Sunday, January 20, 2013


Matthew 17:1-9 - Transfiguration - January 20, 2013

Hear Him
Finding God in Christ Alone
“I don’t believe in God.”  You’ve heard people say it.  So have I.  But what does this even mean, “I don’t believe in God”?  If you think about it, it can be taken in two different ways. 
One: You don’t believe that he even exists.  That is, you don’t believe that he is out there at all the way a grown child no longer believes in Santa Claus.  Or two: You don’t believe in him; that is, you don’t believe that he is reliable or trustworthy or ultimately good—the way a betrayed child no longer believes in his dead-beat father.  Now, all sorts of people make this first claim.  He isn’t real, they say.  He’s a myth, they say.  People made him up in order to enforce their repressive standards of morality, they say. 
It’s easier for one to say this, that he doesn’t believe that God exists at all than to say that he is mad at God, or that God let him down, or that he is afraid of God.  Boy, what insecurity to confess to.  Oh no.  You don’t hear folks talk that way quite so much.  People guard themselves more than that.  You’ll sound a lot more intellectual, after all, if you just deny his existence altogether – like, hey, he’s thought about this; he’s broken the shackles of ignorance and superstition; this guy’s deep.  But it is not deep to deny God; it is foolish.   Not only because of the consequences, but because of the obvious fact that God most certainly does exist. 
“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good” (Psalm 14:1 & 53:1). 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Baptism of our Lord

Matthew 3:13-17 - Baptism of Jesus - January 13, 2013

Fulfilling All Righteousness
Baptism works the forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare. 
This is a lot of power to attribute to Baptism.  But we have the words and promises of God to prove our claim. We have these words of Jesus: He who believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he who does not believe shall be condemned.  Baptism forgives sins.  Baptism gives to us what Jesus won for us.  Jesus said so.  He who believes what Jesus says has what his Baptism promises.  He who does not believe what Jesus says, rejects what Jesus has won.  We cherish our Baptism for the exact same reason that we cherish our Savior.  Jesus saves us by suffering and dying on the cross to take our sin away.  Baptism saves us by bringing to us the benefits of His great sacrifice.  Jesus saves us by overcoming death in our place and rising from the dead.  Baptism saves us because through it Jesus joins us to Himself – so closely — as Paul says, “we were buried with Him through baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”