A Congregation at Prayer ~ September 26-October 2, 2016 ~ The Ninth & Tenth Commandments
Catechesis Notes for the Week— The Ninth and Tenth Commandments--This week’s Bible Passage is the Lord’s call to: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness...” As we meditate upon the Ninth and Tenth Commandments this week, which forbid covetousness (the idolatrous desire of the heart), we are called to DESIRE and YEARN for Christ and His righteousness above all things. Jesus’ words are a call to faith in Him. It is as if He were saying, “I am your God and Savior! I have taken your sin and punishment upon Myself. I have died for you upon the cross. My blood cleanses you from all sin. I forgive you all your sin on account of My death for you. My righteousness covers you. I am the source of your life and salvation. If you have Me by faith, then you will have all things that you need because I have redeemed and saved you and I will never abandon you. All that you need I will surely give you.” “Therefore,” as Jesus’ words go on to say, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” The sin of covetousness arises out of the rebellious, unbelieving heart that does not believe that Jesus and His righteousness are sufficient to supply us with all that we need and that He, Himself, is the greatest joy and delight of our hearts. Therefore, covetousness is not merely the desiring of wrong things or good things that we shouldn’t have, but more importantly, it is the belief that Christ is not enough for us. The only thing any of us really lack is Christ and His righteousness, but the wonder of the Gospel is that the One whom we lack—the only Good One—actually gives Himself to us as a free gift of His grace that we might live in Him.
A Congregation at Prayer ~ September 19-25, 2016 ~ The Seventh & Eighth Commandments
Catechesis Notes for the Week— The Seventh and Eighth Commandments--In the Seventh Commandment, “You shall not steal,” God wishes to protect His gift of property. Christians have a unique perspective on temporal goods. We are given our property that we might use it for the benefit of others. The Catechism declares that we are to help our neighbor “to improve and protect his possessions and income.” This is a concrete expression of love. In the Eighth Commandment, “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor,” God wishes to protect the gift of a good name and reputation. We are not only called to speak the truth in love to our neighbor and for our neighbor’s benefit, but we are also called to use our tongue to cover the sin and shame of others. We are called to “defend [our neighbor], speak well of him, and explain everything [about him] in the kindest way.” This week’s verse is a portion of Jesus’ catechesis on the Eighth Commandment in which He instructs us that our speech should be governed by the truth of God’s Word, anything other than this is of the devil: “Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one."
A Congregation at Prayer ~ September 12-18, 2016 ~ The Fifth & Sixth Commandments
Catechesis Notes for the Week— The Fifth and Sixth Commandments--In the Second Table of the Law we see especially the gifts of creation that God wishes to protect and through which He brings many blessings to us. The Fifth Commandment, “You shall not murder,” teaches us that human life is sacred. After the Flood, God instituted capital punishment for murder precisely because man was made in the image of God (Genesis 9:5-7). By the Fifth Commandment God wishes to protect human life. Inflicting physical harm upon someone, abortion and euthanasia, as well as hatred and grudge-bearing, are all forms of murder forbidden under the Fifth Commandment. The Sixth Commandment, “You shall not commit adultery,” teaches us that marriage and sexuality are gifts of God to be used and enjoyed in the way that God created them. According to God’s Word, marriage is only between one man and one woman for life. Sexuality is a gift of God that is to be used for the most intimate expression of love within the one flesh union of marriage and for the procreation of children. All forms of adultery, homosexuality, and divorce are forbidden under the Sixth Commandments. The sanctity of human life and marriage is taught by Jesus in this week’s Bible Verse. The Fifth and Sixth Commandments not only forbid murder and adultery, but they also teach how love is expressed according to these commandments. We are called to “help and be of service to our neighbor in every physical need” and “to lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do,” loving the spouse that God has given us in marriage.
A Congregation at Prayer ~ September 5-11, 2016 ~ The Third & Fourth Commandments
Catechesis Notes for the Week—Labor Day--As we pray this week during our country’s observance of Labor Day, we are reminded that as Christians we see our life’s work as the means by which we serve our neighbor in love. The work that God has called us to is not principally for our own benefit, but for the benefit of our neighbor. God loves, cares for, provides and helps others through the service of Christians who live faithfully in their vocations. The strength to be faithful in our daily work comes from the Lord’s forgiving Word, and by our work for others we reflect and confess our Savior whose work brought the gift of salvation to all people.
Luther's Small Catechism
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