Passage: Colossians 2:6–2:15
†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Colossians 2:6-15
Date: July 24th, 2016; Pentecost 10; Series C
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
In World War II when submarines were attacked by depth charges their only defence was to dive into deeper water.
The ships above would roll off big barrels that contained an explosive, and the barrels would sink in the water to a certain depth and blow up, attempting to sink the subs.
The subs tried to evade the blast of the depth charge by diving deeper into the water to get out of the range of the explosion.
It must have been a terribly frightening time for all those aboard the submarine when the depth charges started falling.
It must have been an incredible relief when they got into the deeper waters safe from the explosions that would take their lives. The water saved them.
Where do you turn when life starts throwing depth charges your way?
Where do you turn when you doubt that God really loves you?
Where do you turn when you doubt that God could really forgive you for your sins?
What covers you? What protects you? What saves you?
As Christians we have a sure place we can turn to for protection.
We turn to the promises God has made to us in our baptism.
When life starts throwing depth charges our way, we too need to dive into deeper waters. We need to dive into the waters of our baptism.
But what exactly are we diving into? What are these promises of God that we receive in our baptism?
The promises that God gives to us in our baptism are the most important gifts we can possibly receive in our lives.
In our baptism we receive nothing less than the gift of salvation earned for us by Christ Jesus.
As Dr. Martin Luther wrote in the Small Catechism “[Baptism] works forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.”
We dive into nothing less than God's promise of forgiveness.
As it says in our reading from Colossians, we were dead in trespasses. We were dead!
Before our baptism we had no protection from life's depth charges – we were dead in sin.
There was no water deep enough for us to dive into to evade the wrath of God because of our sin.
Before our baptism, as Paul describes it in our text, there was a “record of debt that stood against us with legal demands” (Colossians 2:14).
Paul is talking about God's Law.
Before our baptism, God’s Law damned us.
Luther spoke of God’s Law as a mirror that shows us our sin, our failings before God.
God’s Law is a mirror that we are hesitant to look into.
It’s far easier to rationalize, blame, deny, deflect, and excuse our sin than it is to admit it and repent of it.
But God’s Law is a mirror we must look into because there we find truth.
There we discover that we do not determine what is right and wrong, but God does.
When we look into the mirror of our culture we will likely find that we are doing pretty good.
Many sinful acts have received our society’s stamp of approval, so it doesn't seem like a big deal when everyone else is doing it.
Besides, there are far worse people out there than me!
As Paul warns us in our text this morning - it is a very dangerous thing to mix human philosophy and empty deceit with God's Word.
This is becoming more and more difficult to do, but we cannot be worried about being politically correct - we need to be focused on being biblically correct.
Christ is the head of all rule and authority and he has revealed to us that our world is sinful and broken - and we all contribute to that sinfulness and brokenness.
When we see the world, and ourselves, in the light of God’s Word - and not in the philosophy of the day - we begin to see our dire need for a Saviour.
Apart from Christ, when we look into the mirror of God’s Law, we see nothing but death.
Looking into this mirror and seeing ourselves for who we really are, we are driven to look for an escape.
And by God’s love, mercy, and grace we have one.
We dive into our baptismal waters remembering God’s promise of forgiveness and life given through that miraculous event in our lives.
God’s Word of promise was combined with the water of your baptism and is sure and certain!
Dr. Luther was a man who was very aware of his sin. His sin haunted him at times - he recognized that he deserved nothing but God’s eternal damnation.
At times Luther would feel in doubt of his salvation and it was at these times Luther would remember his baptism.
Often Luther would fall into these times of despair at night and would writhe in pain and despair at his state of sinfulness.
To console himself, he would write on the wall beside his bed “BUT I AM BAPTIZED!!”
Yes, Satan, the “Accuser”, will come asking if we think God could really forgive us for the things we have done and not done.
His strategy is much the same as it was in the Garden of Eden when he asked Eve “Did God really say...”
The devil asks us in times of despair, “Did God really say, ‘I forgive you?’”
In our Baptism we can be sure that God did say to each and every one of us personally, “I forgive you!”
We need not doubt it!
For as sure as God’s Word tells us that we are sinners, so it tells us that for the sake Christ he forgives us!
St. Paul in his letter to Titus tells us, "He saved us, not because of deeds done in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy. By the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that we might be justified by His grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:5-7).
When life throws depth charges our way we can say (and even write down) with Luther, “BUT I AM BAPTIZED!”
Hear the Good News that “having been buried with [Christ] in baptism…you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead” (Colossians 2:12).
When life throws depth charges your way, dive deep into the loving, forgiving, protecting waters of your baptism and know that your record of debt that stood against you with its legal demands has been set aside, nailed to the cross. Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.