Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Three Outposts, Your Mission: Study 7

State and Home

Prayer: Lord Jesus, abide with us. Make our homes the dwelling places of Your continual presence, and keep us faithful to You and Your Word. Let the joy of the Gospel dwell in our hearts. Let our daily conversations be hallowed and pleasing and acceptable to You. Preserve us from sin. Be with us in the hour of temptation. Keep us unworried and untroubled. Remove from our lives all unbelief and indifference. Strengthen our faith, deepen our love to You, and make us consecrated people who day after day bring all our cares, concerns, joys, and sins to You in prayer. Let your blessing be upon our families and our nation. Grant our nation peace, and safety. Give our president, governors, representatives, judges, and all officers of the civil state Your spirit of wisdom and fear, that we may live our lives in quiet godliness for the glory of Christ and the benefit of Your Church. In Christ's holy Name we ask this. Amen.

How are these outposts confused?
These outposts are confused when the responsibilities and authority of one outpost are mixed with or usurped by another.

Review the kinds of authority God gave to each of these outposts.

Some questions for discussion:

Does being a father and husband mean that a man has the divine responsibility to ensure that his neighbor is giving his kids enough exercise?

Does being a husband mean that a man has the divine responsibility to ensure that another man's wife and children are taught God's Word?

Does being a mom mean that a woman has the God given responsibility to make sure that the kinds of foods kids in other families are eating meet her standards?

Does being a parent mean that a man or woman has God's authority to make use of lands or property that publicly owned (think of state parks, police impounds, or military fighter jets)?

Does being an official of the state mean that a person has divine authority to permit the killing of infants or unborn children?

Does being an official of the state mean that a person has divine authority to prevent families from giving medical help to their children, aging parents, or sick spouse?

Redefining Marriage
The civil government in the United States has followed the trend popularized in media today and in some erring Christian denominations. Several states, like Minnesota have legalized same-sex marriage. Just recently the Supreme Court of the United States has decided that disagreeing with same-sex marriage are considered enemies of the human race. In the decision those who defend marriage as God instituted it are described as criminals engaging in an effort to “injure”, “demean” or “humiliate” homosexuals. (U.S. v. Windsor)

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision means that a Pastor who is unwilling to sign a marriage license to marry same-sex couples can now be brought up on criminal charges for civil rights violations.

It is possible that this could be pursued even further to the extent that any church that teaches that homosexuality is a sin could be brought up on criminal charges for hate crimes.

How could congregations or pastors respond to the law and to those advocating for the public acceptance of this kind of redefinition in a way that best portrays the need for God's forgiveness and God's love for all sinners in Christ?

The Peculiar Case of Physical Punishment
The Church cannot use physical punishments. It may only forgive or retain sin through the Word and Sacraments which God given to it for that purpose.

But the Home and the State both exercise physical discipline.

A gray area for Christians is what the state or its agents might define as abuse. Christians are sinners. That is part of the definition of being Christian. As sinners we may go to far in our punishments and rewards. A State which outlaws any and all physical punishments is doing so contrary to the Word of God. We are to obey God rather than men. But the State is not out of its domain to punish parents (or children) who violate the Natural Law stated in the Fifth Commandment. Being a parent is not a license to violate this Law of God.

For the Home any physical punishments or rewards a parent might give must have Christ's love for that child as its basis above all. Punishments and rewards should foster love for God and parents as well as obedience. They should not flow from us as parents simply because we are angry or inconvenienced by the acts or speech of our children. Of course, when we are young we do not always understand the love behind such discipline. Our flesh only knows the pain, the fear, and in our sin also our anger at being caught and being punished.
Read Psalm 89:30-37 What does this say about why God uses physical discipline by bringing judgment on His people through unrighteous men in civil government?
How does Psalm 24:4 demonstrate that God's outward discipline in this world is actually an act of His love for us?

