Soli Deo Gloria!
Questions and Answers


Who is JESUS?
In Matthew 16:13-16, Jesus himself asks his disciples some important questions. "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" and "Who do you say that I am?"

One of Jesus' most common teaching techniques was to ask questions, to confront people where they were, to expose their misconceived ideas about God and to lead them to a faith firmly rooted in Scripture.

For many people there is a lot of confusion about who Jesus is and what He has done. Some say he was a good man, a prophet. Some say he is a role model and example, one of many such people who can guide us on our spiritual journey. Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius, Jesus ... all of them and more can be our spiritual guides.

But is that who Jesus really is? What do we know about him from Scripture? First, his birth was like no other. He had a human mother, but was conceived by the Holy Spirit without a human father. Scripture says that he existed before that; he has always been there, even before creation. The apostle John says, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God ... All things were made through Him ... And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us ..." John 1:1-14. Jesus is true God and true human, together now and forever.

As Jesus posed the question "Who do you say I am?", Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." "Christ" means "Messiah" or "Chosen One." Jesus is the one promised by God and chosen by God to be the Saviour.

He is unique. No one else had a birth like his. No one else has broken the power of death like He did when he rose from death on Easter morning.

It is, however, the second question that is the most important. Who do we say that Jesus is? You and I must see Jesus as our Saviour. Only when Jesus becomes my Christ, my Saviour, my Redeemer; only when I see that His blood was shed for me does His identity really mean anything.

Here's a hymn verse that can also be a prayer:

My guilt, O Father, Thou hast laid
On Christ, Thy Son, my Saviour.
Lord Jesus, Thou my debt hast paid
And gained for me God's favour. Amen.

How to be Saved?
The Problem:

Many people are not aware that there is a need for salvation, or "being saved." It is assumed that as long as you try to be a good person, that is all God requires for heaven. It is such a common belief that every religion in the world is based on that principle... of salvation by works. The only religion that teaches differently is Christianity. Christianity teaches something differently because the Bible teaches something differently. The Bible teaches that we need salvation because we cannot save ourselves. Since God expects perfection from us (Leviticus 19:2), anything less, which is sin, must be punished. And the punishment for any and all sin is being separated from God forever after we die (hell).

That's what we deserve, but it is not what we receive. God has figured out a way to spend forever with us (heaven) and be sure that sin is punished at the same time.

What the Bible Teaches:

The Bible clearly teaches that heaven is a gift that comes through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus. God sent Jesus, who is the Second Person of the Trinity, to be a fellow human being. He was able to live a perfect life in our place, and die an innocent death as the payment for the sins of the whole world. It's a pretty neat arrangement. God loves us so much that He's willing to take the punishment of our sin on Himself so that we could be with Him forever. That's all it takes... "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved" Acts 16:31.

Would You Like to Know More?

Contact Pastor Larry Flohr.

What makes a person a Christian?
Here's a challenge for you. Before your read my answer to this question, take a minute and write down your answer, then compare it to mine. You see, I want to begin by taking a guess at how you have answered.

Most people would say that a Christian is a person who believes in God, is baptized, confirmed and goes to church. A Christian tries to follow the Ten Commandments or the golden rule, prays and reads his Bible too. Now ask yourself, "Can a person have been baptized and confirmed and not be a Christian?" (Matthew 7:21) How about going to church and trying to live a good life (Isaiah 29:13), or reading the Bible and praying? (Luke 13:9-14) Can a person "believe in God" and not be a Christian? It really depends on what you mean by "believe". (James 2:19) Satan knows God exists. He knows Jesus died on Calvary and rose again. Satan knows Judgement Day is coming. Is Satan a Christian?

What then, makes a person a Christian? In Romans 8:5-11 St. Paul says, "If Christ is in you . . . your spirit is alive . . . and he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies." A Christian is a person with Christ in their heart. He or she has faith, which means trust in the promises of God.

Why did Jesus come?
St. Paul says in Romans 5:19, "Through the obedience of the one man, the many will be made righteous." Jesus came to make us righteous. But what does that mean?

When Jesus came to John to be baptized by him in the Jordan River, John protested (Matthew 1:13-15). Jesus explained that it was necessary that he be baptized so that he could "fulfill all righteousness."

On Good Friday, there were three independent witnesses who declared Jesus to be innocent: Pilate - "I find no crime in this man;" Judas - "I have sinned a betrayed innocent blood;" and the thief crucified with him - "This man has done nothing wrong."

