Posts by bschmidt

LUTHERAN THEOLOGY BRINGS JOY.

LUTHERAN THEOLOGY BRINGS JOY.

The heart and soul of Lutheran theology is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God loves you!! That’s good news. All of your sins are forgiven through the death and resurrection of Jesus. This forgiveness is given to you for free. It is a gift of God for you.

When we trust in God’s love for us in Jesus Christ, we see God as He truly is, as a God of love. His creation is His gift for us. His Spirit gives us faith. His salvation is given to us freely. His eternal paradise is prepared for us. God is with us. God will never leave us.

Joy marks the life of the one who trusts in Christ. But joy isn’t always happiness. Sometimes life is full of trials (crosses) that we must face. Evil is real. Sin has consequences. These things war against us. But even in these things, we know that God is with us. This is not some trite saying or nice thought. We know that God is with us in the midst of suffering, since He is revealed precisely through the suffering of Jesus.

The most important teaching of Lutheran theology is that God loves you with no effort, merit or work on your behalf. God loves you. He sent His only Son to die and rise for you. His love is fulfilled in the Gospel. That is good news and fills us with joy. God loves you for all of eternity. Freely. That will never change.

THE ENTIRE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS ONE OF REPENTANCE.

THE ENTIRE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS ONE OF REPENTANCE.

Luther’s 95 Theses begins, “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’ (Matt. 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” That doesn’t sound very exciting. Luther encouraged people to renew their Baptism every day. Christians are to daily die to the old Adam, their sinful nature. In his Large Catechism, Luther observed that Baptism “is nothing else than putting to death the old Adam, and after that the resurrection of the new man, both of which must take place in us all our lives, so that a truly Christian life is nothing else than a daily Baptism, once begun and ever to be continued. For this must be practiced without ceasing, that we ever keep purging away whatever is of the old Adam, and that that which belongs to the new man come forth.” Dying to self in order to rise with Christ is the daily reality of faith.

The focus is not on our dying or on our old Adam (sin). The focus is on the promise of resurrection in Jesus Christ. He is our life. He is our hope. He is our joy. Repentance is a turning away from self to Jesus. In Him is life and light. In Him is salvation and forgiveness. In Him is eternal life. Repent. You are His. Through Baptism. And this is true every day.

DIET OF WORMS.

DIET OF WORMS.

Yuck … How did Luther get so fat? Luther obviously didn’t stick to his diet. A Diet was an imperial meeting of the Holy Roman Empire. Official business was conducted that changed things throughout the empire. Luther was called to the Diet that took place in Worms, Germany. There, he was told to say he recanted of what he wrote and taught. Luther responded that he could not in good conscience deny his writings because they proclaimed the truth of the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ. Here I stand.

AUGSBURG CONFESSION

AUGSBURG CONFESSION

The Lutherans stood before the entire world and confessed. Given the opportunity to say what they believed, they freely and joyfully confessed the truth that God justifies sinners by grace, through faith, for Christ’s sake. The Augsburg Confession was read out loud on June 25, 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg. Written by Philipp Melanchthon, this document explained the faith of the Christian Church as taught by Luther in accordance with the Scriptures. Article IV contains the central confession of how God saves people. Read it. Especially Article IV.

FORGIVENESS IS FREE – BUT NOT CHEAP.

FORGIVENESS IS FREE – BUT NOT CHEAP.

Your sins have earned the penalty of death. Christ paid that price for you through His death. Salvation is not cheap — the Son of God gave up all things for you. Forgiveness is free. God gives you this salvation, which Christ earned, for free. Solus Christus. Through Christ alone.

Our life in Christ reflects this truth. Forgiveness is free. You are forgiven in Christ. This is true for you every moment of every day because of God’s promise in your Baptism. We are called to sacrifice everything to live our lives according to God’s will because of His love for us (Rom. 12:1). We are called to trust only in Christ: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

CRUX SOLA EST NOSTRA THEOLOGIA.

CRUX SOLA EST NOSTRA THEOLOGIA.

The Cross alone is our theology. God’s love is manifest in Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross. God’s love is fulfilled through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. With the New Testament, we proclaim Christ and Him crucified. Luther stated that the cross alone is our theology, echoing the words of Paul: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3).

