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Baptism of Maddysen Ray Jones

November 10, 2013

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Third-Last Sunday                                            Trinity Lutheran Church

10 November 2013                                           Murdock, NE

 

+Jesu Juva +

Matthew 28:19

Baptism of Maddysen Ray Jones

 

In my every day discussions with people about God, about their faith, or about Christianity, or when I attend funerals, the emphasis that I exclusively hear is what we need to do or what we have to give to God.  Have you noticed this?  Bound will sinners love to take over doing the verbs when it comes to our relationship with the Lord.  It’s endemic.  It’s as if the Reformation never happened and we’re back to the false teachings and practices of the medieval church.

 

It goes like this:  “You need to give your life to God!”  Or:  “You need to give your heart to Jesus!”  Or:  “You need to make a decision to make Jesus the Lord and master of your life.”  Who’s doing the verbs?  Who’s giving the gifts?  You are!  And by implication unless YOU DO OR GIVE SOMETHING TO GOD, then your not a … Christian!

 

Really?  Is that the essence of Christianity?  Is that how God operates?  He just sits up in the heavens and waits for you to give Him your heart, your life, or whatever?  As if your heart, life or whatever is so special!  If that’s the case, then you and I are goners!  Seriously!  My heart and my life are nothing but garbage.  Isaiah puts it this way:  “All our righteous acts are like filthy rags,” (64:6).  Jesus knows what’s really in your heart.  Listen:  “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander,” etc. (Mt. 15:19)!

 

I know that the very pious and religious matrix of you giving your life and heart to God as if your salvation depends on it is well intended, but in fact it’s all a distortion of God and Christianity.  Really it is.  You are not in the salvation driver’s seat!  God is!  Exhibit A for that fact is Good Friday.  Jesus alone does the verbs.  He’s giving His life there on the cross FOR YOU!  He’s giving His heart of mercy TO YOU!

 

Therefore, there needs to be – yes I’m going to say it – I will dare it – I will risk it — here comes the “r” word folks.   No it’s not “Redskins” (good grief — no need to text or tweet Roger Goodell).  I’m going to use a different but just as offensive “r” word today.  Are you ready for it?  Well, even if you’re not, I’m going to say it anyway.  Because that’s what pastors are for!  It’s what they’re paid to do.  So here goes.

 

You and I need to be – and here’s the “r” word — repented by the Lord through His Word.   Repented of always insisting that we’re doing the verbs when it comes to our life before God.

 

A good start of the Lord repenting you would be for you to recall once again what you saw at the beginning of the service and what happened to you at the font some time in your life.

 

Maddysen Ray Jones – baptized “in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” according to the Lord’s Matthew 28 mandate and institution.

 

This was no ordinary washing with water.  This was no ordinary bath.  Why?  Well, it is because she was given a gift above all gifts.  And what gift was that?  God’s own divine and most holy Name!  Seriously!  In Holy Baptism today the Holy Trinity put His Name on her.  The Holy Trinity gave her His Name.  And by doing so God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit gave Himself to her!  So too when you were given Holy Baptism!

 

This is an entirely different matrix, isn’t it?  Christianity is all about God – the Triune God – the Holy Trinity – existing and living not for Himself BUT FOR YOU HIS CREATURES.  And most amazingly He sticks with and goes after His creatures who didn’t want to be His creatures anymore and who wanted to be little divinities themselves!  God-within-ers!   Who itched with the ambition to replace God with themselves.  Who was that?  Oh, yes, those were your first parents:  Adam and Eve.  The first sinners!  Who believed the satanic lie:  “You shall be like God,” (Gen. 3:5).  You’re their sin-filled, sin-intoxicated, children!  Or as the liturgy faithfully ID-ed you:  “by nature sinful and unclean,” (all in the way of Psalm 51:5).

 

And what does God do?  Remarkably, He gives Himself to you the sinner.  God gives His life for you the sinner.  He’s a Giver!  Loves to give!  God lives outside of Himself in service to you.

 

By becoming a man – taking on your flesh – Jesus (the Second Person of the Trinity) redeemed you a lost and condemned person – purchased and won you from your all sin, from death and from the power of the devil with His holy precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death.

 

And then in Holy Baptism, the Holy Trinity came to a little sinner named Maddysen Ray.  Baptized in the Triune Name.  To be baptized in God’s triune Name IS TO BE BAPTIZED BY GOD HIMSELF.  In Holy Baptism God gives you His most holy Name.  And when God gives you His Name – HE’S GIVES HIMSELF AND ALL THAT HE IS for and TO YOU.

 

Maddysen Ray and all of you who are baptized in the Name of the Father now have God as your Father.

 

Baptized in the Name of the Son you are given all the Good Friday benefits of His Mount Calvary death.

 

Baptized in the Name of the Holy Spirit you are given the life-giving, life-sustaining power and presence of the Spirit Himself who is the Lord and Giver of life.

 

One of the greatest gifts that God gives to His people is His Name.  When Moses asked the Lord at the burning but not consumed bush:  “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’  Then what shall I tell them?”  That’s when God gives Moses His Old Testament name of salvation.  Listen.  “God also said to Moses, ‘Say to the Israelites, THE LORD [YAHWEH], THE GOD OF YOUR FATHERS – THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, THE GOD OF ISAAC AND THE GOD OF JACOB – has sent you.  THIS IS MY NAME forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation,” (Exodus 3:13, 15).  God gave Israel His Name.  And when He gave Israel His Name, He was giving Himself to her.  He was promising to be God FOR HER.

 

So also now for Maddysen and for you!  God has given you His most holy Name in Holy Baptism.  He’s speaks in His Words.  You heard them:  “I baptize you in the Name …”  And with His Name He’s there giving all of Himself for the baptized.  You know what?  When God is giving Himself to you – promising to be God FOR YOU with His Name – YOU ARE SAVED.  BY HIM!  AND BY HIM ALONE.  Saved from sin, Satan, death and hell and to be given forgiveness, the one true God, eternal life and all of heaven.  Just as Jesus promises it:  “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved,” (Mark 16:16)!  Or Peter:  “Baptism now saves you … by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” (1 Peter 3:21).  Or Paul when he too speaks of Baptism:  “He [God] saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,” (Titus 3:5).

 

Do you all believe that?  You do?  That’s great!  That means that you’ve been repented by the Lord!  Re-matrixed into His new little creations spelled F-A-I-T-H!  Faith that receives what God gives.  Salvation won at Calvary.  Salvation bestowed in the forgiveness of sins delivered in the Word of the gospel, in Holy Baptism, in the Sacrament of the Altar, and in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting!

 

So Happy Baptism Day Maddysen Ray!  May the Lord bring forth much fruit in your life from His giving you His Name today at the font.  Dittos for the rest of you!

 

In the Name of Jesus.

 

Just like we heard

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