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The Sacrament of Baptism II

     Yesterday we witnessed the baptism of our grandson - Timothy Vandermolen.  And what a blessing it was to see the young-un be baptized.  If the baptism was based on our righteous acts, what a failure it would be.  Just three chapters after Abram became Abraham and the covenant of circumcision was given (Genesis 17), Abraham lied to Abimelech by saying that his wife Sarah was his sister.  So instead of protecting a pregnant wife, he allowed her to become part of Abimelech's harem.  God had said that Abraham should "walk before me and be blameless." 
     But this covenant is based on God's faithfulness - three times He says that the sacrament of circumcision will be an everlasting covenant. 
     Praise be to God that the covenant/sacraments are based on what God has done for us, and are not based on our actions. 
   

The Sacrament of Baptism

Today I preached on the sacrament of baptism which is based on the sacrament of circumcision.  The main text is from Genesis 17:2 where God says "I will confirm MY covenant between ME and you."   The main point is that it was God who initiated the covenant.  It was not Abram and I confirmed our covenant between you and me."  But it was all about God making the covenant.  Human covenants (contracts) are between two equals.  But the sacrament is about God who designs and institutes the covenant.  God (not Abram and God).  MY (not our).  ME and you (not the normal you and me.)  The covenant or sacrament of circumcision was all about God acting, not humans responding.

Pentecost - Blood and Fire

   On Pentecost Day, the church celebrates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Church.  Peter quotes Joel 2:28 "I will pour out my Spirit on all people."  Everybody walks away happy.   However, Peter also quotes Joel 2:30 "I will show wonders in the heavens and on earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke.  The sun will be turned to darkness and moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord."
    While Pentecost looks backwards to the Holy Spirit coming in a special way on the church, it is also a warning of the upcoming Day of the Lord. However, most people just see it as an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Lord, we look forwarded to Your return.  Help us to prepare for this awesome day.

Ascension Day - Whom you know

     Last Thursday we celebrated Ascension Day, which is 40 days after Easter when Christ ascended into heaven.  In Hebrews 4:14-16 states "14 Therefore, since we have a great High Priest who has ASCENDED into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest Who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have One who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
     On earth as in heaven, it is not what  you know, but whom you know.  In heaven, Christian know Christ who knows the Father.  So when we approach the throne of grace, we approach with confidence because we know that Jesus Christ is our advocate who pleads our case to the Father.

    Thank you Jesus for being our advocate.