If you have ever wondered what the function of the local church or congregation is, we have the answer. CFW Walther, first president of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, wrote a piece entitled “The Proper Form of an Evangelical Lutheran Congregation Independent of the State.” In it he notes that each congregation has six duties as follows:
Of the Duties of an Evangelical Lutheran Local Church Independent of the State
6. It is the duty of the congregation carefully to see to it that the Word of God may richly dwell and have full and free scope in its midst. Col. 3:16: “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly,” etc.
7. It is the duty of the congregation to care for the purity of doctrine and life in its midst and to exercise church discipline in these matters. Matt. 18:15-18: ‘If thy brother shall trespass against thee, . . . let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” Rom. 16:17: “Mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them.” 1 Cor. 5:1-13: “Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? . . . Put away from among yourselves that wicked person.” 1 Cor.6:1-8; 2 Cor.2:6-11. Gal. 6:1: “restore such an one in the spirit of meekness.” 1 Thess. 5:14; 2 Thess. 3:6,14,15. 2 John 10,11: “If there come any unto you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him Godspeed,” etc.
8. It is the duty of the congregation to concern itself also with the temporal welfare of all its members that they may not suffer want of the necessaries of life nor be forsaken in any need. Gal.6:10: “Let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Deut. 15:4. Rom. 12:13: “Distributing to the necessity of saints.” Gal. 2:9,10; Jas. 1 :27; 1 Thess. 4:11,12.
9. It is the duty of the congregation to see that in its midst “all things be done decently and in order,” 1 Cor. 14:33, 40, and to “provide for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord but also in the sight of men,” 2 Cor. 8:21. Col. 2:5.
10. It is the duty of the congregation to be diligent “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” also with all parts of the orthodox Church, Eph. 4:3; 1 Thess. 4:9,10; Rom. 15:26, 27; 2 Cor. 8:19.
11. It is also incumbent upon the congregation to do its part in building up and promoting the welfare of the Church at large. Amos 6:6; Acts 11:21-23 (“Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem; and they sent forth Barnabas that he should go as far as Antioch,” etc.); 15:18.
The Proper Form of an Evangelical Lutheran Congregation, by Dr. CFW Walther, translated by Dr. Th. Engelder, from “Walther and the Church” by Dau, Engelder and Dallman, (1938 Concordia Publishing House). The full text of the theses can be found at the following website: http://www.reclaimingwalther.org/articles/cfw00005.htm
Simple, Scriptural, to the Pointe. Every local congregation has the responsibility to Read the rest of this entry
Lessons from the Shepherds on the Beginning of the Life of a Christian
On this Christmas Day we bring back into the present, the incarnation of our Lord, Jesus Christ. He was first greeted by the lowly shepherds who heard the Word of God proclaimed to them by angels. They heralded this birth an a majestic display of God’s glory in the deep of night, as the shepherds watched over their flocks on the cold Judean hillsides surrounding Bethlehem. Martin Luther wrote about the beginning of the Christian life that these humble, lowly shepherds exemplified in his Kirchepostils, Church Postils, written during his exile in the Wartburg Castle between 1521 and 1522. From them, we learn how God’s Word works on us, and then in and through us. There is power in the Word of God, as it goes forth and does its mighty work. It is this Word that produces fruit, and works signs and wonders. The text of the following sermon from Dr. Luther , The Early Sermon for Christmas Day on the Gospel of Luke 2:[15-20] is taken from Luther’s Works, Vol. 52: Sermons II, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald and Helmut T. Lehmann, Luther’s Works, 52:iii-40 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999, c1974).
THE GOSPEL FOR THE EARLY CHRISTMAS SERVICE, LUKE 2[:15–20]
This Gospel can be understood quite easily from the interpretation of the preceding one; for it contains an example and carrying out of the teaching which is contained in the previous lesson in that the shepherds did and found what the angels had told them. So the content of the present lesson deals with the consequences and fruits of the word of God and the signs by which we recognize whether the word of God is in us and has been effective.
The first and chief item is faith. If these shepherds had not believed the angel, they would not have gone to Bethlehem nor would they have done any of the things which are related of them in the shepherds. Continue Reading