Monday, April 25, 2016

Sermon April 23-24, 2016

Title: In Christ all are granted forgiveness
Text: Acts 11:1-18

16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?”18 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

If we put off repentance another day, we have a day more to repent of, and a day less to repent in.

Source Unknown.

The circular life of the Christian is one of daily repentance. Dying and rising with Christ in baptism, remembering our sin and the comfort of our savior who has washed us clean in the blood of the lamb. It is the circular life of sanctification, and God by the working of His Spirit, that we return each week to worship confessing our sins and receiving the Lord’s comfort and forgiveness.

In Christ all are granted forgiveness

The Law of God was given to Moses on the mountain to show how we are to love God and love our neighbor. These 10 commandments, three pertaining to our relationship to God and 7 pertaining to how we live with each other, show who we are, as sinners in a broken world, curb how far off the rails we go in our sinful activity, and guide us as to how we are to live.

They are a mirror of our brokenness not a means to our righteousness.

11 Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying, 3 “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.” 

The Jews here, or as they are called, the circumcision party were seeing a very different distinction between Jew and Gentile or the work of the law and the work of Christ Jesus our Lord.

God here gives Peter a vision – a strange one to be sure – or a sheet from heaven and animals of all kind, clean and unclean and a directive ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ Answering to Peter’s ‘By no means, Lord; referring to clean and unclean animals … and God’s response:

‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’ 


Last weekend new members were received into fellowship here at Peace not because they had met some requirement but because they confessed Christ. They gave answer to what Jesus had done for them and what he continues to do by his spirit in them.

17 If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?”

That is how God worked in bringing Jew and Gentile into his fold. The Good Shepherd calls, gathers and sustains or as my friend Pastor Monson said, “He feeds, cares for, and chases after lost sheep.” And he does this through his means of word and sacrament and through those who have been entrusted with the care of the sheep where they have been called as under shepherds.

Ill. Baptism of the Barbaric Tribes

Centuries ago, when missionaries went among the barbaric tribes of Western Europe and converted whole nations, baptisms of thousands of people at one time was a common occurrence. One thing the missionaries found was that many of these barbarians insisted on keeping their right hand out of the baptismal water when they were plunged beneath its surface. They were willing to become Christians in every aspect except one; they wanted their strong right arm left free to kill enemies and to use as they please. 

Encyclopedia of Illustrations

This is an interesting illustration if the water or the mode of baptism was of significant importance. If my right arm remains free they thought, I can go and do as I please. Again, placing trust in themselves and their own righteousness verses placing trust in a God who is all sufficient. 

Again, John baptized with water … a baptism of repentance but baptism instituted by Christ in the name of the Father, Son + and Holy Spirit gives faith, life eternal and the gift of the Holy Spirit connected to the waters of baptism.

True repentance and true faith are God’s gifts and his working. We can’t remain unbelievers and remain his children. The hope in the Law brings death.

Having just completed a study in Galatians with our midweek group we see that even Peter – yes the one with the vision - was led astray. When the circumcision party arrived Peter separated himself from the gentile believers. The apostle Paul had to oppose him to his face, to stand up to him – even an apostle – that the gift of God consists of Christ plus nothing!


11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” Gal. 3:11 ESV

26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Gal 3:26-27 ESV

4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. Gal.5:4 ESV

But Paul leaves them with this exhortation:

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict [or opposition] with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. Gal 5:16-17 NIV

… So much for leaving your hand out of the waters of Holy Baptism., huh?

Trust in the Law brings only death because it is opposed to Christ. Trust in Christ brings life because he fulfilled the Law on our behalf.

Faith is not our work but God’s work in us. Through the word proclaimed and through the means he has provided in baptism.

What did Peter understand?

17 If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?”

If we come to faith it is all of God work. If we remain in sin, it is all our own fault.

And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

Monday, April 18, 2016

Sermon April 16-17, 2016

Title: Sheep … follow their shepherd
Text: John 10:22-30

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

Last weekend we talked about discerning the voice of the Lord. Also, hearing, listening and obeying that same voice. At times, God’s voice is clear, direct and powerful and it is easy to discern what he means and what he expects of you and of me.

