“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:18-22)
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” (Galatians 5:6)
Friends in Christ,
These two verse shoot straight to the heart of the Christian message and mission. Jesus Christ has suffered, died, and risen. He has conquered death and the grave. He has set us free from the fear of sin and death.
And this is not mere philosophy. This is not book knowledge for a select few seminary professors. It is life changing, reality creating good news for each and every one of us. You are a new creation in Jesus Christ. And He has gathered you, by the power of His Holy Spirit, to gather with other Christians around His Word.
This is what we (and the New Testament) call “the Church”. Jesus Christ has called, gathered, enlightened, and sanctified His whole Christian Church through the Spirit so that it may baptize, teach, and love. This is how Jesus will spread His kingdom. This is how salvation is given to the poor and oppressed.
As your pastor these three words weigh heavily on my mind. Are we doing all that we can to baptize, teach, and love? Could we do more? Do we have blind spots in our ministry to the people of Hoyleton? I cannot always see clear answers to these questions myself. I need your help.
As we look to the future, the bright future that is promised to us in the death and resurrection of Jesus, let us pray. Pray for me, that I might be diligent in my duties as pastor. Pray for our teachers and lay leaders that they would perform their callings admirably. Pray for your families, that the Spirit of God would continue to feed and strengthen their faith.
And talk. Talk to me about ideas you have. Mention them to an elder or to a teacher. Discuss amongst yourselves how we might baptize, teach, and love more people.
The love of Jesus Christ has changed us. It has filled us with His Spirit and given us new life. May He continue working in His Church through His Word and Sacraments to baptize, teach, and love His people.