Heavenly Father, as I prepare to worship this morning I also pray for the confirmands. By the working of the Holy Spirit give them a zeal and a fire in their hearts for You and Your Word. Keep them steadfast in the faith and enable them to fulfill their vows. Grant, I pray, similar blessings upon all who are here today. Bless our worship and receive our prayers. Amen.
Instruction for Confirmation provides a focus on studying and learning God’s Word. It is important that we never “grow out” of learning God’s Word, but rather keep “growing in” such study. As young confirmands mature many things seek to take time and energy and to occupy thoughts. The encouragement of our Savior is: Store up treasure in heaven and seek first the Kingdom of God.
Confirmation Class Memory Verses
The confirmands’ choices for their personal memory verses compiled and applied to their future lives and ours!
Text: Psalm 119:89-94a
“Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth and it abides. They continue this day according to Your ordinances, for all are Your servants.”
In Christ Jesus, who calls upon each of us to look ahead and to build, dear fellow redeemed and especially you confirmands:
For the past thirteen years your parents, your Sunday School teachers, your teachers, and your pastors have been teaching you to build. For the past two to three years Pastor Eichstadt has had you in regular construction classes. What have you been building? You have begun building a house. Now you have not gotten too far in that building project yet—not like Henry Meissner and Harold Phillips, both of whom will celebrate their 90th birthdays this week. Now their houses are nearly finished, but yours have only been begun. In fact, you cannot even see a house yet—we do not know what style it will be, or how big it will be, or how many stories it will have—for up until now you have been working on your house’s foundation. Now, that is important work. Your foundation has to be deep enough, and wide enough, and strong enough to support all of the weight of the house you will build, that house which will become your life. The foundation you have laid is made up of all of the truths of God revealed in the Bible that you have learned—truths which the Spirit of God has helped you to store in your minds, which He has used to strengthen your hearts, and which He has placed on your lips as we heard last Sunday in your confessional service. Pastor Eichstadt has chosen as a theme for your confirmation address the question: WHAT’S NEXT? Now that you have laid a solid foundation of biblical principles, God would have you continue to Build Upon The Settled Word!
Use the word of God to guide your words and actions, your plans and decisions, for the Psalmist assures you that the Lord’s Word is “settled in heaven!” That means that it is true and can be relied upon. It tells you who the true God is, and what the truth is about our own sinful natures. It provides you with essential building materials—materials like repentance and forgiveness, mercy and love. Oh, the world will tell you that the Bible is just another book. Some in ignorance and unbelief will even say that it is a dangerous book, but you know differently. You know that the Bible is not simply a collection of various men’s opinions, for the apostle Peter has assured you, “Prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). Do you want to know what is truly right or truly wrong when it comes to the moral decisions you will have to face in the future? Turn to the Bible! Earlier in this 119th Psalm, we read, “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word” (verse 9). Do you want to know how to deal with others, whether they are members of your families, or friends, or even enemies? Turn to that “settled” word of God. The thoughts, opinions, theories, and assertions of men change with every generation, but God’s word—the Bible will always remain the same. You can count on it, for it is “settled in heaven!” Therefore, build upon the settled Word!
Do so as well for it reveals the Lord’s “faithfulness,” which the Psalmist assures you “endures to all generations!” The faithfulness of God can best be seen in the precious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are by nature sinful, yet God has loved us! Even after coming to faith, we must confess regularly that we sin in thought, word, and deed. Yet, God continues to love us. Even when we make the same mistakes over and over again, He continues to love us. He sent Jesus, who placed Himself under the demands of the law and then under its curse. He lived for us. He died for us, so that we might live and never die eternally. He assures us that He is with us always, that He will hear our prayers, that He will deliver us from evil, that He will cause all things both good and bad to work out for our blessing. This is all part of God’s faithfulness. He will be faithful to you as you seek His guidance when it comes to developing your talents. He will be faithful to you as you seek His guidance when it comes to your choice of careers. He will be faithful to you as you seek His guidance when it comes to your choice of a spouse. Whatever it may be; whatever challenges you face; whatever struggles you must endure—you can count on your God’s faithfulness. That is why you will want to build upon the settled Word!
You will want to do so as well, however, because it was the Lord’s Word which brought this universe into being and which sustains it even today! Therefore is no one who can compare with your LORD God! Through the prophet Isaiah God tells us, “I am the First and the Last; besides Me there is no God. And who can proclaim as I do? Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me, since I appointed the ancient people, and the things that are coming and shall come” (44:6-7). The LORD God called this world into being. All of the laws of nature were established by the Word of His mouth. The human genome, which contains all of the genetic information which makes us human, and about which all our world of science has been abuzz for the last several years, was created when God formed Adam out of the dust of the ground and breathed life into him! The universe is dependent upon our Savior God, as are we, which is why you will be ever so wise if you build upon the settled Word!
