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Latter Day Saints & Mark 12 Faith & Love

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A Double Play – Baptism & Lord’s Supper

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Pentecost 13                                            Trinity Lutheran Church

19 August 2018                                        Murdock, NE

 

+ Jesu Juva +

 

Mark 10:13-16; John 6:51-69

Baptism of Briggs Franklin Harms

 

A double play today! First, Mark 10, the gospel reading from Holy Baptism’s liturgy. Second, John 6, the gospel reading from the divine service. The double play features Jesus receiving children into His salvific kingdom reign through baptism and the baptized receiving the Lord’s Supper. From the Lord’s own words. Are you ready? All right. Here we go.

 

“Assuredly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” Adults, did you hear that? To enter the kingdom of God you have to be like a little child. A little baby! Adults are doers. Workers. Try hard-ers. The little babies don’t do anything. They are simply cared for. Served. Ministered to. BINGO! That’s how one gets saved! Not by works! But by being served, ministered to and cared for BY Good Friday JESUS! “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child [simply by being given to by Jesus] will by no means enter it.”

 

Faith trusts what Jesus says and promises. Therefore Jesus categorically states: “Let the little children come to me.” Why? Well, He says why! “For of such is the kingdom of God.” In other words, He died for them too! So, unlike the disciples in Mark 10, Travis and Tina trust Jesus and what He says. They trust that Jesus is God and Savior not just for the adults but also for the children. Jesus Good Friday-ly died for the babies too. So, Travis and Tina brought their little boy to Jesus for His baptismal blessing. So that Jesus would take Briggs into His crucified arms and nail-scarred hands and give him His divine and salvific name as well as the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit at the baptismal font.

 

Yes, Briggs entered the kingdom of God today! Not because Briggs did anything. Not because Briggs made Jesus the Lord and Master of his life! Not because Briggs gave Jesus his heart and life! It’s just the opposite. When He was Good Friday-ly crucified on the cross Lord and Master Jesus gave His divine life and His divine heart into sacrificial death for this little boy’s salvation, for all and FOR YOU. Jesus came not to be given anything by anyone. Jesus took on flesh and blood at Bethlehem in order to salvationally serve and then to give His life at Calvary as a ransom for many.

 

So yes, today, in baptism, Briggs was GIVEN the Good Friday reign of Jesus precisely as Jesus says: “as a little child.” A DO NOTHING little child. A little child that can only be given to! That can only receive what Jesus says and bestows! In Mark 16:16 Jesus promises: “whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.” Jesus has used little Briggs to exhibit salvation by faith alone. Briggs did nothing. Jesus did and gave everything. Faith only speaks of that which it is given. The baptism of Briggs Franklin Helms confesses precisely what Jesus says: “Assuredly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”

 

Now to John 6! “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day.”

 

No wonder then that in Holy Baptism’s liturgy Travis, Tina as well as the godparents promised to work towards Briggs’ “faithful reception of the Lord’s Supper,” (Holy Baptism, LSB 269). After all, the baptized eventually are to be fed and nourished unto eternal life and resurrection of the body by eating Christ’s flesh and drinking His blood in the Sacrament of the Altar. “Faithful reception of the Lord’s Supper.” You promised that for Briggs!

 

Did you notice that in John 6 Jesus moved from speaking about “eating” to “feeding.” Literally the Greek word is “to chew” or “rend with the teeth.” Jesus is not speaking metaphorically or symbolically. He is a flesh and blood Savior of flesh and blood creatures. Jesus is bone of our bones and flesh of our flesh. The Word became flesh. So, the Bread that Jesus gives for the life of the world is His flesh. The flesh conceived in the Virgin’s belly. The flesh laid in a manger. The flesh circumcised on the eighth day. The flesh totally obedient to the law. The flesh stapled violently to the cross. The flesh that atoning-ly bore all sin and all its damnation on Good Friday. The flesh that assumed room temperature and was laid in a borrowed grave. The flesh that was raised from the dead and was glorified at the right hand of God the Father. Whoever feeds / chews on this bread, this flesh, whoever drinks of this blood, has life! The life of Christ – the enfleshed Word – the Light and the Life of the world!

 

Christ’s incarnate, crucified, raised and ascended flesh and blood are the medicine, the antidote to your sin and death. His flesh and blood are the medicine of immortality. Why? Well, it is because He gave His flesh into the Good Friday atoning sacrificial death to answer for all your sin! All your sin, the world’s sin, my sin – was damned in His crucified flesh. His Good Friday blood was sprinkled, spilled and poured out as the new covenant blood through which God Himself promised to “forgive their sins and remember their iniquities no more,” (Jer. 31:34).

 

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So, in the Lord’s Supper, the baptized and instructed are given Christ’s body and blood with the bread and the wine. It is because Jesus says so. Travis and Tina, this is what you want for Briggs.

