Sola Publishing News and Feedback [Sola Devotions series] http://solapublishing.com/news_feedback/feed.html?series=1 News and feedback blog for Sola Publishing en-us Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a997.html Mon, 21 May 18 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Psalm 119:105

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Ecclesiastical Power 

Those who originally condemned clear truth, and are now persecuting it with greatest cruelty, will give an account for the schism that has taken place. In any case, are there no scandals among our opponents? What evil there is in the profiteering, blasphemous profanation of the Mass! What a great disgrace is celibacy! But let us forget comparisons. For the time being, this is our reply to their Confutation. We leave it to the judgment of all godly people as to whether our opponents are correct in boasting that they have actually refuted our Confession with the Scriptures.

Pulling It Together

We cannot reason our way to God. Nor can traditions light the way to divine truth. Human institutions are unable to direct us to God. We stumble after forgiveness, justification, sanctification, eternal life, and similar things as though walking through a dense forest on a starless, moonless night. We cannot find our way; we need Gods’ help. The manner he has has chosen to show us the way is by his Word. If you find yourself falling back on some church tradition, cast it aside and listen to the Word. If you catch yourself thinking, “But the church teaches me to think this way,” then hear the word of Christ. You cannot be sanctified except by truth, and that truth is the Word of God (John 17:17). Open the Book and it will light your way.

Prayer: Lord, put within me a deep love of your Word. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The biblical focus in The Adventures of Paul, a five-session VBS book, is on the life of the Apostle Paul, with lessons from the Book of Acts. Here Scripture tells the story of serious man named Saul, who worked to silence Christianity — until the risen Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus and changed his life. With his new name Paul, this one who had persecuted the Church went on to become one of the greatest apostles.

Sola’s Versatile Budget Series is a simple and flexible educational Vacation Bible School curriculum designed especially for small churches, house churches, and mission congregations. The flexible format works well for groups with limited budgets, or in situations where the ages and number of students may vary from session to session. Unlike more elaborate and expensive VBS kits, this book is meant to serve as an “all-in-one” teacher’s resource. The worksheets and handouts it contains can be reproduced according to local needs. Each book in the Versatile Budget Series focuses on a particular character from the Bible, bringing together several stories on a common theme. Resources and ideas are provided for gathering time, music, activities, games, and refreshments — allowing just a few adult leaders to host a week of Vacation Bible School.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a996.html Fri, 18 May 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

John 8:31–33

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Ecclesiastical Power 

They present an objection based on the public offenses and commotions that have arisen under pretext of our doctrine. We will briefly reply. If all the offenses are combined, still the one article concerning the forgiveness of sins, that we freely obtain the forgiveness of sins for Christ’s sake through faith, brings so much good as to hide all evils. In the beginning, this gained Luther not only our favor, but also the favor of many who are now opposing us. “The former favor ceases, and mortals are forgetful,” says Pindar. Nevertheless, we do not desire to abandon truth essential to the Church, nor can we agree with our opponents who condemn it. “We must obey God rather than men.”

Pulling It Together

What is able to set you free: human traditions or the Word of God? Abide in one and lack assurance and peace. Abide in the other and know “perfect peace” (Isa 26:3). Keeping traditions will have you forever doubting that you have ever done enough to be forgiven and go to heaven. If you want assurance of the forgiveness of your sins, and would enjoy the fellowship of God in heaven, then keep your mind, trust, and faith in his Christ, who has fulfilled all rules and regulations (Matt 5:17). Jesus Christ is the end of the law. He is the righteousness of all who believe in him (Rom 10:14). Believe in his righteousness instead of your own, and be freed.

Prayer: Keep my mind stayed on you, Lord, and thereby, keep me in your perfect peace. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The biblical focus in this five-session VBS book, Moses and the Great Escape, is found in the Old Testament book of Exodus. God has a grand plan for humankind — a plan he enacts through the Hebrew people. He created Moses to be instrumental in this plan.

Sola’s Versatile Budget Series is a simple and flexible educational Vacation Bible School curriculum designed especially for small churches, house churches, and mission congregations. The flexible format works well for groups with limited budgets, or in situations where the ages and number of students may vary from session to session. Unlike more elaborate and expensive VBS kits, this book is meant to serve as an “all-in-one” teacher’s resource. The worksheets and handouts it contains can be reproduced according to local needs. Each book in the Versatile Budget Series focuses on a particular character from the Bible, bringing together several stories on a common theme. Resources and ideas are provided for gathering time, music, activities, games, and refreshments — allowing just a few adult leaders to host a week of Vacation Bible School.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a995.html Thu, 17 May 18 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Acts 5:29–31

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Ecclesiastical Power 

We make the same reply to Matthew 23:3. “Practice and observe whatever they tell you,” is clearly not a universal command to observe all things since elsewhere, Scripture tells us to “obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Therefore, when they teach wicked things, they are not to be heard. But these are wicked things: that human traditions are worship of God, that they are necessary, and that they merit the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

Pulling It Together

The old saying, “Do as I say but not as I do,” is applicable to pharisaical instruction. Jesus is teaching that we ought to observe right teaching of the Scripture, though not necessarily imitate the actions of those teaching. However, if someone’s teaching is contrary to God’s Word and command, that person’s teaching is to be censured. In particular, if anyone’s teaching declares that a human regulation or ritual must be done before God will forgive, that doctrine should be rejected outright. It is easy to determine what is right doctrine in these matters, by applying the rule of faith. Does a doctrine require you to add anything to faith in God before you may be forgiven or know the assurance of eternal life? Does a teaching demand you do something before your faith in Christ is acceptable? If a doctrine of forgiveness and salvation calls for anything to be added to faith, do not observe such a wicked teaching. If you do, you are obeying people instead of God.

Prayer: Lord, give me a spirit that hears your holy Word. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The biblical focus of Mary, Martha & Many Faithful Women, a five-session VBS book is found in the gospels. Through the eyes of sisters, Mary and Martha, we get a look at the ministry of Jesus. We see him as both human and as God. Along with some of Jesus' other female friends, we follow Jesus to the cross where he suffered a horrendous death to pay the price for our sins. From the darkness of the cross, we join the women at the tomb with Mary Magdalene as the mystery and victory of Easter morning unfold.

Sola’s Versatile Budget Series is a simple and flexible educational Vacation Bible School curriculum designed especially for small churches, house churches, and mission congregations. The flexible format works well for groups with limited budgets, or in situations where the ages and number of students may vary from session to session. Unlike more elaborate and expensive VBS kits, this book is meant to serve as an “all-in-one” teacher’s resource. The worksheets and handouts it contains can be reproduced according to local needs. Each book in the Versatile Budget Series focuses on a particular character from the Bible, bringing together several stories on a common theme. Resources and ideas are provided for gathering time, music, activities, games, and refreshments — allowing just a few adult leaders to host a week of Vacation Bible School.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a994.html Wed, 16 May 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Galatians 1:8–9

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Ecclesiastical Power 

They also quote Hebrews 13:17: “Obey your leaders and submit to them.” This passage requires obedience to the Gospel. For it does not establish an authority of the bishops apart from the Gospel. Nor should bishops create traditions contrary to the Gospel, or interpret their traditions contrary to the Gospel. When they do this, obedience is prohibited, according to Galatians 1:9: “If any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.”

Pulling It Together

Christians are called to lives of submission. We are to honor our parents (Exod 20:12), deferring to their authority. We are to obey earthly authorities (Rom 13:1-7), as well as church leadership (Heb 13:17). We are also and chiefly commanded to submit to God, from whom these other commands come. It dishonors God if we submit to earthly and ecclesial authority when those authorities are operating in opposition to God. If earthly government orders you to do something against God’s word, you must honor God, even if it means disobedience to civil law. Just so, if church leadership insists you do something adverse to the gospel, obey the gospel instead of the ecclesial power. One authority is higher than the other, as the other receives its authority from the one. Both civil and church leadership get their authority from God, so when they act contrary to God, their authority becomes loathsome.

If any ruler, civil or ecclesial, would have you follow a way different than the gospel, that ruler should be considered by you as accursed. The word “accursed” (Greek, anathema) in Galatians 1:9 means it is dedicated to destruction by divine wrath. One would do well to not associate with, let alone follow and obey, the damned.

Prayer: Strengthen me, Lord, and give me the courage to obey your Word. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The biblical focus of The Adventures of Paul, a five-session VBS book, is the life of the Apostle Paul, using lessons from the Book of Acts. Here Scripture tells the story of serious man named Saul who worked to silence Christianity—until the risen Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus and changed his life. With his new name Paul, this one who had persecuted the Church went on to become one of the greatest apostles. 

The price of the book includes permission to reproduce the worksheets and handouts for local use. For smaller churches in a "one-room schoolhouse" setting, only one book is necessary. For churches with multiple grade levels and individual classes, we suggest that each teacher have a copy of the curriculum book.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a993.html Tue, 15 May 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Luke 10:16

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Ecclesiastical Power 

This is the simple manner of interpreting traditions: we should not understand them as necessary acts of worship, yet observe them properly for the sake of avoiding offenses. Many great and learned men in the Church understood traditions this way. We do not see what can be said to the contrary. For it is certain that the expression, “He who hears you hears me” (Luke 10:16), does not refer to traditions, but is primarily directed against traditions. For it is not a mandatum cum libera (a bestowal of unlimited authority), as they call it, but it is a cautio de rato (a caution concerning something prescribed), namely, concerning a special command, that is, a testimony given to the apostles so that we believe them with respect to another’s Word, instead of to their own. For Christ would assure us, as is necessary, that when people deliver the Word it is efficacious, and that no other word from heaven need be sought.

“He who hears you hears me” cannot be applied to traditions. Christ requires them to teach in a manner such that he is heard, for he says, “He...hears me.” Therefore he wishes his own voice, his own Word, to be heard—not human traditions. Yet, these stupid men take a saying that is especially favors our confession, it containing the most important consolation and teaching, and misuse it for the most trifling matters: the distinctions of food, clothing, and so forth.

Pulling It Together

The Lutheran reformers wanted to proclaim a clear word of Scripture. Human traditions that promised God’s favor were summarily dismissed in favor of God’s gracious favor being freely given through faith, for Christ’s sake. Therefore, to imagine that one, because of position or job title, may create some new command or doctrine that is to be received as if it were “gospel,” is outrageous. Just because a pope, bishop, priest, or pastor says it, does not mean it is the word of Christ. However, if one speaks the word of Christ, then surely, Christ is heard as if he himself stood before that person speaking.

Prayer: Speak, Lord, through your Word, and I will hear. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Connections is a magazine for evangelical Lutheran Christians. It is filled with meaty articles as well as lighter spiritual fare. Connections provides great food for the soul. Articles and features are contributed by individuals and ministries of CALC, LCMC, NALC, Lutheran Core, and other evangelical Lutherans from congregations across North America. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a992.html Mon, 14 May 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

2 Corinthians 13:12–14

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Ecclesiastical Power 

The use of such ordinances, therefore, should be left free, provided that offenses are avoided, and that they not be judged as necessary acts of worship. The apostles themselves prescribed many things that have been changed with time, since they did not hand them down in such a way that they were not to be changed. For they did not disagree with their own writings, in which they worked hard so the Church would not be oppressed by the opinion that human rites are necessary acts of worship.

Pulling It 

It is amusing to consider the things that each Christian group focuses on, as though they were God’s perpetual commandments. Do this particular thing or else you are not really a Christian—or at least not a very “good” one. Let us imagine that one of today’s verses, verse twelve, was the dogmatic focus of a church. The exhortation to “greet one another with a holy kiss” is also found in three other New Testament letters of Paul (Rom 16:16; 1 Cor 16:20; 1 Thes 5:26). He told the churches four times to greet one another this way. But if the “holy kiss,” or even a hug or a handshake, were regarded as an ongoing and necessary act of worship, this would become a burden to the churches that has nothing to do with faith in God.

Prayer:On that Day, Jesus, joy of heaven, greet me with the eternal kiss of grace. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Wise & The Foolish — Women's and Men's Group Bible Study 

Some of the best-known instances of Jesus' teaching come in what we know as his parables. Through these teaching-stories, Jesus describes the experience of faith in the kingdom of God. The Wise & the Foolish is a Bible study that focuses entirely on Jesus' "people parables"—or what might better be descirbed as Discipleship Parables. These are the character stories that focus on the nature of discipleship and what it means to be a wise and faithful follower of Jesus.

This nine-session Bible study is intended for use by women's and men's groups, or for other small group fellowships gathering around the Word of God.

Click HERE to see the table of contents and a sample session of this study.

To view the Leader Guide click HERE.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a991.html Sat, 12 May 18 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

James 1:25

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Ecclesiastical Power 

Still, we have added in the Confession the extent to which they may legitimately make traditions, namely, not as necessary services, but so that there may be order in the Church, for the sake of peace. These traditions should not ensnare consciences, as though ordering necessary acts of worship. This is what Paul teaches when he says, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal 5:1).

Pulling It Together

What right does anyone have to insist that we do certain things in order to be forgiven? Christ has set us free; so we are truly free (John 8:36). God does not tell us that certain sins cannot be forgiven or that our quantity of sins is too heavy, too grave to forgive. Nor does he tell us to get our acts together before he will forgive. So, we must be careful to not allow anyone to deceive us, taking our consciences captive to human traditions. The Gospel, that perfect, liberating law of God, declares that God freely forgives us for Christ’s sake. Believe and be at peace with God.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord God, for love that is conditional on Christ alone. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

This six-session Bible study focuses on the Godly vocations of marriage and family. Based on foundational texts from Scripture, the study also draws from the real-life experience of Martin and Katie Luther, husband and wife, and also the parents of several children. The Luther Household includes excerpts from Luther's personal writings to family and friends as they faced the good and bad that come in everyday living.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a990.html Fri, 11 May 18 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Acts 6:1–4

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Ecclesiastical Power 

We have stated in the Confession what power the Gospel gives to bishops. Those who are presently bishops do not perform their duties according to the Gospel. They may be bishops according to canonical polity, which we do not criticize, but we are writing about a bishop according to the Gospel. We are content with the ancient division of power, into power of the order and power of jurisdiction. Therefore bishops have the power of the order: the ministry of the Word and Sacraments; they also have the power of jurisdiction: the authority to excommunicate those guilty of public transgressions, and to absolve them if they are converted and request absolution. But their power is not to be tyrannical, that is, without a fixed law, nor regal, that is, above law. They have a fixed command and a fixed Word of God, according to which they ought to teach, and according to which they ought to exercise their jurisdiction. Therefore, even though they should have some jurisdiction, it does not follow that they are able to institute new acts of worship. Such services are not under their power. They have the Word: they have the command concerning how far they should exercise their jurisdiction, namely, when anyone does something contrary to that Word which they have received from Christ.

Pulling It Together

Let the power of bishops—indeed, the power of the whole Church—reside in the Word alone, sola Scriptura. If the Spirit cannot make his case through the Word alone, is a bishop able to make new laws that are effective where God is not? For example, in Holy Communion, we have the promise of God in his Word that attend the Sacrament. This is enough. If people believe the Word attached to the bread and wine, God’s grace is there. No one needs to concoct penitential acts or other forms of worship or devotion to supplement faith. Faith alone, sola fide, is sufficient. Bishops—overseers, elders, pastors—should devote themselves to the ministry of the Word and prayer, so that the Word of God will increase and people may come to faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 6:7).

Prayer: Help me follow you through your Word alone, Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Getting to Know Martin Luther is a five-lesson Conformation workbook about Martin Luther's life that will help confirmands get a better glimpse into what faith means for their own lives by searching and understanding the Word of God, trusting in Christ alone for our salvation, standing up for what they believe in, and helping others to learn the truth about God.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a989.html Thu, 10 May 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

1 John 2:24–27

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Ecclesiastical Power 

However, since the Gospel clearly testifies that traditions should not be imposed upon the Church to merit the forgiveness of sins or to be services that God shall approve as righteousness, or to burden consciences by calling it sin if these traditions are excluded, the adversaries will never be able to show that the bishops have the power to institute such services.

Pulling It Together

What is it that you heard from the beginning other than that you are saved by believing on Jesus Christ? That you must or must not do certain things in order to be forgiven and saved came later when people tried to foist their religious brand upon you. Do not be led astray; remain in the Word, and the Holy Spirit will teach you all things necessary for both salvation and the working out of his salvation through keeping the faith and doing those good works for which you were created (Phil 2:12; Eph 2:10). Yet, do not trust in these works, nor in performing human traditions. Trust instead, in the promise given you at your baptism.

Prayer: Keep me in your Word, Lord, and protect me from those who would have me trust in anything other. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Views of Baptism is written for a range of readers including the parent or sponsor about to baptize a child, the adult who wants to understand baptism more fully, and the professional teacher or preacher who needs the truth about baptism stated simply but backed by careful research. This books explores three views of baptism: the individual-centered view, the means-of-grace view, and the Roman Catholic view. It includes a description of how Christian baptism came to us in stages from its Jewish roots. A question and answer section addresses specific matters often raised when people contemplate baptism.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a988.html Wed, 09 May 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Colossians 2:20–23

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Ecclesiastical Power 

Earlier, they also condemned Article XV, in which we declared that traditions do not merit the forgiveness of sins. They say here that traditions contribute to eternal life. Do they merit the forgiveness of sins? Are they services of worship that God approves as righteousness? Do they vivify hearts? Paul says to the Colossians that traditions gain nothing with respect to eternal righteousness and eternal life since food, drink, clothing and the like are things that perish with the using (Col 2:20–23). But eternal life is formed in the heart by eternal things: by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Therefore, let our opponents explain how traditions are conducive to eternal life.

Pulling It Together

Eternal life begins during this earthly life. It starts within us by faith. First, we are forgiven and made righteous before God through faith in his Son. These things which make our hearts eternally alive happen because God does them. No effort of our own can ever make us live forever. That is an absurd notion, and is obvious enough. Only the eternal Spirit can give such life to our spirits. What we eat and drink, or abstain from, has nothing to do with eternity; food and drink are things of this life. What we wear, or do not wear, also have nothing to do with salvation—unless we are speaking of being clothed with Christ (Gal 3:27). Special services of worship performed for the benefit of forgiving the sins of others who are not even present, or who do not even believe, may have a religious appearance. Nevertheless, without faith in Christ no one is saved.

Prayer: Clothe me, Lord Jesus, with your righteousness. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

One For All is a nine-session Bible study explores the center of the Christian faith by focusing on the unique and exclusive promise of Jesus. It examines not only the claims that Christ made about himself in Scripture, but the claim that the Lord makes on our lives as well. By focusing on the Gospel message of salvation in Christ alone, the study seeks to show how God makes us a part of His mission to the whole world, and how "the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all."

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a987.html Tue, 08 May 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Acts 15:6–11

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Ecclesiastical Power 

So, the bishops have no right to make traditions, claiming they merit the forgiveness of sins apart from the Gospel, nor services of worship that assert to please God as righteousness. Bishops have no right to burden consciences with these human traditions as though it would be a sin to ignore them. All this is taught by that one passage in Acts, where the apostles say that hearts are purified by faith (Acts 15:9), then forbid imposing a yoke, demonstrating how great a danger this is, emphasizing the sin of those who burden the Church. “Why are you testing God?” they ask (Acts 15:10). Our opponents, who violently defend their traditions and godless opinions, are not terrified in the least by this thunderbolt.

Pulling It Together

The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Rom 1:16). Nothing needs to be added to the Gospel in order to make it effective for the forgiveness of sins, justification, or eternal life. No traditions need to be added, nor are special acts of devotion or services of worship necessary for hearts to be purified. The Word of God is the means that makes us clean before God (John 15:3). In other words, God makes us clean—not the things we do or the human traditions that we maintain. We cannot keep them, even if they could keep us pure. But God can keep his word, and he has done so through Jesus Christ. Let us add nothing to Christ alone.

Prayer: O Living Word of God, help me trust in you. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

This pocket edition of Luther's Small Catechism includes quotations from the English Standard Versions (ESV) of Scripture, and the traditional ICET liturgical texts (as used in the Lutheran Book of Worship). The primary verses of Scripture, Creed, and Prayers are printed in italics; Luther’s explanations are printed in plain text. Luther’s explanations are formatted with a mid-sentence break, to highlight contrasting phrases and to aid in memorization.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a986.html Fri, 04 May 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

1 Corinthians 8:8

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Ecclesiastical Power 

We must retain this doctrine in the Church: that we receive the forgiveness of sins freely through faith for Christ’s sake. We must also retain this teaching: that human traditions are useless acts of worship, and therefore neither sin nor righteousness depends upon food, drink, clothing, and similar things. Christ leaves us free to use such things when he says that it is “not what goes into the mouth [that] defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man” (Matt 15:11). Paul says, “For the kingdom of God is not food and drink” (Rom 14:17).

Pulling It Together

What should shine forth from the Church above all other things? Buildings? Traditions? Fund raisers? The pastor? Denominational programs? The youth group? Style of worship? Number of people? Or even peculiar doctrines that set one church apart from another? No, and forever no! The clearest thing, that teaching and clarion cry of every Christian congregation, should be the Gospel. The Gospel, that we are forgiven and saved for eternal life with God through faith in Jesus Christ, is what truly sets us apart as Christian people.

Prayer: Help your Church focus, Lord, upon the good news of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship Resource is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a985.html Thu, 03 May 18 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Galatians 1:6–9

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Ecclesiastical Power 

Even though we have embraced various topics in this article of the Confessions, our opponents make no reply, except that bishops have the power of rule and forceful correction, in order to direct their subjects to the goal of eternal blessedness, that the power to rule requires the power to judge, define, distinguish, and institute those things which are serviceable or conducive to the aforementioned end. These are the words of the Confutation, in which our opponents instruct us that the bishops have the authority to create laws useful for obtaining eternal life. That is the point of controversy.

Pulling It Together

No pastor, bishop, priest, or pope has the right to determine rules for apprehending eternal life when those rules have no authority from the Gospel. What we preach and teach must not be of our own creation. It should not be a “different gospel” (Gal 1:6). We are saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ (Eph 2:8–9). Human rules and traditions cannot save us from sin and death. In too many cases, human institutions move us away from the clear call of Scripture, distorting the Gospel (Gal 1:7). The Gospel of Christ declares that God saves us through the agency of the cross. The one who preaches a contrary gospel is cursed.

Prayer: Help me to listen to and hear the clear voice of your Word, Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship Resource (SOWeR) also includes bulletin templates. There are word processing templates for both communion and non-communion services. There are also templates for Sola, LBW, and Reclaim service settings. SOWeR is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. This brochure will answer more questions about SOWeR. Call 1-888-887-9840 to order a yearly subscription. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a984.html Wed, 02 May 18 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Hebrews 4:12–13

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Ecclesiastical Power 

The people urgently desire teaching on the most important and difficult controversies so that they may have something certain to follow. Rather than freeing minds tortured with doubt, they call to arms. In obvious matters they present decrees written in blood, threatening people with horrible punishments unless they act with clear defiance to God’s command. Here, on the other hand, you should see the tears of the poor, and hear the pitiable complaints of so many good people. God undoubtedly considers and regards them all, and one day it will be to him you will submit an account of your stewardship.

Pulling It Together

The Reformation slogan, sola Scriptura, should be kept close in our thoughts. Much doubt and anxiety may be avoided, if God’s Word is our rule of faith and practice. Do our faith or practices depend upon tradition alone, while being in opposition to Scripture? Then we ought to answer, “Sola Scriptura!” This, not only clears up matters of practice, it being God’s Word, will bring peace to troubled consciences. If people are anxious because they cannot keep certain traditions that are taught to be essential to salvation, sola Scriptura! The Word alone! Let the Scriptures teach us, and human traditions will be found out.

Prayer: God, keep me steadfast in your Word. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship Resource (SOWeR) also includes liturgies and services for your use. There are ready-to-copy settings for Holy Communion, services, services of the Word, Vespers, occasional services, funerals, and seasonal services. SOWeR is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a983.html Tue, 01 May 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Matthew 5:20

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Ecclesiastical Power 

On the other hand, if only our opponents would hear the complaints of the churches and godly minds. Our opponents courageously guard their own dignities and wealth while neglecting the condition of the churches. They take no care for the churches to be rightly taught, and the Sacraments duly administered. They admit all sorts to the priesthood without discrimination. Then they impose intolerable burdens on them, as though they were delighted with the destruction of their fellowmen. They demand that their traditions be observed far more accurately than the Gospel.

Pulling It Together

If our righteousness must exceed that of religious experts, then what are we to do? We are to understand what righteousness actually is. Righteousness is not the fruit of good deeds or even correct doctrine, dogma, or traditions. Righteousness is being properly related to Jesus. If Jesus considers us his friends (John 15:15), we are righteous indeed. We cannot earn righteousness; it is given to us. We are made right with God because of being rightly related to Jesus through faith. This is the good news of peace and reconciliation that sinners—especially self-righteous sinners—need to hear.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for calling believers your friends. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Holy Families! is an initiative of the North American Lutheran Church provided through a generous grant from the Thrivent Foundation, in honor of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation (1517 AD to 2017 AD). Produced by Sola Publishing, this special initiative includes a number of Lutheran discipleship resources for families and congregations, including Daily Family Prayer Resources, Parent Pages, Faith Formation downloadable pages for children/families, Educational Videos, Parents' Video/Discussion Series on Faith Formation, and the Reformation Bible Study: In the Luther Household

Holy Families! is also on the free Sola App for Android and Apple

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a982.html Mon, 30 Apr 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

John 3:16

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Ecclesiastical Power – part 1

Here our opponents carry on about the privileges and immunities of the ecclesiastical estate. They add the conclusion: “Everything presented in the present article against the immunity of the churches and priests is false.” This is sheer defamation, since we have disputed other things in this article. Besides, we have frequently testified that we do not find fault with political ordinances, nor the gifts and privileges granted by princes.

Pulling It Together

The Defense of the Augsburg Confession concludes with a word on the power of the church. It insists that the church was corrupt and that this was harmful to the people in the church. Of particular interest will be the power of its bishops to determine how to obtain eternal life. So, we ought to be reminded, before we go much further, precisely how one is forgiven, justified, and saved. Those who believe on the Son whom the Father sent will have eternal life. This is not a special favor from the church, nor the result of acts of devotion. Salvation is apprehended only by faith in the Father’s great love, love that sent the Savior.

Prayer: Keep me focused on your love, Father. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Sola has added a Bible Overview year to its Confirmation Series, with two ten-session booklets — one on the Old Testament and one on the New Testament. These books provide a step-by-step overview of the history and geography of the Scriptures, exploring the various time periods and sections of the Bible and how they connect to one another. The goal is to give students a sense for the over-arching story of Scripture, fulfilled in the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a981.html Sat, 28 Apr 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Isaiah 64:6

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

We have recounted some of our reasons, and in passing, have confuted the objections of our opponents. We have collected all of this, not only for our opponents, but even more so that godly minds would know why they ought to disapprove of hypocrisy and false monastic worship, all of which Christ overturns with this one saying: “In vain they do worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt 15:9). Therefore the vows themselves, along with the observances of foods, lessons, chants, vestments, sandals, and cinctures, are useless services in God’s sight. Let every godly mind know with certainty that these views are simply pharisaic and condemned: that these observances merit the forgiveness of sins, that because of them we are accounted righteous, that we obtain eternal life because of them, instead of through mercy for Christ’s sake.

Holy men who observed this kind of life must have learned to reject any confidence in such observances, understanding that they received the forgiveness of sins freely, that for Christ’s sake through mercy they would obtain eternal life—not because of these services—because God only approves of services instituted by his Word, and that are used in faith.

Pulling It Together

May we all come to this understanding: that we despair of any way of life we may have imagined would save us. May we consider all our works as filthy garments, especially if they are performed as some hypocritical worship or service to God. Let us cast aside these false vestments, and hold fast to the promise of grace that we have in Christ alone through faith.

Prayer: Lord, I ask you again: help me to trust in you—only you. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Reading and Discussion of Luther's Catechisms is a more challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, each presented in a question and discussion format. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a980.html Fri, 27 Apr 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Matthew 5:33–37

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

If our opponents wish to misapply this passage to vows, they must also misapply the prohibition that no “widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age” (1 Tim 5:9). Vows made before this age would therefore be invalid. But the Church did not yet know of these vows. Paul does not condemn widows because they marry (he commands the younger widows to marry [1 Tim 5:14]) but because they became wanton while being supported at the public expense and thus, abandoned faith. He clearly does not call this “first pledge” (1 Tim 5:12) a monastic vow, but a Christian oath. He understands faith in this sense in the same chapter: “If any one does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his own family, he has disowned the faith” (1 Tim 5:8). Paul speaks of faith differently than the sophists. He does not ascribe faith to those who have mortal sin. Accordingly, he says that those who do not care for their relatives have abandoned faith. In the same way, he says that wanton women reject faith.

Pulling It Together

These older widows had promised to not remarry so that they could receive assistance from the church. Remarrying was seen as breaking that “oath”—the same word translated as “faith.” It is better to make no oath at all, yet sometimes, when life presses us hard, it is difficult to trust in God’s providence.

But let us not be sidetracked in this discussion. What we are actually dealing with here, is the wrong use of Scripture. We must not use a verse to prove our point when the Scripture is not not even referring to our particular cause. In this case, Paul is speaking of the pledges made by widows over 60 years of age. He is not speaking of monastic vows made by men of any age during a time when the church knew nothing of monasticism.

Prayer: Help me trust in you, Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

      

   

Sola VBS Series

Find all of Sola's Vacation Bible School offerings here.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a979.html Thu, 26 Apr 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

1 John 2:25

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

They also cite 1 Timothy 5:11–12 about the widows who served the Church but were supported at the public expense, where it is said: “They desire to marry, and so they incur condemnation for having violated their first pledge.” First, let us suppose that the Apostle is speaking here of vows. This passage will still not back up monastic vows that are made concerning godless worship, and with the opinion that they merit the forgiveness of sins and justification. For Paul clearly condemns all worship, all laws, all works, if they are observed in order to merit the forgiveness of sins or to obtain eternal life for us on account of them, instead of through mercy for Christ’s sake. So, the vows of widows, if there were any, must have been unlike monastic vows.

Pulling It Together

It is clear enough from the context that these widows whom Paul spoke of were simply women the Church supported unless they remarried. Then their husbands would support them. Yet, this is not the real issue here. Let us not conceal the actual subject of our concern—the concern of Paul and of all Scripture. We are forgiven, justified, and given eternal life because of Christ alone. We are not saved from death and damnation because of our vows. Rather, we are saved because we believe the promises of God in Christ Jesus.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, promise of eternal life, train the eyes of my heart upon you. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Moses and the Great Escape is an “all-in-one” teacher’s resource. The worksheets and handouts it contains may be reproduced according to local needs. Each book in the Versatile Budget Series focuses on a particular character from the Bible, bringing together several stories on a common theme. Resources and ideas are provided for gathering time, music, activities, games, and refreshments — allowing just a few adult leaders to host a week of Vacation Bible School.

The biblical focus in the five-session Moses and the Great Escape VBS book is found in the Old Testament book of Exodus. God has a grand plan for humankind—a plan he enacts through the Hebrew people. He created Moses to be instrumental in this plan.

All of Sola's VBS materials are here.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a978.html Wed, 25 Apr 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

2 Timothy 4:7–8

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

But then, the custom also had a particular purpose. Because they were foreigners, not Israelites, it seems their father wished to distinguish them by certain signs from their countrymen, so that they might not relapse into the ungodliness of their countrymen. By these, he wished to caution them of the teaching of faith and immortality. This is a lawful purpose. But far different purposes are taught in monasticism. They imagine that the works of monasticism are acts of worship that merit the forgiveness of sins and justification. Therefore, the example of the Rechabites is unlike monasticism. We omit here other evils presently inherent in monasticism.

Pulling It Together

We need all the help we can get. No one would deny this to be true. But if the help obscures Christ, it is not help; it is a great evil. Anything that hinders you keeping the faith is, at very least, a serious temptation. If it persists, it is dire. Keeping the faith does not mean that one has maintained certain traditions or a lifestyle. It means that faith has been kept in its proper place, that it is in Christ alone, not human practices and institutions. The crown we seek is not a reward for our accomplishments. It is a crown of righteousness—not our own righteousness, but the righteousness of Christ that he gives us for having and keeping faith in him.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I look to you to show me the lane to the finish line. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The biblical focus of The Adventures of Paul, a five-session VBS book, is the life of the Apostle Paul, using lessons from the Book of Acts. Here Scripture tells the story of serious man named Saul who worked to silence Christianity—until the risen Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus and changed his life. With his new name Paul, this one who had persecuted the Church went on to become one of the greatest apostles. 

The price of the book includes permission to reproduce the worksheets and handouts for local use. For smaller churches in a "one-room schoolhouse" setting, only one book is necessary. For churches with multiple grade levels and individual classes, we suggest that each teacher have a copy of the curriculum book.

Other VBS programs

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a977.html Tue, 24 Apr 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Galatians 3:22–26

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

It is a certainty that our observances do not merit the forgiveness of sins or justification. Therefore, when the Rechabites are praised, we observe that they observed their tradition, not because they believed that by it they earned forgiveness of sins, or that the work itself was a justifying service or by which they obtained eternal life—rather than by God’s mercy, for the sake of the promised Seed. But because they had the command of their parents, their obedience is praised, for this is the commandment of God: “Honor your father and your mother” (Exod 20:12).

Pulling It Together

We have a shared promise through Christ since we are all sons of God through faith in him. As such, all believers are joint heirs of the promise made to Christ, the Seed of Abraham. We too possess the oath made to Christ. It becomes for us “a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul” (Heb 6:19), a certain hope to hold on to, certain because it was promised by God who cannot lie (Heb 6:18). So, we see that the blessings promised to Abraham and his Seed are obtained through faith in the promise, or rather, in the one who promised, not through any effort of our own.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, help me keep the faith and receive the promise, through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Mary, Martha & Many Faithful Women is a five-session VBS book designed especially for small churches, house churches, and mission congregations with a limited budget or in situations where the ages and number of students may vary from session to session. This resource includes worksheets and handouts that may be reproduced, Resources and ideas are provided for gathering time, music, activities, games, and refreshments — allowing just a few adult leaders to host a week of Vacation Bible School.

Other VBS programs

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a976.html Mon, 23 Apr 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

2 Peter 3:15–18

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

They also cite the Rechabites, who had no possessions and did not drink wine (Jer 35:6f). Yes, the example of the Rechabites really does fit beautifully with our monks, whose monasteries surpass the palaces of kings and who live most splendidly! Though the Rechabites experienced poverty in all things, they nevertheless married. Though abounding in every delight, our monks profess celibacy.

Besides, examples ought to be interpreted according to the rule, that is, according to sure and clear passages of Scripture, not contrary to the rule, that is, contrary to the Scriptures.

Pulling It Together

It is remarkably easy to take a verse or two from the Bible and construct a doctrine or a whole way of life. The safeguard to doing this, or falling prey to its adherents, is to, as we say, “be in the Word”—all of God’s Word. Still, there are parts of the Scripture that are difficult to understand, as Peter admits. It is okay for us to admit this too. After years of being immersed in Scripture, we may come to understand some of those difficult passages. All the while, God is teaching us what is necessary to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Though we may not understand certain verses, instead of twisting them to fit our lifestyle, we may trust God that, with prayerful reading, the Spirit will open the Scripture to us in a manner that shows us the way forward and gives understanding (Psa 119:105, 130)

Prayer: Lord, give me patience to hear your Spirit. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

A Reading and Discussion of the Augsburg Confession is a more challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, presented in a question and discussion format. The Leader's Guide that accompanies this study is a resource for those facilitating group discussion, or may serve as a reader's commentary for those who are studying the Book of Concord on their own.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a975.html Sat, 21 Apr 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Titus 3:5

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

Here they present an example derived from the Law about the Nazarites (Num 6:2f). But the Nazarites did not take their vows with the opinions which, as we have said, we condemn in the vows of the monks. The rite of the Nazarites was an exercise or declaration of faith before people that did not merit the forgiveness of sins before God, nor justify before God. Just as circumcision or the slaying of victims would not be an act of worship now, so the rite of the Nazarites should not to be presented now as a service of worship, but ought to be judged simply as an adiaphoron. It is not proper to compare monasticism, devised without God’s Word, as a service that should merit the forgiveness of sins and justification, with the rite of the Nazarites, which had God’s Word, but without the purpose of meriting the forgiveness of sins. It was an outward service, just as other ceremonies of the Law. The same can be said concerning other ceremonies prescribed in the Law.

Pulling It Together

Our works, actions, and lifestyles do not make us right with God. Jesus Christ justifies us before God. This is why faith alone in the grace of God alone merits his forgiveness and salvation. Faith in what he has done—or more precisely, faith in him—because of his grace toward us must remain our focus. As soon as we begin to shift away from faith in him to faith in ourselves, in our works and services, we immediately rob God of glory, while placing our trust in the human instead of the divine. If one must fast, retreat, or perform some act of devotion, let him do so—but not imagining that it is a service to God that earns salvation.

Prayer: Thank you, God, for keeping your promise to give us your Savior. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

We Need Your Support! Sola Publishing is a developing ministry. Please consider a one-time gift or putting a benevolence donation to Sola Publishing on your household or congregational budget for the year. We need your support and prayers to be able to grow into becoming a full-service publishing house. "WordAlone Ministries-dba-Sola Publishing" can also be designated as the recipient of Thrivent Choice dollars!. You may securely donate as an individual by clicking the red donate button above. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a974.html Fri, 20 Apr 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Leviticus 5:4–6

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

Lastly, the canons themselves release many who made their vows without good judgment, as they were enticed by the tricks of the monks, or made vows under coercion by friends. Not even the canons declare these to be vows. Considering all of this, it is apparent that there are many reasons that monastic vows, such as have been made to this point, are not vows, and for this reason, is a way of life full of hypocrisy and false opinions that may be abandoned without risk.

Pulling It Together

Sometimes people make bad decisions. We all do this but one wrong decision should not necessitate a lifetime of poor choices or actions. God has provided a way out of this guilt through confession and atonement. Whatever the reasons for your past choices, confess your sins to the Lord, who is your atonement and your High Priest. Then be at peace; you are forgiven for Christ’s sake.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for cleansing me of my sins. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

We Need Your Support! Sola Publishing is a developing ministry. Please consider a one-time gift or putting a benevolence donation to Sola Publishing on your household or congregational budget for the year. We need your support and prayers to be able to grow into becoming a full-service publishing house. "WordAlone Ministries-dba-Sola Publishing" can also be designated as the recipient of Thrivent Choice dollars!. You may securely donate as an individual by clicking the red donate button above. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a973.html Thu, 19 Apr 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

John 14:6

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

Thus the entire monastic life is filled with hypocrisy and false opinions. Added to all these, is this danger: that those in these orders are compelled to assent to those persecuting the truth. There are therefore, many important and persuasive reasons that release good people from an obligation to this kind of life.

Pulling It Together

Be sure that your commitments depend upon God’s promises, power, and faithfulness, instead of your own. Be doubly certain that you do not imagine keeping your promises is the way to salvation. The truth shall set you free (John 8:32). Jesus sets us free. There is no other way or life that brings us to the Father—and to his forgiveness and salvation—than Jesus.

Prayer: Be my life, Jesus. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

This edition of the Luther's Small Catechism is specifically designed to go with the Sola Confimation Series. The 2010 Sola/ReClaim Edition* is a faithful word-for-word translation from Luther's German Catechism. It also includes the section on the Office of the Keys, added later to Luther's Catechism.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a972.html Wed, 18 Apr 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Mark 7:6–8

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

We will not cover here the entire service of ceremonies: lessons, chanting, and similar things, which could be tolerated if they were regarded as exercises, like lessons in schools, designed to teach the hearers, and, while teaching, to move some to fear or faith. But now they pretend that these ceremonies are worship of God that merit the forgiveness of sins for themselves and for others. For this reason, they increase these ceremonies. If they undertake them in order to teach and exhort the hearers, brief and pointed lessons would be of more profit than these infinite babblings.

Pulling It Together

Religious acting can take the form of doing worship, that is, not worshiping at all. This often takes the form of a ritual that does not come from the heart. This is why people should be encouraged to use their service book instead of singing, reading, or praying from memory alone. While it is possible for people to say a creed, sing Scripture that is used weekly, and pray prayers that they have memorized from long use, seeing the words, helps the worshiper to engage with God on another level. Even paying close attention to punctuation helps. Why, I suppose I might thoughtfully pause here at this comma instead of blasting through as quickly as possible.

So, religious acting happens when worship does not come from the heart, but also when it does not come from God. If God commands one thing but we insist on another, then it is hypocrisy. If a style of worship or a human tradition becomes all-important while love of neighbor is ignored, then that tradition or style of worship, however fine it may be, is hollow and false. All of this finds its way back to the first table of the Commandments.

Prayer: Help me, Lord, to love you with all my heart, and my neighbor as myself. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Holy Families! is an initiative of the North American Lutheran Church provided through a generous grant from the Thrivent Foundation, in honor of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation (1517 AD to 2017 AD). Produced by Sola Publishing, this special initiative includes a number of Lutheran discipleship resources for families and congregations, including Daily Family Prayer Resources, Parent Pages, Faith Formation downloadable pages for children/families, Educational Videos, Parents' Video/Discussion Series on Faith Formation, Reformation Bible Study: In the Luther Household

Holy Families! is also on the free Sola App for Android and Apple

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a971.html Tue, 17 Apr 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

2 Timothy 2:14–16

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

Likewise, they do not hear or teach the gospel about the free forgiveness of sins for Christ’s sake, about the righteousness of faith, about real repentance, about works that have God’s command. They are occupied with either philosophical discussions or traditional ceremonies that obscure Christ.

Pulling It Together

The Word of God must be proclaimed with clarity, putting useless arguments aside in favor of the gospel. The best way to accomplish this is to cut a straight path through the Scripture, not turning to the side to chase rabbits. Our use of the Word must always cut straight to Christ. He is the goal of every verse. And so must be our worship. If hymns and prayers and preaching do not point to Christ and do so quickly and clearly, we are better off without them.

Prayer: Show me, O Lord, your truth, for Christ’s sake. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Many Gifts, One Lord considers grace in relation to the gifts of the Holy Spirit in order to show that the grace of God is free to flow with all those gifts without causing division and disharmoney in the body of Christ. It is interesting that we really never seem to tire of gifts. Sad to say many go through life not even aware that they have specific gifts; which could not only be a blessing to themselves but to others. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a970.html Mon, 16 Apr 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Ecclesiastes 5:1–2

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows – part 36

Fourthly, those who live in monasteries are released from their vows by such godless ceremonies as the Mass being applied on behalf of the dead for the sake of profits. There is also the worship of saints, in which the fault is twofold: that the saints are put in Christ’s place, and that they are wickedly worshiped. So, the Dominicans invented the rosary of the Blessed Virgin, which is mere babbling, as foolish as it is wicked, and which nourishes a false assurance. These impieties are used only for the sake of gain.

Pulling It Together

Watch your step. When going before God in worship and prayer, we must be very careful. It is easy to walk into false doctrine, hypocrisy, and useless rituals. Thinking it devotion to God, we can get caught up in foolishness at best, and at worst, wicked foolishness. Any service or teaching that assigns to another the glory due to Christ falls is this sort of wicked foolishness. If we follow such services in order to obtain financial gain at the expense of others’ superstitions, we foster folly for them and for ourselves, since this encourages a false hope of forgiveness and salvation, that hope being built on the flimsiest of foundations: our own payment for God’s favor.

Prayer: Watch over my life, Lord, where I cannot see the way ahead. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Letters to a Young Christian is a ten-session Bible Study iIn the biblical letters of First and Second Timothy. It is recommended for high school youth groups as well as for Sunday School classes with young adults, focusing on the Word of God at work in our modern lives. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a969.html Sat, 14 Apr 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

1 John 5:1–5

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

Thirdly, chastity is promised in monastic vows. We have said above, however, concerning the marriage of priests, that the law of nature that is at work in people cannot be removed by vows or legislation. Since the gift of continence is not given to everyone, many are unsuccessfully continent because of weakness. Neither, indeed, can any vows or laws abolish the command of the Holy Spirit: “But because of the temptation to immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband” (1 Cor 7:2). Therefore, this vow is not lawful for the weak who despoil themselves because they do not have the gift of continence.

Enough has been said about this entire topic. It is so strange, that with all the dangers and scandals occurring before them, that our opponents still defend their traditions, contrary to the unmistakable command of God. They are even unaffected by the voice of Christ scolding the Pharisees for establishing traditions contrary to God’s command (Matt 15:3, 23:13f).

Pulling It Together

Everyone who believes in Christ overcomes the world through faith. There is no need to leave the world in order to do so. There is no need for us to go to additional lengths in order to be forgiven. God’s grace assures us of forgiveness through faith, for Christ’s sake. There is no demand from God to add anything to this faith in order for his promise of salvation to be realized. Should we go further? Ought we add to our faith: virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love (2 Pet 1:5–7)? Certainly, but because everyone who has received faith (1 Pet 1:1) is commanded to add these qualities to the new “divine nature” (1 Pet 1:4) shared by those of faith. Those who believe are divinely reborn in Christ through the faith given to them. We are supplementing that faith given by the grace of God, not earning his grace.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, for giving me faith of equal standing with the apostles, not because of my righteousness but because of his. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

In Harmony with the Word is an eight-session Bible Study focusing on Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, from Matthew 5-7. It is written at an introductory level, to be led by a lay leader or pastor in a small-group question and discussion format. The study would serve as an excellent resource for monthly women's group meetings, or in an informal small-group setting.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a968.html Fri, 13 Apr 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Matthew 9:9

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

An example of obedience in one’s calling is presented in this passage. And since callings vary, this calling does not apply to everyone, but to that person with whom Christ is speaking. We see that the calls of David to reign, and of Abraham to slay his son, are not our calls to imitate. Callings are personal, just as matters of business vary with times and persons. Yet the example of obedience is general. Perfection would have been his if that young man had believed and obeyed his calling. Even so, it is perfection for each one to obey his own calling with true faith.

