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Evidence and/or faith?

According to Holy Scripture, Jesus did physically rise from the dead.  However, this does not at all mean that all who hear this truth will believe it.

The “evidence” is present for all to see and study.  Holy Scripture is that “evidence”.  This is why attacks against the Bible are so great.  Discrediting the Bible and rationalizing the text according to man and his ways is what unrepentant sinners will do.

According to the Bible, the resurrection of Jesus did happen.  But apart from faith in Christ, the unbeliever will continue in unbelief, regardless of how many rational explanati0ns are supplied.  This is because the unbeliever cannot accept the things of God (1 Corinthians 2:14).

What creates faith in the heart to believe in Jesus and what the Bible says (teaches) is the Word of God itself, for it is through that Word that God brings about and sustains that faith (Romans 10:17).

Did the Resurrection Really Happen? – Answers in Genesis.

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Holy Scripture and Church Authority

A great deal of discussion is going on in a current study.  For some background history of the Bible, go here, under “Canon, Bible” (see also the Apocrypha).

For a more thorough reading of the history of the Apocrypha [esp. concerning Jerome (his translation of the Bible is the basis for the Roman Catholic Bible) and the non-uniform recognition of them], see the New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia. For background to the Canon of Scripture

Lutherans (and protestants) do not accept the Apocryphal books as part of the Canon (Holy Scriptures), whereas Roman Catholics (RC) do.  Catholics claim that the Catholic church is infallible, and therefore, since the church has declared that the Apocrypha, the Old Testament, and the New Testament are of the canon, such is their belief.  Lutherans (and most protestants) confess that the Bible alone is authoritative and normative for faith and life.

These distinctions are incredibly important, for if only the Old and New Testaments are normative, then anything contrary to them and not according to them is not authoritative or binding.  On the other hand, if the Apocryphal writings (and Church tradition as defined by the Catholic church), in addition to the Old & New Testaments, are authoritative as they are interpreted by the church, then only what the Catholic church actually declares (and not the Bible) “rules the day.”

“No One Can Serve Two Masters”

In the First Article of the Apostles’ Creed, Christians everywhere confess, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.” These are not meaningless words. Nor are the words empty of meaning. Christians actually believe them. To say them but not to believe them is be a “play Christian,” one who mouths the words, but does not really mean what he says.

But we are no “play Christians.” We are not playing any games when we confess these words of the First Article of the Creed. We actually believe that according to the Bible, God did make heaven and earth. We believe that God created heaven and earth, just as recorded in Genesis, the first book of the Bible, not in the way that macro Evolutionists or theistic evolutionists believe, but exactly in the way God has revealed it. To say otherwise is, really, to call God a liar, and no child of God can do this and remain a child of God. The child of God takes God at His Word and does not follow his own opinions and determinations with the things of God…

Mt06.24-34, Epiphany 8, 2011A.pdf

October 31

 

What comes to mind when you think of October 31? Halloween? Pumpkins? Costumes? Trick or treating? Scary movies? This is what

many might think about concerning the date of October 31.

However, the word ‘Halloween’ is short for “All Hallows Eve” the eve of All Saints’ Day, which is November 1 (Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary). Many of the various traditions practiced on the eve of October 31 are adapted from nonChristian (pagan) practices…

Halloween,TheReformation,TheChurch,Christ.pdf

Reformation Day Sermon, 2010

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther placed his 95 Theses on the castle church door in Wittenberg. Luther had no idea that these theses would bring about such a great commotion in the church of his day. He simply responded to the discrepancies he saw between the church and Scripture itself. He responded out of a great struggle which he himself fought tooth and nail to remedy, but found that he himself could not. Luther’s struggle for a clear conscience before God could not be remedied by what the church taught. In the Augustinian monastery in which he served as a monk, he saw his sin ever before him. He was guilty before a just and holy God. He was not able to take comfort in fasting, confession, bodily discipline, or anything he did. The phrase in which he struggled with was from For in it (that in the Gospel) a righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith( just as it is written( ‘the just/righteous one will live by faith’ (Romans 1:17;Hab 2:4).

