Monday, May 7, 2018

Sermon May 5-6, 2018 Confirmation / First Holy Communion

Title: God’s own child I gladly say it!
Text: 1 John 5:1-8

4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

Processional Hymn: #590 Baptized into Your Name Most Holy
Opening Hymn: # 864 Shepherd of Thy Tender Youth
Sermon Hymn: #594 God’s own Child, I Gladly Say It
Communion Hymn: # 602 The Gifts Christ Freely Gives
Recessional Hymn # 689 Let me be Thine Forever

Stanza 1

God’s own child, I gladly say it: I am baptized into Christ!
He, because I could not pay it, gave my full redemption price.
Do I need earth’s treasures many? I have one worth more than any
That brought me salvation free, Lasting to eternity!

God’s blessing to you as we together celebrate the Confirmation of Olivia Fisher and Brianna Squanda here at Peace. We also, as was begun last year, will celebrate the First Communion of Emma Carlson, Theo Fisher, Scott Dobson Jr., Sam Powell and Jaystin Slavic. It has been a joy to work with, teach, and mentor these children over the last year together and over the last two years for Olivia and Brianna.

Our epistle in 1 John begins:

5 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God,
For all of these children this work of God began when they were baptized. They were marked by Christ as his own, having been born again and having their sins were washed away in the waters of Holy Baptism in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

The work of God in them as infants was certainly greater than their ability to speak this truth for our ears to hear at their baptism - and so as they’ve grown and have been taught what this work of God is – and they now in our presence will confirm what God did then - and continues to do in them.

Stanza 2

Sin, disturb my soul no longer: I am baptized into Christ!
I have comfort even stronger: Jesus’ cleansing sacrifice.
Should a guilty conscience seize me, since my baptism did release me
In a dear forgiving flood, sprinkling me with Jesus’ blood?

4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

Though we all are born sinful and unclean, at our baptism we received the gift of Eternal Life. That gift also came by means of another gift – the gift of faith. Through the means of grace [word and sacrament] we have received the Holy Spirit, and have overcome the world, conquering sin, death and the power of the devil through this baptismal washing uniting water and the word and Spirit. Today [Olivia, Scott, Emma and Theo] and Sunday [Brianna, Sam and Jaystin] will make this proclamation clear.

Stanza 3

Satan, hear this proclamation: I am baptized into Christ!
Drop your ugly accusation; I am not so soon enticed.
Now that to the font I’ve traveled, all your might has come unraveled,
And, against your tyranny, God, my Lord, unites with me!

5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

God has united these children to himself in a special way and now they make this clear in a public way. Confessing with their mouths that Jesus is lord and believing the God has raised him from the dead … they are saved, have been saved and will be saved!

Salvation is God’s promise and is delivered through his means. The word of terror that the devil brings has been defeated at the cross and Jesus has declared his victory to the gates of hell that sin, death and devil have been overcome by him and we who confess this faith receive all that Jesus won. This is most certainly true.

Stanza 4

Death, you cannot end my gladness: I am baptized into Christ!
When I die, I leave all sadness to inherit paradise!
Though I lie in dust and ashes faith’s assurance brightly flashes:
Baptism has the strength divine to make life immortal mine.

6 This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.

The wages of sin is death but the gift of god is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

That is how the Apostle Paul comforts his first readers of this epistle. And for we who many years later hear his same voice proclaimed through the Gospel promise by the Holy Spirit believe and have the same gift of comfort and peace now and always through the assurance of simple water and word connected, received and revealed. What a blessed comfort!

Stanza 5

There is nothing worth comparing to this lifelong comfort sure!
Open-eyed my grave is staring: Even there I’ll sleep secure.
Though my flesh awaits its raising, still my soul continues praising:
I am baptized into Christ; I’m a child of paradise!

7 For there are three that testify: 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.

Martin Luther writes in his Lecturing on the First Epistle of St. John:

Thus the water cannot be proclaimed without the blood. Nor is the blood of Christ given without the water of Baptism. Besides, the blood and the water do not come to us except at the insistence of the Holy Spirit, who is in the Word. Therefore those three cannot be separated, but the three do one thing …
For these three constantly accompany one another, and through the word a daily immersion and a perpetual baptism takes place, a perpetual shedding of the blood of Christ and of the Holy Spirit, a continual cleansing of sins.

AE 30 pg 316 Lutheran Study Bible pg. 2180

These children and all God’s children who have been baptized have and receive God’s forgiveness and have salvation in his name. The blood of Christ paid the price overcame sin death and the devil and opened the gates of heaven for we who believe. The waters of Holy Baptism united with the word of God washes away are sin and by the Holy Spirit we believe and have the assurance of the promise now and into eternity.

As these Confirmands and those receiving their First Communion demonstrate today and for we who look back many years on what God has done in us we can all proclaim:

God’s own child, I gladly say it: I am baptized into Christ!

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit

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