Chain the Catechism: A topical study through the Lutheran confessions Apostle’s Creed: 3rdArticle- The Church and Communion of Saints Memorization Verses: Eph 2:19-22 You are no longer… Rm 12:4-5 As each of us… Is 55:10-11 As the rain… Jn 15:5 I am the vine… Acts 1:8 You will receive power… Lu 10:2 He told them, “The harvest is…”
Sing it! I am the Church, you are the Church, we are the Church together. All who follow Jesus all around the world, yes, we’re the Church together.” The church is not a building, the church is not a steeple,the church is not a resting place, the church is a people. We're many kinds of people, with many kinds of faces,all colors and all ages, too, from all times and places. Sometimes the church is marching, Sometimes it's bravely burning, Sometimes it's riding, sometimes hiding, Always it's learning. And when the people gather, there's singing and there's praying,there's laughing and there's crying sometimes, all of it saying:
I am the Church With a partner, draw the imagery of the church and label its symbolic meaning. Talk about what “the church” looks like throughout history.
Sing it! The wise man built his house upon the rock… And the rain came tumbling down Oh, the rain came down And the floods came up… And the wise man's house stood firm. The foolish man built his house upon the sand… And the rain came tumbling down Oh, the rain came down And the floods came up… And the foolish man's house went "splat!" [clap hands once] So, build your life on the Lord Jesus Christ… And the blessings will come down Oh, the blessings come down As your prayers go up… So build your life on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Sing it! Here is the church Here is the steeple Open the doors and See all the people. Close the doors and Hear them pray. Open the doors And they all walk away.
LSB#650 lutheran-hymnal.org/lbw/lbw523.mid GfeDG|AgaBG|CbaBag|fgafG-| 1 Holy Spirit, ever dwelling In the holiest realms of light; Holy Spirit, ever brooding O'er a world of gloom and night; Holy Spirit, ever raising Those of earth to thrones on high; Living, life-imparting Spirit, You we praise and magnify. 2 Holy Spirit, ever living As the Church's very life; Holy Spirit, ever striving Through us in a ceaseless strife; Holy Spirit, ever forming In the Church the mind of Christ; You we praise with endless worship For your fruits and gifts unpriced. 3 Holy Spirit, ever working Through the Church's ministry; Quick'ning, strength'ning, and absolving, Setting captive sinners free; Holy Spirit, ever binding Age to age and soul to soul In communion never ending, You we worship and extol.
3rd Article of the Apostle’s Creed:The Church and Communion of Saints What is the holy Christian church? Why do you say, “I believe”? “the” church? “holy”? “Christian”? Where is this holy Christian church to be found? In what other senses is the word church used? Why does Scripture call local congregations “church”? What is the visible church? Are there then two churches, one visible and the other invisible? What do the Scriptures teach about our life in the church? ______________________________ SS: The Holy Christian Church M: “The” “Holy” “Christian” T: Where? “Church” / Local W: Visible/Invisible/Life in Church Th: Life in the Church
What does the creed say about the Church? AC: sanctam Ecclesiam catholicam, sanctorum communionem Ecclesiam (eÍkklhsiða) refers to a general public meeting area, but is given theological significance as a proper noun: “The Church.” catholicam(katholikos) means “throughout the whole” or “universal.” Intentionally used as an adjective (not proper noun). Not to be confused with “Roman Catholic” use. Term is used in Greek writing and early Christian writers (Tertullian, Iraneus), but not in scripture (still benificial to describe a series of scriptural teachings. Eg. Trinity) sanctorum communionem means “holy ones who congregate and have peace and one accord with one another” the creed presents these two concepts: Holy catholic Church and communion of saints appositionally to explain What and Who the Church is….US. 3rd Art. AC. Church: Exegesis of Creed
What is the Church? The Church is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered. And to the true unity of the Church it is enough to agree concerning the doctrine of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments. Nor is it necessary that human traditions, that is, rites or ceremonies, instituted by men, should be everywhere alike. As Paul says: One faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of, etc. Eph. 4:5,6.1 (Art.VII Aug. Confession) The Church is the following: One Holy Apostolic Catholic Invisible and Visible Active Fellowship Rites and Sacraments Proclamation of Gospel 3rd Art. AC. Church: Characteristics
SS: The Holy Christian Church / I Believe What is the holy Christian church? The holy Christian church is the communion of saints, the total number of those who believe in Christ. All believers in Christ, but only believers, are members of the church (invisible church). Eph. 2:19-22 You are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit. John 10:16 1 have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to My voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. Rom. 8:9 If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. Why do you say, "I believe" in the church? A. Because faith, which makes people members of the church, is invisible, the church is invisible to human eyes. Luke 17:20-21 The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, "Here it is," or "There it is," because the kingdom of God is within you. 2 Tim. 2:19 God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are His.“ B. The Scriptures assure us that the Holy Spirit continues to gather and preserve the church. Matt. 16:18 You are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. Acts 2:41, 47 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.... And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Bible narrative: The seven thousand in Israel (1 Kings 19:8-18).
