Trinity Fourteen Sermon
September 12, 2004
ďBut you must continue
in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from
whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the
Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through
faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is
profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped
for every good work.Ē (2 Timothy 3:14-17)
When Christian parents bring
their children to church to be instructed in the Holy Scriptures they do
a holy thing. God gives us
children because He loves us. Children
are not born because a man and a woman choose to have children.
Children are born because God chooses to bring them into this
world. God is the Author of
life. God did not embrace
death when Adam and Eve set their hearts on a lie and rejected the
truth. We did. We all
fell in Adamís fall. We
were all born spiritually dead. We
have no ability in and of ourselves to apply ourselves to spiritual
knowledge. We are born in
spiritual blindness. God
alone can bring new life. God
alone can enlighten us. He
does so in the washing of Holy Baptism.
This is why we baptize babies.
God enlightens us through the teaching of the Holy Scriptures.
This is why we teach our babies the word of God.
This is why Christian fathers and mothers bring their children to
Christian Day Schools, Sunday Schools, and Wednesday Schools.
The Bible knows nothing of Christian Day Schools or Sunday
Schools or Wednesday Schools, but the Bible most certainly does give to
Christian fathers and mothers the responsibility of teaching Godís
word to their children.
In the Book of Deuteronomy is
recorded the famous Shema, the Hebrew word for hear.
Listen to these words in the context in which Moses wrote them:
God gave His holy people the
sacred duty to teach His word to their children.
The same words that fathers and mothers were to cherish in their
hearts were the words that they were to teach to their children.
This is not a peculiarity of the Old Testament.
This is a permanent feature of Godís dealing with His people.
Parents are to teach their children the word of God.
God gives us our children and when He does He calls us into the
holy vocation of Christian fatherhood or Christian motherhood.
God gives the father the primary responsibility of teaching
Godís word to His children. When
the father is unable or unwilling to teach Godís word to his children,
the Christian mother must do so herself.
This is what Timothyís grandmother and mother did.
It appears that Timothyís father was not a believer.
Timothy was not circumcised as a baby as he would have been had
his father practiced the faith. But
Timothyís mother, Eunice, was devoted to the Holy Scriptures and she
taught her son Godís word from the time he was a baby.
When St. Paul wrote to Timothy, ďBut you must continue in the
things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you
have learned them,Ē he was not speaking only of the instruction he had
given to Timothy. He was referring also to the instruction Timothy had received
since he was born. St. Paul
added, ďfrom childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are
able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ
Jesus.Ē From childhood
Ė literally, from infancy Ė Timothy had known the Holy Scriptures.
Timothy was a preacher.
In our text St. Paul refers to him as a ďman of GodĒ who,
through the teaching of the Holy Scriptures, would be thoroughly
prepared to do every good work given the pastor to do.
St. Paulís epistles to Timothy and Titus are called the
Pastoral Epistles because these men were pastors and these epistles
provide pastors with divine instruction on what the pastoral office
requires of them. In order
that Timothy would be a faithful pastor, he should study the Holy
Scriptures, the same Holy Scriptures he had known since he was a little
There is no secret special
ďpastor knowledgeĒ that is any different from the knowledge that the
Bible gives to every Christian who reads it.
Listen to these inspired words: ďYou have known the Holy
Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith
which is in Christ Jesus.Ē The Bible is able to make you wise. The Bible is not just a book.
It is the words of God. Godís
words are always able to do what God is able to do because Godís words
are God in action. God
speaks and so He acts. God
speaks and so He gives. God
speaks and He destroys. God
speaks and He creates. Everything
that God works within us to bring us to the faith, to keep us in the
faith, and to produce the fruit of faith He does through His speaking to
us. The Holy Scriptures are
the very words of God. The
Bible is Godís word. This
is why it is inherently powerful to make you wise unto salvation through
faith in Christ.
The Bible is Godís word.
It does not become Godís word when the preacher preaches it.
The Bible is Godís word. It
doesnít merely contain Godís word along with the opinions of men.
The Bible is Godís word because it is God-breathed.
The text of the Bible is written down in such a way that every
word that is written down is Godís word.
The various men who wrote the text did not do so under their own
power or inspiration. God
Himself led them to write exactly what God wanted them to write.
This is why the Bible cannot err.
God cannot err and God inspired the Bible to be written.
To deny that the Bible is inerrant is to deny that God is its
Author. But the perfection
of the Bible comes precisely from the fact that God is its true Author.
This is why the Bible is the source of all true spiritual
knowledge. This is why the
Bible is able to make you wise with the wisdom that possesses eternal
life. True wisdom is to
know Christ and Christ is the Savior of sinners. The reason God gave us the Bible is that we may know Christ,
trust in Him, and receive from Him the forgiveness of sins and
everlasting life that He alone can give.
It has been my privilege to
serve as a pastor in Christís church for over twenty-five years.
What a wonderful privilege it is!
No man deserves the right to preach, just as no one deserves the
gospel that is preached. It
is always Godís gift of grace. Sinful
mortals speak words to sinful mortals that promise and bring forgiveness
of sins and eternal life. The
words the preacher preaches and the words the hearer hears are the words
of God that come from the lips of Jesus.
