Thursday, June 4, 2020

Sermon June 7, 2020

Title: Go and make disciples!
Text: Matt. 28:16-20

Facebook live: Go and make disciples!

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Today we celebrate the work of our loving God - Father, Son + and Holy Spirit, the diversity of the Godhead and the unity of the Godhead.

One God made known in three persons for the redemption of the world through the working of the Spirit until Christ Jesus returns.

Jesus had named a certain mountain in Galilee to His disciples, where He would meet them after His resurrection, but neither the time of this meeting nor the location of the mountain is known.

It had been the Lord’s express command that they assemble there, and after they had received the confirmation of this word by the message of the women on Easter morning, they went to keep the appointment.

When He appeared before them, some of them fell down before Him in glad adoration, but others still were in doubt. They could neither believe the fact of His resurrection nor that it was actually their Lord who here appeared before them. Jesus therefore drew nearer that they might recognize Him. But He depended for the effect of His presence upon His words. The speech of Jesus was friendly and intended to take away all apprehension of whatever kind among them all.

His final commission is a wonderful bit of solemn oratory – marching orders if you will. As He stands before them, in His spiritual body, true man as ever during His earthly life, but no longer in humility and weakness:

All power in heaven above and on earth beneath is given to Him. He is the almighty God, with unlimited authority. And since this is true, therefore they, in going forth, in doing the work of their apostolic mission, should make disciples of all nations. The whole earth should be their sphere of activity. And this discipling should be done by two means of grace.

First there is the means of making disciples by baptizing in the name of the Triune God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; into God’s name, as confessing the name which summarizes the entire Christian creed.

The second means of making disciples is that of teaching them to observe closely all things which Jesus has committed to His disciples, to expound or to preach forth to them the counsel of God to their salvation.

Not human notions - but the Word of the Gospel - the inspired Word of God shall be the content of all preaching in the Church of Jesus Christ, no more, no less.

And if His commission is carried out in this manner, then His promise also will stand secure, that He will be with us all the days until the end of time. When this age comes to its close, when He Himself will usher in the new age by the dawn of His Judgment Day, then only will the work of the Church have come to an end.

Kretzmann Popular Commentary of the Bible NT vol. 1 Pg 162

Just a bit of observation that I would like to relate to our congregation here at Peace and its 57 years of mission and ministry in Waterford;

We baptize very few and Bible Study is lightly attended. As our church has aged many of our congregations children stopped attending some are not having children or if they are they are not having them baptized. If they are baptized, they are not in active worship and many are not hearing God’s word or being taught the faith – unless a grandparent brings them.

It is not just our church but is a problem throughout our LCMS and Christian churches everywhere. Apathy or unbelief we see presented in vivid color online and in person. Love of neighbor has turned to hate and the results are deadly. We all bear responsibility - but it is the word of God and the working of the Holy Spirit that brings results.

Jesus’ Great Commission to 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

It is through the sending of the Holy Spirit that the Christian church was founded and begun on the day of Pentecost, that we celebrated last Sunday, and it is through His working that it will continue to grow and fulfill our calling as Christ’ disciples.

Martin Luther had this to say about the working of the Holy Spirit:

Such great things have the Apostles declared to us, through the Holy Spirit, who descended upon them from heaven, as even the angels would gladly look into. When this Spirit opens our eyes and makes us see what the Gospel is, we shall have an appetite for it and a joy in it, although we cannot behold it with bodily eyes, but must believe that we are partakers and fellow-heirs of the righteousness, truth, salvation, and all the blessings which God has to bestow. For since He has given us His only Son, that highest good, He will also, through Him, give us all good things, riches and treasures, whereof the angels in heaven have all their joy, and of which they are most desirous. All of this is offered to us through the Gospel, and if we believe we shall also have a similar desire for them.

Luther’s exposition of 1 Peter 1:12

God has called us as His body of believers here at Peace and through His work to make disciples, to proclaim Christ and his gospel, to baptize and to teach.

We can’t force children or adults to come to church or watch online but we can encourage and share the word and our faith with them. And I know many of you do. But we can continue to tell them about Jesus so in his time and in his way God, by the working oif the Holy Spirit will draw them back to his fold so that they too once again can know the voice of their shepherd.

In one of my teaching opportunities some years ago at Lakeland place in Waterford a man came up to me after the service and said, “Brother Russ, you’re not a typical Lutheran, are you?”

To which I replied, “Well, I believe I am, what do you mean?”

“Well, he said, Lutheran’s that I know seem more interested in keeping their faith to themselves but you seem pretty bold in proclaiming Christ.”

After a minute of thought I said, “The Lutherans I know proclaim Christ and Him crucified and risen from the daed! That is what I preach and teach at my church and that is the joy that those whom I serve cling to as well.”

It did give me pause though …

Have we kept the good news to ourselves?
Do we have a zeal for the lost?
Do we take the gospel to those outside our walls or do we spend our lives content to just resume our day to day existence until the next Sunday comes … whether on facebook live or in person - next week, next month or next year?

Jesus Christ is our righteousness. It is He to whom the Spirit points and gathers those who will believe. Even when we think we fall short in our words and actions the Spirit uses the gospel to achieve His goals.

Our God, Father, Son + and Holy Spirit has seen to your redemption.
God has called you by the gospel, and given you faith to believe.
By the Holy Spirit he will keep you in the faith to your heavenly reward that awaits all who trust in Christ.

As we have been blessed may we share our blessing with others I word and action so that all may know our loving God- three in one and one in three the Holy Trinity and undivided unity!

In the name of the Father and on the Son + and of the Holy Spirit!

Amen

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