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Repentance: The Baptized Life!

December 4, 2016

john-the-baptist

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Second Sunday in Advent                   Trinity Lutheran Church

4 December 2016                                  Murdock, NE

 

+ Jesu Juva +

 

St. Matthew 3:1-12

Baptism of Kennon Ryan Roeber

 

My, my, my! Are your ears are burning? Eyelids shut tight? Fists clenched? Ready to walk out? Why? Well, another extremely, audaciously daring preacher shows up today! Many, including you, would say insubordinate and defiant. Must have slipped through the cracks. Surely, no seminary in the universe would certify a preacher like this. After all, he boldly preaches what churchly authorities and the university-preaching know-it-alls forbid. Obviously John the Baptist didn’t get the memo. No, he just ignores the memo and all the supposed experts and lets the “R” word rip! “Repent!”

 

Did you hear that? Of course you did. It is one of the most important words in the Bible. “Repent.” This is the biblical word that God Himself uses through the mouth of the preacher to turn sinners from their sin – to die to their sin – but more importantly — to turn the sinner to Jesus the crucified One for a sinner’s forgiveness, life and salvation. God’s cup of tea is repenting sinners – leading them to confess their sin and then to believe that Jesus died for them.

 

It’s really no surprise that you hear the “R” word from John the Baptist. He didn’t slip through the cracks. God sent him to preach this way. Jesus says that John is the last and the greatest of the prophets (Matthew 11:9-11). As such he renews the cry of all Old Testament prophecy — and that is REPENTANCE! All the Old Testament prophets spoke of sin as a personal and total turning away from God. When they preached repentance they called for a personal and total turn to God in faith for salvation.

 

“Repent.” Why? Well, John the Baptist tells you why. “For the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Repent – turn to Jesus not to make Him turn to you — BUT BECAUSE HE – HE –IN HIS CHRISTMAS INCARNATION AND GOOD FRIDAY MERCY AND FORGIVENESS HAS TURNED TO YOU!

 

Yes, the kingdom of heaven is at hand! Jesus, the promised Messiah has come! He is the kingdom of heaven on the earth. God HAS COME and He reigns FOR YOU and FOR YOUR SALVATION IN JESUS! The Jesus that sits in Mary’s lap and nurses from her breast. The Jesus that tires, thirsts, suffers and even DIES – ON THE CROSS. Behold, all the fullness of the deity dwells in bodily form hanging on the tree! Behold, the kingdom of heaven is revealed! It is at hand FOR YOU and FOR YOUR SALVATION in the born-of-the-Virgin-Mary-and-crucified Jesus. So, be turned – be repented from your selfish self and sin and turn to Good Friday Jesus for salvation.

 

Now, Jesus didn’t stay in the grave. He rose from the dead on the third day – the day we call Easter. Risen and reigning as the Savior of sinners He mandates that disciples – disciples for Him – be made. How? By baptizing all nations in the Triune Name and teaching everything He has commanded. That’s Matthew 28. Levi and Darcy have heard the Lord’s teaching. Matthew 28 as well as this dominical teaching: “let the little children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God … whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it,” (Mark 10:14-15).

 

Consequently, Levi and Darcy brought their son to Jesus. To be given the kingdom of heaven in holy baptism! God extended His saving reign over Kennon Ryan in the giving of His Triune Name with the water. His saving name! The Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit! When God gives you His Name in Baptism, He gives all the benefits of what He did FOR YOU, for all, and for Kennon Ryan on Good Friday. All heaven broke loose today at the baptismal font for Kennon Ryan. Consequently, Kennon Ryan and all of you who are baptized into Christ are new creations, new creatures in Christ, a believer. Spelled:

F-A-I-T-H!

 

Because the kingdom of heaven has come to you in Good Friday Jesus and in your baptism, your life, Kennon Ryan’s life is now one of … REPENTANCE! It is the daily search and destroy mission of putting your old sinful natures to death. Dying to your sin. Dying to your self-seeking desires. And daily the new creation, the believer, emerging and arising to live before Jesus and clinging to His forgiveness and promise of salvation. Living off of His Good Friday death FOR YOU!

 

Let me wrap up this sermon. The Lord Jesus Christ Jesus sent me, like he sent John the Baptist, to call you to “REPENT.” You are not exempted from repentance. You too are to repent. Why? Because the kingdom of heaven has come to you too! “Repent!” Because Jesus died FOR YOU! “Repent!” Because you are baptized! It’s what the baptized do!

 

When the Lord “R”-words you, when He repents you through His Word (and again that happens daily) you’re living in and from your baptism. Or, your baptism is bearing fruit in your life. Or, you’re making progress in your Christian life. Seriously! I mean that. The repentant Christian is the mature Christian. The repentant Christian daily battles his sin and trusts all the more in Jesus. This will be the fruit of Kennon Ryan’s baptism today. It is the fruit of your baptism dear members of Trinity. So that you have ears to hear. Eyes and hands that are wide open. Feet that stay put. Always ready to receive more from the “R” word preachers the Lord sends to you.

 

Kennon Ryan, happy living in and from your baptism. Dittos to the rest of you. It is the daily life of repentance. It is the genuine Christian life!

 

In the Name of Jesus.

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