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Friday, July 24, 2015

August 2015

St. Paul tells us in the book of Romans that "Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17).  Faith is produced in our hearts when the promises of Jesus are delivered to our ears.  You have come to faith because either God put His Word in the water of baptism which crucified you with Christ and raised you to a new life, or because God put His Word in someone's mouth to put in your ear (and, actually, isn't it always both of these?).  Faith comes through hearing, receiving, the Word of forgiveness for Christ's sake.
God is not silent but speaks.  He speaks His creation into existence. (Genesis 1:3; John 1:1-3)  His proclaimed Law condemns rebels. (Matthew 23:13-39)  His proclaimed Gospel sets free. (Mark 2:1-12)  Jesus himself speaks the dead to life when He tells poor Lazarus to come out of the grave. (John 11:43-44)  He calms the storm by saying "Peace, be still!" (Mark 3:41)  And, He calms the fears of the disciples when, after Easter, He greets them in the upper room with the words "Peace be with you." (John 20:15)   He then breaths the Holy Spirit on His disciples and tells them "If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." (John 21:23)  They were to preach repentance and forgiveness in his name throughout the world. (Luke 24:46-47)  The entire book of Acts as well as the epistles in the New Testament show us proclamation of the Word which kills and makes alive.  Ours is a faith that is to be spoken.

That is why the devil works overtime to keep us silent.  He knows that faith comes through hearing. So, I am convinced that the devil puts all kinds of fearful ideas before us to make us doubt whether or not we should have talks about spiritual matters.  It used to be that folks said religion was a private issue and you should keep it to yourself.  Things seem to be getting a bit more intense these days as speaking of Jesus is equated to (at most) hate speech, or (at least) evidence that you glibly believe in archaic fairy tales.  The devil convinces us that we don't know enough about our faith to answer hard questions, so we should just keep silent.  But, it is because He knows the Word that created the heavens and the earth also silences his lies and sets his enslaved sinners free. 

So, this Fall, we are going to be doing something different in our Bible study to combat the fear-mongering of the devil.  We are going to be emphasizing "spiritual conversations" here at Faith in order to equip you to feel confident in confessing your faith and spreading the Gospel of Christ!  In our Sunday morning Bible class, we are going to practice spiritual conversations.  We are going to have small and large group discussions based around major news stories, difficult theological questions, or just plain old coffee talk.  Also, if you look at the back of your sermon outlines, there are lists of questions there to help foster conversations in your homes based around God and His Word.  We will be offering other ways to foster spiritual conversations in your life as well.

Faith comes through hearing the good news of Jesus.  And, good news, Jesus has given you His Holy Spirit and something to say!  So, let's talk!

Pastor Bob

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Faith Lutheran Church • 123 Park Lane • Moorpark, CA 93021 • (805) 532 1049 • Send Email