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The Institute of Lutheran theology not only provides programs to train pastors and teachers, but it also provides educational and devotional resources for individuals and congregations. These resources are provided free of charge and made available through our web page. Please subscribe to and use any of these resources.

The Institute of Lutheran theology not only provides programs to train pastors and teachers, but it also provides educational and devotional resources for individuals and congregations. These resources are provided free of charge and made available through our web page. Please subscribe to and use any of these resources.

The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost A

The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost A

Jesus speaks here of misbehavior within the family of God—that is, when your Christian brother sins against you.  This brother would be a baptized member of the body of Christ.  The misbehavior… the sin… the fault… would be behavior out of character for that brother’s identity bestowed by the act of baptism—that is, the identity of the new creature in Christ.  To expose your brother’s fault in this way does not make an accusation under the law but rather makes an appeal to the identity established by baptism… by the gospel.  The appeal here is not to legal discipline but to an evangelical character.  As the intensity of the appeal grows from a solo conversation to a conversation with witnesses to a conversation before the whole congregation, the concern is not that of publishing far and wide your brother’s misdeed so that you would win the sympathy of the body.  No, the concern is to bear witness to your brother in Christ of his baptism into Christ.  That witness begins with you.  The plea is not an accusation but a lament, “How could you do this, brother?  You’ve been baptized!”  If your witness is insufficient to deliver repentance to your brother, then join with others and together witness to your brother’s baptism.  If that witness is still not enough, have the whole congregation give witness to your brother’s baptism.  If, after that, the brother remains adamantly unrepentant, then that brother is to have the gospel preached to him again, just as the tax collectors and sinners had to hear it.  In this life of the flesh, the baptized bear the cross of continual and constant repentance and not the glory of arrogance.

Prayers from one of those who love their legal righteousness…

Father of my brother, Jesus Christ, in my baptism into Christ you have made me a member of your household.  Grant that I live in conformity with that blessed identity and do not covet an identity under the law.  With all my brothers and sisters, I say, “Amen.”    

Father of my brother, Jesus Christ, in my baptism into Christ you have made me a member of your household.  Grant that as I live from my identity as a child of God and a member of your royal household, that I would seek to serve my Lord in love as I have been loved.  With all my brothers and sisters, I say, “Amen.”    

Father of my brother, Jesus Christ, in my baptism into Christ you have made me a member of your household.  Grant, that as I serve my Lord in love, my neighbors benefit from my loving service to them as well.  With all my brothers and sisters, I say, “Amen.”    

Father of my brother, Jesus Christ, in my baptism into Christ you have made me a member of your household.  Hold me in such faith that I remain confident of your faithfulness to me in spite of all evidence to the contrary.  With all my brothers and sisters, I say, “Amen.”    

Father of my brother, Jesus Christ, in my baptism into Christ you have made me a member of your household.  As I experience the contradictions of life in this world broken by sin and passing away, hold me in the promise of Jesus Christ for me who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  With all my brothers and sisters, I say, “Amen.”    

Father of my brother, Jesus Christ, in my baptism into Christ you have made me a member of your household.  Grant that the Institute of Lutheran Theology so fashion and form its students that they, too, come to know their place in your royal household.  With all my brothers and sisters, I say, “Amen.”    

Father of my brother, Jesus Christ, in my baptism into Christ you have made me a member of your household.    Give me patience to wait for the visible manifestation of the household of God and keep me from an impatient pre-empting of its visibility.   With all my brothers and sisters, I say, “Amen.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

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