Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead), and all the brethren who are with me
To the Christians in Thessalonica, St. Paul wrote, “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
The Christian Thessalonians, when they heard the Word from Paul and his companions, they accepted it as God’s Word. How foolish they would have been not to do so! Paul wasn’t preaching his own Word, but the very Word that the Lord gave him to speak.
So also with preachers today, preachers who do indeed preach only according to the Word! It is them you are to hear. They direct you to God and His Word. They direct you to Christ. If any preacher direct you elsewhere, then he is not a faithful preacher of Christ and him crucified (1 Corinthians 1:23).
The servant of the Lord preaches God’s Word. He doesn’t just say that he does; he actually does. This doesn’t imply perfection. But it does indeed indicate that he preaches nothing else than Jesus, for only in God’s Son do you have the hope of eternal life.
It would be foolish to listen to another, to another who doesn’t preach God’s Word and Jesus our Savior!
Jesus says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27).
The Lord’s sheep hear His Word. Thus do they go to hear where the Lord’s Word is truly preached and spoken. Thus do they rejoice and give thanks for Godly ministers who really do preach the truth. And that’s where they go—not because of the man, but because of the Word!
What does Paul intend by this bragging? I reply: This doctrine has as its purpose that every minister of the Word of God should be sure of his calling. In the sight of both God and man he should boldly glory that he preaches the Gospel as one who has been called and sent. Thus the king’s emissary boasts and glories that he does not come as a private person but as the emissary of the king. Because of this dignity as the king’s emissary he is honored and given the position of highest honor, which he would never receive if he were to come as a private person…When Paul commends his calling so highly, he is not arrogantly seeking his own praise, as some people suppose; he is elevating his ministry with a necessary and a holy pride…He has to do this to maintain his authority, so that those who hear this may be more attentive and more willing to listen to him. For they are not listening to Paul; but in Paul they are listening to Christ Himself and to God the Father, who sends him forth…Just as men should devoutly honor the authority and majesty of God, so they should reverently receive and listen to His messengers, who bring His Word. (Luther’s Lectures on Galatians, LW 26, p16)
Prayer: Lead us, heavenly Father, to rejoice and give thanks for Your Holy Word, through which You, according to Your abundant mercy, make known to us our salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Help us to uphold and encourage those who preach the truth, that we honor them rightly as Your called and ordained servants. Amen.
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