This is a great quote regarding the Office of Holy Ministry from C.F.W. Walther, first president of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.
O, glorious office! No matter how sick a person may be in his soul, the Gospel can heal him. No matter how deeply a person has fallen into the corruption of sin, the Gospel can pull him out. No matter how troubled, frightened, and afflicted a person may be, the Gospel can comfort him. Whatever the condition a person finds himself, even if he is convinced that he must perish because of it, the preachers can confidently oppose him, saying: “No, as certainly as God lives, He does not want the death of any sinner. You shall not perish; instead, you shall be saved. Turn to Jesus who can evermore save all who come to God through Him.” And if one who lies near death calls out: “God, what have I done? Woe to me! Not it is too late! I am lost!” the preachers should call to him: “No, no, it is not too late! Commit your departing soul to Jesus. You too shall still be with Him in paradise today.” O, glorious, high office, too high for the angels! May we always hold it in high regard, not looking at the person who bears it and despising his weakness, but looking instead at the Institutor of this office and His exuberant goodness. Let us turn to Him in faith so we can experience the blessings of which the preachers have spoken and, through them, be gathered together one day into the barns of heaven as a completely ripe sheaf.
It is comforting to know that no matter how I mess things up as a pastor, a person’s salvation does not depend on me, the man, but rather the office to which I hold. It is and always must be solely the Gospel that is put forward and never the man. Man is sinful; the Word of God is without sin. Man can err; the Word of God is without error. Let us not focus on the man in the office, but rather what it is that the man preaches; that is, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
(Quoted from God Grant It, p. 679-680)
Issues, Etc. 24 makes its return starting April 8 at 4pm Central and ending April 9 at 4pm Central. Each guest will spend 2 hours covering a book of the Bible. If you missed the first Issues, Etc. 24, click here for 24 hours of excellent Bible study.
Acts – Dr. Ken Schurb (4-6 pm)
Exodus – Dr. David Adams (6-8 pm)
Daniel – Dr. Andrew Steinmann (8-10 pm)
Revelation – Rev. Jonathan Fisk (10-12 am)
Isaiah – Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller (12-2 am)
Psalms – Dr. John Kleinig (2-4 am)
John – Dr. Greg Lockwood (4-6 am)
Mark – Prof. David Lewis (6-8 am)
Hebrews – Dr. Arthur Just (8-10 am)
Genesis – Dr. John Saleska (10-12 pm)
Ephesians – Rev. William Weedon (12-2 pm)
1 Corinthians – Dr. Peter Scaer (2-4 pm)
That’s what Rick Warren has to say in an article he wrote for SermonCentral.com. This is the first paragraph of that article:
I’ll say it over and over: The purpose of preaching is obedience. Every preacher in the New Testament—including Jesus—emphasized conduct, behavioral change, and obedience. You only really believe the parts of the Bible that you obey. People say, “I believe in tithing.” But do they tithe? No? Then they don’t believe in it.
Really? The purpose of preaching is obedience? If the purpose of preaching is obedience, then I have failed on two parts: the part of the preacher and the part of the hearer. Because of my sinful nature, I am not obedient to God and His Word. It is written in Leviticus 19:2, “Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.” Because of my sin, I am not holy, nor will I ever be holy on account of my own actions. I am only holy because of what Jesus Christ has done for me, on my behalf, because I couldn’t do it myself; that is, forgive me all of my sins and give to me His holiness and righteousness.
I have also failed on the part of the hearer because the Law shows to me just how much I have failed to be holy like God. The reason why: I am not a holy person. I cannot be holy as God is holy. Again, the reason why is sin.
Maybe I missed something in my homiletics classes at the seminary, but I wasn’t taught that the purpose of preaching is obedience. I was taught that preaching has two components to it: Law and Gospel. The Law shows us our sins and the Gospel shows us our Savior. I know that I have failed to keep God’s commandments and keep them perfectly as He says. That is the Law smacking me in the face. But then I hear the sweet sound of the Gospel which says that Christ has kept God’s commandments and law perfectly in my place.
I don’t need to hear about obedience in a sermon. The reason why: I know that I can’t be obedient. What I need to hear in a sermon (and what I seek to always proclaim) is that Christ was obedient in my place. He did what I could not and because of His sacrifice, I have received the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. If I don’t preach that, then I have failed in my sermon. If I don’t hear that from a pastor, then I did not hear what the Gospel is all about.