Peace Lutheran Church Sussex, Wisconsin

Congregation at Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer— Introduction: What does this mean?

July 24, 2016

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Catechesis Notes for the Week— The Parables of Jesus  (Summer Stories from the Gospel of St. Luke)—This week’s readings from the Gospel of Luke focus upon seven miracles of Jesus. “Parables are figurative stories that teach the mysteries and paradoxes of the Christian faith…The mysteries of the Christian faith can be understood and believed only by Christians.  Natural man cannot accept and believe in the mysteries of the Gospel because they are foolishness to him (1 Corinthians 2:14-15).… Most often, God is the chief actor in the parables.  Parables teach how God operates differently from how sinful man operates.… Parables proclaim that faith and salvation is solely a gift of God’s grace in Christ.  Parables invite catechumens to explore more deeply the mysteries of God’s grace and salvation to them in Christ.  Parables always teach reliance upon Christ and never teach reliance upon self.” (Excerpted from New Testament Catechesis) The Mustard Seed teaches us that “Christ, planted in this world by the preaching of the Gospel, looks to be the most insignificant word in all the earth, yet He produces a mighty congregation of believers among whom the Holy Spirit dwells to give the shelter of His forgiveness and salvation to all who enter her.” 

The Leaven teaches us that “the Gosple spreads throughout the world and produces faith.” The Great Supper teaches us that “the call of the Gospel to receive salvation in Christ is like an invitation which is rejected because people have ‘more important things to do.’ Those who are helpless and needy receive the invitation and believe the Gospel.  Those who believe they have no need reject the invitation and are excluded from salvation.” The Lost Sheep teaches us that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save the lost sinner who was not worth saving. Jesus’ passion to save the single lost soul is illustrated in this parable in which a man does the unthinkable: He leaves the many to rescue the one.  This work delights the Lord and all of heaven.” The Lost Coin follows the theme of the Lost Sheep and teaches us that “Jesus’ desire to save the lost sinner is like a woman who is possessed with an obsessive desire to find something she has lost, and not to rest until she does.  The Lord and His angels have no greater joy than the salvation of a sinner.” The Prodical Son is the third parable in this sequence and “teaches us about God, whose grace toward the fallen seems irresponsible and wasteful, and that all Christians live by the grace of God alone without any merit or worthiness in them.” Very simply, this parable teaches us that “The love of God in Christ calls prodigal Christians back to their baptism.”  Finally, in the Unjust Steward “the Lord Jesus is compared to an unethical man who alters the accounts of his master’s creditors, so that their debt is reduced and he is received by them into their home when the master casts him out.  In the Lord’s atonement for sin, He took the debt that we were responsible for paying and canceled it, so that we might receive Him for our eternal good.  The axiom is true: it is beneficial to show mercy.  This parable teaches that the unbeliever is often quicker than the believer to understand the potential benefits of showing mercy to others with one’s material goods.  Jesus commends this understanding.” (Excerpts from New Testament Catechesis in the Lutheran Catechesis Series).

The Ten Commandments— The 3rd Commandment

July 17, 2016

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Catechesis Notes for the Week— Confessing Christ  (Summer Stories from the Gospel of St. Luke)—This week’s readings from the Gospel of Luke highlight the teaching that the Church of Jesus Christ rests upon the confession of faith in Christ which is not only her foundation, but which is also that which is attacked.  The first story of the week, Confessing Christ, begins with warnings about the works-righteous doctrine of the Pharisees, who would seek salvation by human merit, followed by an encouragement not to fear those who would kill us for our confession of faith in Christ.  Martyrdom gives witness to Christ and, if we are called to endure it, we should not fear it but rather rejoice that we in our death might bear witness to the death and resurrection of Christ for the salvation of the world.  Jesus warns that those who deny the confession of Christ have no place in heaven, but promises that those who confess Him will also be confessed before His Father in heaven.  It is the Holy Spirit, through the Word of God, that will teach us what to say in the face of persecution for the name of Jesus.  The theme of confessing Christ continues throughout the remaining stories of the week.  The Parable of the Rich Fool warns us of the covetousness that is a part of our sinful nature and which wars against the confession of faith in Christ.  To be “rich toward God” is to cling to Christ alone.  The Faithful Servant is that minister of the Gospel who, standing upon the confession of faith in Christ, faithfully preaches the Gospel and administers the Sacraments of Christ according to Jesus’ institution and for the saving benefit of sinners.  Christ Brings Division and Suffering returns to the theme that where there is faith in Christ and the confession of the name of Jesus, there will be opposition and hatred directed against the Church and everyone who confesses the name of Jesus.  But again, this suffering carries the promise of eternal life with Christ.  The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree is an illustration of how the Lord is patient and long-suffering, desiring all to repent and believe the Gospel.  A Woman Is Healed on the Sabbath concludes this week’s stories and teaches us that Jesus is the source of true Sabbath rest and that all who cling to the confession of faith in Jesus are the true sons of Abraham.


