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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 69

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From the Word: 18 But that which comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and it defiles the person. 19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. (Matthew 15:18–19)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism – part 69

The Fifth Commandment

You shall not kill.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do our neighbors no bodily harm nor cause them any suffering, but help and befriend them in every need.

Pulling It Together: A mountain seems to stand steadfastly—until the plates far beneath the surface shift. Not murdering someone seems simpler to pull off than not saying something nasty. It seems far easier to make the decision to not strike someone with a fist than it is to hold back emotions. It would seem so. Here is the rub: all of these actions originate from the same source. It is not easy to not do any of these things once the heart has moved the thought, the word, the rage, the fist—or worse.

Instead of changing the act, we should change the source of the action. Guard the heart and you stand a better chance of holding back the anger (Prov 4:23; Phil 4:7). It is the heart that controls the lips and the fists. So, make your decision now, to guard your heart, and later, in the heat of the moment, the outward action will match the inner source, where there is already either peace or violence lying in wait.

Prayer: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

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Pastor Kent Groethe's study of the Book of Acts, Acts - Old Places, New Facesfocuses on the life of the early church as a model for church life today. The message and power of the church today needs to be revitalized and renewed by the power of God's Spirit, just as it was in the early church.


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