Readings and Sermon: Wednesday August 15, 2018

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View the Bulletin for Wednesday August 15, 2018
2 Samuel 5:1-25

1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.

Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

New Women's Bible Study

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Join us for a NEW Women’s Bible Study, starting Thursday September 13th at 7:00 p.m.
Sign Up in the back of the church if you will be joining us for this study so we can have enough materials.

If you can’t join us at Bible Study you can still get a book and read along with us!!
Order a book in the Narthex
Link to: Paperback Print Book

ABOUT THE BOOK from Amazon
Jesus treatment of women with compassion and respect was proof that all are equal in God s eyes. Participants will be encouraged and uplifted through the stories of the women who knew their Savior and His love for them. This inspirational book from The Heart of Jesus study provides women of all ages the opportunity to encounter the lives of the women we know from the Gospel of Luke and discover their own identity in the heart of Jesus.

Developed for women who want to connect personal experiences with Scripture, this study highlights examples of Jesus ministry to women from the Gospel of Luke. Lessons will focus on Mary the mother of our Lord, Elizabeth, Mary Magdalene, Martha and Mary, and many more. 12 sessions

The toxic and the true (from The Lutheran Witness)

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by Jeffrey Hemmer

Long, long before it was trendy to decry “toxic masculinity” on social media, we had a serious problem with masculinity. Although distortions of masculinity — played out in the lives of self-indulgent men who think that sex is for self-gratification and that women are objects to be taken, conquered, traded or sold — have been much in the news this year, our modern predicament is hardly new.

Indeed, it could hardly be older.

At the dawn of creation, Adam was the first man to distort real, godly masculinity, and Eve was the first woman to be let down and left hurting by a man’s inability to understand and live out his manly calling.

Man down

Adam was called to protect his bride, to provide for her, to populate the world with her. He was given to be selfless in his service toward her, caring more for her own good than his own. And things were going swimmingly until he and Eve suddenly found themselves face to face with the father of lies in the form of a serpent.

When the serpent approached the woman with his wicked distortion of God’s Word (“Did God really say … ?”) and outright lies (“You will not surely die”), where was Adam? When Eve saw that the fruit was pleasing to the sight and good for food, where was her husband? Hint: he wasn’t out cultivating a garden, checking on the animals or otherwise exercising his lordship over creation.

He. Was. Right. There.

“She took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate” (Gen. 3:6, emphasis mine). It is almost as if Adam has been treating his wife as a kind of lab rat with which to test the veracity of God’s Word. Will she die? Only when she doesn’t immediately keel over does he join her in eating the forbidden fruit. Eve, Paul tells us, “was deceived and became a transgressor” (1 Tim. 2:14). Adam “was not deceived,” and yet he sinned. He failed to intervene to shield his wife from the attack from the serpent, to wield the Word of God he had been given to preach against this slithery deceiver.

Then, when they hear the sound of their Creator walking in the Garden and Adam has the opportunity to emerge from the fog of selfishness, what does he do? He tells God, “The woman, whom You gave to me, she gave to me, and I ate” (Gen. 3:12). In other words: “If we’re being honest, God, the blame falls first to her and second to You for giving her to me in the first place. Keep that in mind as You’re doling out punishments.”

Jerk.

This is toxic masculinity. Adam would rather throw his wife under the bus than expose himself to divine wrath. He shamefully and selfishly cowers behind his wife’s fig-leaf skirt.

Since then, every man has been an heir of Adam’s selfish distortion of manliness. We men are all selfish jerks by nature. We all are more inclined to save our own hides than to offer our bodies and lives for the good of others entrusted to our care. We’re born rebellious against God, with our shoulders slumped and our eyes downcast, curved in on ourselves. This is sin.

Man up

Only one Man in history has not been guilty of this kind of selfish, toxic masculinity. He is the Man born of Mary, the Eternal Word who became flesh — the One who, though Man, remains fully and distinctly God.

