Why should any of us be so concerned about planting a church? Aren’t there plenty of Christian churches already around us? Aren’t there churches with much better facilities? And much more effective programs? Wouldn’t they be better at helping people understand the Gospel and find a church? Why do we need to be so concerned about what we are doing? Read Matthew 28:19-20. The words are “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, teaching them to observe all that I have observe all that I have commanded you.” Christ clearly commands us to go to baptize all nations and to teach all that He has commanded us. The tense of this Greek word “Go!” basically says “having already gone,” baptize and teach. This is not a job we ever walk away from. It is protocol for the entire Christian Church on earth. Also, we are assured here that until the close of the age, Jesus says there will be a holy Christian people with whom He will dwell. He says “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” The question is, “how can these holy people be found or recognized?” Martin Luther writes that these holy Christian people can be recognized by these seven things:
- Possession of God’s Holy Word in its entirety (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
- Holy Baptism rightly administered (Acts 2:38-41).
- The Sacrament of the Altar rightly administered (Acts 2:42).
- The Office of the Keys exercised publicly (John 20:23).
- The Office of the Ministry called pastors who administer the above four things (Acts 20:38).
- Prayer, public praise, and thanksgiving to God (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
- Possession of the sacred cross in proclamation and participation (Galatians 6:14).
Luther’s Works, Volume 41, Pages 148-165.
Ask yourself. Where can you find all these things in one place?
Although there are churches around us, these precious things are not all around us. And yet these things are the reason for our courage. Although we are sinners whose only consolation is the mercy of the cross of our Savior, time and time again we are steadied by our convictions in the Word of God and the necessity for the people around us to hear the eternal Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ clearly (Romans 1:16). We are moved by our conviction of God’s mighty power in Holy Baptism (Romans 6:3-5), the necessity of the forgiveness of sins (John 20:23), and the great benefits of the Lord’s Supper (John 6:54). People need the Good News of Christ in these days! They need His concrete means of grace! The Holy Spirit has given us the desire for others to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4). The result of these 7 marks of the Church is Christian love empowered by the Holy Spirit.
So . . . Trinity Lutheran Church is going into Norcross. They will bring these blessings to the lost and also disciple the saved. Keep them in your prayers as things begin on April 14, 2019! Glory to God and salvation to man!