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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Large Catechism – part 122

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From the Word: 10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a wise, master builder, I laid a foundation; and another is building upon it. But let each one be careful how he builds upon it, 11 for no one can lay another foundation than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:10–11)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The Fourth Commandment

Honor your father and your mother, (that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.)

Oh, what a high price would all the Carthusians, monks, and nuns pay, if in all their religious observances they could bring into God’s presence a single work done by obeying this commandment. They would then be able to face him and say with joyful hearts: “Now I know that this work is well pleasing to you.” Where will these poor, wretched persons hide when, in the sight of God and all the world, they must blush with shame before a young child who has lived according to this commandment, when they have to confess that with their whole life they are not worthy to give that child a drink of water? And it serves them right for their devilish distortion of God’s commandment, treading it under foot as they vainly afflict themselves with works of their own design. Moreover, they have only scorn and defeat for their reward.

Pulling It Together: “I will give up heating this year for God! He will respect me for that sacrifice and grant me entrance at heaven’s gates.” As some old friends of mine used to say mockingly, “Let me know how that works out for you.” When we invent religious schemes that have nothing to do with God’s will and command, we are, in fact, mocking him. Is not his word enough for us? Do we refuse to believe his promises? Is Christ an insufficient Savior? Let our life of faith begin with what the Lord commands and wills, and may we build upon it with more of the same. This is precisely what we should be doing in the home, starting our children off on the right foot by teaching them the commandments. If we do not, they are likely to invent some novel enthusiasm that is nothing more than the old bowing down to their own images.

Prayer: Lift our eyes to you, Lord, and save us from ourselves. Amen.

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A primer (pronounced PRIH-mur) is a small introductory book on a subject, often for beginners. Primers were once a standard part of every child’s education. Typically, they contained many quotations from the Bible and moral lessons as well, and the text was accompanied by numerous woodcut illustrations. This primer on marriage, by Pastor Wendy Berthelsen, contains color, woodcut initials throughout, and serves as a nice devotional resource.

A Marriage Primer may be handed out by congregations to couples preparing for marriage, or as a gift to go along with presenting a marriage certificate. For individuals, it would also make a good small gift for a wedding or shower. 


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