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Pastor’s Message

From latest newsletter: September & October 2019

In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus speaks to us in a parable: the Parable of the Master of the House (Luke 13:22-30).  The story begins with Jesus travelling towards Jerusalem and teaching in various towns and villages along the way.  While this is taking place, a man asks him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?”  Jesus tells him, and the others who are listening, to “strive to enter through the narrow door.  For many,” Jesus says, “will seek to enter and will not be able.”  Jesus then explains himself by telling the Parable of the Master of the House.  “When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’  Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’  But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from.  Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’  In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out.  And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God.  And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

Notice the imagery used by Jesus.  Heaven is depicted as a house with only one door.  And those who do not enter through this one door will find themselves locked outside.  Certain early church theologians refer to this door as “the door of repentance and faith.”  The point that Jesus appears to be making in the Parable of the Master of the House is this: those who do not make their entry through this door, while it is still open, will find themselves locked outside.  During this period of grace, before the second coming of Jesus and his final judgement, the door is still open.  The door is closed, however, for each person at their moment of death and for all mankind at Jesus’ second coming.  This entire scene may remind us of a verse from the Epistle to the Hebrews, where “Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal…when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears” (12:16-17).  Jesus’ words and their imagery are important to us, for both good and bad reasons.  They are both a threat and a promise.  To us, they are both law and gospel.  Why?

Jesus says to us: “Strive to enter through the narrow door.  For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able” (verse 24).  This is certainly a gospel invitation from Jesus.  But ‘how’ are we able to enter through the narrow door?  The Apostle Paul, in one of his letters to the Thessalonians, reminds us that we are chosen by God, and his word and his spirit are at work inside of us: “For we know, brothers, loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction” (1 Thessalonians 1:4-5).  We are able to enter through the narrow door only because Jesus makes us able.  We do not deserve to enter through the narrow door.  In the parable, the words spoken by the master of the house will be the words spoken by Jesus at his final judgement: “I tell you, I do not know where you come from.  Depart from me, all you workers of evil!  In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (verses 27-28).  We deserve to hear those words.  But, the Apostle Paul again reminds us, in his letter to the Romans, that we are chosen by God only by his grace and not on account of anything that we have done: “So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.  But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise it would no longer be grace” (11:5-6).  It is only by the grace of God that we are able to enter through the narrow door.

So, why is a period of grace, the time before the second coming of Jesus and his final judgement, important to us as his disciples, as his followers?  If it is only by the grace of God that we are able to enter through the narrow door, then a period of grace before Jesus’ second coming and his final judgment isn’t useful only for us, his disciples.  Certainly those who are not Jesus’ disciples need a period of grace.  They may yet become his disciples.  They may yet repent, turn back to God, and enter through the narrow door.  A period of grace before Jesus’ second coming and final judgment is useful also for Jesus’ disciples, his followers.  We need a period of grace, too.  What if we fall away from God?  We could easily be locked outside “in that place of weeping and gnashing of teeth” (verse 28).  And deservedly so.  We disobey God continually.  Someone once asked Jesus: what is the greatest commandment?  Jesus answers: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39).  We don’t, on both counts.  Jesus spends an inordinate amount of time teaching us about love.  He also spends an inordinate amount of time teaching us about forgiveness.  We have a tendency to do neither.  We deserve to be locked outside.  This is why we need a period of grace.

Prayer List

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. – 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Our Savior, Redeemer & St. Paul’s Lutheran Churches,

Paula Beil,

Renee Christ,

Brayden Christianson,

Grant German,

Charlotte Grohnke,

Dorline Guthmiller,

Ardeen Harr,

James Helmstetler,

Eric Hewitt,

Kurt Kramer,

Karen Lepitzky,

Elaine Menz,

Richard Otto,

Keith Peters,

Ralph Rudolph,

Ray Rudolph,

Judy Schlecht,

Julie Seil,

Ron Smith,

Elaine Timm,

Charlie Wanzek,

Arvilla Weber

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:4-7

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. – John 17:1-11

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one — I in them and you in me — so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” – John 17:20-26


The Upcoming Alternating Fifth Sunday Services On September 29 At Pettibone And Kensal Are Cancelled.

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people — the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world — just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. – Colossians 1:1-14