Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Amen.
The year was 1998 and it was spring time which where I was from also meant confirmation time. I can remember parts of those days vaguely. I remember having to memorize the catechism and tell it back to the pastor when he asked the questions. I remember making a confirmation banner that hung on the wall during confirmation time. I remember taking communion for the first time. It was a nice time but in all reality I don’t have vivid memories from when I was confirmed in the faith. This is a wonderful day for our confirmands, their families, and also for the congregation as a whole, but is today the day that you will remember for the rest of your life, Maybe/maybe not. Confirmation is not the end but rather much closer to the beginning of one’s life with Christ. Just like baptism is not the end but rather the beginning of one’s life in Christ. That is why the task of the church is to do just as Matthew 28:19–20 states. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” The scriptures are clear we don’t simply baptize and then that is the end. We don’t simply teach one until 8th grade and then that is the end. The end goal is much greater than learning the catechism. The end goal is much greater than a momentary connection with Jesus. All of these things have eternity in mind. The goal is making disciples who will spend eternity with their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The end goal is seen more clearly in Revelation 5:8-14. What we have in our reading this morning in Revelation is a vision of the coronation of Jesus Christ in heaven in which there are disciples around his thrown worshiping Jesus. Revelation 5:9–10 9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” Baptism and the renewal of the baptismal vow which we do in confirmation is not something that we do and then are done having little or no function moving forward. These things, baptism and a continued confession of faith in Jesus Christ have eternal significance so that you will be part of the scene that is described in the book of Revelation.
The things that are done have an eternal significance and we even try to communicate that through some of the traditions that we have. Traditions are not requirements but they can be helpful in communicating what is going on. Have you ever wondered why often times confirmation students will wear white robes for the rite of confirmation? It is not because confirmation is like graduation when they were gowns. Confirmation is not graduation. They wear robes in an attempt to communicate through action of the eternal significance of what is going on. Revelation 7:9–10 9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
Today the voices of our confirmation students and all who gather together in this place cry out together and say, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb!” The white robes that are worn symbolize the white robe that all of us have been given in our baptism when we were washed clean of our sin. Today is a special day for many but it is not only about today it is about eternity.
I don’t remember a lot about that day when I was confirmed. I don’t remember anything from the day that I was baptized. I know that they both took place and I know the eternal significance of what it means to be baptized and what it means to have a continued confession of faith in Jesus Christ which my confirmation was a part of. What will you remember about this day? What will you take away from this event? Will you remember this sermon? I doubt it. Will you remember what you specifically said during confirmation? Maybe. It wouldn’t hurt all of us to review every once and a while what we said in our confirmation vows. Will you remember the eternal significance of the confession that you are making? I sure hope so and it is and will be my prayer that you do remember the significance of who you confess as Lord again this day.
The Lord you confess the one who sits on the throne. He is the one who has been given all authority. He is the one who was slain and by his blood he ransomed you from sin and death. He is the one who has made you his own through the waters of holy baptism. He is the one who strengthens you to continue to confess him as Lord. He is the one who is worthy of praise, honor and glory. He is the only hope that any one of us has. He is the one who chases each one of us down when we go astray. He is the one who desires to spend eternity with you and we know that because he was willing to give up everything for you. Jesus had eternity on his mind when he paid the price of your sin, my hope and pray is that by his grace we may also keep eternity at the forefront of our minds.
When we keep the reality of eternity at the forefront of our minds we can then see days like today much differently. We don’t see this as an end of something but rather a continuation of what has been done and will be done in the future. We don’t see this as a hoop to jump through but rather a step in being a disciple and being made a disciple to go out into the world as a follower of Jesus Christ. When we keep eternity in the forefront of our minds, we can understand that what happens today is not only important for tomorrow but for all of eternity. It is and will be truly a wonderful thing to be a part of the scene that we see play out in the book of Revelation. We will be one person from one tribe who spoke one of the languages. We will have a white robe which was made white by the blood of the lamb. That day will not be forgotten by anyone of us. We will not need pictures to remember it. We will not need someone to remind us what happened on that day. We will be there because we remembered and trusted in one event and that was the death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. No matter what today brings you remember and trust in the person and work of Christ. If today is your confirmation remember Christ. If today is your baptism, trust Christ. If today is a big event for your child, remember Christ. If today is simply another Sunday, trust Christ.
Because of Christ you have been given faith in Christ and have become and are becoming a disciple to spend eternity with Him. Today with eternity in mind our cry is “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb!” Amen!