Third Sunday in Advent
December 17, 2017
Title: Jesus is the Mystery of God.
Grace and mercy to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
It is written in 1 Corinthians 4 1This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. 3But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. Thus far the text.
Let us pray: Gracious Father, Your Son Jesus Christ, is the mystery of God whom You have made known to us in Your Holy Scriptures. Grant us faithfulness to Your Word; in the name of Jesus. Amen.
This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.
Saint Paul is preaching these Words to the church gathered in Corinth. It sounds a bit abrasive to us. Saint Paul is telling the congregation how they regard him as their pastor. The Corinthians were divided. In the midst of many divisions, some followed Paul; but some followed Apollos, some followed Peter, some claimed to follow no man but Christ.
Saint Paul admonishes the Corinthian church, This is how one should regard (me and Apollos and Peter), as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.
Paul says, regard us as servants of Christ. Do not regard us as great leaders but rather regard us as fellow Christians saved by grace through faith in Jesus just as you are.
Paul also says, regard us as stewards of the mysteries of God.
Think of stewards like this: the apostles and pastors are given a “power of attorney”. They are responsible to distribute God’s gifts; according to God’s direction; according to His written Word.
Think of the mysteries of God like this: Jesus is the mystery of God who is received by faith.
Paul, Apollos, and Cephas were equally stewards of the mysteries of God.
The same is true for you. Beginning with Pastor … and up to Pastor Saunders and even me, the Lord has granted you public stewards of the mysteries of God among the saints gathered at Our Savior Lutheran in Muscatine. They all had the same responsibility: distribute the gifts of God our Father to you.
What is required of stewards? It is required that they are found trustworthy to what is written in the Holy Scriptures. They are to believe in Jesus Christ. But for you, they are to preach and teach and pray and baptize and absolve and commune you regularly. At the end of many years and decades of trustworthy stewardship, the Lord will commend the steward, saying well done my good and faithful steward. This is true even if the church does not give a commendation because all they see is shrinking attendance, too many requests for repentance and faith, too little attention to boards and councils and conventions.
I am sometimes asked how this applies to the rest of the church. The Lord has given you your own sphere of stewardship. Your sphere includes your mom and dad, your husband or wife, your son or daughter, your employer or employee. How do you exercise your responsibilities; your stewardship? Like a pastor, look at what is written. You have the Ten Commandments. You are to believe in Jesus Christ. You are to pray for yourself and others in Jesus name. Attend the Divine Service. This is true. But your stewardship for others is to honor your father and mother. If mom or dad is not asking you to sin against Jesus then do what they say even if you don’t want to. This is your stewardship; your responsibility. Students, do the homework your teacher assigns you whether you like it or not. This is your stewardship. Husbands and wives, love and cherish each other. If your spouse is not asking you to sin against Jesus then do what she says even if you don’t want to. This is your stewardship; your responsibility. At the end of many years and decades of trustworthy stewardship, the Lord will commend you, saying well done my good and faithful steward. Whether your stewardship is as a pastor of the mysteries of God in a little congregation or a bricklayer for a large company, as Christian stewards we are thoroughly furnished unto all good works through the study of Holy Scripture (which) is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16-17 KJV).
You will be found trustworthy because God our Father has sent His only-begotten Son Jesus Christ who did the good work of laying down His life and picking it back up again to fulfill the Ten Commandments and bear your sins and iniquities.
Jesus is the Mystery of God our Father. I can neither explain this mystery nor will I try. But, as far a Jesus is revealed in the Holy Scriptures this mystery I will proclaim. Come quickly, Lord Jesus. Amen.
The peace of God, which passes understanding, guard and keep your body and soul in Jesus Christ, who is the Mystery of God our Father. Amen.