Galatians Bible Study, Pt. 36: Freedom by Faith

Class #36:  “For Christ has set us free, not for a political freedom or a freedom of the flesh but for a theological or spiritual freedom, that is, to make our conscience free and joyful, unafraid of the wrath to come.  This is the most genuine freedom; it is immeasurable” (LW, Vol. 27, p.4).

1 John 1:6-10 speaks of our Christian freedom from sin.  Believers do not walk in darkness.  Yet, it is not that we are sin-free.  We continually confess our sin and He continually forgives and cleanses us.  We say, “No,” to our own sinful nature and fight against it.  The Gospel promises freedom from sin, law, death, wrath, and the devil.  Through faith in Christ, I do not fear death, as I have the promise of eternal life.  Christ has taken the wrathful curse so that the devil’s accusations are not true.  I am not going to hell for my sins, I am forgiven.

“Therefore one’s spirit must be trained, so that when it becomes conscious of the accusation of the Law, the terrors of sin, the horror of death and the wrath of God, it will banish these sorrowful scenes from its sight and will replace them with the freedom of Christ, the forgiveness of sins, righteousness, life, and the eternal mercy of God” (LW, Vol. 27, p.5)

Overhead: Galatians Class 36 Overhead
Handout: Freedom Study 2 in the Conscience

#57- Those Who Are Hostile To The Word and Hostile to God

“Therefore Christ says here: ‘You seek to kill Me, because My Word finds no place in you. Whence comes this sin, that you begrudge Me My life and want to take it from Me? Could you be free and rid of sin? Is it possible that you are Abraham’s seed? No, you must be God’s enemies and murderers. You are motivated by the foremost sin, enmity toward God. If you were well-disposed toward God, you would also be well-disposed toward Me. My Word finds no place in you. To be sure, God’s Word does assail you; but you do not mend your ways. I am catching nothing with My net. Indeed, I cast My Word among you; but you are averse to it and hostile to God. It follows that since you hate My Word and oppose it, you must also be hostile to Me. God has the advantage that you cannot kill Him. Me, however, you can kill, since I am mortal.’ Therefore an unbeliever is a murderer of God and of man, whether he be called Abraham’s seed or anything else. For if he could kill God, suppress the truth, and exterminate the divine Word, he would do so. Subsequently he also becomes a murderer of man.

This sermon is directed against the boasting of the Jews, who assumed that they, as Abraham’s seed, could not perish. Gross arrogance is now making itself felt in the papacy, yes, also among us. Many of us say boastfully: ‘We are evangelicals; we have learned this doctrine well.’ They brag that everything they do is right. They expect the Gospel to yield to their pleasure, just as the Jews supposed that because they were Abraham’s seed they could do as they pleased. The pope and the bishops also believe that their Baptism authorizes them to do as they choose in the church and in Christendom (Luther’s Works, v. 23, p. 418).

Galatians Bible Study, Pt. 35 Freedom from Wrath (in the Conscience)

Class #35:  Last Sunday we began with a thematic overview of freedom and St. Paul’s summary statement in 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty/freedom by which Christ has made us free.”

This Sunday we begin to unpack the New Testament liberty/freedom that we have in Christ.  The law cannot secure our freedom, either by refraining from sin or by doing good works.  It cannot provide freedom from wrath.  Only faith in Christ created by the Word of Gospel can set us free from the eternal wrath of God.

For what answer was St. John the Baptist looking when he said to the Pharisees and Sadducees, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”

Overhead: Galatians Class 35 Overhead
Handout: Freedom Study 2 in the Conscience

#56- Apart From Christ, You Are Not Free. The Devil is Riding You!

“Christ means to say here: ‘Now you see what two great virtues are yours! You are hostile to God and to your fellow men who do not see eye to eye with you. Therefore you are not free; you are committing these two sins, and the devil is riding you.’  The pope cannot show a greater affinity with the devil than by being hostile to all that God and man say and do. These two sins are two great lords and emperors. When they take possession of a man, he would like to see all the world dead. The pope, his bishops and princes, yes, the burghers, the peasants, and all men now do this; they are all enemies of God and man. They do not want to have the truth preached to them, nor can they bear to have a person who cites God’s Word assail their evil ways. Therefore they would be glad to kill all if they could. That is the source of damning, judging, condemning, defaming, and killing. That is Abraham’s seed.

