Galatians Bible Class, Pt. 51: A Good Conscience

Class #51:  The vainglorious, false teachers who were active at Galatia really thought that they were something! Instead of exhibiting love toward the neighbor, their selfish ambition to please others led them to mercilessly demand obedience to their own laws.  When St. Paul says, “Let each one examine his own work, then he will have rejoicing in himself alone and not in another,” he is teaching about a true Christian’s sanctification, as opposed to those who seek their own glory.  None of our works grant peace with God, that peace only comes from faith in Jesus Christ.  When the Christian seeks to do his work properly so that God is pleased, he will have a good conscience within him.

We are to consider ourselves, not on the basis of man’s approval or in comparison with others, but in accordance with our God-given vocation and on the basis of whether God is pleased, not men. The Small Catechism says, “Consider your place in life according to the Ten Commandments,” and “…that all my doings and life may please you.”  Knowing that our meager accomplishments are due to the grace of God in gifting us with everything that we have–our competence comes from God–we ought to think of ourselves in humility.

Overhead:Galatians Class 51 Overheads
Handout: Galatians Bible Study Chapter 5 26 thru 6 10

#16-God’s Ordinance: “Be Fruitful and Multiply”

“In the second place, after God had made man and woman he blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply” [Gen. 1:28]. From this passage we may be assured that man and woman should and must come together in order to multiply. Now this [ordinance] is just as inflexible as the first, and no more to be despised and made fun of than the other, since God gives it his blessing and does something over and above the act of creation. Hence, as it is not within my power not to be a man, so it is not my prerogative to be without a woman. Again, as it is not in your power not to be a woman, so it is not your prerogative to be without a man. For it is not a matter of free choice or decision but a natural and necessary thing, that whatever is a man must have a woman and whatever is a woman must have a man.

For this word which God speaks, “Be fruitful and multiply,” is not a command. It is more than a command, namely, a divine ordinance [werck] which it is not our prerogative to hinder or ignore. Rather, it is just as necessary as the fact that I am a man, and more necessary than sleeping and waking, eating and drinking, and emptying the bowels and bladder. It is a nature and disposition just as innate as the organs involved in it. Therefore, just as God does not command anyone to be a man or a woman but creates them the way they have to be, so he does not command them to multiply but creates them so that they have to multiply. And wherever men try to resist this, it remains irresistible nonetheless and goes its way through fornication, adultery, and secret sins, for this is a matter of nature and not of choice” (Luther’s Works, vol. 45, p.18).

Galatians Bible Class, Pt. 50: Abundantly Gifted

Class #50:  By the grace of God and not by works, we were saved through faith in Christ! Even beyond this, Christians have been abundantly gifted with the gift of the Holy Spirit and “the fruit of the Spirit.”  St. Paul warns us in Galatians 5:26 not to become conceited, lest we mistakenly take credit for the putting to death of our sinful passion and desires, and for the new walking in the Spirit. The vainglorious person will not be merciful and loving toward his neighbor, but provoking and envying.

Jesus’ unconditional love for us led Him to bear our burden, even unto the cross. Our God has redeemed each one of us in a spirit of gentleness. To be spiritual is to use the Spirit’s gifts to gently restore a weaker brother.  We are not strong of ourselves, but continue to trust in Christ, lest we also be tempted.

Overhead: Overheads for Class 50
Handout: Galatians Bible Study Chapter 5 26 thru 6 10

Catechesis on Christmas Day (John 1)

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 December 20, 2017, we learned stanza 1 of “Welcome to Earth, O Noble Guest” (Lutheran Worship, #38), and the first question of Holy Baptism with its 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 the comfort we receive from  the Incarnation and Nativity of Our Lord(St. John 1:1-18), which is the Holy Gospel for Christmas Day.

The service concludes with “Responsive Prayer for Catechesis” (pdf link below).  [Length: 1 hour, 6 minutes]

Bulletin: Catechesis Christmas Day – 12-20-2017 NKJV
Responsive Prayer: Responsive Prayer for Catechesis 2017

#15 – Male and Female Created by God

“In the first part we shall consider which persons may enter into marriage with one another. In order to proceed aright let us direct our attention to Genesis 1[:27], “So God created man … male and female he created them.” From this passage we may be assured that God divided mankind into two classes, namely, male and female, or a he and a she. This was so pleasing to him that he himself called it a good creation [Gen. 1:31]. Therefore, each one of us must have the kind of body God has created for us. I cannot make myself a woman, nor can you make yourself a man; we do not have that power. But we are exactly as he created us: I a man and you a woman. Moreover, he wills to have his excellent handiwork honored as his divine creation, and not despised. The man is not to despise or scoff at the woman or her body, nor the woman the man. But each should honor the other’s image and body as a divine and good creation that is well-pleasing unto God himself” (Luther’s Works, vol. 45, p.17).