Because there is only one way to heaven, namely, faith in Christ, there is only one holy Christian Church. All who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior are members of this one church. No unbelievers or hypocrites, however, are members of this church. On Judgment Day we may find that some people who were life-long members of a Christian congregation were never members of the holy Christian Church, because they never had faith. In unusual circumstances believers may have no opportunity to belong to an organized Christian congregation. They are, nevertheless, members of the holy Christian Church. 3rd Art. AC. Church: One Church
The church is holy, not by its own actions or characteristics, but because its members are saints who have been declared holy because of Christ's payment for their sins. Ephesians 5:26-27 [Christ made] her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. The church is apostolic because it is founded on the confession that Christ is the only Savior from sin. This teaching was confessed by Peter and recorded in the apostolic Scriptures. Matthew 16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. Ephesians 2:20 [The church is] built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. John 831 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 3rd Art. AC. Church: Holy/Apostolic Church
M “the” “Holy” “Christian” Terms Why do you say, I believe in "the" church? There is only one church, one spiritual body of believers (saints), whose one and only head is Christ. Rom. 12:4-5 As each of us has one body with many members ... so in Christ we who are many form one body. Eph. 4:3-6 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to one hope when you were called-one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Col. 1:18 [Christ] is the head of the body, the church. Why is the church called "holy"? It is made up of holy people (saints), believers who have been cleansed by the blood of Christ and who serve God with holy living. Eph. 5:25-27 Christ loved the church and gave Him self up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 1 Peter 2:5 You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Why is the church called "Christian“? It belongs to Christ and is built on Him alone. 1 Cor. 3:11 No one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. Eph. 2:20 [You are] built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. Note: The word catholic, sometimes used in creeds, means "universal" or "general." The church exists throughout the world, wherever the Gospel is proclaimed.
Where is the Church? We use the term “church” in a host of ways, just as the scriptures. Church can be the building, it can be the people who gather on Sunday, the true believers within a congregation, the believers within a synod or denomination, the believers throughout the world, and throughout time. If a church body does not have clear markers that distinguish it from the world (doctrinally or in practice), it cannot be said to be part of the visible church. Therefore, wherever there is confession of sins, preaching of law and gospel, and the administering of the sacraments, there is a visibly recognized church. 3rd Art. AC. Church: Where is the Church?
T Where? “Church” Term Usage / Local Church Where is this holy Christian church to be found? The holy Christian church is to be found where "the Gospel is preached in its purity and the holy sacraments are administered according to the Gospel" (Augsburg Confession VII 1). The Gospel and the sacraments are called the "marks of the church.“ Is. 55:10-11 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is My word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. In what other senses is the word church used? The word church is also used to indicate A. the visible church of God B. a denomination; C. a local congregation; D. a house of worship. Why does Scripture call local congregations "church“? Local, visible gatherings around the means of grace are called churches because there believers are gathered around Word and sacrament. Matt. 18:17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. Matt. 28:19-20 Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. 1 Cor. 1:2 To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ-their Lord and ours. Note: Paul wrote to the churches in Galatia (Gal. 1:2). He wrote to the church of the Thessalonians (II Thess. 1:1). John wrote to the seven churches of Asia Minor (Revelation 1-3). A group of 'congregations is also called "church" (Acts 9:31).
Is there a distinction between Visible and Invisible Church? And is the visible church important? We call organizations of Christians who gather in obedience to Christ's command "visible churches,“ because we can recognize the members of such groups by their public acceptance of the confession of that church and by their participation in the activities of that church. We can even count the members of the visible church who publicly confess their faith (Acts 2:41 Acts 4:44) These local gatherings can be organized into synods or denominations to train pastors, carry out larger mission projects, and guard doctrinal purity (highest importance.) 3rd Art. AC. Church: Visible and Invisible?
