Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."
Today is confirmation, and our chief task is to speak of what it means. Perhaps that is the problem today, we dont remind people what it really means and so they begin to look at it as graduation you learned the stuff you need, now it is time to get on with real life. So after a nice party, they put Bible verses, the catechism and their faith away and turn to the goal of life making money. Chances are that in the course of life they may make a great deal of money the world may say these people are successful; and then they grow old, die, and go to hell and they dont get to take the money with them although I do not know what good it would be wouldnt that be like throwing fuel on the fire? And that my friends is the way of the word.
Confirmation is not graduation, what it is, is the beginning a new part of our life of faith. You see, confirmation is not so much about learning facts that is important but the thing which is really important is learning to live by faith. Last week it began with the reading of essays, essays which describe faith, and how it fits in life. Just as the world learns to talk about money, so Christians learn to talk about faith, their Savior and the means of grace the Gospel and the Sacraments. It wasnt easy, they were afraid. Should they have been afraid? It is not easy to do something new, but it was an opportunity to live by faith we have all learned "call upon be in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee" but you dont really know it until you put it into practice so you call upon God, you go up and read your essay and the amazing thing is that you dont die.
Hopefully that built up the faith just a little, and you gave thanks to God who brought you safely through that day. But the week isnt over Thursday Night is questioning all those questions how can you remember them all? And so again you turn to the Lord, you dont answer all the questions sometimes you tried to do it yourself but still God helped you to get through it all and you didnt die you passed. Which has brought you to this day in a little while you will renew the promises which were made for you at your baptism before the whole congregation and you will promise to be faithful to this confession and faith and not let anything not money not romance come between you and your Savior.
But the biggest thing and this is what confirmation is really all about is that this day recognizing your commitment to be a disciple and to follow your Savior this day Christ puts into your hands your whole lifes work making disciples of all nations. This day you are called to continue the work that Jesus began in his preaching and teaching. How can you do this? In the same way that we do everything else by faith. The events of this past week are just a preview of the things to come facing challenges, turning to God, and by the grace of God overcoming the challenges and then giving thanks to God, for once again we see that we can do more than we ever imagined through Christ who strengthens us.
How is this possible? We have the gracious promise of Christ All authority in heaven and on earth has been given him and He will be with us all through our days that is how it is possible. He will continue to lead us to learn as we study His word. Our faith will continue to grow, as we receive forgiveness for sins and as we come to the Lords Supper and remember his death and his resurrection.
It is because Jesus is with us that we are able to make disciples and we make disciples by the grace of God and the power of God by going and by teaching and by baptizing. There is much we can do to share Jesus in our lives, and so we shall do but we also support missions so that the gospel can reach the ends of the world. We make disciples by baptizing and to this end we support our local church and its ministry, they assist us in making disciples. And we teach, by word and example we teach all that God has given us and chiefly we teach the forgiveness of sins for it is faith that works a change in the hearts of men, and enables them to observe the commandments.