June 28, 2009

The Unbelievable Parable of the Prodigal Son - Jun 28, 2009

To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has
made us kings and priests to God and His Father, to Him be glory and
dominion forever and ever, Amen. The word of God for this Sunday comes
from the fifteenth chapter of Luke's Gospel, beginning in verse eleven. The
congregation may be seated.

Then He said: "A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said
to his father, 'Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.' So he
divided to them his livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son
gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his
possessions with prodigal living. 14 But when he had spent all, there arose a
severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 Then he went and
joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to
feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that
the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.17 "But when he came to himself,
he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to
spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say
to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no
longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants."'
20 "And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off,
his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in
your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.' 22 "But the father
said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it,
and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he
was lost and is found.' So far the holy Word.

In Christ Jesus, in whose name we find forgiveness, Dear Fellow Redeemed,

They say that truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. This week I watched an
interview Dr. Beck Weathers, who was one of the people who survived a
disastrous expedition to the top Mount Everest in 1996. Eight people died on
the trip, and the really incredible thing is that he didn't die too. A sudden and
terrible storm had struck while they were descending the mountain. The
temperature was 20 below zero, with 60 mile per hour winds. Dr. Weathers
became hypothermic and snow-blind. Unable to find their way back to the tents
in the storm, he and several others spent most of the night out in the open,
exposed to the storm's fierceness. When a guide finally ventured out to rescue
the group, they left Beck Weathers for dead. He wasn't moving, he had no
pulse, and his cheek was frozen to the ground. But he wasn't dead. Somehow he
survived the night, and the next day - incredibly - he was able to get up and
stagger into the camp under his own power. With the storm still raging, they put
him in a sleeping bag inside a tent and gave him some hot tea. But that night
the winds got even worse, and his tent was torn to shreds around him, so he
spent another night exposed to the wind and cold. In the morning his
companions discovered his seemingly-lifeless body and once again abandoned
him as they moved off down the mountain. Minutes later they were amazed to
hear his feeble cries and see him stumbling after them in the snow. Once again,
he had survived. His nose, both hands and parts of his feet would eventually
have to be amputated because of frostbite. But he had survived. Beck Weathers
was a man who seemed to have -- twice -- come back from the dead. In the TV
interview he laughingly remarked that his story would never have sold if it were
a work of fiction, because no one would ever believe it.

Some stories are simply unbelievable. It seems incredible that things like that
could actually happen in the real world. Our text for today is one of those kind
of stories. It's the story of someone who was dead and came back to life. It's a
parable Jesus told to illustrate the unbelievable depth of man's sin, and the
unbelievable heights of God's mercy. And even though Jesus made it up, even
though it seems impossible, this is a true story - and you and I are the main
characters! Our theme today is:


I. Could there ever be a "son" this bad?
II. Could there ever be a "father" this good?

The reason this parable seems unbelievable is not because it's complicated. It's
not complicated. It's simple. A simple story for the plain people Jesus was
talking to. As you know, Jesus didn't take His message primarily to the high and
mighty, the royal families and religious leaders. He preached first of all to the
poor and lowly, the despised tax collectors and the people the Pharisees lumped
together under the contemptuous term "sinners." And right there was one of the
problems Jesus was trying to address with this parable: people who thought they
were righteous enough the way they were. People like the Pharisees, who
wouldn't admit that they, too, were sinful and needed forgiveness. To them
Jesus said, with divine sarcasm, "Those who are well have no need of a
physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but
sinners, to repentance." -- Mark 2:17.

So He tells this parable, this unbelievable story. The reason it's so unbelievable
is that the characters in it are so extreme. Take the son, for instance. Could
there ever be a "son" this bad?

