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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning the Church part 18

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Galatians 4:13-14

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Church 

Therefore we assert, according to the Scriptures, that the Church is the congregation of saints who truly believe the gospel of Christ, and have the Holy Spirit. Still, we confess that in this life, many hypocrites and wicked people are mingled with the saints. They have the fellowship of outward marks, are members of the Church according to the fellowship of these marks, and therefore bear offices in the Church. When the Sacraments are administered by the unworthy, it does not diminish their efficacy, since their call in the Church makes them representatives of Christ, not themselves. Christ testifies to this: “He who hears you hears me” (Luke 10:16). When they offer the Word of God and the Sacraments, they do so in the role and place of Christ. Christ’s words teach us to not be offended by the unworthiness of ministers.

Pulling It Together

Every pastor who presides over Holy Communion is a sinner. Some are worse sinners than others. Some do not even believe in Christ or the Word of God. Yet when we receive Holy Communion from their hands, we should not think of the sinner that stands before us. We should consider that person as the Galatians received Paul—as a messenger sent from God and more, as Jesus Christ. It is Christ who gives his body and blood for you. The pastor is just the messenger and agent of Christ. It is Christ’s words that make the bread and wine a sacrament. On the Lord’s Day, we hear, “Take and eat”; “Drink.” Is it the pastor speaking those words, or Christ? It makes a difference. 

Prayer: Speak, Lord, and your servant will listen. Amen.

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Learning About Communion teaches the meaning of Holy Communion according to the pattern of Luther's Small Catechism, and is recommended for the Fifth Grade Level. Each week focuses on a specific Bible story which illustrates the theme, with additional references from Scripture and Luther's Small Catechism - Children's Version. Lessons emphasize the sacramental promise of the forgiveness of sins conveyed to us in the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. This booklet was designed to be used as a Sunday School unit, or for classes to prepare students for their First Communion.

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