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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 141

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From the Word: 24 And let us ponder how to rouse love and good works in one another, 25 not forsaking our assembling together—as is the habit of some—but exhorting each another, and even more so, as you see the Event approaching. (Hebrews 10:24–25)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Article

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,* the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith. In the same way, he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church, he daily forgives abundantly all my sins and the sins of all believers; and at the last day, he will raise me and all the dead and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true!

*or “holy Christian Church” (“catholic” here refers to the fellowship of all believing Christians)

Pulling It Together: “I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian,” he told me. Then he added, “The Bible doesn’t say I have to go to church.” I was so informed by a police officer in the process of a raid on a house. I suppose he need not have shown up for the raid, that he was police all the same. Well, in fact, Scripture does tell us that God expects us to go to church.

He tells us to assemble together because that is where the Holy Spirit, through his various gifts, builds up and sanctifies believers. He may or may not build up an individual or even a department at a police raid. Yet God is interested in more than civics, of having a fine department, or city council, or even whole town. He is intent on sanctifying his church, of making a holy communion. Fine individualism is not good enough; he demands holiness, indeed, the consecration of the whole church.

Sanctification is the Spirit’s doing, not our own, nor something that may be accomplished on our own. If you think you can make yourself holy through the things you do, then you may as well settle for the next raid in your city. If, however, you believe in the Holy Spirit and the communion of saints, you need to get yourself to worship and Bible study this week. That is where it happens.

Prayer: I believe in your sanctifying work, Holy Spirit. Amen.

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This booklet provides a suggested list of Bible verses, prayers, and familiar worship texts assigned to various age levels, recommended for use along with Sola Publishing’s Sunday Schoolhouse curriculum series. The order of texts matches the suggested grade levels in Luther’s Small Cat Series: elementary-aged curriculum on Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, also available from Sola Publishing. 

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