Dale Meyer, Former speaker of The Lutheran Hour and president of Concordia Seminary has a daily blog called The Meyer Minute. It’s a great source of Gospel-Centered daily devotional thoughts. His words have lifted me up and inspired me in Jesus love countless times.
On the July 24th post Meyer gives a couple quotes from Martin Luther about the place of Good works in a Christian’s life:
Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that the believer would stake his life on it a thousand times. This knowledge of and confidence in God’s grace makes men glad and bold and happy in dealing with God and with all creatures. And this is the work which the Holy Spirit performs in faith. Because of it, without compulsion, a person is ready and glad to do good to everyone, to serve everyone, to suffer everything, out of love and praise to God who has shown him this grace. Thus it is impossible to separate works from faith, quite as impossible as to separate heat and light from fire. (Martin Luther, Preface to the Romans)
As we seek to live a Gospel-Centered Mission-Focused life, we need to remember that we’re not striving to impress God. We don’t need to earn his love, to win his approval, or to secure our salvation. We have that all in faith through Jesus. Our future is secure. All we do, then, is in response to God’s love he’s shown us already.
“Faith is living, daring confidence in God’s grace.” As followers of Jesus, we can stop examining our motives, stop tallying our good deeds, and look to Jesus’ love on the Cross and know that he will give us all good things. We’re then freed to love him and to love and serve others in his name without motive and without fear.
The Rob Bell looking Luther picture found here
As we’ve gone through the Story Formed Way, some of the members of the core group have had questions about what we specifically believe on certain points of doctrine. This is understandable. As dedicated Christians, many of us have read books or listened to Christians speakers or radio programs that all are given from different theological backgrounds. If it has been years since your confirmation class, you might have forgotten some of the finer points of Lutheran Doctrine.
Martin Luther actually created his Small Catechism as a tool for the common Christian to be able to learn true doctrine. Originally, the Catechism wasn’t something a 13 or 14 year old child would open for the first time in a church building as they began confirmation class. Rather, it was something a Christian Father used to teach his family the true faith and to help them memorize scripture. Martin Luther intended for you, as scripture exhorts us in Deut 6:1-9, to take every opportunity to teach your children the ways of God throughout the entire day. I encourage all you fathers and mothers to start teaching your children the faith daily through the help of the catechism.
Our core group for the Church Plant would be well served in going back to the catechism as well. It covers what we believe as Lutherans on major points of doctrine such as The Ten Commandments, The Creed, The Lord’s Prayer, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism, Confession, The Sacrament of the Altar, etc. Yet it’s not just Luther’s understanding that is recorded in this book.
Included in the Catechism are many bible verses that are the source of what we believe and teach as Lutherans. This will come in handy as you engage with unchurched friends. They’ll want to know what we believe, but they won’t care much at all about Luther’s words. They’ll be more interested in what the bible says. Luther’s words will simply guide you to truth taught in all of the bible verses that are referenced.
A PDF version of the Small Catechism can be found here for free. It is a good reference for Luther’s explanation of our understanding of each doctrine. However, it does not reference all of the Bible verses that are in the hard copy of the Catechism
The ESV version of the Catechism can be purchased at CPH.org. I recommend that each member of our core group dig out their catechism or purchase a new one.
The above image was found here.