The Lighthouse Keeper

Greetings from Pastor Kerry, former pastor of Spring City UMC. This blog contains my sermon outlines and/or manuscripts from my pastorate among the people of Spring City PA, from 2006 to 2011. Pastor Dennis is now the lighthouse keeper. Come and worship on Sundays at 10:00 a.m.!

Monday, January 08, 2007

It's Here

January 7, 2007
First Sunday After Epiphany
Baptism of Jesus

from Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 and Acts 8:14-17

"You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you..." Acts 1:8
"Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit." – Acts 8:14-17

My sermon outline:

• Yesterday was Epiphany, the 12th day of Christmas (12 lords a-‘leapin). The ancient church celebrated the coming of Christ, the adoration of the magi, and the baptism of Jesus all right around now, and we’ve got these two short scripture verses today that mark the Holy Spirit, so it’s a confusing day. Naturally we decided to go with the flow and have four inserts. And just to add to the confusion, I’m gonna add something that isn’t in the bulletin, but fear not, I’ll guide you. Today I want to talk about Baptism and the Holy Spirit.

• Ever wonder why Jesus was baptized? John the Baptist preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, why would Jesus need baptized? Matthew tells us it’s to fulfill all righteousness. The other gospels don’t offer explanations.

• But we can pick up some clues in Luke’s account.

Jesus’ baptism is for Jesus. He’s 30 years old, he’s been away from his Dad for 30 years, and this moment is for him. Where Matthew reports “This is my Son...” and presumably all hear, Mark and Luke report “YOU are my Son...” It’s a much needed Father/Son moment.

Jesus’ baptism is for the people of the day, it’s another affirmation that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the chosen one, the Son of God. The Holy Spirit descends on him in bodily form, like a dove. First thing Jesus does after the baptism is follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit into the desert, where for 40 days he was tempted by the devil. After 40 days? He’s got the power of the Spirit (Luke 4:14) and he goes home, goes to synagogue and reads "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.... today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing".

• Now there are five other people in the book of Luke who “the Holy Spirit” is on: angel tells Zechariah that his son John will be filled with the HS (1:15); the angel tells Mary that the HS will come upon her (1:35) and she will bear the Son of God; Elizabeth is filled with the HS when Mary visits, and she blesses Mary (1:41); Zechariah is filled with the HS (1:67) when John is born, praising God for redemption; Simeon, an old man in the Temple, has the HS on him when Jesus is presented in the Temple, and he praises God for salvation (2:25).
Five people in the first two chapters full of the HS, then it descends on Jesus and stays with him the rest of the book. Nobody else.

• Until the book of Acts, when Jesus tells the apostles “You will receive power when the HS comes on you, and you will be my witnesses....” (1:8)

• And then, Jesus’ baptism is for us. (Acts 8:14-17)

• Peter & John go and lay hands on some new Christians, and they receive the HS. They don’t baptize them again cuz that’s not necessary, they lay hands on them.

• When we baptize people we lay hands on them and pray that the HS would dwell in them.

• And like the apostles and like the new Christians, we receive the power of the HS in baptism. By the grace of God.

• In baptism God says to us “I love you and you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1). “When you pass through the waters I will be with you.” Isaiah is talking about baptism there: one of the meanings of baptism is when you go under the water it’s like you’re dying and being buried with Jesus, and God is with you. After being dunked you rise again, united with Christ.

• In baptism our sins are washed away. God cleans us and we celebrate the family connection that we have. In baptism God adopts us and we say Yes Lord, I am yours, I pledge my faith and my love to you.

• And so it is appropriate on this the celebration of Jesus’ baptism, on this the first Sunday of the year, to remember our baptism by the renewal of our baptismal covenant. All who have been baptized are invited to join with me on page 50 of your hymnals; and if you have not been baptized or if you would like to join this congregation I would be more than happy to talk with you about that after the service so that we can hasten the celebration! Again, page 50:

(reaffirmation of baptismal covenant here, followed by Communion)

- Pastor Kerry
This Sunday: 62 in worship.


Post a Comment

<< Home