October 30-November 6th Family Worship Guide 2022

The Guide for the Week of October 30-November 6th, 2022

Bible Passage for the Week
Deuteronomy 24:10-22
Matthew 24:36-51
Revelation 5
Psalm 47

Verse to Memorize
Daniel 7:18

Catechism Questions
Q. What is a saint?
A.  A saint is a “holy one,” someone who is set apart for God’s special purposes.  Every Christian, whether in heaven or on earth, is made holy by Jesus Christ and therefore may be properly called a saint.  

Q. May we honor the saints who have gone on before us?
A.  Yes, we may honor the saints in heaven because Holy Scripture says to give honor to whom honor is due.

Q. How do we honor the saints?
A.  We properly honor the saints when we
1.  Remember them with fondness
2.  Give thanks for God for their godly example
3.  Imitate their faith and other good virtues
4.  And are encouraged by their example to endure in the faith.

Q. May we pray to the saints?
A.  No, we do not pray to the saints because Jesus is the only Mediator, God has commanded us to pray only to Him in the name of Jesus Christ, and only God has the power to hear and answer our prayers.

Q. May we bow down or worship at paintings or statues of the saints?
A. No, God’s holy law requires that we worship God alone and forbids that we worship idols. To give religious worship to the saints is to dishonor both them and the God they worship.

People to Pray for:
The Great Litany- See Notes
 
Song Recommendations:
1. For all the saints,
who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith
before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus,
be forever blessed.
Alleluia, Allelu...

2. Thou wast their rock,
their fortress and their might;
Thou, Lord, their captain
in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness
drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia, Allelu...

3. O may Thy soldiers,
faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints
who nobly fought of old,
And win with them
the victor's crown of gold.
Alleluia, Allelu...

4. The golden evening
brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful
warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm
of paradise the blessed.
Alleluia, Allelu...

5. But lo! There breaks
a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant
rise in bright array;
The King of glory
passes on his way,
Alleluia, Allelu...

6. From earth's wide bounds,
from ocean's farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl
streams in the countless host,
Singing to Father,
Son, and Holy Ghost,
Alleluia, Alleluia!


The fullness of the earth is His
He founded it upon the seas
Established it upon the water
This King of Glory is our Father

Lift up, lift up your heads, you gates
And the King of Glory shall come in
Open, you everlasting doors
So that we may come and worship Him

The sons of Jacob seek His face
To worship at His holy hill
Whose hearts are pure and hands are clean
In idols’ temples never seen

Lift up, lift up your heads, you gates
And the King of Glory shall come in
Open, you everlasting doors
So that we may come and worship Him

They have not sworn deceitfully
They’ve kept their hearts and souls from sin
A humble, blessed generation
Who seeks the holy LORD’s salvation

Lift up, lift up your heads, you gates
And the King of Glory shall come in
Open, you everlasting doors
So that we may come and worship Him

Who is this King?
Who is this King?
Who is this King of Glory, Glory?
(x2)

The LORD of Hosts
The LORD of Hosts
The LORD of Hosts is the King of Glory

Mighty in battle
Mighty in battle
He’s mighty in battle, He’s the King of Glory

Lift up, lift up your heads, you gates
And the King of Glory shall come in
Open, you everlasting doors
So that we may come and worship Him
(x2)

Notes for Parents

Bible Passage for the Week
Deuteronomy –
God’s law protects the weak and needy while providing justice for all.  In these passages we see God’s special care to ensure that the poor are not preyed on through unjust lending practices.  We also see that the poor are given a means to work and gather food.   Christians should have compassion on those who are truly weak and needy.

