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Called to Action

Read John 1:29-51

Examples—good, bad, or indifferent—are all around us. Even though we know the Bible’s primary purpose is to show us the path to heaven through the grace of our Lord Jesus, the Scriptures are also full of examples. Paul tells us, “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition.” (1 Corinthians 10:11) Though Jesus’ disciples were often poor examples of Christ followers (just as we can be), in the account of Jesus calling the first of His followers we find examples we would do well to emulate.

John and Andrew

The first two disciples Jesus called to follow Him started out as disciples of John the Baptizer, namely John and Andrew. When John the Baptizer singled out Jesus and testified that He was indeed the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” (John 1:29) it was enough for these two. Although John the Baptizer did retain some disciples for a time, Andrew and John knew it was time to stop following the preacher and follow the One preached. We would do well to remember that. As attached as we may become to our pastors, it is the One Whom they preach that we follow. We dare not let brotherly love or loyalty cloud our vision of Christ.Read More »Called to Action

Citizens by Birth—and Rebirth

DEVOTION – CHURCH AND STATE

The screaming crowd was ready to riot when the object of their fury was taken into custody by the Roman commander. The commander ordered his centurion to bind the prisoner and stretch him out for a lashing with the Roman scourge, as a quick and dirty means of interrogation. But Paul, who had been testifying of Christ to the people of Jerusalem, still had a significant card to play. He asked, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned?”  (Acts 22:25)

The officer was skeptical at first, saying “With a large sum I obtained this citizenship.” Paul, who came from the Roman colony of Tarsus, answered him by saying “But I was born a citizen.”  At this revelation the Romans were alarmed and released him, for citizens of the empire had protections and privileges that others did not have, including the right to a trial before being convicted and punished.Read More »Citizens by Birth—and Rebirth

The Gift of the Public Ministry

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ”
(Ephesians 4:11-16).

As we gather on a Sunday morning to worship our risen and ascended Lord, we may take for granted some of the blessings which He has given to His Church on earth. Read More »The Gift of the Public Ministry

Membership Has Its Privileges

We understand and appreciate the difference between a church denomination or congregation and the Church—the spiritual Israel, “the Holy Christian Church, the communion of saints” (The Apostles’ Creed).

Through membership in our local congregations the Spirit strengthens us in the Christian faith through His Word and Sacraments; there we praise and worship Him together; there we gather with like-minded believers to encourage and build one another up in our holy faith.

Christ-believers understand their Lord’s directive to “go to church” (Colossians 3:16, Romans 10:17; Hebrews 10:25) as coming from His unconditional love for their spiritual welfare.

But let us consider that, first and foremost, we are at the same time Read More »Membership Has Its Privileges