140622 Psalm 78:1-4

Last Updated on Monday, 23 June 2014 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Text: Psalm 78:1-4
Theme: Tell the Next Generation!

1 O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. 2 I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old-- 3 what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. 4 We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.

Imagine for a moment that everyone here this morning has become infected with a deadly disease. There is a cure which is in this bottle that I have up here with me. I pass the bottle down. It goes from pew to pew, from one person to the next. But one person is careless and spills the cure all over the floor. This means that everyone else in the Church dies without the cure. There is a deadly disease inside the hearts of every person. There is a deadly disease that is inside you and me. The disease is sin. By God's grace, you and I know the cure for the deadly disease of sin. By God's grace, you and I know the Good News of peace and joy from a loving and forgiving Savior. And you and I don't want to keep the message of Jesus to ourselves. Rather, we want to share God's Word with others. Today from Psalm 78 you and I hear the special encouragement to share that Word of God with our children and grandchildren. Today, the Lord of the Church comes to you and me and says, TELL THE NEXT GENERATION.

In the verses of Psalm 78 before us we read, "O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old-- what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done." What "praiseworthy deeds" has the LORD done in your lifetime? What evidence of his power have you seen personally? What wonders has he done for you? Certainly the greatest "praiseworthy deed" of our Savior-God, the greatest demonstration of his power, the greatest wonder he has done for you and me, is sending Jesus Christ to be your Savior and mine. As I mentioned at the beginning of this sermon, the disease of sin makes you and me guilty. Sin makes you and me deserving only of God's wrath and punishment. But, as we talked about last week, in his great love for you and me, the Triune God took action. God the Father sent his one and only Son to be our Savior. God the Son, Jesus, came as our Savior. He shed his perfect blood as the cure for your sins and mine. God the Holy Spirit created faith in our hearts to believe in Jesus as our only Savior from sin. Because of our loving Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – you and I enjoy the forgiveness of all of our sins and the promise of living forever in the perfect joy of heaven.

Having heard this Good News again for ourselves, I would like you to join me in reading our congregation's Mission Statement. You may follow on the screen, or you will find it at the top of the first page of our worship folder. Together we read: "Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew's Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life." This Mission Statement of our congregation could be summarized in two words: "Nurture" and "Outreach". As we work together, we want to "nurture", that is build up and strengthen the members of our congregation in their knowledge of God's Word and in their faith in Jesus as their one and only Savior. At the same time, we as a congregation want to do "outreach", that is share the wonderful Good News of Jesus with others who do not yet know the truth of God's Word or Jesus as their only Savior from sin.
How do we as individuals or how do we as a congregation carry out "nurture" and "outreach"? Privately we do that in our own homes as we have family devotions and talk about God's Word together. As individuals, we reach out with the Word of God to others as we share the message of God's Law and Gospel with them. As a congregation, we have established many different areas of ministry to carry out these two important tasks.

This past week I happened to come across the early history of our congregation. After reading about the early history of our congregation, I find myself wondering, "How would our forefathers tell us to carry out 'nurture' and 'outreach' if they were able to speak to us today?" Perhaps an article from the October, 1922 edition of the Synod's publication, "The Northwestern Lutheran", offers some insight. It was written shortly after the dedication of our first school building here at St. Matthew's. In part, the article reads:

"On September 3, St. Matthew's Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, dedicated its school building to be a workshop of our gracious God for its children ("nurture") and for the children of others ("outreach") entrusted to the care of the church...May the Master-Teacher be with St. Matthew's Church school that it may never fall prey to the fads and fancies of the educationists on the outside, that it may never lose sight of the aim for which it was established, to wit: To make children wise unto salvation, to produce salt of the earth...May the Master bless abundantly St. Matthew's members, who in the face of many obstacles rallied ungrudgingly to the erection of this new building to put into effect the unanimous resolution: SCHOOL FIRST."

A little over 90 years ago, our forefathers saw the importance of bringing up the next generation in the knowledge of God's Word. Today, almost a century later, we as a congregation, are still focused on bringing up the next generation in the knowledge of God's Word. There is a saying that is very true: we are only one generation away from losing the Gospel. My dear friends in Christ, if you and I do not pass on to the next generation the Good News of the Gospel, how many generations will be lost forever because they did not know that Jesus lived, suffered and died to win the forgiveness of their sins?

From the very beginning, Christian education was a major focus of our congregation's ministry. This is still true today. It is important that this continues to be a major focus of our ministry efforts in the years to come. This is one of the reasons why we as a congregation re-established a Planning Committee back in October. There are many challenging questions before us as a congregation. Perhaps similar questions that our forefathers wrestled with back in their day. "What will the 'nurture' and 'outreach' ministry of St. Matthew's look like 25, 50, 100 years from now?" "How does our current facility and current location serve the goal of 'nurture' and 'outreach'?" "How would a new facility on another site serve the goal of telling 'the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done'?" My encouragement for each one of us is to continue to take these questions to the Lord of the Church in your prayers. Trust that as the LORD led our congregation in the past, he continues to lead us today and will lead us into the future.

What "things" are you planning to leave behind for your children? Perhaps you will pass on to them a special item which has been in the family for years; or, maybe it will be a large sum of money? If we have only one thing to leave for our children, and to our children's children, let it be this: "We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done." Amen.

 

Our Mission Statement:

Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

Worship Schedule

Sunday
8:00 A.M. & 10:30 A.M.

9:15 A.M. Bible Study for All Ages

Monday at 7:00 P.M.

Television Broadcast
Thursday at Noon & 7:00 P.M.
Sunday at 10:00 A.M.
on Charter Cable Station 985 or on-line

 

St. Matthew's Lutheran Church
818 West Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
262-912-6060

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