St. Paul's Evangelical

330 Highland Drive
Chicago Heights, Illinois 60411

Church Office: 708-754-4493

We go forward in Witness, Mercy, Life Together.

Sunday Worship Service
10:00 a.m.
 Sunday Adult Fellowship/Bible Study  
9:00 a.m.

Sunday Youth Bible Study
9:00 a.m.

Sunday School
 9:00 a.m.

Monday Evening
 Worship Services
7:00 p.m.
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God’s Pastor

 At the end of this month, we will celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. We celebrate on October 31st because that is the day Martin Luther posted the 95 Theses. Although this is when we often recognize the start of the Reformation it was not the birth of the Lutheran church. That happened June 25th, 1530 when a group of “Lutherans” got together and wrote down for the first time what they believed and what their churches would teach. This document is called the Augsburg Confession.

The Augsburg Confession is what we are studying at our monthly young adult dinner and Bible study. It has been a great opportunity to learn what we believe as Lutherans, why it matters, and how it is still relevant 500 years later. One of the articles we will look at is Article V, “The Ministry”.

"So that we may obtain this faith, the ministry of teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted.Through the Word and Sacraments, as through instruments, the Holy Spirit is given (John 20:22). He works faith, when and where it pleases God (John 3:8), in those who hear the good news that God justifies those who believe that they are received into grace for Christ’s sake. This happens not through our own merits, but for Christ’s sake. Our churches condemn the Anabaptists and others who think that through their own preparations and works the Holy Spirit comes to them without the external Word."

There are many points that can be discussed in this article but, the primary lesson is that God chooses to work through the Office of Holy Ministry to give faith through the Word and Sacrament to us. This is not a man-made office or optional for churches to partake in. There is only a Church because there is a way to administer these gifts and that is through our called pastors. The Church is not the people, it is the gift of Word and Sacrament and God chooses to give those gifts through this public office of the Holy Ministry.

God instituted the Office of Holy Ministry in Matthew 28 and in John 20 when Jesus breathed on the disciples and gave them His authority to teach and baptize. What we call the Office of the Keys was given to the disciples, the institution of the Office of Holy Ministry was created, and the apostles were sent to give the gifts of God to all people. Throughout the book of Acts, we see this office grow and the Word spread through the laying on of hands, giving others the same power Jesus gave them. Pastors were installed in new lands and churches were formed to preach God’s Word, baptize new members, and give the Lord’s Supper when they gathered and we still partake in these practices today.

Pastors are overseers of their flock (Acts 20:28), servants of Christ and stewards of the Sacraments (1 Corinthians 4:1), qualified teachers (2 Timothy 2:2), and ministers, even when it is unpopular, (2 Timothy 4:1-8). They are called to a great honor being in the stead and by the command of Christ for you and for me but, there is also great responsibility. They are in charge of our spiritual well-being. They will be held accountable for what they do or do not teach (2 Corinthians 5:10). It would be defying God’s Word if they taught or allow things within the church that go against their conscience. Unfortunately, sometimes a pastor serving according to his conscience shaped by God’s Word differs from what we think the pastor should be doing. In these cases, we do not talk behind his back. We do not vote to fire him. We do not leave the church. Whether or not we like it, the pastor of our church has been called by God to serve at this specific time and to us specifically until God sends him somewhere else. God has not called our pastor to be popular or to be ruled by a vote, He has called him to be faithful and as his flock we should support him in his efforts to do just that by praying for him, forgiving him when his sinful nature shows, and continuing to receive from him the gifts God has for us.

For the past 500 years, these have been the teachings of the Lutheran church and I pray they continue to be for the next 500 because they are a true explanation of God’s Word. If you would like to discuss our Lutheran theology further join us at the next Sunday night dinner and Bible study, no matter your age!  

Welcome Aboar Deaconess

In Christ,

Deaconess Katelyn Hansen