Opening Hymn #355
O Savior, Rend the Heavens Wide
Office Hymn #341
Lift Up Your Heads Ye Mighty Gates
Titus 3:4-7 Baptism is the Washing of Regeneration
Luke 2:15-20 The Shepherds Visit Jesus
Advent Responsory 230
Your Word is a light to my feet and
a light to my path
Baptism is the Washing of Regeneration
Magnificat (Mary’s Song)
Closing Hymn 350
Come, Thou Precious Ransom, Come
December 19, 2018
Baptism Is Regeneration
Grace and mercy to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Holy Spirit has written: But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, He saved us, having been justified by His grace. Thus far the text.
Let us pray: Gracious Father, You are kind and loving, save us through the blood of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.
We focus on how Jesus comes to us today. Yes, Jesus came to us at the first Christmas. Yes, Jesus will come to us at His Second Coming on the Last Day. But also, yes, Jesus comes to us now through the means of the Holy Spirit, which is the Word of God.
What kind of God is our Father does this? A kind and loving God.
God is always kind for the sake of Jesus. Even though He is Almighty God He is first kind to all His creation. His Word is powerful and effective but in Jesus that Word is also kind to you.
Our Father has spoken, saying,
“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11).
Our Father kindly gave us 13 inches of snow a few weeks ago. The snow blanketed the ground. God gave it for a good purpose. All the trees and flowers, which look dead, continue to grow and extend roots during the winter.
Our Father kindly gives us two services a week in Advent. The living and active Word blankets our body and soul. It doesn’t seem to have an effect on us, like the snow did not seem to have an effect on the trees and flowers. But you continue to grow in Jesus Christ. Yes, God is kind.
Our Father loves you very much. You sin and He takes care of you. Dogs exhibit this characteristic if I may use them as an example. A dog lives to love the leader of the pack, you. A dog knows when its people are hurt or down or joyful and responds lovingly to you. It protects you when in danger. When you get angry at your pet dog, it does not hold it against you. And so your almighty Father loves all who believe in His Son Jesus Christ.
Our Father is kind and loving. That is why He is called the God of grace. Grace is kindness and love given away to those who need it.
not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us,
Our Father’s kindness and love is not about you. It is about Jesus Christ for you. Jesus is the working Word of God, who became flesh. Jesus is the working Word of God, who dwelt among us. Jesus saves you by His work of dying and rising. He saves you from your works so that you might believe in Him.
How are you saved? It is the work of God that you are saved from your unbelief. What shall you do to do the works of God? Jesus answers, ‘The work of God (not you) but the work of God is this: Believe in Jesus’ (John 6:28-29). Believe that Jesus did the work to save you.
through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior
Jesus is the working Word of God. He now washes you with the Holy Spirit. Part of the Great Commission is this: Baptize (wash) all nations in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. You are washed by the working, watery Word and the Holy Spirit. Jesus works. The Holy Spirit washes. The working, watery Word washes you, regenerates you, renews you with a birth from above. Our Father kindly and lovingly pours out this heavenly gift abundantly upon you. For you are baptized, from the first Wordy splash to the resurrection unto life for eternity. You are baptized.
However, if you think only that you were baptized or that you want to get beyond baptism to a better, more victorious, Christian life, then you may have found your repentance for this evening. I am baptized. You are baptized. This baptism “indicates that the Old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever” (Luther’s Small Catechism).
that having been justified by His grace we (you) should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Our Father kindly and lovingly, which is His grace, forgives you all your sins. And where there is forgiveness of sin, there is also eternal life and salvation (Luther’s Small Catechism); in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace of God, which passes understanding, guard your body and soul for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.