Baptismal Boasting 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

January 10, 2021
Rev. Nathan J. Ruaert

We want justice! It is only found in the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ and given to us in the waters of Holy Baptism. Cross won justice frees us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Sermon Text: 1 Corinthians 1:26-31. Sermon Theme: Baptismal Boasting! Sermon preached for the Baptism of Our Lord, The 1st Sunday After The Epiphany, 10-January-2021 at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Tell City, Indiana by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert.

Episode Notes

The Baptism of Our Lord                                                 10-January-2021
Sermon Text: 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
Sermon Theme: Baptismal Boasting! by Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

I.N.R.I. We want justice. We wrongly imagine that we can gain justice by our own wisdom and schemes. If that fails we marshal our might to force a just outcome of events. We think if only we were born to wealth, power, and influence then we could bring about justice. Or maybe we think if we overthrow those in power, then a just society will emerge. In this past year we have seen mobs rioting for justice burning down businesses, destroying property, and taking life. This past week we witnessed millions gathered in Washington, D.C. demanding justice. When you gather a mob it is easy for evil men to incite insurrection and rebellion. When St. Paul was preaching the Gospel at Thessalonika in Greece. Acts 17 records that those who were envious of Paul “took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar and attacked...” It is still the case, whether last summer or last week, that hired evil men can incite mobs to riot and violence.
    In 1524 the peasants revolt began in southern Germany. Inspired by changes brought by the Reformation, peasants in western and southern Germany invoked divine law to demand agrarian rights and freedom from oppression by nobles and landlords. As the uprising spread, some peasant groups organized armies. Although the revolt was supported by Huldrych Zwingli and Thomas Müntzer, its condemnation by Martin Luther contributed to its defeat, principally by the army of the Swabian League. Some 100,000 peasants were killed. In 1525 Dr. Luther wrote AGAINST THE ROBBING AND MURDERING HORDES OF PEASANTS: "For rebellion is not just simple murder; it is like a great fire, which attacks and devastates a whole land. Thus rebellion brings with it a land filled with murder and bloodshed; it makes widows and orphans, and turns everything upside down, like the worst disaster. Therefore let everyone who can, smite, slay, and stab, secretly or openly, remembering that nothing can be more poisonous, hurtful, or devilish than a rebel.” Luther, M. (1999). Luther’s works, vol. 46: The Christian in Society III. (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald, & H. T. Lehmann, Eds.) (Vol. 46, p. 50). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.
Zwingli and Muntzer stirred up the mobs with their false theology that according to Genesis 1 and 2 all property should be held in common. They perverted baptism into a teaching that it gives them the right to take the property of others for themselves. It is the heresy of communism. Luther wrote: For baptism does not make men free in body and property, but in soul; and the gospel does not make goods common, except in the case of those who, of their own free will, do what the apostles and disciples did in Acts 4 [:32–37]. They did not demand, as do our insane peasants in their raging, that the goods of others—of Pilate and Herod—should be common, but only their own goods. Our peasants, however, want to make the goods of other men common, and keep their own for themselves. Fine Christians they are! I think there is not a devil left in hell; they have all gone into the peasants. Their raving has gone beyond all measure.”Luther, M. (1999). Luther’s works, vol. 46: The Christian in Society III. (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald, & H. T. Lehmann, Eds.) (Vol. 46, pp. 51–52). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.
    We want justice! The prophet Isaiah today calls you to look away from your wisdom, might, wealth and “Behold! God’s chosen Servant!” God puts His Spirit upon this One Man that He might bring justice to the nations! Justice not by rioting in the streets and crying aloud. Justice by binding up the broken and saving the smoldering. Justice by giving Himself as a covenant to the people. Justice as He steps into the waters of our baptism to take all our sins of rebellion against God and one another into His own innocent flesh. Jesus’ baptism works for us forgiveness of sins, rescues us from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation by true justice won for us on Calvary. Therefore this morning - repent - and learn from St. Paul : “Baptismal Boasting!”
        Foolish, weak, base, nothings - our sinful flesh doesn’t like to be called these names. Our old adam, ever since listening to Satan’s lies and joining in his rebellion, loves to deceive ourselves that we are wise, mighty, and noble. The Christian congregation at Corinth was tearing itself apart with internal strife. They had forgotten their birthright - their baptism. (Vs.26) God had called them through the foolishness of the message of the cross preached by St. Paul. The Lord Jesus called them through the foolishness of water connected with His Word poured over their infant heads. They were called by God’s grace into God’s family as “brothers.” Not many were wise, mighty, or noble - although there were some in the congregation who were, but that wasn’t why the Lord God called them in Jesus Christ.
