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Galatians Introduction

 Galatians Introduction

Galatians Introduction

Wednesday Bible Study Notes

Galatians - Introduction

Why read the Epistle to the Galatians?  God wants to establish the righteousness of faith, so that we may have a perfect knowledge and know the difference between Christian righteousness and all other kinds of righteousness.

What other kinds of righteousness are there?  

  1. There is a political righteousness, which the emperor, the princes of the world, philosophers, and lawyers consider

  2. There is also a ceremonial righteousness, which human traditions teach.  Parents and teachers may teach this righteousness without danger, because they do not attribute to it any power to make satisfaction for sin, to placate God, and to earn grace; but they teach that these ceremonies are necessary only for moral discipline and for certain observances.

  3. There is, in addition to these, yet another righteousness, the righteousness of [the Law or of ]the Decalog, which Moses teaches. We, too, teach this, but after the doctrine of faith.

Note:  these kinds of the righteousness of works are gifts of God, as are all the things we have.

God will teach us faith-righteousness in this Bible study.  Therefore it is appropriate to call the righteousness of faith [or christian righteousness] “passive.” This is a righteousness hidden in a mystery, which the world does not understand. in fact, christians themselves do not adequately understand it or grasp it in the midst of their temptations. therefore it must always be taught and continually exercised. and anyone who does not grasp or take hold of it in afflictions and terrors of conscience cannot stand. For there is no comfort of conscience so solid and certain as is this passive righteousness.

What is the problem?  When the Law shows us our sin, our past life immediately comes to our mind. Then the sinner, in his great anguish of mind, groans and says to himself: “Oh, how damnably I have lived!  If only I could live longer! Then I would amend my life.” Thus human reason cannot refrain from looking at active righteousness, that is, its own righteousness; nor can it shift its gaze to passive, that is, Christian righteousness, but it simply rests in the active righteousness. So deeply is this evil rooted in us, and so completely have we acquired this unhappy habit!

It is a marvelous thing and unknown to the world to teach Christians to ignore the Law and to live before God as though there were no Law whatever. For if you do not ignore the Law and thus direct your thoughts to grace as though there were no Law but as though there were nothing but grace, you cannot be saved. “For through the Law comes knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20). On the other hand, works and the performance of the Law must be demanded in the world as though there were no promise or grace. This is because of the stubborn, proud, and hardhearted, before whose eyes nothing must be set except the Law, in order that they may be terrified and humbled. For the Law was given to terrify and kill the stubborn and to exercise the old man.  Both words must be correctly divided, according to the apostle (2 Tim. 2:25 ff.).

Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 26: Lectures on Galatians, 1535, Chapters 1-4, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 26 (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999), 6.

Acts 1:6-14 The Ascension

 Acts 1 6-14 The Ascension

Acts 1 6-14 The Ascension

Sunday Bible Study

Acts 1:6-14

September 16, 2018

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Kingdom of Israel. The apostles are understanding this phrase as a restoration of religious teaching at the temple and their release from Roman rule.

Lord. It is more than a title but also has the Biblical meaning of Savior.  (Yahweh)

Times or seasons.  Times are long stretches.  Since Christ’s Ascension, we live in the End Times until the Last Day.  Some groups speak of the ages. Some argue that the New Testament doesn’t concern us because Jesus was teaching to a different age.  Some speak of “millenia” and are concerned about the pre or post millenium return of Jesus. The New Testament (and Old) are for all times.  The majority of the Christian church around the world holds to a solid Scriptural “amilenialism”. Seasons are shorter stretches of time, for example, the summer season or the winter season.  All of these times are seasons are known only to our Father.

You will receive power.  The apostles will receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  The Holy Spirit will give them a specific power - they are witnesses to proclaim Christ.  The apostles will fill the world with their preaching and writing. Their witness is not just for their time but for the church in all times and places until the coming of Jesus.

You shall be witnesses to Me.  In the sense that the apostles were witnesses to Christ no one else can be.  They were eyewitnesses to all Jesus to all the great things Jesus said and did that cannot be repeated.  They received the gift of inspiration (John 14:26; 15:26-27) to witness about Jesus, not themselves. No one else has received this gift since the apostles.  However, the apostle Peter tells us that we have something better than their eyewitness, we have the Holy Scriptures which are inspired and inerrant (2Peter 1:19-21).  So the apostles confirmed the miracles with their eyewitness and recorded that confirmed eyewitness for all in this end time. And now you have the inspired and inerrant eyewitness recorded which gives all baptized and believing people to be witnesses of all that Jesus said and did.  The witness continues. You have received this power (Holy Spirit) who gives faith through this witness (Holy Scripture).

Jesus Ascends to Heaven

9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

He was taken up Jesus bodily rises until hidden by a cloud.  This is as much as a miracle as Jesus’ conception (by Holy Spirit) birth (of the virgin Mary) crucified, suffered, and died (under Pontius Pilate) descended (into hell) rose from the dead (on the third day) ascended (into heaven) seated (at the right hand of God).  He didn’t keep going up and up. He bodily entered heaven (unseen creation).

While they looked...two men stood by them in white apparel  Angels confirm this mighty act of Jesus even while it is occuring.  Luke also records two angels appearing in Luke 24:4 to confirm the resurrection of Jesus.  Great artists depict angels as men, both beautiful and strong. This is Biblical.

