daily biblical sermons

Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Sunday, World Mission Sunday, October 20, 2013
Isa. 60:1-6, Ps. 97, Rom. 10:9-18, Matt. 28:16-20

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:19-20).

Today is World Mission Sunday. We have a mission to the entire world. Jesus gave it to us when he said, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19). He sent us to go out into the whole world and preach the good news of God's salvation in Jesus Christ his only Son, incarnate only once for the entire planet, for all the nations and peoples of this world. Therefore those who have come to know Christ are sent out to preach him for the illumination and salvation of all the world. The risen Christ said to his apostles, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:15-16 NKJV).

This salvation is in the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ. The Father sent him to reconcile us with himself, for because of sin we were far from him and were unable to forgive our own sins and restore ourselves to his favor. So God himself took the initiative (Rom. 8:32) and intervened in history by sending a Savior into the world, his own Son, and he put our sins on him as our representative and punished them in his flesh on the cross (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:24; Col. 1:22) so that all who believe in him might be justly forgiven of all their sins and be reconciled to God.

Since Christ suffered our penalty for our sins, we who believe in him are justified, that is, declared and made righteous by God through the merits of Christ's death on the cross, not by our own works (Rom. 3:28). And so that all the peoples of the world might hear and believe in this good news of salvation, this gospel, Jesus sent his disciples into the whole world to preach it to every creature (Mark 16:15). He wants all to have the opportunity to hear and believe in this good news for their illumination and salvation. This is because "faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ" (Rom. 10:17).

And what should the nations hear from us? They should hear "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Rom. 10:9-10 NKJV). We cannot save ourselves. Our merits are insufficient for that. Only God can save us, and he did so through the merits of his Son's death on the cross for those who believe in him. So "he who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him" (John 3:36 NKJV). Therefore it is important that preachers be sent out, for "how shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?" (Rom. 10:14-15 NKJV).

This then is the mission of the Church, given to her by the risen Christ himself, when he said to us, "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8). This is our missionary commission, when the risen Christ sent us to preach God's salvation that is in Christ to all the peoples of the earth. For "he who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son of God has not life" (1 John 5:12).

Indeed, God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:4). And the means through which they can be saved is faith in the death of the Son of God on the cross, "for there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ, who gave himself as a ransom for all" (1 Tim. 2:5-6). To make this known it is necessary that this good news of our salvation through the cross of Christ be preached throughout the world, to the ends of the earth, to every people, in every language. "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come" (Matt. 24:14). Then it will come to pass that "all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God" (Ps. 97:3 NKJV).

Christ sent us out on mission into the whole world, saying, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things" (Luke 24:46-48). The message is that because of Christ's suffering on the cross, repentance and forgiveness of sins is now preached in his name to all peoples. His suffering paid for and redeemed us from our sins, paying our penalty for us, when we put our faith in him. It is through faith in the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ that we are saved and justly forgiven for our sins, and this is the mystery that we now preach unto the ends of the earth.

Jesus said, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest" (Luke 10:2). The laborers indeed are few today, so on this World Mission Sunday we pray that the Lord send out laborers into his harvest. "I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see how the fields are already white for harvest" (John 4:35). The harvest is the people who are ready to believe in the word of God for their salvation if only there were someone to preach it to them.

We who believe in Jesus Christ for our salvation have a great treasure, and we are to share it with the whole world. The glory of the Lord has risen upon us, and his glory is seen in us. The peoples seek this light that shines in us. Indeed, God says to us, "The glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising" (Isa. 60:1-3). It is this light of Christ that we are to make known unto the ends of the earth so that the promise may be fulfilled that "all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God" (Ps. 97:3 NKJV).


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