“Get the Word Out!” – Dr. Robert Preus (Part 2)

romans10_4The following sermon excerpts are reproduced from a sermon preached by Dr. Robert Preus at the Concordia Theological Seminary (Fort Wayne, IN) Winter Call Service (February 4, 1986).  The sermon, based on 2 Timothy 4, was published in the Concordia Theological Quarterly, Vol. 60, No. 3, July 1996. Although Dr. Preus’ message was directed to men receiving calls into the Sacred Office of the Holy Ministry, many of his points in his message are relevant for all Christians. Excerpts from the first part of this sermon were printed last Monday, September 16th on “Go!”

Therefore, you cannot, you must not, allow anything … deter you from getting that Word out!

Why? Because it is a saving Word, Paul tells us.  No other message in the world can save a person.  And, believe me, this world of ours needs to be saved.  Every man, woman, and child on this globe needs to be saved. Why? Because all of us are sinners.  That is part of the message that you are to preach, the message of the Word.  To tell the world, to tell your parishioners, that they are sinners – real, concrete, hard boiled sinners, as Luther used to say. Lost, helpless, ruined sinners, because ruin is always the result of sin: ruined marriages, ruined opportunities, ruined jobs and occupations, ruined friendships, ruined lives, and worse, infinitely worse, eternal ruin, damnation. That is the message of the Word.

But it has another message, doesn’t it – salvation – rescue from ruin; rescue planned meticulously by God Himself from eternity. Rescue, salvation brought about infallibly, powerfully by Christ the Son of God who came into this world and became incarnate to be our substitute and to live the whole law of God being under that law, subjecting Himself to it.  He suffered and died in our place. That is salvation – perfect, free salvation – offered, and not only offered but conferred in that Word which you are to preach. Eternal salvation – that’s the message of the Word. And that is why you dare not allow anything [to] keep you from preaching it. …

Invincible indifference – that’s what you’ll run up against. What are you going to do about it? Well you know what you’re going to do.  There’s only one thing you can do.  You’re going to preach the Word in season and out of season!  …

Paul says, “reprove.” That means to convince people with the Word, to argue the Word, apply the Word, comfort with the Word. Help people with the Word wherever you possibly can. Help them to believe it and to apply it to themselves. …

And here Paul is telling you to comfort people, to strengthen people, to help them with the Word.  Comfort them with the only thing in this world that can offer a poor sinner comfort, the gospel; the gospel of a loving, gracious, forgiving God. That will be the burden of your ministry. That is the real, essential element of getting the Word out – to comfort with it. And that, I guarantee you, is going to be the crown of your ministry, the glory of your ministry. You’ll see that mighty gospel word you preach at work. You’ll see hardened, unregenerate sinners repent at the foot of the cross and confess that Jesus Christ is their Savior.  You’ll see lives transformed.  You’ll see poor, miserable, sad, troubled people smile and laugh at the same time they are crying, because you’ve brought them comfort.  And you’ll see old, forsaken, dying people die with a smile on their face, knowing that they are going to go to that place God the Son has prepared for them because you preached the Word. It is the most rewarding, glorious calling in the world.

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