Sunday, December 31, 2017

Sermon: Eve of the Circumcision and Name of Jesus - 2017

31 December 2017

Text: Luke 2:21 (Num 6:22-27, Gal 3:23-29)

In the name of + Jesus.  Amen.

The so-called Church of Sweden – which claims to be Lutheran but is in fact institutionally godless – now refuses to refer to God the Father as “He” or “Him.”  And since the Father doesn’t have a body, a lot of people have been taken in by this reasoning.  But just this past week, a so-called lady priest from the so-called Church of Sweden has decreed that God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, cannot be male either, and will be referred to by a new made-up gender-neutral pronoun.

The reason for all of this nonsense is a pseudoscientific concept called “gender identity” that separates one’s identity (or gender) from one’s biological sex. 

Of course, today’s remembrance of the Circumcision of our Lord and our reading from St. Luke’s Gospel are inconvenient to the fake pastor and fake Lutheran Church’s diabolical lies about God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Our Lord Jesus Christ most certainly has a flesh and blood body – He who was born, died, and rose again – and He is most certainly male: hence, the Son.  And just as our Lord has a fleshly mother, indeed, He also has a divine Father.  For no matter how some poor souls delude themselves and wreak havoc in our culture and with our laws, both sexes naturally must work together (as God designed them to) in order for children to come into this fallen world, for our human race to continue. 

But the crazy ladies of so-called churches that seek to create God in their own image do have one valid point: one’s masculinity or femininity is an integral and inseparable part of one’s identity as a human being.  For we are all created in the image of God: “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female he created them.” 

This, dear friends, is our identity: we are designed to bear the image of God, even though we have disfigured that image and distorted that likeness through sin and rebellion, through the serpent’s continued whispers into the ears of such women: “Did God actually say…?” followed by the weak emasculated men going right along with the serpent’s lie instead of protecting their wives and families from evil.

So, our identity is in the reality of our creation: male and female, bearing a specific vocation within society and family.  We were created to be just who we are, just whom God created: boys, girls, men and women.  And yet, in our baptism, our identity as redeemed people goes beyond our being Jew or Greek, or slave or free, or male and female – for we are “one in Christ Jesus.”

We have the best of both worlds, dear brothers and sisters, being male or female, with all of the beauty and splendor that goes along with the complementarity of the sexes – and yet, we are not greater or lesser, neither saved nor condemned, on account of our sex or ethnicity.  We are baptized!  We bear the name “Christian!”  That is our identity.

We were baptized into Christ, into the covenant, that is, into God’s promise that we are His people, and that He is our Savior.  The Old Testament precursor to baptism was circumcision – in which a boy was brought into the covenant on his eighth day.  And by virtue of circumcised fathers and husbands, their daughters and wives were brought into the covenant as well.

Our Lord was Himself, in the flesh, brought into the covenant by His perfect keeping of the law.  And it was at his circumcision where a boy was given a name, and his name was his identity.  The name of “Jesus” is the name that is above every name, before which every knee will bow and every tongue will confesses that Jesus is Lord.  For the name “Jesus” means “God saves.”  Jesus is not only our Savior, but also our God.  That is His identity. He is the Bridegroom of the Church, the people of God.  He is the Son, begotten by, and in the image of, the Father.  We do not have the power to ascribe a gender to Jesus, but rather He was born male in space and time according to the will of the Father.  He is not a literary character whose sex can change when the next comic book or movie comes out, rather, He is the very eternal Word of God, made flesh: flesh which cannot be gender-neutral, but rather as a Son begotten of the Father – for “unto us, a child is born; unto us, a Son is given.”

Our New Covenant no longer includes ritual circumcision of our boys on the eighth day.  Rather, all of us, boys and girls, men and women, are brought into the covenant through Holy Baptism.  And indeed, it has been customary to then and there be given a name, an identity that corresponds with the body – through the “washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.”  For the pastor does not baptize us in a vague general way. Nor does he baptize us as a reward for our biological or ethnic identity.  Rather we take that fleshly identity with us into the covenant, being baptized into Christ, into the Son, becoming adopted ourselves as sons of God.  The son is the heir, and the son bears the father’s image.  By adoption, all the baptized: boys and girls, men and women, are received as sons.

And just as our Lord, being received into the covenant through circumcision, His first shedding of blood, on the eighth day (the first day of a new week in creation, so to speak), so too are we Christians, baptized and saved through water like the eight men and women on the ark, sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, received into the New Covenant established by the blood of Jesus.  And this for us is the eighth day, the first day of a new week of creation.

And just as Jesus was given the name and identity of who He is: “God Saves,” so are we, at our own baptisms into Christ, given the name and identity as one who receives His name: “Christian.”

Our identity is given to us by God’s creation: for male and female He created us.  We are given a restored image of God in Holy Baptism, in the salvation of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Word made flesh.  We have our identity as men and women recreated by God because our Lord Jesus Christ’s identity as the Son of God, “God Saves,” into whose name we are baptized, and whose true flesh and blood were given and shed for us.

This is our identity and our confession.  It is the identity and the confession of the Church, the Bride of Christ.  As His Bride, we are unashamed of our identity and name, and we are bold to refuse to be swept up by what is trendy in this fallen world. 

And when Satan, whether his spokesman be a representative of this world or be he a false prophet claiming to be a pastor of the Church, whispers yet again into our ears, “Did God actually say…?”, we Christians, men and women, boys and girls, sons and daughters of Adam and Eve regenerated and finding our identity in Christ, are called upon to be bold to say and to confess: “Yes!  God did say!” 

That is our identity, dear brothers and sisters.  Thanks be to God that He created us, redeemed us, and sanctified us – not as a genderless blob to a genderless blob, but to us as Christians, male and female, and by His grace…

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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