“With You I Am Well Pleased”
Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
TEXT (Luke 3:22): ~ A voice came from heaven, “With you I am well pleased.”
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer. Amen.
Introduction: Before we get into the meat of the Baptism of Jesus, let’s dispense with this myth of two baptisms. The Word of God does not say there are two. God says plainly there is one baptism: (Ephesians 5) ~ “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call — one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
“One baptism.” There are not two baptisms, but one. When John the Baptizer says, “I baptize you with water… but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire,” John is not contradicting Scripture. (God does not talk out of both sides of his mouth.) John is quoted speaking here before the work of redemption was actually completed. Jesus at his baptism was just beginning his public ministry. He was just beginning his journey to the cross. At this stage of God’s plan, we see limited preparatory work of the Holy Spirit – things like descending in the form of a dove and inspiring Elizabeth to call Mary “the mother of my Lord.” The Spirit even caused John to leap with joy while still in the womb. As exciting as that is (a Christian believer still in the womb!), this initial work of the Spirit was limited, compared to what would happen with the “fire” of Pentecost and beyond. Since that unleashing of the Holy Spirit (and to this very day!), the Spirit is baptizing everywhere, baptizing with the fire, raising the dead everywhere by bringing them to faith. Working in all its super-abounding fullness (working through the Word and Sacraments of God), the Holy Spirit of God is creating faith in the ones who once were lost, but now are found, were blind but now they see! That’s the fire of the Holy Spirit! Whether we were brought to life as infants or adults, we were dead, but now we live – thanks to the Holy Spirit of God, who baptized us with the fire of saving faith in Jesus Christ.
“One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all…” There are not two baptisms, but one.
And it is high time to repent and be baptized…
I. His winnowing fork is in his hand. (This is urgent!)
A. Chaff deceives itself, claiming to be wheat
1. Some of the chaff sits in the pews every Sunday, acting as if they self-baptized – when God did the work of washing away our sins.
2. Some seem to think they didn’t need much scrubbing anyway…
B. It’s time to repent and be baptized.
1. Now is the day! “How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?”
Do you really think you could stand alone on Judgment Day?
Do you know anybody else who paid for your sins?
2. God says this is his beloved Son, with whom he is well-pleased. We would be smart to listen to him!
Listen to the One who took your place.
Listen to the one who says, “With you I am well pleased.”
II. God is well pleased with you!
A. God is perfectly please with you through Christ: God washed you clean in the blood of the Lamb, the Lamb of God who was even baptized in your place – for you for the forgiveness of your sins.
1. Luther: “Christ was entering into our stead, becoming a sinner for us, taking all our sins upon himself and drowning them in his baptism.”
2. (II Cor. 5:21) “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
3. Because Christ was our Substitute, we need not fear facing the wrath of God or the punishment of our sins; we are washed clean by the blood of the Lamb!
God himself washed us clean in our baptism!
B. We were predestined by God since forever to be saved through Christ.
1. (FC XI Election) “Not only before we had done anything good, but also before we were born, yes, even before the foundations of the world were laid, God elected us in Christ.”
2. Salvation is not placed in your own hands – for otherwise you would lose it much more easily than did Adam and Eve in paradise… But in the gracious election of God, he placed your salvation in Christ, out of whose hand no man can pluck you! NOTHING can separate us from the love of God!
God said he would; he did; and he does!
III. Daily return to your baptism = leading a life of repentance.
A. Remember what God did for you in your baptism.
1. When you’re tempted, return to your baptism and you can do the right thing!
2. When you’re plagued with guilt, return to your baptism and tell the devil, “Christ died for that sin, too. I am baptized into Christ!”
B. God’s Spirit strengthens you to walk in baptism.
1. “Announcing” the new life, and more!
2. Also producing, beginning, and promoting the new life. With the Spirit nurturing your faith in Christ, you can drown the old sinner and rise as a saint!
Conclusion: Do NOT trust in your new walk! Trust only in His walk for you!
Trust only in Christ who was baptized for you. Trust only in the One who washed you clean in the blood of the Lamb.
Trust only the One who says to you: (Isaiah 43)
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…
You are precious in my eyes… and I love you.”
The peace of God, which surpasses all understating, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.