[Paul said to the Ephesian pastors,] “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock among which the Holy Spirit has placed you as overseers in order to pastor the Church of God that He purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28)
INI + AMEN.
Red like blood. Jesus’ blood. Blood that was shed for you. Red like fire. The Spirit’s fire. Tongues of fire at Pentecost. Red for Titus. Titus’ day. The color of the holy ministry, the color of pastors.
These aren’t separate, at all! We’re seeing red today because of Jesus’ blood shed for you. We’re seeing red because of the Holy Spirit’s work for you. We’re seeing red because of pastors’ work, too. Jesus’ blood, the Spirit’s work, the pastor’s work are all connected. They’re connected because
THE SPIRIT USES PASTORS TO DELIVER JESUS’ BLOOD TO YOU.
((I. The Spirit works through Pastors.))
No separation. There isn’t one, at all. The work of pastors and the Spirit go together. One’s the outlet; one’s the power. One’s the instrument; one’s the Worker. But you can’t have one without the other. Just like you need the electricity AND the lightbulb for there to be light.
Jesus is the Light, the Light of the world, Light of Light, and the Spirit reveals Jesus’ light through the preaching and preacher of the Gospel. Just like we’re told about John the Baptizer, that He was a “man sent from God to bear witness about the Light.” It’s red today because of the Spirit’s work in and through His men, His pastors who preach Jesus.
We don’t like it. We’d rather the Spirit’s work be “off somewhere,” at a time and place we choose like we want. But God does all the work to save you—sending His Son Jesus to die for you. But His saving you continues with Jesus’ man, the pastor Jesus sends like He sent the 72 in our Gospel lesson.
Our Old Adam wants to be God. “If Jesus died and rose, what do I need a preacher for? What do I need church for? What do I need Jesus’ body and blood for? Jesus already did enough, now I can go off on my own. I’m fine now. I’m not perfect, but I’m a nice person.”
Old Adam rejects God’s continued work because God will daily kill him until he’s dead forever when we finally breathe our last. He doesn’t want to hear what God wants to say into His ears, to place into His mouth, to do with His heart, soul, mind, and strength. Old Adam wants to be in charge. No Word of God. No Preacher. No Spirit. No blood of Jesus. No Jesus. Nothing but Old Adam. Just what Old Adam wants.
Repent. The Spirit does use His men, His pastors. Why would He appoint them, install them, if He doesn’t use them? He does give them. Pastors are the Spirit’s gift. As He installed the Ephesian pastors, so He does all pastors. And so Titus also “appointed elders” or “pastors” “in every city.” Titus was doing the Spirit’s work, that the Spirit would work through those pastors on Crete, as the Spirit continues to work through His men among every flock, every congregation He gathers together.
THE SPIRIT USES PASTORS. He appoints them, places them in various ways: through Paul, through Titus, through you. Still the Spirit’s work. His Work of giving pastors so that His Work would continue through pastors. That’s why it’s red today. But it’s red for another reason, though: blood. Jesus’ blood. That gets us to the Spirit’s work. Pastors are the how; Jesus’ blood is the what. THE SPIRIT USES PASTORS TO DELIVER JESUS’ BLOOD TO YOU.
((II. The Spirit brings you Jesus’ blood.))
Yes, the Spirit brings Jesus’ blood to you. You can’t get it otherwise. There’s no way to get back to Calvary. No way to get back to the upper room. Jesus shed His blood for you on Calvary. There He died for you, for all your sins, for your rejecting His ways, His Word, His Gifts, His life for your own way, your own word, your own skills, your own life.
On Calvary’s hill Jesus shed His blood for you and for all. With His blood He purchased the church, purchased His flock, “purchased and won you from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil.” God’s own blood for you that purchases “the hope of eternal life which God, who never lies, promised before the ages and revealed at the proper time in preaching.”
Blood promised. Blood shed. Blood delivered. That’s today. Jesus’ promise fulfilled today. The Spirit’s Work today. Jesus. Calvary. The Upper Room. All brought to you today. The Spirit’s work for you, right to you. Body and blood for you. Only there does the Spirit work. It’s why He appoints His men, His pastors so that Jesus’ blood would be delivered to you, blood you can’t work to get at on your own. Blood that needs to be gifted to you from God.
It is. “Take, eat; take, drink.” THE SPIRIT USES PASTORS TO DELIVER JESUS’ BLOOD TO YOU. You’re purchased with it. Redeemed with it. Fed with it. The Spirit works with that blood to enliven within you “faith toward God and sincere love toward one another.” The Spirit brings that to you, and He uses someone to do it. You can’t avoid it. This is why He places and appoints pastors. It’s why the color of His men, His pastors is red: Spirit’s fire, Jesus’ blood for you.
Red like blood. Red like fire. Red for pastors. That’s today. St. Titus’ day. All connected because THE SPIRIT USES PASTORS TO DELIVER JESUS’ BLOOD TO YOU.
Jesus purchased you with it. The Spirit delivers it to you, gives you a pastor to do it. No other reason to keep him around really, except to preach Jesus, deliver Jesus, deliver His blood to you. So the 72. So Paul. So Titus. So the Ephesian pastors.
We’re seeing red today because THE SPIRIT USES PASTORS TO DELIVER JESUS’ BLOOD TO YOU. Jesus died; He rose. You will, too. Thanks to His blood. Thanks be to God!
INI + AMEN.