Galatians Bible Class, Pt. 55: A New Creation

Class #55: In the work of Christ’s suffering and death on the cross, St. Paul will boast!  The cross of Christ is the instrument by which the believer is saved.  Through faith in Christ, I died with Christ(Col 2:20), and Christ lives in me(Gal 2:19-20).  In my conversion to Christ, the world’s sinful desires are killed off in me.

My new life in Christ is not characterized by circumcision or uncircumcision; those outward human activities profit me nothing.  The Christian is a new creation!  We are changed from within.  God gives us His Spirit(Gal 3:2), creates in us a new pure hearts (Ps 51:10), and we are made new in the attitude of our minds(Eph 4:23-24).

Overhead: Overheads for Class 55
Handout: Galatians Bible Study Chapter 6 11 thru 6 18

#21-The Ones Who Honor God’s Estate

“Now the ones who recognize the estate of marriage are those who firmly believe that God himself instituted it, brought husband and wife together, and ordained that they should beget children and care for them. For this they have God’s word, Genesis 1[:28], and they can be certain that he does not lie. They can therefore also be certain that the estate of marriage and everything that goes with it in the way of conduct, works, and suffering is pleasing to God. Now tell me, how can the heart have greater good, joy, and delight than in God, when one is certain that his estate, conduct, and work is pleasing to God?

That is what it means to find a wife. Many have wives, but few find wives. Why? They are blind; they fail to see that their life and conduct with their wives is the work of God and pleasing in his sight. Could they but find that, then no wife would be so hateful, so ill-tempered, so ill-mannered, so poor, so sick that they would fail to find in her their heart’s delight and would always be reproaching God for his work, creation, and will. And because they see that it is the good pleasure of their beloved Lord, they would be able to have peace in grief, joy in the midst of bitterness, happiness in the midst of tribulations, as the martyrs have in suffering.  (Luther’s Works, vol. 45, p.38-39).

Catechesis on the Baptism of Our Lord (Matthew 3)

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 January 3, 2017, we learned stanzas 3-4 of “Welcome to Earth, O Noble Guest” (Lutheran Worship, #38), the third and fourth part of Holy Baptism and the 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  Jesus’ Baptism (St. Matthew 3:13-17), which is the Holy Gospel for the Baptism of Our Lord(1st Sunday after Epiphany).

The service concludes with “Responsive Prayer for Catechesis” (pdf link below).  [Length: 1 hour, 3 minutes]

Bulletin: Catechesis Baptism of Our Lord – 01-03 2018
Responsive Prayer: Responsive Prayer for Catechesis 2017

Galatians Bible Class #54: They Reject the Cross and Avoid Persecution

Class #54: As St. Paul summarizes his letter, he wants the Galatians to know three things about the Judaizers, who were teaching falsely.  First, they were doing it out of pride that they might “make a good showing” before others and boast of their ability to win disciples after themselves.  Second, they were requiring the law so “that they might not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.”  Third, these false teachers require circumcision, but they don’t keep the whole law.  Gal. 5:3, “…every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.”

It is the second point which is most important.  In Galatians 5:11, St. Paul said, “And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased.”  Any time you add a law requirement to the Gospel, the gospel ceases to be Gospel.   Gal 5:2, “Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.”  The Judaizers were able to avoid persecution by saying salvation is by Jesus AND the keeping the law of circumcision.

Overhead: Overheads for Class 54
Handout: Galatians Bible Study Chapter 6 11 thru 6 18

#20-Christians Respect Marriage Calling It A Good Work of God

“In order that we may not proceed as blindly, but rather conduct ourselves in a Christian manner, hold fast first of all to this, that man and woman are the work of God. Keep a tight rein on your heart and your lips; do not criticize his work, or call that evil which he himself has called good. He knows better than you yourself what is good and to your benefit, as he says in Genesis 1 [2:18], “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” There you see that he calls the woman good, a helper. If you deem it otherwise, it is certainly your own fault, you neither understand nor believe God’s word and work. See, with this statement of God one stops the mouths of all those who criticize and censure marriage.

For this reason young men should be on their guard when they read pagan books and hear the common complaints about marriage, lest they inhale poison. For the estate of marriage does not set well with the devil, because it is God’s good will and work. This is why the devil has contrived to have so much shouted and written in the world against the institution of marriage, to frighten men away from this godly life and entangle them in a web of fornication and secret sins. Indeed, it seems to me that even Solomon, although he amply censures evil women, was speaking against just such blasphemers when he said in Proverbs 18[:22], “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord.” What is this good thing and this favor? Let us see.

The world says of marriage, “Brief is the joy, lasting the bitterness.” Let them say what they please; what God wills and creates is bound to be a laughingstock to them. The kind of joy and pleasure they have outside of wedlock they will be most acutely aware of, I suspect, in their consciences. To recognize the estate of marriage is something quite different from merely being married. He who is married but does not recognize the estate of marriage cannot continue in wedlock without bitterness, drudgery, and anguish; he will inevitably complain and blaspheme like the pagans and blind, irrational men. But he who recognizes the estate of marriage will find therein delight, love, and joy without end; as Solomon says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing,” etc. [Prov. 18:22]” (Luther’s Works, vol. 45, p.37).

