For our Word of the Week this week, Pastor Rob Sauers takes us through a study of the Means of Grace. A simple definition of the Means of Grace is the gospel in Word and sacraments by which God offers and gives us the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. The Means of Grace tell us how the Holy Spirit does His work. But why does He do things this way? Today's podcast will explore that question and demonstrate how the Means of Grace is a great comfort to us.
As we look ahead to Trinity Sunday this coming weekend, we consider the word Trinity. This is a very familiar word among Christians. So familiar that many are surprised to learn that the word Trinity is actually not found anywhere in the Bible. It comes from the Latin and has been used by the church to describe the Biblical Doctrine of who God is: One God in Three persons. While the Bible never uses the word "Trinity" is is clear in showing that there is only one God (Deuteronomy 6:4), but this One God is three persons (Matthew 28:19, 1 Peter 1:2), and that the Father is God (2 John 1:9), the Son is God (Ephesians 5:5), and the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4). This is the doctrine of the Trinity, and is clearly presented in the Bible.
In anticipation of our celebration of Pentecost this coming Sunday, Pastor Rob Sauers takes us through a study of the word Pentecost. Typically, when we think about Pentecost, we think about the events of Acts 2, but Pentecost actually was an Old Testament festival. Referred to as the Feast of Harvest or the Feast of Weeks, this was one of the three main pilgrim festivals of the Old Testament. The festival gains new meaning in Acts 2 as the Holy Spirit comes and through His word brings 3,000 people to faith. Our celebration of this day focuses on the coming of the Holy Spirit who has brought us to faith and continues to strengthen our faith through Word and Sacrament.
As we prepared to commemorate the ascension of Jesus into heaven, 40 days after His resurrection, we consider the word "ascend" today. Did you know that Jesus predicted His ascension, just as He did His death and resurrection? Did you know that His ascension into heaven was foretold in the Old Testament, just as His death and resurrection were? The ascension of Jesus was a very important part of His work as our Savior, which is why we confess it every week in the words of the ancient and historic creeds of the church. Join us to learn more about the meaning and purpose of Christ's ascension into heaven this week!
In our Word of the Week today we consider a Greek word which Jesus used to describe the Holy Spirit: Paraclete. This word is used four times by Jesus in the upper room on the night before His death to picture the work of the Holy Spirit, whom He promised to send to them. It is often translated "Comforter" or "Helper" in our English translations, but it means "the one who is called to our side" showing what He does for us in bringing us to faith in Jesus. This is a beautiful description of the third person of the God head and very fitting during this season of Easter and as we look ahead to Pentecost.
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction. The Bible tells us that wisdom is something that we need to get. So what really is wisdom? While the World may have an understanding of what they consider wisdom to be, it is not the same as what the Bible declares to be wise. What then is truly wise? It is the Word of God, and it is the message of Christ crucified! If you want to be wise, then get the Word! Proverbs 19:8 He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; He who keeps understanding will find good.
The word Passover comes up in all three of the Gospels connected to the events of Holy Week. Jesus gathered with His disciples on Maundy Thursday in the upper room of a house in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover for a final time before His death. It was here as they were celebrating the Passover, that Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper. But the real connection of Holy Week to the Passover is not just on Thursday night but in the events of Friday. Paul says that Jesus is our Passover, who was sacrificed for us. Jesus was the unblemished Lamb whose blood was shed to save us from death. Because of that, the Passover is not just an Old Testament celebration. It is for New Testament believers as well, as well look to the cross of Christ and see our Passover Lamb suffering death for the sins of the world.
The Lenten season is often described as one of renewal. In our word of the week we will consider the word renew and consider its relation to the season of Lent. As sinful human beings we need to be "re"newed. We are not to be conformed to the world, but transformed by the renewing of our mind. The world distracts us from the work of God. It is God's work to bring about this renewal in us through His Holy Spirit. This comes about through the power of God and working in His Word and Sacraments. During Lent, this should be our focus. Hearing His Word. Receiving His Sacrament. Through these Means of Grace we will be renewed in mind and spirit.
What does it mean to intercede? Well, quite simply it means to go in between, to go on the behalf of one party and plead their case before another. This is something that we sinners need when going to the Holy God. God Himself provides us such intercession. The Holy Spirit takes our prayers and improves them, and brings them to God. And, of course, Jesus Christ is our great go-between. We see this in His office as our Great High Priest. Not only does Jesus go on our behalf to God the Father, but He is also the sacrifice that makes such an intercession possible in the first place. Thanks be to God that we do have Jesus Christ the Righteous! Offered was He for greatest and for least, Himself the victim and Himself the priest!
What does the word "holy" mean and how is it used in the Bible? Many of us have learned that holy means "sinless" but it actually refers to things that are separated from common use or for God's purposes. There are places, things, and even activities that are called holy in the Bible. For example the tabernacle, the Sabbath, offerings, clothes of the priests, and the hill on which the temple was built. But these were "holy" or separated because God was holy. When God chose the nation of Israel they too became "holy" - separated from the other nations of the world for God's purposes. Like the people of the Old Testament, God has chosen us for His very own as well that we might be set apart for His eternal purposes through the work of Jesus. Thanks be to God!