Jesus never sinned. He lived a perfect life according to the law. That's one of the reasons he came (Matthew 5:17-28). Scripture says that by faith we are credited with righteousness. By faith we are perfect in God's sight. By faith we stand in the shadow of Christ now and on Judgment Day.

Jesus came to do two things. He came to live a perfect life and satisfy the demands of God's law. He came to die for our sins, to pay the penalty for our transgressions, to satisfy the demands of God's justice.

Faith makes possible a great transaction. Jesus takes our sin on himself and gives His own perfection to us. Faith makes you a saint. That's what Jesus came to do. In 1 Timothy 1:15, St. Paul puts it this way: "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners."

Here's a hymn verse that can also be a prayer:

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Clothed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
On Christ, the solid Rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand. Amen.

What is the Gospel?
This is at the same time the easiest question and the most difficult. The gospel is the "Good news." It is the "way of salvation." It tells what God has done for us and our salvation. It shows us our Saviour and the grace of God. That is the usual way we answer. If that is our answer, then we have fallen into the trap of talking about the Gospel and have neglected to spell it out. If we cannot spell it out, we can never share it in an effective way.

St. Paul gives us the start of an answer in Romans 1:16, "It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes".

You and I were born sinners, enemies of God. Our lives have been filled with sin and all manner of things displeasing to God. Without God's help we would die sinners and spend eternity in hell. The Gospel says God doesn't want that to happen. God loves us and wants you and me to live with Him forever in heaven. The Gospel says that God sent Jesus to live and die for us so that our sin could be forgiven. The Gospel says Jesus rose from the dead so we could have the hope of eternal life. God has rescued us from hopelessness and sin and made a way to eternal life by trusting in His promise.

Here's a hymn verse to help you remember:

The Gospel shows the Father's grace,
Who sent His Son to save our race;
Proclaims how Jesus lived and died
That man might thus be justified. Amen.

Why did God give the ten commandments?
I'll bet you're thinking "finally an easy question!" Before you read any farther, write down your answer to this question.

Would you say that God gave us the Ten Commandments to show us how to live, what to do and not do? If that's the whole answer, then you've missed the most important reason.

Often when people think of God and God's law they think that heaven can be gained by being good, trying to keep the commandments and following the golden rule. Truth is, if we could get to heaven by the law, then God is a fool, because if heaven can be gained by the law, then Christ died for nothing. If there's another way to heaven besides the cross of Christ then Calvary was unnecessary. That's exactly what St. Paul says in Galatians 3:23-25, "If righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing."

The law is there as a mirror, not to straighten us out but to show us up for what we are - sinful, corrupt human beings. It is there to show us how far away from God we are and to be our "schoolmaster," to lead us to the cross of Christ. The law is God's roadblock on the highway of self-righteousness to detour us to the only way of salvation there is - trust in Christ's redeeming blood.

What is faith?
Hebrews 11 says, "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

Faith is a gift of God. It is believing what I can't see, hear, feel, touch or smell. It is believing that Jesus lived a perfect life in my stead died for my sins, that I am forgiven and that I have eternal life.

It is believing that Jesus will keep his promises to me as recorded in Scripture. He promised His disciples that He would rise from the dead - and He did! Therefore there is no promise He can't keep. He will give me His Holy Spirit. He will keep me in faith. He will protect me from Satan. He will provide what I need to live. He will always be with me, He will give me eternal life and call me one day to live with Him in heaven. Faith is standing at the graveside of a loved one who died in faith and being able to say with confidence, "We will meet again in heaven".

Faith gives power to live by what I believe. Because I believe, I want to live my life in a way that makes Jesus happy, not because I have to, but because God's Holy Spirit in me gives me the strength to "want to." I want to keep His commandments and let them be a guide for my life. That's how I can thank him for all he has done for me.

What happens when I die?
Can anyone know for certain what happens at the moment of death? What do you believe about death and the afterlife? Why do you believe what you believe? Is one opinion just as good as another?

Click here to know the answer.

What is the mission of the Church?
God's greatest wish and desire is to have all people saved, Like the king who put on a great wedding feast, He wants heaven to be filled. As His redeemed children He has left us on earth for a time to save as many others as possible.