Pulling It Together

Jesus saw Matthew, a tax collector, and told him to follow: to be his disciple. How would there have been perfection if Matthew continued to sit there? If he persisted at his government post, it would have been disobedience to the Lord. Even more, there would be no perfection, no improvement. How could there have been any advancement if he just sat there doing the same thing? Jesus tells us, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). He asks, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46). Perfection lies in having faith in the Lord who gives the call.

Prayer: Give me such courageous faith, Lord, that I obey you. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Back issues of Connections magazine are available. So are new subscriptions!

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a967.html Thu, 12 Apr 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Luke 14:26–27

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

Therefore, since the abandonment of property is just a human tradition, it is a useless service. It is excessive to praise it as the “Extravagant” does by stating that abdicating ownership of all things for God is meritorious and holy and a way of perfection. It is quite dangerous to exalt a matter that conflicts with political order. But, they insist, that Christ speaks of it here as perfection. Yes, but violence is done to the text by quoting it in a mutilated form. Perfection lies in what Christ adds: “Follow Me.”

Pulling It Together

Are you willing to follow Jesus? If it means you would lose the civil right to buy and sell, to make a living, to provide for your family, would you still follow Jesus? If it meant that your family turned their back on you, would you still be his disciple? Perhaps you wanted to be a doctor but it became clear that Jesus wants you to be a missionary. Would you follow him when that would mean leaving income, property, and family behind? Whoever does not bear his particular cross and follow Jesus cannot be his disciple.

Yet, even such obedience is not so-called evangelical perfection. Perfection is not found in what we do or the sacrifices we make, even for God. Perfection is the grace of God poured out within us. His glorious grace is not dispensed when we have finally done enough. It happens at the moment of faith and while we keep faith in God—no matter where he leads us.

Prayer: Give me the strength of your Spirit, Lord, that I may carry my cross and follow you. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Try the electronic greeting cards on the free Sola app. Download it today and send friends and family free e-cards! • Android  • Apple  This free, mobile app also includes a searchable ESV Bible, the Sola Small Catechism, Sola Devotions, Sola products, the Sola Online Worship eResource, and more.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a966.html Wed, 11 Apr 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Matthew 5:3

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

Here is another passage cited concerning perfection: “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor...and come, follow me” (Matt 19:21). This passage has vexed many, who have imagined that perfection happens by discarding possessions and the control of property. Let us allow the philosophers to extol Aristippus, who cast a great weight of gold into the sea. Such examples do not pertain in any way to Christian perfection. The division, control, and possession of property are civil ordinances, approved by God’s Word in the commandment. “You shalt not steal” (Exod 20:15). The abandonment of property has no command or counsel in Scripture. Poverty of the gospel does not consist in the abandonment of property, but in lack of greed and the trust of wealth—just as David was poor in a very wealthy kingdom.

Pulling It Together

Having no bank account does not aid the spirit, though it may destroy the spirit if one takes pride in the so-called accomplishment of giving up money and property. Being poor in spirit is the goal of the Christian life. Comprehending and admitting one’s spiritual insolvency is the beginning of perfection. When we acknowledge our absolute inability to pay for salvation, we may be driven to despair—or we may be impelled to faith. When we have faith in God despite personal failure and sin, God’s holiness, righteousness, and perfection is freely given to those who believe because of what Christ has done for us all.

Perfection has nothing to do with giving up money, property, or family. It has everything to do with having faith in Christ, following him, no matter what happens with possessions and relationships. The spiritually poor trust in God above all things, finding perfection in his perfection, not their own.

Prayer: Help me rejoice and be glad, Lord, because my reward is in you. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

      

Have you downloaded the Sola App for Android or Apple? This free, mobile app includes a searchable ESV Bible, the Sola Small Catechism, Sola Devotions, Sola products, the Sola Online Worship eResource, and more—with even more to come.

Download it today! 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a965.html Tue, 10 Apr 18 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Mark 10:29–30

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

It is evident, therefore, that they wickedly distort Christ’s word by applying it to a monastic life, unless perhaps, the declaration that they “receive a hundredfold in this life” applies here. For many do not become monks for the sake of Gospel, but for sumptuous living and idleness, having ample riches instead of slender patrimonies. Just as the entire subject of monasticism is full of shams, they quote Scripture under false pretense. As a consequence, they sin doubly, deceiving people, and doing so under the pretext of the divine name.

Pulling It Together

I have known people who refused to work on Sunday. Some employers understood; others did not. I heard of one man who would not work on the Lord’s Day and as a result, lost his job. If your confession of the Gospel, whatever shape it may take, causes you loss of income or property, the Lord promises to more greatly supply your need in this life and bless you with eternal life as well. If following Jesus means family is left behind because they will not go where Jesus goes, our Lord promises to replace those with better relationships.

This is a plain understanding of Scripture. Now, if there are poor among us, let the Church care for them. But let us not consider those who receive these material gifts as acquiring that which merits forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal life. These things can not be acquired by a monastic lifestyle because they are the free gift of God received through faith.

Prayer: Give me the fortitude, Lord, and the spirit to follow you. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Rejoice in the Lord, Always! is a nine week study examines some of the most treasured verses in Scripture, in ways that are encouraging and realistic about our life in faith. Celebrating both the tensions and the joys of discipleship, Paul reminds us of Who it is that makes us a community as we share our lives together in a common commitment to Christ.

Leader's Guide

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a964.html Mon, 09 Apr 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Matthew 6:33

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

We should even forsake our body for the gospel’s sake. But it would be ridiculous to think that suicide is a service to God, leaving the body without God’s command. Just so, it is silly to assert that it is a service to God to forsake possessions, friends, wife, children without God’s command.

Pulling It Together

God does not command certain pietistic practices of giving up property, friends, family, food, and clothing. Indeed, Jesus tells us to not be anxious about such things. A large part of the world is anxious about these things because they fear they will not have enough. There is, however, a smaller contingent who worries that by having these things at all, they are kept from righteousness. Life with God is not a matter of the body—of eating and drinking and clothing and shelter (Rom 14:13–23). Nor is it about the quantity of these things. Life in the Spirit is not about these things at all. Focusing on these externals blurs the proper focus. We ought to primarily seek God’s kingdom and his righteousness, remembering that his kingdom does not consist of food, drink, or clothing but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit (Rom 14:17).

Prayer: Give me joy, Lord, deep down in my heart. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

In The Life of a Pastor's Spouse, Cindy Jamison reflects on her life as a pastor’s spouse, and the unique opportunities and challenges such a calling presents. She offers her own observations on the particular dynamics facing a pastor’s family and spouse. This brief reader is intended to help a pastor’s spouse identify areas of tension and difficultly, while at the same time providing support and encouragement from the Word of God. This handbook will help a pastor's spouse discover answers to four essential questions: What is exptected of me? What am I supposed to do? How do I keep from feeling my marrige is threatened when I am not Number One in my spouse's life? How can I maintain my life and not fall to pieces?

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a963.html Sat, 07 Apr 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

John 12:25–26

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

There are two kinds of “forsaking.” One occurs without a call, without God’s command. Christ does not approve, as the works chosen by us are useless services (Matt 15:9). The fact that Christ speaks of forsaking wife and children makes it even clearer that he disapproves of such flight. We know, moreover, that God’s commandment forbids forsaking wife and children.

The second kind of “forsaking” occurs by God’s command, when power or tyranny compels us either to leave or deny the Gospel. Here we have the command that we should bear injury instead, that we should rather suffer, not only wealth, wife, and children, but even life, to be taken from us. Christ approves of this kind of “forsaking.” Accordingly, he adds, “for the Gospel’s sake” (Mark 10:29 ASV, NASB), showing that he is not speaking about those who do injury to wife and children, but of those who endure injury because of the confession of the Gospel.

Pulling It Together

We must not forsake the gospel, even if it means loss of property, family, or even life. What is it that keeps you from following Jesus? That is what you leave behind if you do follow him. And follow you must, even if it means loss of income, or that family thinks you have left them, or that you suffer injury. Forsaking in order to follow Jesus can be simple things like choosing worship on the Lord’s Day instead of going to a child’s sporting event. Choosing worship over that game may seem to your child as though you do not love them. What does it mean to the Lord of your life?

Prayer: Help me to seek your kingdom first, Lord, and follow you for the sake of the gospel. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

    

The Sola "Word of Life" Series is a resource for those looking to develop small groups built around the Word of God. This model of small-group ministry is an excellent tool for evangelism since it is rooted in prayer and Scripture. Its primary focus is to empower those who believe in Jesus Christ to be comfortable sharing their faith and inviting others to experience a transformed life in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Meant for use in Small Group gathering, each of the six sessions in each book is based on a primary Scripture text, with intentional time for reflection. There are questions, prayer, faith sharing, and mini-evangelism case-studies. The series would be helpful for those involved in starting a Bible study fellowship, house church, or mission congregation. They may also be used by established congregations to aid in establishing a small group ministry.

• Unit 1   • Unit 2   • Unit 3

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a962.html Fri, 06 Apr 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Matthew 19:29

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows – part 28

Again, the Confutation says that the monks merit a more abundant eternal life, quoting Scripture: “And every one who has left houses” etc. (Matt 19:29). Here also, therefore, it claims perfection for artificial religious rites. But this passage of Scripture is not even speaking of monastic life. Christ does not say that to forsake parents, wife, and siblings is a work that must be done to merit the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Such forsaking is accursed indeed. For the one who forsakes parents or wife in order to merit the forgiveness of sins or eternal life by this very work, dishonors Christ.

Pulling It Together

God’s commandments forbid the forsaking of parents. Yet in this teaching of Jesus about leaving one’s family—even children—for him, it is clear that Jesus is using hyperbole to make his point. His exaggeration helps us understand that we ought to “fear, love, and trust God above all things”—even family. Still, even this does not earn the forgiveness of sins or life eternal. Only Christ can do that for us; and he has done so. So, those who believe in Christ Jesus, despite the objections of family, even if it means being put out of their homes, receive far more than family and home can offer. Through their faith, they receive eternal life.

Prayer: Help me to honor and love my family, Lord, because I love you. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

When we speak of the "Great Commission," we usually think of Jesus' words at the end of Matthew's Gospel. But there are actually several places in the New Testament that describe the commission we have been given to speak and act, bearing witness to the truth of the gospel message. All these biblical articulations convey the same charge and calling, but each adds something important to our appreciation and understanding of the mission to which we have been called.

The Great Commissions is a six-session Bible study drawing from all four Gospels, as well as the book of Acts and the writings of Paul, to focus on the calling that Jesus has given us and how it works in our everyday lives. Here is a sample PDF of the introduction and first chapter.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a961.html Thu, 05 Apr 18 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

2 Peter 1:3–8

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

Although our opponents now moderate their praises about perfection, they actually think otherwise. Under the pretext that they are observing precepts and counsels, they sell merits and apply them on behalf of others. So, they actually believe that they have excess merits. If this is not claiming self perfection, what is? Again, their Confutation claims that the monks endeavor to live more nearly to the gospel. But they are ascribing perfection to human traditions if they think that living more closely to the gospel means not having property, being unmarried, and obeying the rule in clothing, meats, and similar trifles.

Pulling It Together

Does our virtuous lifestyle add anything to faith? To be sure, we are to furnish our faith with virtue, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, and brotherly and godly love. But can these qualities gain us salvation when we already have that promise from God himself? No. Rather, because God has already given us his great and precious promises of the forgiveness of sins, justification, sanctification, and eternal life, we are to supply our faith with characteristics appropriate to godly life. We have been filled with the Holy Spirit, so we ought to live as those who have a divine nature. This is what God expects of us (Luke 7:10) but living in this way does not give us any more merit than the perfection given us by Christ. So, a Christian lifestyle cannot provide us with superfluous merit to use for financial gain at the expense of the gullible.

Prayer: Help me to trust in your merit, Lord, above all else. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Wise & The Foolish is a nine-session Bible study that focuses entirely on Jesus' "people parables"—what might be descirbed as Discipleship Parables. These are the character stories that focus on the nature of discipleship and what it means to be a wise and faithful follower of Jesus. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a960.html Wed, 04 Apr 18 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Philippians 2:3–5

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

In the histories of the hermits there are examples of Anthony and others which describe various vocations in life as equal. It is written that when Anthony asked God to show him the progress he was making in his kind of life, God showed him in a dream a certain shoemaker in the city of Alexandria to whom he should be compared. The next day Anthony went into the city and arrived at the shoemaker so that he might learn of his exercises and gifts. Having conversed with the man, Anthony heard nothing except that early in the morning the shoemaker prayed in a few words for the entire state, and then attended to his trade. This is how Anthony learned that justification is not to be attributed to the kind of life that one undertakes.

Pulling It Together

We are not justified before God because of a particular lifestyle, no matter how holy or special it may seem. God is able to make a child holy while that child, as yet, has no occupation. To think of one’s particular way of life as more holy than another is conceited. And how can conceit lead to holiness? Even more, to imagine that the things you do are what make you holy is robbery from God, who humbled himself so much as to become a man in order to save us. To think that we do this, steals from Christ the glory due him. This or that way of life life does not make one holy, nor do the things we do that are possible in a particular vocation. We are only made holy by God through faith in Christ.

Prayer: Spirit of God, give me the mind of Christ. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Luther's Small Cat Discovers: Martin Luther and the Reformation. This five-week booklet in the Luther's Small Cat children’s series introduces Martin Luther and the era of the Reformation, and is written for upper elementary students. Designed to complement the original Luther's Small Cat series on the meaning of the catechism, this series looks at life in the Church and the unique heritage of the Lutheran faith tradition.

Teacher's Guide

 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a959.html Tue, 03 Apr 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

2 Peter 3:14–18

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

But our opponents cunningly try to seem as if they are modifying the common opinion about perfection. They say that the monastic life is not perfection, but that it is a state in which to acquire perfection. How charming. We remember that this correction is found in Gerson. It appears that circumspect people were offended by these overstated praises of monastic life. Yet since they did not presume to entirely withdraw the praise of perfection, they made the modification that monasticism is a state in which perfection is acquired. If we follow this line of thinking, monasticism is no better a state of perfection than the life of a farmer or mechanic. These are also states in which to acquire perfection. For all people in every vocation should seek perfection. That is, they ought to grow in the fear of God, in faith, in love of their neighbor, and similar spiritual qualities.

Pulling It Together

How may a person of faith be found on that Day “without spot or blemish”? Even more, how may one be certain that their life is so blameless that they are at peace with God? If you imagine that these things happen because of things you do, you will never have peace because you will always have a little (or a lot) more to do. If you think this perfect status with God is achieved by you overcoming your sins, then, sinner, you will never be spotless. Nevertheless, in whatever state of life you find yourself, whatever vocation you are following, you are in the perfect place to enjoy God’s grace—and to grow in his grace. His grace. His.

Wherever you are today—in prison or a factory, a field or another kind of lot, an office or a classroom, a home or a hospital—you are in a place to grow in his grace, that through faith (Eph 2:8–9), freely provides you with the forgiveness of sins and salvation. Be diligent to fear and love God above all things, and trust him with your salvation. He has more than enough merit to share with you.

Prayer: Help me to trust you above all things, Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Come, Worship the Lord (Sola Music Series, Vol I) The Sola Music Series offers simple collections of easy-to-play worship music, including new songs and arrangements of old favorites. Based in a confessional theology and a respect for the historical and sacramental liturgy, these resources do not require a high level of musical expertise. Written in a simple and straight-forward style, these songs are intended for congregations that would like to explore a less formal musical style in worship, while still maintaining the integrity of the traditional order of worship. Such music would fit into what is sometimes referred to as "contemporary" or "blended" worship, without necessarily requiring a full band of experienced musicians and singers to lead the songs. Providing lead sheets for guitar and vocals, along with full scores for piano, Sola Publishing grants to those who purchase this volume the permission to reproduce words and music of the songs within for local congregational use. This book includes music from "The Holy Cross Setting" available with a SOWeR subscription.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a958.html Mon, 02 Apr 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Romans 6:5–8

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

We speak more briefly about these subjects because it is sufficiently clear that monastic vows are not a price to be paid for granting the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. This is evident from those things which we said earlier about justification, repentance, and human traditions. And since Christ calls traditions useless services, they are in no way evangelical perfection.

Pulling It Together

As we are not made impure by physical things that enter us from the outside (Matt 15:17–20; Luke 11:41; Acts 10:15), so we do not purge our impurity by doing physical things (Rom 2:25–29). Impurity is a heart matter; so is purification. Perfection does not result from a series of things we do that finally adds up to a sufficiency that results in either sanctification or salvation. Holiness is not a matter of works any more than is eternal life. Righteousness and life everlasting are the result of a foreign action—something done to us by another, not something we ourselves do. Anyone who believes otherwise, who imagines that new life, the Christian life, is accomplished through services performed by this flesh, does violence to Easter itself. Christ arose so that those who have died with him through faith, buried in Christian baptism, may live the resurrected life with their risen Lord. We are made pure and perfect for God through faith in Jesus Christ, the One he sent to work on us from the outside-in.

Prayer: Create in me a clean heart, O Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

A Reading and Discussion of the Augsburg Confession is written in easy-to-understand language but is a challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, each presented in a question and discussion format. Click here to see the Table of Contents and a sample session.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a957.html Sat, 31 Mar 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Luke 17:5–6

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

Thus those who teach that the monastic life merits the forgiveness of sins or eternal life are wholly suppressing the gospel about the forgiveness of sins and the promised mercy in Christ. They transfer the confidence due Christ to their foolish observances. Instead of freely apprehending Christ, they worship their own hoods and their own filth. Although even they need mercy, they act wickedly by concocting works of supererogation, then selling them to others.

Pulling It Together

How much faith is enough? Is there an admittance fee to heaven, but then you have to pay for any extras? Does a little more get you more once you get inside? Of course not. Jesus teaches that just a little faith is enough. Do you believe on Christ for forgiveness of your sins and salvation? It is enough. Even your little faith is sufficient for God to accomplish what seems impossible to you. Every act of faith is simply your duty (Luke 17:10) to him who has already rewarded your faith with the promise of eternal life. Believe!

Prayer: Increase my faith, O Lord, in you. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

In the Luther Household is a six-session Bible study on the Lutheran understanding of marriage and family. Based on foundational texts from Scripture, the study also draws from the real-life experience of Martin and Katie Luther, who were not only husband and wife, but the parents of several children. It includes excerpts from Luther's personal writings to family and friends as they faced the good and bad that come in everyday living.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a956.html Fri, 30 Mar 18 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Psalm 16:1–2

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

However, since we do not merit the forgiveness of sins or eternal life because of works of the divine law, but must seek the mercy promised in Christ, far less do monastic observances deserve this honor of meriting the forgiveness of sins or eternal life, since they are mere human traditions.

Pulling It Together

Where is your confidence, your trust? Is it your bank account or perhaps, your pension? Maybe it is the government, its promise to protect you while lowering taxes and providing new jobs. Of course, those things do us no good once we return to the earth. But there is a good so great that it benefits us even after physical death. Indeed, even those other goods are no good at all apart from the greatest good who is God. Apart from him, from he who created all good (1 Tim 4:4), even good is no good. Goodness and greatness become a trap, something we place our hopes in but, apart from God, will fail us. But if God is our refuge, instead of government and the things money can buy, then he is our good, our security, our hope and delight—in this life and the next.

Prayer: Lord, give me the strength and courage to trust in you alone. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Ambidextrous Christianity is a nine-session Bible Study that explores nine key questions of faith and life, letting our Lord direct us in navigating the narrow path of faith. In studying God's Word with other believers, we seek to grow in our ability to move forward in our journey together, no matter what the road presents.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a955.html Thu, 29 Mar 18 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Romans 11:5–6

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

In the first place, it is certain that a monastic life does not merit the forgiveness of sins, for we obtain this freely by faith, as has already been said. Secondly, eternal life is granted for Christ’s sake by mercy to those who receive forgiveness through faith, not setting their own merits against God’s judgment. Bernard says this with great force: “First of all, it is necessary to believe that you cannot have the remission of sins unless by God’s indulgence. Secondly, you can have no good work whatever, unless he has also given this. Lastly, you can not merit eternal life by works, for this is also given freely.” We have quoted above the rest that follows to the same effect. Yet, Bernard adds at the end: “Let no one deceive himself, for if he carefully reflects, he will undoubtedly discern that he cannot with ten thousand soldiers meet God who comes against him with twenty thousand.”

Pulling It Together

What a joy it is to realize that God’s forgiveness and eternal life are gifts. Now, we all understand that one does not work for a gift; otherwise it is not a gift at all. Instead of a gift, it has become something we earned. Yet, forgiveness of sin and salvation cannot be earned. The Scriptures tell us over and over that these things are given to us freely by the hand of God (Eg: John 4:10; Rom 5:15-16, 6:23; Eph 2:8). Let us believe that God is the giver of all good gifts (James 1:17)—including forgiveness, justification, and salvation—and be thankful.

Prayer: Thank you, God, for your grace, given freely for Christ’s sake. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

A Reading and Discussion of the Augsburg Confession is written in easy-to-understand language but is a challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, each presented in a question and discussion format. Click here to see the Table of Contents and a sample session.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a954.html Wed, 28 Mar 18 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

2 Corinthians 4:3–4

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

Besides, they dishonor Christ when they say that men merit eternal life through monasticism. God has not even conferred his law the honor that of meriting eternal life. He clearly says so in Ezekiel 20:25. “Moreover I gave them statutes that were not good and ordinances by which they could not have life.”

Pulling It Together

Those who who do not believe in salvation for Christ’s sake, in other words, because of what God has done through his Son, are not only blind and witless, they have refused grace. When they trust in their own deeds instead of the great divine deed, they have renounced God’s blessing. Placing any merit in your own actions is apostasy. Salvation is completely in the hands of God, spread and nailed to a beam, folded over the chest in the grave, risen in victory toward heaven. Believe in that; believe in him. Then your good works (Eph 2:10) will follow your faith, but your faith will not be in your works, but his alone.

Prayer: Open the eyes of my heart and mind, Lord, to see and believe the gospel. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

This booklet 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.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a953.html Tue, 27 Mar 18 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Exodus 20:12

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

Now hear the unworthy declaration our judges have recorded in the Confutation. Here is what they said. “It has been expressly declared in the Holy Scriptures that the monastic life merits eternal life if maintained by a due observance, which by the grace of God any monk can maintain. Indeed, Christ has promised this as much more abundant to those who have left home or brothers, etc.” (Matt 19:29). With these words our opponents first, most impudently claim that the Holy Scriptures state that a monastic life merits eternal life. Where do the Sacred Scriptures speak of a monastic life? This is the way our opponents plead their case, and how men of no account quote the Scriptures. Though everyone knows that the monastic life has only recently been devised, they still cite the authority of Scripture, and further add that their decree has been expressly declared in the Scriptures.

Pulling It Together

Does Jesus mean that dishonoring parents and dismissing the fourth commandment are of such great virtue that they merit eternal life? How absurd. Rather, the cited verse (Matt 19:29) shows us that, if family would ostracize us for Christ’s “name’s sake,” in other words, because of the Christian faith, then God will reward us for staying true to the gospel. The sacrifice of leaving behind family, friends, co-workers, or anyone because they insist we leave Christ, is a cost every Christian must consider. All Christians, in this sense, are called to renounce or leave everything they have and follow Jesus. We must follow Christ, no matter the cost (Luke 14:25–33).

Prayer: Give me the strength, Lord, and the courage to follow you. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Confirmation Series is a basic workbook style Confirmation curriculum, designed to serve as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. Each book in the series can be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. Click HERE to download a pdf sheet describing the program, including an outline of session topics.

The Lord's Prayer workbook is a ten-week unit, which includes one session on the Introduction, one for each of the Petitions, and a one-session Conclusion. The Scripture focus in the Lord's Prayer series is on the Parables of Jesus, with Bible Study lessons taken from the Gospels.

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a952.html Mon, 26 Mar 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Philippians 3:12–16

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

Virginity is recommended, but for those who have the gift, as has been said above. However, it is a most insidious error to believe that evangelical perfection lies in human traditions. If it did, then even the monks of the Mohammedans would be able to boast that they have evangelical perfection. Nor does it lie in the observance of other things which are called “adiaphora.” Because the kingdom of God is righteousness and life in the heart (Rom 14:17), perfection is growing in the fear of God, trusting the mercy promised in Christ, and devotion to one’s calling. Paul also describes perfection this way: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Cor 3:18). He does not say that we are continually receiving another hood, or other sandals, or other girdles. It is deplorable that such pharisaic, even Mohammedan expressions should be read and heard in the Church: that the perfection of the gospel, of the kingdom of Christ, which is eternal life, should be placed in these foolish observances of vestments and of similar trifles.

Pulling It Together

I take a bit of exception to Melancthon’s verb choice—although I agree with him if I understand what he intended to say. I do not wish, however, to put my words in his mouth. When he says that perfection is growth, there is need for clarity. Can we become perfect in this life? Does this happen through such things as devotion? Perhaps a better question is: are we supposed to be perfect? Jesus said so: “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt 5:48). Jesus said that we must be perfect like God is perfect. That seems like a stretch for someone like me. Yet, all things are possible with God (Matt 19:26). Perhaps that is all Melancthon meant.

Like Paul, I confess that I am not perfect. Or am I? When I look in the mirror, I see a sinner—yet one who is baptized: a clean babe in the Father’s embrace. May I hold on to what I have already attained. No matter how I look to myself; how do I look to God? The Father sees me through rather rose tinted glasses, or more exactly, through blood stained lenses. I am clothed in Christ through baptism (Gal 3:27). This means that Christ is my righteousness—my perfection. It means that when the Father looks at me, he sees one dressed like his own Son, as though Christ were standing before him. God help me if this is not true.

Because I am a baptized child of God, this life is spent in striving to make Christ my own, just as he has made me his own. How can I do so except by fearing God, trusting his mercy that is promised for Christ’s sake, and remaining devoted to my calling into the family of God? If this must be called “growth,” then let us understand growth as maturing—through continued faith in Christ Jesus—into what what we already are through baptism: beloved children of the Father.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for making me your own. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Confirmation Series, written by the Rev. Steven E. King, is basic work-book style Confirmation curriculum. It is designed to serve as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism.  Each book in the series can be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. 

The Sacraments is a ten-week study, including sessions on Baptism, Communion, and the Office of the Keys. The Bible Study lessons in The Sacraments series emphasize the connection between Old and New Testaments, by drawing on sacramental themes foreshadowed in familiar Old Testament stories, and how the promises of God "for you" are expressed and fulfilled in Christ.

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a951.html Sat, 24 Mar 18 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

1 Timothy 4:1–5

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

It is also untrue that monastic observances are works advised by the gospel. The gospel does not counsel distinctions of clothing and foods, or relinquishing property. These are human traditions, all being answered with, “Food will not commend us to God” (1 Cor 8:8). Therefore, they are neither justifying services nor perfection. Indeed, when they are presented under cover of these titles, they are mere “doctrines of demons” (1 Tim 4:1).

Pulling It Together

We easily see that Paul, himself of the pharisaic tradition (Phil 3:5), taught that Christians leave the faith when they devote themselves to legal requirements such as those under consideration. These things make us no more righteous before God than anyone else. What we do does not “commend us to God.” These actions do not provide us with any merit or virtue before him. Christ has done that for us; have faith in him, not in your religious acts. They are devils who suggest that Christ Jesus is unnecessary and superfluous since justification and life eternal may be had for a price or because of a religious lifestyle.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your Spirit who commends me to you for Christ’s sake. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Confirmation Series, written by the Rev. Steven E. King, is basic work-book style Confirmation curriculum. It is designed to serve as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. Each book in the series can be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. 

The Apostles' Creed book is a ten-week unit, with one session on the Trinity and three sessions on each article of the Creed. The Bible Study lessons in the Creed series provide an overview of creation-redemption themes in Scripture, driving toward the promise of God at work in our present lives. Click here to see the introductory pages and a sample of session one.

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a950.html Fri, 23 Mar 18 00:00:00 -0500

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Mark 12:30

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

Just look at the impudence of our opponents! They not only teach that these observances are services that justify, they add that these services are more perfect—that they merit the forgiveness of sins and justification more than other kinds of life. Here they add many false and harmful views. They imagine that they observe precepts and counsels. So, imagining that they have the merits of supererogation, these liberal men then sell them to others.

These things are full of pharisaical vanity. It is the height of impiety for them to believe they satisfy the Decalogue in such a way that there are leftover merits when these commandments accuse everyone. “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might (Deut 6:5). “You shall not covet” (Exod 20:17; Deut 5:21; Rom 7:7). “All men are liars” (Psa 116:11); that is, they do not think correctly about God, do not sufficiently fear God, and do not believe him enough. Therefore, the monks falsely boast that they fulfill the commandments, and do more than what is commanded, by living a monastic life.

Pulling It Together

The most important commandment is greater than people are capable of apprehending in thought, let alone action. It is the height of theology. Every other doctrine in Scripture comes from this commandment. In the light of this greatest commandment, all must confess their sin. Even the patriarchs, prophets, and apostles recognized themselves as imperfect sinners. So, it is indeed pharisaical for monks or any others to say that they have kept this great commandment so perfectly that they have earned an abundance of merit. It is heretical to teach that such merit is even possible, let alone the supposed leftover merits be made available to others for a fee.

Prayer: Help me love you, Lord. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Confirmation Series, written by the Rev. Steven E. King, is basic work-book style Confirmation curriculum. It is designed to serve as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism.  Each book in the series can be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. 

The Ten Commandments book is a ten-week unit, which includes one session on each of the Commandments. The Scripture focus in the Ten Commandment series is on Moses and the Exodus Cycle, with Bible Study lessons taken primarily from the Pentateuch.

• Student Workbook     • Leader's Guide

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a949.html Thu, 22 Mar 18 00:00:00 -0500

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Colossians 2:6–8

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

There are liable to be good men engaged in the ministry of the Word in some places who use these monastic observances without wicked opinions. But to hold that these observances are works that make them righteous before God, and through which they deserve eternal life, conflicts with the gospel concerning the righteousness of faith, which teaches that righteousness and eternal life are given to us for Christ’s sake. It also conflicts with the saying of Christ: “In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men” (Matt 15:9). And it conflicts with this statement: “Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (Rom 14:23). How can they affirm that God approves monastic works as righteousness before him when they have no testimony from God’s Word?

Pulling It Together

There are good religious traditions, and those that are no good at all. The good ones found and construct you in the faith. These traditions are learned in the pure Word of God. Bad ones turn you away from the Word and tear down your faith. These traditions are learned in philosophies and human reasoning. In our current case of monasticism, because human reasoning led people to believe they could earn righteousness and salvation, what better way, you can almost hear someone thinking, than through a life of complete commitment to God? As impressive as such dedication may be, if it is believed that justification and eternal life are due because of this lifestyle, then it is a sinful tradition. It depends upon the works of humans instead of faith in God.

Prayer: Help me be committed to you, God, through faith in your Son. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Great Commissions is a six-session Bible study drawing from all four Gospels, as well as the book of Acts and the writings of Paul, to focus on the calling that Jesus has given us and how it works in our everyday lives. Here is a sample PDF of the introduction and first chapter.

Leader's Guide for this study

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a948.html Wed, 21 Mar 18 00:00:00 -0500

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Romans 14:1–9

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

Second, obedience, poverty, and celibacy, provided the latter is not impure, as disciplines, are adiaphora. Therefore, the saints may use these without sinning, just as Bernard, Francis, and other holy men used them. They were used for bodily advantage, so that they might have more leisure to teach and to perform other godly offices, not because the works themselves are services that justify or merit eternal life. Finally, they belong to the class of which Paul says, “Bodily training is of some value” (1 Tim 4:8).

Pulling It Together

Adiaphora are matters in which we should look for neither sin nor righteousness. They are non-essentials, things that have nothing to do with one’s standing before God. These non-essentials are typically traditions or customs. As a result, they are often considered quite essential by those who practice a particular tradition. On the silly end of the spectrum, just try to change the color of the carpet—or in a Lutheran church, the color of the front doors. Traditions can be intractable. Nonetheless, they are not essential, no matter how much weight people give them—because they are adiaphora.

So, one person may decide to fast a day each week in order to allow more time for prayer. Does that mean it should become a mandatory, church-wide affair? Someone else may resolve to skip television viewing in the evenings, making time to read the Bible. Are other people lesser Christians if they do not do the same? Others may quit their jobs and go to seminary to become a pastor, sell all they have to go into a mission field, or remain unmarried so they may focus on the Lord’s interests (1 Cor 7:32-35). Do such people have a better shot at heaven because they have done these things? No. These are adiaphora. They are non-essentials that have nothing to do with the forgiveness of sins, justification, and eternal life.

Prayer: Thank you for making me yours, Lord. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

We Still Believe is offered as a resource for reflecting on key themes in biblical, Lutheran doctrine that are at risk in the Church today. It is offered in the hope that it will inspire individuals and congregations to examine the core beliefs of traditional Lutheranism and how these beliefs apply to our own present context. Written in a question and discussion style, the participant's book includes an introduction to and copy of the faith statement known as the Common Confession.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a947.html Tue, 20 Mar 18 00:00:00 -0500

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

2 Corinthians 4:5–7

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

Since we have already fully shown the wickedness of the opinion that we obtain the forgiveness of sins because of our works, we shall be briefer here. The discriminating reader will easily be able to agree that we do not earn the forgiveness of sins by monastic works. Accordingly, Thomas’ blasphemy of the monastic profession being equal to Baptism is also insufferable. It is lunacy to make human tradition, which has neither God’s command nor promise, equal to an ordinance of Christ, which has both God’s command and promise, and holds the covenant of grace and eternal life.

Pulling It Together

The “power belongs to God.” We are incapable of securing our own forgiveness and salvation. Imagine the person who looks in the mirror and declares, “I forgive you of your sins.” What authority backs up that pronouncement? Sadder still is the person who imagines a vocation or duty of such importance that part of the wage is salvation. This is found nowhere in Scripture. Indeed, the opposite is declared (Rom 6:23). But if human traditions are to be trusted, then one may believe anything. If human authority and promise are reliable in spiritual matters, then we may as well proclaim self. The reasonable person sees the blindness here.

So, the Lutheran reformers proclaimed Scripture alone, in which they read grace alone, which is received through faith alone. All of this comes into the world because of God, only through the work of Christ, never by our own good works. We are created to do good works (Eph 2:10) but not be forgiven and saved because of them. Christ alone is our grace and salvation.

Prayer: Give me such faith, Lord God, that I may trust in your grace because I believe your Word. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Sola's Through This Vain World Bible study takes a Christ-centered approach by looking at the book of Ecclesiastes through the lens of the Cross. It asks the hard questions of purpose and meaning in a world that often seems empty and vain. From the perspective that Martin Luther called a "theology of the cross," the questions and discussion in this study focus on our calling to take up our cross and follow Christ in faith "through this vain world."

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a946.html Mon, 19 Mar 18 00:00:00 -0500

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Galatians 1:21–24

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

But look, most clement Emperor Charles; look, princes; look, all people, at the great impudence of our opponents! Though we cited Paul’s supporting statement, they have written: “Those things that are here alleged against monasticism are wicked.” But what is more certain than that people receive the forgiveness of sins by faith for Christ’s sake? Yet, these scoundrels dare to call this a wicked opinion! Had you been advised of this passage, we do not doubt you would have made sure that such blasphemy was removed from the Confutation.

Pulling It Together

Before the advent of radio, television, and internet, news traveled slowly. In some circles, it travels more slowly today. A pharisee named Saul of Tarsus heard good news because a power greater than mass communications met him on the road to Damascus. It took a while for the churches to hear that Saul had become the Apostle Paul, a great preacher of faith in Jesus Christ. They thought he was still a law-focused hunter of Christians. Works-oriented folks seem to get the news about faith in Christ via slow transmission lines. Many of them want to destroy preachers of the faith like Paul. They may get rid of some preachers, but they can never eliminate the faith in Christ that they preach. They may as well seek to rid the world of God himself. For there is indeed, nothing more certain than this: that God wills to forgive the sins of all people through faith in Christ.

Prayer: Turn the hearts of willful people, Lord, to faith in you. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

A Reading and Discussion of the Augsburg Confession is written in easy-to-understand language but is a challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, each presented in a question and discussion format. Click here to see the Table of Contents and a sample session.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a945.html Sat, 17 Mar 18 00:00:00 -0500

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Galatians 5:2–4

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

Of course, the monks live more closely in accordance with the gospel in their pretend life. But Christ does not follow Moses by forgiving sins because of our works, but by setting his own merits and his own propitiation against God’s wrath on our behalf so that we may be freely forgiven. Whoever places his own merits, apart from Christ’s satisfaction, against God’s wrath, who on account of his own merits endeavors to obtain the forgiveness of sins, whether through the works of the Mosaic Law, or of the Decalogue, or of the rule of Benedict, or of the rule of Augustine, or of other rules, cancels the promise of Christ, has rejected Christ, and has fallen from grace. This is Paul’s verdict.

Pulling It Together

Scripture is clear: those who try to justify their sin by their works have fallen from grace. We cannot balance the scales by placing good works against bad works. It is not a matter of weights and measures. The concern is holiness and righteousness. So, of course, people try to be righteous by doing good and being good. The problem is, they are not good. They are sinners. They may sin less than before, but in their essence, they are sinners. They were born to the condition.

God has solved this problem by replacing our unrighteousness with his own perfect righteousness. He has done this by the work of Christ alone. He did not require our assistance. Our help is still unnecessary since Christ’s work was wholly sufficient to the task. Anyone who believes otherwise has spurned Christ. We enjoy his grace and have the hope of eternal life only because of Christ (Rom 5:2).

Prayer: Help me, O Lord, to love your law, but put my faith in you. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Dwell In My Love! - Word of Life Series (Unit 3) is a resource for those looking to develop small groups built around the Word of God. This model of small-group ministry is an excellent tool for evangelism since it is rooted in prayer and Scripture. Its primary focus is to empower those who believe in Jesus Christ to be comfortable sharing their faith and inviting others to experience a transformed life in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Meant for use in Small Group gathering, each of the six sessions is based on a primary Scripture text, with intentional time for reflection. There are questions, prayer, faith sharing, and mini evangelism case-studies. The series would be helpful for those involved in starting a Bible study fellowship, house church, or mission congregation. It can also be used by established congregations to aid in establishing a small group ministry.

• Unit 1   • Unit 2   • Unit 3

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a944.html Fri, 16 Mar 18 00:00:00 -0500

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Galatians 6:1–2

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

Our opponents pretend that Paul abolishes the Law of Moses, and that Christ takes its place in such a way that he does not grant the forgiveness of sins freely, but because of keeping new laws that are devised. By this godless and fanatical illusion they conceal the benefit of Christ. Then they pretend that among those who observe this Law of Christ, the monks observe it more closely than others, on account of their poverty, obedience, and chastity—all of which are hypocrisies since indeed all these things are full of lies. They boast of poverty while enjoying an abundance of everything. They brag of their obedience, though no class of men has greater license than the monks. We do not like to speak about celibacy. Gerson indicates how pure this is in most of those who try to be chaste. But how many of them try? 

Pulling It Together

Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matt 5:17). Paul then said, “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Rom 10:4). So, we see that Jesus perfectly kept the law, fulfilling all righteousness not only for himself, but for we who believe. Being God and man, his death accomplished new life for all who believe on him (Rom 8:3). This new life in Christ is a life of righteousness—not a righteousness of our own but the righteousness of Christ within us (Rom 8:4). Righteousness is not through the keeping of the law but because we keep the Name: because we have faith in Christ.

But does this mean that we no longer keep the commandments? After all, Luther urges us to meditate on them daily. “I am also a doctor and preacher, indeed, as learned and experienced as all those who have such presumption and security. Yet I do as a child who is being taught the Catechism. Every morning, and whenever I have time, I read and say, word for word, the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Psalms, etc.” (The Large Catechism). He even teaches in The Large Catechism that children should be withheld food and drink until they can recite the commandments. That is a serious exhortation, and he exhorts adults along the same lines. Why? Does he do so because we need to have the knowledge, or because we need to know what God expects of us?

We are still required to keep the law—but not so that we will be saved. Christ has already saved us. So, he has given us a new law, “the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2). What is this law except a distillation of the whole law, or simply that first commandment that sums up all others? Jesus said as much when saying this is the most important commandment of all: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30–31). Love God and love your neighbor. In the ever popular parlance, “’Nuff said.”

Prayer: Help me to have faith in you, Lord, and to love those who irritate me. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Personalities of Faith is a ten-session Bible study for youth. The goal of the series is to encourage young people to commit themselves to follow Jesus in discipleship by becoming "personalities of faith." By showing biblical examples of people who have followed—or failed to follow—God's call, participants will be prepared to better follow the Lord in their own lives.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a943.html Thu, 15 Mar 18 00:00:00 -0500

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Colossians 2:16–19

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

When Paul denies that people merit the forgiveness of sins through the Law of Moses, he withdraws praise from human traditions even more, providing clear examples (Col 2:16). If the divinely revealed Law of Moses did not merit the forgiveness of sins, how much less do these silly observances earn the remission of sins, disinclined as they are to the pattern of public life?

Pulling It Together

If our religion is one that earns forgiveness of sin and eternal life through religious devotion, services, and other good works, then we slander Christ, just as the religious authorities in Jerusalem spurned Christ himself (Heb 13:12). If we imagine it is our virtue that earns divine reward, then we miss the point of what Christ has accomplished. We are left with food and drink, special days and ceremonies. In other words, we are left with a religion that describes reality but is itself not real. It is a shadow world where people live in the dream that they are accomplishing something magnificent while all along, they have not been realizing it at all. Life has been a sham, and not only an imitation but a mockery. Any worship that puts the works of human beings in place of the work of Christ jeers at God—even if its intentions are otherwise. Christ alone is the worth of our forgiveness. Ours is only to keep faith in God.

Prayer: O Substance and Virtue of God, thank you for giving your body for the sins of the world. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Come and See - Word of Life Series is a resource for those looking to develop small groups built around the Word of God. This model of small-group ministry is an excellent tool for evangelism since it is rooted in prayer and Scripture. Its primary focus is to empower those who believe in Jesus Christ to be comfortable sharing their faith and inviting others to experience a transformed life in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a942.html Wed, 14 Mar 18 00:00:00 -0500

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Ephesians 2:8–9

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

O Christ, how long will you bear these reproaches with which our enemies treat your gospel? We have said in the Confession that the forgiveness of sins is received freely for Christ’s sake, through faith. If this is not the very voice of the gospel, if it is not the judgment of the eternal Father, which you who are in the bosom of the Father has revealed to the world, we are justly blamed. But your death is a witness; your resurrection is a witness; the Holy Spirit is a witness; your entire Church is a witness, that it is truly the judgment of the gospel that we obtain forgiveness of sins, not because of our merits but, because of you, through faith.

Pulling It Together

Years ago, my Dad took me to a Cincinnati Reds baseball game. On the way, we ate at a restaurant he liked. Over his protests, I bought my meal. He had already purchased the tickets to the game and would not take my money for the ticket. So, I bought the game magazine. He liked to look up information on the players and especially to keep score. He loved to scratch hits and runs in those tiny boxes. Later in the game, he mentioned that a cup of coffee sounded good, so during the seventh inning stretch, I jumped up and went to the concession stand. He was disappointed when I handed him the cup, and said that he was going to get us each a cup when the concessions guy walked by. I could not, for the life of me, figure out why he was so disappointed—even disapproving.

After describing the day to my wife, she said something to the effect of, “Why didn’t you just let him treat you on your birthday?” I had no idea this had been my Dad’s attempt to say happy birthday. I got so caught up in my ability to pay my own way, that I missed out on the gift.

Prayer: Help me to receive your gift of grace, O Lord, with thanksgiving and humility. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

A Latin phrase meaning “Scripture Alone,” Sola Scriptura is one of the traditional Lutheran slogans used since the time of the Reformation. It expresses our confession that Scripture is “the only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be appraised and judged.” Using the familiar phrase as its title, Sola Scriptura is a new, advanced-level Bible Study in a two-part series, of six chapters each, on the functional authority of Scripture. For those who would like to cover the topic in detail, there is enough material to cover one chapter in two sessions, making each part a 12-week study.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a941.html Tue, 13 Mar 18 00:00:00 -0500

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Exodus 20:2–3

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

But listen; hear how the composers of the Confutation take flight. They only apply this passage of Paul to the Law of Moses, adding that the monks observe all things for Christ’s sake, and endeavor to live more closely to the Gospel in order to merit eternal life. Then they tack on a horrible closing with these words: “Therefore, those things that are here alleged against monasticism are wicked.”

Pulling It Together

What does God want? What does he want more than anything? What does God want from us “above all things”? He wants us. He wants our hearts, our trust, so that he may bless us. We tend to think of it in reverse: we are to bless God by doing and being good. Then, perhaps he will have us in his company.

God joined the Hebrews, was determined to live among and bless them, before they had a thought of him. He gave himself to them: “I am the Lord your God,” just as he gives himself to us today: “Given for you.” So, God is not received by our doing but but our faith. What do you do to receive the body of the Lord? What do you do to receive his shed blood? They are given for you—not taken. We do not earn; we receive. God gives himself to us just as he has from the beginning. “I am the Lord your God.”

