Why send missionaries?

It is time for Mission Festival Sunday at Immanuel.  Why?  Why do we do this every year?  Why celebrate mission work and missionaries?  Is it just so pastor can have a Sunday “off”?  Is it so we can feel good about ourselves?  Is it so we can get people excited so they give more?  These are not the reasons why.  What we are really celebrating is how the Holy Spirit works through the Word to bring people to faith and to keep them in the saving faith.  “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).  We send missionaries to share the Word.  Through the Word the Holy Spirit creates and sustains faith.  That is what this is about.  So as we celebrate Mission Festival let’s contemplate the words of the Lutheran Theologian Johann Quenstedt: “The Holy Spirit does not act and operate separately and independently without the Word, nor does the Word act separately and independently without God and the Holy Spirit in converting man.  But the Holy Spirit acts simultaneously and in union with the Word, through the Word, and in the Word as his usual means; and the Word works with the Spirit from power that is divinely bestowed.  And thus they accomplish by one and the same action one effect and one activity, the conversion of man.”  Spread the Word!  Through this Word the Holy Spirit works miracles in the hearts of sinners!  Thank God for his gracious gift of the Word!

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