Rom03.19-28, Reformation, 2010C.pdf

Music & Theology-Jewel’s “Intuition”

Reading the words of a song, even analyzing it for its content, is a good thing to do.  However, it might be a heavy dose of reality, a wake up call of sorts.  Many a popular song has moving melodies, but the words greatly lack genuine substance, let alone the truth, and often contain many a falsehood.

 

Take for example Jewel’s, “Intuition” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rraYK1QgMn0).  I like the melody, though I might here be illiterate when it comes to ‘good’ music in general.  I’m of the populists in this area.

But when it comes to theology, this is a different story.  I admit that I often gloss over the words of the songs that I listen to on the radio.  The music often drowns them out.  But I have to give this kind of practice of ‘not listening’ second thought.  Taking the words of songs for granted and even singing along with them may be more telling than not.

In “Intuition” by Jewel, she sings in part:

“…Follow your heart

Your intuition

It will lead you in the right direction

Let go of your mind

Your intuition is easy to find

Just follow your heart”

Granted, this is a ‘love’ song…but following your heart is a dangerous thing.  In reality, your heart does not “lead you in the right direction.”

Jesus says, for example, “Those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man…” (Matthew 15:18-20).

From these words alone, we have reason not to follow our hearts, but the Word of God, and the Word alone.  “The Holy Scriptures…are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:15-17).

Even when it comes to love, the Word of the Lord is not deficient.  Led by our sinful hearts, we go by what we want in the moment and not by what God says.  It’s not always genuine love that we seek, but gratification.

We are to keep watch over our hearts, that our sinful desires not come to fruition, as St. Paul writes, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5).

And in another place he says, “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).

Note also these words from St. James, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures” (James 1:13-18).

Rather than “follow your heart,” follow what the Lord says.  Hear the preached Word.  Deny yourself.  And hold fast to Christ.

Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ…)

Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead), and all the brethren who are with me

Galatians 1:1-2

To the Christians in Thessalonica, St. Paul wrote, “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

The Christian Thessalonians, when they heard the Word from Paul and his companions, they accepted it as God’s Word.  How foolish they would have been not to do so!  Paul wasn’t preaching his own Word, but the very Word that the Lord gave him to speak.

So also with preachers today, preachers who do indeed preach only according to the Word!  It is them you are to hear.  They direct you to God and His Word.  They direct you to Christ.  If any preacher direct you elsewhere, then he is not a faithful preacher of Christ and him crucified (1 Corinthians 1:23).

The servant of the Lord preaches God’s Word.  He doesn’t just say that he does; he actually does.  This doesn’t imply perfection.  But it does indeed indicate that he preaches nothing else than Jesus, for only in God’s Son do you have the hope of eternal life.

It would be foolish to listen to another, to another who doesn’t preach God’s Word and Jesus our Savior!

Jesus says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27).

The Lord’s sheep hear His Word.  Thus do they go to hear where the Lord’s Word is truly preached and spoken.  Thus do they rejoice and give thanks for Godly ministers who really do preach the truth.  And that’s where they go—not because of the man, but because of the Word!

Luther

What does Paul intend by this bragging?  I reply: This doctrine has as its purpose that every minister of the Word of God should be sure of his calling.  In the sight of both God and man he should boldly glory that he preaches the Gospel as one who has been called and sent.  Thus the king’s emissary boasts and glories that he does not come as a private person but as the emissary of the king.  Because of this dignity as the king’s emissary he is honored and given the position of highest honor, which he would never receive if he were to come as a private person…When Paul commends his calling so highly, he is not arrogantly seeking his own praise, as some people suppose; he is elevating his ministry with a necessary and a holy pride…He has to do this to maintain his authority, so that those who hear this may be more attentive and more willing to listen to him.  For they are not listening to Paul; but in Paul they are listening to Christ Himself and to God the Father, who sends him forth…Just as men should devoutly honor the authority and majesty of God, so they should reverently receive and listen to His messengers, who bring His Word. (Luther’s Lectures on Galatians, LW 26, p16)

Prayer: Lead us, heavenly Father, to rejoice and give thanks for Your Holy Word, through which You, according to Your abundant mercy, make known to us our salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.  Help us to uphold and encourage those who preach the truth, that we honor them rightly as Your called and ordained servants.  Amen.

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