He is not God because we acquired him or decided he is the god we will have. He is our God for precisely the opposite reason: because he decided to have us. Now that he is our God, there are certain things he expects of us: nine things to be sure. But those nine commandments are all about faith—not works. You do not always honor your parents and spouse any more than you honor the name of God or the Sabbath rest. Sometimes you lie and covet. Nor do you always cherish human life. When you fail God by not keeping this simple, short list of commands, do you give up? Or, more to the point, does God give up on you?

When you fail the nine, return to the one, to the first commandment. That return or repentance takes faith. When you fail the “shalls” and the “shall nots,” have faith in the “I am.” God does not give up on you. He is the Lord your God, given in Christ Jesus for you. He is your merit. Have faith in him, not yourself, not your good deeds and religious service.

Prayer: Crush, O God, every thought of my goodness, so that I may rely on you who are my only good. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? is a six-week Bible Study that examines the most profound event of salvation history — the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ — exploring from a biblical perspective what is known as the doctrine of the Atonement.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a940.html Mon, 12 Mar 18 00:00:00 -0500

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Galatians 5:4–6

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

First, it is certain that a vow is not lawful if by making it one thinks the forgiveness of sins before God, or satisfaction for sins before God are merited. This opinion is an obvious insult to the gospel, which teaches that the forgiveness of sins is freely given us for Christ’s sake, as has been said above at some length. Therefore, we have correctly quoted Paul’s declaration to the Galatians: “You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace” (Gal 5:4). Those who seek the forgiveness of sins by monastic works, instead of through faith in Christ, steal the honor from Christ, and crucify him anew.

Pulling It Together

Instead of “circumcision” (Gal 5:6), one might as well say “vows” or any other legalism—the idea is the same. Neither vows nor a lack of vows counts for anything. Only faith matters. The condition of the body or one’s position in society have absolutely no bearing on God’s grace. He freely gives his grace to those who believe in Christ Jesus, not to those who perform religious deeds or make vows of religious service. One might enter religious service without faith. More importantly, the one who thinks he earns virtue with God because of a vow made or a vow kept, falls from any grace he once enjoyed. He has snubbed Christ by considering him unnecessary. If one may gain eternal life through vows or other deeds, of what use is Christ? “If righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose” (Gal 2:21). But righteousness is bestowed by God, not earned. It is freely given through faith in Christ alone, not by works, vows, or the keeping of rules.

Prayer: Thank you, God, for your free gift of salvation. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

By What Authority is a book that confronts churches who no longer believe their own message. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a938.html Sat, 10 Mar 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

1 Peter 3:13–16

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

We have said many things in our Confession about such vows—that even the papal canons condemn. Nevertheless, our opponents demand the rejection of all things that we have produced. They used those very words. It is worthwhile to hear how they pervert our explanations, and what they assert to strengthen their own cause. Therefore, we will briefly run through a few of our arguments, and in passing, explain away our adversaries’ sophistries concerning them. Since, Luther carefully and fully dealt with this whole issue in his book titled Monastic Vows, we wish to be understood here as reiterating that book.

Pulling It Together

What a trial the Lutheran Reformers faced; we can hardly imagine such an issue in our modern culture. Back and forth the arguments went, first being written out, edited by peers, then written again and again until all could be in agreement with the document before sending it to Rome. Melancthon’s stomach must have been a continual abode of butterflies, having to constantly defend his and the Lutheran’s theological positions.

Yet, this is one way we honor Christ as Lord: we defend the gospel. Putting Christ first by not fearing the rebuke and rejection of others, we must be ready to defend the hope that God has put within us. We do so, not in a pushy way, but in response to their requests; and we do so with civility. Conscience is at risk otherwise. It would be self-defeating to defend the hope within you but not be able to defend your behavior.

Prayer: Prepare me, Lord, to share the hope of Jesus Christ with others. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Not My Will, But Yours is a six-week study that explores the topic of the “free will” from a biblical perspective, looking at what Scripture has to say about the bondage of the human will, and how Jesus Christ has come to deliver us from ourselves.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a937.html Fri, 09 Mar 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Matthew 19:16–26

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

We are discussing the kind of doctrine that the composers of the Confutation are now defending, not the question of whether vows should be observed. For we hold that lawful vows ought to be observed. But do these services merit the remission of sins and justification? Are they satisfactions for sins? Are they are equal to Baptism? Are they the observance of commands and counsels? Are they so-called evangelical perfection? Do they have the merits of supererogation? Do these merits, when applied on behalf of others, save them? Are vows made with these opinions valid? Are they legitimate vows if taken under the pretext of religion, yet merely for the sake of the belly and idleness? Are they truly vows if they have been extorted either from the unwilling or from those who on account of age were not able to judge the kind of life parents or friends made for them, thrusting them into monasteries so that they might be supported at the public expense, without the loss of private patrimony? Are vows lawful if they openly point to an evil purpose, either because weakness prevents observance, or because members of these orders are compelled to approve and support the abuses of the Mass, the godless worship of saints, and counsels to rage against good men? These are the questions we are considering.

Pulling It Together

So-called evangelical perfection is the keeping of all God’s commands. Let us consider three points in this regard. First, being in a monastic order does not equal “evangelical perfection” any more than does membership in a particular denomination. Joining a group does not equate to perfection—particularly when the group is concerned with human traditions rather than God’s commands.

Two, faith is true evangelical perfection. Jesus teaches that God’s commandment is to believe in his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another (1 John 3:23). In other words, the Apostle John summed up all the commandments with a version of the greatest commandment. “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30–31). Keep believing in God and his Spirit will work in you to love your neighbor.

Three, Jesus always hammers people with the law when that is what they need. When people imagine that they may be perfect by doing the right things, Jesus always gives them the law so that they might discover how impossible it is to keep (Acts 15:10), then rely on God’s free gift of grace instead of their own imperfect works. So, in the case of the man in today’s gospel text, even if he could have given away all his wealth, would he have followed Jesus? Would he have faith in the one God sent? The law makes us see who we truly are; it demonstrates the mindlessness of the notion that we can save ourselves through good works, morality, and religion. We are not saved by letting go of wealth. But in the case of this man, seeing the impossibility of the task, he would have to turn to God instead of self.

When we have come to the end of the law’s rope, we find a noose—or we let loose of the rope and trust God. Believe in his Son; have faith; keep faith in him above all things. Even if you do not seem perfect in your own eyes—for you will always struggle in this imperfect nature—you have been perfected in Christ. So, remember your baptism and know that the impossible is possible with God—not with you or your good works.

Prayer: Give me your Spirit, God, that I may have faith in Christ alone. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

   

Written in honor of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, The Life of Martin Luthera nine-session adult study, takes participants through the circumstances and events of the life of Martin Luther as it reflects on the biblical themes underlying the Lutheran Reformation. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a936.html Thu, 08 Mar 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Matthew 15:7–9

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

Once they were schools for Christian instruction. Now they have degenerated, as though from a golden to an iron age, or as the Platonic cube degenerates into bad harmonies, which Plato says brings destruction. Wealthy monasteries support an idle crowd that stuffs itself with the public alms of the Church. Christ, however, teaches that salt which has lost its savor should be cast out and be trodden under foot (Matt 5:13). Therefore, monks who act this way are signing their own fate.

In many places, they are the instigators of the death of good people. So, another sign is added, and God will undoubtedly avenge these murders soon enough. We do not find fault with everyone, for we are of the opinion that there are here and there some good men in the monasteries who hold moderate opinions about human and “factitious” services, as some writers call them, and who do not approve of the cruelty which the hypocrites among them exercise.

Pulling It Together

It is an easy enough trap to fall into. One imagines he is being religious but his religion is based on human traditions. Anything can happen now—and will, as was evidenced by Christians being slaughtered at the hands of the Church. When the doctrines of men are taught and worship is based on human customs, the savor of faith has been lost. However, it does not always seem so to those doing wrong. They tell themselves that they are in the right, even doing God’s work, but they deceive themselves. This kind of hypocrisy is rooted in an evil heart that trusts self instead of God, that obeys human rules over the Word of God.

Prayer: Give me your Spirit, Lord, so that I may honor you with my heart as well as my lips. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

This six-session Bible study focuses on the Godly vocations of marriage and family. Based on foundational texts from Scripture, the study also draws from the real-life experience of Martin and Katie Luther, husband and wife, and also the parents of several children. The Luther Household includes excerpts from Luther's personal writings to family and friends as they faced the good and bad that come in everyday living.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a935.html Wed, 07 Mar 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Luke 12:16–21

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

“But another one will come in 1516 AD,” he said, “who will destroy you. You will be unable to resist him.” Subsequently, his friends found this same opinion concerning the diminishing power of the monks, and this number of years, written by him in commentaries he had left about certain passages of Daniel. Though the outcome will tell how much weight should be given to his declaration, there are other signs that are no less certain than oracles which threaten a change in the power of the monks. It is obvious how much hypocrisy, ambition, and greed there is in the monasteries, how ignorant and cruel the illiterate among them, what vanity exists in their sermons, and how they continually devise new means of gaining money. There are other faults which we do not care to mention.

Pulling It Together

Greed always ends in activity that is unfitting for Christians and harmful to the Church. What begins in the heart seeps out into character and behavior. Perhaps the worst part of this is dependence on wealth instead of God. At its root, greed is a lack of faith. This lack of faith was plain to see in the monasteries at the time of the Reformation. It is also manifest in Church Councils of our own times. We should all take care to listen to Jesus. “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).

Prayer: Help me to trust in you alone, Lord. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

  

Click any of the covers for these new overviews of the
Old and New Testaments, with separate Leader's Guides.

  

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a934.html Tue, 06 Mar 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Romans 15:4–6

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Monastic Vows 

Thirty years ago, in the Thuringian town of Eisenach, there was to our knowledge, a monk named John Hilten. His order threw him into prison because he had protested certain notorious abuses. We have seen his writings, from which the nature of his doctrine can be understood. Those who knew him testify that he was a mild, old man, serious but not morose. He predicted many things, some of which have already happened, while others are still pending. We do not wish to recite them all, lest it may be inferred that we are doing so because of anger or partiality toward anyone.

When he became ill, either because of his age or the unsanitary prison, he sent for the guard to tell inform him of his sickness. Inflamed with pharisaic hatred, the guard began to harshly reprimand the man because his doctrine seemed to be injurious to the kitchen. Without mentioning his sickness, Hilten sighed and said that he was patiently bearing these injuries for Christ’s sake, since he had not written or taught anything which could overthrow monasticism, but had only protested against some well-known abuses.

Pulling It Together

There are abuses in churches because there are people in churches. Sinners bring their problems and opinions with them and share them with everyone present. Of course, we should speak against certain abuses, using Scripture to reason with folks (Isa 1:18). Often enough, those people will have been doing and thinking about things in a certain way for so long that they do not want to hear what you or the Bible have to say. All one can do at that point, while not relenting, is prayerfully endure what frequently becomes hostility, encouraging unity and same mindedness, again through use of Scripture so that the Holy Spirit may be at work. The goal is not only right practice, but peace and good order in the church. At times, the best thing to do is move on, unless you are first thrown out—or cast into prison.

Prayer: Equip me, O God, with your endurance and the hope to persevere. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

In The Life of a Pastor's Spouse, Cindy Jamison reflects on her life as a pastor’s spouse, and the unique opportunities and challenges such a calling presents. She offers her own observations on the particular dynamics facing a pastor’s family and spouse. This brief reader is intended to help a pastor’s spouse identify areas of tension and difficultly, while at the same time providing support and encouragement from the Word of God. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a933.html Mon, 05 Mar 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Colossians 3:12–17

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

We have briefly stated these things about the Mass so that all good people in all parts of the world may be able to understand that we zealously maintain the dignity of the Mass, that we demonstrate its true use, and that we have the most just reasons for dissenting from our opponents. We would have all good people warned to not aid these adversaries in profaning the Mass, lest they burden themselves with other people’s sin. This is a great cause and a great issue, no less than the ministry of the prophet Elijah who condemned the worship of Baal. We have presented such an important case with the greatest moderation, and now reply without casting any rebuke. But if our opponents require us to compile all kinds of abuses of the Mass, the case will not be treated with such good nature.

Pulling It Together

It is a tightrope. We are taught to be patient and gentle, loving one another with humility and forgiveness. At the same time, we are to admonish one another from the Scripture. Often the two seem at odds, impossible to harmonize. Yet that is the task before us, as it was the labor of the Lutheran Reformers. How does one reform an errant church without people being offended? Nonetheless, that is precisely what we are to always do, as another saying of the Reformation states: semper reformanda, always reforming. The trick is to do so gently, patiently, humbly, and lovingly.

Prayer: Give me wisdom, Lord, to be faithful to your Word, and loving to all people. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Where does the Bible come from? Who decided what should be included in it? How do we know it is reliable? Why should we even care what it says? And even if we do care, how can we make sense of of such a big and confusing book? Author and pastor Tom Hilpert takes readers on a journey of discovery through the world's best-selling and most-printed book. Written in clear, understandable language, Who Cares About the Bible? tackles the most important questions concerning this unique book. It is an excellent primer for anyone interested in what the Bible is, how to properly understand it, and how to deal with the vast amount of misleading information that has been spread about it.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a932.html Sat, 03 Mar 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Romans 3:21–26

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

A false opinion about sacrifices existed among the godless priests in Judah, just as the worship of Baal continued in Israel. Nevertheless, God’s church was there, disapproving of godless services. Just so, Baalitic worship endures in the domain of the Pope, namely, through the abuse of the Mass, which they use to merit the remission of guilt and punishment for the unrighteous. It seems that this Baalitic worship will endure as long as the reign of the Pope, until Christ returns to judge, and by the glory of his advent, destroys the reign of Antichrist. Meanwhile, all who truly believe the gospel ought to condemn these wicked services that have been contrived against God’s command to obscure the glory of Christ and the righteousness of faith.

Pulling It Together

The righteousness of faith is a most blessed, gracious gift of God. Through this righteousness, we honor him and possess a constant comfort against sin and death. We honor him because we give credit where it is due. We honor him because we do not presume to usurp the glory for what God provides for us, what we could never supply ourselves. We honor him by receiving his gracious gifts in the sacraments. We dishonor him if we imagine we earn our righteousness simply by doing a religious ceremony. We honor him with the faith that it is he alone who freely gives us his grace, forgiveness, and eternal life.

This faith is a great benefit to the human heart. Armed with faith, we no longer fear judgment, for we fear God instead. Indeed, we “fear, love, and trust God above all things” (Martin Luther, Small Catechism, First Commandment). We should fear him enough that we do not institute false worship, whether it resembles the true faith or not. We should love him enough to know that he is a Father who provides for all our needs, not just food and drink and shelter, but righteousness and salvation. “He does this purely out of fatherly and divine goodness and mercy, though [we] do not deserve it” (Martin Luther, Small Catechism, First Article). We should trust him enough to have the faith that he will deliver us from sin and death as he promised. Trusting God instead of ourselves, we are at peace, knowing that sin, death, and the devil have no hold on those who are held in the embrace of God.

Prayer: Help me, O Lord, a sinner who would trust in you alone. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Exodus in Sola's "Old Places, New Faces" series is an adult Bible study that seeks to make the stories and places of the Bible a reality in our lives today. It makes the messages of Exodus relevant for today. This study relates to the Bible as a book that speaks clearly about present realities through stories of the past. Old places from within the Bible can come alive with present significance to new faces—us. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a931.html Fri, 02 Mar 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Judges 2:12–13

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

There was a similar persuasion held by the godless in the Old Testament. They thought that they merited the remission of sins through sacrifices ex opere operato, instead of freely by faith. So, they increased these services and sacrifices, instituted the worship of Baal in Israel, and even sacrificed in the groves of Judah. The prophets condemn this opinion, and battle not only with the worshipers of Baal, but also with other priests who made sacrifices ordained by God, yet with this godless view. This opinion that services and sacrifices satisfy God hangs on in the world, and always will. Carnal people cannot allow the sacrifice of Christ alone to be honored as a propitiation. This is because they do not understand the righteousness of faith, but ascribe equal honor to other services and sacrifices.

Pulling It Together

If you think that salvation is earned by the works you do, you either have become your own god or you have followed another false god. If you are able to save yourself from judgment by doing certain works, then being able to save yourself, you have become your own god, as you have determined that you need no god; you only need your religious works and your moral thoughts and actions.

The God of the Bible has always been the saving God. Because it is he who saves us—not we who save ourselves through works and character—he demands a certain kind of worship that looks quite different from a works-oriented, character-driven religion. Therefore, he prescribes the what and how of worship. The “what” includes Word and Sacrament: Baptism, confession, Holy Communion, preaching, singing “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” (Eph 5:19), and prayer. The “how” is to worship “in spirit and truth” (John 4:24), in other words, by faith. If any of the “whats” are done without the “how” of faith, then those “whats” do not measure up to God’s demands for our worship. We may look right while not being right with God. We may have all the right practices without having righteous hearts.

Prayer: Restore to me, Lord, the joy of your salvation. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

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.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a930.html Thu, 01 Mar 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

1 Peter 1:8–9

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Our opponents also falsely cite against us the condemnation of Aerius, who they say was condemned because he denied that an offering is made for the living and the dead in the Mass. They frequently spin the ancient heresies, falsely comparing them to our cause in order to crush us. Epiphanius testifies that Aerius believed prayers for the dead are useless. He finds fault with this view. We do not favor Aerius either, but are contending with you who are defending a heresy that plainly conflicts with the prophets, apostles, and holy Fathers, namely, that the Mass justifies ex opere operato, that it merits the remission of guilt and punishment to whom it is applied—even for the impious, if they do not object. We reject these pestilent errors, as they detract from the glory of Christ’s passion, and entirely overthrow the doctrine concerning the righteousness of faith.

Pulling It Together

Aerius was a fourth century bishop of Sabaste in Pontus (modern day Sivas in the Black Sea area of Turkey). His teachings about offerings for the dead not being part of the Mass labeled his as a heretic by most of the church. But this reference to Aerius was subterfuge on the part of the Roman Catholic theologians. The real issue under consideration was whether or not the Mass justified persons simply by doing the ceremony. Also under consideration was whether that work could be worked into the life of another if they were not present or were even dead.

The Lutheran Reformers disapproved of these notions, appealing first to Scripture, not the Church Fathers. The theologians from the early centuries of the Church were only significant to the Reformers if they were in agreement with Scripture. Scripture assigns all honor to Christ, not to the work of priests. Furthermore, was faith in the work of Christ required for the Mass to be efficacious? God’s Word teaches that salvation is the outcome of faith in Christ. The outcome of ceremony without faith is condemnation (John 3:18).

Prayer: Thank you, Holy Spirit, for giving me eyes of faith so that my life is filled with the glory of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Views of Baptism is written for a range of readers including the parent or sponsor about to baptize a child, the adult who wants to understand baptism more fully, and the professional teacher or preacher who needs the truth about baptism stated simply but backed by careful research. This books explores three views of baptism: the individual-centered view, the means-of-grace view, and the Roman Catholic view. It includes a description of how Christian baptism came to us in stages from its Jewish roots. A question and answer section addresses specific matters often raised when people contemplate baptism.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a929.html Wed, 28 Feb 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

John 4:23–24

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Our opponents pray for the dead, which we do not prohibit; but we disapprove of the application ex opere operato of the Lord’s Supper on behalf of the dead. The ancients do not favor our opponents concerning the opus operatum. Even though they have the agreement of Gregory or modern theologians, we face them with the most clear and certain Scriptures. There is a great diversity among the Fathers. They were men, and could err and be deceived. If they could live again, and see their sayings used to support the notorious falsehoods which our opponents teach about the opus operatum, they would convey their thoughts far differently.

Pulling It Together

Worship in the New Testament is done “in spirit and truth.” This kind of worship means that the active agent is the Spirit of God—not us. Our works do not count for anything. So, we must worship God in faith. God does not delight in our works, but in our faith toward him. This is true worship, and the Lord is looking for those who would worship him in this way: from the heart and with faith.

Prayer: Fill me, Holy Spirit, so that I may worship you as you desire. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sacraments is one of four books in the Sola Confirmation Series and serves as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. Each book in the series may be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a928.html Tue, 27 Feb 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Psalm 50:14–15

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

The Greek canon does not apply the offering as a satisfaction for the dead because it applies it equally for all the blessed patriarchs, prophets, and apostles. Therefore, it seems that the Greeks make an offering as thanksgiving, and do not apply it as satisfaction for punishments. Yet they speak not only of offering the body and blood of the Lord, but of the other parts of the Mass, namely, prayers and thanksgiving. For after the consecration they pray that it may profit those who partake of it. They speak of no others. Then they add that reasonable service does not mean the offering itself, but prayers and all things which are conducted there.

Pulling It Together

The ancients never intended to deliver the patriarchs, prophets, and apostles from a so-called purgatory. They only wished to offer up thanks together with them for the blessings that have been given to them and to us, the “household of faith” (Gal 6:10), the Israel of God (Gal 6:16), the whole Church.

These or similar words are spoken after the Lord’s Supper has been received: “The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen you and keep you in his grace.” Then thanks and prayer are offered for all those present. Such thanks and praise are our reasonable service of worship.

Prayer: I give you thanks and praise, O God, for all the blessings your people receive in Word and Sacrament through the Holy Spirit of Christ Jesus. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Pastor Kent Groethe's study of the Book of Acts, Acts - Old Places, New Facesfocuses on the life of the early church as a model for church life today. The message and power of the church today needs to be revitalized and renewed by the power of God's Spirit, just as it was in the early church.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a927.html Mon, 26 Feb 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Deuteronomy 4:2

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

But let us return to the case. Since the Mass without faith, ex opere operato, is not a satisfaction for either punishment or guilt, it follows that its application on behalf of the dead is useless. So, there is no need here of a longer discussion. Clearly, this usage for the dead has no testimony in Scripture. Nor is it safe to establish forms of worship in the Church without the authority of Scripture. If it becomes necessary at any time, we shall speak at greater length about this whole subject. Why should we contend with opponents who do not understand the meaning of sacrifice, sacrament, forgiveness of sins, or faith?

Pulling It Together

Why is Scripture, or the Word of God, so important? Why is its authority paramount? It is the only objective way we have of knowing who God is, and of discerning his will among the countless voices demanding our attention. The three “solas” of the Lutheran Reformation help us understand. We are justified by the grace of God alone: sola gratia. This justification, or being made right with God, happens through faith alone: sola fide. But how do we know this to be the case except on the basis of Scripture alone: sola scriptura? It all breaks down without the Word. Indeed, the ceremonies are only uses of water, wine, and bread without the Word. But with the Word, these elements become Sacraments. Mere performance of the ceremonies is nothing without faith in the promises of God. This faith is provided to us by his grace alone.

Establishing new kinds of worship like masses for the dead, cannot be tolerated because they are based on the word and will of people. God’s Word is our only objective authority in such matters.

Prayer: Help me think of you properly, Lord, by giving careful attention to your Word. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Sola carries an assortment of greeting cards

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a926.html Sat, 24 Feb 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Colossians 2:13–14

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

The faithful should be seized with the most bitter grief if they consider the fact that the Mass has been largely transferred to the dead and to satisfactions for punishments. This banishes the daily sacrifice from the Church. It is the kingdom of Antiochus, who transferred the most blessed promises concerning faith and the remission of guilt to the most vain opinions concerning satisfactions. This defiles the gospel and corrupts the use of the Sacraments. These are the ones whom Paul has said are “guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Cor 11:27). They have suppressed the doctrine about faith and the forgiveness of sins, and, under the pretext of satisfactions, have devoted the body and blood of the Lord to sacrilegious gain. Some day they will pay the penalty for this sacrilege. Therefore we and all godly consciences should be conscientious against approving of the abuses of our opponents.

Pulling It Together

Using the Sacrament in a way that Christ did not intend, abuses and profanes his Holy Supper. Offering his blessed promises to the dead and to those who do not believe makes it an occasion for sin and judgment. Teaching people that they must make satisfaction for punishments that await them beyond this life, makes mockery of Christ’s cross, as well as his promises. Of what use is the cross if I must now do other things to appease an angry God? This scoffs at Christ, teaching that he was not up to the task—but we are; it will just take some extra time.

No! God has accomplished all things through Christ. Our sin—every last bit of it—has been nailed to the cross. God made us alive in Christ while we were still sinners. Now that we are alive in Christ, are we to do things that make us live? Again, no! We are already alive through faith in God’s grace toward us. We can add nothing to the cross of Christ. Indeed, nothing needs to be added.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for giving us all we need in Christ alone. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Connections is a magazine for evangelical Lutheran Christians filled with meaty articles as well as lighter spiritual fare. Articles and features are contributed by individuals and ministries of LCMC, NALC, CALC, Lutheran Core and other evangelical Lutherans from congregations across North America. Connections is published six times a year. 

Subscribe today.

For information on congregational/group orders, click HERE.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a925.html Fri, 23 Feb 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Isaiah 1:18

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Now, we shall exclude the sort of proofs that our opponents have about purgatory, what kinds of punishments they think there are in purgatory, and what grounds the doctrine of satisfactions has, which we have confuted above. We present only this in opposition: It is certain that the Lord’s Supper was instituted for the purpose of forgiving guilt. For it offers the forgiveness of sins, so guilt must necessarily be truly understood. Nevertheless, it does not make satisfaction for guilt. If it did, the Mass would be equal to the death of Christ. Forgiveness of guilt may be received in no other way than by faith. Therefore the Mass is not a satisfaction, but a promise and Sacrament that require faith.

Pulling It Together

What consolation would we have if forgiveness of sin were offered in Holy Communion, yet there was no respite from and remission of guilt? Yet there is both respite and remission, for though we are scarlet sinners, our sin is snow-driven by the grace of God. We are so completely forgiven that we are atoned for, covered like a fresh fallen snow.

Now, if you believe the Father to be that caring and loving, I ask you, what need is there of a Purgatory. Besides Purgatory being extra-biblical, what logical need exists for such a place if sin and guilt are covered by the blessed work of Christ? “Come now, let us reason together.” Enjoy the snow. It reminds us of the Father’s love.

Prayer: I trust your love, Father, and am at peace because of Christ. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Who is Jesus? is a five-session study, meant to serve as an introduction to what the Bible says about Jesus Christ—who he is and what it means to trust in him as Savior and Lord.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a924.html Thu, 22 Feb 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Romans 5:1–2

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

For a start, it is a dishonor to the gospel to assert that a ceremony ex opere operato is a sacrifice that reconciles God, and makes satisfaction for sins without faith. It is horrible to attribute as much to the work of a priest as to the death of Christ. Then again, sin and death cannot be overcome unless through faith in Christ, as Paul teaches. “Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:1). So, the punishment of purgatory cannot be overcome by the application of the work of another.

Pulling It Together

Ceremonies and rituals are nice. But a ceremony or a ritual is not fine in and of itself. For example, if I go through the motions of living with my wife but do not believe that she loves me, consider the relational benefits alone that are absent to me. I may offer my paycheck, my chores, and even eat at the same table. Yet, if I do not believe that she loves me, what real profit is there in what amounts to ritual ceremony? I may have a nice house, pay all the bills, and have a full belly, but it would be a sad and lonely existence.

I might also go to church, sing the hymns, put money in the plate, and go forward to eat and drink a bit of bread and wine. Yet, if I have no faith in God, and do not believe that he loves me, all I receive is some nice music in my ears—though it would not move my heart—the satisfaction of helping some people have a place to meet, and the feeling of a not very full stomach. (No wonder some folks cannot wait for Sunday lunch.) I may even develop some meaningful relationships with folks in the congregation. Of what use is any of that if I do not have a loving relationship with God?

Believing in my wife’s love provides me with enough to sustain us even if we have no house, food, or the other things that money buys. Believing that God loves me provides even more. Faith in him turns ceremony and ritual into something that moves my soul. When faith is added to the ceremony, God gives me the confidence that he forgives my sins; I enjoy peace with him; and I know that he will keep all his promises to me, including salvation and eternal life.

This saving faith is in the gracious work of our Lord alone, not the rituals of priests and pastors.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for giving me faith in you. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Alphabet Soup is a three-unit (seven lessons each) Sunday School series designed for young students in Preschool and Kindergarten. Lessons are based on storytelling, rhyme, and pictures, and are suitable for participation by non-readers. The flexible lesson plans introduce the youngest believers to the importance and truth of God’s Word. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a923.html Wed, 21 Feb 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Exodus 20:7

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Our opponents have no scriptural testimonies or commands for defending the application of the ceremony in order to liberate the souls of the dead, from which they obtain infinite revenue. Establishing such services in the Church without the command of God and without the example of Scripture, is not a petty sin. Applying the Lord’s Supper to the dead, when it was instituted for commemoration and preaching among the living is a violation of the Second Commandment, as it abuses God’s name.

Pulling It Together

It is obvious that there is no verse of Scripture that would have us celebrate the Sacrament in such a way that it promises benefits to those who are dead. Therefore, we are not commanded to do so. But where money may be gained, gullible souls are ready to pay. Profit seems to make the sin more reprehensible, if that is possible. For what could be worse than taking the name of the Lord in vain by swearing to unwitting people that they will emancipate the dead by purchasing a Mass?

The Sacrament of Holy Communion was instituted by Jesus for the benefit of the living. In it, he offers himself to those who believe, who have faith in him and his promised benefits. These benefits include the forgiveness of sins, peace with God, the blessed memory of Christ, communion with him and his people, strength, and eternal life. These are always offered to the living who believe, but never to the dead—whether physically or spiritually.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for your promises, and for fulfilling them. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

I Am Who I Am is a six-week study that explores what it means to “not take the name of the LORD your God in vain” (Exod 20:7), while at the same time trusting the promise in Christ that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a922.html Tue, 20 Feb 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Romans 12:1–2

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

The Greek canon also says many things about the offering, but it shows plainly that it is not speaking properly of the body and blood of the Lord, but of the whole service: of prayers and thanksgivings. It says: “And make us worthy to come to offer you requests and supplications and bloodless sacrifices for all the people.” This gives no offense when rightly understood. It asks that we be made worthy to offer prayers and supplications and bloodless sacrifices for the people. He even calls prayers bloodless sacrifices. A little later: “We offer this reasonable and bloodless service.” They misinterpret this as a reasonable sacrifice, and assign it to the very body of Christ, even though the canon speaks of the entire worship. Paul has spoken of logike latreia (reasonable service, Rom 12:1), as the worship of the mind, of fear, of faith, of prayer, of thanksgiving, and so forth, in opposition to the opus operatum.

Pulling It Together

The word “bodies,” used in nearly every English translation of Romans 12:1, does not mean body in the way we think. The Greek somata means more than the physical. In this case, body should be thought of in terms of a whole body of work, as in the entire corpus of the Bible. If thought of in that way, “body” works here. We are to offer our whole corpus to God—everything we are, not just our physical bodies but our thoughts, wills, and emotions too. This is why Paul slides so comfortably into speaking of the mind and the will in verse two. We are not transformed by the offerings of the flesh but by the renewing of the mind. How else would we discern the will of God? These bodies understand little, let alone the depth of God’s will.

This whole corpus then, our entire being, is what we offer to God as our sensible service of worship. It is our due service of the mind and will, not a sacrifice of blood. Otherwise, we would not be offering “all [our] faculties to Him” (Weymouth New Testament), let alone those sacrifices be considered “living.”

Prayer: I give myself to you, Lord, and ask your help in giving more. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Of One Mind and Purpose is a six-session study examines the unique way in which the Bible describes being united in Christ. It explains how God’s Word can either divide people or bring them together in faith, showing how the relationship we have with one another in the Church comes through Christ alone.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a921.html Mon, 19 Feb 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Matthew 21:21–22

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Let us eliminate these trifles. It is ridiculous that our opponents produce such trifling conjectures about a matter of such great importance. For though the Mass is called an offering, how does that term support the imaginary opus operatum, and the imagined application that merits forgiveness of sins for others? It may be called an offering because prayers, thanksgivings, and the entire worship are offered, and so, it is also called Eucharist. But neither ceremonies nor prayers are profitable ex opere operato, without faith. Still, we are not disputing about prayers, but particularly about the Lord’s Supper.

Pulling It Together

There are many fine collections of prayers available. If a person reads those prayers but does not believe in God, are they effective prayers? According to Jesus, you must have faith in order for your prayers to be answered. Just doing the work of saying a prayer is powerless. If a person does the work of eating bread and drinking wine, but does not believe it is the body and blood of Christ, is his eating and drinking effectual? No, for faith is required, not the act alone. So, it is absurd to imagine the merits of the Eucharist are available to someone who does not believe, let alone is not present to eat and drink.

Prayer: Strengthen my faith in you, Lord, by the working of your Holy Spirit. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Martin Luther's Small Catechism (Spanish/Español)

Este pequeño manual, conocido como El Catecismo Menor de Martín Lutero, ha sido utilizado por los Luteranos durante siglos como una herramienta de enseñanza, especialmente en la instrucción de la confirmación. El pequeño manual pretende dar a los lectores un breve resumen de las enseñanzas de la Biblia, viendo algunos ejemplos de versos bien conocidos por los cristianos, oraciones y elementos de adoración.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a920.html Sat, 17 Feb 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Hebrews 10:11–14

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

It is a ridiculous inference that the Mass must be a sacrifice because the Holy Scriptures mention an altar. Paul refers to the altar by way of comparison. They also fabricate the term Mass from midzbeah, meaning altar. Why such a far-fetched an etymology, unless to show off your knowledge of Hebrew? Why seek the etymology from afar, when the term is found in Deuteronomy 16:10, where it means the collection or gifts of the people, not the offering of the priest? Individuals coming to the celebration of the Passover were obliged to bring some gift as a contribution. Originally, the Christians kept this custom. The Canons of the Apostles show that when they came together, they brought bread, wine, and other things. Part was to be consecrated; the rest was distributed to the poor. With this custom they also retained Mass as the name of the contributions. It appears that the Mass was elsewhere called agape because of these contributions, unless one would prefer that it was called Mass because of the common feast.

Pulling It Together

The origin and therefore, original meaning of the term “Mass” is widely disputed. That it originates in the Latin word missa is not disputed. That word means “sending” or “dismissal.” Research in the Oxford English Dictionary yields no conclusive or even straightforward etymology from its earliest usages in our language. What is clear is that it was used to refer to a worship service, particularly of the Eucharist. Melancthon seems to favor the idea that “Mass” is related to the dismissal at the end of the liturgy. If that is the case, worshipers would be sent out to love and serve the Lord by loving and serving their neighbors, using part of the offerings of the Church.

The real question, rather than this quick side note on etymology, is whether the Mass is our sacrifice, or a priest’s sacrifice of Christ, or a remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice. It is the latter, at very least, because that is the one that requires faith in God. Moreover, it cannot be the second because it is in conflict with Scripture.

Prayer: Help me to remember you, Lord, and send me to bring others. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

This edition of the Luther's Small Catechism is specifically designed to go with the Sola Confirmation Series. The 2010 Sola/ReClaim Edition* is a faithful word-for-word translation from Luther's German Catechism. It also includes the section on the Office of the Keys, added later to Luther's Catechism.

This pocket edition features quotations from the English Standard Version (ESV) of Scripture, and the traditional ICET liturgical texts (as used in the Lutheran Book of Worship). The primary verses of Scripture, Creed, and Prayers are printed in italics; Luther’s explanations are printed in plain text. Luther’s explanations are formatted with a mid-sentence break, to highlight contrasting phrases and to aid in memorization.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a919.html Fri, 16 Feb 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Acts 2:42

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

There is no need of further proof, since readers of the Greek writers will find examples everywhere of the use of leitourgia for public, civil duties and assistance. Because there is a diphthong, grammarians do not derive it from lite, which means prayers, but from leita, meaning public goods. Leitourgeo means, “I attend to” or “administer public goods.”

Pulling It Together

So, we have come to see that the liturgy of the Church is not a sacrifice at all. It is the whole service of worship that is done for the good of all present. From the outset, the liturgy is confession and assurance of forgiveness (1 John 1:9). It is also hymn singing (Eph 5:19, Col 3:16), gracious greeting (2 Cor 13:14), prayers—sung, spoken, and silent—(Acts 16:25, 1 Cor 14:15, Rev 15:3), the reading of Scripture and preaching (2 Tim 3:16, 4:13), belief statements (1 Cor 15:13-14, Rom 10:9-10), offerings (Rom 12:1, 2 Cor 9:7, Heb 13:6), and the Great Thanksgiving, including Holy Communion (Acts 2:42, 20:7, 1 Cor 1:16, 11:23-24). The liturgy of the Church is worship for the common good or blessing from God.

Prayer: Bless us, O Lord, as we gather to worship you. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Sola’s Confirmation workbook, The Lord's Prayer, is designed to be a small group Bible study, student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a918.html Thu, 15 Feb 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Romans 12:1

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Thus the term leitourgia agrees aptly with the ministry. It is an old word, ordinarily employed in public civil administrations. To the Greeks, it meant “public duties” like taxes for the expense of equipping a fleet, or similar things. As Demosthenes’ speech Against Leptines shows, all of which is occupied with the discussion of public duties and immunities: “He will say that some unworthy men, having found an immunity, have withdrawn from public burdens.” This is how they spoke in the time of the Romans, as the rescript of Pertinax, “On the Law of Exemption” shows: “Even though the number of children does not liberate parents from all public duties.” The Commentary on Demosthenes’ Oration to Leptines states that leitourgia is a kind of tax: the expenses of the games, equipping vessels, attending to the gymnasia, and similar public obligations.

Paul use the word for a collection in 2 Corinthians 9:12. The taking of the collection supplies those things that are needed by the saints, and causes them to give more abundant thanks to God. In Philippians 2:25, he calls Epaphroditus a “minister to my needs,” where Paul certainly does not mean a sacrificer.

Pulling It Together

The sacrifice, or re-sacrifice, of Christ is not to be added to Holy Communion. It cannot be added, since it has already been accomplished. However, we may add our own sacrifice: the sacrifice of ourselves. Our sacrifice, such as faith, obedience, or other things, does not merit God’s forgiveness or our salvation. Yet sacrifice of self is the proper response to God’s mercy. It is “holy and acceptable to God,” but not as a work that earns us any standing with God. Rather, it is the reasonable response of those who have already been afforded such standing because of God’s mercy and grace.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your mercy in Christ and the work of your Spirit begun in my baptism and which you will finish on that Day. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

  

The Spiritual Realms is a nine-session Bible Study series on Heaven and Hell and places beyond this world. Specifically, the study looks at the many “place names” that are found throughout Scripture, referring to spiritual realms of existence that underlie and comprise the universe God created. This Bible Study series is a challenging one, in that it explores realities of existence beyond what we know and experience everyday.

The study not only addresses matters of life, death, heaven and hell, it steadfastly affirms that Jesus Christ is at the center of all these things. Our ultimate faith and hope rest in Christ’s death and resurrection for our sake. We live in faith by the biblical promise that: “God raised the Lord, and will also raise us up by his power.” (1 Cor 6:14)

A separate Leader's Guide is available. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a917.html Wed, 14 Feb 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson.    Click for a Scripture song of today's Scripture.

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Psalm 116:12–13

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

They say the Greek word leitourgia means sacrifice, and so they call the Mass a liturgy. Why do they omit the old name synaxis or “communion,” that shows that the Mass was formerly the communion of many? Still, let us speak of the word “liturgy.” This word does not signify a sacrifice, but rather the public ministry, and appropriately agrees with our position that a minister consecrates, then tenders the body and blood of the Lord to the rest of the people, just as one minister who preaches, tenders the gospel to the people. Paul says, “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor 4:1), that is, of the Gospel and the Sacraments. “So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor 5:20).

Pulling It Together

Liturgy does not mean sacrifice. It never meant that in secular Greek and in biblical Greek it is a word related to the ministry of the Church. The term “liturgy” means a required, public service that is of benefit to others. So, it is not relegated to the service of Holy Communion but instead, to the whole ministry of the Church, including the Lord’s Supper. As such, Holy Communion is a service or ministry of all God’s people, the communion of many saints. Worship is our required service to the Lord.

So, the question is: what is that required service? What should we render to the Lord for all his great blessings to us? There is but one thing we can do. We lift up the cup of salvation, calling upon the name of the Lord in great thanksgiving.

Prayer: Thank you, God, for your many blessings. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

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 andLuther'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.

 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a916.html Tue, 13 Feb 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

1 Corinthians 11:26

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

The adversaries also refer us to philology. From names for the Mass they make arguments that do not require a long discussion. For though the Mass is called a sacrifice, it does not follow that it must confer grace ex opere operato, or that it merits the forgiveness of sins when applied on behalf of others.

Pulling It Together

Though some call it the sacrifice of the Mass, it still would not mean that this service of thanksgiving, or Eucharist, bestows God’s grace upon people whether they have faith in him or not. Even if it were a sacrifice, the doing of the ceremony does not deserve forgiveness and salvation for unbelievers, let alone for those not present or even dead. At any rate, Holy Communion is not a sacrifice. It is a service of great thanksgiving and communion among many people, a liturgy of the gratitude of God’s people and of blessing from God. We are not killing or sacrificing Jesus again and again at each communal remembrance. Instead, in the service of worship or liturgy, the congregation proclaims Christ’s one-time death until he returns.

Prayer: Strengthen me and keep me in your grace, Father, through faith in your Son. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

  

The Spiritual Realms is a nine-session Bible Study series on Heaven and Hell and places beyond this world. Specifically, the study looks at the many “place names” that are found throughout Scripture, referring to spiritual realms of existence that underlie and comprise the universe God created. This Bible Study series is a challenging one, in that it explores realities of existence beyond what we know and experience everyday.

The study not only addresses matters of life, death, heaven and hell, it steadfastly affirms that Jesus Christ is at the center of all these things. Our ultimate faith and hope rest in Christ’s death and resurrection for our sake. We live in faith by the biblical promise that: “God raised the Lord, and will also raise us up by his power.” (1 Cor 6:14)

A separate Leader's Guide is available. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a915.html Mon, 12 Feb 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Original image   •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Hebrews 11:6

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

The ceremony itself, the giving of thanks, can not to be applied ex opere operato on behalf of others so that it merits the forgiveness of sins for them, or so that it liberates the souls of the dead. These things conflict with the righteousness of faith, as though, without faith, a ceremony can profit either the one performing it or others.

Pulling It Together

Faith is the byword of the Lutheran Reformation. The Church could only be reformed, shaped back to what it was meant to be, through faith in God. Each person receives forgiveness of sin when he has faith in the forgiving God. I cannot have faith for my neighbor or for my children or for my dead parents. That is or was a matter of their own faith in Christ. The benefits of the Sacraments require faith in what God has done for us. I cannot carry out a ceremony and it then, have a benefit for others simply because I performed a religious work on their behalf. Without faith, the ceremony is useless. The ceremony itself, is lifeless without faith. Without personal faith, forgiveness of sin is impossible and dead souls stay dead. Without faith in God, even religious and moral works are sheer presumption of one’s own righteousness.

Prayer: Reform my faith, Lord, so that I trust in you alone. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

All God’s Critters (unit 2 of 3) is a Sunday School series designed for young students in Preschool and Kindergarten. Lessons are based on storytelling, rhyme, and pictures, and are suitable for participation by non-readers. The flexible lesson plans introduce the youngest believers to the importance and truth of God’s Word. Each lesson includes the story of the day written in a simplified manner so that young children may understand an important truth about God and what it means for us to be God’s children.

The All God’s Critters curriculum is fully reproducible and is designed with the particular needs of small churches, mission congregations, and house churches in mind. Check out some sample pages by clicking here.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a914.html Sat, 10 Feb 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Original image   •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Romans 1:17

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

There are other statements about thanksgiving, such as that most beautiful expression of Cyprian concerning the godly communicant. “Piety,” he says, “makes a distinction between what has been given and what has been forgiven, thanking the Bestower of such abundant blessing.” That is, piety considers both what has been given and what has been forgiven. It compares the greatness of God’s blessings and the greatness of our ills—sin and death—with each other, and gives thanks. Hence, the term Eucharist arose in the Church.

Pulling It Together

In Confession and Absolution, we are to carefully consider our sins. We stare squarely into our souls and see who we truly are, and recognize that we are sinners. After receiving the blessed absolution, the assurance of God’s forgiveness for Christ’s sake, we move forward to the table. There, we are to consider Christ alone. Only then may we apprehend the deep truth that he has made us a new people, the communion of saints—again, for his sake. Here, in the midst of this divine service, we see ourselves correctly as both sinners and saints, simul iustus et peccator. We are sinners saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. This gracious gift of faith apprehends both its own sinfulness and God’s faithfulness to forgive. In other words, the truly righteous person is a sinner who lives by faith in God’s righteousness. What else would sinners do but raise the strain of thanksgiving?

Prayer: Thank you Father, for giving me faith to believe in your forgiveness through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord is a Lenten Sermon Series booklet that provides the background and thematic resources to allow a preacher to put together a five-week sermon series for Lent. The booklet uses a unique approach called the "Telemetry Method" for preaching that helps to visualize each sermon, including the launching point for the sermon, two nodal points along the trajectory of the message, the place where the good news touches the human heart by connecting believers to the heart of Christ, and then the landing place, which represents the sermon's conclusion. Also provided are "thoughts to ponder," theological reflection, as well as sample bulletins and hymn suggestions, making it easy to plan an entire Lenten series.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a913.html Fri, 09 Feb 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Original image   •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Luke 22:19–20

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

The Fathers speak of a twofold effect: the comfort of conscience, and thanksgiving or praise. The former of these effects pertains to the nature of the Sacrament; the latter to the sacrifice. Of consolation Ambrose says, “Go to him and be absolved, since he is the remission of sins. Do you ask who he is? Hear him when he says, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst’” (John 6:35). This passage testifies that the forgiveness of sins is offered in the Sacrament, and that it is to be received by faith. Many testimonies to this effect are found in the Fathers, all of which the adversaries pervert to reinforce the opus operatum, and applying that opus on behalf of others, even though the Fathers clearly require faith, and speak of the appropriation of the consolation—not its transferal.