 

In the Lord’s Supper Jesus intimately communes with you His baptized. His fellowship with you His baptized in Holy Communion is His promise that goes like this: “I died FOR YOU! To save you! You’re so precious to Me that if you were the only person in the world, I still would have died on the cross to redeem you. The death I died on that Good Friday was for all and most especially for you. So, take and eat. Take and drink. Taste and see that I am good. Salvationally good FOR YOU!”

 

At the end of His John 6 sermon people decided that Jesus was way too much! Over the top! Too controversial! Too dangerous! So they stopped following Him. At that point Jesus turns to His twelve, His church and asks them: “What about you boys? Are you going to leave too? Is my preaching too offensive and scandalous to you too?” Peter speaks for the twelve and declares: “Lord, to whom shall we go? Where else are we going to go? You have the words of eternal life.”

 

That’s fabulous! Faithfully fabulous! Even when the Lord’s words sound absolutely insane, totally crazy, Peter knows they are the words of eternal life. Even when Christ’s words stretch our reason and imagination to the absolute breaking point, Jesus has the words of eternal life. No one else does but Jesus!

 

So, just like in John 6, so today the Lord’s Supper is an intense exercise of the baptized believer’s faith IN JESUS AND HIS WORDS! All you have are His words! You have to take Him at His word. “This is my body. This is my blood.” No explanations! No equivocations! Only His words! Words that are Spirit and Life! Words of eternal life!

 

Words that speak to your spirit born of the Holy Spirit in baptism as God’s children. The Lord’s Supper is a place where Jesus teaches you to trust only in Him and what He says. After all, one of these days, each of us, like some of our brothers and sisters in Christ this past year (the Jones family, the Vogler family, the Kupke family, etc.), will have to stare death and the grave in the face AND ALL YOU WILL HAVE TO CLING TO ARE CHRIST’S WORDS!

 

So, let me wrap us this sermon with His Spirit and Life words: “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.”

 

You take your faith in Jesus – you take His body and His blood — with you wherever you go in this life. To your work, to your home, TO YOUR GRAVE! And Christ’s promise to you who believe and are baptized is this: “I will raise him up on the last day.”

 

You can bet the farm that Jesus will do it! He has the words of eternal life and His bodily resurrection from the grave on the third day to prove it.

 

Briggs, Happy Baptism Day! We all look forward to your eating Christ’s flesh and drinking His blood in the Lord’s Supper. Food – bread and drink for the journey. To the promised land of heaven!

 

In the Name of Jesus.

John Part Twenty-Six

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John Part Twenty-Five

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Living In and From Holy Baptism

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Pentecost 12                                                               Trinity Lutheran Church

12 August 2018                                                           Murdock, NE

 

+ Jesu Juva +

 

Ephesians 4:17-5:2

Baptism of Wade Michael Platt

 

For many years when there has been a baptism I’ve taken the opportunity to preach about the benefits of Holy Baptism. Today, on the occasion of Wade Michael’s baptism, I want to preach from the Epistle about the life of Holy Baptism. In other words, what baptism means for every day living. And for that I offer this tickler to get your attention. Here it is. Are you listening? Ok. Here goes.

 

The Christian lives in and from his baptism into Christ! Yes, that’s right! And I couldn’t be any more serious. Neither could St. Paul! This is a huge pastoral concern. One of the reasons Jesus sent me to be your pastor is not only to baptize your children like Wade Michael but also to exhort all of you and to encourage you to live as baptized Christians. If you aren’t doing that or if you won’t live as the baptized children of God, you “grieve the Holy Spirit of God” given you in Baptism. That’s putting your salvation at high risk. So then I must call you to repentance, faith and holy living according to God’s Word, not yours. It’s what pastors do.

 

So I say it again: Christians live in and from their baptisms into Christ! It’s what the Lord expects. It’s His will for your life. In baptism you are His people. His treasured possession! In baptism you are Holy Spirit-filled and “sealed for the day of redemption.” He wants to have good use of you in your families, this congregation and the world as His hands – as His mouth.

 

My high pastoral care for you today is to tell and teach you that your baptism into Christ has meaning for your everyday life; that your baptism spills out into your life all the time; that your baptism bears a wonderful harvest.

 

And what is that? Well, first of all it means that you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. That you trust Him alone for salvation. F-A-I-T-H. A believer. God’s new creation. The new man. And this new man – this new life of the baptized believer also means fighting your old Adam, your sinful nature, your sinful flesh TO DEATH every day! In other words, you will fight against sin and sin’s reign in your life – you will repent — BECAUSE you are a new creation in Christ through baptism!

 

Second, because you are a baptized believer, a faith-er, one of the Lord’s hangers on, you want to live differently because you believe in Jesus. You want to live a God-pleasing life. You want to do better. And that’s spelled: L-O-V-E. Care for others. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” The baptized Christian lives a Christ-like life – NOT to be served BUT TO SERVE and to sacrificially live the life of love for others.

