St. Peter Lutheran Church
St. Matthew 21:1-9
April 1, 2012
I bind unto myself today The power of God to hold and lead, His eye to watch, His might to stay, His ear to hearken to my need. The wisdom of my God to teach, His hand to guide, His shield to ward, The word of God to give me speech, His heavenly host to be my guard.
Eternal God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, give us Your Holy Spirit who writes the preached Word into our hearts. May we receive and believe it and be cheered and comforted by it in eternity. Glorify Your Word in our hearts and make it so bright and warm that we may find pleasure in it, through Your Holy Spirit think what is right, and by Your power, fulfill the Word, for the sake of Jesus Christ, Your Son our Lord. Amen.
You who are so loved by God, that He gave up for you His only begotten Son:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
[10:45…Brandon, Shelby, Emily,
Families of those to be confirmed,
Members of St. Peter who rejoice with them:
Grace and peace to you…]
Jesus’ victory march.
Joe’s Baptism birthday.
What we may forget in our joy: baptism means the cross.
Confirmation…you confess the faith, you confess Jesus’ victory, you become a participant in the feast of victory.
But how slow we are to understand His victory!
This is the feast of victory for our God…but it is the feast of remembrance of Jesus’ suffering and death.
- 1. He marches to death on the cross.
- a. Background to Jesus’ passion—John 8, 10, 11—plots to kill Him
- b. The whole world is going after Him! Priests, Pharisees.
- c. It is expedient that one man die for the people. It is realistic.
- i. Caiaphas says this.
- ii. Pilate does the same thing.
- iii. And Peter.
- iv. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus—late bravery.
- d. Let us look honestly at where He is going.
- e. Are the praises appropriate? Do the angels sing?
- f. This is where the confirmed are going. What happened to Jesus will happen to all who belong to Him…and let’s not make it metaphorical.
- 2. Why it is a victory march.
- a. He does not come to take sides and to destroy the “bad guys.”
- b. He comes to be destroyed.
- c. He comes with the truth, with God’s word, knowing He will not be enthroned but killed.
- d. He goes alone.
- e. He goes willingly.
- f. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
- i. But His triumph is riding to His death.
- g. He is storming hell.
- h. Behold, your king comes to you gentle…riding on the foal of a yoke animal…Not with violence, but gentle.
- i. Catechumens: You know your sins. I’ve heard you say it. Now, you look to Jesus only, and how He loves you.
- 3. We follow behind with joy.
- a. “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
- b. Blessed are the meek (or the gentle), for they will inherit the earth.
- c. Make no mistake; living as a Christian is going to the cross with Jesus—going to die.
- d. But not alone.
- i. The real suffering was His alone.
- ii. We go with the victory ours already.
- iii. Our crosses are small in comparison…suffering, our plans/will being destroyed. Perhaps being killed, perhaps being despised. But these with death and hell conquered.
- e. Our weakness is a victory march:
- i. 14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing,16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?
- f. The yoke is light because we look at Jesus’ cross and resurrection; we hear the Word…it is finished.
- i. If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
- ii. When? Baptism.
- iii. Philippians 2: Let this mind be in you which is yours in Christ Jesus…
- iv. We have the victory, so now with His patient voice, the voice of Him who bore our sins, wounds, cross…we are asked to serve others.
- v. This is the voice of Him who gives us His body and blood and forgiveness.
- vi. This is the way of victory and the way of peace.
Relative to Entrance Requirements for Confirmation Classes
(St. Peter Lutheran Church)
Our beloved Synod has at all times placed great emphasis on the Christian trianing of the child. In order to bring up the children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord and thus comply with the specific demand regarding the child’s Christian training, Christian day schools were organized in which the fundamentals of Christian doctrine were inculcated upon the child. The elementary text book for religious instruction was Luther’s Small Catechism.
The contents of this book, which is based upon the Bible, ought to be familiar to every Lutheran child. The six chief parts of Christian doctrine, the table of duties, the Christian questions and answers, and most of the Biblical stories referred to int he Catechism ought to have been committed to memory when the hcild enters the catechumen class preparatory to confirmation. Only then can the instructor of the catechumen class effectively build upon the foundation which has been laid. The past has taught us that many parents of our beloved church do not make use of our blessed institution, the nursery of our church, the Christian day-school. In consequence hteir children must forego a thorough daily instruction int he chief doctrines of Chrsitian religion. Such children, as a rule, have not committed to memory the necessary essentials of the Bible; most of the Bible stories are foreign to them, and for this reason much time must be spent with preparatory work which ought to be devoted to the explanation fo the Catechism and a much needed repetition of Bible verses. The prescrib ed course must be hurried over and consequently cannot sink deeply into the heart of the child and be of lasting value for life. The training is not thorough enough to assure an intelligent, whole-hearted, and deep-rooted knowledge of the Bible and the chief doctrines contained therein.
