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By Grace, By Faith, By Scripture

As the school year starts it’s a good time for review. And with Reformation day approaching on October 31, it would be a good time to review the basics of the Lutheran Faith.

On October 31, 2015 it will be 498 years since that day when Martin Luther posted his 95 thesis to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. The main topic of the thesis was the selling of indulgences for forgiveness. But forgiveness is a free gift from the giver to the forgiven and should not cost us. So this event of posting the 95 thesis started the Reformation in the church.

And out of it came our solid teaching. Here are three phrases that summarize the teaching: By Grace alone, by Faith alone, by Scripture alone. All three of these come in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. There is no other way to salvation.

It is by God’s grace alone that you are saved. It doesn’t depend on you doing anything. It depends upon the work of Jesus Christ and the cross. Sin had to be paid for with death, ours and everybody else. The cross is the payment. And since that event has already happened you have already received and will continue to receive God’s grace through Christ forever. And He rose from the dead and lives eternally. You too have this eternal life through Him.

It is by faith alone that you are saved. As God has created faith in you to believe in His Son Jesus, this faith has saved you. For you trust in God’s way of saving you. It is the faith in you that believes Jesus has paid it all and there is nothing you can do to make Him not love you. The sin is already forgiven by God’s grace alone!

And it is by Scripture alone. This is the written Word of God. And Jesus is the Word of God. So you are saved by God’s word and promise fulfilled in the work of His Son. This is why it is so important to be in His Word. It is the promise spelt out for us. We are in need of His Word. It helps us to answer the question of, “Does God still love me?” And the answer in Scripture is a resounding “Yes!”

And so these three are the basis of our faith here at Saint Paul Lutheran Church. We believe what is taught us, that we are saved by Grace alone, Faith alone, and Scripture alone. Thank you, God!

July / August Newsletter

The Hostas are getting bigger in the front yard, growing you would say. A tree was planted in the front yard just in front of the house on the north side. It was supposed to stay short and yet it grew and grew. It was reaching up for the light. It got too big and blocked the light therfore it was cut down.

Jesus talks about growing too, Mark 4:26b-29 “A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”

In today’s world of knowledge through science we can get a glimpse into how plants grow and yet sometimes it causes us to ask more questions. I don’t know how a plant grows. If you give me a plant and ask me to take care of it, it will probably die, either from lack of water or too much water. And yet I marvel at the growth of seeds. The acorn turns into a tall oak. And redwoods grow taller and last longer than oaks. Here is some information about Redwood trees from the following web site:

“A full-grown redwood tree will produce six to eight million seeds each year, but the seeds are so tiny that a million seeds weigh only eight pounds.”

Wow! How can such a tiny seed grow into such a tall and long lasting tree? Science has some answers which have been revealed through the study of our world. And yet they don’t have all the answers.

I stopped growing up, getting taller, at about 5 feet 8 inches. I started growing out more in my twenties.(Now I have stopped my growing out by eating a healthier diet.)

We, like seeds need to grow. And we need to grow Spiritually. We need to grow in God’s revelation to us. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, reveals God to us through the written Word of The Holy Bible. So we are encouraged to study this Word. We are encouraged to talk about it among ourselves so that we learn more. This causes our faith to grow. It follows a pattern Paul talked to the Corinthians about. 1 Corinthians 3:6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. The seed is planted when we hear the Word, whether directly from the Bible or explained by someone. The seed is watered by continuing to be “in the Word.” This includes but is not limited to, daily devotions and bible study. And then the seed grows by the work of God. He helps us to grow as we stay in the word.

I encourage all of you to read your Bible. There are many devotions and bible studies. We meet on Sundays after church and cover a topic over one hour. There is a two year reading plan of the Bible in our Study Bible that you can purchase through Concordia Publishing house. And it gives you Sundays off! Check it out. There are some on-line versions you can print off as well. And many cellphone Apps have Bible software that has a reading plan for you. Read it in two years and grow as the Lord brings you into his light. You will truly be blessed!

God bless your growth,

Pastor Bob