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God’s Holy Name: Matthew 28:19 Proper 21A

September 25, 2011

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Proper 21                                                                                          Trinity Lutheran Church

25 September 2011                                                                                         Murdock, NE

Baptism of Kade Christopher Haertel


+ Jesu Juva +


Matthew 28:19


All Authority In Heaven And On Earth Jesus mandates that the church, through the holy ministry, make disciples of all nations by baptizing and teaching. 


We rejoice that Kade Christopher received holy baptism today.  It looks so common.  So ordinary.  Plain tap water and words.  We are tempted to blow it off.  To not pay attention.  Or glory in it as if we are doing something for the Lord! 


Do not be deceived!  After all, Holy Baptism is the Lord’s!  Belongs to Him.  He instituted it.  And what He institutes and mandates is never worthless!  He gives Holy Baptism as a gift to sinners for whom He died!  The Lord is so extravagant with His gifts for us undeserving and unworthy sinners. 


He gives Himself over to immense suffering.  To a Maundy Thursday betrayal and arrest!  To a horrific crucifixion where He bears all sin and all its hellish damnation in His Body as the only sacrificial substitute!  Now that He has risen from the grave He gives even more. 


More than we could ever imagine or expect!  I pray that it brings you the greatest joy and comfort today and the rest of your lives!


According to the Lord’s bidding Kade Christopher was baptized with water “in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” 


So, what was Kade given according to those words from the Lord?  What gift? 


Perhaps you’d better hear the words again.  Kade Christopher was baptized “in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” 


Now do you know what gift he was given with those words?


GOD’S DIVINE NAME!  Father, Son, Holy Spirit!  The most holy triune Name!


God gave Kade Christopher His Name!    He gave YOU His most holy Name in Holy Baptism too.  This is absolutely huge! A total game changer!  Complete life / eternal life changer!   


How so?  First, when God puts His Name on you He is making a promise.  A promise that He will be God FOR YOU!  That He will act as God FOR YOU!  And when God is FOR YOU He is giving you all of Himself, what He possesses and is able to!  And what is God able to do?  Forgive sin, put death to death, take away all our misery, and give us eternal righteousness, life and joy!  The holy Trinity pours out all His gracious power with His Name.  The Father is there with all His light and splendor.  The Son pours out and covers you with His Blood.  The Spirit bathes you with His purifying fire!  


This is so incredible!  Goes against everything that we expect!  After all, every religious expert tells us that we have to give ourselves to God.  That we have to go to God!  That we have to do this!  That we have to do that!


And what just happened today?  Just the opposite!  God came to Kade!  God did the verbs!  God is the subject!  God gave Himself completely and totally to Kade!  How?  As he was baptized with water, “in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  


After all, to be baptized in God’s triune Name is to be baptized by God Himself!  With His Name He gives Himself to you!  Wholly and completely with all that He is and all that He has! 


You don’t give yourself to God.  HE GIVES HIMSELF TO YOU with His Name!  For your benefit!  For your good! 


That’s why the First Commandment is:  “Don’t have any other gods.”  Why?  Because the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the only God out there!  And He’s there for you!  In His creating you!  In His redeeming you!  In His sanctifying you!  As revealed in Scripture and confessed in the Creed!


God has given you His heart!  God has given you His life!  In the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus, His Son.  In the waters of Holy Baptism He buried your old Adam and Eve with Christ into His death!  He resurrected you as a new creation to live a new life:  the life of faith!  Faith in Jesus who died for you!  He gave you new birth and a washing of regeneration through the gift of the Holy Spirit. 


Kade’s Baptism and your Baptism was your Pentecost!  And every day is a little Pentecost as the Lord leads you to repentance and faith through the Word – the life of Holy Baptism — you are pentecosted – Holy Spirit-ed – holied – sanctified! 


All of this is because God gave Kade and you who are baptized His Name!  And with His Name – Himself!  Entirely!  Completely!  With all that He is! With all that He has!  God exists for you!  He lives for you!  For your good!  For all your benefit!  Both now and forever!  Because He’s given you His Name you have victory over death and the devil, forgiveness of sin, God’s grace, the entire Christ and the Holy Spirit with his gifts.  Absolutely remarkable!     


And more!  Could there be more?  Yes.  With the giving of His Name God gives you total and complete access to Himself!  You can approach Him.  Address Him.  Get His attention.  Communicate with Him.  That’s prayer!   


Without the gift of His most holy name given in Holy Baptism we could not approach God.  We could never call upon Him in prayer, praise and thanksgiving.  He wouldn’t pay attention to us!  He would not be God for you and me!    


But with His Name He is graciously present for you!  That is precisely why Jesus taught us to pray this way:  “Our Father who art in heaven.”  The Father of the Lord Jesus Christ is also our Father.  He is our Father too through Jesus! 


And so all our other praying is addressed to the Holy Trinity!  We pray to the Father, through the Son, and in the power of the Holy Spirit.  For example, we address the Father at the beginning of our prayers.  Like, “Most merciful Father,” or “Almighty Father.”  And we usually end the prayers like this:  “through Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you [Father] and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.”  


Addressing and praying to God using His Name ensures that He hears us.  That’s why the Small Catechism teaches us to begin our praying in the morning and the evening with the divine name given you in your Baptism:  “In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” making the sign of the holy cross as you say the divine name.


Such praying is certain and sure!  Why?  Because with His Name given you in Baptism you have access to the Holy Trinity who created you, redeemed you, and sanctified you.


Happy Baptism Day Kade!  Happy living in your Baptisms members of Trinity! 


In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.                     

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