May 19, 2019
Grace to you, and peace, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
The Bible teaches in Psalm 8:
From the mouths of little children and infants,
you have built a fortress against your opponents,
to silence the enemy and the avenger.1
Here God has declared that a war is going on. An enemy is attacking.
Another Psalm reads:
The heavens proclaim the wonders of God without speaking. Their voice is heard around the world.2
This Psalm sings of God’s majesty as the Creator of all creation. How can you gaze up into the sky, day or night, and not marvel at all He has made?
In all of that, I am amazed that God would even think about us, we who are sinful, and sin filled. Yet God has stooped down from His mighty throne to care for us, and care about us.
Think about the beginning. Everything was made perfect and in perfect peace. You don’t have to be very wise to see things have changed. Now there is trouble. Now there is the enemy and the avenger. Even though God had made all things “very good,3” sin came in and sin destroyed all that good. Now there is an enemy that destroys God’s peace.
Satan is the enemy who fights against the cause of the Truth of God. Satan is called “the Avenger” in Psalm 8 because he is trying to take revenge on God. The day will come when this war will end. The day will come when sin and Satan will be cut off from the faithful forever.4 Yet, until that time comes the battle rages on around us.
There is a war that rages right here, around and among us, as we sit here. The conflict is real. It is nearly as ancient as creation itself and it will only end when Christ returns to carry us home. Which is why we are here, so that you will be ready when Jesus returns.
War requires weapons. What weapons are used in this battle? What did the Psalm say?
From the mouths of little children and infants,
you have built a fortress against your opponents.5
Our God as given us weapons of truth, faith and words. That’s all we have against the legions of fallen angels that follow Lucifer.6 These fallen angels, that we call demons, muster forces beyond our imagination and they are set on our destruction, and all we’ve got is prayer.
Does that make you feel powerful? It should! Just imagine how filled with rage Satan must be when we speak and read God’s Sacred Holy Word. That out of the mouths of children comes power of such great might that “one little word can fell him.7”
The Word of God will smite the enemy, by children who pray, and by God’s good grace. God’s Word will be triumphant. Nothing can stand against the power of prayer. The man, the child, the baby who knows only how to pray will prevail with God, and “silence the enemy and the avenger.8” They are powerful weapons against the powers of darkness.
So there is a conflict, and there are weapons for battle, but what about the warriors?
We should listen to Peter who taught us to:
Get rid of every kind of evil, every kind of deception, hypocrisy, jealousy and every kind of slander. Desire God’s pure Word as newborn babies desire milk. Then you will grow in your salvation. Certainly you have tasted that the Lord is good!9
We should listen to Jesus who said:
I praise you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for hiding these things from wise and intelligent people, and revealing them to little children. Yes Father, this is what pleased you.10
So there is a conflict, weapons must be brought to bear, and warriors carry them to war. What qualifies you to be warriors in God’s army? Hear the Word of the Lord. God’s says:
My grace is sufficient for you,
for My power is made perfect in your weakness.11
How Satan must rage at knowing we are teaching this truth! Let him rage!
This world’s prince may still scowl fierce as he will.
He can harm us none. He is judged. The deed is done.
One little Word can fell him.12
If God’s strength is made perfect in weakness, then where is He most strong but in the children among us?
I can guarantee this truth: Unless you become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.13
Be careful not to despise these little ones. I can guarantee that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father, who is in heaven.14
The angels of God move back and forth between Heaven and Earth.15 They guard and watch over us. They bring to us the Lord’s peace. Peace that knows you have done well. Peace that knows that you have obeyed God. Peace that knows God’s love is showered upon you. Peace that knows that salvation is your through Jesus’ work. Peace that knows you will be carried home by God’s holy angels. Peace that knows your children, and your children’s children, and their children after them, will follow you to that heavenly home! Because of what we teach here.
Tomorrow is a very special and important day. It is that day when I present children before this congregation and I ask this congregation to begin seeing them no longer as little children but young adults. These children have completed the two years of my confirmation class.
Through all of that it has been my focus and goal to show them that God’s Word is not just for when your sitting in church. It is for every aspect of life. In class we talk about real world things. We talk about troubles in school, troubles with friends, troubles in families and how we respectfully deal with the sin. The sin we see in our friends. The sin we see in those who have authority over us, and the sin we see in ourselves.
Tomorrow we will have Confirmation Questioning. I do that for three reasons:
To show this congregation that I have taught them a basic understanding of the Holy Christian Faith.
To show me that they have studies the materials, done the homework, and learned those things that I require them to know, if I am going to confirm them in the Holy Christian Faith.
To show them that they have learned all of those things they need to know.
It’s a proud time for this congregation. We’re happy for them, and we all want to celebrate this time. This day is the day when they begin to be considered young adult among us. A good Christian man or woman in whom this congregation can depend and rely.
Here’s the problem. We don’t want “Yellow Belt” Christians. I had a friend who was studying a certain type of marshal arts. In that school you would start out with a white belt. Then you get yellow, green, red, brown, and finally black. The beginner white belt is to show you, and everyone else, that you don’t know anything. With your white belt you can practice with anyone except a yellow belt.
The time will come when you get your yellow belt. Once you get your yellow belt you are forbidden to practice with anyone except a black belt. Then when you get you green belt you can practice with anyone except a yellow belt. You must obtain your black belt before you’re allowed to practice with a yellow belt again.
Why is the yellow belt different from everyone else? Because they don’t know how much they don’t know. They know enough to be harmful to others and themselves, but they don’t know how much more there is still to learn. So only a black belt, with the skills to protect themselves from the student, and the student from themselves, is allowed to practice with them.
Getting your green belt is not as much a skill test as a knowledge test. When you realize how much more there is to learn, and how much you don’t yet know, then you have graduated from yellow to green.
The point of all the stuff that we teach in Confirmation is to show them how much they don’t yet know. If you think you know all there is to know about being a Christian you’re still a yellow belt. Don’t be a “Yellow-Belt” Christian. There is always more to learn.
So here is my prayer and my encouragement. Don’t be a “Yellow Belt” Christian. Don’t think you’ve done it all.
May God make you so wise.
91 Peter 2:1-3
112 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV – Paraphrased)