Pastor Arron Gust Installation Sermon at Grace Lutheran Church Regina Saskatchewan by Pr. Ted A. Giese of Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Psalm 51 & 2 Samuel 12:1-15 / Sunday February 24th 2019: Season of Epiphany
Installation Sermon for Pastor Arron Gust at Grace Lutheran Church Regina Saskatchewan by Pr. Ted A. Giese of Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Psalm 51 & 2 Samuel 12:1-15 / Sunday February 24th 2019: Season of Epiphany
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to Your steadfast love;
according to Your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against You, You only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in Your sight,
so that You may be justified in Your words
and blameless in Your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, You delight in truth in the inward being,
and You teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that You have broken rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Your presence,
and take not Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
and sinners will return to You.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of Your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare Your praise.
For You will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
You will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
Do good to Zion in Your good pleasure;
build up the walls of Jerusalem;
then will You delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on Your altar.
Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in Your sight O Lord. Amen.
Grace peace and mercy to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Good Christian Friends. Our Old Testament reading starts with the words, “And the LORD sent Nathan to David.” Our Introit today from Psalm 51 is King David’s repentant response to being convicted of his sins, and having his sins forgiven. Yes there were still going to be everyday consequences, there always are, but his eternal salvation was safe and secure in God’s hands because David trusted that the Lord would indeed hide His face from David’s sins, and blot out all of David’s iniquities; that the broken bones of David’s contrite spirit crushed by God’s Law would rejoice in the grace of God’s forgiveness. King David could trust that this grace and forgiveness was his because the Lord had provided the prophet Nathan to not only convict him of his breaking of the Law of God but also to absolve him of his sins by saying “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.”
The Pastor then, both publicly and privately, is placed in the position of administration, administration of the Office of the Keys under the authority of Christ which happens in preaching, and teaching, in the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper; it happens at the Communion Rail, at the bedside of the sick, by the death bed of the dying, at the kitchen table, in the church office, over coffee, even from time to time over beer, in can happen anywhere and sometimes it happens with joy and sometimes it happens with grief and sadness. This is sometimes an unenviable position because there are many times when it is the pastor and the pastor alone who has to draw the line in the sand and defend what Scripture teaches, to uphold what the Lutheran Confessions teach and confess as a good and right exposition of Scripture. This must be done even when it is unpopular to do so. Not everyone will be able to say “no” when the World presses them to say “yes.” The LORD sent Arron Gust to Grace Lutheran Church to be the one to do this here in this place. To both encourage you to be faithful in these things, in this confession of faith, and to hold the line against a World that would drag the Church, the very Bride of Christ, into the bowels of Hell and damnation. This will require your new pastor to be unpopular with the World and from time to time to even be unpopular with you when your heart is aligned with the World and requires being broken by God and His Holy Law.
When Nathan walked up to the gates of King David’s Palace to call David on his sins of coveting, theft, adultery, murder, and false witness, to call David on sinning against the authority God bestowed upon him as King in David’s anointing by the prophet Samuel, you’d better believe that Nathan did not relish this task, Nathan would have known that his very life was on the line, Nathan likely had no idea of whether or not King David would be repentant or not, whether David would order him killed to continue the cover-up of his sins. Nathan simply had the task of preaching the Law; the Holy Spirit is the one who gives the gift of repentance, who creates a clean heart in the hearer. Then, when God’s Law had been preached and David by the grace of God in repentances had said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD,” then Nathan was able to say to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.” It was Nathan’s task to pronounce the absolution, the grace of God, forgiveness. The task is no different for us pastors. We preach, teach and confess what we have first received, the Law of God, but not only the Law, also the Law of God fulfilled, “Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly [foolishness] to Gentiles.” Not everyone wants to hear this. You have children and grand children who need a Nathan to walk up to their gate; you need a Nathan to walk up to your gate. You need a Nathan to stand in this Chancel, in this Pulpit, at this Altar week in and week out: one who is not going to be a friend with the World. What does St. James say? “Do you not know that friendship with the World is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the World makes himself an enemy of God.”
