St. John's & Zion Lutheran Churches

You Are God’s Child (Confirmation Sermon)

Text: But now, this is what the LORD says —
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. (Isaiah 43:1-3)

Just a reminder that Mother’s Day is just two weeks away. On that special day, you have the opportunity to thank your mother for that she has done for you and how much she means to you. Of course, a month later is Father’s Day. When God created the world, one of the gifts that he gave to people is family. This is to be the basic building block of society. After Adam and Eve were created, God told them to be fruitful and increase in number. This morning, we are going to talk about being children, but not about the fact that God has given you your parents. Rather, we are going to talk about the fact that YOU ARE GOD’S CHILD. 1. He Has Called You By Name and 2. He Promises To Be With You.

In speaking to the people of Israel, God reminds them of the special relationship that he had with them. First of all, he notes that he is the one “who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel.” (Verse 1) As we go back in Bible history, we see this creation take place. We think of the promise that God made to Abraham, “I will make you into a great nation.” (Genesis 12:1) This promise was made to Abraham when he was 75 years old and had no children. Finally, 25 years later, Abraham had a son. It would take many years, but eventually the nation of Israel would number perhaps 2 million people when they left Egypt. In his love, God had created the nation of Israel. This is one of the reasons that we call God “our Father.” As you noted in the explanation of the First Article, when God created you he gave you your body with all of the wonderful features that it has.

God also notes “I have summoned you by name.” (Verse 1) When you were born, your parents spent time trying to find just the right name for you. They chose it with care. As nice as the name is that you were given by your parents, you have received an even more wonderful name from God. That name is “God’s child.” This is not the name that we were born with. As you reminded us earlier, we are born outside the family of God. We were not God’s children, but children that deserved only his punishment. Then, something special happened in each of your lives. Many people here this morning were witnesses to that special day. You were baptized “in the name of” the triune God. To be baptized in the name of the triune God means that you were adopted into his family on that day. Through the washing with water and the Word, you received all the blessings that come with being God’s child. You receive all the benefits that your brother, Jesus Christ, accomplished. Just a week ago, we saw the depths of Jesus’ love for us. We watched as Jesus suffered and died on the cross, enduring the punishment that we deserved because of our sins. Last week, we thrilled to hear the Easter message, “He is not here; he has risen.” This means that Jesus’ payment for our sins was complete. It assures us that, if we should die before the end of time, we will rise from the dead and live eternally with him. These are the blessings that you received when you were baptized. Your sins were forgiven, you were saved, and you received eternal life. God says that he “summoned you by name.” This reminds us that God knows each of us personally. God knew you before you were born. He knew you before the world was created. Through Baptism, he summoned you by name and made you his child.

Just as a good parent makes sure that their child is fed and taken care of, your heavenly Father has seen to these things, as well. This goes beyond our loving God taking care of you by giving you what you need for your physical life. God has also seen to it that the faith that was created at Baptism was nourished so that it would continue to grow. God has used your parents and other family members, Sunday School teachers and, for some of you, your elementary school teachers to teach his Word to you. It has been my privilege to watch as your faith grew through confirmation class. You have had the privilege to confess that faith into which you were baptized earlier. You confirmed your faith. As a result, we invite you to join us in the reception of the Lord’s Supper. Enjoy the blessings and benefits of being God’s child, whom he has called by name.

Confirmation Day is also a special day in the life of a Christian because what will happen later in our service. After you will again confess that faith that is in your hearts, you will be making some vows. You will be making some very important promises to God. That is why I reminded you last Tuesday to think very carefully about them. The first vow is in response to this question: “Do you intend to continue steadfast in this teaching and to endure all things, even death, rather than fall away from it?” You will be promising that you won’t let anything, not even the threat of death, cause you to fall away from the teachings that you will profess today. The second vow is in response to the question: “Do you intend faithfully to conform all your life to the teachings of God’s Word, to be faithful in the use of the Word and sacrament, and in faith and action remain true to God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — as long as you live?” You will make the promise to God that you will be faithful in the use of God’s Word and the Lord’s Supper and that you will live a Christian life. Those are some huge promises that you will be making. Are you up to it?

The fact of the matter is that you will face various temptations through out your lives to abandon what you have learned and confessed today. There may be pressures as you pursue your higher education. There will be temptations offered by the world to dismiss what you have learned as kid’s stuff. You will be told, directly or indirectly, that doing it God’s way takes all the fun out of life and makes you a slave. ‘Don’t concern yourself with God, whom you can’t see. Concentrate on what you can.’ The fact is, on your own, you cannot keep these vows. No one can. That is why, to both of those questions, you will answer, “I do, and I ask God to help me.” Listen carefully to these words and lean on God for your strength to carry them out. In out text for this morning, God makes these promises to you. He says in verse 2, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” When you face the temptations to forsake the promises that you will be making, God promises to be with you.

You don’t have to face all these struggles alone. Lean on Jesus for your strength and help. We do so in several different ways. First, there is the continuous study of his Word. Read it on your own. Came to hear it as it is preached and taught. God also give us the wonderful Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. There you will not only receive the forgiveness of your sins, but your faith will also be strengthened. Take every opportunity that you have to receive this blessed meal from your God. We also come to him in prayer, asking him to guide and direct our lives so that we might serve him and follow him all the days of our life. You also have the blessing of your Christian brothers and sisters, who are there to help and encourage you each step of the way. You don’t have to face these temptations and pressures on your own. Your Savior, who called you his own in Baptism, who came to pay for all your sins, has promised to help you.

We, also, find our comfort and strength in the last verse of our text: “For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” (Verse 3) First we are reminded of the fact that the one promising to help us is no one less than that almighty God. There will never come a time in your lives when something is out of God’s control or that is too big for him to handle. He is the one who created the universe and keeps it to this day. He is the one who has been guiding and directing your life to this day and he will continue to be with you with his almighty power. Secondly, we have the beautiful word “Savior.” If there comes a time in your life when it feels as though you are all alone, remember that you have a God who loves you. He showed that love in such a clear way in what he was willing to do so that you would be with him in heaven. Since you have this assurance, you can know that his loving care will also extend to every other part of your lives, as well. Rejoice in the fact that God has made you his child, because he has promised to bless you and be with you for the rest of your lives.

Looking at the verses that you have chosen for your confirmation verses, the one thing that stands out is confidence. It is not a confidence in yourselves, but a confidence in the Lord. Henry’s verse is Philippians 4:13: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Reegan chose Revelation 2:10: “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown. Bailey’s verse is Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Beau chose the words of Proverbs 3:5&6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Evan’s verse is Matthew 24:13: “The one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” I thank God that he has instilled this confidence, this faith, in your hearts. This is the confidence that God has given you because you are his child. He has called you to be his own and he promises that he will be with you every step of the way. It is our prayer that God would continue to shower his blessings upon you until you reach your Father’s house. Dear children of God, Henry, Reegan, Bailey, Beau and Evan, may God be with you always. Amen.