Summary: This is a message given before a baptism at an inner-city mission church, Church at the Mission (www.catm.ca)
Baptised for the Glory of God - June 8, 2014
We are here to CELEBRATE. We’re here to celebrate and to acknowledge two very important types of decisions being made today.
We’re here to celebrate the baptism of Brent and Christina and Nick, and we’re here to celebrate the dedication of Drivay Shem Pascall-Lall and Desire Izamae Pascall-Lall.
These are different reasons to celebrate, and what the parents of the children I’ve mentioned are here to do today is different from what those being baptised are here today to do, and yet both are very important.
First let’s talk about the dedications and then let’s talk about the baptisms.
Today we have parents and godparents who are here to support the parents who are dedicating their children to God.
I think a reasonable question in this day and age is: “Why would any parent want to dedicate their child to God? What could possibly be the point?” That is a fair question, and it is out of the norm in today’s world.
So first of all I’d like to commend the parents who are here today to dedicate their children to God because in doing so they are breaking the mold of ‘normal’ in our culture.
But what is the reason for dedicating one’s child to God? The truth is, we LOVE our children. Our offspring evoke a fierce, protective and all-encompassing love from us.
We are absolutely dedicated to the best for our children. We want only good for them. We want only what is best for them.
And among the parents and those who support the parents here today who are having their children dedicated, there is a real sense that in order for children to grow to be the healthiest and happiest they can be, they need to have God’s blessing in their lives.
They need to have a real experience of God and they need to have the protection of God.
So, wanting only what’s best for their children, parents here today want prayers of blessing and anointing to be said for their children. That’s one reason.
The second reason, that Pastor Jan will have shared with the parents, is that each parent has chosen to raise their child in the knowledge of the love of God and in the Christian faith.
They have made the decision, based on their own experience, that they wish their children to follow in the footsteps of those who follow Jesus, to grow up with a living faith, to grow up to know God through Jesus Christ.
Again, this is very out of the ordinary. And as much as we call this a ‘child dedication’, while it is that, it is also a promise that the parents make to their children to, again, raise them in the knowledge of the goodness and mercy and love of God expressed most perfectly in and through the Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ.
So...I hope none of that is particularly news to you, parents.
But I wanted to state it clearly and, again, to commend you for making what is, in today’s world, a radical decision to raise your children to love God, to know God, to understand and experience the Christian faith.
And I commend you for also choosing to be the primary conduit of this knowledge that your children will grow up with.
The church provides opportunities for your children to learn of God and to grow to love God deeply.
I truly hope that either here or in another fellowship, another church, you will be faithful and serious and committed to participating regularly in worship and in fellowship, so that, indeed, what you wish for your children can be reinforced for them, but also for you.
Because we all need each other. The church is for people who are seeking God, exploring faith, who are being healed and transformed to be more and more like Jesus Christ.
So that’s perhaps enough for now about the children who are being dedicated today and the parents who are here to dedicate them.
Let’s consider those who are here today to be baptised. It may be that some who are being baptised here today were at one point dedicated or in some traditions baptised as children.
And yet they have chosen to themselves affirm their allegiance to Jesus Christ by following Him into the waters of baptism.
It is curious, in fact, that Jesus was himself baptised as an adult. He did this in order to ‘fulfill all righteousness”, which is 3 worlds that a thousand sermons have been written about.
So what you do today as adults, baptismal candidates, is what Jesus did as an adult.
This is important of course, because the entire Christian life is about following Jesus. It’s about living in a love relationship with Him. We love Him, but we do so because He first loved us, and as the Scripture says,