Summary: Simple sermon to newly baptised persons and to the congregation.
This message was delivered in a baptismal service for several young persons. They were baptized early in the service and they were asked to return to the service as soon as possible. They sat in an upfront pew with their families behind them. The pastor came from the position on the floor level to talk to them and also to the entire congregation about the meaning of baptism.
Read Mathew 3:13-17
We are going to put your baptismal experience into a bigger picture and hopefully make for you a more memorable spiritual experience.
Jesus started His ministry by being baptized. As a young man he left his carpenter’s shop and made his way to a baptismal service. For years he had worked as the village carpenter, but the time came he realized he had a much bigger life mission. Though he was born a human being, he was really the Son of God, sent to reveal God in a very specific way and to provide for all of us a way to be saved, live life abundantly and go to heaven when we die.
Today you have publicly started your place in God’s kingdom. This baptism experience is your way to publicly witness your faith in Christ, your forgiveness of sin and your willingness to follow Jesus. When you place your faith in Jesus and decide to be a faithful follower of Christ, you testified to several important realities in your life.
1. You have asked Jesus to forgive your sins and to continue to forgive as you ask Him to. He has done that and will continue to do that.
2. You have now received His spirit, the Holy Spirit, to be a constant resident in your life. Your body is now the “temple of the Holy Spirit.” He will work in your mind to help you think His thoughts. He will work with your emotions to guide your feelings. He will direct your actions to guide you in serving Him.
3. God has a plan and purpose for your life and He will empower you to find and live out that plan and purpose. He will never leave you or forsake you and, even if you try to exclude him from your life, he will love you and call you to listen to Him.
4. He has promised to prepare a place in heaven for you so that where He is, we will be also.
Today you have joined a larger spiritual family called “church.” Just like everyone in your family has a matching blood characteristic called DNA, you have a spiritual blood characteristic because we all are saved by the blood of Jesus. They welcome you into the family!
You have a home with your spiritual family. Some of us have been in the spiritual family called church for a long time. They want to help you as you grow in your spiritual life. All of us, including you, have a special place to serve and learn in this spiritual family. You will benefit from that only as you stay involved in this your church.
You will represent Jesus and His church from this day forward. What you do to help Jesus and your fe3llow family members will benefit us all. What you do that is wrong will hurt not only your spiritual family but also, Jesus. We will all be working to serve Jesus and to help build His kingdom.
Today you have a new story – one that is uniquely yours. Jesus came to be baptized by John the Baptist not because He needed forgiveness but because He was doing what God, His heavenly Father, had sent Him to do. He left the baptismal waters and entered into a wilderness to experience temptations that would shape how He would carry out His mission. You will experience some questions and testing to shape how you should fulfill your mission for Jesus.
The test is always, “How do I live out this commitment to Jesus?” I wear a ring on the third finger of my left hand that we call a marriage ring. On a specific day and in a specific place, I made a vow to “love and cherish” my wife, to be true “for better and for worse, in sickness and in health,” and to be faithful to my wife. The minister told us, “The ceremony is over, but your life of being faithful and loving is now beginning.”
Marriage is a “need-meeting” relationship. We need each other and do what it takes to meet the needs of each other. Our relationship with Jesus is also a “need-meeting” journey. Jesus has no hands but ours, no feet but ours, no voice but ours. We have no enduring strength than His, no true forgiveness