Sermon Text: Titus 3:4 – 7
Pastor Daniel Schmidt
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. 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.
According to the web site: adoptionnetwork.comon average there are about 135,000 children who are adopted each year in the United States. Adoption is such a wonderful blessing. It is a blessing for a husband and wife who are struggling to have children. It is a blessing for the parents who realize that they aren’t prepared for the responsibility of raising a child, so they put him or her up for adoption. Of course, adoption is a tremendous blessing for those children who are adopted into the family of loving and caring parents.
Families who have adopted children will often times have two celebrations. They will have the traditional birthday party, celebrating the day their son or daughter was born. Then they will have another party as they celebrate the day the adoption was finalized.
For the past couple of weeks, we have heard the good news that by the grace of God, you and I are children of our Father in heaven. You and I weren’t born into this world as his children. You and I needed to be adopted. And that adoption took place on the day of our baptism. On this weekend that we remember our Savior’s baptism, as you and I give thanks for our own baptism, TODAY IS AN ADOPTION CELEBRATION!
Why is your baptism and mine so important that we should take the time to celebrate it? It is important because of what you and I are like by nature. All of us are born into this world as spiritual orphans. Even though we have earthly parents, from them we inherited our sinful nature. You and I have hearts that are stained with the dirt of sin. The Bible clearly teaches that from the very beginning of our life, you and I are enemies of God and blind to the message of forgiveness through Jesus.
God’s Word clearly teaches us that it is because of sin that you and I cannot by our own thinking or choosing come to believe in Jesus Christ as our one and only Savior. As we read in God’s Word before us in Titus chapter 3, you and I are saved “not because of righteous things we had done.” Ephesians chapter 2 tells us that our being saved is “not by works, so that no one can boast” and “as for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.” You and I were born into this world with the same great need: a need to be rescued from the guilt and eternal consequences of our sins.
A very natural question to ask at this point is, “How then is anyone saved?” God’s Word before us gives us the answer to that question, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. 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.”
As we have heard the past couple of weeks, the kindness, the love and the mercy of our Savior-God can all be summed up in a single word: “grace”. Just as we run our hands under warm running water to get the dirt off, so also, at the time of our baptism, the Word of God connected with the water that is used, gives baptism the power to wash away the dirt of sin. Through the working of God the Holy Spirit and God’s powerful Holy Word, our hearts once filled only by sin, are now filled with forgiveness and faith in Jesus Christ as our only Savior from sin. Again, from Ephesians chapter 2 we read, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
Today IS an adoption celebration! God’s Word teaches you and me that at the time of our baptism, our loving Father in heaven adopted you and me into his family by giving you and me the gift of faith in Jesus Christ as our one and only Savior and through Jesus, the gift of the forgiveness of all of our sins.
At the time of our baptism, not only do we receive the gifts of faith in Jesus as our one and only Savior, as well as the forgiveness of all of our sins, but we also receive the promise that as his adopted son or daughter, you and I will live forever with our loving Father in the perfect joys of his heavenly home.
God’s Word before us today proclaims the Good News that you and I are “justified by his grace, [so that] we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” Through grace, that is, the great undeserved love of our Savior-God, you and I are declared “Not Guilty” of our many sins. As our loving Father in heaven looks into your heart and my heart through glasses stained red with the blood of Jesus our Savior, it is “just-if-I’d-never-sinned.”
Through Jesus Christ alone, you and I have the promise of our Father in heaven that the glory of heaven is yours and mine to enjoy. The inheritance that you and I will enjoy from our heavenly Father is far greater than any inheritance we might receive from our earthly fathers. Because through our baptism, you and I have been adopted by God the Father to be his own dearly loved children, you and I look forward to inheriting a life that will never end in the great riches of heaven.
Today is an adoption celebration! In his Small Catechism, Dr. Martin Luther tells us why you and I celebrate today: “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.” So my encouragement for each of you here today is to take time this coming week to have your own adoption celebration; celebrate your baptism. Offer a prayer of thanks to God the Holy Spirit for using the wonderful gift of baptism to create faith in your heart so that you believe in Jesus Christ as your one and only Savior. Rejoice that through your baptism, you received the free gift of the forgiveness of all of your sins through the blood of Jesus, and that you have the promise of everlasting life at his side in heaven.
Dear fellow children of our loving Father in heaven, as you celebrate your adoption into the family of your Father in heaven, may your heart fill with joy as you read this comforting message from our God’s Word for YOU, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. 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.” Amen.