Day of Pentecost

Readings: Genesis 11:1-9 | Acts 2:1-13 | John 14:23-31

Text: John 14:23-31

Have you ever pondered how the message of the cross reaches you and me today? Every generation has to go through a period of learning. It’s not that we have to completely start from scratch. However, how could this message of Jesus’ death and resurrection be carried down through the generations? It’s the belief of many that the Christian faith is just a matter of traditional belief being handed down.

In the time of Hitler, he believed that he could eradicate the Jewish faith both by separating families and making it dangerous to be a professing Jew. In the time of the Roman government, they believed by persecution that they could convince people to not be so foolish to follow this Jewish sect called The Way. Perhaps if Hitler and the militant Caesars had been right about faith merely being a matter of personal determination, then they could have succeeded in exterminating it.

Now, the Jewish religion may be the leftover of God’s work before the Messiah, but it was once God’s work which formed them. How much more is Christianity God’s work for the people of every nation!

But how did those events of the first century reach us? After all, if it were lost to antiquity like so many figures, or distorted by word-of-mouth recollection, then the Gospel would be a pale shadow of the events. In fact, we could be so bold as to say that if we did not know of Jesus’ sacrificial death and triumphant resurrection, all would be lost. Jesus could have died a thousand times, but if it did not reach us in 2023, it would be to no avail. The Apostle to the Hebrews writes along this vein of thought,

“Then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” (Hebrews 9:26)

Jesus only had to die once to take away the sins of the world. Everything which follows draws us back to that one, single event. (This is also the simplest way to view the Old Testament and New Testament: Everything before Christ comes anticipates His coming, while everything after points people back to the death and resurrection of God’s Son.)

Pentecost, the day when the first fruits were gathered in for Israel, was the day which the God of Israel chose to gather this first fruits of the Church. And that gathering continues generation after generation. Oh, how the faithful wish that such large changes could be worked by the Word of God in our own day! What would it look like if there were three-thousand baptisms in Lebanon, or even in larger cities? The Church on earth would go wild for this miracle.

But any farmer knows that not every year is a bumper crop. Despite all the best techniques, the most meticulous attention, it all depends on what comes down from heaven. The success of the preaching of Christ crucified does not hinge on our methods, because the success comes down from heaven, as the rain which waters the earth, making it bring forth and sprout (Isa. 55:10-11).

So, consider what we asked God in the collect of the day:

O God, on this day You once taught the hearts of Your faithful people by sending them the light of Your Holy Spirit. Grant us in our day by the same Spirit to have a right understanding in all things and evermore to rejoice in His holy consolation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

We believe what happened on the first Pentecost is true, just as true as the tomb is empty and Jesus is not there. We also believe that God has not stopped loving the world for which He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

So, our prayer to God is that, just as He once created and kindled faith in those who heard the Gospel, that He would do the same in our own day. Will it mean 3,000 baptized in one day and at one place? We haven’t seen such a watershed moment since. However, God’s saving will is unchanged. God’s Spirit is no less powerful. And His Word is no less potent in our day as it was in the accounts we have in Scripture—from the day He spoke, “Let there be…” (Gen. 1:3, et al) to the day that same “Word became flesh and tabernacled among us” (John 1:14)

Since Christianity is not simply a study of what God once did, but how our Lord God continues to act today as He did in the past: What does the Holy Spirit do and how is He at work today?

I pray that you not be deceived by those who claim human achievements as the work of the Holy Spirit. The modern idea of “speaking in tongues” or performing miracles really is not the Holy Spirit’s work. Tongues were truly displayed on Pentecost when the Gospel was spoken by Aramaic-speakers but heard by people of so many disparate nations. That’s what the Holy Spirit did, not the meaningless babble that is said to be “tongues” today. Those signs were given that day as echoes of what God had done in the past—the rushing wind recalling Elijah and the encouragement to preach even in a time of popular apostasy (1 Kings 19), the burning bush to Moses where God promised that He would fulfill His promises (Exod. 3), the languages once confused now reunited by the Gospel for people of every nation (Gen. 11), the Spirit being poured out so that the darkened sky of Golgotha (Matt. 27:45) so that sons and daughters, young and old, call upon the Name of the Lord and are saved.

