160207 2 Corinthians 4:3-6

Last Updated on Monday, 08 February 2016 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Text: 2 Corinthians 4:3 – 6
Theme: We Preach Jesus Christ as Lord!

What should be the main job of the Church? In a day and age when parents are so quickly ending their commitments to each other as husband and wife, some say the focus of the Church's ministry should be on helping couples stay together in the life-long commitment they made to one another on their wedding day. With the aging of America, others would say we should focus our ministry efforts on the elderly. On this day that we as a congregation are celebrating "Lutheran Education Sunday", many would say that we need to focus on bringing up the next generation in the Word of our God and encouraging our young people to go into the full-time ministry of the Church. I'm sure if we thought about it long enough, we could come up with quiet a long list of areas that would benefit from greater focus in the ministry of the Church.

Today there are many Churches working hard to help fix the problems of the world. But the problem with their efforts is that they are using all kinds of gimmicks and tricks. Far too many Churches fail to focus on the one thing that is able to help people more than anything else human beings could come up with. Whether we are talking about helping our families or our elderly, or about educating our young people, it all comes back to one place: the Bible. So, as we minister to all the different age groups within our congregation, we open the Word of our God and We Preach Jesus Christ as Lord! We preach Jesus Christ as Lord because it is Jesus Christ our Lord who made his light shine in our hearts. We preach Jesus Christ as Lord because it is Jesus Christ our Lord who made us his servants.

The Bible makes it clear that sinful mankind is not born into this world "neutral." The Bible tells us that "the sinful mind his hostile to God". Or, as Paul was led by the Holy Spirit to write here in his second letter to the Corinthians, "And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age (a reference to Satan) has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." While speaking specifically here in these verses about those who have willingly rejected the Gospel, what God's Word says in these verses is true of all human beings. All are born into this world in spiritual darkness. All are spiritually blind.

Since mankind is powerless to save themselves, a gracious and loving Savior-God needed to act on their behalf. And in his great love, the Almighty Creator of all things took action. We read, "For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ." Through the Light of the Gospel the Holy Spirit shines on the heart of a sinful human being. Working through his powerful Word, the gracious and merciful God in heaven shines into sin-cold hearts the warm and saving light of the Gospel; that is the knowledge and faith in Jesus Christ as the one and only Savior from sin.

How often do you think about the fact that you know the Good News of the Gospel? You and I are pretty quick to take for granted our faith in Jesus and our knowledge of him as our one and only Savior. Far too often you and I fail to give thanks to God for revealing himself as the forgiving and merciful Lord. You and I go about our daily lives doing things, saying things and thinking things that are against God's will in our lives with the thought in the back of our mind, "I can always come to Church on Sunday and have my slate wiped clean for another week." This sinful attitude, the sins you and I commit each day, the sin you and I are born in, all this sin makes you and me guilty. And the only judgment we have earned for ourselves is to be left in spiritual blindness and thrown into the darkness of hell.

But this morning as we gather here in God's house we rejoice that we preach Jesus Christ as Lord! As we begin the Lenten season this Ash Wednesday, we rejoice that Jesus Christ willing came to this earth as our substitute. The perfect life, the innocent suffering and death of Jesus assures you and me that your sins and my sins are paid for "in full." As our Savior rose in great victory on Easter Sunday, God the Father placed his stamp of approval on all that his Son had done for us. In his grace and through his Word, our Savior-God "made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ." We preach Jesus Christ as Lord, who made his Light shine in our hearts.

In a classroom, it is important for a teacher to "sell" himself or herself to their class. What I mean by that is this: the teacher needs to show knowledge of the subject they are teaching and a concern for their students. But selling themselves is not what Christians have to do as they share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with other people. As God's Word before us says, "For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake." Christians are servants of the Lord and servants of those with whom they share the Word of the Lord. This is not a forced slavery, like that which took place in our country years ago. Those who proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord are happy and thankful for the opportunity and the privilege to serve their Lord by serving others with the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.

Is this how you and I always view being a servant of the Lord? Do you and I always view it as an opportunity and a privilege? Are there times when you and I find it easier to serve ourselves before serving our Lord? Are there times when you and I find it easier to serve Satan, the sinful world and our own sinful nature by saying and doing those things that are contrary to God's Word? Are there times when you and I view the time and effort we give to the ministry of the Church as something we HAVE to do in order to keep God the Taskmaster happy? Each one of us will confess that we are guilty at times of viewing serving the Lord as a task we MUST do as his servants. And such a sinful attitude on our part is a serious offense to our God, which makes you and me deserving of only his wrath and anger.

But thanks be to our gracious Savior-God that you and I are able to preach Jesus Christ as Lord! Jesus Christ who won for you and me the full and free forgiveness of all of our sins! Jesus Christ whose forgiving love motivates and empowers you and me to serve him with all joy and gladness! As we read in Psalm 51, "Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise." We preach Jesus Christ as Lord whose forgiving love makes us his willing servants to praise him in all we do and to share his Word with others.

We preach Jesus Christ as Lord! This is why we, the members of St. Matthew's, have invested so much of our time, our effort and our money to provide Lutheran education for our young people. Since the day our congregation existed, there has been that commitment to Lutheran education. Our forefathers knew the importance of Lutheran education, and provided us with the school facility that we have today. Today, our generation is taking steps to move FORWARD IN FAITH so that we are able to preach Jesus Christ as Lord to the generations that will come after us.

We preach Jesus Christ as Lord! This is why we, as members of our Wisconsin Synod, offer our gifts to support the ministry of our ministerial education schools, such as Luther Prep. So that many more might know Jesus Christ as Lord, we encourage and support those who are considering and training to work full-time in the ministry of the Church. This why you, the students at Luther Prep, are at least willing to be open to the idea of serving in the church as a pastor, teacher or staff minister.

In the calendar of the Christian Church this Wednesday is Ash Wednesday - the beginning of the Lenten season. Each Wednesday in the season of Lent gives us the opportunity to set aside special time to focus on what Jesus Christ our Savior was willing to do for us and for the forgiveness of all of our sins. Not only during this Lenten season, but each and every day WE PREACH JESUS CHRIST AS LORD. Jesus Christ – who made his light shine on our hearts. Jesus Christ – who made us his servants. As we read from God's Word this morning, "And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ." 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.

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Sunday at 10:00 A.M.
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St. Matthew's Lutheran Church
818 West Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
262-912-6060

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