We all know how young people can be. We're all familiar with families where
sons or daughters have "gone bad," or have done something that has brought
shame to the family. But this kid in the parable - he's the bottom of the barrel.
He's the worst. He decides he's had enough of farm life. He wants his
independence. He wants to see the world and have some "fun." So he comes to
his father with an outrageous demand: "Give me my half of the farm. I'd inherit
it eventually anyway, but I want it right now!" Incredibly, the father agrees. He
liquidates half of his living, and turns it over to his son. As soon as he's able to
turn the property into cash, the young man leaves. He heads out for parts
unknown, with a smile on his face. Now you tell me, what could be worse than

Well, even worse than that is the way he spent his money. Our text says, Not
many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far
country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. The Greek text
reveals that he scattered his money, like a handful of dust, to the four winds.
He made lots of "friends," he threw parties, he got drunk, he paid for the
company of women. One by one he broke every commandment there was, and
then he went back to the beginning and started over again. "Whoever loves
wisdom makes his father rejoice," says Solomon, "but a companion of harlots
wastes his wealth." -- Prov 29:3. Well, he was...and he did. Before long, the
money ran through his fingers, as it always does, and he found himself flat
broke. Even though he got a miserable job feeding pigs, still he was starving to
death. He'd have gladly filled up on the husks the pigs were eating, but nobody
would even give him that.

Could there ever be a son this bad? Oh, yes. This story is perfectly true, as far
as that goes! In fact, it describes you and me right down to the ground. By
nature, you were just as lost as that young man. Before the Holy Spirit put faith
in your heart, you were just as blind, just as perverse and wicked as him. Even
now, as Christians, we still have that sinful nature dogging us. It tempts us to
rebel against God at every step. We still feel the pull, isn't it true? -We want to
strike out on our own, be independent, leave God and church and the
commandments behind. And every day, in one way or another, we sin. I don't
have to name those sins for you; you know what they are. You're naming them
for yourself in your mind right now.

That's when the Law of God kicks in. The Bible and our own conscience tells
us that we're wretched sinners, and they're right. We are. Unbelievable as it may
seem, God's mighty Law reveals to us the fact that we're not one bit better than
the prodigal son. That's what the Law is supposed to do, as Paul says,
"Scripture has confined all under sin." -- Gal 4:22. Could there ever be a "son"
this bad? Yes. That sinful son is me. That sinful son is you.

In the parable, the young man finally figured out that this vaunted
"independence" from his father wasn't so wonderful after all. That's always the
way with sin: it seems so beautiful and alluring at first, and it turns out to be so
bitter and wretched in the end. Sitting there starving in the pig pen, he literally
"came to his senses." He decided to return to his father. He could never be a
son again - that went without saying - but maybe his father would give him a
job as a hired man. Then at least he'd have food to eat.

Now if you ask me, this is where the story becomes totally unbelievable. The
ragged, starving youth tops the last hill and looks down on the home place. His
father catches sight of him. What happens next? Well, if I were writing a
realistic ending to the story, I'd have the father charge angrily up the hill with a
pitchfork, and chase him off the place with bitter threats and curses. That's
what he deserved, after all. Maybe the father would even kill him!

But Jesus' ending to the story seems absolutely unbelievable: But when he was
still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on
his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned
against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your
son.' 22 "But the father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it
on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the
fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was
dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'

We're supposed to believe that?! Not only did he forgive the young man on the
spot, he joyfully received him back! Restored his former status, not as a hired
man, but as his very own son! The father willingly gave his son back everything
he'd forfeited in his sinfulness. The sin is forgiven and forgotten, and in its place
is a celebration of joy.

Now I ask you. Could there ever be a "father" this good? And I think by now
you know the answer to that question. Yes - our Heavenly Father is exactly this
good to us! When we've turned away from Him, broken His commandments,
and struck out on our own sinful path, our Heavenly Father receives us back
not only with forgiveness, but with great joy. When we've sinned, and come to
Him in humble repentance, we don't see a stern face. We don't hear an angry
rebuke. What we hear is the gentle voice of the Lord's reassurance, "Fear not,
for I have put away your sin!" We don't have to wait a certain amount of time.
We don't have to go through any probationary period to see if we're really
sincere. For Jesus' sake we're simply forgiven, as soon as we ask.

