Usually when we receive a gift, it arrives with a card or note identifying the giver of the gift and expressing some sentiment about the reason for the gift. If the gift must be assembled by us or if its use requires some special knowledge on our part, the gift and the card are accompanied by a booklet or sheet of instructions. SOLA SCRIPTURA is that wonderful gift of Divine Communication – The Divine Card identifying The Christ and His Mission – The Sacred Instruction on how-to live-in Christ.
The Law gives us a perfect picture of where we stand in our relationship with God and of our need for what only God can give. The Gospel is The Good News that, while even those closest to us may give up on us, God never does. God is always ready to give His all - on the cross 2000 years ago or on the pages of Holy Scripture. God is always here reaching out to us with the gifts that truly matter now and eternally - the gifts that truly restore fragile, temporal human lives into eternal lives.
With SOLA SCRIPTURA, we believe and confess that The Holy Bible is God’s revealed Word to us – spoken in both Law and Gospel. The Holy Bible is the Final Authority for us in all matters of our faith and life.
In our Gospel text this morning, Jesus promised, “If you continue in My Word, you are My disciples, and you will know The Truth, and The Truth will make you free.” Jesus wants us to truly be His students – totally committed to studying Jesus and His Word. He wants us to study and to know His Word because Jesus and His Word are The Truth – The Truth which is the only thing that can truly make us free.
We see The Truth most clearly and dynamically in Jesus’ life – in the way God as the vulnerable flesh and blood Christ lived that life, in the things He taught in His actions and in His words, and in the way. He offered His perfect life as His perfect Sacrifice for us on the cross.
BIBLE is the anglicizing of the Greek word ß?ß??? which means book. The word, HOLY, refers to something which has been instituted and set aside by God Himself for His Own specific purpose - Holy Baptism where our sins are washed away and we become God’s people, Holy Communion where we commune with our Lord and Savior, Holy Christian Church where God’s people gather together in God’s Name as God’s people, and Holy Matrimony where one man and one woman are joined together by God in humanity’s most basic foundational group.
THE HOLY BIBLE is the book God has gifted us with as His Own means of communicating The Word of God to us – SOLA SCRIPTURA.
The Word of God - written for us SOLA SCRIPTURA - in SCRIPTURE ALONE - and lived for us in Jesus Christ The Word Incarnate- the wonderful gift that truly charts the course in life God calls us to follow.
SOLA FIDES – Faith alone – brings the gifts alive in our individual lives now and eternally. God’s gifts only become effective in our lives if we truly believe in them - or, more accurately, if we believe totally and completely in The Giver of the Gifts. We must have faith.
Praise God, He even gifts us with that faith – undeserved and impossible to earn. As Martin Luther rightly confessed in his EXPLANATION TO THE THIRD ARTICLE OF THE CREED, "I believe that I cannot by my own understanding or effort believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to Him. But The Holy Spirit has called me through The Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, and sanctified and kept me in true faith."
Our chancel this morning is aglow with the color red - red for those flames of fire through which The Holy Spirit empowered God's people on Pentecost and empowers us today - holy fire to burn out the dross of faithlessness and sin and holy fire to empower enlightened faith and faithful living and red for the blood Jesus shed on the cross for our redemption and for the blood of the martyrs who were willing to suffer and die for the enlightenment and faith with which The Holy Spirit gifted them - and gifts us.
On our paraments and banner, we see the dove and flames symbolizing The Holy Spirit, THE HOLY BIBLE with the infallible WORD OF GOD and the Holy Christian Church symbolized by an old galley ship.
The Captain of this ship is Jesus Christ Himself - the drummer setting the direction and cadence for the ship is the infallible WORD OF GOD - and those who row the ship to that cadence are you and me and all the gifted people of God.
Gifted by God with the three cardinal doctrines that are the foundation and lynch pin of the Reformation, we all have God’s verbal picture of the relationship God so totally craves with each of us and all of us – now and eternally. How richly gifted by God are we with God's Grace, God's Word, and our God-given Faith. What wondrous gifts we have to celebrate today and always – even eternally.
As we proclaim in our mission statement each Sunday – “The mission to which The Lord has called us as Resurrection Lutheran Church is to lovingly and faithfully proclaim The Word of God as revealed incarnately in Jesus Christ and inerrantly in The Holy Bible.”
THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH PASSES ALL HUMAN UNDERSTANDING KEEP YOUR HEARTS AND YOUR MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS - OUR LORD AND SAVIOR WHO GIVES US HIMSELF AND THE GIFTS THAT TRULY MATTER NOW AND ETERNALLY. AMEN.
October 28, 2018