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The Gift of God’s Name

February 16, 2020

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Epiphany 6                                                       Trinity Lutheran Church

16 February 2020                                           Murdock, NE


+ Jesu Juva +


Matthew 28:19 “Make disciples of all nations baptizing them IN THE NAME of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

Baptism of Cami, Ali and Mark Dieter


What joy today!  The joy isn’t about what Cami, Ali and Mark did.  They were essentially do nothings today.  Oh, yes, they confessed their faith in the Triune God and renounced the devil, the devils’ works and all his ways.  Thanks be to God!  However, essentially, these three were simply given to.  Receivers.  Passively.  The delight today is in what they were GIVEN!  What was GIFTED them!  What was delivered to them!  By the Triune God!


This really is the essence of Christianity.  Namely, that God is a GIVER and that we are passive recipients of His bountiful giving and gifts.  I can’t emphasize this enough.  The true God gives and does not receive.  He helps and is not helped.  He teaches and rules and is not taught and ruled.  He does and gives everything! He has need of no one.  He does all things freely out of pure grace without merit or worthiness on our part.


For example, God the Father created you. He GAVE you your body and soul, eyes, ears and all your members, your reason and all your senses.  And still takes care of them.  He GIVES you everything you need to support your body and life.  In addition, God the Son GAVE His life into death on the cross to atone for all your sin.  And the Holy Spirit GIVES you the miracle of faith in Jesus through the gospel preached as well as through holy baptism that the Dieter siblings received.  You are little ones that believe in Jesus!


Now, back to Matthew 28:19!  What precisely did God give Cami, Alli and Mark according to this text?  God’s Name!  And to be baptized in God’s Name is to be baptized by God Himself. When holy baptism is done in the Triune Name, the Triune God is doing it and giving it.  “In every place where I cause my NAME to be remembered I will COME to you and BLESS you,” God promises in Exodus 20:24.  Jesus promises in Matthew 18:20, “Where two or three are gathered in my NAME there I am among them.”        


So I always ask:  According to Matthew 28:19 what particular gift does God give to the sinner in holy baptism?  I hope you aren’t tired of me asking. And I sure hope you are still eager to give the answer.  The answer is?  GOD’S DIVINE NAME!  So, in holy baptism the Triune God gave Cami, Ali, and Mark His divine Name.


This is a really big deal.  Really it is.  The big deal is salvational!  Salvific!  God’s Name is never a nothing.  One of the greatest gifts God gives is His NAME.  With His Name God gives Himself and the very salvation that Jesus won on the cross for the baptized sinner.  In, with and under His Name God SAVES lost and condemned sinners.


Scripture teaches this.  Psalm 54:1, “O God, save me [How?] by your NAME.”  In Acts 2:21 Peter quotes Joel 2:32, “Everyone who calls upon the NAME of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13 says the same.   Matthew 1:21, “You shall call his NAME Jesus for he will save his people from their sins.”  The name Jesus literally means:  “God saves, and in holy baptism Jesus gives you His saving Name – Matthew 28:19!


Here are some more passages regarding Jesus’ saving Name.  John 20:31, “and that be believing you may have life in his [Jesus’] NAME.”  Acts 4:12, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other NAME under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”  Acts 10:43, “To him [Jesus] all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his NAME.”   One more for good measure, 1 Corinthians 6:11, “But you were washed [baptized], you were sanctified, you were justified in the NAME of the Lord Jesus Christ.”  So, if you’re picking up what Scripture is throwing down, God’s NAME is one of the greatest gifts anyone can be given.  His Name saves!  That saving divine NAME – Father, Son and Holy Spirit — is what God gave to Cami, Ali and Mark.


This is exactly why Jesus promises in Mark 16:16 that “whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.”  It is why Peter told the hearers of his Pentecost sermon:  “be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  This promise is FOR YOU and for your children and for all,” (Acts 2:38-39).  Don’t forget:  “FOR YOU” TALK IS GIFT TALK!  Peter also said in his first epistle that just as God saved Noah and his family through the flood water so also the water of baptism [hooked with God’s Triune Name] NOW SAVES YOU through the resurrection of Jesus.  It’s why Paul wrote in Titus 3 that God “saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”  And why Jesus told Nicodemus that one must be born again of “water and the Spirit,” (John 3).


Let’s have some more joy and we’ll call it good for this sermon.  I’ll put it this way.  Just as the Trinity was completely present and active in the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River – the Father speaking, the Spirit descending and the Son being baptized – so the same Triune God is present and active in today’s baptisms and the day you all received God’s Name in holy baptism.  I repeat.  In holy baptism God gives you His divine and saving NAME!  And to be given His Name is to have God as your God.  Or to have God’s unthwartable promise that He is God FOR YOU in Jesus!


Cami, Ali and Mark:  I’m here to tell you that God is God FOR YOU!  Because He has given you His Name today He promises to always be God for you.  “Lo I am with you always to the end of the age.”  He will at all times be with you and for you in your life.  He pledges to help you in all walks of your life, your death, your entry in heaven and then the resurrection of your body on the Last Day.

As you grow up and slug through grade school, junior high, high school, college, marriage, family, various jobs, etc.  there will be lots of bumps and bruises along the way.  Breakups, heartaches, sadness, pains, and illnesses.  You will sin much and people will sin much against you.  But there will also be loads and loads of gladness, delight and enjoyment.  You’re not on your own.  God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit will always be there FOR YOU.  He promises.  He gave you His divine and saving Name.  He will always be faithful to you.  Guiding you.  Leading you.  To trust in Him.  For everything!  In everything!

Which also means that when you blow it in life, i.e. as you sin daily, you can always call upon God’s Name and boldly ask for complete and total forgiveness for Jesus’ sake.  You can confidently pray “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil.”   You can daringly and daily ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit to help you live holy lives according to God’s Word and to live a sacrificial life of love in service to others.

Cami, Ali and Mark, happy living in and from Holy Baptism!  Dittos to the rest of you baptized children of God.

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.





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