Summary: This is a sermon for a baptism service.
CATM Sermon for Baptism Sunday – June 7, 2009
We’re here for a very special purpose today. Today we will christen 3 children. Christening is both a public naming of the child plus the dedication of the child to God, and the commitment of the parent to raise the child in the love of and the fear of God.
Today we baptize __ people. You may wonder: “What is baptism? Why would someone in this day and age choose to be baptized”. These are good questions, because indeed in this day and age, being baptized is a pretty radical thing to do.
Why is it a radical thing? When a person chooses to be baptized, they are publicly declaring their choice to follow Jesus Christ. In times past it was sort of the thing to be a Christian. It was culturally normal, acceptable…pretty run of the mill, actually.
Nowadays, in a pluralistic society where generally people are taught that all religions are equal, that one way is just as good as another way, a person who purposefully connects their life to Jesus stands out. That’s because Jesus wasn’t pluralistic as is the spirit of this passing age. Jesus said that He is The Way, the Truth and the Life. He said that no one comes to God unless they come through Him. There is no other way to God except through Jesus Christ, through believing in His sacrificial death for our sins.
A person who becomes a Christian and who then chooses to be baptized is testifying through their baptism that they believe Jesus. They believe in Jesus. They have received Him as their Lord and Saviour. They have decided to follow Jesus.
What does THAT mean? To follow Jesus? As I described to a few of the baptismal candidates, choosing to follow Jesus means this: [Put chair out and sit in it]. Before I was a Christian I was on the throne of my life. I called the shots.
I determined my path. When I became a Christian, I moved off the throne of my life, I invited Jesus to be my Lord and my Saviour. I welcomed Him as King of my life.
Each of the people who will be baptized has been lead by the Holy Spirit of God to faith in Jesus Christ and to this day, this moment in their lives when they publicly declare that they, indeed are followers of Jesus, students of Jesus, they are Christians.
Let’s have a look at our scripture for today.
Romans 6:1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 6:3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin--7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
I just want to say just a few things today about this passage, because we all want to get to the baptism. I want to highlight just a few of the verses that were just read.
Verse 4 and 5 says “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.
There’s a lot of symbolism in the act of baptism-by-immersion. When the baptismal candidate first stands in the pool, it is in a sense a symbol of the old life, the life before Christ has come into the person’s life.
When they are asked questions and give their answers, they are really making a vow before God and before the church; they are preparing for a new life. They are asked profound questions that you can be sure each candidate has thought a lot about.