Our Lutheran Theology

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Pastor Mark’s first class of 2014 lays it out.

Sure, many won’t like it. What else is new?

But some of us love it!

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Listen to > Our Lutheran Theology

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Thank you, Pastor Mark.

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Thanks also to flickr and ce_barbato, for the photo.

 

 

 

 

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Don’t be frightened

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Don’t be afraid. Don’t get scared and run back into yourself trying to find the assurance of your salvation.

Many have sent me quotations from their confessions that say that we need to look inward for our assurance. I say, “bunk”. What assurance could anyone possibly have by looking at themselves to see evidence that they really are a Christian and are of ‘the elect’?

Abandon that project of ‘the self’ and look to the external Word and sacraments…alone. Don’t put your trust in anything but the finished work of Christ on the Cross for real sinners.

Faith in your faith won’t do it. Faith in your church won’t do it. Faith in your “decision for Christ” or your “evidence” won’t do it.

But faith in God will do it (give you assurance and freedom). Faith in God and trusting in what He has done for you, in real time, in your own personal history, will do it. 

He came to you, He comes to you in your Baptism. A concrete act of crucifixion and resurrection in your own life. Actually DONE TO YOU. 

He comes to you in His Supper. Applying the Cross to you, yet again. Actually putting His body inside of your body and doing His forgiveness to you, yet again. Giving you His very essence. His very life. You can trust in these real, tangible events that happen to you in real time and space. 

He comes to you in your hearing of His preached Word. Real sound waves that carry His Word of law and of promise…hitting your ears and going right into your heart and head.

Don’t go mucking around in the etherial spiritualities of …up there …somewhere. Don’t go foraging around in the dumpsters of your obedience to the law or evidences that you think you see to verify that you really are His. And don’t waste your time with the religious hucksters that will not offer you the assurance and the freedom that Christ so dearly won for you on that bloody Cross, but who instead send you back inside of yourself for evidence.

Go to the font. Go to His table. Listen to His Living Word…actually DONE to you…in your ears and on your skin, and on your tongue.

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You ARE a child of the Living God. You CAN KNOW that you ARE SAVED…totally APART from anything that ‘YOU DO’, or anything that YOU SAY, or anything that YOU FEEL, or anything that YOU THINK.

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   You truly ARE “FREE IN CHRIST”!

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Thanks to flickr and Samara May Knight, for the photo.

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Some interesting facts about the 56 signers of The Declaration of Independence…and then a sermon on Christian freedom.

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The Founders of our country were fighting for a particular kind of freedom. Different than the kind of freedom that our Lord has won for us, but the same in the respect that both types of freedom are for something…and not for our willfulness.

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Pastor Mark’s sermon explains how Christ’s freedom, won for us, is from something…and yet is for something:

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 Listen to > Freedom

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Thank you, Pastor Mark.

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And thanks to flickr and libertyclick, for the photo.

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Freedom from having to worry about yourself where God is concerned

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Freedom from all of that inward stuff…and then free to love and live life outward.

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 click > What the freedom of the Christian life results in 

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Thanks, Pastor Mark.

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And thanks to flickr and lindes, for the photo. 

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Do you like the religious/ascendancy project?

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Many do.

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If you do, there’s probably not a lot to sway you from that course.  At least for the time being.

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But if you see yourself starting to despair a bit because you just can’t quite cut the mustard in keeping up with all that you should be doing, and or you are still doing those things that you know you shouldn’t be doing…or you are starting to notice (in your most honest moments and reflections) that you might be becoming a bit prideful, because you delude yourself into believing that you really aren’t doing so badly at all this ‘Christian progression/self-sanctification’ stuff….then maybe there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

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If you’re in the latter category (see world’s 2nd longest sentence above) then this might mean something to you:

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click > Two HUGE ISSUES in a proper understanding of the Christian faith

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Thanks, Pastor Mark.

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And thanks to flickr and chawayipiran, for the photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If Christians around the world could just believe this one overarching truth, there would be another Reformation

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I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

   –  John 8

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Ask most Americans what they value most and the response will probably be ‘freedom’. Ask them to define freedom and the answers will have something to do with being able to do as we please. Interestingly, the founders of this country defined freedom as being able to do as we ought, not necessarily as we please. 

Freedom is actually defined by its choices as reflected in this classic definition; 

“Freedom is the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action.”

