For the death he died, he died to sin once and for all, but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way also consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:10-11 – EHV)
“You’re dead to me.” Has anyone ever said that to you? I hope not! Although often said in jest, it is a common expression you hear from time to time. When people say this, they mean that they don’t want anything to do with the other person—they don’t want to see or hear them, or otherwise have anything to do with them. This is definitely not a Christian thing to say to anyone, since it is the opposite of forgiving and love others as God commands us to do.
However, Paul tells us to consider ourselves dead to sin? How so, in what way is sin dead to us since we are still sinners? We are dead to sin, not in the sense that we will never sin again in our lifetimes—we will always remain sinners this side of heaven; but in the sense that sin no longer has control of us and can no longer condemn us!
Since Christ died on the cross in our place, he removed the guilt of all our sins, suffering our condemnation. We have been set free from sin and its condemnation. And it is our baptisms that connect us to Christ and his saving work. Through our baptisms Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection become ours. His death for our sins means that our sins and their guilt have been paid for; his resurrection means that we will rise to eternal life in heaven.
This is nothing but a gift of grace. But God’s grace is not an excuse to sin! That is the common argument of our sinful nature and the devil: “God is going to forgive you anyway—remember how he died for all your sins, therefore you can go out and do whatever you want and not worry about the consequences.” Read Romans 6:1-2 (while you’re at it, read the first 11 verses of chapter 6), What shall we say then? Shall we keep on sinning so that grace may increase? Absolutely not! We died to sin. How can we go on living in it any longer? God’s grace is not an excuse to sin; rather God’s grace motivates us to not sin!
However, not only does Christ’s resurrection mean that we’ll live with him in heaven, but it also means that we will live a new life on the earth. Through faith, a New Man, contrary to our Old Adam, or sinful nature, is created; and this New Man strives to obey God’s Word. As Christians we strive not to live for ourselves, but we walk in a new life, living our lives for the glory of God.
The question still remains: how can we legitimately say that we are dead to sin: since we are still sinners, sin is not dead to us. That is true, as far as we ourselves are concerned. But it’s not true in Christ. In Christ we are truly dead to sin because sin’s curse and condemnation has been removed and paid for. God has declared us guilty sinners not guilty, and through Christ we are righteous in the eyes of the Lord!
And what a gracious and loving God that we have! And—grace on top of grace—when we fail to give glory to him as we should, he does not condemn but freely and fully forgives us in his Son, in whom we live now and will live forever in heaven.
Pastor Andrew Frey
After taking a few weeks off, we have picked up our online Bible study by looking at the book of Ecclesiastes. We are pre-recording these online studies and sending them out via a youtube link along with a study guide. Please contact one of the pastors if you want to be included on the email list.
Vacation Bible School:
After discussing the issue and surveying our families, we have to decided to go forward this year with a one-day Vacation Bible School. This year’s VBS will be held from 9:00-noon, with a possible fellowship time afterwards, on Wednesday August 12th. Parents are invited to stay with their children. Please keep your eyes open for more information including an online registration for families and volunteers. Please let Pastor Frey know if you have any questions or concerns.
Returning to Public Worship:
How great and wonderful it is to see people in-person as we worshiped our Lord together again! Together with the June Newsletter, you should have received a copy of our plan for returning to public worship. Please look over the document carefully. Please note that for the time being, since only one or two ushers will be needed per service, we will not be in need of Usher Teams. If you have any comments or concerns, please contact one of the Pastors or any of the council members. The document can also be accessed by clicking the link below. https://stjohncenter-my.sharepoint.com/:b:/g/personal/pastor_frey_stjohn-appleton_org/EaBy-IahwepIjjaHxkS5IbMBC7X1SDx1pug80s5jAzCihQ?e=fJjd64
In order to encourage and practice social distancing, we are trying to limit each Worship service to 75 people. To help with this, we added an extra service on Sunday morning. We are offering 7:30, 9:00 and 10:30 services on Sunday as well as 6:30 pm on Monday. We are also asking everyone to sign up each week for whatever Worship Service you plan on attending. Please note, that we are in need of volunteers to help sanitize the sanctuary between services. When you sign-up you’ll have an opportunity to mark whether or not you are willing to help out—it only takes about 10 minutes, so we pray that you will!
You can find the link to sign-up on the front page of our website at: www.stjohn-appleton.org.
You can also signup by going directly to this link (it will be a different link each week): https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040a4aa9a62ea6fa7-stjohn2
As we go forward, we will continue to live-stream our services and posting our worship folders online. We will be recording our Sunday 7:30 am service which means you can watch anytime after 7:30 am on Sunday morning. If you need any help accessing these resources, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
You can find our worship services at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCsQs-LDzlHE1NTjOaVaQ2A.
You can find a bulletin for each Worship Service so you can follow along here: https://stjohncenter-my.sharepoint.com/:f:/g/personal/pastor_frey_stjohn-appleton_org/EqetvOMWflhLsfsLRcDkxSgBL2cnYkpiuk8Klh7d-r_XQg?e=07dSma.
The WELS Missions office is partnering with the Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society (LWMS) to host an online event called Taste and See! This first-of-its-kind event will combine the very best of Taste of Missions and LWMS Convention to provide all WELS members an opportunity to be an important part of gospel outreach occurring in our synod.
Tune in LIVE to the following opportunities to be together and encourage one another. Join us on the WELS Missions or LWMS Facebook pages or Taste and See website at the following times:
Free Digital Resources from NPH
Our Synod's Publishing House, NPH, is offering many great digital resources for free for the time being—including June’s Forward in Christ and the latest edition of Meditations. Please click on the link below for more info.