Why the Protestant Reformation matters
Why the Protestant Reformation matters
The account of Joseph and his brothers includes some powerful lessons that not only express God righteous will for daily living, but also can be connected to Jesus Christ and His work for our redemption. For this post, I will take each of the portions in turn, highlighting salient points and offering practical ideas.
It’s often a struggle to understand, let alone teach, the freedom that we have in Christ. In the United States we enjoy a standard of living and degree of freedom unmatched in human history and unparalleled in the modern world. When one can enter a grocery store and find an entire aisle devoted to nothing but breakfast cereal, how can it be impossible to choose Jesus as my Savior? When I am free to live in any of the fifty states, pursue education, career and family according to effort and God-given ability, how can I be (without Christ) under the power of the devil and unable to see Jesus in the Holy Bible?
As Lutherans baptize infants, it’s possible that children could pass their entire childhood before learning God’s truth about baptism during confirmation instruction. We teach God’s Word regarding baptism for the same reasons we baptize: 1) God commands that we do; 2) We need it.
Parables are some of the most engaging portions of Scripture and are ideal for use in the Sunday School classroom. Understanding Jesus’ purpose in teaching through parables takes us to John’s words in chapter twenty of his Gospel,". . . but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name." Jesus came to earth and took on human flesh to live a perfect life in the place of sinners and suffer innocently on the cross to pay the full price of our iniquities.
It seems that late winter and early spring afford us nothing but letdowns. Thanksgiving starts the Christmas season. With Advent our hearts gear up for the coming of Jesus! Then the decorations come down, the hymns are gone. Wait, we’ve still got New Year’s! If that’s enough to repulse the winter blahs, how about the Super Bowl? Yet, when the football season has passed, what is there but to wait for summer?
Lent is a penitential season of the Church year. As such, it is a time for sober reflection on the reality of our sins and the burdensome cost that Christ paid to set us free. So, it is appropriate for Christians to take on a somber mood.
With February comes Valentine’s Day. The holiday is, of course, a celebration of love. Along with all the cards, e-messages, flowers, chocolates, candied hearts, and other gifts, comes the danger of participating in the world’s definition of love. To clarify “worldly” we could also use “society’s definition” or “sinful definition.” In other words, we mean the definition of love that does not reflect God’s righteousness as expressed in His Holy Word, the Bible.
Recently, I asked my Sunday morning Bible study class to indulge me in a short illustration. I asked four volunteers to come forward and stand shoulder to shoulder. I then asked three to step forward while the fourth remained in place. I explained that of all the people that join a church, three out of four do so because someone they know and trust invited them. Seventy-five percent of church members joined through an existing member. This is not speaking to the work of the Holy Spirit, who creates faith in the dead sinner through the Gospel of salvation of Jesus Christ. Rather, people predominantly join after being invited by a friend. We know this is true of adults, why not children as well?
During the Church seasons of Advent and Christmas there is a natural emphasis on God the Son. In Advent, we look forward to the coming Savior, Jesus Christ. Seven hundred years before His birth, the prophet Isaiah wrote, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). For many of the Jews of the Old Testament, Jesus was to be the earthly king who would displace Israel’s enemies and establish a new kingdom. As Christians, we anticipate Christ as the Redeemer who took our sins upon Himself. At Christmas, we see the words of Isaiah and the other biblical prophets fulfilled. God took on His own created flesh and dwelt intimately with sinners. The Light of the world invaded our darkness.