In answer to the question, “Which is the great commandment in the Law?” Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). These are beautiful words, yet who can honestly say, “I love God and people in the way that He demands?”
The honest answer is, “If You, Lord, should mark iniquity, O Lord, who shall stand?” (Psalm 130:2). “The Law teaches us to recognize sin” (Romans 3:20). This Law shows that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). None will stand in his own righteousness on the great Judgement Day. This is why Jesus Christ, God coming in human flesh, took our place under the Law and redeemed us from its curse. All who humbly believe in Him can say: Bold shall I stand in that great day, Cleansed and redeemed, no debt to pay; Fully absolved through these I am From sin and fear, from guilt and shame.
Come to Peace Lutheran Church to hear this Good News. Sunday service is10:00 a.m.
The Pharisees and Herodians, enemies of our Lord, sought to find fault and discredit Him in something He said. They even tried to trap Him, but first they thought to take Him off guard with flattery: “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances” (Matt. 22:16). What was intended to be flattery was in reality a profound and true description of Jesus Christ.
To understand this, think of those aspiring for political office today.
How many are true, that is, genuine, without ulterior motives? How many say anything truthfully, making promises which they cannot keep? How many seek to be politically correct, saying what will curry a favorable opinion of them, or refusing to speak a truth that will be unfavorable to them? How many pretend to be partial to the poor and yet defer to the rich and famous? It can be said only of Jesus, “You are true, and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances.”
Let His perfection reveal our deceitful hearts. When we see us as we really are, we more readily will look to Him who bore our sins in His own body on the cross, that we may have a clean heart and a right spirit. Then we can pray that we and our political representatives may be more like the Lord Jesus Christ. Come to Peace Lutheran Church where your eyes will be fixed on Jesus. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.
Much like the political scene today, the enemies of our Lord tried to fault Him in something He said. They thought to trap Him with the question, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar (representing the hated Roman government that ruled over Judea) or not?” A yes or no answer would either bring Him into conflict with the Romans or the Jewish leaders. But He answered, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21). Not only did His answer confound His enemies, His answer gave us a better understanding of the two spheres in which God works.
“Caesar” represents secular government whose purpose is to provide order in this fallen world, punishing evil doers gand praising those who do good (1 Peter 2:14). Government’s sphere is not to preach the Word of God, but to provide a setting where the Gospel may be preached by the Church (1 Tim. 2:1-7). God works through secular governments. Render to Caesar.
To “render to God” is to support the preaching and teaching of the Word of God. This is the sphere of the Church. The Church serves as a conscience to government in valuing human life, upholding marriage, and being wise stewards of God’s Creation. The Church also serves government by providing moral, loyal citizens, which reduces taxes to be spent on law enforcement and prisons. God works through the Church which preaches the Gospel of forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Come to Peace Lutheran Church. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.
“This was the LORD’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes” (Psalm 118:23; Matthew 21:42). Such could be said of God’s creation. For example, the genetic material called DNA which programs every facet of the human body for a specific function and the human eye which takes motion pictures in color. “This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes” can also be said when God turns evil into good. That was true when Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, yet 35 years later he would say to his brothers, “You thought evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring to pass as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Genesis 37-50).
Our Lord too was sold into the hands of those who would crucify Him. The perfect Man was found innocent in both religious and secular courts, yet was condemned to die by being nailed to a cross, an evil deed that excels all others. What “is marvelous in our eyes” is that by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ God provided a way that all people could be forgiven, be at peace with God, and have everlasting life. “God meant it for good!” May all who hear this join in chorus, “This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes.” Come to Peace Lutheran Church. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.
Chuck Colson, commenting in CHRISTIANITY TODAY, writes, “While economic cycles of boom and bust are nothing new, there is reason to think that the 2008 economic collapse was the result of a moral and ethical collapse in American life: from Washington (where regulators, according to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, failed to ‘stem the flow of toxic mortgages’) to Wall Street (where firms pursued bottom-line profits by pushing dangerous securities) to Main Street (where millions of Americans took on unwise loans in pursuit of the good life).”
He also quotes Alexis de Tocqueville who wrote nearly two centuries ago, “Nothing shows better how useful and natural Christian religion is to man, since the country where it exerts the greatest sway is also the most enlightened and free.” One may conclude that where the Christian religion ceases to influence a nation there will be a lapse in virtue and an ethical crises. As with all troubles, this present economic recession is a call to return in humble repentance to the LORD (Isaiah 55:7). Come to Peace Lutheran Church. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.