What that DOESN’T mean is that we’re baptizing people today.
Baptism Sunday is a day on the church calendar where millions of churches around the world remember and study and celebrate the baptism of Jesus.
Which perfect for us, because we’re just beginning a series on the life and ministry of Jesus that will take us through the month of April.
I don’t want to spend any time here, but just to say that if you’re a regular attendee and were here last week, I hope you’re doing your reading plan! If you weren’t here last week and want to get on board with us and our bible reading plan, let me or any of our leaders know and we’ll give you the details.
In only two of the four Gospels … Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John … do you even have the birth narrative of Jesus. Mark and John leave it out. They don’t say anything about the birth of Jesus. But every Gospel talks about the baptism of Jesus.
At this point in time, Jesus is growing up in Newheresville Navereth.
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea (Matthew 3:1)
and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Matthew 3:2)
This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ ” (Matthew 3:3)
John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. (Matthew 3:4)
People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. (Matthew 3:5)
Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. (Matthew 3:6)
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? (Matthew 3:7)
Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. (Matthew 3:8)
And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. (Matthew 3:9)
The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 3:10)
“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Matthew 3:11)
His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:12)
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. (Matthew 3:13)
But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” (Matthew 3:14)
Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. (Matthew 3:15)
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. (Matthew 3:16)
And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)
Couple cool things about this story that you may have missed.
The baptism of Jesus is a beautifully clear picture of the trinity. You have the Father - the voice from heave, the son-Jesus of course, and the Holy Spirit, the dove. This is a classic verse used when defending the doctrine of the trinity.
This is one of the only 3 times you see God the father speak audibly in the NT. And in each case he says essentially the same thing - “This is my son. I’m pleased with him. Listen to him.”
He speaks at Jesus’s baptism, the transfiguration, and the ascension. We’ll be talking about all of those.
In the Old Testament the father was constantly speaking.
Laws and rules, and punishments.
But in the New Testament, God the father has one thing to say: This is my son, I’m pleased with him. Listen to him.”
Jesus didn't need to be baptized. But he was participating in the human condition. And he's also setting an example for us.
Wedding Ring Story Basically how I'm in the process of getting a new wedding ring.
Wedding ring : An outward symbol of an inward commitment.
And that’s exactly what baptism is for the Believer.
We realize -- different understandings.
We of course realize that there’s many different understandings beliefs and doctrines when it comes to baptism, so some of the things I’m gonna say are probably going to ‘rub against’ the beliefs of some of you, or some of your friends and family, and so just know, we mean no disrespect, we’re just trying to be true to what we believe Jesus has instructed us to.
Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. (2 Timothy 2:23)
It’s a wedding ring in a sense for your commitment to Christ.
We don’t believe we’re saved BY baptism, rather, baptism is the display of an inner change.
Baptism then, is not necessary for salvation. But it is necessary if we are to be obedient to Christ, for he commanded baptism for all who believe in him. (Wayne Grudem.)
Just like John the Baptist said “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” So repentance - to change ones thinking - was the first step. And baptism was after that.
Greek word - Baptizo. - to immerse; to dip or dunk under; to plunge into, bathe to overwhelm.
Baptism was around way before Jesus.
And it’s this idea of immersion. But it also has a connotation of transformation.
Recipe - Pickles. Weird example: 200 years before Jesus, we have records of a recipe for making pickles. Turning cucumbers into pickles. And it uses this word baptizo.
And you can see this is the same idea with baptism, that you go under the water one way, and come out another.
“Baptism is rich in meaning. It suggests cleansing. When you are a disciple, you understand that you are cleansed by Christ. You understand that Christ died in your place on the cross, paying for your sins, fully forgiving you for all your wrongs.” (Pastor Brian McLaren)
In OT - you were born into faith - you were circumcised and that was the sign
NT - You’re ‘born again’ into faith - Choose.
So baptism is like circumcision, but with the very important difference: you get to choose.
Can see it Evolve.
There was no record of infant baptism until the end of the 2nd century. Really takes off in the 3rd century on under ‘Christendom’ which is where nation and faith kinda get married and you don’t CHOOSE to be a Christian, you’re born into Christianity and the decision is made for you. It’s never a good thing. It’s good to raise up your kids is godliness, but at some point, their faith has to be their choice. Infant baptism really takes this away from a person.
In fact under Christendom, your baptism ceremony also served as your citizenry ceremony. I don’t have time to get into that, so I’m hoping you can just see why that’s bad.
Conveyor belt Christianity doesn’t produce real Christians.
Real Christianity is about you putting your faith in Christ. And it’s something you must choose. It can’t be chosen for you.
Well in the early 1500’s, you have what is called the ‘Radical Reformation’. Expanding on the protestant reformation with Martin Luther.
