Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Friday after the Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on September 15, 2023 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: Philippians 1:12-18 (NKJV)
1:12 But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, 13 so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; 14 and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
15 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: 16 The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; 17 but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.
Our Augsburg Confession in the 8th Article teaches that, “Although the Church properly is the congregation of saints and true believers, nevertheless, since in this life many hypocrites and evil persons are mingled therewith, it is lawful to use Sacraments administered by evil men, according to the saying of Christ: The Scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat, etc. Matt. 23:2. Both the Sacraments and Word are effectual by reason of the institution and commandment of Christ, notwithstanding they be administered by evil men.”
Certainly, no one wants there to be insincere or corrupt ministers. Further, this is not an excuse for unfaithful ministers to continue on without discipline or removal from office. This article has us focus on Christ being the sole authority in the Church and that His Word is effectual. This is why the Apostle Paul rejoices that the Gospel goes forth even by the mouths of insincere ministers. The Lord will sort out those unfaithful men by His ordinary means of Church discipline, even while we endure insincerity. Therefore, we do not despair.
Since Christ is head over the Church, and since His Word is the efficient cause of the Sacraments, we do not fear even if we find unfaithful or insincere ministers. Instead, we rejoice that Christ is preached and pray the Lord of the Church bring the unfaithful to repentance by His means.
Collect: Keep, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy Church with Thy perpetual mercy; and, because the frailty of man without Thee cannot but fall, keep us ever by Thy help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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