The Sixth Sunday after Trinity
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson
Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time
The Hymn # 387:1-4 by Luther, 3:41
The Confession of Sins
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 370 3:11
Holy Baptism – Lifelong Promise
The Communion Hymn # 307 Draw Nigh 3:72
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn # 209 Who is This 3:33
Sixth Sunday After Trinity
Lord God, heavenly Father, we confess that we are poor, wretched sinners, and that there is no good in us, our hearts, flesh and blood being so corrupted by sin, that we never in this life can be without sinful lust and concupiscence; therefore we beseech Thee, dear Father, forgive us these sins, and let Thy Holy Spirit so cleanse our hearts that we may desire and love Thy word, abide by it, and thus by Thy grace be forever saved; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.
KJV Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
KJV Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. 21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. 25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. 26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.
Holy Baptism – Lifelong Promise
Looking at this section of Romans, we see chapter 4 as focusing on Abraham as the father of faith. Chapter 5 teaches justification by faith. Chapter 6 begins the implications of justification by faith.
Earlier Paul has removed from consideration the concept of salvation by the Law, whether based upon Mosaic law or civic righteousness. To this day, all world religions base salvation upon the law. Those which are atheistic (Ethical societies, Unitarians, Humanists – common allies all) are even more law oriented.
Describing life as based on the law is fairly easy. That ease is the reason why so many do-gooder groups flourish, no matter how foolish they look. One will used wood to nail to a tree to keep it from being turned into lumber. Anyone who questions the logic will be viewed as evil incarnate. The same is true of women would who never eat an animal because animal slaughter is so bad, but they are wearing leather shoes, purses, and belts. That is also easy to explain. “I’m not all the way there yet.”
Salvation by the law is our default attitude, so a Gospel-based life must be trained into us and always taught.
Paul began with Holy Baptism. To the adult converts he was saying, “Because you become believers through preaching the Gospel, we baptized you to give you forgiveness of sin and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. That Baptism is a permanent promise on God’s part that you belong to His Kingdom.”
One can easily see where this might put children, apart from infant baptism. In fact, those who deny infant faith and infant baptism are insistent that children are innocent until age 7. They do not know sin until they reach that age. Thinking about religion as law, how would parents have assurance that their children are within the Kingdom, since they cannot perform the duties of the Law?
Holy Baptism is just as powerful – if not more so – among children. They hear and receive the Gospel. The Holy Spirit is granted to them, and they receive the permanent seal of God’s Kingdom – not based on their works, which they lack, but God’s grace receive in faith.
Just as babies have faith, based on experience and the Word, so also they have sinfulness. Tiny infants display faith in their parents, immediately at birth, and they show rebellion as soon as their muscles allow, which is pretty early. If anyone wants to argue they are born innocent, just try to work with small children who have been taught they can do no wrong. They are terrorists. Strangely (for the modernists) they have automatic respect for authority, reasoning, and muscle.
I remember the rare male teacher walking into our gradeschool class and scowling at our noisy group. We immediately became quiet. The same was true of Sunday School. A male teacher commanded respect and awe. I see our Vice-Principal’s photo in the Moline pages of my blog about Moline. He was a WWII vet who died at age 90. We were in awe of him. He radiated authority and no nonsense.
God gives us inherent knowledge of these things but we are still sinful. We do what we can get away with, especially if we think only in terms of the law – no ones looking. As they commonly say today – You cannot prove it; there is no evidence (left unsaid “left, because I destroyed it”.)
Therefore the Christian life is based (wrongly) upon the Law or (correctly) upon the Gospel. Paul teaches us here that the powerful, life-long Sacrament of Holy Baptism is our basis for the Christian life.
Baptism reminds us of death – the death of Christ for our sins, and our death due to sinful mortality. That is the great paradox. Because of Jesus’ death, we have eternal life. He died so that our death is converted into eternal life, like His.
I am surprised that anyone downplays Holy Baptism, because the Bible make so much of this Sacrament. Baptism is:
A. A rebirth.
B. A renewal.
C. A washing away of our sins.
D. An indwelling of the Holy Spirit
That is not an ordinance (law) that must be obeyed, but the Word in visible form, the power of God’s Word united with the element of water.
Many Lutherans share in the general Protestant fading of baptism, as if performing one during the Sunday service slows it down. What better testimony of God’s grace and the miracle of the Word! God converts adults and babies through the Word. Why not be reminded of this frequently?
Perhaps resistance to Holy Baptism comes from a law perspective. The sacraments give God too much glory, when man seeks it for such accomplishments as:
1. Having a large parking lot.
2. Having 20 sub-woofers in the movie theater worship area.
3. Synodical titles and committee chairmanships.
4. Being a charter member of a church.
Paul’s admonition is to live our lives based upon forgiveness of sin, justification by faith. Because Christ died for our sins, all our spiritual blessings are provided for us. Yet, because we are sinners, we realize our need to renew this Gospel message each day and practice our faith in humility.
Therefore what powers our lives as Christians is the Gospel message itself, moving us far beyond anything the Law can do (through guilt or force). The Gospel life is based upon the Atonement and Resurrection of Christ.