“Comfort, Comfort My people, says your God” (Isaiah 40:1). There is much cause for grief in this fallen world: The death of a beloved spouse, child, parent or friend; the devastation of war; loss of life and property in a tornado, earthquake, fire, or hurricane. Then there is that grief rooted directly to sin: divorce, substance addiction, rebellion of children. There is much need to be comforted in this world.
From where will this comfort come? This text from Isaiah goes on, “Tell her (Jerusalem, God’s people) that her sins I cover.” Since every grief is rooted in Adam’s sin, the true and lasting comfort is that your “iniquity is pardoned.” God pardons because He “laid upon Him (the Lord Jesus Christ) the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). “He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him” (Isaiah 53:5), Isaiah writes in prophecy of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Be comforted that neither death or anything else can separate you from this love of Christ (Romans 8:38-39).
Come for this comfort to Peace Lutheran Church. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.
Dr. David Kaufmann writes in CHRISTIAN NEWS, “With the recent explosion of positive propaganda for the same sex marriage movement, an opposing view is needed.” He goes on to write: “The argument that homosexual behavior is inherited doesn’t hold water. We are born man, woman and sexual beings. We learn preferences and orientations….All male to male and female to female sexual acts are definitely pathogenic! The digestive/elimination system is for ingesting healthy substances and eliminating toxic substances….The medical/health professions should condemn these deviant activities as harmful, disease producing and sometime lethal!…Legalizing same sex marriage is deconstructing marriage and destroying the family…will institutionalize intra-family lasciviousness!”
Dr. Kaufmann merely echoes the Biblical description of those who do not like to retain God in their knowledge: “Men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another, men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion” (Romans 1:27). The Scripture reminds us, “It is shameful even to speak of those thing which are done by them in secret” (Ephesians 5:12). Now even church officials speak of them and condone them. They join with the government to institutionalize them.
May God have mercy. Peace Lutheran Church Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.
A historic congregation, established in 1732, Falls Church in Virginia with 4000 members, voted to leave The Episcopal Church. In doing so they leave behind property valued at over $40 million to a small minority of 75 people. They left because the presiding bishop declares that Jesus is not the only way to God (contrary to John 14:6), and because a practicing homosexual was consecrated bishop in New Hampshire. In short, they left because the Bible was no longer regarded as the Word of God by the Episcopal Church.
The stand this congregation has taken, along with over 100 others, should lead all Christians to ask some pointed questions: Am I a member of this church because I have given thousands of dollars to erect its buildings? Is it because of the memories–the baptisms, weddings, and funerals? Is it because of the friendship cultivated over the years? Is all this more important to me than what the church teaches? Would I still be tied to this church even if it taught, proclaimed, and practiced teachings contrary to God’s Word? Would I remain if I no longer heard the Gospel of the Christ who died for my sins and reconciled me to my heavenly Father?
Jesus said, “If you continue in My Word, than are you My disciples indeed” (John 8:31). Martin Luther wrote in 1529, “And take they our wife, goods, fame, child, and wife, Let these all be gone. They yet have nothing won. The Kingdom ours remaineth.” No one likes divisions, but may God give to all His people this courage as He did Falls Church. Come to Peace Lutheran Church. Sunday Service time is 10:00 a.m.
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” This is the summary of the second table of God’s Law. Neighbor may include murderer, thief, liar, even one who is an adulterer or molests children. It also includes same sex couples. Loving them, however, does not mean treating them as though they did no wrong. Genuine love rebukes the transgressing neighbor for his sake and for the sake of other neighbors to whom such behavior will bring harm.
In a culture which prefers to reject any absolute laws given by God, where “everyone does what is right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25), rebuking a neighbor is becoming increasingly more difficult. Not only is it declared “judgmental”, in some places it is already made a hate crime.
The honoring of marriage as a life long union between a man and woman, respect for human life, born and unborn, basic honesty, respect for the property of others–these are pillars of a just and free society. The consequences of destroying or perverting them are seen in ancient Israel (2 Chronicles36:11-21), not to speak of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19), or ancient Greece or Rome. Our civilization which has risen so high is on the brink. Whether we want to hear it or not, God is calling us to repent. Come to Peace Lutheran Church. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.
Here in the USA pastors are often pressured to provide entertainment. Praise bands on stage and soloists with a microphone to the mouth mimic the theater. The pastor is expected to tell stories which move the emotions. Some provide dramatic skits which illustrate a moral truth. This entertainment mode is out of step with much of Christianity across the world.
In Aswan, Egypt, 27 Christians were killed as they protested the destruction of their church. Since the fall of Mubarak 200,000 Christians have fled Egypt (World Magazine, June 2, 2012). “In Somalia, they kill you if they just find a piece of Christian literature” (Voice of the Martyrs, June 2012). In Muslim nations converts to Christianity are often killed, some by members of their own family.
These Christians are not seeking entertainment. They want and need “the whole armor of God, that they may be able to stand in the evil day” (Ephesians 6). They experience the truth of Scripture, “For Christ’s sake we are being killed all day long. We are counted as sheep for the slaughter.” They want to hear the Word of God that keeps their eyes fixed on Jesus, their crucified and risen Savior, so they will be certain that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8). Entertainment is not good enough. Come to Peace Lutheran Church. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.
How may one know if another is filled with the Holy Spirit? Our Lord teaches us what to expect in the Gospel of John: “He will testify of Me” (15:26), “He will glorify Me” 16:14), “He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (16:8), “He will guide you into all truth” (16:13).
From these promises we learn that one admits the damnable nature of his sin only by the power of the Holy Spirit. The person who clearly confesses Jesus Christ as his only Savior and Lord, does so only by the power of the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 12:3). When the preacher makes clear in His preaching that righteousness before God comes through the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ, and not through our own goodness, this preaching is through the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).
So we pray: Fill all our preachers with the Holy Spirit that they will boldly and clearly preach so as to bring conviction of sin, and declare clearly that forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation come through Jesus Christ. Fill all hearers with the Holy Spirit so that they will be led to admit their sin, rejoice in the Savior who died for them and rose again, and bear the fruits of faith in their everyday lives (Galatians 5:22-23). Peace Lutheran Church Sunday service time, 10:00 a.m.