Word and Sacrament

A Summary of Luther's Small Catechism
Ten Commandments

(Exodus 20:1-17, Deuteronomy 5:1-21)

1. You shall have no other gods.
2. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
3. Remember the sabbath to keep it holy.
4. Honor your father and your mother.
5. You shall not murder.
6. You shall not commit adultery.
7. You shall not steal.
8. You shall not bear false witness.
9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his cattle, or anything that is his.

It is through God’s law that we understand the meaning of right and wrong, truth and falsehood. The Ten Commandments are the core of God’s Law and they can be summed up further when Jesus Himself says that we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor as our self (Mark 12:29-31, Luke 10:27, Matthew 22:34-40, Deuteronomy 6:4-5).

The Commandments are one of the Chief Parts because although we are saved by grace, we are still sinners. The Commandments thus continually point us to our only hope of salvation from condemnation, Jesus Christ. Through Christ’s work we are liberated from the curse of the Law. Our sin is covered by Christ’s perfect obedience to the Law and the Holy Spirit aids us in our daily fight against our flesh. (Romans 6:1-14, Romans 7:15,18,23) However, we still have need of the Law. We live in a sinful world in our sinful flesh. So we use the Law for daily instruction and as a rebuke against our sinful desires. Remembered and meditated on, God’s Law can aid us in living out God’s will in this fallen world. (Psalm 1:1-2, 119:71, 1 Corinthians 9:27, Hebrews 12:8)

Apostles Creed

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,
   who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
   born of the Virgin Mary,
   suffered under Pontius Plate,
   was crucified, died and was buried.
   He descended into hell.
   The third day He rose again from the dead.
   He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty.
   From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
   the holy Christian church,
   the communion of saints,
   the forgiveness of sins,
   the resurrection of the body,
   and the life everlasting. Amen.

This creed is the oldest of all the three Universal Creeds, believed to be originally put together between the 100s and 300s AD as a baptismal creed. Its theology is a testament to the beliefs of the apostles and their teachings and has been considered for millennia to be essential beliefs one must have in order to be Christian. It is the simplest and most concise of the three creeds.

In summary it covers the description of God as Triune, the miraculous conception and virgin birth of Christ, His crucifixion, ascension, and return in judgement, and the existence and work of the Holy Spirit. This is a sweet declaration of faith that reminds us of the saving work of our God. It is most certainly true.

Lord's Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven.
Hallowed by thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation.
But deliver us from evil.

(Mathew 6:9-13)

The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. (Luke 11:1) Yet, He didn’t just teach them how to pray; He told them for what they actually should pray. For the purpose of teaching and understanding we divide the prayer into the invocation and 7 petitions. Each petition (request) we make of God has a specific purpose and helps us understand God’s will and His work.

Baptism

We believe Baptism is the Word of God combined with water which washes over us, buries and kills our old Adam so that we may arise from spiritual death to a life everlasting with Christ. It is not water only and that water by itself does not do any of these great things for us. It is the Word of God, in and with the water, combined with the faith God gave us to trust in the delivered promise that it gives salvation. Without the Word, the water is simple water. With the Word, it is a Baptism; a water of life and regeneration. (Titus 3:5-8, Romans 6:3-5)

So, Baptism is not simply an empty act or ritual. It actually gives the greatest of gifts to the baptized. It works forgiveness of sins because of the promise of God. It delivers from sin, death, and the devil; and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare. (Mark 16:16, 1 Peter 3:21)

The Lord's Supper

As baptism is water and the word combined, The Lord’s Supper is the true body and blood of Christ simultaneously to it being bread and wine. This is a profound mystery that cannot be explained with human reason, but we take the Word of God seriously for Jesus Himself spoke the Words of Institution below.

“Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same was also, He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying: “Drink of it, all of you; this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sin. Do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

In the words “Given for you” and “shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” We learn that in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are given us through these words. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation. As in Baptism, it is not we that do the work. Instead it is God’s Word that works His salvation in us. As it says, “Given… and shed for you, for the forgiveness of sins.” Christ says “this is my body” and “this is my blood.” This is profoundly good news for as Jesus says in John 6, his blood is true drink and  is flesh is true food. Praise be to God.

Confession

Confession can be boiled down to two parts. One, that we are to confess our sins and two, that we receive Absolution, or forgiveness, of sins. (James 5:15-16, Matthew 18:20) The forgiveness is communicated not just during Baptism, or the Lord’s Supper. (Matthew 16:19, John 20:22-23) It  s through this continual prayer for forgiveness, repentance, and the Absolution of our sins that we receive the continued and repeated  consolation of the gospel truth that we are forgiven all our trespasses.