Thinking of the poor there are in our day several types of poor people:
1.  There are those through laziness or other vice have made themselves poor and continue in their vice.  We ought to careful that we do not assume that just because someone is poor that they are virtuous or that because they have wealth that they are wicked.  There are temptations that come to both.  When it comes to helping the poor, we want to make sure that we are not enabling sin.  We want to make sure that our help is not harming them.  Sloth, drunkenness, and other vices should not be encouraged.  
2. There are those who have become poor by God’s sovereign will.  That is they are not lazy but circumstances have caused them to be in need.  A house burning down, an illness, or other situations have contributed to their circumstances. We ought to be ready and willing to help people through difficult situations.  We ought not think that every poor person is lazy.   We especially need to be willing to help those who are of the household of faith.   Notice that in this passage, the poor are given a provision in which they may work the land after the harvesters have come through.   They are given opportunity as well as charity.
3.  There are those who have become poor by oppression.  Now in our Social Justice and woke world, everyone in America wants to claim victim status.   It is wicked and an abuse of God’s law.  The woke theology is a perversion of Christianity.  That said, this does not mean that there is no such thing as oppression.  There can be unjust laws or policies that harm people and take from them wealth.   The Federal Reserve and its printing of money is one example of an unjust policy.  By increasing the money supply, they have devalued the dollar.  This has robbed the wage earner of their wages by devaluing his wages.   While we do not affirm the woke agenda, we also do not turn a blind eye to injustice.   We also should be willing to help those who are victims.  
4.  There are those who are poor voluntarily and for the kingdom.  There are those who are not lazy but have chosen fields of work that do not pay well but do this work because it service to others and to God.  Missionaries, evangelists, pastors, non-profit workers, and even social service workers often are underpaid.  Some doctors and lawyers choose to work in fields that do not provide the income that we usually associate with their career.   We ought to honor this work and if possible help alleviate the hardships associated with it.  
There is more to be said about this but study God’s word and see his heart of concern for those who are needy.

Matthew
We are now turning from looking at the destruction of Jerusalem to the final coming of Christ to judge the living and the dead.  In contrast to the judgement on the jews, Christ’s final return will not be telegraphed.  No one knows the day or hour.  In fact, people will continue on living as they always have.  But let us not be deceived, Christ will return. We must be found faithful when He returns.   Are you ready?  How do you want to be found when He returns?

There are two ditches regarding Christ’s return we should avoid.  One, is to have such an emphasis on the immanency of His return, that we are not faithful long term.  There have been people who have used the fact that Christ could return soon as a reason not to be engaged in long-term building.  They are good at evangelism but poor at disciple making.  Some have refused marriage, child bearing, or planning for the future because they believe that they are in the last day.  Martin Luther said that if he knew for certain Christ was coming back tomorrow, he would still plant a tree today.   We need to think long term and be prepared for many productive years of fruitfulness.

The other ditch is to lose all sense of Christ’s return and to take for granted that you will have tomorrow.  Even if Christ does not return tomorrow, you are not guaranteed tomorrow.  Therefore, you must not be lazy.  You should make the most of each day because the days are evil.

Revelation 5
We are still getting a glimpse into the throne room of heaven.  But this time there is a book or scroll with seven seals.  No one was found who was worthy to open it.  The angels, beasts, and elders were not worthy.  Yet, there is someone who is worthy.  The lamb of God.  Jesus Christ is worthy.   As you read this chapter, consider the deity of Christ.  Here we are watching the throne room of God and there is someone receiving worship and praise.  If there was any doubt that Jesus is God, this chapter eliminates that.  Who else could receive worship in the throne room of God but God.  Pay attention to the fact that Jesus has purchased a people.  And notice what it says of us.  We are a kingdom and priests.  The Church is Christ’s Kingdom.  And we as members of that church are priests.  We do not offer up animal sacrifices.  Rather we offer up sacrifices of praise.   Consider your time of family worship as a daily sacrifice to the Lord.   See how your prayers fly up into heaven as incense rising in the air.  

Psalm 47
“He subdues peoples under us And nations under our feet.”  Christ is the great king who makes us a kingdom and priests.  The promises of scripture are that the church will reign on earth.  This is only possible because Christ will accomplish it.   Let us pray his Holy Name.
 
