Jesus said, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” The problem with wealth is that wealth becomes the owners security rather than God. Such a person is like the man who stored an abundant harvest. He said, “Self, you have much laid up for many years; take your ease, eat drink and be merry.” (Luke 12). But God said to him, “You fool, this night you are going to die. Than to whom shall all these things belong?”
The same could be said of those who look to government for security.
Christianity was regarded as incompatible with communism. Hence many pastors were executed and Richard Wurmbrand and John Noble gave detailed accounts of their own torture as Christians. This still goes on in China, North Korea, and Viet Nam. If, however, communism had been patient while government made people totally dependent on government–food, clothing, health care, retirement–many people would have (and do) abandon their religion and make government their god. To them also God will say, “You fool, tonight you are going to die. In what now is your security?”
For those tempted to seek security in wealth, or depend on government, know that those who do, will “not enter the kingdom of God.” “God is our refuge and strength” (Psalm 46) and provides for our eternal security through Jesus Christ. “In Him is life!” (John 1:4). Come to Peace Lutheran Church. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.
When Cyrus the king of Persia issued an edict releasing the Jews from their 70 year captivity, the message was brought to the people neither by print, radio, TV, internet, or ipod. This good news came by way of runners, heralds, who disbursed throughout the empire. Isaiah, quoted by the Apostle Paul in Romans 10 verse 15, may have thought of these heralds of good news when he wrote, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!”
However, he was referring to those who would run throughout the world to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ, who came to release us from the curse and bondage to sin (Isaiah 52:7-53:12).
The parallel is this: As the people of Judah had largely forsaken their God for the idols of their neighbors and lived in disobedience to His commandments, God gave them over to their conquerors, the Babylonians, who destroyed Jerusalem and the temple, and led thousands into captivity for 70 years–so all mankind has become captive to sin. Not by any merit of the people of Judah, but by the pure kindness of Cyrus, then King of Persia, the nation that subdued the Babylonians, came the decree and the help to go back home to Judah. Not for any righteousness of ours, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem captive mankind by His death on the cross. “How beautiful the feet” of those who bring this news to a people captive to sin.
To preacher and people He reminds us that saving faith comes through hearing this Word of Christ (Romans 10:17). Come to Peace Lutheran Church to hear. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.
Jesus said, “Because of your hardness of heart” Moses (the Bible) allows for an easy divorce. (Mark 10:2-5). “Hardness of heart” is when one knows from the Bible what God wants but says to himself, “I am going to do it my way.” Allowing for divorce was not because the people were so righteous. He made this allowance, as the state does, because it is better to have a divorce than a murder.
All the wrongs that precede divorce grow out of hardness of heart: indulging in pornography, sexual relationships apart from marriage before and after the wedding, self-centeredness, unforgiving, retaliation, verbal abuse, child abuse, and neglect. What a world of pain and misery this “hardness of heart” has caused!
Our Lord continued, “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Mark10:6-9). This is the definition of marriage. Not only can marriage be the source of great joy, God designed it to depict the love of Christ for the Church and the submission of the Church to Christ (Ephesians 5:22-33). He gave Himself for her that He may wash her and cleanse her, yes, to give her a new heart and a clean heart. Come to learn more at Peace Lutheran Church. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.
When a pastor insists on pure doctrine, the people he serves often conclude, “We are the only people going to heaven because we have pure doctrine.” This, however, is not what the pastor is saying. He is confident that people from other denominations will be in heaven. When the Bible is read in church, and people read it at home, the Holy Spirit will bring some to faith in Jesus Christ, and they will be saved despite the errors to which their church holds.
The pastor insists on pure doctrine because every doctrine directly or indirectly points to Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world. “The Scripture …makes us wise unto salvation through faith in Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 3:15). The doctrines, or teachings, of the Bible are like spokes in a bicycle wheel, pointing to the hub, which is Christ. The wheel may function without a spoke or two, but will be in danger of collapsing. The doctrine of creation points to Christ. Distort it as many churches do and the wheel will eventually collapse. The same is true of the Vicarious Atonement of Christ on the cross, His resurrection on the third day, that the Holy Spirit calls us to faith in Christ through the Gospel in Word and Sacrament. Distort the doctrine of original sin, and we become blind to salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone. The Bible expects us to avoid those who teach contrary to the Word of God (Romans 16:17) lest our faith collapse.
Not only is one wise to attend a church where the Word is purely proclaimed. It makes sense to support that church with prayers and offerings. Jesus said, “If you continue in My Word, than are you my disciples indeed” (John 8:31). Genuine Lutherans have struggled, bled, and died for 500 years that their doctrine be pure according to the Scripture. Come to Peace Lutheran Church. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.