Rev. Timothy J. Parsch, D.D., Pastor Home Phone 727 535-5323 2013
On October 31, 1517 a 33-year old Augustinian monk, parish priest and professor of theology nailed 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, denouncing the papacy’s sale of “indulgences” to finance the restoration of St. Peter’s Basilica. (Indulgences are papal certificates offering remission of the temporal penalty due forgiven sin, supposedly granting sinners parole from the fires of purgatory.) That priest, Martin Luther, gave birth to the Reformation which eventually led to the Protestant Reformation all over the world. The doctrinal theme of the Reformation were five solae: Salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, on the basis of Scripture alone, in and through Jesus Christ alone, to the glory of God alone.
Scripturally, it goes like this. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Alienated from God, hostile in mind, we practice evil behavior (Colossians 1:21). Though we offend his perfect holiness, God acquits those who trust in him and in what he has done for us through Christ Jesus. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus is alone: the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6) and the only way to eternal salvation (Acts 4:12).
Let me elaborate on those 5 solae briefly:
Sola Gratia – Grace Alone This statement is saying that God is both willing and able to save. In grace God gives us (accredits to our account) what Christ his Son did on our behalf. Jesus didn’t tell us a story, he showed us a story; the story of his love. He walked our streets, went to a cross and didn’t stop there. He rose and promises us life now and forever. He comes to meet us where we are and will come again to take us home to be with him and each other forever. Just a quick reference to the Law of God – the law shows us that we have nothing to claim in our defense. The more we see the guilt that the law places on us, the more we see the beauty of Grace. The center of our Christian faith is not our sin, but our Savior! But, we need to see the law in order to see Christ! Lex semper accusit – the law only accuses us. Grace alone saves. We contribute nothing.
Sola Fide – Faith Alone Justification by faith, which gives us assurance of our standing before God is not just a pastorate doctrine. It goes to the very core of our theology. We are “justified before God” based on faith in what Christ did. We are not justified by faith in our faith, but faith in Christ. Faith is confined in the person and work of Jesus Christ – the “trustability of Jesus”!
Sola Scriptura – Scripture Alone The Bible is Holy! It is the inerrant Word of God himself. And, there is no substitute; nothing above it or alongside it, neither man-written nor manmade tradition.
Sola Christus – Jesus Christ Alone There are many today who say, “But don’t all religions or teachings lead to the same end?” And the answer is, “No, they don’t!” All one has to do is stop and ask, “Do all religions teach the same doctrine, the same beliefs?” And the answer is, “No, they don’t!” So how could they all lead to the same conclusions? Jesus Christ is alone and unique. All other world systems rely on human achievement while Christianity believes in Christ’s divine intervention and in him we have forgiveness of sins, life and salvation.
Sola de Gloria – The Glory of God Alone The glory of God alone. Put all your faith in the righteousness of Christ and God gets all the glory! We were created for his glory and in our redemption he is glorified. In our secular, modern society we have lost the sense of majesty and religious awe and the consciousness of the presence of God and his glory. We have lost our spirit of worship and our ability to withdraw inwardly and to meet God in adoring silence. “Be still and know that I am God.” Ephesians 3:21 says, “. . . to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Let me conclude by saying Satan can’t reverse Jesus’ victory at Calvary. If he could, he would. That would be his first choice. His #2 choice is to get us to believe Jesus didn’t do it; and, his 3rd choice is to get Christians to believe it is not enough.
The leader of the Reformation, Dr. Martin Luther, and other leaders of the Reformation to follow, John Calvin and John Wesley, all agree: we have peace with God by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone! In our Lord’s love and service,
Jesus Christ is God’s solution to all man’s problems!
October flowers given to the glory of God by the following 6 Dila De La Paz to the glory of God 13 Grace Gilbert in loving memory of her husband, Don, on his second anniversary in heaven
Rick & Kathy Miller in honor of their wedding anniversary October 19 20 Al & Joann Heindorf in honor of their 60th wedding anniversary
27 In loving memory of Charles and Florence Wadenklee Baptisms
Regan Danielle Havekotte, daughter of Daniel & Katie Havekotte, September 15, 2013
Noah Elias Sheaffer, son of Hayden & Dena Sheaffer, September 15, 2013 Deaths
Loren Imeson, August 23, 2013
In Memory of Loren Imeson
Howard & Diane Williams James & Victoria Williams William & Dorothy Martin
Paul & Hilda Taylor John & Ellen Freeze Norma & Jack Suddreth In Memory of Nicholas Flomp
Kathleen & Dennis Pavlich/Canfield Gourmet In Memory of Toni Lee Bukovac
Ed & Jan Temme In Memory of Glenn Miller
Bob & Evelyn Cunningham
LWML SUNDAY OCTOBER 6
Luke 24:44-53, “Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
(Lutheran Women’s Missionary League)
LWML is the official women’s auxiliary of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod with over 250,000 members in the United States.
Mite boxes for missions is based on the story of the Widow’s Mite – Luke 21:1-4.
