3rd Sunday of Easter ~ Confirmation Sunday “God has invested in you!”
May 1, 2022 John 6:1-15
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, especially you, the confirmands:
How much is a confirmand ‘worth’? Usually we consider the worth of something by its ‘value.’ How much did it cost; /how much time & energy was invested; /is it productive & useful to society? What are YOU worth? $50 in books, 3 yrs & 150 hours of instruction, heat for the church, gas for the car, after-school snacks. (a bottle of tylenol to relieve your parents headaches?)
Confirmation has been an investment, but not because of that kind of value. Otherwise, you might think you could pay back the church for its time & money, call it ‘even,’ & never be seen again. But that would be disobedience to God, & a breaking of the vow you make today.
Instead, your worth comes from the investment that God has made in you; which He intends to bear fruit by His Word & Spirit at work in you; and for you to be faithful servants for the future of His Church. You are worth a lot; because He’s invested a lot. You’ve learned what He’s given for you: He’s given His love thru mercy & forgiveness. He’s invested in you the cost of His only Son’s life! Jesus said that there’s no greater love than this: that a man lay down his life for his friend.(Jn.15:13) So He did! God sent His only Son to the cross, so that anyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. (Jn.3:16) And now, you are not your own, you were bought at a price. (1Cor.6:20)
So, in class, you’ve studied the basic Bible doctrines, with the excellent summary of the one, true faith with Luther’s Small Catechism. And, I’ve reminded you of ‘4 truths of confirmation’ , (on the back of the service folder)
(READ, & have students fill in blanks: In confirmation I learned only the basics of the Christian faith; I do not know everything I need to know. I need to keep learning my whole life; when I have questions about God and living out my faith in Christ, I know where to go for answers: the Bible, the small catechism, to a faithful church & pastor.)
This day of your public vow of faith began when your parents showed trust in God’s promises by bringing you to be Baptized, & you were blessed with God’s gifts: With the forgiveness of sins, (Acts 3:38); with a new birth by water & the Spirit (John 3:5); Baptism is a washing of regeneration & renewal in the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5); and by it, you put on Christ. (Gal.3:26-27); That promise is for all ‘nations’, even for children (Acts 2:39).
So, your parents brought you to be Baptized, and you were born again by the Spirit, and marked by God as His own child. (Jn1:12-13) Today you confess those promises as your own, using your own faith & your own mouth.
Today you affirm that Jesus was speaking about you when, in John 15, he says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit.” …..the fruit of a faithful life. (John 15:16)
God has invested in you the costly gift of Salvation. It’s a priceless gift; you can’t buy it, you haven’t deserved it, and you can’t get it anywhere else but directly from Him. He has promised you Heavenly Life. And He has also given you His own Holy Spirit, so that you would serve His Church by obeying His Words, worship & confess Him regularly, and support & grow His Kingdom for others. (1Cor.6:19, Luke 11:28) He invested a lot in you!
Today you are promising in front of witnesses to live a live worthy of that precious gift, and to not let it go to waste. For to live in any other way, except by His Word & in His service is a rejecting of His gifts in unbelief, and you will lose Eternal Life. This is the same promise made by ALL who have been confirmed in this true Lutheran Faith. Today we pray that none of US will forget our gifts, and that we will continue to be faithful = along with you.
This morning, let’s learn a brief lesson from Jesus’ miracle of the feeding of the 5,000. It was a day God glorified His Son, giving proof that Jesus is the Messiah, & the Bread of heaven for our souls. (Jn.20:30-31, Jn.6:35) On that day, God didn’t need an adult leader to accomplish a great thing; He used a youth. From John 6, this is what happened:
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You 3 confirmands are like the young boy in 3-WAYS:
FIRST: This boy had something to give. Even though it was only 5 biscuits & 2 dried fish, it was something. And with Jesus’ added blessing, it proved to be a great deal. Each of you, and all of us, have something to give; and when Jesus blesses it, it will be useful in His mission of saving others & caring for them. You have:
— your MIND to think — your HEART to love & forgive
— your TONGUE to sing & confess — your WILL to choose good over bad
— your HANDS & FEET for action — your SELVES as good examples
— your TIME to spend productively — your MONEY to keep God’s mission going
These may seem like just ‘ordinary’ things, but God will bless & multiply them. Jesus said: ‘Whoever abides in Me, and I in them, they will bear much fruit; but apart from Me, you can do no good thing.’ Use the things He’s given you; in following Him, they will be very useful. (John 15:5, Heb.13:21) There’s also a lesson here for parents, /relatives, /sponsors, /& teachers. The boy simply used what he had been given. Remember that your children go out into life carrying & using what WE give them.
Morals, values, & habits; their souls are like a ‘lunch basket.’ We are accountable to God for what goes in: Truth or Error; Sin or Holiness. We also allow others to put things into them. Is it nourishment or poison? Proverbs 22:6 says: “Train a child in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not turn from it. ” Of course, you confirmands are also old enough to feed yourselves, with movies, music, books, internet things, & friends. Psalm 119: 9 says, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your Word.” This little boy had something to give; we ALL do!
SECOND: Like this boy, you are also seen & known by others. Altho he was small & young, Andrew notice this young boy out of thousands of people. Others pay attention to you because you are -& represent- the future. What are people seeing in you?
A certain boss wanted to hire an office assistant. 50 young men & women applied. In a short time he chose one. His business partner asked how he made that choice, since the one he chose had brought no ‘recommendations’ with him. But the boss said, ‘oh, he had many recommendations!’
- He wiped his feet & closed the door when he came in…. it means he’s orderly & tidy
- He gave up his seat to an older man who came in… so, he’s kind & thoughtful.
- He took off his hat & respectfully answered my questions….He’s polite.
- He gave me the dollar-bill I deliberately put on the floor… He’s honest.
- He waited patiently for his turn, not budging in line… He’s humble
- His clothes were not fancy, but well cared for … He’s thrifty & respectful of his things.
All of those qualities are also the fruit of the Christian faith.
Even though you’re young, you already have some kind of reputation. How you present yourself is noticed by people. A good reputation & character is more valuable than gold or jewels in this life; and one day you will give an account for yourself to God. (Rom.14:12) God has given us His words of instruction so that we will grow & guard our godly character. As His children, you are to be of good reputation; because that glorifies Him. (Matt.5:16)
So, #1 -The boy had something to give, #2 – he was noticed by others; he was there & willing. So lastly, in being ready to give what he had to Jesus, he became God’s instrument of blessing to others that day.
God has good plans for all of us; including you. Ephesians 2:10 says: “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” And if you prove faithful with a little, God will make you useful with a lot. (Matt.25:21) Staying close to your Lord Jesus, being willing & obedient, you may be like a Moses, …
/a Joseph, /or a Paul; you may be a Sarah, / a Martha, / or a Lydia. But apart from Him,
you may be like a Cain, / a Pharaoh, / a Jezebel, / or a Judas.
In you is a wonderful potential goodness & godliness; and only in Jesus’ hands will it be of any real value to yourself OR to others. Jesus says, “A healthy tree bears good fruit;…
but the bad tree will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matt.7:18-19)
Today you take on a more personal & public responsibility for the living out of The Faith which has been entrusted to you. You have been invested in by God! So, continue in the narrow, useful, & heavenly Way. Also remember that you are still young; you have more to learn about living in God’s way as you get older. As you know, older people face different temptations and troubles in life.
God intends that your faith will grow to conquer those challenges, so that you might always be useful instruments for His church now, and reach the goal of His heavenly kingdom. For that purpose, He has invested in you. Like that young boy, in God’s grace & faith, give to Jesus what you have each day; and watch what He can do with it!