Peace Lutheran Church Sussex, Wisconsin

Congregation at Prayer

Monthly Archives: September 2019

The Ten Commandments— Review and The Close of the Commandments

September 29, 2019

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Catechesis Notes for the Week — Psalm 52: A Prayer for the Lord to Bring an End to the Wicked—Psalm 52 was written by David as a contemplation when Doeg the Edomite betrayed him to King Saul.  David was fleeing from Saul who believed that David must be destroyed.  King Saul was possessed with jealousy, pride, and envy.  He relied upon himself, rather than the Lord.  He hated the love and friendship that his son Jonathan enjoyed with David.  Doeg reported that David sought refuge with Ahimelech, the priest.  King Saul ordered the slaughter of the priests and Doeg happily obliged.  The psalm refers to Doeg, but it also applies to Saul, “Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man?” “Your tongue devises destruction, like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.  You love evil more than good, and lying rather than speaking righteousness…”  In the face of the genocide that Doeg supervised against the priests of the Lord, David commends his enemies to the judgment of God: “God shall likewise destroy you forever.” Though David’s words apply to Doeg, they also apply to King Saul who had fallen from God’s grace: “Here is the man who did not make God his strength, but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in wickedness.”  This prayer is a model of what we should do as Christians in the face of persecution and martyrdom.  We commend our enemies to the judgment of the Lord and trust in Him to right the wrongs: “I will praise You forever, because You have done it; and in the presence of Your saints I will wait on Your name, for it is good.”CP190929

Ten Commandments — the 9th and 10th Commandments

September 22, 2019

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Catechesis Notes for the Week — Psalm 51: A Confession of Sin—Psalm 51 is a confession of sins. It is one of the seven penitential psalms.  David prayed this psalm when Nathan the prophet called him to repentance for his sins against the Lord in the adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband.  It is an example of contrition and repentance.  Forgiveness rests entirely with the lovingkindess and tender mercy of God in Christ.  Psalm 51 teaches us that sin is more than our deeds, but that we are “conceived and born in sin” (Original Sin).  It teaches us that all sin is an offense against the God who has created us.  It teaches us that forgiveness comes from the sacrifice that Christ made for us.  “Hyssop” is a reference to how forgiveness was applied in Old Testament times by the sprinkling of the blood and water of atonement.  When Christians fall into grievous sin, their consciences are scandalized and tormented, they have lost the joy of salvation, and they fear that God has departed from them.  Only Christ’s absolution can bring healing and relief to the troubled soul.  So we pray, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with Your generous Spirit.”CP190922

Ten Commandments— 7th & 8th Commandments

September 15, 2019

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Catechesis Notes for the Week — Psalm 50: A Song of Praise for the Proper Worship of the Lord—The true worship of God is not faith in ourselves, our own sacrifices, or works of love that we offer to God in an attempt to earn His favor. Instead, the true worship of the Lord is a faith which desires to receive from Him His forgiveness and help as a gift of His grace.  Psalm 50 criticizes the sacrifices that were so often made in the Old Testament Church, not because they were bad (they were given to Israel by God), but rather because they were offered to God as their own good works to earn His favor. The true worship of God is a repentant heart that clings to His mercy for forgiveness, life, and salvation.  The Lord alone is perfect and righteous.  Out of Zion, His holy Church, He shines forth in the beauty of His righteousness to save repentant sinners. He calls us to faith in His gift of righteousness to offer to God thanksgiving and to pay our vows to the Most High.  “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”  True praise and worship of the Lord honors and gives all glory to Him who gave His life for us.  “Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; and to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God.”CP190915

Ten Commandments — 5th and 6th Commandments

September 8, 2019

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Catechesis Notes for the Week — Psalm 49: A Prayer against Putting Faith in Earthly Riches or Wisdom—Psalm 49 warns against putting one’s faith in earthly mammon, the power of men, or the wisdom of this world.  In the end, there is nothing that can save us from death or redeem us from sin but Christ, our Redeemer.  Christians are often discouraged by the apparent success, worldly prominence, and wealth that unbelievers are able to attain.  Such things must never be the goal of our faith, the source of our comfort, or the measure of our faithfulness.  Instead, our confidence rests in Christ alone and in the Word of salvation that we receive from Him.  While Psalm 49 severely critiques the idolatry of unbelievers and what they place their confidence in, it is written as a prayer and warning for the Christian to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, because one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things that he possesses, but in knowing Christ and His love and salvation.CP190908

The Ten Commandments — The 3rd and 4th Commandments

September 1, 2019

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Catechesis Notes for the Week — Psalm 48: Prayer of Thanksgiving for the Lord’s Protection of the Church—“Mount Zion,” “the City of our God,” and “His holy mountain” in Psalm 48 are all references to the Church.  In the Old Testament, the Church was centered in the Southern Kingdom of Judah and in the City of Jerusalem.  In the New Testament, the Church is the gathering of all Christians around the Lord’s Word and Sacraments. Where the Word is faithfully preached and the Sacraments are rightly administered, there is the Church where faith in Christ and love for others abides in the hearts of every Christian.  As the kings of the nations often marshalled themselves in persecution of the Old Testament Church, so the Church of the New Testament often suffers persecution from cultures, nations, and rulers who are hostile to the Gospel.  In spite of all this, Psalm 48 is a psalm of rejoicing and thanksgiving for the Church.  We know that through it all, the Church prospers and is defended by her Lord against every enemy from within and without.  The preaching of the Gospel creates something in the hearts and lives of God’s people that is inestimably beautiful in the life of the Church, in what she does, and in how her members live and interact with a world that is hostile to the Gospel.  Our focus is upon the lovingkindness of the Lord: “We have thought, O God, on Your lovingkindness.”  This is our strength.  And we invite others to behold the beauty of the Church: “Walk about Zion and go all around her, count her towers; mark well her bulwarks; consider her palaces; that you may tell it to the generation following. For this is God, our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to death.”CP190901