Who is God?

There is one true God, who made the heavens and the earth and everything that is in them (Genesis 1).

This God has revealed himself to us through the Holy Scriptures as one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).

The Father created the heavens and earth and continues to sustain them and all of his creatures with everything they need (1 Corinthians 8:6).

The Son is the eternal Word of God through whom all things were made (Colossians 1:16). This eternal Word became a man in the person of Jesus to save all of creation from sin, death, and the power of the devil (1 Corinthians 15:56-57). After his earthly ministry, the Son ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us (Romans 8:34).

The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son (John 14:26, John 15:26). He works in the Church, bringing people to faith in Jesus (John 14:26).

The Christian Church throughout history has confessed God as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the words of creeds: specifically the Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds.

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Who is Jesus?

When Adam and Eve, the first humans, disobeyed God and fell into sin, death entered the world, but God promised that he would send one of their descendants, the new Adam, who would defeat death and the power of the devil (Genesis 3:1-15). After this promise, humanity lived in expectation of a savior who would restore them to the paradise that Adam and Eve experienced in Eden. Throughout the years, God continued to send prophets who foretold the coming of God’s promised savior.

God fulfilled all of his promises when the eternal Word (λόγος) of God, the Son, chose to become a man to save all of humanity from sin and death. (John 1:1-3, 14) He was born of the Virgin Mary and was named Jesus (Luke 1:30-38). He was fully man and lived a life of perfect obedience to God (Hebrews 4:15). During his ministry, Jesus went throughout Israel healing the sick, raising the dead, forgiving sins, and preaching the good news that he had come to save the world from sin and death.

In order to save all of humanity from sin and death, he took the sin of all the world on himself and gave up his life on the cross, dying the death that all of humanity deserved (2 Corinthians 5:21). But Jesus did not stay dead; after three days, he rose again from the dead and appeared to hundreds of people to show that he had gained victory over death (1 Corinthians 15:3-7).  After continuing to teach his followers for a short time, he ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father (Romans 8:34).

After his Ascension, Jesus instituted his New Testament Church to proclaim to all the world that since he died for all and was raised from the dead, all who believe in him will also be raised to live eternally with him. (Romans 6:5) In this same Church, he continues to come to his people, forgiving their sins and giving them his promise of eternal life with him.

Read about Jesus in the Apostles' Creed here.

How does Jesus come to us today?

During Jesus’ earthly ministry, he taught that he would continue to come to his Church through his Word. This Word comes to us today in a variety of different forms that Jesus instituted during his lifetime.

One of these ways that Jesus comes to us is in Holy Baptism (Mark 16:16). When the water of Baptism is combined with God’s Word, Jesus cleanses the person being baptized from all sins and gives his Holy Spirit and the promise of eternal life (Titus 3:5-7).

Learn more about Holy Baptism here.

Another way that Jesus comes to us is in the word of forgiveness spoken by his ministers. After his resurrection from the dead, Jesus gave the Church the authority to forgive sins on his behalf (John 20:22-23). Jesus continues to forgive the sins of all his followers in his Church through the words of his called servants.

Learn more about Holy Absolution here.

Our Lord Jesus also comes to us in the Sacrament of the Altar, which he instituted on the night before his death (Luke 22:19-20). As he promised on that night, he gives us his body and blood in this sacrament for the forgiveness of our sins. He continues to come to his church in this sacrament to forgive our sins and strengthen our faith until he comes again on the Last Day (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

Learn more about the Sacrament of the Altar here.

Where does Jesus do these things?

We receive all of these gifts from Jesus every week during the Divine Service, just as he has come to his Church for the past two millenia. In the Divine Service, Jesus reminds us of our Baptism, forgives us our sins in the Absolution, speaks to us in the reading of the Holy Scriptures, and gives us his own body and blood in the Sacrament of the Altar. We invite you to join us on Sundays at 10:30 to receive God’s gifts in the fellowship of his Church. 

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The Bible
What is the Bible?

The Bible is a collection of books written over the course of more than a millennium. While the Bible had a variety of human authors, the primary author of all the books of the Bible is the Holy Spirit, who caused the human authors to speak and write the Word of God (2 Peter 1:21). This is why we say that the Holy Scriptures are inspired (“breathed out by God,” 2 Timothy 3:16).

