Summary: A sermon preached September 13, 2009 at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Audubon, Iowa. It was Sunday School/Christian Education Rally Sunday. This sermon focuses on the necessity of sound teaching from the Word in the life of the congregation.
One of the things we put a great deal of importance on in our American society today is education. We encourage our kids to “stay in school” and to do well in school. We now also live in an age where most of our high school graduates go off to college, or some type of specialized education in order to get the kind of jobs that they want. Where a couple of generations ago, it was still somewhat more common to view graduation from high school as a noble goal, but not necessary in order to make a living, today, times are different. We don’t make as big of a deal about 8th grade graduations as we once did, even in my generation.
Now let’s imagine for a moment that you had a child in school, and they were in Math class. Early on, we learn how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide. One of the basic rules of math that doesn’t change is the fact that 2+2=4. You would assume that if on your child’s math test, they answered 2+2=5, they’d fail the test, right? What happens if you don’t teach that child that 2+2=4? Well, if that child grows up to be an engineer, I don’t think I’d want to be on a bridge that they designed, in case their math is wrong. Disastrous things can happen to us if we don’t learn those basic things, right?
Today is Sunday School Rally Day, or as I have termed it, Christian Education Rally Sunday, a day where we mark the resumption of our Sunday School and Confirmation programs, and that some of our adult Bible study activities are resuming as well such as the Thursday evening Men’s Bible study. Have you ever wondered why this is so important, that we set aside a Sunday in September every year, and that we give out Bibles to our pre school age and 3rd grade age children? Do we do this simply because “That’s what we’ve always done”? This morning, we’re going to learn from a young pastor the necessity of Christian education in the parish. We’re going to see what our responsibilities are in this endeavor, and it is my hope and prayer that once we are finished, you too will understand the necessity of sound teaching.
Our sermon text for today is from 2 Timothy. It’s one of three of the epistles that we have termed the “Pastoral Epistles”, because they were letters that were written specifically for young pastors, giving them some practical advice and warning as they go about their ministry. In fact, to remember this, the chapel at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, a place that is charged with the task of preparing pastors, is called the Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus. During his missionary journeys, St. Paul had established a Christian congregation in the city of Ephesus, and once he left, he placed a young man in the congregation named Timothy into the pastoral office of the congregation there. Paul wrote two letters to this young Pastor to help him in his ministry. Paul actually writes this letter to Pastor Timothy behind bars, in prison, believing that this is essentially his “farewell letter” to his young co worker in the Gospel.