Tuesday, April 30, 2013

“You ARE Mine!” (Isaiah 43:1-7)

This sermon was preached on January 12/13. But because of the many things I had going on, it never got posted. Pray it is a blessing to you as you read it and share it

S-1358-Baptims of our Lord/C 1/13/2013 Hymns: LSB #299; #594; LS. #310; #315; LSB #605

Texts: Isaiah 43:1-7; Romans 6:1-11; Luke 3:15-22

Theme: “You ARE Mine!” (Isaiah 43:1-7)

Question: “What belongs to you?” Armour, SD

This sermon was preached at Faith in Sioux Falls yesterday and today it was modified for my congregation. I did have a baptism today also for Abel Brent Slate

Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for the Baptism of our Lord is from the Gospel 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’” (Isaiah 43:1).


You, upon whom our heavenly Father smiles daily, it was in the summer of 1989. I had just started my Greek boot camp at Concordia Seminary, in St. Louis for my training as a pastor. About two weeks into my classes, I got a phone call from my dearest friend from Omaha (Rod) asking me to do him a favor. A young girl that his wife was babysitting had gotten ill and had to be airlifted to the hospital in St. Louis and if I could go and make a hospital call and minister to the fearful parents because their daughter was close to death. I said “I would”.

But since I was new at this, I was afraid and wanted some assistance of what I should say and do. I went to see the Dean of Student Body, Pastor David Smith and told him of the situation. He opened his Bible to our Old Testament reading and said “Nabil, as the agent of God in that hospital room, let them hear the voice of God through you and read this portion for them.” I went to the hospital and stepped into the room, my hands were sweaty, heart pounding, fearful of not being able to comfort this family as they faced death.

I introduced myself to the family and told them I was asked to come by my friend Rod. They were open and I read the portion of God’s Word: “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.” Then, I said, “I would like to read it to you as I have come to know this Word in this manner: “But now thus says the Lord, He who created you, O Stacy, He who formed you, O Stacy: ‘Fear not Stacy, for I have redeemed you O Stacy; Stacy, I have called you by name, Stacy you are MINE” You should have seen the face of that child and her parents. There was comfort and joy. And ever since that day, I have read that portion of Scripture often with many of my saints in the hospital.

And therefore on this special day, for me as the proud grandfather of our “Miracle Baby” Lucy, I say to all of you here from the lips of Your heavenly Father, YOU ARE MINE! I’m positive David and Jody have said to her, ‘LUCY YOU ARE MINE!” I have told the world, “Lucy, you are my precious princess, my granddaughter, my joy and my blessing.” She is mine by virtue of my son and daughter-in-law. PAUSE.

Just as I, David, and Jody (my daughter-in-law) are pleased with God’s gift of the Miracle Baby, so is He well pleased with us as His precious children. He is pleased with you like a master painter is with his artwork. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. He was intimately and directly involved in your creation as the Psalmist reminds us: For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb” And He continues that care for you each and every day. He is not some impersonal manufacturer. The sun, the rain, your food and family are all part of this provision. Ah, but sin has so destroyed His beloved creation, all of it, that it would take something so personal, so complete, to redeem, to buy back, to purchase and deliver us all - the blood of Jesus.

Behold the Words of God Himself as Isaiah’s pen recorded it: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine.” We all have fears. I was afraid when I was called to go to the hospital. You may be afraid of death, bringing a child into the world, take the child home the first time. We pray for people who have cancer ..."Consider the list in your church bulletins: we pray for people who have cancer, some having an open-heart surgeries, some are dying and the list goes on and on.

In life, we fear many things, darkness, depression, disasters destruction and damnation. To this Your loving Father says: “Fear not!” - Fear nothing! Stop being afraid! You have many reasons to fear, haven’t you? PAUSE… Don’t let the devil rob you of the joy that God has in store for you. Stop worrying about the future. He whispers in your ears, “My child, stop being afraid... fear nothing!” Why not? God shouts the answer, Listen again please: “I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine!” (Say it)…YES, YOU ARE MINE!

We just got done singing our sermon Hymn “God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It” LSB 594. This hymn affirms and confirms the truth of what Isaiah has spoken. Kindly open your hymns books and follow with me. “God’s own child, I gladly say it: I am baptized into Christ! He, because I could not pay it, gave my full redemption price. Do I need earth’s treasures many? I have one worth more than any That brought me salvation free, Lasting to eternity! Sin, disturb my soul no longer: I am baptized into Christ! I have comfort even stronger: Jesus’ cleansing sacrifice. Should a guilty conscience seize me, since my baptism did release me In a dear forgiving flood, sprinkling me with Jesus’ blood? (vv. 1-2)

In Baptism you have the love of God sprinkled upon you. You have already been redeemed. There is no uncertainty, no cause for doubt, for fear. He, who formed you, loves you and has completely redeemed you. Behold Christ on the Cross! He has called you by name! You bear the mark of Him who died and rose again. Water and Word engraved that cross on your forehead. Paul teaches this truth also: “Do you not know, since you have been baptized into Christ (called by name into the flood), you have been buried with Him into death” (Romans 6:3) - His sure, certain death for all sin - and you have been called into His tomb. He really did die - for you. You have been raised with Him - Easter is more that a date on a calendar that we observe once a year. It is your date of life! It is your date of hope! And it is your day of joy and destiny. You are His! Men and kings, crowds and armies, we make mistakes, we act foolishly, we decide shortsightedly - in short - we sin, fully, daily, always. To look at us, we see only fear. Ah, but in Christ and in His Baptism, the Father declares His well pleasing Son.

Jesus is well pleasing to the Father. He removes everything that has brought us to death. This He does through His own death in which we now participate through Baptism. The Baptism of our Lord is nothing new in our Church Calendar. No, it is that reassurance, that warm blanket, that tender hug, that reassuring voice that says - I have redeemed you and you are indeed, Mine! It is a constant, a sure anchor; it is peace in the midst of the storm. Baptism is our sure identity as sinners who are also saints, disobedient ones who is also a son or a daughter, for He has called us by name. He calls us by our name. But more to the point, He calls us by His name. You now bear the Eternal Name of the Eternal God.

The God whose name means “I AM that I AM” has restored you. He has bought you back - that is, He has redeemed you to be His own. He has joined you to Himself in His Son’s Death and Resurrection. Thus He can declare - I have redeemed you and you are indeed, absolutely, positively, totally Mine! In that calm assurance let us draw near to the throne of grace with our every sin and every need. That, beloved, is what St. Paul meant when the Spirit inspired him to write: So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. You are alive - In Him we know the certainty of our salvation and the future is guaranteed.

Isaiah goes on to say: “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; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. You ask Me why? Here is the answer from the lips of your heavenly Father: For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, Your Savior.” Yes, because I Am Your God, YOU belong to Me; YOU ARE MINE, even now. Amen.

Now the peace…

Soli Deo Gloria

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