Sunday Service October 27, 2019

Dr. Eschelbach was back at Christ Lutheran Church Ranchos Palos Verde this Sunday.

Watch him deliver a sermon here:

And watch him lead a Bible study here:

Revelation 14:6-7

14:6 Then I saw another angel flying in midheaven, with an eternal  gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth–to every nation and tribe and language and people. 14:7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and be honest about Him doing what no else can or would do, for  the hour of his judgment has come; and worship him who made  heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” 


Romans 3:19-28

3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those  who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 3:20 For “no human being will be justified in his sight” by deeds  prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge  of sin. 

3:21 But now, apart from law, the justiceness of God has been  disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, 3:22 the justiceness of God through honesty about dependence on Jesus Christ for  all who are honest about dependence. For there is no distinction, 

3:23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; 

3:24 they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the  redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 3:25 whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by honesty about dependence on His  blood, Whom God set forth as proof of His justice because in his divine forbearance he had  passed over the sins previously committed; 3:26 to prove at the present time that he himself is just  and that he justifies the one who is honest about dependence on Jesus. 

3:27 Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. By what law?  By that of works? No, but by the law of honesty about dependence. 3:28 For we hold that a person is justified by honesty about dependence apart from  works prescribed by the law.


John 8:31-36

8:31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had become honest about depending on him, “If  you remain in my word, you are truly my disciples; 8:32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you  free.” 8:33 They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying,  ‘You will be made free’?” 8:34 Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who  commits sin is a slave to sin. 8:35 The slave does not have a permanent place in the household;  the son has a place there forever. 8:36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.


REFORMATION? Which one? Noah, Abraham, David, Hezekiah, Joash, Luther, Wesley, Walther?    BUT does reformation work?

The church of man, the one we see, will always be as sinful as the sinners that claim it (MY church!); thus the inevitable failure of the church of man as history makes plain – just as was the case in Jesus’ day.

God Himself or His servants declare His saving grace to us (see how full that grace is as described, in part, in the list below), 

but we contradict …

“I know that the Son of God became man and lived every moment of His life to perfection, always loving, even towards those who hated Him and had Him executed; I know He suffered and died in all the pain of damnation and the wrath of God … I know all that was done for me. BUT the part that really matters is my choice?”

What we try to reform (that which is born of the flesh)never stays reformed, which is why it must be drowned and die.

Only what has the power to reform has the power to regenerate. 


Big picture? 

Every sinner is a slave of sin.

All have sinned = we are all slaves to sin.

Only remaining in God’s Word can set us free and keep us free.

God’s saving work is full, rich, and constant.

Fear of God is for the flesh; considering God’s glory, what He does that no one else can or would do is for the soul His Word regenerates.


Just what makes the good news that good?

  1. Jesus as High Priest forever, who lives forever to advocate for us, Who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses b/c He bore our nature through every temptation though without sin (which made that infinitely more difficult, and in place of every one of us = more difficult still). 
  2. Forgiveness of all wrong for all from before the creation of the world = when we express forgiveness we are confirming that it has been and remains accomplished, we are not making it happen. 
  3. Adoption – according to our human nature, God adopts us as His own, even though our nature is corrupted to be always, only, entirely rebellious against Him and the rest of our human family.
  4. Atonement – covers us with the perfect life of Christ; everything we think, say, and do (or fail to) takes place under this canopy of grace.
  5. Imputes the perfect life of Christ to us – all our debt transferred to Him, all His wealth transferred to us; you see this happen when Barabbas is released and Jesus is crucified.
  6. Regenerates our soul so that it has the mind of Christ and Spirit of God; this essence of our person never does wrong, never dies (in time or eternity).
  7. Inspiration Energizes us with His Word; continually regenerating and moving us according to His will.
  8. Sacraments are God’s promises joined to universal physical elements confirming God’s saving work in our lives, objectively, as often as beneficial
  9. Fruitfulness Good works are God’s work in us, the inevitable fruit of having been given everything by God and as evidence of joy
  10. Making all thing work together for our good = all aspects of nature work to impress upon us our disabilities, inabilities, and complete dependence on God, by natural and special revelation; sooner or later, one way or another, God’s creation and redeeming activity draw us back into His providential, saving work
  11. Judgment = deliverance day; no longer a threat but a fulfillment and a blessing; Jesus calls it “the resurrection to life.”
  12. Resurrection returns a physical nature to our person, a perfect everlasting body, like the resurrected Jesus, which will live in paradise in the new heaven and earth
  13. Prayer – invited, urged, inspired, Jesus as advocate, Holy Spirit as intercessor, God as hearing before we ask, patient, kind, sympathetic. See sermon and notes from October 20. 


Homily on Prayer October 20, 2019


Genesis 32:22-30

32:22   The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 32:23 He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. 32:24 And Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. 32:25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and Jacob’s thigh was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 32:26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.”  32:27 And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 32:28 Then he said, “Your name shall no more be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”  32:29 Then Jacob asked him, “Tell me, I pray, your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. 32:30 So Jacob called the name of the place Peni’el, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.”  


2 Tim 3:14 – 4:5

3:14   I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that, 3:15 if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth. 3:16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of our religion:      He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world,   taken up in glory. 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of  demons, 4:2 through the pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared, 4:3 who forbid marriage and enjoin abstinence from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the  truth. 4:4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving; 4:5 for then it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.  


Luke 18:1-8

18:1   And he told them a parable, to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 18:2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God  nor regarded man; 18:3 and there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, Vindicate me against my adversary.’  18:4 For a while he refused; but afterward he said to himself, Though I neither fear God nor regard man, 18:5 yet because this widow bothers me, I will vindicate her, or she will  wear me out by her continual coming.'” 18:6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 18:7 And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?  18:8 I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?”