And why? Because the punishment that our sin deserves has already been paid
by Jesus. Just like that father in the parable, our Heavenly Father had
compassion. Such great compassion, that He decided to allow Jesus to bear our
sins in His body on the cross. "God so loved the world, that He gave His only
begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have
everlasting life." --Jn 3:16. And now, rather than being lowly day-laborers, God
has given us the exalted position of members of the royal household, with all
the rights and privileges of sons. Instead of guilt and fear and doubt, God gives
us righteousness and peace and confidence through our Lord Jesus. Instead of
eternal death, we look forward with absolute certainty to a life of eternal
happiness in heaven.

We seldom use the word "prodigal" when we're not talking about this parable.
At least I don't. Do you know what it means? According to Webster the word
"prodigal" means, "lavish, extravagant, or wasteful." Someone once pointed out
that this story might better be called, "The Parable of the Prodigal FATHER."
For wasn't it the father, after all, who was most lavish and extravagant - almost
wasteful! - in the amount of love he poured out on his wretched son! And that
is exactly the way our Heavenly Father has lavished His love upon us wretched
sinners. As Paul said, Even when we were dead in trespasses, [God] made us
alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up
together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that
in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His
kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." Eph 2:5-7.

An incredible story, I think you'll agree. Could there ever be a "son" this bad?
Could there ever be a "father" this good? Can we really sing, with the hymnist:
"Chief of sinners though I be...Jesus shed His blood for ME?" Oh, each of us
knows in his heart that the first part is true. But thanks to the life-giving work
of the Holy Spirit, we believe the second part is true as well. Unbelievable as it
seems, this is our story. Jesus did shed His blood for us. All is forgiven. Today,
as you bow before the Lord's altar and confess your many sins, your Heavenly
Father has only two words for you - WELCOME HOME! AMEN.

Paul Naumann, Pastor
Ascension Lutheran Church, Tacoma WA

June 14, 2009

The Resurrection Utopia of the First Christian Congregation - Jun 14, 2009

“…prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:21 NIV) The Holy Spirit’s words which we consider today are from…

Acts 4:31-35 (NASB)

32And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. 33And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. 34For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales 35and lay them at the apostles' feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.

Grace and Peace be to you, from God our Father, and from our Master and Savior Jesus Christ.

A number of years ago I read a book by Alex Garland called, “The Beach”. It was later made into a movie that, of course, wasn’t as good as the book.

The story takes place on a secret beach in the Gulf of Thailand that is untouched by tourism and is hidden in the heart of a horseshoe shaped island. There a small community of people live what seems like the perfect existence.

They enjoy a tropical climate. A beautiful lagoon to swim in. Fish. Fruit. No disgusting pollution. No nine to five jobs. Just everlasting vacation.

Of course it doesn’t last. Problems arise that lead to conflict between members of the community. Conflict escalates to hatred. And eventually murder finds its way to the island paradise.

It’s appealing to people to think that they might be able to escape from the evils of society by simply relocating. But even if we could escape to a secret tropical Utopia, we could never escape the evil that lives inside our own hearts.

Or can we?

While it didn’t take place on an island, what the first Christian congregation experienced was a real Utopia. They were a unified community full of love and compassion.

Earlier in Acts this congregation is described in more detail. It says,

“42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:42-47 NIV).

This congregation was united. In their frequent gatherings they were joyful. They were concerned for each other, even to the point that people would voluntarily sell their possessions to provide for those in need. They were more than content. They didn’t just say, “I have enough”, they said, “Here, I’m fine, you take this, you need it.” And they trusted each other. Our text says that those who sold houses or lands to benefit their fellow Christians would just lay the money at the apostles feet. In effect they were saying, “Here, we trust that you’ll get this where it needs to go.”

So, where did this amazing unity come from? What is it that drew these people together into such an intimate, compassionate fellowship?

This isn’t just the little band of Christ’s followers that met together after Jesus’ ascension. By now the followers of Christ numbered in the thousands.