Before closing this portion of today’s meditation, let us take one final look at these words of the Psalmist, for He reminds us when he refers to all of creation and its laws, “All are Your servants.” Dear members of Immanuel’s congregation and especially you, dear confirmands—as you look to the future and as you build your life, remember that you too are servants of your Lord and Savior. Do not be upset by such a thought or reject it out of hand, for while we are indeed God’s servants, He has also declared us to be His sons and daughters for Jesus’ sake. You see we are part of a family business, being called upon by our Savior God to represent Him in His world, to share His gospel Word with others, and to build our lives in such a way that we bring blessing to those around us, even as we bring glory to our dear Savior’s name. WHAT’S NEXT? Whatever that may be in each of our lives, let us strive always to build upon the settled Word! Amen!
—Pastor Paul D. Nolting
Text: Psalm 119:92-94a
“Unless Your [instruction] had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction. I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have given me life. I am Yours, save me.”
In Christ Jesus, dear fellow-redeemed, and especially, dear Meredith, Sierra, Jenna, Jimmy, Ethan, Jarrod, and Lexi:
You are building upon the settled word. With the Word of God as your foundation for whatever comes next, the Lord promises blessing. But there is another reminder for whatever lies ahead and that is to Remember To Whom You Belong. Remember that you are God’s children.
Remembering your identity may seem really rather straightforward. It’s not hard to remember who you are: “My name is _________. I’m a believer and therefore, I’m a child of God.” But there are many people and forces and influences out in the world who want to make you something different. So it is important day by day in whatever lies ahead, whatever comes next, to remember your true identity. Remember that regardless of all else, when you are building on Christ, you are above all else children of God—His beloved children.
The Psalmist writes: “Unless Your instruction had been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.” [v.92] If you were not building your lives on the instruction of God’s Word, if you had not come to know what Jesus has done for you, if through Baptism you had not received the forgiveness of sins, you would be perishing. You would perish now and perish forever because without those things—without the Gospel of Christ living and active in your hearts through the working of the Holy Spirit—you would still be in your sin, condemned, and under God’s wrath instead of his beloved children. Because that Gospel has given you life, because God so loved you and rescued you from perishing, you are able to say with the psalmist: “I will never forget your precepts” [v.94]. There are a lot of things you have learned over your 13-14 years, there are a lot more things you are going to learn in high school and college. You will also forget a certain percentage of what you learn, but among all the things you’ll ever learn and forget…the one thing to never ever forget is the truth that brings you life.
Statistics show that, sadly, many do forget. There are many, many young people who have been in your position years before. Many people have studied God’s Word and have declared with the best of intentions “I will follow my Savior to the end of my life,” but then have not. They have forgotten. They forgot their identity. They forgot the truth of Gold’s Word that made them children of God and gave them life in the first place. They forgot their calling as children of God. The apostle Paul encourages each one of us to “walk worthy of the calling with which [we] were called” (Ephesians 4:1). You have been called by Jesus Himself to be God’s children. Before you were born, before the world was created, you were called by Him to be what you are today—children of God. Don’t forget the precepts—the instruction of God which brings you life and through which He has called you.
Given the truth that Jesus has made you God’s children you can say with the psalm writer: “I am Yours.” [v.94] Whatever lies ahead, whatever comes next, there are people who will identify you in different ways. There will be those, Lord-willing, who will call you “husband” or “wife.” There will be those in the future who will call you “employer” or “employee.” There will be those who will call you “mom,” or “dad.” There will be many different people calling you and identifying you in many different ways under many different circumstances of life; but no matter which one of those you are in at whatever time, remember your identity as a child of God: “Lord I amYours.” And never forget how great, and how awesome, and wonderful it is to belong to the Lord. You will be many other things, but none so great as being a child of God.
When Paul wrote to the Romans, he looked back to what they had once been and what they had become. He said: “…God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:17-18). Formerly they were slaves of sin, but were set free to be slaves of righteousness and children of God. In whatever comes next, your identity is a child of God—set free to serve Him all your days!
Remembering to whom you belong will affect how you make decisions, will affect how you deal with influences and peoples ideas for your lives. There may come a time when you will feel under pressure to mold your lives to fit someone else’s ideal, to be like someone else because they seem so much more successful than you. Don’t let those pressures sway you from the truth that your main identity is that of a child of God. Your identity is a child of God so that when you realize all the gifts and resources that God gives you in your life your first question will be: “How can I use these things to serve my Lord?” The first fruits of everything you are and have will be given to Him. When you’re faced with a question and a problem, the first place to go is to your heavenly Father. The psalmist says; “I am Yours. Save me!” You can go to God in everything. Your prayers to Him are unlimited in content or frequency. Whatever is on your mind—little or big, however often it is on your mind—twice each minute, or twice each day…you can go to God in prayer. In every circumstance you are able to pray: “save me, help me, give me guidance, give me direction, show me what to do, you are my Provider, my Protector, my Helper, and my loving Father.”
Whatever comes next begins this afternoon, continues tomorrow, and through the rest of your lives. Remember to whom you belong and build on His settled word. Amen.
—Pastor Wayne C. Eichstadt