Consider and discuss what the following passages teach about God's use of physical punishment through both Civil Government and through the Family
Proverbs 3:11-12 My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction; For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.
Proverbs 13:24 He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.
Proverbs 15:18 A wrathful man stirs up strife, But he who is slow to anger allays contention.
Proverbs 19:11 The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, And his glory is to overlook a transgression.
Proverbs 19:19 A man of great wrath will suffer punishment; For if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.
Proverbs 22:8 He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow, And the rod of his anger will fail.
Proverbs 29:15-17 The rod and rebuke give wisdom, But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increases; But the righteous will see their fall. Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul.
Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
Ephesians 6:4 Also, Fathers, do not exasperate your children, but raise them in the instruction and the knowledge of the Lord.

The Three Estates in our Worship
The Litany on p. 137 of the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary is Luther's revision of the Litany of the Saints. It is important to note that the basis of addressing God is humility through Christ and the basis for hope is the life of Christ (Active Obedience), as well as His suffering, and death (Passive Obedience) and resurrection (Divine Authority over life and death).
As we read through the Litany mark where each outpost is emphasized in prayer.

The Litany

Kyrie eleison
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christe eleison.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Kyrie eleison.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
O God the father in heaven,
Have mercy upon us.
O God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy upon us.
O God the Holy Ghost, true Comforter,
Have mercy upon us.
Be gracious unto us.
Spare us, good Lord.
Be gracious unto us.
Help us, good Lord.
From all sin;
From all error;
From all evil;
Good Lord, deliver us.
From the temptations and assaults of the devil;
From sudden and evil death;
From disease and famine;
From war and bloodshed;
From sedition and rebellion;
From storms and natural disaster;
From all calamity by fire and water;
And from everlasting death:
Good Lord, deliver us.
By the mystery of Your holy Incarnation;
By Your holy Nativity;
By Your Baptism, Fasting and Temptation;
By Your Agony and Bloody Sweat;
By Your Cross and Passion;
By Your precious Death and Burial;
By Your glorious Resurrection and Ascension;
And by the coming of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter;
Help us, good Lord.
In all time of our tribulation;
In all time of our prosperity;
In the hour of death;
And in the Day of Judgment:
Help us, good Lord.
We poor sinner do beseech You;
To hear us, O Lord God.
And to lead and govern Your holy Christian church in the right way;
To preserve all pastors and servants of Your Church in the true knowledge and understanding of Your Word, and in holiness of life;
To put an end to all godless teaching and causes of offense;
To bring into the way of truth all who have erred and are deceived;
To beat down Satan under our feet;
To send faithful laborers into Your harvest;
To accompany Your Word with Your Spirit and grace;
To raise up those who fall, and to strengthen those who stand;
And to comfort and help the faint-hearted and the distressed:
We beseech You to hear us, good Lord.
To give to all nations peace and concord;
To preserve our country from discord and contention;
To direct and defend our government, and all in authority;
And to bless and keep all who administer justice, and all our people:
We beseech You to hear us, good Lord.
To behold and sustain all who are in danger, necessity and tribulation;
To protect all who travel;
To preserve all women in the perils of childbirth;
To strengthen and keep all sick persons and young children;
To set free all who are innocently imprisoned;
To defend and provide for all fatherless children and widows;
And to have mercy on all people:
We beseech You to hear us, good Lord.
To forgive our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers, and to turn their hearts;
To give and preserve to our use the fruits of the earth;
And graciously to hear our prayers:
We beseech You to hear us, good Lord.
O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God:
We beseech You to hear us.
O Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world;
Have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world;
Have mercy upon us.
O Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world;
Grant us Your peace.
O Christ, hear us.
O Christ, hear us.
Kyrie eleison
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christe eleison.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Kyrie eleison.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Our Father ….
II. We have sinned with our fathers:
We have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly.
Lord God, You take no pleasure in the death of poor sinners and would not willingly let them perish, but desire that they should turn from their ways and live: We heartily pray that You would avert the punishment that we have deserved by our sins, and tenderly grant us Your boundless mercy that we may walk in newness of life; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord.