Sermon for 05.21.23 “An office job”

Easter 7, May 21, 2023
Text: Acts 1:12–26
Theme: An office job
Other Lessons: Psalm 68:1–10;
1 Peter 4:12–19; 5:6–11;
John 17:1–11

A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.
B. The First Reading serves as our sermon text for this morning.
C. Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
D. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:

LSB 652:1 Father, We Thank Thee
Father, we thank Thee who hast planted
Thy holy name within our hearts.
Knowledge and faith and life immortal
Jesus, Thy Son, to us imparts.
Thou, Lord, didst make all for Thy pleasure,
Didst give us food for all our days,
Giving in Christ the Bread eternal;
Thine is the pow’r, be Thine the praise.


A. Matthias was called to an office job.
1. By that I mean not that he had a job based in an office to carry out
clerical or administrative work for an organization.
2. Rather, his office job was a position of public authority and service.
B. The Oval Office.
1. The Resolute Desk.
2. They were around long before any President, whether good or bad,
occupied them, and they’re likely to be around long after.
3. The Office of President of the United States is much bigger than anyone
who holds it.
C. Still bigger, Matthias’s office was one of authority and service to
proclaim the name and Word of our crucified and risen Lord and Savior Jesus
1. It was the office of apostle.
2. Apostles were “sent ones,” called and sent out by Jesus Christ to say
what he said, to do what He did, nothing more and nothing less.
3. The qualifications for being in the office of apostle included being an
eyewitness of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
4. In our text for this morning, we hear that two men were put forward to
take Judas’s place in the Office of Ministry and apostleship of Jesus
Christ: Barsabbas and Matthias.
5. After the assembly of believers prayed:
Acts 1:26 (NASB95)
And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was added
to the eleven apostles.
D. Today, pastors are called into the apostolic ministry.
1. Pastors are obviously not eyewitnesses to Jesus’ death and resurrection,
but they, like the apostles themselves, are called and ordained to proclaim
a message:
1. to say and do what Jesus said and did, nothing more and nothing less,
2. to use the Lord’s words, not ours, that is, the words of eternal life.
3. That’s why we say Your Pastor Has an Office Job.
1. In this office job, your pastor works in the stead and by the command of
Jesus Christ.
A. Pastors are not in charge of the work being done, nor is it their words
or actions that get it done. Rather, it is God’s Word at work in and
through them.
1. The Brief Statement of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, adopted in
1932, states concerning the public ministry:
A) 31. By the public ministry we mean the office by which the Word of God
is preached and the Sacraments are administered by order and in the name of
a Christian congregation.
B) Concerning this office we teach that it is a divine ordinance; that is,
the Christians of a certain locality must apply the means of grace not only
privately and within the circle of their families nor merely in their
common intercourse with fellow-Christians, John 5:39; Ephesians 6:4;
Colossians 3:16, but they are also required, by the divine order, to make
provision that the Word of God be publicly preached in their midst, and the
Sacraments administered according to the institution of Christ, by persons
qualified for such work, whose qualifications and official functions are
exactly defined in Scripture, Titus 1:5; Acts 14:23; 20:28; 2 Timothy 2:2.
B. You’re not in charge either, and that’s why you don’t determine what the
pastor says in this office.
1. The Brief Statement of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod continues on
to say:
A) 32. Although the office of the ministry is a divine ordinance, it
possesses no other power than the power of the Word of God, 1 Peter 4:11;
that is to say, it is the duty of Christians to yield unconditional
obedience to the office of the ministry whenever, and as long as, the
minister proclaims to them the Word of God, Hebrews 13:17; Luke 10:16.
B) If, however, the minister, in his teachings and injunctions, were to go
beyond the Word of God, it would be the duty of Christians not to obey, but
to disobey him, so as to remain faithful to Christ, Matthew 23:8.
C) Accordingly, we reject the false doctrine ascribing to the office of the
ministry the right to demand obedience and submission in matters which
Christ has not commanded.
2. Both pastors and laypeople say and do things that fall short of the
glory of God.
A) We often speak and act according to our fallen human nature because it
comes so easily to us.
B) But that’s also what gets us into trouble.
1. Judas had to be replaced because he removed himself from office by
following his own greed and sinful agenda
Acts 1:15–19 (NASB95)
15At this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren (a gathering of
about one hundred and twenty persons was there together), and said,
16“Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit
foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to
those who arrested Jesus.
17“For he was counted among us and received his share in this ministry.”
18(Now this man acquired a field with the price of his wickedness, and
falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed
19And it became known to all who were living in Jerusalem; so that in their
own language that field was called Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)
C) Our fallen human nature always misses the mark when it comes to God and
His Word.
C. Illustration
1. A child was taught by his dad to play golf.
2. Unfor­tun­ately, his dad’s swing was such that every time he hit the
ball, it sliced.
3. Like father, like son.
4. The child’s swing, passed on to him from his father, was such that every
time he hit the ball, he sliced it just like his dad.
5. Later in life, he took golf lessons and learned the proper swing.
6. It didn’t seem right and felt awkward and wrong, but when he swung the
