Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

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1 Corinthians 11:23–25

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Both Kinds in the Lord’s Supper 

They also claim that there is a danger of spilling and other things which do not have sufficient force to alter the ordinance of Christ.

Pulling It Together

I am always impressed by the steady hands of those who pour from a chalice into a small, individual communion cups. I am no less impressed by those who can hold the cup to the lips without spilling, and for those lips to receive without dribbling. I suppose they do at times, over the years, spill some wine. If they did, would that change Christ’s instruction to give the cup to all? For what reason would it ever be proper to change the ordinance of Christ? The Apostle Paul hands down to us exactly what Christ instituted. Lutherans pass on the same without altering the Lord’s instructions for any reason.

Prayer: Thank you, Living Bread, for your resolve to shed your blood for the life of the world.

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In the Luther Household is a six-session Bible study on the Lutheran understanding of marriage and family. Based on foundational texts from Scripture, the study also draws from the real-life experience of Martin and Katie Luther, who were not only husband and wife, but the parents of several children. It includes excerpts from Luther's personal writings to family and friends as they faced the good and bad that come in everyday living.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

1 Timothy 3:1

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Both Kinds in the Lord’s Supper 

If they withhold the cup in order to distinguish orders, this very thing ought to keep us from any agreement with our opponents—though we might otherwise be inclined toward their custom. There are other distinguishing marks between the orders of priests and laity, but why they defend this distinction so earnestly is no mystery. We will not say more concerning their wily purposes, so as not to give the impression that we are detracting from the true worth of the order.

Pulling It Together

Whether one takes 1 Timothy 3:1 as referring to bishops, pastors, or elders, it is clear that the office of overseer is a noble one. Therefore, when someone in this office teaches bad doctrine, especially in order to promote self, it sullies the office—not merely the person in the office. Therefore, the focus of the Lord’s Supper should not be the office of the minister, but of Christ alone. With him as our focus, we easily see that there are indeed offices or orders in Christ’s Church but that we “are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28). 

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for giving your body and shedding your blood—even for me. Amen.

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A Reading and Discussion of the Augsburg Confession is written in easy-to-understand language but is a challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, each presented in a question and discussion format. Click here to see the Table of Contents and a sample session.

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A Sermon for the Fourth Sunday of Lent

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Isaiah 42:14–21; Psalm 1421-7; Ephesians 5:8–14; John 9:1–41

“Awake in the Light” – sermon audio for the Fourth Sunday in Lent, preached at Trinity Lutheran Church, Springfield, OH, March 26, 2017:

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Matthew 26:26–28

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Both Kinds in the Lord’s Supper 

In the judgment of God, will the reasons that he cites excuse those who prohibit a part of the Sacrament, and who rage against people using the entire Sacrament?

Pulling It Together

All of God’s people are to be given both kinds in the Lord’s Supper—both the bread and the wine, his body and his blood. The reason for this usage is simply this: the Lord himself commands this practice for the forgiveness of sins. “Take, eat…drink of it, all of you.” May God’s mercy extend to those who forbid and withhold the cup that Christ so clearly offers to all who believe.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for pouring out the new covenant upon all believers. Amen.

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The Sola Confirmation Series, written by the Rev. Steven E. King, is basic work-book style Confirmation curriculum. It is designed to serve as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism.  Each book in the series can be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. 

The Apostles' Creed book is a ten-week unit, with one session on the Trinity and three sessions on each article of the Creed.  The Bible Study lessons in the Creed series provide an overview of creation-redemption themes in Scripture, driving toward the promise of God at work in our present lives. Click here to see the introductory pages and a sample of session one.

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Matthew 4:1–4

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Both Kinds in the Lord’s Supper 

This is the word of a tyrant. Why should they be content? “Don’t ask for a reason, but allow as law whatever the theologians say.” This is a concoction of Eck. We recognize those prideful words. If we wished to respond, there would be no want of words. For you see how great his impudence is. He commands like a tyrant in the tragedies: “Whether they like it or not, they must be satisfied!”

Pulling It Together

Just because someone wants it to be a certain way, does not make it so. If someone commands authority, this does not necessarily make his demands right. The dictates of an entire culture do not stamp a matter with divine approval. So we must ask again and again: Have we exceeded “what is written” (1 Cor 4:6)? This was the modus operandi of Christ himself. “It is written!” Jesus thwarted the designs of the devil with this practice. Sola Scriptura must be our banner as well. Having the Word of God as our authority, we should never collapse under the weight of culture, tradition, or human authority.

Prayer: Help me to live in your word, Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Confirmation Series, written by the Rev. Steven E. King, is basic work-book style Confirmation curriculum. It is designed to serve as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism.  Each book in the series can be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. 

The Ten Commandments book is a ten-week unit, which includes one session on each of the Commandments. The Scripture focus in the Ten Commandment series is on Moses and the Exodus Cycle, with Bible Study lessons taken primarily from the Pentateuch.

• Student Workbook     • Leader's Guide

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A Sermon for the Third Sunday of Lent

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Exodus 17:1-7; Psalm 95:1-9; Romans 5:1-8; John 4:5-26

“Is the Lord Among Us or Not?” – sermon audio for the Third Sunday in Lent, preached at Christ United Lutheran Church, Granite Falls, NC, March 19, 2017:

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Psalm 23:5

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Both Kinds in the Lord’s Supper 

The Sacrament was instituted to console and comfort terrified minds, when they believe that Christ’s flesh is food, given for the life of the world, and that they are made alive by being joined to Christ. Our adversaries argue that the laity is kept from one kind as a punishment. They say, “They ought to be content.”

