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“Baptized and Beloved” Sermon for January 15, 2017

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Published on Jan 17, 2017

Rev. Charles Svendsen
Scripture: Isaiah 42:1-9; Matthew 3:13-17

Pastor Charles' Warmup:
And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased." We begin a brand new year together as God's family at Westminster Presbyterian Church. And I have begun my second year with you as your Interim Pastor. It is an honor and delight to minister with you in Christ's name and in this special place. I am grateful for your support and love. We also begin a new sermon series during the Epiphany season called New Beginnings. Primarily we will be hearing from Isaiah and Matthew as we discover the Spirit's work among us.This Sunday, January 15th, we will celebrate the Baptism of the Lord with a look at the story of Jesus' baptism as told by Matthew's gospel. As Jesus came up from the water, the heavenly voice said, "This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased." It is of interest to note that while Mark and Luke write that the voice spoke in the second person, Matthew tells us that the voice spoke in the third. "This is my Son..." This indicates that the baptismal story is not just about Jesus' call, it's about our calling as well. Wouldn't we all pray to believe that God speaks of us as sons and daughters, beloved and well pleasing to God? And we are! In Christ we are God's children, and the Spirit's beloved. In Christ we are pleasing in the sight of God. This Baptism of the Lord Sunday we will also be renewing our own baptismal covenants from our Book of Common Worship. The questions are thoughtful and heartfelt: Trusting in the gracious mercy of God, do you turn from the ways of sin and renounce evil and its power in the world? I do. Who is your Lord and Savior? Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. Will you be Christ's faithful disciple, obeying his Word and showing his love? I will, with God's help.
As we enter 2016, may we with the help of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, be Christ's baptized and beloved children. I trust that the months before us will indeed be well pleasing to the Lord and Savior of our lives.
See you in worship.
Charles Svendsen
Interim Pastor

Isaiah 42:1-9;
Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his teaching.

Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it: I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the Lord, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to idols. See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them.

Matthew 3:13-17;
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

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