 

So, to repeat: your being baptized, like little Wade Michael, means that you will live like a Christian NOT LIKE AN UNBELIEVER! You will live in and from your baptism.

 

First, you will live outside yourself before God through faith. Faith alone in Jesus saves you. Since you’re a baptized believer you will repent of your sin and battle your old Adam in a daily duel to the death. Your sinful desires must die. Every day! The apostle speaks of this baptismal living in this way: “To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life [as an unbeliever] and is corrupt through deceitful desires.” Again that’s the death of the old Adam. And then there’s the life of the new man, the believer: “to be renewed in the spirit of your minds and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

 

Daily dying to sin – daily putting the old Adam to death – daily trusting in Jesus for salvation – and the desire to lead a God-pleasing life according to God’s Word. That’s repentance in the broad sense. That’s living in and from your baptism into Christ. When you’re confessing your sin, when you’re trusting in Jesus and when you desire to live like a Christian God’s divine and saving Name given to you in your baptism is bearing fruit in your life. That’s when you’re actually making progress as a Christian. Death to sin! Faith in Jesus.

 

And love for others. Because you are saved through faith in Jesus, you, the FAITH-ER will live outside yourself before others like a Christ through love. Before others you are given to live the baptismal life of walking in love. You live for your spouse, your children, your family, your fellow believers in Christ, not for yourself.

 

The apostle spells this out quite concretely. The “neighbor” (your fellow Christian.) is not to be the victim of your old Adam’s selfish lies. “Let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor.” In other words, you will not want victimize and exploit the people with whom you live with fallacies, deceits, slurs, libels and lies. You will want to always tell the truth. To build up – to edify – to love your neighbor.

 

In addition, to be baptized, to live for the sake of others means that you will not want to assault your neighbor by your anger. “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you with all malice.” “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.”   There is such a thing as righteous anger. In other words, sometimes you may be justified in being angry. However, I warn you that there is the ever-present danger that even righteous anger may turn into sinful spite. The devil, your enemy, together with your old Adam, uses anger as an opening the size of a football field to lead you into more and more sin. Sinning on steroids if you will.

 

I’ve seen this so much in our congregations, families and marriages. The devil employs anger to destroy relationships. Always angry. Always negative. No one can do anything right. Then the devil enflames the anger all the more and before you know it – the explosion of toxic emotions tears people apart – both physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Confession of sin and the proper use of Jesus for forgiveness gets neglected or lost. Folks may even lose their faith in Jesus and purposely live outside their baptism. Love for the other grows cold. Love for the neighbor dies. It’s hellacious!

 

Consequently, listen to these words from Scripture regarding this topic. “Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God,” (James 1:19-20). It also teaches: “Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly,” (Proverbs 14:29) “Good sense makes one slow to anger and it is his glory to overlook an offense,” (Proverbs 19:11). Jesus, you remember, goes even deeper with regard to anger. “I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment,” (Mt. 5:21).

 

Well, the sermon is getting quite long. I do need to make just a couple more points and then I’ll wrap it up. According to the text living in and from your baptism means that you are not to diminish your fellow Christian by stealing or degrading him with evil talk. Instead, “do honest work” with your baptized hands so that you have something to “share with anyone in need.” The words that come from your baptized mouth are “for building up” one another “that it may give grace to those who hear.”

 

Finally, as I mentioned earlier, living in and from your baptism means “being kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ has forgiven you.”

 

Did you hear that? “Forgiving one another.”   As you pray in the Lord’s Prayer every day! “Forgiving one another” just as the Lord Jesus has Good Friday-ly forgiven you of everything! Name of sin of yours Jesus didn’t die for! That’s right! You can’t! He counts no sin against you. All is forgiven!

 

So why would you want to hold sin against your fellow believer? Living in and from your baptism means that you forgive those that sin against you. That you categorically tell them: “I forgive you.”   That’s putting Jesus and His Good Friday forgiveness to good use. It is the life of love that flows from faith in Jesus. For the edification and building up of your Christian brothers or sisters.

When we refuse to forgive each other in our families or our congregation, we’re living outside our baptism. It’s an outrageous scandal to unbelievers for one thing. Believe me they’re watching you. In addition, our unforgiveness to one another ruins and destroys our families and congregations.

 

Just the opposite happens when we forgive each other for Jesus’ sake. All heaven breaks loose among us in the forgiveness of sins. Jesus and all His heavenly saving power reigns among us in three little words that we are given to speak as the baptized: I FORGIVE YOU!

 

Do you see? This is God’s good use of you in your life. This is the fruit of holy baptism. God working in your life, in your family, in this congregation and in the world through you. It is a life that we need to cultivate. A discipline we need to learn. The baptismal life of repentance, faith, and living according to God’s Word. “Walking in love as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

 

In the Name of Jesus.

 

August 12, 2018 Bible Class Mark 12 Marriage Is For This Life

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John Part Twenty-Four

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