#19-The Heathen Do Not Respect Marriage, God’s Good Creation

“What we would speak most of is the fact that the estate of marriage has universally fallen into such awful disrepute. There are many pagan books which treat of nothing but the depravity of womankind and the unhappiness of the estate of marriage, such that some have thought that even if Wisdom itself were a woman one should not marry. A Boman official was once supposed to encourage young men to take wives (because the country was in need of a large population on account of its incessant wars). Among other things he said to them, “My dear young men, if we could only live without women we would be spared a great deal of annoyance; but since we cannot do without them, take to yourselves wives,” etc. He was criticized by some on the ground that his words were ill-considered and would only serve to discourage the young men. Others, on the contrary, said that because Metellus was a brave man he had spoken rightly, for an honorable man should speak the truth without fear or hypocrisy.

So they concluded that woman is a necessary evil, and that no household can be without such an evil. These are the words of blind heathen, who are ignorant of the fact that man and woman are God’s creation. They blaspheme his work, as if man and woman just came into being spontaneously! I imagine that if women were to write books they would say exactly the same thing about men. What they have failed to set down in writing, however, they express with their grumbling and complaining whenever they get together.

Since God had to suffer such disdain of his work from the pagans, he therefore also gave them their reward, of which Paul writes in Romans 1[:24–28], and allowed them to fall into immorality and a stream of uncleanness until they henceforth carnally abused not women but boys and dumb beasts. Even their women carnally abused themselves and each other. Because they blasphemed the work of God, he gave them up to a base mind, of which the books of the pagans are full, most shamelessly crammed full” (Luther’s Works, vol. 45, p.35-36).

Galatians Bible Class, Pt. 53: Do Not Lose Heart

Class #53: Believers are saved by faith in Jesus Christ alone.  Having been set free from from the yoke of slavery to sin (Gal 5:2), they use their freedom to serve one another in love (5:13)–especially their pastor(6:6) and fellow congregational members(6:10).

There are only two possibilities: unbelievers, doing the works of the flesh, or believers, doing the fruit of the Spirit and resisting their own sinful nature.  In today’s study, St. Paul is warning those “believers” who think that they can gratify and indulge the sinful nature and still receive everlasting life.  You might be able to deceive yourself, but God is not fooled. St. Paul is also encouraging believers to continue to do good and not lose heart! Believers continue to put to death the misdeeds of the body, so that they might live/walk according to the Spirit and produce the fruit of the Spirit.

Overhead: Overheads for Class 53
Handout: Galatians Bible Study Chapter 5 26 thru 6 10

#18-Even Married Christians Not Governed By the Passion of Lust

“In the third part, in order that we may say something about the estate of marriage which will be conducive toward the soul’s salvation, we shall now consider how to live a Christian and godly life in that estate. I will pass over in silence the matter of the conjugal duty, the granting and the withholding of it, since some filth-preachers have been shameless enough in this matter to rouse our disgust. Some of them designate special times for this, and exclude holy nights and women who are pregnant. I will leave this as St. Paul left it when he said in I Corinthians 7[:9], “It is better to marry than to burn”; and again [in v. 2], “To avoid immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.” Although Christian married folk should not permit themselves to be governed by their bodies in the passion of lust, as Paul writes to the Thessalonians [I Thess. 4:5], nevertheless each one must examine himself so that by his abstention he does not expose himself to the danger of fornication and other sins. Neither should he pay any attention to holy days or work days, or other physical considerations” (Luther’s Works, vol. 45, p.35-36).

Galatians Bible Class, Part 52: Hearers Share with Their Pastor

Class #52:  Galatians 6:6 is included in Luther’s Small Catechism in the Table of Duties for “What the Hearers Owe Their Pastors.” St. Paul tells the hearer, who is being taught the Word by the teacher, to share (koinoneito) all good things with his teacher.  The word “share” is much more than simply giving someone a bite of your sandwich.  This word refers to our Christian fellowship, communion, and participation with each other in the Word (Phil 4:14ff).

St. Paul is continuing to teach the true life of sanctification, as opposed to the vainglorious who provoke and envy in their conceit. Having received salvation as a gift through faith in Christ, we walk by the Spirit. In our vocation as a hearer, we share with our pastor in all good things.

Overhead: Overheads for Class 52
Handout: Galatians Bible Study Chapter 5 26 thru 6 10

#17- You Cannot Make Yourself Something Other Than You Are

“In the third place, from this ordinance of creation God has himself exempted three categories of men, saying in Matthew 19[:12], “There are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.” Apart from these three groups, let no man presume to be without a spouse. And whoever does not fall within one of these three categories should not consider anything except the estate of marriage. Otherwise it is simply impossible for you to remain righteous. For the Word of God which created you and said, “Be fruitful and multiply,” abides and rules within you; you can by no means ignore it, or you will be bound to commit heinous sins without end.

Don’t let yourself be fooled on this score, even if you should make ten oaths, vows, covenants, and adamantine or ironclad pledges. For as you cannot solemnly promise that you will not be a man or a woman (and if you should make such a promise it would be foolishness and of no avail since you cannot make yourself something other than what you are), so you cannot promise that you will not produce seed or multiply, unless you belong to one of the three categories mentioned above. And should you make such a promise, it too would be foolishness and of no avail, for to produce seed and to multiply is a matter of God’s ordinance [geschöpffe], not your power.

From this you can now see the extent of the validity of all cloister vows. No vow of any youth or maiden is valid before God, except that of a person in one of the three categories which God alone has himself excepted. Therefore, priests, monks, and nuns are duty-bound to forsake their vows whenever they find that God’s ordinance to produce seed and to multiply is powerful and strong within them. They have no power by any authority, law, command, or vow to hinder this which God has created within them. If they do hinder it, however, you may be sure that they will not remain pure but inevitably besmirch themselves with secret sins or fornication. For they are simply incapable of resisting the word and ordinance of God within them. Matters will take their course as God has ordained” (Luther’s Works, vol. 45, p.18-19).