - forgiveness and restoration
 endure riches and poverty, sickness and health
What happened to Joseph and Mary, people who were guarding the promised Child, God the Son?
 apparently poor
 faced challenges from officials who wanted to kill the child
 left home suddenly to hide
 rarely seemed to know the next step to take
There’s no place like home. Where is that home?
 in the presence of God the Son
 the Church, where all the gifts of God operate, the whole body assembled
 the place we are fed by Word and Sacrament
 the place we offend one another
 the place we are reconciled to one another
 most important, the place we are reconciled to God.
Welcome home!

May the Lord use us as his instruments to welcome many more home, to Jesus the Savior.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Pieper, 1968. Chapter B5, “Objections to the Doctrine of Inspiration”

Chapter B5, “Objections to the Doctrine of Inspiration”

Pieper now details some of the objections to verbal inspiration. In his opinion the person who objects to verbal inspiration as he has defined it rejects the entire foundation of Christianity. But what are the objections he deals with?

1) The different parts of Scripture are written in different styles. This stylistic difference is easy to see. Since God spoke through a number of people we would expect him to use their own styles. Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:4 suggests that God’s own style of speaking is one we can’t bear.

2) Because writers of Scripture engaged in research the Scripture is not inspired. Yet just as God can use different people’s style of communication he can provide them with information using different means.

3) Variant readings refute inspiration. Yet even a verbal inspirationist does not claim inspiration of the copyists. The text is reliable. Pieper claims internal evidence for God’s very words not passing away. He also observes that the doctrines of Scripture are not in doubt due to variants.

4) The Bible has contradictions. Pieper builds a case that all discrepancies of facts, such as numbers of people, can be explained away.

5) There are inaccurate quotations of the Old Testament in the New. Pieper views non-exact quotations as further clarification by the Holy Spirit.

Close consideration of the New Testament shows it to be a reliable, inspired document.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Kilcrease, 2013. Chapter 6, “The Mystery of the Person of Christ, part 2”

Chapter 6, “The Mystery of the Person of Christ, part 2”

Kilcrease opens by speaking of a “new narrative” of creation, God counteracting sin with the law and gospel. Shortly afterward, he observes that in the curse (Genesis 3:16), God becomes condemning and demanding. Therefore, he speaks a new word, which is the Gospel. Through this new narrative God changes humanity’s hopes, giving them a promiose. This is God’s self-donation. He will lower himself so as to exalt humanity. God’s plan of fellowship with his creation has not changed, but his way of achieving it has. Kilcrease draws three points of contrast between the old narrative and the new.

1) The new narrative reverses sin’s effect. God does this in the same way as he becomes incarnate, by infusing his new word into what is old, draining the old of its “independent reality.” Christ fulfills the Law. He doesn’t merely abandon it. Kilcrease also points up that redemption is something Jesus does with his human nature.

2) The new narrative is portrayed as a war against Satan. Because in the beginning God’s Word is perverted by the devil, in the end the devil must be defeated. This is accomplished by Christ’s atonement for sins.

3) God promises lasting heavenly rest in the new creation. All humanity has had only a small foretaste of heavenly rest. Jesus, in his earthly ministry, according to Kilcrease, becomes the rest for his people.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Pieper, 1968. Chapter B4, “The Relation of the Holy Ghost to the Holy Writers”

Chapter B4, “The Relation of the Holy Ghost to the Holy Writers”

When God inspires his Word, how does the Holy Spirit work in the writers? Pieper cites modern theologians as having difficulty with this question. How, when we deny specific inspiration, can we resolve the problem of the way the Holy Spirit works? Yet this also leaves us with a Bible we cannot trust as God’s Word.

