Adultery & Forgiveness

YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY (Exodus 20:14).  Jesus commented on this commandment saying, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?  So then, they are no longer two but one flesh.  Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:4-6).  Adultery is simply when one engages in or desires sexual intercourse with someone to whom he or she is not married.  Any thought or activity which disregards God’s design for marriage as a life-long union of one man and one woman adulterates His design.

King David, who had adulterated God’s design (2 Samuel 11-12), brought grief and turmoil upon himself and his family (13-18).  Grief and turmoil still follows the sin of adultery in our day.  David, instead of being proud of his behavior as many are today, humbly confessed his sin, repented with the prayer, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).  Though God did not remove the consequences of adultery, King David could enjoy God’s forgiveness and a clean heart as you also can through Jesus Christ.  Come to Peace Lutheran Church to hear God’s commandments affirmed and forgiveness proclaimed.   Sunday service time is 9:00 a.m.

Marriage

Timothy Goeglein of FOCUS ON THE FAMILY writes, “Marriage exists in all human cultures for the interest of the woman, the mother, making sure that the man who fathers her children is attached to her in a way that protects and provides for her….Marriage—and particularly monogamy—socializes men, protects women from unattached males, regulates sexuality, and ensures that the people who create the babies are the one who provide for and raise the babies….Every breathing, wriggling human baby that makes a debut upon the earth is a flesh-packaged message from creation that man and woman as a functioning unit is a fantastic idea….The legalization of same-sex marriage and the resulting same sex family, however, brings all these basic human realities into question….This is a radical deconstruction of humanity…..A loving and compassionate society always come to the aid of motherless and fatherless children; it never intentionally creates them.”  Peace Lutheran Church affirms this view of marriage.  Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.

Jesus Receives Sinners

“This man receives sinners and eats with them” (Luke 15:1).  This was meant to be a criticism of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The little cliché, “Birds of a feather flock together,” would be implied by his opponents.  However, this criticism was in reality a great compliment.  The hymn writer catches the significance:

Jesus sinners doth receive; Oh, may all this saying ponder Who in sin’s delusions live  And from God and heaven wander! Here is hope for all who grieve,  Jesus sinners doth receive.

We deserve but grief and shame,  Yet His words, rich grace revealing  Pardon peace and life proclaim;  Here our ills have perfect healing.  Firmly in these words believe:  Jesus sinners doth receive.

Sheep that from the fold did stray  No true shepherd e’er forsaketh;  Weary souls that lost their way Christ, the Shepherd, gently taketh  In His arms that they may live:  Jesus sinners doth receive

The Apostle Paul joyfully wrote: “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15).  Come to receive this Good News at Peace Lutheran Church.  Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.

Culture Has A Choice

A pastor once said, “When men can have babies, women can become pastors.”  His point was that God has given each sex a special role in life.  The same could be said to those who decry the discrepancy between the income of men and that of women.  When men start having babies, than women should have an equal income to that of men.  Blame the Biblical and Christian influence for the discrepancy.  “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her….(Eph. 5:25f).  At the minimum this would mean that he should provide for her physical needs, emotional needs, spiritual needs, and the expansion of her mental perceptions.  The Biblical role of the woman is to submit to the leadership role of her husband, to honor and respect him as the Church honors her Lord Jesus Christ, “to love their husbands and their children, to use good judgment and to be pure, to keep house, to be good, to submit to their husbands” (Titus 2:4,5).  Insofar as the culture follows this Biblical order there will be a difference between the income of men and women.  But the culture has a choice, either follow God’s ordering for a stable home for the fulfillment of both men and women and a stable environment for children to grow in wisdom, physically strong, spiritually and socially mature—or choose its own way of equal pay, equal authority, equal roles (against which nature itself rebels) and an increasingly dysfunctional society.  Sunday service time at Peace Lutheran Church is 10:00 a.m.

Women in Combat

The Department of Defense announced on December 3, 2015, that it will open all combat positions in our nation’s armed forces to women.  The next step is military conscription.  Early in February when questioned by a senator, Gen. Mark A Miley, chief of staff of the Army, and Gen. Robert B. Neller, the Marine Corps commandant replied, “Senator, I think that all eligible and qualified men and women should register for the draft.”

