Public Reading of Scripture

                                                   ...and preaching,  ...and teaching

Martin Luther 
  on ROMANS:

"We find in this letter, then,

the richest possible teaching about what a Christian should know:


  works, love,

  the cross.

We learn how we are to act toward everyone, toward the virtuous and sinful, toward the strong and the weak, friend and foe, and toward ourselves.

Paul bases everything firmly on Scripture and proves his points with examples from his own experience and from the Prophets, so that nothing more could be desired.

Therefore it seems that
St. Paul, in writing this letter, wanted to compose a summary of the whole of Christian and evangelical teaching which would also be an introduction to the whole
Old Testament.

Without doubt, whoever takes this letter to heart possesses the light and power of the
Old Testament.

Therefore each and every Christian should make this letter the habitual and constant object of his study. God grant us his grace to do so. Amen

for entire Preface:
click here

Acts 1:1-3 
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

Luke 1:1-4
Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.

Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Romans 1: 1-7 
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God—the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: 
              Grace and peace to you from God our Father 
                                 and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

pastorob wrote on 4/15.16/07:

When my father married Sandy, I gained a step-mom. She brought to the family a fresh breath of experential learning. For instance, one day, we packed up the car and drove to Detroit to attend the Ringling Brothers/Barnum and Bailey three-ring circus. It was amazing to watch the different acts performing simultaneously. At some points it seemed almost impossible to attend to each ring equally. 

There was an interpreter of the events provided for us. In fact, he had probably already introduced himself. I just wasn't paying attention. They called him the Ringmaster.

The Ringmaster directed our attention to each new act. He offered personal information about the person climbing up the rope ladder--about to perform a death-defying act. He was a guide for those of us who would choose to listen. However, with or without attention to his voice and interpretation, the amazing Ringling Brothers/Barnum and Bailey Circus was an incredible sight to behold.

Oh, I know--somebody is bound to say that the new preacher has made a three-ring circus out of Bell Road Baptist Church. You know, that wouldn't necessarily be a negative criticism. If everyone in this church plays their chosen role skillfully before the Lord, there will be more to behold than anyone could possibly see all at once. Should you be one of those children who are afraid of the clowns--hear these words from the Ringmaster: "Fear not."

As the new pastor in this seasoned church, it is my hope that we will begin a new chapter of proclaiming God's Word from this pulpit. For our Sunday morning gathering, we will immerse ourselves in a continual collide-o-scopic consideration of these three New Testament books:

         ACTS, LUKE, and ROMANS

ACTS:  Imagine with me a ring directly in front of us. We see people dressed in plain, first-century clothing--gathered near the side of a river. Somehow we understand that this is an early church service. Seated at a focal point--that large stone over there--is a brother who is reading aloud the opening lines of a letter.   

        (Read ACTS 1:1-3 aloud)

ROMANS:  In the ring far off to the right we see a man sitting at a table writing, another man is pacing and making gestures with his hands. We tune out every other stimulus for a moment and zoom in on this scene. The older man standing happens to be the apostle Paul.

Paul: "Grace and peace to you from God our 
              Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ."

           Tertius, could you read that back to me, please?

Tertius:  reads ROMANS 1:1-7 aloud

LUKE:  In the ring directly ahead of us we see Jesus. It is a familiar scene--one like those most of us have seen a number of times before in a variety of dramatizations. These aren't actors in a legend. This is a true story. Jesus is standing in the center of a crowd. His disciples are there. So are many other individuals who have come from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, from the coast of Tyre and Sidon. Many have come with great hope of hearing Him, some seeking healing of their diseases. He has already healed many, delivered some from demons. Many have reached out to touch Him because power was coming from him. We've already missed some of the action but we tune in close enough to clearly hear the Lord say these words.

Jesus:  "Do not judge, and you will not be judged.
             Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.

             Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
             Give, and it will be given to you. 
             A good measure, pressed down, shaken together
             and running over, will be poured into your lap.
             For with the measure you use,
                          it will be measured to you."   Luke 6:37-38

Suppose a person were to be saved and baptized among us.

Q.  What might be our action-plan for following the Great 
     Commission's admonition that we make disciples through
     teaching each other to obey all of Jesus' commandments?

A.   In Acts, Luke states that his former work compiled "all that
      Jesus began to do and to teach", along with instructions
      He had given His chosen apostles through the Holy Spirit.
      Luke speaks of His Suffering and tells us that the 
      resurrected Christ appeared among them for forty days--
      speaking about the Kingdom of God. 

      It makes perfect sense to refresh our awareness of this
      first book as we work our way through Acts and Romans.
      In his opening remarks for that first book, "The Gospel of 
      Luke", the author again addresses Theophilus.
      Here he is called 'most-excellent' Theophilus. It is for the
      sake of Theophilus that Luke wrote these orderly accounts.
      He admits that there had already been several 
      other accounts written and passed down from
      eye-witnesses and Servants of the Word.
      Having become somewhat of an expert on the whole story
      of Jesus--through what he called his own 'careful 
      investigation', Luke wrote that it 'seemed good' to him 
      to produce an orderly account. 

Q.  What was Luke's intended outcome for the one reading 
     the Gospel according to Luke?

A.   That Theophilus would know with certainty of the teaching
      he had received. 
      Similarly, this sequel to the first history will build the faith
      and knowledge of the reader. 
      In fact, Luke himself, will become part of the storyline in
      Troas, when the narrative switches from 3rd person to 1st
      person plural. (Acts 16:10-19; and 20:5)

Q.  Why will we also be reading the Book of Romans at the 
     same time?

A.  This pulpit has already declared the importance of 
     summarizing the Law and Prophets through Christ's
     Fulfillment Message.

     Since it seemed good for Luke to focus on the conversion
     and Life Mission of Paul it will also help us to study
     Romans as
Paul's primary Life Message.

Q.  How might each one of us actively participate in the 
     building-up of our church during these unusual
     years ahead of us?

Q.  Which songs might we sing regularly to help us remember 
     the truths we will meditate upon as we proceed?

on May 6, 2007
pastorob preached 'This is that . . .' 
 Joe took notes while he was in Thailand
   'This is that . . .'
    mp3 click here