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Repent and Be Baptized

May 4, 2014

baptism5

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Third Sunday of Easter                                                           Trinity Lutheran Church

4 May 2014                                                                                Murdock, NE

 

+ Jesu Juva +

 

Acts 2:14a, 36-41

Baptism of Cynthia Ann Mather

 

Wow!  No beating around the bush with this guy.  It doesn’t get any more direct, does it?  You’d better hear it again folks.  “‘Be saved from this crooked generation.’”  Did someone secretly record these words from a private conversation?  No, it was preached publicly and boldly for all to hear.  No apologies.  No holds barred.

 

Well, who would dare to audaciously mouth such a thing?  Sounds like something that would come from the lips of a fanatic or radical crackpot.  “Be saved from this crooked generation”?  People who talk like that are reckoned by the big shot, better than everyone else elites to be too “dangerous” and too “pernicious” to society. “‘Be saved from this crooked generation.’”  Doesn’t that border on hate speech?  Better start NSA-ing whoever said that.  Keep him under surveillance 24-7-365.  Perhaps a lifetime ban should be imposed on whoever preached this from the pulpit.  Yeah, that’s the ticket!  And more!  The High and Most Right Commissioner of Sermonizing should fine him millions of dollars! “‘Be saved from this crooked generation.’”  Who’s the moron that preached that?

 

Well, he’s none other than the apostle Peter! 

 

He wasn’t the first.  Nor would he be the last.  Peter’s preaching parallels Jesus’ preaching.  “O unbelieving and perverse generation,” (Matthew 17:17) Jesus declared to those who rejected Him – those who tragically would not believe in Him.  St. Paul audaciously labels the times in which he lives as “a crooked and depraved generation” (Philippians 2:15).

 

“Be saved from this crooked generation.”  The Greek word for “crooked” is skolias.  Sound familiar?  It should.  It’s where we get our English word “scoliosis.”  Some of you know about that first hand, don’t you?  “Be saved from this skolias – this incorrectly bent generation.”  You’d better take this seriously.  Peter is not just whistling Dixie.  He’s giving you the highest of pastoral care.    This is a salvation at stake sermon from the apostle not only in his day but also in our day as well.  These words have had their way with Cindy.

 

“Be saved from this crooked generation.”  How?  Well, did you hear the first part of Peter’s sermon?  Do you remember?  Better hear that again too.  Peter proclaims:  “Repent and be baptized every one of you in Jesus’ name.” 

 

Incredible!  Mind-blowing!  Peter doubles down and he has the nerve to use the prohibited “R” word!  He preaches just like all the Old Testament prophets, John the Baptist and Jesus Himself.  It’s one of the best sermon tools in a preacher’s toolbox.

 

“Repent.”  Not many preachers these days use that biblical word.  They ignore the “R” word as if it doesn’t exist.  And so repentant men and women are going the way of the T-Rex or the Dodo Bird.  Peter, however, pulls out the “R” word.  He calls you to repentance.

 

That’s a good thing.  Really!  Give thanks to God for sending Pastor Peter in order to put the “R” word into your ears and hearts today.  After all, God would repent you through the preaching of repentance.  That is to say — it’s time to tell the truth about yourself.  And what is that?  Well, that’ you’re a sinner. Full-blown.  Total.  A whole enchilada sinner!  No more sugar coating it.  No more blowing it off.  It’s the truth.  Right?  Yes, that’s absolutely correct!

 

You’re sinful and unclean.  Born a sinner.  “Born that way” – to use the phrase of Lady Gaga.  Better yet, it’s as Psalm 51:5 teaches and reveals – you’re a sinner from the moment you were conceived in your mother’s womb – from the time you came kicking and screaming out of your mother’s birth canal.  You’re a true son or daughter of your parents – Adam and Eve. A sinner.

 

Because you ARE a sinner YOU SIN.  You sin against God and the people with whom you live – in thought, word and deed.  By what you’ve done and by what you’ve left undone.  You don’t fear God, you don’t love God and you don’t trust Him.  You’ve replaced Him with idols of your own making.  You trust your words more than God’s Word.  You listen to the sermons that you preach to yourself and ignore what God says to you.  You think your words are better than God’s!

 

You love only yourself and so your love for others has failed miserably.  Therefore, as a sinner and because of your sin, you deserve nothing but God’s present and eternal punishment.  You’re a sinner that needs to be “saved from this [your own] crooked generation.”  Confess it.  Embrace it.  Believe it.  It’s the truth.  Do you believe that?  Do you?  Good.  The Lord’s repenting you! And He’s giving you minds that understand the Scriptures correctly!

 

And more – and this gets to the red-hot core of repentance and getting the Scriptures right.  It’s spelled:  F-A-I-T-H!  You saw and heard self-professed-truth-telling-sinner-Cindy receive Holy Baptism with all its Good Friday Blood of Jesus and Holy Spirit Pentecost divine gifts for her, a sinner!  In other words, the Lord has repented Cindy.  Miraculously, she too has been Pentecost-ed – Holy Spirit-ed.  How do I know that?  Here’s how:  she has confessed the truth that she’s a sinner – and – here’s the big kicker – she BELIEVES in Jesus!  Faith in Jesus has borne fruit with her.  She had good use of Jesus’ Good Friday blood shed for her when she received Holy Baptism today.

 

Peter preaches it this way:  “be baptized EVERY ONE OF YOU.”  Did you hear that?  “EVERY ONE OF YOU.”  He leaves no one out.  Baptism in the name of Jesus is for EVERYONE!  Just like His death is for everyone!  Cindy could no longer exclude herself from the “every one of you.”  The “every one of you” words had their way with her too.  She has given her “Amen.”  And that’s precisely how divinely created FAITH talks.

 

Peter’s “every one of you” echoes, reminds and matches Jesus’ making disciples of “all nations” through Baptism according to Matthew 28:19.  Jesus died for all sinners and every sin on the cross.  He specifically mandated and instituted Holy Baptism so that His divine Good Friday forgiveness that He achieved and won on the cross would be bestowed, distributed, or given to His sinners for whom He died.

 

That’s exactly why Peter proclaims to sinners who confess that they are sinners and are burdened with all their sin:  “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.”

 

No surprise then that Cindy received Holy Baptism!  No wonder your parents brought you to church to be baptized in Jesus’ name.  After all, it is as Peter preaches and promises.  In Holy Baptism the Holy Spirit is at work delivering and giving to sinners the treasure of salvation – the Good Friday forgiveness of the crucified and risen Jesus!

 

So, Cindy and all of you who are baptized into Christ, hear the good news!  Your sins are forgiven.  You have been Holy Spirit-ed.  The promise is true.  It is FOR YOU AND FOR YOUR CHILDREN AND FOR ALL.  Or to quote another preacher who said it the best – the divine preacher from Nazareth:  “He who believes and is baptized will be saved,” (Mark 16:16).

 

SAVED!  “Saved from this crooked generation!”  You are!  Because He says so!  Because He promises!

 

Happy Baptism Day Cindy!

 

Happy living in your Baptism everyone – the life of repentance and faith in Jesus who died for you!

 

In the Name of Jesus!

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