Learn more about the meaning of the Biblical word "sanctification" in our Word of the Week. As we prepare to celebrate the Reformation this week, this word is certainly appropriate since the church of Luther's time taught that people had to earn their way into heaven by their good works. As we consider the Biblical word sanctification (and sanctify) we see that everything having to do with our salvation and even our lives of holiness are entirely the work of God, not our word. We will look at the two ways in which the word sanctification is used, both in the broad and narrow sense, what that means and how they differ. We hope you will join us!
In our Word of the Week we discuss the phrase "work righteousness" as we look ahead to Reformation. The phrase "work righteousness" descibes the idea that human beings can save themselves by works of rightesousness. But there is a problem. God's standard of righteousness (laid out in the 10 Commandments for starters) is impossible for us to achieve. All our righteousnesses are like filthy rags, Isaiah writes! When we try to save ourselves or earn God's favor by our works we separated ourselves from Christ and lost out on the grace He alone can give. Scripture clearly declares that we are not saved by our works of righteousness, but by God's grace in Christ: “But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness” (Romans 4). Thanks be to God!
Nathanael Mayhew digs into a common name for Jesus in the New Testament and also one of the most important, since it was this name that guaranteed Jesus's death. It is the name "Son of God." This is used over 40 times for Jesus in the New Testament. It is the foundation and theme of the Gospel of Mark who begins by calling Jesus the Son of God. Jesus was decarled to be the Son of God by John the Baptizer, Nathanael, Martha, the Ethiopian eunuch, and the disciples as a whole. But what is more striking is that the Roman centurian at Jesus' crucifixion confesses: Truly this was the Son of God!" Even the demons recognized Jesus and called Him the Son of God. Was Jesus just a half god or demi god like Perceus or Hercules in Greek mythology? He was much more than that. Put under oath and asked if He was the Son of God, Jesus said: "It is as you say." For this He was condemned of blasphemy because He made Himself to be God! Jesus is True Man, but also True God, our Savior!
Join Pastor Nathanael Mayhew today to look at three more names for Jesus: The Way, The Truth, The Life. Even though many people are put off by the exclusive nature of Christianity, their rejection does not change the truth. Jesus is the only way to heaven. He alone made the sacrifice that God required to pay the debt of our sin and reconcile us to Him. He is also the Life. Jesus gave His life on the cross and then took it again on the third day. By faith in Jesus we have the Life He has won, but without faith in Him, we are condemned. Jesus is also the truth. Unlike the Rabbis of His day, Jesus's word were authortative themselves and He did not need to use other Rabbis to support or give authority to His teaching. His words are truth and they cannot fail. Jesus is the only way, the very Truth, and the Life we so desperately need and long for!
Pastor Nathanael Mayhew digs into another name of Jesus, the Word. This name takes us into the writings of John where he reveals that Jesus is more than just a man. He is true God with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He has been since the beginning and He is the Creator. But the Word also became flesh and lived as a man. He was seen, heard and touched by others as True Man. He gave up His life, in order to give us life by reconciling us to God. Jesus is the Word!
Pastor Mark Tiefel digs into "Lord" for our Word of the Week and our contuing series on the names of Jesus. This term Lord is not to be confused with the all-capital LORD found in the Old Testament in many English Bibles. LORD is the personal name for God, Jehovah or Yahweh, which sets Him apart from false gods. The term Lord is a common title for Jesus in the New Testament. It is a term given to one who has power or authority over others. The disciples called Jesus "Lord" recognizing His authority over them. We too need to remember that Jesus is more than just a man, He is true God, and has all power in heaven and on earth. He is our master and He deserves our respect. Whether we recognize Jesus as Lord now or not, all people will recognize Him as Lord on the last day. May the Spirit bring us to that knowledge through faith before that day comes!
Pastor Tom Naumann digs into another name of Jesus, Alpha and Omega, in our Word of the Week. This title is found several times in the Book of Revelation, and describes the eternal nature of our Savior Jesus. He has always existed and will always exist. He was there at the creation of all things and will be there in the very end at the coming judgment. This title also connects Jesus to His existence in the Old Testament. Isaiah uses a similar expression to describe Jehovah showing us that Jesus is true God, He is Jehovah. Jesus is the sum and substance of all the Scriptures and the promises of God.
Pastor Mark Tiefel shows how the term Branch is a clear title for Jesus in our Word of the Week. The prophets of the Old Testament used this as a picture or description of Jesus. Jesus is called the "Righteous Branch" and brings the peace that only God can bring. Possibly the most familiar use of this title is found in Isaiah 11 as the prophet foretells the peace that only the Messiah would be able to bring. God fulfilled His promise of sending His Son from the line of David. That Jesus who is the stem of Jesse and the Righteous Branch has brought us forgiveness of sins and peace with God!
This week Pastor Mark Tiefel takes us into a study of the title for Jesus - "Advocate." The title comes from 1 John 2:1 where we are told that we have "an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous." As our advocate, Jesus takes our place, He stands in for us before our Father in Heaven. His work of righteousness becomes ours by faith. His death pays the debt of our sin. He intercedes for us and pleads our case, not on the basis of our righteousness, but His! What a comfort to know that Jesus, the righteous One, is on our side, representing us before God!
Pastor Mark Tiefel presents the importance and meaning of the Name "Vine" for our Savior in our Word of the Week. The name comes from John15 where Jesus Himself uses that picture and name for Himself. It answers the question that many people have: Does God really love me? Jesus assures us that He does, and that through our connection to Him we have life. Through that life we, as Christians, also bear fruit. It is a natural work of the branch because of the life giving nutrients received from the vine. What a comforting and encouraging picture for us of our loving and caring Savior!