Archive for November 10th, 2013

You Are My Witnesses!

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

Proclaimer: Mark Kunkee—Deacon, Trinity Lutheran Church
San Diego, CA, November 10, 2013
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In the Name of Jesus

INTRODUCTION: You are my witnesses, Jesus says. Christ is the faithful witness as His life is a confession of the true faith that reveals our compassionate Father’s ever-giving heart. A witness to Christ confesses the true faith. By the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, our Lord has called us His witnesses as people who share what He has given to us so that all would know the Father’s saving love. You are my witnesses, then, is Christ’s call to our real identity for the true confession of the faith in words and actions that inspire works of mercy in our life together.
I. Christ Jesus our Lord speaks to us so that we are His witnesses.

He sends His Holy Spirit so that His people may be witnesses as repentance and forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all nations. You are my witnesses. When Christ speaks to us today. He speaks to us through  pastors, deacons/deaconesses and anyone who believes in the word no matter what the season is to preach the Word. How are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?

Pastors are sent by God to preach and teach the Law, proclaiming what God expects of His people according to His divine goodness. That Word of Law shows us our sin, our blatant and rebellious disregard for Christ’s life and teaching and our ego-driven rejection of His promises. It shows how deaf we are to Christ’s  compassionate voice of forgiveness, life and salvation as we reject our identity as His witnesses. The Good News that Christ came into the world as the great witness to the Father’s abounding love to suffer and die for our sin and rise again so that we may live releases us from the bondage of suffering and death. As repentance and forgiveness of sins is proclaimed in His Name, the promised Holy Spirit continues to call, gather, enlighten and sanctify people in the one true faith. Commissioned servants also work in our church body as teachers, deacons /deaconesses, directors of  education, parish music, nurses and others witnessing the living Christ.

You are my witnesses, Christ says to us today. Christ Jesus has spoken to the women of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League so that they may be His Lutheran Women in Mission. Throughout the ages, the Lutheran Woman’s Quarterly has included Bible studies that have been used by people all over the world. Through the Word, our Lord engages people for lives of witnessing. Stories of faith in those pages of the Lutheran Woman’s Quarterly exhibit the mutual conversation and consolation of the saints that we believe, teach, and confess in the Smalcald Articles of our Lutheran Confessions. Mustard Seed devotions from the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League left in hotel rooms, restaurants and greeting cards show how the witness of Christ continues to permeate the world. You are my witnesses, Christ says through His servants in the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League.

II. Christ not only speaks to us so that we are His witnesses; Christ leads us out so that we are His witnesses.

How does he do this?  He does this when He brings us to the waters of Holy Baptism where we die to our sin and rise to newness of life. Buried with Him in our baptism, we are united with Him in His resurrection witness. As He gathers His people at His altar to receive His precious Body and Blood, Christ leads His people out from the altar into the world. As the Divine Service concludes inside the church building, divine service continues in the world as the people of God are sent forth as witnesses. There is no need to fear; the resurrected Christ has gone before us to prepare the way for us. Christ has led the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League out to be Lutheran Women in Mission. The pledge of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League is centered in Christ’s initiative. We consecrate to our Savior our hands to work for Him, our feet to go on His errands, our voice to sing His praises, our lips to proclaim His redeeming love, our silver and our gold to extend His Kingdom, our will to do His will, and every power of our life to the great task of bringing the lost and the erring into eternal fellowship with Him. Amen.” By the power of the Holy Spirit given in the Means of the Spirit, Christ has led Lutheran Women in Mission out from their individual homes and local congregations to cities and countries far away. With money collected in mites, the women of the Lutheran Women Missionary League have been led out by Christ to every continent on earth sharing His redeeming love as they have heard the voice of Christ saying, You are my witnesses.

III. Christ speaks to us and leads us as His witnesses and Christ blesses us to be His witnesses.

Even today, Christ opens His nail-pierced hands in love to satisfy the desire of every living thing as He blesses us for His service in the world through our various vocations. Today, we especially celebrate how Christ blesses the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League to be Lutheran Women in Mission. We celebrate God’s goodness shown to us in Jesus Christ by celebrating witness, mercy, and life together in the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League.

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and many others have been blessed through the hands of women who have shared the gifts that God has given for the extension of His Kingdom as congregations have been founded, schools have been supported, outreach centers have been funded, and lives have been transformed as Lutheran Women in Mission have confessed the truth of the Gospel by bearing witness to Christ It continues in worship as Christ speaks through us, leads through us, and blesses others through us. And it will culminate in endless worship as we look to the Day of His return when we who have been spoken to by Christ and who have been led out by Him are blessed to be raised from the dead and in our flesh to live in the joy of being His people forever. You are my witnesses, Christ our Lord says. Confessing the truth in love and serving the Lord with gladness, we rejoice that Christ speaks to us, leads us out and blesses us as He graciously entrusts us with the Gospel in our ears, eyes, hands, and mouths saying, You are my witnesses.

CONCLUSION: And as we today hear God’s word we also recognize the birth of our founding father Martin Luther.  It was Luther who God chose to use as a tool to free His Word so that it could empower His people to once again be His witnesses.  He empowers us with this brief slogan that Luther lived and died by; a slogan we too should embrace and celebrate as we live to give witness to God’s presence and forgiving love in our lives, and in our community.  The slogan is simply this: We live by faith alone, grace alone, and scripture alone.  I pray that this word you have received will help you to do just that, and I ask this in Jesus name… AMEN!