So what could draw such a huge group of opinionated, different back-grounded, strangers together like this?

I’d suggest to you today that their unity came from the Resurrection of Christ. Let me say it again, the first Christian congregation was what it was because the resurrection of Christ drew them together and united them like nothing else could. I’d also suggest, that if we as a congregation are to do great things in our community, Christ’s resurrection must be highlighted in our message and in our hearts.

If you turn back and read through the first six chapters of Acts you’ll find the apostles preaching what we call the Gospel, or the Good News of Jesus, a number of times. That Good News says that Jesus died so that our sins could be forgiven, and that all who trust in Him have this forgiveness. But if you go back and look, the apostles don’t stop at Christ’s death in the sinner’s place. They include His resurrection from the dead in their message.

In Acts one they chose a twelfth man to fill Judas’ empty spot as an apostle. But they said that it had to be someone who had been among them from John’s baptism of Jesus all the way to the resurrection.

On Pentecost, when Peter stood up and preached the Gospel to the masses of pilgrims gathering in Jerusalem he told them,

“God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact” (Acts 2:32 NIV).

After Peter had healed a crippled man in the Temple he had another opportunity to preach the Good News to the group of Jews who had actually been in the city when Jesus was crucified. To them he said,

“You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.” (Acts 3:15 NIV).

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,” (Acts 3:19 NIV).

And in our sermon text the apostles were still testifying to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and with great power.

The apostles never left out the resurrection of Christ because it was proof that Christ’s message was true. He was the Savior that God Himself had sent. All who look to Him for forgiveness are forgiven. And with sins forgiven, they are also set free from sin’s ruling over them in life.

The Resurrection means the same thing for me and you. If Christ is risen, our sins were paid for, and by faith we have received full pardon before God.

When you share the Good News of forgiveness with people, don’t forget to include the resurrection. It is key. Without it, the cross means nothing. With it, it means sure peace with God.

The resurrection of Christ was the fertile soil from which that first amazing Christian congregation sprung up. So, also as individuals we must root ourselves in the resurrection of Christ. With the resurrected Christ as our foundation and fixation, all other things will fall into place, by the hand of God.

Just like Jesus said, “seek first [God’s] kingdom and [God’s] righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33 NIV).

Now some look at the first Christian congregation and see communism. But this was not a forced sharing of goods. They were not required by apostolic law to give their possessions over to be put in the communal pot for even redistribution.

In Acts 5 we hear about Ananias and Sapphira, a married couple who were members of that first congregation. They sold a piece of land, kept back some of the money but then when they offered the rest to the apostles they said it was the whole amount they had received.

Peter scolded Ananias saying,

“Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God” (Acts 5:4 NIV).

Peter makes it clear. This was Ananias’ money to do with what he pleased.

Rather than forced communism, the sharing of resources in that first congregation was actually a voluntary expression of their faith in Christ. Because of Jesus they had received forgiveness of sins, and eternal life. In their daily lives then they were moved to live like Christ; selflessly, with care and generosity.

It wasn’t about communism, and it wasn’t primarily about people helping people either. This glimpse into the life of the early Christian church is all about Christ’s followers moved to gracious living. They trusted that the one who had Himself provided the Sacrifice for their sins would also provide their daily necessities. Therefore, they gave as their hearts moved them to.

We do not always agree with our fellow Christians. But despite our differences of opinion, we should appreciate the fellowship we have with each other because of Christ. Sitting beside you are people that God loved enough to die for. Treat them with that same love. Forgive them. Support them. Love them. Be patient with them.

And help your fellow Christians to grow in Christ by oiling the gears of human interaction with selflessness. Let me repeat that, we oil the gears of human interaction with selfless acts.

Recently our own congregation has had some money problems. We were falling short of our budgeted goals, and with reserve funds dwindling down we were concerned that we’d have to take some kind of drastic action. Many of us were afraid that our school was in Jeopardy. One of the things we talked about doing if needed was selling off a piece of our property, essentially to pay bills.