We believe that the Holy Scriptures are Christocentric, which means that the entire Bible points us to Jesus (Luke 24:27). God caused the Bible to be written to bring us faith in Jesus so that we may have life in him (John 20:30-31). 

We confess that the books of the Holy Scriptures are the written Word of God and the only rule and norm of the Church's faith and practice.

The Sacrament of the Altar
What is the Sacrament of the Altar?

On the night before his death for the sins of the world, our Lord Jesus instituted a rite that would become central to the life of his Church in the millennia to come. St. Luke the Evangelist described our Lord’s institution of the Sacrament of the Altar with the following words:

[Jesus] took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:19-20).

With these words, our Lord instituted a meal that his Church is to celebrate until he comes again in glory (1 Corinthians 11:26).

But what is this meal that Lutherans call the Sacrament of the Altar? It is, as Jesus said, his very body and blood that he gave up on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. We take our Lord at his word when he says that the bread that he gives us to in this sacrament is his body and the wine that he gives us to drink is truly his blood.

How is it, then, that simple bread and wine can be the very body and blood of Christ? It is because, in the Divine Service, our Lord Jesus adds his Word, the powerful Word that created all things (Psalm 33:6), to the bread and wine. Just as on the night when he instituted this sacrament, when our Lord adds his Word to the bread and the wine, we have his promise that this bread and wine are truly his body and blood.

But why would our Lord Jesus give us his body and blood in the Sacrament of the Altar? Because it was with his body and blood that he won the forgiveness of our sins (1 John 1:7). Thus, whenever we receive his body and blood in this sacrament, we receive anew the forgiveness of sins that he won for us with that body and blood (Matthew 26:27-28). With our sins forgiven, our relationship with our Heavenly Father is restored, and we receive the gifts of life and salvation. As we receive our Lord’s body and blood in our mouths, we are also further united to him and, by extension, to all those who receive the Sacrament with us.

In his epistle to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul teaches us that all of those who receive the Sacrament of the Altar receive the body and blood of our Lord Jesus, explaining that those who receive our Lord’s body and blood properly receive it for the forgiveness of sins and those who receive it improperly receive it to their judgment and even their death (1 Corinthians 11:27-30). This is to say that in order to receive the Sacrament of the Altar to your blessing and not to your harm, it is necessary to believe what our Lord promises in the Sacrament: that you there receive the forgiveness of sins in his body and blood. Similarly, the Apostle teaches us that it is necessary for those who join together at the same altar to be unified in the faith of that altar (1 Corinthians 10:16-21).

For this reason, Zion and her sister congregations in the Lutheran Church are careful to ensure that those who receive the Sacrament of the Altar are instructed in the Christian faith and share our faith in Jesus’ words “for you.” If you have not already been instructed in the faith at one of our sister congregations in the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, we invite you to begin instruction with our Pastor so that you might receive this sacrament together with us and there receive Christ’s free gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation.

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The Lutheran Christian Tradition
What is the Lutheran Church?

The Lutheran Church is a confessing movement within the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church founded by Jesus himself.

As a confessional church, Lutherans are defined by the Lutheran Confessions, a group of documents that contain the teaching of the Lutheran Church. The earliest of these confessions were written in the first centuries of the Christian Church, and the last were written in the 16th Century. These confessions were compiled in 1580 in the Book of Concord.

The teaching of the Lutheran Confessions is drawn directly from the Holy Scriptures. For this reason, Lutherans throughout history have accepted the Lutheran Confessions as a true and binding exposition of Holy Scripture, which serve as authoritative texts for all pastors and congregations and a norm for our doctrine and practice.

Among these confessions are:

  • the Ecumenical Creeds, which are the ancient confessions of the Church
  • the Small Catechism, which serves as the “confession of the laity”
  • the Augsburg Confession, which is the universal, orthodox confession of the Christian faith

Zion Lutheran Chruch is a congregation of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

I want to read the Lutheran Confessions. I want to learn more about the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.