Lecture 9- Today, If You Hear His Voice, Do Not Harden Your Hearts

              

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Today, If You Hear His Voice, Do Not Harden Your Hearts

Rev. Brian L. Kachelmeier

The Holy Spirit is teaching us to continue to listen to Jesus.  Faith comes from the words of Jesus.  Moses had said that there would be a prophet great than him and we should listen to Him.  At the Transfiguration, the Father said, “This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.  Listen to Him.”

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Lecture- Today, if You Hear His Voice Do Not Harden Your Hearts

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Walk in Wisdom- The Power and Presence of God

“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.  Let you speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” (Colossians 4:5-6, ESV)

 

DON’T WALK WITHOUT WISDOM

Example of a weak confession found on the internet :

The Holy Spirit:    We believe and teach that the Holy Spirit is the presence and power of God at work in the world, especially in human lives. The Spirit is at work in convicting sinners of their need for God’s grace, and in empowering people for effective Christian living. The Spirit produces “fruit” in the lives of believers as expressed in the fifth chapter of Galatians: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

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It is not helpful to talk about the person and work of the Holy Spirit as the presence and power of God.  To begin with, this ambiguity leads to the idea that the Holy Spirit is not God; rather, He is merely the power or presence of God like a spiritual force acting out the will of God.  We cannot separate the three persons of the Blessed Trinity from each other.

Likewise, this weak wording leads toward modalism in which the Spirit is just a different mode or form in which God is at work in His creation at a given time, as if,  He is sometimes in the mode of the Father and at another time in the mode of the Son.

When the concept of the Holy Spirit working in human lives is asserted, there is no explanation of how that takes place.  This vague statement lends itself to an understanding of a direct revelation  from God, as if, the Holy Spirit separates Himself from the written word of the prophets and the apostles.

Furthermore, the emphasis is placed upon convicting of sin as one goal of the Holy Spirit and the empowering for effective Christian living as the other goal.  Thus, the Holy Spirit is the one who convicts and empowers.  Again, there is no indication of how the Spirit of God convicts and empowers.  The gospel, the message about the person and work of Jesus, is completely left out of the picture.

Therefore, the above wording wanders aimlessly declaring that the Holy Spirit shows a need for God’s grace without delivering it.  While at the same time, it promotes the idea of effective Christian living without any indication of faith in Christ.  Yet, it is impossible to please God without faith.  In the above statement, the Holy Spirit is not confessed as the one who gives the gift of faith which clings to the promises of God fulfilled in Christ.  Take note that no mention is given of the Holy Spirit being the Comforter.

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We should walk in wisdom and make the best use of our time.  Rather than confessing that the Holy Spirit is the presence and power of God, we should clarify that the Holy Spirit is God who is worshiped and glorified together with the Father and the Son.  Our Triune God is omnipresent.  Thus, wherever the Holy Spirit is present, the Father and the Son are present too.

We need to be clear that the person of the Holy Spirit is eternally distinct from the person of the Father and the person of the Son.  The Father is eternally unbegotten, the Son is eternally begotten of the Father, and the Spirit eternally proceeds from the Father and the Son.  The Spirit of God is not a mode or a power of God.

The Holy Spirit works in human lives through instrumental means.  He uses the law of God to reveal sin and to bring conviction and judgment.  He uses the gospel to reveal to us our Savior and to bring mercy and forgiveness.  The unique role of the Holy Spirit is to bring comfort through the power of the gospel by opening eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to believe the promises of God.  He grants us faith and strengthens our faith in Christ alone for salvation.  We cannot come to Jesus or believe in Him.  The Holy Spirit calls us through the gospel and gives us faith to trust in Christ’s completed work of atonement on the cross.

The Spirit of the Lord works conversion in us and renewal in us through the means of grace which are holy baptism (the gospel with water), holy absolution (the gospel in spoken or written form), and holy communion (the gospel with the bread and wine and with the body and blood of Christ).  We want to be clear on how the Holy Spirit works in human lives.

 

Lecture 8- Running Against the Rock

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Running Against the Rock

Rev. Brian L. Kachelmeier

The rejection of the Rock of our salvation is a constant theme throughout the holy scriptures.  As soon as the people of God were delivered from slavery in Egypt their praising of God’s work of salvation was quickly turned into grumbling and complaining.  The refused to continue to listen to His voice in the mouths of His prophets.  No wonder, that the leaders of Jerusalem rejected the Christ in the days of the apostles and people continue to refused to listen and be saved.

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Lecture- Running Against the Rock

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Lecture 7- Learning to Say Hallelujah

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Learning to Say Hallelujah

Rev. Brian L. Kachelmeier

Christ is risen!  He is read indeed!  Alleluia!  Or is it Hallelujah?  Whether there is an “H” or an “A,”  the key is to proclaim the works of the LORD.  Specifically in this season of Easter, we take great comfort in knowing that Christ has been but to death for our transgression and raised to life for our justification.  In this great act of salvation we rejoice!

