Reaching the Lost. Discipling the Saved. Sharing the Love of Jesus with Everyone.

Category: News (Page 1 of 62)

1 CORINTHIANS — Part 15

I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.

1 Corinthians 9:22b

This is one of the most used and heard chapters in Scripture; usually at weddings.

People love the description of this greatest gift of Love; and rightly so!

But many don’t see it in the context of the gift of the Holy Spirit and way to pursue our Christian lives with all (not just a bride or groom)!

Scriptures

  • 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13

SUPPLIMENTAL INFORMATION for Confirmation Class

SUPPLIMENTAL 1: What are the 10 Commandments?

The 10 Commandments are the Law of God.

The two primary locations they are given in Scripture are Exodus 20:1-17 & Deuteronomy 5:6-21.

The first time was during the Exodus, when God delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt.

The second time was before Israel was about to enter into the promised land that God had given them – to remind them of where they came from (slavery), who delivered them (God), and who they were (God’s chosen people, the keepers of the promise given to Abraham and of God’s Word [the TORAH] given to them on Sinai in Exodus).

SUPPLIMENTAL 2: Why are the 10 Commandments important for us?

The 10 Commandments tell us how to live our lives in a God pleasing way.

Because we are creatures created and sustained by God, it also follows that by living life according to His Will, we will have a happier, healthier, more productive, and safer life.

If you want a product that you buy to last, you take care of it by following the instructions that the manufacturer sent with it. The 10 Commandments are an “instruction book” for us on how it is best to live our lives.

Going against God and His Word is sin and sin brings with it punishment, but that is not why God gave us the 10 Commandments. God has given them to us because He loves us, not because He wants to punish us.

SUPPLIMENTAL 3: Why do we call them “commandments?”

The Hebrew word used is דָּבָר (“dabar”) which can be translated as many things, but primarily as “word, thing, or matter.”

However, since in this context these are not just simple words that appear on a page and because they are literally translated, “not you will…” we associate “nots” or “shall nots” with “commands” or “commandments.”

It should be understood, however, that the commandments were given by God as a gift, giving us a way to live our lives the way God wanted and that would bring us all the richness and fullness that life has to offer.

The commandments were not given to “take our fun away” but rather to make our lives more abundant! (cf. John 10:10)

SUPPLIMENTAL 4: Fulfillment of the Law

Because God demands our perfection and because we cannot be perfect (because of our hereditary disease of original sin), we needed a Savior — someone who could keep the Law perfectly for us. That is what Jesus Christ did for us. He came down and lived a perfect life for us and then “became sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21) for us. In this way, Jesus has done what God required of us. Now, even though we are still sinful, our sins are not counted against us. For believers, God doesn’t look at our sinfulness, but He looks at Christ’s sinlessness. A summary might go something like this:

God demands a perfect fulfillment of the Law and payment for sin → We are sinful and cannot keep the Law nor can we pay for our sins → Jesus came down and fulfilled the Law perfectly and in doing so, paid for the sins of the world → We believe in Jesus → Jesus’ perfect fulfillment of the Law and payment for our sins “justifies” us (makes us perfect in God’s eyes) → God declares us “righteous” (perfect) because of what Jesus did → We can now be in God’s presence → We can live with Him forever in heaven.

SUPPLIMENTAL 5: How are the Commandments numbered/ordered?

God never gives us a numbering system in the Bible. We are told that there are 10, but we are not told which groupings to make to form the 10. Because of this, a few different numbering systems of the 10 Commandments arose. For instance, if you talk to a Baptist about the 5th Commandment, you might be talking about how wrong it is to murder, but they would think you were talking about honoring your father and mother! No system is “right” or “wrong” – each has advantages and disadvantages and stresses different things. What follows are the three primary numbering systems and who uses them: (It might be more legible if you click here.)

SUPPLIMENTAL 6: What is God’s name?

God has many titles. Some examples:

  • I AM,
  • Immanuel,
  • Wonderful Counselor,
  • Prince of Peace,
  • The Lord Our Righteousness,
  • Messiah,
  • Christ,
  • “Jesus” (which is also the proper name of the Son),
  • the Word, etc.

However, God also has a proper name. It is יהוה or YHWH (or Yahweh).

