Summary: Sermon for confirmation Sunday.
Chris. Trace. You have unselfishly given me two years of your Friday nights during which we carefully studied the Bible. What is there left for me to say to you on your confirmation day? “Don’t count the days, make the days count” (Muhammad Ali)? “Always forgive your enemies. Nothing annoys them more” (Oscar Wilde)? Can you imagine a boot camp sergeant sending off his troops with pithy sayings like that? You’re not dressed in fatigues and standing at attention on a parade ground but this service does officially mark the end of a spiritual boot camp. You are now involving yourself more deeply in a massive war that has been waging since Satan fired the first salvo in the Garden of Eden. Oh, you’ve been in this war ever since you were baptized but by publically confessing your undying allegiance to Jesus today, you’ve made your way to the front lines and are about to stick your tongue out at the devil! He would love nothing more than to blow your faith away with his temptations and claim you for his own. This is serious stuff. Pithy sayings won’t do. Instead I want you to remember these three words: King Jesus lives!
Are those three words law or gospel, Chris and Trace? If you imagine that your days of studying the Bible are over so that you now can do whatever you want, the three words: “King Jesus lives!” should make you take pause. They remind that you are not the king of your life. Jesus is king. And this king is very much alive and takes an active interest in your life. He isn’t like the homeroom teacher who takes long coffee breaks because he doesn’t really care what his students are up to back in the classroom. Jesus does care about what you do with every second of your life. He expects every word you speak to your parents, every program you watch on TV, and every text you send to bring glory to him.
Are you still eager to take your confirmation vows and acclaim Jesus as king of your life? The way Satan wants you to see Jesus’ kingly claim on you is that you are no better than slaves. But Paul has something to say about that in our text. He wrote: “Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him” (2 Timothy 2:11, 12a). You are not slaves, Chris and Trace, you are princes. Indeed, even right now you are reigning with Jesus though that reign won’t become obvious until we reach heaven. It certainly wasn’t obvious for Paul. When he wrote these words he was chained up like a common criminal. Yet listen to his attitude about that: “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:8-10).