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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
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From the Word: Ephesians 1:1–14

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Article

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,* the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith. In the same way, he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church, he daily forgives abundantly all my sins and the sins of all believers; and at the last day, he will raise me and all the dead and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true!

*or “holy Christian Church” (“catholic” here refers to the fellowship of all believing Christians)

Pulling It Together: Christians believe that the Lord our God is one God yet three persons, or Trinity. We have named the first two persons of the Trinity who is God. The first is the Father. The second is Jesus Christ his only Son. The third is the Spirit of God whom we call the Holy Spirit, or sometimes speaking archaically, the Holy Ghost.

The Spirit hovered over the chaotic deep, bringing creation in the beginning. He overshadowed Mary, causing the virgin to be with the child Jesus (re: January 8, 2015). The Spirit reminds us of the things Jesus taught, as well as other parts of Scripture. He teaches us. He intercedes for us in prayer when words fail to come. He moves in hearts of Christians so that unity in a congregation that might otherwise dissolve is fulfilled for God's glory. He brings hope, encouragement, peace, and joy. He also helps us in times of trial and weakness. When we imagine that God cannot possibly love poor sinners like us, the Holy Spirit reminds us of God's love and sacrifice—that eternal life and peace do not depend upon our worth or our works. In short, this Holy Spirit of God whom we confess in the Apostle's Creed brings our attention back to Jesus at every turn. He is the guarantee of everything Jesus promised.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for sending your Father's Spirit to help us keep faith in you. Amen. 

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Luther's Small Cat Discovers: The Seasons of the Church Year is written for 4th grade level students. This book takes students through the church year, accompanied by Luther’s Small Cat — a character who is just as inquisitive and precocious as the students. May your journey through the church year bring you closer to Christ, who walks through each moment of life alongside you.

Teacher's Guide

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