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Summary: In explaining the role of baptism in the faith of Lydia, Acts 16:9-15 shows how this ordinance acts as a call to community. Through this baptism we see: 1) The Proclamation for Community (Acts 16:9-10), 2) The Place for Community (Acts 16:11-13), 3) The P

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Baptism Service for Mark Bothwell

At his private Mass in the chapel at his residence Saturday, Pope Francis mentioned the example of an unwed mother coming to Church to ask for baptism for her child to exemplify the error of allowing protocol to distance people from the Lord. He said: “Look at this girl who had had the courage to carry her pregnancy to term” and not to have an abortion. “What does she find? A closed door,” as do so many. “This is not good pastoral zeal, it distances people from the Lord and does not open doors. So when we take this path...we are not doing good to people, the People of God.” (http://www.lifesitenews.com/blog/pope-francis-says-baptize-babies-of-unwed-mothers-because-they-chose-life-o)

Baptism can be quite a contentious issue. How we define the particulars of baptism is relatively simple however. If we look at scripture, the final and ultimate authority to determine all things of faith and practice we see one thing: the baptism of individuals based on a profession of faith. Baptism, as the sign and seal of the covenant of grace, ought to be recognized as the visible dividing line between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light. While it is certainly true that we do not belong to the Lord because we are baptized, but are baptized because we belong to the Lord already, it remains a fact that baptism is the point at which the church, in the name of the Lord, recognizes what God has done and will yet do for the person receiving baptism. Baptism is not what we do to ‘join the church’: it is what the church does to seal what God has done in his everlasting mercy in Jesus Christ.

In the testimony of Lydia in Acts 16, had she professed faith in Christ and not submitted to baptism, she would have been in effect denying her own profession of faith. That is surely why Luke mentions her baptism, but never records her words in professing Christ as her Saviour. Why? Because, without baptism, her words would have been empty. It was baptism which sealed the credibility of her confession of Christ! (Keddie, G. J. (2000). You Are My Witnesses: The Message of the Acts of the Apostles. Welwyn Commentary Series (186). Darlington, England: Evangelical Press.)

In explaining the role of baptism in the faith of Lydia, Acts 16:9-15 shows how this ordinance acts as a call to community. Through this baptism we see: 1) The Proclamation for Community (Acts 16:9-10), 2) The Place for Community (Acts 16:11-13), 3) The Person in Community (Acts 16:14), and 4) The Proof of Community (Acts 16:15).

1) The Proclamation for Community (Acts 16:9-10)

Acts 16:9-10 [9]And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." [10]And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. (ESV)

This vision that appeared to Paul happened while awake, for it is not called a dream (Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Ac 16:9–10). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.).


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