Jesus was, is and always will be the perfect Man. He is everything Adam was created to be. Where Adam was self-centered, Jesus is centered on the good of those He comes to save. Where Adam was self-preserving, Jesus is self-sacrificing. Where Adam was self-serving, Jesus came not to be served but to serve (Matt. 20:28).

Real masculinity is not a matter of having big enough muscles, big enough tools, guns or trucks. Those things are fine, but they don’t exhibit masculinity. The strongest man can still be selfish.

Real, God-pleasing masculinity exists in seeing one’s self and giving one’s self for the good of others. Men were created to serve, to give, to love, to be instruments for the benefit of their neighbors and the flourishing of creation.

And no one except Jesus exhibits that kind of masculinity perfectly.

The cross is the perfect display of masculine giving. Nothing is more manly — in the theological sense of the word — than Jesus’ selfless sacrifice on the cross. There, He holds nothing back, spends Himself completely for the good of His Bride, the Church. He succeeds where Adam — and all men — failed. And even Adam, along with all the rest of us cretins, is saved from his own selfishness by the perfect self-sacrifice of Jesus.

Men up

Jesus alone, true God and perfect Man, is the solution to toxic masculinity. His Bride is the only one who has no cause to lament having suffered at a man’s selfishness. He loves her selflessly and perfectly. He endures abuse so that she can be adorned with His own righteousness. In this Church, then, men — and women — have hope.

Right now, the world needs men. Real men. Manly men. Strong men. Courageous men. Christ-like men. Masculine men. Men who will give of themselves for the good of their wives, their children, their communities, their congregations, their countries. The Church needs men, too. She needs men to be the spiritual leaders of their families — husbands who will love and forgive their wives as Christ loves and forgives His Church; fathers who will catechize their children in the faith and set the example for them in the pew of what a man forgiven by Jesus is and does. The Church needs older men who will mentor younger men. She needs martyrs who will boldly confess Christ in the face of persecution. Above all, the Church needs men who will work to solve the problem of toxic masculinity by embracing God’s call to embody the higher, holier, selfless masculinity they find in Jesus.

The problem of distorted, defective masculinity is older than our modern predicament. But so is the solution. The solution is the Man up on the cross, the savior of sinners and the example for men.

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed (1 Pet. 2:21–24).

The Rev. Jeffrey Hemmer is pastor of Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church in Fairview Heights, Ill., and author of Man Up! The Quest for Masculinity.

This article originally appeared in the June/July 2018 print edition of The Lutheran Witness. 

Kids in the Divine Service: Law and Gospel

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Law and Gospel
Many people wrongly think that the Old Testament is the Law and the New Testament is the Gospel. In fact the Old Testament and the New Testament each contain both Law and Gospel.

What are the basics of the Law and the Gospel?
The Law teaches us God’s will for how we live, namely the Ten Commandments. God’s Law demands perfection, but it is impossible to be perfect. According to the Law, we are sinners, and are in big trouble with God. We need someone to save us. The Law shows us our sins.

The Gospel tells us what Jesus has done to save us from our sins. But the Gospel doesn’t stop there. It tells us what Jesus continues to do for us because of His great love for us. The Gospel shows us our Savior, Jesus!

An easy way to remember all of this is to think of the following letters: S.O.S. The Law “shows our sins” while the Gospel “shows our Savior”!
 


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Parents:
Distinguishing between Law and Gospel is a life-long venture of study. Perhaps you or your child can take notes during the sermon. Following the Divine Service, discuss these notes, identifying the Law and the Gospel in the sermon.

Readings and Sermon: Sunday August 12, 2018

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Old Testament Reading - 1 Kings 19:1-8
Epistle – Ephesians 4:17-5:2

View the Bulletin for Sunday August 12, 2018

The Holy Gospel according to St. John, the sixth chapter.
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

Readings and Sermon: Wednesday August 8, 2018

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View the Bulletin for Wednesday August 8, 2018

1 Corinthians 1:26—2:16
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.