Summary: Reflections on baptism
The Day of Pentecost
Story: Three ladies held a bible study on the book of Malachi and in Chapter 3 they read this about God
3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver.
They were puzzled about the process of refining silver in the fire and so one of them volunteered to go to the silversmith to ask.
When she arrived at the silversmiths she asked him about the process of refining.
He told her that it was necessary to put the silver in to the hottest part of the fire.
He explained that was so all the impurities would be burned away.
He also said that he had to watch it all times to make sure it was not in there too long. If it is kept in the furnace too long, it would be ruined.
The lady then asked him, “How do you know then when the process is complete”?
He replied “That’s easy: when I see my reflection, then the silver has been refined”
And so it is with God.
God wants to refine us – like the silversmith does with the silver – so that God can see Jesus reflected in our lives
And the medium with which God refines us is his Holy Spirit. He immerses us (or baptises us) in the Holy Spirit.
And in our reading this morning St Luke records how the Church was first baptised in Power the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.
1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Alex and Lucy have brought Sophie to Church today - with the express desire of bringing her up to become A DISCIPLE of Christ.
Not just a BELIEVER but a DISCIPLE
What is the difference?
A BELIEVER CAN SIMPLY BE INVOLVED but the DISCIPLE is COMMITTED
What you might ask is the difference.
Let me use the anology I used last month at Harry Parkinson’s baptism.
Story: Bacon and Egg is a wonderful picture of the difference between involvement and commitment
For in bacon and eggs,
the hen is involved but
the pig is committed
And it is fitting that Alex and Lucy have brought Sophie for baptism today – on Pentecost Sunday - because without the falling of the Power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost – no one would be able to be a disciple
There are, in my opinion, three major celebrations in the Church Year.
1. Christmas when we celebrate the Birth of Christ
2. Easter when we celebrate the Death and Resurrection of Christ and
3. Pentecost (or Whitsun - for the Anglicans!!) when we celebrate the first time that the Church was immersed in the Power of the Holy Spirit.
And on that day we read of the very first revival – 3000 (three thousand) people became Christians on that one day
The Church grew from 120 to 3120!!
And it is our prayer that as Sophie grows in the Christian faith that she too will experience the refining of her lives by the filling of the Holy Spirit – to make them Christlike
We need the refining of God’s Holy Spirit to be disciples:
John Stott put it like this:
Without the Holy Spirit, Christian discipleship would be inconceivable, even impossible.
There can be no life without the life-giver, no understanding without the Spirit of Truth, no fellowship without the unity of the Spirit, no Christlikeness of character apart from his fruit and no effective witness without His power.
I am not claiming that we will be perfect this side of eternity - but the Holy Spirit will refine us if we allow him to.
To become Christlike, we also need to listen to what Jesus told his Church to do.
Just as Jesus listened to what his Heavenly Father told him to do.
Jesus gave his Church what is known as the “Great Commission” just before he left this earth.
He told them
“ Go and make disciples of all nations baptising them in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you till the end of the age” (Mt. 28:19 and 20)
And this morning Sophie has started this journey. But this isn’t then end of it