C.F.W. Walther: Each Christian is a Missionary … Every Church a “Mission House”!

Living in a post-church culture calls for the mobilization of all Christians.  Quoting the prophet Joel, Peter says in Acts 2:18, “Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those [last] days, and they will prophesy.”  In order to impact a growing secular society with the Gospel, God’s people need to embrace C.F.W. Walther’s vision of “every Christian a missionary” and be trained and equipped to live as missionaries.  Walther writes,

Not only, however, is this [to see another person recognize Jesus as his/her Lord and Saviour] a Christian’s desire, but it is also his sacred duty.  No one should say, ‘I am not a pastor, a teacher, or a preacher.  Let them teach, instruct, comfort, and lead souls to Christ.  I wish to remain in my own vocation.’ No, Christian, you are baptized, and through Holy Baptism you have already been anointed and called to be a priest of God.  Through Holy Baptism each Christian has been consecrated, ordained and installed into the ministry to teach, admonish and comfort his neighbour.  Through Holy Baptism each Christian has received not only the authority, power and right, but also the high and holy obligation to do his part that others may be brought to Christ. …

And yet, at the same time, all Christians are to shine as lights among the world.  The Christian Church is a great mission-house.  Each Christian is a missionary sent out by God into his own circle of activity to convert others to Christ and to call them to thekingdom ofGod.  God does not give His spiritual gifts only to pastors and teachers.  Lay people, too, often have very glorious gifts – for example, a splendid knowledge of Christian doctrine, the gift of understanding and explaining Scriptures, the gift of administration, the God-given ability to encourage, to admonish, and the like. …      

Each of us has a brother or sister, an acquaintance, a relative, a friend.  When we are with them, let us take to heart that we through Holy Baptism have been made spiritual priests, that we have entered into a covenant with God for His service.  Every Christian should avail himself or herself of the opportunity to speak something good, to tell what God has done for us, to win back the erring, to admonish the frivolous and lazy, to comfort and encourage those who are sad and disheartened.

When we are with unbelievers, let us remember that as spiritual priests we are to confess Christ before them by word and deed that they also may come to the knowledge of the truth. … When we have the opportunity to lead a soul to Christ or defend the honour of Christ, then we should not allow fear of the world to deter us from courageously bearing witness to the truth.

Oh, what a joy it will be in all eternity to see souls around us, souls who through our efforts,  came to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, souls who found the way to heaven through our witness!     We ourselves, along with all the angels, will then exclaim with extreme joy, ‘The Lord has done all things well!  To Him be honour and praise forever and ever.’   (From: A sermon preached by    C.F. W. Walther in 1842 as printed in the Lutherisches Volksblatt, Anniversary Edition, Summer 2004, p. 7-8, Emphasis added)

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