You shall have no other Gods
You shall not steal
You shall not bear false witness
You shall not covet

Other times, God’s word causes us to wrestle with the truth of his word and how best to understand it as we deal in this life with sin, death and the devil.

Honor your father and Mother

Well, what if a mother or father has been or is an abuser of their children?

You shall not kill

How might this apply to warfare and accidents or unintended death? What about capital punishment?

Go, and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit … Matt. 28:19

Is Baptism God’s work or mans?

Take eat, this is my body which is given for you … Take drink, this cup is the new covenant in my blood. Luke 22: 19-20

Is Christ’s true body and blood in with and under the bread and wine or, as some denomination maintain, that it is simply a remembrance? These and other questions must be answered by God’s word in an honest and truthful way and though divisions exist within the Christian church as my professor Dr. Arthur Just once said, “Even if a church misses the blessings God intends in the sacraments they still have God’s word!”

Our gospel for today begins:

22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. [Today this feast is known as Hanukkah or the festival of lights] It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon.

The Feast of Dedication commemorated the reconsecration of the temple in Jerusalem after it had been desecrated. So here in the temple is Jesus, the true temple, who had said in John chapter 2: "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again." speaking of his own death, burial and resurrection that we just celebrated during Holy Week and Easter. This was in answer to the Jews who had demanded a miraculous sign of him.

Now, the Jews again ask, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

To this Jesus tells them, that the works that he does in his Father’s name bear witness about him. His death, burial and resurrection bear witness, His word of promise to make disciples by baptizing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit bear witness, His gift of body and blood, in and with the bread and wine for the forgiveness of sins, bear witness.

To deny Jesus is to deny the witness and works he has done in his Father’s name.

The Jews did not believe so Jesus tells them: 26 …” you do not believe because you are not part of my flock.”

It is unbelief that damns us and separates us from Christ.


(Today/ tomorrow) we (will) welcome some dear Christian friends into membership here at Peace. It is always a great joy to celebrate with these new members their fellowship here at Peace. Some have been members of God’s flock at other places - for a good long time I dare say, but all are relatively new here to Peace. They all have been called to faith by the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ to believe and by the working of the Holy Spirit they remain steadfast in the faith, hearing the Good Shepherd’s voice, even through the weak vessels of Christ’s under shepherds. They have once again, by the power of God’s Holy Spirit in them, confirmed their faith in the presence of God and his church gathered here. They have been received into this sheep fold that is Peace Lutheran church as members so we rejoice with them that they hear Christ’s voice … and come.

But Christ also comforts with this promise … [“That] I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

My friend Pastor Paul Monson who preached at my ordination a few years ago sent me a reminder me when I was starting my seminary education saying:

“I'm proud of you that you are getting such good grades. Just remember what the pastoral office is all about. It's about feeding sheep, caring for sheep, and running after stray sheep.”

But I would add that it is also about joyfully welcoming the sheep from other folds that God has seen fit to send here … to be fed and cared for at this time.


C.S. Lewis once said:

You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong as long as you are merely using it to [tie] a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn't you then first discover how much you really trusted it? 

C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed.

In the midst of sickness, test results, or impending surgery the Lord comes to mind to us all, doesn’t he? We see a great amount of souls added to the prayer list. But following the healing, good test results or successful surgery we see some forget again the Lord Jesus and his gifts.

It is certainly not what we do that keeps us in the faith. It is both God’s work that justifies or saves us, as well as, sanctifies or sustains us in that same faith … making us holy.


Next Saturday Peace will be hosting the LWML Spring Rally and not only do I serving as the LWML Zone pastor, but I’ll also be the guest speaker sharing how the Lord brought me from Rock-n-Roll to the Rock of ages.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

How else can you explain where I was to where I am now, except that the Lord hand was upon me and he was directing all things and had the outcome that we now see?

At our elder’s meeting this past Tuesday we too found it interesting how the Lord has worked over this past year to direct and guide us in aspects of mission and ministry here at Peace, many times bringing the things needed right to our door.

Having difficulty finding an organist last year, Katherine Nold found us.

Having no means to replace our organ, God, now gives us a newer and better one.

