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Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany "C"

February 3, 2007

Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany        Trinity Lutheran Church
4 February 2007                                   Murdock, NE
Baptism of Emily Kathrine Drake

+ Jesu Juva +

Acts 2:38-39
Forgiveness & Holy Spirit:  For You!  Your Children!  For Emily Kathrine!

There was quite a manifestation of the Holy Spirit today.  Did you see it?  Oh, no one was speaking in tongues.  I sure wasn’t.  Were you?  I didn’t think so.  So where was this grand manifestation of the Holy Spirit among us?  When we had the joy of seeing Emily Kathrine’s Baptism.  The simple water washing that Jesus gave her with His Holy Spirit-filled Word!  This is a good time for us to reflect on what’s happened here today.  What’s been given today.  And by whom.  So that we may rejoice in Emily’s Baptism and in our Baptism.  So that we may mature in our faith and no longer think like immature children. 

So it’s a day to repent.  To turn from our doubting, apathy or unbelief and to trust in Jesus and what He gives.  And for our repenting, our believing, our trusting, our being given to:  the text from Acts 2.  I beg you brothers and sisters, to pay very careful attention to what the text says.  Now is not the time to sleep.  To day dream.  To blow off another sermon.  For here the blessed apostle Peter preaches God’s Word to us.  And when He preaches the Lord’s words, the Lord Himself is preaching to us.  We see Just like Isaiah when he saw the Lord in the temple after King Uzziah’s death.  Just like Peter after the miraculous catch of fish.     

Right off we’re directed to the font.  Not an altar call.  But a call to Holy Baptism.  “To be baptized in the name of Jesus.”  In Jesus’ Name.  For He’s God.  He’s the Savior.  To be baptized in Jesus’ Name is to be baptized by Jesus Himself.  So Emily was baptized by the Lord today.  He used me as His hands and mouth.  But it’s Jesus’ Baptism. Not mine.  Not yours.  The Lord’s. 

And Jesus’ Baptism is done in the Name of the Father and of the Holy Spirit as we know from Matthew 28.  And now note the gifts Holy Baptism gives.  Did you hear what they were?  One gift is the forgiveness of sins.    “Repent and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.” 

Christ’s death on the Cross achieved and won salvation for the world.  Holy Baptism gives the forgiveness He won for all.  So are you forgiven?  Well, are you?  How do you know?  “Jesus died for me.  I am baptized.”  Oh come on!  That’s too cheap!  You need to do something don’t you?  Just being given to?  Having water put on you in Jesus’ Name?  Come on!  That’s an insult to my freedom.  My free will.  Can’t I do something?  Let me contribute.  At least something!

What does the text say?  It says that you’re forgiven in Holy Baptism.  Because it’s the Lord’s work for you.  His gift for you.  Done in Jesus’ Name.  Done by Jesus Himself.  Gift.  Forgiveness.  From Him.  For all sin for which He died.  For all sinners for whom He died.

And then there’s another gift.  “And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  Water Baptism in Jesus’ Name, forgiveness, and Holy Spirit.  All go together.  Let no one divorce what God has put together.  The Spirit is given in Holy Baptism.  Where Jesus is putting on His Name — where Jesus is giving forgiveness — there’s the Holy Spirit being manifested. 

Are you Holy Spirit filled?  Are you?  Is your body the temple of the Holy Spirit?  “Jesus died for me.  I am baptized.”  O come on!  There’s got to be more doesn’t there?  Another Spirit baptism perhaps?  You just can’t rely on something that happened when you didn’t even know what was going on? 

What does the text say?  “Be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” 

What a promise of gifts.  Gift of forgiveness.  Forgiveness of all sin.  No matter what kind.  Jesus’ death is big enough for them all.  And so is His Baptism.  Gift of the Holy Spirit.

But all that’s just for adults isn’t it?  Only for those who are eight years old and up right?  What does the text say?  “Be baptized EVERY ONE OF YOU.”  When did “every one of you” begin to mean only eight years old and up?  Only when we won’t listen.  But “every one” leaves no one out.  “Every one” is every one.  And then these words:  “The promise [of forgiveness and gift of the Holy Spirit in Holy Baptism] is FOR YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN.”           

“For you.”  “For your children.”  For Emily Kathrine.  What a gift!  From the Lord Jesus Himself.  His death is for you.  Baptism is for you for forgiveness and being holied by the Holy Spirit. 

Every one of you.  For you.  AND FOR YOUR CHILDREN.  “But Pastor, Emily Kathrine can’t do anything!”  I know.  Precisely.  That’s the way of the Gospel.  We’re nothing.  Jesus and His gift-giving are everything.  Forgiveness and Holy Spirit is even for the babies.  No talk in the text about having to be an adult to be baptized.  Jesus died for everyone.  His gifts are for everyone. Even the babies.     

We never move beyond what the Lord’s given.  We don’t say:  “I was baptized” and then rely some whiz-bang purpose driven program.  Or some glittering works of ours that we claim to be Spirit-filled.   We don’t say:  “I was baptized.  That’s good enough.  I really don’t need to go to church, pray, or eat and drink the Lord’s Body and Blood.”  No.  That’s living outside your Baptism.  To deny what the Lord gives in Baptism.  And to deny the Lord Himself who died for you.   

Instead, faith says:  “I am baptized.”  Present tense. “I am baptized” is faith talk.  Trusting in the Lord Jesus.  Who died for you and for your children.  He gives Baptism’s forgiveness.  He pours out the Holy Spirit for you and your children.  He continues to provide forgiveness and Holy Spirit for you and for your children in Absolution, Sermon, and Supper.

go ahead.  Repent.  Believe.  Trust.  Jesus is a wonderful Savior.  And His gift of Holy Baptism is magnificent.  When your conscience, the devil, or anyone else accuse you and say:  “Look at you.  What a big sinner you are.  You deserve to be damned,” what will you say? 

Just reply:  “Oh, I know that.  A sinner I am.  A big one too.  And I do deserve to be damned.  But Jesus died for me.  I’m baptized in His Name.  So go see Jesus and take it up with Him.  He says I’m forgiven.   He baptized me.  I’ll trust what He’s done and gives.”  Kent and Katy, teach Emily to trust Jesus and what He gave her today in her Baptism. 

In the Name of Jesus.  Amen.

From → Sermons

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