BULLETIN

SERMON TEXT BELOW

Baptism of our Lord 2022
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamilton, Ohio
Pastor Kevin Jud 
January 9, 2022
Isaiah 43:1-7, Romans 6:1-11, Luke 3:15-22

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Audio:                         pastorjud.podbean.com 
itunes:                        bit.ly/pastorjud
Full Service Audio:   bit.ly/ImmanuelWorship

            How many times have you been born?  A seemingly simple question, but, maybe it is a trick.  My mother gave birth to me in April of 1966 in Indiana.  One birth, but the answer is not one, is it?  I was born once at the hospital that was my little birth.  My big birth was on May 1, 1966 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Valparaiso, Indiana.  On that day I was born again of water and the Spirit.  On that day, the day of my big birth, the Holy Spirit descended on me and God the Father declared, “You are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased.” I have been born twice.  I had my little birth at the hospital and my big birth in the waters of Holy Baptism. 

            How many times have you died?  Hmm.  Another trick question?  Since you are sitting here it would appear that the answer would be zero, but not if you take a close look at our Epistle reading for today.  Romans 6:8 (ESV) 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 

            As a baptized child of God you have already experienced your big death.  In baptism you died with Christ.  Romans 6:3–4 (ESV)  3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 

            At a baptism I make the sign of the cross both upon your forehead and upon your heart to mark you as one who is redeemed by Christ the crucified.  Perhaps I should also make the sign of the cross upon your hands and feet and your side to show that in baptism you have been crucified with Christ. 

            In baptism you have died with Christ and been raised with Christ.  You have gone through the big death and been born again, so your little death; your physical death, now holds no great terror because you are in Christ, and Christ has conquered death.  In baptism, your old self, your sinful nature, your old Adam, has been crucified with Christ.  Because you have died with Christ and risen with Christ you are no longer a slave to sin. You have been set free.  You live with Christ, you live in Christ.

            Your sinful nature has been crucified but the devil knows that your flesh still desires to sin.  The devil uses this to try to pull you back into slavery to sin.  One powerful trick in the devil’s arsenal is to convince you that since you live in the grace of Jesus you are now a spiritual being and what you do with your body does not matter.  The devil wants you to believe that because Jesus has cancelled the condemnation of the Law that you are now free to sin.  He wants to convince you that since you like to sin and Jesus likes to forgive sins that this is good arrangement for everyone.  Paul addresses this head-on in our Epistle lesson.  Romans 6:1–2 (ESV) 1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 

            Your sinful nature is a remnant of your past life before you died the big death and were born again in water and the spirit.  It was once your master, but no more.  Sin no longer enslaves you.  In baptism, you did not just get a change of status, but you received a new life.  You walk in newness of life to delight in God’s will and walk in His ways to the glory of His holy name.  You live now as a baptized child of God.  At your baptism the Holy Spirit descended on you and God the Father declared, “this is my beloved child, with whom I am well pleased.”  You died with Christ and rose to new life. 

            Living out your new life after baptism is a great challenge.  The world around you does not want you to help you.  Your own flesh betrays your new life as the old sinful self still desperately clings to you trying to retake control.  The devil works against you at every turn.  He tempts you to forget about your new life in Christ by reminding you of your sin and accusing you of the sin you’ve committed so that you give up hope and despair.  He wants you to reject God’s will and abandon His way and instead give in to your every sinful desire.  The devil wants you to become self-righteous and think that you are good enough on your own; that you are better than those other bad sinners. 

Fight back against the devil with daily contrition and repentance.  Sorrow over your sin and turn away from your sin and turn back to Jesus. 

You are a new creation.  Your old sinful self is crucified with Christ.  Your old sinful nature is nailed to the cross with Jesus.  Your sin is taken away from you by Jesus and paid for on the cross of Calvary.  You are forgiven.  You are set free.  This is the most important thing in this life on your way to your little death.

            Jesus is baptized into your sin.  He enters into the waters of repentance and takes upon Himself your sin.  He takes your sin, and with your sin upon Him, the Holy Spirit descends on Jesus like a dove and God the Father says, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” In the waters of His baptism Jesus begins to die for you and in your baptism you die with Christ and rise with Christ to walk in newness of life in love for God and love for your neighbor.

            You are a baptized child of God.  This is the truth, but the devil wants you to forget this truth. So, each morning, remember who you are in Christ.  When you are tempted to sin, remember who you are in Christ.  Make the sign of the cross and remember you are baptized, “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  Perhaps make the sign of the cross both upon your forehead and upon your heart to remember you are redeemed by Christ the crucified. Perhaps even make the sign of the cross on your hands and feet and your side to remember your sinful self has been crucified with Christ. 

You are a new creation.  Your old sinful self is crucified with Christ.  Your old sinful nature is nailed to the cross with Jesus.  Your sin is taken away from you by Jesus and paid for on the cross of Calvary.  You are forgiven.  You are set free.  This is the most important thing in this life on your way to your little death.

            When you die your little death we will focus on this truth. At your funeral we begin with the invocation.  “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  This incomplete sentence that reminds you of how you first entered the Kingdom of God.  “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

            We will cover your casket with a white cloth to remember you have put on Christ and are covered by the white robe of Jesus’ righteousness, and we look to these verses from Romans, chapter 6. 

Remembrance of Baptism                                                                               Romans 6:3–5

P     In Holy Baptism [name] was clothed with the robe of Christ’s righteousness that covered all [his/her] sin. St. Paul says: “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?”

C    We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His.

            I was visiting a member in hospice recently.  Hospice focuses your attention as to what is really important.  Politics are no longer important.  Economics are no longer important.  Entertainment is no longer important.  Belongings are no longer important.  Family is still important, but the most important thing is to know the truth that you are a baptized child of God who has died with Christ and has been born again.  Romans 6:5 (ESV) 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”  In hospice you await your little death in hope and peace because you already have experienced your big death and your little death will transition you to eternal life. 

            You are a baptized child of God.  You have died with Christ.  You are a new creation.  Live in the newness of life.  Delight in His will and walk in His ways.  You are dead to sin.  You are alive to God in Christ Jesus.  Amen.

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