170717 Romans 6:1b-4

Last Updated on Monday, 17 July 2017 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Sermon Text: Romans 6:1b – 4
Sermon Theme: Your Baptism is a Matter of Life AND Death!

Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

When a first-responder comes up to an accident, they have to make some very quick decisions: Who is hurt? How badly are they hurt? Is anyone in very serious condition? If, after looking over the crash site, it is determined that someone needs immediate medical attention, a call will go out, "We need to get this person to hospital right now. It is a matter of life or death!" Then an ambulance or maybe even a helicopter will be sent to the scene. Of course, the hope is that if the injured person is able to get to the hospital quickly, their life may be saved.

In our worship services this weekend, as we continue our summer sermon series "A Summer in Rome", our tour takes us to the baptismal font. Here we focus on the life-saving Sacrament of Holy Baptism. From God's Word that is before us from Romans chapter 6, we will see that our baptism is very important because your baptism is a matter of life AND death.

It is in Ephesians chapter 2 that each one of us here this morning is told, "You were dead in your transgressions and sins..." You and I are born into this world with a very serious condition. And no amount of medical treatment is able to cure it. From the very moment that our lives begin, you and I are infected with the deadly disease of sin. Because of this sin, on our own, you and I are spiritually dead. This sin shows itself in our day-to-day lives, as you and I do things, and say things and think things that are contrary to God's will. You and I are far too willing and eager to cross that "line in the sand" that the Lord has established. On our own, you and I miss the mark of perfection that God has established if we want to enter heaven.

The Bible is clear. Left on our own, you and I would drown in the sea of our sin. We needed to be rescued. You and I needed someone to save our lives. And at our baptism, the gracious Lord gave us THE Life Preserver you and I need. As we are told in Romans 6, "Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."

Your baptism and mine brings us into a close, personal relationship with our one and only Savior, Jesus Christ. At our baptism, the forgiveness of sins that Jesus won for all people is given to you and me as a free gift. Because of the forgiveness that Jesus won, you and I are declared perfect in the eyes of the one true God. The guilt of all of our sins is washed away. Because of Jesus, you and I are given the new life of eternal life at our Savior's side in heaven. Again, God's Word found in Ephesians, chapter 2 states it this way, "But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus." Your baptism is a matter of life AND death. It is the death of the guilt of your sins. It is the beginning of life with the Savior forever.

There is another thought in the fact that your baptism is a matter of life AND death. Your baptism and mine gives us the power we need to say "no" to sin. At the time of our baptism God the Holy Spirit came to live in your heart and mine. It is God the Holy Spirit, working through the powerful Word of God, who gives you and me the power to live a new life, that is a life worthy of the loving God who saved us. As we read from Romans 6, "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?...We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." And just a few verses later in this same chapter we are told, "In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace." It is the grace of God that saved you and me. It is that same grace of our Lord that gives you and me the power to live a life pleasing to our Savior-God. Your baptism is a matter of life AND death. It is the death of living simply to please the sinful nature. It is the beginning of living a life that gives all praise and glory to our Savior-God.

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, your baptism and mine is a matter of life and death. So we pray:

Merciful Father in heaven, we thank you for the gift of Holy Baptism by which you wash away sin and give us a new and eternal life. Help us each day to remember that through Baptism you clothe us with Christ and so we stand holy and righteous before you. Look with favor on all those who have been baptized that they may be kept safe by the gift of your Spirit, grow daily in your grace, and live forever by the power of the risen Christ. Make all of us willing to carry out our responsibilities to all the baptized, so that all may finally come to the blessed joys of heaven, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

CONFESSION FROM LUTHER'S SMALL CATECHISM

M: First: What is Baptism?
C: Baptism is not just plain water, but it is water used by God's command and connected with God's Word.

M: Which is that Word of God?
C: Christ our Lord says in the last chapter of Matthew, "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit!"

M: Second: What does Baptism do for us?
C: Baptism works forgiveness of sin, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.

M: What are these words and promises of God?
C: Christ our Lord says in the last chapter of Mark, "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned."

M: Third: How can water do such great things?
C: It is certainly not the water that does such things, but God's Word which is in and with the water and faith which trusts this Word used with the water. For without God's Word the water is just plain water and not Baptism. But with this Word it is Baptism, that is, a gracious water of life and a washing of rebirth by the Holy Spirit.

M: Where is this written?
C: St. Paul says in Titus, chapter 3, "[God] 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."

M: Fourth: What does baptizing with water mean?
C: Baptism means that the Old Adam in us should be drowned by daily contrition and repentance, and that all its evil deeds and desires be put to death. It also means that a new person should daily arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

M: Where is this written?
C: St. Paul says in Romans, chapter 6, "We were... buried with [Christ] through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."

 

Our Mission Statement:

Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

Worship Schedule

Sunday
8:00 A.M. & 10:30 A.M.

9:15 A.M. Bible Study for All Ages

Monday at 7:00 P.M.

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St. Matthew's Lutheran Church
818 West Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
262-912-6060

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