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For some, it isn’t enough
to carry out of the tasks handed out by the real Lord and Master of the church – namely preaching of the Word and the administration of the Sacraments within a local franchise of the church that God has started. The devil has deluded them into thinking that they need to stand at the head of some organizational chart to be effective instruments. They want to “start new to reach new” because they have been deceived into thinking that the ways that God has revealed He desires to work are too ineffective.
Like the priests and pharisees
God has placed some of these people into their offices. He has given them specific tasks to do.
But instead of faithfully following His lead, they set aside His clear Word and promises and seek after something else. Even though outwardy, they carry on the ordinances of God, they do not believe that God accomplishes His will through those very means that He established. Instead, they believe that something more needs to be added – something more pleasing to the human eye and enticing to the the human heart.
Like those in ancient Jerusalem, they wrong-headedly believe that God can be seen to be at work where things show forth temporal glory and so, often unknowingly, they refuse to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness by the means the He established – trusting that He would add all things necessary.
But just as He showed when mankind attempted to stand up to Him on the plains of Shinar – creating a tower that reached into the heavens so that they could make a name for themselves, the Lord will not stand idly by as entrepreneurial upstarts seek to usurp His honor and glory by their own schemes and plans.
The Lord patiently endured
the affront to His honor and glory for a time. Desiring that those responsible of Jesus’ death would repent and seek His forgiveness, he waited over thirty years after the crucifixion of Jesus before He raised up the Roman Army to overthrow the walls of Jerusalem and tear down the grand and magnificent temple created with human hands
And likewise, today. Our Lord will be patient. He will seek after those who have strayed and given ear to the whispers of the forked-tongue father of lies. He will call after them to repent of their arrogance and their rejection of Him and the means that He has established to build His church.
But He will not be patient forever.
And no matter how important a role it may have played in the past to keep the message straight and get the message out, no group or organization will be allowed to endure if it wanders down the path of obstinantly rejecting our Lord by despising His Word and setting aside the plans, purposes and institutions clearly revealed in Holy Writ in favor of the plans and intentions of human hearts that wish to exult themselves to the head of organizational charts and hierarchies.
One of the parables of Jesus from the Gospel according to St. Matthew speaks to this situation in clear and unequivocal words:
[Jesus said,] “Hear another parable. There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country. When the season for fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his fruit. And the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first. And they did the same to them. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.”
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
“ ‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”
GOD is the master of the House of the Christian church.
He is the entrepreneur who started this enterprise by giving us the gifts of His sacraments. The preaching the Gospel and administration of the sacraments are the “best practices” that He instituted. They are the means by which He will move this enterprise forward.
The first tenants He placed over his vineyard were unfaithful and they were overthrown. He has given His vineyard over to other tenants to manage and tend according to His instruction and His command which He clearly lays out in His Word.
He does not look for out of the box thinking. He does not desire that we “start new to reach new”. He does not look for upstarts to seek new ways and methods as if we could improve or get ahead of what He is accomplishing.
By His Holy Spirit working in and through His Word and Sacraments,
He continues to guide, guard and sustain the Church.
And as we are faithful to the tasks He has clearly given in His Word, He scatters the seed of the Gospel to raise up a harvest for righteousness.
Our Lord seeks and uses those who trust Him to fulfill His promises. Those who lay hold of His Word and promises, clearly revealed, can be assured that He is with us always, to the very end of the age, just as He promised.
So, it is not “sacramental entrepreneurs,” but “sacramental minions” that our Lord desires.
Those who will faithfully carry out His will and His commands as He has clearly given them to us in the Scriptures. Those who have been taught to treasure everything He has commanded and so we seek to carry out the office of preaching the Gospel and administering the sacraments as He instituted. For through these, as through means, God sends His Holy Spirit to work faith in those who hear the Gospel when and where it pleases Him.