Peace Lutheran Church Sussex, Wisconsin

Congregation at Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer — Second Petition and Third Petition

November 27, 2022

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Catechesis Notes for the Week — Advent Meditations: St. Andrew, Apostle – During this first week of Advent our daily Bible narrative meditations will continue to focus on the patriarchs, particularly Jacob and his dealings with Laban. Our Advent midweek divine services throughout the season will focus upon four saints: St. Andrew, St. Stephen, St. John, and St. Thomas. Saints’ days in the Lutheran tradition especially highlight the amazing gifts that God worked through these sinful men and women by His grace. They also, during Advent, give us the opportunity to reflect upon how we are to live as Christians in this sin-darkened world as we look forward in hope to the Second Coming of Christ. “St. Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was born in the Galilean village of Bethsaida. Originally a disciple of St. John the Baptist, Andrew then became the first of Jesus’ disciples (John 1:35-40). His name regularly appears in the Gospels near the top of the lists of the Twelve. It was he who first introduced his brother Simon to Jesus (John 1:41-42). He was, in a real sense, the first home missionary, as well as the first foreign missionary (John 12:20-22). Tradition says Andrew was martyred by crucifixion on a cross in the form of an X. In AD 357, his body is said to have been taken to the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople and later removed to the cathedral of Amali in Italy. Centuries later, Andrew became the patron saint of Scotland. St. Andrew’s Day determines the beginning of the Western Church Year, since the First Sunday in Advent is always the Sunday nearest to St. Andrew’s Day.” – Excerpted from the Treasury of Daily Prayer.CP221127

The Catechism: The Lord’s Prayer—Introduction and First Petition

November 20, 2022

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Catechesis Notes for the Week—The Blessing of the Lord’s Grace—Esau had despised his birthright. Jacob was a deceiver who coveted his brother’s position. Neither son of Isaac deserved their father’s blessing. But in the scheming and conniving of the story of Isaac Blesses Jacob we learn that in every way God’s promise of salvation in Christ rests upon God’s grace alone for the unworthy sinner. Jacob was, no doubt, proud of himself for believing that he had tricked his father into giving him the blessing. But in reality, it was God’s will from before the birth of Jacob and Esau that Jacob should receive the blessing. This teaches us that God’s blessing rests upon His grace for the sinner and not upon any merit, position, standing, or priority of birth order. Esau Does Not Receive the Blessing to be the “son of the promise” in the lineage of Jesus, but God’s favor to Esau was, nevertheless, included in Jacob’s blessing because, according to the promise, the Seed of Abraham would bring the blessing of salvation to all nations. Over the course of his lifetime, Jacob would be humbled, and his pride would be crucified. He would learn to depend upon the grace of God when he might have otherwise been tempted to believe that he deserved it. In Heaven Is Opened at Bethel, Jacob learned the important lesson that wherever God’s Word of grace is proclaimed, there the Lord is present with His gifts. This is why Jacob named that place Bethel, which means “House of God.” In Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel, the conniving trickster was outfoxed by his uncle Laban who gave Jacob Leah instead of Rachel. The competition for Jacob’s affections by the four women that gave birth to all his children teaches us the reality of human sin and the frailty of the flesh for which we all need a Savior. Despite the rivalry and bitterness between their mothers, the Children of Jacob would share in the gift of salvation by grace that came through God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This story teaches us that all human life is sacred. All human life is the object of God’s love in Christ and in the promise of His Gospel.CP221120

The Catechism: The Lord’s Prayer—Introduction & First Petition

November 13, 2022

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Catechesis Notes for the Week —God’s Promise to Abraham Is Fulfilled in the Cross—At the heart of God’s promise to Abraham is the suffering and death of Jesus, the ultimate Son of the Promise, who by His death would destroy death and bring forth the resurrection of the body to eternal life. In the Sacrifice of Isaac, Abrahm’s Faith Is Revealed. The event in which the Lord calls Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, the son whom he loved, we see a picture of how God the Father would offer up His only begotten Son to the death of the cross. The call to sacrifice Abraham was not a test of the strength of Abraham’s faith, but “a test” that revealed that, by the grace of God, Abraham knew that even if Isaac was put to death, he would rise again because of God’s promise. We learn that this was Abraham’s faith in the words of Hebrews 11:17-19, “By faith Abrahm, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called,’ accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.” Additional Gospel themes are also seen in this narrative, as a ram is caught in a thicket to be the substitute sacrifice in place of Isaac. In the same way, Jesus becomes our substitute in His death upon the cross. The stories of the patriarchs continue to unfold throughout the week in Abraham Sends for a Bride for Isaac. Abraham was concerned more than anything else that Isaac’s bride would share Isaac’s faith in the promise. Rebekah is a gift of God who would be Isaac’s helpmeet. In the account of Jacob and Esau, when Esau Sells His Birthright, we not only see in Esau one who made light of the promise of salvation, but in Jacob (who received the promise) that pattern of yet another man who did not deserve it. Jacob was chosen as the second born son of Isaac, not because of his standing in the family or because he had no sin, but because of God’s grace alone. In the story of Isaac and Abimelech, we see the same patterns of fear and deception that we saw with Abraham and Sarah, but we again see God’s faithfulness to them as His chosen ones.CP221113

