Today's Reading: Romans 10:9-17
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Faith comes by hearing. Hearing comes by the Word. The Word is brought to us by the preachers Christ calls. That's how He sets it up.
One big reason that people don't want to be a part of the church is that they suppose they don't need "organized religion." What they're really saying is that they must have some other way to get God's Word apart from their pastor and the Bible. But there is no other way to have God's Word. He doesn't send it any other way.
You have a preacher to teach you what is in the Bible. You have the Bible so you know what your preacher should be teaching and preaching. But of those are outside of you. No going inside your head or your heart to figure out what's up with God. The Lord tells us Himself in His Word.
And what does His Word say? It declares Christ true God and man, who is our Savior from our sins. Over and over the Word directs us to Christ and away from ourselves. By the Word we learn repentance for our sins and faith in Jesus. The Word directs us to have Jesus at the font and altar, and from the pulpit. The Word rescues us from the vague ideas about God in our hearts and gives us real, solid truth.
To not want a pastor--not want to be under his care or not want to be a part of Christ's Church--is to say that there is some other way to have and know God. And there isn't any other way.
Yet the Lord's way of doing things is given for our assurance and certainty. After all, the crazy ideas we have will come and go but the unchanging Word of God, faithfully delivered by the pastors He calls, will always serve to rescue us from sin and death and give us forgiveness and life. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
God's Word is our great heritage And shall be ours forever; To spread its light from age to age Shall be our chief endeavor. Through life it guides our way, In death it is our stay. Lord, grant while worlds endure, We keep its teachings pure Throughout all generations. (God's Word Is Our Great Heritage, LSB 582)