"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - Jerome

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Gospel Assumed...

Often as Christians will admit that we live life assuming the gospel. By that, we mean we "move past" the gospel to other things. Gospel becomes those things that are elementary and then we stop declaring them to "move on" to other things. Then when we assume the gospel, we confuse the gospel (because we never talk about it and forget it). Then after we confuse the gospel we deny the gospel. I came across this selection recently and think it is appropriate to share:

Assuming the Gospel is the height of arrogance. It is as if we were saying, “We all know what God has done for us in Jesus, so we can go on to teach and learn other things today.” St. Paul gave much apostolic direction for living the Christian life – “bearing with one another” (Colossians 3:13), “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15), “walking by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16), and seeing the “more excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31). Yet Paul always put such admonition in the context of Christ’s saving work for us. In fact, Paul was adamant about the priority of the cross: “I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2: 2)… No matter what else Paul had to say, the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our salvation are the center, the essence, the focal point of all Christian preaching. Whether the subject is justification or sanctification, it all comes back to the cross. No preaching, no Christian teaching is complete unless it brings us back to what God has done for us in Jesus Christ on the cross. Indeed, anything else the preacher might proclaim is meaningless, unless it flows into or out of the message that Jesus died and rose for us. Every doctrine of Scripture is designed by God ultimately to bring the comfort of sins forgiven and eternal life in Christ to the penitent sinner.
Herbert C. Mueller, Jr., “The Gospel Assumed is the Gospel Denied” in Concordia Pulpit Resources 15, no. 3

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Minister's Prayer

O my Lord,

Let not my ministry be approved only by men,

or merely win the esteem and affections of people;

But do the work of grace in their hearts,

Call in thy elect,

Seal and edify the regenerate ones,

And command eternal blessings on their souls

Save me from self-opinion and self-seeking;

Water the hearts of those who hear thy Word,

That seed sown in weakness may be raised in power

Cause me and those that hear me

To behold thee in the light of special faith,

And hereafter in the blaze of endless glory;

Make my every sermon a means of grace to myself,

And help me to experience the power of dying love,

For thy lood is balm,

Thy presence bliss,

Thy Smile heaven

Thy cross the place where truth and mercy meet

Look upon the doubts and discouragements of my ministry

And keep me from self-importance;

I beg pardon for my many sins, omissions, infirmities

As a man, as a minister;

Command thy blessing on my weak, unworthy labors

And on the message of salvation given;

Stay with thy people

And may thy presence be their portion and mine

When I preach to others let not my words be merely elegant and masterly,

My reasoning polished and refined,

My performance powerless and tasteless,

But may I exalt thee and humble sinners.

O Lord of power and grace,

All hearts are in thy hands

All events at thy disposal,

Set the seal of thy almighty will upon my ministry.

-from Valley of Vision (A Minister's Prayer) pg 338