While we didn’t think this was a lasting solution, it did remind us that this building and property are assets that God has given us. And if Christ is best served by liquidating those assets, so be it.

This is the same line of thought that individuals in that first Christian congregation were led to by the Holy Spirit. Trusting in Christ’s forgiveness they were sent down the road to further spiritual enlightenment. They came to understand that all their possessions were means to an end. The same is true of our own skills and time. All that God gives us are tools that can be utilized in one way our another to serve our Savior.

This is something that we need to learn and relearn. Everything that we have is a means to an end.

In Paul’s letter to pastor Titus, he writes,

“14Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives” (Titus 3:14 NIV).

I have time, how can I use it to build myself in Christ and encourage other Christians? Not I have extra time, but simply I have been given time. How will I use that means. To what end will it serve.

I can do things, how can I use my gifts to know Jesus more closely?

I have a voice, how can I use that voice to provide what someone else needs?

All that is material in our lives can be made to serve the spiritual. With Christ as our foundation and fixation, let us gravitate away from greed and materialism toward generosity and a focus on Christ’s spiritual reign in our lives. Then we will see material things for what they are – a means to an end.

We began our meditation by talking about Alex Garland’s book, “The Beach” with it’s little group of people seeking to escape from society to a tropical Utopia.

In that story, their community fell apart because their common bond was a desire to enjoy themselves. Far from selfless, their “unifying” characteristic was selfishness. And so the ideal human community eluded them.

But in our resurrected Savior we have a common bond that cannot be so easily broken. Let us return to our living Savior in our daily thoughts and prayers. Let us continually re-center our unity on Christ Jesus and His Word. Unified in Him, selflessness will follow. Compassion will follow. Generosity will follow. Enlightenment by the Holy Spirit will follow. Blessings of untold variety will follow.


The Peace of God , which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

June 6, 2009

Confirmation Sunday Examination - Jun 7, 2009

It is Confirmation Sunday, so we will not have a sermon. In a sense, the sermon will be preached by our confirmands as they answer the questions of examination.

This is not a test. These young women have already been deemed ready to become communicant members of Redemption Evangelical Lutheran Church. This is an opportunity for them to publicly demonstrate the fruit of their studies.

This is also an opportunity for all of us to review some of the fundamental truths of Luther’s Catechism. How many times last year did you pick up your old Catechism to read in and meditate on? Now is an opportunity to be refreshed and reminded of some of the fundamental truths of the Christian faith.

As the questions are asked, answer them in your head. And maybe when you get home, dig out that Catechism and set it on your nightstand.



1. What are the two most important teachings of the Bible? -Law and Gospel
2. What does God teach us by the Law? -What He wants us to do and not to do
3. When we compare our lives to God’s Law, what else does God teach us? -We are sinners who deserve the punishment of death and damnation.
4. Can a sinner get to heaven by following God’s Laws? –No.

#24. Romans 3:20 Law
“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

5. What does the word Gospel mean? -Good News
6. What good news does the Gospel tell us? -The Good News that God sent Jesus to take away the sins of all people.
7. What is the main purpose of the Bible? -To lead all people to know and believe that Jesus is their only hope of salvation.
8. What do we have to do to earn eternal life? –Nothing, it is a gift from God, given through faith in Jesus.

#4. Romans 6:23 The Good News
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Chapter to Remember (CTR): Where might I read about how Jesus suffered an died for my sins? –Matthew 26-27


Closely related to the great teachings of “Law and Gospel” is the power of the “Keys”. Luther’s Catechism explains, “The use of the keys is that special power and right which Christ gave to his church on earth: to forgive the sins of penitent sinners but to refuse forgiveness to the impenitent as long as they do not repent.”