Rom. 8:29:For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son; that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified. What is the comfort in the Election of God? God is sovereign over his creation, and endures pots for destruction to secure and raise up the pots for mercy (Rom. 9). Being a part of the church is contingent on nothing we do, but solely upon God’s choice in resurrected Christ (an alongside him, us) to receive an inheritance. Any other view places man in a unique and equal position with God, and rejects scripture. The purpose in all of human affairs and activities, therefore, is to promote the Gospel and preserve and strengthen the church of God according to His infinite knowledge, sovereign will, and gracious disposition towards His Elect. 3rd Art. AC. Church: Invisible Election
W Visible / Invisible / Life in the Church What is the visible church? The visible church is the whole number of those who use the Word of God and profess the Christian faith, but among whom, beside the true Christians, there are also unbelievers. Are there then two churches, one visible and the other invisible? There is only one church--all believers in Christ. The visible gathering is called church because of the believers gathered around the means of grace in an assembly in which there are also hypocrites. Bible narratives: The net that caught all kinds of fish (Matt. 13:47-48). A man without wedding clothes (Matt. 22:11-12). Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:111). What do the Scriptures teach about our life in the church? They teach that A. we should seek always to be and remain members of the invisible church, Christ's body, by sincere faith in Christ, our Savior; John 15:5 1 am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. 2 Cor. 13:5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. B. we should be faithful to that visible church, or denomination, which professes and teaches all of the Bible's doctrine purely and administers the sacraments according to Christ's institution; John 8:31-32 If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 1 Cor. 1:10 1 appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. Note: A religious denomination is a church body or organization with a distinct name and a distinct body of doctrine.
Distinction between “orthodox” and “heterodox” churches regarding doctrine. Both are considered churches because the power of the Gospel transcends extra-biblical or erroneous teachings. Nevertheless, we recognize as a scriptural edict to guard against the dangers of incorrect teaching. This also includes creating distinct separations from churches who have gone away from the proper role of the Church (mostly in the administration of the sacraments and confusion of Law/Gospel). 3rd Art. AC. Church: Protect Orthodoxy
"Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world ...They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood (I John 4:1,5,6) Christian Fellowship means working together for the doctrine of Grace and the promotion of Christ and His Church. Fellowship can only occur where there is complete agreement regarding Christ’s teachings and the nature of salvation confessed in the scriptures. This includes Sunday worship, Mission work, training and sharing Pastors, and giving and receiving communion and baptism. Although church fellowship is defined as "working together," not every sort of working together is God-pleasing church fellowship. John defines God-pleasing fellowship as "working together for the truth" (3 John 1:8). We, therefore, cannot work together with anyone who departs from the true teachings of Scripture. 3rd Art. AC. Church: Proper Fellowship
"I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way, contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people" (Romans16:17,18). Disciplining members of a local congregation, including pastors, is a necessary role of the Church. Offenses include promoting unnecessary division, alliances based on individuals, false teaching, and the absence of attendance. 3rd Art. AC. Church: Church Discipline
ThLife in the Church C. we should avoid false teachers, false churches, and all organizations that promote a religion that is contrary to God's Word; Mt. 7:15-16 Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Rm. 16:17-18 1 urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. 2 Cor. 6:14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. Gal. 1:8 Even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 2 Tim. 4:3 The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 1 Jn 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. D. we should maintain and extend God's church by telling others about Jesus Christ, by personal service, and by prayer and financial support. Jn 20:21 As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you. Acts 1:8 You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 8:1, 4 On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.... Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 1 Peter 2:9 You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. 1 Peter 3:15 Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. Luke 10:2 He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.“ Gal. 6:6 Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor. Bible narratives: Peter addressed the crowds (Acts 2:17-39; 3:12-26). Philip witnessed to the eunuch (Acts 8:26-35). The early Christians prayed for the spreading of the Gospel (Acts 4:23-30). They also contributed to the support of the ministry (Phil. 4:16-19).
