S-1162 01/10/10 B. of the Lord/3C (O) #298; (S) #427; L.S. #129; 127; 132 (C) #32
Texts: Isaiah 43:1-7; Romans 6:1-11; Luke 3:15-22
Theme: “YOU Are Mine!” (Isaiah 43:1).
Question: “How often do you say, ‘You are mine’?”
SOLI DEO GLORIA, Armour, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! The text for the baptism of Jesus is from the O.T. Lesson: “But now thus says the LORD, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; (Isaiah 43:1).
Introduction: In Nomine Iesu
Beloved of the Lord, chosen and redeemed, a 10 year old boy, Tom, had gotten a gift for Christmas—a sail boat that needed to be put together. After painstaking time, he got it completed. He carried his new boat to the edge of the river. He carefully placed it in the water and slowly let out the string. How smoothly the boat sailed! Tom sat in the warm sunshine, admiring the little boat that he had built. Suddenly a strong current caught the boat. Tom tried to pull it back to shore, but the string broke. The little boat raced downstream.
Tom ran along the sandy shore as fast as he could. But his little boat soon slipped out of sight. All afternoon he searched for the boat. Finally, when it was too dark to look any longer, Tom sadly went home.
A few days later, on the way home from school, Tom spotted a boat just like his in a store window. When he got closer, he could see—sure enough—it was his! Tom hurried to the store manager: “Sir, that’s my boat in your window! I made it! And lost it in the wind the other day in the river.” “Sorry, son, but someone else brought it in this morning. If you want it, you’ll have to buy it for $20 dollars.”
Tom ran home and counted all his money. He only had one dollar. So he began to work odd jobs and save to buy the boat. When he earned enough, he walked to the store, leaned on the counter and spoke to the manger: “Here’s the money for my boat.” As he left the store, Tom hugged his boat and said, “Now you’re twice mine. First, I made you and now I bought you.”
The text from Isaiah today, is a golden treasure that needs to be memorized by all of you and underlined in your Bibles so that you don’t forget the promises that God gives us in His Word. This golden treasure is a GIFT from God’s lips to our hearts and ears, to remind us that we belong to Him and that we have been redeemed.
Listen to Isaiah again as He relates this golden treasure to us. “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine”. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.... What an astounding promise. We all pass through the waters - of death to life - this is Baptismal grace. Epiphany, the season which declares that God has revealed His light to all the nations - to all flesh - and that He receives peoples of every tribe and nation, reminds us that we ARE His; and that He is with us, even us.
Did you hear what I just said: “WE ARE HIS” That is to say we belong to God our Savior. That you and you and you (point the finger) belong to the Lord of heaven and earth. The Lord God created us and He redeemed us. Psalm 139 reminds us of this blessed promise: “For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well” (vs. 13-14). David, the Shepherd boy declares to all, that we have been fashioned by the hand of God. Just like the boat Tom put together.
Yes, “You ARE Mine!” says the Lord. We belong to Him. In the Baptismal water we become His very own. As we pass through the waters, we die to sin and death; but are raised to a new life—life made possible by the blood of Jesus.
You are mine God tells us: The Lord has His own marking on us. Of course you can’t see it with the naked eye. It is not a brand like many farmers use to identify their cattle, but it is a brand none-the-less—a baptismal brand marking us to be His for time and eternity.
The Lord has a distinctive brand too for those who belong to Him. When he says “I have redeemed you,” He’s pointing to the cross of Jesus. I was a maverick who didn't belong to God. With sins’ strands, Satan had me tied hand and foot. When the time for the eternal roundup came, the devil would want to lock me forever inside his corral of hell. But the God of all grace and mercy stepped in. He sent His ONLY begotten Son to buy me, the “SINNER” back from Satan. Not so many dollars like Tom did for his lost boat, but the precious blood of His only Son was the ransom paid. And this price was sufficient for all sinners of all times including YOU.
When God says “I have called you by name,” He is speaking of His overflowing grace to undeserving sinners. Not only did He pay for me with his Son’s blood, He also brings me into His fold. Through Baptism He marks me as belonging to Him—putting the sign of His Son’s cross on my heart. Through His Word and Holy Communion He works to refresh that cross by strengthening my faith. My loving Heavenly Father with these promises reminds us that He is the One who keeps me and all whom He has made His own through faith safe for the glorious gathering on the Last Day.
Beloved and Redeemed people of God, yes, you belong to Him…twice. He made you in His image. But because of sin, you were held captive in the satan’s prison. But Jesus wouldn’t let us rot in that prison cell. He asked to free you, but satan said, “NO!” Jesus said, “What would it take to free you?” The devil smiled and said, “Your life!” Jesus didn’t hesitate. He laid His life gladly for you and me so that we might be freed from the bondage of tyranny and persecution. The author to the Hebrews put it this way: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).
On this Baptismal day of Jesus, we hear anew the promises of God. This golden treasure assures us the Father’s beloved Son, with whom He is well pleased, took on the payment for every evil - that of the world and of those of us blessed to be called His own. Baptismal living is crossing over from the death of sin to the renewal of Grace every day - it is daily passing through the waters - with Jesus, by Jesus, in Jesus.
We are in the Epiphany Season and this means the season when we rejoice that just as Jesus received the gifts of the Magi and received them, so also does He receive you and me - He has received us as His own - by name. By name I say, by name!
When we can name something, we own it. This is true for our pets and our cars, even our children. We are responsible for that which we can name. So, when the Name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit is upon you - know this - God has chosen to walk with you as a Father with His beloved Child. PAUSE.
What a golden treasure Isaiah shares with us today. Today, remember again that you belong to Your God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Today, remember again the name of this BELOVED congregation—Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church. You are the Redeemed of the Lord. He has marked you as His very own in the waters of Baptism and will keep you safe until He brings you to the other side of the Jordan—to be with Him forever.
Beloved and chosen people of God—YOU ARE HIS. At the end of the service we will sing our final hymn: I would like to share with you the first stanza of that great hymn to remind you once more that YOU ARE HIS: Redeemed, restored, forgiven, Through Jesus' precious blood, Heirs of His home in heaven, Oh, praise our pardoning God!
Praise Him in tuneful measures Who gave His Son to die; Praise Him whose sevenfold treasures Enrich and sanctify. (Redeemed, Restored, Forgiven TLH p. 32).
Today, beloved and redeemed, as you consider the Baptism of our Lord, rejoice, for even as the Father could rejoice over His Son in whom He is well pleased, so also is He well please with you... for the sake of Jesus, He says to you and me: YOU ARE MINE! Amen.
Now the peace…