“Upon this rock I will build My Church,” Jesus promised, “and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). The ROCK was the Apostle Peter’s confession of Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Works of compassion, love, and morality are characteristics of the Church, but she is the Church because this Jesus of the Bible fulfilled God’s promise to defeat sin, death, and the devil. Wherever the name of this Christ is proclaimed, He is building His Church.
“And the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” The Church has many enemies coming through those gates with the design to destroy the faith of all believers. One enemy is false teachings, usually turning people to focus on themselves rather than “looking to Jesus author and finisher of their faith” (Heb. 12:2). Another enemy is immorality. The devil designed the breakdown of marriage, not only to play havoc with the culture; his chief purpose is to turn people away from the Church. Another enemy is persecution, such as is going on in Iraq and Syria at this very moment. While these enemies may disrupt, diminish, and divide believers in Christ, the Church built on the Rock will stand.
Come, be built on the Rock at Peace/ Redeemer Lutheran Church. Sunday service time is 10/8:00 a.m.
Matthew Harrison, president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, writes: The ancient Christian community in that part of Iraq and Syria controlled by ISIS has been told to convert to Islam, leave, pay a massive tax…or die. And from pictures that have made the rounds on Facebook, the killings have begun. This is an attack on one of the oldest continuous Christian communities in the world. Would you take a moment right now to join with me…in a prayer to our heavenly Father on their behalf and on behalf of all throughout the world who suffer for the precious name of Jesus?
All-merciful Father, You gave Your Son into the flesh to experience hatred and violence and to conquer them with His unfailing love. Remember in compassion Your children, our sisters and brothes in Iraq and elsewhere, who suffer now for the sake of Christ. Strengthen them for a good confession, and give them grace to entrust themselves entirely into your loving care, know that You will never leave them or forsake them and that death is no match for the life that you have given in your Son and Spirit. According to Your wisdom, bring an end to the bloodshed and violence. Open the hearts of Your people in all places to stand with these hurting members of Christ’s body and provide any earthly aid…We ask it all in the name of Him whose cross is the triumph over all hatred, violence and death and whose resurrection is our everlasting hope, even Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Peace Lutheran Church. Sunday Service time is 10:00 a.m.
The Bible loads the word “God” with meaning. Remove His work as creator of the world and one has a different god. God made the first Gospel promise about the “Seed of the woman” crushing the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15), a promise fulfilled in the birth of Jesus Christ, “conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary.” Remove this promise and one has a different god. He reveals Himself as the God who caused water to flow from a rock, Who opened the Red Sea so the Israelites could escape on dry ground, Who fed them with manna for forty years in the wilderness. Remove these miracles and one has another god. This God took on human flesh to redeem us from the curse of sin (John 1:14; Gal. 3:13) by His death on the cross. Reject that and one has another god. The God of the Bible offers salvation as a gift to be received by trusting His Word (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Romans 6:23). Those who maintain that one must earn the favor of deity by good works have another god.
The words “In God we trust” on our coins, or “under God” in our pledge of allegiance, are meaningless to those who reject what the Bible tells about God. When this is a god of people’s imagination, rather than the God of the Bible, their god is an idol. The Bible repeatedly calls, “Let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7). We return to Him by hearing and heeding His Word. Come to Peace Lutheran Church. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m. Redeemer Sunday service at 8:00 a.m.