Monday, June 6, 2016

Sermon for Confirmation Sunday: "God's Own Child"

+ Confirmation Sunday – June 5th, 2016 +
Redeemer Lutheran, HB

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

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  (Deuteronomy 6)

“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” (Acts 2)

 “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.  (Luke 18)

There’s a common thread woven through these readings this morning. Did you hear it? 

“Teach my word to your children.”

“The promise is for you and your children.”

“Let the little children come to me.”

Why all this childish talk? Didn’t St. Paul teach say, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.And now you’re telling me to become like a child? Which is it? Give up my childish ways or become like a child?

In good Lutheran fashion, the answer is yes. 

Repentance is a call to give up our childish ways of selfishness, stubbornness, and foolish attempts to save ourselves. And to become like a child is to look to God as Father, dependent upon his mercy, grace, and steadfast love in everything.

When Scripture teaches us to become like little children God is not teaching us to become a bunch of Toy’s R US kids who never grow up and he's not giving us a dose of Peter-Pan theology where we boldly declare, “I’ll never grow up, never grow up, not me!”
What does it mean to be God’s child?

It means that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them; that he daily and richly provides me all that I need for this body and life; that he guards and protects me from all evil…all out of his fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me.

To be God’s own child means that God has redeemed me a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with his holy precious blood and his innocent suffering and death, that I may be his own and live under him in his kingdom and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness.  

To be God’s own child is to believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, sanctified, and kept me in the true faith.

To be God’s own child is to rejoice in Jesus who became a little child for each of us so that he could put away all our childish sinful ways of selfishness, stubbornness, and sin forever, and make us his beloved children. Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us, that we should be called children of God…and so you are.

And so it is the vocation of children to receive: clothing, shoes, house, home, and the like, as we hear in the first article of the Creed. And to receive our life in Christ as well: food for body and soul in the Lord’s Supper. Words in our ears and that set us free from our old childish ways. Holy Baptism that makes us heirs of heaven. Holy Absolution that constantly reassures us: you are forgiven; you’re a member of the family.

And if it is the vocation of children to receive, it is also the vocation of parents to give, nurture, and teach, as the Lord instructed Moses. We do this at church to be sure, but also in our homes, on vacation, or in the car. It’s why we have a catechism class, examinations, and a confirmation Sunday. Of course, we don’t do any of these things today to become God’s own children. We do them as a way of confessing who we already are in Jesus: God’s own child, I gladly say it. I am baptized into Christ!

A blessed 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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