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Summary: Explains the meaning of baptism: that we are dead with Christ, but have new life in Him. Demonstrates that holiness and commitment to God are the result of this death and life.

"A MATTER OF DEATH AND LIFE"

We’re here this morning really for two different but connected celebrations. But this

morning we will celebrate these two ceremonies in the reverse order of what they are

normally celebrated. In English, when something is very important we may use the saying,

"It’s a matter of life and death." This morning I just want to reverse that a little and say,

"It’s a matter of death and life." You see, when a baby is born, we often celebrate the new

life. After a few weeks or months we often bring the baby into the church and dedicate the

baby to God. And then many years later we celebrate, albeit with more sadness than joy,

the end of that life with a funeral. Well today, we’re here to celebrate first a funeral and

then a birth. Because you see today we’re having a baptism. What exactly does baptism

mean? Let’s look at what Paul says in

Romans 6:1-12 “1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may

abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you

not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His

death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as

Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in

newness of life. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death,

certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old

man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should

no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we

died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ,

having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.

10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He

lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive

to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body,

that you should obey it in its lusts.”

I. Paul says that baptism is a symbol of death, burial, and resurrection. And there are two

deaths that we can see in baptism.

A. The first death we can see in baptism is the death of Jesus Christ our Lord. Jesus, who

was God in the flesh, came and lived the perfect life that we could never live. Then he died

a horrible, cruel death by execution on the cross. But

Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death”

Jesus died, even though he never sinned. That means he paid the penalty for something he

didn’t do. And because he paid that penalty, he won the ultimate victory over death. Now,

when we believe in him and accept him, we no longer have to pay the penalty. He paid it

for us. That’s why the second half of

Romans 6:23 says, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

You see Christ’s death was more than the death of a man. It wasn’t just his body that died

the day he hung on Calvary’s cross. That day a deathblow was dealt to the old system. The

old way of life in which man was hopelessly entangled in the cycle of sin was over. The

old day where man could find some, but never complete vindication, in following the

rituals of the Old Covenant were over. See, Hebrews says that the Old Covenant could

only cover up sin. And it had to be repeated every year. It wasn’t a solution. It could only

buy some time. It could only hold you over until a real solution came. But Jesus came and

put an end to all that ritual. When he died, all the ritual of the old covenant died with him

Colossians 2:14 “having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us,

which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the

cross.”

So this morning, we’re here to celebrate Christ’s death and it’s end to the reign of sin.

B. But the second funeral that we’re celebrating this morning is our own. Paul says that

when you are baptized, you partake in Christ’s death with him. Baptism isn’t simply

remembering and celebrating Christ’s death. Baptism is identifying with Christ in his death.

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