Summary: This is a short sermon for a baptism service at an inner-city mission church www.ysm.ca
We’re here today to celebrate the baptism of 6 and the child dedication of 6. There is something monumental about a day like today. There’s something huge in the decision to follow Jesus in the waters of baptism.
The infants who are being dedicated here today or having infant baptism will be recipients of a promise. That promise will be made by their parents, their guardians.
It will be a promise to raise those young ones into the Christian faith, to raise them in the knowledge of God’s love, to raise them knowing Jesus.
To be examples for them of what the life of a Christ-follower looks like. It is a huge commitment on the part of the parent or guardian, one that they need the whole body of Christ here at Church at the Mission to help them live up to.
Those who are being baptized today are themselves making a life-long commitment to follow Jesus.
They have been through a series of classes in which they’ve learned that in many ways baptism is like marriage – it is a sign of a commitment so vast and so deep that it echoes the most profound and holy covenant or marriage.
It is not to be entered into lightly, but soberly, reverently and in the fear and knowledge of God.
They learned that for the earliest Christians, who were considered outlaws for the most part by the Roman government, confession of faith in Christ alone did not constitute much of an issue for that government.
To say that one had received Christ as Lord and Saviour…that didn’t too much bother the principalities and powers of that day.
But to be baptized…that was an act of sedition, an act that permanently joined the believer to a community who had the audacity to challenge the Roman patriotic cry of allegiance: “Caesar is Lord!”, by affirming that there was a greater power than Caesar.
There was a greater power, there was something that transcended and left in the dust all worldly allegiances. The person being baptized was about to belong to a people who affirmed that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Baptism painted a bulls eye on believers way back then. Baptism turned free citizens of Rome and subjects of Rome alike into the hunted ones. That perhaps gives an idea of just how drastic a change that baptism brought about.
Baptism is an act that makes clear and concrete that one has come to a decision that cuts his or her life in two. There is a before and an after. There is life before Christ in which a person is wooed and loved by God, but is at the same time living in their sins, living for themselves, living a half-life.
The full life that God intends for every person is to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and to follow Him with abandon and determination and passion.
To live in the wealth of living for the good of God and the good of others and myself, rather than living in the poverty of living for self.
Jesus said “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”. Before a person comes to Christ, they would not see the half-life they are living.