Pray: O God of clean souls of all who invoke You in simplicity and cleanness, You are manifested in heaven and brought to the knowledge of clean spirits. On earth they sing hymns and dwell in the church. They are ministered to by holy angels and clean souls, who also made out of heaven a living chorus to the glory and praise of the truth. Grant that this church may be a living and clean church. Grant it divine powers and clean angels as ministers, that in cleanness it may be able to sing hymns to You. We beg You on behalf of all persons of this church; be reconciled to all, give freedom to all, give remission of sins to all. Grant them no longer to sin in anything, but become a wall to them and bring to naught every temptation. Let the knowledge of Yourself be written in their hearts, through Your only-begotten Jesus Christ, through whom to You is the glory and the strength in Holy spirit both now and to all the ages of the ages. Amen. (Sepapion of Thumuis, d. after 360). The Lord Himself blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavens, through Jesus Christ our Lord, and prepared us for His kingdom, and called us to the desirable good things which neither cease nor perish, as He promised to us in His life-giving Gospel. Jesus said to the blessed congregation of His disciples, “Truly, truly I say unto you, that everyone who eats my body and drinks my blood, abides in Me, and I in him, and I will raise him up at the Last Day; and he comes not to judgment, but I will make him pass from death to eternal life.” May He Himself now bless this congregation, and maintain our position, and render glorious our people who have come and rejoiced in receiving His renowned, holy, life-giving, and divine ministries. May we be sealed and guarded by the holy sign of the Lord’s cross from all evils, secret and open, now and always. Amen. (Liturgy of Addai and Mari, c. 200)
1 The Church’s one foundationIs Jesus Christ her Lord;She is His new creationBy water and the Word.From heav'n He came and sought herTo be His holy bride;With His own blood He bought herAnd for her life He died. 2 Elect from ev'ry nation,Yet one o’er all the earth,Her charter of salvation:One Lord, one faith, one birth.One holy name she blesses,Partakes one holy food,And to one hope she presses,With ev'ry grace endued. 3 Though with a scornful wonderThis world sees her oppressed,By schisms rent asunder,By heresies distressed,Yet saints their watch are keeping;Their cry goes up, “How long?”And soon the night of weepingShall be the morn of song. 4 Through toil and tribulation,And tumult of her war,She waits the consummationOf peace forevermoreTill with the vision gloriousHer longing eyes are blest,And the great church victoriousShall be the church at rest. 5 Yet she on earth has unionWith God, the Three in One,And mystic sweet communionWith those whose rest is won.O blessed heav'nly chorus!Lord, save us by Your graceThat we, like saints before us.May see You face to face.
Conclusion Lord, the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Send out workers into Your harvest field. Here am I, O Lord, send me. Send me. Amen. (Lu 10:2; Is 6:8) The holy Christian church is the communion of saints, the total number of those who believe in Christ. All believers in Christ, but only believers, are members of the church (invisible church). A. Faith, which makes people members of the church, is invisible, the church is invisible to human eyes. B. The Scriptures assure us that the Holy Spirit continues to gather and preserve the church. There is only one church, one spiritual body of believers (saints), whose one and only head is Christ. It is made up of holy people (saints), believers who have been cleansed by the blood of Christ and who serve God with holy living. It belongs to Christ and is built on Him alone. The holy Christian church is to be found where "the Gospel is preached in its purity and the holy sacraments are administered according to the Gospel". The Gospel and the sacraments are called the "marks of the church.” The word church is also used to indicate the visible church of God, denomination, local congregation, a house of worship. Local, visible gatherings around the means of grace are called churches because there believers are gathered around Word and sacrament. The visible church is the whole number of those who use the Word of God and profess the Christian faith, but among whom, beside the true Christians, there are also unbelievers. There is only one church--all believers in Christ. The visible gathering is called church because of the believers gathered around the means of grace in an assembly in which there are also hypocrites. See Cat for narratives. The scriptures teach that A. we should seek always to be and remain members of the invisible church, Christ's body, by sincere faith in Christ, our Savior; B. we should be faithful to that visible church, which professes and teaches all of the Bible's doctrine purely and administers the sacraments according to Christ's institution; C. we should avoid false teachers, false churches, and all organizations that promote a religion that is contrary to God's Word; D. we should maintain and extend God's church by telling others about Jesus Christ, by personal service, and by prayer and financial support.
Next week is your turn to develop discussion questions surrounding the Apostles’ Creed topic: “The Forgiveness of Sins” Let’s confess our faith by articulating and answering difficult questions that you have, or may anticipate the world having. Here are some examples: Why does God require sacrifice for forgiveness? Why can’t he just forgive? What is the Church’s role in the forgiveness of sins? Why public confession? Why does God elect some and not others for subjective justification? Why have baptism and communion if it is Christ alone for the forgiveness of sins? Make sure to have a primary question, followed by 2-3 back-up questions. Next Week: Forgiveness Socratic Seminar
3rd Article: The Forgiveness of Sins Next Time…(7/1)