Epiphany Sermon Series – The Augsburg Confession


Long ago in 1530, Lutherans made their beliefs public in a document called the Augsburg Confession. This simple statement of the faith speaks the truth that sets you free and connects you to the true, the good, and the beautiful.

Sermon Series: “The Good Confession” — Article One: God
The Augsburg Confession (1530 A.D) states what the Lutheran Church confesses. Each week for our sermon series, you will find an article of the Augsburg Confession printed here. Some of the language will be unfamiliar. You might think of it as a journey to the land from which your ancestors came: full of new sights and sounds that are rich in promise and revelation.

January 12: Baptism of Our Lord
The Holy Trinity: Why start with the 3-in-1?
by Rev. Steven K. Gjerde

Our Churches, with common consent, do teach that the decree of the Council of Nicaea [Nicene Creed] concerning the Unity of the Divine Essence and concerning the Three Persons, is true and to be believed without any doubting; that is to say, there is one Divine Essence which is called and which is God: eternal, without body, without parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, the Maker and Preserver of all things, visible and invisible; and yet there are three Persons, of the same essence and power, who also are coeternal, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And the term “person” they use as the Fathers have used it, to signify, not a part or quality in another, but that which subsists of itself. They condemn all heresies which have sprung up against this article . . . . ~ Augsburg Confession, Article I, 1530 A.D.

January 12: The Second Sunday after Epiphany
Original Sin: What’s So Good About Sin?
by Rev. Steven K. Gjerde

Our Churches teach that since the fall of Adam (Romans 5:12), all who are naturally born are born with sin (Psalm 51:5), that is,

without fear of God,
without trust in God,
and with the inclination to sin, called “concupiscence.”

[This inclination to sin] is a disease and original vice that is truly sin. It damns and brings eternal death on those who are not born anew through Baptism and the Holy Spirit (John 3:5). Our churches condemn [those] who deny that original depravity is sin, thus obscuring the glory of Christ’s merit and benefits. [They wrongly] argue that a person can be justified before God by his own strength and reason.~ Augsburg Confession, Article I, 1530 A.D.

The Third Sunday after Epiphany, January 26, 2020
The Son of God: Why Does God Have a Nose?
by Rev. Christopher Johnson

Our Churches teach that the Word, that is, the Son of God [John 1:1-14], assumed the human nature in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. So there are two natures — the divine and the human—inseparably joined in one person. There is one Christ, true God and true man, who was born of the Virgin Mary, truly suffered, was crucified, died, and was buried. He did this to reconcile the Father to us and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of mankind [John 1:29].

He also descended into hell, and truly rose again on the third day. Afterward, He ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. There He forever reigns and has dominion over all creatures. He sanctifies those who believe in Him, by sending the Holy Spirit into their hearts to rule, comfort, and make them alive. He defends them against the devil and the power of sin. The same Christ will openly come again to judge the living and the dead, and so forth, according to the Apostles’ Creed. ~ Augsburg Confession, Article III, 1530 A.D.

Justification: How Does This Mess Get Fixed?
by Rev. Steven K. Gjerde
The Presentation of Our Lord, February 2, 2020
View The Presentation of Our Lord Worship Bulletin

Our churches teach that people cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merit, or works. People are freely justified for Christ’s sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor and that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake. By His death, Christ made satisfaction for our sins. God counts this faith for righteousness in His sight (Romans 3 and 4).~ Article IV, Augsburg Confession

The Ministry: How Does the Fix Reach You?
by Rev. Joseph Pinzl
The Fifth Sunday after Epiphany, February 9, 2020
View The Fifth Sunday after Epiphany Worship Bulletin

Article Five: The Ministry
So that we obtain this faith, the ministry of teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted. Through the Word and Sacraments as through instruments, the Holy Spirit is given. He works faith, when and where it please God, in those who hear the good news that God justifies those who believe that they are received into grace for Christ’s sake. This happens not through our own merits, but for Christ’s sake.

Our churches condemn the Anabaptists and others who think that through their own preparations and works the Holy Spirit comes to them without the external Word.

The New Obedience: What’s so good about good works?
by Rev. Christopher Johnson
The Sixth Sunday after Epiphany, February 16, 2020
View The Sixth Sunday after Epiphany Worship Bulletin

Article Six: New Obedience
Our churches teach that this faith is bound to bring forth good fruit [Galatians 5:22-23]. It is necessary to do good works commanded by God [Ephesians 2:10], because of God’s will. We should not rely on those works to merit justification before God. The forgiveness of sins and justification is received through faith. The voice of Christ, testifies, “So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty’” (Luke 17:10). The Fathers teach the same thing. Ambrose says, “It is ordained of God that he who believes in Christ is saved, freely receiving forgiveness of sins, without works, through faith alone.”

The Church: Why Doesn’t God Keep to Himself?
by Rev. Steven K. Gjerde
The Transfiguration of Our Lord, February 23, 2020
View The Transfiguration of Our Lord Worship Bulletin

Article VII:
Our churches teach that one holy Church is to remain forever. The Church is the congregation of saints in which the Gospel is purely taught and the Sacraments are correctly administered. For the true unity of the Church it is enough to agree about the doctrine of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments. It is not necessary that human traditions, that is, rites or ceremonies instituted by men, should be the same everywhere. As Paul says, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all” (Ephesians 4:5-6).

Article VIII:
Strictly speaking, the Church is the congregation of saints and true believers. However, because many hypocrites and evil persons are mingled within them in this life, it is lawful to use Sacraments administered by evil men, according to the saying of Christ, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat” (Matthew 23:2). Both the Sacraments and Word are effective because of Christ’s institution and command, even if they are administered by evil men.

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