Pieper says, on the contrary, (section 4926) “God employed the holy writers as His tools, or instruments, in order that men might have His Word fixed in writing.”  In the early Church, theologians used terms such as “secretary,” “amanuensis,” even “hand” or “pen.” In no way, however, did they consider this a mechanical activity. The Church has always denied the idea of a trance. Rather, the Holy Spirit spoke specifically to the authors, using their own will, speaking specifically what He wishes to say.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sermon for 3/16/14 John 3

Heirs of a promise
 promise to Abraham - bless you, make a blessing, offspring, inheritance
Keep God's law?
  which command?  trust God
What promise?
 Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
Challenge of Nicodemus
 knows Scripture
 Wants to know what Jesus is about.
 not sure what to ask
Jesus' response?
 be born again by faith
 trust work of Holy Spirit
 know Jesus as God the Son who is your only hope
That's why Jesus came, to redeem.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Tillich, 1948. Chapter 21, “The Destruction of Death”

Chapter 21, “The Destruction of Death” pp. 169-172

Hebrews 2:14-18

Christmas shines a light into darkness. The darkness into which it shines is death. That death is one of the forces which shapes us throughout our life. It is something unknown, and our fears are almost always fears of the unknown.

Why do we fear death? Tillich affirms it is because we, of all creatures, are able to think clearly about our future. We realize that we are destined for death and that we deserve death. This is the guilt which drives us to fear. What hope do we find? The hope is that we are justified, as Tillich puts it, not by our work but because “eternity” has rescued us. This is the Christian message. It brings hope. Forgiveness of sins answers our guilt. Eternity has stepped in and died for us. The Eternal has participated even in the fear of death. This is what Christmas is about.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Pieper, 1968, Chapter B3, “The Verbal Inspiration of Holy Scripture”

Chapter B3, “The Verbal Inspiration of Holy Scripture”

Pieper appeals to the biblical text for documentation of verbal inspiration of Scripture. Based on 2 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:21 he establishes a biblical claim to divine inspiration. He then discusses additional ideas which he ties to the Scriptural view of inspiration.

1) Inspiration is not that of topics or people but of words, since the Scripture consists of words. Pieper concludes that this inspiration of words extends to the specific words used.

2) Inspiration is not merely guidance or protection from error. If that is the extent of inspiration the Scripture is left a merely human word.

3) Inspiration extends to all of Scripture, including those things commonly known to “everybody” at the time.

4) Inspiration requires inerrancy. In a quotation of Quenstedt, Pieper offers inerrancy in the original text as that which the Bible claims.

5) Inspiration includes God giving authors the desire to write.

Sermon for 3/12/14 "What Does God Say?"

Sermon: What Does God Say?

Matthew 4

We are surrounded by many trials.
 mistreatment at the hands of others (1 Cor.)
 fear - from within and from without
 even the danger we consider when we try to follow God’s command
   surrendering our sovereignty
Bottom line question - is God good to his word?
What did he tell Abraham?
 go to the place I will show you
 I will make you a mighty nation
 I will bless you
 I will make you a blessing to all nations
Does God keep his word?
 not always in ways we can see
 sometimes through others
 sometimes through his supernatural means

We can always be secure as we are trusting in Jesus, the one through whom God has blessed the entire world.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Kilcrease, 2013. Chapter 5, “The Mystery of the Person of Christ, Part 1”

Chapter 5, “The Mystery of the Person of Christ, Part 1”

Kilcrease now moves into a discussion of descriptions of Jesus’ person and work in terms of dogmatic theology. First he observes that his perspective will be that of the historic creeds recognized by Lutherans. the Bible will be seen as normative. Kilcrease states that in the abstract, the person and work of christ can be separated, but in the concrete, they cannot.

Kilcrease speaks in the language of postmodern philosophy throughout this chapter, with narrative creating reality and meaning. Because of this tendency it is difficult to identify his concrete, underlying points. It seems that he is affirming Jesus’ work to be that of giving himself to this world in order to triumph through death and resurrection.

This emphasis on sin and salvation, alienation and restoration leads Kilcrease into a discussion of the mystery of Christ and his context within creation. Theology then becomes the practice of bringing the message of, or rather, the reality of, the incarnation to our world. This message creates something. It is not clear what it creates, whether faith, conviction, or maybe reality. Through the messages God convicts of sin and shows his forgiveness. This forgiveness is delivered through trust in Christ and his Word, rather than trust in our own opinions. The Law of God then becomes again that which encourages us to righteousness.