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Lecture- Learning to Say Hallelujah

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Walk in Wisdom- “We Believe in Worship?”

“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.  Let you speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” (Colossians 4:5-6, ESV)

 

DON’T WALK WITHOUT WISDOM

Example of a weak confession found on the internet :

We Believe: worship of God should be Spiritual.  Therefore: We remain flexible and yielded to the Holy Spirit to direct our worship.

We Believe: worship of God should be Inspirational.  Therefore: We give a great place to music in our worship

We Believe: worship of God should be Intelligent. Therefore: Our services are designed with great emphasis upon teaching of the Word of God that He might instruct us how He should be worshiped

We Believe: worship of God is Fruitful. Therefore: We look for His Love in our lives as the supreme manifestation that we have truly been worshiping Him

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The above list of beliefs was found on a page that was titled “What We Believe.”  Yet, there was nothing on the page that confesses the God in whom they believe; instead, they list five different things that they believe about worship.  Each one of these components is ambiguous.  Any church could squeeze herself into this mold.  In fact, even non-Christian groups like the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons could embrace this five point belief system of worship.

Point 1- Spiritual

The main problem with this point is the need to be certain that one is being led by the Holy Spirit.  The only way to be certain that a service is of the Holy Spirit is to utilize the means of grace instituted by our Triune God.  These means are tied to the written word of the prophets and the apostles who were inspired by the Holy Spirit.  The emphasis of the Divine Service should be upon Jesus Christ who is our Eternal High Priest who promises to be present with us in His means of grace.  Thus, we gather to receive the means of grace which are holy baptism, holy communion, and holy absolution.  These are three different ways through which we received the benefits of the atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross.  These gifts grant to us the promises of forgiveness, life, and salvation.  Thus, the primary emphasis should not be placed upon our ability to be flexible and yielding, but rather, upon our receiving of the gifts of God.

Point 2- Inspirational

When we use the language and concept of inspiration, we are diving into the realm of feelings and emotions.  The purpose of the Divine Service is not to move us.  Instead, the purpose is to deliver the gifts of God to us through which the Holy Spirit is at work in us.  We must be careful not to associate music with the vehicle through which the Holy Spirit comes to us.  We do not induce God’s presence by performing inspiration music.  On the contrary, the Holy Spirit is bestowed through the gospel.

Point 3- Intelligent

The purpose of preaching is not to teach us how to worship God.  Rather, the purpose of teaching the word of God is to us assure us that for the sake of Jesus Christ we have found favor with God.  In order to accomplish this goal, the law is preached which exposed our sin.  It teaches us how we have failed to obey what God requires of us and forbids us from doing.  Then, the gospel is proclaimed to take our sin away.  It teaches us how Christ was obedient to the point of death in our stead.  Our sin was declared to be His sin.  His righteousness is declared to be our righteousness.  This is a gift from God promised to us in the gospel connected to water (baptism), connected to the body, blood, bread, and wine (Lord’s Supper), and/or connected to the ink, paper or the voice of God’s chosen proclaimer (absolution).

Point 4- Fruitful

How can one look for the love of God in His life apart from the love of God declared to us in the gospel?  According to this understanding presented above, one won’t know for certain if God was truly worshiped until love is made manifest.  Faith is that worship which receives God’s offered gifts in the means of grace.  Our Triune God gives forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.  We respond by saying, “Thank you and amen.”  These gifts are promised by God and as with any promise they can only rightfully be received by faith.

This is an example of how not to walk.  In the place of identifying themselves as believers in the Holy Trinity tied to the historic Christian church, they want to be recognized as worshipers.  Therefore, they end up confessing thier actions and neglecting to profess Christ’s actions for them and those who read their statement.  This is a classic example of those who boast in deeds and not creeds.

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We should walk in wisdom and make the best use of our time.  Rather than confessing what we believe about worship, we should confess what we believe about the God whom we worship.  Only when we correctly understand who Christ is and what He has done of us to atone for our sins, can we rightly worship God.  True worship is believing in the promises of God found in Christ.  Thus, it would be better to post the Nicene Creed on the internet under the title “What We Believe.”

THE NICENE CREED

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.  He suffered and was buried.  And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures and ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father.  And He will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead, whose kingdom will have no end.

And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets.  And we believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church, we acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins, and we look for the resurrection of the dead and the life + of the world to come.  Amen.

Lecture 6- The Rule of Splice

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The Rule of Splice

Rev. Brian L. Kachelmeier

The Apostles use the “Rule of Splice” when quoting form the Old Testament scriptures.  They splice together the complete message of the prophets through whom the Holy Spirit speaks.  In them we learn about Jesus and what will happen to Jesus.

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Lecture- The Rule of Splice

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