Saturday mornings Prayer Link – together in prayer Saturday morning at 9 a.m. (wherever you are, whatever you are doing, stop and pray for our Pastors, teachers, missionaries, seminarians, etc.).
Servants – making a difference for others with mission outreach with Mites.
Spring and Fall Zone Rallies
Conventions have inspiring mission speakers, Bible study and worship and votes on mission grants, such as the following:
The Lutheran Heritage Foundation (LHF) has translated and published A Child’s Garden of Bible Stories, along with Luther’s Small Catechism, into the languages of Southeast Asia. Since 2005 LHF has published the catechism in more than a dozen Southeast Asian languages. Since 2008, LHF has translated A Child’s Garden of Bible Stories into nine Southeast Asian languages.
The LHF cannot keep up with the demand for these publications. With the $72,000 grant adopted at the Pittsburgh LWML Convention, 9,000 copies of the catechism and 6,000 copies of A Child’s Garden of Bible Stories will be printed for distribution so that Southeast Asians may come to know and love their Savior, Jesus Christ.
Ladies of Bethel – You are already a member of LWML, there are no dues, lots of friendship, so we invite you to come and take part in mission work for our Lord. We would like to hold regular meetings. Do you have a time/day that works best for you to attend? Call Jeannie Hughes at 727 799 3010.
LWML IS SERVING THE LORD WITH GLADNESS!
ORGAN BELLOWS - OCTOBER, 2013
By Senior Organist Byron B. Einspahr
Autumn recently arrived, and the bright reds, oranges, and yellows have decorated the landscape – particularly in the northern part of the country where the four seasons are easily detectable. These bright, vivid colors are often associated with the observance of the Holy Spirit’s work in the Church. October is a special month for Christian Protestants as they observe the celebration of THE REFORMATION OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH. October 31, 1517, is the date when Martin Luther posted the “95 Theses” on the castle church doors at Wittenberg, Germany. His “95 Theses” was an important document that denounced many of the practices and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Martin Luther shared his discovery from Scripture that the “Holy Bible” is the central religious authority and Christians may reach salvation only by their faith in our gracious and benevolent LORD, Who sent His Son Jesus Christ to be our Savior. Christians are not saved by their deeds. Thus began a division of the Catholic Church and the birth of the Lutheran Church. Through THE REFORMATION the Church received some beautiful, powerful hymns of praise. One such powerful hymn will be addressed here -- “Built on the Rock the Church Shall Stand.”
“BUILT ON THE ROCK THE CHURCH SHALL STAND” (LSB #645)
Recently in the news was the devastating flood that struck several communities in northern Colorado, in and near the mountains. On the Internet there appeared a photograph of an old, wood-framed church that was awaiting certain destruction as it sat precariously on the bank of a raging river in the Rocky Mountains. The ground had been washed away under nearly a third of the structure. The entrance to the church was extended over the flowing river. Hopefully a way was found to salvage this old building and move it to a more secure location. Seeing this photograph brought to mind the hymn “Built on the Rock the Church Shall Stand.” The first verse is as follows:
Built on the Rock the Church shall stand even when steeples are falling.
Crumbled have spires in every land; bells still are chiming and calling,
Calling the young and old to rest, but above all the souls distressed,
Longing for rest everlasting.
Buildings are finite; just like all other material goods they do not last. So, we know that this hymn is not speaking about an earthly structure or about the type of ground upon which it sits. The words are written to help the worshiper visualize his/her faith that will last forever when it is based upon a solid foundation -- the Good News of the Gospel in the “Holy Bible.” We are saved by our faith that Jesus Christ is our Savior from all sin. God wants us to be strong in our faith, to cling to that rock, that faith, that will not crumble – even when everything in the world around us is falling apart or becoming an unrepairable mess.
We are the Church! The rock of a Christian is to follow Jesus. To keep the foundation of that faith solid, it is important that we study God’s Word and learn His will for us, receiving His guidance how we may serve and glorify Him through our daily lives and interactions with one another. That faith within us is not to be kept for ourselves, but it is meant to be a living faith – a faith that exists to lead other people to know Jesus Christ as their Savior and have eternal salvation as well. We are called to share this Good News to relieve the distress found in so many people throughout the world. We care called to help people understand that faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior is the one sure, solid foundation for them to embrace all their lives.
According to Saint Matthew, “The Church is entrusted with the keys to God’s reign, symbolizing victory over death. Death is destined to lose because its opponent has been given the ultimate weapon – the keys to the gates of Heaven.” What a wonderful reason to celebrate – Life is a gift from God! How important it is for us to built our lives upon this “Rock,” knowing that it will not crumble or come tumbling down.
“Built on the Rock the Church Shall Stand” may be found in our “Lutheran Service Book” hymn #645. Nikolai Fredrik Severn Grundtvig, who lived from 1783-1872, originally wrote the text. Carl Doving, who lived from 1867-1937, later translated the lyrics. The beautiful, powerful melody was composed by Ludvig M. Lindeman 1812-1887, and was introduced in the former hymnal “The Lutheran Hymnal” in 1941. Take a moment to review the other four verses of his hymn that are equally meaningful.