In our Word of the Week, Pastor Sam Rodebaugh defines and describes the word "covet" and the Biblical concept behind it. We may be familiar with the word covet from the commandments which tell us we should not covet. But many people don't feel that coveting is wrong because it doesn't affect other people. "Since it doesn't hurt anyone else, who is to say that it is wrong?" people ask or think. Coveting is a sinful desire that leads us to want and get something that God has not given to us. Coveting often leads us into other sins which are done to or against our neighbor. We have all failed in this regard, coveting the abilities or possessions of others around us. Is this an impossible command? While we have failed Jesus did not. He did not seek His own good or advancement, but our good and salvation. Through His suffering and death our debt of sin including covetousness has been paid and forgiveness is ours. Thanks be to Jesus Who has saved us from the sin of coveting and all sins we have committed!
Pastor Mark Tiefel defines the word "ascend" as we celebrate the Ascension of Jesus on this day. He reminds us that Jesus ascended into heaven as True Man to the right hand of the Father. He discusses the meaning of the phrase "right hand" and what the ascension of Jesus really means for us.
Pastor Nathanael Mayhew discusses the word "conversion" this week. The word is an important theological term which is defined as the act of turning an unbeliever into a believer. It comes from Greek and Hebrew words which literally mean to "turn around." These words are usually used to describe a physical turning around as seen in Matthew 9:22 when Jesus "turns around" to see the woman who had touched him. We would visualize a complete 180 degree turn. A person who was going one way turns around and goes back the way they had come. With this in mind, the word is also used in a spiritual sense. A sinner who is headed into sin and on their way to hell, is "turned around" or "converted" by the work of God. Peter says "Repent therefore and be converted (literally "turned around")..." This is the work of God, who turns us from sin and death, to righteousness and life through faith. The LORD uses His word to accomplsh this: "The Law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul." Thanks be to God for His work of Conversion in our lives!
In our Word of the Week, Pastor Mark Tiefel takes a look at the word environmentalism. This is a very popular topic in our society and is especially on the minds of many with the recent celebration of Earth Day on April 22. We know from the Bible that God has given mankind dominion over creation (Genesis 1-2), but does that mean that we can simply use that dominion however we want? Our study will help to answer this question by looking at the important role creation plays not just in Genesis, but in the entire Bible. Understanding this will help us to remember that it is God's creation, and so, we want to give glory to God in how we care for all that He has given us.
In our Word of the Week, Pastor Rob Sauers takes us through a study of the Image of God. According to the Sydow version of Luther’s Small Catechism, the Image of God is defined as being like God in righteousness, holiness, and perfect knowledge. Adam and Eve were created in the Image of God, but what happened after the Fall? Our study looks at Adam and Eve's creation, how the Image of God was lost in the Fall, and how Christ has restored the Image of God to us.
Pastor Mark Tiefel discusses the word love and how it is used and described in the New Testament. Love is a common word, but one that is often difficult to define. In the Greek language used to record the New Testament Scripture, there are four different words for love, three of which are used in the New Testament. The word agape is the most important and common word which describes the love God has for us. It is a committment kind of love based on something that is not deserved. The word phileo describes a friendship kind of love. The third is storge, which is a love of respect or admiration which you might have for a teasher or role model (0nly used 3 times in the N.T.). The final word eros is a romantic kind of love and is not used in the New Testament, but it is descriptive of another aspect of love. In God's gift of marriage we have the ability to express all four of these kinds of love, and each type of love is important to the marriage relationship. Listen to find out how.
Pastor Sam Rodebaugh discusses the word "Life" - an appropriate word to consider following our Easter celebrations. He points out the importance of life and many of the questions raised in our society about life. When does life begin? Who has the right to take life? Life is viewed in a selfish way, and it is easy to see how life has been devalued in many ways in our world. But God is different. He values all life, every life. Jesus gives up His own life in order to save us from death and give us life. Our lives have been purchased back by the blood of Jesus. Knowing this, we gain a different perspective on life. The resurrection of Jesus and the salvation He has secured moves us to value our own lives, and to use them to God's glory. But it also moves us to value the lives of all people because they too are loved by the Savior.
In our Word of the Week for Holy Week, Pastor Nathanael Mayhew takes us into the word Calvary. Most people are familiar with this word as the name of the place where Jesus was crucified on what has become known as Good Friday. The Hebrew name for the place of the crucifixion was Golgotha which meant "the place of the skull." This Hebrew term was translated into Greek ("kranium") by the New Testament writers since many of their original readers may not have known Hebrew or the geography of Jerusalem. The term Calvary is the Latin translation for "skull" which was used by Jerome in his Latin translation of the Bible. The name Calvary is interestingly not found in most modern English translations. It was retained from the Latin Vulgate in the Authorized Version (KJV) and then again in the NKJV. It is only found in Luke 23:33 in those translations. While we do not know where the site of Calvary is today, we do learn a few things about it from Scripture. It was near but outside Jerusalem and most likely within eyesight of a main road going in and out of Jerusalem (John 19:20; Hebrews 13:12). There was also a garden nearby where Joseph of Arimethea and Nicodemus burried Jesus after His death (John 19:41-42). While we do not know for certian the location of the crucifixion, we do know what happened there: Jesus "was cricified, died, and was buried" as we still confess in The Apostolic Creed. Thanks be to Jesus who suffered death and the agony of hell at Calvary to reconcile us to God and open the door of heaven to sinners!
Pastor Sam Rodebaugh defines the word "Hades" in our Word of the Week today. The word Hades can have different meanings depending on its context. It can refer to death or the grave or the place of eternal punishment for sin. In this episode Pastor Rodebaugh shows that Jesus has come to deliver us from Hades. Through His death on the cross, Jesus suffered death and endured the punishment of hell for our sins, and has now set us free from the curse which Hades held over us. Thanks be to Jesus for delivering us from death!
In our Word of the Week, Pastor Rob Sauers takes us through a study of Jesus' Humiliation and Exaltation. These two words really encompass the life of Jesus from His conception through His resurrection and ascension, and they look forward to that day when Jesus will come again. Philippians 2:5-11 gives a really nice summary of what Jesus' humiliation and exaltation are all about: "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." In our study, we will consider other Scripture passages that describe what Jesus' humiliation and exaltation are all about, and we will talk about the comfort we find in all that Jesus has done for us. May the Lord bless our study!