In the radical reformation these people called the ‘anabaptists’ (these are the parents of the ‘baptists’) who say ‘faith should be a matter of personal commitment to Christ.' It shouldn’t be inherited, God doesn’t want grandchildren. He wants children.
So the anabaptists say ‘We need to take baptism back to what it was in the first century when it was about personal commitment to Jesus.
Rejected Infant Baptism.
Reclaimed what is called ‘Believers Baptism’ which is what we practice at this church. Where you have to be old enough to profess and believe in Jesus as your savior to be baptized.
Baptism is our citizenship ceremony.
It’s our pledge of allegiance to the Kingdom of God.
‘My faith is my choice.’
Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (Romans 6:3)
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Romans 6:4)
“Christian living means dying with Christ and rising again. That is part of the meaning of baptism, the starting point of the Christian pilgrimage.” (N.T. Wright - Simply Christian.)
So we have 2 parts - 1. We die to ourself, and 2. we’re raised with Christ.
This is the scary part. This is the part of the Christian faith that is sacrifice. That costs you something. That can hurt.
Married Jordan - scary - dying. I remember when I first married Jordan, how scary a thought it is that your life is no longer just your own. That now, there’s this whole other piece of you where you have this other person that you are to value more than anybody else and everybody else. So there’s this beautiful sense of new life springing up, and there’s also this really scary sense of the life you had before, dying.
Well, that’s also the idea of baptism. That you’re dying to yourself.
Whereas with marriage you’re submitting to each other (Ephesians 5:21), when we die to ourselves in baptism, we submit completely to him, and he in no way submits to us.
He’s Lord of our life.
This was the reason John the Baptist wouldn’t baptize the pharisees.
Here’s why John refuses to baptize the Pharisees and Sadducees. John’s condemnation of the Pharisees and Sadducees in some ways seems odd. John’s refusal to baptize these leaders represents Jesus’s critique of how these so-called authorities fail to lead lives compatible with their advocacy of God’s law. It is not what the Pharisees and Sadducees say that John and Jesus condemn; but rather it is the inconsistency between their lives and what they say. (Stanley Hauerwas)
So basically, John refused to baptize these men because he knew Jesus was not their Lord,
There’s lots of Christians who don’t understand the weight of the decision they claim to be making.
And any opinion we have, and idea we have, any habit we have, are all free game for Jesus to come in and change.
Here’s the question: If you say one thing, and Jesus says another, who wins?
Baptism says Jesus gets all the votes.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. (Galatians 2:20)
Everything that I am, points to Jesus.
For many people, Jesus is really just someone to help you with what you want to do, and that’s not real Christianity.
In the Old Testament: You shall have no other gods before me.
Jesus in NT: "Anyone - loves mother & brother more than me is not worthy of me."
At some point, we all have to honestly look at our Christian lives and ask this: Is this really about Jesus? Is that really what I’m about? Like truly?
A pastor once said "if you got to heaven… and Jesus wasn't there, would you even care?"
The person who truly understands their baptism will say “You can have everything else, just give me Jesus, and that’s more than enough.”
This is the beautiful part. This is the hopeful part.
As we follow Jesus and it feels like death: the death of who we used to be, we actually find a more beautiful life than we could have ever imagined.
In Christ, we find MORE joy, MORE peace.
Monkey The analogy of the monkey putting his hand into the hole, and there not being any room to pull the banana out so they just sit there pinicking as their captor casually walks up to them and captures them.
This is something we do symbolically once through baptism, we’re always in this process : Of giving up our old ways of understanding the world, and taking on the mind the Christ.
That’s one thing I’m so grateful for at Outlet, is we get so many amazing stories about people who are finding themselves challenged and changed with the teachings of Jesus is a way that terrifying, and unsettling, but beautiful. And that such an amazing thing for me to hear: Is that this community brings death to old ways of thinking so that would could embrace the mind of Christ.
In the life of Christ that you find, you have this infinite source of life and peace and hope that’s not based on circumstances
One thing that in the Christian life that has left me truly amazed is a Christians ability to keep moving forward even when faced with unbelievable pain.
Pastor Friend - Son.
Pastor friend (Al Brice) that had a child who overdosed on drugs and the parents found their kid after multiple days of having passed. I’m not going to tell you what happens after a few days. I want you to think about that.
We were talking to him about awhile ago and he said he literally had to pray ‘God I need you to take those mental pictures away from me. I can NOT live with that in my head.” And God did. He said he honestly can’t remember what his son looked like in that moment.
I don’t know how that stuff works, and I can only imagine, but I do believe that it has something to do with being raised to life with Christ.
We’re raised to life in Christ.
This is your chance. - Knows everything.
Letting the Lord of your life speak.
We remember your death,
We proclaim your resurrection,
We await your return.
Let's eat the bread / Drink from the cup.