Needing it professionally moved … Jim Evola offers to move it at no charge.

As I told our Elders, “We can’t make this stuff up and have it happen … we just need to follow God’s leading and directing, trusting that he knows what is best for us.”

The Dow’s, Charles Fox and Jackie Nast came to Peace because this is where God desires them to be as members at this time. It is God who has worked in each of us faith and has brought us here. By his Spirit we hear and follow the good Shepherd call and by that same Spirit he will point, direct and keep us all in that same one faith.

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

May the peace of the Lord be with you always.

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.


Monday, April 11, 2016

Sermon April 9-10, 2016

Title: Through God’s work we can proclaim Christ!
Text: Acts 9:1-22 (Kim readings below)

4 And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”

Last weekend we talked about fear and doubt and the persecuted church. The apostles were hidden in a locked room for fear of the Jews and were locked up in a public prison. Fear and doubt ruled the day then as today.

Now, this week we hear about Saul, one of the chief architects and muscle, who brought this persecution and fear to the people – men, women and probably children too – who were bound and brought by force to Jerusalem. Doesn’t sound like the best choice of a person to bring peace to a hurting world in the midst of persecution, does it?

Through God’s work we can proclaim Christ!

3 Now as [Saul] went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 4 And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”

As God would have it, the one he chooses to represent him – in bringing the peace of the Gospel to the world - was not who we would have thought.

When the NCAA championship game was on the line last Monday night tied 74-74 and with time running out, Villanova’s Kris Jenkins hit a three pointer at the buzzer for the win.

The ball was given to one of the Villanova players for the opportunity to win the game.

What God does in our lesson today, as the clock is winding down, is not to give the ball to his best player or even a bench player but to pass the ball to the opposing team for the win. To give the ball to his opponent … what a surprise that would have been for Villanova, huh!

Well Ananias thought so too.

For in a vision, 11 … the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and what might Saul been praying … Lord, forgive me a poor miserable sinner …

12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.”
Saul was known to Ananias all right and for good reason.

“Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.”

Persecution was real from the church – new as it was –and Saul was known to be about as bad as you could be in opposition to Christ and his church.

But when you think of it … what better witness to the power of God?

God used his word to reach Saul, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And to reach Ananias as well: “Ananias, rise and go.” One was an enemy, the other a disciple, and both were called by God’s word to hear, to listen, and to follow that same word.

But through God’s work, we can too can proclaim Christ!

You too hear God’s word. Here on the weekends in our Divine Service, in devotions, maybe on the radio – probably not on the sports station. You hear, and at times you listen, and at times you obey, but … at other times you block it out.

So the question might be, how do you know when to listen, and when to obey, and what voice is speaking to you?


I told this story in Bible study a few weeks ago as we are in acts chapter 9 as the Lord would have it.

When I was taking a class on the Bible at Oakland Community College about 15 years ago the professor asked a question. Now the class was a night class so it was full of young and old alike. Some who were just starting their college careers and others who were going back to school like me or taking classes for personal enrichment? One older Jewish man who was sitting next to me turns to me and says, “When we get to the New Testament, you’re going to have to help me!”

The lesson for the day was Genesis 22 and the story was about Abraham.

God’s voice calls to Abraham:

“Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

The professor asks the class, “If you, heard the voice of God telling you to kill your only son or daughter, would you?” Well, one young lady, who was a Christian, was all too quick with her answer and said almost with a smile on her face a definite yes. To this the teacher asked, “How would you know … that it’s God speaking to you and why would he want you to kill your son?”

She was a bit silent to his question. How can we discern the voice of God from the voice of the devil, who masquerades as an angle of light (2 Cor. 7:14) and as the thief, [only] comes only to steal and kill and destroy? John 10:10, as witnessed in the scriptures from the apostles Paul and John.

The Lord chose Ananias, and said to him that Saul is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.

The Lord also chose Saul, soon to be the Apostle Paul, as well as other men who served the Lord and by inspiration of the Holy Spirit were moved to write the words of scripture that we have and know to be God’s word. We can access that word of God daily as we read and by that same Holy Spirit discern God’s word and will.

The willing and the unwilling the Lord chooses and uses.

