Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:16 - EHV)
This past Sunday, as we celebrated the Baptism of our Lord, we talked about all the blessings the Lord gives us through our baptisms. And there are many: 1. Through baptism the Lord washes away our sins and forgives us (Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16); 2. Through baptism the Lord brings us to faith (Acts 2:38); 3. Through baptism we are adopted as God’s children and brought into his family (Galatians 3:26-27); Our baptisms connect us to Christ and his saving work (Galatians 6:3-5); we are motivated to daily drown our Old Adam’s and let the new man arise (Galatians 6:6-10); and finally through baptism the Lord saves us (1 Peter 3:21; Titus 3:5).
Because the Lord gives us these blessings, baptism is necessary for our salvation (John 3:5-6; Mark 16:16).
Do you want to know what else is necessary for salvation? Faith in Jesus Christ, for it is faith that receives the blessings that Christ won for us. Yes, faith is created in the hearts of those who don’t believe (such as infants) by baptism; and in those who do believe (older children and adults), baptism strengthens that faith. But baptism is not a “golden ticket” as if baptisms guarantees one a spot in heaven.
Look at the passage above—whoever believes and is baptized will be saved. Notice that Jesus doesn’t say, “whoever is baptized will be saved” but whoever believes and is baptized will be saved. Once again, it is faith that receives the blessings of baptism. Without faith, our baptisms will not do us any good—without faith, even with baptism, we have no salvation.
So we need to remain in the one true faith. And how does this happen? Through the Word and the Sacrament of Holy Communion. For it is through the Word that the Lord also sanctifies us (John 17:17), it makes us wise for salvation (2 Timothy 3:15-17), and is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). And as Luther points out, if the Lord’s Supper gives us forgiveness (Matthew 26:28) then it also strengthens our faith and gives us life and salvation.
And so the faith created in baptism (for young and old alike) needs to be fed and nourished on a regular basis through the gospel. Our salvation depends on it! That is why the Lord again and again urges us to study his word and worship him on a regular basis (2 Peter 3:18; Hebrews 10:25); and he encourages parents to raise their children up in him (Proverbs 22:6; Matthew 19:14).
Baptism is a beautiful gift from the Lord—a means of grace. And yet it’s not an automatic ticket to heaven. Let us, then, young and old alike, join together around the gospel so that the Holy Spirit may strengthen and keep us in the one true faith, through which we inherit the priceless gift of salvation.
Pastor Andrew Frey
On Sunday mornings, Pastor Gartner is leading a study on the practice of Stewardship—how God wants us to use all the gifts that he has graciously given to us—whether it’s the use of our time, our talents, our treasures, our bodies, his great creation, etc. Plan on joining us for this study on Sunday mornings at 9:15am.
On Monday mornings and Tuesday evenings Pastor Frey is studying the letters of John the Apostle. In his first letter John expertly weaves doctrine with practice—a practical letter filled with passages on the love and mercy of Christ. Please plan on joining us as we study these interesting letters to God’s people.
NOTE: We do have audio recordings and the Lesson Sheets of these Bible Classes. If you have been unable to attend and would like these sent to you, please email Pastor Frey or Pastor Gartner.
New Member Welcome Dinner
Sunday, January 19, 2020, we will welcome the new members that joined us since January 2019. This is a great opportunity for some fellowship and to get to know some of our fellow members at St. John. We will have a potluck meal with chicken catered in. Please sign up on the sheet in the entryway if you plan to come, and then just bring a dish to pass.
School of Outreach
Saturday February 8, a School of Outreach will be hosted at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Schofield, WI. A School of Outreach is a one-day WELS workshop to assist churches with putting together a plan on how to reach out with the Gospel in their communities. Since we just established a Board of Evangelism here at St. John, we have decided it would be a good start for us to attend this School of Outreach. We would like to invite anyone from St. John to join us in attending this workshop. If you are interested in reaching out to the lost with the Gospel or want to learn more about Evangelism and Outreach, please sign up on the signup sheet and plan to join us on February 8. If you have any questions, please talk to one of the Pastors or to Andy Pevonka, our new Evangelism Chairman.