Confirmation Sermon on Psalm 119:105 (Wyatt Dorn & Ashley Schoen)
Text: Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
Over the course of the past three years, you have had to learn a great number of Bible verses for Catechism Class. You showed that this morning. There were some that were a little more difficult to learn and say, such as 2 Corinthians 5:14&15, “Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again..” There were others that we learned a number of different times and became almost second nature to you. For example, we might think of Matthew 28:19&20, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” I believe that the verse for our text this morning would fall into the category of a very familiar verse. However, let’s stop for a few moments this morning and study this verse as we see GOD’S WORD 1. A Lamp and 2. A Light.
This verse comes to us from the longest chapter in the entire Bible. This psalm has 176 verses. Despite its length, however, there is one common theme throughout this psalm. That common theme is the importance of God’s Word. The first verse says, “Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD.” You will find verses like verses 15&16, “I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.” There is verse 73 which says, “Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands.” and verse 89, “Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.” The psalm concludes with the words, “Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.” (Verse 176) Again and again, we see the writer of this psalm speaking about the importance of God’s Word. The verse for this morning is in keeping with the theme of this psalm. As you are confirmed this morning, and as the rest of us recall or look ahead toward our confirmation, we cannot stress enough the importance of God’s Word.
In this well-known verse, we can see both a present use of God’s Word and a future use for God’s Word. The verse begins with the words, “Your word is a lamp for my feet.” In essence, we see that God’s Word shows us where we are here and now. However, to appreciate where we are here and now, we must see where we were. We had the opportunity to see where and who we were by nature, as we studied God’s Word in our classes. In all those weeks that we studied God’s Ten Commandments, we were reminded again and again of all of the places and times that we went against God’s Will. We studied the Third Commandment and talked about our attitude toward God’s Word. We studied the Fourth Commandment and looked at our respect for those whom God has placed in authority over us. We saw that hating someone was just as bad a killing them. We talked about greed and lying. Through the Holy Scriptures, we learned of our Old Adam that delights in doing the exact opposite of what God would have us do. Here you learned Bible passages like, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) The Bible, God’s Word, is very clear about whom and what we are by nature. We were lost and condemned creatures, who deserved nothing but God’s wrath and punishment both now and for eternity. God’s Law shone, exposing our sins for what they were.
That is where we were. Where are we now? How does God’s Word act as a lamp to my feet? We, also, had the privilege of finding that answer through a study of God’s Word. While we saw it in various places, we took our deepest look at the answer to this as we studied the Second Article. While we were still sinners, God in his love for us, sent his Son to be our Savior. We studied what Christ did for us, using terms like Christ’s Active Obedience, as Jesus lived the perfect life that we could not live. We talked about Christ’s Passive Obedience, as he suffered and died to pay for the sins of all people, including you and me. The main theme of that Second Article was Redemption, that is, Christ paid the ransom price for us. The price that he paid was his holy, precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. Jesus paid for all our sins. We also talked about the working of the Holy Spirit, who created and strengthened the faith in our hearts through the Means of Grace, the Gospel in God’s Word and the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Through this faith in Jesus Christ, we can accept all the gifts that Jesus has won for us. That is where you are now. You are a redeemed child of God. God shows us who and what we are right now. God’s Word is a lamp to our feet.
In a few moments, you are going to make a confession of your faith. Through the words of the Apostles Creed, you will confess your faith in the Triune God. You will say that you wish to become a communicant member of this church. More than that, you are going to make a vow before God and in front of all these witnesses. That vow is this: that you will remain faithful to this faith, as long as you live. You are going to vow that you are willing to suffer anything, including death, rather than fall away from this faith. Just think about that for a moment. This is for the rest of your life. That almost seems overwhelming, doesn’t it? This is especially true because we don’t know what lies ahead of us in the future. You probably have some plans and hopes, but you don’t know for sure what the future holds for you. How can you make that vow?
You make that vow, asking God for strength and courage. God promises to always be with you. For example, go back to Matthew 28:20, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” God repeats that promise in Hebrews 13:5, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Through all the changes ahead of you, God promises to be right by you, guiding you and keeping you close to himself. This is the thought behind the latter part of this verse, when we are reminded that God’s Word is a light for our path.
You are going to be traveling down life’s path. Throughout the years, you are going to be faced with choices, some large, some small. Some of those choices will be win-win situations. Some of them will be more sinister as Satan tries to lead you down the wrong path. How can you be sure that you are making the right choices? God’s Word is there to be your light for the path. With God’s Word, we clearly see those things that are pleasing to him and those that are not. Out of love and thankfulness for all that God has done for us, we want to make the right choices with our lives. We want to do things God’s way. God’s Word is the light that shows us the way. In these things, we can see clearly what God does and does not want us to do.
There will be other times when the choice is not as clear. For example, nowhere in the Bible does it say what your career is going to be or who will be a part of your family. What about those choices? Is God’s Word still that light for our path? The answer is still “Yes.” God has invited us to come to him in prayer. He promises to hear and answer all those prayers for our benefit. He has also promised that he is in control of all things and, as it says in Romans 8:28, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose.” God says to us in Isaiah 30:21, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” God promises to be with you every single day of your life. His word is a light for your path.
This reminds us of the importance of God’s Word. There is a great need for us to learn it more and more, as we ask God to direct our lives through it. We will no longer have the privilege of getting together to study God’s Word in Confirmation Class. I will no longer be assigning you passages to memorize every week. For that reason, there is, sometimes, a tendency to think of confirmation as graduation. Nothing could be farther from the truth. You are still learning. God still has a great deal to say to you, especially as you come to the various crossroads of your life. Continue to learn his Word. Read that Word for yourself. Come and hear God’s Word regularly. Take the opportunity to receive the Lord’s Supper as often as you can. Through that wondrous meal, you will be assured again and again that your sins have been forgiven and your faith will be strengthened. God’s Word is a light for our path, but if we put it aside, its light cannot help us. For that reason, let God’s Word be the light of your path, as you travel along it on your way to heaven.
It was a cold winter’s night. Little five-year-old Tommy held his father’s hand tightly as they walked along a dark footpath to a neighboring farmhouse. It was evident that Tommy was afraid — afraid of the pitch-black darkness which stretched out endlessly before him. Finally, looking at the lantern in his father’s hand, Tommy said, “Daddy, I’m scared! The light only reaches such a little way!” The father tightened his grip on the little boy’s hand and answered, “I know, son. But, if we keep on walking, we’ll see that the light keeps shining all the way to the end of the road.” Sometimes, we’re like little Tommy’s — sometimes confident, sometimes afraid by the darkness of the road in front of us. However, there is no darkness that cannot be pierced by the light of God’s Word. In the light of that lamp, we take each step with new confidence. Wyatt, Ashley, you are going out today, having come to an important milestone in your life. The rest of us are proud of you and pray for God’s richest blessings on your path. It is also our prayer that you keep in mind the words of our text. God’s Word is a lamp to your feet and a light for your path. May God keep all of us mindful of this, as well. Finally, as we are reminded in 1 John 1:7, “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” Keep walking in the light. Amen.
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