Pulling It Together

Do your sins torment you? Go to the forgiver of sin. Do you fear eternal death? Go to the source of life. Do you hunger and thirst for righteousness? Then go to the table where the righteousness of another is served. You go. You go for yourself. You cannot eat and drink his righteousness for another any more than you could eat this evening’s chicken and its nutritional benefits be experienced by your granddaughter. Jesus said, “This is my body which is given for you,” not for others—for you. “This cup that is poured out for you” is not transferable from those of faith to those who lack faith. The forgiveness of sin is transferable from the giver to those who have faith in him. New life and righteousness are given at the source; there is no middle agency.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your Bread of Life, given for me. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Reading and Discussion of Luther's Catechisms is a more challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, presented in a question and discussion format. 

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a912.html Thu, 08 Feb 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Original image   •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Hebrews 13:10–15

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

As there may be several purposes for a single act, thanksgiving is also added. After conscience has been encouraged by faith and perceives its freedom from terror, then it may fervently give thanks for the blessings of Christ’s suffering. It uses the ceremony itself to praise God, through this obedience showing its gratitude, and testifying to the high esteem it holds for the gifts of God. Thus the ceremony becomes a sacrifice of praise.

Pulling It Together

Faith is the very thing that determines the right to eat at the Lord’s table. A person must first examine himself to see whether he has faith to eat and drink (1 Cor 11:28). Dining without faith is not only useless, it is damnable. But when faith is present, so is peace, since one is liberated from the dear of sin, judgment, and death. Once a person is freed from such fears, praise and thanksgiving flow from the heart. Without faith, this sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving are impossible.

Prayer: Open my heart, Lord, to declare your praise. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Written in clear, understandable language, Who Cares About the Bible? tackles the most important questions concerning this unique book. It is an excellent primer for anyone interested in what the Bible is, how to properly understand it, and how to deal with the vast amount of misleading information that has been spread about it.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a911.html Wed, 07 Feb 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Original image   •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Psalm 111:4–5

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

The remembrance of Christ is not the unprofitable celebration of a show, or something established for the sake of example, such as a play in memory of Hercules or Ulysses. Rather, it remembers the benefits of Christ and receives them by faith, so they may make us live. Accordingly, the psalmist says, “He has caused his wonderful works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and merciful. He provides food for those who fear him” (Psa 111:4–5). This means that the will and the mercy of God should be discerned in the ceremony. The faith that apprehends mercy makes alive. This is the principal use of the Sacrament, through which it is apparent that terrified consciences are those fit for the Sacrament, and how they ought to use it.

Pulling It Together

Holy Communion is not effective because of motions and rituals. We are not accomplishing something because we have acted out a tragedy. We are remembering that it is Christ who has acted. In this remembering, we recall what God can never forget. We are remembering that he has promised to remember us. In this Holy Communion, we see God’s mercy—that he loves and forgives sinners like us. We also discern his will—that he would have us make use of this holy food and drink, that he himself has provided for those who fear, love, and trust him. The Father has bequeathed his own Son as a perpetual remembrance of his love to sinners who thankfully receive.

Prayer: Gracious and merciful Lord, I give you thanks for your unfaltering love. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship eResource (SOWeR) provides so many resources that it is hard to list them all. One of those resources is a growing section of liturgies and services that subscribers may use. These are ready-to-print service booklets like the Sola Scriptura Setting (a spoken liturgy for Holy Communion). 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a910.html Tue, 06 Feb 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Original image   •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Romans 2:25–29

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

This use of the Sacrament, when faith enlivens terrified hearts, is New Testament worship because the New Testament requires spiritual orientation, death, and new life. This is the use that Christ instituted, as he commanded: “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Cor 11:24).

Pulling It Together

The New Testament teaches that the highest form of worship happens within, spiritually, in the heart. One may do all the outward, religious services but do so with a corrupt heart. This is mere performance, acting. But the pure heart, that spirit which is driven by the Holy Spirit, will render to God what he desires of a person. The former, while going through religious motions, hangs on to the old nature, never quite dying. The latter has died. While in this life, the old nature continues to die—by no work of its own. Through Word and Sacrament, God orients the human spirit to himself and gives it peace. This is God’s work within us through faith in him.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for giving me life by your Spirit. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Go and Tell - Word of Life Series (Unit 2) is a resource for those looking to develop small groups built around the Word of God. This model of small-group ministry is an excellent tool for evangelism since it is rooted in prayer and Scripture. Its primary focus is to empower those who believe in Jesus Christ to be comfortable sharing their faith and inviting others to experience a transformed life in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Meant for use in Small Group gathering, each of the six sessions is based on a primary Scripture text, with intentional time for reflection. There are questions, prayer, faith sharing, and mini evangelism case-studies. The series would be helpful for those involved in starting a Bible study fellowship, house church, or mission congregation. It can also be used by established congregations to aid in establishing a small group ministry.

• Unit 1   • Unit 2   • Unit 3

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a909.html Mon, 05 Feb 18 00:00:00 -0600

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Mark 9:23–24

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Such faith encourages contrite minds. As the Word has been given to kindle this faith, so the Sacrament has been instituted so that the outward appearance will move the heart to believe what meets the eyes. For the Holy Spirit works through the Word and Sacrament.

Pulling It Together

The Word has been given to reveal God and to arouse faith in him. The Sacrament of Holy Communion was instituted so that, in remembering Christ, that faith may be strengthened. The outward appearance of the elements of bread and wine provide us focus on the body and blood of our Savior, which the Holy Spirit uses to help our unbelief. We cannot get enough of either. For the Word and the Sacrament work together through the power of the Holy Spirit to both give us faith and to strengthen the same in us.

Prayer: Lord, help my unbelief! Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Power of Lent is a series of lenten dramas pairing two characters each week from the story of Jesus' Passion; bearing witness to what they saw, heard, and felt. Each pair of biblical characters reflects upon a similar theme for the week, showing how the same events brought about very different reactions to Jesus and his identity.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a908.html Fri, 02 Feb 18 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Romans 5:1–2

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

The Sacraments are not merely signs among people, but are signs of God’s will toward us. So, it is correct to define the New Testament Sacraments as signs of grace. There are two parts to a Sacrament: a sign and the Word. In the New Testament, the Word is the added promise of grace. The promise in the New Testament is the forgiveness of sins, as the text says: “This is my body which is given for you... This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:19 KJV). So, the Word offers the forgiveness of sins, while the ceremony is a picture or seal, as Paul calls it (Rom 4:11), of the Word making known the promise. Therefore, just as the promise is useless unless it is received by faith, a ceremony is useless unless faith is present, truly believing that the forgiveness of sins is offered in the Sacrament.

Pulling It Together

Even the feeling of peace—let alone genuine peace—is not held for long by the mere use of signs. A husband may buy his wife diamonds, flowers, and many other things, but if his word does not accompany them, it is difficult to believe for long that these are signs of his love. He must also promise his love for her; he must tell her that he loves her. Then the gifts, the signs, may mean something—if the wife takes him at his word.

We gain access to God’s grace through faith in his word: his promise to forgive us. True peace is not had in any other way. As long as you depend upon signs alone, you will want to add your own assurances, such as good works and ceremonies. Faith in God’s promise must be added.

Prayer: I believe you, Lord; help my unbelief. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

In Harmony with the Word is an eight-session Bible Study that focuses on Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, from Matthew 5-7. It is written at an introductory level, to be led by a lay leader or pastor in a small-group question and discussion format. The study would serve as an excellent resource for monthly women's group meetings or in an informal small-group setting.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a907.html Thu, 01 Feb 18 00:00:00 -0600

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

1 Corinthians 11:27–29

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Some clever people imagine that the Lord’s Supper was instituted for two reasons. First, that it might be a symbol and testimony of profession, just as a particular shape of hood is the sign of a particular profession. Then they think that such a symbol is especially pleasing to Christ because it is a feast that signifies mutual union and friendship among Christians, since banquets are signs of concord and friendship. But this is a secular view that does not show the chief use of the things delivered by God. It speaks only of the exercise of love, which is understood by profane and worldly people. It does not speak of faith, which few understand.

Pulling It Together

Drawing significance to professions, making divisions among ourselves, is the furthest thing from the focus of the Lord’s Supper. Christ is the emphasis of our communion. Christ is our communion. This is why faith is critical, why we must examine ourselves to be sure we are eating and drinking rightly. When our faith is in Christ, instead of our position in the church (or someone else’s), then we eat and drink in a worthy manner. We dishonor the communion of saints when these divisions are celebrated among us, when we separate ourselves into classes and ranks in the church, especially at the table. We are too much like secular institutions at this point. How can their be a communion of saints who commune with their Lord, when he is not present to them? If he is not the focus, but they and their trappings are, all is lost. Worse, they eat and drink judgment upon themselves. Eating and drinking in a worthy manner, requires faith in and focus upon the one who established the meal. All eyes on Christ! The banquet is prepared.

Prayer: Help me to believe, O Lord, and so, partake of you in a worthy manner. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Sola’s Confirmation workbook, The Lord's Prayer, is designed to be a small group Bible study, student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a906.html Wed, 31 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Romans 9:10

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

This is a sufficient reply to our opponents about the sayings of the Fathers. It is certain that this fiction about the merit of the opus operatum is found nowhere in the Fathers. In order to better understand the whole case, we will also state those things about the use of the Sacrament that actually harmonize with the Fathers and Scripture.

Pulling It Together

The human heart, harder than diamonds, is determined to have its own way. Religious matters are not exempt from our hardness of heart. So, we bullheadedly set about working at being good people, participating in services, or buying things that make false promises, all in the hopes of pleasing God enough that we will deserve forgiveness and eternal life. We deserve no such thing. But because God loves us with the softest heart, he has made a way for us where we could never find or make a way. Forgiveness and salvation do not depend upon our will or labors. These depend upon a loving and merciful God

Prayer: Soften my heart, Lord, that I may have a heart of faith. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Upper Room is a six-part drama and sermon series for use during the weeks of Lent, in midweek or Sunday morning services. The stories in this series seek to focus our hearts and minds on the last days of Jesus, drawing us into a greater spiritual maturity that recognizes the blessings and responsibilities of this life of faith, as we walk with our Lord on the path to the cross.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a905.html Tue, 30 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Colossians 2:6–7

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

We have already shown that a eucharistic sacrifice does not merit reconciliation, but is made by those who have been reconciled. Nor do afflictions earn reconciliation, but are eucharistic sacrifices when those who have been reconciled endure them.

Pulling It Together

Our sacrifices—on an altar or on the altar of life do not settle the score with God. As we have shown many times, Christ alone is the sacrifice that has reconciled God. Yet, he is not a continuing sacrifice, offered once again for sins in Holy Communion. He was sacrificed once, that sacrifice being sufficient to meet the sin-debt of a world. Now, faith must meet his sacrifice. When faith sees it can do nothing but come to the altar, believing in what has already been done, what should be brought—to the holy table and to life? We may offer thanks for the grace that has been extended to ourselves and others (1 Cor 1:4). Thanksgiving is not a saving sacrifice but an offering made by those who have been saved. We should be thankful even when sorely oppressed (1 Thes 5:18), again, this affliction not being a sacrifice that merits anything—other than our thanks to God for his mercy and grace.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your indescribable gift! Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Pilate's Investigation is a five-part series designed for use during Lent. Each of the dramas feature Pontius Pilate, seeking to learn the identity of the mysterious figure who has been brought to him for judgment. Scripture texts are assigned for each of the dramas, along with notes for the actors.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a904.html Mon, 29 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Luke 22:19

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Now that we have explained the passages of Scripture cited against us, we should also talk about the Fathers. We are know that the Fathers call the Mass a sacrifice. They do not mean that the Mass confers grace ex opere operato, that it merits the forgiveness of sins, guilt, and punishment when transferred to others. Where do the Fathers say anything so monstrous? Instead, they openly testify that they are speaking of thanksgiving. Accordingly they call it a “eucharist.”

Pulling It Together

The disciples gathered around their Lord, bringing nothing to the table. Christ Jesus brought it all. The disciples did nothing but receive with thankful hearts. Jesus set the example for this Eucharist, or thanksgiving. He took the bread and gave thanks. Then, he gave it to his disciples, and they received his body. Nowhere do they make a sacrifice. If this is the institution of the Holy Supper—and it surely is—then Christ has instituted no sacrifice other than his own. We disciples still bring nothing to the table but thanks.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Of One Mind and Purpose is a six-session study examines the unique way in which the Bible describes being united in Christ. It explains how God’s Word can either divide people or bring them together in faith, showing how the relationship we have with one another in the Church comes through Christ alone.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a903.html Sat, 27 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Luke 22:17–20

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

These errors have produced endless others, such as the Masses being valid when applied for many just as much as when applied individually. The scholastics have particular degrees of merit, just as money-changers have weights for gold or silver. Then they sell the Mass as a price for obtaining what each one wants: to merchants for prosperous business, to hunters for successful hunting, and countless other things. Finally, they apply it to the dead, liberating souls from the pains of purgatory by the application of the Sacrament, though the Mass is of no use even to the living if they do not have faith. Our opponents are unable to produce even one syllable from the Scriptures in defense of their fables which they teach with great authority in the Church; nor do they have the testimonies of the ancient Church and the Fathers.

Pulling It Together

Besides the odious practice of marketing Christ’s body and blood, this commerce is based upon selfish desires, largely the freeing of departed loved ones from a place that does not exist. We do not come to the altar to receive worldly affluence. We come to receive the riches of God’s grace. Nor do we come to the altar for the sins of others; we come with faith, confessing our own sins, and receiving the assurance of forgiveness for those sins. Nowhere in our Lord’s institution or in apostolic instruction is there anything about this being done for others.

Though the Church Fathers are certainly not inspired and faultless, they carry great weight since they represent the thought and practices of the early Church, so we will next look into what they had to say on this matter. 

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for all you have given me—even giving your very self. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Power of Lent is a series of lenten dramas pairing two characters each week from the story of Jesus' Passion; bearing witness to what they saw, heard, and felt. Each pair of biblical characters reflects upon a similar theme for the week, showing how the same events brought about very different reactions to Jesus and his identity.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a902.html Fri, 26 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

1 Corinthians 10:16–17

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Other common errors are also to be rejected, such as, that the Mass confers grace upon one using it ex opere operato, or that it merits the forgiveness of sins, guilt, and punishment when it is transferred to others, even for wicked persons, provided they do not interpose an obstacle. All these things are false and godless, recently invented by unlearned monks. They obscure the glory of Christ’s suffering and the righteousness of faith.

Pulling It Together

Holy Communion is the privilege of those who truly participate in the body and blood of Christ. This participation is genuine fellowship in the communion of saints, else it is a mockery. One must be present in every sense: physical, mental, spiritual. We do not commune with Christ and with one another without understanding what has been done for us, or by partaking thoughtlessly, mechanically. And we certainly cannot benefit if we are not physically present. The mere doing of the thing is simply another work. The fellowship of the saints and every other blessing of the Third Article of the Apostles’ Creed are received with active, engaged faith—not by rote, by mindless, spiritless works. 

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your great gifts, given freely to those who believe. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

This congregational resource book describes how a parish can host an “invite-able” event, as part of a larger evangelism initiative, energizing God’s people for the mission of Christ. Using a practical step-by-step “how to” approach, provides guidance, organization, and ideas — not simply to promote a single program, but to develop and inspire the over-all outreach of the congregation. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a901.html Thu, 25 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

1 Corinthians 11:23–29

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

We have also shown that the Scriptures cited against us do not support our opponents’ godless opinion about the opus operatum. Good folk everywhere can judge this. Therefore the error of Thomas is to be rejected, who wrote: “The body of the Lord, once offered on the cross for original debt, is continually offered on the altar for daily offenses, in order that, in this, the Church might have a service that reconciles God to herself.”

Pulling It Together

There is false security in performing a ritual, or in it being performed for us, expecting that it has some spiritual value just because the ceremony is done. It is not enough to come to the altar to eat and drink a bit of bread and wine. That action does nothing other than give one a sense being religious, as though that feeling earns some favor with God. But eating and drinking with faith produces great things—not by the hands of either priest or people, but by God’s power. The mere work done by human hands is worthless, or even harmful since it produces a false, religious security. But the work performed by God in Christ has great merit and power when received in faith. Through faith we remember what Christ has done for us, graciously forgiving us when we eat and drink his body and blood. This does not happen however, when we simply go through the motions. Nor does it help others if the Mass is celebrated for them in their absence. The simple reason is that faith is required.

Without faith in God’s word and promise, the bread and wine remain simply bread and wine. Faith knows that the bread and wine, Christ’s body and blood, are not being offered at all. He has already offered himself. Faith remembers this, proclaiming his death and resurrection each time we eat this bread and drink this cup until Christ comes again. Eating and drinking without faith, without believing, is not only worthless, it is harmful. Those who eat and drink unworthily, without faith, are guilty before God, no matter how religious they feel. Those who eat with faith are exonerated, no matter how guilty they know themselves to be. The table is spread for sinners. Come! Eat! Drink! Remember.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your free grace and forgiveness for sinners like me. Amen.

Prayer: Blessed Redeemer, thank you for saving me by God’s grace through faith in you. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

This pocket edition of the Luther's Small Catechism is specifically designed to go with the Sola Confirmation Series. The Sola/ReClaim Edition is a faithful word-for-word translation from Luther's German Catechism. It also includes the section on the Office of the Keys, added later to Luther's Catechism.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a900.html Wed, 24 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Romans 3:27–28

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

We have shown the reason why the Mass does not justify ex opere operato, and why, when applied on behalf of others, it does not merit forgiveness. Both conflict with the righteousness of faith. There is no forgiveness of sins, nor are the terrors of death and sin overcome by any work or anything other than by faith in Christ, as Paul says, “Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:1).

Pulling It Together

We cannot work our way to God. We cannot do so morally or religiously. Imagine someone saying, I’m good enough now to be forgiven my badness. It makes no sense at all. If you are bad, you are bad. How can you be good enough to have earned a removal of your badness? How can you be pure enough to merit the removal of your sin? If you are not pure, you are impure. If you sin, you are a sinner. You cannot fix that condition of your nature. Do not reason this way: If I work hard enough at being good, my goodness will outweigh my sin enough that God will reward me. He will not. Paul says that God’s law prevents such boasting.

Rejoice, sinner! Because Christ has upheld God’s law and redeemed the world, you are vindicated through faith in him. This is a legal action, independent of your deeds. God absolves you, exonerates you, clears your name, by virtue of what Christ has done for you, not because of any work, religious or otherwise, that you have done.

Prayer: Blessed Redeemer, thank you for saving me by God’s grace through faith in you. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

This is Most Certainly True! is a six-chapter mid-week Lenten Series features monologues from Martin Luther himself, based on his writings in the Large Catechism. Luther explains eloquently and simply what each part of the catechism means for us as believers and ends it with an affirmation of certainty: "This is most certainly true!"

Luther's thoughts have been transformed here into dramatic monologues so that we might hear and meditate on the foundations of our Christian faith. In addition to a sample worship service outline, there are hymns suggestions for each monologue and opening dialogues for worship based on the parts of the Small Catechism.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a899.html Tue, 23 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Galatians 3:2

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Since the priesthood of the New Testament is the ministry of the Spirit, as Paul teaches in 2 Corinthians 3:6, accordingly, Christ is the only satisfying sacrifice that may applied for the sins of others. It has no sacrifices like the Levitical, which could be applied ex opere operato on behalf of others. Rather, it offers them the Gospel and the Sacraments, that by these means they may receive faith and the Holy Spirit, and be mortified and quickened. The ministry of the Spirit is at odds with the application of an opus operatum. Through this ministry of the Spirit, God works in the heart so that his ministry is profitable to others, when it is efficacious in them by giving them a new birth and life. This does not occur by the application ex opere operato of the work of another on their behalf.

Pulling It Together

The religious works of others on our behalf can no more kill or mortify us than make us alive again or quickened. The work worked by them, the opus operatum, though perhaps very satisfying to the eye and ear, remains the work of a human being, quite ineffective in and of itself because it does not satisfy the justice of God. Sin is not forgiven ex opere operato, from the work worked by people. Where is the gospel in all of this working? The outward performance is there but where is the inward power? The gospel is not only words, not simply the retelling of the history of Jesus. It is the power of God’s Spirit at work in the ear and heart. Sin is forgiven because of the work done by God in Christ, received with faith by the power of God’s Spirit. The works of another cannot give us faith, without which we cannot have forgiveness, new life, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, godliness, or salvation.

Prayer: You are all I need, Lord; you alone are sufficient for life. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Learning About Confession teaches the meaning of Confession and Forgiveness according Luther's guidance in the Small Catechism. It is recommended for the Sixth Grade Level. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a898.html Mon, 22 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Hebrews 7:27–28

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Therefore, if anyone insists that a priest is required to make an offering for sins in the New Testament, this must be granted only to Christ. The entire Epistle to the Hebrews confirms this interpretation. If we were to seek any other satisfaction in addition to the death of Christ that is effectual for the sins of others and that reconciles God, this would be nothing more than appointing other mediators besides Christ.

Pulling It Together

Either Christ is the full and final atonement for the sins of the world, or he is not. In the latter case, two things are true. First, new and daily sacrifices would need to continue on behalf of sinners everywhere. Second, Christ would no longer be our Savior. He is either Savior, or he is not. If he has saved us, then sacrifices are no longer necessary. If he has not saved us, then bring on the priests. A system of works demands a priestly system, while faith insists it has no need for priests and sacrifices because it has a Savior.

Prayer: Thank you, God, for appointing us a Savior. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Small Cat series is a comprehensive way to teach the Catechism to all of your children. There is a workbook and leader's guide for each of grades one through six, along with other complimentary resources. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a897.html Sat, 20 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Colossians 1:19–23

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

It is altogether incorrect to imagine that the Levitical sacrifices earned the forgiveness of sins before God, and that by analogy, sacrifices in addition to the death of Christ are required in the New Testament that are effectual for the sins of others. This fiction completely invalidates the merit of Christ’s suffering and the righteousness of faith, and corrupts the teaching of the Old and New Testaments by replacing Christ as our mediator and reconciler with priests and sacrificers who daily hawk their wares in the churches.

Pulling It Together

Paul tells us all that is required to be reconciled to God. All things in heaven and earth are brought peace and consolation through the blood of Christ alone. Through faith, we are made holy and blameless with God. If we continue with faith in Christ, in his sacrifice on our behalf, we who were alienated from God because of sin, are united with him by the blood of the cross—his work, not ours. He alone is our mediator and atonement.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the peace your cross brings to sinners like me. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Connections magazine is an emerging voice for confessional Lutheranism in North America, that features ministries and mission efforts, reliable, Biblically based content, stories of faith, and inspirational messages all in a “coffee table quality” package.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a896.html Fri, 19 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Hebrews 9:13–14

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Since the Old Testament sacrifices did not merit reconciliation—unless by analogy—but pointed to the coming sacrifice, it follows that Christ is the only valid sacrifice for the sins of others. Therefore, no sacrifice is left in the New Testament to be applied for the sins of others, except the one sacrifice of Christ upon the cross.

Pulling It Together

The services of the Old Testament were a symbol or a picture of what was to come. Their use was to cleanse the flesh, the natural person, from sin. These services required constant repetition because of constant sin. The New Testament services of the Church remember what our great High Priest has accomplished through his sacrifice on the cross. His is the perfect service that requires no repetition. His blood cleanses conscience and spirit, not merely the flesh, for all who have faith in him.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for granting me the faith to trust in you. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Rejoice in the Lord, Always! is a nine week study examines some of the most treasured verses in Scripture, in ways that are encouraging and realistic about our life in faith. Celebrating both the tensions and the joys of discipleship, Paul reminds us of Who it is that makes us a community as we share our lives together in a common commitment to Christ.

Leader's Guide

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a895.html Thu, 18 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Acts 2:22–24

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Although our belief has its main testimonies in the Epistle to the Hebrews, our opponents nevertheless distort and mutilate passages from this Epistle against us. In this same passage, where it says that every high priest is ordained to offer sacrifices for sins, Scripture itself immediately adds that Christ is that High Priest (Heb 5:5-6, 10). The preceding words speak of the Levitical priesthood, demonstrating how that Levitical priesthood was a symbol of the priesthood of Christ. The Levitical sacrifices for sins did not merit the forgiveness of sins before God. They were only a representation of the sacrifice of Christ, which was to be the one atoning sacrifice, as we have earlier stated.

Therefore, a large part of the Epistle is occupied with the subject of that ancient priesthood and its sacrifices not being instituted for the purpose of earning the forgiveness of sins before God or reconciliation, but only to point to the future sacrifice of Christ alone. In the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament, it was necessary for the saints to be justified by faith in the promise of the forgiveness of sins that was to be granted for Christ’s sake. From the beginning of the world, all saints have needed to believe that the Christ would be the promised offering and satisfaction for sins. Isaiah teaches: “...when he makes himself an offering for sin” (Isa 53:10).

Pulling It Together

God had a plan—from the beginning. You see it spread before you as early as the book of Genesis. He made a covenant with Abraham in order to bless the nations through the Lion of tribe of Judah. That Lion and Root of David, Christ Jesus, has defeated death, being raised by God (raising himself from death), undoing the sting of death (1 Cor 15:55) for all who have faith in him. His giving of his own life is the only sacrifice, as predetermined, that has ever made a difference. Christ alone has made true satisfaction for our sins. He is the remedy for our illness; we—our services and works—are not. Persevere with faith in he who has overcome a world of sin (John 16:33). 

Prayer: Grant, O Lord, that I may remain in you until that Day. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Since Lent is fast approaching... 

Will You Betray Me?” is a five-part drama series focuses on “betrayal” as a central theme. Written in a direct and edgy style, the monologues feature biblical characters that (knowingly or unknowingly) contributed to the betrayal and death of Jesus.  

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a894.html Wed, 17 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Hebrews 4:14–16

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

They also quote from the Epistle to the Hebrews. “For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins” (Heb 5:1). They conclude from this verse that, since there are high priests and priests in the New Testament, there must also be a sacrifice for sins. This argument makes an impression on the unlearned, especially when priestly pomp and sacrifices of the Old Testament are spread before the eyes. The resemblance deceives them, so that they think a ceremonial sacrifice for sins ought to exist among us just as in the Old Testament. The services of the Mass and the rest of the papal organization are only false zeal stemming from a poor interpretation of the Levitical order.

Pulling It Together

Jesus Christ is the only high priest able to stand between you and God. As such, he is called our “great high priest” by the writer of Hebrews. Because Jesus is our high priest, we are able to make the good confession. That confession is that he is the Christ, the one whose sacrifice has made the difference. So long as we maintain that it is our sacrifices—our good works and ceremonies—that earn us favor with God, we will fall into despair. For how can we be good enough, do enough, confess every last sin? We cannot; nor would it make a difference since we are born in sin.

In order to set the record straight and to soothe our troubled consciences, this section in Hebrews shows us that we no longer need high priests. It does not demonstrate the further need for them, but establishes Christ Jesus as our great high priest. He is the one, as Hebrews goes on to confirm (Heb 10:14), who has made the one, perfect sacrifice needed to perfect “those who are being sanctified.” We are being sanctified by him, not by our own doing. Knowing this to be true, how could we ever rely upon our own sacrifices, or for that matter, those performed by priests “chosen from among men” (Heb 5:1)? Because of our confession of Christ alone, we may draw near to God with full confidence in his mercy toward sinners like us.

Prayer: Forgive me, God, for Christ’s sake. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Basics of the Christian Faith is an edition of the catechism that is aimed at seekers, visitors, and those that may not come from a Lutheran background. It is recommended for use in outreach, as a visitor welcome gift, or in new member packets.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a893.html Tue, 16 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Mark 1:14–20

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

As for outward appearances, church attendance is better among us than among our opponents. Helpful, clear sermons hold the audience, but neither the people nor the teachers have ever understood our opponents. The true adornment of the churches is godly, practical, and clear teaching, the devout use of the Sacraments, ardent prayer, and so forth. Candles, golden vessels, and similar adornments are fitting, but they are not the adornment that properly belongs to the Church. If our opponents make worship consist of such matters instead of the proclamation of the gospel, faith, and the struggles of faith, they are to be numbered among those whom Daniel describes as worshiping their God with gold and silver (Dan 11:38).

Pulling It Together

What is it that proclaims the gospel? That thing belongs in our services of worship. The Sacraments proclaim the gospel on the deepest level. “Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” clearly “speak” (Eph 5:19; Col 3:16) the good news of Christ among us. Prayers turn our attentions back to the source of faith. Whatever else is on display in our sanctuaries, our churches must be draped in plain, simple, clear preaching of the gospel. Anything among us that does not preach the gospel is just decoration.

The real beauty of the Church is the gospel. The Church exists to preach the gospel. If it is not preached there, it is a church in name only. The sign outside may say “Lutheran Church” but if the clear call to “repent and believe in the gospel” is not heard there, it is not a church. Jesus came preaching repentance and faith in the gospel of God. He then called men to follow him, that they might learn to do the same. He still calls people to be his disciples, and in following Jesus, both individuals and congregations are commissioned to proclaim his gospel. 

Prayer: Teach me how to follow you, Lord. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

When we speak of the "Great Commission," we usually think of Jesus' words at the end of Matthew's Gospel. But there are actually several places in the New Testament that describe the commission we have been given to speak and act, bearing witness to the truth of the gospel message. All these biblical articulations convey the same charge and calling, but each adds something important to our appreciation and understanding of the mission to which we have been called.

The Great Commissions is a six-session Bible study drawing from all four Gospels, as well as the book of Acts and the writings of Paul, to focus on the calling that Jesus has given us and how it works in our everyday lives. Here is a sample PDF of the introduction and first chapter.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a892.html Mon, 15 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

1 Corinthians 11:23–29

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

If the use of the Sacrament is the daily sacrifice, we would still keep it more than our opponents, because their priests use it for earning money. Our churches use it more frequently and devoutly. The people use it, but after first having been instructed and examined. They are taught the proper use of the Sacrament: that it was instituted for the purpose of being a seal and testimony of free forgiveness of sins, and as an encouragement for alarmed consciences, that they may be truly confident and believe that their sins are freely forgiven. Therefore, since we retain both the preaching of the gospel and the proper use of the Sacrament, we have preserved the daily sacrifice.

Pulling It Together

The Lutherans believed (and believe) that we have no need of a human, priestly intermediary in order to receive the benefits of Holy Communion. Christ is our intermediary. We only need his grace, and that is freely available to all who believe. As such, there is no need to pay someone to perform a ceremony that does what Christ has already accomplished. The blessings of God are fully available in his Sacrament. Holy Communion is the true body and blood of the Lord “for you.” As such, we remember that Christ Jesus has given us a sign of his sacrifice: the bread and wine, his body and blood. We also remember his Word: the promise of God’s gracious forgiveness.

As often as we eat this bread and drink this cup, we declare his death and all the blessings that his sacrifice means. Yet we do not do so as mere ritual. Therefore, we instruct people as to who and what are being remembered in this holy meal, so that they may eat and drink without judgment, and so that we may retain what the Lord first established.

Prayer: Help me, O Lord, to remember that you freely gave yourself for me. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

A Discussion of Living Religions is a brief introduction to major world religions that takes a conversational approach as a group of friends talk together about what it is they believe. Each has a chance to speak for themselves about how they understand the fundamentals of reality and faith.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a891.html Sun, 14 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Ephesians 2:8–10

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

In contrast, due to the blessing of God, our priests see to the ministry of the Word, teaching the gospel with its blessings of Christ, and showing that the forgiveness of sins happens freely for Christ’s sake. This doctrine brings sure consolation to consciences. They also teach the doctrine of good works which God commands, and declare the worth and use of the Sacraments.

Pulling It Together

We have been saved by God’s grace—not by our good works or offerings of money or service. This salvation happens through faith in Christ. It is that simple. There is no need to keep score or balance a so-called ledger that keeps account of our sin. If we needed to worry about such things, our consciences would always be troubled. But when we do sin—we are, after all, sinners—we know that Christ Jesus forgives and forgives completely. No one is able to add anything to completeness. So, we cannot and need not add good deeds or offerings to something that God has already fully accomplished. For the person who believes in Christ, this brings immeasurable consolation. The person, however, who believes that she must trust in her own merit, will always have a trembling conscience.

Because we are forgiven and promised eternal life, we are able to freely give of ourselves without the need to add to God’s full grace. We are liberated—free of concern about sin, death, the devil, hell, or purgatory—to do what we were made to do: live lives that bring honor to God through good works and walking in the commandments. 

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for forgiving me and setting me free to live life for you. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Reformation is a collection and summary of some of the key documents of the Reformation. Assembled and edited by the Rev. Jeffray Greene for the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, it is meant to be a reference-resource for congregations and study groups, to familiarize laity with the scope and contents of these important texts. The length of this book has been kept brief to allow congregations to make it available to people at a reasonable price.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a890.html Sat, 13 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Luke 22:19–20

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Consciences were tormented by satisfactions and the enumeration of sins. Our opponents made no mention of faith, by which we freely receive the forgiveness of sins. All of their books and sermons were silent about the use of faith in struggling with despair, and the free forgiveness of sins for Christ’s sake. Additionally, they horribly desecrated the Mass and added many other godless services in the churches. This is the desolation that Daniel describes.

Pulling It Together

Faith in Christ, in what he has done for us, is so important because it always makes us look to the source of forgiveness and salvation. Anything that turns our attention away from him must be avoided altogether. Therefore, the introduction of anything other than what Christ instituted is not only unnecessary, it is harmful. Requiring the listing of one’s sins brings the focus again, to self. We do not need to list every last sin, in fear that one might be forgotten and therefore, not covered. All our sin is covered by the blood of Christ. The listing or enumeration of sins is just another work. Instead, we should turn to Christ, who heartily desires to forgive us. He is not waiting to catch us in the failure to confess some sin. He forgives us all our sins, so we need not despair that there is some corner of our lives that we have forgotten, and is not dealt with by God for Christ’s sake. We are forgiven for his sake, not for the sake of our good works, long lists, or any other method we employ to make satisfaction for sin. Christ alone is that satisfaction.

Prayer: Give me such faith in you, Lord, that my soul may be fed by your body and blood. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

A Latin phrase meaning “Scripture Alone,” Sola Scriptura is one of the traditional Lutheran slogans used since the time of the Reformation. It expresses our confession that Scripture is “the only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be appraised and judged.” Using the familiar phrase as its title, Sola Scriptura is a new, advanced-level Bible Study in a two-part series, of six chapters each, on the functional authority of Scripture. For those who would like to cover the topic in detail, there is enough material to cover one chapter in two sessions, making each part a 12-week study.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a889.html Fri, 12 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Luke 13:1–5

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

The people were overwhelmed by the multitude and variety of traditions and opinions, and so, were unable to appreciate the substance of Christian doctrine. Who among the people ever understood our opponents’ doctrine of repentance? Yet this is the primary teaching of the Christian faith.

Pulling It Together

Repentance does not mean that we must go and do something to overturn God’s anger. Repetition of prayers and good deeds do not effect God’s forgiveness. Though we ought to pray often and do good, these are not the causes of forgiveness; they are the outcome. Repentance is turning back to God. That means we first comprehend that we have turned aside—in other words, we have sinned. Repentance then becomes sorrow for turning away from God, confessing it and knowing that he will forgive. For the promise is certain: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

The condition of this forgiveness is not our doing. The condition is God. He has promised, and so, we must believe. If we lack the faith in God’s promise to forgive, repentance is mere sociology. We feel guilty, so we try to assuage our guilt with ceremony or other deeds. This approach is doomed, because its focus is self. True repentance depends upon God alone, who has come from beyond us and who has promised to forgive sinners. 

Prayer: Give me the humility to admit my sins to you, Lord, and the conviction to believe you forgive sinners like me. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Check out Sola’s Confirmation workbook, The Apostle’s Creed, designed to be a small group Bible study, student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a888.html Thu, 11 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Daniel 11:29–32

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

In their Confutation our opponents make a big deal about the desolation of churches, namely, that the altars stand unadorned, without candles and images. They regard these trifles as the beauty of the churches. It is a far different desolation that Daniel means (Dan 11:31; 12:11): ignorance of the gospel.

Pulling It Together

The desolating sacrilege that Daniel referred to in chapters 11 and 12 are not about decorations, ceremony, and other external matters. God is instead, teaching us internal, spiritual matters through Daniel’s prophecy: to keep faith, to keep the true religion, not replacing it with paganism or anything else. This is always the danger in God’s Church. Those who seek to do the Lord’s will, those who would obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29), are under attack by people and the devil. This attack is more often than not, subtle. The teaching of traditions and ceremonies and the works one must do in order to be right with God are an ongoing way that God-fearing folks are led away from Christ. When they begin to trust in their own works instead of having faith in Christ’s work, the desolation has begun. This is the great sacrilege: that we place our confidence in things rather than in God. The beauty of the Bride of Christ, the Church, is not her adornment but her heart. Christ must ever be her heart, else the desolation is complete. 

Prayer: Give me your pure heart, O Lord, that I may see you ever before me. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Reading and Discussion of Luther's Catechisms is a more challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, each presented in a question and discussion format. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a887.html Wed, 10 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Hebrews 4:1–3a

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

They do not teach the gospel in their sermons, or console consciences, or show that sins are freely forgiven for Christ’s sake. Instead, they talk about worship of saints, human satisfactions, and human traditions, claiming that these justify people before God. Although some of these traditions are obviously godless, they nevertheless defend them with violence. If any preachers wish to be more learned, they undertake philosophical questions, which neither they nor the people understand. Those who are more tolerable, teach the law but say nothing about the righteousness of faith.

Pulling It Together

The good news of Jesus Christ comes to us in preaching. We must hear it; then God gives us faith (Rom 10:17). But the Word must truly be heard in this proclamation, with all that “hearing” means. This listening to the Word is not casual, but engaged. I believe I have mentioned this illustration before. Many children hear their parents say something, perhaps, “Clean up your room,” or, “Finish your homework.” When these things are not done by the child, the parent asks, “Did you hear me?” Now, what they mean is not whether or not the sound reached their ears. They know full well that the child heard, in that sense. Parents are not concerned about whether children’s ears are working. They want to make sure hearts are working. For if the heart is engaged, the homework will be done, the room cleaned. True hearing means obedience.

Yet, if the good news—for that is what we are considering—is never preached, how would the heart become engaged? If only religious traditions, or the heresy of works righteousness, or even if only the law is taught, how will there be faith? First, God’s law must be taught so that the hearer is aware of her alienation from God, and her need of forgiveness. Then the gospel must be preached, so that she may know with certainty that God desires to forgive and provide eternal fellowship with himself. This is the great task of preaching: that faith in Christ may be the outcome.

Prayer: Help me, O God, to truly listen to your Word. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

"Why Did Jesus Have to Die?" examines the most profound event of salvation history—the crucifixion of Jesus Christ—exploring from a biblical perspective what is known as the doctrine of the Atonement. This six-week Bible Study would be particularly appropriate during the season of Lent.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a886.html Tue, 09 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Acts 8:18–22

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

For our opponents retain only the ceremony in the Mass, and publicly use it as a profane fundraiser. Then they claim that this work can be transferred to others so that they will deserve grace and all good things.

Pulling It Together

Whether it is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, or grace, forgiveness, and eternal life under consideration, God’s gifts are just that: gifts. He gives freely to all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. No one, at any price, may earn his own salvation, any more than he might purchase the power of the Holy Spirit. This cannot be accomplished with money or through religious deeds. 

The gifts of God are also personal, in the sense that they may not be applied to others. When you come to the Lord’s table, you hear these words: “The body of Christ given for you.” And, “The blood of Christ shed for you.” For you. The gift of grace is freely given to those who have faith in the giver, in God. It is not then, able to be applied to whom one pleases—whether they have faith or do not.

Prayer: Forgive me, Lord, of any thoughts and actions when I imagined that I could earn your grace. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sacraments is one of six books in the Sola Confirmation Series and serves as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. Each book in the series may be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a883.html Mon, 08 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Acts 2:42–47

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Good folks can readily see it is a false accusation that we abolish the daily sacrifice. Experience shows the kind of despots who hold power in the Church. Under the pretext of religion, they seize the kingdom of the world, ruling without concern for religion and the teaching of the gospel, waging war like the kings of the world, and instituting new services in the Church.

Pulling It Together

The Lutheran Reformers taught that there are two basic types of kingdoms in the world: the first, spiritual, the second, temporal. The Church at the time of the Reformation held—and wielded—both powers. The overlap allowed for all manner of problems, such as viewing religious matters through the lens of the State, and funding the worldly campaigns of the Church with the offerings of the people. The result, in terms of the Mass, was that it became a money-making ceremony. It’s purpose was not so much remembrance and forgiveness but a kind of profiteering. Using the Mass as a fundraiser was out of the question, thus, paying for a Mass to be “said” was unthinkable, though practiced daily, whether the purchaser was present or not. The Reformers wanted Christ—not money and other worldly concerns—to be the focus everywhere and of everything in the Church. We are to to come together to remember our Lord in the breaking of bread, yet never as a commercial enterprise. When the focus is on Christ, the means are available, even if it means we sell our possessions in order to care for others.

Prayer: Fix the priorities of your Church, Lord, as you keep us ever reforming. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

This congregational resource book describes how a parish can host an “invite-able” event, as part of a larger evangelism initiative, energizing God’s people for the mission of Christ. Using a practical step-by-step “how to” approach, provides guidance, organization, and ideas — not simply to promote a single program, but to develop and inspire the over-all outreach of the congregation. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a882.html Sun, 07 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Ecclesiastes 5:1

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Casting aside the pharisaic opinion of the opus operatum, we understand that spiritual worship and a daily sacrifice of the heart are intended. In the New Testament, we ought to seek the substance of good things: in other words, the Holy Spirit who kills and makes alive. It is sufficiently evident therefore, that the analogy of the daily sacrifice does not testify against us, but rather for us, because we insist upon all the things symbolized by the daily sacrifice. Our opponents falsely imagine that it means the ceremony alone, without the preaching of the gospel, being put to death, and being made alive.

Pulling It Together

We should not go through the motions of religious ceremony, for this is vanity and hypocrisy. Ritualism without understanding is foolishness. The Word must attend all ceremony, for without the Word, faith is not possible. And to eat and drink without faith is sin (Rom 14:23), and to do so without discernment is condemnation (1 Cor 11:29).

Prayer: Give me a heart for your Word, O Lord. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Download the FREE Sola App for Android or Apple. Our mobile app includes a searchable ESV Bible, the Small Catechism, Holy Families devotions, these Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions, electronic greeting cards, readings for the upcoming Sunday, and more. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a881.html Sat, 06 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

January 6, 2018

Genesis 15:1–6

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Therefore, although a ceremony is a memorial of Christ’s death, nevertheless it alone is not the daily sacrifice. The remembrance itself is the daily sacrifice: that is, preaching and faith that truly believes that, by the death of Christ, God has been reconciled. A drink offering is required, that is, the effect of preaching, so that, being sprinkled by the gospel with the blood of Christ, we may be sanctified, as those put to death and made alive. Offerings of thanksgiving, confession, and affliction are also required.

Pulling It Together

Look to Abraham. Was his putting the knife to Isaac the sacrifice God desired? No; that was a test, not a real sacrifice. The true sacrifice was Abraham’s faith in God. God had promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations. Moreover, he named Isaac as that son of promise (Gen 15:4). “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness” (Rom 4:3, cf. Gen 15:6)).

The same applies to us, to all who believe. Do you believe God’s assurance of salvation, provided through a greater Son of promise? Do you believe that God is able to justify you through Christ as he promised? Or do you think you have to take the knife in hand, do some thing in order to earn God’s favor. As it required faith for Abraham, it takes faith from us to believe in that Son whom the Father raised from the dead to deliver us from sin and death (Rom 4:23-24).

Prayer: Help me, Father, to always believe in your Son of promise. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Download the FREE Sola App for Android or Apple. Our mobile app includes the Small Catechism, Holy Families devotions, these Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions, electronic greeting cards, a searchable ESV Bible, readings for the upcoming Sunday, and more. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a880.html Fri, 05 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

1 Peter 1:1–2

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

This analogy symbolizes not only the ceremony but also the preaching of the gospel. Numbers 28:4-7 shows three parts of that daily sacrifice: the burning of the lamb, the drink offering, and the offering of wheat flour. The Old Testament contained pictures or shadows of future things. Accordingly, Christ and the entire worship of the New Testament are represented in this scene. The burning of the lamb symbolizes the death of Christ. The drink offering symbolizes the sanctification of believers throughout the entire world who are sprinkled by the blood of that Lamb through the preaching of the gospel. Peter says they are, “sanctified by the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood” (1 Pet 1:2). The offering of wheat flour symbolizes faith, prayer, and thanksgiving in the heart. Therefore, as we comprehend the shadow in the Old Testament, in the New we should seek the thing represented, not another symbol that appears to be a sacrifice.