The Holy Spirit is not interested in drawing attention to Himself; it’s all for and about the Incarnate Son of God.

The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.

The Spirit is sent to teach us to know Jesus, to bring to remembrance all that He has said and done. His work is clear wherever the Word of Jesus is believed and lived by—”If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” But where do we find that? Is it just a world-wide scavenger hunt to locate those who love Jesus and keep His word? Not at all!

The Apostles’ Creed gives us a simple guide to where to look for the Holy Spirit’s work: “I believe in the Holy Spirit: the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.”

In the simplest terms, the holy Christian (or catholic) Church is this: “This is the assembly of all believers among whom the Gospel is preached in its purity and the holy sacraments are administered according to the Gospel.” (Augsburg Confession, VII). The Holy Spirit gathers believers together. He’s not a divine lightning bolt which zaps individuals. He works in the hearts of people to seek out other believers and bring them together around the Word of Jesus.

The communion of saints is both the unity we have with all Christians—despite differences due to weakness of faith or heterodox teachings—and which is tangible in the Sacrament of the Altar. Even while not all Christians may not commune together because of false teaching, we do all rejoice in the Lord’s work.Because of the Holy Spirit, we are “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” That’s because He has taught us this: There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:3-6)

We sinners all together bask in the forgiveness of sins. It’s not that we are people with an overactive conscience. We are people who recognize the hot wrath of God, which we have deserved! But the Holy Spirit has taught us even more to receive a peace which the world can never give—a peace which cannot be wrought by our best efforts.

The resurrection of the body…this is our hope! What we see now is only death, decay.

The life everlasting—What we look forward to. It’s not fantasy, but reality. What changes is how willing we are to accept this truth. Is the death and burial of your husband, your friend, more powerful that Jesus resurrection? Is your own declining death and march toward death more than the Holy Spirit can handle? I think not.

Rejoice today and always in what God’s Holy Spirit has done and does do, for the salvation of you and people of every nation and language. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Sixth Sunday of Easter

~ Rogate ~

Holy Baptism of Maria Regina Cleveland

Readings: Numbers 21:4-9 | James 1:22-27 | John 16:23-33

Text: John 16:23-33

The name for this Sunday, Rogate, derives its name from the Gospel lesson, instead of first word of the Introit. Rogate in Latin means, “Ask (all of you), and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:24) In this part of John, Jesus is preparing His disciples for the time of His ascension and visible departure from them.

Really, this is all we’ve ever known as Christians. We are the ones about whom our Lord says, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29) But the only way that we, nearly two millennia later, can receive such a blessing, is because Jesus has ascended to the right hand of the Father, to fill all things (Eph. 4:10). He has sent us the promise of His Father, the Holy Spirit, who has worked faith even in us, who heard the Word, and received it, “not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” (1 Thess. 2:13)

What our Lord Jesus is teaching us here though, is about prayer: “In that day, you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you…Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” That is to say,


I. When we think about prayer, we often think about the action of it—the folded hands, being on the knees, the certain words we say. But what does the Lord in the flesh actually teach us about prayer?

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you”

1. The main thing of prayer does not start with us. Prayer is inspired and empowered by God.

a. We can misunderstand what Jesus says– whatever you ask the Father in my name—thinking of God has our “heavenly grandpa” who gives us whatever we want because we know how to melt His heart. Some think of “in Jesus Name” like a magic formula which unlocks whatever we want to happen. But that’s far from what “in Jesus’ Name” means.

b. Prayer through Christ is so much different. It is not self-centered, because it is not our old sinful flesh demanding. It is the new man in each of us, being conformed to God’s way.

i. Today’s Collect summed this up: O God, the giver of all that is good, by Your holy inspiration grant that we may think those things that are right and by Your merciful guiding accomplish them; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

c. Prayer is not a method to manipulate the Almighty to kowtow to our wishes. He refuses to be our genie in a bottle. Rather, in this asking in the Name of Jesus, we have been formed and are being formed into those who ask for the right things.