Galatians Bible Class, Part 49: The Fruit of the Spirit

Class #49:  In Galatians 2:20, it say, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” My conversion (at a point in the past) is solely the work of God and it is completed.  But now that I am converted, Christ presently lives in me.  That work continues.  In Romans 6:6, it says, “…our old man was crucified with Him…that we should no longer be slaves of sin.”  Now that I am converted, I presently live differently–in service to my new master, Christ.  In Galatians 5:24, it speaks of the believer’s completed action in the past.  “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”  Once converted by Christ, believers are not unwilling.  They, too, have kicked the flesh off the throne.

Having been converted by God(Gal 2:2, Rom 6:6), so that I, too, crucified the flesh(Gal 5:24) in the past, I now presently continue to put to death the sinful nature within me(Rom 8:13). In Romans 8:13, it says, “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”  I walk by the Spirit, who brings forth the fruit of the Spirit within me.  Either I deny my sinful nature and do good works, or I confess, when I fall into temptation, and receive forgiveness.

Overhead: Overheads for Class 49

#14- Parents Be Concerned with Your Child’s Soul

“This third point seems to me to be the most important of all, as well as being the most useful. For without a shadow of doubt it is not only a matter of marital obligation, but can completely eclipse all other sins. False natural love blinds parents so that they have more regard for the bodies of their children than they have for their souls. It was because of this that the sage said, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him” [Prov. 13:24]. Again, “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him” [Prov. 22:15]. Or again, “If you beat him with the rod you will save his life from hell” [Prov. 23:14].

Therefore, it is of the greatest importance for every married man to pay closer, more thorough, and continuous attention to the health of his child’s soul than to the body which he has begotten, and to regard his child as nothing else but an eternal treasure God has commanded him to protect, and so prevent the world, the flesh, and the devil from stealing the child away and bringing him to destruction. For at his death and on the day of judgment he will be asked about his child and will have to give a most solemn account. For what do you think is the cause of the horrible wailing and howling of those who will cry, “O blessed are the wombs which have not bore children, and the breasts which have never suckled” [Luke 23:29]? There is not the slightest doubt that it is because they have failed to restore their children to God, from whom they received them to take care of them” (Luther’s Works, vol. 44, p.13).

#13-Parents Be Concerned with Your Child’s Soul Spoiling Children Is A Road to Heaven or Hell

“In comparison with this one work, that married people should bring up their children properly, there is nothing at all in pilgrimages to Rome, Jerusalem, or Compostella, nothing at all in building churches, endowing masses, or whatever good works could be named. For bringing up their children properly is their shortest road to heaven. In fact, heaven itself could not be made nearer or achieved more easily than by doing this work. It is also their appointed work. Where parents are not conscientious about this, it is as if everything were the wrong way around, like fire that will not bum or water that is not wet.

By the same token, hell is no more easily earned than with respect to one’s own children. You could do no more disastrous work than to spoil the children, let them curse and swear, let them learn profane words and vulgar songs, and just let them do as they please. What is more, some parents use enticements to be more alluring to meet the dictates of the world of fashion, so that they may please only the world, get ahead, and become rich, all the time giving more attention to the care of the body than to the due care of the soul. There is no greater tragedy in Christendom than spoiling children. If we want to help Christendom, we most certainly have to start with the children, as happened in earlier times” (Luther’s Works, vol. 44, p.12-13).

#12- Three Things About Marriage: 3. Offspring and Their Care

“Third, [the doctors say] that marriage produces offspring, for that is the end and chief purpose of marriage. It is not enough, however, merely for children to be born, and so what they say about marriage excusing sin does not apply in this case. Heathen, too, bear offspring. But unfortunately it seldom happens that we bring up children to serve God, to praise and honor him, and want nothing else of them. People seek only heirs in their children, or pleasure in them; the serving of God finds what place it can. You also see people rush into marriage and become mothers and fathers before they know what the commandments are or can pray

But this at least all married people should know. They can do no better work and do nothing more valuable either for God, for Christendom, for all the world, for themselves, and for their children than to bring up their children well” (Luther’s Works, vol. 44, p.12-13).

Galatians Bible Class, Pt. 48: Description of a Believer

Class #48:  We need to be careful how we speak about the description of the believer.  St. Paul draws a clear distinction between the unbeliever and the believer.  The unbeliever is a slave to the law relying upon it for salvation, while the believer is a son of God living by faith in Jesus Christ.  Because of this great difference, the unbeliever and the believer live differently.  The unbeliever indulges the sinful nature, gratifies its desires, and thus condones and perpetuates the works of the flesh.   Believers are led by the Holy Spirit, and thus have been set free to show forth the fruits of the Spirit and love to the neighbor.

In order to clarify last week’s lesson, we begin this lesson with four theses from C.F.W. Walther’s book, The Proper Distinction between the Law and the Gospel.  The believer has been given new desires as seen in St. Paul’s list of the fruit of the Spirit.  However, due to the sinful nature, the believer is constantly assailed and frequently does not progress beyond the will to the action.  Nevertheless, the believer, unlike the unbeliever, is not ruled by his sinful nature so that He sins purposefully.  A person living in mortal sin falls from grace.

Overhead: Galatians Class 48 Overhead
Handout: Handout for Class 48 Law and Gospel