Pulling It Together

In the Old Testament, many things represented things to come; they are lesser types of a greater future. What was concealed in the Old Testament is revealed in the New Testament. For example, Adam and Moses are types of Jesus. So, Paul teaches: “The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit” (1 Cor 15:45). Moses delivered Israel out of the bondage of slavery to Egypt. Jesus delivered the whole world from bondage to sin and death. Another example is sacrifice. The sacrifices of the Old Testament are a type of something greater to come. Even the priests making those sacrifices are symbols of a greater priest: Jesus. As the priests of old made daily sacrifices of animals, our great high priest has made one, perfect sacrifice of himself. “He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself” (Heb 7:27).

So, we see that these sacrifices are finished because of fulfillment. Instead of instituting new sacrifices that are based on the old ones, we should daily remember with thanksgiving that our high priest has accomplished forever in his one sacrifice what the priests of old did daily: sprinkled us with his blood, freed us from sin and death, and sanctified us forever (Heb 10:14). “It is finished” (John 19:30) means that grace and peace may truly be multiplied to all who believe. 

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for redeeming me and making me fit for heaven. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Download the Sola App for Android or Apple. This free, mobile app includes Holy Families devotions, these Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions, electronic greeting cards, a searchable ESV Bible, the Small Catechism, readings for the upcoming Sunday, and more. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a879.html Thu, 04 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Luke 22:14–20

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

They also cite the daily sacrifice, that because there was a daily sacrifice in the Law, the Mass ought to be a daily sacrifice of the New Testament. Our opponents will have done well if we allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by allegories. It is plain, however, that allegories do not substantiate anything. We will permit the Mass to be understood as a daily sacrifice, so long as the entire Mass is considered: the ceremony along with the preaching of the gospel, faith, prayer, thanksgiving. Together, these are a daily sacrifice of the New Testament, because the Lord’s Supper was instituted for these things, and should not be separated from them. Accordingly, Paul says, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor 11:26). It does not follow from the Levitical analogy that a ceremony is needed to justify ex opere operato, or that it would merit the forgiveness of sins for others if applied to them.

Pulling It Together

Doctrine must have a sure and clear word of God, not obscure analogies. Nothing in Scripture suggests that a ceremony saves us from sin and death. God has done that for us. Our faith is then bolstered, being reminded of God’s grace through the ceremony—all of the ceremony, including confession, the proclamation of the gospel, prayer, thanksgiving, and the faith of the one partaking of both the bread and wine. “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). This requires faith, not dull performance. That would be just another work. We are not saved through any works other than that done by God himself in Christ Jesus. This is the plain testimony of Scripture. Therefore, if our works cannot save ourselves, it is the more absurd to imagine that they might save someone else when the ceremony is performed on their behalf.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for sending your Son to do what I could never do. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Download the Sola App for Android or Apple. This free, mobile app includes these Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions, electronic greeting cards, a searchable ESV Bible, Holy Families devotions, the Small Catechism, readings for the upcoming Sunday, and more. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a878.html Wed, 03 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

1 Peter 2:4-5

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

But our opponents always apply the term “sacrifice” to the ceremony alone. They exclude the preaching of the gospel, faith, prayer, and similar things, even though the ceremony has been established because of these. The New Testament requires sacrifices of the heart, not ceremonies for sin that are to be performed in the manner of a Levitical priesthood.

Pulling It Together

That holy priesthood called the Church is the temple of God through which sacrifices are to be made to him. We do not mean physical sacrifices. For Christ is the physical sacrifice that ended the need for further sacrifices of flesh. Rather, we are to offer ourselves to God in spiritual sacrifices of the heart like praise, prayer, thanksgiving, and other forms of worship. These are the sacrifices that God accepts for Christ’s sake. But they do not remove our sin (Heb 10:11). Rather, they are the joyful sacrifices of those who have been redeemed by Christ Jesus, the only sacrifice that has remitted sin (Heb 10:14).

Prayer: Teach me to worship you aright, O Lord. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Download the Sola App for Android or Apple. This free, mobile app includes electronic greeting cards, a searchable ESV Bible, Holy Families devotions, Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions, the Sola Small Catechism, the readings for the upcoming Sunday, and more. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a877.html Tue, 02 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Romans 6:5-8

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Another passage is also cited from Malachi: “He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the Lord” (Mal 3:3). This passage clearly requires the sacrifices of the righteous, and therefore, does not support the opinion of opus operatum. For the sacrifices of the sons of Levi—in other words, the teaching of the New Testament—are the preaching of the gospel and its good fruits. This is why Paul speaks of being “a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit” (Rom 15:16), so they might be acceptable offerings to God by faith. The slaying of animals in the Law symbolized both the death of Christ and the preaching of the gospel, by which this old flesh is put to death, and new and eternal life is begun in us.

Pulling It Together

This is the sacrifice that is acceptable to God: our old nature mortified in Christ Jesus. The death of Christ occurred on the cross, while ours happens in baptism where our fleshly nature is slain with Christ. Our old selves are crucified in him. Through this sacrifice—provided by God just as he provided the original sacrifice (Gen 3:21)—sin is reduced to nothing within us. Sin is drowned, buried so that we are set free to live the new life in Christ, not in the flesh. This is what we are regenerated to be: alive in Christ forevermore. 

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for baptizing me into Christ’s death and raising me to eternal life. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Download the Sola App for Android or Apple. This free, mobile app includes a searchable ESV Bible, Holy Families devotions, Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions, the Sola Small Catechism, the readings for the upcoming Sunday, electronic greeting cards, and more. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a876.html Mon, 01 Jan 18 00:00:00 -0600

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Malachi 1:10–11

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Besides, the prophet’s own words express his meaning. First, he states that the name of the Lord will be great. This is accomplished by the preaching of the gospel, by which the name of Christ and the mercy of the Father promised in Christ are made known. The preaching of the gospel produces faith in those who receive the gospel. They call upon God, they give thanks to God, they bear afflictions in confession, they produce good works for the glory of Christ. This is how the name of the Lord becomes great throughout the nations.

Therefore “incense” and “a pure offering” do not mean a ceremony ex opere operato, but refer to all those sacrifices through which the name of the Lord becomes great, such as faith, prayer, the preaching of the gospel, confession, etc. If someone would include the ceremony, we readily concede it, provided he does not mean that the ceremony alone, ex opere operato, is salutary.

Among the praises of God, or the sacrifices of praise, we include the preaching of the Word. Just so, the reception of the Lord’s Supper can be praise or thanksgiving. But it does not justify ex opere operato or merit the remission of sins if applied to others. In a while, we will explain how even a ceremony is a sacrifice. Malachi speaks of all the services of the New Testament—not only of the Lord’s Supper—as he does not promote the pharisaic opinion of the opus operatum. So, Malachi is not against our position, but assists us. For he requires worship of the heart, through which the name of the Lord becomes truly great.

Pulling It Together

The day is coming when every knee in heaven and on earth will bow at the name of Jesus (Phil 2:10). This does not come through robotic religion; it happens when hearts are regenerated through the preaching of the gospel. Then people everywhere will praise the Lord, offer prayer and thanksgiving, confess their sin, and feast at his table. This is true worship, a pure offering to God. This is faith worked out in real life. All else is not a bending of the knee, but simply going through the motions of religion, which accomplishes nothing.

Prayer: Lord, make your name great among all people. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Most Certainly True contains 75 stories of Lutherans throughout the world, during many eras, in various locations, revealing much about the Lutheran church. At their core, the stories explore the heart of the church and its people at work and reveal something of the ordinary and unique lives that have shaped Christ's church. God is at work through us and in spite of us: the communion of saints.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a875.html Mon, 20 Nov 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Revelation 5:8-10

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Malachi speaks about these sacrifices: “For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering” (Mal 1:11). Our adversaries misconstrue this passage, applying it to the Mass, citing the authority of the Fathers. A response, however, is easy. Even if this were a reference to the Mass, it would not follow that the Mass justifies ex opere operato, or that it merits the forgiveness of sins by transferring it to others. The prophet says nothing of that sort the monks and scholastics shamelessly concoct.

Pulling It Together

            The Lord’s name is great throughout the earth because of the preaching of the gospel. The Spirit produces faith in individuals through the Word (Rom 10:17). The result is that God’s priests (1 Pet 2:5, 9; Rev 1:5-6; 5:10)—all believers—offer the Lord true sacrifices of worship and praise. Still, these services do not save from sin and death. We will continue to proclaim, as did the Lutheran Reformers 500 years ago: only Christ saves. Our works can never merit forgiveness, justification, or eternal life. 

Prayer: O Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, give me the courage and joy to sing of your victory. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Basics of the Christian Faith is an edition of the catechism that is aimed at seekers, visitors, and those that may not come from a Lutheran background. It is recommended for use in outreach, as a visitor welcome gift, or in new member packets.

 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a874.html Fri, 17 Nov 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Romans 12:6–8

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

But Scripture is full of such passages which teach that sacrifices do not reconcile God ex opere operato. Accordingly, since Levitical sacrifices have been abrogated, the New Testament teaches that new and pure sacrifices will be made, namely: faith, prayer, thanksgiving, confession, and the preaching of the Gospel, suffering on account of the Gospel, and similar things.

Pulling It Together

Having been moved to faith, the Spirit of God begins to transform us through the Word, worship, and testing. He gives each believer a gift or gifts of the Spirit that should be used in service for God. This service is a sacrifice, rendered along with sacrifices of worship and prayer. Yet these services or sacrifices do not save us; they are the reasonable services of all people who have been saved by the grace of God.

Prayer: Thank you, Holy Spirit, for giving me a gift and a place in your Church. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

I Am Who I Am is a six-week study that explores what it means to “not take the name of the LORD your God in vain” (Exod 20:7), while at the same time trusting the promise in Christ that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a873.html Wed, 15 Nov 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

1 Samuel 15:22

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Psalm 40:6 says: “Sacrifice and offering thou dost not desire; but thou hast given me an open ear.” That is, God has offered us his Word that we would hear it, and that he requires us to believe his Word and his promises, that he truly desires to show us mercy and help. Likewise, “For thou hast no delight in sacrifice... The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psa 51:16-17). And, “Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord” (Psa 4:5). He commands us to trust, and says that this trust is a righteous sacrifice, meaning that other sacrifices are not true and righteous sacrifices. Further, “I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord” (Psa 116:17). They call prayer a sacrifice of thanksgiving.

Pulling It Together

“According to His Word, God wants to repay works gloriously, but first He wants us to confess that we are sinners and to entrust ourselves to His mercy” (Luther’s Works, vol 12, 345). Works are things that God rewards, to be sure, but something else is more certain. God does not reward our good works with salvation. Put your trust in this: God rewards faith alone with eternal life, and he does so without cost of any kind other than that which was paid by his Son at Calvary.

Prayer: As you have offered me you word, give me faith to believe. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The goal of Personalities of Faith, a ten-session Bible study for youth, is to encourage young people to commit themselves to follow Jesus in discipleship by becoming "personalities of faith". Using biblical examples of people who have followed—or failed to follow—God's call, participants will be prepared to better follow the Lord in their own lives.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a872.html Tue, 14 Nov 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Hebrews 13:15

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Psalm 50:13, 15 rejects sacrifices and requires prayer. It also condemns the notion of ex opere operato. “Do I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?” “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” The Psalmist testifies that calling upon God from the heart is true worship and honors him.

Pulling It Together

Do good but do not depend upon your good works. Depend upon God, upon his word and his promises. Though they please him if done from the heart, God does not require your sacrifices. He does require faith. Only wholehearted belief will trust God’s promises when it cannot trust its own works, services, and sacrifices. Such faith in God honors him alone and is genuine worship.

Prayer: O Lord, I rejoice in your salvation. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Cross and the Crown is an eight session study in Lutheran Basics, using the word "sola" to get the big picture right: that salvation is all God's doing.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a871.html Mon, 13 Nov 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Hosea 6:6

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

The Old Testament prophets condemn the popular opinion about ex opere operato, teaching instead the righteousness and sacrifices of the Spirit. “For in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to your fathers or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. But this command I gave them, ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God...’” (Jer 7:22-23). How should we imagine that the Jews received this announcement, which seems to openly dissent with Moses? It is clear that God had given the fathers commands concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices, but Jeremiah is condemning an idea about sacrifices that had not come from God, namely, that these services pleased him ex opere operato. The prophet adds that God had commanded faith. “Obey my voice.” That is, believe that I am your God; that I wish to be known in this way when I show mercy and assist you, for I do not require your sacrifices. Believe that I wish to be God, the Justifier and Savior, not on account of your works, but on account of my word and promise. Truly and sincerely seek and expect help from me.

Pulling It Together

The Hebrew word for “obey” can also be understood to heed, listen, or hear. For to truly hear is to obey. If you do not obey, you have not really heard. How many times do parents cry out, “Did you hear me?” And when their child responds, “Yes,” reply with exasperation, “Then why didn’t you do what I said?” To have experienced this parental exasperation is to begin to sense the frustration of the Lord with his children.

Our parents did not wish for us to do the dishes or take out the trash or clean up our rooms, with the hope that they might love us or help us. If they were good parents, they already loved us and were more than willing to give us all the assistance we required. They did not want us to obey in order to be loved; they wanted us to obey because they already loved us. We understand this natural equation far better than we comprehend the spiritual. But there it is: God wants us to believe that he cares for us—that he is gracious and merciful—not because we have done him some service but, because he loves us.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your steadfast and abundant mercy, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

A Latin phrase meaning “Scripture Alone,” Sola Scriptura is one of the traditional Lutheran slogans used since the time of the Reformation. It expresses our confession that Scripture is “the only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be appraised and judged.” Using the familiar phrase as its title, Sola Scriptura is a new, advanced-level Bible Study in a two-part series, of six chapters each, on the functional authority of Scripture. For those who would like to cover the topic in detail, there is enough material to cover one chapter in two sessions, making each part a 12-week study.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a870.html Fri, 10 Nov 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

John 4:23–24

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

In short, the worship of the New Testament is spiritual. In other words, it is the righteousness of faith in the heart and the fruits of faith. Accordingly, it abolishes Levitical services. Christ says, “The true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24). This passage clearly condemns opinions about sacrifices which, they imagine, avail ex opere operato, and teaches that worship ought to be in spirit—with the heart and by faith.

Pulling It Together

In the New Testament, there is no offering or service or work that merits God’s favor ex opere operato—on account of the work that has been done or the service rendered. In later editions of “The Apology of the Augsburg Confession,” it was added here that this idea is “absolutely devilish, pharisaical, and antichristian” because it cheapens the sacrifice of Christ. Our Lord alone has provided the work that avails for forgiveness of sin and right standing with God. Our reasonable response is “spiritual worship” (Rom 12:1) which is a service of the heart that God has filled with faith. It fears God, while loving and trusting him with the whole heart. This is that true, spiritual worship of the New Testament that does not expect a reward from God for their own services rendered.

Prayer: Help me, O God, to worship you in spirit and in truth. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

"From Death to Life" examines what happens when people die. In this book, the words of the Holy Bible and others like Martin Luther, will speak to you, tell you the truth, and give you words of comfort, so that you too can have the sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a869.html Thu, 09 Nov 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Romans 12:1–2

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

These are the sacrifices of the New Testament, as Peter teaches: “Like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 2:5). Spiritual sacrifices, however, are contrasted not only with animal sacrifices, but even with human works offered ex opere operato. “Spiritual” refers to the movements of the Holy Spirit within us. Paul teaches the same thing: “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Rom 12:1). “Spiritual worship” is that service in which the spirit knows and apprehends God, as happens when one fears and trusts God. This is therefore contrasted with Levitical service in which cattle are slain, and also with a service in which a work is imagined to be offered ex opere operato. The Epistle to the Hebrews teaches the same thing: “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God” and adds the interpretation, “that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name” (Heb 13:15) He commands us to offer praises, that is, prayer, thanksgiving, confession, and the like. These are valid because of faith, not ex opere operato. This is understood by the phrase, “Through him then let us offer,” in other words, by faith in Christ.

Pulling It Together

We are to offer sacrifices but the Lutheran Reformers wanted to be clear, not only what those sacrifices are but, what they accomplish. There is no sacrifice that we can offer or that can be offered for us—at the altar or elsewhere—that accomplishes the forgiveness of sin, grants eternal life, or reconciles us to God. That has already been done for us, and may only be received in faith. In other words, you do not do anything to get God to forgive. God’s mercy toward us through Christ already made these gifts freely available to all who believe, not through any works, services, or sacrifices we render.

But there are other sacrifices that all Christians should offer; and these sacrifices, as has been stated, do not avail for salvation, forgiveness, and justification before God. These sacrifices of the new life in Christ are spiritual sacrifices, true worship in which the Spirit of God testifies with our spirits (Rom 8:16). This is how all believers are priests before God (1 Pet 2:5, 9; Rev 1:6), offering sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving. In this service of worship, we become living sacrifices to God. This transformation does not save, but instead is simply the reasonable service or spiritual worship of all believers.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your mercy to me through your Son, Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

This booklet provides a suggested list of Bible verses, prayers, and familiar worship texts assigned to various age levels, recommended for use along with Sola Publishing’s Sunday Schoolhouse curriculum series. The order of texts matches the suggested grade levels in Luther’s Small Cat Series: elementary-aged curriculum on Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, also available from Sola Publishing. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a868.html Wed, 08 Nov 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Revelation 5:6–10

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Now the rest are eucharistic sacrifices, called sacrifices of praise, which are specifically the preaching of the Gospel, faith, prayer, thanksgiving, confession, the afflictions of saints, yes, all good works of saints. These sacrifices are not satisfactions for those making them, or applicable on behalf of others, so as to merit for those persons the remission of sins or reconciliation, ex opere operato. Indeed, they are made by those who have already been reconciled.

Pulling It Together

There is only one work that saves, reconciles, justifies, atones, provides forgiveness of sin. That one work or sacrifice is not something that any human being can do. People earn nothing from God through a work that they have done (ex opere operato). Now, they may indeed offer sacrifices, but they do not merit God’s favor so as to redress their sinful condition. Those who have already been redeemed may offer sacrifices of thanks, praise, or other kinds of worship. It is right that they should do so since they have been made into a kingdom of priests. But these sacrifices do not expiate sin. Only Christ atoned for our sin. 

Prayer: You alone are worthy, O Lamb of God. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Views of Baptism is written for a range of readers including the parent or sponsor about to baptize a child, the adult who wants to understand baptism more fully, and the professional teacher or preacher who needs the truth about baptism stated simply but backed by careful research. This books explores three views of baptism: the individual-centered view, the means-of-grace view, and the Roman Catholic view. It includes a description of how Christian baptism came to us in stages from its Jewish roots. A question and answer section addresses specific matters often raised when people contemplate baptism.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a867.html Tue, 07 Nov 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Isaiah 53:4–6

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

The so-called Levitical propitiatory sacrifices only pointed to a future atonement. They were satisfactions by analogy, purchasing a righteousness of the Law so that those persons who sinned would not be excluded from the community. But after the revelation of the Gospel, they had to cease. Since they had to end with the revelation of the Gospel, they were not truly atoning sacrifices since the Gospel was promised for that very reason, that is, to set forth the atonement.

Pulling It Together

After the true sacrifice had been accomplished, all analogous and ceremonial sacrifices should cease. What they pointed toward had already been accomplished in Christ’s cross. There is no reason to use something lesser when it only pointed toward the fulfillment. This would be like handing a person who was dying of thirst an empty cup and telling him to drink deeply of the water that would one day appear, while holding a cup of water in the other hand. Only Christ crucified attends to our transgressions; in him alone is forgiveness of sin. No other sacrifice atones but that Lamb of God upon whom our iniquity has been laid.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for bearing my curse. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Luther's Small Cat Discovers: The Seasons of the Church Year is written for 4th grade level students. This book takes students through the church year, accompanied by Luther’s Small Cat — a character who is just as inquisitive and precocious as the students. May your journey through the church year bring you closer to Christ, who walks through each moment of life alongside you.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a866.html Mon, 06 Nov 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Colossians 2:16–19

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

We may more easily understand the word by looking at the customs of the pagans that sprang from misunderstood expressions of ancient patriarchal traditions. When great calamity struck and God seemed to be especially enraged, the Latins offered what they considered an expiatory sacrifice to appease God’s wrath. They sometimes offered human sacrifices, perhaps because they had heard that a human victim would appease God for the entire human race. The Greeks sometimes called them refuse and scum. Isaiah and Paul, therefore, mean that Christ became a victim, that is, an expiation to reconcile God by his merits and not by our own. Let it remain established in this issue: only the death of Christ is truly a propitiatory sacrifice.

Pulling It Together

You may sacrifice this thing or another, hoping that God will be appeased and forgive your sins. Or you might do some good work or act of penance, again, hoping that God will remove your guilt. Then you might try to offer God something especially meaningful—money or perhaps your very life—toward the end that you feel a sense of peace. But you will not feel any better. Indeed, you will feel worse for the trying and failing. And fail you will because you cannot make such a sacrifice. Only God can. Only God has. Christ crucified is the only sacrifice that God honors. Thanks be to God that this one truly atoning sacrifice is effective for all who take hold of Christ through faith. Our petty attempts at sacrifice are nothing, mere shadows; only Christ is real, solid, substantial.

Prayer: Help me, Holy Spirit, hold fast to Jesus. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Connections is a magazine for evangelical Lutheran Christians. It is filled with meaty articles as well as lighter spiritual fare. Connections provides great food for the soul. Articles and features are contributed by individuals and ministries of CALC, LCMC, NALC, Lutheran Core, and other evangelical Lutherans from congregations across North America. 

Grab your copy of the Reformation back issue before they're all gone. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a865.html Fri, 03 Nov 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Romans 6:2-4

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Isaiah interprets the Law so we may know that the death of Christ is truly expiation or satisfaction for our sins, which the ceremonies of the Law are not. Therefore he says, “When he makes himself an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days” (Isa 53:10). For the word asam employed here means a victim sacrificed for transgression. In the Law this meant that a certain victim was to come to make satisfaction for our sins and reconcile God, so that people might know that God wishes to be reconciled to us on account of the merits of another, namely Christ, not because of our own righteousness. Paul interprets the same word as sin. “For sin, he condemned sin in the flesh” (Rom 8:3). God punished sin for sin, that is by a victim for sin.

Pulling It Together

Baptism “brings about forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives everlasting salvation to all who believe, as the Word and promise of God declare” (The Small Catechism). There is no halfway here. Baptism does not sort of save, or maybe save. God’s promise attends the water, so baptism saves. This is not dependent upon our goodness or our religious righteousness. The efficacy of baptism depends upon the sacrifice that undergirds it, namely Christ. When we are baptized, we are buried into the death of Christ (Rom 6:3). So in our reborn person, there is no sin. Sin is quite dead. Our sin died with Christ on the cross. This is why Paul said that it was no longer he who sinned, but his flesh that did so (Rom 7:20). What else can this flesh do but sin? But thanks be to God that we are delivered from this body of flesh by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Forgive me, Lord, a sinner of your own redeeming. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Confirmation Series, written by the Rev. Steven E. King, is basic work-book style Confirmation curriculum. It is designed to serve as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism.  Each book in the series can be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. 

The Ten Commandments book is a ten-week unit, which includes one session on each of the Commandments. The Scripture focus in the Ten Commandment series is on Moses and the Exodus Cycle, with Bible Study lessons taken primarily from the Pentateuch.

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a864.html Thu, 02 Nov 17 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Hebrews 10:4-10

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

In fact, there has been only one propitiatory sacrifice in the world, namely, the death of Christ, as the Epistle to the Hebrews teaches. “For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins” (Heb 10:4). A little later, it speaks of the will of Christ. “And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb 10:10).

Pulling It Together

Although there were symbolic types of atoning sacrifice in the Old Testament, true, propitiatory sacrifice was only accomplished by Jesus Christ. This was what he came to earth to accomplish. “Behold, I have come to do your will” (Heb 10:9). Because this justification of sinners with God could not be accomplished through the sacrifice of animals—even the thousands that Solomon offered (1 Kings 3:4; 2 Chr 7:5)—the perfect Son of God came to fulfill his Father’s will (Matt 5:17). The temporary satisfactions of animal sacrifice were finished in the perfect, complete work of God’s Lamb. His atoning sacrifice on the cross fulfilled the Law and makes God just to forgive us all our sins.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for putting me in a righted relationship with your Father. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Confirmation Series is a basic work-book style Confirmation curriculum, designed to serve as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. Each book in the series can be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. 

The Lord's Prayer workbook is a ten-week unit, which includes one session on the Introduction, each of the Petitions, and the Conclusion. The Scripture focus in the Lord's Prayer series is on the Parables of Jesus, with Bible Study lessons taken from the Gospels.

Leader's Guide

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a863.html Wed, 01 Nov 17 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

1 Corinthians 2:2 

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

All Levitical sacrifices may be sorted under one of these groups. The Law titled certain sacrifices as propitiatory because of their significance or similarity. These sacrifices did not merit the forgiveness of sins before God, but did on the basis of the righteousness of the Law, so that those for whom they were made might not be excluded from the community. Therefore they were called atoning sacrifices for sin and burnt offerings for trespasses. The eucharistic sacrifices were food offerings, drink offerings, thanksgivings, first fruits, and tithes.

Pulling It Together

Our concern is what a propitiatory or atoning sacrifice is for Christians. For that matter, what is an atoning sacrifice for anyone during this Christian era? There is just one: Christ crucified. Every other sacrifice is not one that atones or reconciles God to sinners. We may render the sacrifice of praise, but it does not atone. We may offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, tithes, time, our very selves, but these will never satisfy God. Any sacrifice that we make can not make us righteous before God. Only “Christ and him crucified” satisfies God and justifies believers.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for dying so that I may live. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

All of the Sola Sunday Schoolhouse materials for Year C may be found here. They include reproducible sheets of Bible lesson, pictures, drama, worksheets, and a Christmas program. This is the Schoolhouse unit subtitled "Stories from the Beginning," covering Bible stories from the first half of the Old Testament, from Genesis through Joshua.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a862.html Tue, 31 Oct 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Hebrews 10:8-10

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

There are only two kinds of sacrifice—no more. One is propitiatory sacrifice: a work of satisfaction for guilt and punishment that reconciles God, or appeases God’s wrath, or that merits the forgiveness of sins for others. The other kind is the eucharistic sacrifice, which does not merit the forgiveness of sins or reconciliation, but by it those who have been reconciled give thanks or show gratitude for the forgiveness of sins and for other benefits received. We must keep in view these two types of sacrifice during this controversy, as well others, taking care not to confuse them. If the limits of this book would allow, we would add the reasons for this distinction, as it has many testimonies in the Epistle to the Hebrews and elsewhere.

Pulling It Together

Jesus ended the former type of sacrifice, that is, animal sacrifice for the purposes of reconciliation with God and the forgiveness of sin. Therefore, since that sort of sacrifice has been ended by Christ himself, we have no business offering a sacrifice of the altar that would be said to afford remission of sin or to appease an angry God. In Christ’s single sacrifice rendered for all people for all time, he offered himself as the perfect Lamb who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29)—both original sin and all of our various sins as well.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for doing the will of your Father. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

In The Blowing WindPastor Eddy Perez gives a heartfelt and unvarnished recounting of the Holy Spirit's amazing work in his life and in the lives of others. In addition to speaking to the power of the Third Person of the Trinity, Pastor Perez's story also offers readers a rare glimpse of the day-to-day struggles of simply being a Christian under Cuba's communist regime, culminating with the cliffhanger account of his escape to the United States.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a861.html Mon, 30 Oct 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Mark 16:16

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Theologians rightly distinguish between a Sacrament and a sacrifice. The common genus of both of these is either a ceremony or a sacred work. A Sacrament is a ceremony or work in which God presents us with that which the promise attached to the ceremony offers. Therefore, Baptism is a work—not one that we offer to God, but in which God baptizes us through a minister operating in the place of God. Here God offers and presents the forgiveness of sins according to the promise: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16). A sacrifice, on the contrary, is a ceremony or work that we render to God in order to honor him.

Pulling It Together

Baptism is necessary for salvation. Jesus did not say, Believe and you will be saved. Instead, he adds a work that he does to us through a Sacrament (meaning a sacred thing). This is not a sacrifice or work done by us, but one that God does for us. The work of God is effective because of the promise that he has connected to the ceremony. In the Sacrament of Baptism, both belief and baptism are given to us by God. Even the faith to believe is a gift from God (Eph 2:8). The promise attached to God’s work in us—both faith and baptism—is that one is saved. The Sacrament of Baptism “brings about forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives everlasting salvation to all who believe, as the Word and promise of God declare” (Small Catechism).

Prayer: Help me to hold fast to my faith in you, Lord, by remembering that you baptized me. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Learning About Baptism teaches the meaning of Holy Baptism according to the pattern of Luther's Small Catechism, and is recommended for the First 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 focus on Baptism as a promise from God, emphasizing the power of God's Word in the Sacrament to create faith and repentance in our daily life.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a860.html Fri, 27 Oct 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

2 Timothy 2:15

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Socrates, in the Phaedrus of Plato, says that he is especially fond of divisions, because without them nothing can either be explained or understood in a discussion, and if he discovers someone skillful in making divisions, he would attend him and follow in his footsteps as those of a god. He instructs the divider to separate the members at their very joints, lest like an unskillful cook, he sever the member at the wrong place. But the adversaries despise these principles, and so, according to Plato, are truly kakoi mavgeiroi or poor butchers, since they mutilate the members of the concept of “sacrifice,” as will be understood when we have enumerated the types of sacrifice.

Pulling It Together

It is critical to have a right understanding. Our modern English Bible translations use the phrase, “rightly handling the word of truth.” The King James Version puts a finer point on the phrase by following William Tyndale’s lead in literally translating the phrase as “rightly dividing the word of truth.” The idea here is that one should cut straight when reading the Bible. One should correctly analyze the word. This happens best when the plain truth of the Word is sought, allowing Scripture to interpret itself instead of filtering the Word with traditions and human philosophy. The latter too often leads to a butchering of the Word. What does Scripture have to say about a subject? That is the proper question when one wishes to rightly handle or divide God’s Word.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, lead me as I read your Word. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

"Why Did Jesus Have to Die?" examines the most profound event of salvation history—the crucifixion of Jesus Christ—exploring from a biblical perspective what is known as the doctrine of the Atonement. This six-week Bible Study would be particularly appropriate during the season of Lent.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a859.html Thu, 26 Oct 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Hebrews 10:11-14

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Although our case has already been stated, we shall add a few things on this topic because the adversaries foolishly pervert many passages of Scripture to defend their errors. In the Confutation they have said many things concerning “sacrifice.” We purposely avoided this term in our Confession due to its ambiguity. We have explained our criticisms of how those persons misunderstand and abuse the term “sacrifice.” Now, in order to explain the passages of Scripture that have been wickedly perverted, it is necessary to set forth from the beginning what a sacrifice is. For a decade, the adversaries have published almost infinite volumes concerning sacrifice, yet not one of them has given a definition of sacrifice thus far. They simply rip the word “sacrifices” from either the Scriptures or the Fathers, then attach their own ideas, as though sacrifice signifies whatever pleases them.

Pulling It Together

Scripture presents Christ as our High Priest, who through his one sacrifice has taken away the sins of the world. Those who believe are justified with God by no merit or works of their own. They are sanctified forever for Christ’s sake, that is, because of what he has done. This sacrifice that has brought about forgiveness of sin, justification, sanctification, and eternal life with God are a free gift from God. In other words, our goodness, our religion, our works are not the conditions of God’s sacrifice for us. His grace alone has provided all that is necessary. We need only to have faith in him, believing that his love for us is sufficient to provide the one sacrifice for our salvation.

Prayer: Give me faith to believe, Lord, in you alone. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Confirmation Series, written by the Rev. Steven E. King, is basic work-book style Confirmation curriculum. It is designed to serve as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism.  Each book in the series can be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. 

The Ten Commandments book is a ten-week unit, which includes one session on each of the Commandments. The Scripture focus in the Ten Commandment series is on Moses and the Exodus Cycle, with Bible Study lessons taken primarily from the Pentateuch.

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a858.html Mon, 25 Sep 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Matthew 26:28 

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

If this was all that needed to be said, then the case has already been stated. For no sane person can approve of that pharisaic and heathen opinion of opus operatum. Nevertheless, this opinion has seized the people, infinitely increasing the number of masses. Masses are purchased, thinking that by them, God’s wrath is appeased. They hope by this work to obtain the remission of guilt and punishment, to procure what they need in life, and even to liberate the dead. Monks and sophists have brought this pharisaical teaching into the Church.

Pulling It Together

The common belief was that God’s grace and mercy could be had at a price. Therefore, spiritual benefit could come from the work worked, opus operatum. Not only could God’s forgiveness be had in the Mass, but for a fee, one could have health and prosperity. The so-called prosperity gospel probably comes to the mind of today’s reader. Yet, in the Reformers’ day, this superstitious and heretical idea had taken hold of the whole Church.

Prayer: O Lord, help us to trust in your grace alone. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

If you are a pastor or Council member, you know it is budget preparation time for 2016. Please consider adding Sola Publishing to your benevolence. You may also securely donate as an individual by clicking the red donate button above. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a857.html Thu, 21 Sep 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Romans 5:1-2 

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

We remind our readers that this is the principal question. Aeschines admonished the judges that just as boxers contend with one another for their position, they also should strive with their adversary concerning the real point, not permitting him to wander beyond the issue. In the same manner, our opponents should be obliged to speak on the topic at hand. When the real issue has been thoroughly understood, an appraisal of both arguments will be very easy.

We have stated in our Confession that the Lord’s Supper does not bestow grace ex opere operato, and that, when applied on behalf of others, alive or dead, it does not merit for them ex opere operato the forgiveness of sins, guilt, or punishment. This position is clearly and firmly established, first, because it is impossible to obtain the forgiveness of sins on account of our own work ex opere operato, and second, because the terrors of sin and death must be overcome through faith, when we comfort our hearts with the knowledge of Christ, believing that we are forgiven for Christ’s sake, and that the merits and righteousness of Christ are given us. “Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:1). These things are so sure and so firm that they can stand against all the gates of hell.

Pulling It Together

Peace comes to us through faith. Faith must come first, since we cannot know peace until we know that somehow we have become righteous before God. Now, any sane person knows that righteousness cannot come by virtue of human works. Try as we might, we know that we are not righteous by virtue of what good we have done, or what evil we have avoided. We know that all is lost; there is no way for us to have peace because it is impossible for us to become righteous under our own power. Our moral excellence is none too excellent. So, we try to do better. We do more religious works and good deeds but are ever mindful of how much we fall short (Rom 3:23). This persistent voice within us is that old hammer, the law, pounding away at us.

All would be lost if that were the only voice we ever heard. Yet, there is a good word too. That word is Jesus. We can never be righteous before God for the sake of the things we do, try to do, try not to do, or fail to do. Yet for the sake of Jesus, those who believe are forgiven their sins. We become justified, or made right, with God through our faith in Christ. The result is that our peace comes from Christ, not from ourselves (Phil 4:7; Col 3:15). This is a most excellent peace that persists despite our less than excellent thoughts, words, and actions.

Prayer: Lord, I believe. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Lord's Prayer is a seven lesson curriculum based around Luther's Small Catechism.  Each lesson has a Bible study connected to the article of the Lord's Prayer covered. A section entitled "About Prayer"  teaches students helpful items about a solid prayer life and a prayer assignment for the coming week.  A major goal of this material is to help kids experience prayer and practice it in a variety of ways. This book could be used as part of a larger Confirmation series, or as a "pre-confirmation" Sunday School series for Jr. High and Middle School youth.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a856.html Tue, 19 Sep 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

Mark 11:15–17 

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Although our opponents have collected many testimonies to prove that the Mass is a sacrifice, their great tumult of words from authorities, rationalizations, and testimonies, however lengthy, are silenced by the single answer that the Mass does not confer grace ex opere operato. Nor may it be applied to merit for others the forgiveness of venial and mortal sins, guilt, and punishment. This one response overthrows all the objections of the adversaries, not only in their Confutation, but in all the writings that they have published concerning the Mass.

Pulling It Together

Grace is not merited “from the work worked” (ex opere operato) by humans. It is a gift received through faith in the great work of Christ. Going through religious motions accounts for nothing without faith in God’s word of promise. Therefore, since one may only have faith for self, God’s grace cannot be applied to another. I may not be baptized for another’s good. I may not receive the means of grace in the Holy Supper for the sake of another. More to the example at hand, I may not purchase an indulgence—even if it is a private Mass instead of a scrap of paper—that merits forgiveness of sins for anyone (myself or another), or take time off of a so-called Purgatory. Grace is a gift from God, received through individual faith, not something available from a vendor.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for accomplishing for the world—yet even for me—forgiveness of sin and life everlasting. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

A Latin phrase meaning “Scripture Alone,” Sola Scriptura is one of the traditional Lutheran slogans used since the time of the Reformation. It expresses our confession that Scripture is “the only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be appraised and judged.” Using the familiar phrase as its title, Sola Scriptura is a new, advanced-level Bible Study in a two-part series, of six chapters each, on the functional authority of Scripture. For those who would like to cover the topic in detail, there is enough material to cover one chapter in two sessions, making each part a 12-week study.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a855.html Mon, 18 Sep 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

2 Thessalonians 3:10–12 

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

We will not discuss the nature of their origins for the moment. Yet, it is obvious that private Masses increased after the beggar monks began to prevail. The increase of superstition and racketeering caused good people to want some limit to this thing for a long time. St. Francis wished to mend this matter by deciding that each fraternity should be content with a single, daily, common Mass. This changed later, either because of superstition or for the sake of gain. So, where it is advantageous, they change the institutions of the Fathers, then cite the authority of the Fathers against us. Epiphanius writes that in Asia, Holy Communion was celebrated three times a week, but that there were no daily Masses. Indeed, he states that this custom was handed down from the apostles. He says, “Assemblies for Communion were appointed by the apostles to be held on the fourth day, on Sabbath eve, and the Lord’s Day.”

Pulling It Together

I know a man who reads his morning paper, then removes the employment section of the classified ads. He takes that bit of the paper with him on his drive to work. If someone is panhandling on a street corner, he hands them the employment classifieds. You may or may not like his approach, but you have to admit that there are a lot of beggars out there. Now, imagine that those beggars are religious, begging money so they can build a church. Envisage them at the street corners on your way to work. Imagine they tell you that your family members are kept from the joy of heaven because of you—because you could simply purchase a private Mass to be celebrated in their memory that would shorten their time in Purgatory. What would you do if besieged by these beggars day after day? Perhaps you would eventually consider printing copies of 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 to hand to them when they approach you.

Prayer: Lord, give me work to do and help me do it as if I were working for you. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Learning the Lord's Prayer teaches the Lord's Prayer according to the pattern of Luther's Small Catechism, and is recommended for the Second 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 in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a854.html Fri, 15 Sep 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson.

Acts 20:7 

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

The fact that we hold only public or common Mass is no offense to the Church catholic. Even today, Greek churches do not conduct private Masses; there is only the public Mass, and that on the Lord’s Day and festivals. Daily Mass is held in the monasteries, but this too is only public. These are the vestiges of early practices, as the ancient writers before Gregory make no mention of private Masses.

Pulling It Together

The Augsburg Confession, of which this document is a defense against the charges of the Roman Confutation, states that “the Mass is a Sacrament for those gathered.” Therefore, Lutherans in the days of the Reformation celebrated Holy Communion when the people would gather to worship. The point of this is simply that the Lord’s Supper is for the people—all believers, not a select few who might be seeking special favor or who have paid for the privilege. For it is Christ who has paid the price—not any of us. 

Prayer: As we assemble to worship, Lord, help us always to gather around you. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Personalities of Faith is a ten-session Bible study for youth. The goal of the series is to encourage young people to commit themselves to follow Jesus in discipleship by becoming "personalities of faith." By showing biblical examples of people who have followed—or failed to follow—God's call, participants will be prepared to better follow the Lord in their own lives.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a853.html Thu, 14 Sep 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson.

Romans 10:17 

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Ceremonies should be observed to teach people Scripture, and that those who have been reproved by the Word may have faith and fear, and may then also pray. So, we retain the Latin language for those who are learning and understand Latin, yet mingle with it German hymns so that the people may also learn things that evoke faith and fear. This custom has always existed in our churches. Some sing German hymns more frequently, and others less often, nevertheless people almost everywhere sang something in their own language. However, it has nowhere been written or even suggested that the act of hearing lessons is a benefit to people when they do not understood the language, or that ceremonies are a benefit ex opere operato, because they are performed or are gazed upon—instead of because they teach or admonish. Away with such pharisaic opinions!

Pulling It Together

One must trust the promise of God, believing with true faith. Yet, as we have said, this cannot be accomplished without the Word. One must actually hear the words of Scripture, not a babbling in another language but real, understandable words. What would Christ himself have accomplished if he spoke to his disciples and the multitudes in Mandarin or English? They had a hard enough time comprehending his parables when spoken in their own language. Now we might insist that they should simply trust he was saying something very important and that they should just believe it. But believe what? Exactly what? There is the rub. One may say she believes, and feel quite pious for being so devout. But where is the faith in that?

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for working faith within me through your Word. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The season of Advent is not only a time of preparation for Christmas, it is a time to consider God's long-term plans and how God has promised that he will intervene in the lives of his people, and the world itself, on the coming Day of the Lord. Prophecy Fulfilled is a four week Bible Study about the Old Testament prophecies of our Lord's Advent, showing how these prophetic words were fulfilled not only in the coming of Christ over 2,000 years ago, but how they also point ahead to the return of Christ in his Second Coming.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a852.html Wed, 13 Sep 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson.

Acts 8:30

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Our opponents offer a lengthy diatribe about the use of the Latin language in the Mass, in which they absurdly amuse themselves about how it profits someone who knows nothing of the faith of the Church to hear a Mass which he does not understand. They must imagine that the mere act of hearing is a service of worship that benefits people without it being understood. We are unwilling to belabor this point, but leave it to the judgment of the reader. We mention it in passing for the purpose of stating that our churches also also retain the Latin lessons and prayers.

Pulling It Together

More than one person has proclaimed to me, as though to unsettle me, I suppose, that going to church does not make one a Christian. Well, amen to that. God creates faith through the working of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Now that very often happens in churches, but it may just as well happen in a house, a prison, a field, or anywhere else because it always happens by the same agency: hearing the word of Christ. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom 10:17). Thank God for those like Wycliffe, Luther, and Tyndale who translated the Scriptures into their own languages, so that God may give us understanding. 

Prayer: Help me, Lord, to be engrossed by your Word. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Sola’s Confirmation workbook, The Lord's Prayer, is designed to be a small group Bible study, student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a851.html Mon, 11 Sep 17 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson.

1 Timothy 4:13–16

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 14 Do not neglect 

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

To begin with, we must repeat our preliminary statement that we do not abolish the Mass but religiously maintain and defend it. Mass is celebrated every Lord’s Day in our churches, and on the other festivals, when the Sacrament is offered to those who long for it after they have been examined and absolved. We observe traditional liturgical order such as the Lectionary, prayers, vestments, and similar things.

Pulling It Together

The Reformers would not sit still for the scattered blows of their opponents’ Confutation. Twisting statements into something they are not could not be permitted, if the central focus of the Reformation was to be maintained. It is easy enough for an adversary to get people to think you are something you are not, simply by spinning the truth. The fact was (and is) that Lutherans were quite similar to those whom they prayed would reform. Yet, this entire Defense shows that those who needed reforming tried to paint the Lutherans as wild heretics. Meanwhile, the Lutheran Reformers kept bringing the focus back to the main point of conflict: how God is reconciled. Our new section, “Concerning the Mass,” will show again the similarities and the one major difference between the Reformers and the Church they wished to reform.

Prayer: Bless us, O Lord, with those who teach us sound doctrine. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The ReClaim Hymnal for Church and Home contains three Communion Settings along with liturgies for Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, Funerals, and other occasional services. It also includes the Small Catechism, as well as 275 beloved hymns from various hymn traditions. It is a resource that would be suitable for confirmation and graduation gifts as well as congregational use. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a850.html Thu, 07 Sep 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson.

Luke 11:28 

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

Whatever may happen, our princes will be able to have clear consciences. Even if priests had done wrong by marrying, it is surely contrary to the will and Word of God to break up marriages and issue these cruel bans. Our princes do not delight in novelty or dissent, but it is more certain that they have higher regard for the Word of God than all other things.

Pulling It Together

Cultural correctness is not an easy thing to buck. It feels like nearly everyone is against you. Yet, it is far better to have the whole world denounce you than have God condemn you. What is the clear teaching of the Word? That is God’s will. Does someone spin fine words and human reason that make you question God’s will? Go to his Word. What is written?

Prayer: Spirit of God, strengthen me to keep your Word. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Connections is a magazine for evangelical Lutheran Christians filled with meaty articles as well as lighter spiritual fare. Connections provides great food for the soul. Articles and features are contributed by individuals and ministries of LCMC, NALC, CALC, Lutheran Core, and other evangelical Lutherans from congregations across North America.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a849.html Wed, 06 Sep 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson.

1 Peter 1:24–25

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

They defend a law that is godless and destructive to good morals with false arguments like these. With such reasons they set the minds of princes firmly against God’s judgment, who will hold them accountable for dissolving marriages, and for torturing and killing priests. Do not doubt that, as the blood of Abel cried out in death (Gen 4:10), so the blood of many good men, against whom they have unjustly raged, will also cry out. God will avenge this cruelty. Then you will discover how vacuous our opponents’ reasons are, and you will perceive that in God’s judgment, no slander against God’s Word will stand, as Isaiah says, “All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field” (Isa 40:6).

Pulling It Together

Only God’s Word will abide. Our idle arguments will wither, our fine words and reasoning fall with the flowers at the end of summer. As they wither and fall, God’s glory will appear in full bloom before us. It was there all along but obscured by the high-standing hedges of our lofty intellects.

