What a miserable wretch I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24-25a – EHV)
Has your team ever struggled to defeat a rival team year after year? Maybe it was a team you played on growing up or a team that you currently cheer for—for whatever reason, your team simply can’t get over the hump and defeat their rival on a consistent basis. (No, I don’t want to hear any comments on the Huskers!) It can be frustrating to say the least.
In verses 15-25 of Romans 7 Paul describes a battle that he often loses—please take the time to read all of these verses. It’s really a battle going on inside of him between his Old Man, or sinful nature, and his New Man—the part of him, created through faith in Christ Jesus that wants to obey God’s commands. Paul’s words in verses 15 and 18, in particular, are some that we as Christians can certainly relate to, I do not keep doing what I want. Instead, I do what I hate…I know that good does not live in me, that is, in my sinful flesh. The desire to do good is present with me, but I am not able to carry it out.
We are, at the same time, sinners and saints—that means that while we have been declared not guilty by the work of Christ, whose righteousness covers us, we still have a sinful nature and still sin against God on a daily basis. And so there is a constant struggle going on inside of us—we know what we should do and not do, but the good we want to do we often fail to do. And the sinful thing that we don’t want to do—that is what we keep on doing! The battle against our sinful nature is a battle we face every day, but sadly, we must admit, it is a battle that we often lose. Fight as we might, we still lose to this ultimate rival time and time again.
But Jesus did not! Since he wasn’t conceived from two sinful parents, but was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary, he didn’t have a sinful nature—and so he never had the internal struggle that we and Paul have. And he never once fell into the temptation to sin. He has a perfect record—winning every single contest! He defeated sin—and he gives that victory to us. By suffering and dying on the cross, Jesus paid the price for our sins, covering over our offenses with his perfect blood. We deserve nothing but wrath and punishment for our sins but by taking our sins upon himself and suffering their eternal punishment, he has saved us from the eternal death that we deserve! His victory is ours and because of him we are saved!
And so, we continue to fight the battle—even if it’s a losing battle. But this is all the more reason to confess your sins—both publicly and privately, hear and read the gospel, and receive the Lord’s Supper on a regular basis. When we are downtrodden because of the sins we have fallen into, and say along with Paul, what a wretched man I am, we fall into the victorious arms of our Savior and know that we are forgiven—and in him we are victorious!
Pastor Andrew Frey
We have begun our Summer online Bible study of 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:
Join us for a one-day Vacation Bible School on Wednesday August 12, 2020 from 9:00am-noon. Parents/teens are invited to stay with their children. Weather permitting, most of our VBS will be taking place outside together as families so that we can "socially distance" as much as possible. Everyone is invited to join us for a meal afterward.
Please bring one blanket per family and a plain white t-shirt for each participant for tie-dying.
REGISTER NOW you may sign-up in the entryway at church OR you can fill out this form: https://forms.gle/igRtCUHMiFwxUedg8
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.
Free Digital Resources from NPH
Our Synods 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.