In the Town, but Not of the World

Here in the commonwealth of Virginia, we moved Concordia Lutheran Mission from Lexington to Buena Vista because we were led to find a great rental property.  We have now worshipped in our new location three Sundays, including today.  One of our members told me about going to the Habitat for Humanity Re-Sale store in Buena Vista and some of his finds for the Mission, but he also told me something else. Our brother was talking with the clerk and he told the clerk that he was looking for stuff for our new mission.  The  clerk responded by saying that you are the new mission which is against gays and women and won’t let them serve in church.  Our brother responded by saying, we’re not against homosexuals but homosexuality is against the Bible. The clerk responded by saying that he would not be able to help him.

In a small town, our reputation has preceded us without preaching against homosexuality or stating anything about  the Scriptures in the public square.  Yet, the reputation of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod precedes and I am glad for that. Since I was nine years the ELCA pastor in Lexington, my reputation also precedes.  As I was told someone by another pastor  in town that one of my former members characterized me as a fundamentalist.  I asked our brother this morning to tell the congregation what happened, all 8 of us.  A fearful army indeed!  I then talked with the congregation after our brother told his story and we all had a chance to say something.    You can not be for the marriage of man and woman, or a pastorate of called men, without incurring the mistrust and even wrath and being labeled “homophobic” or “sexist” these days.  Then I thought of this passage and said we should all memorize this and take this Scripture to heart:

 Or 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, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians  6)

The Law of God is plain in verses 9-11 and the Gospel begins with the word “And such were some of you.” Baptism is our washing and regeneration in Christ, made holy, justified.  My wife reminded me that the Lord came not to justify ungodliness but the ungodly.  It is the Word of Law and Promise that the world and the devil does not want to be heard because the Lord changes and saves us by His grace alone: And such were some of you. 

As I was about to leave the parking lot with our VMI ‘rat’ to go home, retired Pastor, Art Henne, came over to the car.  I opened the car door (the window doesn’t work!), and Art said to me, “You know, Mark, maybe this is the reason we are here.”

A blessed Lord’s Day to you and your pastor and your congregation!

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