Text Box:

What We Believe, Teach and Confess

MESSIAH LUTHERAN CHURCH

MESSIAH LUTHERAN CHURCH

Lebanon, Illinois

"If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth,

†and the truth shall make you free" John 8:31-32.

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Holy Communion

Lutherans teach that in this Sacrament the true body and blood of Jesus Christ are really present under the bread and wine for Christians to eat and to drink, because Jesus said, "Take, eat; this is My body. . . . Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant" (Matthew 26:26-28). Our Lord Jesus Christ is present in this sacred meal to give "the forgiveness of sins" (Matthew 26:28), eternal life, and salvation. As He taught His disciples, He also teaches us: "Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day" (John 6:54).

For this reason Lutherans agree with and practice the Church's historic practice of "closed communion." Since "the cup of blessing" is "a participation in the blood of Christ" and "the bread that we break" is "a participation in the body of Christ" (1 Corinthians 10:16), all who commune receive the actual body and blood of Christóbelievers to their abundant blessing, but unbelievers to their eternal harm. Whoever communes "without discerning the body [of Christ] eats and drinks judgment on himself (1 Corinthians 11:29). So in Christian love, Lutherans protect those who are unthorthy and unprepared for Holy Communion by first teaching them their need for Christ, and the forgiveness and life that He gives in the Sacrament. When there is unity in confessing the way, truth, and life of Jesus (John 14:6), we joyously commune together.

Holy Absolution

Lutherans teach that "private Absolution should be retained in the churches" (Augsburg Confession, XI 1), because Jesus commissioned His disciples to forgive sins: "If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld" (John 20:23). We do not coerce individuals to go to their pastor for Confession and Absolution, nor do we require complete enumeration of all sins. However, we do encourage people to go to their pastor for private absolution, because it is "the very voice of the Gospel" and "shows consciences sure and firm comfort" (Apology of the Augsburg Confession, XI 2). ††††Continue