This year we are enjoying sermons on the catechism. Luther’s Small Catechism is one of the Lutheran Confessions. Our church is a Confessional Lutheran church, meaning that we declare wholeheartedly that we agree with these doctrinal standards. The Lutheran Confessions (collected in the Lutheran Book of Concord) are not considered to be an equal authority with the Holy Scriptures. However, we believe that they faithfully express what the Scriptures teach. If you ask: “What do you believe the Bible teaches?” these confessions of faith are the answer.
The little catechism was the first of these to be written. It is the oldest. It is also the simplest. The catechism divides all the teaching of the Bible into six chief parts: the Law (10 Commandments), the Gospel (creed), prayer (the Lord’s Prayer), baptism, the office of the keys (the ministry), and the Lord’s Supper.
This church year we are hearing sermons on the catechism. Almost one-third of these sermons will be on the creed. In other words, this much of our meditation on God’s Word will be strictly about who God is, what He has done for us to save us from our sins, and what He gives to us.
As we hear these sermons we are learning what “we believe, teach, and confess,” to use a phrase that our Lutheran Confessions use quite often.
In these sermons we review what we believe: What Scripture says is the source of our faith. The Bible says that a person is justified by his faith. Faith comes by hearing. You are saved by faith alone, so what you believe is important!
In these sermons we review what we teach: The mission which Jesus gave to His Church on earth includes “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). Fathers are instructed in the Bible to “teach these words diligently to your children” (Deuteronomy 6:7). The most important thing in choosing a church to attend is to ask: What does it teach, and is that what the Bible teaches? The first activity of the New Testament church after Pentecost is that “they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42). We are reviewing what we teach.
Finally, in these sermons we review what we confess: A Christian is one who not only believes in the heart, but speaks it with the mouth — to God, to his loved ones, and to all the world. Jesus said: “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. Whoever confess Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:27, 32). In both Old and New Testament passages we hear: “I believed and therefore I spoke” (Psalm 116:10, 2 Corinthians 4:13).
Our believing, teaching, and confessing the true faith begins in church by hearing God’s Word, but bears fruit in our lives at home and in the world. You are heartily invited to join us at Bethany Lutheran Church in Princeton, Minnesota, as we hear sermons on the catechism that help us know what we believe and teach, so that you too can confess this faith at home and out in the world.