July 10, 2016

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The Office of the Keys

July 3, 2016

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Catechesis Notes for the Week— The Call of the Gospel Leads Us through Death to Life (Summer Stories from the Gospel of St. Luke)—Peter’s Confession and Jesus’ Prediction of His Suffering heads off this week’s readings from the Gospel of Luke.  At the heart of the Church’s confession that Jesus is the Christ is His suffering and death for the sins of the world.  The Gospel is the good news that we have a gracious God in Christ, who has done all to save us through His suffering and death.  The call of the Gospel to faith in Christ leads the followers of Jesus through death to life.  His death, the death of the Son of God our Savior, is the source of life.  This truth continues through all the readings this week.  We are called by the Gospel to faith in Christ.   As His body the Church, we confess that the death of Christ for our sins is the source of life.  The call of the Gospel means that we may suffer with Christ, but the end of our faith is the resurrection to eternal life.  In The Transfiguration of Our Lord we see clearly that the Suffering Servant is none other than the eternal Son of God, as the glory of His divine nature, and the future glory that we shall partake of, is revealed in His human nature.  In A Boy Is Healed we see that the call of the Gospel delivers us from the kingdom of Satan and the forces of darkness.  At the heart of Satan’s kingdom is the wickedness of a perverse generation that rejects all that Christ has done for us.  To counter this perversity, Jesus again predicts His suffering and death because His work alone is our salvation.  Those who humbly receive the Gospel by faith are the Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.  The highest worship of Christ is to receive, believe, and trust in what He has done for us in love.  The call of the Gospel brings forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with God, and eternal life to sinners.  This is why we follow Him, even through suffering and death.  The call of the Gospel, “Follow Me” not only carries with it the power of the Spirit to bring us to faith in Christ, but it also enables us to bear up under the same rejection, persecution, suffering and death that Jesus faced.  We have no such strength of our own, but the Gospel gives us this strength, making us faithful and fit for the kingdom of God.  In the power of the Gospel alone, the Sending Out of the Seventy takes place, giving us a picture of the Office of the Holy Ministry that continues to the present day in the Church.  The present sufferings of this life for us as Christians are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.  The call of the Gospel leads us through death to life.

The Creed— The 3rd Article

June 26, 2016

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Catechesis Notes for the Week— The Word of Mercy Gives Life (Summer Stories from the Gospel of St. Luke)—Jesus’ Word of Mercy Gives Life is a major theme in this week’s Bible Stories from Luke. The Parable of the Sower and the Seed teaches us how the Seed of the Word, the Gospel of God’s mercy in Christ is what brings a sinner to repentance and faith in Jesus for salvation.  It is a miracle of the Word of Mercy whenever anyone comes to faith in Christ.  Those who receive His Word are the true members of Jesus’ family.  Jesus Stills the Storm teaches us how Jesus’ Word of mercy is the source of salvation as it stills the storm of divine judgment in the Law and gives the peace of sins forgiven.  A Demon-Possessed Man Is Healed  teaches us not only the power of Jesus’ Word of Mercy to deliver us from the kingdom of Satan, to clothe us with His righteousness, and to give us a good and sound mind, but it also reveals the insidious nature of the unbelieving sinful nature that fights against the Word of mercy and rejects Jesus, even as the citizens of the Gadarenes pleaded with Jesus to leave them.  A Girl Is Raised and a Woman Is Healed reinforces the great truth of the Catechism: “Where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.”  It is Jesus’ Word of mercy through the forgiveness of our sins that not only raises the dead to life, but which also cleanses the unclean and restores life with God.  The Sending Out of the Twelve teaches us that the Office of the Holy Ministry is not only established so that Jesus’ ministry of mercy continues, but that whenever His Word is proclaimed it is just as powerful and life-giving as if Jesus spoke the Word Himself.  Finally, the Feeding of the 5,000 teaches us that the preaching and teaching of God’s Word of mercy and grace leads us to Jesus, the bread of life, who is the very fount and source of forgiveness, life, and salvation for all who believe.

