​​​​​​Beautiful SaviorLutheran Church (LCMS)


                  A FEW GOOD WORDS

July 2018

What’s the Point?


20"What comes out of a person is what defiles him.
21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,
22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.
23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person."

(Mk. 7:20-23 ESV)

            Throughout the month of September, we will hear accounts of Jesus healing a deaf and mute man.  He will cast out a demon his disciples were unable to cast out.  He teaches that if anyone wants to be first he must be last and the servant of all.  Finally, Jesus points out that sin is such a serious matter that it would be better if you cut off your hands and feet and gouge out your eyes rather than sin.  All these teachings and accounts begin on the first Sunday in September with the text from above.  20"What comes out of a person is what defiles him.
21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,

22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.  23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person."

                So, what’s the point?  I wish the point was that Jesus will heal you of every sickness.  I wish the point was that Jesus will overcome every attempt of the Devil to bring you harm.  I wish the point was that with Jesus as your example you too can overcome every temptation of the Devil to want to be first and greatest in the treasures and pleasures of this fleeting world.  The point, however, is that we all have a much more alarming problem than sickness, evil, or not being first or greatest in this life.

            We have sin in our lives so grievous and eternally deadly that it would be better that we cut off our hand or foot or tear out our eye rather than let them lead us into sin and keep us from heaven. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 'where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.' Mark 9:47-48.  The point is that even that wouldn’t help, “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts,”  It is our heart that would have to be cut out for us to stop being defiled in God’s sight.  That’s the point.  At least that is the Law point.

            There is of course another point to this continuous string of Gospel texts.  As with all of Scripture it isn’t about us, but about Jesus.  He is the one who demonstrates power over the effects of sin, namely sickness.  He is the one who has power to crush Satan’s head and overcome every demon even those his disciples cannot.  He is the one who put himself last and servant of all as he died the death we deserved that by his shed blood our hearts would be purified, forgiven.  He alone does for us what we could never do for ourselves that we might not be left in the hopelessness of sickness we could never cure, evil we could never cast out, selfishness we could never change, sin we could never cut off, and a heart from which come evil thoughts.  He is our only hope.  He alone is our only Savior from sin and hell, 'where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.'  That’s the point.

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Pastor  Jonathan Bontke

Pastor's Corner

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit?


September 2018


Every Divine Service begins with the prepositional phrase, “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”  We can’t hear these words spoken by the pastor and not remember that they were the same words spoken over us at our baptism.  Jesus said in Matthew 28:18-20  "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."  So what do these words mean?  And why do we begin each worship service by the pastor speaking them and us saying our Amen to them?

First of all these words teach us that God is one and there is no other.  Jesus didn’t say baptize in the “names” of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  He said “name” singular.  There is one God who reveals himself in three distinct persons.  The Father who protects and preserves us from all the dangers and evils of this sinful world.  The Son who redeemed us, paid the price for our sins with his own innocent suffering and death.  And, the Holy Spirit who creates saving faith in our hearts covers us with the holiness of Christ and keeps us in the one true faith.

It is upon this one name and this one Triune God that we call as we come into his house and seek to have communion, fellowship with him, and receive his gifts.  It is the Name he put on us in the water of holy baptism when those words were first spoken over us.  The Lord attaches this beautiful promise to his name, 1 Kings 9:3  “I have consecrated this house that you have built, by putting my name there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time.”  The Lord promises that where his name is there his eyes and heart will always be to watch over and care for us.  Jesus himself says, Matthew 18:20  “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” 

So our service begins where it all began for us.  It begins remembering that God put his name on us and declared us to be his own children forever, warts, sins, sickness and all.  We fill in the first words of the sentence with the only words that assure us we are worthy to stand before our almighty God and call upon him for grace and mercy – the words, “I am baptized”, and the pastor finishes the sentence, “in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”  Together we say, “Amen.”, which means “Yes, Yes, Let it be so.”

“I am baptized”, are words that don’t need to be spoken aloud.  They are the words faithful hearts speak continually without end, pointing us again and again day after day to the one sided covenant God made with us, “I am your God and you are my child.”  We can doubt our faith is strong enough, and we can certainly know our righteousness is not enough to make us worthy of God’s presence and blessings, but there is no room for uncertainty when we remember our baptism and the promise God made when he put his name on us. 
“You are mine.  Welcome to my House.  Enjoy my blessings.”

Pastor Bontke