What if God were one of us? Jesus is the one true and living God revealed in our flesh. This belief is the defining mark of every Christian.
Throughout the whole Bible, we see God in the flesh.
-Adam and Eve walked with the Lord in Eden.
-Abraham ate with the Lord.
-Jacob saw the Lord standing atop a stairway to heaven and then physically wrestled with Him at another time.
-The elders of Israel ate and drank with the Lord.
-In a Psalm, David said that his life goal was to see the Lord's very face.
-Isaiah saw the Lord face to face in His glory.
-Daniel saw the glorious Lord on the Last Day in the appearance of one "like a son of man."
-Etc. etc. etc.
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, He came in flesh fully like our own. Our bodies aren't perfect and are inclined to die. He came humbly as a servant, not placing Himself above us. He put on flesh that is destined to die so that we could die to sin with Him.
John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 14:9 "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father."
Colossians 2:9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form
Titus 2:13 We wait for the blessed hope-- the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Why is the cross so central to the Christian life?
On the cross, we rightly view the nature of sin to rid the world of God. It would violently rip Him from this creation. The Holy Spirit leads us to detest our sin for what it truly is and desire a new life with the Lord risen and restored to us. Christ's death is called the payment price (redemption) of what it would take to forgive us and turn us from sin to a new life with God again. At the cross, we see the Lord's great love for us. He suffered so that we could know His forgiveness, love, and gift of a new life to rejoice in Him forever.
Isaiah 53:4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. As it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."
1 Peter 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
We believe the Bible is the very Word of God Himself. We believe it is 100% true, not a work of fiction or personal opinion. While we can show that scholarship supports the historical accuracy of the Bible, we especially know its truth in the saving faith that God's Spirit inspires through it. Our faith rests not on fickle feelings, the changing culture of the day, or limited rationale. The Spirit leads us to rest faith on His Word alone. In everything that we do and say, we should be able to show support in God's Word alone.
2 Samuel 22:31 The word of the LORD is flawless.
2 Corinthians 4:2 We do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
John 17:17 Make them holy by the truth; your word is truth.
1 Thessalonians 1:5 Our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.
NIV 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
Sin is not some old code of morality. Sin is hostility towards God, His presence, and His will in our lives. All the brokenness in this world is because of sin. Without God's care, everything falls apart. Only He can do His job.
Romans 8:7 The sinful mind is hostile to God.
Ephesians 2:16 Through the cross, he put to death their hostility.
Imagine someone causes horrible grief to you and to your loved ones? Could you still love them and just want to start things over? Grace means an unexpected blessing. Christ Jesus' life shows us His unfailing love to forgive and to cleanse us as our hearts strike out at Him and grieve those whom He loves just as much
Ephesians 2:8-9. For it is by grace that you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves - not by works so that no man can boast.
The God, who has the perfect memory of all things, promises to forget our old lives and to offer us new ones. As in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, He is the Father who loves to run to us, to embrace us, to rejoice over us, and to say that old life is dead and gone.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Hebrews 8:12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.
The Trinity is the fullness of God. As the Father, He provides all the good blessings of life, especially His Son. As the Son, we see Him face to face in the flesh. As the Spirit, He works in our hearts to rejoice and to fellowship with Him in the whole of life.
Ephesians 1:17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Galatians 4:6 God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father."
What do you do with junk mail or spam that would con and rob you? You pitch them and want nothing to do with them, even though the initial offer may sound appealing.
Baptism actually saves us and defines the Christian life. As we continue to live in a world where many thoughts and feelings are hostile towards God, the Holy Spirit confesses within us, "Let all that is hostile towards my Lord be washed away. Let all that is pure towards Him arise."
Why baptize babies? Babies can have this saving faith, even if they are not able to discuss it like us. In one account, we are told that John the Baptist received the Holy Spirit in the womb as he came into the presence of Jesus. Peter, the Apostle, said whole households (including the children) were to receive the cleansing Spirit given in Baptism. Jesus picked up babies in His arms and spoke His promises of grace for them and we know He is faithful.
1 Peter 3:21 Baptism now saves you, not as the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
Titus 3:5 He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the continual washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
John 3:5 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit."
Communion has real power. The Scriptures make it clear that it can strengthen (or even weaken) one in the forgiven life. This is why we take the matter of Holy Communion seriously. We want all to be blessed with a stronger faith. We believe that the bread and wine become a vessel for Christ Himself to strengthen our faith.
As you receive Communion, you can humbly confess failures, struggles, and doubts before our Lord as disciples did long ago. And you can see His miraculous power to heal us and to strengthen us for days ahead.
Before forks and spoons, bread was used to carry the main dish to one's mouth. The main dish is the Resurrected and Glorious Lord who reigns in glory. His perfect life flows in and through us.
In the Garden of Eden, the fruit of the beautiful tree brought sin and the reign of the devil where Adam and Eve wanted to be their own gods. We receive the fruit of the horrific tree, Jesus on the cross -- A dead tree sawn in two. God had the power to raise His Son in glory and has the power to share the miraculous fruit of His risen and glorious body and blood with us. The result is faith and the needed reign of our Servant King over our lives.
1 Corinthians 10:16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a communion in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a communion in the body of Christ?
1 Corinthians 11:29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.
We believe in the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
We believe that we are utterly dependent on this Lord and His Word is faithful and true.
The historical narrative is that we are Christians and heirs of (1) a persecuted church and (2) those looking for a better life in this blessed land.
(1) In Saxon Germany, the government told Lutheran Christians to give up their convictions from Scripture. Many did not support the teaching of the state church. Pastors were arrested and put in prison for teaching the Bible in the homes.
In 1839, 750 of these Christians came to the embrace the religious freedoms in the U.S. They lost many brothers and sisters at sea when one ship sunk. The rest made their way up the Mississippi River to Missouri.
(2) About the same time, the Lord was using a host of missionaries (Loehe men) to start up churches wherever new settlements were being formed throughout the U.S. Many of the immigrants merely wanted a better life for their families as Europe was ravaged by poverty.
In 1847, these two Lutheran movements united. What they had in common flourished: A wholehearted belief in the truths of the Bible and an eagerness for all to know Christ.
Over 160 years later, this family of Christians has grown to 2.5 million members with over thirty partner churches and over fifty missions throughout the world.
Many of us do not belong to the LC-MS because we were simply born into it or stumbled into it. We truly embrace the message that many Christians live: Scripture alone, Grace alone, Faith alone, Christ alone.
Luke 6:47-48. I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.