Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
303-665-6105
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May 20 – Confirmation Sunday – In God’s Name

Introduction:  Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father, and from our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our text is the Gospel Lesson just read, John 17:11-19.  We begin with prayer.

Dear fellow disciples of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ:

  • We use the expression “IN GOD’S NAME” from time to time.  We being our worship “IN GOD’S NAME,” “in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”  We also baptize in this Name, the Name of God.  We began substantial undertakings in God’s Name, and carry out all of our work as a church “IN GOD’S NAME.”  But just what does this mean?
  • In our text Jesus prays:  “keep them in Your Name,” and if this is Jesus’ will for His dear children of faith, it is also our will – for ourselves and for other believers.  So we would also pray this for you Ashlyn, and for all other newly confirmed Christians!  But just what does this mean?
  • Jesus explains this a bit in the assertions that He makes regarding those who have been “kept” in God’s Name, so that we understand that:

 

I.  Eternal Blessedness, Safety, Redemption, Grace, And Joy Come Only To Those Being Kept In God’s Name [His Name Reveals His Gracious Mercy, Love, And Truth] – And Only Jesus Keeps Us In God’s Name

Text:  “Holy Father, keep them in Your Name, which You have given Me, that they may be one, even as We are one.  While I was with them, I kept them in Your Name, which You have given Me.  I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction. . . . [keep them in Your Name ] that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves . . . I have given them Your Word.”

 

Statement:

  • This gives us enough information to understand what it means to be “kept in God’s Name” – it means to have been received into fellowship with God, made a member of His family, having His Name placed upon us in baptism, and so having His gracious forgiveness, mercy, and salvation, and the gift of His Holy Spirit.  It means having eternal life and salvation – never being lost.  It means having the joy of God’s salvation.

Application:

  • And all of this comes to us by Jesus Christ, and by Him alone – because He has given us God’s Word, a powerful Word of truth and reality, which calls all things into existence and preserves them, including our great blessedness and salvation. 
  • So yes, we certainly pray these blessings upon you, Ashlyn, even as we have provided them to you through your baptism, and through the teaching and preaching of God’s Word to you all these years in worship, Sunday School, Confirmation classs, and especially in your conversations with your parents at home!
  • And of course we pray this for all of God’s dear children of faith, even as Jesus prays this for us! 

Transition:  But let us all remember that:

II.  It Is Jesus Who Gives This Blessing Of Remaining In God’s Name To Us, By Means Of God’s  Word – Which Is Truth And Which Sanctifies Us

 

Text:  “I have given them Your Word . . . Sanctify them in the truth; Your Word is truth.”

 

Statement:

  • We must remember this, and keep it in mind throughout our life in this world – God’s Word is truth, the only truth by which we are “sanctified,” made holy, kept in faith and the blessings of God!  This is Jesus’ prayer for you, Ashlyn, and for each and every one of us! 

Application:

  • There are many temptations, troubles, trials, and tribulations that we will pass through in this earthly life.  There is but one way in which we may pass through them unscathed and eternally blessed – and that is by the Word of God which is truth, by which Jesus keeps us “IN GOD’S NAME.”

Transition:  And Jesus makes clear that being “IN GOD’S NAME” brings challenges and trials to us, for:

 

III.  Being In God’s Name Makes Us “Otherworldly” And Even Hated By The World Around Us

 

Text:  “I have given them Your Word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”

 

Statement:

  • This is the hardest part of being “IN GOD’S NAME,” and it is a matter that all Christians have to consider carefully.  We are not just like all the other people in this world – our classmates, our co-workers, our neighbors, and sometimes the members of our own family.  If we have been “given” God’s Word, brought into and kept “IN GOD’S NAME,” through the truth of God’s Word, then we are no longer “of the world.”  This means that we will at times experience the “hatred” of the world, its opposition, its disdain, its disapproval, and perhaps even its malice, animosity, and persecution.

Application:

  • Ashlyn, you must consider this – it is the cost of discipleship, the cost of following Jesus in this world, denying yourself, taking up your cross and following Him.  It is also something we all must consider – and I can’t excuse any of you from this, just as Jesus does not excuse you.  Rather He insists upon it.  He clearly asserts:

 

Luke 14:26,27  “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.  So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be My disciple.”

 

  • So just as there are great blessings from being kept “IN GOD’S NAME,” so there are also ramifications, and a certain cost.

 

Transition:  And part of this cost is that we “lose” ourselves to a new and greater “cosmic” purpose:

 

IV.  Being In God’s Name, Jesus Sends Us NOT Out Of This Word, But Into This World, As Leaven, Salt, And Light For This World, Bearers Of His Salvation To Call Others Into God’s Name

 

Text:  “I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one.  . . .  As You sent Me into the world, so I have sent them into the world, and for their sake I consecrate Myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.”

 

Statement:

  • Well, perhaps this all sounds a bit different from the kind of ambitions and aspirations that you, your family, and your friends have for you.  It is somewhat sorrowful – you remember the struggles that Jesus’ family had with what the Father sent Jesus into the world to accomplish.
  • But again – it is not that you are sent “OUT” of the world; you will still have school, a career, family of your own.  But it is THAT you are NOT OF THIS WORLD.  You have been sent by Christ INTO the world for a purpose – one quite different than unbelievers have.

Application:

  • And the same is true for each of us – I hope you all are aware of this, and know this, and have already become comfortable with this.  Yes, it is somewhat difficult at times – when we cannot go along with and participate in some of the world’s activities, and their agenda.  But it does mean that your lives have eternal significance, worth, and value – your are storing up treasures for yourselves in heaven, and your works will follow you!

Conclusion:

 

  • So this is what it means to be “IN GOD’S NAME.”  It is a completely different life and existence – one that is most richly blessed by God’s gracious forgiveness, mercy, and love, but also one that is challenging.
  • But Jesus Himself is consecrating Himself – that we might be sanctified in truth.  He is keeping us “IN GOD’S NAME,” for eternal blessedness and for eternal purposes.
  • May you have joy in this, Ashlyn, and may we all have this same joy!  Amen.

 

Votum:  And the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in the true faith, which is in Christ Jesus, even unto life everlasting, Amen.