Pastor Weise’s Sermon – Blessings in the Water

Pastor Weie's Sermon - God Still Performs Miracles

Pastor Weise’s Sermon – Blessings in the Water

Isaiah 42.1-9/St. Matthew 3.13-17

The Baptism of Our Lord/January 13, 2019

Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd/Good Shepherd Community Chapel, Sauk Rapids, MN

Rev. Keith R. Weise, pastor/chaplain

LISTEN TO SERMON

Invocation    In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

I          In the Bible—

almost everything starts with water.

 

The whole creation starts

with the Holy Spirit hovering over the face of the waters

at the first moments of our existence.                                                 (Genesis 1.1-2)

 

            When the earth was filled with violence and corruption because of the evil of all men—

God started over—

by bringing the waters of the great flood

which destroyed all of humanity

except for Noah and his family.                                      (Genesis 6-9)

 

Israel’s freedom from slavery in Egypt

begins with their crossing through

the waters of the Red Sea on dry ground

and escaping the murderous Pharaoh.                                        (Exodus 14)

 

God’s people begin their life in the promised land

by crossing over the River Jordan

as the waters pile up one side of the river

and allow them to cross in safety.                                                  (Joshua 3)

 

And today—

we see Jesus’ public ministry for our salvation begin

as he is baptized

by John

in the water of the Jordan river.                                  (St. Matthew 3)

________________________________________________________________

 

II         Jesus comes to be baptized by John

and at first—

John refuses.

 

I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me? he asks.              (St. Matthew 3.13)

 

            But Jesus says

Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.

                        And then John relents and baptizes Jesus.                                             (St. Matthew 3.14)

 

 

At that moment—

as Jesus comes out of the water—

behold, the heaves were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.  And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.                                                                                            (St. Matthew 3.16-17)

 

            From that moment

Jesus’ identity as the Son of God was known to all.

Jesus ministry on our behalf had commenced.

Our salvation was begun.

 

And it all started in the water.

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III       As it was for Jesus—

so it is for us.

 

Everything starts with water.

 

Our lives all started in the water of our mothers’ wombs.

 

And our salvation—yours and mine—

started in the water of Holy Baptism.

 

Maybe at a font like this—

maybe in a river

maybe by a kitchen sink—it really doesn’t matter

 

What does matter

is that YOU were baptized.

 

A pastor or parent or someone else

poured water over you

and said,

I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

and your eternal life with God began

right then and there—IN THE WATER.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

IV        Your baptism is a HOLY baptism—

because of Jesus’ baptism.

 

In the rite of Holy Baptism

we pray to God—

Through the Baptism in the Jordan of Your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, You sanctified and instituted all waters to be a blessed flood and a lavish washing away of sin.            (Flood Prayer.  Order of Holy Baptism.  LSB p.269)

And that’s exactly what it is.

 

When you were baptized—

your sins were washed away.

your life was blessed by God.

you were claimed as God’s holy child—

and your eternal life began—

All because Jesus was baptized in the Jordan long ago—

and put his word together with that water here and now

to give you every blessing of this sacrament.

 

V         God’s blessings start in the waters of Holy Baptism—

with Jesus’ baptism

and with your own baptism.

 

But the blessings of God associated with water

do not stop there.

 

Jesus tells the woman at the well—

Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.  But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. 

(St. John 4.13-14)

 

            As the priest stood in the temple on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles

and poured water from the pool of Siloam over the altar of God in a holy offering—

Jesus stood in the midst of the people and said—

If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out his heart will flow rivers of living water.                                                                                        (St. John 7.37-38)

 

            And St. John—

taken into heaven in the Revelation—

tells us that in our eternal home—

a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal

                                                            (proceeds) from the throne of God and of the Lamb

nourishing the tree of life which grows on either side—

bringing forth its fruit every month of the year

and providing its leaves for the healing of the nations.                               (Revelation 22.1-2)

 

VI        God blesses us with water.

The blessings began at the beginning of Creation.

YOUR blessings began at the moment

Jesus was baptized—

and they continue now in your own baptism.

 

And God’s blessings for you will go on for all eternity—

because he has made ALL water a source of his great blessings for us.

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VII      And it’s a good thing he has.

Because we need the cleansing that that only God’s blessed water can give.

Sin makes us filthy in the eyes of God.

Sin covers us with shame and stains and squalor.

 

But when God takes up his water

and combines it with his word—

great things happen—FOR YOU!

Your sins are forgiven.

Your shame is washed away.

Your godless stains are replaced by God-given faith.

and

Your squalor is all cleaned up.

 

When God washes you in his holy water

Your past is forgotten

and

Your future is secured.

 

When God baptizes you

he says OF YOU!

Behold, My servant whom I uphold,

                        My elect one in whom My soul delights.

                        and

He calls you in righteousness.

He opens your eyes that were blinded by sin.

He sets you free from the prison house of death.

and

He pours his glory down upon you.                                                          (Isaiah 42)

 

When God cleanses you with his water

You die to sin and self and Satan’s power.

You die with Christ in a death like his

and

You are united with Christ in a resurrection like his.                                     (Romans 6)

 

When God speaks and pours his water down upon you

The Holy Spirit comes to live in your soul.

The righteousness of God takes up residence in your heart.

and

The holiness of God begins to shine in your life.

 

 

 

When God cleanses you with water and his word

You have a place to go

to get clean again when sin makes you filthy.

You have a place to go

when the old sinner in you raises up his ugly head

to act against God’s will.

You have a place to go

when there’s nothing else you can do

but drown that old sinner inside you

so he dies again to sin

as God raises you up to a new and holy life with Him.

 

VIII    That place is your baptism—

where God blesses you with water.

And the blessings he gives are great—

So great—that St. Peter writes—

Baptism . . .  now saves you . . . through the resurrection

of Jesus Christ.                                                                          (I Peter 3.21)

 

So

Spiritually we return to baptism

by heartfelt sorrow for our sins

and putting our sins away for good.              (Small Catechism.  Baptism.  IV.)

 

And

Physically we return to baptism

by dipping our fingers in the font as we pass by

by  making the sign of the cross

in remembrance and thanksgiving for God’s blessings of

forgiveness, life, and salvation

he has put in that water

by Christ’s baptism

and

by his holy word.

 

That’s why the font is right there in the middle of the church today—

and right there it will stay

So any time you like—

you can acknowledge and give thanks

for the great things God has done for YOU—

by baptizing Jesus in the Jordan

and

by baptizing YOU

in his water and his word

and

into the blessings he has put there.

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IX       Today

We celebrate Jesus’ baptism—

celebrate your baptism, too.

 

Revel in the water God has given you as his blessing.

Rejoice in the blessings God gives you with his water.

Rollick in the water with Jesus as you return to your baptism in faith.

And

Give thanks to God—

that Jesus—

in his baptism—

Jesus has made all waters

a blessed flood and a lavish washing away of sin—

For YOU

and for ALL.

 

Praise God.

Amen.

 

Invocation    In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

Hymn of Response:  Create in Me.

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