Pastor David Ramirez of Union Grove, Wis. comments: “No civilization, Christian or heathen, has ever purposely sent women into combat as a regular matter of policy, nor dared to conscript them.  It defies nature and all reason to send the bearers of life to be bearers of the sword.  This revolutionary change is part of the same attempt by the proponents of gay marriage, transgenderism, and feminism to erase the distinction between men and women….The men of a nation can indeed be called upon to serve, and if necessary, die in defense of the homeland. They are willing to do so precisely because they know it is right to lay down their lives for the sake of their families.”  To conscript women for war is just one more departure from the Christian milieu where a man is called to lay down his life for his wife (Ephesians 5:25).  This nation needs God’s Word to think straight.   Come to Peace Lutheran Church for that Word. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.  Lenten Service Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.

End Times – Get Ready

Sensationalism stirs up excitement, church attendance, and promotes the sale of books, but may not be honest. For instance, the RAPTURE, the sensational idea that Christians will be lifted out of this world leaving behind driverless cars and pilotless planes, is based on “one will be taken and the other left” (Matthew 24:36-42) which clearly speaks of Christ’s second coming. Believer and unbeliever appear alike.

One will be saved; the other damned. Another is THE GREAT TRIBULATION toward the end of the world, out of which believers will supposedly be raptured. This tribulation is here and now and Christians will receive the brunt of it. That is why the promise, “He who endures unto the end will be saved” (Mark 13:13). Another is the MILLENNIUM in which Christ will supposedly set up a kingdom on earth in which there will be perfect peace, based on Revelation 20:1-6. This is sign language (Rev. 1:1) of those who have been brought to life as believers in Christ and live and reign with Him.

Why not just stay with the message of Matthew 25:31-46, that Christ is coming in His glory and all the holy angels with Him, at which time all humanity will be gathered before Him, and He will divide believer and unbeliever as a shepherd divides his sheep and goats, the first to inherit the Kingdom prepared for them, the last to go away into everlasting punishment? This is sufficiently sensational to call every person to repentance and lead every believer to stay alert, not give up under duress, and continue in the Word of Christ (Matthew 24:42; 25:13; Mark 13:35-37; Luke 21:34-38; John 8:31; Rev.2:10.). Come to Peace Lutheran Church. Sunday service time is 10:00 a.m.

Beauty Pagents

Beauty Pageants have been around for years. Beautiful women flaunt their figures and their pretty faces before the ogling eyes of men and the envious observations of those women whose beauty is not deemed worthy of the parade. For many years it was the “Miss Teen”, “Miss America”, and “Mrs. America” pageant. More recently we hear of the “Pint-sized Pageants” where even six-year-olds compete.

The unspoken message of these pageants is that beauty determines worth and when the flower of beauty fades so also does one’s value. That simply is not true. Every human being is of equal worth in the eyes of God, each uniquely created to fit into His plan.

Of the six things God says He hates, “a proud look” (Proverbs 6:17) is one of them. Isaiah seems to describe a beauty pageant when he says, “Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with outstretched necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go…therefore, the Lord will strike with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion” (Isaiah 3:16-18).

When God says, “Let not the mighty man glory in his might” (Jeremiah 9:23), He might also have said, “Let not the beautiful woman glory in her outward beauty.” “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).

The harm that has befallen little girls and women because of this emphasis on outward beauty is difficult to calculate. One thing is certain. Beauty pageants make them less aware of this truth: “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (I Samuel 16:7). Beauty pageants are an open defiance of Scripture: “Do not let your beauty be that outward adorning or arranging the hair, of wearing gold, or of putting on fine apparel, but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (I Peter 3:3-4).

God would remind us that no matter how beautiful the outward appearance, the heart (our inner being) by nature is not. “Out of the heart comes forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, false witness….” (Matthew 15:19). For this reason we are taught to pray, “Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). This is also why God gave us Jesus, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7).

The true beauty, which all those who believe in Jesus will desire, is called the fruit of the Spirit: “Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

The Celebration of Advent

About once a year some guru predicts that the world will end on a certain date. Usually this person will gather a following of people who may even sell their possessions and place the income at the disposal of their leader as they wait for the date to arrive. Every such prediction is false. Jesus said, “Of that day and of that hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark13:32).

That these predicted dates come and go leads the world to ridicule the very idea that Jesus Christ is coming again to judge the world, and will bring it to a close as we know it. However, the Bible clearly teaches this. Jesus said, “I will come again” (John 14:3). The Apostle Peter wrote, “The day of the Lord will so come as a thief in the night and the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (II Peter 3:10).

