The Rev. Paul J Cain
I Have Chosen You
LCMS Wyoming District Convention Opening Service of Prayer and Preaching
10 May 2012
10 May 2012
While serving as Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, WY
In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
We Believe, Teach, and Confess the Office of the Holy Ministry. Was ist das? What does this mean? We should fear, love and trust in God above all things. This is most certainly true.
We are to listen first, for “Our Lord speaks and we listen. His Word bestows what it says. Faith that is born from what is heard acknowledges the gifts received with eager thankfulness and praise…Saying back to Him what He has said to us, we repeat what is most true and sure. Most true and sure is His Name, which He put upon us with the water of our Baptism. We are His. This we acknowledge at the beginning of the Divine Service. Where His Name is, there is He.” So wrote Dr. Nagel.
Ours is Lord that allows Himself to be rejected. Such is the case even late in the Gospel according to St. Matthew.
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.
It’s like saying, “They disbelieved for joy.” O Lord, preserve us from double-mindedness! The disciples went to Galilee as the Lord had directed. And they hear Him speak: 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Jesus’ authority is a delegated, “given to,” authority. Politics speaks of a “power grab,” but no one ever speaks of an “authority grab.” Authority is given by the Author, capital A. And Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth. And under that authority, what does Jesus say?
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Disciples are made by means of baptizing and teaching. Jesus’ own words and the underlying Greek (and English) grammar teach us this clearly. One of the most enjoyable parts of being a headmaster of a Classical Lutheran school is seeing first and second graders analyze and destroy a sentence on a white markerboard with a red marker. They divide the complete subject from the complete predicate and diagram the sentence completely, showing the obvious grammatical connection between “make disciples” and both “baptizing” and “teaching.”
Leave baptizing off, and you have merely an educated sinner. Faith does not reject the gift of the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
Baptize without teaching, and you have the error of “cheap grace” condemned by Bohnhoeffer. Parents taking their newborn children home from the hospital know they need to feed, clothe, change, nurture, protect, and educate them. If they didn’t, someone, likely the State, would have a problem with that.
Fathers in particular are given to bring up children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Unfed faith can die. The God-given faith which trusts the Word of God in the baptismal water needs the food that is God’s Word, for, as Jesus says, “whoever does not believe will be condemned,” baptized or not.
Faithfully and boldly proclaiming God’s Word is not a popular or an easy task. Just ask Daniel in the lion’s den, who obeyed the Lord rather than men, even King Darius.
It is challenging and rewarding work to faithfully teach the Six Chief Parts of Luther’s Small Catechism to young and old, guide families through baptisms, confirmation, weddings, various crises, and funerals, visit the sick, shut-in, or wandering sheep of a congregation, warn the flock of false teaching and false teachers, extol regular use of Word and Sacrament, the Gifts Christ freely gives, and lead the congregation at worship.
It is given to pastors, the undershepherds of Christ, to proclaim God’s No and God’s Yes, His Law and Gospel from the Holy Scriptures. Pastors are to proclaim the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but God’s truth, for souls are at stake. Faithful undershepherds always point to Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, He who is with us always, even the end of the age. Amen.
In the Name of Jesus . Amen.