We Are Free

"So if the Son sets you free, you really will be free.” John 8:36

There was a billboard sign on Hwy. 94 just outside of the city of Watertown that I used to drive by on a regular basis. I have also seen these same type of billboards on other major highways. It had the picture of a caveman and then in big letters it read, “UG LEE BUYS UGLY HOUSES” Quite the catchy phrase, isn’t it?

It got my attention enough to actually go on the internet and check it out. This was a billboard for a company called HomeVesters that buys up “ugly” houses. Their website is appropriately <uglyhouses.com> and there I found out that this is a real estate company that buys houses that need repair or aren't sellling — fixes them up and then sells them again for a profit. “UG LEE” is their fictional mascot, who actually is a caveman. UG LEE will buy those houses that are so ugly that no one else will buy them. It was that word “ugly” that caught my attention. Who would want to admit that their house is ugly? After all, the homeowners were the ones that were actually living in that house and are now trying to sell it. Would we have the humbleness to go to this company and admit our house is too "ugly" to sell?

As we live our lives on this earth we soon realize that we are by nature spiritually very ugly. No, I do not mean that our physical appearance is ugly. Rather I am referring to our heart's spiritual appearance. Every one of us was painfully “ugly” as we came into this world. We were completely 100% ugly in our sin, and really we were much more than ugly. We were 100% dead in our sin. There was not one part of us that was good. We were separated from God, and we by nature don’t want to admit that we are ugly and dead in our sin.

It is in this condition of spiritual ugliness and death that God looked at us and said I have a plan. No one else wants these “dead and ugly” heart of sins, but I do. I will pay the price to free these ugly people from their sin by sending my Son to redeem or buy them back from the ugliness of their sin. The price to free these ugly hearts was the perfect and innocent blood of Jesus, God’s one and only Son, “If the Son sets you free, you really will be free.”

As we live our lives of repentance as God’s children who have been set free, the Holy Spirit continues to use his Law to lead us to see that we are still ugly in sin, because we sin daily and that the only way to be saved is by trusting that Jesus has bought us back from our sin and that we are heirs of eternal life. This is God’s saving Gospel. Our stubborn sinful pride may not want to always admit that we are ugly in sin, but we pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to open our hearts through his Law and Gospel to see and admit that our only hope is in the blood of Jesus. So God’s billboard to the world might read: “GOD HAS BOUGHT BACK OUR UGLY (and Dead) HEARTS THROUGH HIS SON’S DEATH” And we would say, “THANK YOU JESUS!”

Pastor Mark Gartner

Church News

Bible Classes

Sunday morning Bible classes have resumed. Pastor Frey will be leading us through a study on "The Lord's Supper." We will see what God's Word has to say about the Lord's Supper and we will see the many blessings God gives to us through this sacrament.

Our Monday/Tuesday Bible classes also have resumed. The same class is offered on either Monday at 8:00 am or Tuesday evening at 5:30 pm. Pastor Gartner will be leading a study of God’s Word under the theme: “What Does It Mean To Be A Lutheran?” Have you ever had questions about some of the main differences between all the Christian churches or maybe just have wondered how come there are so many different types of Christian churches? If so, please come and join us as we explore what God’s Word has to say about some very key teachings that the devil is trying to distort.

NOTE: We do have audio recordings and the Lesson Sheets of these Bible Classes. If you have been unable to attend and would like these sent to you, please email Pastor Frey or Pastor Gartner.

Women of Faith 

All the women of St. John are invited to our monthly Bible study and LWMS meeting on Tuesday November 12 at 1:00 pm.