Who is God?
We believe in the God revealed in the Bible – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Our God is three persons, but only one God. This is called the Holy Trinity. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are different persons, but all share the same substance as God. The Father and the Holy Spirit are spirit only, but Jesus has a body and He shows us who God is.
God is eternal – no beginning and no end. He does not change, and He cannot lie. He is loving and He is holy. God is all-powerful, and He uses His power to create life and to save us from our sins.
Who is Jesus?
Jesus is the Son of God, begotten from the Father from eternity. He is equal to God the Father and the Holy Spirit. He is God, and He made the whole universe. Because God loves the whole world, He wanted to save humans from our sin. So, the Father sent Jesus, His Son, into the world to become a man like us.
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was born as a baby, and lived a perfect life. He was crucified for the sins of all people, died, and was buried in a tomb. He went to hell to set free the people held prisoner there. Then Jesus rose again from the dead to proclaim forgiveness and freedom for all people. Later, He ascended into heaven, where now He sits on God’s throne until He comes again at the end of time.
Jesus is 100% God and 100% man at the same time – something we can’t understand. He died to save you and me from our sins. He gives us his love, forgiveness, and eternal life, and He takes away our sin, guilt, and punishment.
What is Church?
Is Church the building we come to for religious services? Or is it more than that?
Our Lutheran Confessions (writings that explain what it means to be a Lutheran) say that the Church is “sheep who hear their Shepherd’s voice.” That means, we are the sheep who come because we hear the Shepherd – Jesus – speaking to us. We come to church because this is where God has promised to meet us, to give us His gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation.
Can you meet God out in nature – in the forest, on the lake, or on the golf course? Sure, you can; God is everywhere. But in church you meet the God who speaks to you a true and certain Word to forgive your sins and to give you strength to keep living and loving.
The Church is a group of human beings, and humans are sinful. So, we know that our church here on earth is not perfect. But we try to live and love and serve according to God’s Word and with His grace and mercy.
What is Man?
Man, meaning human beings, is the top of God’s creation. God created the man named Adam from the dust of the ground and breathed life into him. Then, He created woman, named Eve, from one of Adam’s ribs. God favors man over all of creation. But Adam and Eve were tempted and fell into sin. Now, we inherit their sin. No human being is without sin. Our human nature is corrupted with sin, and we can’t do anything about it. The result of sin is death, and we deserve to die forever.
But God loved us, and He showed His love by sending His only Son, Jesus, to become a man and die as a man, so that He could take the punishment for our sin. Jesus was innocent, but He died the perfect death to sin. Now, every person that believes in Jesus as Savior will be forgiven and life forever in peace with God.
It is our responsibility to love and serve God in thanksgiving for what He has done for us. We love and serve God by showing love to our neighbors – the people God places in our lives and in the world around us.
What is a Sacrament? What is Baptism?
We believe that a Sacrament is a holy act 1) commanded by Jesus Christ; 2) where Jesus joins His Word to a visible element; and 3) where He gives the forgiveness of sins.
As Lutherans, we believe, teach, and confess three Holy Sacraments: Holy Baptism, Private Confession and Absolution, and the Lord’s Supper (Sacrament of the Altar, Holy Communion).
“Baptism is not just plain water, but it is the water included in God’s command and combined with God’s Word,” says Luther’s Small Catechism, one of our main teaching books. That means that God puts His Holy Spirit in the water through His Word, and by the Spirit and the Word, He washes away all our sins and marks us as His beloved children. Baptism separates us from the unbelieving world, frees us from the devil’s power, and makes us members of God and of His Church.
We don’t say, “I was baptized,” but, “I am baptized.” While we only receive the act of Baptism once in our lives, the effects continue through our whole lives. The whole Christian life is centered on Baptism, and on learning to live in this grace and grow in faith.
What is Confession and Absolution?
“Confession has two parts: first, that we confess our sins; and second, that we receive absolution – that is, forgiveness – from the pastor as from God Himself, not doubting, but firmly believing that by it our sins are forgiven before God in heaven.” This is how the Small Catechism defines Confession.
To confess means to “say the same thing.” When we confess our sins, we say that God’s Word is correct in what it says about each of us – I am a lost and condemned sinner who has broken God’s Law. We confess this – taking God’s Word and repeating it back to Him.
Then, you hear the word of forgiveness that God places into the mouth and hands of the pastor, spoken to you, forgiving your sins and making you right with God.
Are you required to confess your sins to the pastor? No, it’s not required; but it is a gift from God. He gives you the gift of being able to bring the sins in your life that bother you out of the darkness so that the light of God’s grace can take them away. It is God’s Word of life spoken directly to you, so that you can know for sure that your sins, even that sin that you know deep in your heart – all of them are forgiven.
What is The Lord's Supper?
“It is the true Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ Himself for us Christians to eat and to drink,” says the Small Catechism.
We believe, teach, and confess that in the Lord’s Supper we receive both the bread and wine and the Body and Blood of Jesus. This happens according to Christ’s command and promise, but exactly how is a mystery that we can’t explain. We only can believe that it is what Jesus says it is.
The Lord’s Supper is more than just a sign of our obedience to God’s command. It is a meal where Jesus feeds us with Himself, and in eating and drinking, we receive forgiveness of our sins, eternal life, and salvation. He gives us strength to keep living the Christian life. He makes us ready to face the challenges of life in this world. And He promises that we can come back to the table again and again to receive this gift from Him.