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Sunday, January 11, 2015

01112015 Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ

Sermon Audio

January 11, 2015
Perfect Submission: How to…
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord our Rock and our Redeemer.  AMEN.

If you have ever filled out a form, whether at the Doctor’s Office, for a driver’s license or even the FSA office you have a good understanding of submission.  Unlike what kids are used to doing in our current computer age with iPads, where there is a button that says, “Submit”, in the old days it was a very unique process.  You actually had to use a pencil and hand the form to the person who was sitting right in front of you.  And while they looked over your form, you waited.  Depending upon the length of the form it could take a few minutes.  But the reality was you had to wait, not go anywhere and wait for instructions of the next step and how to proceed.  You had to fully submit to someone else having the power and authority over your current and future actions.  This morning in our celebration and from our lessons we hear about submission, not in forms, but of actions and their impact upon the plan of salvation.

Today we celebrate the Baptism of our Lord, Jesus Christ by John the Baptist.  In perfect submission, Jesus Christ had to submit Himself to Holy Baptism by John the Baptist.  John Jesus cousin, who had leapt in his mother’s womb when he heard Mary’s voice upon her entrance into her cousins home now stood at a cross roads in his life.  Either demand Jesus baptize him that is John, or John would fully submit himself to be used by God to baptize the promised Messiah.  For John it would have been interesting to hear what was going through his mind and heart at this particular moment and the either the struggles or the pure joy of completing God’s plan of salvation.

For those of us gathered here when we encounter decisions to be made in our daily lives, all of us think about the opportunities, outcomes and weigh the options.  But our decisions we make today about the farm, our family or our future here on earth might seem more important or have greater meaning for us today than John’s choice 2000 years ago.  However, John the Baptist was at a clear cross roads in his relationship with God.  If he chose to demand to be baptized by the Savior of the World, Jesus Christ, John would have chosen the self-centered selfish route and not shown clear submission to God’s divine will and perfect plan.  If John refused to baptize Jesus, scripture prophecies from the Old Testament would not have been fulfilled.  Like dominoes that are lined up and prepared to topple, one choice by John would not only have an effect in the then and there, but would clearly have a domino effect upon we who gather here today at Emmanuel to celebrate the Baptism of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Some people look at these celebrations of the church that we honor and remember both as being more “Catholic”, even as ancient history and unimportant or having no affect or effect upon our lives today.  Whether the celebration be Advent, Christmas, Epiphany and even Jesus Baptism, there are some, even who call themselves Christian, who say, I only need Jesus, not these festival days.  Yet there is a fact that is unmistakable and shows their self-centeredness when they question these celebrations.  The celebration of each of these milestones is not about us who gather, but about the God that we honor and worship.  These milestones are a clear and concise reminder of what God has done, is doing and will continue to do for all of mankind in the future.  When we celebrate these events we enter into the greatest opportunity to be submissive to God’s divine plan and it’s completion.

God’s plan is perfect and has a single simple goal in mind.  God’s goal is for us to be in the kingdom of God for all eternity.  There are some who want clear reassurance, in essence to hear people confess and say they have faith in Jesus Christ in order to be assured of the fulfillment of the promise of eternal life and that they will be in the kingdom, but the fact remains, words can be used to deceive, what matters is what is in our heart.  We have only one thing we as Christians can do, rely upon the grace of God and declare the grace of God that is for all of mankind that Jesus Christ offers.  When we declare this grace we are then submissive to God and His perfect plan.

When we rely upon God’s grace and submit ourselves to God’s perfect will and way and offer the gift of grace, we change the landscape and offer ourselves in perfect submission to God.  Just as John submitted himself to God’s plan by baptizing Jesus Christ and the heavens were opened and those who witnessed heard God’s voice from heaven and saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove.  When we submit ourselves to God’s perfect plan and willfully submit our lives to God, God will use us in kingdom work.  The kingdom work will bring glory, not to ourselves, but point to God’s full and complete action of salvation found on the cross of Calvary for all mankind.

So, the question for each of us today is clear, will you be submissive to God’s plan, work and action and the fulfillment of God’s perfect plan, or will you be self-centered, selfish and not submit yourself to God’s will and way?  Your decision will impact not only your life today, but will have a lifelong impact as to God’s continuous action in your life from this day forward.

The plan of salvation God offered to each of us does not change with our answer of being submissive or not, but by our decisions, we can and do change our potential impact upon our world, our community, our church and especially our family.  For God’s plan is very clear of Jesus Christ willingness to submit Himself to being baptized by John.  And John’s willingness to not be selfish, and baptize Jesus in order that mankind would be in God’s kingdom for all eternity.  For this is the gift of grace God offers all of mankind, but especially including all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning.  AMEN.

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