      You are not a member of Emmanuel because of your credentials, but by God’s gracious election and baptismal calling of you the sinner in Christ Jesus from eternity. (Vs.27-29) God chooses the foolish, weak, base, nothings to bring the world and its Satanic prince to nothing.
        On January 10th, 49 B.C. Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River in Northern Italy. Stepping into the water of that river he would throw Rome into a civil war, that would end with his dictatorship and the rise of imperial Rome. Our Gospel lesson today Jesus steps into the water of the River Jordan. He declares war on our enemies Satan, sin, death, and hell. He has come to fulfill all righteousness for all sinners. St. John the Baptist who was baptizing sinners for repentance forgiving their sins through the promised Redeemer - tries to prevent Jesus. Our Lord Jesus tells him this is necessary. Jesus must become our Scapegoat. St. John a descendant of Aaron the priest baptizes all our sins upon Jesus’ innocent head. Heaven is torn open - God The Holy Spirit descends and remains upon Jesus. God the Father declares, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” Pleased because Jesus, His only begotten Son from eternity, fully Man born of the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, has humbled Himself to bear our sin in His flesh. Immediately He will be led into the wilderness to battle our enemy Satan. The war will be waged for three years. The cross looks like a victory for Satan. Worldly power and wisdom has won silencing Jesus’ preaching. Then from the cross we hear His cry of victory - “Completed!” “Done!” “Settled!” “It is Finished!”   Satan has lost all right to accuse us. Blood and water gush from Jesus’ lifeless side to bring life to this world - forgiveness of all our sins.
        God chooses the foolish things of this world to shame the wise. He called many of us when we were but infants through the water of Holy Baptism. The world mocks - “How can water do such great things?” To which we boldly confess: Certainly not just water, but the word of God in and with the water does these things, along with the faith which trusts this word of God in the water. For without God's word the water is plain water and no Baptism. But with the word of God it is a Baptism, that is, a life-giving water, rich in grace, and a washing of the new birth in the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul says in Titus, chapter three: "He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying" (Titus 3:5-8).” The Word made Flesh is in and with the Water. You are baptized into Christ. God the Holy Spirit is in the water of your baptism blessing you with The Faith to believe God the Father’s declaration - “You are My beloved Son! Daughter! Child! you I am well pleased!”
The world views Christianity as upside down and backwards - for the Lord God in Holy Baptism overturns Satan’s lies, the worldly deception, and our fleshly foolishness.
        Christ was baptized in the Jordan for us, to become our Sin-Bearer. He paid the full hellish price for our sins upon the Cross, then laid Himself into death and the grave for us - that He might forever bury our sins and rise to bring us eternal life for these bodies. (Vs.30) Your baptism has knit you into Christ Jesus. The only One anointed by the Holy Spirit to save sinners. He is God’s wisdom - to save us through the weakness of God becoming a Baby born of the Virgin Mary. To save us through the weakness of Jesus’ poverty, preaching, being rejected by men, despised, betrayed, crucified, mocked, and laying down His life into our death. Your baptism works the forgiveness of sins for in it you are clothed with Jesus - His righteousness - His perfect life covers all your sins. Your baptism sanctifies you - makes you holy rescuing you from death and the devil by God the Holy Spirit daily and richly forgiving you all your sins. Now you no longer live, but Christ lives in you - to will to do the Father’s will. Your life of loving service to your neighbor is Christ living in you and through you refreshing you with baptismal grace. Your baptism assures you that Christ’s redemption is yours - He has purchased and won you from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil - not with perishing gold and silver, but with His holy precious blood and His innocent suffering and death. The final redemption of your own body is guaranteed in your baptism - your have eternal salvation - your baptism will be completed by the work and power of the Holy Spirit on the Last Day when He will raise you and all believers in Christ and give you eternal life - the life of Christ Jesus! This is what God has spoken through the prophet Jeremiah (vs.31)Boast in the Lord! Baptism isn’t your work, your decision, your choice - it is totally gifted to you in Christ Jesus, sealed to you by the Holy Spirit, and is God The Father’s adoption of you as His own beloved child.
      The prophet Jeremiah preached to a nation bent on self-destruction. They had rejected God’s Word - they had no wisdom. He preached:Jer 9:23-24 Thus says the LORD: "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; (24) But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight," says the LORD.” The nation of Judah would fall, but God’s gracious promise in Christ Jesus would never fail. Our risen and ascended Lord Jesus Christ rules over all earthly kingdoms - we are not called to rebel, but to pray for those in authority, to confess the truth of the Gospel - even if it cost us all - our hope is only in Jesus. He has birthed us into His Kingdom in holy baptism that will never be overthrown - in Him we are freed to serve our neighbor in love, to love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us.
      Let us boast in the Lord! Morning and night - I am baptized into Christ! Amen.

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