While in the time before the Fall God’s Law only showed his people what was good, after the Fall the Law always accuses us. In Christ we find ourselves trusting God’s Word again. This, God’s self-donation, ends my need to give myself to pay for sin.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pieper, 1968. Chapter B2, “Holy Scripture Identical with the Word of God”

Chapter B2, “Holy Scripture Identical with the Word of God”

Modern theology objects to the Early Church and the Reformation because of its dependence on Scripture. Identifying the “Word of God” with the writings of the Bible is seen in modern theology as an attempt on the part of theologians to grasp power by a claim of divine mandate. This position on Scriptural authority is taken unapologetically by the Apostles, by the Reformers, and by the Scripture itself.

Pieper discusses and illustrates how the Old Testament is used extensively within the New Testament and is considered God’s Word. He also illustrates New Testament statements which equate other parts of the New Testament with God’s authoritative word. The Reformers, especially Luther, took a very high view of the Bible, affirming that their writings were true only insofar as they agreed with the Bible. Pieper’s conclusion is that just as the apostles were considered mere men by their critics since they appeared perfectly normal, so the Bible is considered by its critics to be a normal, human book. Yet he will defend the Scriptures as the very Word of God.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Tillich, 1948. Chapter 20, "Born in the Grave"

Chapter 20, “Born in the Grave” pp. 164-168

Matthew 27:57-66

Tillich tells the story of people during World War 2 who escaped gas chambers and lived in hiding in a graveyard. A baby boy was born in a grave then, after three days, had nothing to drink but his mother’s tears. “Could this be the Messiah?” asked the grave-digger. Tillich’s observation for us is that we are not easily enough shocked by the accounts of the Gospel or the Creed. The Messiah must be one who dies, as he is overcoming death. The Christ was dead and buried. He was all the way dead, really dead. There is no sugar-coating to the work of Jesus. However, he rose again from the dead, an act which shows his victory. It is only when we grasp the reality of Jesus’ death that we can comprehend the wonder of the resurrection.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sermon for 3/9/14 Led by the Spirit

We live in a world full of trials and temptations.
 still want to be led by the Spirit
 how?  what spirit? where?

In Adam the garden becomes a wilderness.
 fall prey to temptation
 start seeing Law as that which kills

What of Jesus? He surely is led by the Spirit!
 into the wilderness
 Mark says with wild animals
 surrounded by the law of death
 understands our weakness

We who have been led by the Spirit know our frailty.

What will we do? What did Jesus do?
 tempted to take matters into his own hands
 refused - life is receiving from God, not forcefully trying to recreate something.

Does this this mean that we do not stay active?
 No, it means we invite others to believe, to receive, to know the grace of God in Jesus.

In this way the leading of the Spirit is complete. He takes us out of the place we are by nature - sinfol and unclean in Adam. He brings us into the place of the Gospel, as those who have been rescued by Jesus' perfect life, death, and resurrection. We live, and call the world to live, in that perfect grace.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Sermon for 3/7/2014 World Day of Prayer - John 4

Jesus in a dry place
 People who have departed from promises of God
 People in bondage
 No hope
 No inheritance
 Dry and weary land, hard to get water
What happens when the woman meets Jesus?
 First would ignore him
   Jewish man would have nothing to do with any Samaritan
   Much less a woman who was at the fringes of society at best

Jesus approaches her with something very simple.
She would like to hide but he is the only one with forgiveness and life.

What has made our world dry?
 Pride, prejudice
Whatever the story we all arrive together at the well
 Deep, no rope, no bucket

Who has an answer? Only Jesus.
 All the other religions in this world finally look to us as our own savior. Only Christianity has that focus in what God has done for us.
 Came in the person of Jesus, God the Son, to bear our sins
 Entirely man, entirely God
 Perfect sacrifice

Loved us while we were still sinners
Died in our place
Promises an inheritance to all who trust him.

Springs of living water
Nourishment in Word and Sacrifice
Everlasting hope in sure and certain promises

All this only in Jesus, the only hope for the world.

Jesus calls all people to trust only in him
Jesus calls you and me to trust him as the only savior of the world.
Join as we pray for the redemption of those who are far away, without hope, alienated from the true and living God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Lord, have mercy