9. What do we call the two keys that Christ gave His church to use? -Binding Key and the Loosing Key
10. On what kind of sinner is the binding key to be used? -Impenitent sinner
11. Who is really speaking to the sinner when the binding key is used? -God Himself
12. When the binding key is used we hope that the sinner does what? -Repent and come to God for forgiveness

CTR: Where might I read about someone repenting in the Bible? –David’s Repentance, Psalm 51

13. On what kind of sinner is the loosing key to be used? -Penitent Sinner
14. When the loosing key is used how do we hope that sinner feels? -Comforted by Christ’s Forgiveness
15. Who is really speaking to the sinner when the loosing key is used? -God Himself

#30. Matthew 18:18-20 The Keys
“I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”


16. What are the two parts of confession? -Confession and absolution
17. What happens in the confession part? -We admit to God that we have sinned but don’t want to anymore. We ask Him to forgive us.
18. What happens in the absolution part? -We hear the announcement that our sins are forgiven because of Jesus.
19. What are the two main reasons we confess our sins to God? -God tells us to in the Bible, and we know He forgives us when we do.
20. How do we know that God will forgive us when we confess our sins to Him? -He says so in His Word.

#23. 1 John 1:8-9 Sinful Nature
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”


The Christian life is tainted with sin. But those sins are always followed with repentance. And because Jesus died on the cross in our place, our Great God always responds to genuine repentance with complete forgiveness. A Christian’s life is one of sin and grace, confession and absolution, failure and forgiveness - through Jesus Christ.


OLD TESTAMENT Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NIV)

4Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

GOSPEL Matthew 6:25-34 (NKJV)

25“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
28“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

LETTER 2 Timothy 3:10-17 (NIV)

10You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.


21. Who wrote the Bible? -Many men over hundreds of years
22. Who authored the Bible? -God the Holy Spirit
23. Some people believe the Bible can be trusted when it comes to spiritual things, but not history. What would you say? –The Bible is God’s Word and contains no mistakes and is trustworthy at every point.

#1. 2 Tim 3:16 (NIV) Inspiration
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,”

CTR Quiz:

Fall into sin, first promise -Genesis 3
God’s Call to Abraham -Genesis 12
Moses at the burning bush -Exodus 3
David and Goliath -1 Samuel 17
Jesus on the cross -Psalm 22
Suffering servant of God -Isaiah 53
Daniel in the lion’s den -Daniel 6
Jesus birth -Luke 2
Sermon on the Mount -Matthew 5-7
Lazarus raised from the dead -John 11
Jesus’ Suffering and Death -Matthew 26-27
Jesus’ Resurrection -Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20
Ascension -Acts 1
Giving ourselves to God -Romans 12
Heroes of Faith -Hebrews 11
Judgment Day -Revelation 20
Heaven -Revelation 21-22


Recite: Commandments.

1. You shall have no other gods.
2. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
3. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
4. You shall honor your father and your mother that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.
5. You shall not murder
6. You shall not commit adultery
7. You shall not steal.
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his workers, nor his animals, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.

24. God’s Law has three different uses. What are they? (Explain each) –Curb people from sinning greatly, Mirror to show us our own sinfulness, Guide to help us know exactly what God’s good will is.

CTR: Where might I find this handy summary of God’s will for humankind? –Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5

#26. Matthew 22:37-39 Summary of the Law
“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”


The apostle Paul speaks of two basic reasons for knowing the Bible. First, so that we can know God’s own Son, and receive His salvation, the forgiveness of sins. The second reason we are compelled to know the Bible is so that we are equipped and empowered for doing whatever God wants us to do.



25. What is a Creed? -Statement of what a person believes.
26. The Apostles’ Creed speaks about the Triune God. What does Triune mean? -Three in one. God is three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and yet only ONE God.
27. The Apostles’ Creed tells us about three main things that the Triune God has done for us. What are these three things? –Created, Redeemed and Sanctifies us.

CTR: Where can I read about how God created the universe? –Creation of the World, Genesis 1

#15. John 17:3 The Good News
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
#35. Romans 12:2 (NKJV) Sanctification
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”


Our Sunday worship service is a microcosm of the Christian life. On Sunday we confess our sins to God and receive His forgiveness. We praise Him. We pray to Him. We learn from His Bible, and in the Creed we proclaim what we believe about the one true God. God move us to do these things not only on Sunday but Monday through Saturday too.



