Summary: Baptism is a ritual that points in several directions.
(I Peter 3:20b-22)
1. When it comes to church, some people cannot stay put.
One balmy day in the South Pacific, a navy ship espied smoke coming from one of three huts on an uncharted island. ?Upon arriving at the shore they were met by a shipwreck survivor.
He said, "I’m so glad you’re here! I’ve been alone on this island for more than five years!"
The captain replied, "If you’re all alone on the island why do I see THREE huts."
The survivor said, "Oh. We’ll, I live in one, and go to church in another." ?
"What about the THIRD hut?" asked the captain. ?
"That’s where I USED to go to church," he replied.
2. The early church also had its challenges.
3. One such challenge was that the NT was not yet written.
4. Although the OT contains our most essential doctrines, there are many truths that are underdeveloped.
5. But God and church leaders both were up the challenge.
6. The church developed the Ichthus acrostic as a creed, and it is reach in meaning.
7. Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper and Baptism, rituals that are also rich in meaning – and object lessons to teach the truth.
Main Idea: Baptism is a ritual that points in several directions.
TS----> We are going to limit ourselves to the three directions which Peter implies. There are more.
I. Baptism Points Backward: The SYMBOL (20b-21a)
A. FLOOD waters foreshadowed baptism
B. Their intersection: SEPARATING two distinct societies
1. The waters did not save Noah from the flood (the Ark did), but the waters did separate he and his family from the evil world he had left behind
• the word "church" means the "called out ones"
• the waters of the flood called Noah’s family out from the rest of society
2. Baptism is supposed to be an outward line of demarcation, just like the flood made a distinction between those who had faith (Noah & family) and those who did not (the multitudes who perished in the Flood). Just as the Nephilim and corrupted mankind perished in the water, the waters of baptism remind us that we have escaped judgment.
• Baptism is painless
• The story is told about the baptism of King Aengus by St. Patrick in the middle of the fifth century. Sometime during the rite, Patrick leaned on his sharp-pointed staff and inadvertently stabbed the king’s foot. After the baptism was over, Patrick looked down at all the blood, realized what he had done, and begged the king’s forgiveness. Why did you suffer this pain in silence? Patrick asked. The king replied, "I thought it was part of the ritual." (www.higherpraise.org)
3. The waters of baptism remind us that we have passed beyond death and judgment.
“So we see that Noah was saved from the punishment that was being brought on the world by his faith in building the ark, just as in baptism we are saved from the punishment around us by our faith in Jesus. We can see that the waters represent the punishment from which we are able to rise up, just as Noah arose…Noah was able to enter the ark because God declared him righteous, in the same way we can enter the ark through the cleansing blood of Jesus.
Baptism therefore is about the past the present and the future. It is a demonstration that we have had our past sins removed by Jesus. It is a statement to say that we have our faith in Jesus now, and, in the future, we don’t have to fear the punishment of death…” [Mark Holdcroft, altered, Sermoncentral]
• Baptism as a symbol of judgment: Luke 12:49-51 "I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division."
4. People complicate baptism, and equate it with a complete surrender of our lives. But we are saved by grace through faith, and baptism is the outward symbol of being saved by grace, not an outward symbol of near perfection. It is a test of our willingness to obey Jesus. We outwardly identify with Christ and with God’s people!
C. We should not go out of our way to be different from the world, just different where God speaks….
D. Baptism reminds us that we are escaping God’s wrath.
Application: Are we comfortable with the status of being different from the crowd? If not, why not? Do we think that the crowd must always be right? Do we feel cheated if we put the Lord first?
Baptism is a ritual that points in several directions.