2. Prayer “in the Name of Jesus” is asking according to our new birth.

a. In Jesus’ Name is what we are in our Baptism. We have received the holy Name of God—the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It’s a sacred mystery of faith is that God doesn’t only forbid misuse of His name (taking it in vain), but through the Son of God, He has given us the access of sons and daughters.

b. Because we are God’s children, born again to a living hope, living together in that hope, we can’t help but ask. In the day of the joy of the resurrection, the Church is constantly at prayer.

II. In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”

1.This is a gift which none of us could claim for ourselves, unless we were unimaginably haughty.  To God’s face, who would be so haughty as to claim that they were a child of God and deserving of such benefits?

2. But we receive this status as a gift, that’s how we come to know our God and Father. It doesn’t come automatically like a download of information. It comes through experience.

3. The disciples would soon face their own weakness, and learn what it means to know how to call upon the Father as dear children.

III. 29 His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! 30 Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” 31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

1.The disciples we so sure they had mastered the lesson Jesus had for them. They were ready for a kind of graduation, but they were naïve.

2. It was painful experience which taught them how much they must rely on Him. We’re often not aware of this weakness until it humbles us. The Church, with Peter, John, James, and all the rest of the Apostles, was not ready for the crucifixion and resurrection. It was not ready for the coming persecution, for the writing of Scriptures, and the martyrdom.

3. What can such an incapable people do, but pray? Go to the very Father who created all things and upholds them. We are weak, but He is Almighty. We are powerless, but “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to [Him]” (Matt. 28:19).

Finally, this means that prayer is a thoroughly natural thing for the Christian. In our new creation, we are constantly praying. The world says, “You are in our thoughts and prayers” which is ultimately powerless. What can your thoughts do? But the thoughts of a Christian, because we belong to Christ, the Holy One, are prayers because they can’t help but bring these impossible things to the Almighty, not on the basis of our actions, but according to His own. In the day of the joy of the resurrection, the Church, with all her members, is constantly at prayer.

So, let us pray: O God, the giver of all that is good, by Your holy inspiration grant that we may think those things that are right and by Your merciful guiding accomplish them. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Called to Confess

~ Redeemer Lutheran Church, Gresham, OR ~

~ Friday Session~

Text: Romans 13:1-10

People love to be free of the burden of authority.  School kids count the minutes before the bell on the last day of school.  College freshmen rejoice to be free of their parents’ rules when they move into their own space.  Women who have lived in Muslim countries marvel at the freedom of dress and activity that they can enjoy in this country.  We like freedoms, not submission; liberty, not authoritarianism.

That’s why this country was founded, right?  We declared our independence from England so that we could be free to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  We built freedom into the Bill of Rights with the free exercise of religion, speech, and the press.  In fact, we’re so accustomed to celebrating freedom, people get in an uproar at the slightest hint of curtailing freedom.

It’s not a far journey before supposed freedom turns into anarchy.  A simplistic understanding of freedom and the pursuit of individual liberty, would seem to say we can throw off any authority we don’t deem worthy.  Children can mouth off and disobey their parents because they think they’re little free people.  Citizens can rant and rave about the horrible job their elected officials are doing and use their personal life as an excuse to disrespect them.  Members of a congregation can get riled up against their pastor because he doesn’t meet their expectations or he preached against their pet sins, and force him to leave.

But God has a Word for us:

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.”

“He is God’s servant for your good.”  God is doing good to us by the authorities that He has set in place.  In a country with an elaborate democratic process, we might think it was our choice or that “millions of illegal votes” put an official in power.  But it was really God, working out of sight.  As the Prophet Daniel told the         pagan king Nebuchadnezzar, “He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings.”[1]

The point is that the authorities which exist are appointed by God for our good.  They protect us from evil and loss, like fighting wildfires, telling people when to evacuate, and helping cities rebuild after a hurricane.  They bring justice and punish those who act wickedly and those who disobey, putting criminals in jail and garnishing the wages of those who don’t pay their taxes.

