Stream services online at

October 30, 2022

Living as God's Child in the Home

Preacher: Rev. Jack Meehan Series: Placed for a Purpose - Fall 2022 Stewardship Series Category: Biblical Scripture: John 8:13–36

The Festival of the Reformation

October 30, 2022

John 8:31-36

 Fall Stewardship Series – Week 4

“Placed for a Purpose: Living as God’s Child in the Home”

The last Sunday in October means the Festival of the Reformation among Lutheran Christians. The color for this day is red, reminding us of the fire and power of the Holy Spirit who calls us and keeps us in this one true faith in which, by the grace of God, we are privileged to stand. That color red also reminds us of fellow believers who fought for the faith, even to the point of shedding their blood. In addition to the red that you see here in the Chancel of our Sanctuary, I am wearing some other Reformation clothes. Underneath all these clergy clothes, I’ve got a Reformation T-shirt on that has Luther’s picture with the phrase, “Nailed It!” – a reference, of course, to Luther’s nailing of this 95 Theses to the doors of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517. This is the unofficial date of the beginning of the Reformation movement. I’ve also got some Reformation socks on that include Luther’s famous words when, in April 1521, he stood before Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, in a special session called the Diet of Worms (because this took place in the city of Worms, Germany). Called upon to renounce his writings and books as heretical, Luther withstood enormous pressure to cave in. He is quoted as saying these famous words: “Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.” And now for 500+ years, we stand as sons and daughters of the Reformation, who continue to live in the light of that same confession. Here we stand! On this Reformation Sunday, our fall stewardship series, “Placed for a Purpose,” comes to a close as we focus on the third of Luther’s three estates, or places, where God has called his people to serve in the world: the home. Based on today’s Gospel lesson, this becomes the basis for preaching under the theme, “Living as God’s Child in the Home.” May the Lord’s rich and abundant blessing rest upon the preaching, the hearing, and the living of his Word for Jesus’ sake.

This stewardship series is based on Luther’s understanding of vocation: the calling God has given to his people to serve him in all the many places where we may be. Wherever we may find ourselves in life, our God-given calling is to honor the Lord through what we do, and serve the needs of our neighbor, who is Christ in our midst. Sometimes we may think that Luther’s vocation was his role as sixteenth-century reformer. And certainly that is what we remember most about him. But underneath this was an even greater vocation: that of husband to his wife, Katie, a former nun, and to their children: Hans; Elisabeth, who died as an infant; Magdalene, who died in Luther’s arms as a young girl; Martin; Paul; and Margaret. Luther helped to reclaim the importance of living as God’s child in the home, modeling for people everywhere how God’s light and love are gifts to be received within the family that calls upon his Name. Luther’s own writings about how richly he was blessed through marriage, home and family are a beautiful testimony of grace to every generation. Having lived for many years in a monastic community, Luther broke with the church of his day in affirming that vocation does not mean withdrawing from the world into a secluded setting, but openly living and serving in the blessing of home and family.

In his Small Catechism, “At the beginning of each chief part, Luther makes an extremely insightful statement.  He gives the name of the chief part [Ten Commandments, Lord’s Prayer, Creed, Holy Baptism, Confession and Absolution, and the Lord’s Supper] and then says, ‘In the Plain Form in Which the Head of the Family Shall Teach Them to His Household.”  The expectation was that the head of the family would be teaching these things at home… We often think of children learning the faith at church, but Luther expected it to be taught at home. Now to be clear, this didn’t mean that church was ignored. After all, the head of the household himself has to learn the faith from somewhere. He himself should also know the Third Commandment he was teaching to his family, which told him not to despise preaching and the Word, but to gladly hear it and learn it. But what it meant is that the faith learned in church was reiterated and reinforced at home. And this was done by the head of the household. Notice this doesn’t say “the man of the house.” Of course, Luther’s expectation was that in a normal situation, the father should be teaching the household, but he also knew that there were many circumstances that might lead to the father’s absence, be it death, war, or even desertion. In light of this he called the head of the household to this crucial work – no matter who it was – to do the teaching. So what do we have to learn then? Teach the faith at home to our children. We have broken households and only the light of Christ can bring healing to them. Only the Gospel of Jesus can bring the promise of the perfect Father who loves us with an eternal love. Only the Word of God can bring the wisdom to deal with the challenges of this life. Only God Himself can restore sinners who have shunned His desires for them” (Luther on the Family (

Living as God’s child in the home is most certainly part of our life of stewardship. Whether we are single, married, or widowed; whether we have children or not; whatever our station in life may be, our vocation is to see our home as the domestic church, an outgrowth and branch of the communal church, our congregation. It’s both/and, not either/or. Living as God’s child in the home means that our words and actions are to be just as Christ-like there at home as they are in church, even if nobody else is watching. In our home-life, we hold fast to that Scripture memory verse that we said together: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24). Each and every day becomes a celebration of what God in Christ has done for us, making us “justified by his grace as a gift.” That word “justified” is a rich word in Scripture (δικαιούμενοι), meaning how we are made right and acceptable to God. I often think of how my own Confirmation pastor many years ago put this. He taught us that justified means “just-as-if-I” had never sinned. That is how the Lord God sees each and every person who trusts in the blood-bought redemption that Jesus has won for us through his suffering and death upon the cross. It is as Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel lesson: So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). This is the amazing gift that Jesus has given to us: freedom from sin, death, and the power of the devil, as well as freedom for loving and serving our neighbor as Jesus has loved and served us. And it begins with living as God’s child in the home, as we daily affirm the Reformation truth that we are saved by God’s grace alone, through faith in Jesus Christ alone, made known in holy Scripture alone.

Our life of stewardship – managing our selves, our time, and our possessions – centers on these three areas where God has placed us in life: the church, the state, and the home. May the Lord open our eyes and ears, our hearts and minds, to how he would use us in each of these areas, for the glory of the Lord and for the good of our neighbor. God help us to do this for Jesus’ sake. Amen.