My friend said he prayed for money. God gave him work.

Another friend prayed for patience. God gave him trials and suffering.

I was thinking we should pray for wisdom; then we would know NOT to pray for things like money or patience.


Notes on the Gospel 

  1. “Not lose heart.” See 2 Corinthians 4 where this phrase appears twice; in between those occurrences Paul reminds us that we have the treasure of a soul regenerated in the image of Christ in a jar of clay (a body). A regenerate soul rooted in/inspired by the Word of God prevents any loosing of the heart.
  2. Biblical arguments from lesser to greater. Consider Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, with Him, freely give us all things?” 
  3. “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will anyone be here who is honest about dependence? That matters because honesty about our dependence on God is what keeps us clinging to God’s Word and promises which inform and inspire our prayers.


A, B, C’s of prayer.

A – ALWAYS.  1) No need to fret or stall over which words to use or how to put them together. Our thoughts are already known to God so why worry about how to say them (except practicing articulation helps our communication with other people). 2) Think about how much praying we might accomplish and what serenity we might know if we pray every time life slows us down or gets in our way; driving, checkout lines, waiting?

B – BEFRIEND. 1) Prayer is often the only thing we can do for others but it IS doing something for them. 2) our life in the Word takes on new meaning when prayers for others make us conscious of them when we are reading the Bible, and that reading, in turn, helps our prayers and our concerns.

C – CANCEL. Bose invented a noise-canceling headphone set; quite fantastic. They have made traveling through airports and on aircraft a whole new, better experience. When anxieties and emotions are oppressing us praying for others has a profound “noise canceling” effect. Interesting how God’s design means that love for others is a powerful remedy for our own troubles.

Daily Bread boxes now available!



What better gift is there than the gift of God’s Word? Many of you currently receive “Daily Bread” emails, where I send out a key verse from that day’s readings from the One Year Bible. I’ve just developed a printed version of these “Daily Bread” verses—a gift box containing a card for each day of the year imprinted with an inspiring passage from that day’s reading in Scripture. Take a card out each day, read it, tuck it in your bathroom mirror, let it be the day’s bookmark, stick it on your fridge—any way you choose to have a constant, tangible reminder throughout the day of God’s Word. These cards can be used again and again, year after year.

To order a Daily Bread box, simply fill out the following form and make a $25 donation.  May the Word of God dwell in you richly this coming year and always!



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Q&A: Friends?

Proverbs 18:24 RSV: “There are friends who pretend to be friends, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” How could that be bad?  I then looked up different Bible versions. They were so different from one another.

Let’s start with a better translation, “A man has many friends, but there is one who loves, who clings more closely than a brother.”
The Hebrew is difficult in the first half of the verse, “A man of friends comes to ruin?” The Greek Old Testament says something like, “A man of friends toward friendship…” which some think means “comes to ruin,” and others think “must be friendly himself” (NKJV). No matter the exact meaning of the first half of the verse, the idea of many friends is being contrasted with a single friend of incomparable value (sticks closer than a brother). Solomon is not saying that having many friends is bad; not at all. Solomon is saying that among the many friends a person has, there is, at least the potential, of having a friend who genuinely loves you, who would sacrifice everything for you more reliably and readily than a family member. As Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, to lay down his life for his friend” (John 15:13).

Q&A: Tongues?

What is speaking in tongues in the Bible? Are there multiple different kinds? Is it speaking in all understandable languages at once, or is it speaking unknown languages? Is it an art form? Babbling like an infant? An expression of worship?

The word “tongue” has, as its primary meaning, that thing in your mouth that makes it possible, among other things, to articulate a language. Since the tongue is essential for speaking, especially speaking clearly (1 Corinthians 14:8-9), it came to be used to mean a language, as when a person speaks his or her “mother tongue.” One can verify that “tongue,” in the Bible, means an established language by the context in which the term occurs. For example, in Genesis 11:7 God talks about going down to those building the tower of Babel in order to confuse their “tongue” (Greek OT; Hebrew has “lip,” meaning speech, see Gen 11:1).

Acts 2:4-21 records how the apostles spoke in the native languages of the devout Jews who came to Jerusalem from every nation under heaven, speaking in these languages (tongues, verse 4, 11), as the Holy Spirit made them able. The purpose of God granting the apostles this ability on this occasion was not in order to communicate with these devout Jews, since the apostles could have spoken to them in Greek, Hebrew, or likely also Aramaic. The point of speaking to them in the languages of these foreign nations (listed in verses 9-11) was to prove at least two things; one, God’s redemptive work was accomplished in Christ for ALL people and, two, that God’s redemptive work is accomplished immediately by means of His Word (see Peter’s use of this argument in Acts 11 and 15, in reference to his visit to Cornelius’ house).

If one studies the occurrence of these special manifestations of the Holy Spirit in Acts, what we notice is that such special manifestations always come by way of the apostles (or the laying on of their hands) and include the “falling of” the Holy Spirit in order to make irrefutable confirmation of the grace of God accomplishing redemption in the presence of Jewish opposition (Acts 2, 10 (11 and 15 by reference)) or in order to prevent any future question about the certainty of God’s redemptive work (Acts 19). On other occasions, when there is no one present to contest or oppose the working of God’s Word, there is no laying on of hands, no special manifestation of the Holy Spirit, and no speaking in a foreign language, as in the case of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8) or the Philippian jailer and his family (Acts 16). Paul devouts much of 1 Corinthians 12-14 to addressing their misunderstanding about speaking in tongues/languages. Chapter 14 especially is difficult to understand without a slow and careful reading.