Now the question is "How do we do that?" In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus says "Make disciples." Not just members. Not just "infant Christians" but mature believers who can effectively share their faith and bring new people into god's Kingdom. If the Church only "preaches the Gospel" and does not "equip God's people for works of service," then it is not doing the whole job. Jesus spent three years with the twelve, not just bringing them to faith, but also equipping them for ministry. That is what the church today must do. It must equip members for ministry. It must "make disciples."

How many members does your church have? How many ministers does it have? Ideally every member should be a minister using his or her gifts to serve fellow believers and to reach beyond the Church into the world.

Here's a hymn verse that can also be a prayer:

Lord of the living harvest that whitens o'er the plain,
Where angels soon shall gather their sheaves of golden grain;
Accept our hands to labour, Our hearts to trust and love
And deign with us to hasten Thy kingdom from above. Amen.

What can you tell me about baptizing babies?
A lady wrote this to the editor of the local newspaper:

Dear Editor:

I have recently given birth to a little boy and am currently trying to have him christened, to no avail.

I am in a mixed faith, common-law relationship and not presently a member of a church. With each clergy member I have spoken with, I have been completely honest. The response I keep receiving is, "we only christen members' babies."

Two weeks ago I placed a call to a church across the city that my family were members of for approximately 10 years. To date, I have not even had the courtesy of a return phone call.

I wonder what the good Lord would be more interested in - people in the pews or the soul of a child.

I sent the following response to the newspaper, with the prayer that they would either print my answer, or at least pass it on to her.

I said to her that as a pastor and as a Lutheran Christian, I believe that God accepts us by grace, with no preconditions, "Just as I am," as the hymn suggests. She is not married, not a member ... we can still sit and talk. I would love to have the opportunity to do that.

In wanting baptism for her child, she is asking for a good thing. She wants the blessing of God upon her child that baptism brings. She recognizes that as a parent she not only has the responsibility for the physical welfare of her child, but also for the spiritual life of her child.

We baptize babies in our church because we believe that all people are born sinful and out of connection with God. As descendants of Eve and Adam, we come into the world spiritually dead. It is a condition that only God can fix. We believe that in baptism God gives the forgiveness of sins and covers us with the perfectness of Christ. That's why babies get to wear white for baptism.

We baptize babies because we believe that in baptism God works by His Word and His Spirit to plant faith in a child's heart and make it grow. Yes, babies can believe (Psalm 22:9,10), because faith is not of the intellect, but of the heart; faith is not my decision but God's gift (Ephesians 2:8,9).

A person does not have to reach a certain level of a "holy life" before they can come to God, or come to the church. Jesus welcomed "sinners" and ate with them. His desire was always for them to find forgiveness at the cross, and to find hope and eternal life at the empty tomb.

Lord of the living harvest that whitens o'er the plain,
Where angels soon shall gather their sheaves of golden grain;
Accept our hands to labour, Our hearts to trust and love
And deign with us to hasten Thy kingdom from above. Amen.

What is a Lutheran?
Christian - first and foremost is one who trusts in Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior. Proclaims Jesus Christ as God's only Son and Savior to the World. Shares a common faith with other Christians. Works together for the common good of all mankind according to God's will given in the Bible. Believes in the Bible, Old & New Covenant - Authority and ONLY Norm for all Christian living and activity. Absolute truth, it shows God in action in and among His creatures and creation. Half of the worlds Protestant people are Lutherans. In Canada, there are over ? million.

     Confessional Church - Believes Jesus Christ is Lord, and the Bible reveals all of God's will.
     Ecumenical Church - that works for the unity of ALL Christians.
     Visible Church - where Christians gather together to hear God's Word.
     Invisible Church - made up of all people the world over who are saved by faith, accepting Christ as Savior and Lord in their life and living out that faith in the world.

Founder/Leader: Dr. Martin Luther, (1483-1546) - a pastor, professor, author, composer of hymns, reformer. He posted a thesis containing 95 reforms he wanted the church to openly discuss on the door of the Wittenburg Church in 1517. This started a whole chain of events that split the Catholic Church and created the Protestant (protester) Movement of denominational congregations. Dr. Martin Luther publicly called for correction of errors in the medieval church. His ideas still stimulate NEW thinking in the church -- he is respected but NOT worshipped.

Lutheran Church - Canada

Lutheran Church-Canada is comprised of congregations, pastors, and deacons committed to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our confessions and practices are based on the foundation of God's Word and the belief that God's gift of salvation is found only through faith in Jesus Christ, God's only Son. In more than 325 congregations, from British Columbia to New Brunswick, this message is proclaimed in word and deed.