Catechism/ Memory Verse
Our Catechism questions are really an extension of the 5th commandment.  Honor your Father and your Mother is a commandment from God that does not just refer to children and their immediate parents.  It deals with how we live in all of our relationships whether as parents and children, citizens and government, congregants and pastors, or present and past.  We should honor those who came before us but not in such a way as to idolize them.  Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox have created a pantheon of saints.  They pray to them and bow down to statues of them.  This is to break the 5th commandment and the first and second commandments.

This week on October 31st, we remember God’s sovereignty in using Martin Luther to spark the reformation.   This is from the handout we gave out at our All Hallow’s Reformation Festival:
November 1st is often called All Saints’ Day or All Hallows Day. Beginning in the second century, Christians set apart this day to honor those who have gone before them, especially those who were martyrs.

Jesus, the Son of God, told His disciples that they would suffer persecution if they loved Him but also that they would be blessed if they were persecuted. Scripture says that Jesus, sinless and holy, was hated because evil hates what is good. Jesus was a light that shone on the dark deeds of those who practice evil, and they despised him. They plotted against Him and unjustly condemned Him to death. But evil cannot win. In fact, evil only ends up doing the bidding of light.

It was God’s plan that Jesus would die at the hands of these wicked men. Jesus was buried, but no grave could hold this hallowed one. He rose from the dead and was seen by his followers and up to 500 people at one time. He then ascended into Heaven, where He now reigns over all heaven and earth. He is reigning even over His enemies and will destroy them one by one. One day he will return and raise all who have died to life, where He will judge all.  The wicked will be condemned for eternity, and those who are children of God will live and reign with Christ forever.

But until Christ returns, evil still hates the light. During the first couple of centuries after Christ, Christians were persecuted by both Jews and the Roman Empire. Pagans called the early Christians “haters of mankind” because they disapproved of the sins in which the pagans participated. Many Christians were imprisoned, beaten, made to fight gladiators or wild animals, and killed. The Church remembered Christ’s words that when they were hated for the Gospel, they were blessed. Therefore, it wanted to honor their brothers and sisters in Christ who, rather than rejecting Jesus, faced death.

For Christians, All Saints’ Day is not just a memorial to faithful dearly departed but a celebration of the victory those people have over death. Death is not the end. Those who die in Christ are dead to this world but still alive, and when Jesus returns, they will return with Him, and their bodies will be resurrected.  They along with all those who have faith in Christ will reign forever.
Since the second century, various traditions have become attached to All Saints’ Day–some of them good and some of them superstitious and bad.

One tradition surrounding All Saints’ Day comes from the fact that in the Bible, a day actually begins the preceding evening. Therefore, in the Church calendar, the eve of a day is the actual beginning of the festive day. We all are familiar with Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, which have their own traditions and celebrations. The same is true of All Hallow’s Eve, or Halloween, which has become more popular as a day for dressing up, getting candy, and watching scary movies.

But contrary to popular notion, Halloween started not as a pagan holiday but as a Christian one.  Many of our traditions, such as trick-or-treating, jack o'lanterns, and haunted houses, are all new additions historically. So where did the dressing up as ghosts and other scary stuff come from? One Christian historian says “In a word: mockery. Satan’s great sin (and our great sin) is pride.Thus, to drive Satan from us we ridicule him. This is why the custom arose of portraying Satan in a ridiculous red suit with horns and a tail. Nobody thinks the devil really looks like this; the Bible teaches that he is the fallen Arch-Cherub. Rather, the idea is to ridicule him because he has lost the battle with Jesus and he no longer has power over us. The gargoyles that were placed on the churches of old had the same meaning. They symbolized the Church ridiculing the enemy. They stick out their tongues and make faces at those who would assault the Church. Gargoyles are not demonic; they are believers ridiculing the defeated demonic army. Thus, the defeat of evil and of demonic powers is associated with Halloween.” People dress up and tell scary stories to show that that is all the power evil ultimately has. Christ has defeated darkness.