In the Advent season, the church affirms through the Scripture readings the Second Coming of Christ and the final Day of Judgment. It reflects the teaching of John the Baptist who pointed people to the final judgment so they would prepare in repentance for the first coming of the Savior. “The ax is laid to the root of the tree; every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is cast into the fire” (Matthew 3:10). The Apostle Paul also said, “We must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ to receive the things done in this body” (II Corinthians 5:9). On that day every human being will have to give account of all thoughts, words, and deeds.

The Advent season is also an opportunity to review some of the many promises that God would send the Savior of the world. Every ill and fear of humanity falls under two words: “sin” and “death”. God promises to deal with these by sending His Son who would be called, “The Lord our Righteousness”. He would be born of the virgin and called Immanuel, meaning “God with us”. The Advent season points us to the birth of the one who is called “Jesus”, because He would save His people from their sins.

The Advent season also reminds believers that Jesus Christ comes to them through the teaching and preaching of the Word of God and the Lord’s Supper (in which Jesus says, “This is my body given for you…This is my blood of the New Testament shed for you for the remission of sins.”) Through these means He allows us to “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Through the same means He comes and takes away the sins of the repentant believers in Christ today, so on the Judgment Day they will stand holy and blameless in His sight (Col. 3:22).

Bondage and Freedom

Sometimes we understand our own religion by comparing it with another. Islam-especially since September 11-is in the news. Let’s compare.

Christianity is the only world religion that promises freedom. This freedom is rooted in the premise that “Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin” (John 8). Sinners are in bondage, as any drug addict or drunk or sexual sinner will have to admit. Likewise, one who cannot control his appetite, temper, or selfish thoughts. All sin and are, by nature, in bondage. But “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:34, 36). The freedom from sin comes not from what we do but what God does for us. We are saved, not by our works, but by the work of Christ, Who by His grace gives us salvation as a free gift.

Islam recognizes a need to be freed from enslavement to one’s evil ways. The Taliban outlawed the playing of music, watching television, photography. Women were made to wear their tent-like garb with webbed eye-holes. Violators were whipped with steel rods. By enforcing such harsh regulations to be rid of sin and evil, they put themselves and others into cultural and political bondage.

In Christianity, virtue comes not through external rules, but from a changed heart that no longer wants to sin and that wants to love and serve others. One can readily see the connection between this spiritual freedom and political freedom. Someone who is virtuous from the inside does not need a strong political power to keep him in line. Because he governs himself, he can be (except for his sinful flesh) self governing.

A religion which enforces good behavior by rules is a religion of legalism. The Islamic religion is one of legalism. Through faith in Jesus Christ, Christianity promises forgiveness of sins and a new life which desires to do good works. Islam’s priority is to impose Koranic law. Christianity’s priority is saving souls. Islam focuses on societies. Christianity focuses on individuals. When Islamic missionaries came to certain African countries, they tried to take over the government. Christian missionaries came to the same countries to build churches, schools, and hospitals.

Legalism cannot change the heart. Lots of rules “have no value against the indulgence of the flesh” (Colossians 2:23). Islamic students who come to the United States often have big behavioral problems. Having been brought up in a society that tries to make bad behavior impossible with Taliban-like restrictions, when they find themselves in a society without those external restraints, they often go wild, indulging in all kinds of debauchery. Even the September 11 hijackers, we are told, spent their last nights in sleazy strip bars. In legalistic religions, morality is purely external and must be enforced by restrictive rules or whip-bearing Virtue Police.

Islam-and all other legalistic religions-view true Christianity as a threat Hence, the imprisoning of relief workers and the martyrdom of many who become Christians in Islamic countries.

Since the days of Cain and Able, legalism has been at war with Christianity. Legalism is natural religion. If we take our eyes off Christ (crucified and risen again) our Source of forgiveness and life, we will become legalists. We will become Islamic, if not in name, then in practice. Then, when you go off to college or otherwise leave home-when the rules no longer restrain-your life, too, will be filled with evil that you will think of as freedom.

God has given you the means to keep your focus on the Lord Jesus Christ. He gives you His Word. He gives you His body and blood in the Lord’s Supper. “If you continue in My Word then you are my disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free,” Jesus promised (John 8:32, 33).

When people were liberated from the oppression of the Taliban, men lined up at the barber shops to shave their beards. Women cast away their repressive garb. They played their music. They dug up their buried TV sets. They smiled, danced in the streets, and hugged their liberators. Gene Edward Veith (in Word Magazine) comments: “If the Afghans were so happy at the merest taste of personal freedom, imagine their joy, burdened as they have been by a legalistic religion, if they could know the freedom of the Gospel.”

You know it. Rejoice in it. “Be not entangled again in the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).