Monday, June 9, 2014

Pentecost Sermon: "A Day of Confession"

+ The Feast of Pentecost - June 8th, 2014 +
Redeemer Lutheran, HB
Series A: Numbers 11:24-30; Acts 2:1-12; John 7:37-39

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

In many ways, the day of Pentecost is a day of Confession.

In the Old Testament, Moses and certain leaders were appointed by the Lord to speak his word on behalf of the people. They were appointed to confess what the Lord gave them to confess: his word, his prophecies, and his promises.

At the Feast of Pentecost, the disciples receive the Holy Spirit in order to confess God’s word to new Israel, the Church; and through the church for the world. So that all who called upon the name of the crucified and risen Lord would be saved. 

This is what Jesus promised in John 7: Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. So, Jesus gives as he promises. He sends us the Holy Spirit as the fount and source of our confession of faith. This confession flows downstream, from the living water and blood of Jesus’ open side, to the living waters of the font straight to our heart and mouth.

Pentecost is a day of confession.

And the Church’s liturgy also confesses for us, with us, and for the world, a constant confession. We confess our sins and receive absolution. We confess, “Lord, have mercy.” We confess the faith of the one, holy, catholic, apostolic church. We confess the same Christian faith in hymns, thanksgiving, and prayers. We confess the same Christ - who gave his Holy Spirit to the disciples, who died and rose again, who ascended and reigns at God’s right hand - is also here giving us his flesh and blood to eat and drink.

What we believe shapes what we confess; and what we confess reflects what we believe.

Pentecost is a day of confession.

And your life in Christ is one of confession. We confess that daily we die to sin and rise in Christ through Baptism.

This is Mark and Ethan’s confession today as well. Today they join all who have gone before them in confessing the Christian faith given in Holy Baptism.

Pentecost is a day of confession.

And so, Confirmation is also a day of confession; but not just for Mark and Ethan.

To be sure, they confess the faith given them in Holy Baptism. But in reality confirmation is nothing other than a confession of what God gives us in Holy Baptism. Same words even. Today they renounce the devil and all his ways, as they confessed at Baptism. Today they confess the faith in God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Today they confess the Scriptures to be the inspired Word of God, and the doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church to be faithful and true. Today they confess that they will continue steadfast in this confession and Church and to suffer all, even death (did you catch that?!), rather than fall away from it. In other words, stay Lutheran, my friends.

These words should be familiar; memorize them. We’ve confessed them before, whether you were confirmed as an adult or a youth.

Pentecost is a day of confession: for Mark and Ethan, for you and me, for the Church.

But as important as our confession is today; Christ’s confession is even greater. Jesus’ entire life – lived perfectly in obedience to God’s will and Law – is one confession lived for you who have failed to keep his law and disobeyed his will. Jesus’ suffering and death is a confession both of the great cost of our sin and of the greater payment for our sin made by his suffering and death. Jesus’ resurrection too is a confession: death no longer holds dominion over Jesus or you.

Yes, Pentecost is a day of confession.

For at your Baptism the same Holy Spirit - sent to the disciples, poured out to sanctify and enlighten the Church - is also poured out upon you. Holy Baptism is your Pentecost day. Because you’re given God’s Triune Name, Christ’s forgiveness, the Holy Spirit’s calling, gather, and sanctifying you, Jesus’ washing and cleansing of sin; now every day is Pentecost day for you. For in Christ, every day is a day of confession.

A blessed Pentecost and Confirmation day to each of you…

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



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