The Catechism: The Creed — The Third Article

November 6, 2022

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Catechesis Notes for the Week —The Faithful Grace of God—After 25 years of waiting, the Lord came to Abraham and Sarah in the form of the Three Visitors who announced to them that within the year the Son of the Promise, Isaac, would finally be born. Throughout those 25 years, Abraham and Sarah learned dependence and what it means that “the just shall live by faith” in God’s promise of salvation in Christ (Habakkuk 2:4). The call to Abraham was the call of God’s grace in the Gospel of Christ for all people. For this reason, Abraham Prays for Sodom, the wicked city, interceding for the city for the sake of those in the city who were righteous by faith in the promise. In the end, though God is merciful and longsuffering, Sodom and Gomorrah Are Destroyed because of the rejection of the Lord’s Word and the refusal to repent. In the story of Abraham and Abimelech, we learn that there was truth in Abraham’s previous statements that Sarah was his sister. Though a believer in the promise, Abraham was not immune to the fear that others might kill him for Sarah if they found out that she was his wife. Despite Abraham’s fear, the events surrounding Abraham’s encounter with Abimelech put God’s grace on full display. The Lord promised to protect him, to bless him, and to provide for him, not because of Abraham’s worthiness but because of His love for Abraham and Sarah in the Promise. He promises the same to us in our baptism. By faith in the grace of God, Abimelech appeals to Abraham to intercede for him, and Abraham does pray for Abimelech because of his faith in the promise of God’s grace. Isaac is Born and Ishmael Is Cast Out is a story that illustrates God’s faithfulness and grace in the birth of the Son of the Promise, but yet appears too harsh in the casting out of Ishmael. What does this mean? Ishmael is cast out, not because the call of God’s grace is not for him, but rather to teach that salvation is entirely based upon God’s grace in the promise and not at all upon any work of man or standing in the family. The Scriptures develop this theme in the New Testament, Galatians 4:21-31, wherein the son of the bondwoman illustrates an attempt to gain salvation according to the works of the Law from Mount Sinai verses the gift of salvation by grace that comes from the Son of the Promise from the heavenly Jerusalem. When it comes to our salvation, there can be no mingling together of works and grace. Salvation comes by grace alone.   CP221106

The Catechism: The Creed—The Third Article

October 30, 2022

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Catechesis Notes for the Week — This week we celebrate the Reformation and All Saints’ Day. These two feasts appropriately go together. Reformation celebrates the recovery of the Gospel, that sinners are justified (declared righteous) by grace alone, through faith, for Christ’s sake. This justification is what makes all saints “saints.” Saints are sinners who are clothed with the righteousness of Christ. This is the teaching of the epistle for Reformation: “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God…Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the Law.” (Romans 3:21-23, 28) The Gospel for Reformation continues this theme in the words of Jesus: “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).  The Word of Jesus calls us to repentance and declares us righteous on account of what He has done for us in His death upon the cross.  The righteousness of Christ—the forgiveness of all our sins—is received by faith alone and sets us free from punishment and the judgment of the Law to live in the joyous freedom that only Christ’s forgiving Word can give us. These celebrations correspond well with the Bible readings for the week that orbit around Abraham. Abraham was called to faith by a promise. He believed in the promise and the Lord reckoned him righteous on account of the Promised Seed.CP221030

The Catechism: The Creed—The Second Article

October 23, 2022

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Catechesis Notes for the Week — The Second Article and the Call of Abram—During this second week of meditation upon the person and work of Christ under the Second Article, we read the Tower of Babel in which we see the idolatry of man who begins to erect a monument to himself. The Lord confused the languages of mankind and scattered humanity as a testimony to what man will become without reliance upon his God and Savior. The origin of language, nation, and differences in people groups can be traced back to the judgment of God at the tower. The Call to Abram should be understood as the call of the Gospel. Abram was called to leave his idolatry and in repentant faith to follow the Lord to the Promised Land (a picture of heaven). Every promise of salvation to the Old Testament patriarchs highlights an aspect of the Gospel and our call to faith in Jesus. The call of the Gospel rests upon God’s grace, so it caused Abram to be generous in sharing the land with his nephew in the account of Abram and Lot. It is the call of the Gospel that moved Abram in love to rescue Lot. It is Abram’s faith in God’s promise that in his Seed (Jesus, the Son of God) all the nations of the earth will be blessed with the gift of salvation in Christ that Abram Pays a Tithe to Melchizedek (whose name means “king of righteousness”). Melchizedek is a type of Christ. Thus, every Old Testament story this week connects us to the person and work of our Lord Jesus, the blessed Seed of Abraham who brings the blessing of salvation to the world.CP221023 corrected