But this doesn’t just apply to civil authorities.  God gives authorities for your good in other circles of our lives, all covered by the Commandment, “Honor your father and your mother.”  Before there ever was a government, God set up the family—fathers and mothers to nurture, admonish, and train their children.  This, the willful child forgets when he doesn’t want to obey the command to clean his room—without his parents (or sometimes grandparents), he wouldn’t have a room.

It also applies in the church, as God gives spiritual leaders for our good.  God sends men with the Words of eternal life to teach, reprove, correct, and train in righteousness.[2]  But complacent Christians forget the Lord and His good purposes in this man.  They squabble over human opinions and in the end cast off the burden of having a pastor to their great spiritual detriment.

But God does not just bark orders from heaven because He can.  He shows us that these authorities are for our good by living under them Himself.  “In the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the Law, to redeem those under the Law.”[3]

He submitted to His parents, even to Joseph who was only His father by marriage: “And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them.” (Luke 2:41-51)

Jesus also submitted Himself to the church authorities of His day, orderly participating in synagogue worship.  Even while He preached against the false teaching of the Scribes and Pharisees, He admonished us to obey our leaders: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do.”[4]  But ultimately, He submitted to appearing before the Sanhedrin to be charged as a blasphemer. 

He submitted to civil authorities when He appeared before King Herod and Governor Pilate, and even confessed before Pilate, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above.”[5]

Even though He was innocent in every respect, He suffered as a lawless man: one who strikes his parents, one who rants and raves against God and His Church, one who leads uprisings and starts riots in the streets.  And He was suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.

But so were you, who are baptized into Him.  You, who have not honored your parents and other authorities, have not loved and cherished them, but instead have angered, grieved them, and given them sleepless nights.  Because Christ your Lord stood in your place, suffered in your place under the full weight of the Law, you are forgiven.  And “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”[6]

Because of that, instead of being burdened by all the ways we have abused freedom, we are free to do this:

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

As people who have been exonerated by the highest Authority, raised from dead works, you are free to “honor [your parents and other authorities], serve and obey them, love and cherish them.”[7]  “Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.” (Rom. 13:5)  Your conscience has been washed clean by the blood of Christ.  So, you are free to love the law enforcement agents, judges, and elected officials.  You are free to love and cherish your parents at home and teachers in school.  You are free to serve this congregation and obey your pastor as the Lord’s servant.  Because we have been redeemed and renewed, we can see and give thanks to God for all of these, imperfect as they may be at times, because over it all God is working for the good of those He has called to His eternal kingdom.  Amen.

[1] Daniel 2:21

[2] 2 Timothy 3:16

[3] Galatians 4:4

[4] Matthew 23:2-3

[5] John 19:11

[6] Romans 4:7-8, quoting Psalm 32:1-2

[7] Small Catechism, 4th Commandment

Fifth Sunday of Easter

~ Cantate ~

Readings: Isaiah 12:1-6 | James 1:16-21 | James 1:16-25

Text: James 1:16-25

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, alleluia!

From the moment we’re born and placed in our mother’s arms, we’re growing and learning. We learn from sights, sounds, and smells. We learn from things we do, and things that happen to us. At home, at school and work, and wherever we go, we learn from experience. Throughout our lives, we come to know more and more.

For all of the experiences we have in life, however, there is one thing that experience will not teach us. St. James writes, “Every good and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”  Through all of our days on this earth, experience can’t teach us how true this is. Experience will teach us that sometimes God is evil. He lets us suffer hurt and loss. He lets marriages break apart, leaving children caught in the middle. He doesn’t stop school shootings and Muslim extremists.

Experience alone will teach us that God is fickle, blessing us at some times and cursing us at others. What did I do to deserve this? How come my family is so messed up? Why can’t my job be easier or simpler? After working hard for so many years, why did I get laid off? We’re left to guess what God’s plan is, because we think it changes with His mood.

There’s only one way that God teaches us His unchanging goodness: “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”  Our sinful birth into a sinful world can only give us a dim view of God. But, He has given us another birth by the word of truth, through the waters of Holy Baptism. The Lord says, “Amen, Amen, I say to you, unless one is born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”[1]  God has called us out of the darkness of experience and enlightened us by His Holy Spirit. Our experience in this world would deceive us, but the Word of truth enlightens us to know that He is not a cruel and moody Deity; He is an Almighty Father. He is our Father in heaven.