As stated earlier, many traditions that arose surrounding All Saints’ Day were not good.  In fact, by the 1500s man-made tradition had begun to overtake the truths of God’s holy Word. The good news that Jesus Christ lived and died to save sinners from their sins was getting buried under by false teachers and the unbiblical traditions. Jesus warned his disciples about those who would lead people astray. There have always been people who claim to follow Him but are really using religion to gain power or money or to feed other lusts.

The leadership of the Church in the 1500s had become corrupt. The Papacy created an entire false system of salvation through keeping religious ceremonies and other so-called good works. In fact, days like All Saints’ day were part of this system. According to the system, which blatantly contradicts God’s Word, people were more holy for participating in “holy days” and could merit salvation by doing so. In addition, in order to pay for the construction of cathedrals at the papal enclave, the Pope began to issue indulgences. Indulgences were some of the worst abuses of the system. The Pope sent out men who traveled around selling these worthless certificates saying that it would earn people time out of purgatory, i.e., “Pay money, and you can be saved.”
Church members could also pay money to see the traveling show of the relics. Relics were supposed to be either bones, teeth, or other items belonging to famous Christians.

Superstitiously, people were taught that you could gain some of the holiness of these saints by being near these items, many of which were forgeries. One godly man in that time mocked that there were enough supposed pieces of the cross traveling around that you could build Noah’s ark.

Even thought it  was a dark time in the life of the Church, God is always good. He does not let His church languish in darkness. During this time, a monk by the name of Martin Luther began to see the discrepancies between what the Bible says and what many church leaders were saying. Scripture says that we are saved not by our works or good deeds but by the grace of God, which we receive by faith. We believe the promises of God, trusting in the work of Jesus while seeking forgiveness for our sins. We turn from trusting in our own way to trusting the words of Jesus.

Salvation is not gained with money as if God needs a handout or can be paid off. Every penny we own is already God’s. Deliverance from sin, death, the power of Satan, and the judgment of God cannot be earned. There is nothing we have or do that can impress God. Holy Scripture says, “without faith it is impossible to please God.”  

It was by God’s providence that on October 31st, 1517 AD, Martin Luther went to the church door in Wittenburg and posted 95 statements opposed to the selling of indulgences. The night when the church celebrates the vanquishing of evil and the day before it honors the lives of all the faithful Christians before, Martin Luther was used by God to point people back to the truths of the Gospel–the truths which the faithful had died defending. Luther didn’t intend to start a movement, yet his pamphlet was taken off the door and printed on the newly invented Guttenburg printing press. It spread like wildfire.

Christians began to go back to the Bible to find the truth of God. The Protestant Reformation began that day. Evil still hated the light. Many protestants were persecuted, but like the saints of old, they would not give in and found victory even in the face of death.  

We are now over five hundred years removed from that first Reformation Day, but the truths of the Gospel will never change. It is because of Christ Jesus, who lived, died, and rose again, that sinners like us can be forgiven. We can be rescued out of the darkness of death and evil and given abundant life now and hope of eternal life in the future. We can continue the fight of our brothers and sisters in the faith who went on before us. We can follow in their footsteps trusting Christ through trial, suffering, and even death.
 
People to Pray for:
This week in church, we prayed a corporate prayer.  In this prayer we prayed for the church, the civil government, for our enemies, and for those who are weaky and needy.  The Apostle Paul instructs us to pray on behalf of all people.  This week pray with your family for the church and for all those in civil authority.  Pray for your enemies.  Entrust them into the hands of God.  Ask him to change their hearts and to relieve you from their attacks.  Teach your children to pray for those who harm them.  

Church History Spotlight
Martin Luther October 31st, 1517  The 95 Theses
Out of love for the truth and from desire to elucidate it, the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and ordinary lecturer therein at Wittenberg, intends to defend the following statements and to dispute on them in that place. Therefore he asks that those who cannot be present and dispute with him orally shall do so in their absence by letter. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.
 
1. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ``Repent'' (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.
2. This word cannot be understood as referring to the sacrament of penance, that is, confession and satisfaction, as administered by the clergy.
3. Yet it does not mean solely inner repentance; such inner repentance is worthless unless it produces various outward mortification of the flesh…
Romans 1: 16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”

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