The soul can do without everything except the word of God.
So declared our namesake, Martin Luther.
What Luther said about the soul is also true for the Church. The Church can do without everything except the word of God.
As Jesus himself reminds us: We do not live on bread alone, but on every word of God.
The Church was created by the word of God; it is the word of God that brings people to faith (see Romans 10:8-14). The Church is sustained by the word of God as well. It has been this way from the very beginning (see John 1:1-14).
Each week, God’s people gather for worship. We gather to hear the word of the Lord.
Each week, we gather to hear both words from God: Repent and Believe.
Repent and believe are the two primary words of God. We see this in the life of Christ. We see this at the beginning of his public ministry. And we see this at the end as well.
In the opening lines of Mark, we read: Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”
After his crucifixion and subsequent resurrection, Luke tells us that Jesus appeared to his disciples over a period of forty days. At the end of this period, Jesus declared: This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations…
Sadly, repentance is a word that we rarely, if ever, hear anymore. This is a shame.
Repentance is a word that we need to hear and heed on a regular, even daily, basis. It means “turn around”. It means that you’re heading in the wrong direction. It means come back to God. Repentance is a call to obey the word of God. Obey his commands. Give up your evil ways before it’s too late.
Believe is one of the most misunderstood words in the Church’s vocabulary. It doesn’t mean merely accepting something is true. Believing involves trusting what the Word of God says. It means clinging to the promises that the Word of God makes to us. Most of all, it means trusting in the one and only Savior from sin, Satan, and death—Jesus the Christ.
The first followers of Jesus never forgot the two words of their Lord.
They proclaimed repentance far and wide, to anyone and everyone who would listen.
They called men and women, both high and low, to faith in Jesus Christ.
Down through the ages, God speaks his word to those who will listen: Repent. Believe.
The Church exists solely because of the word of God.
The Church’s sole purpose is to proclaim this same word.
At Our Saviour’s, we gather each week to confess our sins (1 John 1:8-10). We long to receive Christ’s word of absolution (John 20:19-23).
We gather to heard the word of God as it is read and proclaimed; this is done for the strengthening of our faith that we might repent and believe the good news of Jesus Christ.
Having heard the word of the Lord, we then seek to live out our faith, following the example of our namesake. Like Martin Luther, our consciences are captive to the Word of God; this is true in all areas of life.
Pastor Brian Scoles