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Baptism of Theodore Leeland Richter

March 10, 2013

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Fourth Sunday in Lent                              Trinity Lutheran Church

10 March 2013                                        Murdock, NE

 

+ Jesu Juva +

 

Acts 2:38-39

Baptism of Theodore Leeland Richter

 

“The Son of Man came to save that which was lost,” (Matthew 18).  Jesus died for everyone.  There’s none He didn’t die for.  Can you name anyone Jesus leaves out of His Good Friday Calvary dying?  . . . I didn’t think so.  Jesus died for you.  Jesus died for Theodore too.  Winning and achieving the salvation that only He could do!  And He did!  “It is finished!”  The sacrifice for all sin is done in the death of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. 

 

Jesus’ will is to bestow and pour out the forgiveness of sins won by His Good Friday dying on sinners for whom He died This is precisely why He institutes Holy Baptism.  “Make disciples of all nations by baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Matthew 28).

 

So the church baptizes according to the Lord’s mandate.  According to His bidding.  Always has.  Always will.  Until the Last Day that is.  Right away, then, on the Day of Pentecost the blessed apostle Peter invites sinners to Holy Baptism.  “Be baptized every one of you.”  “Every one of you.”  Not some.  Every one means “every one.”  What part of “every one of you” don’t you understand?  The “Every one of you” of Acts 2 matches the “all nations” of Matthew 28.   

 

“Be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus, (the Jesus who died for you).” 

 

Then Peter extols the benefits promised in Holy Baptism.  Remarkable benefits.  Heavenly benefits.  Salvation benefits.  Listen again.  “Be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”    

 

Whoa!  Did you catch that?  It’s right there in the Bible!  Very clear.  No doubt.  From an apostle who learned it from Jesus Himself!  “Receive Holy Baptism everyone.”  For what reason Peter?  For what divine gift Peter?  For the forgiveness of sins!  The full and total forgiveness won by Jesus on the Cross. 

 

When St. Paul speaks of the day he was baptized the pastor told him:  “What are you waiting for man?  Get up!  Let baptism be done to you and wash away your sins,” (Acts 22:16)!  Holy Baptism delivers that forgiveness!  Good Friday’s forgiveness!  Outstanding!   

 

“Be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus.”  For what reason Peter?  For what benefit Peter?  “And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  The Holy Spirit is the Lord and Giver of life.  Life!  New life.  New birth!  Regeneration!  In Holy Baptism.  The water together with the mandate and institution Word of Jesus Himself. 

 

St. Paul agrees.  That’s in Titus 3.  “God saved us . . . through the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.”   Washing.  That’s Baptism.  And with that the regeneration  or gift of new life from the dead by the Holy Spirit who is at work according to Jesus’ Matthew 28:19 mandate and institution of Holy Baptism.

 

Jesus told Nicodemus that sinners are received into the kingdom of God through Holy Baptism:  “Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,” (John 3).  Water and the Spirit.  Everyone knows that’s Holy Baptism.  Sounds just like what Peter said.  “And you (you who are baptized) will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  Told you Peter learned it from the Lord.

 

I can just hear it now.  “Well Reverend, we’ll grant you that Jesus says ‘all nations,’ and that Peter says, ‘every one of you.’  But Scripture nowhere says that a little one like Theodore should be baptized.  Got you there Reverend!”

 

Not so fast my friend!  Better listen to the rest of what Peter says.  You might just be delightfully surprised.  Go ahead Peter.  I’ll let you tell them.  “All right Pastor Kuhlman.  This promise   . . . (the promise of forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit) in Holy Baptism IS FOR YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN.  And what is more . . . IT IS FOR ALL WHO A FAR OFF, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” 

 

“For you.”  “For your children.”  “For all.”  All in the way of divine gift!   

 

Jesus died for you.  He died for Theodore.  Salvation is not just an adults only affair!  Salvation is for everyone.  That’s why Jesus definitively declares:  “Let the little children come to me.  Do not keep them away!  Of such is the kingdom of God!  I.E. I’ve come for them too!”  And then Jesus turns everything on its head and announces: “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it!”

 

But Reverend!  The little ones can’t do or say anything!  They do nothing! 

 

PRECISELY!  WHEN IT COMES TO SALVATION AND SALVATION’S DELIVERY WE ARE DO NOTHINGS!  WE ARE NOT THE SAVIOR!  JESUS IS!  HE SAVES!  ONLY JESUS!  WE DO NOT CONTRIBUTE TO OUR SALVATION IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM!  WE ARE DEAD IN OUR SINS!  WE ARE SIMPLY GIVEN TO BY THE LORD!  RAISED FROM THE DEAD BY HIS SPIRIT FILLED WORD OF FORGIVENESS!  WHETHER YOU’RE AN ADULT OR A LITTLE ONE LIKE THEODORE!

 

But Reverend, don’t you have to believe? 

 

Of course!  But faith doesn’t happen because of you or your will power!  Faith in Jesus is the result a divine miracle in your life!  The miraculous work of the Holy Spirit who creates faith when and where it pleases Him in those who hear and are given the Gospel of Jesus Christ!  

 

Therefore, Baptism, which is the Gospel, is for you.  For your CHILDREN!  For all.  Baptism is the Gospel because it gives Calvary’s forgiveness and new life through the Holy Spirit.  No wonder Jesus makes the promise is Mark 16, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved.” 

 

The “little ones” who believe in Jesus are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18).   Belief.  That’s faith.  Trust.  In Jesus.  Who gives such wonderful salutary gifts in Holy Baptism.  The Father’s will is that none of the “little ones” who believe and who have angels to watch over them should ever “perish.” 

 

You are a “little one.”  Theodore is a “little one.”  For whom Jesus died.  Who won your salvation.  And then bestows what He achieved at Calvary in Holy Baptism. 

 

“Be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  This promise is for you and your children.” 

 

“For you” is gift talk!  What a wonderful gift!  Happy Baptism Day Theodore!  Happy remembering, rejoicing, and living in your Baptisms, members of Trinity!

 

In the Name of Jesus. 

 

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