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“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

Agnus Dei is Latin and means “Lamb of God.” We sing the words of the Agnus Dei because we believe that Jesus is the Lamb of God sent into the world to be sacrificed and make atonement for the sins of all people.

John the Baptist called Jesus “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), and Christ Jesus “died for our sins according to the Scriptures … was buried, and … rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). God sent His only-begotten Son to be our substitute and to die in our place for our sins that we might have forgiveness of sins and a place in God’s eternal kingdom through faith in Jesus and His death for us on the cross. And Jesus, the Lamb of God, accomplished our redemption and is worthy of all praise and glory (Revelation 5:12).

As God provided a substitute ram for Abraham to offer in the place of his son Isaac (Genesis 22), so God sent His own Son to be our substitute and to die for our sins so that we could be acceptable to God and be His own children forever. And so, before partaking of Christ’s sacrifice for us, before we receive in the Lord’s Supper His body and blood given and shed upon the cross for the sins of the world, we ask God to have mercy upon us and forgive our sins for Jesus’ sake when we sing:

“Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us.

“Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us.

“Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world; grant us Your peace.”

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Following the sermon, and usually just before or after the offering, we sing the Offertory, psalm verses in which we offer up to God thanks and praise for the salvation He has provided for us in Christ Jesus, His Son, and we devote ourselves to God and seek His help to live for Him. (Note: the Offertory was once connected to the offering of the bread and wine used in the Roman Mass but is not used that way in Lutheran Churches.)

The Bible tells us that Christ “died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:15). And, the apostle Paul writes: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

Therefore, in thanksgiving for our salvation in Jesus Christ, we not only give to God offerings of money; we give and devote to Him our bodies and souls – our very lives – for His service!

We sing and pray the words of Psalm 51: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.”

Or, we sing the words of Psalm 116: “What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me? I will take up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord now in the presence of all His people … I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord now in the presence of all His people, in the courts of the Lord’s house, in the midst of you, O Jerusalem.”

[Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

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Credo

“I Believe”

What is a Creed? Why do we say a creed in our worship services every Sunday?

A creed is a statement of what we believe. The word “creed” is an English word which comes from the Latin word “credo” and means “I believe….”

There are simple creeds in the Bible, such as: “Jesus is Lord” (1 Corinthians 12:3). And Peter confessed his faith in Jesus when he said: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).

There are creeds which were used to teach the Bible’s doctrine, such as the Apostles’ Creed. We say the Creed each Sunday because it reminds us of the teaching of the Apostles of Jesus, which is written down for us in the Bible.

The Bible tells us that our faith is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20).

There are also creeds which were written to defend the true teaching of God’s Word against false teaching. The Nicene and Athanasian Creeds are examples of such creeds, as well as the Augsburg Confession and its Apology.

In the Apostles’ Creed, we confess our faith in the Triune God and in the work of the true God to create, redeem and sanctify us and give us a place with Him in heaven.

The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit; born of the Virgin Mary; suffered and under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven and is seated on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; From where he shall come to judge the living and the dead. 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. Amen.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Why do pastors preach sermons every Sunday?

The word pastor means shepherd, and pastors are commanded “to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28) by feeding God’s people with God’s Word through reading and teaching from the Bible.

St. Paul wrote in a letter to Timothy, who was a pastor of God’s people: “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:1-2).

And, before Jesus ascended into heaven, He commanded His disciples to teach His followers all the things He taught and commanded (Matthew 28:20).

That’s why pastors preach and teach from the Bible every Sunday.

[Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

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Why do we read or sing a psalm after hearing that our sins are forgiven for Jesus’ sake?

We read or sing a psalm of praise after the confession and absolution because we are thankful to God for His mercy and forgiveness in Christ Jesus and because God desires and calls upon us to praise His name.

The Bible says:

“Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.” Psalm 95:2

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:16

“Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.” Psalm 30:4

“Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” Psalm 106:1

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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