Because of this fact, we members of St. Peter’s Church, have deemed it our Christian duty and solemn obligation to give our children, the future members of our congregation, a more thorough instruction in Christian religion, and have therefore resolved that hereafter the entrance requirement into the catechumen class preparatory to confirmation be as follows:
1. A knowledge of the six chief parts of Christian doctrine, i.e. the ten commandments, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, Holy Baptism, the Office of the Keys and Confession, Sacrament of the Altar.
2. The Table of Duties.
3. Luther’s Christian Questions and Answers.
4. Bible stories listen in the Catechism.
Those unable to meet above requirements must attend class for two years. (Resolution adopted by congregation on December 7, 1924).
Was it Right for You to Make Your Confirmation Vow?
You are now confirmed, my dear child. Standing at the altar of your God, you sang: “Take Thou my hands and lead me!” And then, O sacred, O blessed hour, you publicly and solemnly renewed your baptismal vow and promised to be faithful to your Savior unto death. But, tell me, was it right for you to make that sacred vow? You wonder perhaps at my question. You evidently think and say: Why, of course I did right; who can doubt it? But know, my child, there are many people who declare it very wrong to confirm children of your tender age. They say you are too weak and too ignorant for making such a cow. They say parents ought to let their children grow up until they are men and women, and then let the children decide for themselves, whether they want to become Christians, be baptized and confirmed and join the Christian Church, or not. You will also meet such people, my child. How will you defend the making of your vow against them? Well, you have learned that the infallible Word of God is the only rule and guide of our faith and life. What reply, therefore, must we make from the Word of God to the objection of these people?
First we must answer that it is left to no man’s choice whether he wants to be a Christian, or not. For the Apostle Paul expressly preaches it, Acts 17, 30. 31: “God commands all men everywhere to repent, because He hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that Man who He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance to all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead.” There you hear, my child, that it is left to no man’s own free choice whether he wants to be a Christian, or not. Whoever will not repent and believe in Christ as his Savior sins against a clear command of the almighty God and brings God’s wrath and punishment upon himself. Whoever will not believe shall be damned!
In the second place we must answer: God earnestly requires all parents to instruct their children in His blessed Word. In Deuteronomy, ch. 6, v. 6.7, He says: “And these words which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart, and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children.” Those parents, therefore, who neglect to instruct their children early in the saving Word of god do so at their own great peril. How do those parents know if their children will live long enough to decide this all important matter for themselves? What if their children should die in early youth, without the Word of God and faith, through the fault of their parents, what then? What answer will such neglectful parents give tot he mighty Judge of heaven and earth when He will ask them: “Where are the children I intrusted to your care, that you might raise them for me and my kingdom? Why did you not obey my command: ‘Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God’? Did I not shed my precious blood also for the children, and give my Word and the washing of water by the Word, my holy Baptism, unto you, that you might bring your children to me, their Savior? Why have you not done so?” Will not such parents be stricken dumb and suffer the most fearful punishment for their sinful neglect? All Baptist sects, however, who denounce the baptism of infants, must first prove that children do not belong to the human race and are therefore to be excluded from the clear command of Christ: “go ye, therefore, and make all nations my disciples by baptizing them in the name fo the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost!” And when these people declare that little children cannot believe and therefore ought not to be baptized, Christ’s clear word is against them, Matt. 18, 6: “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me!”
In the third place we answer: As regards the vow of Confirmation, it would be wrong only then to make it if it contained anything contrary to the word of God. But what is it children do when they make their Confirmation vow? Nothing else than to renew and confirm the sacred covenant which they made through their sponsors at their Baptism with the Triune God. If the vow at your Confirmation is wrong, then your vow at your Baptism was also wrong. But who dares to assert that our baptismal vow is wrong when God Himself in His holy Word demands that we confess Him as our God and Lord, and solemnly promise to be His in time and eternity? For the Lord our God declares emphatically, Is. 45, 23. 24: “Unto me every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall swear, In the Lord have I righteousness and strength.” Then also the knees of children must bow to Him,a nd their tongues, too, swear to be His. And Prov. 23, 26 God Himself says to the children, “My Son (my daughter), give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.” Yes, in the 8th Psalm David declares: “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast Thou ordained strength, because of Thine enemies, that Thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.” hence we read Matt. 21, when our Savior entered Jerusalem to begin His passion, even the children cried their “Hosanna to the Son of David!” to Him. And when the chief priests and scribes were sore displeased and said unto Him: “Hearest Thou what these say?” jesus answered them: “yea, have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?” Therefore be assured, my dear child, if the Savior was well pleased at the hosanna of those children, he was also well pleased at the hosanna you raised to Him at your Baptism and confirmation. Let who will, therefore, take offense at your vow, your blessed God and Savior, Jesus Christ, delights in this your confession and promise and will bless you for it.
There, my dear child, you have the answer from God’s holy Word to the question whether you did right, or not, to make that vow at your Confirmation. With this answer you can shut the mouth of all the enemies of your Christian faith and comfort your own conscience if it should ever trouble you about your Confirmation vow in the future.