History

The Lutheran church is a direct result of the Protestant Reformation begun in 1517 by Martin Luther in Wittenberg, Germany. Lutheran Church-Canada was founded in 1988 when the Canadian congregations of St. Louis-based The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod formed an autonomous Canadian church with three districts. The Alberta-British Columbia District offices are in Edmonton, Alberta, the Central District in Regina, Saskatchewan and the East District in Kitchener, Ontario. The denomination retains close ties with the LCMS and other Lutheran church bodies around the world which follow the Biblically-based Lutheran Confessions.

Worship

Our worship services draw upon the rich traditions of the early church, which provide a framework within which our members can receive God's blessings as His Word is preached and the Lord's Supper celebrated. While many of our congregations share the heritage of music passed down through the centuries, others have chosen to include newer expressions of the timeless truths of God's love.

Missions

Many Lutheran congregations were initially established in Canada to minister to immigrants from Europe. This tradition continues with multi-lingual congregations being established across Canada to reach out to new Canadians. Outside Canada, Lutheran Church-Canada missionaries can be found in Ukraine, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Macau, and Venezuela, and the church actively supports specific missions of sister churches in Congo, Zaire, and eastern Europe. LCC also works with Canadian Lutheran World Relief, which initiates development projects, assists Lutheran congregations to sponsor refugees, and coordinates emergency relief in response to needs around the world.

Social Ministry

Many of our congregations respond to local needs by establishing food banks, English as a Second Language classes, senior housing, and nursing care. Across Canada, the church also works with other Lutheran agencies to provide nursing home care, homes for troubled youths, and chaplaincy programs in provincial and federal correctional institutions.

Education

Creating a strong Christian foundation for our children is a priority for Lutheran Church-Canada. Through Sunday Schools, Vacation Bible Schools, and confirmation classes, young people learn from the Bible how their faith is part of everything they do. In addition, a growing number of congregations are establishing elementary schools where the school curriculum is taught in a caring Christian context. These schools join our church's Concordia University College of Alberta in Edmonton, and two seminaries, Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary in St Catharines, Ontario and Concordia Lutheran Seminary in Edmonton, Alberta.

Publications

Lutheran Church-Canada publishes a magazine, The Canadian Lutheran, ten times per year. It is designed to inspire, motivate, and inform the members of LCC congregations and the Christian community at large. The church also publishes Word&Deed, a theological journal written for lay persons.

Auxiliary Organizations

LCC maintains official partnership with two auxiliary organizations which support the ongoing mission of the church:

Lutheran Women's Missionary League-Canada is an organization dedicated to providing educational resources so women may grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, preparing them to help others through service, and providing financial support to church projects in Canada and around the world.

Lutheran Laymen's League assists the church by providing broadcast materials in various languages for use across the country. Its two major projects are The Lutheran Hour, a half-hour radio broadcast heard on more than 71 stations and On Main Street, an issues-oriented talk show carried on VisionTV, Canada's interfaith television network.

With the universal Christian Church, Lutheran Church - Canada teaches and responds to the love of the Triune God: the Father, creator of all that exists; Jesus Christ, the Son, who became human to suffer and die for the sins of all human beings and to rise to life again in the ultimate victory over death and Satan; and the Holy Spirit, who creates faith through God's Word and Sacraments. The three persons of the Trinity are coequal and coeternal, one God. Being "Lutheran," our congregations accept and teach Bible-based teachings of Martin Luther that inspired the Reformation of the Christian Church in the 16th century. The teaching of Luther and the reformers can be summarized in three short phrases:

Grace alone, Scripture alone, Faith alone.

Grace alone - God loves the people of the world, even though they are sinful, rebel against Him and do not deserve His love. He sent Jesus, His Son, to love the unlovable and save the ungodly.
Scripture alone - The Bible is God's inerrant and infallible Word, in which He reveals His Law and His Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. It is the sole rule and norm for Christian doctrine.
Faith alone - By His suffering and death as the substitute for all people of all time, Jesus purchased and won forgiveness and eternal life for them. Those who hear this Good News and believe it have the eternal life that it offers. God creates faith in Christ and gives people forgiveness through Him.

The congregations of Lutheran Church - Canada are "confessional." They hold to the Lutheran Confessions as the correct interpretation and presentation of Biblical doctrine. Contained in The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, these statements of belief were put into writing by church leaders during the 16th century.