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More Delivery of Good Friday Forgiveness: Baptism!

April 30, 2017

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Third Sunday of Easter                             Trinity Lutheran Church

30 April 2017                                              Murdock, NE

 

+ Jesu Juva +

 

Acts 2:14a, 36-41

 

Last week – John 20 — holy absolution! The notorious sinner, Peter, and his motley crew of fellow sinners received the Lord’s Good-Friday-full-of-the- Holy-Spirit-forgiveness: “Peace be with you.” His word does and gives what it says. They are forgiven. He says so. He has the Good Friday wounds to show for it.

 

Then this Jesus, who is “both Lord and Christ,” sends Peter and the other absolved disciples as pastors with a specific speaking task. He offices, jobs, vocations them to speak His forgiveness to sinners. Their forgiveness is really His forgiveness. “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven.”  That’s the parallel of Matthew 16 and 18: “Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” You too heard the Holy Spirit filled living voice of Christ with these words out of the pastor’s mouth: “I forgive you all your sins in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

 

Forgiveness is the gospel. Let me say that again. Forgiveness is the gospel. That’s precisely why the divine service is all about the forgiveness of sins – which also gives the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. That’s why Christians all of the world flock to the divine service. Nothing will stand in their way. No one will keep them away from hearing the Lord’s forgiveness / gospel / salvation. Especially the Christians in Africa, China, Indonesia and the Middle East. Not even the threat of murder and bombings keeps them away from the Lord’s churching them. They sing a song that we take for granted but they mean it:

 

The Word they still shall let remain

Nor any thanks have for it;

He’s by our side upon the plain

With His good gifts and Spirit

And take they our life,

Goods, fame, child and wife

Though these all be gone

Our victory has been won

The kingdom ours remaineth! (LSB 656:4)

 

Now, observe this important distinction. In His Good Friday death Jesus won salvation for all. Forgiveness for all was achieved and accomplished not with “perishable things such as silver or gold” but by Christ the Lamb’s death and divine “precious” blood shed on the cross. Now Good Friday Jesus has risen from the dead. So He sees to it that His Good Friday forgiveness – SALVATION – gets delivered or dished out to sinners. It is precisely how He has a church. One way he does this is: holy absolution – John 20.   Another way is the Luke 24 way when Jesus teaches, preaches and suppers at table – breaks bread — enflames hearts with faith in Him as the Savior of sinners: “It is true! The Lord has risen!”  

 

The risen Lord is so generous with His Holy Spirit filled forgiveness. He gives it in many ways. That’s the way it is with giving gifts. Especially the salvational or salvific kind!   So, today we hear of another way that forgiveness / salvation gets dished out in another heaping portion. It’s holy baptism! Water hooked and combined with the Matthew 28:19 mandate of Jesus.

 

Sinner/Saint Peter – absolved by the Lord – exhorts all sinners within the sound of his voice to be saved “from this corrupt generation” and to “repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus.” Why? Why receive holy baptism? Well, that’s a no brainer. Peter says that holy baptism “is for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

 

Forgiveness and Holy Spirit in water baptism? Yepper! The Name of Jesus is not a nothing! When you’re baptized in the Name of Jesus, you are given salvation! Seriously! His Name is salvation. “Jesus” is the divine saving name that saves His people from their sins (Mt. 1:21). In baptism He gives His name to you. And with His name He pours out His Good Friday salvational gifts. With His Name, Jesus gives you all of His Good Friday forgiveness and the Holy Spirit so that you too believe that He died on the cross and rose from the dead FOR YOU and for your salvation. With the divine name the Holy Spirit “calls me [to faith in Jesus] by the Gospel and enlightens me with His gifts” as the Small Catechism faithfully confesses it.

 

Peter’s preaching in Acts 2 “cut” his hearers “to the heart.” In other words, they were brought to the point that they had nothing to bargain with. There was no spiritual wealth in their pockets or wallets. They were nothing but sinners. However, Jesus was nothing but Savior. Savior for them.

 

So, Peter baptizes them. “Those who received his sermon were baptized and about three thousand were added to their number [of believers] that day.”

 

You too “cut to the heart” people have been added to that number of believers! You’ve been died for! All your sins are answered for. In the precious blood of Jesus shed as He hung on the cross. Forgiveness / salvation has been achieved. Accomplished. Won. In addition Jesus has made sure that this eternal treasure got salvationally UPS-ed or Fed Ex-ed to you. He’s pastored and churched you too. He sent a pastor to baptize you. A Krey, a Burger, a Denner, a Bereuter, a Haekes and now a Kuhlman. But when you’re baptized in God’s name – Jesus’ Name, you’re baptized by God – by Jesus Himself! It’s all His doing. His giving.

 

He saves you from this extremely corrupt generation. His Good Friday death on the cross. Then the delivery of what He won for you in holy baptism, holy absolution, the preaching of the gospel and the   Lord’s Supper.

 

The promise of salvation – the promise of forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit “is for you and for your children and for all who are far off — for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

 

Are you called? Are you saved? Do you have salvation? The only answer that holds is the Jesus answer. “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” He’s Lord and Christ FOR YOU in His Good Friday death. Now that He’s risen, in holy baptism He gives you the salvation / forgiveness He won. “Be baptized every one of you for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” If that isn’t salvation delivered, I don’t know what is.

 

The good news – the best of all news — is that when you’re forgiven and Holy Spirit-ed — salvation is bestowed! Truly! Most certainly! And for even more surety let me offer one more zinger of a promise from the risen Lord Jesus Himself: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.” (Mk 16:16)

 

It doesn’t get any better than that!

 

In the name of Jesus.          

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