The fifth commandment Thou shall not kill reveals God’s will given through Moses in the book of Deuteronomy chapter 5 and what we should do and it is a different desire than what the voice of God called out of the heavens to Abraham in Genesis 22. [In various times and in various way … Heb. 1]

Following the giving of the 10 commandments God through Moses writes – and I paraphrase a bit here:

6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.

7 … teach them diligently to your children, talk [about] them when you sit in your house, and when you’re [out and about], and when you lie down [to sleep], and when you rise [in the morning].

8 … bind them as a sign on your hand – [like a string tied around your finger so that you never forget them] – [so that God’s word] shall be [always before] your eyes. Deut 6:6-8

Then you will know his voice, and his will, and his desires.

So Ananias goes and lays his hands on Saul and we’re told something like scales fell from his eyes. God’s word through the sending of Ananias brings clarity and vision for Saul.

“Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

God’s word for you and me also shows, at times, his Law and our sinfulness but also his Son, Jesus our savior, and what he has done for us. By this we can know his will and hear his voice and obey what he calls us to do, though we fall ever short daily.

17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Rom. 10:17

The Apostle Paul would write those words from prison in his epistle to the Romans, maybe reflecting his own conversion. But the word of God is always effectual. Whether it is God’s word proclaimed, the audible voice of God that Saul heard, or God’s word connected to the water of Holy Baptism or in, with and under the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper.

It is God who is active and it is we who receive.

19 … Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. 20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the son of God. 21 all those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on his name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests? 22 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ. Acts 9:19b-22

We too who have been born God’s enemies have been called to believe and by God’s Holy Spirit working faith in us we believe. It is no less a miraculous conversion for you or me than Saul. We who were dead in trespass and sin have been made alive in Christ! Praise his holy name!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit!


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Sermon April 2-3, 2016

Title: Through Christ belief is given and doubt is erased
Text: Acts 5:12-20

14 And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women,

When Henry Norris Russell, the Princeton astronomer, had concluded a lecture on the Milky Way, a woman came to him and asked, "If our world is so little, and the universe is so great, can we believe God really pays any attention to us?" Dr. Russell replied, "That depends, madam, entirely on how big a God you believe in."

Today in the World, Feb 89, p. 12.

Over the last few months we’ve welcomed the Christ child, born in a manger and celebrated the Epiphany of our Lord as he is revealed and made know to the world through the visit of the wise men. We watched Jesus grow in wisdom and stature and begin his ministry. He taught, cast our demons, healed the sick and raised the dead. He was celebrated as a great teacher but ultimately was rejected by the religious elite and the people. He was tried, convicted, crucified, dead and buried. It is finished.

Then … Easter came and Jesus rose from the dead. Death has been changed forever – swallowed up in victory as we proclaim. It is now the blessed hope of all who die in Christ that we too will rise and live with him free of sin, death and the power of the devil forever.
Through Christ belief is given and doubt is erased

The reality of this life, broken by sin though continues and it continued for the Apostles as well. Signs and wonders were regularly done among the people at the hands of the Apostles, and they were held in esteem by the people.

They even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them.

From the surrounding towns and villages they brought their sick and those with unclean spirits, and they were all healed!

Much had changed but much remained the same.

Those afflicted … remained so. Those called by Jesus to follow him … followed in his footsteps in the care of souls. Those opposed to Christ – the high priest and the party of the Sadducees –rose up being filled with jealousy and 18 they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison.

Much had changed but much remained the same.


William M. Batten, in Fortune Magazine wrote:

When I hear my friends say they hope their children don't have to experience the hardships they went through--I don't agree. Those hardships made us what we are. You can be disadvantaged in many ways, and one way may be not having had to struggle.

William M. Batten, Fortune.

Struggle is certainly part of the Christian walk. Many of you struggle with the trials of life. I do too. Sickness and death, job loss, guidance and care for our children and our parents. Friends and loved ones with cancer, you name it and it seems to go on and on. 

Through Christ belief is given and doubt is erased


Today those opposed to Christ seem greater than ever. Foreign and domestic opposition to Jesus is rampant. College campuses indoctrinate free thinking and alternate lifestyles and they have for years, as long as your free thinking is not in support of traditional family values and accepted religious and public norms. Politically correct views trump that which was traditional accepted – no pun intended.