28. What does the word “Grace” mean? -Undeserved love
29. What does the word “Means” mean? -The Way something gets from point A to point B
30. God’s undeserved love comes to us through His Word heard and believed. It also comes to us through His sacraments. What does the word “sacrament” mean? -Holy Act
31. Sacrament is not a word found in the Bible. But as Lutherans define a sacrament having three things in common. What are these three things?-Instituted by Christ, Involve God’s Word and an earthly element, The offers and seal the forgiveness of sins.
32. How many sacraments are there? -Two: Baptism and Holy Communion.


33. What is Baptism? -“Baptism is not just plain water, but it is water used by God’s command and connected with God’s Word”

#18. Matthew 28:19 Baptism

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”

#21. Acts 22:16 Baptism

“And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’”

34. What makes Baptism so powerful? –Word of God used with the water
35. We Baptize babies for three reasons. What are they? –The are part of “All Nations”, Sinful, Can believe
36. What two things are required for a valid Baptism? –Water and God’s Words Used
37. Which member of the Trinity is at work in Baptism? –Holy Spirit
38. Why should our Baptisms comfort us still today? –Baptism means a connection to Christ by the creation of faith. Sins covered. God’s Name on me makes me part of God’s family and an heir of heaven.

#19. Galatians 3:26-27 Baptism
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”


39. What meal were Jesus and His disciples eating when He instituted Holy Communion? –Jesus’ last Passover Supper
40. What earthly elements are used in Holy Communion? -bread and wine
41. Jesus tells us that His real body and blood are present with the bread and wine. What do we call this teaching? -The Real Presence

#27. Luke 22:19-20 The Lord’s Supper
“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

CTR: Where else can a person read about the Lord’s Supper? –Matt 26, Mark 14, 1 Cor 11

42. Does Holy Communion ever hurt people? When? -When taken without faith in Jesus
43. Why are we so sure that communion strengthens our faith? -Because it points us to Christ’s Cross and how He gave Himself for our forgiveness

#28. 1 Corinthians 11:27 (NKJV) The Lord’s Supper
“Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.”

44. What can we do to prepare ourselves to receive Holy Communion? –review the commandments and remember how sinful we are, remember Christ’s cross and How He is our great Savior


The Good News that our sins have been forgiven through the life and death of Jesus Christ is communicated to us through words spoken. In the Sacraments this message comes to us in a visible tangible way. The gifts of Baptism and Holy Communion are evidence of God’s creativity and His thoughtful love. He washes us. He feeds us. Like a tender parent washes and feeds a dearly loved child.



45. What is prayer? -Speaking to God from the heart

#10. Psalm 50:15 God Delivers
“Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”
#11. Philippians 4:6 Prayer
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God”

46. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches us to pray to God calling Him “Our Father”. How then should we pray to God? –With boldness and confidence as dear children ask their dear father.
47. We know that God’s good and gracious will certainly is done even without our prays. So, why do we pray “Your will be done”? –We are asking that God’s will be done among us also.
48. How does God deliver us from evil? (three ways) –keeps the evil far from us, lets it touch us but causes good to come out of it, allows our death so that we are rescued from this sinful world and brought home to Him forever


Martin Luther is quoted as giving the following advice, “Pray, and let God worry”. In prayer God invites His followers to give over their burdens to Him. To remember that He is our watchful and powerful King. To open our innermost thoughts and desire up to He who can actually do something about them, and who always does.


All through Catechism we’ve used Luther’s Catechism to help us learn. As you can see from our examination, Luther’s Catechism doesn’t seek to teach Luther’s thoughts and ideas, but Gods thoughts as expressed in the Bible. We call ourselves Lutheran not because we worship a man, but because we agree with Luther. We are saved by God’s Grace, through Faith in Christ Jesus, and this sure message of God comes through the Word alone.

You are already Baptized members of Redemption Church. Why do you wish to remain a member of this Church?