The Lord’s Prayer

June 19, 2016

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Catechesis Notes for the Week— Summer Stories for the Family from the Gospel of St. Luke—This week’s stories from Luke’s Gospel conclude chapter 6 and catechize us on what it means to live by faith in the grace of God in Christ.  It is precisely because we have received God’s mercy and forgiveness in Christ which we do not deserve that we live in that mercy toward our enemies and persecutors. “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you” is exactly what our Lord has done for us.  It is the reception of God’s grace in Christ that causes the tree to be good and which brings forth the fruits of mercy toward others.  “A good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit.”  The fruit of the Gospel received is the manifestation of Christ’s mercy, forgiveness, and pure doctrine for the saving benefit of others.  The Church and every individual Christian rests upon the foundation of Christ and His Gospel.  This is the Rock upon which we stand against every assault upon our faith and life as Christians. In chapter 7 we see the power of Christ’s forgiving Word in the stories of A Centurion’s Servant who Is Healed—“I am not worthy … but say the word, and my servant will be healed”; The Raising of the Widow of Nain’s Son—Jesus took the uncleanness of sin and death to Himself, spoke the Word of life that raised the boy from the dead, giving him back to his mother as a picture of the resurrerction and the blessed reunion we will experience in heaven; John the Baptist Sent Disciples to Jesus to confirm that He was the Messiah, and they were directed to all the words and works that Jesus performed in fulfillment of the Old Testament Scriptures; and at the end of chapter 7, Jesus Forgives a Sinful Woman in the house of Simon the Pharisee takes us full circle to the mercy and grace of our Lord that was at the center of Jesus’ teaching in chapter 6: “Love your enemies…”

The 4th Sunday after Pentecost

June 12, 2016

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Catechesis Notes for the Week— Summer Stories for the Family from the Gospel of St. Luke—The forgiveness of sins is a major theme in the Gospel of Luke, and is highlighted in these week’s Bible stories.  In Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralytic we learn that the source of all our problems, sicknesses, and death is the problem of sin.   When Jesus forgave the paralytic He taught us that the source of salvation from all our problems is found in Jesus’ forgiveness.  The Pharisees objected to Jesus forgiving sin, saying, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?”  To teach us that God had, indeed, given the authority to forgive sins to men, He said, “Rise up and walk!”  The people marveled because the authority to forgive sins had been given to men (plural) and is particularly exercised for Jesus’ sake by Christ’s ministers.  In Matthew the Tax Collector we see this forgiveness at work in both calling Matthew to faith in Christ and in calling Him to be an apostle of Jesus to preach that forgiveness.  In Jesus’ teaching on Fasting and the Sabbath, the forgiveness of sins is the “new garment” and the “new wine” that the Bridegroom came to bring—not on the basis of works, but on the basis of the grace of God.  In Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus teaches us that true Sabbath rest comes not from strict adherence to the Law as an end in itself, but in the rest that He gives through the forgiveness of sins in His name.  Jesus calls the Twelve Apostles to proclaim this forgiveness on Jesus’ behalf.  In the Sermon on the Plain, Jesus’ forgiveness is the fountain and source of the blessedness of the Lord proclaimed in the beatitudes and the rejection of the Lord’s forgiveness in impenitence is the reason for the pronunciation of “woe” upon those who do not believe they need His forgiveness.

