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Baptisms of Mia & Natalie McHugh / Second-Last Sunday

November 15, 2015

Baptism

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Second-Last Sunday                                         Trinity Lutheran Church

15 November 2015                                            Murdock, NE

 

+ Jesu Juva +

 

Baptisms of Mia Ashton McHugh & Natalie Eileen McHugh

Mark 10:13-16; Mark 13:9-13

 

Tell me. Is there anyone for whom Jesus didn’t die? Anyone? Anyone? Go ahead. Give me a name. Anyone? Anyone? That’s what I thought. Your silence is golden. You can’t or won’t give a name because Jesus died FOR ALL. FOR EVERYONE. He didn’t leave anyone outside of His Good Friday-on-the-cross-dying. God “so loved the world that He gave,” (Jn 3:16). Jesus died for Mia and Natalie to win salvation for them – to achieve their total and complete forgiveness. Let’s not forget brothers and sisters: salvation IS forgiveness and vice versa forgiveness IS salvation.

 

Now, how about this? Is there any sin that Jesus left out of His Good Friday dying? Can you name one? Go ahead. Give me a list. Start ticking off the sins that Jesus excluded from His “It Is Finished” proclamation on that Friday afternoon in 33 A.D. Again, your silence is golden! Jesus answered for all sin. “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and not only for our sins but also for the sins of the whole world,” (1 John 2:2).

 

Jesus sees to the delivery of what He won and achieved for all sinners (forgiveness/salvation). He makes sure His Good Friday forgiveness gets bestowed. Distributed. One of the ways He does it is through the gift of Holy Baptism. The Baptism he mandated! The water Baptism He instituted. Baptism is not optional. The All-Authority-In-Heaven-And-On-Earth Jesus says the following: “Make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Mt 28:19).

 

Jesus mandates Holy Baptism because through it He gives the forgiveness of the cross to sinners for their salvation. “Be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus,” Peter preached on Pentecost, “FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS … this promise is FOR YOU AND FOR YOUR CHILDREN AND FOR ALL.” That’s Acts 2:38-39 “What are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash away all your sin.” That’s Acts 22:16 when Paul recounted the day of his baptism into Christ.

 

Would any of you dare to keep anyone away from Good Friday Jesus and His gift of Holy Baptism? Many would. Many do. Including children. As if children don’t need Jesus! As is children don’t need salvation! As if Jesus didn’t die for them. As if Jesus only took on flesh, suffered and died on the cross for adults only. Nonsense! Rubbish! I’d like to say something else but you keep insisting that all my sermons stay Disney-like G-rated.

 

The words of Jesus are these: Matthew 28. And now Mark 10. “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”         Did you hear that? Incredible! Bring the kids to Jesus. Never prevent a child from receiving a blessing from Jesus and that includes the blessed reception of His most holy Name in Holy Baptism.

 

Thanks be to God! Jeremy and Donny have heard the words of Jesus. His words have had their way with them. They brought Mia and Natalie to Jesus today. Good Friday and Easter Sunday Jesus! After all, to be baptized in Jesus’ Name is to be baptized by Jesus Himself! Jesus is there with His Name in Baptism giving everything that His Name gives. And what is that? SALVATION! The salvation He won on the cross!

 

Back to Jesus’ words. He says that, “the kingdom of God belongs to such as these little children.” In other words, He is God FOR THEM too! His suffering, dying and rising are FOR THEM too! Jesus is not just the Savior of adults. He is the Savior of all – including the kids.

 

Jesus as Savior FOR YOU, for Mia and for Natalie is very important for another reason. We heard it in from Mark 13, the holy gospel reading today. Jesus gives a magnificent promise to you His baptized believers: “The one who endures to the end will be saved,” (Mk 13:13).

 

Endures what? Well, all the end time or last days troubles that come to baptized Christians because of the gospel they believe and because they bear Jesus’ name given in Holy Baptism.

 

Brothers and sisters, you will soon learn that bearing and confessing Jesus’ Name will cost you dearly. Very dearly. You need to be prepared. Suffering is coming. Bitter suffering. In ways you never imagined. You’re so used to thinking that because you are a Christian, you are safe, privileged, liked and tolerated.

 

That is swiftly coming to an end. We live in the last days. There are many who hate Jesus and therefore they hate His baptized disciples. We are on the ragged edge of Christianity being criminalized in this country. Seriously. You will be persecuted. You will suffer loss: job, reputation, property, wealth, family and possibly even your life. Why? It’s simple: for being a baptized Christian! This is no joke. I’m not just blowing smoke. Jesus says so: “Be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils and you will be beaten in synagogues and you will stand before governors and kings.”

 

Why? “For my sake,” Jesus says, “to bear witness before them.” In other words, Jesus will use your suffering for good. You will be given the opportunity to proclaim Jesus as Savior! To proclaim the victory of Jesus. To proclaim Jesus only as Lord Jesus will use you to bear witness to Jesus – even in troubles. Even when your life is on the line.

 

The temptation for Christians is to remain decadently apathetic. Or to cave. To give up. To give in. To concede the faith. To not trust or confess Jesus. DO NOT COMPROMISE! Endure. Carry on. Persist. Why? Well, listen to Jesus. “And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.”   Your enemies will try to exterminate Christianity. Jesus will turn it in the opposite direction. Persecution will prime the pump so that “the gospel will be proclaimed to all nations.” Isn’t that incredible?

 

So we’re back to Jesus’ promise: “The one who endures to the end will be saved.” Endure. Don’t compromise. Remain faithful. Even though immense troubles are coming. What you’d never ever expect. The loss of everything – even your life. Confessing and bearing Christ’s Name divides families. Puts family members at odds with one another. Anti-Christian unbelief happens in families. Consequently, Jesus tells you that, “brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.”

 

“Hated.” You will be hated. Jesus said it. I didn’t. You can count on it. Why? Because you are a Christian. Because you bear Christ’s name in Holy Baptism. Get ready. It’s coming quickly. There is one group of people in this country that can be discriminated against, detested, disliked both privately and publicly. Who is that? You! Christians!

 

Many of the black robed authorities, Hollywood types, bloggers, Facebook-ers, newspapers, TV networks, colleges and businesses already consider you Christians to be enemies of the state, haters, racists, bigots, mentally ill, etc. because you are a threat. You threaten their claim to divinity and total rule. You make them feel uncomfortable because you have what they call a disease. The malady is this: you believe in Jesus as the one and only higher authority. You believe and trust in His words. His words are divine not theirs. You obey Him rather than men because He is God and they are not. You stand in the way of their creating a salvific utopian world in their own image through politics because you believe that Jesus has already won salvation in His Good Friday dying. So you, the Christian, must be silenced. Or eliminated. That’s why the hatred and persecution is coming! And it’s coming swiftly. Just as Jesus predicted. In John 15 Jesus said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you … If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” It just goes with the territory of being a baptized Christian.

 

So you need to hear once again Christ’s promise: “The one who endures to the end will be saved.”  Trust Jesus. Rely on His Holy Spirit-filled promises including Mark 16:16, “whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.”

 

In the Name of Jesus.

 

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