1st Sermon: Your King Comes to You in Holy Baptism
2nd Sermon: Your King Comes to YOU in Holy Absolution
3rd Sermon: Your King Comes to YOU in the Lord's Supper
Luther's Small Catechism: The Sacrament of Holy Baptism
In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Holy Ghost power! Philip had it. He was a baptized, believer in the risen Christ, the redeemer of Israel, whose overflowing power gushed forth like a mighty river. A river of redemption. A river of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit. Poured out on Philip in a cleansing flood that washed him away. He had died. Died to sin. Philip’s sins were no more. He had risen from the waters of his baptism a new man with an eternal life. He had been baptized into the name of Jesus, Jesus who is Lord. The Lord. The God of Israel. To be baptized into His name was to be baptized into the Triune name that Jesus had named—the true name of God, the Father the Son the Holy Spirit.
Literally. Philip was being blown all over the countryside by this mighty rushing wind called the Holy Spirit. The breath of life, God’s own breath, had breathed new life into drowned dead Philip. All this dying and rising had happened in the waters of Baptism. And he couldn’t shut up about it. So, when one of the messengers of that Holy Spirit told Philip to go south, he went south. And lo and behold a man—a eunuch, a royal official of Candace, Queen of the mighty Ethiopians, a rich nation to the south, a nation which had spiritual connections to Israel, for God’s Word had gone out to them even before the Pentecost rush of wind—a man was there. Well, less than a man. A eunuch. A castrated man. A man with no seed to sow. Thus, he could be trusted around royal harems, and princessly ladies. His seed gone, his desires curtailed he was innocuous, trustworthy to the queen. He was a high official in the queen’s government. He was a reader of the Word of God, but not an understander. The Holy Spirit was at work. But the seed had not sprouted. The Holy Spirit blew Philip right into that man’s presence.
For Philip was a pastor ordained to blow the breath of life into the lifeless. He would pour on Holy Spirit by preaching the Christ who is hidden and proclaimed in all of the Scriptures. Christ the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. How? He pays for your sins by dying on the cross. He washes them away from you by Baptizing you. Philip could not proclaim Christ coming to this man without baptizing this man. Thus, as Philip taught the man about Christ, He taught the man about Christ’s Baptism which washes your sins away, nailing you to cross with Him, and raising you to eternal life in His resurrection.
And this impotent man, this castrated eunuch was overjoyed. He could have no physical sons. But in Baptism He had many spiritual sons. For this man went back to Ethiopia, and history records that their has been a Christian church there since the earliest of times, since this eunuch preached Christ to his people through Holy Baptism.
That is how Christ comes to you. Holy Baptism. Christ came and lived a perfect life, an indestructable life, a righteous life, an eternal life. He could not die. But at His baptism a great exchange occurred. His Baptism became a conduit to our baptisms. In that moment all the sins that would be washed away, that could ever be washed away from people were poured out on Him. He took them as His own, to carry them to a tree. A tree of the knowledge of evil. A tree which put death to death, for Christ’s cross crushed Calvary’s skull, the snake was dead, death has no more power. His indestructable life was poured forth through Holy Baptism. In those waters it is yours. For His name is given you: the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. His life is yours. That can not be taken from you. No matter how hard you sin, no matter how evil you have been, this indestructable life has destroyed your death, has crushed your sin.
All this is yours in Holy Baptism. This is how Christ comes to you! Don’t you forget it!
Baptism is important. It is your rebirth from above. It is your citizenship papers. It can not be revoked. You can forget to claim its blessings, but it doesn’t go dormant. You don’t need to be rebaptized, just like you don’t need to become a Canadian citizen again even after living abroad your whole life.
This is important, for there are only two spiritual countries to live in: the Kingdom of God, or the domain of darkness. Like Abraham’s nephew Lot, who chose to live in Sodom, you may choose to live in the domain of darkness, but like him the God who claimed you will lead a commando team in to rescue you before its destruction.
But we Sons of Adam and daughters of Eve are willful and easily forget. We know God’s name has been sealed on us in Baptism. But walking through this valley of the Shadow of Death we get afraid. We forget our unseen Saviour walks with us, shepherding, guiding, defending us. Like the fools in horror movies we hear a noise in the darkness and rush headlong into the darkness to find out what it is. In the darkness we get lost and desperate. We forget whose we are. The darkness is as light to our God. You are baptized. You are His. Even in that darkness, Satan has no right to you. You are in Him who is light. Light always disperses the darkness. Repent of your foolish sin for you are already in the light. Fr He will translate you once again from the domain of darkness into His marvelous light. Just as the Spirit carried Philip away, so you are carried away by the Holy Spirit in which you were baptized.
For in Baptism your king has come to you. In baptism your king comes whenever you need Him. In baptism, we who are dead in sin are made alive in Christ. We who are lost in sin are found in Christ. We who are fearful of death are emboldened to mock death and live as if we won’t die. For are lives are hidden in Christ. We are baptized. Christ has come to us. He will come again.
Thanks be to God.
In +Jesus' name, Amen.
—Pastor David Haberstock
Epiphany Lutheran Church
Thunder Bay, ON