Sometime after this commandment was written down, some of the Israelites were so afraid of misusing God’s name that they decided to never say it, even when they were just reading it from a page. Instead of saying YHWH when they saw it, they would say אדני or Adonai meaning “Lord” or “my Lord.”

To help them remember to do this, they put the vowels of the word for “Lord” between the consonants for the word “YHWH” and in essence “made” a printed word that didn’t mean anything and was not meant to be pronounced at all. The way this new “word” would be pronounced (if it was supposed to be) would be Yahowah or Jehovah.

It might be similar to saying that you should never say the word “PEPSI” when you want one. Instead, when you specifically want a PEPSI, you will say “SODA” and write “POPSA” (this would be the consonants of PEPSI with the vowels of SODA). But this would not make “POPSA” a word, it just stands for something else.

Likewise, “Jehovah” is not a word, it just stands for one word and is pronounced like another. But God’s Name is YHWH.

  • Isaiah 42:8 — I am the LORD; that is my name!

Literally: [see explanation below] I am YHWH; that is my name!

In many English translations, we can tell when God’s Name is actually used. Instead of just using the word “Lord,” the NIV and some others use either “LORD” or “Lord” to signify that YHWH was in the text. So whenever you see “LORD” or “Lord,” you know that you can substitute God’s Name of YHWH. (Similarly, when you see “Lord GOD” or “Lord God,” you can substitute “YHWH God.”)

SUPPLIMENTAL 7: STEALING & how it relates to USURY, the LOTTERY, and GAMBLING

This is a fairly simple and straightforward commandment. In accordance with “Loving God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength,” and “loving our neighbor as ourselves,” it makes sense that we would not want to take their possessions. On the contrary, we would want to help them keep what they have and even help them to protect and increase what they have. This is part of our love for our neighbor and God.

Things can get a bit more complicated, however, when we begin to define, getting our neighbor’s things, “in any dishonest way.” This includes not only robbery and theft, but also usury (overcharging, excess interest, etc.) and fraud (false advertising, etc.). [Actually, our own church body was concerned with its members taking loans out with commercial banks because some of them would charge them interest at a large rate (usury). That feeling led to the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod setting up its own financial “wing” for its members that would charge “reasonable” rates and combat the practice of usury. This is how Lutheran Brotherhood and AAL (now Thrivent) came into being.]

This brings into question things like the lottery and gambling. Even though it is not “stealing,” it does have the effect that someone is gaining money and wealth at the expense of his/her neighbor. These are difficult issues, and although we cannot say for certain that controlled lottery buying and gambling are “sins” (for they are not mentioned specifically in Scripture), it is certainly not in keeping with the spirit and meaning of this commandment. The fact is that we are not looking out for our neighbor’s best (financial) interests like we should. The lottery and gambling are also not being good steward of what God has given you, especially when you look at the odds of winning (cf. 2 Thes. 3:10 below). This does not necessarily mean that you can’t play a “friendly” (low stakes) game of Black Jack or Poker with some friends or that raffles and the like are breaking this commandment. “Friendly” games and raffles are situations where fellowship (games) and the benefit of others (raffles) are usually what is important. However, when these things begin to form an addictive pattern, and/or they begin to cause your neighbor to “stumble,” then the line has clearly been crossed.

  • Lev. 19:35 — Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight or quantity.
  • Psalms 37:21 — The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously;
  • Prov. 19:5 — A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will not go free.
  • Matt. 5:42 — Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
  • Matt. 18:15 — If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.
  • Eph. 4:25 — Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
  • Eph. 4:28 — He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
  • Phil. 2:4 — Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
  • 2 Thes. 3:10b — If a man will not work, he shall not eat.
  • Heb. 13:16 — And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
  • James 4:11 — Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.
  • 1 John 3:17 — If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?

SUPPLIMENTAL 8: Are all prayers answered?

All prayers are answered by God, but that does not necessarily mean that they are the answers we want. We can be certain, however, that they are the answers we need. God knows what is best for us and will answer our prayers in a way that will have the most benefit for us and His Church.

If a child asks for sharp scissors, a good parent will refuse their request. The scissors would be dangerous for the child. Likewise, many of the prayers we pray would not be beneficial for us, and so our loving heavenly Father may deny our request at that point in time.

