September 10, 2008 - Wednesday of the 16th Week after Trinity

Daily Lectionary: 2 Kings 9:1-13; 10:18-29; Philippians 2:12-30

[Bishops must be...] holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict. (Titus 1:9; The Table of Duties: To Bishops)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Where does your pastor come up with his sermons? Where does he get his Bible studies? How does he know what to teach in Confirmation class? How does he know what to say to the sick and the dying and the shut-ins? It all comes from God's Word. In fact, that's one of St. Paul's requirements for pastors, that they hold fast to the faithful word. Your pastor is faithful if he gives out the faithful word. Jesus' Word is always faithful. After all, it's His Word! But why is this Good News?

When the Lord calls a preacher to teach sound doctrine (faithful teaching) to people, He is doing two things, both of which are gracious and merciful:

To those who want to think up their own religion, deal with their own sins, or hold on to someone else's sins, a pastor armed with the Word of God is the Lord's means of calling that person to repentance. The Lord doesn't want anyone dealing with their own sins. We can't! It's why Jesus came and died on the cross. When a pastor goes and confronts someone and calls them to repentance, the Spirit is at work to save that person from eternal death and judgment!

To those who are troubled by their sins, those who worry about God's judgment because they know they deserve it—to such trembling consciences, the pastor brings the Good News, armed with God's Word. The Good News that Jesus has taken away our sins. The Good News that Baptism saves us. The Good News that our sins are forgiven. The Good News that Christ gives us His body and blood.

Rejoice that the Lord gives us such certain gifts through the ministry of our pastors. And pray for your pastor, that he may do what the Lord has called him to do--to bring God's faithful word to His people. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Send, O Lord, Your Holy Spirit, On Your servant now, we pray; Let him prove a faithful shepherd That no lamb be led astray. Your pure teaching to proclaim, To extol Your holy name, And to feed Your lambs, dear Savior, Make his aim and sole endeavor. (LSB 681:1