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Thank God the Good News of the Gospel isn’t dependent upon the pastor’s charisma or good looks or sense of humor. It’s easy to think the church’s life and health are dependent upon you. And that’s why the Lord promised to send a child born of a woman. To bring us back from our eternal exile in sin, death, and hell. To send our sin to the cross, to send the devil running, and to send Death to its death. That’s why Jesus sends pastors into the Church to deliver that message to you week after week after week. Today we give thanks for both: the Good News that because Jesus died and rose, we have the forgiveness of sins.
And that this same Jesus delivers abundant forgiveness to you in water, word, and in Jesus' body and blood. And believe me, that temptation is just as real, if not more intense at times, for pastors. That’s why we were sent out of Eden in the first place. Paul to deliver that message to us in the Scriptures. The message is the main thing, but the Lord ordains men to be pastors, he opens their mouths and fills it with his Word.
Peter and Paul point don’t point us to themselves, but to Jesus Crucified for you. Not so you know all our hobbies, favorite foods or music.
Jesus by water and word and body and blood – for you. Pastors are sent, not to persuade you with their award winning personality.
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The church isn’t built upon these men as men but upon them as apostles: those sent by Jesus to preach in His Name. That we preach what we are sent to preach: Jesus is the Son of God who came into the flesh, was crucified for your sins and rose again. But there’s the temptation, to make it all about us. We’re no different: apostles of a false god, always sending ourselves to conduct our own little mission projects for our own little kingdoms.
That’s the joy of Feast Days in the church where we remember saints, disciples, or apostles. Not saying those are all bad, but that’s not the main thing. What comes out of the pastor’s mouth is the big deal.
Every time we hear, confess, sing, rejoice in, and give thanks for the Gospel it’s an all-out assault on the devil, the world, and our sinful nature.
The same Sacraments are administered here for you today. And it’s this Good News that sends the devil running away, that scoops up sinners into Christ's church and that displays the glory of God in the mercy of Jesus for all the world to see.
No, God’s word is powerful enough to do exactly what he sent it out to do: heal, save, forgive, call, gather, enlighten, make us holy. It's not that we glorify these men for their own sakes. Rather, we give thanks that they preached the Gospel and the Spirit worked faith in those who heard it.
Thank God Pastors aren’t like the secret sauce on the animal burgers at In N Out; we’re not the special ingredient that makes the Gospel work and keep people coming back to Church. But we also give thanks for the actual men who carried that message to the ends of the earth and even suffered death to do so; Paul was beheaded and Peter was crucified upside down.
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