Crumbs
August 10, 2020
241. Week of Seventh Sunday after Trinity - Tuesday
The communion of saints
          Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify it   Ephesians 5:25,26
          The one "Holy Christian Church" of which we speak in the Third Article of the holy Christian Creed is the "communion of saints," that is to say, all Christendom on earth or the sum total of those who truly believe in Jesus Christ and in such faith are sanctified unto God. Hence only believers truly belong to the Church, but all believers without distinction. They are the Church which Christ has loved, for which He gave Himself, which He sanctified by the Gospel and through the Holy Spirit in faith. This Church is not a visible congregation or organisation, whose names and full membership might be given, but an invisible, spiritual congregation, which the Lord only knows, names, and counts, since only the Lord can tell with certainty who believes in Christ and therefore belongs to Him. "The Lord knows them that are His." (2 Tim. 2:19) The Church is the kingdom of God, Christ's Kingdom of Grace. And "the kingdom of God comes not with observation; neither shall they say, Lo, here! or, Lo, there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:20,21) Faith, which makes us members of the Church, the kingdom of God, is within us and is known to the Lord alone. And so the Church is but one. There is but one kingdom of God. It is "one body and one Spirit," (Eph. 4:4) The Church is holy. Christ has sanctified it through His righteousness given to it, and through His Spirit, who incorporates it with Him. So it is "holy and without blemish" before God through grace. (Eph. 5:27) It, furthermore, is a Christian Church. It is "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself, being the chief corner-stone." (Eph. 2:20) And this Church and congregation - listen, dear Christian! - is the beloved bride of Christ, to whom, to whom alone, all eternal promises are given. Now examine yourself, whether you are in the faith, and if, therefore, you belong to this Church. Prove your own self! (2 Cor. 13:5)
          PRAYER: - I believe in You, my dear Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! I am Yours; I belong to those who are Yours, to Your Church. But I cry to You: Help my unbelief! O great Shepherd and Bishop of my soul, keep me, and let me be and remain Your own to my dying breath, and then take me home, yes, home to You, into Your secure dwellings. Amen.

Second Part : Catechism Lessons
August 10, 2020