This same Jesus...will also come in like manner.  Jesus will return bodily from heaven on the last day too.  We speak of Jesus coming to us bodily in three ways. He came the first time at His birth (Christmas).  He will come on the Last Day in the same manner He ascended into heaven. Third, He comes to us bodily in the mean of grace, most specifically in Holy Communion.  The culmination of Luke Gospel is that Jesus appeared on the road to Emmaus. He explained the Scriptures (preach and teach) but their eyes were opened and they knew Him in the breaking of the bread (Holy Communion).

The Upper Room Church Service

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. 13 And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. 14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

Unlike the saints, Jesus is both in heaven and on earth, even in His resurrected body.  Heaven is where Jesus is. Jesus continues to serve on earth by means of His Word. Jesus is bodily with us.  He is Immanuel - God with us. Let us pray…..

Trinity 16 Jesus Touches Your Coffin

 Luke 7:11-17 Jesus Touches Your Coffin

Luke 7:11-17 Jesus Touches Your Coffin

Luke 7:11-17

Raising the Widow’s Son in Nain

Grace and mercy to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

The Lord has written, “Jesus presented the resurrected man to His mother.”  Thus far the text.

Let us pray: Creator Father, whom Jesus presents us to You as Your children, visit us this morning by granting us Your Holy Spirit and granting us the faith of Your Son; in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Funeral processions have the right of way.  Family and friends drive in procession to the cemetery to bury a loved one.  Oncoming traffic pulls off to the side of the road....and waits. It is a sign of respect.  

Just this year, Irene Meyer and Lillian Graf, such blessed memories of them, received this respect.  I rode with them to the cemetery. Traffic stopped. Their graves were sanctified with the living Word of God.  They now rest until the Day of Resurrection. Thanks be to God.

Jesus has something to say about funeral processions, whether Irene’s or Lillian’s or the many loved ones with whom you processed to the cemetery for the committal service.

The boy from Nain is being processed to the cemetery.  His widowed mother is in that procession as well as family and friends and half the town of Nain.  It is a procession of death.

But there is another procession.

Jesus and many of His disciples are processing toward Nain.  It is written that in Jesus is Life and the Life is the Light of men.  Jesus is the Light that entered into this darkened word and the darkness does not overcome the Light.  Jesus is leading the procession of Life.

A procession of death meets the procession of Life.  They both stop.

Notice here the kindness and generosity Jesus show this widow.

This widow has not done anything to deserve such kindness or generosity.

This widow has no reason to expect she will go home with her son after the funeral so she didn’t even ask for it.

This widow does not know who Jesus Christ is other than one of those people who pulls over for a funeral procession and then goes about their own life.

This widow didn’t prepare to meet Jesus.  She is leaving the city for the cemetery to bury her son as she did not long ago to bury her husband.

Jesus Christ shows kindness and generosity out of sympathy toward her.  Jesus remains the God of grace.

No one believe that Jesus is kind and generous.  This fallen world is blind. And as you know, even today some keep driving passed a funeral procession or speed through an intersection to avoid a funeral procession.  No one believes that Jesus is kind and generous.

Why?  Because the devil is the god of this world (small “g” god).  The devil has great power on earth so that we do not see the work of God or recognize Him to be kind and generous.  As the Lord has written in 2 Corinthians 4:4, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

Therefore we do not appreciate neither the Lord’s kindness nor His generosity.  We misuse His mercies. We are unthankful for the good things He does for us.

This is our repentance for this morning.

Think of our living bodies for we are not dead yet.

Irene, of blessed memory, appreciated her body before it became weakened and painful but appreciated her body all the more after her loss.  And she gave thanks to God.

Lillian, also of blessed memory, appreciated her eyes before her sight ebbed away, along with her hearing, but appreciated them all the more after she lost them.  And she gave thanks to God.

At times, God permits some of us to fall into anxiety and need to the point that it seems like creation has no God (big “G” god).  In seems like a cold world when blindness, paralysis, or death touch us such as the widow’s son. For we are all creatures of the Creator.  And God can do with us, His creation, as He wills. This is true.

But again, why?  Why does our Creator God touch us with such curses?

Our Creator Father does it in such abundance  - ONLY - that we may continually experience His kindness and generosity.  That we may fear nothing but losing Him. That we who like the widow deserve nothing good, who do not expect anything good so we don’t ask or pray for His kindness or generosity, who don’t know the Lord’s in His kindness and generosity like we should, and don’t prepare to meet Jesus in the midst of misfortune, yet His is still good to us.

There was another mini collision of death and life recorded in John chapter 9.  It is written:

Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”  3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. 4 I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

What a blessing!  Jesus healed the blind man and Jesus has already touched your  coffin because you are baptized and continue to believe in Jesus.  Jesus is still in the world. Let us who are unable to recognize Jesus’ kindness and generosity in our good fortune at least know them in our misfortune.   And give thanks to God.

But THE major collision occurred not at the city gate of Nain or Muscatine but Jerusalem.  It was there that Jesus, bloodied and condemned to death by crucifixion, headed up the greatest Parade of Life.  To the cross.

Many stopped to watch this procession, this parade, to throw insults instead of candy, to ridicule rather than respect the God of Life who Light is never overcome by the darkness of those who are perishing in their funeral procession to hell.

The Parade of Life is here this morning even as the resurrected Jesus is bodily among us this morning.  Thank God, that today a seven-year-old child knows who is in the Parade of Life. Or to say it more formally, thank God, a seven-year-old child knows what the Church is, namely, the holy believers and lambs who hear the voice of their Shepherd [John 10:11–16]. 3 For the children pray, “I believe in one holy Christian Church.”Paul Timothy McCain, ed., Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2005), 283.