Tuesday, January 28, 2014

One Faith--in Every Place, at Every Time, for Every People

"There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." -- Ephesians 4:4-6

"I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church." -- Nicene Creed, Third Article

"Someone perhaps will ask, 'Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church's interpretation?' For this reason--because, owing to the depth of Holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another, so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are interpreters. . . .

"Moreover, in the catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. For that is truly and in the strictest sense 'catholic,' which, as the name itself and the reason of the thing declare, comprehends all universally. This rule we shall observe if we follow universality, antiquity, consent. We shall follow universality if we confess that one faith to be true, which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity, if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is manifest were notoriously held by our holy ancestors and fathers; consent, in like manner, if in antiquity itself we adhere to the consentient definitions and determinations of all, or at the least of almost all priests and doctors.

"What, then, will a catholic Christian do if a small portion of the Church have cut itself off from the communion of the universal faith? What, surely, but prefer the soundness of the whole body to the unsoundness of a pestilent and corrupt member? What, if some novel contagion seek to infect not merely an insignificant portion of the Church, but the whole? Then it will be his care to cleave to antiquity, which at this day cannot possibly be seduced by any fraud of novelty." -- St. Vincent of Lerins, "Treasury of Daily Prayer," CPH, p. 1160.

According to Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_of_L%C3%A9rins:

Saint Vincent of Lérins (died c. 445) (in Latin, Vincentius) was a Gallic author of early Christian writings.

Vincent was born in Toulouse in Gaul. In earlier life he had been engaged in secular pursuits, whether civil or military is not clear, though the term he uses, "secularis militia," might possibly imply the latter. He entered the monastery of Lérins (today Isle St. Honorat), where under the pseudonym of Peregrinus he wrote his "Commonitorium" (434). He refers to the Council of Ephesus, held in the summer and early autumn of 431, as having been held some three years previously to the time at which he was writing "ante triennium ferme." Vincent defended calling the holy Virgin Theotokos, "she who gave birth to God," in opposition to the teachings of Nestorius which were condemned at the Ephesus. Eucherius of Lyons calls him a holy man, conspicuous for eloquence and knowledge.
Gennadius says that Vincentius died, "Theodosio et Valentiniano regnantibus." Theodosius died, leaving Valentinian still reigning, in July, 450. Vincentius' death, therefore, must have occurred in or before that year. His relics are preserved at Lerins.
Baronius places his name in the Roman Martyrology, Tillemont doubts whether with sufficient reason. He is commemorated on the 24 May.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

"I Want to Do It"

So as He was coming down from the mountain, many people followed Him. And behold, a leper came and petitioned Him and said: “LORD, if you are willing, You can indeed cleanse me.” And Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him and said: “I want to do it, be cleansed.” And immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. Also Jesus said to him: “See to it that you tell no one; instead, go on and show yourself to the priests and sacrifice the gift which Moses commanded, as a testim...ony from you.” [Matthew 8:1-4, Johann Gerhard translation]

Just as Jesus said in response to the leper who asked for his cleansing, when it comes to anybody asking Him for salvation, His answer is always, “I want to do it.” Because “it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:3-4

The trouble is, sinful man is not always so willing.

Our Lord Jesus says, “I Want to Do It.”

But sinful man is often too afraid to let Him. It is true:

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:18

The trouble again is, no sinful man has perfect love.

Only God does. In fact, God not only has perfect love, He is perfect love.

In dealing with the rich young ruler, Jesus observed, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:24-27

Fear is a rich man’s disease. And we all have it. We all have some treasure we fear losing. And our love is neither perfect nor strong enough to overcome that fear.

But the perfect love of God, is. This is the love that, in Christ Jesus, is always saying, “I Want to Do It.”

To hear the entire sermon preached for the Third Sunday after the Epiphany, "I Want to Do It," click on this link. http://lcmssermons.com/index.php?sn=3654

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Dearly beloved of God,

Never forget you are members of the bride of Christ—His holy Christian Church. And, unlike we enlightened and free thinking folk of today, marriage actually means something to Him, and because of that, to us. It means He truly never will leave us or forsake us and that He will honor and cherish and take care of us for as long as we both shall live. It means that He will have... us and hold us—for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health--from the day of our Baptism by which we are conceived by the Holy Spirit and placed us in the protective and nurturing care of the Church that bears us into the kingdom of heaven. It means we never have to worry about losing our heavenly family through divorce, or our eternal life through abortion or abuse—even if we have been guilty or party to any of the same in our lives.

To hear the entire sermon preached for the Second Sunday after the Epiphany, "Christ-Marriage-Church," click on this link. http://lcmssermons.com/index.php?sn=3646

Monday, January 13, 2014

We the People

Lesson for the political right -- you cannot ever please the political left of our own country or the "diplomats" of the world. They will never like nor agree with anyone who works from the premise that we the people of the United States of... America have a better ideal and government than does the United Nations in general, or any other nation in particular.