Pulling It Together

If we are to seek first the kingdom of God (Matt 6:33), what is it that we should desire? The simplest answer is that we should seek Christ. The kingdom is God’s, so it is God whom we should want with all our hearts. There are ways that we may seek him, but there is one way that Christ himself established. God has prepared a table for us, spread in the presence of our enemies (Psa 23:5). We may as well say that it is spread in the presence of sin, death, and the devil. There, at his table, Christ satisfies the thirsty soul who hungers and thirsts for righteousness (Matt 5:6). There, in the giving of himself—his flesh and blood—is grace and forgiveness of sins. We should not be content with only a portion of the table that Christ has spread for us—denying ourselves of what he has prepared for us. Our cups overflow; drink!

Prayer: Thank you, Shepherd of my soul, for the benefit of your body and blood. Amen.

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Kinderbeten is a compelling story touching on the exercise of free religion, the religious wars in Europe, the roots of Evangelicalism, the supernatural, and more, all wrapped up in a religious revival which began not through a charismatic revivalist or any adult at all, but rather found it's origin with children aged four to fourteen. The children became pawns in a controversy between political and religious opponents. Indulge your curiosity and read the remarkable story about the King of Sweden and the 1707-08 Children's Revival in Silesia, a tale of hope and prayer.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

1 Peter 2:9–10

Concerning Both Kinds in the Lord’s Supper 

They also cite in the Confutation that the sons of Eli, after the loss of the high-priesthood, were to seek the one part pertaining to the priests (1 Sam 2:36). They say that this indicates the use of one kind, and add: “Therefore, our laity should be content with that one part offered by the priests, that is, with one kind.” Our opponents are clearly trifling when they apply the story of Eli’s posterity to the Sacrament. Eli’s punishment is described in that narrative. Do they mean to say that the laity is being punished by taking away one kind?

Pulling It Together

Even if we were to allow such a faulty example, we would need to deal with the priesthood of all believers, and that we are all one in Christ (1 Pet 2:5, 9; Gal 3:28). Lutherans confess that there is no class difference in the Church; all are priests before the Lord. So, let us imagine that, for a time, only one kind was to be allowed to the laity while both kinds permitted for priests. Since all believers are now priests under the new covenant in Christ’s blood, all would therefore receive both kinds. This is a far better analogy from Scripture than the foolish comparison to Eli’s sons.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for giving me direct access to you and to all of your benefits. Amen.

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Written in 1521, Martin Luther's Commentary on the Magnificat is a spiritual classic with a timeless message: soli deo gloria — to God alone be the glory. Johann Sebastian Bach wrote his musical masterpiece, Magnificat, during his first year as Kantor of the Church of St. Thomas in Leipzig. Luther and Bach on the Magnificat interprets the timeless message of the Magnificat in a unique and inspirational word and music study experience that can be enjoyed year after year by individuals and congregations alike.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

1 Corinthians 10:16

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Both Kinds in the Lord’s Supper 

They also refer to “Lay Communion.” Yet this is not a reference to the mere use of one kind, but a denial of both. For whenever priests are commanded to use Lay Communion, it means that they have been removed from the ministry of consecration. The adversaries are not ignorant of this, but they abuse the ignorance of the uneducated, who, when they hear of Lay Communion, immediately think of the custom of our time, that only a part of the Sacrament is given to the laity.

Consider their impudence. Recounting reasons why both parts are not given, Gabriel says that a distinction should be made between laity and clergy. That this is the chief reason why the refusal of one part is defended, is beyond question. In this way, the status of the clergy is more highly exalted through a religious rite. To put it mildly, this is a human design, and its purpose is obvious.

Pulling It Together

Who is elevated or remembered in such a distinction between clergy and laity? Is it Christ? Or is it the clergy who are given the greater dignity? If we place our entire focus upon Jesus, we will remember that he gave us his body, and shed for us his blood—that all might participate by drinking from that cup of Christ’s own blood. And so, we do both, breaking bread and blessing cup together, in remembrance of what he instituted among us. In doing so, we enjoy the forgiveness of sins. May it never be that we withhold this great benefit of the faith because of class distinction. .

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for including me in your gift of grace. Amen.

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Personalities of Faith is a ten-session Bible study for youth. The goal of the series is to encourage young people to commit themselves to follow Jesus in discipleship by becoming "personalities of faith." By showing biblical examples of people who have followed—or failed to follow—God's call, participants will be prepared to better follow the Lord in their own lives.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions

Original image  •  Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion. 

Luke 24:30–35

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Both Kinds in the Lord’s Supper 

They imagine that, in the beginning of the Church, it was the custom in some places that only one part was administered. Nevertheless they are not able to produce any ancient example of this practice. They cite the passages that mention bread, as in Luke 24:35, where it is written that the disciples recognized Christ in the breaking of bread. They also quote other passages concerning the breaking of bread. Although we do not seriously object if some interpret these passages as referring to the Sacrament, yet it does not follow that only one kind was given, since, according to the ordinary usage of language, the naming of one signifies the other.

Pulling It Together

When we speak of breaking bread, we mean that we take the time to enjoy a meal. In the Church, this may simply refer to a fellowship meal. Yet, in certain Scriptures it could be understood as being something more than a potluck: perhaps a common meal during which Holy Communion was received. Some interpret “the breaking of bread” in the New Testament as being the Lord’s Supper if it was done on the Lord’s Day. This still follows the meaning of having a meal together, but in this case that gracious sustenance is Holy Communion. 

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for helping me remember you in the receiving of your body and blood. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

We Still Believe is a Bible study resource reflecting on key themes in biblical Lutheran doctrine that are at risk in the Church today. It is offered in the hope that it will inspire individuals and congregations to examine the core beliefs of traditional Lutheranism and how these beliefs apply to our own present context. Written in a question and discussion style by Pastor Steven King, the participant's book includes an introduction to and copy of the faith statement known as the Common Confession.

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