‘Now, you noble little beast, you herblet, you little fruit, you floweret, are you Abraham’s seed? It is the devil’s seed that you are!’ According to their flesh and blood, they are Abraham’s seed; but according to their works, they are the devil’s seed. Similarly, the pope is the Christian Church inasmuch as he holds to Baptism, the Gospel, and Holy Writ; but since he is the enemy of God and of all Christians, he has fallen away from Christ and Baptism and has the devil as his father. He and all his cardinals, bishops, monks, and priests are children of the devil; for they are all murderers and liars (Luther’s Works, v. 23, p. 417-418).

Catechesis on Trinity Nine (Luke 16:1-13)

On Wednesday nights, Trinity Lutheran Church(Herrin, IL) offers to both children and adults an opportunity for teaching with Learn-by-Heart at 6:30 PM and a catechetical service at 7:00.

In this video from August 9, 2017, we learned stanza 1 of “The Will of God Is Always Best” (Lutheran Worship, #425), the fifth commandment and meaning from Luther’s Small Catechism.  This service is designed to prepare God’s people for the theme of the upcoming Sunday Divine Service.  The dialog sermon explains Jesus’ teaching on the shrewd manager (St. Luke 16:1-13), which is the Holy Gospel for the Ninth Sunday after Trinity.

The service concludes with “Recite Word by Word” (pdf link below).  [Length: 1 hour, 5 minutes]

Bulletins: Catechesis Trinity 9 – 8-9-2017
Responsive Prayer: Recite Word by Word

Galatians Bible Study, Pt. 34: Freedom

Class #34:  The Galatians Bible Study restarts after a summer hiatus. We begin with a thematic overview of freedom and St. Paul’s summary statement in 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty/freedom by which Christ has made us free.”

The general idea of freedom is “to be at one’s own disposal” (in contrast with a slave). With political freedom, the laws (constitution) form the limits of individual freedom and protect that freedom.  With philosophical freedom, man seeks an independent self-determination by withdrawal from that which oppresses (false dogma from the world, inner desires, etc. ) so that there is an inward peace and control of the inner soul.

St. Paul’s liberty/freedom as taught by the New Testament is quite different from those ideas.  Galatians 4:7 says, “You are no longer a slave but a son….”  Man cannot be a free agent either outwardly or inwardly; there is no self-dominion(Romans 6:20-22, 7:23). Believers in Jesus Christ have been given a liberty/freedom of which St. Paul exhorts us to stand fast in it(5:1). It is freedom from sin, law, God’s wrath, and death.

Overhead: Galatians Class 34 Overhead
Handout: Galatians Bible Study Chapter 4 21 thru 31

#55- Those Under the Devil are both Liars and Murderers

“This was also the case in Paradise. When the devil had diverted Adam from truth to falsehood and had taken his soul by lies, he also robbed him of his life and gave him death. Then he had the entire man. Thus the bishops boast today that they are the Christian Church, but they will not tolerate the truth about Christ. They suppress it and thereby confirm their lies. If we do not admit that they are right, they hang, drown, burn, and exile us. Thus the burghers, the peasants, and the noblemen now vent their hatred and envy on us if we do not bow to their will. Nor are the bigwigs kindly inclined toward the preachers who tell them the truth.

He who falls away from Christ and His Word and does not stand right with Him becomes a slave to these two sins. He becomes a liar, an enemy of the truth, and an enemy of his neighbors life. Fine virtues, indeed, are displayed by the man who through lies becomes so base as to be hostile to God and man and unable to bear the truth! He is antagonistic to our Lord God, who permits him to hear the truth. If he could kill God, he would be glad to do so. He does his utmost, however, by blaspheming, cursing, and reviling Him. And he murders and kills man. Christ means to say here: ‘Now you see what two great virtues are yours! You are hostile to God and to your fellow men who do not see eye to eye with you. Therefore you are not free; you are committing these two sins, and the devil is riding you.’” (Luther’s Works, v. 23, p. 417).

Catechesis on Trinity Six (St. Matthew 5:17-26)

On Wednesday nights, Trinity Lutheran Church(Herrin, IL) offers to both children and adults an opportunity for teaching with Learn-by-Heart at 6:30 PM and a catechetical service at 7:00.

In this video from July 19, 2017, we learned stanza 1 of “The Will of God Is Always Best” (Lutheran Worship, #425), the third commandment and meaning from Luther’s Small Catechism.  This service is designed to prepare God’s people for the theme of the upcoming Sunday Divine Service.  The dialog sermon explains Jesus’ teaching on His own fulfillment of the Law (Matthew 5:17-26), which is the Holy Gospel for the Sixth Sunday after Trinity.

The service concludes with “Recite Word by Word” (pdf link below).  [Length: 1 hour, 2 minutes]

Bulletins: Catechesis Trinity 6 – 7-19-2017
Responsive Prayer: Recite Word by Word