club as he was taught by the pro, the ball went straight down the fairway.
7. Throughout his life, the golfer sought to swing as he was taught by the
pro, but he often regressed to his old natural swing, only to watch the
ball slice out of bounds.
8. He had to keep going back to that unnatural swing to get it right and
had to practice it throughout his life.
9. It made him a better golfer.
D. Likewise, we, including those in the Office of the Ministry (Acts
1:15–17), have a natural way of speaking and acting that’s corrupted by
original sin passed on from our parents.
1. It’s our “go to” way and results in the slice of actual sin.
2. “Swinging” the Lord’s way is not only unnatural for us—it’s impossible.
3. That’s why God gives us his Word and pastors to preach it.
4. Through it, God in Christ credits to us the perfect “swing.”
5. It comes from outside of us, so it’s something we practice by believing,
that is, receiving, throughout our lives.
2. Your pastor, like Matthias, was put into this office, the office of
Christ, to carry out Christ’s mission for you.
A. He is under orders to preach only God’s Word.
1. The stole he wears reminds him and you of the vow he made at ordination
to teach and preach the Word of God faithfully and administer the
Sacraments rightly in accordance with the Lord’s Word.
A) Illustration
1. As members of the Body of Christ, you have a responsibility to hold your
pastor to the Word of God.
2. You need the Lord’s words, not the pastor’s opinion.
3. Pastor Eugene Peterson, in his book The Contemplative Pastor, relates
how you, as laypeople, might communicate this to me, your pastor.
4. The importance of the pastoral office is what needs to be stressed, not
the pastor himself, and you are to say to him:
a) We need help in keeping our beliefs sharp and accurate and intact.
1) We don’t trust ourselves; our emotions seduce us into infidelities.
2) We know we are launched on a difficult and dangerous act of faith, and
there are strong influences intent on diluting or destroying it.
3) We want you to give us help.
4) Be our pastor. . . .
b) We are going to ordain you to this ministry, and we want your vow that
you will stick to it.
1) This is not a temporary job assignment but a way of life that we need
lived out in our community.
2) We know you are launched on the same difficult belief venture in the
same dangerous world as we are.
3) We know your emotions are as fickle as ours, your mind is as tricky as
4) That is why we are going to ordain you and why we are going to exact a
vow from you.
5) And we know there will be days and months, maybe even years, when we
won’t feel like believing anything and won’t want to hear it from you.
6) And we know there will be days and weeks and maybe even years when you
won’t feel like saying it.
7) It doesn’t matter.
8) Do it. . . .
c) You are not the minister:
1) of our changing desires,
2) or our time-conditioned understanding of our needs,
3) or our secularized hopes for something better.
4) With these vows of ordination we are lashing you fast to the mast of
Word and Sacrament so you will be unable to respond to the siren voices. .
. .
d) Your task is to keep telling the basic story:
1) representing the presence of the Spirit,
2) insisting on the priority of God,
3) speaking the biblical words of command and promise and invitation.
(Eugene H. Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor [Grand Rapids: Erdmans,
1989], 138–39
2. Even Peter could only say what God’s Word said:
Acts 1:20–22 (NASB95)
20“For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘LET HIS HOMESTEAD BE MADE
21“Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all
the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us—
22beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up
from us—one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”
A) Since he only carries out the office of Christ, your pastor’s ministry
is of eternal blessing to you!
1. Jesus says to those who speak his words:
a) Luke 10:16 (NASB95)
“The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you
rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.”
2. Jesus said in his prayer to our Father in heaven before He died:
a) John 17:3 (NASB95)
3“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and
Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
b) Eternal life is knowing this Jesus, who won it for you by dying and
3. When you hear your pastor proclaim Jesus’ words:
a) words that forgive sins,
b) words that are spirit and life,
c) you know that you are forgiven,
d) that you are given eternal life.

A. So, if you don’t like what I have preached to you today, that’s fine;
just take it up with the Lord the next time you talk to Him.
1. I only “work” here.
2. To put it another way: I’m in sales, not management!
3. This is an office job that’s good for you and me, even if we don’t
always like what we hear, because it makes believers out of us.
4. Jesus said as he prayed to our Father in heaven the night before His
A. John 17:8 (NASB95)
for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received
them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed
that You sent Me.
5. This office exists to proclaim the Word of God written for us so that,
as John refers to the writing of his Gospel as well as the whole Bible,
this may be said:
A. John 20:30–31 (NASB95)
30Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the
disciples, which are not written in this book;
31but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the
Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
6. Amen.
B. Let us pray:
LSB 652:2 Father, we thank Thee
Watch o’er Thy Church, O Lord, in mercy,
Save it from evil, guard it still,
Perfect it in Thy love, unite it,
Cleansed and conformed unto Thy will.
As grain, once scattered on the hillsides,
Was in this broken bread made one,
So from all lands Thy Church be gathered
Into Thy kingdom by Thy Son.
Text: © The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission: LSB Hymn License no.
C. The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
D. In the Name of the Father…Amen.