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All we need to do the Lord's work

1 Corinthians 1:4-9

Pastor David Ernst

18th Sunday after Trinity
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Sun, Oct 3, 2010 

Sometimes a Christian congregation is very large, perhaps consisting of hundreds or even thousands of persons with resources of every kind. With a group that large, we may think it is much easier to do the Lord's work, because where there are many people, of course there are many who have the gifts of the Holy Spirit of which St. Paul speaks in 1 Corinthians 12:28. "And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues." También, in Romans 12:6, he speaks of other gifts of service, mercy or leadership. We may think of others, such as musical talent.

But, in fact, the size of the group does not matter. Our Lord has told us, "Where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20). Furthermore, in today's epistle, St. Paul writes, first of all, "I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you."

In every way we are enriched in Christ Jesus, in all speech and all knowledge, to bear testimony to Christ. He does not talk about the quantity of believers. Where there are two or three, He is present among them, therefore they are enriched in all that is needed to bear testimony to Him.

There's more. "So that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." We have everything we need to do the Lord's work. What is this work? As our Lord says in today's Gospel (Matthew 22:34-46) "Love the Lord your God with all your hear, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like unto it: Love your neighbor as yourself."

Also we are to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ until His second coming. In the Old Testament, believers were saved by the promise of the first coming of the Savior. That is why King David said, "The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at My right hand, until I put Your enemies under Your feet." God had promised David that the Messiah would be one of his descendants, yet at the same time David, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, called the Messiah, "my Lord," who would be seated at the Lord's right hand.

Jesus asked the Pharisees, what does this mean? Then He explained it to them, saying the Savior indeed was descended from King David, yet was David's God, entrusted with all divine authority. Jesus, by the lineage of his mother, the Virgin Mary, was born a descendant of David. Also, by the power of the Holy Spirit, He was conceived as the Son of God. Therefore, He was able to fulfill all the prophecies of the Old Testament, all of God's Law in our place and in Him we have the promise of eternal life.

We are saved by faith in this promise. God has made this same promise to all of us, and has given all of us the same gift. In holy baptism we receive the forgiveness of our sins and also the promise of eternal life. And more. Through baptism we are members of the Body of Christ in this world, that is, the church. The holy church is a spiritual body, not limited to one place or time. However, the church of Christ is visible wherever the Word of God is preached in its purity and the sacraments are administered as Christ commanded. All congregations of believers, no matter how large or small, are part of the communion of saints, those are alive now and those who have passed to glory in heaven. And we all have the same Head, who is Christ.

Because of Christ, we have the right to approach the altar of God, to receive the body and blood of Christ in the Lord's Supper and to offer our prayers and sacrifices of thanksgiving. And if we ask God for what we need to do His work, as King Solomon humbly asked only for wisdom to govern God's people (2 Chronicles 1:7-12), God in His kindness will bless us with much more than we ask. Amen.

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