            More than that, He shows us that we are the firstfruits of His new creation—a new heavens and a new earth.[2]  There’s no denying that this life is broken and sickly. We are surrounded by evil and even see it at work within us. In Romans 8, St. Paul writes, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for…the redemption of our bodies.”[3]  Yes, this world is groaning, but because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have hope! This is what our Good, Perfect, and Unchanging God has given us. We have eternal birth in the Name of Jesus. We’re not left to grope in the dark to figure God out or what His plans are for us. He tells us plainly: I love you and I have made you my child forever.[4]

            So, we grow up in this life as God’s children. But this has nothing to do with age, since some become mature after many years. (I know a certain pastor who was confirmed at age 24.)  As we grow as God’s children, our heavenly Father teaches us about dangerous things to avoid:

Romans 16: “Watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.”[5]
Colossians 3: “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”[6]
1 John 2:16-17: “All that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires.”

Our Father also teaches us what’s good to do:

Psalm 1: “Blessed is the man…[whose] delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”[7]
1 Thessalonians 5: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances”[8]
Ephesians 4: “Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ”[9]
Proverbs 31: “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”[10]

Therefore, James writes, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”  Our heavenly Father wants us to be quick to learn how to live from Him. He also wants us to know where to look when we sin. Jesus says, “This is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life.”[11]

            Yet we would be deceived if we thought the Bible was nothing but a rule book. James says, “The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”   People railing against other people, using God’s Word as a club, is not God’s will. God desires the righteousness of faith, and it’s never come by force or emotional manipulation. Too many churches believe that sermons are powered by a peppering of Bible verses and a guilt-driven appeal at the end. If this were all that Christianity had to offer, no wonder people “give up on religion.”

            God’s Word is also abused if His children become proud of their faithfulness. Indeed, the Lord says, “Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it.”[12]  Jesus has this rebuke for diehard conservatives: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!”[13]Some become far too proud of how orthodox they’ve think they’ve been, but they neglect love, mercy, and humility.

            Instead of “trusting in ourselves as righteous and treating others with contempt,”[14] God teaches us about true righteousness. James writes, “Put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”  None of our righteous living or confessing saves us, but Jesus does! He is God’s Righteous Man,[15] and His righteousness is a gift to you. “Receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls.”  God put it there in you. Various people have watered it—parents, pastors, and others—but “God gives the growth.”[16]  And in that way, as St. Paul also writes, “you gain Christ, and are found in Him, not having a righteousness of your own…but that which comes through faith in Christ.”[17]

            Finally, James sums up what it means to be a mature child of God—a child who is ready for confirmation—who confesses Jesus as Lord, God as his Father, and has the gifts of the Holy Spirit. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.”  All through confirmation class, the students are called catechumens, which is Greek for a “hearer” of the Word.[18]  In being confirmed, the “hearers” echo back what they have heard from God. In Baptism, the Creed was spoken for you, and today, you will speak back the Creed. As a child, God’s Word was read to you, and now you take it to heart and read it for yourself. God’s Word has formed you to the degree that you are no longer merely hearer—a catechumen—but a doer of the Word.

            This is what it looks like to be a mature child of God. We began when He brought us forth by the Word of truth, we grew through receiving His implanted Word, and now we each continue as hearers and doers of His Word. And on such a life, God promises blessing: “The one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

[1] John 3:3 – Truly, truly is Amen, amen

[2] Revelation 21:1

[3] Romans 8:22-23

[4] 1 John 3:1-3

[5] Romans 16:17

[6] 1 Peter 1:15-16

[7] Psalm 1:1-2

[8] 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

[9] Ephesians 4:15

[10] Proverbs 31:8-9

[11] John 6:40

[12] Luke 11:28

[13] Matthew 23:23-24

[14] Luke 18:9

[15] Psalm 24:3-5

[16] 1 Corinthians 3:7

[17] Philippians 3:9

[18] From κατακούω, “hear and obey, give ear”