It was after Jesus bore our sins on the cross and washed them
away by His blood that He appeared to His apostles on that first Easter
Sunday and commanded them to preach the gospel and administer the
sacraments. That command is
recorded for us in Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20 and 21.
That command is Christís institution of the pastoral office.
The apostles were the first preachers, and Christ has been
sending His Holy Spirit to preach through His preachers for nearly two
thousand years now. The preaching of the gospel is the time and the place where
God forgives sinners, giving life to the dying.
It was after Jesus won salvation for the entire world by His
vicarious suffering and death that He instituted the office of preaching
the gospel and administering the sacraments so that through the gospel
and the sacraments the Holy Spirit would gather together the Christian
Church on earth. Jesus
earned the treasures distributed here.
I havenít always felt like
preaching on a Sunday morning and I suspect that you havenít always
felt like listening. Fathers
and mothers donít always feel like teaching Godís word to their
children and their children donít always feel like learning it.
Children are a wonderful gift from God.
They are the only gift God gives us here on earth that we can
take to heaven with us. Our
money, property, physical strength, popularity, prestige, social
standing, job, and whatever other material gifts we treasure will be
lost to us forever when we die. Our children are bought by the blood of Christ and sanctified
by the Holy Spirit. They
need Godís word whether or not we feel like providing it.
They need to hear sound biblical preaching whether or not our
schedules permit it. The
greatest gift Christian parents can give to their children is Godís
Children are not born loving
Godís word. The love for
Godís word that we have comes from God.
It comes from Godís word.
This is why we need to feed children the word of God from the
time they are born. This is why we must persist in teaching children even if they
arenít anxious to be taught. Loving
Christian discipline begins with the determination on the part of
fathers and mothers to indoctrinate their children in the teaching of
the Holy Scriptures.
The Bible is profitable or
useful for teaching. It is
popular in our day to despise the love for pure doctrine as if doctrine
or teaching is boring, lifeless, and irrelevant to Christian life.
Nothing could be further from the truth!
Godís teaching is always life giving because it is always
centered in Jesus who is the way, the truth, and the life.
Everyone is going to be taught something. Who are our teachers going to be? Those who do not acknowledge the Bible as Godís inerrant
word and who do not confess the pure doctrine taught in the Bible are
not fit to teach anyone the way of eternal life.
The Bible is useful for reproof. That is, the Bible can convince you that you are wrong.
It can show you what is right and wrong, true and false,
beneficial and harmful. This
is because the Bible is Godís clear and infallible word.
It profits us when we are confused by a lying culture and a weak
or erring conscience. The
reproof of the Bible shows us where we are wrong.
The Bible is useful for
correction. It corrects us
by restoring us. It
converts us. It changes us. The
correction of the Bible is the correction of God Himself.
The law shows us our sins and the gospel gives us our Savior from
sin. This is how we are
The Bible is useful for
instruction in righteousness. We
cannot live righteous lives until we are righteous people and the Bible
Ė from cover to cover Ė reveals to us the righteousness that we have
in Christ. Christ is our
righteousness. He has done
all that Godís law required of us.
He has suffered all that Godís law demanded of us.
He is our righteousness and the Holy Scriptures teach us that
this righteousness is given to us in the word and sacraments and
received by us through faith. Training
in righteousness proceeds from being justified by Godís grace alone
through faith in Christ who is and will always be the LORD, our
The Bible is the source of all
Christian teaching. The
Bible is therefore the judge of all Christian preaching.
The authority of the creeds and confessions that we confess
(including Lutherís Small Catechism) comes from the Bible.
We indoctrinate our children in the Catechism at home and in
Sunday School and Wednesday School because we are confident that the
Catechism faithfully sets forth the saving doctrine of Godís written
word. The gift God thereby
gives our children is incalculable. Every child thoroughly catechized in the Six Chief Parts of
Christian doctrine will be able to judge the teaching and preaching he
hears from the pulpit for the rest of his life.
The gospel that is preached is no different than the gospel that
is confessed. When you have
been indoctrinated in the pure doctrine of the Holy Scriptures you are
wealthy beyond compare. After
the words of our text, St. Paul writes this warning to Timothy:
Those days are upon us as well. Doctrinal indifference is the spirit of our day.
If we judge sin and false teaching according to Godís word the
religious majority will condemn us as unloving bigots.
This is how Christians are frightened away from taking a
Christian stand and making a Christian confession.
Bible doubters and deniers who donít think the truth can be
known, much less faithfully confessed, intimidate Christians into
silence or outright denial of the saving truths of Godís word.
We know from Godís word that we must stand up for the truth by
which we are saved and confess it.
This is why we support our Sunday School and Wednesday School.
This is why we teach our children the word of God at home.
This is why we faithfully bring them to the services of Godís
house every Sunday. This is
why we read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the Holy Scriptures. In the Holy Scriptures is Christ and the wisdom of salvation.
This is our greatest treasure in this world.
This treasure will lead us out of this world into the eternal
joys of heaven with God and all the saints.
Rev. Rolf D. Preus