February 15, 2003

I Cor. 16:9 “…a wide door for effective work has opened…and there are many adversaries.”

PRAYER ALERT – You have been sent by regular mail a map and information on the NCLC’s (Nigeria) possible work next year in the Muslim north.  We ask you to pray over this that we may carry this out.

THE CATECHISM – You also have been sent by regular mail a copy of Martin Luther’s statement of the importance of teaching the basic truths of the Christian faith through the catechism, sometimes called the “Little Bible.”

PASTOR MARK BOHDE – Some of you know him from the English Pastoral Conference at Guntur and from his visits to Nigeria and India.  I have asked him to send out newsletters number 6 and 7.  After the next, number 5, we look forward to his writings from Thailand.

TYPES OF FUNDING – As we see in Scripture there are a variety of ways to support the work of the Lord in funding.  Offerings of the congregation – I Cor. 9:14 “In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel” I Tim. 5:18 “…the laborer deserves his wages.”  In the sending out of both the 12 and the 70 Jesus refers to those who benefit from the preaching supporting the preaching. Mt. 10:9-13, Lk. 10:5-8  Offerings from a distance – Phil 4:15-16  Paul received support from Philippi when he was elsewhere.  Work with one’s own hands – Several times Paul mentions that he worked to support himself and the preaching of the Word.  I Thess. 3:7-9, Acts 18:3, 20:34-35  A benefactor may support the church -In Lk. 7:5 the Jews mention the centurion of Capernaum as one who “built us our synagogue.”  God allows us this freedom to fund His work in different ways.

A QUESTION ON BAPTISM – A question has arisen on how much instruction is necessary before a person is baptized.  In this area our God allows us freedom.  He has not set down exactly how much is needed.  At Philippi we know though that the jailer and his household were baptized the very night that Paul and Silas were released.  The Jailer did not know how he could be saved, except Paul said to believe on the Lord Jesus.  Acts 16:25-34  One has to believe on the Lord Jesus.  Baptism is a precious blessing and commanded by our Lord.  We should want to baptize as soon as possible to give the person the comfort.  At least we can say that one can be baptized before an instruction that would allow one to take communion.  Since we are to baptize all nations, we can baptize those who have not yet even joined with us.  The book of Acts is our guide in this.

SINGULAR TEACHINGS – CONVERSION – The devil is always trying to take glory and credit away from God.  In conversion it is totally a work of God.  “God…when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…”  Eph. 2:5  A dead person cannot bring himself back to life.  God brings us to life in Jesus.  “He saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit.”  Titus 3:5-6  Some in listening to the devil have thought some are converted because they resist the Holy Spirit less, or cooperate with God, or choose or accept Christ.  Paul was converted and he resisted God fiercely.  Can a dead man cooperate with the living God in conversion?  “The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand…”  I Cor. 2:14 As we say in the catechism,  I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus, nor come to Him.  It is the Holy Spirit who calls by the Gospel and converts by the Word.  We are born of the Spirit as Nicodemus learned.  Jn. 3:5.   Who can be saved?  The apostles wondered about that.  Jesus said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” Lk. 18:26-27

Pastor David Koenig