Saint Paul's Lutheran Church of Irvine

Tomorrow Sunday, April 19th, 2015 at Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church of Irvine: “Having Sin vs. Committing Sin” (1st John 3:1-7)

Divine Service: 9:30 am

Bible Study for adults, high school, and Sunday School for junior youth and little children starts at 11:00 am

Location: Crean Lutheran High School in Irvine: 12500 Sand Canyon Ave., Irvine, CA 92618

Directions: Exit Sand Canyon from the 405 or 5, head East towards the hills, cross Irvine Blvd., turn right on Saint’s Way (this will put you on the campus of Crean Lutheran High School…we worship in the event center/gym)


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

A really weird circumstance has occurred in modern Christianity regarding sin (or perhaps this self-same problem has just always been there since the beginning): we know that the Scriptures teach that we have sin and we experience our own personal sin every day, but with this we begin to take on this idea of, “Oh well, I’m just a sinner…what else does one expect?” “A leopard can’t change its spots…so just go with the flow.” If nothing else we can remind ourselves that we sin “in weakness.” What comes out of such thinking is laxity towards sin. We just start to accept it, but then we accept it so much that we just give in to the flesh, but this is not the Christian life.
Let’s be sure to have a right view about the situation and tomorrow we will do so through a sermon entitled, “Having Sin vs. Committing Sin” (1st John 3:1-7) It’s important in that we want to live in our Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ who did not rise from the dead for sin to be our master, but so that through His glorious victory, we would be “under new management” if you will.
Also, tomorrow we have Bible Study and Sunday School at 11:00 am for:
1. Adults: starting a new study tomorrow morning on World Religions with Dr. Russell Dawn.
2. High Schoolers: Ghosts and the Paranormal part 2.
3. Jr. High: with Dr. Mary Hobus.
4. Little Ones: with Traci Espinosa.
Today was a great outing to the 8th Annual Catechism Convocation of the People which was sponsored this year by Grace Lutheran Church, San Diego. I had the honor of being one of two keynote speakers on the Resurrected Savior in connection to the six chief parts of the Small Catechism. The other talk was given by Rev. Dr. John Bombaro. The recordings for these will soon be made available to you.
I hope to see you in God’s house tomorrow morning. It is the most important Sunday of our lives…the one we will have “today”!!! Today…let us be served with the Word and Sacrament of our Glorious Lord…today, let us receive forgiveness and eternal life!
Here is an excerpt from tomorrow’s sermon:
Having Sin vs. Committing Sin
(1st John 3:1-7)
Pastor Espinosa
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. Alleluia! Christ is risen! And this dear Christians has put us into a whole new relationship with God and in a whole new relationship with sin. To be in the risen Christ – as your baptism assures you that you absolutely are – means among other things that sin is no longer your master (Romans 6). You have died to sin. Christ died with your sin upon Him…your sin was buried with Him. It is covered and as far as God is concerned, it is gone (which explains why God doesn’t remember it, Is 43:25: “It is I who sweep away your transgressions for My own sake and remember your sins no more.”). And since you are joined to Christ who St. John says in our epistle is righteous, practicing sin is out, practicing righteousness is in.
Didymus the Blind explains: “Just as the person who dwells in virtue and true doctrine does not sin and is not ignorant, so the one who remains in Christ, who is his righteousness and sanctification, does not sin. For how can someone act unrighteously when he is in the company of righteousness, and how can he be content to place corruption alongside holiness?” (Ancient Christian Commentary, New Testament XI, 197)
Does this make you uneasy? I hope so. It’s supposed to. Not as a ploy or a manipulation, but as maintaining what the Holy Spirit is always doing for our own good: generating the terrors of conscience in us so that we would hunger and thirst for God’s grace in Christ over and over again! We cannot rationalize our situation. We are in Christ. Christ is risen! Sin has been defeated. What it produces, namely death, has been defeated. These cannot mark those who are in Christ. Thus, St. John is plain at 1st John 3:6: “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.” That’s pretty clear.
John is not denying that the sinful nature clings to us. He does not reject the truth of our original sin; nor does he suggest we are not to confess our sin. How could he when he is the one who also wrote, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves…” and obviously then leads us to confess our sin. (1st John 1:8-9). So again, John is neither denying nor contradicting any of these things.
At the same time, John is defending, teaching, and proclaiming your new identity. He started by saying that God calls you children of God, and then says point blank: “and so we are.” God calls and things come into existence. His Word creates. He spoke over the universe: “let there be light” and there was light; He speaks over you: you are a child of God and behold, that is what you are! In and through Jesus, God has called you His child. Hear it again, that is what you are.
So St. John is saying that since this is what you are, this is what this life looks like…it doesn’t sin. He is grapping our attention and slapping us from falling asleep in Satan’s deception and lies. Dr. Schuchard gives an uncompromising commentary and tells the truth: “John has indicated [instead] that sin is no small matter. Sin is deadly. So the apostle gives no permission in weakness or otherwise to sin, ever. Sin is ever present, corrupting every thought, word, and deed (see 1:8, 10). John extols not to some kind of born-again perfectionism. Neither does he here or elsewhere (see further 3:9) contradict himself. Rather, he exhorts in consistent terms to a concerted pattern, to a tenor, to a way of life that is ever lived in active opposition to sins’ pervasive influence and power, that sin would never be either an indifferent matter or a ‘settled habit.’ In no way does the sinner acquiesce, give up, give in, tolerate, condone, or otherwise ignore sin. In no way does the sinner suggest that the reign of sin is ‘just the way God made me.’” (Bruce G. Schuchard, Concordia Commentary, 1-3 John, 328-329)
In Jesus’ Love,
Pastor Espinosa
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