Prayer: Lord, have mercy. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Not My Will, But Yours is a six-week study that explores the topic of the “free will” from a biblical perspective, looking at what Scripture has to say about the bondage of the human will, and how Jesus Christ has come to deliver us from ourselves.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a848.html Tue, 05 Sep 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson.

Titus 3:5 

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

The third argument is horrible, namely, that the marriage of priests is the Jovinian heresy. Fine-sounding words! This is a new crime, that marriage is a heresy! In the time of Jovinian, the world did not yet know the law concerning perpetual celibacy. Therefore, it is an impudent falsehood to say that the marriage of priests is the heresy of Jovinian, or that the Church condemned marriage at that time. We can see in such passages the design our opponents had in writing their Confutation. They determined that the unlearned would be most easily stirred up if they were to frequently hear the charge of heresy, and if they pretended that our cause had been dispatched and condemned by many previous decisions of the Church. Hence, they often falsely quote the decisions of the Church. They know this well, which is why they refused to give us a copy of their Confutation, lest their lies and slander be exposed.

We have already expressed our opinion regarding the case of Jovinian about the values of celibacy and marriage, not considering marriage and celibacy equal. Still, neither merits justification.

Pulling It Together

As stated when writing about the Distinction of Meats, Jovinian was a monk and ascetic in the fourth century who wrote against celibacy and other monastic traditions. He praised the virtues of marriage and was therefore, of course, branded a heretic. Some considered him the forerunner of Luther and the Reformers. Yet Luther and others did no go so far as to discredit celibacy and the bodily disciplines altogether. Prayer and fasting were essentials of Lutheran preaching. Even celibacy was encouraged for those who could actually embrace it. As always for the Lutherans, their disagreement was not actually in matters of marriage versus celibacy, or indulgence versus asceticism, but that these things do not merit salvation. They taught that such works cannot earn favor with God, confessing instead that God’s favor is promised to those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Help me remember, Father, that I am your child, cleansed and reborn by your grace alone. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Combining the message of salvation in Christ with personal witness, The Gospel in Miniature is a Lutheran guide for evangelism. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a847.html Fri, 01 Sep 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson.

1 Thessalonians 4:7–8

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

When Isaiah says, “Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord,” it should be understood to mean a cleanness of heart and total repentance. Besides, the saints will know the value of restraint in the marriage bed, as Paul says about “possess[ing] his own vessel in sanctification and honor” (1 Thes 4:4, KJV). Finally, since marriage is pure, it is rightly said that those who do not practice sexual restraint should marry wives in order to be pure. Therefore, the same law, “Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord,” commands impure celibates to become pure husbands.

Pulling It Together

If one cannot in his own power do what God expects, that is, if he continues to sin, then he should do what God says is the answer. It is foolhardy to do what people say ought to be done when God has given a different solution. God has provided his system for sexual purity. To act otherwise displays either a contempt of God’s word or lunacy—or both.

Prayer: Guide my way, Lord, according to your word. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Views of Baptism is written for a range of readers including the parent or sponsor about to baptize a child, the adult who wants to understand baptism more fully, and the professional teacher or preacher who needs the truth about baptism stated simply but backed by careful research. This books explores three views of baptism: the individual-centered view, the means-of-grace view, and the Roman Catholic view. It includes a description of how Christian baptism came to us in stages from its Jewish roots. A question and answer section addresses specific matters often raised when people contemplate baptism.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a846.html Thu, 31 Aug 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson.

Psalm 51:7

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

The second argument of our opponents is that priests should be pure, according to this sentence: “Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord” (Isa 52:11, KJV). They cite many things to this effect. We have already shown this argument to be especially false. For we have said that virginity without faith is not purity before God, while marriage is pure because of faith. “To the pure all things are pure” (Titus 1:15). We have also said that outward purity and the ceremonies of the law are not applicable here because the gospel requires purity of heart, not ceremonies of the law. It may be that the heart of a husband such as Abraham or Jacob, who were polygamists, is purer and burns less with lust than that of many virgins who are actually celibate.

Pulling It Together

What makes a sinner pure? Flagellations? Fastings? Offerings? Are these the things that King David did in order to be clean after his sin with Bathsheba? David well understood who did the cleansing. If God did not purify him and absolve him of his transgressions then he would never be clean, no matter the austerity of his religious practices. It is God alone who creates clean hearts and right spirits within us, who washes away our iniquities and cleanses us of sin. Those who imagine that they do these things have a basic misunderstanding of faith. They misconstrue in whom they are to have that faith. Perhaps without even realizing what they have done, they have placed their faith in themselves, in their religious acts. This is the dividing line of the Reformation, for, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Psa 127:1). 

Prayer: Create a clean heart within me, O God. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Connections magazine is a voice for confessional Lutheranism in North America, featuring ministries and mission efforts of the movement. It provides reliable, Biblically based content, stories of faith, and inspirational messages all in a “coffee table quality” package that delights its subscribers. Connections has a deep commitment to the evangelical nature of Lutheranism that responds with vigor to Christ’s great commission to go and make disciples. It also gives a public center to the effort to renew Lutheranism in North America in concert with Biblical authority and the teachings of the Lutheran Confessions.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a845.html Wed, 30 Aug 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

1 Corinthians 7:2

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

In enumerating our arguments, we have incidentally shown our opponents’ quibbling, while at the same time, refuting their arguments. Now we shall briefly relate the earthshaking reasons they defend their law. First, they claim that it has been revealed by God. See the utter impudence of these sorry fellows! They dare to assert that the law of perpetual celibacy has been divinely revealed, even though it is contrary to obvious testimonies of Scripture, which command that each one should have his own wife in order to avoid fornication (1 Cor 7:2). Likewise, it forbids dissolution of marriages (Matt 5:32; 19:6; 1 Cor 7:27).

Paul uncovers the real author of such laws when he calls them the doctrine of demons (1 Tim 4:1). The results—namely, the magnitude of monstrous lusts and murders which are now committed under the pretext of that law—reveal the author.

Pulling It Together

This long argument against the demonic dogma of enforced and perpetual celibacy may seem to some as being overdone. Yet these very same problems persist 500 years later. Let us learn well from this lengthy denunciation how to boldly speak the plain, scriptural truth in our own time.

Prayer: Speak, Lord—even through me. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The goal of Personalities of Faith, a ten-session Bible study for youth, is to encourage young people to commit themselves to follow Jesus in discipleship by becoming "personalities of faith". Using biblical examples of people who have followed—or failed to follow—God's call, participants will be prepared to better follow the Lord in their own lives.

 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a844.html Tue, 29 Aug 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

2 Corinthians 2:17

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

We have given the reasons why we cannot conscientiously agree with our opponents’ defense of the pontifical law concerning perpetual celibacy. It conflicts with divine and natural law, is at variance even with the canons, is superstitious and full of danger, and, lastly, because the whole affair is disingenuous. The law is enacted for the sake of domination, not religion. Religion is merely a wicked pretext. No sane person would debate these firmly established reasons. For the gospel allows marriage to those to whom it is necessary, yet does not force marriage on those who want to be celibate—provided they are truly celibate. We contend that this freedom should also be granted to the priests, nor do we wish to force anyone into celibacy or to break up marriages.

Pulling It Together

The Wittenberg Reformers knew something about peddlers of religion. The hucksters of indulgences plagued the lands, bilking folks out of scarce money. There were other charlatans too, who traded wholesale in religion, exchanging false promises for the blessings of life. But the gospel that is our commission is not religion. Instead of shackles, the good news of Christ Jesus is liberty. The way of bondage leads to sin and death, while the clear call of Christ is freedom.

Prayer: When we speak, Lord, may we proclaim you. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Spiritual Realms is a nine-session Bible Study series on Heaven and Hell and places beyond this world. Specifically, the study looks at the many “place names” that are found throughout Scripture, referring to spiritual realms of existence that underlie and comprise the universe God created. This Bible Study series is a challenging one, in that it explores realities of existence beyond what we know and experience everyday.

The study not only addresses matters of life, death, heaven and hell, it steadfastly affirms that Jesus Christ is at the center of all these things. Our ultimate faith and hope rest in Christ’s death and resurrection for our sake. We live in faith by the biblical promise that: “God raised the Lord, and will also raise us up by his power” (1 Cor 6:14).

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a843.html Mon, 28 Aug 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

1 Corinthians 11:19

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

We know that because we seem to have separated from those who are considered regular bishops, some regard us as schismatic. But our consciences are quite secure. Despite our earnest desire to establish harmony, we cannot please our opponents unless we reject clear truth by agreeing with these very men in defending this unjust law to dissolve marriages that have been contracted, to put to death priests if they do not obey, and to drive poor women and fatherless children into exile. Since these conditions are most certainly displeasing to God, we can not regret having no alliance with the multitude of murderers among our adversaries.

Pulling It Together

What is one to do when all attempts have been made to reason with people who have willfully gone astray? There are people—yes, even in the churches—who willfully ignore Scripture, insisting instead on their own bent reasoning. This is the kind of reason that Luther called a “whore.” When people get in bed with that sort of thinking, they become diseased in the soul and spirit. If there are demon-possessed people among us, these are surely the ones who need a good, old fashioned casting out. Sometimes though, the best we can do is come out from among them.

Prayer: Lord, keep me true to your Word. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

All God’s Critters is a Sunday School series designed for young students in Preschool and Kindergarten. Lessons are based on storytelling, rhyme, and pictures, and are suitable for participation by non-readers. The flexible lesson plans introduce the youngest believers to the importance and truth of God’s Word. Each lesson includes the story of the day written in a simplified manner so that young children may understand an important truth about God and what it means for us to be God’s children.

The All God’s Critters curriculum is fully reproducible and is designed with the particular needs of small churches, mission congregations, and house churches in mind. Check out some sample pages by clicking here.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a842.html Fri, 25 Aug 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

John 8:44

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

Popes dispense laws every day while changing other laws that are most excellent. Yet they are as resolute and relentless about this one law of celibacy, though it is obviously a simple human right. They are now making this law more severe in many ways. The canon commands that they suspend priests. These unfriendly interpreters of canon law suspend them not only from office, but from trees. They cruelly kill many men simply because they are married. These murders show this law to be a doctrine of demons. For since the devil is a murderer, he utilizes these murders to defend his law.

Pulling It Together

The devil’s lies brought sin and death into the world. Knowledge of this should provide godly people with ample courage to stand for the truth. Part of that truth is that God uses both self-discipline and marriage as means of faithfulness. Neither should be law, but each being offered to those most suited to them, either self-control or marriage. Enforced celibacy will only continue to lead undisciplined people astray. So what are the churches to do about this problem? They ought to stand for the truth. A law of celibacy is not God’s answer but marriage is his solution. And what are individual Christians to do? They too should stand for the truth in God’s Word, as they joyfully serve him in whatever vocation God has given.

Prayer: I delight in your perfect law, O Lord; help me to serve you through it in my inmost being. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

God's Reluctant Leaders is a nine-session Bible Study focuses on the stories of three biblical characters: Jonah, Gideon, and Moses. Sessions explore how God works to create faith within those whom He calls to serve His mission. The study is written at an introductory level, to be led by a lay leader or pastor in a small-group question and discussion format. It would serve as an excellent resource for monthly women's group meetings, or in an informal small-group setting.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a841.html Thu, 24 Aug 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Hebrews 13:4

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

Accordingly, in a time like this, marriage should have been especially defended by rigorous laws and examples, and people should have been encouraged to marry. This is the responsibility of magistrates, who ought to maintain public order. Meanwhile, teachers of the Gospel should do both: they should exhort uncontrolled people to marry, and should exhort others to not despise the gift of self-discipline.

Pulling It Together

A further edition of the Lutheran Confessions adds, “God has now so blinded the world that adultery and fornication are permitted almost without punishment; on the contrary, punishment is inflicted on account of marriage.” Surely this sounds all too familiar to the reader. Marriage is held suspect in our time, while fornication, adultery, and a host of other sexual sins are not only glossed over, these things are actually encouraged. Worse, this is not simply a societal matter; it is championed by many churches. History teaches nothing to those who know better than God. Nevertheless, marriage remains his answer to these problems that assail us.

Prayer: Lord, teach your Church and give her your Spirit’s strength and courage to do your will. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Sola Publishing offers free downloadable resources for congregations and leaders in developing a Stewardship Emphasis for 2017-2018. The theme for this year's Stewardship Emphasis is "Dwelling in the Lord." The key Bible verse comes from Psalm 90:1“Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a840.html Wed, 23 Aug 17 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Romans 1:18

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

We see the great vice that God denounced before the flood, what he condemned before the burning of the five cities. Similar vices have preceded the destruction of many other cities like Sybaris and Rome. In these is presented a picture of the times that will precede the end of things.

Pulling It Together

We do not like to think of a wrathful God. Yet a holy God is by default, angry at times. His anger is stirred by willful disobedience, by those who think they know better than he does. So, those who willfully disobey him when he has been so generous in providing a way of escape from the disobedience of sexual vice, will certainly taste his wrath—if not in this life, then worse, in eternity. How horrible that this disobedience is encouraged in the churches, where God’s will and ways should be taught as a comfort to his people.

Prayer: Thy will be done, Lord. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Music Series offers simple collections of easy-to-play worship music, including new songs and arrangements of old favorites. Based in a confessional theology and a respect for the historical and sacramental liturgy, these resources do not require a high level of musical expertise. Written in a simple and straight-forward style, these songs are intended for congregations that would like to explore a less formal musical style in worship, while still maintaining the integrity of the traditional order of worship. Such music would fit into what is sometimes referred to as "contemporary" or "blended" worship, without necessarily requiring a full band of experienced musicians and singers to lead the songs. Providing lead sheets for guitar and vocals, along with full scores for piano, Sola Publishing grants to those who purchase this volume the permission to reproduce words and music of the songs within for local congregational use.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a839.html Tue, 22 Aug 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Proverbs 31:10

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

This is how God pays back those who prohibit marriage, disdaining his gift and ordinance. But since it is customary to change other laws if the common good advises it, why is the same not done with respect to this law for which so many grave reasons concur about changing it, especially in these last times? Nature is gradually growing older and weaker, and vices are increasing, so divine remedies should have been employed.

Pulling It Together

Those who prohibit marriage, enforcing celibacy as a necessary good work, have become a laughing stock. Even their own dare to laugh when others make sport or even scorn their ways. For these ways are not God’s ways; perpetual celibacy is a human invention. This rule does not work now, as it did not work in the time of the Reformers. It is past time for the religious to seek God’s remedy instead. His answer is more valuable than great wealth, for which most men will never give up their pursuit. Moreover, this treasure is itself a gift from the Lord. Find a woman who fears the Lord (Prov 31:30) and who will love you, and you will have found God’s precious answer: a wife.

Prayer: Give us loving, respectful spouses, Lord, who fear, love, and trust you. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Sola Publishing offers some free downloadable resources for congregations and leaders in developing a Stewardship Emphasis for 2017-2018. The theme for this year's Stewardship Emphasis is "Dwelling in the Lord." The key Bible verse comes from Psalm 90:1: “Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a838.html Mon, 21 Aug 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

2 Timothy 2:22–23

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

Good folks from all over have complained about this burden for a long time, either for themselves or for others whom they saw to be in danger. But no popes listened to these complaints. It is no mystery how this rule has greatly injured public morals, and what vices and shameful lusts it has produced. Rome still reads and recognizes in the satires its own morals.

Pulling It Together

The churches and seminaries should be places where people may safely flee the passions—not run straight into them, and with more abundance and variety than was known elsewhere. Bishops, pastors, and professors ought to lead the flight from lust, empowering their charges to stand against the riotous arguments that rationalize these vices. Nonetheless, wherever they find themselves, in the university or in the workplace, they may call upon the Lord with a pure heart, knowing that there is abundant forgiveness through Christ as they resist the world as the Word prescribes.

Prayer: Guard me, Lord, that I may stand with you for your Word. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Connections is a magazine for evangelical Lutheran Christians. It is filled with meaty articles as well as lighter spiritual fare. Connections provides great food for the soul. Articles and features are contributed by individuals and ministries of CALC, LCMC, NALC, Lutheran Core, and other evangelical Lutherans from congregations across North America. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a837.html Fri, 18 Aug 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Isaiah 55:8–9 

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

Sixthly, we have so many reasons for disapproving of the law of perpetual celibacy. Yet, besides these, though the law were not unjust, dangers to souls and public scandals must also be considered. These alone should discourage good folks from approving of such a burden as has destroyed innumerable souls.

Pulling It Together

We should never place so-called common sense before Holy Scripture. We may imagine that we understand something perfectly well, yet God’s way are not our ways. What once seemed entirely sensible to us looks quite different through the eyes of faith. Nevertheless, when God’s Word makes something clear, and common sense does as well, the way forward is unmistakable. This was the broad path of the Reformers; they could go in no other direction concerning celibacy than that which both Scripture and sensibility dictated. 

Prayer: Teach me your Word, O Lord, that your will would become my daily desire. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

"The Great Reformer" is a Reformation Worship Service to Celebrate the 500th Anniversary of Luther’s Posting of the 95 Theses in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517. This downloadable PDF contains a monologue featuring Martin Luther and an accompanying order of service for Reformation.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a834.html Wed, 16 Aug 17 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Hebrews 10:10–14

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

Our adversaries require celibacy for religious reasons, for they know that chastity is not ordinarily rendered. But they feign these opinions in order to delude the ignorant. They are therefore more worthy of contempt than the Encratites, who seem to have strayed through a show of religion. By design, these Epicureans misuse religion as a pretext.

Pulling It Together

Not only was celibacy not the thing in Rome or in the monasteries, unchastity was on display in these places—as it is now. This hypocrisy was well-known to the people. Yet, the practice of having so-called celibate priests persisted, and continues to this day. This ecclesiastical law (for it is certainly not doctrine) seems to have begun to creep into the Church around the fourth century AD. At the Council of Nicea in 325AD, however, this kind of mandate was rejected. Still, it endures. Why?

It has long been believed in a variety of religions that priests who offer sacrifices must be pure. It is also thought that sex makes one impure. Therefore, a sexually active priest would be considered unclean, bringing that impurity upon the sacrifice. This presents a problem for those who believe that Christ is sacrificed again and again in the Mass. Thus, celibacy is seen as necessary.

The Reformers taught, as does Scripture, that Christ, who was pure and sinless, offered himself to God for the sins of the world. Saying that the priest makes the sacrifice of the mass pure, takes the honor away from Christ. Furthermore, as Scripture testifies, Christ Jesus offered himself as the “single sacrifice for sins.” Additional sacrifices of the Mass are both unnecessary and not biblical.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for your sacrifice and for the forgiveness of my sins. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Kinderbeten is a compelling story touching on the exercise of free religion, the religious wars in Europe, the roots of Evangelicalism, the supernatural, and more, all wrapped up in a religious revival which began not through a charismatic revivalist or any adult at all, but rather found it's origin with children aged four to fourteen. The children became pawns in a controversy between political and religious opponents. Indulge your curiosity and read the remarkable story about the King of Sweden and the 1707-08 Children's Revival in Silesia, a tale of hope and prayer.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a836.html Tue, 15 Aug 17 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

1 Corinthians 7:35

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

We could provide examples of godly consciences that were distressed over the legitimacy of marriage. This evil sprang from the superstitious opinions of monks praising celibacy. Nevertheless, we do not find fault with temperance or continence, having stated above that discipline and mortification of the body are necessary. Yet we deny that confidence should be placed in certain observances, as if they made one righteous. Epiphanius has elegantly said that these observances should be commended “for restraining the body or for public morals,” just as certain rites were introduced for instructing the ignorant, but not as services that justify.

Pulling It Together

Marriage should never be considered an obstacle to salvation, nor as a life filled with sin. Quite the opposite is true. The Apostle Paul praises the married life for its unique ability to keep one from sin (1 Cor 7:1-7). Because of the overwhelming temptation for most people to sin sexually, Paul encourages marriage. He also recommends self-control, even for those who are married. Self-discipline in the face of this strong temptation is good for the soul and a general advantage to the public. Consider the benefit to our society if people would control themselves. There is no better way to do so than through a godly marriage. Nonetheless, even such self-control does not save. Faith in Christ is what saves, and this faith is the gracious gift of God, not something that we perform or earn. This was the continuing focus of the Reformers; how could they have possibly supported celibacy as a means of justification?

Prayer: Help me, Lord Jesus, to control myself. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The kind of church we see in the New Testament is different from what most modern people imagine when they think of “going to church.” Experience Life Together: Experiencing House-Church Ministry, by Rev. Tom Hilpert, is a 15-week house-church curriculum designed for pastors, lay leaders, and churches interested in getting a taste for what church in the home is really like. Whether referred to as a house-church, organic church, alternative church, or cell church, this material applies well to any group that wants to experience Christian worship in the context of a small group meeting within the homes of the participants.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a835.html Mon, 14 Aug 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Colossians 2:18–19

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

Paul greatly disapproves of these angelic forms of worship in Colossians 2:18. For when people believe that they are pure and righteous on account of such hypocrisy, they suppress the knowledge of Christ. They also inhibit the knowledge of God’s gifts and commandments which he desires us to employ in a godly way.

Pulling It Together

Programs of austerity for the sake of meriting favor with God are useless. Indeed, they are harmful. These things make us think that we are the cause of our own salvation. But when we face our condition, confessing our sins instead of imagining that we can atone for them, then we understand that Christ alone is our Head, the only ground of salvation. Looking to him, we find that he is the one who created faith in us through the gospel, and is then perfecting it in us through the sacraments (Heb 12:2).

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Reading and Discussion of Luther's Catechisms is a more challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, presented in a question and discussion format. 

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a833.html Mon, 31 Jul 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Isaiah 53:6

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

Misunderstanding the law of Moses, many heretics have treated marriage with contempt, but celibacy with extraordinary admiration. Epiphanius complains that by commending this, the Encratites subdued gullible minds. They abstained from wine—even in the Lord’s Supper; they abstained from the flesh of all animals, surpassing even the Dominican friars who eat fish. They also abstained from marriage; and this gained the principal admiration. They thought that they merited more grace by these works, these services rather than by using wine, meat, and marriage. These seemed to be profane and unclean matters that could scarcely please God, even though not altogether condemned.

Pulling It Together

These false teachings come about by not understanding the principal teaching of the New Testament, the one from which all good doctrine springs, and the central tenet of the Lutherans. That principal belief is that we are saved by God. Yet there are those who disagree. Those who think that they save themselves will come up with exhaustive lists of things that must be done. Denominations who imagine that people can be holy, will devise any number of ways to sanctify themselves. There are even folks—some who call themselves Lutheran—who would tell you that they are saved by God’s grace, yet will still give you things you must do in order to be justified to God.

What can a human being do that will make him right with God? I can think of nothing. Still, let us try. Does going to church get you right with God? No; worship is what keeps you oriented to the one who justifies you to himself. Does reading the Bible make you right with God? Again, no; the Scripture makes you aware of how unholy you are, while revealing the one who makes you holy in spite of yourself. Hopefully, you get the idea.

This is a matter of choosing the correct interrogative. Think of justification in terms of “who” instead of “what.” It is not what you must do but who must do it for you. What can you do? Nothing. Who has done it for you? Christ alone. So why must monks and priests be celibate instead of enjoying the good gift of God in Christian marriage? Because they are thinking of “what” instead of “who.”

Prayer: Keep me ever focused, Lord, upon you. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Confirmation Series, written by the Rev. Steven E. King, is work-book style Confirmation curriculum. It is designed to serve as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism.  Each book in the series can be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. 

The Ten Commandments book is a ten-week unit, which includes one session on each of the Commandments. The Scripture focus in the Ten Commandment series is on Moses and the Exodus Cycle, with Bible Study lessons taken primarily from the Pentateuch.

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a832.html Fri, 28 Jul 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Psalm 51:17

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

Now such self-control is easy for those who are godly and employed. But the facts show that the multitude of slothful priests living indulgently in the fraternities cannot keep Levitical self-control. The verse is well known: The boy accustomed to being lazy, hates those who are busy.

Pulling It Together

Those who enjoy their ease and indolence, without the benefit of the Word of God, and having no regard for it, live their lives without worry or guilt. These conditions brought the most debauched lifestyles upon the Church, just as they do in our times. Such people are unable to observe Levitical self-control, let alone perpetual celibacy. Add to this that God does not desire such sacrifice from his people. The sacrifices of God are the confession of sin and genuine repentance. 

Prayer: Wash me, Lord, and I shall be clean. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Spiritual Realms is a nine-session Bible Study series on Heaven and Hell and places beyond this world. Specifically, the study looks at the many “place names” that are found throughout Scripture, referring to spiritual realms of existence that underlie and comprise the universe God created. This Bible Study series is a challenging one, in that it explores realities of existence beyond what we know and experience everyday.

The study not only addresses matters of life, death, heaven and hell, it steadfastly affirms that Jesus Christ is at the center of all these things. Our ultimate faith and hope rest in Christ’s death and resurrection for our sake. We live in faith by the biblical promise that: “God raised the Lord, and will also raise us up by his power” (1 Cor 6:14).

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a831.html Thu, 27 Jul 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

1 Corinthians 7:5

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

In the meanwhile, good people will know how to moderately use marriage. This is especially so when they are occupied with public service, which often provides good people with so much labor that all domestic thoughts are removed from their minds. Good folk also know this, that Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 4:4, commands every one to control their own bodies with holiness. They also understand that they must sometimes abstain, in order that there may be time for prayer. Yet Paul does not wish this to be perpetual (1 Cor 7:5).

Pulling It Together

There must be good order in all things. I once did marriage counseling with a couple whose problems always seemed to come back to talk about sex. He was unsatisfied; she was overwhelmed by his constant advances. When I asked him what would be an agreeable number of times in a week for sex, his answer was first thing in the morning and last thing at night—every day. Twice. My counsel was that they not have sex for the next week but instead, devote themselves to prayer. Of course, he turned a deaf ear to this advice.

I was not encouraging celibacy but that he practice controlling his body and its urges for a while. This is about as far as Scripture takes us in terms of abstinence. It does not demand celibacy for anyone, not even ministers. But it does insist upon godly order and holiness—in bed and otherwise.

Prayer: Lord, give me such devotion to you that I honor you with my body as well as my spirit. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Basics of the Christian Faith is an edition of the catechism that is aimed at seekers, visitors, and those that may not come from a Lutheran background. It is recommended for use in outreach, as a visitor welcome gift, or in new member packets.

 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a830.html Wed, 26 Jul 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Acts 15:8–10

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

If any defend the rule of celibacy with the purpose of burdening consciences with these Levitical observances, we must strongly oppose them, just as the apostles did in Acts 15:10, resisting those who required circumcision and tried to impose the law of Moses upon Christians.

Pulling It Together

We neither require nor need any acts of purification. For it is God alone who cleanses hearts. King David knew this to be true. What work of cleansing did he do after his sin with Bathsheba? He did nothing but ask God to create a clean heart within him (Psa 51:10). The most heinous of sins are forgiven by God when one confesses those sins, believing with faith that God is both faithful and just to do forgive (1 John 1:9). God covers such persons with the righteousness of Christ (2 Cor 5:21). But if one expects to end up with a clean heart because he keeps certain fasts, gives alms, is celibate, or does any variety of good works, that person is deceived. We must resist sects who require these works, since all they do is weigh down the conscience with grief and guilt.

Prayer: Lord, create a clean heart heart within me. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship Resource (SOWeR) includes liturgies and services for your use. There are ready-to-copy settings for Holy Communion, services, services of the Word, Vespers, occasional services, funerals, and seasonal services. SOWeR is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a829.html Tue, 25 Jul 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

1 Corinthians 1:30–31

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

In reference to their examples about the Levitical priests, we have already replied that these do not impose a perpetual celibacy upon the priests. Furthermore, the Levitical ceremonial statutes about uncleanness do not pertain to Christians. Intercourse contrary to these statutes was an impurity. Now it is not impurity, since Paul says, “To the pure all things are pure” (Titus 1:15). The Gospel frees us from these Levitical regulations about uncleanness.

Pulling It Together

The ceremonial code in the law of Moses, those things concerning what is clean or unclean, do not pertain to Christians. Christians are freed from all the ceremonies of Moses, not only from the laws concerning uncleanness. For it is Christ who makes us pure, not washings or other observances. He has become our holiness. Holiness is not found in hairstyles, clothing, lack of jewelry, the foods eaten or abstained from, nor celibacy or marriage—or anything other than Christ Jesus. He alone is our cleanness, holiness, righteousness, purity. If one wants to be a holy priest, there is only one necessary thing: believe in Jesus Christ. 

Prayer: Thank you, righteous Lord, for imputing your righteousness to me. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship Resource (SOWeR) also includes bulletin templates. There are word processing templates for both communion and non-communion services. There are also templates for Sola, LBW, and Reclaim service settings. SOWeR is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. This brochure will answer more questions about SOWeR. Call 1-888-887-9840 to order a yearly subscription. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a828.html Mon, 24 Jul 17 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Matthew 19:10–12

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

Neither Christ nor Paul praise virginity because it justifies, but because it is freer and less distracted by domestic occupations, allowing time for prayer, teaching, serving. For this reason Paul says, “He that is unmarried cares for the things that belong to the Lord” (1 Cor 7:32). Virginity is therefore commended for the sake of of meditation and study. Thus Christ does not simply praise those who make themselves eunuchs, but adds, for the kingdom of heaven’s sake, that is, that they may have leisure to learn or teach the Gospel. He does not say that virginity merits the forgiveness of sins or salvation.

Pulling It Together

I am distracted every day by domestic duties, when what I am anxious to do is write and study and pray and so forth. On Saturday about Noon, in the midst of running one more household errand, I complained (again) to my wife: “I’m not going to get anything done today!” Truth be told, I ended up getting a great deal of kingdom work accomplished, but see how anxious I was when domestic duties got in the way? Furthermore, domestic duties are kingdom duties. Being Susan’s husband is part of my calling. But for those who can receive it, celibacy probably affords more time to a stricter regimen.

Prayer: Lord God, help Christian families make time to do your will and the work of the kingdom. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship Resource is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a827.html Fri, 21 Jul 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

2 Timothy 1:9

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

Here they might exclaim that we put marriage on par with celibacy, like Jovinian. But such clamoring will not cause us to reject the truth about the righteousness of faith that we have explained above. Still, we do not consider celibacy and marriage as equal. For just as one gift surpasses another—prophecy surpassing eloquence, military science surpassing agriculture, and eloquence surpassing architecture—celibacy is a more excellent gift than marriage. Yet, just as an orator is not more righteous before God because of his eloquence than an architect because of his skill in architecture, so a virgin does not merit justification through virginity more than a married person merits it by marital duties. Instead, each one ought to faithfully serve within his own gift, believing that he receives the forgiveness of sins for Christ’s sake, and through faith is accounted righteous before God.

Pulling It Together

Whether or not we concur with the rhetorical comparisons used by Melancthon, we may understand his point. That is, we cannot earn the favor of God. Rather, because of Christ’s work, those who believe are regarded as righteous by God. Whatever our gifts or vocation in life, we are to serve God faithfully with and within those gifts and vocations, never dreaming that our lot in life or the works we do justify us to God. That is always the work of Christ alone, as God graciously determined before all creation. So, how could justification possibly be the work of creatures like us?

Prayer: Thank you, O Father, for choosing before this world began, to save all who believe in your only Son our Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship Resource (SOWeR) also includes bulletin templates. There are word processing templates for both communion and non-communion services. There are also templates for Sola, LBW, and Reclaim service settings. SOWeR is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. This brochure will answer more questions about SOWeR. Call 1-888-887-9840 to order a yearly subscription. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a826.html Thu, 20 Jul 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Romans 5:1

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

Finally, if they understand celibacy as purity in the sense that it merits justification more than does marriage, we most emphatically disagree. For we are not justified on account of virginity or on account of marriage, but freely for Christ’s sake, when we believe that God is gracious to us for his sake.

Pulling It Together

Whenever some religious notion enters our heads, making us imagine that we must do one thing or another in order to earn God’s grace, we may confidently declare that thing to be false. It is not that the thing should not be done; rather, it is that the thing does not save. For example, if you think that you should pray the hours, then by all means, pray! Yet, do not think for a second that your prayers make you right with God. Christ alone makes you right with God. If you want to fast on a certain day of the week, do so with God’s blessing. But do not imagine that your discipline merits justification with God. Christ alone justifies. If you feel led to be celibate, do so joyfully but do not hope that your celibacy gains you any righteousness beyond the righteousness that you freely receive from God because you believe in the righteousness of Christ.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for giving me access to the hope of God’s grace through faith. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship Resource (SOWeR) includes liturgies and services for your use. There are ready-to-copy settings for Holy Communion, services, services of the Word, Vespers, occasional services, funerals, and seasonal services. SOWeR is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a825.html Wed, 19 Jul 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Matthew 15:10–20

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests – part 28

Again, a proper comparison between purity and lust means that purity means a purity of the heart, a putting lust to death. Therefore, the law does not prohibit marriage, but rather lust, adultery, fornication. So, celibacy is not purity. For there may be greater purity of heart in a married man, as in Abraham or Jacob, than in most of those who are actually celibate.

Pulling It Together

It is the heart that must be changed, not necessarily one’s vocation or position in life. One may think that he must become a pastor in order to be on heaven’s path. Yet the worker on an assembly line is enabled to meditate on God’s Word in the minutes between each screw he must fasten on the next item coming by him. Others imagine they must dress in a certain manner, cut their hair just so, not cut their hair at all, go on pilgrimages, eat or not eat certain foods, be celibate, or maintain any number of other religious practices in order to be pure before God. But it is not the clothing that must change, or the hair, or the place, or the food, or the drink, or the marital state—or anything else than the heart—that must change.

Prayer: Make me pure, Lord, and I shall be pure. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Getting to Know Martin Luther is a five-lesson Conformation workbook about Martin Luther's life that will help confirmands get a better glimpse into what faith means for their own lives by searching and understanding the Word of God, trusting in Christ alone for our salvation, standing up for what they believe in, and helping others to learn the truth about God.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a824.html Tue, 18 Jul 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Titus 1:15

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

These readings teach that marriage is a lawful thing. If purity indicates the permission and approval of God, marriages are pure because they have been approved by the Word of God. Paul says of lawful things, “To the pure all things are pure” (Titus 1:15), that is, to those who believe in Christ and are righteous by faith. So, as virginity is impure in the godless, so marriage is pure in the godly on account of the Word of God and faith.

Pulling It Together

Nothing is pure, if it is done outside of faith and God’s Word. An unbeliever may practice the most ascetic spiritual disciplines. He may fast, study, meditate, remain celibate, and feed the poor, but none of this is pure if it is exercised without faith. But for the believer, the one who has faith in Christ, “all things are pure.” For it is God who makes things pure; the works themselves do not purify. Celibacy without faith in God is actually a defilement of the person. If even a believer imagines his efforts at purity, his supposed good works, purify him, then he is both deluded and impure. However, if a priest or anyone else marries, having faith in God’s Word, that he makes this estate pure, then it is not only pure but must also be permitted.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord God, for purifying even the most basic things of life. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The ReClaim Hymnal for Church and Home contains three Communion Settings along with liturgies for Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, Funerals, and other occasional services. It also includes the Small Catechism, as well as 275 beloved hymns from various hymn traditions. It is a resource that would be suitable for confirmation and graduation gifts as well as congregational use. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a823.html Mon, 17 Jul 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

1 Timothy 1:14

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

Likewise, “Yet woman will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness, with modesty” (1 Tim 2:15). If our opponents could produce such a passage about celibacy, then they could celebrate a great triumph. Paul says that woman is saved through childbearing. What could be a more fitting statement against the hypocrisy of celibacy than the honor that woman is saved by the conjugal works themselves—by marital intercourse, by bearing children, and other duties of the home? But what does Paul mean? Let the reader observe that faith is added—that domestic duties without faith are not praised. “If she continues,” he says, “in faith.” He speaks of the whole class of mothers, so he particularly requires faith by which woman receives the forgiveness of sins and justification. Then he adds a particular work of the calling, just as a good work of a particular calling ought to follow faith in every person. This work pleases God because of faith. So, we see that the duties of the woman please God on account of faith, and a believing woman is saved who devoutly serves her calling in such duties.

Pulling It Together

If ever there were a single word that summed up the Lutheran Confessions, it is the word faith. Everything depends upon faith in God, and that depends upon God’s grace. So, even in being a mother or any other vocation, faith must be both the catalyst and the fuel. If women expect to be saved through motherhood alone, they will be disappointed. If someone expects justification with God because of being a pastor, they will be shocked when judgment comes. If someone expects to be saved because of any great work, well, this is not the word of the Scripture. Faith must be added. We are saved because we have faith in Christ; this faith then compels us to fulfill our vocations, our callings—whether parent or pastor or doctor or any other calling that is made holy through faith in God. That is why Paul says, “continues.” The faith was present first, then came the work, but faith must endure since we trust in Christ, not our callings or our works. 

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your overflowing grace toward me that gives me faith in Christ alone. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Journey Through the Bible is a twenty-session series written by Tony Stoutenburg, intended as a video study guide for watching the made-for-television miniseries, "The Bible" — a ten-part video available on DVD and Blueray. (Note: For those who do not have access to “The Bible” Miniseries, it is certainly possible to substitute other videos or clips to tell the same stories. The classroom portion of this book also can be used as a stand-alone, 10-session study.)

Alternating between classroom discussion and video viewing sessions, the goal is to visually expose students to the stories of the full Biblical narrative across the Old and New Testaments. The curriculum is aimed at the middle-school age level for use as an introductory pre-confirmation Bible overview or as a year-long Confirmation unit. (Click HERE to purchase the Leader's Guide.)

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a822.html Fri, 14 Jul 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

1 Corinthians 7:12–14

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

Likewise, the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, etc. (1 Cor 7:14). That is, marriage is permitted and holy on account of faith in Christ, just as it is permitted to eat meat, etc.

Pulling It Together

Even if one partner in a marriage is not Christian, marriage remains holy. Its sanctity depends upon God’s word, not upon one person’s beliefs. Even so, it is often the case that the wife’s or husband’s example leads the husband or wife to faith in Christ. But the main point here is that marriage remains a holy estate even if one person is not a believer—not because of the beliefs of the person, but because of the God who ordains marriage. If God has joined two people in marriage, as he most certainly does, then marriage is pure and holy because of God. Furthermore, the unbelieving spouse has been set apart (which is the meaning of being holy) to live within a Christian sphere of influence.

Prayer: Use believing husbands and wives, Lord, to lead their spouses to faith in Christ. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

500th Anniversary – The Reformation is a collection and summary of some of the key documents of the Reformation. Assembled and edited by the Rev. Jeffray Greene for the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, it is meant to be a reference-resource for congregations and study groups, to familiarize laity with the scope and contents of these important texts. (The length of this book was kept brief, to allow congregations to make it available to people at a reasonable price.)

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a821.html Thu, 13 Jul 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

1 Timothy 4:1–5 

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests – part 24

Paul says that marriage, food, and similar things are sanctified by the Word of God and prayer (1 Tim 4:5)—through the Word which makes consciences certain that God approves—through prayer, that is, by faith that uses it with thanksgiving as a gift of God.

Pulling It Together

Efforts to be holy through anything other than Christ are denials of Christ and of his justification of us. Devoting ourselves to religious things such as abstinence—whether foods or marriage—is to deprive ourselves, not only of foods and marriage but, of Christ himself. God created these good things for the benefit of those who put their trust in Christ alone. Indeed, they are not merely good, but holy also, because the believer receives them with thanksgiving, since they have been sanctified through the Word of God.

Prayer: Give me faith to always trust in you alone, God, through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

A Reading and Discussion of the Augsburg Confession is a more challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, presented in a question and discussion format. The Leader's Guide that accompanies this study is a resource for those facilitating group discussion, or may serve as a reader's commentary for those who are studying the Book of Concord on their own.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a820.html Wed, 12 Jul 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Matthew 19:4–6

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

Christ calls marriage a divine union when he says, “What therefore God has joined together...” (Matt 19:6).

Pulling It Together

Christ himself says here that married people are joined together by God. He is quoting Moses and then adds that it is God who joins them together. This mystical union cannot be created by human action; it is God alone who is able to unite two people as one (cp. Gen 2:24, Mark 10:8-9). Therefore, marriage is a pure and holy estate because it is a work of God.

Prayer: Bless the marriages of all people, Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

In The Life of a Pastor's Spouse, Cindy Jamison reflects on her life as a pastor’s spouse, and the unique opportunities and challenges such a calling presents. She offers her own observations on the particular dynamics facing a pastor’s family and spouse. This brief reader is intended to help a pastor’s spouse identify areas of tension and difficultly, while at the same time providing support and encouragement from the Word of God. This handbook will help a pastor's spouse discover answers to four essential questions: What is exptected of me? What am I supposed to do? How do I keep from feeling my marrige is threatened when I am not Number One in my spouse's life? How can I maintain my life and not fall to pieces?

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a819.html Tue, 11 Jul 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image   •   Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Proverbs 18:22 

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

We shall reply in order to these figments. In the first place, our opponents must admit that marriage is pure for believers because it has been sanctified by the Word of God. That is, the Word of God permits and approves marriage, as Scripture abundantly testifies.

Pulling It Together

Before going on with arguments, let us acknowledge that the Holy Scriptures of both the Old and New Testaments declare marriage a holy matter, something that God has ordained. Otherwise, how could the Roman Church call it a sacrament? This is not to say that Lutherans consider marriage a sacrament of the Church. Nonetheless, by their own doctrines, the opponents of the Lutherans must admit that marriage is holy. Before concerning ourselves with further proofs, let us admit this much.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your gifts and favor. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Este pequeño manual, conocido como El Catecismo Menor de Martín Lutero, ha sido utilizado por los Luteranos durante siglos como una herramienta de enseñanza, especialmente en la instrucción de la confirmación. El pequeño manual pretende dar a los lectores un breve resumen de las enseñanzas de la Biblia, viendo algunos ejemplos de versos bien conocidos por los cristianos, oraciones y elementos de adoración.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a818.html Mon, 10 Jul 17 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

1 Peter 2:4–5

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

Fifthly, although our opponents do not defend this regulation because of religion, since they see that it is not generally observed, still they diffuse superstitious opinions to give a pretext of religion. They proclaim that they require celibacy because it is pure, as though marriage is impure or sinful, or as though celibacy merited justification more than marriage does. To this end they cite the ceremonies of the Mosaic Law, that under the law, at the time of ministering, the priests were separated from their wives. Therefore, the priest in the New Testament, who ought always to pray, should always practice continence. This ridiculous comparison is presented as a proof to compel priests to perpetual celibacy, even though this very comparison allows marriage to priests, only prohibiting intercourse during the time of ministering. Moreover, it is one thing to pray, another to minister. The saints prayed even when they did not exercise the public ministry. Marital intercourse did hinder their prayers.

Pulling It Together

Is a pastor purer to God if unmarried? Is this what makes people pure under the New Testament? Is it the New Testament in human purity or the New Testament in Christ’s blood? The very idea of introducing regulations for human purity in the priesthood is an effort to undermine Christ’s merit. Further, Peter proclaims that all Christians are priests who have access to the Father through Christ (Eph 2:18)—not through celibacy or any other attempt at so-called purity. Imagine if the whole of God’s people, that priesthood of all believers, were celibate. The churches would be near empty in a generation or so.

Prayer: Help me, God, to offer you the true sacrifice of praise. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The 2017-18 Liturgical calendar charts the Scripture readings for each Sunday in the Church Year, with each Sunday printed in the proper liturgical color for easy reference. Sola Publishing recommends the use of the Revised Common Lectionary as found in the Lutheran Service Book (LSB) published by Concordia Publishing House, and makes use of this lectionary in its own Sola Online Worship eResource (SOWeR) website.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a817.html Fri, 30 Jun 17 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

Daniel 11:36–37

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

In their Confutation the adversaries insist that celibacy has been commanded by the councils. We do not find fault with the decrees of the councils, for under certain conditions these allow marriage. Yet we find fault with the laws that the Roman popes have framed since the ancient synods, and contrary to their authority. The popes despise the authority of the synods, while wishing it to appear to others as holy. Therefore, this regulation about perpetual celibacy is characteristic of this new pontifical absolutism—and with good reason. Daniel assigns the contempt of women as a feature of the Antichrist’s kingdom (Dan 11:37).

Pulling It Together

That phrase in Daniel 11:37 may be translated in a couple of ways. Melancthon’s rendering of the Hebrew was that the kingdom of the Antichrist would be known for disdaining the natural desire for women. This is similar to the King James’ and New American Standard: “the desire of women.” However, the phrase might be rendered as the Revised Standard and English Standard do: “the one beloved by women.” Regardless of wording, Daniel paints the “king” whom Melancthon infers to be an Antichrist as one who exalts himself above all people, all gods, all law. This is what Luther rebelled against in the papacy of his time: that the pope elevated himself above even Christ’s word.

Prayer: Help me to honor you, Lord, so that I have no other gods before you. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

      

Have you downloaded the FREE Sola App for Android or Apple? It includes a searchable ESV Bible, Holy Families, "This Sunday," Luther's Small Catechism, Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions, greeting cards, Sola products, the Sola Online Worship eResource, and more—with even more to come.

Download it today:   • Android   • Apple

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a816.html Thu, 29 Jun 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Matthew 19:6–8

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

Fourthly, pontifical law also disagrees with the canons of the councils. The ancient canons do not prohibit marriage, nor do they dissolve marriages that have been contracted—though they remove from public office those who have contracted marriage while in office. In those times, these dismissals were an act of kindness. The new canons have been made according to the private judgment of popes instead of being framed in the synods. They prohibit contracting marriages, and dissolve them when contracted. This is brazenly done, contrary to the command of Christ: “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt 19:6).