The recent bombings in Brussels, the killing of women and children in Pakistan, the terrorist attacks late last year in France and San Bernardino, and now the kidnapping of Indian Catholic priest Father Thomas Uzhunnalil, this past month in Yemen, highlight the hate for those outside of their narrow view of Islam but it is especially highlighted for those who name the name of Christ.

On March 4th of this year ISIS or ISIL (depending on which politically correct version you wish to use), killed four nuns serving along with Father Tom at an elderly care facility in Aden, Yemen. One nun managed to escape the terror standing behind a door as they searched for her. She said, “I wasn’t hiding, but they never looked behind the door.” Not killed along with the nuns was Father Tom. He was taken captive and it is being reported that he was crucified on Good Friday by the terrorist group … though some still hold out hope that he is alive through prayers.

The vision of St. John in the book of Revelation comforts we who morn for those martyred for their faith in chapter 6.

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been. (Rev. 6:9-11 ESV)

Persecution remains part of our Christian walk; though we like the fifth nun hope to be hidden behind the door of God’s protection.

It is easy to see that the corruption of this world continues. And though the wages of sin has been overcome by Christ we all wait in anticipation for the glorious appearing of our great God and savior Jesus Christ. Titus 2:13

Even the Apostles, after Christ rose from the dead … and now doing his blessed work … in his name … were arrested and thrown in prison for their witness. Persecution, doubt, loss and fear continue to hound the church and those sent to serve. It will continue until Christ returns.

Through Christ belief is given and doubt is erased

The joy of Easter though is celebrated, as it was last weekend, but the reality of persecution continues for Christ’s church. In our day some who once followed Jesus rebel in sinful disobedience to the word of God. Others, have an apathetic distain for God’s word and all that Christ has done on their behalf. Truthfully, we all fall short in our love of God and service to neighbor.

I, a poor miserable sinner, rings true again each week. The truth is that Jesus died for you and for me in a very public way, so we cannot live for him by ourselves in private. And no, it’s not a work, but it is a fruit of who we are in Christ.

Fear gripped the disciples too. They, for fear of the Jews, were locked in a room and Jesus came and stood before them saying, “Peace be with you.”

This peace from Christ is real. God has made what we could never make possible a reality. Now he brings this reality to you and me through his means.

Jesus showed them his hands and his side, the reality of his death was there, the holes in his hands and feet, the mark in his side from the spear, all those remaining marks of his finished work for you and me were there, and he says and again … bringing the words of comfort …

“Peace be with you.” But now gives the means of this gift for the world’s peace and salvation. “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

Christ Jesus here sends these disciples, these 10 men locked in this room - Judas having fled and taken his life in despair while Thomas was not yet there among them.

22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

It is a true absolution and peace, true forgiveness, not because the men who stand in the place and by the command of Christ, stand of their own accord, but because they stand as servants of the word. They do what Christ does and commands because, it is his words of peace, it is his words of forgiveness and it is his words of comfort spoken by those called to stand as under shepherds of the Good Shepherd Jesus Christ himself. 

Peace is truly a gift, but it also truly had a cost. Jesus is both the gift and the price that was paid to procure your peace and your salvation. 

In Baptism, we too who are brought to the font receive that same gift of peace by Jesus. With Christ’s body and blood in, with and under the bread and wine we truly are fed, forgiven and strengthened.
At times the word of God’s Law points us all to our sinful nature, so that we might be brought to repentance. But God’s forgiveness is certain for those who repent, so that we might live redeemed, in the midst of a world broken by the fall.

In the lives of the Apostles the prison they were placed in was real.

9 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.”

It is God who forgives and it is God who speaks forgiveness to a broken world. The gospel always brings peace and erases doubt. Be comforted and strengthened as you stand in a world increasingly opposed to Christ for this world is dying but the gospel makes alive. 

Just as Christ lives “in him we live and move and have our being … For we are indeed his offspring, (Acts 17:28) and his children … adopted into Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, who changes hearts and brings peace.

Through Christ belief is given and doubt is erased

14 And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women,

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.