In the book of Romans, in the Bible, chapter 3, part of the description of natural man (humanity) which the Apostle Paul gives is this, “Their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their ways, and the way of peace they have not known” (3:15-17). Because people are restrained by the fear of punishment, public opinion, peer pressure, or a law written in their hearts (Romans 2:15), one may tend to argue with this description. However, let alcohol, drugs, and sometimes prescription drugs, remove these restraints and inhibitions and we are amazed at the carnage one person can produce. Examples flood our thoughts: Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, and now most recently, Newtown, Connecticut, mourning the massacre of 20 children and 6 educators.
As we mourn with the mourners over such loss of life, let us remember the reason why the Apostle Paul reviews from Scripture this horrible nature of humanity: “That every mouth may be stopped (no excuse) and the whole world may become guilty before God…by the deeds of law no flesh (human) will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (3:19-20). Only “freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” gained for us by His death and resurrection (3:24-26) can we have forgiveness, hope, peace, comfort, and a new life.
This is the “glad tidings of great joy” which the angels proclaimed to the Shepherds at Jesus’ birth. This is the joy of Christmas. Continue to celebrate with Peace Lutheran Church. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.
The December 17th issue of NEWSWEEK performed its self prescribed duty (along with other major news magazines) of casting doubt on the historical nature of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Precisely at Christmas time, as well as Easter, when people give a little more reflection on why Christian, these periodicals assume the responsibility to present the Bible accounts of Jesus Christ as myths.
NEWSWEEK is bold to say (sadly much of Christianity agrees) that the Gospel accounts in the Bible were meant to “declare religious truths, not historical facts.”
A distinguishing aspect of Christianity is that it is based upon a historical person (John writes, “We have seen and heard, and our hands have handled,” 1 John 1), upon historical facts (He suffered under Pontius Pilate…on the 3rd day arose from the dead, as recorded in the Bible and confessed in the Creed since early years), and upon historical places such as Nazareth, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem. Luke goes to great length affirming this historical nature, placing the events of Christ’s birth and ministry in the historical setting of Caesar Augustus, Quirinius, Herod, Caiaphas, and Annas. All other religions are “faiths” in that they are merely a “state of mind” divorced from any historical fact. Modern “scholarship” would like to place Christianity into the same category, so they can repeat the mantra “all religions are good, but all are mere superstitions.”
Join with us in affirming that God at a historical place and in the fullness of time “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14; Gal. 4:4) that we may receive of His grace and have His peace. Peace Lutheran Church. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m. Christmas Eve service, 6:00 p.m.
Some of us remember the building of the Eisenhower Interstate Highways.
Mountains were shaved off, valleys filled, crooked places straightened, and rough places smoothed. All obstacles were removed for rapidly getting from one place to another. In telling of the one who would prepare the people for the coming Savior the Evangelist quotes Isaiah 40, “Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God” (Luke 3:4,5).
There are obstacles keeping Jesus Christ from coming to you with all His blessings of forgiveness and peace: 1) The mountain of pride, failure to recognize sin and need for forgiveness. 2) The Valley of doubt and unbelief and despair, too evil for God to fix. 3) The crooked and rough places of greed, sexual sins, hate, envy, and serving other gods. A man named John called for a removal of these obstacles by preaching repentance, turning from these sins to God, looking to “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), and receiving the baptism by which all the blessings of the Savior are brought to the repentant believer (Luke 3:3; Romans 6:3,4). You can hear John’s call at Peace Lutheran Church. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.
Life is interesting when there is “something to look forward to.” God’s people have always had something for which they can look forward. Adam and Eve could anticipate the time when the SEED OF THE WOMAN (Genesis 3:15) would crush the serpent’s head; Abraham, the SEED by which all the families of the earth would be blessed (Genesis (Genesis 22:18); Isaiah, the Servant of Yahweh, upon whom God would lay the sins of all people (Isaiah 53); Mary, as she waited to give birth to a child she would name Jesus, because “He would save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21; Luke 1:26-38).
All God’s people can anticipate receiving again the forgiveness of sins as the Gospel of Jesus Christ crucified is proclaimed and the sacraments are celebrated in the Divine Service on Sunday mornings.
Even the aged and terminally ill, who may not otherwise have any earthly event to which they can look forward, can joyfully anticipate that this same Jesus will come again and receive them into eternal glory where “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain” (John 14:1-6; Rev. 21:4). Come to Peace Lutheran Church this Advent Season and look forward with us. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m. Wednesday Advent Service at 7:00 p.m.