Pulling It Together

Contrast the hardness of humans with the mercy of God. Humans invent divorce and laws like celibacy—even forcing divorces upon those already married so that human regulation will be kept, even when it is in open defiance of God’s command. But God is merciful, allowing us in our weakness, a helpmate so that we may not sin against him. Human council, however, permits and even demands divorce—though Christ himself commands otherwise. Hardhearted humanity knows no bounds, even in the church.

Prayer: Strengthen Christian marriages, Lord, so that your will is honored. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship Resource is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a815.html Tue, 27 Jun 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Galatians 5:19–21

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

Gerson also testifies that there have been many good men who tried to conquer the flesh, yet with little progress. So, Ambrose is right in saying, “Virginity is a thing that may only be recommended, not commanded; it is voluntary, not obligatory.” If any one would raise the objection that Christ praises those “who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 19:12), consider also that he is praising those who have that unusual gift of self-control. For he adds, “He who is able to receive this, let him receive it” (ibid.). Impure restraint does not please Christ. We also praise true continence. But now we are disputing about law and those who do not have the gift of continence. This ought to be a matter of liberty, not a rule that sets a snare for the weak.

Pulling It Together

There are those who are able to truly and consistently practice control of the flesh. But if they are not able, if they have not been empowered with restraint by God, then they should marry. This is God’s plan for us—with good reason. Those who hold to a pattern of fleshly behavior will not inherit the kingdom. So we should not require persons, even ministers of the gospel—indeed, especially ministers of the gospel—to be celibate when God has given them the good gift of marriage. Coercing them into celibacy or commanding them to stay celibate when they are not suited for that lifestyle is counter-productive to God’s plan for us—temporally and eternally.

Prayer: Lead me by your Spirit, Lord, that I may daily crucify the flesh. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship Resource (SOWeR) also includes liturgies and services for your use. There are ready-to-copy settings for Holy Communion, services, services of the Word, Vespers, occasional services, funerals, and seasonal services. 

SOWeR is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a814.html Mon, 26 Jun 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

1 Corinthians 10:12–13

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

If self-discipline were possible for everyone, it would not require a peculiar gift. Christ shows that is does require a peculiar gift; therefore continence is not possible for everyone. God wants the rest to use the common law of nature which he has instituted, for God does not want us to despise his ordinances, his creation. He wants people to be chaste by using the remedy he has provided, just as he wishes to nourish our life by the use of food and drink. 

Pulling It Together

Do you imagine that you are able to be virtuous in your own strength? Of course, we must rely on God’s strength, not our own. Yet we are not to rely upon his strength alone. We must also depend upon his plan. So one must consider, should a program of celibacy be undertaken when it ignores God’s plan? The Apostle Paul wished everyone could be as disciplined as himself (1 Cor 7:7); but we are not. To impose a program of celibacy upon people ignores God’s “way of escape” from a temptation that is all too “common to man.” Fasting, prayer, and other methods for overcoming this temptation will fail unless a person is particularly gifted by God. Those who think they are able to stand against this temptation of the flesh will very likely fall unless they avail themselves of God’s remedy. 

Prayer: Help me, Lord, in all things to rely upon you. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship Resource (SOWeR) also includes bulletin templates. There are word processing templates for both communion and non-communion services. There are also templates for Sola, LBW, and Reclaim service settings. 

SOWeR is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. This brochure will answer more questions about SOWeR. Call 1-888-887-9840 to order a yearly subscription. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a813.html Fri, 16 Jun 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

James 1:17

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

So, they command people to pray to God for self-control, and to weaken the body through labors and fasting. Why do they not proclaim these magnificent commandments to themselves? As we have already said, our opponents are only playing; they are not serious.

Pulling It Together

God has already provided the answer; and it is a splendid solution. So, if anything, people should pray for common sense. God has blessed men and women with the sweet fellowship of marriage and the comfort and peace of the marriage bed. Some religious folks would deprive them of these good gifts. When they cannot abide such deprivation, the command comes to deprive themselves of still more of God’s bounty. Then is the time they should pray for sense.

Prayer: Thank you, God, for all your wondrous gifts. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship Resource (SOWeR) includes a limited selection of music for use in worship, drawing primarily upon texts and music in the public domain, along with biblical texts set to familiar tunes. SOWeR is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. This brochure will answer more questions about SOWeR. Call 1-888-887-9840 to order a yearly subscription. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a812.html Thu, 15 Jun 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

1 Corinthians 7:6–7

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

Nor can any human authority, any law, any vows remove this declaration: “It is better to marry than to burn,” because they cannot remove the nature or concupiscence. Therefore all who burn, retain the right to marry. Paul’s command to avoid fornication by every man having his own wife binds all those who do not truly control themselves. The conscience of each person must decide.

Pulling It Together

Paul does not say here that he wishes all were celibate. Rather, he speaks of his gifting from God’s Spirit to keep himself under control. He would prefer that all were like himself, self-controlled in matters of sexual appetite. But because all are not able to be so disciplined, he commands them to marry. All must decide for themselves whether they have this gift from God.

Prayer: Spirit of the living God, empower me to control myself. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship Resource (SOWeR) includes bulletin templates. There are word processing templates for both communion and non-communion services. There are also templates for Sola, LBW, and Reclaim service settings.

SOWeR is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. This brochure will answer more questions about SOWeR. Call 1-888-887-9840 to order a yearly subscription. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a811.html Wed, 14 Jun 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

1 Corinthians 7:3–5

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

Does not Paul command here that those who do not have the gift of self-control should marry? After all, he interprets himself a little later when he says, “For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion” (1 Cor 7:9). Christ has also clearly stated, “Not all men can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given” (Matt 19:11). Ever since sin entered the world, natural desire and the lust that inflames it have combined. So, there is more need of marriage now than when in a pure nature. Accordingly, Paul speaks of marriage as a remedy, and commands us to marry because of these passions.

Pulling It Together

Since the fall of Adam, the temptation to sin in general has been difficult (Rom 7:19) but the struggle with lust may be at the top of the list. Self-control is a hard habit to master. Consider sins that involve food, drink, anger, pride, and others too numerous to name in this short space. If we have serious trouble with these, imagine our difficulty with sexual appetite. There are some who are able to say “no” but this seems to be a special gift from God (1 Cor 7:7b). If one finds himself or herself in such a predicament, it is better to marry than to burn—physically or eternally (1 Cor 7:9). Paul makes no distinction; his commanding advice is for priests and pastors, as well as the laity.

Prayer: Thank you, God, for the good gifts you have given. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Ambidextrous Christianity is a nine-session Bible Study that explores nine key questions of faith and life, letting our Lord direct us in navigating the narrow path of faith. In studying God's Word with other believers, we seek to grow in our ability to move forward in our journey together, no matter what the road presents.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a810.html Tue, 13 Jun 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

1 Corinthians 7:1–2

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

Thirdly, Paul says to avoid fornication by letting every man have his own wife. This is an explicit command pertaining to all who are not fit for celibacy (1 Cor 7:6-7). Our adversaries demand that we show them a command that commands priests to marry—as though priests are not men! We maintain that whatever pertains to human nature in general also is to be applied to priests.

Pulling It Together

Evidently, the notion of celibacy had been raised with Paul by the Corinthians (see quotation marks in verse one). The apostle gives a conditional response. There are some who have received special graces from God, so that they may be celibate. However, it does not follow that this grace applies to priests. The fact is, that imposing celibacy upon the priesthood has had scandalous results—in our own time and in previous ages. In order to avoid this the apostle urges each man and woman to be married unless especially gifted by God.

Prayer: Lord, be glorified in the marriages of your Church. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

In the Luther Household is a six-session Bible study on the Lutheran understanding of marriage and family. Based on foundational texts from Scripture, the study also draws from the real-life experience of Martin and Katie Luther, who were not only husband and wife, but the parents of several children. It includes excerpts from Luther's personal writings to family and friends as they faced the good and bad that come in everyday living.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a809.html Mon, 12 Jun 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Genesis 1:27–28

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

As we said before, we are not speaking of concupiscence or sinful lust, but about that desire called physical love. Concupiscence has not removed this from human nature, but inflames it, so that there is now a greater need of a remedy. Marriage is necessary not only for the sake of procreation, but also as this remedy. These things are so clear and well established that they are undeniable.

Pulling It Together

Natural love existed between men and women even when their nature was still pure. God told Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1:28), which of course, happens in but one manner. But the fall of humanity due to their sin, only increased the desire of one sex for the other. The requirement foisted upon some people to forgo this drive is unnecessary, for God’s law contains no such command. On the contrary, as mentioned already, his command is not to be fruitless but to to multiply by being fruitful. Faithful, sexual union, is what God commands, not the opposite. This proper desire of one for another is the result of a divine ordinance.

Prayer: Be with all Christian marriages, Lord, granting them grace and fruitfulness. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Este pequeño manual, conocido como El Catecismo Menor de Martín Lutero, ha sido utilizado por los Luteranos durante siglos como una herramienta de enseñanza, especialmente en la instrucción de la confirmación. El pequeño manual pretende dar a los lectores un breve resumen de las enseñanzas de la Biblia, viendo algunos ejemplos de versos bien conocidos por los cristianos, oraciones y elementos de adoración.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a808.html Sat, 13 May 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Genesis 5:1-2

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

Therefore, let us keep in mind what both Scripture teaches and the jurist wisely says: namely, that the union of male and female is a natural right. Furthermore, a natural right is actually a divine right, because it is a rule divinely imprinted on nature. Since this right cannot be changed without an extraordinary work of God, the right to contract marriage necessarily remains. Because the natural desire of one sex for the other is a rule of God in nature, it is a right. Why else would both sexes have been created?

Pulling It Together

In the wisdom of God, there are both male and female, the one for the other. He formed man from “the dust of the ground,” then breathing into him “the breath of life” (Heb 2:7). He formed the woman from the man’s side. They are, by divine design, to be each others companions, helpers, and lovers. In marriage, they become “one flesh” (Gen 2:24), meant to be so singular that even at creation, both male and female are named adam or man. This precious gift of God is a natural right because it is a birthright impressed by God upon human nature.

Prayer: As you draw each into oneness with another, draw your Church into unity with you. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Mark your calendars for the Sola Education Festival to be held on June 9th-10th at Abounding Joy Lutheran (LCMC/NALC), in St. Cloud Minnesota (6000 County Rd 120, St Cloud, MN 56303, 320-217-8784). The event is for pastors, lay leaders, teachers, and any people who work in education ministry.

This event will feature keynote presentations from two of Sola Publishing’s editors, Rev. Mark Ryman and Rev. Steve King, along with a number of workshops led by regional pastors and ministry leaders. There will be product sales tables from Sola Publishing and well as Concordia Publishing House, along with displays from other educational ministries. 

• Click for brochure.   • Registration

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a807.html Fri, 12 May 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Matthew 24:36-39

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

Therefore it is ridiculous for our opponents to prattle on about marriage being commanded in the beginning but not now. This is the same as saying that formerly, people were born with a sex but now they are not. Or, formerly, they were born with a natural right but now they do not have that right. No craftsman could fabricate anything more devious than these absurdities, which were devised to circumvent a right of nature.

Pulling It Together

Eating, drinking, marrying, and other such natural privileges and rights are good; God has blessed these things for our use. Yet a problem occurs when we enjoy (or over-enjoy) these rights without thanks to God. For then, these good things obscure our vision of God; we enjoy them to the extent that we no longer enjoy God. Nevertheless, God has given us these things so that we may be grateful to him and enjoy life. Marriage is a good gift of God and the natural right of all people. No one should rob another of this blessed prerogative, for it is a gift of God.

Prayer: As we await that blessed day, O Lord, give us thankful hearts. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

This six-session Bible study focuses on the Godly vocations of marriage and family. Based on foundational texts from Scripture, the study also draws from the real-life experience of Martin and Katie Luther, husband and wife, and also the parents of several children. The Luther Household includes excerpts from Luther's personal writings to family and friends as they faced the good and bad that come in everyday living.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a806.html Thu, 11 May 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Ephesians 5:25-33

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

Secondly, because this founding or divine ordinance in humanity is a natural right, jurists have wisely and correctly stated that the union of men and women is a natural right. Since natural right is immutable, the right to contract marriage must always continue. Where nature is changeless, that ordinance which God has constructed in nature must not not change, and cannot be removed by human laws.

Pulling It Together

God has built into nature—indeed, into our natures—the union of men and women (Gen 2:24). But this built-in right points to the glory of the regenerated nature that we have in Christ. This new nature’s union with God, or the divine marriage, is found throughout both Testaments. In the New Testament, the marriage of the Bridegroom to his Bride is picked up by the gospel evangelists as well as the writers of the letters. Marriage, that thing which is so natural and common to us, is proclaimed in Scripture as that rarest and most extraordinary relationship. It is not much of a stretch to imagine that the desire for marriage is built into us so that we might yearn for union with God, and so that we may begin to understand the mystery of union with the divine.

Prayer: Strengthen marriages in your Church, Lord, that your Church might ache for you. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Getting to Know Martin Luther is a five-lesson Conformation workbook about Martin Luther's life that will help confirmands get a better glimpse into what faith means for their own lives by searching and understanding the Word of God, trusting in Christ alone for our salvation, standing up for what they believe in, and helping others to learn the truth about God.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a804.html Tue, 02 May 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Genesis 2:18

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

Our opponents’ frivolous arguments say that originally, the commandment was given to replenish the earth, but now that the earth has been replenished, marriage is no longer commanded. See how wise they are! The word of God made the nature of humanity to be fruitful, not only at the beginning of the creation, but as long as our physical nature exists, just as his word makes the earth fruitful. “And God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, upon the earth.” And it was so” (Gen 1:11). Because of this ordinance, the earth did not begin to bring forth plants only in the beginning. The fields are clothed every year as long as this natural order exists. Humans cannot legislate that the nature of the earth be changed, so without a special work of God, the nature of a human being cannot be changed either—by vows or by human law.

Pulling It Together

This is human reason at work again. Scripture says one thing, but we come up with our reasons for not believing what the Word says. Men and women are made for one another; it has been so from the beginning, as God saw fit. He has not changed his mind. We have. No matter how much we argue, no matter how finely we reason, no matter how outraged we become at the word of God, it is still his word. Their argument is with God—not another part of his Church. So we must confess that legislating celibacy is contrary to the word of God—in the beginning and in the present. One either believes the word of God, or not. The Lord will sort out the rest. 

Prayer: Keep me steadfast in your word, Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Mark your calendars for the Sola Education Festival to be held on June 9th-10th at Abounding Joy Lutheran (LCMC/NALC), in St. Cloud Minnesota (6000 County Rd 120, St Cloud, MN 56303, 320-217-8784). The event is for pastors, lay leaders, teachers, and any people who work in education ministry.

This event will feature keynote presentations from two of Sola Publishing’s editors, Rev. Mark Ryman and Rev. Steve King, along with a number of workshops led by regional pastors and ministry leaders. There will be product sales tables from Sola Publishing and well as Concordia Publishing House, along with displays from other educational ministries. 

• Click for brochure.   • Registration

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a803.html Mon, 01 May 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Genesis 1:27–28

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

First, Genesis 1:28 teaches that people were created to be fruitful, and that one sex should should properly desire the other. We are not speaking of lust, which is sin, but of what is called physical love, that desire which was to have been uncorrupted in nature. This love of one sex for the other is truly a divine ordinance. Since this is an ordinance of God, it cannot be removed without an extraordinary work of God. So, it follows that the right to contract marriage cannot be removed by statutes or vows.

Pulling It Together

“Reason cannot establish anything sure about God” (Luther’s Works, vol. 1, Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999, 70). But if we rely upon what is written, if we look to Scripture for our answers, we see quite clearly that God created men and women for the purposes of partnership and filling the earth with people. Neither reason nor religion nullifies the rule of God. One person or group may not legislate over another, at any point in life, whether or not he or she may marry. 

Prayer: Make me fruitful for your kingdom, Lord, and faithful to whom I am given. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Holy Families! is an initiative of the North American Lutheran Church provided through a generous grant from the Thrivent Foundation, in honor of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation (1517 AD to 2017 AD). Produced by Sola Publishing, this special initiative includes a number of Lutheran discipleship resources for families and congregations, including Daily Family Prayer Resources, Parent Pages, Faith Formation downloadable pages for children/families, Educational Videos, Parents' Video/Discussion Series on Faith Formation, Reformation Bible Study: In the Luther Household

Holy Families! is also on the free Sola App for Android and Apple

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a802.html Fri, 21 Apr 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

2 Peter 2:1–3

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

Their defense of celibacy is not a serious one. For they are not ignorant of how few there are who actually practice chastity, but they use religion to implement their authority, which they think that celibacy assists. Now we understand just how right Peter’s admonition was, that there will be false teachers who will deceive people with heresies (2 Pet 2:1). Our opponents do not say, write, or do anything honestly, frankly, or candidly in this whole concern. They merely dispute about their authority, falsely thinking it is in jeopardy. So, they try to fortify it with a wicked pretense of piety.

Pulling It Together

Some people just have to be right—even at the expense of being very wrong. Cultures—whether religious or political—never seem to change in this regard. And it seems that they always end up defending their positions with personal attacks. This, of course, sidetracks the actual discussion. When it gets personal—as it was in the days of the Reformers, and as it is today—discussions never get to the heart of the issue. Nothing gets resolved. That way, the mudslingers can go on insisting that they are right. This also, usually keeps them in power. That is the point, is it not? 

Prayer: Give me wisdom and patience, Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Holy Families! is an initiative of the North American Lutheran Church provided through a generous grant from the Thrivent Foundation, in honor of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation (1517 AD to 2017 AD). Produced by Sola Publishing, this special initiative includes a number of Lutheran discipleship resources for families and congregations, including Daily Family Prayer Resources, Parent Pages, Faith Formation downloadable pages for children/families, Educational Videos, Parents' Video/Discussion Series on Faith Formation, Reformation Bible Study: In the Luther Household

Holy Families! is also on the free Sola App for Android and Apple

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a801.html Tue, 18 Apr 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

John 15:18–20

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

To you, most excellent and chaste Emperor, they propose such laws—that no barbarity, however monstrous and cruel, would consider. Because your character is not stained by disgrace or cruelty, we hope that you will deal with us charitably in this matter, especially when you have learned that we have the gravest reasons for our position, derived from the Word of God, which the adversaries oppose with the most trifling and vain opinions.

Pulling It Together

There it is; that is the problem. When we base our positions on traditions, we end up with opinions. When our beliefs come from God’s Word, how can we do anything but oppose human opinions that are contrary to his Word? Sola Scriptura—Scripture alone—being one of the pillars of Reformation thought, helps us remember that we do not interpret Scripture with tradition, nor do we develop doctrine based upon tradition. Lutherans—indeed, Christians—are to use Scripture to interpret Scripture, and to understand life. Scripture must be our worldview. It will make us seem strange to some, and the world will likely hate us, but we will have done as our Lord instructs us, firmly taking our stand in faith through the Word of God (1 Cor 16:13). You can take no stronger stance, as Luther stated at the Diet of Worms in 1521, “A simple layman armed with Scripture is greater than the mightiest pope without it.”

Prayer: Give me the insight and the courage, O Lord, to take my stand in your Word. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Holy Families! is an initiative of the North American Lutheran Church provided through a generous grant from the Thrivent Foundation, in honor of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation (1517 AD to 2017 AD). Produced by Sola Publishing, this special initiative includes a number of Lutheran discipleship resources for families and congregations, including Daily Family Prayer Resources, Parent Pages, Faith Formation downloadable pages for children/families, Educational Videos, Parents' Video/Discussion Series on Faith Formation, Reformation Bible Study: In the Luther Household

Holy Families! is also on the free Sola App for Android and Apple

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a800.html Mon, 17 Apr 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Ephesians 5:31–32

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

They ask you to defend their lusts with your chaste right hand, Emperor Charles—whom even some ancient predictions call the king of modest face, as the saying appears concerning you: “One modest in face shall reign everywhere.” Contrary to divine law, the law of nations, and the canons of councils, they ask that you sunder marriages. They ask this in order to inflict terrible punishments upon innocent men, execute priests—whom even barbarians reverently spare—and drive into exile banished women and fatherless children, just because they are married.

Pulling It Together

It is an irony. One would think that priests would be the ones to marry. After all, Paul tells us that marriage is a symbol of the relationship that Christ has with his Church. The Revelator also tells us of the marriage of Christ and his Church (Rev 19:7, 8; 21:2, 9; 22:17). In fact, this metaphor is found in many places in both the Old and New Testaments. If marriage is such a powerful image of the relationship between God and his people, one would think that his priests would be the very ones to marry, so that they could demonstrate what this holy state looks like. It is ironic, therefore, that priests would live the opposite of what God knows to be such a compelling lifestyle. Furthermore, why would they chastise and even condemn those who follow the Lord’s own example?

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your perfect devotion to me. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Dwell In My Love! - Word of Life Series (Unit 3) is a resource for those looking to develop small groups built around the Word of God. This model of small-group ministry is an excellent tool for evangelism since it is rooted in prayer and Scripture. Its primary focus is to empower those who believe in Jesus Christ to be comfortable sharing their faith and inviting others to experience a transformed life in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Meant for use in Small Group gathering, each of the six sessions is based on a primary Scripture text, with intentional time for reflection. There are questions, prayer, faith sharing, and mini evangelism case-studies. The series would be helpful for those involved in starting a Bible study fellowship, house church, or mission congregation. It can also be used by established congregations to aid in establishing a small group ministry.

• Unit 1   • Unit 2   • Unit 3

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a797.html Sat, 15 Apr 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

1 Corinthians 7:7–9

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

What greater shamelessness has ever been read about in all of history than that of our opponents? We will review their arguments soon. First, let the wise reader consider the brazenness of these good-for-nothings who say that marriages bring dishonor and disgrace to the government—as though the public infamy of the criminal and unnatural lusts which glow among these “holy fathers,” who feign that they are Curii and live like Bacchanals, were a great ornament to the Church. Most of the things that these men do with the greatest license cannot even be mentioned without a breach of modesty.

Pulling It Together

One cannot put on an alb and cincture, yet live like an unbound infidel, and think that putting on an extra robe will cover the hypocrisy. More laws and traditions are not needed. It is the Word of God that is necessary; it addresses the problem. The question here is not the virtue of government, or the control of priests and pastors. The real issue is the piety of God’s people. Restricting marriage is hardly the solution for holiness, as the Apostle Paul attests. If one is like the apostle, able to remain unmarried, he or she may devote life to the Lord’s service (1 Cor 7:33–34). But Paul never meant this to be a control over people (1 Cor 7:35), as though this made them holy. Indeed, he teaches to the contrary (1 Cor 7:14).

Prayer: Lord, strengthen Christian marriages and use them to bring unbelievers to faith. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Come and See - Word of Life Series (Unit 1) is a resource for those looking to develop small groups built around the Word of God. This model of small-group ministry is an excellent tool for evangelism since it is rooted in prayer and Scripture. Its primary focus is to empower those who believe in Jesus Christ to be comfortable sharing their faith and inviting others to experience a transformed life in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

• Unit 1   • Unit 2   • Unit 3

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a796.html Fri, 14 Apr 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Isaiah 47:10

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

Despite the terrible infamy of their defiled celibacy, our opponents not only have the wicked and false presumption of using the divine name in defending pontifical law, but even to exhort the Emperor and princes to not permit the disgrace and infamy of the Roman Empire by tolerating the marriage of priests. These are their words.

Pulling It Together

The authors of the Roman Confutation acted as if the shameful lives of so many priests were of little concern compared to the issue of priests being permitted to marry. The writers of the Confutation insisted that the shame and indignity of a whole empire lay in the law of celibacy among their priests. Yet the letter of their law was all that concerned them. For priests took wives in secret and shamelessly took their young charges as well, as was well-known among the people. Their shameful lives, not the marriage of priests, is what brought great dishonor to the Church of Christ—never mind the empire.

Prayer: Help me live my life, knowing that all hearts are open before you and that none of my secrets are hidden. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

In Harmony with the Word is an eight-session Bible Study focusing on Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, from Matthew 5-7. It is written at an introductory level, to be led by a lay leader or pastor in a small-group question and discussion format. The study would serve as an excellent resource for monthly women's group meetings, or in an informal small-group setting.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a795.html Thu, 13 Apr 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Ezekiel 7:25–26

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Both Kinds in the Lord’s Supper 

Further, we do not assume that the Church immediately agrees with or approves of whatever the pontiffs determine, especially since Scripture prophesies concerning bishops and pastors to this effect, as in Ezekiel, who says, “The Law perishes from the priest” (Ezek 7:26).

Pulling It Together

There have always been and still are priests, popes, pastors, and bishops who will have nothing to do with the commands and law of God. Scripture is not their guide; indeed, they teach the people that some verses of the Bible are true, while others are fairy tales. In short, they are their own rule of faith and would have others live by their word instead of by God’s word.

Congregations should not be measured by their false teachings—unless, knowing better, they follow these heresies. The words of Christ must be our standard of faith and practice, even if traditions and the opinions of men must be condemned.

Prayer: Give me your strength, Holy Spirit, so that I may live by your word of truth. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Back issues of Connections magazine are available. So are new subscriptions!

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a794.html Wed, 12 Apr 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Mark 7:8, 13

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Both Kinds in the Lord’s Supper 

Even if we presume the freedom to use one part or both, how can the prohibition of one kind be defended? The Church cannot take the liberty of turning the ordinances of Christ into matters of indifference. Yet we excuse the Church, which has borne the injury since it could not obtain both parts. However, we condemn those who maintain in their writings that the use of the entire Sacrament is justly prohibited, those who not only prohibit, but even excommunicate and violently persecute those using the entire Sacrament. Let them determine how they will give an account to God for their decisions.

Pulling It Together

Christ’s command cannot get much clearer than, “Take; eat,” and “Drink of it, all of you.” He did not suggest a choice of courses. It is not a matter of whether one likes the taste of either bread or wine. Nor is it a matter of class of people, or care of the carpet. It is simply a matter of command. What did Christ say? Thus, it is not a question of what tradition a church holds to, or what their pastor thinks about the Lord’s Supper. It has always been and remains his meal, that is received in the way he instituted.

Imagine Christ handing the cup to any believer and the pastor stepping between Christ and that person, insisting, “Nope! None for her, sir. She’s no one special.” Quite the contrary; she is a person for whom Christ shed his blood, and the cup is meant for her. The poor consciences of sinners should not be deprived from either course in God’s holy meal.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your gracious commands. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

New Sola electronic greeting cards for Holy Week and Easter have been added to the free Sola app. Download it today and send some e-cards! • Android  • Apple  This free, mobile app also includes a searchable ESV Bible, the Sola Small Catechism, Sola Devotions, Sola products, the Sola Online Worship eResource, and more.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a793.html Fri, 31 Mar 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

1 Corinthians 11:23–25

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Both Kinds in the Lord’s Supper 

They also claim that there is a danger of spilling and other things which do not have sufficient force to alter the ordinance of Christ.

Pulling It Together

I am always impressed by the steady hands of those who pour from a chalice into a small, individual communion cups. I am no less impressed by those who can hold the cup to the lips without spilling, and for those lips to receive without dribbling. I suppose they do at times, over the years, spill some wine. If they did, would that change Christ’s instruction to give the cup to all? For what reason would it ever be proper to change the ordinance of Christ? The Apostle Paul hands down to us exactly what Christ instituted. Lutherans pass on the same without altering the Lord’s instructions for any reason.

Prayer: Thank you, Living Bread, for your resolve to shed your blood for the life of the world.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

In the Luther Household is a six-session Bible study on the Lutheran understanding of marriage and family. Based on foundational texts from Scripture, the study also draws from the real-life experience of Martin and Katie Luther, who were not only husband and wife, but the parents of several children. It includes excerpts from Luther's personal writings to family and friends as they faced the good and bad that come in everyday living.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a792.html Thu, 30 Mar 17 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

1 Timothy 3:1

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Both Kinds in the Lord’s Supper 

If they withhold the cup in order to distinguish orders, this very thing ought to keep us from any agreement with our opponents—though we might otherwise be inclined toward their custom. There are other distinguishing marks between the orders of priests and laity, but why they defend this distinction so earnestly is no mystery. We will not say more concerning their wily purposes, so as not to give the impression that we are detracting from the true worth of the order.

Pulling It Together

Whether one takes 1 Timothy 3:1 as referring to bishops, pastors, or elders, it is clear that the office of overseer is a noble one. Therefore, when someone in this office teaches bad doctrine, especially in order to promote self, it sullies the office—not merely the person in the office. Therefore, the focus of the Lord’s Supper should not be the office of the minister, but of Christ alone. With him as our focus, we easily see that there are indeed offices or orders in Christ’s Church but that we “are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28). 

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for giving your body and shedding your blood—even for me. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

A Reading and Discussion of the Augsburg Confession is written in easy-to-understand language but is a challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, each presented in a question and discussion format. Click here to see the Table of Contents and a sample session.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a791.html Fri, 24 Mar 17 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Matthew 26:26–28

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Both Kinds in the Lord’s Supper 

In the judgment of God, will the reasons that he cites excuse those who prohibit a part of the Sacrament, and who rage against people using the entire Sacrament?

Pulling It Together

All of God’s people are to be given both kinds in the Lord’s Supper—both the bread and the wine, his body and his blood. The reason for this usage is simply this: the Lord himself commands this practice for the forgiveness of sins. “Take, eat...drink of it, all of you.” May God’s mercy extend to those who forbid and withhold the cup that Christ so clearly offers to all who believe.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for pouring out the new covenant upon all believers. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Confirmation Series, written by the Rev. Steven E. King, is basic work-book style Confirmation curriculum. It is designed to serve as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism.  Each book in the series can be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. 

The Apostles' Creed book is a ten-week unit, with one session on the Trinity and three sessions on each article of the Creed.  The Bible Study lessons in the Creed series provide an overview of creation-redemption themes in Scripture, driving toward the promise of God at work in our present lives. Click here to see the introductory pages and a sample of session one.

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a790.html Thu, 23 Mar 17 00:00:00 -0500

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Matthew 4:1–4

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Both Kinds in the Lord’s Supper 

This is the word of a tyrant. Why should they be content? “Don’t ask for a reason, but allow as law whatever the theologians say.” This is a concoction of Eck. We recognize those prideful words. If we wished to respond, there would be no want of words. For you see how great his impudence is. He commands like a tyrant in the tragedies: “Whether they like it or not, they must be satisfied!”

Pulling It Together

Just because someone wants it to be a certain way, does not make it so. If someone commands authority, this does not necessarily make his demands right. The dictates of an entire culture do not stamp a matter with divine approval. So we must ask again and again: Have we exceeded “what is written” (1 Cor 4:6)? This was the modus operandi of Christ himself. “It is written!” Jesus thwarted the designs of the devil with this practice. Sola Scriptura must be our banner as well. Having the Word of God as our authority, we should never collapse under the weight of culture, tradition, or human authority.

Prayer: Help me to live in your word, Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Confirmation Series, written by the Rev. Steven E. King, is basic work-book style Confirmation curriculum. It is designed to serve as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism.  Each book in the series can be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. 

The Ten Commandments book is a ten-week unit, which includes one session on each of the Commandments. The Scripture focus in the Ten Commandment series is on Moses and the Exodus Cycle, with Bible Study lessons taken primarily from the Pentateuch.

• Student Workbook     • Leader's Guide

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a789.html Mon, 20 Mar 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Psalm 23:5

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Both Kinds in the Lord’s Supper 

The Sacrament was instituted to console and comfort terrified minds, when they believe that Christ’s flesh is food, given for the life of the world, and that they are made alive by being joined to Christ. Our adversaries argue that the laity is kept from one kind as a punishment. They say, “They ought to be content.”

Pulling It Together

If we are to seek first the kingdom of God (Matt 6:33), what is it that we should desire? The simplest answer is that we should seek Christ. The kingdom is God’s, so it is God whom we should want with all our hearts. There are ways that we may seek him, but there is one way that Christ himself established. God has prepared a table for us, spread in the presence of our enemies (Psa 23:5). We may as well say that it is spread in the presence of sin, death, and the devil. There, at his table, Christ satisfies the thirsty soul who hungers and thirsts for righteousness (Matt 5:6). There, in the giving of himself—his flesh and blood—is grace and forgiveness of sins. We should not be content with only a portion of the table that Christ has spread for us—denying ourselves of what he has prepared for us. Our cups overflow; drink!

Prayer: Thank you, Shepherd of my soul, for the benefit of your body and blood. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Kinderbeten is a compelling story touching on the exercise of free religion, the religious wars in Europe, the roots of Evangelicalism, the supernatural, and more, all wrapped up in a religious revival which began not through a charismatic revivalist or any adult at all, but rather found it's origin with children aged four to fourteen. The children became pawns in a controversy between political and religious opponents. Indulge your curiosity and read the remarkable story about the King of Sweden and the 1707-08 Children's Revival in Silesia, a tale of hope and prayer.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a788.html Fri, 17 Mar 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

1 Peter 2:9–10

Concerning Both Kinds in the Lord’s Supper 

They also cite in the Confutation that the sons of Eli, after the loss of the high-priesthood, were to seek the one part pertaining to the priests (1 Sam 2:36). They say that this indicates the use of one kind, and add: “Therefore, our laity should be content with that one part offered by the priests, that is, with one kind.” Our opponents are clearly trifling when they apply the story of Eli’s posterity to the Sacrament. Eli’s punishment is described in that narrative. Do they mean to say that the laity is being punished by taking away one kind?

Pulling It Together

Even if we were to allow such a faulty example, we would need to deal with the priesthood of all believers, and that we are all one in Christ (1 Pet 2:5, 9; Gal 3:28). Lutherans confess that there is no class difference in the Church; all are priests before the Lord. So, let us imagine that, for a time, only one kind was to be allowed to the laity while both kinds permitted for priests. Since all believers are now priests under the new covenant in Christ’s blood, all would therefore receive both kinds. This is a far better analogy from Scripture than the foolish comparison to Eli’s sons.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for giving me direct access to you and to all of your benefits. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Written in 1521, Martin Luther's Commentary on the Magnificat is a spiritual classic with a timeless message: soli deo gloria — to God alone be the glory. Johann Sebastian Bach wrote his musical masterpiece, Magnificat, during his first year as Kantor of the Church of St. Thomas in Leipzig. Luther and Bach on the Magnificat interprets the timeless message of the Magnificat in a unique and inspirational word and music study experience that can be enjoyed year after year by individuals and congregations alike.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a787.html Thu, 16 Mar 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

1 Corinthians 10:16

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Both Kinds in the Lord’s Supper 

They also refer to “Lay Communion.” Yet this is not a reference to the mere use of one kind, but a denial of both. For whenever priests are commanded to use Lay Communion, it means that they have been removed from the ministry of consecration. The adversaries are not ignorant of this, but they abuse the ignorance of the uneducated, who, when they hear of Lay Communion, immediately think of the custom of our time, that only a part of the Sacrament is given to the laity.

Consider their impudence. Recounting reasons why both parts are not given, Gabriel says that a distinction should be made between laity and clergy. That this is the chief reason why the refusal of one part is defended, is beyond question. In this way, the status of the clergy is more highly exalted through a religious rite. To put it mildly, this is a human design, and its purpose is obvious.

Pulling It Together

Who is elevated or remembered in such a distinction between clergy and laity? Is it Christ? Or is it the clergy who are given the greater dignity? If we place our entire focus upon Jesus, we will remember that he gave us his body, and shed for us his blood—that all might participate by drinking from that cup of Christ’s own blood. And so, we do both, breaking bread and blessing cup together, in remembrance of what he instituted among us. In doing so, we enjoy the forgiveness of sins. May it never be that we withhold this great benefit of the faith because of class distinction. .

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for including me in your gift of grace. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Personalities of Faith is a ten-session Bible study for youth. The goal of the series is to encourage young people to commit themselves to follow Jesus in discipleship by becoming "personalities of faith." By showing biblical examples of people who have followed—or failed to follow—God's call, participants will be prepared to better follow the Lord in their own lives.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a786.html Wed, 15 Mar 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Luke 24:30–35

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Both Kinds in the Lord’s Supper 

They imagine that, in the beginning of the Church, it was the custom in some places that only one part was administered. Nevertheless they are not able to produce any ancient example of this practice. They cite the passages that mention bread, as in Luke 24:35, where it is written that the disciples recognized Christ in the breaking of bread. They also quote other passages concerning the breaking of bread. Although we do not seriously object if some interpret these passages as referring to the Sacrament, yet it does not follow that only one kind was given, since, according to the ordinary usage of language, the naming of one signifies the other.

Pulling It Together

When we speak of breaking bread, we mean that we take the time to enjoy a meal. In the Church, this may simply refer to a fellowship meal. Yet, in certain Scriptures it could be understood as being something more than a potluck: perhaps a common meal during which Holy Communion was received. Some interpret “the breaking of bread” in the New Testament as being the Lord’s Supper if it was done on the Lord’s Day. This still follows the meaning of having a meal together, but in this case that gracious sustenance is Holy Communion. 

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for helping me remember you in the receiving of your body and blood. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

We Still Believe is a Bible study resource reflecting on key themes in biblical Lutheran doctrine that are at risk in the Church today. It is offered in the hope that it will inspire individuals and congregations to examine the core beliefs of traditional Lutheranism and how these beliefs apply to our own present context. Written in a question and discussion style by Pastor Steven King, the participant's book includes an introduction to and copy of the faith statement known as the Common Confession.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a785.html Tue, 14 Mar 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Luke 22:19–20

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Both Kinds in the Lord’s Supper 

The adversaries do not endeavor in their Confutation to explain to the Church why one part of the Sacrament has been denied them. Good, religious men ought to have provided a strong reason for denying the Church, instructing those consciences to whom only a part of the Sacrament could be granted. These very men maintain that it is right to prohibit one kind, and forbid the allowance of both kinds.

Pulling It Together

In the institution of the Lord’s Supper, Jesus does not mention the bitter herbs or the sweet charoset or other elements of the Passover meal. He calls attention to those new courses in his meal that the Church is to remember. He does not spotlight two courses of matzo, but the one bread—his body “given for you.” Nor does he mention the four cups of deliverance, but only the one cup of deliverance—the new covenant in his blood. He has instructed us to remember him as we partake of both the bread and the wine.

Prayer: Thank you for the new covenant, sealed with your blood. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

A Latin phrase meaning “Scripture Alone,” Sola Scriptura is one of the traditional Lutheran slogans used since the time of the Reformation. It expresses our confession that Scripture is “the only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be appraised and judged.” Using the familiar phrase as its title, Sola Scriptura is a new, advanced-level Bible Study in a two-part series, of six chapters each, on the functional authority of Scripture. For those who would like to cover the topic in detail, there is enough material to cover one chapter in two sessions, making each part a 12-week study.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a784.html Mon, 13 Mar 17 00:00:00 -0500

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Mark 14:22–24

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Both Kinds in the Lord’s Supper 

It is evident, therefore, that the whole Sacrament was instituted for the entire Church. The practice remains in the Greek churches, and also once prevailed in the Latin churches, as Cyprian and Jerome testify. Jerome says in his commentary on Zephaniah: “The priests who administer the Eucharist and distribute the Lord’s blood to the people,” etc. The Council of Toledo gives the same testimony. Nor would it be difficult to accumulate a great multitude of testimonies. We exaggerate nothing here, but leave it to the prudent reader to determine what should be believed concerning a divine ordinance.

Pulling It Together

The blood of Christ is “poured out for many.” This word “many” means for the multitude or for the whole gathering. This was the institution of Christ and the practice of the early Church. It remained the custom of the churches in the East and West for hundreds of years. Christ’s intentions are clear enough. Let us follow him.

Prayer: Thank you Lord, for sustaining me with your body and blood. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? is a six-week Bible Study that examines the most profound event of salvation history — the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ — exploring from a biblical perspective what is known as the doctrine of the Atonement.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a783.html Fri, 10 Mar 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  There is no recording of today's Sola Devotion. Please check later. 

1 Corinthians 11:27–29

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Both Kinds in the Lord’s Supper 

Paul says that he passed on what he had received from the Lord (1 Cor 11:23). But the text clearly shows that he had delivered the use of both kinds. “This do,” he says first, concerning his body. Afterwards, he repeats the same words concerning the cup. And then he says, “Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.” These are the words of him who established the Sacrament, saying previously that those who will use the Lord’s Supper should use both kinds.

Pulling It Together

We usually read this passage of Scripture, thinking about how we ought to confess our sins before receiving Holy Communion. This is proper. Indeed, it is necessary, as Paul teaches. But we also clearly see here that the early Church—not just Jesus’ disciples—received both elements of the Lord’s Supper. Everyone received bread; all received wine. Why? The simple reason Paul gives is, that is the way the Lord established it, so that is what the apostle passed on to the Church.

Prayer: Help me, Holy Spirit, to confess my sins and truly believe that I am forgiven, so that I may eat and drink in a worthy manner. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Not My Will, But Yours is a six-week study that explores the topic of the “free will” from a biblical perspective, looking at what Scripture has to say about the bondage of the human will, and how Jesus Christ has come to deliver us from ourselves.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a782.html Thu, 09 Mar 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image & original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  There is no recording of today's Sola Devotion. Please check later. 

1 Corinthians 11:23–26

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Both Kinds in the Lord’s Supper 

Now, if Christ has established his meal for the entire Church, why is one kind denied to a part of the Church? Why is the use of the other part prohibited? Why is the directive of Christ changed—especially when he himself calls it his testament? If it is illegal to annul man’s testament, how is it allowable to overturn the testament of Christ?

Pulling It Together

Luther frequently taught that “the Words of Institution are the ‘gospel in a nutshell’” (Luther’s Works, vol 53, p 59). “Take and eat; this is my body, given for you... Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it for all to drink...for the forgiveness of sin.” This is a summary of the gospel because it shows that in Holy Communion we receive the forgiveness of sins. Sinners receive God’s grace for Christ’s sake. That is the gospel.

Lutherans do no alter Christ’s institution, for in so doing, we would change the very message of the gospel. Christ gave his body and shed his blood for all. So, the bread is given to all, and the cup is given to all. This is done so that all may receive God’s grace as Christ intended.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for the forgiveness of sin, through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

   

Written in honor of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, The Life of Martin Luthera nine-session adult study, takes participants through the circumstances and events of the life of Martin Luther as it reflects on the biblical themes underlying the Lutheran Reformation. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a781.html Wed, 08 Mar 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion.

John 6:53–56

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Both Kinds in the Lord’s Supper 

It cannot be doubted that the use of both parts in the Lord’s Supper is godly and in accord with the institution of Christ and the words of Paul. For Christ instituted both parts, not doing so for part of the Church but for the entire Church. The whole Church uses the Sacrament—not only the priests—and this, by the authority of Christ, not by human authority, as we suppose the adversaries acknowledge.

Pulling It Together

Jesus cannot be more clear. One must partake of both his body and blood in order to have new life in Christ. To eat and drink of the Sacrament is a holy communion with Christ himself. In the Lord’s Supper, we receive the grace to continue in the faith—to abide in him. Further, he promises to abide in us. We rob ourselves of “grace upon grace,” (John 1:16) of continuing in him, when we do not partake in his fullness. It is the one who both eats and drinks who remains in Christ, and in whom Christ abides.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your enduring grace. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

This six-session Bible study focuses on the Godly vocations of marriage and family. Based on foundational texts from Scripture, the study also draws from the real-life experience of Martin and Katie Luther, husband and wife, and also the parents of several children. The Luther Household includes excerpts from Luther's personal writings to family and friends as they faced the good and bad that come in everyday living.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a779.html Tue, 07 Mar 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion.

Proverbs 20:28

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Invocation of Saints 

Therefore, most excellent Emperor Charles, for the sake of the glory of Christ, which we have no doubt that you desire to praise and magnify, we urge you not to assent to the violent counsels of our adversaries, but to seek other honorable ways of establishing harmony, so that godly consciences are not burdened, and that no cruelty is exercised against innocent people as we have seen before, and that sound doctrine is not suppressed in the Church. To God, most of all, you have the duty to maintain sound doctrine, and to hand it down to the next generation, and to defend those who teach what is right. God demands this when he honors kings with his own name and calls them gods: “I say, ‘You are gods’” (Psa 82:6). Kings should attend to the preservation and propagation of divine things on earth—namely the Gospel of Christ—and as vicars of God, they should defend the life and safety of the innocent.

Pulling It Together

The Augsburg Confession and its Apology, or defense, urged the emperor to find a way to maintain harmony in the empire. The point of such concord was that orthodoxy could prevail in the churches and that people be protected from those who wished otherwise. The Lutherans maintained that this was the emperor’s responsibility, that his rule was maintained by God and so, he owed it to God to rule righteously.

The purpose of government is to maintain God’s will on earth. Specifically, our leaders are to do two things: maintain the faith and protect the people. They stretch their responsibility when they move beyond this two-fold charge. Let them do these things well, and they will have enough to do.

Prayer: Help our leaders and me, Holy Spirit, to turn from evil and do good, to seek peace and pursue it. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

  

Click any of the covers for these new overviews of the
Old and New Testaments, with separate Leader's Guides.

  

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a778.html Fri, 17 Feb 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion.

1 Corinthians 4:1–6

From the Confessions: The Athanasian Creed

Although he is God and man, he is not divided, but is one Christ. He is united because God has taken humanity into himself; he does not transform deity into humanity. He is completely one in the unity of his person, without confusing his natures. For as the rational soul and body are one person, so the one Christ is God and man.