You know what the World wants, same sex wedding blessings, women’s ordination, open communion, worship that conforms to the fickle and fleeting whims of the culture, the explaining away of uncomfortable parts of Scripture, the idolization of “quality of life” at the expense of life through abortion, euthanasia, and doctor assisted suicide, basically the acceptance of every manner of sin to “keep the peace,” to “be on the right side of history,” even – heaven forbid it! – to “grow the church:” Accommodation, approval, this is what the World wants, this is what the World seeks: Justification in the self, not Justification in Christ Jesus. The World wants Nathan to think “Everything is well with the Kingdome; people think highly of the King, do I really need to rock the boat? Do I really need to call the King on his sins? Can’t I just let sleeping dogs lie? I mean who wants to be bitten if such mighty sleeping dogs should wake up angry?” The pastor sometimes has to risk being bitten.
I have known Arron for many years, and I love him as a brother in Christ Jesus, and I love his family dearly (Becky and Madeline), he is not one who is shy of risk. For your sake, out of love, on account of the Gospel of Christ Jesus, Arron will risk being bitten by someone who becomes angry with God’s Word; he will indeed even risk being bitten by you. But I also know that Pastor Gust is ready with absolution when the Holy Spirit has given the gift of repentance to the soul in need of grace and forgiveness. Pastor Gust has a big personality and he is no pushover. He will serve you well as he serves Christ Jesus. He will say “You are the man!” “You are the woman, you are the Child of God who has sinned, turn from that sin to Jesus.” And he will also say, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.” He is ready for this task and for all that is laid out before him, he stands ready for it – ready for it all – and today he will vow again before God and man to do this for you here at Grace in season and out of season; when it is popular and when it is not popular. Support him in this work. We, his brothers in the office of the Public Ministry, fellow pastors in Lutheran Church Canada, are here today to likewise offer our promise of support to him in this very task.
Like the prophet Nathan, we pastors all put our neck on the line when we preach God’s Word and administer the Sacraments of the Church, we do so knowing that it was God Himself, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, Christ Jesus who, “in human form, … humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” We are not sent out to die by Someone who has no personal knowledge of death. Jesus came into the World to save the World; He came knowing He would be bitten by people who hated God’s Law, that He would die the most humiliating and public of deaths so that we might live. King David’s repentance, given to him by the Holy Spirit, your repentance given to you by the Holy Spirit, the repentance that creates a new heart in you, a clean heart in you, comes from the Cross of Christ Jesus; it comes to you from the very body and blood of Jesus given and shed for you for the forgiveness of your sin, it comes from the bloodied Jesus who hung there victorious over sin, death, the devil, yes victorious over the World and all its errors. Repentance in the water and blood flows from that Good Friday backwards to men like King David and forward, from the cross, to men and women and children like us all, for all people. This gift of repentance that you receive by the Holy Spirit in Christ Jesus renews a right spirit with you, it restores you, and it upholds you, it delivers you from guilt and gives you a tongue to sing God’s righteousness and a mouth that will declare His praise. It is the most precious of gifts found only in Jesus Christ and in no one else.
Dear ones in Christ, it is most satisfying, it is a thing of great beauty and joy, when we as the servants of Christ Jesus find repentance in His people, in ourselves and in the Church, and that we then are able not merely to announce and to declare to men, women and children the remission of sins, but actually to give forgiveness to penitent sinners; to people who want to do better.
Again, just as the pastors you have had here at Grace Lutheran Church before him have, Pastor Arron Gust stands at the ready to do this for you as he has been commanded in Christ Jesus to do. Yes, in the stead and by the command of his Lord Jesus Christ your new Nathan stands at the gate, and as you receive him today give to him and his family all your support, forgiveness and love, for while his task is not easy by the Grace of God it is also one that is full of great joy. Amen.
Let us pray:
Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us, Lord have mercy on us, “take our minds and think through them, take our lips and speak through them, take our hearts and set them on fire; for the sake of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.
 2 Samuel 12:1
 2 Samuel 12:13
 Lutheran Service Book, Divine Service I,Concordia Publishing House 2006, Pg 185.
 John 20:23
 2 Samuel 12:13
 1 Corinthians 1:23
 James 4:4
 2 Samuel 12:7
 Philippians 2:8