Pastor's Pen for 08/22/2017When Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” (Mark 6)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Sinners are in need of a preacher. Faithful preachers calling sinners to repentance. When it deals with someone else’s sin, the preaching of repentance can tolerated. BUT when the call to repentance deals with our sin, that crosses the line.

John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3) John is the Voice in the wilderness to prepare the wayof the Lord. How? Preaching God's Holy Law. Repent of your sin.

Herod liked to listen to John. Herod knew John spoke with authority. Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly. (Mark 6) Herod did enjoy listening to John. BUT there was something he loved more than the Word of God. Herod loved his sin. He refused to repent. Truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. (John 8)

John preached: “It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife.” (Mark 6) His sin of adultery. John's preaching has a goal. Sinners who REPENT! Why? Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6)

By the Holy Spirit's power God gifts to us REPENTANCE. The Lord is working through His Word on you, the sinner. Repenting you. Herod attempts to silence the Word of God by having John the Baptist beheaded. It does NOT work. The Word of God remains forever. Jesus is out preaching and teaching: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1)

The Lord has sent you your Pastors. The Pastor’s job is to preach the Word of God. Law and Gospel. Calling sinners to repentance. To speak the truth in love to sinners. To bear witness to the truth. How are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? How are they to hear without someone preaching? How are they to preach unless they are sent? (Romans 10)

By the Holy Spirit's power God opens our hearts to hear the Word of God. Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. (Acts 3)

There is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents. (Luke 15) Rejoice in hearing the call to repentance. Jesus took the wrath of God for all your sins on Good Friday's Tree. In Jesus’ death and resurrection your sins are forgiven. The Lord has called you to be His Disciples in Holy Baptism. To live a life of repentance. Turning in faith to Christ for forgiveness. Living by the truth. Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. (Acts 2)

Repent and be forgiven. Law and Gospel. Confession and Absolution. Rejoice in God's Word reigning in your ears and hearts. The Lord is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

By All Your Saints in Warfare LSB 517:24
Our thanks for John the Baptist Who, till his dying day,
Made straight paths for the Savior And heralded His way!
In witnessing to Jesus Through times of threat or shame
May we with faith and courage The Lamb of God proclaim.