What is a Lutheran Christian? (5 of 6)



The Purpose of Worship


For Lutheran Christians, the primary reason we gather is to hear God’s Word for us

Secondarily, we praise God, thank God, ask God for what we need, provide for the needy and the work of the church, and be with other Christians in fellowship.

This flows from our emphasis on justification by grace through faith. If our salvation is not based on our works, then our primary interaction with God is not our giving God something. Instead, we receive what God wants to give us: his Word, Jesus Christ, who is forgiveness, life, and salvation.


Some consequences:

  • The worshipers’ primary role is passive—receiving, listening, open to hearing God.

  • With such an emphasis on the Word, the words of hymns are more important than the music.

  • Scripture is the basis for the words spoken and sung

  • God may speak to us in the confession and absolution, the reading of scripture, the sermon, the hymns, prayers, and even in our fellowship. Our job is to look and listen for God speaking to us. It may be a different source every Sunday.

  • The sacraments (baptism and Holy Communion) are the one place we can guarantee Christ’s presence.

God’s work is Sacramental

God does not come to us directly, but uses means received by faith—water in baptism, wine and bread in holy communion, words in the Bible, people in Christian community.

  • With faith, we see, hear, and receive Christ.

  • Without faith, we see only words on a page or spoken, water, wine, bread and sinful people.

A Sacrament, rightly administered, has three parts:

  • Ordinary things (water, bread, wine)

  • God’s promise (making a child of God and one in Christ, forgiveness, life, and salvation)

  • Christ’s command (Go…baptize—Matt 28:19, Do this—1 Cor 11:24-25)


When God uses means, he doesn’t have to change them. Instead, God adds his Word, Christ, which makes the Sacrament a Sacrament:

  • Water doesn’t stop being water

  • Bread and Wine don’t stop being bread and wine

       We believe Sacraments are BOTH/AND:

  • Water AND the Word which is Baptism

  • Bread, wine AND truly the body and blood
    of Jesus which is Holy Communion