St John's Lutheran Church Wilcox Nebraska

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9:30 AM Divine Service & 10:45 AM Bible Study102 S. Stockton, Wilcox, NE 68982


Pastor's Notes - November 2013

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Pastor Notes-November

I feel it necessary to write this week about one of the 6 “Chief parts of the Catechism”, the “Office of the Keys”.  You all learned this from your confirmation days but it is a teachings we need to be refreshed on periodically, because it affects our life nearly every day. 

            According to the Catechism the office of the Keys is: “the peculiar Church power which Christ has given to His Church on earth to forgive the sins of penitent sinners, but to retain the sins of the impenitent as long as they do not repent.”

            We find Biblical support for this teaching particularly from the Gospel of John.  In the upper room in Jerusalem on the day of the Resurrection Christ appeared to His disciples and John tells us: “The Lord Jesus breathed on His disciples and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained’”.

            With the office of the keys, the Christian Church, and every individual Christian has the authority to forgive or retain the sins of another.  Lest anyone misunderstand this teaching and arrogantly feel that we have some kind of Godly power within our sinful selves to forgive, understand the authority is only given to Christians-those who are “walking in the Spirit of God”. 

            Further we must not forget that mere man cannot “forgive sins”.  Yes, the words “I forgive you” come out of the mouth of a sinful man, but the man has not “forgiven” anyone; Christ has forgiven, man is proclaiming what God has already done through Jesus. 

            Then why is it necessary to say to someone who is repentant of sin: “I forgive you in the Name of Jesus”, instead of saying something like: “Don’t worry, Jesus forgives you”?  After all, didn’t we just say that it is Jesus who does the forgiving?

            Yes, but Jesus “speaks” His Word orally through Sprit-filled men; and which is better to hear for the repentant sinner looking for comfort: 1st person language: “I forgive you”, or 3rd person language: “He forgives you”?  Knowing what the teaching is, and also remembering that Jesus is with the Christian always, I would rather hear the 1st person language.  It is like hearing the very words from Jesus Himself.

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W.I.N. Wednesday, December 19 @ 3:45 PM
Advent Supper Wednesday, December 19 @ 5:00 PM
Wilcox Food Pantry Wednesday, December 19 @ 6:30 PM
Advent Service Wednesday, December 19 @ 7:00 PM
Worship Service Sunday, December 23 @ 9:30 AM


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