These phrases — Witness, Mercy, Life Together — illustrate how the church lives and works together to proclaim the Gospel and to provide for our brothers and sisters in Christ in our congregations, communities and throughout the world. And in all we do, Christ is at the center, leading us, sustaining us, keeping us focused on our mission. This will never change.
“...for there are three that testify: the Spirit and the
water and the blood;
and these three agree.” – 1 John 5:7-8
Our Father in heaven sent His Son, Jesus, to be our savior. His atoning sacrifice is the first fruits of all the dead, a pleasing aroma to His Father – and ours – so that His perfect life and death count for all who believe in Him. He claimed us as His own children in Holy Baptism. He sustains and strengthens our faith with His Holy Word and His Body and Blood. As new creatures, who have put on Christ, we bear good fruit. We do the good works prepared for us, which He makes known to us in His Word.
By faith then, trusting in the Word of God, we do what He says because He does not lie and al-ways keeps His promises. For “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Heb. 11:6).
And so the Lord promises: “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine” (Prov. 3:9-10).
How do we honor the Lord with the wealth that God has given us in His generosity? By giving it generously to those whom the Lord has called us to love and support: your family, your society, and your church. And His promise is that in so doing, you will never lack. Our Lord Jesus Him-self gives us similar promises in the New Testament. He says, at the conclusion of the parable of the talents, “For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance” (Matt. 25:29).
In His sermon on the mount, Jesus says: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:19 –21). God does re-ward temporal faithfulness in temporal matters with temporal blessings. It’s no quid pro quo. It’s all from God’s grace, His fatherly divine goodness and mercy.
Our Father in heaven loves to bless those who bless others. He loves to give to those who give freely and generously. In fact, he challenges us to challenge Him: “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need” (Mal. 3:10).
Witness bearing, Martyria,
Bold proclaiming of the truth;
Tongues of fire on each believer,
Now as in the Church’s youth.
Preaching, teaching, faith confessing,
Gospel reaching far and near;
Lord, we pray that You would open
Mouths to speak and ears to hear.
Text: © 2011 Charles Henrickson
Tune: REX GLORIAE (LSB 494, 583) 87 87 D