Pastor's Update

  Pastor's Update  
Each month, our pastor writes a personal message of encouragement for the members of Christ Lutheran.

Pastor's updates generally correspond to his updates in the monthly congregational newsletter, The Messenger

Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Merrill, WI - WELS
February 2019
Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  (NIV® 84)
“…the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”  (NIV® 84)

Think about what happens when an athlete, a movie star, or a famous politician does certain things like anything that could be construed as racism.  Or when it becomes clear that they have used a power of position to act in a sexually inappropriate way.  They are immediately suspended by whoever employs them.  Any endorsements they have are dropped.  No one wants to seem like they are associated with that person in any way.  Now of course, the list of crimes that will elicit this response changes from time to time and between different places.  At Jesus’ time in Palestine, being a tax collector or a prostitute was what people especially looked down upon.  And yet what did Jesus do?  He spent time with people just like these, the notorious sinners of his day that everyone else would have looked down upon.  He allowed a woman who had lived a sinful life to show her appreciation to him by anointing him with expensive perfume.  He defended her and made it clear to all who were there that her sins were forgiven.  He went to Matthew’s house and ate at a banquet filled with tax collectors.  He was happy when tax collectors and sinners gathered around to hear him teach.  Jesus would not have associated with anybody in a way that supported or contributed to their sin, but as he said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”  (NIV® 84)  And “the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”  (NIV® 84)  He most certainly would have interacted with any sinner, no matter how disgusting they might have seemed to society, to call them to repentance and to share the good news with them.  He would have accepted them as a part of the brotherhood of believers if they repented and believed in him.  

I can’t say whether a company should keep their endorsement with an athlete who has tarnished their reputation, but I do know how Jesus wants us to respond to the notorious sinners of our day as individual Christians in our daily lives, how he wants our church to respond to them.  He wants us to be kind to these people, call them to repentance and tell them about Jesus.  He wants us to accept them as our brothers and sisters in Christ if they believe.  He wants us to do this even if it might make some people look down on us.  This might get pretty hard in certain circumstances.  What if the person has been convicted of murder or child pornography or rape?  What if their crime is one that a person close to me has been a victim of?  But you know, no matter how disgusting their sin is to us, before God’s judgment throne, we are in the same boat.  Our sin condemns us to hell just as much.  And yet the same Savior who died for all of our sins, died for that person’s too.  The God who loves me and wants me to be saved in spite of my sin feels the same way about that person too.  Through faith in Jesus, our failures to love others and treat them like Jesus would, are forgiven.  Even though our sin makes us sick, our doctor, Jesus, makes us well. Even though we by nature are lost, Jesus has sought us out and saved us.  In thankfulness to him, he wants us to treat other people in a similar way, to long for them to enjoy God’s salvation, to do what we can to bring it to them, and to be ready to accept them as our brothers and sisters in Christ.    

Your brother in Christ,
Pastor Andy DeGier
Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Merrill, WI - WELS

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