The implications are obvious. Authentic freedom only belongs to those who always and in every thought, word, and deed choose the right and the good.  A simple inventory of our own life’s timeline of thoughts, words and deeds, will reveal that  we are anything but free. For our  choices of thoughts, words, and deeds often reflect not the absence but the presence of “necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action.”  And that which is present in us driving these things is sin. 

We don’t like hearing this of course. ‘What do you mean I’m not free? Of course I am! I have free will, don’t I?” Actually, there is a no better witness against us than our so-called free will. It is our ample backlog of free willed thoughts, words and deeds that contain the record of the countless ways we have chosen the bad instead of the good. This is the truth. And unless we know and hear the truth about ourselves, we will continue to live the lie, calling bondage freedom. But the implications are even more serious.

True freedom belongs belongs to God alone. Only God is free because only God’s willing always, and in every sense results in the good. This why to claim freedom for yourself – including free will – is, in fact, blasphemy against God. For such a claim shows contempt for God , wittingly or not, by claiming for yourself something that belongs to God alone.

Jesus was speaking to a fundamental truth; if you sin you are slave to sin. You are not free. And because of sin we have no permanent place with God. For the wages of sin is death. But to this ominous and sobering reality our Lord added an even greater truth; “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” 

In Jesus God has done some free will choosing of His own. And God’s choosing is not polluted with the taint of self interest. Out His great love for us – we who are bound in our free-will pretensions – He has chosen to extend grace and mercy. 

The ringing note of this glorious grace so struck the Apostle Paul that he could sum up the whole Christian life in one, simple declaration, “For freedom Christ has set us free.”  This is the authentic paradigm of the Christian life and faith. For we are not the free ones who simply misuse our freedom, and must be coerced into choosing rightly. We are the bound ones, enslaved in sin, who must be set free, and have been, “by The Man of God’s own choosing”, Jesus Christ our Lord.

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                         – Pastor Mark Anderson

>>>>>>>>>>> Lutheran Church of the Master Corona del Mar, CA

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From    Pastor Mark Anderson’s Daily Devotional blog site

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Thank you, Pastor Mark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“When the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.”

From Pastor Mark’s blog     http://www.lightofthemaster.net/apps/blog/t

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by Pastor Mark Anderson

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From time to time I flip through the television channels to watch various T.V. preachers, just to see what they’re up to. Not long ago I came across a woman who was speaking to a packed auditorium of several thousand people. I listened in for a few minutes and the message was clear; if you expect anything from God, if you want success, you had better get your life in order.

It didn’t seem to occur to the preacher that these folks had spent the last week doing just that in any number of ways, mostly with limited or no success, and that some relief might be in order. It’s hard to understand why she would simply remind them of their wounds and then put the verbal whip on them to try harder. It’s also hard to understand why people would return week after week and subject themselves to reminders, couched in omnipotent terms, of their inadequacy. Well, actually, it’s not hard to understand at all.

Preying on people’s fears, inadequacies and brokenness works. And it works precisely because we are so terribly vulnerable in this life. Once we get our wits about us in this world it becomes quite obvious that to get along we have to be good for something. We must demonstrate our value in tangible ways. Some are more or less up to the challenge, some fail miserably, and most people wobble along in fits and starts anxious for security, looking for shelter from the storm. They are suckers for bootstraps religion. Nothing else in life is free, why should God be free?

Well, based on the generally lackluster performance most of us produce in this life I can fully appreciate the question. I’ve asked it myself. And the answer, surprisingly enough, has been given by God Himself.

 “When the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.

We call that the Good News. It is what I was hoping the T.V. preacher would get around to but she never did. So, here, in an unvarnished quote from that late purveyor of God’s glorious grace, Gerhard Forde, is the word of irrepressible freedom delivered to you this day; it is a word of pure gift. 

“We are justified freely, for Christ’s sake, by faith, without the exertion of our own strength, gaining of merit, or doing of works.  To the age-old question, ‘What shall I do to be saved?’ the confessional answer is shocking: ‘Nothing!  Just be still; shut up and listen for once in your life to what God the Almighty, creator and redeemer, is saying to his world and to you in the death and resurrection of his Son!  Listen and believe!’”

(Gerhard O. Forde, Justification by Faith (Philadelphia, 1983), page 22.)

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Isn’t it great?  There is nothing left to do.  Christ Jesus has done it all!  Let go of your bootstraps, sit back, relax and take a deep breath of the free air.  The Son has set you free!

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