Baptism of the Lord 01/12/20—Highland—Meute
“Up from the Water”
Isaiah 42: 1-9; Psalm 29; Matthew 3: 13-17
Pearl: God affirms you so rise up from the waters which surround you to realize it.
Function: To grant listeners a deep spiritual lift such that they feel and accept the affirmation of God upon them.
Think about a time when you distinctly remember feeling the delight of God in you.
- Was it recent? Was it a long time ago.
was the occasion of your feeling that way?
it the result of something you did?
- Maybe you helped someone in a significant way and felt the satisfaction and delight of God for what you did.
- Maybe you solved a complicated problem and simply felt that God was glad to see you using your wonderful skills and talents which he gave you.
- Maybe it was in the area of understanding something of God’s nature. You were thinking, reflecting, maybe even praying, and you had a strong sense of knowing God. In that experience you felt the delight of God upon you.
- Was it the result of something you did?
task today is to preach that God takes delight in you regardless of anything
you did or said or thought.
- Through the Prophet Isaiah God expressed satisfaction in his people, Judah, with these words: “Here is…my chosen, in whom my soul delights” (Isaiah 42:1).
The fact is that God delights in you. God takes great pleasure in every one of you as you are.
Sadly a common idea that people have about God is that the Lord is angry and harsh, ready to scold and punish for sin. So people in general believe that they just cannot measure up to God’s demands and standards.
does have high expectations for you and me. Make no mistake.
- God created you with all kinds of abilities and potentialities.
- God wants a world in which everything is whole and right in every way.
- God expects us to partner with him in seeing to this kind of a world.
God has high expectations for you God profoundly delights in you, all the while
fully knowing about your sin problem!
you really think that God is surprised when you sin? Do you really think that
God has limits to his mercy?
- My star word which I picked last Sunday is “goodness.” I quickly thought of the verse in the 23rd Psalm which goes: “Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”
- What that says is that God’s mercy is always present and always something that you can count upon.
- God is fully acquainted with our sin and wishes to relate with us and actually delights in us anyway without regret.
- Israel and Judah were not at all consistent in how they followed God. When Isaiah spoke those words to the southern kingdom of Judah, the northern kingdom of Israel was already being overrun by Assyria. Judah’s days were also numbered. Nonetheless, God yet delighted in his people.
- Do you really think that God is surprised when you sin? Do you really think that God has limits to his mercy?
delights in you. I am not talking about what you do or think or say. God
delights in you as you are. God takes pleasure in simply you!
- Let that sink in.
When Jesus amazingly chose to be baptized by Cousin John in the Jordan River, he came up out of the water and experienced the affirmation of God that is pronounced upon us at baptism and that we should keep with us forever—“with you I am well pleased.”
may be thinking, well, yes, but that was Jesus. Those words which came from
heaven were spoken to Jesus. They were special words reserved particularly for
him as he was unique and special, God’s own Son!
- You are correct that Jesus was all of those things and more.
in baptism this is precisely what we affirm upon everyone who is baptized.
- You are a child of the covenant! That means that with you, God is well pleased! God is putting his Spirit seal upon you as belonging to him.
- So God delights in you, simply in your being you: as Mr. Rogers so frequently and regularly said!
- God’s delight in you has nothing to do with what you have done or said. Before you ever confessed him as your Lord and Savior, God delighted in you simply and fully because you are you.
- God takes delight in you because you are his own creature, his own son, his own daughter.
no mistake about it, with you God is well pleased.
- Yes, we all hope that our lives deserve the statement, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
way before you did anything, even as an infant child, God took great delight in
you. And all through your life, God is well pleased with you because he made
- He made you in his image.
- God’s delight in you has something to do
with God’s own glory. God delights in you so deeply because you are so much a
part of God.
- We can understand this in part by the pleasure we take in creative acts and works of our own hands. We take satisfaction and pleasure in what we make and accomplish. This is an aspect of self-love.
- Imagine the satisfaction that God takes in the living creatures whom God alone creates.
In life there are many waters which surround you and sometimes threaten to overwhelm you.
high is the water around you? Is it up to your ankles? Is it up to your chest?
Are you completely under water and looking for the surface, reaching for the
surface, trying to get above water?
- We have times like that.
- Can you see a hand reaching down, being held out to you?
do you think that the baptism ritual is as it is?
- Our Presbyterian practice is not full immersion where someone puts you down under the water so as to lift you up out of the water.
- Even though we don’t do it that way it is to be understood as a part of the meaning of it.
we imagine being literally forced down under the water to symbolize how we are
in danger of death by drowning but then are brought up out of the water by the
saving act of God.
- This is life. Life without God leads to death. But baptism reminds you that God gave you life and that you depend upon God for life forever.
you go through the waters always look up to find that hand reaching down.
fell out of the raft in white water on the Youghiogheny River in western
Pennsylvania. I remember going under. It all happened very fast. My friends in
the raft later said it took a little longer than I remember it. I remember
looking toward the surface of the water, seeing light, and reaching for it. I
remember feeling my friends grabbing me by the waist and arms and pulling me
back into the raft.
- I was sure glad to see them again and to be back in the boat with them.
- But I willingly got into that raft that day.
- We will all find ourselves in the deep water at times and we did not choose to be there.
- Always remember to look up and to rise up from the water to find your Lord reaching for your hand. If you can’t reach up God will be grabbing you by the waistband and heaving you into his care.
- I fell out of the raft in white water on the Youghiogheny River in western Pennsylvania. I remember going under. It all happened very fast. My friends in the raft later said it took a little longer than I remember it. I remember looking toward the surface of the water, seeing light, and reaching for it. I remember feeling my friends grabbing me by the waist and arms and pulling me back into the raft.
most of all as you look up and as you rise up from the waters, be sure to look
and see your Lord smiling upon you.
- God smiles upon you and takes pleasure in your existance alone.
think about the things you have done or the things you have failed to do.
- Just “accept that you are accepted” (Tillich).
- Not only does God accept you but God delights in you (Isaiah 42:1).
With you God is well pleased. His goodness and mercy follow you all of your days.