Enemies of the Cross

The Bible speaks of “the enemies of the cross of Christ” (Phil. 3:18).  One may think of those who execute converts to Christianity, or of a demonstration in London where the followers of a certain religion carried placards with these words, “exterminate”, “butcher”, “behead.”  However the enemies referred to in this passage are those who call themselves Christians.  The CROSS is shorthand for the good news that Christ on the cross suffered the curse of sin that this curse may be lifted from mankind (Galatians 3:13).  Those who make of Christianity merely a means to prosperity, or entertainment, or an emotional high, or even a system of morality are “enemies of the cross of Christ.”

Come, glory in the cross with us at Peace Lutheran  Church.  Sunday Divine Service is at 9:00 a.m.  Lenten Service is on Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m.

Love Your Enemies

“Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). Jesus spoke these words to His disciples, to individuals.   The disciples of Jesus can do this only in the recognition that “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” and that “when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son” (Romans 5:8,10).

“Love your enemies” was not spoken to the state or to the nation.  Government (national, state, county, municipal) is the servant (Romans 13:4) of God “for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good” (1 Peter 2:14).  A wise and dutiful government will protect its citizens from those who would harm them, even to the degree of executing them, incarcerating them, or closing their borders to them.   God gives government so people can live “quiet and peaceful lives” (1 Tim. 2:2).

While Christians are called to pray (1 Tim. 2:1) and vote and exhort government to fulfill its duty, the Christian is in contrast called to show compassion, mercy, and love to the neighbor in need, even when that neighbor is a personal enemy or the enemy of the state.  This will be a reflection of God’s love (John 3:16).  “God so loved the world.”  Come to Peace Lutheran Church.  Sunday service time is 9:00 a.m.  Lenten Service is on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.

Regarding Covetousness

YOU SHALL NOT COVET! (Exodus 20:17).  Someone said, “You are not speeding until you get pulled over.”  Most people do not have a sense of guilt until they get caught.  In every other commandment it is possible and probable that one will get “caught” breaking them:  Lying, stealing, adultery, murder, etc.  But in this commandment, YOU SHALL NOT COVET, one cannot get “caught”, at least not by another human being.   Coveting is only a thought.   For this reason this commandment is not taken seriously. Yet God gave this commandment; He spoke it twice.  To covet is a sin.  The Apostle said, “I had not known sin except through the Law.  For I would not have known covetousness if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.’….O wretched man that I am!  Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:7,24).

This commandment reminds us that all sin begins with the thought, in the mind, or in the heart. In 1 Kings 21 is an account of how the sin of coveting led to lying, murder and stealing.  In answer to the question, “Who will deliver me from this body of death?” the Apostle answer his own question, “I thank God—through Christ Jesus our Lord….There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).  To be conscious of sin and God’s forgiveness come to Peace Lutheran Church.  Sunday service time is 9:00 a.m. 

False Testimony

YOU SHALL NOT GIVE FALSE TESTIMONY (Exodus 20:16).  This commandment protects our neighbor’s reputation. “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches” (Proverbs 22:1).  It seems that this commandment is suspended in the minds of politicians over against their opponents. News reporting deceptively designed to make others appear radical, unkind, and uncaring break this commandment.  When we put words into peoples’ mouths which they did not say, or accuse them of beliefs that they do not hold, the usual desired result is to destroy their credibility, their reputation.

Lying, misrepresentation, deception is the work of the devil, who “was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is liar and the father of it” (John 8:44).  To be allied with the devil is to receive his condemnation, “everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).

To a people accustomed to hearing lies and telling lies God says, “Let them return to the Lord and He will have mercy, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7.)  Our Lord Jesus invites, “If you continue in My Word, you shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).  Come to Peace Lutheran Church to learn of Him in whom all Truth (John  14:6) centers.  Sunday service time is 9:00 a.m.  Wednesday Lenten service is at 7:00 p.m.