THE LORD’S SUPPER ACCOMPLISHES SOMETHING

THE LORD’S SUPPER ACCOMPLISHES SOMETHING

We believe Jesus is present because He promises to be. And when God is present, things happen. Either life or death, either blessing or curse, but be assured of this: something occurs when God is present. Jesus comes to us in His body and blood for the forgiveness of our sins to all who trust in His Word. All who receive the Sacrament receive Christ’s body and blood. Those who receive it in faith receive the benefits given in Christ’s promise. Those who do not believe receive judgment.

BAPTISM SAVES

BAPTISM SAVES

God works through means. The Holy Spirit creates faith through the Word and the Sacraments. When ordinary water is combined with God’s Word and connected with His command, it does exactly what God promises it will do. It saves (Titus 3:4–7; 1 Peter 3:21). Through Baptism God forgives sins and gives the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). Baptism joins you to Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection (Rom. 6:4–5). Baptism gives eternal life through the resurrection of Jesus (Col. 2:11–12). Baptism makes disciples (Matt. 28:19). These promises are for all people, young and old (Acts 2:39). These promises are fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Jesus.  For you.

Thrivent Retirement and Estate Strategies Workshop

TUESDAY, MAY 9TH AT 6PM

Join special guest speaker William P. Maar CFP, ChFC, LUTCF, FIC, Wealth Manager, Financial Consultant for Thrivent Financial – 23 Years Experience

Bill will share strategies on:
• How to accumulate and distribute money for retirement.
• How to pass on money to heirs or charities in a tax-wise manner.
• Increasing the probability of investment success.
• Multigenerational IRA planning … and more!

This workshop is hosted by Thrivent Financial and your local representative Cheryl Avery

Please call 219-763-2244 or email monica.maar@thrivent.com to reserve a place for yourself and a guest. Refreshments will be served.

March 2017

In the last weeks I have prayerfully contemplated the congregational meeting held on January 23rd and where we go from there. I could not help but recall an inaugural address given by President John F. Kennedy on January 20, 1961. This address came to my mind because this was one of the speeches we had to analyze in my high school speech class. It is considered to be one of the great and unforgettable messages ever given. The key statement in that speech was: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” Perhaps those of you who originally heard those words can still hear them in your mind today.

Without getting into any thoughts along party lines or the evaluation of President Kennedy’s term of office, I would like to look at the words of that speech from a Scriptural perspective as it speaks to our relationship to Christ and His Church. In preparation for this article I read President Kennedy’s whole inaugural address once again. A few things struck me with application to our congregation here at St. Paul’s.

President Kennedy opened his speech with these words: “We observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom.” Is this not true for us as Christians? Our celebration of life is founded upon the person and work of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote in II Corinthians 5:15, “Christ died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him Who died for them and was raised again.” As we gather around God’s Word and receive His Supper on Sundays, we celebrate the truth that Jesus paid the debt of our sins and rose again from the grave. We are no longer bound by sin or Satan, but we are freed to live our lives to the glory and honor of Jesus Christ.

In the middle of his speech, President Kennedy said: “In your hands, my fellow citizens more than mine will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty.” Is not what President Kennedy said about our citizenship in the United States also true with regard to our Christianity? Each generation in the church has been called by God to testify about the Savior. If we don’t share Christ, Christ cannot be known by man. The Apostle Paul wrote: “How can they call on the One they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of Whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them” (Romans 10:14)? If you and I are not actively involved in proclaiming the Gospel, the world will become spiritually illiterate concerning the things of God. This is why God calls every Christian to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (I Peter 3:15).

President Kennedy ends his speech with the words: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country. Ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.” The Lord speaks to us in a similar way about our freedom in Christ and what we are to do with it. In Deuteronomy 10:12, the Lord says: “And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” The Apostle Paul writes in Galatians 6:10, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

As I close out this article, may each of us consider the words of the hymn, I Gave My Life for Thee (The Lutheran Hymnal, 405). The first five verses speak of what Jesus did for us that we might be His forgiven and redeemed children. In verse 6 the hymnwriter has Jesus speaking to us with these words: “Oh, let thy life be given, Thy years for Me be spent, World’s fetters all be riven, And joy with suffering blent! I gave Myself for thee: Give thou thyself to Me.”

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