The Catechism: The Creed—The Second Article

October 23, 2022

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Catechesis Notes for the Week — The Second Article and the Call of Abram—During this second week of meditation upon the person and work of Christ under the Second Article, we read the Tower of Babel in which we see the idolatry of man who begins to erect a monument to himself. The Lord confused the languages of mankind and scattered humanity as a testimony to what man will become without reliance upon his God and Savior. The origin of language, nation, and differences in people groups can be traced back to the judgment of God at the tower. The Call to Abram should be understood as the call of the Gospel. Abram was called to leave his idolatry and in repentant faith to follow the Lord to the Promised Land (a picture of heaven). Every promise of salvation to the Old Testament patriarchs highlights an aspect of the Gospel and our call to faith in Jesus. The call of the Gospel rests upon God’s grace, so it caused Abram to be generous in sharing the land with his nephew in the account of Abram and Lot. It is the call of the Gospel that moved Abram in love to rescue Lot. It is Abram’s faith in God’s promise that in his Seed (Jesus, the Son of God) all the nations of the earth will be blessed with the gift of salvation in Christ that Abram Pays a Tithe to Melchizedek (whose name means “king of righteousness”). Melchizedek is a type of Christ. Thus, every Old Testament story this week connects us to the person and work of our Lord Jesus, the blessed Seed of Abraham who brings the blessing of salvation to the world.CP221023

The Catechism: The Creed—The Second Article

October 16, 2022

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Catechesis Notes for the Week — The Flood—God’s Judgment against a Wicked World — This week’s Bible narratives focus upon the Flood. The Lord does not regret creating mankind, but after Adam’s fall, the corruption of man became so great that it grieved God’s heart of love. Throughout the narrative we see both God’s judgment against a wicked and unbelieving world and the gift of salvation for Noah and his family through water. The historical act of the worldwide flood completely transformed the world, its topography and climate, to what we now know as the world in which we live. This “recreation” is a type of the recreation that God begins in Baptism. Baptism drowns the Old Adam but raises up the new man of faith to live before God in righteousness and purity forever. Throughout the narrative it is God who acts. God orders the building of the ark. God brings the animals to Noah. God shuts Noah into the ark. God sends the rains from heaven and opens the doors to water beneath the earth’s crust. God also causes the waters of the flood to recede and the dry land and new life to appear. In the aftermath of the Flood, God gives permission to eat meat and institutes capital punishment for the sin of murder. At the end of the narrative we have His promise that the earth would continue to have its seasons. The Lord is in charge of the climate for His purposes. He will never again destroy the earth with a flood. The rainbow was set in place as a sign of God’s promise to us and to the entire creation. Ultimately, this sign of His grace is to point us to the source of His mercy, namely the death and resurrection of Christ in whom we are baptized.CP221016

The Catechism: The Creed—The First Article

October 9, 2022

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Catechesis Notes for the Week — A Prayer of Comfort from the Lord’s Abiding Presence—Psalm 139 offers us great comfort as we meditate upon the account of the Fall, the First Promise of the Gospel, the Curse of the Fall, and the sin of Cain who murdered his brother Abel. Genesis chapter 3 describes how the world came to be a place of brokenness and sin when Adam turned away from God’s Word, but it also offers to us the promise of salvation in the Seed of the Woman (Jesus) who would crush the Serpent’s head (Satan) in His suffering and death upon the cross (the bruised heel). Psalm 139 puts all things in perspective as does Paul in his sermon in Athens. There is no place we can travel where the Lord is not present for the help, comfort, and salvation of His people who believe in Him. He searches our hearts. He knows everything about us. He is acquainted with all our ways. He knows every word we speak before we utter it. We cannot hide from His presence. We cannot fully grasp the wonder of His omniscience. He orders the affairs of our life, so that we are drawn to Him to seek His help in repentant faith. He has made each of us individually in our mother’s womb. He knew us before we were born. Our days are ordered in His book. His thoughts toward each of us are precious and more than we can number. We ask Him to make His will our own and to lead us each day in humble contrition and repentance, and in prayer to seek His guidance. If there is any wicked way in us, we pray that He would turn us to the good and to the way of everlasting life.CP221009

The Catechism: The Creed—The First Article

October 2, 2022

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Catechesis Notes for the Week — The Creation Praises the Lord—This week we begin a slow walk through the Old Testament beginning with Genesis 1 and 2, from the Creation to the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai. The narratives for this week teach us how God the Father created all things by His Word. God orders the creation and has designed all things to be in our service as men and women made in the image and likeness of God. Psalm 148 is a psalm of praise that calls upon the creation to “praise the Lord.” How does the creation praise the Lord? What is praise? Praise gives all honor and glory to God. Psalm 148 extols “the Lord”—the great “I AM” and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as the only true God who is both the Creator of the heavens and the earth and the eternal Savior. The whole of God’s creation praises the Lord when the creation does the very things that God has given it to do and performs its work according to the Lord’s will. Psalm 148 teaches us to understand that the whole of God’s creation is in service to the Lord for His good and gracious purposes. Because of the song of praise throughout God’s creation, young men and maidens, old men and children, and every believer and faithful saint of Christ’s Church praises the name of the Lord and extols His salvation in all the earth.CP221002