Pulling It Together

How can we begin to understand through human reasoning the dual nature of Christ? We cannot wrap our minds around it, though perhaps a little more easily than we can think on the Trinity itself. Jesus is man and divinity at once. This is what Scripture attests and we would do well to leave it there. So, what does the Word say? What is written?

“The Word became flesh” (John 1:14). “In [Christ] the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Col 2:9). “Though he was in the form of God...born in the likeness of men” (Phil 2:7). “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same...” (Heb 2:14).

The Son of God took human body but remained God. His divinity remained though he was clothed in flesh. He did not set aside his divinity to become a man for a time. He was and is both divine and human. He is forever God and man, sitting at the father's right hand and reigning triumphant over sin and death. There is not a part of him that is human and another part that is God, as though he were oil and water in the same glass. His two natures are completely unified in the one person, Jesus Christ. Jesus is a whole person like us, having a body, soul, and spirit. Yet, at the same time, he is the divine Word of God, or Logos (John 1:1). He is not two beings, a god and a man somehow in a kind of symbiosis. Nor is he some kind of compound or complex organism, made by the joining of two beings, but no longer quite human or divine as a the result. We confess that he is God and man, undivided, one Christ. 

Prayer: Fill me with your grace, O God, that throughout this day I may delight in your praise through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen. 

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

This edition of the Luther's Small Catechism is specifically designed to go with the Sola Confirmation Series. The 2010 Sola/ReClaim Edition* is a faithful word-for-word translation from Luther's German Catechism. It also includes the section on the Office of the Keys, added later to Luther's Catechism.

This pocket edition features quotations from the English Standard Version (ESV) of Scripture, and the traditional ICET liturgical texts (as used in the Lutheran Book of Worship). The primary verses of Scripture, Creed, and Prayers are printed in italics; Luther’s explanations are printed in plain text. Luther’s explanations are formatted with a mid-sentence break, to highlight contrasting phrases and to aid in memorization.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a777.html Thu, 16 Feb 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion.

Colossians 2:8–15

From the Confessions: The Athanasian Creed

It is necessary for eternal salvation that one also faithfully believe that Jesus Christ became flesh. For this is the true faith that we believe and confess: That our Lord Jesus Christ, God's Son, is both God and man. He is God, begotten before all worlds from the being of the Father, and he is man, born in the world from the being of his mother—existing fully as God, and fully as man with a rational soul and a human body; equal to the Father in divinity, subordinate to the Father in humanity.

Pulling It Together

The issue of the Athanasian Creed is not only that we rightly understand the Trinity of God but that we correctly understand the dual nature of Jesus Christ. If one believes that a man named Jesus died for her outside of an ancient city thousands of years ago, but believes that he was simply a man, then it profits her nothing. For no man can die for another and it pay his sin debt (Rom 6:23) to God. It is necessary to believe that the man Jesus was God in the flesh—otherwise you miss the point of it all.

Because Jesus was conceived by the Spirit, not by a man, he was able to live a perfect life, never sinning as we do. Nor was he corrupted by original sin, passed on to the rest of us through Adam's transgression (Rom 5:12). Therefore, being perfectly guiltless, he became an acceptable sacrifice to God for the sins of the world. His human blood was necessary for redemption, as under the law, the shedding of innocent blood is required for the forgiveness of sin (Heb 9:22). But only as God was Jesus able to redeem the sin of everyone (not just his own, which was unnecessary at any rate since he was sinless), so long as he satisfied his law too. Being both man and God, he satisfied the demand of the law and his desire for grace toward us. Though he was fully God, as man, Jesus submitted to the will of his Father (Matt 6:10; Luke 22:42), dying for us as only he could do.

Prayer: Thank you, God, for canceling my record of debt, nailing it to the cross. Amen. 

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Sola’s Confirmation workbook, The Lord's Prayer, is designed to be a small group Bible study, student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a776.html Wed, 15 Feb 17 00:00:00 -0600

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion.

1 Corinthians 1:18–21

From the Confessions: The Athanasian Creed

The Father was neither made nor created nor begotten; the Son was neither made nor created, but was alone begotten of the Father; the Spirit was neither made nor created, but is proceeding from the Father and the Son. Thus there is one Father, not three fathers; one Son, not three sons; one Holy Spirit, not three spirits. And in this Trinity, no one is before or after, greater or less than the other; but all three persons are in themselves, coeternal and coequal; and so we must worship the Trinity in unity and the One God in three persons. Whoever wants to be saved should think thus about the Trinity.

Pulling It Together

Notice how the creed repeats itself. As Paul says, repetition is good for us (Phil 3:1). We need to hear the difficult teachings many times before we begin to understand. So we hear again that each of the three Persons of the Trinity are uncreated. This time, it is refined a bit, just to be sure we do not mistake the meaning. There are not three fathers, or three sons, or three spirits. There are one of each and those three are one God. Next we hear a very valuable, direct statement in the creed. No doubt this statement is present because people wondered about “begottenness” and procession. Did these words in the Nicene Creed indicate that the Father was first and the Son and the Spirit came after him? The Athanasian Creed makes it very clear: “in this Trinity none is before or after other.” But is the Father somehow greater than his Son, the Spirit less than the Father and Son from whom he proceeds? “None is greater or less than another.” The oneness of the Trinity is to be worshiped because this is God. And each of the three in the Unity is to be worshiped, for each is God.

The final sentence for our consideration today is surely in reference to those who hold to the heresies that the creed addresses. Certainly, God alone will judge persons but they would be wise to know who God is, if they would depend upon him. It is not that one must say “amen” to the Athanasian Creed in order to be saved. Faith in the God whom the creed names, however—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—is very necessary to salvation.

Prayer: Lord of heaven and earth, enlighten my understanding of you. Amen. 

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

We Still Believe is a Bible study resource reflecting on key themes in biblical Lutheran doctrine that are at risk in the Church today. It is offered in the hope that it will inspire individuals and congregations to examine the core beliefs of traditional Lutheranism and how these beliefs apply to our own present context. Written in a question and discussion style by Pastor Steven King, the participant's book includes an introduction to and copy of the faith statement known as the Common Confession.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a774.html Fri, 10 Feb 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion.

Ephesians 4:1–3

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Invocation of Saints 

Many signs indicate that they have little concern for the state of the Church. They take no pains to provide for people a summary of the Church’s teachings. They defend obvious abuses with new and unusual cruelty. They will not permit suitable teachers in the churches. Doing things in this way is not in their interest or the Church’s, and decent people may easily judge the outcome. For after the good teachers have been killed and sound doctrine suppressed, fanatical spirits will rise up, whom the adversaries will not be able to restrain. They will disturb the Church with godless teaching, and will overthrow the whole government of the church, which we greatly desire to maintain.

Pulling It Together

The unity of Christ’s Church depends upon the Holy Spirit—not our actions. However, individual congregations can be destroyed by both our deeds and an intolerance of biblical teaching. So we should be eager to keep the unity which the Spirit gives the Church, by maintaining conduct that is consistent with the Christian faith. Such concern for the well-being of the churches is an indication of godly, peaceable people being led by the Holy Spirit.

Prayer: Help me to love my sisters and brothers in Christ, with his love and forbearance. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

In the Luther Household is a six-session Bible study on the Lutheran understanding of marriage and family. Based on foundational texts from Scripture, the study also draws from the real-life experience of Martin and Katie Luther, who were not only husband and wife, but the parents of several children. It includes excerpts from Luther's personal writings to family and friends as they faced the good and bad that come in everyday living.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a773.html Wed, 08 Feb 17 00:00:00 -0600

Index of Scripture graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today’s devotion.

Romans 14:17–19

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Invocation of Saints 

The adversaries, by ignoring these abuses when they required us to assent to the Confutation, have not acted frankly. If they cared for the interests of the Church, especially on this topic, they would take this opportunity to ask our most excellent Emperor to take measures for the correction of abuses. For it is clear that he greatly desires the healing and improvement of the Church. But the adversaries act so as to crush us in every way instead of assisting the most honorable and most holy will of the Emperor.

Pulling It Together

The promise of the gospel is righteousness, peace, and joy—not religious and dietary laws. More rules and laws provide none of these benefits. If you work harder so that you may become righteous, you will never become righteous, for a person’s righteousness only comes through faith in Christ. So, never knowing if you have become righteous enough to appease the god you are trying to appease, you will try even harder to become righteous—but continue to fail. This provides a fleeting peace that is only sensed when you imagine you have done well. Yet even that peace is false. What joy is there in such religion?

Christ is the righteousness we pursue—instead of a self-righteousness. Therefore, we are at peace, being confident that Christ has done all things necessary for our justification and salvation. The Holy Spirit reminds us daily that he has done so, and this brings joy upon joy. This is the needed message of the Church and for the world, for it is the gospel, and that makes for peace and the mutual building up of one another in the faith.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for making me acceptable to you through your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Learning About Baptism teaches the meaning of Holy Baptism according to the pattern of Luther's Small Catechism, and is recommended for the First 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 focus on Baptism as a promise from God, emphasizing the power of God's Word in the Sacrament to create faith and repentance in our daily life.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a772.html Tue, 07 Feb 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today’s devotion.

1 Timothy 6:3–6

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Invocation of Saints 

Luther was not the first to complain about public abuses. Long ago, there were many excellent, learned men who deplored the abuses of the Mass, trust in monastic observances, veneration of the saints that was meant to yield revenue, and confusion of the doctrine of repentance—which ought to be as clear and plain in the Church as possible. We have heard of excellent theologians who desire modification of the scholastic doctrine, which is more useful for philosophical debates than for piety. Nevertheless, the older theologians are generally nearer to Scripture than are the more recent ones. So their theology has steadily worsened.

Many good people sided with Luther from the very first, if for no other reason than they saw that he was freeing people’s minds from the mazes of these most confused and incessant discussions of the scholastic theologians and canonists, and was teaching things profitable for godliness.

Pulling It Together

Without “the words of faith” (1 Tim 4:6) the Christian Church will cease to be. Traditions and myths bring no peace but the plain teaching of Scripture brings contentment. I know of people who live their lives believing in “silly myths” (1 Tim 4:7) but have no certainty of eternal life. Their God, whom they think to be the God of Christians, is as capricious to them as the Greek and Roman gods were to those who believed in them.

So we must teach “the words of faith,” which are profitable for both godliness and contentment. For when one is content with Christ, he is at peace in all circumstances. That person trusts in God’s promises instead of human traditions that cannot be kept (Acts 15:10). Trusting in God’s faithfulness, we are at peace in Christ. This is the heart of “the words of faith” that we confess.

Prayer: Turn my mind to your word, Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Deliver Us from Evilby Rev. Philip Gagnon, provides a ritual approach to exorcism and the demonic. It is a helpful instrument of pastoral care for such times when a pastor encounters the need for performing an exorcism. Pastor Gagnon explores the scriptural and early Church background and response to the demonic, as well as the pastoral discernment and the use of the sacraments in relation to exorcism. Included are two rites of renunciation, two rites of exorcism, and a rite for the exorcism and blessing of a dwelling. Additional prayers and blessings are included as helps in the battle. The book serves as an alert to the manifold ways in which evil may work in the human heart.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a771.html Tue, 31 Jan 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today’s devotion.

2 Peter 1:16

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Invocation of Saints 

Thus the Confutation has been deceitfully written, not only on this topic, but nearly everywhere. They make no distinctions in any passages between obvious abuses and their teachings. Those of sounder mind among them would concede that the teaching of the scholastics and canonists contain many false opinions, and that the ignorance and negligence of the pastors allowed for many abuses to creep into the Church. 

Pulling It Together

“Well, I don’t know what art is but I like pink.” That opinion may be fine for my granddaughter but it will not fly at the Guggenheim. It does not work in Christian faith either. Opinions are of no use to us. We require the word of God, what is written, the Scriptures. When we depart from sola Scriptura, we begin to drown in human opinions. Pastors and professors, as in the days prior to the Reformation, may lead us down the path of opinion, and some may be content to dodder along behind them. But God is faithful, and will always call his Church back to the word. 

Prayer: Give me ears to hear, God. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Upper Room is a six-part drama and sermon series for use during the weeks of Lent, in midweek or Sunday morning services. The stories in this series seek to focus our hearts and minds on the last days of Jesus, drawing us into a greater spiritual maturity that recognizes the blessings and responsibilities of this life of faith, as we walk with our Lord on the path to the cross.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a770.html Mon, 30 Jan 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today’s devotion.

Romans 3:21–22

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Invocation of Saints 

Bishops, theologians, and monks applaud these monstrous and wicked tales because they put food in their bellies. But they do not tolerate us because we do not require the invocation of saints, and because we condemn abuses in the worship of saints so that the honor and office of Christ may be more conspicuous. Good people everywhere have longed for either the authority of the bishops or the diligence of the preachers to correct these abuses. Nevertheless, our adversaries altogether pass over obvious vices in their Confutation, as though they wish, by forcing our acceptance of the Confutation, to require us to approve of even the most notorious abuses.

Pulling It Together

The office that Melancthon refers to is that Christ is our Propitiator and Mediator. Christ alone has atoned for our sin and it is he who stands between sinners and God. The law does us no good because we cannot keep it—nor can other sinners keep it for us. Beyond that, it would make no difference if we could; the law is something sinners should obey but it does not make them righteous even when they sometimes manage to obey its demands. All the law does is point its accusing finger at us and tell us to do better. But it does not justify us to God. This is the office of Christ—not of the law or of our works of the law. He provides all who have faith in him with the righteousness of God instead of a so-called righteousness of law keeping.

Prayer: My only boast is in you, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Faith Webbing is a deep, purposeful intergenerational approach to connecting youth to faith through a congregation. Its premise is to intentionally identify relationship voids in young peoples’ lives and then to fill those voids with members from within the congregation. For some youth, there might not be a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, older sibling, or younger sibling in their life. With Faith Webbing youth develop scores of long-term surrogate church family relationships of all ages.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a769.html Thu, 26 Jan 17 00:00:00 -0600

Index of Scripture graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today’s lesson.

2 Timothy 3:14-17

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Invocation of Saints 

But certain triflers, having no knowledge either of faith or civil affairs, have invented epic stories that are nothing but superstitious examples about certain prayers, fasts, and new services created for monetary gain. There is no need to cite examples of their fabrications of miracles about rosaries and similar ceremonies, since these “legends,” as they call them, and the “mirrors” of examples, and the “rosaries” are readily available, containing many things like the “true stories” of Lucian.

Pulling It Together

The Scripture is not some pulp fiction, read for shallow thrills on an idle evening. Rather, the word permeates our whole lives, penetrating and informing us who we are before God (Heb 4:12). It wounds our consciences, piercing so deeply that we must depend upon God’s grace instead of our piety or the merits of saints. The word of God makes us “wise for salvation”—not through fables about saints but through faith in Jesus Christ. The inspired, God-breathed word is beneficial to our souls, so Lutherans confess sola Scriptura: Scripture alone is our rule of faith and practice.

Prayer: Give me confidence in your word, Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

This congregational resource book describes how a parish can host an “invite-able” event, as part of a larger evangelism initiative, energizing God’s people for the mission of Christ. Using a practical step-by-step “how to” approach, provides guidance, organization, and ideas — not simply to promote a single program, but to develop and inspire the over-all outreach of the congregation. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a768.html Tue, 24 Jan 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today’s devotion.

Matthew 18:21–22

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Invocation of Saints 

Examples of mercy are also beneficial, as when we see Peter’s denial forgiven, Cyprian forgiven for having been a sorcerer, Augustine experiencing the power of faith in sickness and steadily affirming that God truly hears the prayers of believers. It is profitable to teach examples such as these, which speak of either faith, or fear, or the administration of the state.

Pulling It Together

The mercy of God knows no bounds. He even forgives us when we are unfaithful to him (2 Tim 2:13), as we see in his forgiveness of Peter’s denials (Luke 22:54–62). He forgives in extreme situations like this but he also forgives us as often as we come to him in repentance. Many rabbis taught that we should forgive each other as many as three times, so Peter, in a moment of magnanimity, suggests to Jesus that his disciples ought to forgive people seven times. Jesus responds that real forgiveness ought to be 77 times, or as the King James puts it, “seventy times seven,” or 490 times. It is not the specific quantity that is at issue for Jesus; he is teaching, by saying 77 times, that our forgiveness should have no terminus, just as we may expect from God. We must forgive one another even as we have been forgiven (Matt 6:12).

This is the type of example from the lives of the saints that we declare is profitable for teaching in the Church. For these examples teach us more about the greatness of our God than of the character of the saints. 

Prayer: Forgive me of my sins, Lord, even as I forgive those who sin against me. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

This is Most Certainly True! is a six-chapter mid-week Lenten Series features monologues from Martin Luther himself, based on his writings in the Large Catechism. Luther explains eloquently and simply what each part of the catechism means for us as believers and ends it with an affirmation of certainty: "This is most certainly true!"

Luther's thoughts have been transformed here into dramatic monologues so that we might hear and meditate on the foundations of our Christian faith. In addition to a sample worship service outline, there are hymns suggestions for each monologue and opening dialogues for worship based on the parts of the Small Catechism.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a767.html Mon, 23 Jan 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today’s lesson.

Philippians 3:17

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Invocation of Saints 

Although the saints performed great deeds, useful as examples in either public or private life, the remembrance of which would promote the strengthening of faith and the imitation of their example in the administration of public affairs, no one has searched for true stories from the lives of the saints. Still, it is advantageous to hear how holy people administered governments, underwent calamities and dangers, were an aid to kings at times of great peril, taught the Gospel, and confronted heretics.

Pulling It Together

The “Apostolic Fathers” inform us that Polycarp was a disciple of the Apostle John, and “the angel of the church in Smyrna” (Rev 2:8). Irenaeus was his disciple and tells of the bishop’s faithful life, teaching, stand against heresy, and martyrdom. Polycarp is a beneficial example of the Christian life because his story teaches us how he imitated the life of John who followed the teaching and example of Jesus. Polycarp should be set forth as an example to us all for that reason: because he followed the example Christ that he learned from others, notably John—not because of some imaginative tale.

Prayer: Help me, Lord, to stand firm with faith in you. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship Resource (SOWeR) includes a limited selection of music for use in worship, drawing primarily upon texts and music in the public domain, along with biblical texts set to familiar tunes. SOWeR is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. This brochure will answer more questions about SOWeR. Call 1-888-887-9840 to order a yearly subscription. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a766.html Sun, 22 Jan 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today’s lesson.

1 Peter 2:9

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Invocation of Saints 

Still, the incredible stories of statues and pictures are surpassed by the fabulous tales about the saints that are publicly taught with great authority. Barbara, amidst her torments, asked for this reward: that no one who would invoke her should die without the Eucharist. Another, standing on one foot, recited the whole Psalter each day. Some wise fellow painted Christopher in a way that symbolizes those who would bear Christ, that is, those who would teach or confess the Gospel, must have strong souls because they must undergo the greatest dangers. Then the foolish monks taught people to invoke Christopher, as though such a Polyphemus had once existed.

Pulling It Together

God has done great things through his people, both in the Church and in the affairs of the world. There are so many examples in the lives of his peculiar people (1 Pet 2:9, KJV) that would be an advantage for all to hear, for inspiring and strengthening their faith, and for directing their attention and praise to God. So, why pass over those great stories, teaching tales—many of which are obviously contrived—that exalt the saints instead of their Lord? For the task of God’s people is to proclaim the excellencies of Christ, not the importance of departed saints.

Prayer: Give me strength, Lord, to imitate those who imitated you. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship Resource (SOWeR) also includes bulletin templates. There are word processing templates for both communion and non-communion services. There are also templates for Sola, LBW, and Reclaim service settings. SOWeR is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. This brochure will answer more questions about SOWeR. Call 1-888-887-9840 to order a yearly subscription. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a765.html Sat, 21 Jan 17 00:00:00 -0600

Index of Scripture graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today’s lesson.

Romans 8:34

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Invocation of Saints 

As I have said above, the entire knowledge of Christ is suppressed when other mediators are sought besides Christ, and trust is placed in others. The facts demonstrate the reality. At the first mention of the saints, as in the ancient prayers, it seems to have been done in a tolerable manner. But invocation followed, and with it, immense abuses that are worse than pagan. From invocation, the next step was to images. These were also worshiped, because it was believed that magical power existed in them, just as sorcerers imagine that power exists in horoscopes carved at a particular time. In a certain monastery we have seen a statue of the blessed Virgin, moved like a puppet on a string, seeming to nod yes or no to those making requests.

Pulling It Together

It is a slippery slope. It is one thing to ask someone to pray for you, but quite another to expect that person to mediate between you and God. Yet this is the slope so many descended. Initially, dead saints were asked to pray but eventually they were expected to answer those prayers. The saints have no such power—either in images of them or in any reality. Christ alone is the Mediator between people and God. This is because he is the atonement of God, the only one who may stand before the Father on our behalf. We ask people to pray for us, as we pray for others, but we pray only to God in Christ.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for caring to hear my prayers, through Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship Resource (SOWeR) also includes liturgies and services for your use. There are ready-to-copy settings for Holy Communion, services, services of the Word, Vespers, occasional services, funerals, and seasonal services. SOWeR is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a764.html Fri, 20 Jan 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today’s lesson.

1 Timothy 2:1–6

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Invocation of Saints 

Even if we could imagine that the invocation of saints were taught with the greatest circumspection, the subject is still dangerous. Why is it necessary to defend it when it has no command or testimony from God’s Word? Indeed, it does not have even the testimony of the ancient writers.

Pulling It Together

Great value was placed on Patristics: what the early theologians and bishops called the Church Fathers taught about the Christian faith from the time of the apostles through the seven ecumenical councils of the Church (roughly until early in the eighth century).

As the centuries passed, the practices of the churches changed. In the earliest centuries, churches gave thanks to God in memory of the faithful. This is still done today, for example, the Commemoration of Polycarp, disciple of John, pastor, and martyr. He is remembered on February 23rd each year. Athanasius of Alexandria is remembered on May 2nd, Mary on July 22nd, and others on various days of the year. Eventually, thanks gave way to veneration of and prayer to the saints. This evolution may be observed in the Church Fathers.

It cannot, however, be found in the New Testament, where Christ alone is the Mediator of the Church. “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5). This is the testimony of Scripture, of the earliest Church Fathers (the Apostolic Fathers), and the confession of Lutherans. 

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for hearing my prayers. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship eResource is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a763.html Thu, 19 Jan 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today’s lesson.

Psalm 91:1–4

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Invocation of Saints 

This error also prevails among the theologians, namely, that each saint has been committed a particular administration. Anna bestows riches; Sebastian repels pestilence; Valentine heals epilepsy; George protects horsemen. These opinions have clearly sprung from paganism. Among the Romans, Juno was thought to enrich, Febris to fended off fever, Castor and Pollux to protect horsemen, and so on.

Pulling It Together

The Lord himself is our sure defense. We need cry out to no other, for no one other than the Almighty is able or inclined to save us (Acts 4:12). This is what the Scriptures teach us. Let us not muddy the clear waters of the Word with the practices of other religions or the myths of pagan cultures. God alone is our shield and buckler. More than defenses, he is our deliverer. We confess that the saints cannot help us but that the Lord is our certain help and hope in the face of all trouble and danger.

Prayer: You alone, O Lord, are my refuge and strength. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Adventures of Martin Luther is a simple musical drama was written for youth to tell the story of Martin Luther's adventures, including his testimony before the Emperor at the Diet of Worms and what was happening in Wittenberg during Luther's exile at Wartburg Castle. It is being released by Sola Publishing as part of the celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. The script allows for many participants, using accessible language and easy-to-learn songs based on familiar hymn tunes. It serves as a fun and interesting way for young people to enter into the story of Martin Luther, acting out some key moments in his life. Costume and prop notes are included, to help those in charge of the production.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a762.html Wed, 18 Jan 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today’s lesson.

1 Peter 2:4–6

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Invocation of Saints 

The adversaries teach us to trust in the invocation of saints, though this has neither the Word of God nor an example in Scripture. They apply the merits of the saints to others just like the merits of Christ, transferring the honor belonging only to Christ to the saints. Therefore, we cannot receive either their opinions about the worship of the saints or their practice of praying to the saints. For we know that confidence is to be placed in the intercession of Christ, because this alone has God’s promise. We know that the merits of Christ alone are a propitiation for us. When we believe in Christ, we are accounted righteous because of his merits, as the text says, “He who believes in him will not be put to shame” (Rom 9:33). We are not accounted righteous by trusting in the merits of the blessed Virgin or of the other saints.

Pulling It Together

All Christians are priests before God. The Church, a “holy priesthood” of believers prays to God through Jesus Christ. God does not require other intercessors who are in his presence. We are already in his presence since he dwells in the midst of all believers, his “spiritual house,” the temple of his Spirit. Concerning the merits of the saints, Scripture only speaks of placing our trust in Christ. Those who do, will not be disappointed (1 Pet 2:6, NASB).

Prayer: I trust in you, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Our free, mobile app includes a searchable ESV Bible, the Sola Small Catechism, Sola Devotions, electronic greeting cards, Sola products, the Sola Online Worship eResource, and more—with even more to come. Download the new Sola App for Android or Apple

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a761.html Tue, 17 Jan 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today’s lesson.

John 3:16

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Invocation of Saints 

It has been said of the other saints, “Each shall receive his wages according to his labor” (1 Cor 3:8). In other words, they cannot bestow their own merits upon one another, as the monks sell the merits of their orders. Even Hilary says of the foolish virgins, “And as the foolish virgins could not go forth with their lamps extinguished, they implored those who were prudent to lend them oil. The wise replied that they could not give it because there might not be enough for all. That is, no one can be aided by the works and merits of another, because it is necessary for everyone to buy oil for his own lamp.”

Pulling It Together

We cannot stand on our own two feet, let alone lend our works or merits to other people. This is the purview of Christ alone. Christ Jesus imputes his righteousness to us, but we do not ascribe our righteousness to anyone. First of all, we have none to give, for we are all unrighteous (Rom 3:10). Secondly, if we were to imagine that we did have righteousness to lend, why did the Father send his Son to die for us? If the sacrifice and virtue of someone other than Christ will suffice for our salvation, God has made a grave error.

But God has made no mistake in sending his Son to die for us. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, no matter the greatness or smallness of his works, his virtue, or his devotion. It all depends upon Christ, not the magnitude of one’s works, nor the bestowal of another’s generosity.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe in you. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Combining the message of salvation in Christ with personal witness, The Gospel in Miniature is a Lutheran guide for evangelism. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a760.html Mon, 16 Jan 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today’s lesson.

Hebrews 9:15–17

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Invocation of Saints 

The sober fact is that the blessed Virgin has altogether replaced Christ in public opinion. People have invoked her, trusted in her mercy, and have desired to appease Christ through her, as though He were not a Propitiator, but only a dreadful judge and avenger. We believe, however, that we must not trust that the merits of the saints are applied to us, that because of them, God is reconciled to us, or has accounted us just, or saves us. We obtain forgiveness of sins only by the merits of Christ, when we believe in Him.

Pulling It Together

Because of his sacrificial death for us, Christ alone has satisfied the just requirement of God’s law, something which we nor the saints could ever do. Scripture therefore, calls only Christ our Mediator. Christ now sits at God’s right hand (Mark 16:19), where he intercedes for all who believe. Through Christ a New Covenant was established by the shedding of his blood (Luke 22:20). The Scriptures never speak of anyone else doing this for us.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for dying in my place, mediating for me before your Father, so that I am purchased back from death. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Written for a general audience, Luther's Pigtails is a one-act comedy is based on the actual words of Martin and Katie Luther and Philipp Melanchthon. The play is of an appropriate length to be performed within the context of a worship service, or it may serve as the basis for a special congregational event in celebration of the Reformation. The play gives the audience a glimpse into the real life of Martin and Katie, illustrating why Luther was able to say, "There is no more lovely, friendly, and charming relationship, communion, or company than a good marriage."

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a759.html Fri, 13 Jan 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today’s devotion.

Revelation 1:1-3

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Church – part 26

But there is no need to cite many testimonies, since they are obvious throughout the Scriptures. We have referenced much of it in the latter articles of our Confession. In a while, we will need to repeat the point that must be decided in this controversy: whether human traditions are acts of worship that are necessary for righteousness before God. There we will discuss this matter more fully.

Pulling It Together

“It is written.” This was a favorite saying of the prophets, the evangelists, the apostles, and Jesus. Sometimes it is phrased as a question: “What is written?” They use this expression almost 100 times to point to the truth of what is stated in the Scriptures. Oh, that we would be content with what Scripture says, instead of going beyond what is written (1 Cor 4:6) by depending upon our traditions, old sayings, and pronouncements. These things swell the head but do nothing for the heart. We may even feel like we have won an argument but at the end of that disputation, the question remains. “What is written?” This is how we must decide all controversies. 

Prayer: Speak through your Scripture, Lord, for your servant listens. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

A Latin phrase meaning “Scripture Alone,” Sola Scriptura is one of the traditional Lutheran slogans used since the time of the Reformation. It expresses our confession that Scripture is “the only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be appraised and judged.” Using the familiar phrase as its title, Sola Scriptura is a new, advanced-level Bible Study in a two-part series, of six chapters each, on the functional authority of Scripture. For those who would like to cover the topic in detail, there is enough material to cover one chapter in two sessions, making each part a 12-week study.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a758.html Thu, 12 Jan 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today’s devotion.

2 Thessalonians 3:16-18

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Church – part 25

Paul means that the righteousness of the heart is a spiritual thing that quickens hearts. It is evident that human traditions do not quicken hearts. They are not effects of the Holy Spirit like love of one’s neighbor, chastity, and so forth. Nor are human traditions instruments through which God moves hearts to believe, as are the divinely given Word and Sacraments. Rather, these human practices do not pertain to the heart, and perish with the using. So we must not believe that they are necessary for righteousness before God. Paul speaks to the same effect, writing, “For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17).

Pulling It Together

External is not eternal. These outward things will never secure everlasting life. Furthermore, they will never give us peace. The heart must be changed by God for these things to be ours. Righteousness, peace, and the hope of salvation are all matters of the heart. Such spiritual things are effected by the Spirit of God and by his means, not by the things that we do or the disciplines and ceremonies that we keep. The hope of salvation is not aroused because one uses the correct Bible reading plan or worship style. The righteousness of the heart is not activated because of any human custom. God alone gives us grace, faith, peace, hope, and all good inner or spiritual things.

Prayer: Thank you, Holy Spirit, for being at work in me, in spite of me. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Check out Sola’s Confirmation workbook, The Apostle’s Creed, designed to be a small group Bible study, student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a757.html Wed, 11 Jan 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

John 19:16–27

From the Confessions: The Apostles Creed

“Was Crucified”

Pulling It Together

All of Jesus' ministry looks toward the crucifixion. He tells his disciples over and over that this is why he came to earth. Sometimes it is a veiled announcement (John 2:19); other times it is straightforward (Matt 20:18-19). His life pointed toward crucifixion, an event that Jesus declared would redeem the world (Mark 10:45).

A hanging produces immediate death. Compared to crucifixion, hanging is merciful. Crucifixion is meant to make a person suffer. It is a gruesome, slow, painful, and public death. The victim was tied or nailed to a wooden crossbeam and left hanging upon it to slowly die from suffocation. If a person was crucified on a simple cross (a pole or crux simplex) with hands tied over the head, the suffering was over within an hour or so. Being crucified with outstretched arms meant a much slower death—and someone who wanted the suffering to linger. It was literally excruciating (from the Latin word excruciatus meaning “from the cross”).

Jesus suffered for our sin to the point of enduring the most painful and humiliating death known to the people of his time. We confess that Christ suffered in our place, redeeming us from the curse of the law (Gal 3:13) by dying the cursed death of crucifixion (Deut 21:23).

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for dying for me. Amen. 

• Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your Subject.

Reading and Discussion of Luther's Catechisms is a more challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, each presented in a question and discussion format. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a756.html Tue, 10 Jan 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today’s lesson.

Galatians 5:1-6

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Church 

Now we are not discussing the question whether there is advantage to observe them for the sake of order or bodily profit. Another matter is being considered: whether the observances of human traditions are acts of worship necessary for righteousness before God. This is the point to be judged in this controversy, and when this is decided, it can then be judged whether the true unity of the Church depends upon human traditions being the same everywhere. If human traditions are not acts of worship necessary for righteousness before God, it also follows that people can be righteous and children of God if they do not have traditions that are in use elsewhere. For instance, if the style of German clothing is not worship of God necessary for righteousness before him, it follows that people can be righteous and children of God and the Church of Christ, even though they wear French clothing.

Pulling It Together

I have convictions about what service book I wish to use and what style and order of worship I prefer, and even which half-dozen translations of the Bible I favor. If I dare to make those things qualifications for your righteousness and salvation, please take me to task. When such matters—and there are a host of others—of indifference to justification are considered necessary for church unity, then true worship is harmed. Indeed, idolatry has set in when we venerate these human preferences and traditions. If we give way to these things as the new law in the church, then we have submitted ourselves again to slavery. We will have fallen from grace, having shown that we have no desire for God’s grace, but instead a slavish insistence on our preferences and traditions becoming the observances and ceremonies used by everyone.

Prayer: Help me to worship you, Almighty God, in spirit and in truth, for Christ’s sake. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

All God’s Critters - Unit 2 is now available. All God's Critters is a Sunday School series designed for young students in Preschool and Kindergarten. Lessons are based on storytelling, rhyme, and pictures, and are suitable for participation by non-readers. The flexible lesson plans introduce the youngest believers to the importance and truth of God’s Word. Each lesson includes the story of the day written in a simplified manner so that young children may understand an important truth about God and what it means for us to be God’s children.

The All God’s Critters curriculum is fully reproducible and is designed with the particular needs of small churches, mission congregations, and house churches in mind. Check out some sample pages by clicking HERE.

All God's Critters - Unit 1

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a755.html Mon, 09 Jan 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today’s lesson.

John 20:24-26

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Church – part 22

Just as the differences in length of day and night does not injure the unity of the Church, so we believe that the true unity of the Church is not injured by different rites instituted by men. However, it is pleasing to us that universal rites are observed for the sake of order. So, in our churches we willingly observe the order of the Mass, the Lord’s Day, and other more important feast days. We embrace the profitable and ancient ordinances with a very grateful mind, especially since they contain a discipline that is profitable for the instruction and training of people and those who are uneducated.

Pulling It Together

I once went to a church where you had to use two service books plus music and text from other service books printed in the bulletin in order to follow the service. I felt like a juggler. In my opinion, it did not promote good order. However, the true unity of the church was not damaged by their choice of liturgical sources. The Church is that gathering of saints where the Gospel is correctly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered. As I tried to determine which service book to use next, I was certain that the other worshipers shared my faith and desired the means of grace as much as I did. And there—right there—is the true church. There is the truest order and real peace, for there—in the midst of we who had gathered around his Word and Sacraments—Jesus came and stood among us. 

Prayer: Lord, do not just give me peace; be my peace. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sacraments is one of four books in the Sola Confirmation Series and serves as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. Each book in the series may be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a754.html Sun, 08 Jan 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today's lesson.

1 Corinthians 15:55–58

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Invocation of Saints 

Granted, the blessed Mary prays for the Church, but does she receive souls in death, does she conquer death, does she give life? What does Christ do if the blessed Mary does these things? Though she is deserving of the most ample honors, nevertheless she does not wish to be made equal to Christ, but instead wishes us to consider and follow her example.

Pulling It Together

First, Scripture does not tell us that Mary is the victory over sin and death, not does it even hint at such things. Christ conquered death for Mary and for us all. His victory is so complete that we are considered to be more than victorious (Rom 8:37) through faith in him. There is no area untouched by this total victory. But it is not Mary’s victory; it is not Paul’s or Peter’s or any other saint’s triumph. It is Christ’s victory that is shared by all believers through faith in him (1 John 5:4-5). Mary and the other saints cannot provide us any victory over sin and death. God is due all of the thanks because he has defeated sin and death through his Son, and given us full share in his victory. We too overcome these enemies through faith in Christ alone (1 John 5:4).

Second, we should certainly follow Mary’s example of steadfast faith—and not hers only, but the examples of all the saints, both dead and living.  

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for your total victory over sin and death. Amen.

Receive these lessons by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com  with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject. 

Have you downloaded the Sola App for Android or Apple? This free, mobile app includes these Sola Devotions, a searchable ESV Bible, the Sola Small Catechism, electronic greeting cards featuring our daily Scripture graphics, Sola products, the Sola Online Worship eResource, and more—with even more to come. Download it today!

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a753.html Sat, 07 Jan 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today's lesson.

Revelation 1:17–18

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Invocation of Saints 

Some of us have seen a certain theologian, a monk, brought to console a dying doctor of theology, who pressed on the dying man nothing but this prayer: “Mother of grace, protect us from the enemy; receive us in the hour of death.”

Pulling It Together

It is The Living One who makes us live. The one who died but lives again causes us to live forevermore through faith in him. Jesus tells us that it is his voice that the dead will one day hear (John 5:28) when some will be resurrected to eternal life, while others are resurrected to judgment. We confess that it is God alone, the one who holds the keys to death, who is the only one whom we may call upon to provide escape from the grave. Therefore, we have no fear of either death or the devil, for the right hand of the Lord is upon us, giving peace through the assurance of his word and resurrection. Only the great I AM who is “the first and the last” and “the living one,” gives life and salvation to all who call upon his name (Joel 2:32; Rom 10:12).

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for unlocking the door of death and giving me eternal life with you. Amen.

Receive these lessons by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com  with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject. 

Have you downloaded the Sola App for Android or Apple? This free, mobile app includes these Sola Devotions, a searchable ESV Bible, the Sola Small Catechism, electronic greeting cards featuring our daily Scripture graphics, Sola products, the Sola Online Worship eResource, and more—with even more to come. Download it today!

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a752.html Fri, 06 Jan 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Original image  •  Index of Scripture graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today's lesson.

Ephesians 5:25–27

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Invocation of Saints 

This form of absolution is sometimes used: “The passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, the merits of the most blessed Virgin Mary and of all the saints, be to thee for the remission of sins.” According to the declaration of this absolution, we are reconciled and accounted righteous, not only by the merits of Christ but also, by the merits of the other saints.

Pulling It Together

No saints are named by Paul (or any other writer in the New Testament) as responsible for the act of cleansing the church. Christ alone has made the church holy—so holy that she is without blemish. Does Christ need someone’s help in this sanctification of his church? Does he need a single saint’s assistance, or has he done this on his own by giving himself for her on the cross? What is written?

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for giving yourself up for me and for all who believe. Amen.

Receive these lessons by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com  with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject. 

   

Written in honor of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, The Life of Martin Luthera nine-session adult study, takes participants through the circumstances and events of the life of Martin Luther as it reflects on the biblical themes underlying the Lutheran Reformation. 

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a751.html Thu, 05 Jan 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today's lesson.

Hebrews 7:23–25

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Invocation of Saints 

But where has this arrangement that Biel refers to, saying that we ought to resort to the aid of the saints, been instituted by God? Let him produce a single example or command from Scripture. Perhaps they derive this arrangement from the courts of kings where friends must be used as intercessors. But if a king has appointed a certain intercessor, he will not want cases to be brought to him through others. So, since Christ has been appointed as Intercessor and High Priest, why would we seek others?

Pulling It Together

No one draws near to a king unless he is commanded to do so. Therefore, if you wish to have the king’s ear, it must be done through one who is already in the king’s presence—and to whom the king will listen. In American terms, just try to get close enough to the president so that he would hear your request. You have to go through a representative. In kingdom terms, Jesus is our representative. He is the only one whom God has elected to be our permanent intercessor. This is what Scripture teaches us. How could we confess differently? 

Prayer: Thank you, God, for hearing my prayers, through the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Receive these lessons by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com  with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject. 

Our prayer is that My Zoe Journal: A Girl's Journey of Self-discovery will open the hearts of young ladies in faith, that they would be filled with the love of Christ. We hope that through these pages, girls might come to discover their gifts, abilities, and growth areas, and come to understand that our most basic identity comes from the One who loves us the most.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a750.html Wed, 04 Jan 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today's lesson.

John 6:35–40

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Invocation of Saints 

Through indulgences they say that they apply the merits of the saints. Gabriel Biel, the interpreter of the canon of the Mass, confidently declares: “According to the order instituted by God, we should betake ourselves to the aid of the saints, in order that we may be saved by their merits and vows.” These are the words of Gabriel. Even more absurd things may be read here and there in the books and sermons of the adversaries. What is this if not to make the saints propitiators? If we are to trust that we are saved by the merits of saints then they are considered altogether equal to Christ.

Pulling It Together

Jesus said that whoever comes to him would never again hunger or thirst (John 6:35). Now that is satisfaction: to never be hungry or thirsty—and to never worry about being filled. But Jesus is not talking about the belly, otherwise he would not have called himself “the bread of life.” In this paragraph of the gospel, Jesus is speaking about eternal life and how we will be resurrected at the end. Jesus teaches us that there is a bread more important than the loaf in the bread box. Sufficient quantity of baked bread will keep us alive for 70 or 80 years (Psa 90:10). Feasting on the bread of life will make us live forever. Everyone who looks for life in the true bread “that comes down from heaven” will never die (John 11:26).

We are forgiven, made righteous, and saved through Christ alone. The Bread of Life is the only satisfaction for our sins. No other life, however meritorious, virtuous, or pious satisfies the law's demand (Rom 6:23) and turns away God’s just wrath. So believe and be satisfied.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for filling me with your own Spirit. Amen.

Receive these lessons by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com  with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject. 

Re-Thinking Confirmation: A Practical Guide will help you think through your confirmation ministry and offers suggestions to design, implement, and lead an effective confirmation program.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a749.html Tue, 03 Jan 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today's lesson.

1 Corinthians 1:27–31

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Invocation of Saints 

Secondly, they apply the merits of the saints to others, just like the merits of Christ. They tell us to trust in the merits of the saints as though we were accounted righteous on because of their merits in the same way that we are accounted righteous by the merits of Christ. We are not inventing these charges.

Pulling It Together

Everything that we have comes from God. Both our physical and spiritual lives are gifts. Since all comes from God, why would we think righteousness and eternal life come from another source? Why would we think ourselves or anyone else able to give such great gifts? Now we might make much of ourselves, of our religious devotion, our prayers to saints, our offerings and other sacrifices. Or we might make much of a saint’s life, and depend upon that saint to answer our prayers. We would do so because we recognize that our own lives are insufficient to earn such favor. So at least we would have understood that our own standing before God is affected because of the righteousness of someone else. But that someone—the only one—who can assign his own righteousness to us is Christ. We are made righteous because of his merits, not because of the saintly lives of any others. Our boast is not in ourselves or saints but in the Lord alone. He is our righteousness, holiness, and redemption.

Prayer: All praise belongs to you alone, Lord, who has accomplished our salvation. Amen.

Receive these lessons by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com  with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject. 

The Adventures of Martin Luther is a simple musical drama was written for youth to tell the story of Martin Luther's adventures, including his testimony before the Emperor at the Diet of Worms and what was happening in Wittenberg during Luther's exile at Wartburg Castle. It is being released by Sola Publishing as part of the celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. The script allows for many participants, using accessible language and easy-to-learn songs based on familiar hymn tunes. It serves as a fun and interesting way for young people to enter into the story of Martin Luther, acting out some key moments in his life. Costume and prop notes are included, to help those in charge of the production.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a748.html Mon, 02 Jan 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today's lesson.

John 14:13–14

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Invocation of Saints 

Our adversaries tell us first to invoke the saints, even though they do not have God’s promise, or a command, or an example from Scripture. Nevertheless, they would have us place greater confidence in the mercy of the saints than in that of Christ, though Christ instructed us to come to Him, not to the saints.

Pulling It Together

When we pray correctly, we will receive anything that we ask of God (James 4:3). It pleases him to answer our prayers when we pray according to his will. So, just as we are careful to ask that his “will be done” in heaven, we should be as concerned that God’s “will be done on earth.” This begins in our prayers; we must pray according to his will, not according to our desires and passions. We should have great confidence in answer to such prayers to Jesus. Did Christ himself not say, “I will do it”?

Paul, Peter, and others never promised such a thing. The Scriptures do not say this; nor do the writers of Scripture show it in some example from their lives. Only God has promised to hear our prayers. Let us then pray to him, according to his will, in Jesus’ name, for he has promised to be merciful toward us, not only hearing our prayers but answering them. 

Prayer: Give me the desire to pray your will, Lord. Amen.

Receive these lessons by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com  with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject. 

  

In addition to the four core catechism booklets in the Sola Confirmation Series, there are now two Scripture overview units: one on the Old Testament and one on the New Testament. These books provide a step-by-step overview of the history and geography of the Scriptures, exploring the various time periods and sections of the Bible and how they connect to one another. The goal is to give students a sense for the over-arching story of Scripture, fulfilled in the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. A Leader's Guide is also available.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a747.html Sun, 01 Jan 17 00:00:00 -0600

Original image  •  Index of Scripture graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today's lesson.

Psalm 10:17

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Invocation of Saints 

Confidence in mercy arises from both the promise and the bestowal of merits. Such trust in the divine promise and in the merits of Christ ought to be the foundation of prayer. For we ought to be truly confident that we are heard for Christ’s sake, and that by His merits we have a reconciled Father.

Pulling It Together

Christian prayer must be founded upon both God’s promise and the merits of Christ. We may confidently approach God because he has promised to hear our prayers. How often we pray that his will be done, and when we ask according to his will, he hears us (1 John 5:14). But he also hears us when we pray in Jesus’ name. Because of what he has accomplished, the Son is now our mediator before God. The Father hears us because we have the Son as intercessor. By this is not meant the mere invo