Acts 13:32-33 And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, ĎThou art my Son, today I have begotten thee.í
Today, like many other times, we begin where we are and with what we know, and look to where we are going, and how we will get there. What do we know? Likely weíve all heard the words, "Bringing Christ to the Nations, the Lutheran Hour". Some may be sponsors, some may listen regularly, and thatís good. And thatís the beginning. Its the beginning because bringing Christ to the nations, is not just for the Lutheran Hour, it is what God has called us to do. All part of the Great Commission of Matthew 28, and those are words God speaks to all Christians, going, teaching and baptizing make disciples. Quite simply, Christians are to be about the business of making more Christians. One thing you can clearly hear in all Jesus resurrection appearances is, you are my witnesses.
Now while it is always God, working through Word and Sacrament, who makes Christians. For it is God who calls us. God who enlightens us. God who creates faith. God who forgives sins. God who sanctifies. God who keeps us in faith. While it is God who has done everything to bring us to faith and salvation in Jesus Christ. There is a part we play in the making of Christians, we bring the good news.
Thatís what parenting is about. It begins in love, within marriage, which God blesses with a new life, and the miracle of a babies birth. And that was the easy part. Because for the rest of your life, parents will need to bring the good news to their children, day after day; and teach them the promises of God, so they can know what they are looking forward to, the resurrection of the dead, and the life everlasting.
In recent times, some people have misunderstood what it is to bring the good news to their Children. And while they have taught their children that God loves them and forgives them, somehow the children have not learned respect, nor the 10 commandments. Bringing the good news, is bringing both Law and Gospel. Without the Law, people see neither their sin, or their need for a savior. Without the Law, people learn neither of the wrath of God, nor do they understand the grace of God. Without the law, forgiveness becomes merely and indifference on Godís part about what we do. Its like that commercial, where everyone is spilling things on the carpet, and are worried about stains, and the mother say, thatís OK, the spills really donít matter.
God gives us the law, to show us how to live together in peace. The Law teaches respect, honor, duty, and many other fine virtues. The law can teach us these virtues, and tell us that this is how we ought to live. We must know what God expect, and how we ought live, but knowing these things does not always make it possible to be what we ought. Therefore, it is the gospel that brings us the forgiveness of God earned by Jesus death on the cross, and forgiven by God, we have also been given the power to forgive ourselves and others. The Gospel is the power [the grace of God] which enables us to live virtuous lives.
It is the balance, you see, a proper distinction between Law and Gospel, and the application of each, at the proper time, thatís what we are called to do, nor just as parents, but also as Christians. We bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, we teach them the promises of God, we love them. But this love, is not a love that says anything goes, just as it is with Godís love. Yet it is this love, based in Law and Gospel, that makes us the bringers of good news. We teach it diligently to our children. We talk about it daily. We practice it in our lives.
And the reason we do this, is because our parents also taught this to us. They brought us the good news, they told us about Jesus. They disciplined us that we might learn virtue, and forgave us, and taught us to forgive ourselves and others, that we too might be remembered as the bringers of good news, you see, we bring Christ to the nations, beginning with our family, or friends, and our neighbors. And God brings the nations to us, so that they too may hear, believe and be saved in Jesus Christ.