I. As ministers
II. About ministry
Romans 10:11-17 11 As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will
never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can
they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” 16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. In the name of Jesus Christ, on whom we call for our salvation and about whom we witness for the salvation of others, dear Christian friends,
Earlier this year, we had to postpone plans for our 75th Anniversary Celebration
Day. At that time, do you remember what you heard? “Make sure to get the word out!”
Yes, we wanted to make sure that anyone who had planned to attend this awesome event
would know ahead of time that it was postponed. And that is the good news! It is only postponed! So, make sure to get the word out that we are celebrating our 75th Anniversary just one year later— September 19, 2021!
We are not the only ones with a significant anniversary this year. Martin Luther
College (MLC) is marking 25 years of existence! For many years, Dr. Martin Luther
College (DMLC) in New Ulm, MN trained our teachers and Northwestern College
(NWC) in Watertown, WI undertook the task of preparing pastors for four more years at
Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. In 1995, an amalgamation of those two schools took
place on the campus in New Ulm, so Martin Luther College was formed to be our
Synod’s only college for ministry.
While it is too late to join in on their celebration day, which was held two weeks
ago, we can join with them in celebrating the ministry that school carries out and the
ministry its graduates carry out in the churches and schools where they serve. A special
MAKE SURE TO GET THE WORD OUT!
I. As ministers
II. About ministry
2 Equipping Christian Witnesses campaign is underway right now to encourage recruitment
of more men and women to serve in full-time public ministry as well as to secure funds
for increasing student aid and for improving facilities for student living and athletics.
Your “over and above regular offerings” generous financial gifts can be given directly to
MLC any time until next June and we will host a door offering early next year to
encourage these special gifts. Today, we will celebrate MLC’s quarter century of
preparing called workers as we focus on recruitment. So, MAKE SURE TO GET THE
WORD OUT! I. As ministers II. About ministry. In this first part of this sermon, the “word” I am talking about is the Word of God.
We have to make sure we get it out to all people because faith comes from hearing the
message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. The Holy Spirit works through the Word to create saving faith in Christ Jesus in our naturally cold, stony hearts. The Word teaches us about Jesus, who is himself the Word (Jn 1:1), equal to God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, yet distinct in that he was sent by the Father and the Spirit from heaven to earth by means of a miraculous birth through a virgin so he could take our place under the law of God and obey it perfectly in order to meet its holy requirements for us. That perfect Jesus then surrendered his life into death in order to meet God’s requirement of death for our sin so we could have life. That perfect Jesus rose from the dead to prove his victory over Satan and ours as well! The Spirit uses the transmission of the Word to effect change in people’s hearts and lives, so that anyone who trusts in Jesus will never be put to shame and everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
The Apostle Paul’s questions before us indicate how important it is to get the
Word out. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how
can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear
without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are
Whose job is it to get the Word out, to preach and teach to others the good and
saving message of Christ crucified for our forgiveness and salvation? Obviously, it is the
job of the minister!
I am a minister. Pastor Bishop is a minister. Our staff minister and all of our
teachers are ministers. That does not surprise you, perhaps. But all of you are ministers
as well, that is, servants who have been entrusted with the good news of Jesus as Savior
and commissioned to proclaim it!
Are you scared to do so? Me, too, at times! Are you lacking knowledge how to
do so? Me, too, at times! But to leave our answer there is dismissing God’s mission for
our life, which is to be “witnesses of these things” (Lk 24:48). For all of our failures in
the past to get the Word out, we have Jesus’ forgiveness. Now, we need to get over our
Satan-pleasing fears and work at increasing our Word-wrought wisdom.
On December 5, come to a workshop to help you with personal witnessing skills.
I will be there because I need to improve on my own efforts of getting the Word out. I
plan to see you there so together we can “share his love with all” and get a spiritual
pedicure so God and others might say of us, “How beautiful are the feet of those who
bring good news!”
In this second part of this sermon entitled, MAKE SURE TO GET THE WORD
OUT!, the “word” I am talking about is the message of what full-time ministry is. Some
new members to Grace may not know the significance of MLC. This is the only college
we have for preparing our pastors, teachers and staff ministers. And our called workers
do not serve in our churches or schools with just a piece of paper they found at the
bottom of a Cracker Jack box or procured through some shady online service. The
training is excellent, intense, thorough and, above all, it is true to the Word. So, you can
count on graduates of this school to get the Word out...truthfully and faithfully.
So, get the word out about ministry and encourage others how to prepare for it.
Start with your own children at home. Here are some items (in no certain order) that you
can work on to recruit them for service in the church or church’s schools:
1) Enjoy daily, family devotions to show how important God’s Word is in our
lives and to grow together in the Word
2) Identify the God-given gifts they have and show them how they might use
them as pastor/teacher/staff minister
3) Speak highly of your called workers in front of your children so they know to
hold these individuals in high regard and to know that their future role as a
called worker will carry with it respect and honor as well
Encourage the children in the congregation as well. Currently two of my own
children— and one son-in-law— serve as teachers, one more plans to receive a teaching
assignment this May and another has completed 2 1⁄4 years of an eight-year path to
becoming a pastor. I credit that to the love and support you have given my family and
your willingness to work with me that showed them what a blessing it is to serve among,
and with, a congregation of believers.
Get to know the youth at Grace, identify their gifts and encourage them to use
those in full-time ministry. When you see the five who are currently studying at MLC
return home for a longer-than-usual Thanksgiving Break, which will last until after
Christmas due to COVID-19 changes, speak with them to find out what is going on with
their studies and encourage them to continue down this God-pleasing path. Pray for them
as we will do today. Support them financially which you can do with a special gift for
this Equipping Christian Witnesses campaign.
Finally, don’t ever cross off the idea of being a second-career servant. If your
current vocation is unfulfilling, if you see you have gifts that can be used as a
pastor/teacher/staff minister, if you are willing to go back to school, consider full-time
service to the Lord.
MLC is well-positioned to prepare you or your own children or the children of
this congregation for full-time service in God’s kingdom. Make sure to get the word
out...as ministers who take the good news of Jesus into the world and...about ministry
and our WELS College of Ministry: Martin Luther College.