Lesson for the political left -- human beings cannot save the planet, that is God's job. There will always be disease, there will always be pollution, and there will always be death [Genesis 3:16-19; Matthew 26:11; Mark 14:7; John 12:8].

Lesson to both, we are the United States of America. You politicians have been elected and sworn to serve and protect us from the world and preserve our safety and freedoms -- not to serve and protect the world from us, nor to win favor and applause from your political opposites.

If one does not think that the United States of America

•is the best nation on the face of the earth,

•our constitution righteously separates us from the rest of the world,

•and our people are deserving of protection from those who think otherwise,

then perhaps that person should not take the oath, or even stand for election, for an office established for these very purposes.

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."  [http://www.archives.gov/national_archives_experience/charters/constitution_transcript.html]See More

Sunday, January 12, 2014

"I Must Be in My Father's House"

Have you ever been angry with God? Be honest. There is no hiding from the fact that you have. You’re a sinner right? If you’re still unconvinced, look at the cross. Look at the crown of thorns. Remember the angry mob shouting, “Crucify Him....” You and I are just as responsible as they. We too have our anger issues with God.

When we hear the Father’s voice boom from heaven at Jesus’ Baptism, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” it is because he wants us to know that this Jesus is fulfilling the promise that He has born of the Father since before the foundations of the world—to bear His holy, righteous wrath, and even our sinful, self-righteous wrath upon Himself.

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached
at Trinity Lutheran Church of Layton, UT [www.trinitylayton.org] for the First Sunday after Epiphany and the Baptism of Our Lord, "I Must Be in My Father's House," click on this link. http://lcmssermons.com/index.php?sn=3635

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Pains and Dangers and Baptism of Rebirth

For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:22-23

Until the Last Day, or at least until our last day of death to this world of flesh, Baptized believers groan "in the pains of childbirth" as we are being born again into the kingdom of heaven. We are very much like the infant in utero--dependent on our mother for nourishment and protection. And like the infant in utero, we are also at the most dangerous stage of life, with the highest mortality rate.

God in His infinite wisdom and great compassion does not simply create a believer and drop him into this world of sin, death, and evil to fend for himself until the day of Resurrection. While we wait for that day of "the redemption of our bodies," God keeps us secure in the womb of the Church surrounded by the water of life flowing from the font of Holy Baptism.

The amniotic fluid in a pregnant mother's womb not only protects her baby. It is the very medium in which the baby lives and moves and has its being. The baby is nourished, gets its breath, and has impurities eliminated through the amniotic fluid.

This is also the way it is for the believer by the water "connected with God's Word" in Holy Baptism. [See Part I of Luther's Small Catechism explanation of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism quoted in the following paragraph.] Just as a baby in utero is compromised by insufficient amniotic fluid--indeed will die without the proper balance of electrolytes, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and even urea--the believer also must continue to be fed, given breath, and cleansed of the impurity of sin by the Word of Baptism in the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit that surrounds him in the womb of Christ's bride.

As we learn from Part I of Luther's Small Catechism explanation of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism:
“Baptism is not simple water only, but it is the water comprehended in God's command and connected with God's Word. As Christ, our Lord, says in the last chapter of Matthew: ‘Go ye into all the world and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.’

In the very next verse, our Lord continues His thought and command. "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:" Matthew 28:20. The period the King James Version places between verses nineteen and twenty does not exist in the original Greek, and is not indicated by the words of the sentence themselves. In fact, that the first word of verse twenty, "teaching," takes the same participial form as "baptizing" indicates that the two clauses go together as translated by the New International Version and the English Standard Version. In fact, they must in order to have a proper grammatical sentence.

Jesus--the Son and Christ and very Word of God Himself—here tells us that teaching everything that He has spoken and revealed to man as recorded in Holy Scripture is connected with Baptism along with the holy name of God. Regardless of the amount of the earthly element of water used, in Holy Baptism we are immersed in the name and Word of God, which forgives sins and by which we are born again from above into the kingdom of heaven.

And, as Christ’s apostle Peter boldly proclaims, this Baptism into the water and Word of Christ’s holy bride, the Church, “now saves you1Peter 3:21.



Sunday, January 5, 2014

When They Saw the Star

And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

Dreams play a big part in the salvation story. God even tells us that in the last days He will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. [Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17]

But nowhere in Scripture does God point us to our dreams, or even theirs for that matter. Why?

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached at Trinity Lutheran Church of Layton, UT [www.trinitylayton.org] for the Epiphany of Our Lord, "When They Saw the Star," click on this link. http://lcmssermons.com/index.php?sn=3623