  • Isaiah 65:24 — Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.
  • John 16:23 — In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
  • 2 Cor. 12:8-9 — Three times I [St. Paul] pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

SUPPLIMENTAL 9: The Kingdom of God

When we speak of “The Kingdom of God,” we may be referring to one of three “kingdoms.” They are:

A. The Kingdom of Power: The whole universe
B. The Kingdom of Grace: The church on earth
C. The Kingdom of Glory: The church and angels in heaven

When we ask for God’s kingdom to come, we are not asking for the Kingdom of Power to come, since it is already here, but we are asking for: The Kingdom of Glory to come quickly, so that we may be taken home to be with Him for all eternity

and

The Kingdom of Grace to come, by helping us to live godly lives, by keeping us in the faith, and by using us to lead others to faith in Christ.

SUPPLIMENTAL 10: Leading us not into temptation

This, then, is what “lead us not into temptation” means. It refers to times when God gives us power and strength to resist the temptation [1 Corinthians 10:13]. However, the temptation is not taken away or removed. While we live in the flesh and have the devil around us, no one can escape his temptation and lures. It can only mean that we must endure trials—indeed, be engulfed in them [2 Timothy 2:3]. But we say this prayer so that we may not fall and be drowned in them.

McCain, P. T., ed. (2005). Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions (The Large Catechism > Part 3: Prayer > The Sixth Petition > [106] // p. 421). Concordia Publishing House.

SUPPLIMENTAL 11: When are Christ’s body and blood present?

The Roman Catholics believe that the “change” from bread to body and wine to blood happens when the priest speaks the words “this is My body” and “this is My blood.” Sometimes a bell is rung when this is said and it is at that point when they believe that there is no longer bread and wine but only Christ’s body and blood. Therefore, if some wine is spilled after this point, it is not wine which is spilled, but Jesus’ blood.

For Lutherans, we believe that when a person partakes of the supper, they are receiving all four things: bread, wine, body, and blood. Therefore, if some wine spills or a wafer falls, it is not Christ’s body and blood which falls, but only the bread and wine.

SUPPLIMENTAL 12: What are some other names for the Lord’s Supper?

  1. The Sacrament of the Altar,
  2. The Lord’s Table,
  3. Holy Communion,
  4. The Eucharist (from a Greek word meaning, “giving thanks”),
  5. The Breaking of Bread,
  6. Sometimes it is also called a “Mass.” This is the last part of the word Christmas.

1 CORINTHIANS — Part 14

I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.

1 Corinthians 9:22b

Christian bodies and denominations emphasize the Gifts of the Spirit differently.

For some, it is the defining characteristic of the Church and faith. For others, it is one of many.

Some demand that the a certain gift is necessary to prove you are a Christian. Others see the true Spiritual Gift as that of Faith and salvation.

How should we see it – and why?

Join us and find out!

Scriptures

  • 1 Corinthians 12

1 CORINTHIANS — Part 13

I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.

1 Corinthians 9:22b

The divisions in the Corinthian congregation extended to the “haves” and “have nots”.

This isn’t surprising, but it weaved itself into their fabric so much that the way the celebrated the Lord’s Supper became an object of disunity and disdain rather than unity in the Body of Christ Jesus.

How twisted!

May our celebration of His Body and Blood bring us together – always!

Scriptures

  • 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

“The Power of Knowing God” — New FORGE Men Series Study

Men, get to know God as He really is!

Beginning on Tuesday, September 27, we will cover a new study series by Dr. Tony Evans, The Power of Knowing God.

Dr. Tony Evans believes seeking to know God is life’s greatest purpose. In this practical, six-session video series, he shares strategies and skills for how you can live victoriously as a child of God.

Your connection with God can be so much more than going to church, reading the Bible, and attending study groups. Using in-depth scriptural studies alongside stories from his own life, Dr. Evans will equip you with the tools you need for pursuing an authentic and life-transforming relationship with your Savior.

This new series begins on September 27, 2022, at our usual time. (6:00 PM for food; study beginning at 6:30 PM.)

Join us!

Series Trailer

« Older posts