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Titus 3:3-8
 
We ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.  But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,  he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,  whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,  so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. (ESV)
Christ In, Christ Out
Tuesday of Pentecost 15
8 September 2015
Perhaps you have seen the Minute Maid Orange Juice commercial where the little boy is putting orange juice in the dog's bowl, the bird feeder, the guinea pig cage, and is about to share orange juice with the gold fish, when his dad says, "Maybe we should give some to mom." The tag line of the commercial is: "Minute Maid Orange Juice: Put good in and get good out." Now we're talking! What is God's must become ours. God has put His Word into us by delivering it on the lips of His Son. If I may just change ever so slightly the tag line of the Minute Maid Orange Juice commercial: "Put God in and get God out."
 
The One who knows our depravity knows that only if He intervenes does anything change in our sin-soaked world. He is the game-changer. Defilement can only be dealt with the One who is Himself our righteousness. He has swallowed all the filth that belches forth from our lives. He has taken on and pays the penalty in His own person by suffering and dying on the cross for us poor sinners. He becomes the sin eater. Oh, I know, the picture is ugly, because our defilement is flowing out of us! Sin is ugly! But the great Physician has nursed us back to health by turning us out of ourselves and centering us under His cross, where there is alone health and healing for hurting souls. He cleans up the filth that flows from our depraved hearts here in the intensive care unit of the church.
 
The Son of God came into a world of sinners like us and put Himself into our sin and depravity. He put Himself into our world; that our world would get God out by His incarnation, suffering, and death. Jesus is cast out of the city by His own people that He might die for them and that they might be brought in to His family and people. He goes out that we might be brought in by Him.
 
Baptism changes everything. You are not putting in anything but your sin. You are not getting out anything but mercy, forgiveness, the death of your sin, the life of Christ. Once you were on the outs. Now you are placed in Christ. What makes the difference is not what is in you, but what is in God and what God gives to you by being in the world through the incarnation. God changes all the "ins" and the "outs." He puts Himself in baptism so that we might get God out of baptism. God puts Christ in that we might get Christ out.

 

Martin Luther

"Baptism is nothing other than the Word of God in the water, commanded by His institution, or, as Paul says, a washing in the Word; as also Augustine says: 'Let the Word come to the element, and it becomes a sacrament.' And for this reason we do not hold with Thomas [Aquinas] and the monastic preachers who forget the Word and God's institution and say that God has imparted to the water a spiritual power, through which the water washes away sin. Nor do we agree with [Duns] Scotus and the barefooted monks [Franciscans], who teach that, by the assistance of the divine will, baptism washes away sins, and that this baptism occurs only through the will of God, and not at all by the Word or water.
 
"Of the baptism of children, we hold that children ought to be baptized. For they belong to the promised redemption made through Christ, and the Church should administer baptism and the announcement of that promise to them." 

Martin Luther, Smalcald Articles, 3.5
 
Prayer
I thank and praise You, my Lord Christ, with heart and voice before the world that You are merciful to me and help me. This help I have received in my baptism, and in it You have become my Lord and God, and none other. Amen.
 
For Cameron Stubbs, who will undergo cancer surgery tomorrow, that the good Physician of soul and body would heal and strengthen His child
 
For Jason Lief, who is suffering from leukemia, that he might be strengthened in his body and built up in his spirit
 
For the members of Congress, that they might have wisdom and fortitude as they make and administer the laws of our nation
Art: Dürer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 

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Memorial Lutheran Church | 5800 Westheimer Rd. | Houston | TX | 77057