The Lord’s Prayer— The 2nd Petition

June 5, 2016

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Catechesis Notes for the Week— Summer Stories for the Family from the Gospel of St. Luke—This week our summertime Bible Stories for family devotions turns to the Gospel of St. Luke.  Daily reading of the Bible with your family, talking about the faith, praying and singing with your family reinforces faith in Christ and binds us together with our children and brothers and sisters in the congregation.  The Baptism of Jesus marked the beginning of His ministry, anointing Him the Christ with the gift of the Holy Spirit.  This action proclaimed Him the Messiah and designated Him the fulfiller of all the Old Testament promises of salvation.  In the Genealogy of Jesus, His genealogy is traced back to Adam and shows Him to be true man, the Son of God in human flesh.  The Temptation of Our Lord immediately follows Jesus’ baptism because He is the scapegoat who carries our sins away and He is the Second Adam, our substitute, who faced and defeated temptation from the Evil One on our behalf. As Jesus’ ministry begins, Jesus Is Rejected in Nazareth as He preaches to the citizens of His hometown that He is the fulfillment of the prophet Isaiah’s prophecy of the Christ who would proclaim freedom and liberty to the captives by the forgiveness of their sins.  The Signs of the Messiah are the miracles that show the power of Jesus’ forgiveness and how the kingdom of grace and mercy that He inaugurated through His death and resurrection would bring a restoration of life with God in the resurrection on the last day.  At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus Calls the Fishers of Men—His apostles—who would be taught by Him throughout His ministry and witness His preaching, miracles, death, and resurrection.  They were called to be His ministers, “fishers of men,” who would call sinners to repentance and faith in Jesus, and preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth.  Jesus Cleanses a Leper as a sign that His forgiveness cleanses us from all sin and that all the sacrifices of cleansing in the Old Testament Law are fulfilled in the sacrifice of Jesus for our sin.

     Our slow walk through the Gospel of Luke this summer will be highlighted in Bible Class on Sunday morning.  Because the readings are short, it should be easy for families to keep up or even catch up if the busyness of life sometimes causes us to fall behind.  Sunday morning Bible Class will always anticipate the stories for the current week to aid families in their devotions at home.

The Table of Duties— To Widows and To Everyone

May 29, 2016

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Catechesis Notes for the Week— Table of Duties—To Widows and To Everyone—When someone loses a spouse, what should they do? Whenever we lose any of God’s good gifts, the devil tempts us to fill the void with other things that not only can’t satisfy, but which may actually be sinful and a sign of mistrust of God. This is what the Scriptures refer to as “living for pleasure.” Instead, in the face of losses we are called to move even closer to Christ and His Word, putting our hope and confidence in the Lord who will fill the void of our lives with Himself. Attendance at Divine Service, catechesis, and the mutual conversation and consolation of Christian brothers and sisters is critically important. This leads us to the last section of the Table of Duties:

To Everyone: It is our common faith in Christ and the grace of God that unites us in love for one another, even as Christ loved us. The source of true fulfillment is not in living for one’s self, but in giving of ourselves to one another out of our love for Christ.

The Feast of the Holy Trinity

May 22, 2016

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Catechesis Notes for the Week— The Table of Duties for Youth “Submission” and “humility” are not terms that any of us naturally gravitate toward. The sinful flesh wants to submit to no one and is filled with arrogance and pride. If the sinful flesh doesn’t get its way, it rebels. From where does the will to “submit” and “humble one’s self” come? It comes from faith in the Gospel. Our Lord Jesus submitted Himself as a young man, because He trusted in His Father who promised to do good through His submission. He humbled Himself to the point of death on the cross, because He trusted His Father to do good through His suffering. When youth are admonished to submit to their elders and humble themselves before them, they are really being invited to trust God to do them good in their office as youth, even though they may have to endure things that they don’t agree with or enjoy. The way of faith is always the way of deference toward others. This we learn to believe through the faithful reception of the Gospel and Sacrament of our Lord.