“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). These sinners, which includes the reader, are reflected in the people involved in the events leading up to and including the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. There was Judas, a disciple, who betrayed Jesus; Peter who when among the enemies of Jesus disowned Him; Caiaphas who pretended righteousness in condemning the innocent Jesus; Pilate who for political expediency sentenced Jesus to be crucified; the Soldiers who delighted in taunting and torturing Jesus; sinners, all of them for whom Christ died to save from the eternal wrath of God. Finally there was Barabbas, guilty of insurrection and murder, who would have to say, “Jesus took my place.” That was obviously true for Barabbas (Matthew 27:15-26), but was also true for all the others, and for you. “He died for all” (2 Cor. 5:15).
Many are also reflected in those who rejected or despaired of the forgiveness won for them by Christ’s death and resurrection . They “will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on them” (John 3:36). This does not change the truth that “God wants all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the Truth, that there is one God and one Mediator between God and man, the Man, Christ Jesus, who gave His life a Ransom for many” (1 Timothy 2:4-6). Come to Peace Lutheran Church. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m. Lenten service, Wednesday 7:00 p.m.
Jesus warned, “Woe to the world because of offenses (Greek: scandalon)! For offenses must come, but woe to that person by whom the offense comes (Matt.18:7)! The word scandalon could be translated “death trap”, “stumbling block”, “enticement to sin”. The context tells us the word means “putting an obstacle in the way to keep someone from coming to faith in Jesus Christ.”
When Christian men are unfaithful to their spouse, when divorce becomes commonplace among professing Christians, when leaders in the church are caught in lies and deception, when cheating, stealing, slander characterize Christians, these are obstacles which keep others from hearing God’s Word. Condemnation falls on those who remain in unbelief. However, in laymen’s terms, hell will be hotter for those who put obstacles in the way of those who do not know Christ. “Woe to that person through whom these obstacles come.”
The Scriptures call the Christian to removed any obstacle he may put in the way of others by daily putting off the old sinful self, and putting on the new life in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 4). The Holy Spirit works this renewal in those who humbly hear the Word of Christ. Come to Peace Lutheran Church for this renewal. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.
Opponents of religion accuse religions of causing many wars. The Crusades of the middle ages are cited as well as the Thirty Years War when central Europe was devastated in the sixteen hundreds. The list includes the Japanese forcing the Shinto religion upon the Koreans, the Muslims conquering Asia Minor, North Africa, and Spain. The wars go on today deeper into Africa. The conclusion is drawn, “Religions are evil!”
When religion causes bloodshed it is evil.
Sadly, Christianity is lumped with all the others. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, then would my servants fight so that I should not be delivered to the Jews” (John 18:36). He warned His disciples, “All those who take the sword shall perish with the sword” (Matt. 26:52). “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal (of this world)” (2 Cor. 10:4). Genuine Christianity has the weapon of God’s Word, as it is preached and taught: “The Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). Failure to trust the word, but rather relying on human power to force Christianity upon others has, admittedly, been a scandal.
If you have been scandalized by this counterfeit Christianity, hear the words of Jesus, “Him who comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37). Come to Peace Lutheran Church for these powerful words of Jesus. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m. Lenten Service, Wed. 7:00 p.m.
Ash Wednesday, March 5, marks the beginning of Lent. Isaiah 52:13–53:1-12 is an excellent Scripture passage to guide one’s thoughts during this solemn season. Verses 3-6 read,
“He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
Compare this chapter with what happened 700 years later as recorded in Matthew 26 and 27 and marvel with us at Peace Lutheran Church how God provided for our salvation. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m. Ash Wednesday service at 7:00 p.m.